Blessed Beyond Measure by Friends of Eastern Cemetery

Andy Harpole Won’t Give Up on Eastern Cemetery, Even Though City of Louisville Has

It started Memorial weekend. I heard about it on NPR. Flagging Veterans' tombstones at Eastern. A cemetery in ill-repair, abandoned, unloved, desecrated. Veterans' graves long forgotten and left to rot. I made my family go. And it turned out to be an experience we will never forget. We ran around looking for Veterans' final resting places. Chris spoke a sentence that resonates in my soul, even three months later, "even if they aren't Veterans they deserve to be seen." He told Brytin as they brushed grass clippings off tombstones.

At some point, someone told me there was history. A lot of horrible history at Eastern. So of course that night I Googled. I must have read 15 different articles about the atrocious mishandling of finances and land and disrespect for the deceased and just morally repugnant business choices in Eastern's history.

But there they were, this group of angels all dedicated to helping repair and restore and love on and respect this 30 acres of misshapen ground. The Friends of Eastern Cemetery has been around for a little over a year, I guess. Working diligently on Sundays and some other days too, using their personal resources and as many donated resources as they could muster, to try their hand at caring for this molested land.

Somehow, my family seems to run into a debacle most Sundays that prevents our participation in their clean-up efforts, but we do try. Today, we were debacle-free and able to join in. All four of us were there scrubbing the Loomis wakehouse, hoping to restore some of that light grey luster.  (We succeeded!!!)

Sean talked about the building as we scrubbed - about the architect Loomis, about the building's purpose and folklore and I kept thinking how remarkable it is that this group of people each have so much knowledge about different aspects of this 30-acres of land. Some of them know biographies of various people buried there (like the "favorites" and the politicians and prominent citizens and the Veterans - I've heard stories about a lot of them.) Some of them know about the historical drama that this land has been through. Some of them know about cemetery restoration/preservation and how to go about it. And together they have this vision for the land, the cemetery, the future of this hallowed ground. And it is just so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.

When I am with this group of people, loving on a land that can never repay them, I see exactly what Jesus meant for the church to be.

If you have any interest in helping out, please do not hesitate to contact me. Truly, there is an avenue for every different interest - philanthropy, landscape, entrepreneurs, preservation/restoration, civic duty, crafting and even natural, botanical foods and products.
My Kids are Blessed by FOEC Too!


Psalm 121

It is good to worry a little, because it leads to healthier choices (so says Eric Barker).

But quickly remember then, that it is Lord who watches over my life, guides my footsteps and blesses me beyond measure in both trial and triumph.

Psalm 121 is a perfect reminder of this!

"I lift up my eyes to the mountains -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of Heaven and earth...

The Lord will keep you from all harm -
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."

Big thanks to WorkLife for the verse today.


Mysterious Ways

I told you recently that God broke my creamer addiction by giving me my most favorite car.

Well I have another mysterious mystery sentence for you - I started an exercise program, and so now I'm moving.

Tee Major said he would change my life, and boy did he ever!

My husband loves bodyweight exercises. His commanding officer asked if he had ever heard off Tee Major. He showed me some YouTube videos one night at home. In one of said videos, Tee Major said, "Give me 90 days and I will change your life."

I was moved, honestly (pun intended). Something about the timing, the simplicity, the military, the excitement...There has been a brick wall between exercise and me my whole life. And something in Tee Major's videos made it seem like I was finally ready to scale that wall, stand on top of it and rappel down the other side.

So, we got the videos and the books and we dove in! My husband was SUPER excited because I was excited. Our kids love physical activity. We were all winning! And in 90 days I was going to be able to do a pull-up! I even got a tweet from TeeMajor himself encouraging me!

The first day of the program, you are to just do the warm-up exercises. It's a bunch of random exercises like running sprints, but sometimes you are skipping sideways and sometimes you are doing high knees. Whatever. Physically exhausting, but fun and easy.

We chose to do these exercises in the parking lot next to our home. The parking lot next to our home is for a "church" that only our landlords attend. Not thinking anything of it, we used the church parking lot to run these sprints, because it was paved and flat - unlike any piece of land in our yard. Unfortunately, when our landlords arrived at the church that evening and saw us doing the exercises, they did not "think nothing of it." They marched right up to us and gave us the what-for.

I quickly told them that I was sorry I had offended them by doing exercises in their parking lot and took the children inside the house. My husband tried discussing the matter with them, but communication fell apart.

We received a letter in the mail two days later letting us know that they were gravely offended that we had desecrated their church and that we were to vacate within the month.

And so you have it. I started an exercise program and so now I'm moving.

The Lord, in all His glory, sure works in mysterious ways!


#BringBackOurGirls is NOT a Current Event.

"We Are That Family" is a blog I read EVERY day. Something about the writing strikes a chord in my soul EVERY single day. The parenting, the ministry, the #yesinmymess mentality. I love it.

Today, though, was the most remarkable blog post. Please please please take the time to read it.

The Difference Between Their Daughters and Mine

I don't have daughters, but this situation in Nigeria has truly brought to light for me a resounding problem.I HAVE been posting #BringBackOurGirls everywhere and anywhere I could. But my heart knew there was more...

Kidnapped, abused and misused girls in third world countries is NOT a current event. It is real, it is every day, and it is not going to go stop until the whole world stands up for them.

Yes, I wrote a letter to my Senator, because I didn't know what else to do. But today, We Are That Family, reminded me that I need to pray. I don't know how I missed that, but it is exactly what I need to do.

 Will you pray with me?

“God, we humbly seek your face and lift up the girls and women in our world who suffer in bondage and fear violence. We ask that you would set these captives free. We pray they would feel your strong arm of love in the midst of their suffering. Please give me the courage to stand against oppression. Bring back our girls. Amen.” (Reposted from We Are That Family.)


Bible Study Fellowship Share Night 2014

Every year, BSF's final night of gathering is about sharing how the study has affected you. I love to listen to wormen's stories! They get healed, they get inspired, they get reformed, they get Jesus.

I had something I wanted to share. There were plenty of opportunities to segue into my story for the year. There were plenty of times my heart was pounding so loud in my chest, I thought for sure my neighbor heard it. But I just couldn't get in front of that crowd of strangers, stand in for of the mic, and NOT cry. So I didn't.

I should have. When it was all over, and was driving home in my Mini Cooper, I felt so disappointed.

The whole way home, and even the next day, and even today, I know that I missed out on an opportunity to glorify God. Oh, He was glorified. But not by me.

Like the disciples in Gethsemane who slept rather than prayed, my silence robbed me of the opportunity to strengthen others and glorify God.


Let It Be

I read a blog post this morning by Oriah called “Let It Go.” One particular sentence stood out amongst all the others:

“I have found the inner directive to "let it be" somewhat more fruitful in helping me loosen a desperate grasp and rest in what is.”

After that sentence, her blog post went in a different direction than what I was hoping for – she went back to using “let it go.”

“Let it be,” however, seemed VERY insightful and almost perfect.

“Let it be,” releases judgment, releases opinion and allows God to control it. It allows me to ride the waves of whatever the situation is. 

“Let it go,” to me, means I have to forget about it, and I just can’t do that. I care too much (yes, about everything).

I can, however, “let it be” what it is and allow God’s plan to play out.

The Beatles, apparently, had this figured out decades ago!


Matthew 26

Matthew 26 and its multi-layered depth and beauty has truly awakened my soul.

So much happens.

Each happening means something.

All the lessons are significant.

Every verse is so rich with meaning and purpose and guidance and love.

As Easter approaches, I pray that I would spend it all on Jesus like Mary.

As Easter approaches, I pray that truth would always turn me toward Jesus, unlike Judas.

As Easter approaches, I pray that I would know that whenever I rely on my own strength, I am even more weak than Peter.

I pray fervently that God would use me in ways that I do not even know I am being used. That He would use me in ways that have a positive eternal significance.

posted from Bloggeroid


Waiting Becomes Living

In church this morning, I heard this line:

"When the evening comes, please find me singing."

In BSF this past week, we talked about Matthew 25, and the lecturer said, "While we wait for Lord's return, waiting becomes another word for living."

So why not be singing His praises while I wait/live?!

Sing out, my songbirds! Sing out in joy for all He has done, continues to do and will do! Sing out! So when the evening comes of his return, He will find you singing!
posted from Bloggeroid


Creamer Addiction Solved with a Mini Cooper‏

I wanted to break my addiction to creamer, so God gave me my most favorite car.

I tried a few things on my own (very nonchalantly.) One day I tried abstaining all together, one day I tried a creamer I didn't like, one month I tried homemade creamer. I never prayed about, I never even really worried about it. I figured it would just work itself out.

And boy did it!

A couple weeks ago, God gave me my most favorite car, a Mini Cooper!

One thing I didn't know about an itty bitty European car is that the cup holders are itty bitty. And in this particular itty bitty car, the cup holders are under all my controls, so I needed a small footprint AND a short cup.

Needless to say, I didn't own a cup that matched those particular measurements. I'm an American. We like super-sized cups filled to the brim. I like mine with some coffee and a LOT of hazelnut creamer. ('Blond' doesn't even begin to describe how much creamer I like.)

So, I kept trying to use my 20 oz Old Glory Starbucks cup that I have had for over a decade. I tried holding it, but holding a cup with a manual transmission in stop-and-go traffic just doesn't work. My husband tried giving me a smaller cup, about 16 oz, but that didn't help. It actually made it worse, because it was too small to hold itself up between the emergency brake and passenger seat.

I kept trying and trying. I kept growling every time I realized my coffee was spilling all over the carpet and the seat and the e-brake boot. I kept telling my husband I wasn't going to take any more drinks into the car.

And then, God gave me the perfect solution to help me with my creamer addiction. The most adorable itty bitty 8 ounce cup that fits perfectly in my itty bitty cup holder. (And only holds about a teaspoon of creamer.)



The missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is a horrible story. It’s sad, it’s tragic, it’s scary, it’s unfortunate, but at its best it is unexplainable.

I pray for the victims, for families of victims, and for all the bystanders relying on technology to provide answers.

I think that what the human race really needs at this moment is to NOT know.

I think that what the human race really needs at this moment is to realize that technology cannot be trusted.

I think that what the human race needs to know at this time is that there is something bigger than us.

In an age when we know everything and we know it faster, relying on our own knowledge and understanding is not the final answer.

I think that what the human race really needs to know at this time is that God is in control. 

Isaiah 45:6-7 That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. 

Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Right now is not about what happened to the Malaysian Airliner, but that humans need Jesus.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Relying on ourselves and relying on our technology and relying even on other humans doesn’t get us where we are trying to go.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

The inability to explain what happened to MH370 and all the people aboard gives me hope, because God is infinitely smarter and bigger and has a much better plan for me than any computer or news reporter ever could.

Unexplainable, sometimes, is the best we can hope for.

Additional verses:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Isaiah 55:8-11 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

Job 12:10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. 

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.


Jesus IS the "Stumbling Block"

Just one quick little nugget for you today...

1 Corinthians 1:23 reads "...we preach Christ crucified, and to Jews it is a stumbling block and to Gentiles it is foolishness."

A small verse - cryptic even, but so deep and beautiful and enlightening.

The whole section, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 purposes to explain the misunderstandings of God's message of the cross. And without the Holy Spirit to illumine me, I wouldn't understand it at all.

Once, in a children's ministry, it was broken down as simply as "God's plans and ideas and ways are upside down."

Christ's crucifixion made him weak in eyes of Gentiles and certainly not a role model.

Jews rejected him because he didn't save them from the oppressive Romans.

Because God asks Jews to accept Jesus as their Savior, they are locked out of Heaven. Christ IS the stumbling block.

Because God asks Gentiles to accept Jesus as their Hero, they are locked out of Heaven. Christ IS the rock of offense.

Paul tells us the Law reveals our sin. Similarly, Jesus' light is offensive to darkness.


Come to Jesus with Empty Hands

Last night’s discussion of grace (Matthew 19:23-21:17) brought about this quote, “God gives where He finds empty hands.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)

A Google search for more information brought me this blog post, which is fabulous. The orange juice analogy really is good once you figure out what the blogger is attempting to say.

But I think St Augustine wants us think about more than stuff. I don’t think he meant literally empty hands of tangible items. I think he meant empty like a blank slate. I think he meant empty like not trying to prove my worth.

And this blog about having “empty hands of repentance,” was good in a whole different way.

God’s grace is so thorough, so life-changing, so deep, so earth-shattering, so all-encompassing that it requires empty hands of repentance.

God, in his great love, wisdom, and mercy is not content to condone our sin. Rather, he is intent on forgiving it, cleansing us of it so it might not rule over us. When we come clinging to our sin, we are in no position to receive.

We cannot cling to our sins with justification or reasoning or acceptance and expect God’s entire grace. We have to have empty hands.

Empty of merit, of justification, of expectation.

Come to Jesus with empty hands that He might fill them up with peace and joy and love beyond measure.