March 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday #5

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama:

"Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays. We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they're just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to finger paint. For joy in the process. No matter how messy the result."

Today's topic: LOUD


He speaks in a still, small voice. Sometimes it's a gentle prodding to remind me not too react, not to respond in my flesh. Sometimes it's a whisper telling me to call a friend, to lift up a prayer, to speak a kind word.

There have been many times I've begged Him to speak louder. To boldly declare it, to shout it from the heavens. I've stood on my back porch staring at the skies, pleading for Him to make Himself known…to not be still or small or quiet. But to show up and rock my world.

He hasn't done it when I've asked. He still speaks quietly. I have to strain to hear at times, forcing myself to tune out everything so I can can hear.

But then...

there are handful of precious times where He was loud. Where He shouted and forcefully spoke that shook me to my core. Times I didn't ask for it, I wasn't seeking it. He just broke  through My Day to tell me,

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom."


"See, I'm doing a new thing!"


"How many more confirmations do I have to give you?"

Those moments are forever etched in my heart and in His hands. He spoke with volume directly to my spirit because He wanted to, not because I asked for it. 

I have to remind myself always that it's up to Him to speak, more than it is for me to listen. And when He does speak, doubt will be erased. I won't question Who spoke.

He speaks with power. He speaks with authority.

He is loud.


March 22, 2012

Thanksday #58

Last weekend was very odd.

On Friday night I wanted to go to bed so badly I could hardly stand it, but it was only 9:15 (gasp! shock! awe!). Saturday night I kept thinking it was Sunday, so I'd be just about to tell Jaana to get stuff ready for school before realizing what day it was. Then I'd be so excited it was only Saturday…to turn and then instantly be sad I still couldn't sleep in the next day because of church. On Sunday night, I was way too productive for my own good. We're talking two loads of laundry, pre-making half of Monday night's dinner, cleaning the house and bathing the boy and the dog productive.

Who am I??

It was an identity-crisis filled weekend.

And evidently, I need a lesson on what it means to take a true Sabbath rest.

Thankful for this week:

1) Naps. I think my productivity on Sunday night came from the fact I actually took a nap earlier that afternoon. My first in over six weeks.


2) Adobe. Having the Adobe Creative Suite on my computer allows me to do really important, hard-hitting work. Like making my own wallpaper for my iPhone with a personalized motivating message to cheer me on throughout the day. My current mantra is "Stay the Course." So anytime I unlock the phone or get a phone call, I see "stay the course" and it just reminds me to keep my head down and stay focused and just keep doin' the thing.

Or thang, if you're feeling a little sassy.

(If you need your own wallpaper mantra, I'd gladly make one for you FOR ONE - MILLION - DOLLARS.)

3) Spring Fever. I've admitted repeatedly I get bored easily, so I knew it was just a matter of time before I changed the graphics on the blog. Since Spring has decided to come early to the mountains, (requiring, I might add, all sorts of unexpected and low-rent preparations like painting toenails without a professional pedi, wearing short-sleeved shirts without my arms feeling fit enough, too many low-lights and not enough highlights, you know)…I decided to overcome my feelings of frustration with a new look on the site. So there you go.

4). Pest Control. I came home yesterday to the first real sign on Spring; the ants were marching one-by-one across the kitchen counter and up the wall. It was an antfestation. Which proceeded to make me feel itchy and scratchy all over and I'd randomly just shiver. (Gaw…even now I'm scratching like crazy just thinking about it.) (And holy cow, I just said "gaw." I really am turning into MeMaw.)

I called Bug Guy, but he couldn't come until the next day. So I attacked the ants with Lysol until I could get to the store for real ant spray. I swear I heard a tiny laugh when I sprayed them, and even saw little ant hands in little ant ears sticking their little ant tongues out at me. My husband, knowing full well how poorly this was going to fly with me, called Bug Guy and talked him in to coming that very afternoon.

So I left to pick up Jaana with the ants marching one-by-one in a synchronized dance welcoming spring and picnics, and came home to only one straggler, frantically trying to find his family.

Hoorah! Hoorah!

5) Thursday Mornings. On Thursdays, Jaana heads to school and it's the day Paxton has Mother's Morning Out. So Greg and I have turned some of the morning time into date time, and we linger over breakfast together, talking and sharing like real life grown ups and drinking coffee while it's hot. It's become my most favorite part of the day. Sometimes we "work" and talk about budget stuff (boring but necessary), sometimes we just chatter, sometimes we do Bible Study. It's like throwing caution to the wind, is what it is. "What are we going to do this morning?" "I don't know! Isn't that exciting? I just don't know." I'm so incredibly thankful my husband has a job that allows him this kind of flexibility. There was a time back in the day when Greg had to be at church every Wednesday night, Thursday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night. And now we're finally at a place (literally and figuratively) where there's balance. It's a joy and never goes unappreciated. NEVER.

6) Little Feet. Oh my gosh I love these feet.

7. She's Got Spirit, Yes She do. It's Spirit Week at Jaana's school, and she's been able to wear free dress all week. There was Favorite Team Day, Western Day, School Colors Day and tomorrow is Funky Friday. The girl has been all up in it. And her personality has changed with each outfit. And she can pose. God love her.

8. Blue Like Jazz. THE MOVIE! This book was amazing -- Donald Miller is one of my favorite writers. They've been working on this movie for a couple years, and it finally (finally!) comes out right after Easter. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait. Did I mention I can't wait? 'Cuz I can't wait. 

9. Dancing With the Stars. Let me preface this by saying, I have never been into this show. Not one single season. Sure, I've watched hither and yon (not an appropriate use of the phrase, but I've been really wanting to use it), but I've never been a "watcher," if you know what I mean. Well, by sheer happenstance, Greg and I started watching season premiere earlier this week, and we were oddly intrigued. The line up this year is pretty interesting - Jack Wagner, Gavin DeGraw, Gladys Knight and Martina Navratilova to name a few. There was one particular comment Greg made about one particular contestant that had me absolutely rolling off the couch and onto the floor. (And for you Facebook friends keeping tabs, it was not a sarcastic comment, I assure you. He's doing great with that challenge.) With that kind of unexpected fun, I think we'll just have to tune in for more.

10. Spring Break. Jaana's on break next week, and the kids and I are hitting up The Big City for a day or two. I'm looking forward to a break in the routine and some time with the kids, for sure. But let's be honest - I'm most excited about my hair appointment and shopping for Easter clothes. 

Your turn! Let me know what you're thankful for and share the love. Leave a comment below or link up with Candra. It'll keep you from getting your identity wrapped up in the wrong stuff. Like cooking and cleaning.

March 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday #4

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama:

"Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays. We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they're just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to finger paint. For joy in the process. No matter how messy the result. Write for five minutes flat - no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking."

Today's topic: BRAVE


For me, brave isn't running my first half marathon. It's not joining the choir, even though I am convinced I still can't sing. It's not giving birth twice - once naturally and once via c-section.

It's not moving cross-country on an impulse decision and never moving back. It's not dealing with postpartum depression and accepting medication for it. It's not quitting my job with no safety net. It's not going to 4 countries on 6 different mission trips.

Brave isn't marrying the man of my dreams exactly one year after our first date. It's not moving my family to another state without a home, and moving six times in a year and a half. It's not being willing to speak in front of people even though it makes me nauseous. 

All these things are just changes. And changes happen when life happens. Walking into those things isn't bravery, it's just obedience.

For me, true bravery is this: standing vulnerably in front of the mirror and really seeing myself. Not through my own eyes -- with all my flaws, and problems and insecurities -- but rather forcing myself to look through the eyes of Jesus and seeing who He sees. 

That's bravery to me, because I still can't do it. I'm still too fearful to do that. The day I'm able to do it with complete and utter acceptance of what I see is the day I'll feel truly brave.


March 15, 2012

Thanksday #57

I had no idea I'd have all this free time this evening, since when I pictured it, there was no March Madness anywhere on the radar. Instead, I pictured my sweet husband and I curled up watching Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis that we recorded last night. Life hasn't been the same without bonding over Flipping Out.

And nothing says romance like a little bit of Jeff Lewis OCD and full on C-R-A-Z-Y.

But here we are anyway. Greg flipping back-and-forth (and back-and-forth) (and back-and-forth) between three different games, his brackets in hand.

I also filled out a bracket today. But you have to know I did it out of love for my husband, number one. Number two was because of the off-chance I did in fact win, and how awesome would it be to say, "I didn't even have a clue what I was doing. I closed my eyes and just picked!"

Because that's pretty how I made all my selections.

But just so you know, I put Gonzaga down to win it all. Why? Because I'm tired of seeing Duke/Kentucky/UNC blue for one. And B) I gotta represent the Wesssside. I went to college an hour-and-a-half from Gonzaga. And if Washington State isn't an option (when will they be an option???), then I'm going all in with GU.

(And just for the record, it's pronounced Gon-ZA-ga, not Gon-ZAY-ga.)

Go Wildcats. Bulldogs.


Things I'm thankful for this week:

1. I'll Take Joy for $2, Alex. So the grocery had this life-sized Bugs Bunny balloon that the kids think is a real person. For over a week, every time we went to the store (I feel like I pay rent there), they both would yell out, "BUGS!!" And want to go over and "play" with it in floral.

The store manager happened to hear this one day and came over and said (and I quote): "We were just talking about how to unload this thing. We have to keep putting helium in it. It's a $20 balloon…but I'll give it to you for $2."

It was a no-brainer.

It just required a booster seat. 

2. Canastas. When I was pregnant with Jaana, I had this glorious pair of camel velour pants. You know, like the Juicy ones, but more civilized with no wording across my bee-hind. I adored those pants. After all, how can you not love an elastic waistband? But every time I wore them (every. single. time.), Greg would say, "Ahh. Got yer Canastas on today." He seemed to think I looked like a MeMaw who would go play cards with the ladies before the early bird dinner.


I hung on to those Canastas as long as I could. But eventually, I lost enough baby weight to not wear them. (Jaana might have been four.) (Don't judge me!)

So imagine my utter delight and sheer joy at finding a bright turquoise pair on sale the other day for just $7!! I brought those suckers home, put them on one leg at a time (see, I'm just like y'all) and proudly strutted out to the living room.

"Ahh. Got yer Canastas on today."

Yes, yes I do. And dinner's at 4:30. Don't be late.

3. Rear Fader on the Car Stereo. Which allows me a quick phone conversation without "Larry's High Silk Hat" booming in my ears.

4. She Speaks. Going to the conference. Boo yah.

5. Women's Retreat. Our church had it's annual women's retreat this past weekend. Y'all, it was awesome! My dear friend Tracy was the speaker, and that girl has a gift…let me tell you. She can break down the Word in a way that lets you put it in your pocket and actually use in your daily life. I honestly can't say enough about her. But beyond that, it was a fantastic group of women…wonderful support and prayer, and just plain fun. So. If you go to CBC (or not, hey, thas' coo'), you have to try to make it next year the end.

6. Off-Leash. We're getting lazy adventurous and letting Luke run off and play once or twice each day around the neighborhood. I'm only comfortable with this because we're the only ones that live here full-time -- therefore, it's like our own private Eden. And now he'll either come to the door when he's ready to come in, or come as soon as I call him. Either way, it's been a great way for him to explore and get some energy out. Because OH MY GOSH THE ENERGY.

7. Moments of Pure Joy. After school the other day, we came home and enjoyed the glorious sunshine. The kids rode the 4-wheeler, drew with sidewalk chalk and Luke ran around free driving us all crazy. It was one of those moments you always dream about when you have babies and puppies and finally (finally!)...I think we're there.

8. Switchin' Up the Menu. And making French Dips and Honey-Bourbon Chicken this week, much to Greg's pleasure. Two hits. Sides included! Just call me Butta…'cuz I'm on a roll.

9. Getting My NC Driver's License. Finally after two and a half years, I'm officially a licensed North Carolina driver. I procrastinated for ages primarily because I was scared to death of the written exam. Yes folks, no matter that you've been driving for 23 years, if you want to get a license in NC, you have to still take a written exam. And I personally know about three people who failed it the first time or two. The handbook is about 100 pages long, and there's only 25 questions. How on earth can you study for something like that? It's been ages since that kind of pressure.

Either way, I sucked it up and I passed. And now Greg can stop asking me every day if I've gotten my license yet.

Yes, yes I have. And dinner's still at 4:30. Don't be late.

10. Enjoying Every Moment. I am LOVING the freedom my new schedule gives me. For the first time in years, I don't feel like every email is urgent. I'm ignoring a lot until my slotted "work time" and just saying no. Ironically, it's allowing me to actually enjoy my day. Which baffles me and makes me wonder if the whole "eat less, exercise more" thing has any validity to it.


Your turn! Let me know what you're thankful for this week and share the love. Leave a comment below or link up with Candra. It'll bring clarity that'll help you with your March Madness selections.

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