In Death, Heroes Inspire: In Memory of Nabeel Qureshi

“Heroes aren’t supposed to die!” My heart yells in the deep place where only God sees. Death from this life is certain… cancer doesn’t play favorites… and yet heroes are supposed to be victorious… right?

My little girl self still believe this. I can’t help but hope that light will always overcome darkness, that wrongs will always be righted, and the hero will defeat the evil. Perhaps because in my child-like faith, I know there is eternal victory, death has no power over me… and yet… the living still suffer the heartache of being here without those who have gone on ahead.

At just 34 years old, Nabeel Qureshi, had become one of my heroes because he wasn’t afraid of questions. Sounds simple, I know. But really and truly, he asked questions and sought the truth, even when all he had known and been brought up to believe was challenged. I admire his courage to face the possibility that what he thought he knew could be wrong. His passion to understand and pursuit of truth came at great personal cost. In heroic fashion he lovingly and kindly opened doors whenever he could in order to let the of truth light in so others could see for themselves.

My sister teaches the hero journey through story and film. Her method is brilliant and she probably doesn’t realize I’ve been listening to her, and I finally understand. Heroes sacrifice themselves to rescue the people they love. In death, heroes inspire us to live well. I don’t like it… but we need it.

I know that Nabeel is with Jesus. In his death, he inspires me and many others to not just live well, but to love greatly.

seeking_allah_finding_jesus_tn_magento

My question to you: who are your heroes?

If you are having trouble naming any, perhaps its time you let someone like Nabeel inspire you to let some light in so that you can see things for yourself.

Be brave, dear ones. We need more heroes and you never whose hero you may become.

*If you would like to know more about Nabeel, read his story “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus“. He reads it himself in the audiobook.
For more information visit Ravi Zacharias Internation Ministry site or read the brief bio with a link to one of his final vlogs at Christianity Today.
Advertisements

One Weed at a Time

Dusk came.
The reddish sun had already retired, But I still had light for a good 15 min.
Anyone with a garden knows that every little bit helps.

So I grabbed my gloves and a bucket – prepared for hand to leaf combat with the little invaders creeping up under my tomatoes.

It's amazing how something so simple can be so satisfying. With every weed I threw in my bucket another burden rolled off my shoulders. As Prayers bubbled up and spilled out of me as I cleaned the beds of our small garden, so too the Master Gardener pulls the "weeds" from my heart.

This week. That conversation. Her heart. His pain. My hope. Their safety. Will I? Can they? How can we? But what if…!?

Deep breath. Exhale.

The sweet smells of summer..
Warm dirt.
Tomato leaves.
Blackberry breeze.

Deep breath. Exhale.

My bucket is full.
And my burdens are easy.

There are still some weeds.
I still have some burdens.
But with the weeds away the plants can focus on their purpose! To grow and thrive and be beautiful and be fruitful.

My own weeds have been traded in for thankfulness.

My bucket is full.

My Prayer Box

I have a box standing ready at all hours of the day or night… waiting to receive.


It is my Divine Post Office. Several times a week throughout 2016, I would stop by and drop in prayers. Sometimes with tears and a troubled spirit, I would struggle to write the little prayer on the scrap of paper. Other times with joy and delight, I would drop by to post a note of thanks or celebration. 

Whenever my heart was overwhelmed or overjoyed, I came knowing the Lord would be listening. With determination and trust, I would date and drop the little paper into the box, slip the latch in place, and be on my way, more often than not lighter and strengthened to face the trials and triumphs of the day. 

Between today and tomorrow, I get to go back and read through the full box of papers and reflect on all that God has done with my heart and life. 

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Irritating Pearls

According to Google –

“In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster will quickly begin covering the uninvited visitor with layers of nacre — the mineral substance that fashions the mollusk’s shells. Layer upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coat the grain of sand until the iridescent gem is formed.”

So we too should accept the “irritations” and life’s challenges, cover them in prayer – learn from them and see them for what they really are. Continue to cover them in prayer trusting that God has given you the strength to continue on.

Watch… wait… pray… trust… we will see our irritations turned into “pearls” – treasures that make this life even more beautiful.

 

IMG_5105*Thank you, Allie, for inspiring me today! 

Online Dating Round 2: “Rejection”

Rejection*Note… this is about me! So laugh with me and hopefully learn something.

I have been rejected many times.

  • I didn’t get the part in the play I wanted.
  • I didn’t get the job… last time, I didn’t even get the interview! I applied for 25+ different jobs at Amazon WHILE I was contracted there… and I didn’t get a single interview.
  • I submitted articles to magazines – rejections.
  • I am about to submit a story for publication… and I fully expect initial rejection. (It is quite common to have to resubmit stories and books to many publishers before someone will take a chance on you and your idea. Others who have experienced literary rejection Madaleine L’engle, Stephen King, Beatrix Potter…. just to name a few of the many <Read the BuzzFeed article HERE for More.)

However, relationship  rejection pulls on a different section of the heart.(Pause so you can remember… but not linger!)

With an online dating app the rules have changed a bit… thankfully the delightful Online Dating App designers have made rejection even easier with per-fabricated “rejection” messages which include lines such as…

“Thank you for the message but I don’t think we’re a match.”

“No, but thank you for asking.”

Then if you really don’t want them to contact you again, there is the harsh but necessary “Block” button.

I leave you with the following, hopefully helpful, rejection guidelines.

Miss Mae’s Rules

on

Giving & Receiving Rejection

  • Rejection is not the end of the world.
  • Be nice! Just because they don’t appreciate us, doesn’t mean that we need to call them names… in your head, out loud, and especially NOT on social media.
  • Silence is not helpful. Show some maturity and respect by responding.
  • We don’t need to beg for attention.
  • We mustn’t lash out when our interest isn’t reciprocated.
  • Remember, the person on the other side of this interaction is made in the image of God and deserves to be shown respect and kindness.
  • Once its done… WALK AWAY! or Run. Literally. It helps. (As in go work out… the endorphins will help you feel better faster.) 

Hope in the Waiting

In the darkness, I waited

Quiet. Calm. Still.

My heart was pounding in my chest.

Knowing it was coming.

Thinking and fearing it never would.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

This is the time in between time.

Everything is still.

I opened my eyes and there was a hint of change.

Another moment passed revealing a glimmer of hope.

Hope takes its time, like the light of dawn.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the darkness gives way to shadows.

Shadows reminds us of fear because they are unknown.

There is no certainty in the unknown.

Another breathe and the unknown is known.

The light of dawn has broken through.

Hope’s tendrils are reaching through landing upon my heart.

With the first light of the morning, streaming through the trees.

Hope streams in, unavoidable, undeniable, known.

In the light, I wait.

MayValley

 

 

Online Dating Profile Pics: Good Ideas & Bad Ideas

*NOTE: I am not criticizing anyone in particular… I am offering advice based on my perusal of many profiles online and getting feedback and opinions from my friends. My hope is that this will actually help a few people put their best foot forward!

fat face selfie

GOOD IDEAS and BAD IDEAS

For Your Dating Profile Pictures

In the App Dating World, your picture is your first “Hello” and your first “Handshake” – the pressure is on! Recently, I saw that there were 2,400+ people on an app at once. Statistically we are all attracted to 10% of the population! I would be attracted to 240 of them simply based on looks! (Yippee!) Just think – YOU are in someone’s 10%.

I’m here to help you make better choices when posting 1st impression.

Good Idea – Posting a photo of you in a cool location with a pretty background. (Examples of cool background: The outdoors, trees, mountains, reflective windows, etc.)urinal

Bad Idea – Posting a photo of you in your bathroom… or worse a public bathroom… WITH Urinal or Toilet in view. JUST DON’T DO IT! Even if the bathroom mirror is the best on in the house… find a friend to take your photo. Trust me, a blank wall is better than toilet back ground!

 “Urinals or toilets distract from your natural  attractiveness.”

~ Annie Mae

Good Idea – Pictures that You Like of Yourself – laughing, smiling, thinking… not photoshopped! The real you is beautiful! Be confident in the person God has made you to be.

snow white selfie

Bad Idea – “The Fat Face Photo” – EVERYONE is able to take this photo. Its the photo that makes our chins double up and our cheeks fall forward. Most common way to create this photo is to look down at your camera, or lean your head back into your shoulders. I send these to my siblings FOR FUN! However, they are just not attractive.

Good Idea  – Pictures with friends or family! This is especially important if you have kids because they are a huge part of who you are and will be a key part in a future relationship.

Bad Idea – Posting pictures that are obviously taken with your Ex… doesn’t matter how you have mange to cross out, blacked out, or cut out your ex. Just DON’T Do it!

If the pic contains any of the below just don’t POST it!!!

  • scantily clad pin-ups in the back ground
  • your prison cell
  • you in or on your bed
  • pics of you getting high or drunk
  • Police mug shots

I highly recommend getting friends to help you! Have fun and let those who love you help you put your best face forward!

Online Dating Round 1… “Let’s Meet” or “The Rose & The Fedora”

After a week of conversing online with an interesting, Jesus-loving, blogger… the opportunity presented itself to meet in person.

Some details…

  • A date at an airport is a GREAT idea.
  • Being greeted with a flower is always romantic.
  • A flower being held by a man wearing a fedora = WIN!fedora

 Even though we were not MFEO (That’s relationship speak for ‘Made For Each Other’) = This date was a success. I met someone who was interesting, quirky, and classy. Conversation was easy and we are on our way to being friends. He made me feel special and I hopefully encouraged him. 

rose

Adventures in Online Dating


In the secret – I type away.  Crafting the perfect bio…

Is that too much info? Is this a good picture? Is this an act of desperation?!

Such a silly feeling. Acting as if I were doing something completely out of the ordinary. When. in fact, I am merely tapping into a resource that millions of people all of the world have already.

The community message board.

The 21st Century Matchmaker… our own computerized Yenta.

meg ryan

That’s right! I have joined the world of online dating… in order to branch out and meet new people… and maybe… just maybe…  I will meet the Tom Hanks to my Meg Ryan.

 

Stay tuned for all the fun, laughter, tears, and awkwardness.