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/



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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.