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


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