12.18.2009


In case you were wondering...this is what I have been doing recently and this is why my posts have been less frequent.

I found all this random stuff in a cart...
It happened to be the exact colors we wanted to paint our office...
And our guest room...
I randomly ran into these people at O'Charleys...
Then I found exact replicas of Nate/Jo and Josh and I in ornament form.
This guy showed up on the scene and forced us to play some crazy game called "Brokey"
Paula Dean showed up at the Michael's house and cooked this meal for us then we asked her to take a picture of all of us around the food she made.
I accidently drank to much Welch's grape juice and turned into a raisin.
Willow pretended to be Max - the dog from the Grinch.
The unibomber and his cousin tried to get in the background of a picture i was taking with becca and emily...oh wait - they actually got in the picture...what the heck.
...
Willow forced Josh to let her drive...shortly after this picture was taken we wrecked.

Santa walked in the room.
...

We ate all the food in the picture below...
All the food we ate...including the gords.

I decided to join the political world and practiced kissing babies whilst posing for a photo at the same time...
A 3 headed monster showed up at my house and ate everyone.
Okay that last part was a lie - the 3 headed monster is really just Me, Jo, and Andrea being weird.

12.10.2009

Some Things I'm Happy About

Life is so busy right now. That seems to be a common theme among all bloggers this Christmas. Regardless of the busyness of the season I feel immensely blessed. Two days ago Josh and I went on a walk and on the way just started naming the things we are thankful for and I was overwhelmed. Often times we get so busy that we don't even realize all that we have to be thankful for. So, since I never wrote a thanksgiving post I'm going to "count my blessings" in the way of Bing Crosby in White Christmas...except without the singing.
  • My faithful, serving, loving husband who puts so much thought into making me feel like a princess.
  • My Parents and in-laws for showing me a great example of marriage and staying together.
  • My mom for encouraging me in everything that I do and praying fiercely for me to grow up as a woman of God. I love your sense of humor and desire to know more of God. I see so much of myself in you.
  • My Dad for being patient and loving with wisdom. For stretching my perspective. Inspiring me to be better at guitar. And being able to fix everything you ever laid eyes on that was broken.
  • My sisters. I love each of them dearly. (Even the in-laws). They are all so different and make me want to deepen my relationship with them each and every day. My life is richer because they are a part of it. Kara - you a tons of fun. I love that we are candid with one another and are growing closer to each other as we get older. Specs - Sweet woman of God . I look up to you in so many ways. Em - Amazing sense of humor. Super smart and talented. You are the perfect fit for our family. I love that as you get older you are more of a friend and not just a lil sis. Drassy - You have taught me so much in the short time I've known you. You are playing a pivotal part in my walk with the Lord and I'm grateful. Jo Jo - You are one of the most easy going people i've ever met. It makes you fun to be around and talk to.
  • My brother in law. Nate - you are one of the most encouraging people i've ever met. You are really great at connecting with what people are passionate about and then building on that passion.
  • My in-laws - Doug - so goofy. Things are never dull when you are around. You love your family so much, it shows. Sarah - you accepted your daughter in-laws (and soon to be son in law) as your own. You have a very loving and giving spirit.
  • My church.
  • My pastor and pastor's wife.
  • The worship team. You all are so talented.
  • The Ostranders
  • The Reids (amazing new friends!)
  • The Atnips (Depth of knowledge and fun!)
  • My past - even though it isn't the best in the world, i'm glad it has shaped me to be who i am today.
  • Our youth group. They are crazy but so much fun!
  • my condo.
  • Mine and Josh's health.
  • The Choates.
  • The vineyard in Cambellsville and all the people in it.
  • Our cars.
  • The talent I've been blessed with and the encouragement i've received from friends and family to steward the talent well.
  • My job. I'm never bored. I love my co-workers. I couldn't ask for more.
  • Josh's job. He is finally happy.
  • The bible
  • My guitars
  • My keyboard
  • Jesus for being who he is...good, loving, gracious, faithful, mighty, powerful, precious, awesome. and for dying for me. I can't thank you enough.
I am blessed.

10.31.2009

Something New

This blog is delinquently overdue and I should have written it about 3 weeks ago, however I honestly haven't had a moment to spare in quite sometime. And here I sit, 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, in my PJs, with the only sound in the background being willow's jingling collar or nervous bark every time she hears a car roll by.

The title of this blog should actually be - "lots of things new", but that doesn't have quite the same ring as "Something New" The month of October has brought about many changes. As you recall in my post several months ago when I had to say goodbye to some good friends as they moved back to Florida I pondered how I would react when my housemates/brother-in-law, Sister-in-law, and Niece moved out and headed on the first step to fulfilling their calling to be Bible translators. Well, that moment has come in gone in the past month. For the most part I think I handled the whole thing fairly well. We threw N&J a big going away party and it was a success in many ways. We spent a the whole week leading up to their departure soaking up time with them and reminiscing on the last year and a half and then the morning they left I broke down for a while thinking about how much I would miss them...and then I realized they aren't dying, but rather living life abundantly! Not to mention modern technology makes communication overseas a breeze now a days. (yay for skype/email/facebook!)

I thought that once they left life would slow down, but boy was I wrong. It seems like things have just gotten busier than ever. Josh and I find ourselves falling in bed (the new Cal King we inherited we begrudgingly took off of N&J hands...just kidding!) each night exhausted beyond belief. And now that we both work (yippie!) it's making the little free time we have together very cherished. It just seems like our evenings get jam packed with activity after activity and meeting after meeting. We are quickly trying to fill in the holes that N&J left when they moved...i.e. the two empty rooms at the end of the hall now (tear) are being converted to an office and guest bedroom, once storage areas turning into a food pantry etc.

Reguardless of the busy schedule I'm going through a season of God revealing His love to me over and over again in many different ways. You would think that might get boring, but that's not the case at all... in fact at a John Mark McMillan concert last night we sang the song "how he loves us" and at one point during the song I literally said over and over again "This Just never get's old! It never get's old!" God loves us! It's weird. I'm not very good a being deep about things like this. Sometimes simple is good, and I'm hoping now is one of those times.

Here's a verse I will leave you with that has been wreaking me (in a good way) for a week now. Enjoy.

Romans 8:38-39

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

10.01.2009

Poll

Is it selfish for me to create the below "before I turn 35 list"? Am I putting my own surface agenda's before the Lord's plan for my life? Or it is good to have a list like this so I have fun things to stive towards and I live life to the full? Would I really be living life to the full if I completed the list? To me, it seems like I will just be participating in some fun events and never really making an impact on anything...however, I want your opinion. Leave a comment. Let me know what you think about Bucket Lists, before 35 lists etc...

9.16.2009

Operating in Power

God has been teaching me more and more that my life should be operating in power. I shouldn't just wait till I am at church to be moving in the supernatural but I should be naturally supernatural every day of my life. I should be walking around abiding in him as I drive, type, sit in meetings, take phone calls, eat, sleep etc. and I will naturally be filled with his presence and begin to operate in the power that will bring people to him.

As I abide in him, my heart will begin to see life in places where things have gone dead...i will start to see God's solution for ruptured and dissolving situations. I will begin to realize the Good He has for the world. And rather than be overwhelmed by the collapsing governments and surrounded by adulterous nations and people hopefully I will have the courage to speak truth and glory into those situations.

I am trying to fix my eyes on him and learn what this looks like. Learn to live like Jesus every step of the way...

Of course it is a lot easier to write about all this than it is to actually live it. It's a lot easier to say I will walk up to a hurting and lonely stranger and give them a prophetic word. It's a lot easier to say I will pray for a co-worker when they tell me they aren't feeling well. It's a lot easier to say when someone passes me in a wheelchair while I'm doing my lunch time devotional that I will boldly walk in their direction and ask to pray for their entire healing...mind, body and, soul.

Lord, give me strength and courage...this was your plan from the beginning, and it's going to take a while for this fearful little mind to adapt to, but I honestly want this.

9.13.2009

His Love

Lately I have been overwhelmed by God's Love. A few weeks ago, I messed up...and I messed up bad. After the big screw-up I wallowed around in my guilt and shame for a few days. I felt depressed, frustrated at what I had done, mad at myself for slipping and sad that I felt like I had really let the Lord and the people around me down. I was humbled to say the least.

In the midst of all of this the Lord just started to show me little snippets of His love. Through my husband, my church, the Bible, and more. In a sense I did go back to square one and I had to be convinced that God could love me again because I fell so hard. I had to be reassured that He will be faithful and His Love is stronger than my sin and completely unfailing. It's not an unfailing love that is dependent on me being perfect...but it's unfailing ALL the time.

I sit here typing this blog today, knowing God's love in a stronger more passionate way than ever before. It's overwhelming to be completely forgiven. It's overwhelming to me that Jesus would DIE a horrific death on the cross to save me from literally hell because He loves me. It's overwhelming to me that He still pursues after me when I mess up and roll around in my selfish guilt and self loathing for a few days. It's overwhelming to me that He still wants to use me from this broken place where it barely feels like I should be allowed to be around other believers let alone minister to/with them. It's overwhelming to me that He would not only pull me from the place of guilt but bring me out on the other side with a renewed passion for Him...I guess that's just one of the many ways He works all thing together for my good....

He is such a worthy, powerful, magnificent Lord and friend. I am so thankful. I'm looking forward to experiencing more of His love in the coming season. Shoot, maybe I will even learn to love others with a fraction of the faithfulness and passion that He loves me. So amazing.

9.04.2009

Blessed

Today, I was driving home after spending a beautiful afternoon of fellowship, prayer and worship with a great friend and I felt overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed with a sense of joy and God's blessing on my life. I couldn't stand it. I started saying out loud over and over again, "thank you. thank you. thank you." till I found myself weeping. I am just so blessed to be seen and known by the Lord of the universe.

That He would care enough for me to give me a day off and fill it with irreplaceable moments with an amazing friend. That He would care enough to use me, the broken sinning vessel that I am. That He would care enough to bless me with a home, an amazing husband, a brilliant church, plenty of food, a job in the weakening economy, free space and time to meditate on him, my health, my families health, caring friends and more. That He would care enough to meet me in my car driving on 65 north on a random Friday afternoon and show me how blessed I am.

My heart is full right now. Thank you to who ever is out there praying...I'm feeling it. I'm so overwhelmed.

8.27.2009

Before I Turn 35

I've been thinking about my list a lot since my last post, but I haven't ever had the time or muster to actually make a list...well actually I made the list on my new iTouch and then in not being familiar with the program ended up accidentally deleting it...kinda depressing actually. So for now...I am going to write my premilinary list and will use this post as a framework to come back to and shape and mold my list over the next few months.
  1. visit Israel
  2. visit Europe at least once
  3. make my own wine
  4. record an album
  5. write some significant poetry
  6. ride in a hot air balloon
  7. hike the grand canyon again
  8. visit wine country in California
  9. have a baby
  10. start a successful sustainable company
  11. ride an elephant
  12. ride a camel
  13. see Niagara falls again
  14. camp for a week or more straight, prefreably in the middle of nowhere
  15. plant a church
  16. preach a sermon
  17. surprise a stranger with a good gift
  18. learn another language (Spanish or french)
  19. live in another country for at least a month
  20. sucba dive
  21. take ballroom dance classes
  22. Learn how to make authentic greek food
  23. Skydive
  24. Hike/Camp in the Rockies
  25. White water raft
  26. Take a spontaneous trip to the beach
  27. Be a teacher for a season
  28. build a house and live in it
  29. Read the top ten classic novels
  30. Plant a baby tree and watch it grow to a massive tree
  31. Make a time capsule
  32. Go to an Ohio State/Michigan Football Game...at the Horseshoe.
  33. ...
  34. ...
  35. ...

More to come later.

8.12.2009

The List...coming soon!

I had lunch with a friend today who is turning 30 next year. He was telling me all the things he is going to do in between now and then to prepare for the big three-zero. Things like run a marathon, hike in New Zealand, and visit Istanbul. This conversation got me thinking and has inspired me to create my "Before I turn 30" list...however since that is less than 6 years away and I have only spent about 5 mins thinking about my list and already have at least 5 relatively expensive trips on it, I think i might have to make my list a "before 35 list" unless i win the lottery....

List to come soon.

8.10.2009

The Business of Business

It has most definitely been almost one month since I have posted...I'm a delinquant blogger...and I have been super busy. So busy, that I am actually starting to feel like I am back at school 2 weeks before a show, finals and a 12 page paper combined. When life gets this busy it becomes hard to connect. Hard to connect with my husband, co-workers, friends, family and most of all God.

I end up rushing through my day getting home and feeling the need to zone out and not communicate anything at all. Which is opposite of how I used to be. I used to talk my husbands ear off all the time, but lately the tables seem to have turned. He ends up talking and talking...and I am listening, but I rarely have the energy or mind power to even process a reply sometimes. He ends up contantly thinking I am not listening and something is wrong between us...which I don't like. I feel like a bad wife sometimes.

I am craving quite time. I am craving a moment where it seems as though I have the house to myself (even if I don't actually). I need space to process, pray, write, read etc. I don't like what this busy schedule is turning me into. I find myself being less patient and gracefilled toward the people around me. I find pride sneaking in and find offense coming more easily...Lord help me. Draw me back to you. I need space. I need time. I need a break. I need you more.

I can't function as a loving caring wife and friend when this business starts to seep into my personality as it is now. I can't be a good and productive employee when I am so overwhelmed at work that I can barely get an e-mail out. I can't function as a passionate worshiper, servant, and friend to God when I barely have time to clear my mind and focus on him before the next scheduled activity. Something's gotta give, cause this just isn't working.

7.19.2009

Train Tracks

Lately I have been feeling like my life is wandering and a bit aimless. I have felt like I don't have any type of end goal that I am reaching for, and to me, this is torture. I love having goals. I love having direction. I love knowing that I am headed in the right direction. I love being unified with my husband in knowing what our next step in life is. It's a good feeling to be accomplishing something.

Josh and I just celebrated our 2 year anniversary. We went to Atlanta and had a blast. While there we went out to one really nice dinner and over this dinner got into a discussion on what is our calling as a couple. You see, it feels like everyone else around us already has thier life figured out. Some people know they are called to missions/the Nations. Some people know they are called to be a pastor, business man/woman, youth leader etc. and it's not that Josh and I haven't spoken about this before but it seemed like our calling kept getting lost in all the junk of the day to day.

It was a pretty deep discussion which I enjoyed emmensly. I think we walked away from that conversation with a realization that we are in a season of preperation. We are in a season where the Lord is preparing our hearts to be in tune with his and He is giving us time to work on and hone our gifts and talents in order to be ready for the next season of stepping forward into what we believe is our calling.

This conversation got me all excited to start really refocusing on the Lord and press into Him and the lessons that he wants to teach me. I feel like I am called to try and refocus in on writing and playing music. This is SO important to me, but it's funny how even when something is really important to you it can sometimes take a back seat to the business of life. You really have to go out of your way to set aside time to nurture your gift and go deeper into the Lord.

In church last night someone had a word about a train that is sitting on the tracks waiting...and the Lord is in the process of placing the rest of the rails on the track and you can't move till the track is built. It's almost like you are in a holding pattern. I felt like that word confirmed the season that Josh and I are in and confirmed the fact that the Lord really wants us to dig into him and start to develop the skills that we will need in the future when the tracks are down and the doors start to open for us to chug forward.

7.10.2009

My Papa

Growing up my sisters and I called my Dad, “Papa.” I think we did this because that is what the girls on Little House on the Prairie called Michael Landon (the dad). Now we don’t call him that so much as we just do “dad” but, I thought it was a fun way to start this blog by telling you what we called him. So in honor of the month after father's day (read: I started this on father’s day and never finished it…) I thought I would share a few thoughts/memories on my Papa.

One time Dad took me on a camping/portaging/canoeing trip in Canada. This is one of the fondest times I have ever had with my dad. We trekked across Algonquin Park carrying our canoes over land and sweeping our oars through the clear crisp Canadian water to make our way to our camp site. Along the way I have many recall times of us trying to mimic a loon call every time we saw one, hiking what seemed like 20 miles up a mountain, falling asleep/peeing my pants listening to the wolves howl in the distance, being a mere 10 feet away from a MASSIVE moose caught in the mud on a river bed, and having several bear scares throughout the trip that ended up just being tree stumps. It was a bonding trip. One distinct father memory I have from this trip was when we were in the canoe paddling through a river/swampy fairway that seemed to have no end and my dad had brought along his beloved guitar. At one part during the river/swampy fairway my cousin and I started splashing each other with the oars. My dad looked at me and said, “Don’t tip the canoe. If you tip the canoe, my guitar goes in the water and it gets ruined. I won’t be happy. I’ve had that guitar long than I’ve had you.” (oh papa...)

Another dear memory I have of my dad is when I was quite young. He would get home from work, my sisters and I always wanted to climb all over him and be around him. He would mostly be tired and lay on the floor face down trying to take a nap. Naturally, my sisters and I would then pester him by poking him, standing on him, and jumping over him. All the while my dad wouldn’t move a muscle. Eventually, rather than yelling at us and telling us to get the heck away from him my dad would play a game. A game we fondly called “monster rock.” (now that I think about it, it was kinda like calling my dad a monster and rock all rolled into one…not the most endearing thing ever but…I digress.) Basically, Papa would lay so still and steady till we could barely stand it and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he would grab as many of us as he could in one swoop and wrestle with us and tickle us till one of us eventually peed our pants or cried “uncle.”

These two memories are little snippets of the fun and joy that I had growing up in a loving household. I have lots of wonderful memories with both of my parents and I am so thankful for all that they have done for me though the years. I am looking forward to developing my relationship and more memories with both of them in the years to come as their grown up daughter and as a friend.

6.30.2009

GMH

Thought I would share this fun website about things that give people hope. Jesus is the ultimate and true hope but, I thought that this website was kinda fun collecting random acts of kindness and the pieces of goodness from around the world. A lot of them are cheesy, and some of them I am not sure I agree with but check it out if you are interested...http://www.givesmehope.com/

6.22.2009

Goodbye

This past weekend was spent saying goodbye to two of our dear friends who feel that God is calling them back to Florida. There were multiple times where I could have said the right thing like “I love you guys, and I am so glad that you were in my life, even if it was for such a short season. I wish you all the best and here is a sentimental gift that I put a lot of thought into etc etc.” but instead I would end up saying something like “Why are you leaving!?” “Don’t go!” or “Let’s do/talk about something else other than you leaving….”

This whole process of inappropriate pleadings and diverting the subject as two good, nay great, friends left, made me realize that I am really, really bad at goodbyes. I just pretend like they aren’t happening and I am going to see the other person again in a few days. During this “farewell” I realized that I act like this during any type of major change in my life. I seem to try and not take change seriously. The gravity of massive life shifts don’t really shake me to my core like it does to some.

I have decided that it’s because I tent to try and block foreign situations out of my mind and not dwell on the unknown or the uncontrollable. Looking back at my life in general I would do this in even the smaller life situations. Don’t visualize yourself getting the part. Don’t expect to be put into the game. Don’t worry about where the money will come from. Don’t worry about what college you get into. Don’t freak out about marriage like everyone else. Don’t assume that you will become life long friends with people just because they stumble across your path...

This sounds awful and some people may think it is a shallow and immature way of looking at things. But, honestly, I think it is from a heart that wants to live in the moment and wants to let God take care of the details. I know that if I am following Him with all my heart then He will comfort me and bring along just the right thing I need in any given “out of my hands” life shift.

Now, I know that in a few short months another large change is going to happen, Nate and Jo are going to move out of our little condo in Franklin, TN and head overseas for what seems like a lifetime. Right now, I am pretending like my eyes are closed and I can’t see the water rushing past the broken dam toward me. Maybe this time around I will do the right thing when they are packing up their lives and heading out the back door of our condo for the last time. Maybe this time, I will prepare my mind for the move and not be shocked when housemate night is a little less rambunctious. Maybe this time, I will be able to think of a sentimental gift to give. Maybe this time, my hug will be heartfelt and my words will ring true. Maybe this time I can be more sincere. Maybe this time I will be able to genuinely say goodbye and know what it means. Maybe this time it won’t be as hard…but I doubt it.

6.20.2009

98 Degrees! (Not the Band)

It is stiffeling hot outside. I have been thinking about going to the pool for about 2 hours now but, I can't muster up enough drive or desire for a tan to get out into the muggy 98 degree heat. I thought, a good alterntative would be taking willow to the park for a short 1 mile walk. Which turned into a 1/2 mile walk with willow trying to lay down in every piece of shade she could find. I guess her new "business on top party in the back" mullet hair style doesn't keep her as "cool" as one would hope.

Sidebar, we took willow to get groomed last week and they said they would trim her face, paws and private areas, okay sounds good to us, we said. Apparently face also included her really cute fro on top of her head that I love so much but not the super long hair on the back of her neck...so needless to say we call her Willie-Ray now (in reference to Billy Ray Cyrus and his awesome 80s mullet for all of you contry novice folk out there).

Back to the heat...What is the deal with this heat! I mean seriously. Summer hasn't even officially started yet (starts tomorrow) and already people are fearing for thier grandparents and pets lives down here in Nashville. It makes anything, except laying completely still in the air conditioning, competlely miserable. People start to do crazy things when the weather starts to heat up too.

I am not sure how supported this is, but I heard somewhere that crime rates start to go up the hotter the weather gets. Not that we have much to worry about here in quaint little Franklin, TN....but I could totally see the following playing out at Maximo Joes on any given 98 degree weather saturday

Customer 1: I would like an extra giant. blended non-fat, sugar-free frappe with an extra shot of "don't make me fat" in there.

Barrista (aka Josh): Alright, sounds great. That will be $4.72

Customer 1: Oh shoot, i forgot my wallet....

Customer 2: Get out of the way then there are people melting outside that need a sugar free All fruit smoothie!

Customer 1: Why don't you stay out of my bees wax! (pushes customer 2 in the polo and then steps aside pulls out his iPhone and calls his wife sitting in the SUV to bring in the wallet)

That's as bad as it get's here. And that's about all that my hot and muggy brain can muster up today. It was a pretty substanceless post. Sorry if you read the whole thing and got to this point disapointed, I blame it on the heat.

6.19.2009

The Backdrop

Last weekend I received some free tickets to the CMA Music Festival concert on Friday night (one of the many perks of my job working here at the CMHOF Woot woot!) I decided to drag Josh along to the concert with me. This year was our 3rd year going to at least one Music Fest concert together. We always have a fun time sitting up in the nosebleed section buying $15 sodas and $10 mike-and-ikes (just kidding, I hate those things I would never buy them even if they were FREE!)

At this year’s festival we got to the concert just as the sun was setting. Both of us were sweating profusely by the time we reached our seats, because the makers of LP field didn’t think it would be a good idea to put in an elevator of some kind, but rather thought it was a good idea to make people walk up ridiculously long switchbacks…(read: ramps) about 47 times to reach the top. We sat down with our 5 free glow sticks each hot, thirsty and hungry (I think this was also part of the ploy to get us to spend money!) But, as I looked up I noticed in front of my eyes across a field of about 100,000 equally sweaty country music fans and above the neon flashing bright lights of the stage below was a gorgeous indescribably pink/red/yellow sunset.

I pulled out my camera (read: cell phone) to try and take a picture of the soul piercing sunset and after about 2-3 fruitless shots I gave up on capturing the magnificent site. I am not sure if the “don’t stare at the sun or you will go blind” rule still applies at sunset, but I didn’t really care. You couldn’t get my eyes off that sun even if Kid Rock came out on the stage and sang “Picture” with Martina McBride…oh wait. That did happen, but it was much later after the sun had set and it was MUCH less spectacular.

I would say the highlight of the evening would have been the following in reverse order:

3. The free glow sticks - Not just the one’s Josh and I had but the one’s people were chucking off the top balcony of the stadium down into a mass crowd of people…smart. Real smart.

2. The Sprite - We got this about halfway through the concert. I seriously thought I was dying of thirst by the time we caved for the CRAZY expensive drink.

1. The Sunset – Setting the backdrop for the start of the evening, going seemingly unnoticed by the thousands of drunken crazy Country Music fans (God bless em’ for giving me a job), but capturing my attention and reminding me of how big, and creative God is and how abundantly blessed I am.

6.18.2009

Should Women Be Allowed to Preach?

A few days ago I watched a sermon given by Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill church in Seattle on Women and Marriage. For the most part I enjoyed the sermon and I felt like he had some decent things to say. At the end the pastor brought his wife up for a Q&A with the women at the church. The whole thing was pretty insightful until the very end when the pastor looked at his wife right before the closing prayer and said "Now, what you did this morning wasn't preaching was it?" and she replied in what sounded like a pretty canned answer "Nope. I'm just your helper."

I looked at my housemates (who were watching/listening along with me) and said, “That was weird and annoying…” and we exchanged a few words about how that was an odd note to end on and how we all believed that Women should be able to preach/teach at a corporate assembly and moved along.

However, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Inside my head I was tossing around questions “Why did he even have to say that? Did Mr. Driscoll have some sort agenda he was pushing? Why do some churches believe it is wrong for women to teach and preach?” Getting ready for bed my head fuming started to spill out to land on Josh’s ears. We kept going back and forth on why would people believe that way. The Lord used women in so many pivotal leadership roles throughout the bible and history beyond the bible. How could a handful of verses in the New Testament be taken so out of context to hold many women back from their calling for generations? About an hour later we finally fell asleep not really ever coming to a conclusion as to how such a thing could take place.

Over the next few days I kept thinking about the issue and I have formulated a few thoughts on the topic There are two verses in the new testament that fundamental Christians use to argue the point of women not being allowed to preach/teach at a regular body assembly, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15. I feel both of these verses need to be looked at within the context of the specific churches being dealt with at that time.

The church in Corinth had problems with women yelling out to their husbands during church and the specific language points more to it being a problem with one woman rather then covering all women for all time to remain silent in the church. If churches are going to look at 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 literally and out of context how to they explain 1 Corinthians 11:5 where Paul is encouraging women to pray and prophesy to the church. That is hardly being silent...

In Ephesus there was a Gnostic cult of the goddess Artemis, which was promoting the idea that in creation Eve had been the source of Adam. I think Messianic Rabbi Ed Rothma put it best when he said

"It seems as though Paul is addressing the cultural challenges that Timothy is facing by encouraging young women/widows to avoid the Gnostic cults and the temptations of the single life by refocusing on marriage and domestic responsibility. This does not mean that women are forbidden to do anything else or incapable of such, but these were the recommendations of a spirit-led apostle in resolving troublesome community issues of the ancient world” (for his entire article on the subject visit http://www.i-m-f.org/pdfs/Teachings/rabbirothman.pdf

If churches are going to look at 1 Timothy 2:11-15 out of historical context and interpret it literally for all of time then why don’t these same churches hold such a strict line on the surrounding verses. 1 Timothy 2:9 says that women should not wear gold, braid their hair, or have expensive clothing. I am willing to bet that several women in these churches do those exact things but are never called out on it.

Bottom line, if God has anointed someone to preach his Word and bring a message to a congregation, why does it matter if that person is a woman? I believe that the Lord can use ANYONE he wants to bring Truth to the world regardless of the flesh that they were placed in on planet earth. And these churches are holding women back under a spirit of law and they could be denying themselves a meaningful spirit filled message just because these verses were taken so out of context.

6.05.2009

Inherited?

I posted this on my other blog, but I thought I would share it here as well...


I am not sure if this is true or if the bible says anything at all remotely close to the statement I am about to make, but I feel like one of my spiritual gifts I inherited from my mother. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I was given these gifts from Holy Spirit, but sometimes I wonder if Holy Spirit gives families similar gifts. I may be totally off base, but I feel like I received the gift and the heart of intercessor because of my mom.

Growing up I feel like there were hundreds of times I would come home from school, or wake up on a lazy Saturday morning/afternoon to find my mom sitting in her “devotional” spot. (Far left side of the couch, under a lamp, next to a side table, bible open, glasses on, coffee steaming). My mom not only LOVES the word of God, but she LOVES praying for her family. I know she carries a photo of all of us in her Bible and moves along the picture praying over each of our lives. I fully believe it is partly due to my mom’s dedication, consistency, and “ferocious” prayers that I made it to where I am today. Heck, it’s due to those prayers that I made it out of my teenage years alive…seriously.

I believe that the prayers of the saints move things that wouldn’t have moved had they not prayed. Marriages stay together, depression is broken, bodies are healed, minds are renewed, and hearts are restored. My mom did that/does that for all of us. She is gluing everything together with her prayers. She is sealing the metaphorical seal in the heavenly realms of our destinies and moving mountains through her warrior intercession.

Now that I am on the other side of my parents raising me and I am carving out my own path and walk with the Lord, I feel the spirit of an intercessor growing inside of me. Ministry time at church/small group has become one of my favorite parts of the week and some of my most intimate moments with the Lord are when I am in prayer for others. Be it someone standing right in front of me, our country, our president, my family, etc. the Lord continues to give me the words to pray and draw me deeper into his chamber and his arms. And even if she didn’t exactly give me the gift her self, she gave me the gift of her example and I am thankful.

6.04.2009

Keep Pressing Play - Bring it!

On May 11th Josh and I started a new work out program called P90X (stands for “Power 90 Extreme” in case you were curious). Basically, this is a 7 day a week work out and eating healthily boot camp for 90 days. So far the results have been great. We are both feeling stronger, we have more energy and our clothes fit better. Neither of us have seen dramatic weight loss yet, but I am chalking that up to muscle gain partnered with weight loss to balance things out. Today was day 24 and we are actually on our “rest” week which includes some intense core work, yoga, and stretching. (tons of rest eh?)

I never thought I would be like this but since starting P90X on the average day since starting this is now my schedule:

  • 5:45 a.m. – roll out of bed trying to get my dried out contacts back into place on my eye balls while simultaneously trying to cover my body in some sort of decent work out clothing and “Shush” willow while she whines to get out of her cage.
  • 5:50 a.m. – Take willow out to go potty, hopefully avoiding the neighbors so I don’t look like a crazy person with my hair probably still tucked down my shirt because I was to tired to flip it out after getting dressed.
  • 5:55 a.m. – Feed willow, wake up my cute hubby. Wash face, put on tennis shoes. Wake Josh up again. Put willow in her crate. Go downstairs and put in P90X dvd.
  • 6:00 a.m. – Fumble through the fridge trying to find Me and Josh’s smart water
  • 6:05 a.m. – Start “BRINING IT!!!!!!!” read: push play on the dvd player, fast forward through all the legal stuff at the beginning, listen to Tony Horton be weird and tell us why this work out is important and finally start the work out 3.5 mins. Later.
  • 6:30 a.m. – About to die. Part of me is burning (legs, arms, back, lungs?). I am chugging water and dripping sweat from everywhere on my body. (are knees supposed to sweat?!?!?!)
  • 7:00 a.m. – Depending on the day of the week…time for ab ripper…this video does exactly what the title says…
  • 7:20 a.m. – done with work out. Fumble my now shaking body back up the stairs to shower.
  • 8:20 a.m. – Finished getting ready…probably after yelling at willow about 8 times to stop getting in the bathroom trash can…head down stairs for a healthy b-fast consisting of 6 egg whites with some sort of veggie in them and skim milk.
  • 8:40 a.m. – head to work.
  • 10:30 a.m. – try to avoid thinking about bread.
  • 11:30 a.m. – protein bar craving…I love you peanut butter!
  • 12:30 p.m. – lunch big ole salad with chicken and veggies or a Tuna Sandwhich
  • 3:30 p.m. – hello baby carrots.
  • 4:30 p.m. – wish I had more carrots
  • 5:30 p.m. – home, waiting for dinner…hello banana!
  • 6:00 p.m. – dinner with the housemates and willow begging at our feet (so cute!) Consisting of loads of protein, loads of veggies.
  • 6:30 p.m. – quality family time/self time.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Fro-Yo anyone? (aka frozen yogurt)
  • 10:30 p.m. – Crash into bed so I can get up and do it again!

I’m not going to lie, it has been really tough. However, I am really proud of how well Josh and I have been doing. We haven’t missed a single work out day yet even on vacation! AND on that vacation we did pretty well with our eating up through the first part of the vacation. The last 3 or 4 days of the vaycay were rough though, because we were in the south and EVERYTHING in the south is so yummy! (haha)

I find myself actually looking forward to the workouts and wanting more! Over vacation, when I had extra time to spare I sometimes would add an extra work out in (kayaking, yoga, elliptical etc.) It was a good addition. I never would have thought that I would WANT more time to do a double. (Volleyball speak…during training we would have practice 2 times a day 10 – 12 and then 1 – 3, it’s called a double).

We are supposed to take before, 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day photos so I am looking forward to comparing the before with the 30 days next week.

Okay…I am officially crazy and have been rambling for a while now. If you are still reading I am impressed. Hopefully we can stick with it all 90 days. If you are ever up early in the morning, a prayer for strength for both of us is always a good thing.

5.19.2009

Good and Gracious

I am sure I have already said this before, but I just want to reiterate what a good God He is. Over Easter I was in Bloomington, IL visiting my in-laws and when we were about to leave to head back to Nashville I started to panic because I couldn’t find my purse Bible. I received this Bible from my mom about 4 years ago and it is tiny… the size of a check book and convenient to carry in my purse. Older people are always amazed at how small the font is and they will make some comment when they see me reading it like: “give it 10 years missy…” or “I remember when I could read fonts that small...” As fun as those comments are they aren’t the reason that I love my purse Bible so much.

I love my purse Bible because it is the Bible that I started to really dig into the word with. I literally carry it around with me everywhere switching it from purse to purse and pulling it out when I have 5 or 10 spare minutes somewhere. It is underlined all over the place and I have written special notes in the margins on some of my favorite verses.

When I thought I had lost my purse in Bloomington I was devastated and frustrated beyond belief. I couldn’t understand how it went missing nor could I remember the last place I had it. Was it in the car ride down? Did I leave it at the Church Easter morning? Had it fallen out of my purse at some restaurant? Was it at Small group the previous Thursday? Argh! Losing things is not fun…especially when it is something so important to your daily life.

When we got home to Nashville I tore the condo apart looking for it everywhere. Couch cushions. Car. Car trunk. Side table. Mattress. Office desk. It was no where to be found. I eventually gave up hope and started carrying my large bible around, forgetting it for important bible study/church events 85% of the time. Over the next few weeks my frustration grew. I was so angry at the injustice of my BIBLE being lost! Why would my favorite Bible be lost for all time. Why?!

One day while driving home from work I was thinking about how it had been an especially frustrating day at work and I could use some good bible study. I had recently heard a story about a believer who lost his favorite pocket knife and went through a similar situation I was going through - frustration, sadness, frantic searching, giving up -- This particular believer finally at the end of his rope said out loud to the Lord in an empty hotel room “I want my knife back” and out of the sky…the pocket knife appeared and dropped into his lap. Thinking about that story got me thinking about my bible and I thought if God will give a guy his pocket knife back, how much more important is His word! So getting a burst of hope and energy I said out loud in my car “I want my Bible back!” Again I said louder “I want my Bible back!” and finally shouting over and over “I want my Bible back!” I glanced around to see if it had appeared out of thin air…nothing. I reverted to my sad, frustrated state yet again.

That night we had small group. I wasn’t feeling it. During the prayer time at the end all I could think about was my bible so I prayed that he would give it back to me. At the end I was still in cranky mood and left actually crying because of such a frustrating day and feeling lonely and abandoned due to the lack of an answer.

Later that evening while sitting on the couch at home I felt the urge to check the couch one more time for my bible. I shrugged it off thinking…I have already checked there a few times before and there is no way I missed it. Again later, I felt the same urge and I shrugged it off again. Finally, one more time before I went to bed I felt the same urge so I thought, “what can it hurt” I pulled back the couch cushion and there in plain sight sat my purse Bible right next to my “reading the bible in a year” study guide. I shouted and I think I scared my housemates because I was so happy! Right away I went up stairs and started reading it again.

Another life lesson has been taken away from this experience. God wanted me to ask Him for help. He wanted me to know that I can’t do everything on my own and he wanted to reveal to me how good He is and how much He wants to bless me. Also, I didn’t even ask for it or know it was missing, but he gave me my “reading the bible in a year” guide back as well so He even gave me something back that I didn’t know I needed! I am so happy and blessed. Every time I see my purse bible now I am reminded of His amazing love and goodness and my heart bursts with thanksgiving and joy!

5.13.2009

Seasons of Change...but not for me.

I find myself being taught some weird life lessons lately. Lessons, that I honestly didn’t see coming at all. One of these lessons being that post school friends are hard to make and keep. Now, don’t get me wrong, Josh and I have many friends, but there aren’t many, if any, really close unbreakable friendships that have been established outside of college. Yes I am aware that last Saturday it has been 2 years since I walked across that stage in Anderson, IN and moved my tassel to the left side and I maybe should have realized this “lesson” a little sooner than now…but alas, now it is coming to light.

I think the reason I am noticing this now is that all of a sudden the seasons seem to be changing for everyone around me. College and High School graduates of 2009 are preparing for their big walk across the stage. Friends are moving out of state. Friends are having babies left and right. Friends are planning for babies left and right. Friends are leaving the country for extended periods of time. Friends are getting married. And so on and so on…I however, have nothing even remotely like that on the horizon.

I don’t feel like it is bad that I don’t have anything HUGE going on. I actually feel pretty good about it. I guess Josh and I feel like we have kinda “put down our roots” here in Tennessee and we are happy. I am just used to being the one who is having the seasons change. It’s difficult when people drift in and out of our lives, and we can’t easily follow. It makes it hard to stay connected with people and develop deep tight-knit friendships.

People get busy in their own lives and it seems as though they forget about all they left behind. I am totally guilty of this as well. Actually, I am probably one of the worst offenders. I am HORRIBLE at keeping in touch with the people I love and care about most. I guess it’s easy to “forget” about things that aren’t right in front of your face, which is sort of ridiculous…

Anyway, all of this to say that I am waiting on God to see what the “next big thing” is for my life. And as always I am looking forward to hear what He has to say.

4.30.2009

What a Glance Can Do









Since getting our new puppy Willow (aka will-bomb, willster, willhimena, willie, and any variation hence forth...) life has been a little bit different...who am I kidding, it has been A LOT different.

She is a puppy, so there is quite a bit that she still needs to learn about being a good house dog. (read: not pooping on the floor, chewing on my scarves, biting my toes, chewing/playing tug-of-war with my pant legs, or trying to jump up on me while I am going to the bathroom). We are training her with this method called "clicker training." The clicker is a unique sound which helps her to realize what she is doing right faster than just saying "good dog." This is Pavlov at his best. You reward the dog for good behaviors by clicking a metal tounge thingy and then give her a treat right afterward. To sum it up, you click and treat the dog for the good behaviors and ignore the bad behaviors.

Willbomb is really smart and picked up "sit" and "down" fairly quickly. She is also, for the most part, potty trained. We still have to keep a pretty close eye on her, but she can go for several hours with out having and accident and she notifys us that she needs to go by sitting by the back door. The next big thing to tackel is "stay." I have been trying to teach her this command and she just follows me to where ever I go (even if it is just one step) and sits between my feet. It's pretty cute, but I am at a loss at what to do.

It's so funny to me that this little pup, who has only been with us for 2.5 weeks can be so loyal and attached to me and Josh already. We get one step away from her and she has to come and sit between our feet and stare at us. Even though she is not understanding what I am trying to teach her, and is "misbehaving" in a way, my heart melts when her little furry paw reaches out and sets on my foot. Kind of an obvious spiritual lesson to take away there.

If my heart melts at a puppy, putting her paw on my foot because she wants to be close to me, how much more does God's heart melt when we come and want to spend time with and be close to Him even if it is just for a few minutes a day? He loves when we look at Him even if we did just mess up and are coming to him dirty, broken, and sinful! The more we look at Him the more we realize how much we love Him back and the more we become like Him.

This is a reminder to myself that even though I have a little pupster now, and life is busier and more hecktic with her I still need to make time to spend with God, no interruptions, no distractions. Who knows, maybe in that time God will click and treat.

4.14.2009

Since the last one...

It has been a while since my last post and I feel the need to let my avid readers know that I am still alive. I didn't get sucked up in a Tennessee tornado last week, which is good (This is not a joke, and I am not making light of the tragidy that happened last week. I am just stating a fact). Unfortunately, there was some massive destruction from the crazy tornadoes just 20 minutes from my house. I feel blessed to not be "hit" by one of these massive twisters.

Since we last met a lot has happened. Here are some of the highlights
  • Our Church moved to Sunday mornings AND Saturday nights. It's making weekends quite interesting for me and Josh because we can't seem to decided which service we want to attend.
  • My friend Megan is about to pop with twins and everyone is on pins and needles waiting to hear from them when she goes into labor.
  • My husband, Josh, ran his first marathon. 26.2 miles. He looked good at mile 5. Started to fade at mile 14. Looked like he was about to die at mile 19 and got a 2nd wind at mile 20 and cranked out the last 6 miles. The last 6 were either a direct result of the 12 bagles and massive amount of spaghatti Josh ate to carbo load the day before or it was because he heard the song "Take a Chance on Me" from Mama Mia on his iPod. Either way, I am so proud of him.
  • I have decided to lose 20 lbs. I state this like it's not big deal. I think the bigger deal you make out of things, the easier it is to revolt and not do it. I am gunna see if the laid back "no-biggie" approach works. I will let you know if it does. If it doesn't, don't ask.
  • I traveled 6 hrs to Bloomington, IL . Spent a lot of time with the in-laws. Had a glow-in-the-dark easter egg hunt. I got my butt kicked.
  • In Bloomington went to Maggie O'Mileys for drinks with Matt and Chelsea (who are from Nashville).
  • My Family visited me and Josh in Nashville. We had a blast playing cards/settlers, watching movies, eating out.
  • Last but not least.....I GOT A PUPPY! She is a cocker spaniel/poodle mix. Her name is Willow and she is the cutest little thing you will ever see. Driving to pick her up was an adventure with Josh. We ended up having to cut through some back hills in KY and met the breeder in the middle of nowhere in MO. On the way we saw a horse on the side of the free way (weird), a wild pack of dogs with about 6 puppies trailing behind them(cute/weird), a car up on a hill on the side of the free way(weird), a bridge that resembled a roller coaster(scary), and the Mississippi River(BIG!) among other things. I will put up a picture of willow when I can figure out how to without using my broken computer...
That's all for now.

3.26.2009

Hungry


Recently, I have been pondering what it really means to be hungry for God and His word. This lingering thought came after reading part of the book The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway. This is the remarkable story of one man's journey of being a radical Christian at the start of the intense Christian persecution in China.

Near the begining of this mans story Brother Yun talks about how he was DESEPERATE for the word of God when he first came to know the Lord but Bibles were illeagle and incrediblly hard to come by. Brother Yun tells of how he heard of a rumor of another man who had a Bible in a village near his and how he begged this man even to just see the Bible for confirmation that Gods Word still exisits. Because of the risks associated with haveing abible the man said no, but if Yun wanted a Bible he should fast, pray, and cry out to God and the Lord would give one to him.

Anyway, long story short he fasts 2 meals a day and prays for the Lord to give him a bible every day for 100 days. One night in the middle of the night Brother Yun had a vivid dream of two men pushing a cart of bread. The two men asked him if he was hungry for a piece of bread. In the dream Brother Yun says yes, and the men give him a fresh piece of bread in a red bag. Right as he puts the fresh bread in his mouth the loaf turns into a Bible and Yun praises the Lord!

Waking up from his dream he became even more hungry for the Lord's word and frantically searched his house top to bottom to find one. His parents, who he lived with, (for he was only 16 years of age at the time) woke up and were concerned for thier son's sanity. In the middle of the night, in a remote village in China the three of them began to weep and cry to the Lord for Yun to get a Bible.

As they were shouting out thier desperate, end of rope cry, a knock came on thier door. Yun ran to the door and through it asked "Are you bringing the bread to me?"

A voice replied "Yes, we have a bread feast to give you." Recognizing the voice Yun opened the door and on the other side were the two men from his dream and they passed him a red bag with a Bible inside and quickly disappeared into the night. In the book Yun says "I always held that Bible. Even when I slept I lid it on my chest. I devoured it's teachings like a hungry child."

I can't stop thinking about this story. I think as Americans we are so used to having our needs met right away and we are so used to a surface "knowing" of God that the deep desire to go directly into the Heart of God gets lost in all the materialism, TV, Food, and power. We take our and our freedom to worship, pray, and read the Word of God for granted.

After reading this real account of hunger for God I realize how numb and "satisified" my daily life can be. Fake satisfaction it seems now. What am I doing? I want this overwhelming desire that Yun posessed, right? I want to only be filled by the God's Spirit and Word, right. I want to chase after and pursue Jesus with ALL my heart, right? I guess the real question now is...what is stopping me? More to come on this later.

3.23.2009

Busy Life

As always my weekend flies by with little to no time for me to actually recuperate from the previous week. Here is what my weekend consisted of.

Friday night:
  • 5:30 Called a dog breeder to check references and make a deposit on a cute little cockapoo (cocker spaniel/poodle mix) puppy (soon to be the newest member of our family).
  • 6:00 Went over to the Causey's for dinner (Joanna my sister-in-laws parents)
  • 9:00 Got home from dinner and had people over to watch a movie
  • 1:00 Sleep
Saturday
  • 9:30 Woke up.
  • 10:00 Went on scheduled shopping date with sisters-in-law. Ended up being more frustrating than fun because as it turns out... Josh and I have no money.
  • 2:00 Got home and ate some food
  • 3:00 Showered
  • 4:30 Went to church to help with worship
  • 8:30 Got home from church
  • 8:45 had people over to hang out and eat dinner
  • 12:45 Sleep
Sunday
  • 8:45 woke up
  • 9:45 First day for Sunday morning service at our church.
  • 12:00 Immediately after church had a youth event playing Volleyball, frisbee, sardines, and grilling out...
  • 4:30 got home from youth event
  • 5:00 felt obligated to work out at the YMCA
  • 6:15 played tennis
  • 7:30 Went to dinner with friends
  • 9:30 got home
  • 10:30 crashed in bed
  • 12:00 Actually fell asleep...

Needless to say...I feel like I haven't had any time for me to just do "what I want." I know that sounds selfish, but sometimes that's what a girl needs.

I constantly feel surrounded by other people and feel as though I am caught up with making them happy and giving them what they want all the time. It's a frustrating feeling to have. I am caught in the middle of hating being alone but desperately needing some alone time to rest my brain. Not sure how to fix this problem. It is wearing on my nerves and emotions and unfortunately the people closest to me are the ones taking the brunt of the aftermath. If anyone has an solutions...please let me know asap.

3.17.2009

Better

Don't freak out people...I am not depressed. The last post was pretty down but I am feeling much better today. However, I want to remind you that in the very first post of this lovely "withallhearheart" blog I stated that I would be "real" when posting on this site and I hate to break it to you, but, my life isn't all sunshine, candy, puppies, and rainbows people. Sometimes it's messy and sometimes it's pretty, but you have to take the good with the bad if you are going to follow my blog.

I struggled through being "real" and actually laying my heart and true emotions on the line before the last post. It's not that I am afraid of being open. I easily share a lot about my life with my friends and family because they know me. Even complete strangers I am okay with opening up to because I know I will probably never see them again. It's the random acquaintances that I worry about. I know of certain people who read this blog that see me/talk to me once or twice a week and they might start to worry after reading a post like the last one. They might think.."Do I need to be calling her once an hour to be sure she hasn't done something crazy" or "Sheesh, I am never leaving my kids with her again..." after reading what's really going on inside my jumbled head.

After wrestling with that on Monday night before hitting the orange "publish post" button I realized that this writing is something that really helps me process through some of the things I experience in life. I begin to sort emotions out in my head as I type and come to better realize why I act and react the way that I do...so, with that said, just know that I am (for the most part) emotionally stable and this blog has been a great way for me to sort through all my junk and emotions to rise above and learn from my past and that I am not going to take the grit out of my own "auto biography" just to make some acquaintances comfortable.

3.16.2009

The Lights Are Off Right Now...

So I know my last post was hopeful about the sudden shift in me and Josh's life and I want you to know that things are still going fairly well and I am still quite hopeful about the future, because I know everything is in God's hands. However, having change forced into my little-comfortable-perfect routine has been really hard for me to adjust to. I have been feeling sad and lost for the past few days. Almost like when you walk in to an unfamiliar room with the lights turned off and you have to grope around for 30 seconds trying to find the switch which then turns out to be 6 switches and you are flipping them all on and off and none of the lights in the actual room you are in are turning on and you realize that the switches are on the lamps them selves and the whole vicious cycle starts over again...

I have no idea why the-forced-change is making me feel this way. Maybe it is having things out of my "control". Maybe it is having to drive to work by myself in the morning. Maybe it is knowing that everyone else in the house gets to be in relaxed clothes at home. Maybe it's the cubicle. Maybe my calling is being stifled. I don't know. All I know is that more often now, than before "the change" I feel like crying.

Sitting at my desk at work. Driving in my car. Laying in bed. Eating. All the time. I guess I am noticing how much of my day is spent by myself wishing I could be with someone I love. If you are reading this, and I love you, please know that I am in desperate need of more of you in my life...or maybe I don't. Maybe I just need more of Jesus or Holy Spirit. I honestly DON'T KNOW! and I think that is what is bothering me the most...

"Not all who wander are lost."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

3.13.2009

A New Horizon

So yesterday was a pretty big day for the my family (aka me and Josh). Josh has been pretty unhappy at his full-time job at 20/20 research and we had been praying that the Lord would give us a sign for him to be able to quit 20/20 or for the Lord to close the door there with Josh leaving on favorable terms. We were hoping that the sign would come in a monetary form...like Josh would receive some money from one of his side projects, get another job, or a random large check would come in the mail. (I am not kidding about that last one...)

Well yesterday the position at Josh's work was eliminated and they laid off all the Assistant Project Managers at 20/20 (3 people). I guess we got our sign/a very closed door. The company was great about everything. They offered him a good severance, plus a part-time job at the company should he want to continue a few days a week.

Now, I know that this is complete answer to prayer because Josh was feeling stifled at his job and I could tell that his passions and talent could be used elsewhere that would make him happy. But, this is a massive change that I didn't really prepare my heart and mind for. I am still in complete shock. Tons of thoughts and panicked moments start to run through my head. I am now the only person in our house that is working...I am going to have to drive myself to work now and not get the cherished 20 min drive to and from work with my hubby...We are going to be scraping for money again, when just two weeks ago we got to a financial point where we were comfortable...I am not going to be able to get the puppy...so much for a 2 y ear anniversary trip...etc. etc. etc....

I know I am being dramatic and a lot of this stuff won't be an issue after a couple of weeks. The Lord has never let us down. We have always had enough to get by, plus some. One of the big things that is making me feel better about this whole thing is a small "act" that happened yesterday. A few weeks ago Josh's sister had made this painting for him that had one half of a verse on it that says "May the Favor of the Lord rest upon us..." and then the second part of the verse was on a painting that she kept and it says "Establish the work of our hands. Yes Lord, establish the work of our hands."

For the longest time this painting sat next to the TV in our living room. Then I think it moved to the office at our house. But, yesterday, Josh thought - "I am going to take this to work and hang it up" He hung it up above his head at work in his cube. Then got laid off. Took and down, and brought it with him as he walked out of 20/20. The favor of the Lord was upon him as he was being let go. It came with him as he met me at Starbucks to give me the news... and it is with him wherever he is now. I believe the fact that he took that painting with him to work on the day he got laid off was significant. I think it's the Lords was of reminding me that Josh being laid off is in His favor and will for our lives.

Let it be Lord. I am learning to trust in You again. I know You care for us, Father. Please, guide our steps in this unknown time and let us know the next path for our family to take. I am trying to lean on you and let your blessings flow out of this sudden, scary, but good, answer to prayer.

3.08.2009

45 Mins. of Singing Bliss

There are few things in this world that I enjoy more than musical and movie soundtracks. I tend to enjoy the soundtracks even more than the actual musical or movie themselves sometimes. Last Friday night I spent about 15 minutes singing various songs from all sorts of movies, TV Shows, and Broadway shows to my housemates challenging them to see if they could guess where the song came from (I know, we are a rowdy bunch right?). It was so much fun. Surprisingly, my husband knew a lot of the music from childhood Disney movies. Not from watching the movies himself but probably because I have sang them to him so often.

I also found that singing music from Broadway or my favorite Disney movie (read: The Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast) entertains and pleases my little live-in niece Ayla (who is now a cute 8.5 weeks old and a whopping 14+ lbs. Gotta love her!) It was one of the most fun things to see how docile and sweet she can been when I sing these songs to her. I babysat her on Sunday while her parents took a much needed nap. I think we spent a a whole 45 mins of her not crying but smiling at me as I sang some of my favorite tunes from the sliver screen/big stage. Children really do boost self-esteem.

But, never-the-less she eventually got bored and I had to distract her with shiny things (read: her swing, the tan and brown leaf pillows she loves, a wall sconce, boucing around, "Shhing" etc.). And then she pooped...everywhere! (EVERYWHERE!!! read: it got in her hair) I didn't mind changing her though for 3 reasons...
  1. She is my cute little niece whom I love.
  2. It was kinda funny.
  3. She let me sing broadway to her for 45 mins and didn't complain...It's hard to find people like that nowadays.

3.04.2009

What Do I Want From Them?

I starting "writing" in my head a little bit yesterday. I am beginning to believe I need a tape recorder handy to get this stuff down somewhere. Today I was thinking, what do I want to get out of my songs? I don't want to sell hundreds or thousands of CDs. I don't want to makes tons of money and I don't want fame from my music...

Here is what I have decided want from my songs.
I want to write songs that move people into a deeper relationship with the Lord. I want them to ignite corporate and personal worship. I want them to move me. I want them to move others. I want them to be dynamic and not fall flat like so many songs do. I want them to be gripping and poetic, but not in a "Shel Sliverstien way" where everything has to rhyme. I want them to pull someone into the place where they can meet the Lord in an intimate and powerful way. I want them to be from a heart that is searching but inspired by the creative reamls of heaven so they lead the lost to Jesus. I want them to bring a joyful and pleasing sound to the Lord's ear.

3.02.2009

Wired That Way

Yesterday I went to the Vineyard women's book club meeting. I wasn't all that pumped about going because I hadn't read the book, but like my previous post said, I can't stand being home alone for more than 12 hours at a time. It starts to wear on my nerves. So I went.

The book that the women had read is called Wired that Way by Marita Littauer. It is a non-fiction book about the 4 different personality types, their strengths and weaknesses as well as how to relate to and please the other personality types that aren't your own. Not gunna lie, I was very intreigued. I was the only strong "Popular Sanguine" personality type out of the 15-20 women who were present. In reality I am a combo of "Popular Sanguine" and "Powerful Choleric."

As christians reading the book we are challenged to figure out our personallity type, realize what weaknesses we have and try to work on those issues that may offend or hurt others. It was funny reading through the personality types and realizing how accurate they were in the strengths and weaknesses that I posess. Here are just a few of the Sanguine/Choleric Strenghs and weaknesses that I relate to.

Sanguine Strenghs I feel I have
  • Talkative storyteller
  • good sense of humor
  • emontional and dmonstrative
  • expressive
  • curious
  • good on stage
  • lives in the present
  • volunteers for jobs
  • Charms others to work/join
  • starts in a flashy way
  • Seems exciting
  • Loves people
  • Thrives on compliments
Sanguine Weaknesses I have
  • Compulsive talker
  • Exaggerates
  • has a loud voice and laugh
  • scares some people off
  • gets angry easily
  • Controlled by circumstances
  • Complains
  • Undisciplined
  • easily distracted
  • hates to be alone (see yesterday's post)
  • interrupts and doesn't listen
  • answers for others
  • Wants to be opular
  • Wants to be center stage
Choleric Stregths I have
  • Leader
  • Strong-willed and decisive
  • independent
  • sees the whole picture
  • moves quickly to action
  • stimulates activity
  • Will lead and organize
Choleric Weaknesses I have
  • Impatient
  • Quick tempered
  • Comes on too strong
  • Little tolerance for mistakes
  • Make rash decisions
  • May be rude or tactless
  • decides for others
I think knowing more what I am helps me to understand why sometimes other people just rub me the wrong way. After the book-club meeting I asked around to see if I could borrow someones book. I am so excited to read it and figure out what Josh and my family/friends are so I can learn to relate to them in a better way.

3.01.2009

Silent House

After a weekend of non-stop movement and people filling our house I sit on a Sunday afternoon in a quite and empty condo. Josh has gone to Indianapolis for the day and Nathan, Joanna, and Ayla are at church/Jo's parents for the day.

I spent the morning slowly waking up, cleaning from the previous night's festivities, catching up on the best TV show ever (LOST), doing yoga, and wrapping up the mound of laundry that needed to be done. A leisurely morning doesn't happen often around here. I really enjoy it from time to time, but after a while it starts to feel odd....where is everyone? I wish they were home so I could at least be typing this blog next to someone I love. Even if Josh were just in the other room working on ESL Basics or if Jo were upstairs feeding the Ayla I would at least be surrounded by the ones I care about.

It is hard for me to picture myself living alone ever again. When the condo is empty it starts to feel cold and stale...that could have something to do with the snow that came last night or it could be that humans are made to be in community. God made us as relational beings and even if it's hard to find a moments peace and quite when the house is full...I much prefer it that way. :)

2.26.2009

my iPod

So I kinda feel like my iPod has been sending me subliminal messages. For about two weeks now I have had the urge to get back into writing music. I wrote like 5 songs in college, made a weird demo CD in a dorm room and never went back. I did pass a few of said demos out to friends and family just for fun.

Randomlly this week a friend I haven't spoken to in a really long time facebooked me and told me she has been listening to my demo CD for like a week straight and wanted to know if I was working on anything new. I told her not really, but I would let her know.

After that conversation my iPod, which is on shuffle everyday while I am at work, starts to shuffle to MY 3 song demo CD like 2 times a day... Now, the concept of the "shuffle songs" feature is that you iPod is supposed to randomly play through all the songs that are on your iPod. However, I find it ironc that I don't remember EVER hearing my songs on my iPod before this conversation and now it keeps going back to my 3 songs....

It's kinda strange, but, it is effective. I am pretty sure I am going to start writing again...and soon.

2.09.2009

Show Week

The Broadway Review is this weekend at Forrest Hills Baptist Church. The week before opening night is always crazy. It consists of practices till 11:00 p.m. (at least) every night, grabbing food when and where you can, constantly staring at your score and listening to your practice CD non-stop.

In spite of the madness this part of a show is always so much fun. It is when the most bonding happens in a cast. Everyone has to pull together to get it right and no one wants to be the weakest link. The first stumble though is always rough, but somehow by the end of the week things are good enough to get a Standing O on opening night (hopefully!).

I had forgotten how much I love doing this. Can't wait to see how things go on Friday!

2.03.2009

Heavenly Things

The gym I go to is the YMCA otherwise known as "The Y". Being a christian organization they have a philosophy of building up members physical and spiritual health. At the front desk they have a bucket filled with "vitamins"...spiritual vitamins that is. They are little rolled up pieces of paper with a Bible verse or encouraging word on them. Josh and I have a tradition of picking one up every time we leave a work out. To me it is kind of like a Godly fortune cookie for the day.

This morning my piece of paper said "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2. This particular verse is one that I have been clinging to lately. I have been working to memorize Colossians 3:1-4 which reads "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Last night I was reading and being pulled into God by a portion of the book Pursuit of the Holy by Corey Russel. I wanted to share a quote with you from that book. "Setting our minds is not a casual I-will-get-around-to-it-next-week attitude- it's a deliberate, focused resistance to anything that stands in the way of us getting rooted in God and the things of God. Paul was saying our life on earth isn't the extent of our life; that, in reality, we are seated with Christ in heavenly places and our true identity is found in accessing, even living in, the realm of the Spirit..."

This passage of the book and this verse from the Bible remind me that I am just an alien in a forigen land during my time here on earth. It was like God was reminding me this morning, through the vitamin, that he wanted me to place my heart and mind where My true identiy is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenly realms for eternity! While I am here on this planet I want to remain focused on Him and the things above and allow that to radiate through to others around me during my daily walk.

2.02.2009

What Does it Hold?

Sometimes in life I end up disappointed. As I look back on all of these disappointments I realize that a lot of it comes from something I have tried very hard to achieve and then I fail. The goal that I set for myself or the thing I was striving for is just slightly out of my reach and I fall short. My hopes turn to sadness.

Most of the time it isn't for lack of trying on my part. Most of the time I try as hard as I can but it doesn't seem to be enough. There are several moments in my life that I can remember not getting something I wanted SOOO bad and being disappointed. The first one I can remember is was the church Christmas musical. The year before I was the lead angel and LOVED it. I can still remember the solo that I sang. The next year when the parts were posted and I didn't receive a single solo line in the whole show my little 8 year old heart was shattered. I cried and cried. I think I was eventually tossed a bone and ended up playing the part of the christmas box. It was an embarassing costume but I loved performing.

After that some other notable let downs include:
  • 7th grade - not making the volleyball team
  • 8th grade - not making the basketball team
  • 8th grade - not making the cheer leading squad
  • 11th grade - not getting a singing role in the school musical
  • 12th grade - not getting Cinderella in the school musical
  • 12th grade - not getting to sing the homecoming song at the pep-rally
  • Freshman Year College - not getting into Opera Workshop
  • Freshman Year College - realizing that my solo didn't make it onto the candles and carols DVD
  • Junior Year College - Not getting a part in the musical
  • Sr. Year College - being offered a job and then having the job taken away because of timing issues
  • Right now - Being offered a promotion and then finding out that it was given to someone else.
90% of the time most of these situations were horrible and I cried for a few days about them. Confused at why God would even allow me to desire such things, dangle them in front of my face, and let me to fail. And 90% of the time I realized why things didn't work out they way I wanted them to a few months or years later. God had bigger plans in store. He always does. He always knows what he is doing and I am always having to relearn this lesson. I am trying to quickly move on from this most recent upset. It's hard, but I am trying to stay focused on the future that God has in store for me. I have no idea what to expect, but I am excited to find out what it holds.

1.29.2009

5:30 a.m.

I have started working out in the mornings. I am pushing my self to actually train for this years 1/2 marathon. I have set a goal of completing it with a 10 min/mile as my average. That is pretty dang aggressive for me considering last year when I rand it I averaged 13.5 min/mile. To train for this 1/2 I have figured out a work out schedule that incorporates morning and evening work outs 5 times a week.

The past few days I have had a 5:30 a.m. wake up call. Jumping in the car with Josh while it is still pitch black outside and the freezing cold air jolting us to the reality of the day. The first day was rough. Running that early isn't natural and I could barely make it the 2 miles that were scheduled. The next day it was still hard to wake up, but the run was slightly easier. Today waking up wasn't so hard and neither was the run (3 miles). It's crazy how our bodies adjust to routine.

There are 3 things about this whole morning workout that I really enjoy.
  1. The workout is out of the way. You don't have to think about it and dread it the whole day. Also you have a free evening to do whatever you want. If you end up vegging in front of the T.V. that's okay, becuase you ran 3 miles and burned 500 calories that morning. yay!
  2. The feeling you get afterward. You have accomplished something. You got yourself out of bed and pushed your body into submission. Your blood is pumping. Your face is red. Sweat is dripping down your neck and back and you don't have to run anymore. Your done! I think they call that "runners high"
  3. Listening to worship music. I listen to fast worship when I run, and it turns my morning work out in to worship that is glorifying God. Not just selfish ambition to lose weight or do well in a race, but it begins to focus my mind on him and point my day toward the father.

I am hoping to keep this morning workout...heck working out in general, up. If you think about it, pray that I don't get burnt out. Even when the bed is comfy and the alarm would be so easy to turn off, pray that the Lord will remind me of the 3 things mentioned above and that I can have the will power to push through. .

1.20.2009

Thoughts on Authority

A little over an hour ago, we swore in our 44th president. Barak Obama, just became the official President of the United States of America. I know a lot of Christians are concerned, me included, because of some of Obama's moral gray areas, but, I want to remind all Christians of Romans 13:1 which states, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." God Himself has passed the proverbial septar along to our new President. However, just because God has placed Obama in this great area of authority doesn't mean that he is automatically going to follow the will of God. This is where the Body of Christ steps in.

We are at a pivotal time in our nations History, and now more than ever we need to pray. We need to pray that the Lord will shine his face upon the Obama administration and give them direction. That President Obama would encounter the Lord in the night and receive a fresh awakening in his relationship with the Lord. And that GOD'S plan, GOD'S wisdom and GOD'S goverment will increase in our nation and on our planet.

Join me in adding President Obama to our permanent prayer request list over the next 4 years.

1.16.2009

New People

Warning, this post is not intellectual, deep or all that meaningful. It's more or less an update on my life since it has been a while since I posted....

So 2009 so far has been great. It's been quite busy as well. After celebrating Christmas with the Michael side of the family I took Monday off, and watched movies/took down the Christmas tree. This was a pretty funny experience. First of all because I watched Matrix 1 and 2 by myself in a bathrobe all day and also once all the bulbs were off the tree I realized I wasn't sure where the actual tree was supposed to go. Josh and I decided to just try and jam it in our condo dumpster. Turns out that was fine, but technically, you are supposed to leave it on the curb for recycling . For about a day and a 1/2 our dumpster was growing a tree out the top very conspicuously.

Returning to work was stressful. I have been non-stop working. TONS of big projects that are overwhelming. But, it makes the days go by quickly. Also, I started singing with Forest Hills Baptist church in their Broadway review show. I am going to be singing 2 duets which are both really great songs. One is called "For Good" from the show Wicked and the other is called "Stud and a Babe" From the show I Love You. You're Perfect. Now Change. That has been taking up my weekends. It's kinda weird. My life is all busy and when I am in rehearsal I feel like I am back in college. Also, Sometimes I feel like I am not using my talents to praise God when I do shows like this, but really, I am. As long as I give Him all the glory and praise, then it becomes worship. The ultimate form of worship is a life fully devoted to giving the honor, glory and praise to the Lord.

The BIG news of the new year is that my little niece was born this week. 1/13/09 at 8:10 a.m. She was 7 lbs 11 oz and 20.5 inches long. Her name is Ayla Joy Michael (pronounced "eh" like the canadians say). She is the most perfect newborn you will ever see. I love her to pieces. I feel so lucky because she is living with us right now. I get to have a glimpse at what it is like to become a new parent and what the first moments of Ayla's life are like. It's so fun to think that everything she is experiencing is for the very first time. The first thing Josh did when he met her is shake her hand and give her a foot massage. I am sure he will forever tell her that he was the first one to do both of those things with her. I often times find myself sitting at work just thinking about her and wanting to hold her. I never realized how much I could love a little baby burrito! So cute!

1.01.2009

2008 and 2009

So I am going to be cliche and write a post recapping the year 2008 and talking about the upcoming year 2009. I was noticing that 2008 was an interesting and big year for me. Some of the highlights had to include
  • Running a 1/2 marathon and moving into a newly purchased condo in the same weekend.
  • Gaining 2 new roommates in July when Nathan and Joanna moved in with us.
  • My husband and I grew closer to one another. I have a new found respect for him and have realized that he is truly the love of my life and best friend and perfect partner for me. I am so blessed to have him in my life.
  • I fell in love with God. I realized that He is the only one that really matters and my heart feels so in love with Him. I feel so much closer to Him than I did a meager 1 year ago and I am so excited about this journey through the rest of my life diving into him.
  • Josh and I started helping out with the Youth Group at our church
  • I started helping with Worship at our church and realized that worship is where I feel fulfilled and whole. I could spend hour upon hour before the throne worshiping my King and Creator.
  • I have a new found love for my darling family. Ewings and Michaels. Both sides are so unique and amazing. I love my fun crazy sisters, my mom, my dad and all of my in-laws. I only wish that I could spend more time with all them. We just live so dang far away.
In 2009 I plan on continuing with a lot of the previously mentioned things that were planted in 2008. But in addition I have 2 "resloutions" if you will for the new year. I am going to put them on here so my hundreds of thousands of readers can hold me accountable.
  1. I have been feeling an urgency in my heart to know more of the scriptures. The more I thought about it I realized that I don't think I have ever completely read through the book in entireity. The book that I base my life on I don't think I have read all the way through! Crazy! So my first "resloution" or promise is that I plan on trying to read through the whole bible in one year.
  2. Over the Ewing family Christmas my dad blessed me with an amazing gift. He gave me the first guitar that he ever made. It is BEAUTIFUL! And I was so overwhelmed by the generosity that I cried. He worked for over a year on the piece and put so much labor into it and I can't believe he would give me his first "baby." So my 2nd resolution is to learn to play the guitar better and start leading worship at a small group leading from my new Ewing guitar.
At the beginning of 2010 someone needs to check in and see if I followed through with my vows/promises to myself :)