Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009



Our first Christmas: What a joy. It was so fun to spend the day as a married couple, and start traditions of our own...

It officially started on Christmas Eve (which may just be my favorite, I just love all the anticipation of it all). We kind of chilled out during the day (which I found is necessary, whew Christmas is tiring!). Then we went to the candlelight communion service at New Hope. Jason's family attends there with us so they were all there, and then my family came too (except Eden who had to work : /). This is such a sweet sweet service. We sing songs, read scripture, and take communion with your family. I just took it all in. The song "Mystery" by Selah played while we took communion and it is one of my new favorites. It says "Mystery: How He came to be a man. Mystery; Oh what love is this: His death was in His plan". How could it be? The Word became flesh? For us?! To me communion on Christmas is the perfect picture of His story. Simply beautiful.

Next, we came home, and my family came over and we watched "A Muppet's Christmas Carol". This is my favorite movie of all time. I've watched it on Christmas Eve one way or another for years. My sister and I use to watch it as we fell asleep as kids, and this year my family came over to our house and watched it. I still am giddy when Kermit sings "After all, there's only one more sleep til Christmas", and you can bet I'm teary eyed during the "In all the places you find love, it feels like Christmas" song and the "Bless us all" song too. After everyone left, Jason started a new tradition that I just love. We danced in front of the Christmas tree. This year I chose Taylor Swift's "Silent Night" and Judy Garland's "Have yourself a merry little Christmas". Truly magical.

The next morning Jason and I woke up and acted like total 5 year olds : ). We decided we wanted Christmas morning to be just us, and it was just wonderful. In our PJs, we ran to the living room and opened up the gifts from each other. We are pictured below. DISCLAIMER: We are in our PJs aka my hair is a mess (who takes time to fix their hair on Christmas mornin?), and my hottie husband may or may not be wearing a shirt...




For him: a PS3, Harry Potter, some games, candy, and a toboggan! For her a beautiful sweater, cozy socks, a scarf, the new Carrie cd, and what's that you see...around her neck?! Let's see a closer look....
Yes, my husband is wonderful. His Dad has a tradition of hiding jewelery on the tree. Jason has inherited many wonderful things from his Dad including this great tradition! I unwrapped an empty jewelery box and then he told me to search the tree to find my treasure. : ) I just love it!!! Next Jason went and made breakfast (see I told you he was wonderful!!), we sat down and Jas read the Christmas story (a tradition we are excited to continue for years to come), and then we prayed and just thanked our Savior for his unspeakable gift. Then we sang "There's just something about that name" and I cried : ). Here's the scene:
This begins the part of the day where I stink at taking pictures because I left the camera at home (resolution of 2010: take more pictures). After a little down time, we headed to my parent's house. We helped prepare a little food (I took home-made crock pot macaroni), and then sat down to eat with my whole fam plus my sister's boyfriend. Just a great time. Next we opened presents. My parents and siblings are TOO much and we got some wonderful stuff, the favorites being the rest of my Pottery Barn dishes (come to mama) and Jason's box of 100 comic books. Next, we all sat down and played a game called Banana-grams (similar to scrabble) that mom got from Seth.
The next stop of the journey was to Jason's parents house where we ate again (I KNOW!), and then opened ever more wonderful presents (I KNOW!). By far the highlight of this trip was Miss Madison Ann, our 6 year old niece. We gave her the game Mousetrap and after she opened it, she squealed and ran and hugged and kissed both of us. Afterwards, the three of us played a game of it! It was a blast. Then we journeyed back to my parents' house for one more bout of fun. My mom saves one Christmas present for night as to stretch out the day. This year our stockings were held for last. Inside was some candy and a clue for each of us which began the (hopefully) 1st annual Christmas scavenger hunt. We were all running absolutely everywhere and just laughing the whole time!!! Our efforts were rewarded with a collection of gift cards personalized to our favorite places at the end (I got chick-fil-a and Olive garden, yum-o). It was SO much fun!! The day just couldn't have been better, so much great time with the people we love most. We are so, so blessed. John said it best...

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. From this fullness of His grace we have ALL received... ...ONE BLESSING AFTER ANOTHER. John 1:14 & 16



Hallelujah, Amen, Thank you Jesus!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snapshot 12/4/09

Friday night. Wonderful day at work. Laughed a lot with my students, read "Hoot" aloud, talked about bein a Cherokee county native, the uselessness of greed, and what it means to be selfless. Felt like I was making a difference. Ephesians 6 rocked my world. Drew a picture of myself with the armor of god on, proclaimed that the shield of faith can extinguish every fiery dart of the evil one.

Came home, watched Ellen. Jason worked late. Read "Mistaken Identity". Fell asleep on the couch. Jason came home. Love seein him walk in the door. Talk forever about where to eat dinner. Ended up at Longhorn's. People watched and eavesdropped. Laughed a lot. Enjoyed each other.

Went to Wal-mart for groceries. Pointed out cute kids. Talked about what we pictured for our own: "Boy then girl?then adopt? or three of our own (boy, girl, girl)? or maybe just two? the world is make for families of 4? but that doesn't seem like a lot?" Thought about if I would stay at home with kids. Spent about 50$ on stuff like Frosted Flakes and puddin (Jason's picks), stuff for 2 new recipes (pasta with peanut butter in the sauce and a Mexican casserole), and then the normal milk, bread, and bananas. Played a game in Wal-mart trying to shoot stuff in the cart and block the other person's. Jason looked at toys and bu-rays and put random stuff in the cart to see if I notice, as always.

Came home. Put up the groceries. Playfully threw the food at each other. Raced each other to the bathroom (TMI?). Put on PJs. Assumed normal relaxation positions: me laying on the futon and Jason in the recliner. plugged in the Christmas tree.

Now watching "gremlins" (Jason swore it is Christmasy-it is.) I'm lookin at random blogs (mostly Mom blogs). Typin all this without a "g" on my laptop keyboard (paste it in every time). Thinking about grad school, house buying, and babies. Jas is e-bayin while watching. He randomly says "Love you Chels". Think about how I love being married. Think about what an amazing husband I have.

Life could not be better.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The power of the insignificant

God never ceases to amaze me how he can take something totally and completely insignificant and turn it into something powerful and beautiful.
A scarlet thread protects a nation.
An old donkey transports the King of Kings.
A run-down barn is the birth room for the son of God.
Sometimes it's hard to believe God when He tells me that He can turn the insignificant to significant in with my words and deeds, but lately He has been showing me how powerful the insignificant can really be...
If you don't already know, I teach middle schoolers. They are sassy and awkward, but I love them. It's so interesting to watch them interact with peers, and watch their personalities form and shine. I try to make a habit to stand at my door every morning and tell my homeroom "good morning" as they enter. It's so hilarious to watch them come down the hall as the anticipate the interaction. Eyes go darting, hands start fidgeting, but they know what is coming. So many of them still awkwardly look down and don't even muster a simple response. Often through out my day I recall myself as a middle schooler (an occupational hazard, I suppose), and I realize I was right there with them. I would dread these simple interactions. For some reason, the potential for awkwardness terrified me. However, the most frightening thing is, many adults (sometimes even myself) still suffer from this.
However, there is this one student I have, we will say his name is Chris. You have to get the picture to understand. He is a short little fella, probably just a few inches over the 5 foot mark, and he deems it necessary to carry every book and binder and pencil case he has with him for the entire day. He holds his arms out straight and the books seriously almost stack up to his neck. The most enduring part about him is, he walks with a spring in his step, a smile on his face, and a wooden cross necklace around his neck. Every morning, without fail, he comes down the hall, smiles, and greets me. And every morning, it brings a huge smile to my face.
Another "insignificant" experience I had recently at the grocery store. Jason and I were strolling through and this lady stopped us and said "This is random, but I just felt like I needed to tell you that God loves you very much." That brought such joy to me! Jason responded by thanking her and telling her that we knew Him as our savior and thanked her, and that insignificant episode has stayed with me and encouraged me for a few months now. What a great God.

Lord, help me to walk in love as these two examples did, and fulfill the great commission by simply letting my light shine before men. Help me to understand the power that resides within me. Help me to listen closely to the Holy Spirit as He prods me to do things I may not understand, and act quickly in obedience.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Simply Blessed

As I look back over past posts, it seems that I tend to gravitate towards deepish thoughts and such, but I also want to capture my life right now as well. I have just embarked on many new journeys in my life. First, as of today I've been married 5 months and 12 days, and it is wonderful. People ask me all the time how married life is, and I don't know how to tell them how much I love it. I was made for it. I love that I get to spend so much time with my best friend, I love that there is no more making plans to see each other (we can just BE together at our place), I love not being in two different cars, it's so great! And my husband, he is just wonderful. He is such a servant and an encourager, I just love that.

I love that he loves to make dinner, and when he is in charge of the meal, insists that I go sit down in the living room.
I love that he tucks me in every night and kisses me goodbye every single morning.
I love walking into church, holding his hand. To this day, I still get butterflies when I look over and can say that such an amazing Godly man is mine.
I love that he flirts with me while I'm in the choir.
I love that he will go shopping with me (and not a sit on the bench or in the car white I shop, he helps me pick things out, and is great at it).
I love that on Saturdays he wakes up and immediately starts the cleaning routine.
I love that we act like totally idiots around each other (from weird voices to dancing to whatever... we are silly and I am totally myself when it is just us)
I love that he gets to church 2 hours early so I don't have to drive alone to choir practice.
I love that he folded three whole loads of laundry by himself on Monday.
I love that he does little things like plugging up my computer when I've fallen asleep on the couch.

I don't know if we are still in the honeymoon phase, but I am still just smitten. Sure, we've had our times of discussion over things we didn't agree on. And, I realize that love is choice and takes work, but right now it is easy to love him. Our life is so simple and sweet right now. I can't lie and say that I don't think about buying a house and having babies (ok...a lot), but I wouldn't trade this time with Jason for anything in the world. It is absolutely blissful. I don't know if I've ever been happier.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who will rescue my from this body of death?

So many times, I am so frustrated with myself when it comes to self control and discipline, particularly as it relates to my spiritual walk. I am not alone, and unique in this struggle, in fact, the apostle Paul talked about it in length in Romans chapter 7:16:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.
I hear ya, Paul! Although this statment sounds like something a crazy person would say, I struggle with it every day. I would also just like to take a moment and note that Paul was a man that was struggling with this so it can't be blamed on a woman's perrogative. : ) Paul goes on to explain how this is possible in the following verses. He says that the evil he does is because of the sin living in him. He says that in his inner being, he desires to delight in God's law. I am right there too! My soul cries out to glorify the Lord, but then that evil takes over. SO frustrating!! But, Paul's cries of frustration are answered when he realizes that in the end the GOOD shall prevail...
Who will rescue me from this body of death?

How terrible would it be if this question went unanswered? So many people are living on this earth and trying to defeat their sin natures on their own, and this just in, IT CAN NOT BE DONE. I mean ,this is Paul, this guy wrote half of the New Testament and was martyred for his faith, and HE couldn't even defeat his sin nature on his own. So HOW do people think they are going to "be good enough to get into Heaven"? It can not be done.

But, Hallelujah, there's more. There is a rescuer, who is here to SAVE US! The answer to Paul's question... Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through CHRIST OUR LORD!!! (Romans 7:24-25) In the end, we won't be perfected until we see Jesus in Heaven.

He ends by saying, So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. A few songs come to mind on this subject too.
particularly, "Come thou fount of every blessing" which says...

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Take my heart, Lord
Take and seal it.
Seal it for thy courts above.

I love the idea of being SEALED. So many people are confused about their salvation. When it is really, very simple. The presence of the Holy Spirit SEALS US and also HELPS us conquer our sin nature on earth too. The Holy Spirit is the most powerful weapon He has given us for conquering our sin nature. Check out Ephesians 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believe, you were MARKED IN HIM WITH A SEAL, the promised HOLY SPIRIT, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of this glory. That is just awesome!

My prayer this week, is that I will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that I can claim victories on this earth over my own flesh. My pastor challenged us this week to live out Ephesians 4:25-32. Basically it says to put off falsehood, not to be angry in sin, not to steal, to keep unwholesome talk out of your mouth, to rid myself of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice, to forgive others in love, and finally to...

not grieve the holy spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:25
Thank you Lord, for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you that His power is working in me now. Endow me with the spiritual weapons I need to defeat sin. It is you I desire. I pray that every word that leaves my lips, every thought that enters my brain, and every meditation of my heart will be pleasing unto you. Amen

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Jesus will ALWAYS cast a vision into your life"

The above quote came from a Wed night Bible study my awesome hubby did last Wed (10.21.09) from Nehemiah. And, OH MAN, it hit me right between the eyes!! I don't know if others do this or not, but I am just constantly thinking about the "time line" of my life and what are the best decisions I can make especially when it comes to career, babies, money, house, etc. In my heart of hearts I TRUELY want to seek Jesus in ALL of these matters. But I have to be honest and say that often, other factors influence by thinking like pride and greed and other stuff the devil tries to throw at me.
But Wednesday, my Abba Father so lovingly reminded me that my whole life is in his loving hands and that he WILL lead and direct every single step. Thank you Lord!! What a comfort! What a relief! There is so much in this life that we can not control, but HE controls it all, every single breath.
One of the main thoughts I've been dealing with is over my career. I really really like teaching! There are SO many reasons that I really enjoy it. I love the creativity of it. I love interacting with students. I love that it has a deeper purpose (influencing kids). I love learning! I love that I laugh every day! I love the wonderful schedule (home early, breaks, summer)! I love that it is the perfect career for having kids! I love the low stress of it. And on and on it goes! But I still wonder about other career paths! It isn't that I don't like teachin, it's just I wanna do everythin! Even as a child I said when I grew up I wanted to a "veterinarian by day, and a nurse by night!" Ha! Even now I just think it would be a blast to be a lawyer, principal, stay at home mom, work at a place like Winshape Retreat (ministry based), accountant, speech pathologist, and teacher all at once! Can I do that, please? But the Creator has blessed me with this one beautiful life, and I know that I can seek His will and He will lead me down the path that brings Him the most glory! And that is what I desire-to follow HIM and to bring Him glory.
The passion verse comes to mind....
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your Truth,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
Isiah 26:8
Yes Lord, You are what I desire! What a joy that I can lean on YOU, the everlasting Father! Thank you for your still small voice. Thank you for your VISION. Bestow me with what I need to carry out YOUR will, not mine. My profession is not what is important, my life is about You and making You famous. I love you, Abba. Thank you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

One of the most profound ironies I have experienced is the shame and beauty that comes when God reveals a sin in your life. the shamefulness is easy to see, the beauty takes the eyes of the creator. I sit now in that beauty and shame. As the last 18 hours, my Father has been revealing a way that I stray from Him. I want to write about this so I can see the way God is working in me. I am so thankful for this realization. God is purifying me and my heart, and that is the whole purpose of the christian life. Let's just start at the beginning...


It was triggered with an innocent conversation. My words are in italics...


"So, how is teaching going?"

"Great! I feel like I'm really coming into my teaching personality."

"Yeah, I wanted to be a teacher at one time, but I just really want a job that I know I will be able to support myself in."


It probably sounds like nothing to anyone else, but to me it was like a knife to the heart. (Mini-disclaimer: If the person who I had this conversation with happens to read this, please don't feel badly. I know you didn't mean anything by it, and hey God used you! Thank you for that). This topic has bothered me a long time about teaching. Not necessarily the "small" paycheck, more the fact that the job gets very little respect. I feel dumb even saying that out loud, but it is truly how I feel . I remember as a high school senior, when I was trying to decide what to go to major in, I drew a drawing that detailed the big decisions I was facing. I felt like I had to choose between being a big successful person (I was thinking about being a lawyer at this point) or having the white picket fence life. Well, I decided that my life was more about making money or being successful on my own. My life is about becoming like Jesus and serving Him. I thought the best way I could do that was to become a teacher and "love the unlovable (ha, middle school)" as Jesus did.

The truth is, this expands to a much bigger thing than just my choice of profession. It revealed a very ugly sin in my life: pride. God has been bombarding me lately with the idea of humility. Humility is really one of the best words to describe Christ. This year has really helped me to be humble. Just being new and honestly not knowing a lot about what's going on, I am not tempted to feel entitled or be on a high horse. I was talking with a friend and compared it to another time I was new at a job (RA in college). My first year, I was much more agreeable and willing to do whatever because I didn't know any better. But, the second year, I was a senior and a veteran so I took on the totally wrong attitude and wasn't humble at all.

However, I have noticed pride in another area of my life- my marriage. This is really honest, but I want to get it down. I have discovered that I often take things my husband says as an attack when he doesn't mean it as an attack at all. For example, if I cooked something and he says "Maybe next time we can add a little more of this", I take it as he thinks I did a bad job, which he totally didn't. As I was mulling over this realization of pride, I saw pride in those reactions. This is something I am praying about and we are working through together.

This Christy Nockels song really speaks to what I am feeling right now. It is entitled "Choose"..

Let me be in love with what You love.
Let me be most satisfied in You.
Forsaking what this world has offered me.
I choose to be in love with You.
I will choose to be in love with You.
Let me know the peace that's mine in You.
Let me know the joy my heart can sing.
For I have nothing Lord apart from You.
I choose to call on Christ in me.
I will choose to call on Christ in me.
For in the fullness of who You are.
I can rest in this place.
And giving over this, my journey.
Lord I see nothing but Your face.
Let me know that You have loved me first.
Let me know the weight of my response.
For You have long pursued my wandering hear.
I choose to glory in Your cross.
I will choose to glory in Your cross.
And I bow down...Humbly, I bow down...Humbly,
I bow down... I bow down...I bow down, I bow down
my beloved- here I am I bow down, I bow down to You...

I choose you, Lord. I choose love.
Father, thank you for sanctifying my heart.
I long to present it as a clean living sacrifice to You.
Help me to choose humility as you did. Your willingness to humble yourself to death on a cross is amazing. Help me to act in humility to everyone I come in contact with, and especially those I love most. You are the potter and I am the clay. Mold me into what you desire. I humbly bow down to you. All I have is Yours. My whole life Father. Nothing, not success or pride or money or fame or accomplishment, is more important that completing Your work and knowing You.

Monday, September 28, 2009

gratitude community: 1000 gift list

Ten things I'm thankful for today...

0001: My Savior, and that I can call Him Father.

0002: Beautiful music like http://www.playlist.com/playlist/8519029771 that inspires me to lead a more beautiful life.

0003: My husband. The fact that he loves me cranky, sad, silly, mad,...unconditionally. The fact that He puts my needs before his. The fact that this weekend he patiently drove around for 10 minutes on restaurant row while I pouted and said I didn't know what I wanted, and then returned to the first restaurant we stopped at and happily ate there. Then saw me eyeing an overpriced cookie at the mall, and insisted on buying us both one. All to make me happy.

0004: That fact that I get to go stand before a classroom full of 8th graders in a few hours.

0005: Spiritual growth

0006: Wake up calls to remind me to be grateful. Like this Saturday, after complaining about the "eh day", reading a message from a dear friend about her boyfriend who wrecked him motorcycle and is now paralyzed from the chest down.

0007: Biting my tongue instead of complaining and tearing another down.

0008: Waking up right away with the alarm (a miracle!) and having this time this morning.

0009: A gentle reminder from my heavenly Father that all He wants to do is hold me and sing over me.

0010: Lessons in humility that I hope I don't forget. Learning that Christ's way is different that the world's way. Striving. Seeking. Maturing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I've Found the Secret of Being Content

As of lately, I've noticed a trend in my thinking. It seems that I am always pushing forward and wanting the next thing that I do not have. When, I am at work, I am longing for home. I think, oh I just can't wait for 3:15 to come around. But then, I climb in my car and OH if that car would just SPEED UP so I could make it home. Then I finally reach home, the place I've been longing for, and I spend some leisure time (which should be the most content time of the day), but I still find myself wishing that the web page would JUST LOAD, if the commercials would just BE OVER, if I could JUST BE FINISHED with this chapter in my book. I cook dinner, wishing it would just be on the table, but then OH if I could just finish these dishes, and on and on it goes. I lay in bed and anticipate the next day, what I have to accomplish, how I will do it, and then I awaken to start the cycle anew. All day, I hear others wishing the time away as well.

"3 more days until Friday"
"2 weeks until fall break"
"3 months until Christmas"
"9 months until summer"
"6 years until I retire".

One day amidst my wishing and longing for the 3:15 bell, I paused and realized that even when the 3:15 bell did ring, I still wouldn't be content. That is when I began considering my constant discontentment with situations. Immediately Paul's words popped into my head (that still small voice), " I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance" When I arrived home, I searched until I found those words in Philippians 4:11, but the secret expanded to the entire chapter. I was blown away as I began to read...

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


WHOA! So, what is the secret to contentment exactly? Although Paul doesn't totally spell it out, to me the answer comes in the rest of the verses above. The truth is, the perfect circumstances on earth just don't exist. Even those who "have it all" in the world's eyes are often the most discontent (insert sob rich celebrity story here). But, as Christians, nothing on earth is really that bad because it is all in light of eternity. So no matter WHAT happens on earth (from long days to really hard times like sickness, times of want, and death), we can be content because of what the future holds for us. That is why those who seek contentment in worldly pleasures, can never reach it. The only source of true contentment is handing over our lives to the one who created us, and finally living the life we were designed to live. In fact, I can say from personal experenice that the times in my life when I have sought after the Lord instead of the world have truely been the happiest times of my life because of this truth.
So now, I am trying to practice contentment coupled with patience (another thing I've been pondering lately, perhaps another post too). Because no matter the circumstance, I have something to rejoice about....CHRIST IN ME, THE HOPE (contentment, joy, and peace) of glory.


"The greatest gift we can give to our almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love!!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

...and I know He watches me.

26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:26-27

Well, much has happened since my last post. There is so much I could catalog at this moment from the wedding to the honeymoon to married life, but today I write to tell of my wonderful heavenly Father. I suppose I will divulge a little about my new life as a married woman. It is wonderful! What a joy and blessing to get to share life with someone. To get to hang out with your best friend all the time- a dream come true. But, of course, some things are hard too-like the budget. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually like budgets! However, the huge worry roadblock sitting in my head right now is, that I don't have a job yet. Life is so ironic, yanno? One of the reasons I changed my major to education was because I thought it would be a job I could be easily employed with right after graduation. Hmmm..not so much.

So today, more than anything, I want a job. It's not even just about the budget. It's about an opportunity to do what I love-minister to middle schoolers. And then, if I'm being honest, it's about the fact that I think I will go stir crazy if I don't have an opportunity to work. And, if I'm being really honest, it's about the fact that it really screws up my plans.

HOWEVER, I know that everything rests in the hands of my great savior and friend !! This season of waiting has already allowed me to spend some time really leaning into Him, and TRUSTING Him completely. After all, just as the verse says, he even feeds the birds of the air!! The song "his eye is on the sparrow" has been on my heart lately. I know it is my Father telling me to trust Him, and I do. He is the holder of hope. He orders my steps. This week has been spent intentionally talking and listening to Him. With only a few more weeks until pre-planning begins, I am boldly asking the Father for a miracle of getting a job in the midst of a dried up market, and I really believe that He will grant it. In fact, for some reason, I'm feeling good about some good news tomorrow. But either way, He is in control and I will trust and praise Him completely.

Thank you Father for your love and guidance. You are able!! You are loving!! You are wise!! You are good all the time!! I will praise you in the valley and on the mountain top. You are in charge, and you will take care of us. I have laid my request before you, gracious Father, and now as you said, I wait in expectation. Thank you Father for the blessing of being able to put our hope and trust in you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Savor

Today is the eve of the eve of my wedding day. So much has occurred since that beautiful day in March when Jas told me that he will love and pursue me forever. This road to June 20th has been a long one. Filled with much anticipating, researching, stressing, wishing, crying, laughing, and dreaming. But it's here. I'm not sure I quite believe it, but it really is here. My prayer for this week has been that my focus would not be on flowers, make-up, and photos, but rather on my Savior and my future husband. The most important thing about this Saturday is that I am making a vow to the maker of the universe and to the person I love most on this earth. I can't wait to be married to Jason, I pray that I never forget what a gift he is. I can't wait to be relaxing next week in paradise with him. I can't wait to see what our Father has in store for us as a couple and the adventures He will take us on. I can't wait until we are blessed with children and their laughter fills our house. I can't wait to be sitting on a front porch with Jason, crinkled and old, and watching the sun set....But as for now, I can't wait until this Saturday, my wedding day.

Everyone has told me how it flies by. How you can't even remember who you talked to or what you saw because it is such a whrilwind. One of my dear friends was married just two weeks ago and she offered this advice...
Savor every moment

She told me to do everything with complete intentionality. That when I said my vows, to really say them. When I taste my cake, to really taste it. When I talk to guests, really talk to them.

So in honor of the endless checklists I created and checked off during the planning of this weekend. I'll end with one last wedding check list...

  • Center your focus on Jesus and Jas.
  • Do everything with intention.
  • Savor every moment.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plans & Purpose


My Best Friend Amory and I on graduation day.

This is the current question of my life...

"So, you graduated? How do you feel?"


Well...
I feel guilty for even saying this but, I feel pretty crappy. My life has been uprooted (see post below). I miss my friends, my freedom, my schedule, my sense of accomplishment, etc. PLUS, my life is basically a wreck right now. I am living out of boxes filled with expo markers and rain boots next to old textbooks and half used shampoo. Don't get me wrong, I am PUMPED with a capital P about marrying Jas. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have that direction right now. It just stinks because nothing is going according to plan. You see, I am a planner. And I am currently without plan as to what my life will look like over the next year. I have NO CLUE what I am doing as far as a job, and I am not entirely sure I want to make my major my career after all. Basically, I am standing way way back at square 1.


I know that GOD's PLANS ARE HIGHER THAN MINE. I am FORCING myself to believe the truth that God promised that he DIRECTS my paths and ORDERS my steps. I know that He is with me and is guiding my every move, but it is so scary in the fog of plan-less confusion.

But yanno what is great? Although I am plan-less, I am not purpose-less!

I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Pslam 57:2

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverb 19:21


My purpose is not and will never be found in a job title or activity. I am a child of God, placed on earth to fulfill the great commission and bring glory back to God. I am not defined by my own accomplishments. I know that God will provide financially, He already has!! I really don't even desire the frivolous things in life so I don't know why I am freaking out about not having a disposable income when some people don't know where their next meal is coming from. Yes Lord, my purpose on earth is to glorify you, and nothing at all can change that. And if living a year or ten without a job or a plan can bring glory to God then so be it!!

but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose." Luke 4:4

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Rom 9:17









Sunday, May 10, 2009

Changes

Siiiiiiiigh.

I am currently sitting in the apartment that I will share with a husband in 41 days, and staring at unpacked boxes filled with four years of memories from my second home, Berry College.

I can't believe this.

I can't believe I will never return to Berry as a student.
I can't believe I will be a married woman in a little over a month.
I can't believe the whirlwind of change swirling around me.

As I left campus for the last time yesterday, I drove the whole campus and looked out upon all the places where I had created so many memories. The tears flowed from my eyes and I relived many of those memories for a moment; trips to dining hall, walks around campus, driving with music blaring, hours spent in classrooms, quiet times at the chapel, and so much more.

Then I drove home to see freshly painted walls by my wonderful fiance and a room full of gifts that will help make our home from incredible friends and family.

Things, they are a-changing.

I didn't think I would be this sad or emotional. It's not like I don't want to move on. I just feel like a huge and wonderful chapter of my life is over. Even though I know the next chapter is wonderful, it is painful to turn the page.


***********EDIT*************
Even with all this, how GREAT is it to serve a GOD that never changes?!

"I, the Lord, do not change."
Malachi 3:6

Even though things in life are constantly changing. God is CONSTANT and STEADFAST. Circumstances will alter, walls I build will crumble, people I love will die. But MY GOD will never change, and I will trust in Him, THE ROCK on which I build my life.
Thank you God that you never change. You don't mess up. You don't get confused. You don't get behind. You don't worry, panic, or fear. YOU are in control of my life because YOU know what you are doing and I don't.
And as if that wasn't enough, look what else Mr. Never-gonna-change sent my way....
If I say, "My foot is slipping," Your loyal love, O Lord, supports me. When worries threaten to overwhelm me, Your soothing touch makes me HAPPY."
Psalm 94:18-19
New English Translation

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sweet Harmony

One thing that I've heard as a con for getting married young (as I, at 22 years and 17 days old will be doing in less than 3 months) is that, as a young person, you don't really know yourself. I remember hearing that and internally justifying that I definitely knew who I was. My rationale was noble. I knew, and still know, that my identity is found in Christ, and that would never change. However, I'm afraid that the premise wasn't entirely true. As even now I am finding myself to still be coming into myself as it were.
I am, without question, a rational person. In fact, I analyze every small decision I'm presented with. Anyone who has ever gone shopping with me can tell you that, I will stare at/try on/walk around with the same piece of clothing for a long time. Because to even buy a simple shirt I go through a Rolodex of questions such as
"Do I need this?" "Could I find this somewhere else cheaper?"
"What would I wear this with?"
"Where would I wear this?"
I'm like a permanent road block against impulse buys. With that being said, I was pretty sure I basically had my life planned out. In fact, one time I think I actually made a timeline of my life from now until my own prediction of my death. That sounds so ridiculous even now, but, in my defense, I did write at the top "to hear God laugh, tell him your plans".

Can't you just hear him now. I'm pretty sure God has a straight up guffaw. Like a belly laugh that makes others around him chuckle to themselves. He might even cry a little.

There are so many questions I have about what this life will hold...
Will I go to Grad school? Where? When?
Will I start a new career in speech pathology? Or something I've yet to discover?
Will I teach? What grade? What school? Will I be good at it?
Will I have kids? How many? How far apart? What genders? What names?
Will I adopt? When?
Will I stay at home with my children? Will I work part time? What is best?
Will we buy a house? How long will we live in an apartment? Will we build? Where?
Will Jas have the same job? Is that what he wants?
Will my parents/in laws die? Will my siblings get married? Will I have nieces and nephews?
Will we be stable financially? Will it be something I can ever let go?
Will we always go to New Hope? Will Jason always be youth pastor?
Will I ever really come into myself? Will I live a long life?
Will I not sacrifice my life to the American dream?
Will I face tragedy? Will I receive abundant favor?
Will I see the end of time? Will I be confident that I have fulfilled the great commission?
Will I make a difference for the KINGDOM? Will I do what is important? Will I regret decisions?
Will I fulfill God's will for me?

I don't know what the heck I'll end up doing or where my life will lead. I know one thing I don't want to do is to waste my life. I know that life is short, and I don't want to wish it away or spend time doing things that aren't important. My ultimate prayer is that Jesus will guide every single step in my life. I think Bethany Dillion says it best when she said...

Oh Jesus, wherever you lead.
I'll sing harmony.
Yes Lord, I live to bring you praise.
I know that you will guide each step and that you have plans for my life.Show me how to love and live for you best. I lay these questions before you and I trust you alone. Make every choice clear and of you.
Where you lead me, I will follow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I believe love is the answer.

What a day. Right now, I am right in the middle of my time as a student teacher. Mostly, it's been insanely awesome. My supervising teacher, Mr. Jones, is not only one of the best teachers I have ever seen (which is saying a lot, because I have had some GREAT teachers), he is also just one of the finest human beings I have ever known. He is constantly showering me with great advice (take time for yourself), and constant praise (you are heads and shoulders above the rest and next year, you will be giving the pep talks). In fact, I really want to try to record all of the awesome things he says because it's so great.

But today, was different. It may be because I am getting tired and overwhelmed or that Aunt Flow is sure to be visiting soon (sorry, tmi?). But, today I am discouraged. Mr. Jones is always talking to me, and as a self proclaimed "realist", he is usually telling it like it is, which I appreciate. Today, some of the other teachers came in on our daily talk session. There is one thing I really don't like about people in the teacher profession, and that is that they are inherently whiners. Maybe it rubs off from the students? So, begins the depressing whining. They all talked about how there is no way that you can really reach students, and that no matter what you do, that it won't make a difference (ie: they will still end up in jail). So, I asked the question, why do you come to work everyday then? The answers were really varied. One said, it was because every once and a while you will make a difference. Another said it was the challenge of trying to figure everything out. Yet another, said it was family and time off.

But, I wasn't satisfied.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads. Do I really want to teach? Or a better question is, Is that what God has planned for my life? I remember when I decided to change my major from Music to Middle Grades Education. I was in Plains Georgia with my family visiting the Jimmy Carter museum, the summer before my Sophomore year of college. There was some information there about a teacher that President Carter had that told all of her students that "one day, one of you could be president". Mr. Carter detailed what a difference he had made in her life. I felt like God was calling me to do the same. But, was I just changing over because I was scared and really really didn't want to major in music? Was it just the easiest option, or was it ordained by God?

Siiiiiiiiiiigh, all these questions. I started thinking back to that question of why I wake up every day, or basically, what my purpose is in this life. And that, I am sure of. I know that my purpose is to glorify God. The reason I life and breathe and move is to bring glory to Him. So, the question is, is teaching the way I am suppose to do that? There are a lot of things I like about teaching. I love laughing with the kids. I love being in the School. I love being creative and thinking of lessons. I really don't want to be motivated by money in my job choice. I mean, money is so pointless. Can you imagine working you whole life just to make money? How sad! Then, you die, and all your money is pointless! I don't want to waste my life.  I'm asking God to reveal to me what it is He has for my life, and I know he will. 

As I was leaving school today, God gave me this song...

Violence has spread worldwide and there’s families on the streets
We sell drugs to children now, well why can’t we just see
That all we do is eliminate our future with the things we do today
Money is our incentive now so that makes it ok

But I believe that love is the answer
I believe love will find a way

Walk blindly to the light and reach out for His hand
Don’t ask any questions and don’t try to understand

Jesus is the Answer for the World Today
Above Him theres no other 
Jesus is the Way
Jesus is the Answer for the World Today
Above Him theres no other 
Jesus is the Way

My goal and purpose in life is to love God and love people. Lord, show me how and where you want me to do that. May I never miss an opportunity. I still believe that YOU are the answer (and the meaning of life, sorry point of grace reference). I guess it just all brings me to the point that nothing will ever be perfect on earth. Every day in school, I see the good and evil fighting over those souls. I know that Jesus is the answer. I know that LOVE NEVER FAILS. So when I do show them true love, it DOES make a difference. The devil just wants me to believe that it doesn't. I don't want to stop because I am quitting. I don't want to feel defeated. I don't want to run away a cry because my feelings were hurt. No, I will stand and fight and do the best that I can. Lord, help to be a vessel of you. You are the only thing that matters! Life is just a pre-game to eternity. Only what I do here for you will last. Please help to see what exactly that is. Help me see a way TODAY and tomorrow and forever that love is the answer. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

25 Random facts about me

1. To me, music trumps movies any day of the week. I especially love songs with meaningful lyrics. However, I like stupid music too. The current bane of Jason's existence is that I constantly sing "Hey bay-bay!"

2. I'm getting married in 134 days (ok, so maybe you already knew that). Sometimes I can't believe I'm getting married. But, I also can't believe I'm a senior in college, and some days I can't believe that I can drive. Maybe, I have a hard time accepting things.

3. Speaking of getting married, I am crazy about that Jason Leming boy. He is the most respectable, loving, strong, funny, intelligent, good lookin man I have ever known. I can't believe he wants to marry me. I mean, I can be pretty annoying sometimes people.

4. I just missed my mouth and spilled water all down my sweatshirt. So, fact number four is that I am smoooooth.

5. I have a strange obsession with time. I hate not knowing what time it is yet, I don't wear a watch. I am constantly calculating how long it takes me to do different things. Like, it takes an average of 22 minutes to drive from my house to Jason's house, and it takes me 8 minutes to blow dry my hair.

6. I love everything about summertime; the sounds, the smells, the feelings. When, I was about 10 I was riding down the road with my Mom on a perfect summer day, and I decided I wanted to bottle that moment up so I could always remember how sweet summertime felt. I still remember exactly where we were on the road. I also love the 4th of July because I feel like that is quintessential summer time.

7. I'm not a huge cry-er, and I don't love people seeing me cry. But there are a few things that do make me cry... truly sensing the holy spirit, hearing the song "Proud to be an American" with a backing of fireworks on the aforementioned holiday, and when I am extremely angry.

8. I am especially aware lately that life is very, very short. I try my best to live each day remembering that life is just a precursor to eternity, and that only what I do to further the kingdom will count in the end. I am also unusually aware of the fact that someone I love could die at any moment. I know that sounds morbid, but it helps me to do the whole dont-go-to-bed-angry thing. You never know when it will be the last time you see someone.

9. I am all about being intentional. I don't like doing anything mindlessly, which has led to the recent demise of my relationship with T.V. From the separation, I found tons more time to be intentional in doing things like reading the bible and being with friends.

10. I love reading blogs. Some of my favorites are...www.audreycaroline.blogspot.comwww.thebigmamablog.com

11. I find playing Pizza Palace on Webkinz to be extremely relaxing.

12. I am not a very good speller. Some words I always spell incorrectly are speacial, Febuary, and definately. I tell my students that I will purposefully misspell words on the board to see if they catch it.

13.I'm not sure that I will teach my whole life. I am certain that I was suppose to major in it and I will definitely do it for a few years, but there are several things that I don't like about it. But, is there anyone who loves everything about their job? Seriously, I'm asking.

14.I enjoy witty, sarcastic, and ironic humor.

15.I have a love/hate relationship with exercise.

16. I am spending way too much time writing this because I have about 3048927 things to do.

17. I'm anti- stress, and I rarely let things stress me out (but, let's be honest, sometimes stress wins). But, overall, I'm a "don't worry about it" kinda girl.

18. I frequently exaggerate.

19. I love school/office supplies. They make me kinda giddy.

20. I hate the interview question: name three adjectives that describe you. Doesn't everyone say the same thing?

21. My sister is awesome and probably the coolest person I know.I really regret that I didn't figure that out earlier in life, and spent most of my teenage years being unreasonably mean to her.

22. I am not a big fan of driving. I'm not that great at it, and I get lost constantly even going to places I've been 100s of times.

23. I love deep,meaningful conversations especially about theology. Two of my favorite deep convo partners are my dad and my brother.

24. I am a home body. I am so content staying at home all day. I get this from my mom. We like to say we had a didn't-travel-further-than-the-mailbox kinda day. I am a lot like my Mom and also inherited her thriftiness and her nose. I hope one day I can be as loving and selfless as she is.

25. I have awesome friends who are all way cooler than I am. : )

Monday, January 5, 2009

email to Angie

If you haven't heard Audrey's story yet, then it's pretty much mandatory that you go read it, right now. Below is the email I wrote Angie. I wanted to post it because it speaks volumes about our God and word he has done in my life.

Angie,
I've tried to write this email several times, but somehow the words would escape me. In short, I'm one more person to add to the list of people who has been touched by you, Audrey, and your story.
I seriously can't remember how I happened upon your blog, obviously it was the Father's careful orchestration. I was led to it last Fall, and spent an entire afternoon devouring every word. I cried and prayed and asked God to touch you. I had no idea how much more the words would mean to me. A few weeks later I received one of those life changing phone calls. It was my Mom. They had just been told that my 24 year old brother's nagging cough was not from pneumonia, it was a cancerous tumor in his chest.
I fell to the floor of my dorm room and cried out to God. I had never, ever felt so alone. My family was hurting and so far away, and I felt like I needed to be strong for them. My friends wanted so badly to help, but I couldn't talk to them. I locked myself in my room. I was so angry. Why? Why us? We love you! We serve you! I tried to pray, but I could only moan. It wasn't even that the circumstance were so dire. It was just that, for the first time, I felt abandoned, deserted, betrayed, and alone.
I pleaded with God to show himself to me. The God that parted the red sea, that healed the sick, that raised Jesus from the dead, that saved my own soul, SHOW YOURSELF! And then, He did. The almighty God spoke. He spoke through the 3 lb body of Audrey Caroline. He said, "YOU AREN'T ALONE!". I could feel him again. I could feel him as I read and reread every word on your blog. I could feel him as I listened to "all I can say" on your playlist. I could feel him as your blog directed me to think about Jesus in Gethsemane when he too felt
abandoned, deserted, betrayed, and alone.
So, what I'm trying to say is "thank you". Thank you for being Audrey's voice because her story taught me one of the biggest truths I have ever learned. How cool is that? The girl only lived for a few hours, and she's changing lives.
I now proudly count myself among the ranks of the "Sundays", and read your blog all the time. I'm going to try to start commenting, because I just created my own blog (www.rootedinloveeph3.blogspot) and I feel that if I comment I'm not a creeper! Haha! I will continue to pray for you, and laugh with you, and tell everyone that will listen about Audrey's story.



Sunday, January 4, 2009

Modern Bride, Jesus edition

Bah.

I am simply steaming with emotions. So many, in fact, I feel overwhelmed at even listing them, but I'll do my best.

I feel frustrated.
So, I'm getting married in 6 months. Most of the wedding planning has been absolutely great! I am working hard to cherish this time of my life. Anticipating the wedding is so exciting. I love putting my personal touch on things, and finding ways to make the wedding awesome. But, on the other side, there is frustration. For the first time today, I had that "man, we should have just eloped" feeling. Why can't things just be simple? I was talking to my 90 year old great aunt today about when she got engaged and married. She said that the whole process went as follows.

Boy meets girl. Boy says "hey, wanna get married?". Couple goes to court house or preacher's house. Wham, bam, thank you mam.

Crazy how this simple, amazing union ordained by God has been twisted into this THING! A crazy, money-hungry industry that makes people compare themselves to others, to act out of greedy, to feel inadequate, to loose sight of the beauty of the union.


Well, I refuse.

Ultimately, I want my wedding to do one thing, and it isn't what you think...


I want it to bring glory to my Father.

That's what my life is about afterall.

Pinned up next to me is a life mission statement I wrote when I was 18. My mom found it in a old notebook from school, and cut it and out and pinned it up. It says,

"In my few short years on this earth, I want to worship my God, fellowship with others, do what God wants me to do, become like Jesus, and most importantly take as many with me to Heaven as I possibly can."

I hope, in the next few days to make a mission statement for my wedding too perhaps. But I know that the overall goal is already listed above. Today, I failed at this goal. I became frustrated, I let myself feel inferior, I had a bad attitude, I was rude to those who love me, I lost sight of the beauty.

I'm sorry Father for my failures. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you that you are bigger than centerpieces, menus, and bridesmaid dresses. Please help me to focus all that I have on only you. Don't let me loose sight of what is important, even in the midst of chiffon and fondant. I want you more, I love you more.


For what shall it profit a man, If he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Mark 8:36