Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Next time won't you sing with me?


I saw this fun little gem on my friend Natalie's Blog and thought it would be fun.  (FYI, you should totally check out Natalie's blog.  She's super cool and one of the most crazy talented people that I know!  And, her dog is the cutest animal on the planet.  For reals, go look at her pics)

Anywho, here we are:  The ABC's of Crazy Me





Ambition: To always be telling stories; to be brave enough to write one.  To be a mama who doesn’t base my identity in being a mom but in being in Christ.  To live full and die knowing Christ well but not so well that I’m not beside myself with joy at the idea of being with Him in heaven.
Bad Habit: Getting angry too soon and too often. 
Celebrity Crushes: My first were Luke Skywalker and Bo Duke.  Then in college I watched Wrangler Jeans commercials with glee to see Brett Favre (I only liked him in those commercials though; I’m weird like that).  I had a crush on Gerard Butler that lasted about 1 or 2 of his movies.  Christian Bale has been on my list since Little Women. 

swoon

Drink: I drink water like a camel (really, 128 ounces of it are my minimum most days).  I love coffee, and Dr. Pepper, and milk—nothing beats it!
Education: School of Hard Knocks.  Ha-not really, but life has educated me far more than any actual school I’ve attended. 
Food: Blueberries are my favorite food ever.  Nothing beats a good hamburger and fries.  Muffins are my weakness; any flavor, any time.
Guilty Pleasures: Going to Barnes and Noble and sipping Starbucks while perusing a 12 inch stack of magazines; long, hot baths; dancing in my underwear when I’m home alone


Hometown: Po Dunk North Carolina.  Seriously, growing up the nicest restaurant in town was Pizza Hut and the nearest mall was 2 hours away.  People still think it’s funny that I don’t consider something an hour and a half away to be far. 
Ice Cream: Marble Slab has banana ice cream which is divine when combined with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Sadly, all the Marble Slabs in town closed down.  Sadness.
Jonesing for:  A tan, the 3rd book in the ‘Divergent’ series to come out, and some good barbeque
Kryptonite: Good stories that take me hostage
Look-a-like: I was told once that I look like Drew Barrymore.  I think that comment came from someone with serious vision problems, because I do not see it.  I was also told once that I look like this jazz singer Diana Krall.  I don’t see that either.  Really, I don’t think I look like anybody.

I don't see it...
Movie: Last of the Mohicans is my favorite movie ever.  History, action, romance all tied into one, and taking place in a beautiful setting = fantastic movie.
Nickname: Hubs calls me Mandas
Obsessions: Stories, Marvel movies, books I reread a gazillion times, my hubby, whatever current project I’m into, poor people
Perfume: allergic to it.  I stick with fruity body spray
Quirk: I have a legion.  Here’s a few:  I like my orange juice over ice, salt and pepper on my mac and cheese, I sing when I’m in physical pain, and get more southern in my speech when I’m around people who talk that way
Regret: Letting other people’s desires control my life for so long
Starbucks: Frappuccino, either mocha or peppermint mocha, double blended to make sure there are no chunks of ice in it.  There are few things more maddening to me than spending $5 on a drink and having most of it be ice chunks.  No, thank you
The Last Book You Read: Just re-read “The Negotiator” by Dee Henderson.  Last book I read that was new was ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green
Unique Feature: I’m a natural blond, which at my age, is evidently a rare thing. 
Vacation: Yes, please. 
Wine: Never liked the stuff.  Give me an ameretto sour or long island iced tea and I’m good
 X: solve for it?
Years: 31, and they’ve been good.  Scary to realize that in another 31 years I will be 62.  That’s old people
Zen: Me and Dave, in the jeep in summer.  Love that man.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's go to the beach, each


The hubs and I are going on a road trip this Memorial Day weekend, doing a little tour o'the Carolinas and visiting friends.  As part of this, we are going to a beach.  I mean, other than the name of Jesus, the word beach is the one word that can instantly make me happy.  Give me sunshine and water, and I am a happy girl.  Oh, that God may bless us with sunshine and warm, warm days for our journey.  If I don't come back with some sort of color on this albino skin of mine, I am going to be severely disappointed.

Road trips with my hubs are one of my favorite things.  Add a beach and good friends to that, and man, this is going to be one great vacation!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Something to think about




I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the [b]leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also. 

I was reading this verse in 2 Timothy yesterday and was so floored by how Timothy's faith is described.  'The leaning of your entire personality on God...'-I love that.  Who we are, our hopes, our dreams, our fears, how we react and respond to things, our very sinfulness--can all be leaned on God.

'...in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness'--I think so often I am confident in God's power, but I often doubt his wisdom, and frequently doubt His goodness.  I don't have a problem believing that God is God and can do something.  I have a harder time trusting Him when He chooses to not do what I want, and that in turn makes me doubt His goodness.  Ah, the age old sin, present since the beginning of time, when our crafty little enemy tries to convince us that God's not good.  

I love this idea Paul speaks about of having absolute confidence in the goodness of God.  Even if it's not the goodness we were wanting, that still doesn't detract from the truth that God is good.  I mean think about it:  Just because my husband doesn't get me the exact gift I want for Christmas, doesn't mean that the gift he gave me isn't good or that he isn't good; it simply means that I didn't get what I want.  And getting what I want and God being good to me are not the same thing.  It's here that we have to have that ultimate confidence in His wisdom, and trust that if He says no it's because He's smarter than us and has his reasons.  

God can't be anything but himself, and He is always powerful, and wise, and good.  My circumstances should not dictate who God is to me.  He is who He says He is, and circumstances or emotions do not change that.  It is He who is stable, and I who am not.  I hope He continues to grant me grace to see how He can be trusted with everything; even my entire personality as Scripture says here.  How wild a thought that we have no reason to ever doubt Him.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On my bookshelf

I am a bit of a feast or famine person when it comes to checking out books from the library.  Sometimes I have 6 books in my possession and another 6 on hold.  Other times I go MIA from the library action for a few weeks.

Such a time is now.  I just needed a break from the back and forth to pick up and drop off books and I am one of those people who could re-read books I love a gazillion times and never tire of them.

This week I've started revisiting the O'Malley series by Dee Henderson.  My friend Lacy bought me the prequel for a gift a few years back and man oh man, I loved them!  Now, typically I do not like Christian fiction because as a general rule if a book is Christian fiction it is so cheeseball you could serve Ritz crackers with it at a party.  These books however are the exception to the rule.  They have the obligatory romance line in them but all of the main characters have these really stressful jobs and there is a mystery/action part to each one and the storyline from the previous book plays a minor role in the next book, etc, so when you get to the last one, everything ties together nicely.

I'm also one of those people who can read a book, love it, and two weeks later not be able to put together three coherent sentences about it.  I think I have short term memory problems or something, because for real, I forgot everything.  It's a miracle I can drive home each night to the correct house.  Anywho, that being said, it makes it even more fun for me to go back and read a series I love a year later because I always forget details and it's fun to rediscover things as I reread.

If you haven't read this, do!  They are like CSI meets sappy romance meets Hallmark movie meets Law and Order.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

So, lately

It's almost June.

How did that happen?

Here are my thoughts as of late:

1.  The weather here is finally what it is supposed to be this time of year.  I keep taking trips outside during work to lap around the building and breathe in the air.  Sunshine makes me happy.  Good ole serotonin.  I walked outside a dozen times this week and immediately started praising God for good weather, which led to a praising of other things.  I think I should move to Hawaii so that the nice warm weather there makes me praise God more.  It's for Jesus that I would do it.

2.  Starbucks has a mocha cookie crumble frap this summer.  I am on a budget and try not to flood my body with refined sugar.  Those two truths are waging war with each other.

3.  The hubs and I are going on a road trip over Memorial Day weekend.  One of our destinations is a beach.  I cannot convey the depths to which that statement makes me excited.  May the weather be so nice that I come back with a nice golden tan.

4.  I don't think there will ever come a time in my life where I am not calmed by having a clean house.  I attacked our disgusting kitchen and bathroom floors Thursday night and I swear, that is like Xanax or whiskey to me.  Instantly soothing.

5.  I signed up to do Beth Moore's "Believing God" study this summer at my church.  I've done the study before but never with the videos.  I'm excited!  And timely I think.  God's been showing me a lot of deeply buried lies about him that I've been believing and now that He's made me aware of it, oh buddy, watch out!  He is gonna obliterate the mess out of those lies and half truths.

6.  I've started writing a novel.  Well, I call it my story, cause novel sounds really ambitious and something you complete to get published.  God birthed this story in my heart and I tell you, sometimes I can hardly control myself I get so excited writing it and thinking it up.  I'll be driving home from work and will randomly think of a plot line or something a character would say, just out of the blue,   Blows my mind.  I pray God gives me what I need to finish.  I have discovered it is so life giving for me to create stories like this.  Something I think I've known all my life but that still surprises me.

7.  My landlord is so stinkin' cute.  I made him a pie a couple weeks ago and he's mentioned it about 4 times to me since then.  He really likes them :)

8.  We have baby birds on our porch again this spring.  At first we thought there was only one, but then we found a second, then a third, and now a fourth.  Hubs has named them Spike, Wilbur, Velma, and Gertrude. He now feels guilty because Spike is the only one with a cool name, and his siblings probably resent him for it.

9.  I think I need to christen the summer season with a cherry icee.  This does not correlate with one of the statements in #2.

10.  One of my coworkers gave me a potted gerber daisy plant for Admin Assistant's day.  The instructions said to water it and not to put it in direct sunlight.  Easy peasy right?  Nope.  I killed it.  My gardening name should be "Accidental Killer".  What kind of person can't keep a plant alive?  One who has inherited her mother's black thumb evidently.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Memories of Grandma

We just celebrated Mother's Day last weekend, and it made me think of my sweet Grandma Vivian.  Oh my, how I loved that lady!  I so wish that Dave had been able to meet her before the Lord called her home years ago.

They say that our sense of smell is one of our most powerful triggers for memories, and I can definitely tell when it comes to her.  Every time I cook sausage I think of her.  I remember sleeping in the playroom on the pull out couch and waking up to the smell and sound of sausage and liver mush cooking.  Grandma loved to feed people.  You would show up for a visit (she lived 3.5 hours from us) and would hardly be through the door before she'd be asking you what you wanted to eat.  I loved eating breakfast at her table with her while she drank her coffee.

She always made spaghetti when I was there, and baked beans and coleslaw cause those were my favorites.  She'd sit the food down and say, "If it ain't fit to eat we'll throw it out!", even though her cooking was so darn good.  She had a red chair I always sat in, and another special chair that my cousin Jennifer sat in (I think we felt very special because we girls were the only ones with different chairs). Grandma always had Hershey's miniatures in a jar in the kitchen and peppermint sticks in a drawer.

My cousin Jennifer lived next door and was my age and we spent countless hours together at Grandma's playing.  We would take all the dish towels from Grandma's kitchen drawer and use them for sheets and blankets in our doll hospital, pouring over Grandma's copy of Nurse Nancy and sometimes letting our brothers play.  Grandma would grate up cheddar cheese for us and stick it in plastic tubs for us to take outside and eat.  To this day, I cannot eat grated cheese without thinking of her.

We would spend hours in the trails my Uncle Tim made for her out behind her house, hiding in thickets and pretending it was our own Secret Garden full of fairies and sprites.  Our dads took us tubing in the river not far from her house, and one of my favorite summer memories is catching lightning bugs in jars in Grandma's yard.

I loved the damp, old smell of her basement and all the treasures we kids would find down there amidst old quilts and every issue of National Geographic stacked on shelves.  I loved that Grandma always smelled of Jergen's body lotion.  She took time each day to watch her "stories" and loved "Gone with the Wind."  I can still remember the feel of the old couch she used to have, and hear the sound of her screen door swinging shut.

Grandma was feisty and a woman who knew that loving people meant action (oh glory, I think that's why I loved her so!).  She did so many things for her grandchildren. She called friends to get fabric scraps for me and Jen and our craft obsession.  She took us to get peach ice cream at the peach orchard.  I got her a hat when she started losing her hair from chemo and she wore it all the time, a gesture that meant so much to me.  She was one of the sweetest and gentlest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing; the type of person who would give you every shirt in her closet and then the one off of her back, too, without a second thought.

She kept leftovers in old Cool Whip containers (I have a stack of hers in my house because they remind me so much of her).  She was an incredibly skilled quilter.  I will snuggle my babies with the quilt she made for me some day and tell them about their Great-Grandma Vivian.

I will tell them how she was a fighter and how I hate talking on the phone just like she did.  I will tell them stories of sitting in her living room listening to my dad and Uncle Tim tell stories and crack each other up.  I'll read them Nurse Nancy and watch The Secret Garden a million times like Jen and I did.  I'll make sausage and breathe in that smell and it will make me miss my grandma so terribly, and I'll wish she were here to see my babies grow up.  I like to think of her watching from heaven, beaming down at us all and poking angels in the ribs, saying, "Look there; that's my grandkid."

Oh, I love that lady!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Panic Button

That was easy
You know the easy button that Staples has?  I have a button, only it says "Panic!" and I am really good at pushing it.  

Here is the google definition of panic:


pan·ic  

/ňąpanik/
Noun
  1. Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.
  2. Any of a number of cereal and fodder grasses (Panicum and related genera) related to millet.
(#2 cracks me up by the way...)



That first definition is a perfect description of how I react to things some  most of the time.  I am a control freak, and when something happens that is outside of my hands it evokes fear in me.  Which defies logic because I know, I know, that God is in control of my life and everything in it.  There is nothing that happens to me that doesn't get Ok'd by him, and there is no circumstance I will face that He can't redeem and weave into a really beautiful story.  Beyond that, I am certainly not God and do not possess his skill at handling things.  So why do I get scared when unexpected or stressful things happen? Why do I worry that he is all of a sudden not going to show up and provide?  It defies logic and the truth that I know, yet still, I let fear overwhelm me.

And then, that fear leads to that "wildly unthinking behavior" part of the definition above.  Fear spurs me to action.  I am a woman of action, always doing.  And I think that it's becoming a hindrance, because instead of sitting and trusting, I immediately start doing, which is essentially  my way of trying to control things and be prepared in case God doesn't come through.  

I don't think God is Ok with it, and it certainly does nothing but create stress for me.  The question is, how do I stop it?  I pray during those moments of panic and crazy frenzied action.  I talk to God through the whole thing, but still, my heart and my spirit isn't calm.  I wonder what I'm missing.  If maybe I need to take a few minutes and sit in prayer and not act or even think of acting yet.  Or if my freak outs are Ok as long as they spur me to Jesus?  

Oh, I'm such a Peter!  How did he teach himself to stop his urge to panic?  Or did he?  I guess my action isn't a sin, but the mistrust behind it is.  Why is it so hard for us to trust God sometimes?  I love what Psalm 37 says "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness."  

Feed on His faithfulness.

I need to let those moments of panic make me more of aware of God's faithfulness to me.  He always gets me out of those crazy fearful moments.  He always provides a way.  His ways are loving and faithful.  And He is so wild about me, how would he not make good out of any situation I face?

I hope He continues to teach me to trust, for my moments of panic to become moments of sprinting to Him for protection and provision.  Running to Him is the only action plan I need!  I love that He is stirring in my heart to teach me that.  

Trusting is hard, despite everything I know about God and all that He has proven to me.  And I think that I've come to the realization that no matter how old I get or how spiritually mature I become, that difficulty of trust will never completely go away.  And maybe that's on purpose.  I think that if I so easily trusted him that I wouldn't feel the need to be so pressed into him--that I would become cavalier about my relationship with Him and over time He would reduce in size and just become an easy Staples button, instead of a God I cling to in desperation and realize anew just how big He is.  

Fear is an invitation; will I trust Him, or will I not?  I guess in that respect it's not a matter of is He trustworthy, but rather, will he be now?  God is unchanging; the same yesterday, today, and forever.  May that knowledge help me trust Him today, in whatever today brings.  He is faithful.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

You, Christian who lives in America, you need to be reading this:


Oh friends, you need to read 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  I haven't even finished yet and it is so good and real and "hit-you-over-the-head-full-of-truth-that-will-obliterate-your-excuses".  Really, stop watching Modern Family or The Voice, go without a Starbucks or McDonalds run this week, and get your hands on this.  Pray before you read it.  Let it transform you.  Act on what's in it. More to come on my own experiments based on what I'm reading...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In which my idol is a post-it note

So, this week has been one of those weeks where I can just throw the to-do list out the window.  My car died on the way to church Sunday so all day Monday I was car-less (and here in the southeast we do not build cities based around the idea of public transit.  I needed my car).  As it was, my hubby works late on Mondays so I was at work until 7 waiting on him.  That mean all my grand plans for Monday from running errands to going to the gym to getting home and doing some chores were all scratched.

Then Tuesday morning I woke up with a sprained knee  (Sidenote:  only I could injure my MCL whilst sleeping.  I must have been dreaming that I was a ninja or something).  So, there went that plan for going to the gym and doing lots of "let's-be-on-our-feet-and-get-things-done" things, as I was in pain using my leg.

So, yeah, been one of those weeks where the to do list is a moot point.  Or a "moo point" as Joey from Friends would say, and if you do not understand that reference, you need to educate yourself with the video below.  You're welcome.


Anywho, I've realized over the past couple days what an idol I make out of my to-do lists.  I have always loved efficiency and productivity and let's face it, being an adult requires a lot of tasks.  Laundry, going to the bank, calling this person, paying that bill, remembering this birthday, and making snacks for that...the list goes on and on (really, how do working moms balance adulthood, a job, and family?  Major props and kudos to them).

It helps me tremendously to have lists.  One, because I practically have dementia I think and can't remember anything.  Two, it helps give purpose and effectiveness to my days and weeks.  Lists aren't bad, I think I've just let them define my day too much.  It's been liberating to not have my lists to guide my every move these past couple of days.  Perhaps it's something I need to be doing more of; having a day a week maybe where I have no list and no agenda.  Sunday would be a good day for it. Hmm making the Sabbath an actual Sabbath, free of striving.  Novel idea huh?   I think this needs to be something I explore and practice with more.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Interview with myself

So I saw this little interview over at Erin's blog and thought it would be fun (really, self definition can be so enlightening.  And entertaining).  So, here we go.  A little interview with myself.

1.  If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?  I think I would have sat down and realistically looked at my options for choosing a major and career.  I loved my major (Human Development and Family Studies), but it was a horrible pick for a career/job that can feed you more than Ramen noodles. I with I wouldn't have been so naive as to think "It doesn't matter 'cause I'll just get married and have babies right away."  Granted, at that young age who knew if I had known myself well enough to know what I wanted, but I wish I would have given it more serious thought.

2.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  At home with my babies (hopefully in five years we'll at least have number 2 in the oven).  I hope we have a house and that we are debt free except for it (and close to that) and that I have written and (maybe published?) another book.  And that we have a plan together for our next set of goals and plans for our life.

3.  Do you honestly want kids?  Oh yes.  Not an option.  If I have to get a van and just go through city streets and pick up kids that need a family that's what I'll do!  We're excited to see how and when God puts our family together.

4.  What has been the best moment of your life so far?  Can you really qualify life like that?  I've had lots of great moments but no best one.  Epiphanies with God, the day I got married was pretty kick butt awesome, the time Dave turned around in the middle of a Syracuse basketball game to tell me that he loved me, when I read the email that my book was being published.  I've had lots of good moments.

5.   What is your life theme song?  Oh golly, so many options to choose from! Maybe this one:


or this one:


or this one:



6.  What is one thing you have yet to accomplish that you want to do before you die?  I have a list for this.  First, I want a real paper book published (I have an ebook and while I still get giddy over that fact, I want one in paper form).  I want to see the Grand Canyon and frolic over Prince Edward Island and sweet goodness, I must get to Europe (specifically London and Saltzburg, and Rome...and Paris and Germany...all of it really).

7.  If you could choose one thing to be known for, what would it be?  I want to be known as a woman of peace and gentleness, who does not fly off the handle at little life annoyances but is in a state of calm because she knows God has everything taken care of.  I am very, very far away from being this woman.

8.  If you could do anything you wanted right in this very moment (no consequences, no fear, etc) what would it be?  My first thought was binge eat (no consequential pounds added, right?  HA!), but really, I think I would just leave work and go sit in Panera and write for hours (eating bagels of course if they wouldn't affect me).

9.  What has been the most challenging moment in your life?  There have been many, but the most challenging was letting go of my family; I fought so hard at first to keep that together but man, I just couldn't and finally God pried my fingers loose and I had to trust that He knew what He was doing.  That whole season of life was hard, hard, hard.

10.  Summarize yourself in one word:  Ha-I remember a college interview where they asked me to describe myself in one word and I said "indescribable".  So that's what I'll stick with.  :)


Sunday, May 5, 2013

On turning 31

Thirty one.  31.  Gosh, I'm in my thirties now.  That feels so weird to say, even though that's been my reality for a year now.  I had a little hesitancy at first at turning 31.  I think it will be OK though; so far my 30's have shaped up to be a pretty good decade. 

Since turning 30 last year:  Dave has finished school, passed his boards, and gotten a job; my job went full time (no more 2 part time jobs!); my first book was published, and we have started attacking our debt.  All in 12 months.  On top of that, I've gotten (mostly) back to my pre-mono strength, cooked oodles of new recipes, developed friendships, read good books, learned how to sew, led a small group, and started talking to my parents again.  Wow!  It truly is remarkable how much the Lord accomplishes, and how better we see it when we write it all out.

It makes me wonder what God will accomplish in the next 12 months, both in my circumstances and within me.  Oh Lord, help me to live my life; not to compare myself or my life with anyone else's.  Help me to live fully, embracing all that I am. 

I am to be no one else but me. 

I am not pregnant.  I don't have an exciting new job.  I'm not in grad school. And I didn't just buy a new house. 

I work as a secretary.  I don't use my degree, and I've rented the same tiny house for the past 8 years. 

But my life is enviable.

I have a wonderful, thriving, life giving relationship with the all knowing, holy God.

I have a fantastic, healthy, affirming marriage.  I have friends who love me even when I am a mess.  I have published an e-book and am finally writing a story--one that, when I started I was afraid I'd run out of things to say, and now find that my fingers cannot keep up with I want to tell.  I create.  I cook.  I laugh and make others laugh.  I have a fantastic man who loves me and shows it every day.  There are some who look at my life and want what I have.  How blind I am to my life's own goodness. 

Oh how I want to live my life well. 

Come on you next 12 months--what will you hold?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Good Scents (aka, the power of smell)

Today is one of those days that just smells good.

That sounds weird, but you know what I mean.  Everything is bright and green but it's not mugggy out yet and honeysuckles are starting to bloom and it just smells like a fantastic day; it smells like spring/summer.

I absolutely love this smell.

Isn't it crazy how certain smells can evoke a memory?  They say that our sense of smell is most linked to our memory and I don't doubt it.  I took a little walk around our building at work today and the smell made me think of the summer camp I worked at.  It was intense too; I could hear the sounds there and think of where I'd be and all these good memories just came rushing back.

I do that with other smells too.  The distinct smell of Jergens lotion always makes me think of my Grandma.  The smell of diesel gas takes me back to my first mission trip to Ecuador.  The smell of bacon frying always reminds me of waking up in my Grandma's guest room to the smells of her making breakfast.

It makes me wonder what smells my kids will enjoy and cling to growing up.  Will the smell of chocolate chip cookies make them think of me?  Will the smell of salt water make them think of trips to the beach?  What meal that I cook will be their favorite and every time they make it, remind them of home?

Some of my favorite smells are weird ones.  Gasoline (yes, I am that weird person)--especially if it's a gasoline smell combined with a shed or wood of some sort.  Oh man, I am so weird for liking that.  I love the smell of freshly mowed grass.  Honeysuckle scents make me swoon.  I love how my hubby smells-well, most of the time ;)

So here's to smelling the day--hope it's a good smell for you! :)