Thursday, December 11, 2008

Be Still My Soul

Be still my soul
The Lord is on your side
Bear patiently
The cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God
To order and provide
In every change
He faithful will remain.

Be still my soul
Thy best, thy heavenly friend
Through stormy ways
Leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul
The waves and winds still know
Still know
His voice who ruled them
While he dwelt below.

Oh what peace we often forfeit
Oh what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOus45dorPU&feature=related

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

STAY IN YOUR LANE

hi :)
it's getting a little late, and i just drove 6 hours to my parents house for a birthday/early thanksgiving weekend cause i will be with my other family on the actually holiday...(complete with my favorite 2 year old buddy. :) )...so i'm gonna try to type fast but not miss anything. a few weeks ago i was out nannying for this person and i was so blessed to be able to sit in on a devotion by this person. i only say that because i want to give credit where credit is due, and the below thoughts and ideas are mostly his (with a few words of my own...and i do mean FEW)...and I want to point you to the rightful owner of them should they help you too, then you will know who to thank God for. :) ya'll, i can't tell you how many times A DAY i think about this devotion and how much it has helped me to stay on track and begin to weed out the nonsense in my life that is not from the Lord.
i'm sleepy so i'm just going to jump right in :) ....

hebrews 12:1 "therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

we are all in the "race" of life. imagine we are all on a track, and each person has his/her own lane. each lane is specifically marked with boundary lines so that you know the path that your specific lane takes as the road curves and changes. the person to the right of your lane and the person to your left are each in the race with you, as are the others on either side of them, etc. you have one focus, one goal: run the race, in your lane, learning and doing your specific purpose that is unique and specifically designed for you. that lane was made for YOU, and YOU for the purpose in it. when you begin to have feelings of jealousy, envy, coveting, INSECURITIES of any kind, you have crossed over into someone else's lane. you are trying to do the purpose specifically designed for SOMEONE ELSE. STAY IN YOUR LANE. when you cross over into someone else's lane, not only do you attempt a purpose that was NOT designed for you, but you also take your focus off the task that has been gifted specifically to YOU. and if YOU aren't running the race in your lane (because you're trying to be in someone else's), there is NO ONE ELSE to run in your lane for you, so YOUR purpose and design isn't being fulfilled and completed, because you're waisting time trying to be someone else. STAY IN YOUR LANE. allow God to be the one to show you your pace, and how to deal with obstacles (be they distractions, literally something blocking your way, or a pot hole that catches you off guard) in the road when they appear. when we all stay in our respective lanes, we create a bigger picture of God's purpose and plan and how it is designed to work together. when we don't, we are trying to recreate a plan that we don't have the blueprints for.

GIRLS. S.T.A.Y. I.N. Y.O.U.R L.A.N.E God made you beautiful. smart. valuable. lovable. special. unique. holy to Him. we are the WORST at stepping into each others lanes/lives and being catty (sp?), jealous, gossip-y (yes i made that word up), backstabbers to each other when really our actions stem from our own insecurities or cracks in our knowledge of the truth, who God is to us and what that means about our own worth. (more about that in another post.) and not to mention the horrible example we become to our teenagers about how to be solid women of faith and the word when we succumb to any one of the above.
so let's ENCOURAGE instead of laugh at. SUPPORT instead of tear down. cheer each other on instead of hoping the other one falls so we don't feel so bad about our own mistakes.

my best friend and i have started a new habit of asking each other "are you staying in your lane?" i can't tell you what a world of difference this illustration has meant to me. maybe some of you visual learners like myself will benefit from it as well. i hope you are blessed and encouraged today, and homegirl don't forget....


STAY IN YOUR LANE.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the road again...

what is up. geeze i don't even know where i am. hold on let me look at the sign on the bus...

ok we're in route to Missouri for most of the weekend. last Friday i showed up at my job at 6:00am. we left shortly after for the airport where we boarded a plane around 8 for Los Angeles, California. first time i've ever been to L.A. (well other than the fact that i grew up there..but that would be LA as in "Lenoir Area" ;) (for those of you still lost, that is the name of my very small hometown in North Carolina where i met my best, and most dear friend (who was also my music teacher *grin*), learned to love Jesus, became the Chubby Bunny champ of my middle school spring fling, learned to drive my first car--a red '88 jeep cherokee that belonged to 3 other family members before me, fell in love with the mountains and fall, and spent many summer days walking to the TCBY just down from my house. awww, memories.
so anyways, i had my first for real L.A. trip (well sort of--we were really in Anaheim for a conference) followed by a small detour to MALIBU for 3.5 days to suffer through beautiful sunrises and sunsets, fall asleep to our very own sound machine known as THE OCEAN, eat grilled-cheese poundcake (explain later--sounds gross, but it's HEAVEN), and get a free pedicure walking in the sand. not too shabby for a nanny job, huh?
so yesterday morning i woke up in California (i won't even talk about the 4 hour plane ride with one unhappy twin), spent about 6 hours last night in Nashville, and today i woke up in Springfield. we will head to St. Louis for the weekend sometime much later in the night. then add a drop down to Texas on Sunday and i'll be back in my bed by the beginning of next week. which will be slightly short-lived as we leave again next Friday morning for Sacramento, CA.
things will calm down a tad for a few weeks...although i'm still traveling every weekend, 2 of the next 3 are for personal trips--one home for a wedding, and the other to lead worship at a retreat with 2 of the most amazing girls. (more on that later:))

i have about 5 post that are almost all done that involve things other than my fame and fortune (minus the latter) for my coffee shop photography, and my travel schedule. God is really having a time with me right now which normally would indicate that His child (me) is being bratty and pushing buttons. but this is more of a growing, stretching, learning to trust sort of time that is really hard, and really hurts, but i know will bring a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time when we remain faithful (col 2:9-10). He is faithful to do His part even when we stink at life. speak the truth girls. even when you don't feel like it or maybe even don't believe it for that moment. speak the truth and cling to Him. He is our hope and security.

love you all. dirty diapers are calling..
(malibu pictures coming soon...)
ps...call your local radio stations (ALL OF THEM) and tell them they need to play a song called "Wonder" by Melissa Greene. DO.IT. don't make me come over there. ;)

Monday, October 6, 2008

THAT girl

currently sitting at my computer writing a new post (not this one--one with much more depth and a little less narcissism :) )

i just came to a new coffee shop (well i guess it's new...new to me) in town because they have free wi-fi. um, YES PLEASE. i am all about getting free stuff--especially when it comes to the WORLD WIDE WEB which i can not access from my apartment because the forces that be hate me and my computer.
moving on. before i stumbled into this shop, i went to barnes & noble cause i wanted to buy some new books to keep me occupied in my free time (wait, what is free time?) and while i was there i thought i would just go ahead and make a coffee purchase so i could swipe my credit card ONCE (instead of a second time at THIS coffee shop) and save my cash for my gas tank which is currently on "E". no. big. deal.
until i walk in and sit down with my FREE internet and the barista boy (yes BOY...i looks about the age of some of my nanny children. ok, that's maybe a stretch) comes over and proceeds to try and persuade me to let him make me the same product that i am proudly displaying right beside my computer in my STARBUCKS cup (oops...haha) to prove to me that i should have made my coffee purchase HERE instead of THERE. i didn't feel like explaining to him my brilliant (yet now FLOPPED) plan of only swiping my card once to minimize the amount of purchases on my VISA BILL (does he even know what it means to PAY BILLS?) so i proceeded to explain to him the short version that since i was already THERE buying books, i just went ahead and made my coffee purchase. he was not impressed by my innocently motivated plan and continued to badger me to know what my choice of drink was so that he could humble me with his brilliant plan of convincing me that this hole in the wall shop--which is only open til 8:00--(i'm sorry, is this a coffee shop or a day care? the average night coffee date happens between the hours of 7-10pm...they are losing major 'first date' numbers...pah-lease) is going to somehow be better than my PUMPKIN SPICE YUMMYNESS that is acting as the only source of saneness for this HORMONAL, and quite PMS-y 23 year old woman.
I. THINK. NOT.

he then took it upon himself to walk back to the counter and pretend like he won the battle and talk about me to his co-workers cause apparently we live in a sound-proof vortex where only people with coffee beans in their back pocket can hear the communicating sounds of one human to another. that's ok, i'll be THAT GIRL that brought Starbucks to the local shop. i'll tell the people in the drive-thru that it tastes better too. :) (wow, i'm in a mood.)

*UPDATE* i was just tapped on the shoulder and informed that the (creepy) man who had been taking promo-shots around the shop, apparently shot a really awesome picture of me through the window in my coffee-shopness with my computer, headphones and totally cool hoodie that i got at target like half a lifetime ago...and wanted to know if he could use it on the WORLD WIDE WEB and other promotional things for the barista boy's coffee shop. THAT'S RIGHT barista boy. I MADE THE PROMO MATERIAL. N.O.T. Y.O.U. i dare you to offer me another second-rate latte.

oh, and yes, i did turn down the FREE CHOCOLATE COOKIE the photo man offered me for my cooperation with his use of my rockstar photo. THAT is the definition of self control, all you hormonal beings out there.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

excuse me, background color?

i don't even like pink. i'll get over it soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God and Man

[Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Ethics]

"Man at his origin knows only one thing: God. It is only in the unity of his knowledge of God that he knows of other men, of things, and of himself. He knows all things only in God, and God in all things. The knowledge of good and evil shows that he is no longer at one with this origin. In the knowledge of good and evil man does not understand himself in the reality of the destiny appointed in his origin, but rather in his own possibilities, his possibility of being good or evil. He knows himself now as something apart from God, outside God, and this means that he now knows only himself and no longer knows God at all; for he can know God only if he knows only God. The knowledge of good and evil is therefore separation from God. Only against God can man know good and evil…

...It is only with extreme reserve that even the Bible indicates to us that God is the One who knows of good and evil. It is the first indication of the mystery of predestination, the mystery of an eternal dichotomy which has its origin in the eternally One, the mystery of an eternal choice and election by him in whom there is no darkness but only light. To know good and evil is to know oneself as the origin of good and evil, as the origin of an eternal choice and election…

...Instead of knowing himself solely in the reality of being chosen and loved by God, he must now know himself in the possibility of choosing and of being the origin of good and evil. He has become like God, but against God. Herein lies the serpent’s deceit. Man knows good and evil, but because he is not the origin, because he acquires this knowledge only at the price of estrangement from the origin, the good and evil that he knows are not the good and evil of God but good and evil against God. They are good and evil of man’s own choosing, in opposition to the eternal election of God. In becoming like God man has become a god against God…

...Man knows good and evil, against God, against his origin, god-lessly and of his own choice, understanding himself according to his own contrary possibilities; and he is cut off from the unifying, reconciling life in God, and is delivered over to death. The secret which man has stolen from God is bringing about man’s downfall. Man’s life is now disunion with God, with men, with things, and with himself."

enter JESUS: savior of the world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Desert Song

This is my prayer in the desert
When all thats within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise Ill stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know Im filled to be emptied again
The seed Ive received I will sow

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"pps" from last post ;)



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

so i have 3 post under the "draft" category cause i can't seem to be in one place long enough to actually sit and type the whole dern things out. on top of that..i still don't have a working computer, and the one my roommate so graciously let me borrow has now temporarily gone to be with Jesus as well. we are pitiful! i am writing a lot but it's all in my big black journal and i am anxiously awaiting a time when i can transfer all my goofy thoughts to internet land. so basically, i just need to become really good friends with the public library and make a weekly treck over to catch you up. (frankly i'm just really picky about my writing so it takes me forever to edit what i want to say.)
lots of things have happened since i wrote a for real post about something other than my lack of writing. some of you know of some of my distractions (*grin*) other than my lack of internet...but most recently i've just been a busy working girl! i'm still reading ya'lls blogs, even though my lack of commenting may make it appear otherwise. those of you that i got to meet in texas...oh.my.word. so many emotions all in one moment at the registration table. it's funny how you just feel like you know everybody already and the only thing missing is the sound of their voice and a 3-D body. :)

wait. pause. i need to check something out. OH MY GOODNESS...THERE IS AN ICE CREAM TRUCK IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!!!! oh that just made me so happy. ice cream trucks need to make a comeback. for real life. i'm petitioning. (and in the petition i will include the ever so important need of an updated song for repetition throughout all ice cream rounds. i mean really...how many 5 year olds know Fur Elise?

back to texas. i do have a few pictures to post, but they are on my roommate's computer so until it decides to quit playing possum (is there an "o" at the front of that word?), there will be much mourning and gnashing of teeth in our anticipation (and hostility towards the technology monster in our apartment) of the possibility of retrieving those dear photos. most of them you have already seen on other people's blogs and facebook accounts, but alas i will add in my duplicates from other angles. :)
you ladies are a hoot.

ps...keep THIS GIRL on your radar...she and Jesus are doin big things. ;) (click link)

pps...i'll try to post a picture of distraction #1 soon...sneaky sneaky :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Quiet Entrance

i am alive. i am to ashamed of my lack of writing to look at you. so my eyes are blindfolded. (or i'm just being dramatic.) i'm writing to say, that a post is coming. but not tonight. it is late, and again, i'm ashamed. (hehe i like being dramatic.) i will be taking a bubble bath (which is still on my list of favorite things that i think everyone should do once a week) and going to sleep. and when i awake, i shall begin writing. and we will not discuss my time away. it's too heartbreaking to think about all i've missed out on. and there is no use mentioning my absence since we are clearly all aware of it. and it is too painful to relive. (seriously, drama queen award, where do i sign.) talk soon. and remember, we won't mention the brief (if by 'brief' you mean 'extremely long') break from blog world that has just occurred. no condemnation in Christ Jesus. true even in blogworld. ;)

love you. mean it.

Monday, May 5, 2008

FOR BENJAMIN GREENE

(To be read as if singing "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus.)

I can’t stop thinking of you
and I'm sorry to say
I haven’t introduced my blog friends
to your name
I knew you felt quite left out
when you mentioned again
That I hurt you, my friend Benjamin.

You've got a way of showing
when something’s not right
I feel like I broke your heart
by not putting you online
'Cause I saw this awful sadness
when you looked in my eyes
So sorry I hurt you, my friend Benjamin.

The last time I kept Hutch
Didn’t talk to you much
I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I'm writin’ bout’
Felt like I couldn't lie
You said that you might cry
Your wife Melissa said
Oh he’s just the jealous type
The next time I long on
I will redeem myself
Whenever I write again
Oo oh Oo Oh I, I want ya’ll to meet, my friend Benjamin.

Can’t shake this awful feeling
down deep inside
How I let you down by not
putting you on my site
I'm not a mind reader
but I'm reading the signs
That I hurt you, my friend Benjamin.

The last time I kept Hutch
Didn’t talk to you much
I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I'm writin’ bout’
Felt like I couldn't lie
You said that you might cry
Your wife Melissa said
Oh he’s just the jealous type
The next time I long on
I will redeem myself
Whenever I write again
Oo oh Oo Oh I, I want ya’ll to meet, my friend Benjamin.

I wrote a post just for you
I hope it makes you smile

The last time I kept Hutch
Didn’t talk to you much
I st-st-stuttered when you asked me what I'm writin’ bout’
Felt like I couldn't lie
You said that you might cry
Your wife Melissa said
Oh he’s just the jealous type
The next time I long on
I will redeem myself
Whenever I write again
Oo oh Oo Oh I, I want ya’ll to meet, my friend Benjamin.
What an awesome guy...my friend Benjamin.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Noodle Maddness

YA'LL. Pyzam has a RAMEN NOODLE blogger layout.
Did anybody's day just get better? (Or at least involve an unexpected smile?)
10 packs for a dollar...I mean you've GOT to love that. (Or think it's gross and eat it cause you can't afford easy mac.)

http://www.pyzam.com/bloggertemplates/preview/ramen-

I promise I'm doing more with my life than being giddy about noodles. I will update with something meatier soon.
[Oh, and M.G. if you're reading...have your son say noodle. Last time I fed him spaghetti I made him say it like 5 times...it's almost cuter than guacamole. :) ]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Go Green

No, the blog change has nothing to do with me wanting to help the environment (although I do, and I will try hard to)...I am just in a green-lovin' mood. :) I'm thinkin' it's the whole SPRING TIME thing. Coming with a post soon...but for now check out these lyrics by my fav.

I won't find what I am looking for
If I only see by keeping score
Cause I know now you are so much more than arithmetic

Cause if I add, if I subtract
If I give it all, try to take some back
I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact
That you are the sum


(Arithmetic by Brooke Fraser)
What a peaceful thought...let God be your SUM today. Have a happy Sunday!
Love ya'll :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Created vs. The Uncreative

The enemy is not creative. Sometimes it is tempting to give him some kind of credit for coming up with the awful schemes and tricks that he does. We think, wow...good one...you really outdid yourself there. And yes, he is awful, and yes he causes much destruction in our lives. But really when you think about it...he just takes what the Creator has made and perverts it. Distorts it. Destroys it. Tries to mess it up. To steal it from you. Crush it. Kill it. Make you turn your back on it. On HIM.

I've been awakened recently to some such areas--places in my heart and life that I let him sneak in and steal the paint brush. I gave him room to stick his foot in the door and stink up the place. No more. So here's to reclaiming my surrendered ground. To taking back what was never meant to be his in the first place. To recognizing the work of the Creator and working to preserve it in it's purest form. There are cracks and holes in the road, sure. Places and moments where I'm deceived. But HE will get the glory. For the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Because the good is born of Him
The bad can be made great in Him
and the ugly is flawless in the light of Christ.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Post Below

So i'm a dork and messed up something with the posting.
A new post can be found below Brooke Fraser video...titled "Rose Colored Lenses".

Love ya'll! :)

Friday, April 4, 2008

C.S. Lewis Song (Brooke Fraser)

Hey ya'll!! A couple of you had asked about hearing the music that went with the song I posted the lyrics for in my last post. Here is a video of the song and footage of Brooke Fraser singing/playing. Hope you enjoy! She is my fav! (And the "hope is coming for me" part rocks my face off)

[PS...don't forget to "pause" the music player on the right side of my blog otherwise the song will sound awful. Hehe :)]
[pps...changing some things...picture temporary...sorry to scare the children with my big head.]


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rose Colored Lenses

[New look...I'm indecisive. It's late so I'll have to finish adding nick-nacks and updating in the morning...]

I had sort of a lazy day today. Normally that would sort of bug me, but I've been traveling a lot lately, and just got in from a trip home last night, so I just embraced the laziness for most of the day. :) I had to get my car inspected back in NC, and I wasn't expecting to have the amazing time that I did. Lots of meaningful conversations and deep friendships made deeper. God is good.

Recently I've been reading a lot in Exodus (no this isn't that other post being resurrected quite yet) and something in chapter 14 reminded me of a concept that my bible study leader last semester, Kelly Minter, brought up in her book that we studied titled No Other Gods. I have this strange feeling that I'm going to butcher this post, so I trust the Lord to do with it what He may in someone's day, because I guarantee you if you get anything from it, it did not come from my checked-out brain.
I know a few of you are familiar with this study (NOGS) either from my previous post or other bloggers, and some of you have done it or are currently. If it makes any difference to those of you thinking of looking into doing it, NOGS was extremely helpful and one of the most timely studies I've ever done. All 5 of us girls that were in the study are all in about the same season of life, and we all got something different from it because it is so specific to each individual and digging into your own walk with the Lord and the idols specific to you. Sorry I'm rambling...ok I like the study. Moving on. :)

Exodus 14. Moses is high-tailing it out of Egypt with the Israelites who are anxiously awaiting their every move. This is the famous parting of the red sea (or tomato soup if you're Bruce Almighty) chapter, but the part I wanted to tell you about is right before that Campbells miracle.

(v10-14)
"As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians that to die in the desert."

Anybody ever asked for a death wish in thinking that it would be better to go back to a past that was more destructive than it's worth? Maybe not intentionally (and I don't mean death wish as harsh as that came out), but I'm sure we've all been there. Wishing for days that we just knew would make us happy again, maybe because they were more comfortable. "I'm tired of waiting...just take me back there where I knew how to 'do life'." A harmful or abusive relationship. A life with addictions of any kind. A place that seems easier to sink into and grow "numb" in, rather than pick yourself up and walk out of. We like to conveniently forget all those moments of pain and loss, of hurt and sorrow, and only remember the very few, if any, pleasant moments--as if those handful of smiles would be enough to carry us through a lifetime of regret. (I think that was a run-on.) I've been dealing with this in an area of my own here recently. Longing for a time when a superficial blanket of security, draped on by others opinions and acceptance, sustained my belief in myself and God's ability to use me. So much wrong in that sentence I'm not sure I could tackle it in one post if I wanted. Doubt. Self Loathing. Wallowing. Self-destruction. Lies. Insecurity. Loneliness. Fear. So much fear.

Why on earth with a description list like that would I voluntarily choose to think about taking a trip down memory lane? Because a part of me, no matter how twisted and destructive the rest of me was, liked who people thought I was. Happy. Together. Confident. Not at all struggling with the Lord. Sure of my purpose. I, however, was none of those things. I now find myself in much more of an honest place--secure in who I am because of Christ--and humbled by the ways He is using me despite the corner of the blanket I still try to utilize from time to time. So why the need to go back through an old role of film? Because I'm being challenged. I am out of my comfort zone and it is scary not to know what the future holds. I've been led to a new place and told to wait on some things. Waiting is hard. Really hard. Especially when the world around you promises a million replacements for your prize if you'll just allow yourself the distraction of a temporary pleasure fix. Something to make you feel ok about yourself in the meantime. And then it happens. You look over your shoulder to a time when the temporary at least felt secure, and the ugly fades away. Rose Colored Lenses.

The Israelites are needing some assurance that where they are going is better than where they've been. And so far, they are not convinced. "It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the dessert!" (14:12) They are somehow sure that abandonment is around the corner, not willing to trust the lighted step that is under their feet. They would rather live in slavery than trust the One that is leading them to freedom. I love the next part. "Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (14:13-14)

So much in these two verses..
**Do not be afraid. God is not out to get you. He is goodness. And He will prevail.
**Stand firm--If we keep our face set upon the Lord (Isaiah 50:7) we will not be put to shame.
**Deliverance. If you notice, when the Lord promises to bring the people OUT, it is matched by His invitation to come IN. He will not bring you out and leave you. But He won't make you follow the rest of the way. It is your choice. Hold tight long enough for Him to do His thing.
**And did you read the rest?

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

I'll not comment on that last verse let it speak to you how it may. Cause it shouted at me.

Some goodbyes are meant to be a good thing. When God moves you on from something that is holding you captive, that is a good goodbye. Don't fall into the deception that you are missing out on something that was once there. If you say goodbye externally, make sure your heart doesn't remain attached to a memory that will prove empty or deceitful once you cross the red sea. Don't waste your grief and sadness over things that don't need to be mourned. Girlfriend, practice your princess wave and walk into newness with delight. Reclaim that ground that was taken from you and embrace your freedom with confidence and a dose of humility.

God is good, all the time. And all the time...GOD IS GOOD. :o)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Misfit Returns

So I’ve sort of had a blog fast for a while. My bad. But honestly, it has done me some good. Quite a lot has happened while I’ve been away. Here’s a quick recap before we get too serious. :)
(1) Dropped my phone in my coffee cup. Dead. Got old phone reactivated.
(2) Almost got eaten by a camel. Will post picture later.
(3) Spilled coffee in my white purse. Now borrowing roommates until I can afford another something to carry my wallet…and 135000 other unnecessary things.
(4) Watched a lot of bad performances on American Idol, and some even worse group singing. Very happy they are in the top 12 now. (Or however many there are left.)
(5) Saw Carrie Underwood at Walgreens last Wednesday night. So random. Yes, she really is that pretty. Hate her. (Ok I don’t.)
(6) Remembered my love of banana flavored things. Weird.
(7) Bought a card at Hallmark for my husband-to-be. No, I’m not engaged, dating anyone, or even close to any of those things. That makes the 3rd card I have bought him. Yep, I have a ‘him’ box.
(8) Almost bought a Dora the Explorer coloring book. For myself.
(9) Gotten reacquainted with my Pilates DVDs. Sort of.

(Sorry I can’t think of a 10th.)

Ever go through those seasons where you fee like so much is being thrown at you and you only have so many arms to play catch? I don’t mean experiencing multiple tragedies or being kicked when you’re already down. (Although we’ve all been there, done that, and don’t wish to repeat.) I just mean…lessons, enlightenment, realizations, the rebirth of gratitude, being stretched, understanding…PEACE. Lately I’ve been in one such season. Most days that I sit down to write a post, I don’t do it all at one time. I’ll write some, go do something, come back and read through what I wrote, maybe add a little more…you get the idea. But with everything I’ve been taking in recently, I’ve found it hard to even complete a thought. (Then when I do, Blogger erases it and it takes me 2 more weeks to post. Grrr.) Every time I get a part of something down, I decide to write about something else instead. (Clearly this is a masterpiece already…oh geeze.)

When I was in college a girl friend of mine and I would have coffee dates often just to talk about life and be REAL for a bit. It’s funny you think people get out of all that silly trying-to-be-someone-you’re-not stuff after high school, and you go on with life and there it still is. This friend and I had a way of keeping one another on the ground and intentionally dealing with and talking through issues that we had. One time in particular she looked at me and said,

“Abby, do you feel like you fit in here?...
(Long pause…me trying to figure out if she was about to break the news to me that I didn’t because I was weird or something…)
….Cause I don’t feel like I do.”

And something about the look on her face made me know exactly what she meant without her saying another word.

“I know what you mean…and I don’t either.”

That was the first time that with the words of both our hearts, we sort of understood that Christian phrase often used, “we were not made for here.” I never really got what that meant when I was younger. I knew that I was going to live in heaven one day, but I couldn’t really grasp the idea around the rest of it.

I’m starting to get it. We were not made for here. Not for the violence, the hatred…the sin, the shame, the guilt…the crimes, the murders, the stealing…the sadness, the separation, the darkness...We were not made for here. Something that I have been blown away by these last 8 months is the GOODNESS of God’s character. God is good. Not just God acts good, or God does good…He IS goodness. He IS love. The very definition of. For a lot of people, their current circumstance tends to determine the beauty and attractiveness of their character in another’s eyes. (I mean, we all have our days.) But His character is always good…and constantly better as we grow deeper and learn to perceive Him in new ways and through an experienced, more seasoned eye.

Simple as it is, one of my most favorite things I’ve ever heard said is, “God isn’t just a big us.” He’s not just some over-sized human sitting up there playing boss. He isn’t messed up. He doesn’t have a dark side, and He is not out to get us. We were meant to live in perfection with Christ. And things took an ugly turn a while back right around a certain apple-producing tree. We were not created with the intention of being manipulated and tortured by life, though that is the reality that much of the world finds itself in now—a place we’ve all felt on certain days. A few such instances have really hit home to me here recently.

The first was the death of Eve Carson, the student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I graduated from last May. Eve’s car was hijacked, and she was shot multiple times; her lifeless body left on the side of the road to die. Innocence stolen from the very ground I walked on for 4 years. That could have been me. Why, is the only word that comes to mind in situations like that. Why did those men need that car so bad to have to steal it from a girl who had a lifetime of plans ahead of her. And even if they took the car, why did they have to kill her? What harm was she to their world?

The second story that would have knocked me to the ground had I not already been sitting when my roommate told me, was that of a young 20-something girl who attends Belmont University. Not two weeks ago, this young woman received a phone call that would change her life forever. There was a fire in her house back home and everything she owned is now a pile of ashes. All that is hers is what is with her at school. And what is worse…the second part of that conversation where she found out that her parents were home at the time of the fire, and they didn’t make it out. Thankfully her younger sister, about to finish her senior year of high school, wasn’t home at the time. But can you imagine that phone call? Just gone to a friends house, and the next thing you know literally all you have in the world are the clothes on your back.

There are countless others. People who are killed by cancer, and other diseases. Children orphaned by their parents choice. Drug and alcohol addictions that twist and shred minds and bodies daily. Kidnappings. Thieves. Child abusers. And a multitude of other horrible, unimaginable things happening to people all over the world. Everything can be fine, and then like a really bad magician, the table cloth gets pulled out from under you and everything in your world appears shattered.

How in the world do we get up in the morning? Because of this weekend. Because of today. Because the one thing that could have separated us from a loved one for eternity was conquered by Jesus Christ. “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) Sin has lost its power. Death has lost its sting. We grieve lost ones, as we absolutely should. But we grieve with hope, because we know their story isn’t over.
HE. IS. ALIVE. And He is coming back for us. That truth has never been made more real to me than in the last few weeks. Those days when I struggle to understand the foreign images of violence and hatred around me, it is nearly all I cling to stay afloat. I am daily learning to embrace my “misfit” feelings and allow them to serve as a constant reminder of my purpose on this earth. Ultimately, our citizenship is in heaven, and I can not wait to get there. But we are also called right here, right NOW—to live in the world, but not be a product of it. You are His, and not a thing in this world can keep you from Him, except yourself. This is only the beginning. We’ve an eternity of praise ahead of us, and I have found that in the moments I am struggling most, if I’ve the strength to raise my eyes and gaze at His…love has never looked more beautiful.

I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a song by one of my most favorite artist, inspired by part of a C.S. Lewis quote. Keep clinging to Him…and hope you’re having a marvelous Easter. :)

“The C.S. Lewis Song” (Brooke Fraser)
If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary
then of course I'll feel nude when to where I'm destined I'm compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for Hope to come for me

Am I lost or just less found on the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way
Is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for Hope to come for me

We are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you

Hope is coming for me
Hope, He's coming...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

False Alarm

I just spent the last 2 days writing a 3-page, single-spaced post/word doc that I was actually quite proud of...that blogger is now saying does not exist.

I'm sorry...WHAT.
Oh. My. Goodness. Upset much? Understatement of the century.
I shall return when the color in my face isn't red and silently screaming angry words at the computer screen.

(And no...it wasn't saved as a word document on my computer so my enormous supply [more like a thought or two] of documented knowledge on the first 9 chapters of Exodus is now lost in internet land forever. If I have the patience later, I'll shall try once more to enlighten you with my two syllable words and over-use of parenthesis...But I will not be happy about it.)

I do miss you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"I'll Be Back"

Somehow I think Arnold sounds much cooler than me when he says that phrase...

But alas, "I'll be back" either tonight or tomorrow to post a little something that I've been reading about and that has been on my heart, but I just wanted to ask ya'll to pray for some friends of mine who are leaving the country tomorrow! They will be gone until this weekend, so maybe if you happen to think of them between now and then just pray for...
*safe travel there and back
*a HAPPY few days for their children and family who are staying home
*that they will have a blast
*and that God just blows their socks off!! :)

Thanks so much!! Back in a bit...
(sorry for any typos...no time to check!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sponge Coffee and Camp Preachers

(This post was a lot more coherent in my head before I started…so you have been fair-warned of any boredness or confusion that may occur. :) )
Thursday afternoon I decided to make some coffee. (Please see parenthesis at end of entry for a quite serious confessional of sorts.) We hadn’t cleaned out the filter from the last time we used it, so I went to dump it out and ended up spilling its contents all over the handle sponge that was in the sink. (…which, I must add, was surrounded by dirty dishes even though the dish washer, sitting just 2 feet to the right, was completely empty and more than ready to accept a new day’s load. DON’T get me started.)
I decided to go ahead and finish getting the coffee ready (priorities people) and then I would clean up the sponge mess. I have to tell you that this isn’t just a regular square sponge with a scrubby side and a squishy side. (Sorry for the wildly technical terms.) This is one of those that the sponge material is really thin and attached to a handle that you can put soap in that comes out the bottom into the sponge. Plenty of little tiny spots for little tiny ground up coffee beans to get stuck. Dern.

I don’t know if it was the holy ghost moment I was about to have praising the Lord for CARAMEL TRUFFLE COFFEE, that I was thinking about a Beth Moore video I had watched recently, or the fact that I almost had to ask for forgiveness for the dirty word that was nearing my brain due to the misfortune of my kitchen appliance...but suddenly I had an uber-spiritual thought about our coffee-spotted dish scrubber.

“I should be more like this sponge.” (Give me a minute, I’ll get there.)
At that moment, there was no way I was getting those coffee grounds out of their new green squishy home. No matter what I did, they weren’t budging…they sort of moved around inside the sponge as I ran water over it, and most just got lodged farther inside. Then came the slightly creepy, but real to me, thought I had about wanting to change my physical make-up to that of the Sponge-Bob breed.
What if the Jesus in me was like the coffee grounds in this sponge. (And no I’m not saying that the Savior of the world came from a bean grown in Guatemala--although it does have a heavenly scent…ha, ha.—sorry.)
What if I allowed Him to be so stuck on and in me that no matter what came my way, no matter what spell the enemy tried to brain-wash over me, no matter what others thought of me, no matter how I felt, no matter what my worries, doubts, or fears were…my reaction, my answer, my hope, my home was simply JESUS. What if I actually let the Savior of the world inhabit my being the way that was intended?

Last summer at camp, one of our Bible study days was spent leading the campers through an extremely scaled-down model of the temple in the OT. We talked about the way they used to sacrifice animals, bring their offerings to the Lord, how one priest would enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, and how the people would bring their prayer request to the priest that they might be brought before the Lord. (I must say this all came about because we have discovered that the current generation growing up in the world has never been more spiritually hungry, but unfortunately they (self included) are equally biblically illiterate. We had one student summer before last ask us how they got the ark from Noah to fit in the Holy of Holies…he was referring to the ark of the covenant…yeah, wow.)
One night at evening worship, our speaker brought up something related to the temple Bible study that I will never forget. He asked the students to think about those that lived in the days where God’s presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies and the questions they will one day have for those of us privileged enough to have His very presence dwell in our hearts. “What was that like to have the creator of the universe live inside of you?”

Can you imagine the wonder with which they will ask that question? Most of them never having been able to get past the first few temple levels just to have the chance to think about speaking to God…and now we don’t have to move an inch. Don’t have to roll out of bed. Don’t have to shut off the car. Don’t have to wait until the trash is out. Don’t have to finish washing the dishes. And we certainly don’t have to keep quiet until Sunday. Oh, how I take the presence of the Lord for granted! He chose to live in ME!

(By the way, I have no idea how to tie this back into the coffee sponge from which I started so I’ll just not try.) I have recently been reminded of the deep poverty of my spirit and its desperate need to be daily restored by the only someone fully able to perform such a task. As a growing Christian I think it’s one of those things you subconsciously know--“I need help”. But when you actually start investigating through a scriptural lens the degree to which you need it, there are sure to be some sore toes, and consequently, sore knees. What I am finding is that I don’t know the half of what my God is capable of…and mostly because I don’t give Him the chance to show me.

I am all the time trying to do what Jesus would do because it’s what Jesus would do, inevitably missing the point of the heart of love behind it. A few weeks ago the pastor of a church I attend frequently was doing a sermon on the church as a whole and characteristics of biblical ministry. One of his points was this, “When Jesus is reduced to just an example, that is a false gospel…because He is so much more than that.” For example, when we feed the hungry (or insert any other outreach ministry opportunity) just because once fed, they will listen to the gospel, we betray the teaching of Christ and His character. Yes, by all means we want to share the gospel whenever given the opportunity, but not at the expense of portraying Christ heart in the pure and genuine form that we are privileged to experience daily at the throne of grace.

Annnnnnnnnd I’m out of things to say. :)
(PS. I think I have a major addiction…I LOVE COFFEE. This is a serious situation. Let’s just say, if coffee was alcohol, I can’t remember the last time I was sober. Yeah. It’s THAT bad. Prayers appreciated.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Honorary Backstreet Boy

It is necessary that you watch the head banging at the end :)

video

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cleaning Mask

I realized something about myself today. I was babysitting for a family this afternoon, and one child was in her cozy crib taking a nap, and the other decided that she wanted to watch Curious George instead of playing a game with me. (Bummer. Loss of cool points from army captain night) So I did what I always do when all children are occupied and for the moment don't need me...I cleaned. What is that? Most people would probably pull up a seat and hang with the monkey, but no, I grab the dish rag and start scrubbing. At first I used to think it was just because I was a nice person (humor me) and I just wanted to help other people out with some light straightening up because I'm pretty good at it and can do it rather fast. Which is true...I do love to clean other people's houses, and I love doing extra work for families I'm with if there is down time. But today I started sort of thinking about my weeks and weekends and what I do at home and I started realizing a pattern.

I think about a lot of things in my car when I'm on the way home from work. I pray random thoughts, or for people in my life that come to mind...and a lot of times I end up realizing some area(s...there is usually more than one) that I need to work on or improve in my walk with the Lord, or in my study habits, or prayer life, or serving attitude, etc. So then I make a point in my mind to go straight in the house and journal about whatever I have just discovered needs some tweaking, or do a Bible study lesson, or just sit and talk to Jesus for a while. And then I walk in the house and see a million things that need to be done (dishes to wash, bed to make, floor to vacuum...and put-off my spiritual moment until things are all in order. Then normally by the time I get finished cleaning everything in site, I'm tired, so I justify my reward of relaxing (eating) and watching tv after working so hard, and say well, I'll just have that spiritual moment right before bed...then I can sleep on it. Right. And then the next morning when I wake up late because I didn't want to get out of my warm bed to give myself enough time to shower AND talk to Jesus about that thing (that I have now reminded HIM of like 3 times as if HE was going to forget)...I say well, I have to shower for work, so we'll talk right after I get home. (Go back to beginning of paragraph and repeat.)

So I'm cleaning the dishes while Curious George gets locked in the zoo after-hours, and I realize that I have a stalling mechanism that masquerades as a really great housekeeper. Whenever I have something serious to do with Jesus, I avoid it like the plague. I mean, I'm sure we all have our ways of putting off dealing with our junk...but when the free time is there, I have no excuse. I just walk around looking for things to clean so I don't have to sit still and really face what I need to fix. I do my regular devotion, and then pray as I normally do, but I always skip whatever that thing is that I need to fix.

So tomorrow. My room will be just as messy as it is now, but I'm not going to touch it until the real mess is cleaned up. I'm dealing with my junk. Honest.

There...I'm out of the closet, I've confessed, so now you can hold me to it.
What is your 'secret' stalling trick?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Elch.

I hate being sick. Especially when you get that blah feeling where you just don't care about anything...not even your hair. Which considering the new do, is rather sad that I don't have the energy to fix it. It's currently in a static-pony tail and I'm sure if you looked hard enough, you would find traces of kleenex and napkins from the car. Yum.

I have been doing a bunch of random temp. jobs while Melissa is out of town and not needing me which have worn me to my last shred of energy, but suddenly became great once I saw the gas bill and realized where my extra money from this week would be going. You don't even want to know. (And are we ticked off because we've been freezing our behinds off trying to keep the heat down, and our bills is still MORE than last month? YES. Thoroughly.)

I have been reading and learning some cool Jesus stuff, and sadly I don't even have the energy to tell you about it...except that HE is AWESOME. He has taken care of my every need and then some. After I get some sleep tonight and tomorrow I do want to tell you about something we talked about at Kairos a few weeks ago on the subject of name calling. But not the kind you think. :)

OOOooo my roommate is back with medicine and a movie. :D So it is required of me to retreat to my nap chair and not get up until bedtime. By the way...I'm SO SICK of drinking hot tea...if I died today (and I believed in reincarnation) I would no doubt come back as somebody's soothing throat-coat tea bag and leave them just as unhappy as I am. Hey moms, any suggestions for a sore throat?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reporting for Duty

When I showed up to babysit for little Austin tonight (and by little I mean 8 years old) I wasn't expecting to wear a uniform for most of the night. I was really excited to be working this weekend (I kept Hutch last night and then Austin tonight) because I just got my hair cut on Thursday and hadn't had the chance to really go anywhere with it. :) (PTL for friends who know how to cut hair...and do it for FREE) So I did my hair all up (not to impress anyone...but just cause I had a new do (sp?)to do) and wore a cute outfit to match my cute hair. And then I messed the whole evening up. I asked Austin what he wanted to play and my hair nearly wilted at his words. "Can we play army?" I have a new appreciation for moms of multiple army-playing boys.

I got the back-pack, I got the army gun, I got the bullet boxes (aka: 2 empty, old new balance shoe boxes), I got the stuffed black lab, named Abby as well, and I got the captain hat. I thought I would have gotten a cool green helmet like his, but instead mine was white and made of cloth...I could have run my own shrimp boat with that thing. And, yeah, I said HAT. Forget the cute hair...we had exactly 260 men to kill downstairs in the pool(table) room, and only 3 hours until bedtime to do it. [Between re-loading for the next round of action, we let the real dog out...ALSO named Abby (what?) and had some left-over pizza.] I don't know how we managed to kill them all cause I had a hard time finding them...but he assured me, as I radioed in the pilot to come pick our injured selves up and take us to the BED-plane, that we in fact had won--in spite of me having three bullets in my leg, and Austin with his abdomen count of 2. After a night of hard-core violence (and a near identity crisis with all those Abby's running around), we settled in and read a few Disney books...cause that's what you do after you kill a fleet of armed soldiers...and tucked tough man into bed.

And suddenly I miss Hutch throwing potatoes at me...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Potential Let-Down...But Not Really :)

So I keep mentioning this day that is so special to me and that I am so excited about, and then I keep not writing about it. I am a lame friend. Ok not really. :) I hope I didn't hype it up too much that this won't seem like the big deal that it actually was/is...and if so, I'll bake you some cookies or something to make up for it. :p

I started this blog last year (I think in February) about a month after returning from Passion '07 in Atlanta Georgia. For those of you that don't know, Passion is a large ministry started by Louie Giglio and his wife and a small team of individuals incredibly devoted to seeing the name of Jesus spread like wildfire. It is rooted in Isaiah 26:8: “Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls.”
(From their website): Passion exists to glorify God-uniting students in worship and prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.

Passion seeks to gather college and university students across the nation and around the world to seek the face of God, asking Him to ignite in our souls a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ and a desire to spread His fame to everyone on earth.

We believe God is calling out a generation of college students committed to the glory of His name in all things. God longs to bring awakening to every campus, mobilizing the students of today to finish the task of global evangelization in this generation. God is calling us out for this purpose, in this moment, for His renown."

They are also the people responsible for sixstepsrecords, which has brought us artist such as Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, and many others. In my one week experience with the Passion '07 Conference and all those involved with it, my jaw still drops and heart still beams at the thought of the amazing work that the Lord does through these adults He has called to be leaders to my generation in helping us get off our behinds and tell the world about the Savior that is waiting for them with open arms. Oooo I just get chills thinking about how wonderful they are. Please check out the website if you've never heard of this group...there is music to buy, sermons to download, conference information, etc. and it's all amazing!
Go here--> www.268generation.com

Oh goodness half-way through a novel and I haven't said IT yet. I will save some time by saying if you need more details about the actual experience I had with the Lord during my week in Atlanta, you can read about some of it in my first 4 or 5 blog entries...I'll not repeat it all here...after all, this isn't a Harry Potter book...I don't have that much space.

January 1, 2007, somewhere between 8 and 9 pm, I made the most important decision of my life. I grew up in a wonderful Christian home where going go church wasn't just something we did to check off our social list. It was valued, it meant something, and it was like a second home to me--a safe place, a place of security, and a place of love. When I was 11 years old and in the 5th grade, I remember my dad saying to me, "I think Dr. Smith might have some good sermons for kids your age, why don't we set up a time for you to go meet with him." I thought, um, ok...I like my preacher...why not. :) (Ps. my dad was the minister of music and youth so I already knew the preacher quite well...us staff kids sort of just grow up together like we were all one family...we still do Christmas Eve dinner and exchange presents together almost 20 years later. *Grin*) So I went and talked to my preacher, but to be honest I don't really remember anything that we talked about. I was more concerned with looking around his office at his books and the stuff on the wall, and trying to see if I could find his sermon for Sunday sitting out anywhere so I could see how far he had gotten. At the end of the conversation (and prayer) I remember Him saying, "I look forward to seeing you walk down this Sunday." I didn't say so, but I remember thinking, "Oh........what?" And then, "Ok, right, that's what people do when they want to get baptized. They walk down the aisle and do the awkward stand-in-front-of-the-congregation thing. Oh, is this what that was for? Did I say I wanted to do that?" Somewhere along the conversation, while searching for the sermon of course, I must have answered all the questions right because that's exactly what was about to happen.

Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't want to get baptized, but I think I just didn't realize exactly what I was doing. I mean, clearly I believed in God and Jesus and knew what happened to Christ and why (and had no problem telling my church that)...I hadn't known anything different since I popped out 11 years before. But I think that's sort of what I mean...I knew the answers like the back of my hand because I had heard them my whole life. But knowing them and understanding them, are two very different things. (I mean please, how much 'BS' information did I memorize for college exams--enough to 'know it for the test'. And I'm NOT saying Jesus information is BS...I'm just saying, you can know something and at the same time not know the first thing about it.) So the next Sunday I walked down (on the LAST verse of the song...I had witnessed many a person go down too early, and I wasn't about to stand there for 3 more verses). And then a few months later that spring, I got baptized.

I never was a 'bad' kid in middle/high school. In fact, I was called a 'goody-two-shoes' just about as much as my name was said. I always did well in school, and I for whatever reason I was just never tempted to try drugs or alcohol, or sleep around with boys...I was just uninterested and indifferent to all of those things. But have no fear, the devil knew where to tempt me instead (again that info is more in my first entries and some others I've written about along the way so I won't repeat here). My parents were awesome, and we just knew right from wrong and didn't really see a point in dangling over the line. In fact (forgive me cause we totally meant this in a joking way) when we used to leave the house to hang out with friends mom would ask where we were going and we would say "we're going to smoke pot" and she'd always say something like "ok, have fun honey" because she knew the chances of were over somebody's dead body, when pigs learned to fly, or when a very hot place opposite heaven was to freeze over.

In college I went to church every Sunday, participated in Bible Studies, and even worked at a Christian summer camp that I grew up going to every year since birth. Minus some internal battles I was dealing with, I thought I was doing alright. I was very legalistic about my religion at the time though. Checking off 'Jesus things' became necessity for my spiritual tank to feel like I had worked hard enough to earn my spot in heaven for the day. (WOW, I knew nothing.) After taking a new testament class, and attending a few other 'faith' events I just started having this nagging question in my head. "How do you know if you're going to heaven or not." What? Abby, you were baptized when you were 11...check it off your list, you're fine." Still, it didn't let up. I was haunted day and night..."Am I going to heaven? What if I'm not..how do I know FOR SURE...but everybody thinks I am because I did the aisle thing, and I'm a minister's kid, and a nice person...(rattle brain, rattle brain)" Absolute torture. I wouldn't dare ask somebody about my question...after all, I was one of the ones who told other people how to get to heaven...through Jesus. I knew that...again with the "knowing the answers" thing.

So January 1, 2007 in an auditorium of over 20,000 college kids just like me, I finally got my answer. I fear this is too much already, so I won't give you a play by play, but that night I met Jesus face to face for the first time in my 22 years of life. That was the night that I realized I had BELIEVED IN GOD my whole life...like I said before, I didn't know any different from birth. But I had never BELIEVED GOD before. Believed what He said about me. That Christ really hung there FOR ME. I wasn't the exception to the gospel...I was part of the reason for it. Those that know me would probably still say that I was saved when I got baptized that spring of my 5th grade year. But I know different. My heart knows different. It was January 1, 2007. The greatest day of my life. And the day that I will claim as my new birthday until Jesus himself comes back to take me home. Because now I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW, that I KNOW...I AM HIS.

I used to be scared to tell people about my story. After all, I was a ministers kid 'lost' to her heart's home for 22 years. I was sort of embarrassed. And then I said, "well what a fruit cake you are". (Seriously. I hate fruit cake.) JESUS CHRIST SAVED ME. What is there to be embarrassed about?!?!?! PRAISE THE LORD!!! HALLELUJAH!!! GLORY TO HIS NAME!!! I AM A FRIEND OF GOD!!!!!

I love you girls...I really do. Thanks for letting me be me and that be ok. :) The dirt in my room is beckoning me to deal with it. I could supply your family with a complete place setting for everyone with the dishes I have in here. Bless my heart. So I'm gonna go clean. Go get some eye drops for your dried-out eyes if you are still reading. And maybe some coffee and dark chocolate...just because they rock. :D

Oh, and Ephesians also rocks. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

this and that and no caps

heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ok, long time no "read" (hehe) which means i have lots to say and lots of blogs to visit myself!! which also means no time for capital letters. sometimes i think the shift key is over-rated anyhow...unless pushing two buttons at one time burns more calories...in that case i would be all over it!! speaking of calories, i am currently chowing down on some special k cereal...the new kind with the chocolate pieces in it. have you tried it? good stuff. (i would capitalize that for emphasis, but that would defeat my shift-key fast.)

so i still don't have a computer (thank goodness for roommates) but i can't complain too much because my parents are being super sweet and purchasing some extra memory for my ice-age machine that i got when i started at carolina. apparently my computer only has 1/4 of the memory that any bottom-end/cheap computer on the market comes with now-a-days so we've got to get mine caught up! to be honest, it has been nice not having it...sort of like a detox thing. it makes me a little less stressed not to feel the need to check my email every hour, or that i have to respond to any messages within 5 minutes of receiving them for fear the world will be lost without me or my input. (ha.)

enough about that. so when i got back to town, hutch had grown a mile and a half. i promise he is the smartest 17 mo. old on the planet. he can sing his abc's (even the "now i know my abc's..." part at the end), twinkle-twinkle little star, the b-i-b-l-e, jesus loves me, count to ten in english and spanish (what?!), pick up the walkie on his jeep that he got for christmas and say "breaker, breaker" like a pro...and he knows how to steal the heart of his 23 year old nanny. i love him.

so bills came in last month (as they do every month) and the nunnery (nickname for our house because we live on "convent place") has decided we are in emergency mode. our house and all those in it are now living under "operation simplicity". we are going back to the dark ages (literally with the lights) to save money, and have adopted the following new policies.

*natural light is awesome. electric lights are out. candles are in.
*heat. what is that? blankets, long pants, sweatshirts and socks were created for a reason.
*cable tv. is this really necessary? honestly. i own all 10 seasons of friends, and we have countless movies on dvd. when are we even home to watch much else? (don't comment much on this one...i'm still trying to convince myself that i'll survive without a play by play of mcdreamy and meredith's relationship status every thursday night. and am i the only one that doesn't like izzy and george together?) (ps..we haven't made a decision on dropping the cable, but it's in the possibility corner.)
*taking hot showers is awesome. and will continue to be awesome. because we don't pay the water bill. :) (well...ok it's probably in the rent somewhere...but humor me.)

so far we've been pretty successful...so we'll see how this thing goes...

i added a few things to my routine in the new year. one of them is taking a bubble bath once a week. there are few things more relaxing. hot water, candles, hot tea (with honey!) and any one of my favorite speakers in my ipod. currently i'm listening to beth moore's series on jonah. i bought the audio from her website and did it a few years ago in college and loved it. i have a really cool jonah story about me and one of my roommates that i'll have to tell you later. anyways, i'll be on week 2 tonight. i'm going to try to do this bubble bath thing like once a week. it is just much more fun to get clean this way than just a quick shower. :) (it's the little things that make me excited!)

i'm still reading the ragamuffin gospel (i have to read stuff like that really slow because there is just so much there) and i also just started beth's 90-day daniel study. it is a really awesome format and one that's easy to keep consistent with because it's not too much for one day, but the stuff that is there will really make you think and challenge you, and it's just been a cool journey so far. i'm a little ocd (obsessive compulsive) about certain things, and it just tickles me so that i started the study on jan. 1st so my days match up with the calendar date. i.e. today is january 10th, and i am on day 10. :) when it gets to february i'm sure i'll have a small panic attack (kidding.) when the dates go back down to 1 an i keep going, but i'll survive. has anybody done the 90-day 'jesus the one and only'? i've heard it's awesome too so maybe that will be next...

if i could get you gals to pray for something that would be awesome. i keep having this particular thought about investing my time in doing something, but i'm not sure if it's something i'm just coming up with in my own head, or if it's something that i think the Lord really wants me to do and i've just now started listening to Him about it. i hate to be so vague, but if it does end up happening down the road, i don't have a clue how to even go about it or where to start...so i just don't want to say too much in case it does happen, i want it to be led by Him and not my own influences. kay enough confusing you there...just pray about it if you feel like it. :D thanks.

so i know that some of you are curious about my special day last week because i mentioned it right fast in that other post. it was a doosy (sp?) of a day...in a good way and some not...but mostly awesome. and i'm about to be the jerk of blog-land, because i'm about to leave and not talk about it again...ahh!! :) forgive me! i promise you will understand why this day was/is so important to me when i actually write about it, but it deserves it's own post, so i'm going to wait maybe just one more time. i am sort of in the middle of journaling about some things that have gone on in the last year and i want to complete my thought there before trying to explain things in blogworld. you know how when you write and you stop in the middle of it, it's hard to get back to that mindset of being in that moment...so i just want to go there and finish, and then i'll spill all the beans.

well my cereal is gone now and i'm still hungry, so i'm going to head back to the kitchen. i knew i should have gone on that walk today. looking forward to catching up with you girls. hopefully i'll be back tonight to read all about what ya'll have been up to. i have missed you!!! we are so blessed...don't forget to tell jesus thanks today...he is so wonderful :)

ps...read psalm 40 and let it rock your socks off :D