Wednesday, December 30, 2009


So this morning I was having some much needed time with my friend, Jesus, and I happened to randomly (haha) open to a poem by a man named Jim Branch. It basically made me cry, but good tears. I have read it before but as of late it holds new and deeper meaning in my life each day. The first part is referring to the passage in the Bible John 6: 1-14 where Jesus feeds five thousand with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. So here it is:

gathering by: Jim Branch

scattered pieces littering the hillside
scraps from what once fed multitudes
casualties of the train wreck of provision and need
or so it seems

a death; a loss; a heartbreak
a wound; a brokenness; a darkness
loneliness; despair; isolation
the scattered pieces of this life
littering the ground of my being
unwanted; unwelcome; uninvited
fit only to be mourned and thrown away
or so it seems

until touched by the hand of one
who brings beauty from ashes
who utters the words of life and hope
weaving the fragments of my brokenness
into the me that was planned from the beginning
"let nothing be wasted"
and suddenly that which seemed to have no value
becomes meaningful and beautiful in your care
these parts make a whole
they serve a divine purpose

"I will rescue the lame and gather together what has been
and make it into a vital part of you;
the object of my great delight and affection

so sing and shout
brighten up and spin around
for I am gathering your pieces
and restoring you
into a fearful and wonderful creation
and nothing is wasted

Legitimately I feel like my life has been shattered and scattered all over the place but amidst all of this mess, I have seen many glimpses of hope and faithfulness and have also seen in my past how God has used the literal garbage in my life to bring glory to his name and to show me that he is still God, even when I feel like he isn't. The amount of love I and my family have received from people is incredible and continues to surprise and amaze me in new ways everyday.

This Christmas and holiday season was by far one of the hardest times for our family. We all wrote letters to John on Christmas morning talking about things that we missed or memories that we had of him. Even amidst the tears streaming down our faces and the snot bubbling out of our noses, we couldn't help but laugh. John was so unique and different, but I think for the thing that stood out the most was his big smile and laugh. It was loud and when he would really laugh his blue eyes would get all squinty and he would almost choke on the laughter. He loved to prank people as well. The other day my older brother, two younger sisters and I had went through his room and picked out things that we wanted to keep for ourselves. I opened up his desk drawer where he kept his random pens and pencils and picked up a shiny pen that looked like it might write well. When I clicked the top I received a massive jolt that shot up my entire arm. It was John's prized shock pen that I had bought with him on one of our many family vacations. We all just busted out laughing. Everyone except myself that is. I might have called him a bad word or two, but only out of pure love for the kid :)

People always say that life is certainly not like a movie. But if you think about it, it kind of is. During the course of one's life there are "actors" (different people who play different roles in your life) and lots and lots of editing and when you look back upon it there is drama and hard times and good times and they all come together to make something hopefully worth viewing over and over again. You can say I'm crazy but it makes sense in my head.

Well, my arms are cramping, my sisters are yelling, and the dogs are barking obnoxiously wanting to come in from the "frigid" south Texas winter air.

Please continue to keep my family and I in your prayers. The road ahead is long and as the monotony of life sets in after the holidays I can only feel the days getting longer and harder.
Thanks again for your support and love of my family and I. It is much needed.

"gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted"
-John 6: 12b

Friday, December 18, 2009

Much Needed Laughs

So these last few weeks have been pretty tough but through all of the really hard spots there have been some much needed fun and laughter. Like that time we went to Fun Depot and I felt like I was 10 years old again playing laser tag, many video games, and racing go-carts. Not that laser tag is only for 10 year olds, cause it most certainly is not!!

Anyways, that being said, I just wanted to post a video that I have probably watched 20 times in the past week. It is a Saturday Night Live skit from this past weekend about Doorbells. It was the very last skit of the night. I hardly ever watch the show until the end but I'm so so glad that I hung in until the bitter end of this episode. Hopefully it will make you laugh, or at least giggle. It made me laugh so loud and so hard that I was thrown into continuous fits of coughing over and over. If you are thinking how can doorbells possibly be funny, they are. So just watch it.

Enjoy this 3 or so minutes of pure entertainment. It is definitely worth every second. Make sure you not only listen to every word but you watch closely to her body movements. Absolutely fantastic. Worth starting everyday out with.

You are welcome

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It has obviously been awhile since I last posted. So much has happened in the last 2 weeks of my life that one blog post would never be able to do it justice. Life was cruising along when all of the sudden the brakes came on and I literally felt like I was thrown from a moving vehicle.
On Thursday November 19 I was at Chuck E. Cheese attending Lucy Sloan's 3 year old birthday party. It was a normal night. I was playing with small children and eating cupcakes and hanging out with friends. The night wound down and everyone left except the Sloan's and myself. Typical. It was upon walking out of the door of Chuck E. Cheese that my world was shattered. I received word that my younger brother John, had ended his own life. He was 16 a junior in high school, and absolutely in love with life and Jesus. The next weeks events all become blurred together as one could expect in a crappy situation like this. That night I stayed with the Sloan's and was surrounded by many friends trying to understand. I kept repeating over and over to myself that it wasn't real.

The next morning Leslie and I caught the first flight out of Asheville headed for Texas. To be quite honest I'm not sure if I would have made it home in one piece without her. The next few days involved lots of tears and absolute crappy events with lots of nights where I cried myself to sleep in Leslie's arms. The weight of the darkness was great.

I am still trying to grasp the situation. While home I hugged my family and cried alot, trying to understand some part of it all. I will never have most of my questions answered and that has been one of the hardest parts about the whole situation.

My entire family came into town. For a week we had people streaming through our house offering their condolences and bringing mountains of food. Everyday there was a stack of cards in the mail at least 6 inches thick from people all over the United States. The entirety of Boerne Champion High School came to a grinding halt on Friday. The immensity of the effect of my brother's death on the community and with people all across the US was astounding. At his memorial service there were almost 1600 people. We are talking about a 16 year old teenage boy not some old man who lived a long life and had lots of time to touch hundreds and thousands of people. But you can be sure that he was no ordinary teenage boy. Everybody loved John Noll. He didn't have a mean hair on his body. He was an avid outdoorsman, and the hardest worker I have ever known. He loved living his life for the One who created him. He loved to love people. There were no favorites with John.
This is why there will never truly answers to the questions of Why?

I am leaving so much out but I am still trying to figure out where to begin myself. One minute I'm fine and the next I'm in a puddle of tears.
But in the few days that I have had since returning to Asheville I have been convinced of a few things. One is that my brother was taken from me by powerful a powerful evil force.
The other is that even though that evil force was victorious here on earth, it has not power over John now. He is free.
One very important thing is that Satan saw my crazy awesome brother, John Noll, as a threat to his plan to smother this planet in darkness. So much of a threat that he felt as though he had to take John out of the picture by convincing to go and be with Jesus early. As crazy as that sentence sounds it is the only explanation I can even piece together right now. Even though he succeeded in removing John's physical body, no one will forget his big heart and crazy attitude for serving and loving people. I don't know about anyone else but I do not know many 16 year old boys quite like John Noll.

The journey has only begun and grieving his loss will take a very long time. Please be in prayer for me and my family as we try to navigate this new path. We are not alone and through all of this crap there is hope. Hope because I knew my brother and his heart and that one night, although horrible, was not the definition of John Noll. There is hope because I am surrounded by people who love me, care about me, and are pushing and shoving to lift me up toward Christ. There is Hope because I now nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.

Thank you to everyone who has been walking along side my family during this time. We can not get through this without you pointing the way to Christ for us. I am so thankful for the Sloan Family for taking me in and never leaving my side. I'm not quite sure what I would be doing right now if not for them.
I am blessed.

One thing I had to do while I was in Texas was pick a verse to go on the back of the memorial service bulletin. I had the hardest time even thinking straight to pick one meaningful but somehow in my desperation I stumbled upon this:

"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~Romans 8:36-39

I also want to leave you with a song. My sister, Mary, sent it out in an email tonight to several people and it pretty much spells out John Noll. It is called Requiem by M. Ward and it was written about a much older man, but at heart, John Noll was an old man, strong, sweet, and full of life.

I'm going to miss you little brother.