Monday, December 6, 2010

The Finest moments of 2010

Pictures speak louder then words. They scream. I bet I can say absolutely nothing about any of these pictures and you will know exactly what is going on. So whoever can guess what the significance of all these pictures are correctly, will get a jar of homemade apple butter from the Dickinsons. love to you all!
I am dependent upon the love and mercy of Jesus. Ephesians 3: 14-21

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I started journaling when I was six years old. Back then, the compositions were short and sweet. Something like... "It's hot. My brothers are mean to me. I wish it were not hot. "
As time went on, the entries became longer, more dramatic, and full of whimsical charm. During my "innocent and sweet" years, (jr high-ish) I was particularly interested in a journal to my future husband. Now that I have a husband, I decided to give him my journal for his sentimental enjoyment and (I admit it) hilarious amusement.

While I was out of town a couple weeks ago, Brent decided to read my gift to him before he went to bed. He told me about a few entries. "We were meant to be, b!" (he calls me "b"). "Why do you say that?" I asked him. He told me about a certain entry I had made at 14 yrs old. Something about how much I loved fall and winter best (out of all the seasons), and how it must be because I was born in the winter. I went on from there to say I wanted my future hubby to be born in January. "I just think that would be perfect." I didn't believe my ears! Me, like winter? What's to like? Want my hubby to be born in January? Seriously! Well, Brent's birthday (as you might have guessed) is January 15th. As I thought back to those whimsical, naive years, I can't help but wonder if God was not completely in love with my pure faith and hope. Before I realized that prince charming was not real. Before, "reality" sunk in about boys.... He knew and answered a silly little hope of an 8th grade girl. Even though I couldn't care less when my husband was born now... it mattered to Jesus that 14 yr old Bethany Kathleen Zull, wanted a winter man. I may have grown up quite a bit since then. I may have gotten quite cynical.... but...
looking back (reading back) on my child-like faith. It gives me hope. It send shivers up my spine, actually. God really really cares, about the big and the little things. Be blessed, have hope, love, and know your are loved. Journal, pray, thank the Lord for your man or woman. God actually listens to our inmost thoughts. Your wish might actually come true :) Gasp!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wedding Pictures
The above link will take you to our wedding pics. Many people have asked me for access to them so here ya go! I am super impressed with them myself. Wandering Heart Photography w/ Sarah Wilson!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Accomplishments galore!

We are obsessed with accomplishment! We all have our certain "accomplishment obsessions". What if mine were to finish that ginormous apple in my hand? you would say... "that's it"? That's not reaching high enough. And I would agree with you.
What about getting over 3 different illnesses in 2.5 weeks? Now that's an accomplishment right? When going for a walk takes it out of you. When simply talking for more then 10 minutes is tiring, then we tend to think harder about our point system on accomplishments.

Recently God has been teaching me a lot about how my accomplishments, and works mean "squat" without Him. I am utterly helpless and hopeless without my God's backing. He empowers. I feel like I have written about this before.... hmmm. A theme maybe? I might just have a lot on my plate. I'm training for a marathon while planning 2 ministry activities next weekend, while teaching ESL, Bible Studies, raising up a team of financial partners in ministry, choir practice, prayer team meeting, small group and spending time with my man. I am not saying all this so that ya'll will be impressed by my time management skills. I'm actually appalled by all of this myself. The funny thing is... you are just as busy and it's normal, expected and encouraged to be "involved" in various "uplifting" activities. But what is all of this "accomplishing"? Really? When you read God's words, listen to the teaching of Jesus, what was important? I'm curious to get your thoughts and comments. Even one-liners would be great.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pure in Jesus Christ

"Be Healed!" What enters your mind when you read a beginning like that? A televangelist with big hair and gaudy suite, slapping you on the forehead with a "holy handkerchief"? That's what I think of immediately. We laugh and joke about things like that because we don't believe it to be authentic. How does true healing come about? It is only by the power of God. We cannot heal ourselves.

For years I have struggled with the concept of my purity in Christ. I did not see myself as cleansed from my sin. Guilt from the enemy has plagued me for past forgiven sins. I believed the lies that I was unclean. The truth was prayed over me several years ago, I didn't believe it. I wept because I wanted to believe it, but didn't .
Yesterday, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, as in my weakness, His power was made complete. "Today is the day of Salvation!"
John 15:3 " You are already clean/pruned because of the word which I have spoken to you." And, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from All unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

I have realized yet again, the power of scripture. Satan is defeated. He will attack me again, but he is defeated by Jesus, and I will fight back with truth. I was already pure, a long time ago when I confessed, asked forgiveness and He said... "Of Course I forgive you! I died for you!". Now, I believe it! I asked God what took Him so long to heal me. He said, "I wanted to teach you, grow you, so you could look back and glorify My name for the power of My healing." It glorifies His name more... Wow!

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It seems a lot has changed in the last 3 weeks. Let me recap.
Hmmm... I got married!!!!!!
And with that comes changes like... last name, living situations, learning to live with a boy, learning not to assume he knows what I meant by what I just said, "sharing" a bed (I tend to take over and sprawl), learning how to choose to love and show in word and deed, and learning how to confide in him more. hmm... maybe I should write a book.. ha ha!

Updating my last name is almost like becoming a new person b/c you have to change EVERYTHING! It's fun to move up in the alphabet a bit, but I will miss the convenience of a 4 letter last name.

The honeymoon was everything it should be; relaxing, fun, exciting, beautiful, and complete with the standard food poisoning and GI tract issues. We learned how to love each other in sickness and in health very soon after saying "I Do".
We are learning how to love our neighbors as ourselves (ask me). There is a lot of choosing joy and love when boxes are strewn all over the new place and the challenge of finding storage in a closet-less place comes into play. We are learning how to make life fun in every situation. I love my husband. He makes life fun, every day! I love how different we are and how complementary our character traits are.
I love the way he loves me, from kisses to dish-washing to creating shelves all over the house and remembering sappy things like first dates. There are so many things I'm/we are learning it would take a book to fill... hmm. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been thinking about the word "engagement" a lot. Mostly because it's the state that I've found myself in (for the next 2 weeks and the past 3.5 months). I have decided that those who tell me this time of life is happy and joyous, either don't remember their" engaged to be married" period, or they were engaged for 2 days. It's hard to plan a wedding in 4months, but it would be harder still to wait a year or more like many folks do. Crazy!

A friend of mine gave me a devotional on how the Holy Spirit is our "engagement ring", our guarantee and promise of something better. Jesus said he was leaving to prepare a place for us. He said he would send the comforter and helper. I just finished reading the book, "Safely Home", by Randy Alcorn. He compares this world's beauty to heaven as "copies of the real thing", just shadows of the things to come. What beautiful pictures. We were not meant to be here forever. We are signed, sealed, and almost delivered to our true home with Jesus.
I pray our marriage is a constant reminder to all that there is something better. This world is not our home. We need to help people understand that fact. August 1st. 2010 is the day my earthly "guarantee" is fulfilled. I am so thankful for beautiful pictures created by God to let us catch a tiny glimpse of His perfect plan.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Let my heart sing to you.

It is sometimes hard to explain to people why I do what I do. What I do is easy to explain as far as my job is concerned. I love on int'l students and their families; demonstrating the love of God in any way I can.
I could come up with all kinds of Biblical answers for you. The truth of it is, I believe I know the cure for cancer. If you knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that you too knew the cure... wouldn't you tell the world?

The cancer of the soul is far more painful, destructive, and invasive then any physical cancer. I have seen it work it's black magic on families, targeting first the husband/father and cascading down in ripple effects to the other family members until a whole society is wrecked and reeling. I have been asked recently for proof that the Bible is the word of God, that Jesus is the only way, that God even exists! Evidence exists! Everywhere in fact; in our very hearts and the green brilliance of spring around us. Romans 1: 19-21

But their eyes are blind, their ears are stopped up, and no matter what kind of "evidence" exists, people choose to believe what is comfortable for them. That is the hard and cold truth. My heart cries out to Jesus who said "I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life! No man comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Why do I share my cure for cancer? Because I must! It is burning inside me like the disease itself. Out of love for my friends,out of love for my savior Jesus, I must tell everyone! Let the Holy Spirit do His job. Let me be faithful to do mine and then let me give up and let the Creator and sustainer do the rest.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Above and Beyond the Mountain Top

This is a love story. It happens to be true. It's not a fairy tale. It's real life.

"I need you from dawn until dusk." Ok..... how long does it take to purpose? I thought he was being rather elaborate. I guess I should know better then to box in a Dickinson. They like to go overboard, above and beyond the average Joe. He picked me up at 4am! Seriously... why? He asked me if I owned any hiking boots. I said... "No...." I thought I had him pinned. We were going hiking in southern Indiana, somewhere, to watch the sunrise. The only place worth hiking is one with an elevation above sea level right? Well, that is true, but I had no clue what I was in for on April 15th, 2010.

He picked me up at 4am. The morning started with our cheesy sappiness brimming up and over. We were both wearing the same shirts as the day we had met each other! Is he rubbing off on me? Yikes! We headed south after laughing hysterically about our outfits. I knew it! We were going to the hills of brown county.
When he slowly pulled into the exit for the Indianapolis airport, all my expectations veered suddenly in a new direction. "Where are we going?" I asked suspiciously. He gave me some ridiculous line about needing to go to the bathroom. At the airport????? come on dude.
We parked in the parking garage and he pulled out the ticket from his pocket. "Where are we flying?!!!!!" I was dumbfounded and completely speechless when he told me we were going to Colorado! My chin must have dropped several inches. I seriously had nothing to say to that. Since when do men take their women on a 12 hr exertion to the mountains. "There just wasn't any place good enough to take you in Indiana. Your brother said it best when he said."There isn't anything majestic here."

We found CiJai's car easily enough. (CiJai is Brent's brother's girlfriend...Jason and CiJai live in Ft. Collins). The car was packed with fancy fun cheeses, our favorite wine, organic apples, water, snow shoes, boots, hats, gloves and snow pants! It was perfect!

We drove to Boulder for breakfast. I am sad that I forgot to take pictures of Lucille's, a local hippy/Cajun style joint located in down town Boulder. But picture an old fashioned house made into a restaurant with homemade hot sauce, blueberry jam and apple butter on the table and two different kinds of recycling receptacles in the bathroom, and I think you will have an idea of what it was like.
After stuffing our faces we drove to one of my favorite places on earth, Rocky Mountain National Park! The day was incredible, sunny and warm. CiJai's snow pants and boots fit me perfectly. Hurray for snow shoeing! I had never been and always wanted to go! We hiked up past two different lakes, Nymph and Dream Lake. Our destination was Emerald Lake, just over the ridge in that first picture above. Imagine a bowl shaped valley with those craggy peaks jutting up on three sides and you have it! Intense beauty!
We sat down for a picnic of raw milk cheese, apples, wassa crackers and our favorite wine and chocolate. Immediately some feathery friends swooped down to claim rights to apple cores, cheese, crackers, whatever they could steal. Check out the look on this guy's face :)
We finished our picnic and hiked up to a different part of the lake. All this time I was waiting... patiently waiting for him to "pop the question". Ok, now would be the time... ok... how about now? no? well then... As we were gazing at the scenery of the majestic mountains soaring up and up around us, I suddenly realized Brent had gotten down on one knee and was pouring out his heart to me on the mountain side. He was joyful and tearful, as expressive as ever, and with heartbreaking passion he asked me to marry him. I had thought of something clever to say that to this day I have no memory of it. Every word in my head left me. I forgot my role in the whole dealio. He got out the ring and I just stared at it! It was amazing, my favorite from our Ebay searches. I suddenly realized he was waiting for me to say something so I stammered out a "Yes.. yes, I will." The catch in my throat grew from my speechlessness into a audible sob. "I want it to be you, me and Jesus, all the way." He had said.
It's only been a weak since the proposal and I still think about that moment and I lapse into dreamy sappiness. What has happened to me? Well, I think I found myself a real man. I man who loves Jesus and me. A man who thinks my weird meal creations are edible, even good :) He fixes brakes, makes cheesy jokes, and treats people with respect and dignity. I'm done looking. August 1st is the day my last name changes to Dickinson.
This is a love story.... not a fairy tale. Jesus is Good!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Introducing: My man

Speaking of "unexpected gifts", meet this past year's most unexpected. It's about time I introduce my people to my boyfriend, vital part of my ministry, cheerleader, challenger, and precisely... my cup of tea. He really has no clue how great he is, which is another wonderful quality.

Brent Dickinson is a math teacher at Tuttle Middle School in Crawfordsville, In. I have come to believe that his patience with me is in part, due to the fact that he deals with 13 year olds all day. He likes to grow things, make things, fix things and in general.. help people.

I have learned so much from him and through this relationship. I can honestly say that my walk with God has expanded and grown closer, through the process of getting to know Brent. I have come to realize the goodness of God in a fuller way. I have been both humbled and lifted up time and time again.

I have a lot more to learn. It's not easy... but " For I am confident in this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
Phil 1: 6
Pray for us.
(Brent knows and approves of this post)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Art of Japan

Anyone who has ever been to Japan knows their lovely way of presenting food. Raw fish looks so appetizing and down right gorgeous presented against lovely cucumber and carrot forests. Or take the above example, of stuffed oysters with some kind of cheesy breadcrumb topping... yummy. This little cafe' was next to the sea wall. The waves were cresting and crashing against the wall in dramatic fashion showing off our Creator's immense power!

Three other lovely ladies and myself enjoyed Japanese pampering to the fullest at Cocok's Nail Cafe'. They do an "all out" pedicure complete with massage, and nail art with tiny little paint brushes. Amazing!
So many kinds of toes! Guess which ones are mine!!?

I leave for Indiana tomorrow afternoon. This trip has been extremely rewarding in so many different ways.
1. I have been able to experience different facets of Japanese culture including:
a. food and art (sashimi, tea, Soba noodle soup, Okinawan Sanshin, cute little pottery dishes, amazing service... etc etc. etc.
b. hospitality (the people here in Okinawa are very friendly and smile and nod/bow in greeting, and the service is always above and beyond).
c. Religion: Shinto is a religion of fear and endless hopelessness. Buddhism has a similar hold.
d. Believers here: Joyful and full of hope, very friendly. They absolutely love children.
e. Living in the city: everything here is very compact, brightly colored and green. they have a garden for every inch of dirt they posses in their tiny yards.
f. health: the sick and the old go about the city wearing a mask across their nose and mouth. It is a sight to see. I wonder if it really works? They even hand them out in airplanes along with an eye mask and slippers for comfort. It's great!
g. It is so beautiful here and such a treat to be among bogonvia, palm trees, and banana plants. It reminds me of the Philippines.
2. I have been able to help out my friends the Lees:
A. give them peace before returning to the U.S. by helping with the kids, washing dishes, making dinner, packing boxes, giving Becky and chance to shower... etc.
B. Being a friend and someone to talk to and bounce things off of.
3. Sharing my ministry with Yomitan International Church:
A. The pastor and his wife were very encouraging to me in these words: "We used to have a good int'l student ministry here, but it died off. We think God sent you here to stir some hearts to start one up again on the three main campuses here in Okinawa. If that was what I did by sharing, I will be thrilled beyond belief! It will be all worth it... every mile, every word, every bit of time on the airplane. In the end the pastor asked for my prayer card and information and gave me a book and gift.
B. I was encouraged by several members of the congregation including my interpreter, a native Okinawan. She told me she was an int'l student in Canada, learning English. Her host family were believers and they led her to the Lord! It was so exciting to here her first hand experience.

I praise the Lord for his perfect timing in bringing me here to help my friends before they leave. I praise him for allowing me to share His heart for the lost with the local church.
I praise him for the beauty that I was able to drink in... in January (i might add)
I praise him for my wonderful friends, Becky and David Lee.
I praise him for what he will do on His island of Okinawa. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ancient Culture

I am attempting to play a traditional Okinawan instrument called a Sanshin, (it means "three strings"). It has this fun, "banjo twang" to it. I never thought I would be exposed to so much authentic Okinawa, but here's some proof. Songs in the Okinawan language are sung while playing the Sanshin.
A Shinto Tomb, a more modern version actually. The traditional version is round and built in the side of a hill. There are days when people come and bring food and water to the tomb to honor their dead ancestors. Quite a sad ritual, w/o any hope. Jesus, bring these people hope!

Castle ruins atop a rather large hill. this door opened to the outer court. So beautiful and ancient. I love the fact that these stones have stood the test of time, wars, typhoons etc. What a great place to go and soak up the history of the Okinawan people. Pray for the Japanese. So few of them know who Jesus is. These are beautiful people with a long history. They value honor above all else. They need to understand Who the only truly perfectly Honorable One is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Garlic, Animals and Pineapple Park good for the health.

If you can read along, you will notice some interesting phrases in these pictures. For some reason I get a kick out of poor English signs in other cultures. I appreciate them, and it wouldn't be a cultural experience w/o them.

I had the privilege in the past two days to experience Japanese culture at it's finest. Tonight we went to the Garlic House (Arin Krin). Notice the amazing pictures and phrases outside the building.
Last night we went to Den Den. I traditional Japanese restaurant complete with triangular unique dishes, beautiful Sashimi presentations, and low wooden tables with benches on either side. I should have brought my camera, but I forgot

The sign with the bird's behind it is just a sample of the fun times to be had at the NEO animal park. They had some pretty amazing birds including flamingos, pelicans, peacocks, and others I didn't recognize. I'm not sure what "it" is but it doesn't have a sure footing either way:)

The pineapple park was fun and tasty. I got to try multiple pineapple products including wine, juice, chocolate, cakes, cookies, the fruit itself, pickle, pie..etc. They also had a beautiful shell collection from beaches around the island. So many things about this place remind me of my childhood in the Philippines. I love the local tourist locations because they are not "Americanized" yet. Tomorrow promises more sight seeing and speaking with the pastor about my ministry and praying he will let me talk to the congregation. We'll see. Happy sweet day!

Monday, January 4, 2010


To have faith like a child. What pure and simple joy that would be. To find hope in the touch of a hand that's larger then your own, what strength. To walk down the street, trying madly to keep up with Pop's long stride, supremely confident that he won't mind, your hopping to keep up.

To have faith like a child, what madness, what folly, to have any other kind of trust. Because adults have too much fear built up. Too many disappointments, to much independence ingrained. Hold out your small hand and let Him take it. Life will suddenly seem much simpler then before.

These smiling giggling faces are and should be an inspiration of simple joy, pleasure, and hope. Their names are Alexis and Erik Lee and they are the children of my hosts in Okinawa, David and Rebekah Lee. I didn't know what all I would learn from my trip to Japan, and I still am unsure, however I know that I need to slow down, trust, appreciate the little things, and hold my heavenly father's capable hands.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New 2010!

It's a great way to start out the new year... in a different country then your own, so I picked Okinawa, Japan. Did you know the main island is shaped like a sword? Maybe that's why there are 15 different military bases here. It is also about 1000 mi from main land Japan so it's warm here and things are blooming and growing even in January. Our neighbors have a papaya tree in their yard.. I love it.

It is the rainy season
so it rains most days but not all day and it smells so fresh here!
I was able to go to church with the Lees this morning. The service was in English with a Japanese interpreter. During the service the pastor asked us to turn to someone near you and pray with them they may be lights and witnesses for Jesus to their friends and family. The only people around me were Okinawan and didn't speak English... and we know my Japanese is not up to par. So I prayed... in English. Some how it just didn't matter. They didn't say anything but I have a feeling that the language barrier was temporarily broken down by three human beings communicating to our creator, our mutual father.

I am still trying to get over jet lag. It's been good so far but it may take a few more days. It's been fun to build my relationship with my friends and their two cute little kids. I am hoping to put up pictures soon. There is a bed in store for me... I am thankful.