Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving for Every Day

(Getty & Townend)
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose ev'ry promise is enough
For ev'ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth
Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Game Friday!

(**EDIT**Now you can disregard all info regarding the picture I meant to upload because I've clearly uploaded it now!)
Well, this game was going to be SO much more fun if I had the picture at the time of this post. If I remember to this evening, I'll put the picture in this post so that you can see where my idea for my fun game came from...

I've been doing a lot of reflecting this week, remembering friends and events of this past year as the holidays have now pretty much arrived. We are nearing our one-year anniversary (what?!?) and close friends are also celebrating exciting events in their own lives. Last night as I was going to bed, a particular picture popped into my mind. It was this time last year that I was in Texas where my bestest friend hosted my unforgettable bridal shower. At the shower, a picture was taken of me and all the girls there, all of us linked in some way or another since junior high school and graduated from high school together. What a sweet picture, and it always reminds me of how thankful I am to the Lord for having blessed my life for YEARS with such wonderful, encouraging, Christ-centered ladies.

So with all of that said, here was my fun idea. I was going to post the picture, label all of the girls from left to right, and then invite all of you to take part in this fun game.
RULES OF THE GAME: For each of the girls in the picture, you have to leave a comment that has from 1-3 random memories, quotes, etc. that you think of when remembering that particular person. If it's a quote, it doesn't have to make sense to any of the rest of us (making it all the more humorous, I think!). This is not intended to be serious, so all comments MUST be random and/or funny to you. If you've only heard of a particular person, or just don't know them very well, there is still surely something random that comes to mind when you think of her. (If you honestly don't know them, that's ok, just leave comments for the ones you do know or have at least heard of through another friend.) Does that make sense?

I'll initiate the game so that you can see the list of ladies to whom I am referring (I'll link to their blogs for those who keep one), and also to give you an idea of the kind of comments to leave:

Doing Flips
1. "Farmers use computers to hold their pants up"
2. Me taking 30 minutes to put on a pair of jeans
3. Stealing yogurt from the fridge at Junior Youth Orchestra practice
4. Two words - Mineral Wells

Blessings x 4
1. My very brief crush on your older brother when we were in high school
2. I have a picture of you and Stef on the school bus - I have no idea what I was doing on a school bus for one thing, have no idea why I thought it would be a cool place to take a picture, and it's always the very first picture that comes to mind when I think of the two of you.
3. English class our senior year of high school + sitting next to Jeremy and Brandon = awkward!

You Little O Wife
1. "Ehh, he's kind of a Monet. But THAT guy? Oh, he's definitely a Baldwin."
2. Us spinning down the hall of the hotel in San Antonio at around midnight and you accidentally spinning right into someone's door - Loud thud...silence..."Run!"
3. The Electric Slide to any song ever written in 4/4 time

1. Blind game of tag at your house with sheets over our heads resulting in your knee going into the wall
2. "Ollie Ollie ontadorous...sing it again, oh yes, just sing it again..."
3. One day in high school when we showed up wearing the same clothes, thus the rest of the day was spent walking on opposite sides of the hallway
4. Two words - Mineral Wells

Grace (Me)

Kimberley (Mather, now Brooks)
1. Deciding at some point in school that she was going to put an "e" in between the "l" and "y"
2. One time when we were younger Kim put a match in the wicker trashcan in her room that was still partially lit that she didn't know was still partially lit
3. Driving home from college for the first time, we got stuck in the black hole that is Mineral Wells because my car overheated

So there's the game! Anyone is welcome to participate, and I look forward to reading your random comments!

Monday, November 17, 2008

So This is Love...

My husband was up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed long before I was this morning. By the time I eventually left the house for work, running late as is usual, I had a happy grin on my face. Just to name a few of the reasons why:
  • He knows that I'm the Queen of Snooze... my alarm is set for 6:00am, but I normally don't roll out from under the covers until 6:45. He came in at 6:30 and messed with me until I woke up. Though I was my usual cranky and whiney self, he was persistent until my toes were touching the floor.
  • When he came and woke me up, he said very sweetly, "I pressed the button." I always prepare the coffeepot the night before, and this is the request I often give him in the morning when I'm running late (every morning) and need him to turn on the coffeepot. I panicked when he said he pressed the button because I forgot to actually prepare the coffeepot last night! After I said, "No no no no, there's nothing in there, go turn it off, go turn it off!" he informed me that he went online to learn how to prepare coffee. He got instructions off of some website and made my coffee for me! And I'll happily admit, it was better than mine usually is...
  • As I was running out the door, he was beginning the process of cleaning out and organizing one of the four closets we have been avoiding for quite some time now. I rarely ever ask him for specific chores around the house while I am at work since he has so many demands with his schoolwork, but he took it upon himself to start digging in because he knew it would be such a meaningful gesture for me to come home and not have to think about the chaos that is our coat closet
  • And last but not least in the grand scheme of sweet little random acts, he packed my lunch this morning since I was running late (did I already mention how often I'm running late?). When I got to work this morning, I noticed that he added in a little snack baggy of mini marshmallows..yep, he knows the little things in life that make me smile.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Oh, what a week... It took all my strength some mornings to sort of slide off the side of the bed - not even sit up and place my feet on the ground - but pretty much just fall out. My job is incredibly demanding right now with the constant addition of new clients for which I am responsible. New clients are great for our company, wonderful especially during this stressful time regarding our economy, but it means that my work has quadrupled over the past few months. And this week was particularly trying...

For one thing, I really enjoy my team. Our little team, holed up in the windowless room - once a storage closet, then a conference room, now our "woodshed" as we affectionately refer to it - works really well together, and we really cannot complain about our dynamic and the way in which we get to interact with the rest of the company. We were half-joking and half-serious this week in our conversations about how we hardly ever talk to one another anymore because of the overwhelming amount of responsibility on each of our shoulders. We were downright loopy this afternoon as the workday approached its end.

I was driving home from work on Wednesday night, after dark and after forcing myself away from the desk at 6:15pm when I began thinking about why I was so exhausted and the feeling that it's not going away anytime soon. My mind trailed off and I began thinking about the people with whom I work. I started thinking about what people to do get their minds off of work, the things people do in order to not take their work home with them. What do people do in order to escape the stress, the monotony, the expectations and demands which surround them daily? Groups go out for a drink, women try to escape at a spa or with some other kind of pampering, people get sucked into hours in front of the TV or computer...the list goes on and on. As soon as I got home on Wednesday, I soaked in a hot bath as I continued thinking on these things. I don't drink, I don't pamper myself, I try not to waste too many hours in front of the TV, so what is it that I do personally? Well, subtlety often proclaims the obvious in my book... My way of trying to get my mind off stress is to take a long bath, drink some hot tea, get into my pajamas within an hour of getting home (all signs that I am my mother's daughter). But those aren't the things that had me thinking a couple of nights ago because there are other behaviors in which I engage that loudly proclaim that I am tired and stressed: I don't want to cook, I don't want to do the dishes, I don't want to do anything that requires work...are we seeing a trend here?

For one thing, I live with another person now - my husband. I don't get to hide away in my self-centered pity and "leave me alone" attitude anymore. In short, I no longer escape as easily as I was once able. Someone is there to see the real me, to really talk with and encourage me in the things driving me to mental exhaustion, and that someone is far more important than I am.

Not only do I have my husband to encourage me, but it goes even a step further as I am reminded just about everyday, just about everytime I walk in the door, of the overwhelming blessings in my life. I don't escape the stress like some in my workplace do, so what is it then that I do when faced with pressure and sheer exhaustion from the workload? Is my ultimate satisfaction in treating myself to a relaxing bath or hot tea? When those acts are over and done with, reality will still be there, tomorrow is another day, and the stress will still be there.

With that said, as stressful as this week has been, the end has been much better than the beginning. After my time of reflection and honest confession on Wednesday, yesterday and today were markedly different. My workload has not changed one bit; we still have a ridiculous amount of work piling up. However, I have been able to come home, exhale, and just be thankful. I can come home and completely enjoy my husband and my home, leaving work in its place rather than letting it affect everything else. I can exhale knowing that my life is not defined by work, by how many people I please, by how much I excel. I have learned more than ever before that the Lord does not delight in the strength of man! He delights in those who humbly and honestly admit weakness, and run to Him with all of our burdens. Goodness...praise Him that He is so good and so near when we are weary...

All my life long, I have panted
For a drink from some cool spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Feeding on the filth around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul's sad cry.
Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.
(Chorus) Hallelujah! He has found me
The One my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies all my longings
Through His blood I now am saved.
(Endnote - Thanks to these two sweet friends for posting their own thoughts on those things for which they are so thankful. Your posts were so encouraging and partly responsible for compelling me to write tonight)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Double Shower = Double Fun!

As the title indicates, double the shower means double the fun! A few of us ladies from Grace hosted a double shower this weekend that ended up being so much fun! Rachael and her husband are getting ready for their precious daughter (whose name has yet to be revealed), and Marcie and her husband will be welcoming Owen sooner than later. We were especially glad Marcie was able to come since she has recently been put on bedrest, and also that so many ladies were able to attend the sweet celebration.
We had fun coordinating the food and decorations with the pink and blue. Sarah, one of the ladies in our small group, brought so many great decorations and the delicious cupcakes and pumpkin bread. She really outdid herself with all of the planning and fun games we played. My small contribution included S'more brownies (a.k.a. sugar coma) and the chocolate-covered pretzels with pink and blue sprinkles. Yes, it was an obscene spread of sweets!

~ The glowing mommies-to-be surrounded by a sea of pink and blue~

The last portion of the baby shower involved prayer for Rachael, Marcie, their husbands, and the babies. This was such a sweet time together and reminded each of us of how thankful we are for the friendship and unity the Lord has granted us. I have personally been so encouraged by the women at Grace, as mentioned numerous times before, particularly since I had not had such fellowship until now since moving to Louisville three years ago. It was a sweet time to celebrate with Rachael and Marcie, praise the Lord together for His abundant and undeserved blessings, and to pray His hand of peace and provision over these sweet families~

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wii Will Miss You

Dear friend,
Parting is such sorrow. You must have wondered what you had done wrong as Wii parted ways last week, wondering what you could have done to deserve being given away so suddenly and without warning. After all Wii have been through, the good times Wii have shared, what else could you have done to convince us that you should stay?
Oh, the good times and great adventures Wii had together. I will never forget you taking me on that race over and over again to scratch my competitive itch. How desperately I wanted to leave Yoshi and and Luigi in the dust, and I have you to thank for achieving such victory.
...for the countless times I played the part of Rayman, with my mission being to fend off rabid rabbits with plungers and squirt guns. I will never forget the sounds of those crazy animals as the plungers went flying from my plunger launcher and stuck to their faces. The sights and sounds of a million possessed rabbits trying to take over the world will never be forgotten. Victory is sweet, and the raging rabbits didn't stand a chance.

And then there was the exhilarating taste of adventure you provided. My husband had some pretty awesome times of swinging his sword in hopes of ultimately winning the battle. You provided so much excitement that he could hardly sleep! When the game came to an end, there was nothing left but the memories.
Our parting with you was nothing personal, although I don't know that you will be convinced otherwise. You are meant for excitement, adventure, ceaseless entertainment, not sitting perched beside the television as a mere object for good conversation. You were meant for more, so much more than Wii could provide. Wii knew this was the best choice for you...for us...and with that motivation Wii simply had to part with you. Wii hope that someday you will understand our intentions and forgive us for our decision.
So Wii bid you farewell, dear friend. Remember the good times Wii had and never forget that you brought many laughs, fun times, and attempts at exercise during your stay in our will never be forgotten. Don't dwell on the past, don't mourn our parting. Wii wanted what is best for you, so may you go in peace and bring the same enjoyment and happiness to another family that you have brought to us these past two years.
Wii will never forget you~

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Sweet Heart, The Charmer

Nali and I very hesitantly left for the vet's office this morning. Her echocardiogram was scheduled for 11:00am, and they assured me that I would know the results just a few minutes after it was over. We went into the lobby and didn't have to wait too long before the vet tech called for her. I unfortunately had to wait in the lobby but only for a few minutes.
Let me just say for the record that my dog really is a charmer. I don't say that to boast in my pet, but Nali is a charmer and a flirt. I don't know how many treats the techs and the doctor himself gave her while we were there simply because she's so obedient and completely adorable. While the tech was checking Nali's weight, she licked his face instead of shaking uncontrollably as most dogs would. When they called me back to hear the results of the echo, the vet said, "Wow, she just laid there perfectly calm while we were running the test. I wish all the dogs that came through here were so relaxed!" And of course, Nali being the dog she is who knows when people are complimenting her, she was walking around in circles wagging her tail and smiling the whole time.
The results of the echocardiogram were excellent! Nali shows no signs of heart disease or anything else serious, just a valve in her heart that's not fully cooperating. This is the best news to receive in regard to a heart murmur because it's the most minor cause and leaves little to no reason for concern. All he said was that he will continue monitoring her heartbeat at the annual appointments...and then he gave her another treat before we headed out the door. I think when all was said and done Nali received at least six treats during the half hour we were there!
To wrap up such good news with more good news -
Nali's lost 7 pounds!
I love my dog :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Worth Your Time to Read

Let me begin by saying that on mornings such as this, I am extremely thankful for those leaders and elders who are far more poignant in their speech than I could ever hope. Let me also say that regardless of how the election was going to turn out last night, Christians were going to be faced with crucial issues to contend with as far as our nation is concerned. Whether political, economic, ethical, or social concerns, Christians are always faced with difficult national and world matters, and I have already heard many commentators make mention of this (some of whom may not even be professing believers).

Please take a few moments today, whether stopping in the middle of a hectic workday, or during your quiet moments of prayer and reflection, and read the post Dr. Al Mohler wrote early this morning. I could not have been so eloquent in writing out my own thoughts regarding this unique and nation-altering election:

America Has Chosen a President

In his blog entry yesterday prior to the election results, Dr. Mohler also listed some specific ways in which we can be praying for our country and her leaders:
  • Pray that God will bless America with leaders better than we deserve.
  • We should pray that Americans will be motivated to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship, yet also that we will be stripped of an unhealthy and idolatrous confidence in the power of government to save us.
  • We should pray that God will prick the conscience of the nation on issues of morality, righteousness, and respect for marriage as the central institution of human civilization.
  • We should pray that this election would lead to even greater opportunities to preach the Gospel, and that the freedom of the church will be respected, honored, and protected.
  • We must pray for the church, praying that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ would be strengthened in the truth, grounded in the faith, and empowered for witness and ministry.
  • May God grant us mercy and grace as we seek to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens -- and our responsibilities as Christians. This world is not our home, but we do bear responsibilities as followers of Christ as we are living here. May God bless America, not because this nation deserves to be blessed, but because He is a God of grace and mercy. Oh God . . . save us from ourselves.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Early Morning of Election Day

While the sun was still far below the horizon, with frost on my car and coffee mug in hand, I slipped out my front door this morning to be at my designated polling place in the St. Matthews area. I was glad after all that I decided to arrive early (though my brain and warm sheets were telling me otherwise before I climbed out of bed) since the line was already spilling out the door when I arrived at 6:05.

I tend to jump to conclusions during such crucial times, particularly when so much is at stake. My mind starts reeling at the slightest thought of all the seemingly countless implications that come with whichever candidates are elected. I am reminded of my convictions, the truths which I cannot sacrifice at the altar of comfort, potential change, or even financial stability. If my grandparents were able to persevere through such seasons as the Great Depression and the second World War, then I am encouraged knowing that millions have gone before us through their own significant periods of time. Every generation is defined by particular political, economic and ethical issues, and we have all been reminded in recent weeks and months of those which will define us, those aspects of our time which will be remembered in the history books to come.

The purpose of this post is not to voice my political stance. This is not an opportunity for me to put my opinions up on a pedestal, though I am assuming that those of you who know me can probably guess where I stand during this particular election season. I read a good reminder for all of us on someone else's blog early this morning: candidates are not perfect. With an attitude of humility, we must remember that candidates for any political race are fallen human beings just as we are, and may we exercise the same level of respect and humility towards them as we would hope they would have for us were the tables turned. With this in mind, knowing that we are all imperfect, I can only put forward to you the mindset I had as I approached the voting booth this morning.

It begins with admitting that I don't know all of the details, the ins and outs, of every single issue at stake this year. Particularly in regard to discussions of the economy, my mind starts swimming either out of frustration or confusion (or both). Regardless of the particular issues at hand, all I can do is return to the principles of my worldview. When my head is clouded with what I don't know, I must return to those things which I do know:
  • On what ground do I determine what is right and wrong, ethical and unethical?
  • What is the foundation on which I base all of my principles and convictions? Is that foundation solid?
  • What is a Christian worldview?
  • What are the principles that are fleshed out based on a Christian worldview?
  • What are the principles I absolutely cannot move away from? What are the principles I am unwilling to sacrifice? (i.e. the sanctity of human life)
  • When I set aside all of the media garbage, all of the talking heads and their personal opinions, what are the real issues at stake and what do I truly believe?

These are questions we MUST be asking ourselves as we evaluate the real reasons we are supporting a particular candidate. In a world of imperfect people, leaders included, only one Source is reliable and will lead us into all truth as we seek wisdom. When we don't have all of the answers, when the decisions pertaining to our society and government are muddled, we can rest knowing that there is one Source of truth that is immovable and only on Him can we fully rely. I can't help but think of the opportunity I have as a believer to simply and graciously talk with others, particularly those in close proximity at my workplace, about why I choose the way I do. This is not an opportunity to boast in what we claim to know, to trump our opinions as absolute truth, but to engage in conversation with others when they are receptive. I have learned that it is possible to state your convictions and engage in conversation with others as an opportunity to share grace and truth with them. Seasons of change such as this one are full of opportunities for believers to share the reality that we don't put our trust and hope in man and why we don't! The candidate with whom we align ourselves should represent our worldview (or as close as possible), and as believers we should be prepared at a moment's notice to give an answer for the choices we make, including the candidates we support.

Ponder these words by John Piper written with the past couple of weeks: "We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting. By all means vote. But remember: 'The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever' (1 John 2:17)." Remember these words in any opportunity you are given to engage in conversation with someone regarding the current trends in our society.

While I am on a seemingly endless trend of rambling this morning (I blame rising in the wee hours of the morning!), I will go ahead and close with these brief thoughts I received from my dear friend in a recent email forward:

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.