Monday, November 14, 2011

time helps, jesus heals

I've almost been sitting in this exact location for an entire day. I woke up this morning ready to conquer it all. I had the day off today, there was laundry to do, homework to try and finish and fresh new air to breathe. Turns out I have become not so fond of laundry (or cleaning at all for that matter), my homework was mostly online, and so I spent much time on facebook... and the air.. well the air was nice, I enjoyed the breeze blowing through my window.

Life has changed. It has changed so much I barely recognize myself any more. More than a year ago I was not who I am right now. Life was so uncertain and scary. I wanted a new mind and a new heart, I wanted to be transformed and set free from fear, worry and anxiety. I think those three things are something that everyone struggles with the some extent. I NEVER realized how many people walk around every day with the words "anxiety" "stress" "scared" "fear" running through their mind. Some people choose to medicate, others choose to isolate and few somehow overcome. Many people I have come in contact with do not share this with most. It really is something that is dark, and embarrassing and overcoming. You feel like you are the only one in the world who could possibly have the thoughts and feelings that you do. Let me just say right now- you are not alone in what you feel!! Praise God for this! We do NOT have to walk through life, and through struggles on our own. This is what our Heavenly Fathers tells us:

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)"

Speak this over yourself- because is it better than FOOD and WATER. Every day i MUST remind myself whom I belong to. "You are MINE... and WHEN you pass through the waters I WILL BE WITH YOU..." God doesn't promise us that life is going to be perfect, easy and painless. He assures us that we will face "trials of many kinds." What he does promise... is not to let the fire burn us or the flame consume us.

Really think about this and what it means in your life. When we are looking inward, towards ourselves and not pressing into the things of Jesus... it is dark, it is hopeless and it is FULL of anxiety. Look to Him today and He will help you take the deep breath you been trying for.


Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm back! With a new last name.

I thought I'd copy my husband, and start blogging again today. I could have been blogging every day for the past 3 weeks because I have honestly had so much time on my hands. Looking back, I haven't been using the time very wisely. I should have a job by now! Honestly.

So almost 1 month ago, I got married! My husband, Joshua Rickard, and I tied the knot on August 20th, 2011. My last post was when he proposed. I literally have not posted since that day. WOW. Guess you could say I was a little busy. We planned our wedding in about 5 months. It was perfect, absolutely perfect. The wedding was in Saugatuck/Douglas, MI. We had the ceremony at a quaint little chapel on a hill called, The Lakeshore Chapel. It is so stunningly beautiful that I didn't even decorate. Why did I want to decorate a historical, 100+ year old building. It had all the character I could have ever asked for. Thanks Uncle Dony for finding that- it truly was straight out of my dreams. Find pictures on .

The reception was held at my Uncle Dony's marina/yacht club. This is his second home, pride and joy and probably his favorite place to always be. There are several yachts, large house boats, jet ski's, dinghy's. It's right off Lake Michigan, on the Kalamazoo River, surrounded by million dollar homes. I couldn't have thought of a better location. We had a tent, lights, music, food, flowers, tables, chairs... stars, friends and laughter. It seemed like everyone had a good time. The night went by so fast. I wanted to talk to people, and hug them and take pictures with them. I guess that's what other peoples weddings are for ;) I think back to that day, that night- that week- and I can't believe it's over! It was so perfect, so unique, so beautiful and stressful! Man, what I would give to have not been so stressed on the days following up to the wedding. As a bride.. there was just a lot of pressure. I'm sure someone out there understands. The good thing is... when I think back, I take a deep sigh and smile because it was good.

We took a couple days for a honeymoon up in northern michigan :) I wish we could have stayed for several days and went everywhere up there. It's so beautiful and peaceful. I could hear myself breathing. It was the perfect honeymoon destination... for us.

Now we are back in Austin. It's hot. It's so so so so so stinking hot. My car has no air. We could get it fixed... but for some reason neither of us have even mentioned taking it in. I have no idea why because every time I drive somewhere, day or night, I get pretty angry at how sweaty I instantly become. I guess I'd rather invest my money into other things... ;) I start cosmetology school September 28th. I'm actually terrified. I'm 23 years old, and I've never had a creative drop of anything come out of me. But I want to do hair. People who do hair always seem to be funky, and fun and cool and have pink streaks in their hair. I want to know the trade, I want to learn it and perfect it and do it so well. I know my previous statement was a bit of a generalization, but I still am so scared I won't fit it! I thought feelings like that went away after high school :D. To be completely honest I haven't had anyone touch my hair since February- it's dead and discolored. Hopefully no one notices!

Josh is still plugging away at FAS. He's ready for what's next! School?!?! We hope so. Transcripts are on their way:) I'm so proud of him- he's so dedicated and such a hard worker. Please be in prayer with us on what our next move is. Especially for Josh, school and career paths. We are really excited about what doors are going to be opened for him- and we try desperately to rest in the fact that God is sovereign and in control. Again- prayer for this specifically is so welcomed and received!

I'm looking forward to Christmas :) Just had to say it! Family, Food, SNOW, MICHIGAN. All of the things I love... and then some.

Bye! Emily

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a whole new ball game now.

Josh had his 25th birthday yesterday, March 29th. Happy Birthday babyyy! As I was trying to think of a ton of sweet things to do for Josh for his birthday, only a few great idea's came to mind. 1. Ipad and 2. Guitar. Both of these things were so expensive, I was discouraged. Time went on, his birthday got closer and I realized I had no sweet idea for the celebration of his 25th year of life. My next best idea was buy him a slew of clothes from Target, a Starbucks giftcard and a day away from Austin. Josh liked the first 2, but neglected my 3rd idea to take a day trip somewhere on Sunday March 27th, so we could celebrate his birthday, just the two of us. We had a wedding the night before we attended, and he wanted to go to church the next day. Josh also suggested that we go canoeing, because that is what he wanted to do for his birthday. Little did I know that this day would not only be a great celebration of his birthday, but the start of something really stinkin' sweet.
"Josh I really don't feel good, I don't know if I can make it on a canoe in the middle of the lake with out barfing today..." "Emily, it will be great, I promise, you'll be fine." ..."But Josh it's kind of cold and it's raining, don't you want to do something else for your birthday instead? We can go canoeing when it's hot out." " Emily, come on let's just do it, it's going to be sweet."
Josh and I bantered back and forth like this for a few minutes before I finally stopped my sassing and enjoyed a nice little float down the river. I really, truly, honestly love canoeing with Josh. My favorite part is trying to touch the turtles with my paddle, and that is exactly what I was doing as we sailed along, admiring the wildlife, the tree's, the brisk 70 degree weather. As we turned the bend, the skyline of Austin pops into our view and we both take a deep breath, stop and thank Jesus for the life he's placed in our hands.
As Josh and I continue to make our way down the river, closer to the city, we notice the Lamar Pedestrian bridge ahead. We had just dodged some stand-up-surf-board-riders when I noticed a large gathering of people on the Lamar bridge. I thought it was a bit unusual, but it was Austin, so I didn't really think anything of it. I actually though it would make a sweet photo, so I snapped a shot of all the people and said, " Josh look at all of those people, they are all going to be looking at us when we float underneath of the bridge, that's kind of weird." "Yes Em, they are all going to be looking at us..."
I looked back down at my camera, only to look up and find this...

"E M I L Y." It took my eyes a moment to focus... but all too quickly I said, " that says Emily... that says, MY NAME." I turned around to look at the man who gives me warm fuzzies inside and he says, "Yep Em, that says your name." As he points back at the bridge he says, as only Josh can say, " What does that say though???"

And there there they were.... the 4 most insanely crazy scary fun awesome sweet romantic and absoultely breathtaking words one girl could ever read from a canoe... "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" All of our dearest, sweetest friends, from Austin were holding these wonderful signs that had the most beautiful question addressed right to my heart and soul. Immediately... i start giggling. I cannot believe that he did this! Is this really happening? I surely do not deserve such things, and was so blown away by this act of love Josh had shown me I really was speechless. There have been a few times in my life when I didn't know what to say, but this time tops them all. I instantly dropped my head into my hands, I think even into my lap and had to focus on breathing.
Pulling myself together, smiling ear to ear between my jaw dropping, I looked back at Josh. His smile so sweet and innocent, he looked me in the eyes and asked me to be his wife. Still speechless and staring at him, in this canoe, in the middle of a river in downtown Austin, I hear from the bridge, " what'd she say??." I said YES! Of course I said yes. The next few photos will give you a little closer look into our special day. I have had a hard time putting these pictures online because these memories are so personal, and these moments are ones that I will forever cherish and be eternally grateful for. They are so special to me, considering it was absolutely the best day of my life.

As I sit and think about this journey we are about to go on... there is so much joy in my heart I feel as though it could take me away. The last year of living in Austin has been so HARD! I firmly believe that going through a period of life.. of deep sorrow, and true hardship makes you GROW. God has pushed me, and twisted me, and confused me and allowed me to see life for what it really is. I've been scared, sick, mad, confused and panicked. I've missed home, I've cried... I've cried a lot. Through it all, God showed me what it means to push through it, to Trust in Him, to persevere and to not give in to whatever temptation Satan is throwing into my head. The joy that I feel now, is true. It's real. It's joy that surpasses all understanding, peace. Oh sweet peace. If it was something we all had, it wouldn't be worth fighting for.

When I close my eyes, and think of where I am... I can only feel as though I am flat on my face, in complete awe of Jesus, and so so grateful for the storms and struggles that make the sunshine and peace so good.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this special day, Erik Pacheco- thank you for capturing this moment in our life. It will forever be remembered, and the photos will always help to do that. Thank you thank you thank you.

Our friends on the bridge, and at mary's house! WOW- I'm so blessed to know you and to have you there adding to excitment. Thank you a million times!!!

To our families... we've missed you :) We can't wait to see you. We love you and we pray for you every day!

I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have. Let the planning begin.

Joshua Thomas Rickard- I really can't wait to be your wife. **

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rest In Peace Uncle Mart.

I will probably have tears that run straight from my eyes, all the way down my face and then eventually all over my neck after I finish writing this. Sunday February 20, 2011- my great Uncle Marty moved on from this world. He had a stroke, much like the one my grandfather suffered from in 2008. Unfortunately... he didn't make it and it was his time to go. Even as I write those words, I can't help but not get it. Death, that is. I just don't. My prayer is that he is now on the golden shores, face to face with God. My mind can only make so much of it before it completely shuts down and I only see cartoon characters in place of what I was thinking about.

I was reading Cold Tangerines last night before bed, the author Shauna Niequist said this about death, " We can't stand in the way of death, but when it comes, we can stand in its face together, and celebrate life and celebrate family and celebrate having loved fiercely and expressively." Gosh, what a powerful statement. Death sends me into orbit, I mean it just does. I find myself getting overly anxious and almost sick at the though of someone close to me dying. I ask Josh all the time what I will do if he ever dies and I like have kids or something, like oh my goodness, I think I would just shatter to pieces. I think about my parents, they are still so young to me, but someday they too will have to go, and that though shuts me down to the ground. There is no need to even go any further with those thoughts because it just does bad things to my heart. I love though, the idea that death is a time to celebrate life and family. I wasn't able to make it home this week for Uncle Marts funeral. He wasn't my real uncle. He was my family though. I grew up with him, he was like a grandpa to me. My house was about a mile away from the farm that he and Nancy raised their family at, and their grandchildren. Lee is Marty's grandson. We are exactly 17 days apart and he's my brother, we grew up together, took baby baths together, held hands on our way to the first day of kinder garden, we were each others escorts to the Sophomore Sweetheart dance, and we've always been there for each other. It was hard for me not to be there to support my dear friend, and say goodbye to sweet Uncle Mart, but that's life I guess. What warms my heart though, is the report that the funeral home was overwhelmed with people. My mom said, " Emily, I think the whole town of Birch Run was there." Yes, Birch Run is a small town, but when Lee told me people were lined up out the door in a foot of snow and 30 degree weather to pay their respects to this man, I got a tear in my eye. That is really celebrating life, and celebrating relationships and family. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is easier when people you love are surrounding you and saying good bye with you.

My family is all together right now, all at my sisters house. It kind of feels like something is stabbing me in the heart to know that Josh and I aren't there laughing with them and playing with braylon. I'm not sure why I didn't get to be there, God knew though that I couldn't go. I had a lot of peace once I finally made the decision not to make the trip for 24 hours. For the first time in a long time I knew I made the right decision and although it was really hard, and I really wanted to be there to say goodbye, it felt good to make a decision.

I've been reading a lot. Never enough, but a lot none the less. Almost everything I've been reading is on "hard times," "getting through the darkness," and "suffering." It's hard for me to see life in any other way at this point, just through the eyes of suffering and being completely out of control of anything. Wrong? Yeah... I think it probably is, but I without a doubt just think that is where God has me at- a very humble place of complete surrender. I can feel the hope though, deep down inside, the excitement is bubbling up and for the most part I'm very happy. I still though- am still- being taught what it means to suffer, and be humble and trust God. In an email I sent Josh tonight, I told him how important my family was to me. DUH. I also told him that I think for so long I've found comfort, security and validation in my family, my identity would lay completely in my family. Moving to Austin, starting my own life here and continuing in an amazing relationship here has opened my eyes to the fact that my identity and my comfort should lie in none other that the one who hears my prayers and calms my anxious heart. I wanted to be there this week, with my family, celebrating life and family and loving fiercely and expressively. God had other plans though, and trusting Him in that decision was kind of cool...

I'd give almost anything to go back to the days when I could hop on the four-wheeler with my brother and sister, have the dogs running with us and just head over to Uncle Marty's pond. He'd always be there, always with a smile and always happy to see you. Don't get me wrong, he was grumpy from time to time, but there wasn't a person who didn't love uncle mart. He helped create so many great memories in my child hood. I love you Uncle Marty!!! :'(

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I don't have a good title for this one?

So today started out kind of rough. My alarm clock rang at 6:00am. I have to be to work at 8, takes me a solid half hour to get there. I literally hit the snooze every 5 minutes until 7am. This is no joke. I mean that is just so stupid! Why not just get up instead of sleep in 5 minute increments. Long story short, I threw a braid in my hair and could not decide what to wear and ended up putting on these brown leggings and a brown dress- that absolutely did not match, with some camel colored flats for shoes. If I were authoring a fashion blog- I would clearly not have many followers because it was just embarrassing. Anyways, I got over that real quick when I walked into pure stress on the job. It seems like the last 2 weeks have been purely brutal. I always try to go into work with a good attitude. I never make it through the day with one though. I'm not bashing my job, or the company that I am employed by. I simply do not feel one ounce of joy or fulfillment in what I am doing. I think that is important when you spend the majority of your life at this thing called a job. For the moment, I am enduring and being encouraged to hang in there and glorify God while trying to make the best of a not so ideal situation. I am decent at what I do, I make a rookie mistake every now and then but for the most part it's not so tough- it's just stress. So, my prayer is that the Lord would sustain me here and help me to walk out each day with the power of the Holy Spirit and be grateful for the money and benefits I receive in turn for the job I do. I know we all struggle with finding that job that is just right for you- it's tough- to know what you want to do and how you want to spend the majority of your time. I guess I was just under the impression that I would get "the job" and as many of us who just graduated college find out... it's not that simple.

I did drive by this teeny tiny little hair salon while I was picking up dinner for Josh and I. I stopped and stared at it for a moment. Dreamed for a second. It was so cute and chic. I do hope the Lord allows me to be a business owner. I think the idea of having something to call your own, to put your heart and soul into, and to be so full of love for would be incredible. I'd really love that. I believe that everything that we do is to prepare us for something to come. I have no idea what my current job is preparing me for, but... man I'm going to be ready.

It was so nice today in TX I was dreaming about a nice long run all day long. I literally circled the outside of my building three times today just to get some fresh air. Once I was released from my desk...rrr... I got in my car and the minute I got home I put my new running shoes on! I felt great today. I ran for 20 minutes straight- the weather was perfect. The only thing that is kind of stinky is there are so many cars and people out it's hard to find peace like I'm used to while running. Hopefully Josh and I make it down to Town Lake to run soon by the water! On Sunday we run a 5K downtown, which will be our kickoff running event for the year! I'm really excited (for our free shirt ;)).

We had small group tonight. It was just 4 of us, and it was great. I felt like our discussion was very meaningful and we got to really dig deep into some pretty serious questions and ideas about God. It was cool. Robby and Crystal, Josh and I talked a lot of the sovereignty of God and human responsibility- how God sent Jesus to re-unite us (reconcile) with and to him. It's an awesome thing once you really understand it. This led to the discussion of the power of the Holy Spirit. We all want it and want to see it work, but are so comfortable in the "norm" that we don't trust in the Holy Spirits power to do so. I'm very encouraged to call upon the Holy Spirit and to really pray that God would use me and speak to me. I miss the setting where at any time, friends and I could just pray- just stop and pray over each other. My desire is to get back to that here- to be BOLD in the name of Jesus.

I think I'll start now by getting on my knees and praying.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Time

I haven't blogged in so long. Hate it when that happens. So much is going on too.. well nothing really exciting, just stuff. I've been busy, it's been good and bad.

I've been really consumed with wanting to be in prayer more, wanting to literally be on my knees crying out and pleading to God for so many people... so many things.

It's time. Time for life to continue. It's time for this last year of fear, anxiety and angst to be done. I'm over it, and I'm no longer willing to refuse to trust in Jesus. I don't get so much about God, about Jesus about what the Gospel REALLY means, about how the bible was formed and the clarity of scripture. I don't understand why suffering equals love and why death is inevitable, only so we will know Him more and live forever in eternity with God.

Wow. So much I don't understand. I won't leave it at that- no, I will keep seeking, keep reading, keep pursuing. But it is time that I stop sacrificing my peace, joy and stillness for fear and worry.

Thank you for your prayers and for your love- whoever you are.
"And when you cannot stand, He will hold you in his arms" [francisdesales]
Praise God.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yet I Will Praise You

I watched this when I woke up this morning. Such a great visual, and great words to the words I want to say to Jesus and the way my heart feels sometimes.