Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why Blue?

photo by Jeremy Ramsey

I know that I am going to be asked a million times “Why blue?” and I know that I won’t ever get tired of being able to answer it! There are some times in our lives that it seems like there is nothing that we can do, but we can always do something. My something is blue – blue hair. I have just moved quite a way from my family for my husband to take an amazing job in Pennsylvania and my dad is in Alabama in the middle of deciding whether Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery is right for him. I want nothing more than to be able to take away the stress and anxiety of this decision and even just take away the Dystonia but that is not my reality. Instead I am left to feel like there is nothing that I am able to do and so instead, I am choosing to dye a lock of my hair blue. Not just for my dad, but for all the people that have touched my life in some way with Dystonia. No, I don’t suffer from Dystonia but I know so many strong, amazing people that do suffer from this disorder and I can only bring awareness to it for what it is, does, and takes away.

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. It affects 300,000 people in the US alone and there is no cure. Dystonia entered into my life through my dad in 2006 and has been a major part of our family’s life ever since. I have done many things to raise awareness and money but currently find myself in a place that none of the things I have done in the past are right for me at this moment. However, I mentioned it to my husband the other week that I was thinking about it and he said simply “Do it!” Well, I did. I don’t know exactly how long I will have it blue or exactly what I am going to do about it, if anything, to publicly let everyone know what I am doing other than this blog, but I will figure that out as I go. The coolest part about this whole turn of events in the last couple of weeks is that my husband said one day, “What if I do it, too?” Well, that is in fact what we have done. We did it together. We both ‘went blue.’

So what does this mean? Well, nothing really, other than to let people know that there is a disorder out there that goes by the name Dystonia that is affecting people’s lives drastically. There is no cure for it but some great research is being done on it. There is a wonderful foundation that I am passionate about called the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation that is full of compassionate people all working toward the good that can be found to help with this disorder. So really, this boils down to this is about awareness.

photo by Jeremy Ramsey
For now, we are planning on keeping our locks blue until my dad decides what procedure he will have, has the procedure, and recovers. After that, who knows what we will do – but I will think of something! BUT for now, I will just start answering the question of “Why blue?”, telling the facts about Dystonia, raising awareness, and sharing my dad’s story!

….. oh, and when you feel like there is nothing that you can do, you can always do something!

For more information on Dystonia and how you can make a difference, go to

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

sadness in the midst of inexpressible joy

I (Rebecca) have begun to really miss home a lot lately.... I was told told that this would eventually happen but never really knew what to expect until the day it 'hit' me. It seems to have 'hit me' a lot lately. BUT, I am so incredibly happy here in PA all at the same time - how does that happen...?

     I am as happy in Pennsylvania as I ever imagined I would or even could be. I knew when this journey for us began that the Lord was sending us here to PA for a really specific reason and He would make that clear as we went. Well, the clarity could not be any more crystal clear - we are here to serve at Faith UMC and we are being blessed beyond reason in our serving here! And, gosh do we have so much more that the Lord is showing us that we are to do while we are here. Our plan to be in Pennsylvania is a long-term plan - not a short lived mission trip, but a life change that has brought us to PA! We are committed to serving the Lord where He leads and takes us, through the tough and the 'easy', in the good and the bad, through the growth and change! We passionately love, care for, and are dedicated to the mission of Faith UMC and are here to stay! We are blessed each and every day by the people of the church and the community by their love, support, words of encouragement and friendship! We know that this is now our home and we feel as though this IS HOME! 

     Now that I have rattled on about my passion and love for Faith UMC and my belief that the Lord has us in Montoursville, PA for a reason, I also feel very led to be very honest with myself, my husband, my friends and my family. There are things about Alabama that I do, in fact, miss. All of my life until July 1, 2012 has been lived and spent within a 4-hour radius. I grew up in Headland, AL, went to college in Mobile, AL in 2002, got married and lived in Daphne, AL in 2005, and then moved to Dothan, AL in 2006 and there is where we lived until the Lord called us to PA in July of 2012. I have long-term girlfriends that I have been friends with over half of my life that are still in Alabama, my parents are in Headland, my brother is in Mississippi, and all of Tony's family is in Alabama. I have days that I find myself wanting to call my friends and crash on a couch with a cup of coffee in my pajamas and without a shower - just because. I find myself on some days wanting to call my mom to come get Chip for an afternoon or evening so I can surprise Tony with dinner out. I miss my couponing friends that used to clip and swap together each week; I miss my business partner and our inappropriate jokes and our business brainstorming sessions, and I could go on and on. I miss what is familiar - what I have always known - what was 'easy'. Now that the 'new' has somewhat worn off of PA, I have found myself missing all of this a little more lately.

     The reason, though, I am sharing with you my feelings and how much I miss Alabama and how much I love Pennsylvania all at the same time is for this - it is totally possible to experience sadness in the midst of inexpressible joy! I have always heard people say this during mourning the loss of a loved one, and have even felt the same way mourning the loss of my own loved ones, but who knew these emotions could also be felt during life change. When the Lord is growing us and moving us into new places and new things, we can't help but rejoice in the painful and sad times for if we are in the center of the will of God, and know that we are on this Earth to fulfill His great mission, then 1 Peter 1:3-9 should be our cry of praise! It says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
     Pennsylvania is our home, now, and what a beautiful and wonderful place to call home! We have loved each and every opportunity we have had here, from snow and sledding to the Little League World Series and we know that there are millions of more opportunities that the Lord has waiting for us here! We know that there is a great work that is yet to be done and that we are to continue to strive for the goal of Christ which is to spread His word and preach the Gospel of Christ to all who will listen! All throughout the scriptures and especially in the Psalms it speaks of how great are the works of the Lord! We, Tony, Rebecca, and Chip Sharp, are beyond blessed to be able to say that the Lord has called us to His work, to experience His blessing, and to share the love of Jesus with others! Some days we find ourselves missing what we have always known and even mourning the loss of what was familiar, but don't ever let that overshadow the fact that we are praising the Lord in the storm of those darker days and rejoicing in the fact that we have been called for His good work and are well please in PA and plan to be here for quite some time!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Isaiah 43:16-21

16 Isaiah 43:16-21 says this:
"the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21     the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise."

I feel like, lately, the Lord is calling me to a new place in my life. "Well, where?" you might ask and if you do, you are joining me in asking the same question, but for now, I still find myself uncertain where that place is. I have a feeling that the Lord is creating in me a desire and some things that are weighing heavy on my heart and I will continue to pray upon those things, as they are not small endeavors, but for now, I feel like this is where he is calling me - my blog. Our family has been through a lot in our 'short' seven years (marriage and Chip) and the Lord has grown me, taught me, shown me and brought me into a new place. This place and the things that I have learned, I feel like it is time to share. Much of my blog and what I do here is for me, the Lord, and one day for Chip - to see what all was going on and how far he had come (having a baby makes you think that way!) and that is still so true, but I recognize the power in a testimony that was orchestrated and ordained by the Lord. I also recognize the dishonor we do to the Lord if we don't share those stories, our lessons, and where we are now with others!

So hold on, get ready for some silly stories, a few tears, a few shockers, a few really cool things, and open your heart to what the Lord might be sharing with you and teaching you on this journey! Feel free to comment and share with others, but most importantly, open your heart to what the Lord is saying to you!

Until the story begins....... Have a great day!