Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My boys (They're so great!)

There's nothing too major going on right now. It's pretty much the same Wednesday craziness that goes on between work, church, and home. I will mention a couple of things regarding my boys quickly.

First of all, my little man has started a new class at school and has informed me that he's "big" now. He even went as far again to say that he can't be my baby anymore since he's such a big boy. He's turned three, started peeing standing up, and started a new class all in a couple of weeks. Geez, he's growing up so fast. Anyway, he's so wonderful. He really is. I never cease to be amazed by the things he says or does.

Secondly, James and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary on Monday! I love my husband more than words can even say and am so glad he's mine! He's my best friend and I'm so thankful for the seasons we've shared together and the seasons to come. Anyway, I know I've said this before, but I'm so blessed to be married to such an awesome man of God.

Well, I need to get back now, but I'll probably be humming "Must Have Done Something Right" by Relient K all day. It just sums it all up.

Also, we've got a fairly busy weekend coming up: Thomas the Tank Engine Friday night, HP weekend on ABC Family (I'm so darn excited!!!!), probably doing some type of birthday celebration somewhere in there, and church Sunday. All in all, life is good!

Later...
PS: He's my lobster. Am I dating myself by saying that?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Voice of Truth (Women of Joy Trip)

I made mention of the Women of Joy trip with the Bethel ladies a few times before my last series of entries. I really had a wonderful time and I'm so glad I went. It's funny how God knows how to get you to listen to Him. I think it's just one more amazing thing about Him: He's been telling me what He's planned for me for the last nine months, but He knows my heart better than anyone. He knew I needed to be snatched up and put in a different environment for a few days to let the message sink in. I don't know why I'm ever surprised to see God working in this way, but it always makes me smile when I think I realize what He's up to. He's very clever, you see.

James and I have just started this new chapter of ministry at Liberty and we've been praying for so long about me staying home with Matthew or at least dropping to part-time somewhere (anywhere but this place). Things are falling into place and have been for a while. James even started me email updates everyday counting down the days until I quit my current job, the one that sucks the life out of me. I should be excited, right? Well, I couldn't let myself get too excited or even think this is real. I found myself constantly thinking about the gloomy economy swarming around us. It would be so stupid to quit my job when people are loosing their jobs left and right! I've done the math and the figures don't match up. It just doesn't make sense for me to quit. Sure, I know God's been calling me to stay home for so long now. I know I'll do it one day, but now just isn't the time.

Thursday night and Friday night, the first nights of the trip, I prayed for a fresh word from God. I was already being reminded of how God has constantly been my sustainer, my provider, my strong and mighty tower, creator, redeemer, my ever-present help. (Hopefully I've done those words to Charles Billingsley's song justice.) I listened to Kirk Cameron remind us all of the beauty of marriage and family and the importance of following God's will through our families.

Saturday night was when God opened up the curtain and shined the spotlight on me and the fear that has been stirring around in my heart for the last couple of months. I've heard Casting Crowns more times than I can count. I know their songs frontwards and backwards. I could probably get up and sing them if Mark, Melodee, or Megan ever freakishly lost their voices. It's funny how God uses things we've heard a thousand times to get to us. I was fine when I heard the first few notes of Voice of Truth. It didn't last long, though. "Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to step out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves, to step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and He's holding out His hand." He didn't even get the first line out before I wondered if he was talking to me. Then Mark sang, "but the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The waves keep on telling me time and time again, 'boy, you'll never win, you'll never win.'"

By this time, my light bulb had gone off and God gave me the word I needed to hear in a song I already knew by heart. Before Mark even started the chorus, my heart was singing, "But the voice of truth tells me a different story, the voice of truth says do not be afraid. The voice of truth says this is for my glory. Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth." He's just so good! I needed to be reminded that God is in control and that I cannot let myself be afraid. Ah, but there's more to my story from that weekend...!

Friday night when I was having my quiet time, I was searching around in my new Bible I got for Mother's Day. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to read and was trying my best to read something I don't read that often. Maybe Habakkuk or Zephaniah, I don't spend nearly enough time in that area of the Bible. I just couldn't do it though, I was drawn to Jeremiah. Although I could stand to study the entire book of Jeremiah more, I went right on back to chapter 29. There I was again at a scripture I love so much- the very passage I used when I gave my testimony to Bethel's Roaring Twenties class the week of the trip. I love Jeremiah 29:11-13; He's got plans for me- plans to prosper me, not to harm me! I just stayed in those verses and went to bed.

Once again, though, God used Mark Hall to make it all click. Within seconds of "Voice of Truth" Mark said, Jeremiah 29-11 says, "For I know plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future..." I was starting to think Mark Hall was in my head. But then, he said something that really didn't have anything to do with what he was saying, but it was exactly what I needed to hear: "Mommas, breathe truth into those little ones." It was that moment when I got the most overwhelming peace about quitting my job. I've got to quit my job (the job that drains me, that enslaves me) and trade it in for the job I've wanted for so long. What I really want to do is be a stay-at-home mom and be the BEST mom I can be to Matthew, our gift, and be the BEST wife I can be to James. That's what I'm called to do. I'm sure of it.

It may not make sense. It doesn't have to make sense. I don't care about having lots of money (it's not like I'm used to that anyway). God will take care of us like He has time and time again. Barlowgirl's "I Don't Regret" song asks "Why do we think if we trust God too much He will fail us?" So, we're stepping out of the boat and trusting God. I'm quitting my job in August. God used the Women of Joy trip to confirm what I had known in my heart all along. Now, I fully have the peace that surpasses all understanding. I've heard the voice of truth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 5

Okay, so I lied. These aren't life lessons. I know you're heartbroken that this is the last installment so I thought some humor would be appropriate. These are just some of the quotes that cracked me up. Maybe you have to read the books to think they're funny, but there's some good stuff here. Without further ado...

1. ~"Ugh! There have been 11 Azkaban Escapes (or was it dementor attacks???) and all Romilda Vane can talk about is if Harry has a tattoo of a hippogriff on his chest!"

"What did you say?"

"I told her it was a Hungarian Horntail, much more macho"

"And what'd you say Ron's got?"

"I said it was a Pygmy Puff, but I didn't say where"

2. ~ "Percy wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy."

3. ~"Wild! I can make that old bloke down there pick his nose again...and again...and again..."

4. ~ "I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed - or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed."

5. ~ "I'm not putting them on," said old Archie in indignation. "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."

6. ~ "What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows."

7. ~ “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 4

My Favorites

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” The Albus Dumbledore character was a wise man. Think of the many ways people try to numb pain. Some people use drugs and alcohol. Some people have affairs. Some people just run away and think they’ll never have to look back. Nevertheless, you can’t run forever and you can’t out-run God. He knows what you’re going through and He knows what’s best for you. Let Him be your strength and face it head-on.

“We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.” From the Half-Blood Prince, this is yet another quote from Dumbledore. I think we have all had times where we found ourselves sinking beneath our heartache and grief. It’s much easier to let sorrow to consume us that to keep going and put one foot in front of the other. Romans 8:37 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We are conquerors and we can battle on in the name of Jesus! It’s not easy, but He has equipped us with what we need to get through any situation. We can do all things, even while we are going through heartache, through Him who gives us strength!

“No, I think I'll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up.... It always does in the end.” The character Luna Lovegood is talking about her shoes and personal belongings here, not anything too significant, but I like this quote. She’s a lonely girl with the exception of a few friends and she’s used to being the butt of the jokes, but I just like the way she handles things. Matthew 6:34 says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Luna never worried; she just trusted that it would all be okay and realized that worrying about life doesn’t change anything.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Well said, Headmaster. My favorite HP quote of all was yet another line spoken by the great Albus Dumbledore character. This touches on some previous comments I’ve made, but there really is so much to be thankful for, even in our most difficult times. Sometimes God uses these wilderness experiences and heartaches to mold us into the people He needs us to be. It’s imperative that we not only go to God when we’re struggling, but that we stay connected to Him in all of our seasons. That makes it easier to remember to turn on the light and find joy in our most difficult hours. Our reaction to the wilderness is what causes non-believers to take notice and want the very thing that makes us so different: the light.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 3

Miscellaneous Truths

“The best of us must sometimes eat our words.” How true, how true! There’s no need to elaborate.

"Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." Yet another that needs no explanation.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” We do often get so caught up in our fantasies and “what ifs” that we forget life in the “nasty now and now,” as our favorite pastor says. However, life isn’t always nasty. There is beauty and there are blessings in all of our days. Author Nancy DeMoss says, “Anything that makes you realize you need God is a blessing.” She’s talking about any pain, any heartache and any other thing that would typically cause you to bury your head and go into “this isn’t happening to me” mode.

Additionally, the Word tells us in several places to be glad in each day. Each day is made by God and we are to rejoice in them all. Take each day as it comes and look for the blessings that surround you. There is no need to dwell on what might have been or what may come. Rejoice and live!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 2

Facing our Fears and the Unknown

“There was no point in worrying yet.... what would come, would come... and he would have to meet it when it did." I’m a worrier-I know I shouldn’t be, but it’s something I have to fight in my genetic makeup- and this quote speaks to me. In the story, this line shows up as Harry has just realized the massive mission and dangers that lie ahead for him. Even though we don’t all have life-threatening missions in store for us, we do have things in our lives that we dread. This is a reminder that we have to accept that these things will have to be faced at some point or another and that dwelling on them won’t make them any easier to face.

To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. Some people fear death above all else. As a child of God, even though I don’t fully understand death, I do know that death in this life is just the beginning of an amazing eternity and an adventure unlike anything we can fathom.

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” I could be wrong, but most of us don’t really have “enemies” so I just appreciate that this quote points out that we must occasionally confront those we love the most, and that’s usually an incredibly difficult thing to do.

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 1

I started reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling about a month and a half ago. I’m honestly blown away by how good they are and how much insight is spread throughout the pages of these books. There are so many amazing angles and themes throughout this story. I really feel like anyone who criticized these books has probably not taken the time to read them and decide for themselves what the true issues are surrounding this series.

I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes from the books. There is so much truth oozing from these words. Although these concepts are not unknown to me, I think it’s very reassuring to find these little gems of wisdom among the pages of a hugely popular series of books.

Choices- (all of these are spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore)

“It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” These words are so true! This line appears when Harry is dealing with a deep internal struggle that caused him to question his true loyalties, his own character, and his future. This truth applies to everyone, young and old, though. Regardless of our grades, salaries, or bank accounts, our choices speak volumes of who we are and where we are going in our lives. This reality is often much more obvious in hindsight, though.

“The consequences of our actions are so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.” How different would our world be if we considered the consequences of our choices before acting?

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” It could be said for all of us that some type of dark and difficult times are in our futures. It’s part of life. However, some people don’t know how to cope when these times come. They don’t cling to God when they see dark things on the horizon. They run from Him and question His amazing love for us. I guess it can be harder to trust Him when things don’t make sense and it’s just easier to bail out, but the fact that it’s easier to run away doesn’t make it right. We will all have a wilderness experience of some sort, but the defining moment will be how we face it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Case of the Mondays

I wish I didn't have a case of the Mondays today. I've really got so many things to mention, but don't really have the time to properly reflect on any of them right now. For the sake of reminding myself, here are some of the things I need to touch on when I get the chance:

1. Matthew's birthday and party- Can you believe my baby's three? He did inform me last night that he will always be my "Boo Boo." I was so relieved!

2. Mother's Day- I still have a hard time remembering that this day is for me, as well as my mom and the other moms around me.

3. Upcoming trip

4. How awesome my husband is (and smokin' hot)

That's all I can think of right now. I may throw in a little HP for good measure since I'm dealing with some issues with the death of Hedwig and Mad Eye. We'll see, though...

Until then, I have to sit here for a little longer and try to force myself to get something done between now and 5 o'clock. I really do have a case of the Mondays, I promise. More to come when I have time to think...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Not that anyone cares (HP related)...

I was reading Half-Blood Prince at lunch, and just as my lunch hour ended, Dumbledore was killed. Anyone who has read this knows what this means and understands why this has rocked my literary world. How am I supposed to go back to work and function for 2 1/2 more hours? I swear, I can't think and I'm in shock (maybe I shouldn't be in shock, but that's because I trusted him too)! What an awful place to end a lunch hour!

Wow. I know, it's just a book, but, to quote Quincy from Little Einsteins, I cannot believe it!!!!!!

Back to work... (I can pick it back up in just a few hours)...

Until then, I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Latest Rundown

We just finished up another busy week and it doesn't look like our lives are going to slow down anytime soon. That's okay, though. We're quite familiar with being over-scheduled and all of the fun stuff that comes along with it. Here's what we've got going on in the next little bit:

1. Matthew's Backyard Splash Party on Saturday- That pretty much means that this entire week will be devoted to preparing for the party and there will be little time for reading my Half-Blood Prince book. As dorky as it sounds, I did go to lisawhelchel.com and find one of her planners I remembered reading about in her Taking Care of the Me in Mommy book. Not that there's anything wrong with Lisa Whelchel's organizational tips, but some might think an excel spreadsheet of my to-do list is a little over the top. Anyway, this has allowed me to get a daily list of birthday party chores to guide me through the week. Hopefully this will help me remember everything (even the chores that I tend to neglect out of sheer loathing).

2. Mother's Day- Not really sure what we're doing for our moms yet. That's the bad thing about having Matthew's birthday party the day before. It's not easy to focus on both of them. Anyway, we'll have to come up with something this week. I've got some ideas, but I need to run them by the James.

3. Women of Joy Trip to SC next week- I'm heading to SC next week with a group of Ladies from Bethel. I'm super-excited about this trip. I love these Women of Joy conferences anyway. How great to be able to attend with some wonderful ladies from Bethel! I'm not sure who all is going yet. I only know Susan, Savanna, and DJ for sure. I'm anxious to see who else is coming.

4. Liberty- We started a new page in our ministry yesterday at Liberty Baptist Church. We really had a great day and I'm excited about learning more about the church, the people, and the community we now serve. I'm sure we'll be spending the next few weeks learning the ropes there and just getting a general feel for the way they do things there. That's to be expected, though.

5. Roaring Twenties @ Bethel- On that note, I've got two more weeks left with my Roaring Twenties group at Bethel. We're finishing up our most recent study that talks about leaving a lasting legacy with your life. I'm sad to leave this group, but I know they'll be in great hands with Vikki when I leave. She has always loved them and I know she'll be a great example and leader for them. They really are a great group and I know that they will do amazing things with their lives.

Anyway, I guess that's pretty much it for now. Back to work...

I'm back (I guess)

Due to being thrown back behind the firewall at work, I guess I'm going to be using this page again in addition to my myspace blog. I'll do my best to keep them both updated. We had a great, but very busy weekend. Details to come later in the day. It's almost 8, so I guess I need to crank up and get ready to get started.

By the way, Mondays are a really crappy way to spend 1/7 of your life. (I stole that from a piece of flair.)

Later.