Thursday, March 28, 2013

Turning Around





So, let’s talk about repentance.

I guess Easter seems like a good season to talk theologically and abstractly about things like that.  But let’s get real with it.

I’ve had a very stressful week.  Mice infestation at work.  Our building caught on fire.  We are having major renovations done (which of course are behind schedule) the week before Easter.  I came within a few miles of blowing out the engine in my car this week.  My glands are swollen again, because that is a symptom that my little chronic fatigued body cannot get rid of.  And I had a migraine the first half of this week.

Worse than that, I was so distracted by these little things that I left every window in my house open for Satan to come in.  I wasn’t paying attention.  I wasn’t turning to Jesus other than to complain.  I was focused on myself and my teeny tiny worldview, and I let the enemy come right in.  And I knew he was there.  And I let him stay.  He ate from my pantry and drank all my Dr. Pepper and I let him sit there for a few days watching my satellite tv before I realized what I was doing.

Cause here’s the thing.  Sin isn’t always a bad moral event like stealing or lusting.  Sometimes it’s fear or unbelief.  Those things are harder to nail down; they’re harder to repent from I think because it’s easy to get half way down the road of fear before you realize what the heck you’re doing.  Whereas, if I steal a candy bar, I know what I’m doing from the time I pick it up.  

My repentance this week was from letting stress rob my joy; from unbelief that God is good to me; from faith in his wonderful plan for my life.  I got freaked out over little things, when really, God was good.  I have mice at work—that means I have a job.  I almost blew out my engine, but didn’t, and only spent $200 to fix a car with 200,000+ miles on it; and he has never not provided what was needed.  Renovations here will be done.  My glands will recover eventually.  My migraine is gone.  And in the midst of this, I had a lot of really great little moments, that I didn’t even stop to be thankful for, and a husband who always hits me straight up with truth right when I need it most (if you don’t think that’s an incredible blessing, you don’t understand what blessings are).

So, for the rest of this week, I will have faith that God is all knowing and that He is good.  That His plans for me are good and well thought out.  That He is blessing me now, as I write these words and as you read them.  I will be intentional about thanking him for the good things; I will praise his name when good things happen and when bad things happen.  He is worthy of my praise, all the time. 

If you catch yourself believing something about God that doesn’t like up with his character and who you know him to me, well, then you have something to repent of.  Make a big wide U-turn from those half truths or quarter truths that life and our enemy try to get us to believe.  Stand on the truth of who God tells us He is.  Believe only the things about Him that He has said.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Currently Crushing

Lately, I've been enjoying/obsessed with the following:

1.  "24"

I didn't watch this show when it came on but caught two episodes in the middle of season 2 on TV last week and I am not lying when I tell you I am obsessed.  Seasons 1 and 2 are on their way to my house compliments of Amazon ($5 for a used season of a TV show?  Yes, please!)  I have had to force myself to stop watching the episodes on TV cause I missed some nights and it's just too intense to skip.  I need to know what is happening!  I also might have a little crush on Keifer Sutherland at this point.  Gracious.

2. 
Laura's blog is one of my favorites.  Her family is so darn cute, her art work is amazing, and I love her thoughts.  Yes, I am one of those crazy people that "gets to know" strangers via their blog.  I absolutely love hers!

3. 
I made these Fluffer Nutter Cupcakes for my C-group last week.  Oh my, they were good!  Super moist, not too peanut buttery, not overly sweet.  Perfect!  Definitely keeping this recipe handy!

4.  

Have you had a Cool Ranch Taco yet?  Me neither, but it is coming.  The regular Doritos ones were amazing.  And my 3rd grade crush was a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.  So me and this baby have got to meet.  I am woman enough to admit that the idea of eating one of these excites me greatly.

5.

(source)

Good Friday is this week.  I am excited not only because I get the day off (though I am looking forward to that), but because we Christians get to celebrate the day that death died; the day that veil ripped in two and we have unlimited access to the great I am.  I get chills every time I think about it.  I'm so thankful for Christ.  How I pray my life brings Him glory!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Of Mice and Men


So, I work with a bunch of men. Now, I have nothing against the male gender, but sometimes, it's hard working with a bunch of men.  They do weird things.  They lose things that you need.  They take forever getting back to you, and that's if they bother getting back to you at all.  They make weird decisions.  In short, they are not women.  They are men.  Sometimes, they drive me nuts.  Sometimes, they think I'm crazy because I am a woman, and not a boy, and I see things differently than they do.

Example.

We had an invasion of rodents in one of our rooms downstairs.  About that same time I and another co-worker started hearing the sound of little rodents in our walls and in our drop ceiling.

Not okay.  Of course, my outcries at rodents being so close fell on deaf ears.  I think they looked at me and were thinking, "Oh how cute, she's scared of mice."  This continued on for weeks on end; no end of the mice.  Last week I heard one overhead that I swear was the size of a house cat or a small Volvo.  My ceiling tiles actually bent under the weight of the monstrous rodent making his way over my head.  This scene is what came to mind:


Ew.

The next day I came to work and was greeted by mouse poop all over my desk.

All.  Over.  My.  Desk.

Double Ew!

Our pest control people were called pronto.  Our pest guy, Joe, came out and was in the middle of helping my wallpaper and carpet my office with bait and traps when our building caught on fire.

It was a very interesting week at work last week.

This morning as I drove to work, I prayed for a boring week at work.  No mice, few men.  And certainly no fires.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, March 22, 2013

$40 for my Sanity

It's funny how sometimes it's the little things that make the most difference. 

As I've mentioned before, I am a total Type-A person; I am uber organized and cannot stand clutter.  Our dining nook (it's more nook than room really) has been a constant source of frustration for me.  We had lined up all the chairs by the windows and had them stacked with boxes; we had crates full of canned goods on the floor from a lack of cabinet space in the kitchen; we had a dresser in there to help contain stuff; and there was a constant tower of things on the dining room table as we just don't have anywhere else to put stuff.  Our kitchen/dining room is also the entry into our house, so there was no "out of sight, out of mind" business going on.  You could see the mess ALL. THE. TIME.

Finally, I had had enough.  I saw a shelving unit on sale for $40 in the Target ad a few weeks ago and off I went to get one.  I tore apart my dining room, got rid of a ton of stuff I determined we no longer needed, pushed the dresser aside (we later sold it on craigslist for 30 bucks), and (painfully and irritatedly) put that shelf together. 

*I do not suggest putting together cheap shelves by yourself.  Blood was shed and some choice words were uttered by me that night. *

In less than two hours, my dining room was transformed.  Never before have I been so thankful for a $40 organizational tool.


No more stacks on the table.  No more storing the crock pot on the floor.  No more tripping over the recycling box. 

Forty dollars, two hours, and a bleeding toe later, my stress level diminished permanently by about 20%.  Definitely a worthwhile investment....even the bleeding toe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little Big Town Concert

For Dave's Christmas present this year, I got us tickets to see Little Big Town in concert.  They are my hubby's favorite band and have quickly become my top pick as well.  Country music needs to get itself together and start recognizing them more because nobody, and I mean nobody, can sing like they can.  Sweet goodness, they are so good!


Here we are all decked out for a night on the town.  Usually we are home in our sweatpants, so putting on makeup for me is a real accomplishment ;)

 
 Waiting outside the Tennessee Theatre.  It was a nice night!

 Inside of the Tennessee Theatre.  I had never been there before.  It reeks of Southern ornateness.

We take great photos ;)

Kacey Musgraves opened.  All of her songs were depressing and about white trash people.  Good voice, horrible songs in my opinion.  Which is a shame; write a happy song woman!

Little Big Town!

Their harmonies are perfection.

The lovely Kimberly; as southern as sweet tea and fried okra.  She's so cute!



The lovely Karen.  She is never off pitch.  Amazing.



 Singing "Pontoon"

Finishing off with "Tornado".  Such a great show!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Satan's Perspective



I saw this recently on The Blazing Center and it reminded me of "The Screwtape Letters" by CS Lewis.   It's good I think to think about things from the enemy's perspective; it gives you a new way to look at things.  

The Anti-Beatitudes as taught by Satan:

And Satan, seeing the horde before him, went down into the parched valley. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the kick-butt, independent, self-sufficient, “I’m strong enough on my own,” people, for theirs is the kingdom of hell.

Blessed are those who feel no sorrow over their sin, and who only express shallow, worldly repentance because of the consequences of their sin, because their hearts shall be hardened.

Blessed are those who have swagger, who make others stagger, who have an entourage, who assert their own rights, who fight for their own agenda, for they shall inherit hell.

Blessed are those who are indifferent to the ungodliness in their own lives and the ungodliness around them, because they will certainly have their fill of sin in this life.

Blessed are those who show no mercy, who demand that every wrong be righted, who easily take offense, and who fight back against their opponents with slander, gossip, and outright brutality, for they shall receive the same in return.

Blessed are those who allow many impurities to infiltrate their heart through seemingly innocent means, such as television, the Internet, relationships, and their smartphones, for they shall not see the face of God.

Blessed are those who cause strife, create division, relish controversy, and pit one man against another, for they shall be called sons of Satan.

Blessed are those who manage to avoid persecution by quietly, “harmlessly”, avoiding public godliness, for they will have large dwellings in hell.

Blessed are you when others think you are fantastic, funny, cool, in, and the life of the party, because of my sake. Rejoice and be glad, for your pain in hell is great, for so they have treated the wicked throughout all of history.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lesson Learned

 
You know how sometimes you're out and about minding your own business and you get this feeling that everyone is staring at you?

I had one of those moments yesterday.  I had gone into Panera and as I was walking out, I felt like everyone in the parking lot was staring at me.  I had gone to the bathroom while I was in there waiting for my food so did a quick check to make sure I hadn't tucked my skirt into my knickers or something.  All was good, so I dismissed the stares, told myself I was paranoid and went home.

The lesson learned here is that if you are ever in the Panera parking lot and think that everyone is staring at you, there is probably a reason.  And if you are going to take the time to make sure your skirt is not indeed, tucked in your undies, then it's probably a good idea to check your other clothing, too.  Say for instance, your shirt.  It's probably a good idea to make sure the middle button hasn't popped open and that you aren't showing the parking lot your last season's clearance Victoria Secret bra.

As it was, I got home, went to the bathroom to change and discovered in the mirror there just why those people had been starting.  My apologies to the poor folk at Panera who thought they must shield their kids from the high class tramp walking out with her shirt undone.

*Face palm.

Lesson:  Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paying Down Debt

February marked the beginning of "Operation: Pay Off Debt" at our house.  We're excited to get cracking on this baby!

We have three sources of debt at this point in our lives:
1.  My student loan debt
2.  My husband's student loan debt
3.  Some medical debt thanks to unforeseen events and really, really crappy insurance.

Our goal is to have every bit of this eliminated in 2 years.  We don't make a ton of money, but there are always ways to save and not spend, and every extra dollar we have is going against this beast of debt.

It really amazes me how many people have debt.  We are so thankful that we have not had to incur any credit card debt so far, and we are prayerfully seeking how to bless God with our finances.  As Dave Ramsey likes to say, the best way to accumulate wealth is to be debt free.  So, that's our plan.

We have scheduled payments on all of debts, and any extra money goes to my husband's student loans, as those have the highest interest rate.  I'm excited to see how our efforts combined with God's provision are going to allow us to be financially responsible, and to zero out this debt as quickly as possible. 

Do you struggle with debt?  I definitely encourage you to check out Dave Ramsey's website.  I don't agree with everything Dave advocates, but I do with most of it.  He gives a lot of sound advice and good motivation to get out of debt.  Here's to building wealth!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Change o' the hour

Hello internet friends!

Did you adjust to the time change this weekend?  I must say, I do not understand people who complain about losing an hour of sleep.  My goodness, in exchange for one measly little hour you get to enjoy longer daylight!!!  No more running errands after work and feeling like it's nearly bedtime.  No more winter blues and wanting to go to work in your sweat pants and eat carbs all the time! (well, OK, those last two I struggle with year round...)  Bring on the sunshine!  I was so happy this weekend that temps here finally crested over 65 that I could hardly contain myself.  Alas, it is going to be high 40's Wednesday.  Winter just can't exit gracefully; she's such a drama queen.

I am recovering from a nasty little respiratory virus.  Darn thing has held on for nearly 2 weeks now.  Luckily I finally broke down and went to the doctor last Thursday.  Can I just tell you what a blessing cough syrup with codeine is?  Sweet glory.  The night I got it was the first night in 10 that I slept more than just a few hours.  Bliss.

Hopefully I can kick this thing soon.  I am aching for the gym.  I need a good workout but at this point wouldn't be able to muster it. I think we'll see how I manage a trip to Target first, and then move on from there.

Ever notice how you get all these ideas and plans for things you want to do when you are sick?  I always plot out the longest to do list and the most elaborate plans when I'm sick.  Go figure that I think of things to do when I barely have the strength to wash my hair and not fall over. 

I did read through an impressive amount of books these past few days as that was the only thing I had energy for.  Details to come on those later.  For now, enjoy your extra hour of daylight!


Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY Chevron Bag

This didn't turn out as well as I had hoped (so sad!), but it was OK.

I bought one of those plain canvas bags at Hobby Lobby along with some blue fabric paint.  I found a chevron pattern online that I liked and started taping away.  (that part was time consuming)


Next, it's time to paint!

I did several coats and I *think* that if I had immediately removed the tape while the paint was still wet, it would have turned out better.  As it was, I sat down to watch TV, forgot about my craft, and didn't pull the tape off until the next day.  The paint had seeped through some places so my lines look messy, which is why I say it wasn't so great a project.  I did some research though and from what I read, removing the tape while it's still wet may have prevented that from happening.

The finished product.  You can see the messiness in the bottom right corner.  Still, it's functional!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

On My Bookshelf

I tend to read in feast or famine mode.  Right now, I am feasting!  I had a terrible cold all this past weekend so read quite a few books as reading was the only thing my body had energy for.  (that and watching "The Hatfields and McCoys" miniseries on History Channel).  Here's what I read/finished this weekend:

Throne of Glass
by Sarah Maas. 
Loved this. The story is gripping, the characters interesting, the setting intriguing.  I love a good story about a pretty girl who can totally kick butt and Celeana is totally that.  There's a love story element but it's not the main focus.  I'm really excited for the sequel to this.  Two thumbs up!

The Kitchen House 
by Kathleen Grissom. 
This was really well written, but the story is just sad, so I can't say that I enjoyed it.  Although I loved Hunger Games, and that wasn't exactly a happy go lucky story.  This is a great piece of historical fiction, and I really liked how it's a great example of patterns of family interactions being passed down.  I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either; the story just wasn't one that I cared for.


Quitter
by Jon Acuff.
I've heard so many things about this book and was excited to finally get my hands on it.  It did not disappoint.  It's all about using your day job to be your safety net and launching platform to achieve your dream job.  I liked that it was full of practical wisdom (none of this Gen X "You can do anything if you just dream it!" crap.)  Excellent read.  He really gives a great perspective on your current job and how to get where you want to be (Hello, hard work!).  Definitely recommend.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hungerby Ronald J Sider.
A must, must, must read if you are a part of Christ's church.  No matter your denomination or political affiliation, you need to read this.  It gives a great Biblical perspective on wealth and the poor.  Definitely recommend. 

What have you been reading lately?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Original Poem

I was flipping through the pages of an old book I've written stories and things in and came across this poem I wrote a few years ago:




I love to feel Your breath on my face,
The sweet touch of Your presence, the soft kiss of grace.
Blowing on the mountain tops right above the trees,
And winding down through valleys low where I sit crying on my knees.
You say a word; You send it out on a breath as light as air,
Enveloping me with God-breath as it rustles through my hair.
Spirit every surrounding-this wind in front and behind,
Come sweep Your breath over my heart and Your whirlwind through my mind.
Wind of God, oh breath of love, sweet Spirit ever near me,
Sweep forever o’er my life and blow always ever so sweetly.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

ABC's of Me

A — available or married?
    Married, oh so happily!  What did I do before I had this man with me?

B — book?
   Just finished Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.   If you like YA reads, you need to read this.

C — cake or pie?
    If I had to choose, I'd go with cake.  Though really, I'd rather have a cookie.

D — drink of choice?
     Water, milk, coffee!

E — essential item?
     Chapstick.  I'm still looking for the 12 step program for addicts like myself of this particular vice.

F — favorite color?
     Pink!

G — game to watch or play?
     Basketball to watch (college only), volleyball if I'm playing.  Or dodgeball.  Or kickball! Oo yeah, kickball!

H — hometown?
     Podunk town in NC where the Walmart is biggest thing we have going on

I  — indulgence?
     Starbucks and baths so long I get all pruny

J  — job?
     Financial and administrative stuff

K — kids and their names?
     Names are figured out, but the kids aren't here yet ;)

L — life is incomplete without?
     Jesus, my husband, friends, books, good food

M — music group of singer?
      In love with Lifehouse and MercyMe right now

N — number of siblings?
     1 by birth; more by spriti

O — oranges or apples?
      Depends...apples in the winter taste yuck, so this time of year I'll take the oranges

P — phobias/fears?
     Creepy Crawly things.

Q — favorite quote?
      "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it."
     
R — reason to smile?
    Spring is coming!

S — season?
     Spring and summer.  I love warm days full of sunshine.  And my toes hate being confined to shoes.

T — tattoos?
     None and none planned.  I think they're tacky.

U — unknown fact about me?
    I believe in fairy tales

V — vegetable you love?
     I'll eat almost anything in a salad or on a sandwich.  Cooked vegetables are another story...

W — worst habit?
     Failure to make eye contact when I talk to people.  Wonder why that is?

X — X-rays you've had?
     One on my foot/ankle.  I think that's it...

Y — your favorite food?
     Blueberries, peanut butter toast, milk, hamburgers

Z — zodiac?
     I follow Jesus; he's the only sign I need ;)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Decision made: Growing out my bangs

My hair and I have a love/hate relationship.  Meaning, I love to hate it most of the time.

I chopped it off a couple summers ago and since then have been letting it grow out.  It's longer now than it probably has been, maybe ever?  And I want it even longer!  In the past when I've tried to grow out my hair I always would end up getting really frustrated because my hair is baby fine but there is a ton of it, so when it's long it just gets so heavy I can't do anything with it.

This time, though, I am resolved.  I have a trim and a thinning out scheduled for next week which will help.  And, I've decided to lose the bangs.

I have had bangs of some sort my. entire. life.

I had full bangs as a little girl and then, when I let those grow out in middle/high school I always kept some sort of bang, even if it was just the push-to-the-side type.

For whatever reason (possibly hormones and job stress), I made the spontaneous decision the other day to grow them out.

I like my bangs but they annoy me because they are either too short or too long most of the time.  You get such a limited window of good bang length.  I trim my own at home to save money and goodness knows I am no hair stylist, so maybe that has lent to the fact that I am just done with them.

So, here we go: operation long hair, no bangs. 

I was looking at pics and think I can pull it off:


Sarah Lancaster
OK, she has bangs, but still, they're very well incorporated into her hair.  (Does anyone else love Sarah Lancaster as much as I do?  First in "Saved by the Bell, The New Class" and then later in "Chuck"...love her!)

from Familiale
This hair is gorgeous.  Granted, so is this girl, so the look will not be quite as fetching on me.  I have a double chin so was always told that I needed bangs to soften my "rounded"  face.  However, now that my nose has outgrown my other facial features, somehow I think the whole no bangs thing will work.  Don't ask me how I reached that conclusion.  I just did,

**Did you know that your nose and ears NEVER stop growing?  It's because they are cartilage and not bone.  I am a bit concerned at this because in recent months I have become aware of just how pronounced (AKA huge) my nose has become.  And I am only 30 people.  I fear that by the time I am an old geezer, I will look something like this:


My husband has quite the nose too, though, so at least we will match. :)