Friday, November 21, 2008

a taste of grace

I am embarrassed to share this story, even though I know many people have been in my situation. On the way home from fall break, I was pulled over by the police for the first time. It was right before customs and the speed limit drops from 55 mph to 15 mph. I was gradually slowing down, but not enough. The policeman was standing on the side of the road and waved me over to a near by parking lot. Apparently I was going 40 mph in a 15 mph zone. Ouch. I held myself together as he asked me questions, looked in my eyes to see if I was wearing my contacts, gave me the ticket, and proceeded to tell me that it would be 6 points on my license. As soon as I pulled up the window and he left, I cried...something I vowed I would never do. We girls cry at everything! *rolling my eyes* Anyway-the rest of the trip was hazard-free, with the exception of slightly getting lost in Canada.

I did not know what to do with the ticket I had received. I got the courage to call my dad and then later, my mom. My roommate's dad, who is a lawyer, advised me to hire a lawyer and see what happens from there. I still shake my head at the fact that I, Esther Joy, hired a lawyer. After a month of filling out papers and feeling anxious, this is the email I got from my lawyer:

Esther,

The charge against you was dismissed, for failure to prosecute, because the trooper did not appear at Court.

Thank you for allowing me to handle this for you.

What a taste of grace. This will be an experience that I will never forget.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Joel Peter

The last of my mini series...Joel is the middle child and 5 years older than me. He was the one who always seemed to be there for me when Eric went to college and then stayed living in PA. Like me, Joel often got in trouble for talking in class, due to his outgoing and friendly nature. He's handsome, funny, sensitive to others, and ridiculously smart. He has his Masters in Public Health and he was just published as first author for a research project in a neurology journal. Now, he is in his second year of med school, which is demanding all his focus right now. In the years to come, he will be an exceptional doctor!
Favorite memories of Joel:
-Writing songs and performing them in the living room with microphones, a keyboard, and sometimes costumes, to enhance the performance level of the song.

-Waking up in the morning to the sound of Joel practicing his violin before school.

-Watching him cuddle and do homework with Faithful, our beloved black lab.

-Getting ready for school together and hip-checking each other out of the way so that we could spit out the toothpaste.

-Going on dates to spend some quality time together. He even got paid early once so that we could go out! It was on one of those dates when he gave me an index card with "5 lessons I learned in college." It has helped me experience well-rounded college years.

-Educating me on current topics and challenging me to think about what I believe and why. Joel doesn't base things on emotion but rather rationalizes issues with logic and reason. We don't always agree on topics; I think that that's ok.

-Seeing Joel standing in my dorm room doorway and being so surprised that he came to pick me up at college. I will confess that I screamed just a little!

I'm so thankful for Joel, my brother and my friend!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Best Friend

Continuing in my series...
My mom is truly a Proverbs 31 woman. She has toiled and worked, prayed and interceded, provided and nourished, taught and nurtured for my family. She is the glue that holds the members of our family together and a pillar that holds us up. In the midst of sorrow or celebration, she is there to comfort or rejoice. There is nothing like being held in her arms, knowing that she was the first to hold me when I took my first breath and knowing that she prayed for me before I was born. The love of my mother is something that I will not understand the depth of until I become one myself.

My mom is my best friend. We often laugh until we're crying, read until we're asleep, shop until I've spent too much of her money, and shop at Wegmans until the cart is full and I've gotten my fill the grocery store that will always have my heart. More importantly, she knows me better than anyone. If I'm having a bad attitude, she is the one who will call me out on my actions and straighten me out. Though there have been times when I've hated that she keeps me accountable on everything, I've come to really appreciate her honesty and love that she has for me.

My mom is a great cook, excellent baker, and an avid tea drinker. There is always a cup of tea in the microwave that is either being heated up or has been forgotten and will just be rewarmed again. She is a hard worker, organizer, to-do list maker, and definitely not a procrastinator. For the past 15 years, she has taught Bible at a small Christian school. Her teaching style demands students to think beyond surface, ask the hard questions, illustrate themes, and hide God's Word in their hearts. She is someone who often underestimates the amount of influence she has had on numerous students and the impact that her wisdom has on other people's lives, including mine.

Even though for the past four years we've been over 500 miles apart, phone calls and emails have kept us together. Here are some memories that make me smile when I miss her:

-Reading aloud to Eric, Joel, and me as we played linclon logs and legos or rode along in the car while on vacation. She even lost her voice a couple times.

-Eating McDonalds at Vitale Park, overlooking the lake.

-Praying before going shopping so that we would find exactly what we needed.

-Watching Hogan's Heroes and adding Klink and Schlultz into our "good-looking men" category, along with Barney Fife. We just have this thing for geeky guys!

-Going to Williamsburg while the boys went to professional soccer games in Richmond.

-Having quality talks about life, choices, and the future.

My mom is quite a lady and I am proud to be her daughter. Thanks, Mom, for being exactly who God created you to be! I love you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eric David

Three members of my family have had birthdays in the past three months and I want to honor them, one by one. Think of this as a mini blogging series!

Eric is the oldest of the children in my family. He is 7 1/2 years older than I am, which when I was younger, seemed like a huge gap. I was in fourth grade when he went to college, so he's really watched me grow up from a distance. In the past several years, especially after Joel got engaged and married, Eric and I have gotten a lot closer. When you first meet him, he's pretty quiet but he's got quite a sense of humor and has a lot of wisdom to share. He is such a hard worker and is a hands-on kind of guy. Being a Physicians Assistant is a perfect fit for him! He is also a good cook!

6 fond memories I have:
-Playing my first successful prank on him when I was really young. I put kleenex in the front of one of his shoes. I watched him as he put it on and realized that it was a little tight. We both laughed for a while on that one.

-Wrestling all over the house until I can no longer breathe because he had pinned me down. I am getting a little better at reading his movements!

-Teaching me how to wrap an ankle in under 2 minutes. He set me up on the counter one day and wrapped me ankles a couple times just to practice.

-Giving him advice on life issues. Those have always been our most quality talks.

-Looking out for me. When he brought home his girlfriend, one summer, he made sure that I liked her and got along with her. The three of us had so much fun that week and I definitely approved of her!

-Watching him and cheering him in on throughout his many marathons, triathlons, half-Ironmans, and two Ironmans. The most treasured moment I have of this is when he was running down the home stretch of the Lake Placid Ironman. I was right near the finish line, jumping and yelling like a crazy person, and he pointed at me, waved, and smiled. It made me feel so loved and so proud. I'm tearing up even now just thinking about it!

This is us over looking the Lower Falls at Letchworth, one of my favorite spots to go.
I'm so thankful for Eric, my friend and my brother.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dry Bones

I'm embarrassed that I haven't blogged in so long. It's funny how I expect other people to blog all the time so that I can keep up with them, yet I have neglected my own.

To be honest, life has been a struggle for me in many areas this semester. I suppose the spiritual term for it would be a valley. This morning, I woke up and for the first time in a while, I immediately spent some time with Jesus. He reminded me of a message about Ezekiel that my friend, Christy, had shared last summer. Ezekiel was taken by the Spirit to a valley of dried bones. There was absolutely no sign of life. The Lord then said, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

Ezekiel's response wrecks me. He doesn't try to guess what God is going to do or try to prove that he has a ton of faith by saying, "Oh yes, they can live!" Instead he utters, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know."

That statement is so true. God really is the only one who knows how the details of life are going to pan out. No one deeply and intimately knows you and me the way that God does. He created and formed us in the secret place. He wove us together in the womb. Before the beginning of time, He knew!

As I evaluate my life, I find that I am surrounded by dry bones that need the breath of God. This is quite overwhelming, yet Ezekiel's words give me peace. Even though tomorrow seems uncertain, I will rest in the fact that God alone knows.