Friends...

My weight loss goal!

Try the LIVESTRONG.COM calorie counter to start your weight loss journey.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm baaaack...

from my little hiatus. Thanks so much for understanding. I finished the initial part of my project which was due tonight and took my quiz. I got a 92%, which was average for the class. As if y'all wanted to know. I have no idea how the project will turn out, but I hope the professor grades this first part soon so that I can feel a little bit better about things.

Anywho.

I appreciated all your comments while I was gone. Hoping to hop back into the normal swing of things tomorrow... at least until the assignment wagon heats up again.

For now, I'm off to clear my head of all things statistical and to evaluate the effects of paying attention to my laundry, my hubby, and my puppies.

Ice cream sounds good, too. Man, it's hot 'round these parts.

Seriously.

Talk to ya soon!

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Friday, May 29, 2009

OH, no! Where'd C.C. go?

er... where is C.C. going?

Answer: into hiding

...until her quiz and assignment that is due Sunday night is done.

What? You want to know if C.C. can come out to play? No! No, she can't come out to play. She has work to do. But, she can come out to play later after she is done with her homework.

Feel free to send words of encouragement or virtual sustenance to help her through her gargantuan task. Twitter, blog, FB, and email are now officially off-limits until...


***beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppppppppppppp***

[long, annoying sound you hear when the tv or radio loses signal]

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Friday Photo Flashback... 1994

Friday Photo Flashback

Welcome back to Friday Photo Flashback, hosted by Alicia at More Than Words!

High school graduation. 1994. Not skinny, but way skinnier than now. Long, curly permed hair. Fun fact: there were only two of us in our graduating class. Small, Christian school. Our school colors were red and white, so I guess that's why I am in all white. Wow, blinding against my super pale skin!


Fast-forward. College graduation. 2006. Yes, I took a waaay looooong hiatus.


Mmmmmm.... much better! Especially with the man standing next to me. ;-)

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

From the archives...

I really don't have anything particular to say right now. All of my words are being stolen by my research proposal assignment. So, until I come up with something more brilliant to share, please enjoy these two posts from my archives. Hey, maybe God wants someone to read them anyway.

***

Originally published May 1, 2006

Freedom... Part 1

God has been teaching me so much that I would like to put it down on paper all at once. But, perhaps it will be more revealing if I communicate it in pieces. Shall I start at the beginning?

The beginning for me happened in April of 2001. God had been trying to speak to me for some time and I was starting to hear him. Having been a Christian since the age of 5, I had become quite "comfortable" in my daily walk with God. Looking back, it is evident to me that one of the most effective traps Satan uses in the lives of Christians is to make them comfortable in their routine. After all, how effective can a robot be for the kingdom of God? Christian school, Christian home, church 3 times a week. These are not dirty words or bad things. Within a heart that longs for the things of God, such opportunities serve to cultivate deep roots, but given to mere routine, they can be a breeding ground for a stale, apathetic attitude. Worse ~ they can deceive a person into believing they are okay by substituting Christian busyness for full passion and surrender to Christ. Am I being too honest?

One Friday that April, I sat in a Women of Faith conference and listened to author, speaker, and singer Sheila Walsh tell the following story:

The Rusty Bird Cage
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Resurrection Sunday morning he came to the church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak... "I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, "What you got there, son?" "Just some old birds," came the reply. "What are you gonna do with them?" I asked. "Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time." "But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do?" "Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them." The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?" "Huh?!?! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!" "How much?" the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?" The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit. Then the pastor began to tell this story ... One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!" "What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked. Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!" "And what will you do when you get done with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly. "How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you, and kill you. You don't want those people!" "How much?" He asked again. Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears, and your life." Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price. The pastor picked up the cage, opened the door, and walked from the pulpit. -- Author Unknown --

To Be Continued...

***

Originally published June 6, 2006

Freedom... Part 2

As I said in my previous post, God had been trying to speak to me for some time. That evening, I listened to Sheila tell the story of the bird cage, and the voice of God pierced my heart as He gently tapped the door of my cage, persuading me to come out. You might ask yourself ~ why would someone want to remain in such a small, restricted place? Like the birds, I was freed by the redemptive work of Christ on the cross; yet somehow, I was still afraid to come out. The confines of the cage felt safe and comfortable, while the outside world loomed large and intimidating. What was keeping me inside? It wasn't something I didn't know, but rather something I didn't want to acknowledge. My problem, my sin, my CAGE... was pride. I was afraid of what others thought of me. For years, Satan had very effectively used my fear and self-doubts to keep me locked away in a corner, useless to myself or the kingdom of God.

Sheila closed with this song and I knew that my Christian life would never be ordinary again. It would no longer be about my religion, but about my relationship with Christ. I would be fully satisfied with nothing less.

Sitting all alone now, broken dreams
And in this place, this pretty cage, broken wings.
You re so afraid to fall again
But all you need is found in him
For you were made to rise upon the wind.
It's time for you to fly.
It's time to soar on eagle wings.
Don't be afraid, you're not alone so lift your head up high.
It's time for you to fly.
Take a look outside now and see the sky.
Can you hear all heaven sing, come and fly!
So take a step outside the door.
He paid the price, there's so much more
For you were made to rise upon the wind.
It's time for you to fly.
It's time to soar on eagle wings.
Don't be afraid, you're not alone so lift your head up high.
It's time for you to fly.
(Sheila Walsh, John Hartley, Gary Saddler)

God used Sheila's presentation that night to make me willing to take that first step to the edge of my cage. To wonder what might be beyond my self-imposed borders and limitations. To step out in FAITH, whatever the future would hold, and to trust Him to use me for His purpose and His glory. I must admit that my "flight" has not been without its obstacles and, at times, I have failed. But I am willing to continue the journey, FREE in His love and safe in His arms.

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh, the *Irony*...

These are the verification words I saw this morning when I posted my blog link to facebook.


Yeah, I thought it was funny, too. Well, except that I have to go home and write a research proposal.

Stop laughing.

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Wordful Wednesday ~ memory problems!

My newest way of organizing and taking FULL advantage of the limited space in our cramped cozy townhome is to put up 3M hooks on the inside of every door I can. TOTALLY recommend them. You should get some. :-)

The good part of that is "out of sight" means no slightly less clutter laying around.


The bad part of that is "out of mind."


And my mind has definitely gone "bye, bye," which is not a good thing when I need a plastic grocery bag in the morning, am running late, and wonder why I can't find one under the sink where I used to stuff keep them.

Goodness, I'm having a hard enough time writing a research proposal for class. Does anyone seriously think I will remember where I put my plastic bags???

*Sigh*

For more Wordful Wednesdays from people who still have their brains ;-)





visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus!



Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My goal...

I don't know about you, but I have not been under attack by the enemy this intensely since sometime around May and June of last year. If you look back, you'll see that I was in quite a funk a lot (but not all) of the time those months. What is it with May and June anyway? I mean, it's supposed to be winter went we get all funky and depressed. Not summer.

Oh, well. I wouldn't exactly say that I'm depressed. No, that's not quite right. It's more like overwhelmed. Yeah, that's it. Like I said yesterday, my happiness may be influenced by my circumstances, but my joy is not. That comes from the LORD, and no one... most especially, the enemy, can ever take that away from me.

I do have to wander down a little bunny trail, though, if you would be so gracious as to allow me a little creative latitude...

Last year at this time, God was asking us to trust Him and take the steps of faith necessary to MOVE forward in this process of adoption. Of course, then, the enemy was fighting hard. Why wouldn't he? After all, why would he want us to be successful in following God's call or in bringing a child into our lives to love, nurture, and raise to follow HIM?

So, why is he fighting so hard now, when we are just waiting? We're not doing anything specific. I have to wonder, though, what might God be doing in the background right now that we don't even know about? I'm not saying anything is going to happen soon. I'm just letting my mind wander a little...

Hmmm.....

Back to the subject.

Overwhelmed with life and class. Well, more class than life, but it kinda all jumbles up together.

As soon as I get a split nanosecond to breathe, it's time to start another assignment and to think about the huge project that is due all too soon.

I do have a goal, though. I am determined that I am going to make it through the next 5 weeks and 5 days of class having maintained:

1. my weight (not *even* gonna try to lose any)
2. my sanity
3. my integrity

and

to have GROWN in some way in my relationship with God through what I learn.

I would really appreciate it if y'all would pray for me to that end. Thanks so much for your friendships. It really does mean a lot!

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy, Happy... Joy, Joy?

Shall I start off by saying "Happy Memorial Day!"?

OK, then! :-)

Happy Memorial Day... especially to all those who have fought (and those who are still fighting) for the freedoms we all enjoy today!

My husband and I are both actually working today and saving our holiday to take sometime later this year. That's okay, though, 'cause we had friends over yesterday and stuffed our faces very much enjoyed some good ol' Texas BBQ brisket!




I fear I have digressed a little from the topic at hand.

I was going to tell y'all that after feeling like I might have a nervous breakdown being slightly overwhelmed last week, God really blessed me with a very nice and happy weekend.

Yep, He sure did! There were definitely lots of things that made me happy this weekend!

A gorgeous view when I took the dogs outside on Saturday morning.


A few minutes of being alone while D.T. went shopping by himself... again, and the big, loud dog had her fill of fresh grass and warm sun without me having to be out there with her the whole time. What are locked doors good for, if it's not to hold a leash in place? :-)


A husband who comes home from getting "groceries" with this!


and these...


so that he could do this...


Where in the world did I find this handsome man? He cooks, cleans, shops, brings me flowers to make our house look nice, AND plants herb gardens! No, you can't have him! He's all mine!!! Mine, mine, mine! All mine!

Oh, and he also got these...


which I totally LOVE! Don't they look awesome (and make watering easier) in our new hanging basket and herb garden?!?!?



Then, I refrained from procrastinating *gasp*, and actually finished my final assignment for the week on Saturday at 4:53 p.m., even though it was not due until Sunday by 11:59 p.m. Me?? Get an assignment done early??? I mean, where did C.C. go, and what have you done with her?

Sunday was just as nice.

After rocking this little one to sleep in the nursery again, (waaay blurry, so sorry)


I was able to fellowship for a short time with a couple I've become close to over the last few years!

(picture circa 2008)

Later that day, D.T. and I were able to share a yummy meal and good conversation with another couple and our puppies all enjoyed a little playtime.



*****

Okay. Phew.

All that was to share with you a little of what happened this weekend and what made me happy.

Of course, none of that is really the point of this post.

The point of this post is that while lots of things can make us happy, no thing can bring us joy.

After all, happiness is not the same thing as joy.

Happiness is that pleasant feeling I get when my circumstances are favorable.

Joy, on the other hand, is taking pleasure in my Savior despite my unfavorable circumstances.

Certainly joy and happiness may sometimes go together, but rarely is true joy ever achieved apart from pain.

Jesus knew that all too well... perhaps better than anyone else ever can or did.

***"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

***He invites us, too, to "consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Of course, our final joy will not be experienced until we are together with God in heaven forever!

***I love how Isaiah refers to that day: "The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end." Isaiah 60:19-20

***The book of Revelation also describes what heaven will be like when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Revelation 21:4-5

Isn't that amazing!

God may choose to bless me in unexpected ways on this earth with things that make me happy. He may even help me to navigate the muddy waters of my mortal circumstances, disappointments, busy schedules, and seemingly endless times of waiting with peace and joy that can only come from Him.

It will, however, not be until I get to heaven that I will be free from the cares of this world and can ultimately experience HIS perfect joy ~ the joy that can only come from spending every day in His glorious presence!

Don't you want to go there to?

There is a song ~ actually the last line of a song from my childhood that kept running around my head the other day ~ and it drove me absolutely bonkers because I couldn't remember the rest of the song. Well, God must have known that it would be the perfect ending to the thoughts He was giving me to write here because all of a sudden, it came to me like a flash!

Perhaps you sang it when you were little too?

Come and go with me up, up, up
to my Father's house
to my Father's house
to my Father's house!
Come and go with me up, up, up
to my Father's house
where there's joy and happiness
joy and happiness
JOY!

***personal emphases added to Scripture

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback... 1996

Friday Photo Flashback

Welcome to my first Friday Photo Flashback, as hosted by Alicia at More Than Words!

I don't believe I've ever showed y'all any of our wedding pictures. I scanned a few a bunch of months back when we were working on the profile album for our adoption.

Wanna see?

Boy, do things change over the years.

Styles change and perms grow out.

A few more wrinkles, a little less hair.

So, here you go. The 1996 version of us:

My handsome groom!

Wedding portrait several months before the wedding

Me and the girls waiting downstairs at the church...
how crazy is it that my flower girl is now in college?!?










Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Plan of attack...

Is it counterproductive to get take-out on the way home from work so I still have enough time to take the dogs for a walk AND work out???

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Balance.

There is a saying that "busyness kills holiness." It's not anywhere in the Bible, yet has proven to be true in my life time after time.

This time is no different.

It has been almost 3 weeks since we returned from Romania, and things have pretty much settled into a normal routine chaos ~ with the addition of probably the most difficult class in my graduate counseling program.

Enter the enemy.

If I can't get her someplace else, I'll get her with this class. It'll make her exhausted and overwhelmed, and she'll get all snappy with her husband. She won't have time to walk her dogs like she should, and as a result, they will fight, run around like mad dogs, and bark at the top of their lungs until she wants to shove her fists down their throats and rip out their vocal cords.

*Ahem*

She will go to work in the nursery on Sunday morning (one more activity which keeps me *busy*) and a well-meaning nursery co-worker will unintentionally push that little *doubt* button.

Her: Have you heard anything about the adoption? No? Man, that's gotta be hard.

Me: You think?
Me: We still have 2 years left in the program, so it could be anytime between now and then. We knew that going in.

Her: How old are you and your husband?

Me: Oh, no you didn't just go *there*
Me: I'm 33, and he will be 42 this year. That's okay. We'll just be like Sarah and Abraham.

Conversation over.

*Sigh*

LORD, please take control of my schedule and help me to do only what is on YOUR schedule for me. I acknowledge that I can't do it on my own. LORD, please protect me from my enemies, for greater are You than any enemy that tries to force their way into my life. Help me to trust You every day with the timing of our adoption. Help me to find balance in my daily life and to pursue You and Your holiness above all else.

Joshua 21:43-45 (italics mine)
So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

John 7:11-16
(words of Jesus to God, the Father)
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your world and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you taken them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.


Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pulled in all directions...

Do you ever feel like you are pulled in every which direction all at the same time?

The walk the other day was so nice and relaxed. Everyone cooperated and enjoyed themselves.

Last night?



Not so much.

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Urgent prayer request for a friend...

Friends,

Please visit Amanda at A Proud Mommy of Four


proud mommy

and be in prayer for her and her family. Amanda fears that she may be miscarrying the child she is currently pregnant with.



Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!

People like me...

Welcome back to Not me! Monday! the blog carnival created by MckMama. This week, be sure to stop over to her place to see what other people like me have not been doing either!



You know, I often wonder about some people.

People like me...

Take this week for example.

People like me managed to be #1 on MckMama's Mr. Linky for the second week in a row! Holy McTraffic!!! People like me then felt guilty because of comments like #5 on this list and decided to forgo trying to be #1 again this week. Farewell, dear McTraffic. :-(

People like me took on another graduate class and then felt just a bit overwhelmed. People like me were then grateful for a husband who picked up the wife's slack and even did grocery shopping by himself.

People like me blogged directly to people from other countries who stopped by just looking for a friend. People like me also spilled their guts about the adoption process to the entire blog world, blogged about husbands with special talents, and told tales of their sister's strange giraffe dreams, inviting others to interpret.

Phew.

It must have been a busy week for people like me who found amusement in strange places, engaging in comment wars in this blogger's contest with friends like her, and her, and her! People like me are especially looking forward to meeting up with this friend again before they move away.

This week, people like me found strength in the LORD and special joy in rocking a baby girl to sleep in the nursery at church. People like me sang Jesus Loves Me You over this precious child and let their minds wander for just a minute... someday soon.

Yep, people like me had quite the week...

but me? Certainly NOT!

Living in His JOY, HOPE, and PEACE...



***Don't forget to pray for someone today!
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