Monday, January 30, 2012

Completely Random.

I have been notified that I haven't blogged in some time.

But I am still in the valley of "nothing nice to say".

So, instead, I will succumb to the pressure and fill in the "random things you never thought you needed to know" blanks about my life! =)

Special shout-out to Erica for tagging me!

11 Random Facts about Me:

1.  I hate feet. All feet.  I don't like touching them, talking about them, looking at them. They simply gross me out.  In fact..even writing this made me gag a little..... So, there you have it.

2.  I have an E-X-T-R-E-M-E sweet tooth. I could eat my weight in Jelly Bellys. I will always choose candy or ice cream over those annoying nutrients.

3.  I can rap the books of the Bible. I annually pull this one out at youth camp, much to the chagrin of all the campers. That'll teach you to steal my megaphone suckas. Here listen to me rap the Bible, circa 1993, Baaybeee!

4. I can also sing all the states and capitals. I learned this my Jr. year of high school in U.S. History (shout-out Mrs M!) and never forgot them.  Oh, yes..I can. ;-)

5.  I am [slightly] competitive. There may-- or may not-- have been an incident where a young child was pushed down in a competitve game at a youth camp where I was a team leader. But there was no proof and I was later exonerated.

6.  We are serious Football people in this house. Anytime someone mentions a son of mine playing any sport besides football, I get this weird taste in my mouth and The Husband starts tearing up a little.  It's that serious.   And more specifically, we are Razorback Football fans.  Generally we don't watch much pro-ball (except in the rare occassion that we watch to see a Hogs Alum doing well) but we do love our Hogs!

7.  Turquoise is my favorite color...but if you asked me face to face, I might waffle around a bit. Sometimes I think Kelly Green is my favorite. But it's not.

8.  I love costume earrings. I wear earrings with everything and the longer, the better. This started when I worked at a retail store in college. I walked in (t-shirt and jeans) to a store full of classy gals, who quickly took me under their wings and forced me to pluck my eyebrows, wear make-up and "forcryingoutloud put on pants that you don't have to cinch up at the waist!"  It was almost exactly like a Lifetime special I once saw....

9.   I will do ANYTHING to avoid housework. I have even considered getting a second-job to pay someone to come do it for me. Some people love it. And I totally see why, I too love a clean house...I just don't like having to be the one that cleans it. Especially dishes and laundry.  Every year for my birthday I ask for money to do the fluff and fold service to catch up on all my dirty laundry. That is the only time each year when I am completely caught up.

I'm okay with that.

10.   I am really frugal with money. We buy almost everything second-hand and upcycle anywhere possible.  And apparently there has even been talk of interventions...usually after friends come to visit me and when planning our time together the words "hit up all the Goodwill locations" come up. =)

11.  I read alot. Many times late late into the evening and (if a book is good enough) early morning hours too. I am especially a big fan of Ted Dekker and Jodi Picoult.

Now to answer Erica's questions:
[Disclaimer: Since most of my friends have already done this, I am forgoing to send it on.  I know, I know..It goes against the very fabric of the system. but I'm grown. I can do what I want. =) ]



1. If there was one place you could travel to, what would it be Right now?? Africa. Specifically Ethiopia. And Definitely with a photo album full of the newest love of my life.  But outside of that? Israel. I have always wanted to (and will someday) do a Holy Land tour...and maybe even follow Paul's journeys through Rome... Wouldn't that be so cool?


2. Name 3 things from your "bucket list".
1. Learn Italian (heh)
2. Go to the Oprah show (null and void now)
3. Go Skydiving
4. Visit every continent


3. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 items would you want to have with you?
1.  An airplane with enough fuel to get home...I kid, I kid....
1.  My Kindle (stocked with enough books to last a while...and maybe Rosetta Stone for Italian {see above})
2.  That Guy from Man vs. Wild..you know, the one that teaches you how to hydrate with your own urine?
3.  A gun (because Lord knows if I have to whittle a weapon to kill my food, I will most certainly starve to death)
4.   Is it wrong to want all the people I love to have to be stranded on a desert island with me? It is, probably....Scratch that.  Sunscreen.
5.  A radio device to call for help.

4. If you could have a housekeeper, a personal chef, or a personal trainer, which would you choose? 
Housekeeper for sure. 100 million%.

5. What was your favorite Christmas gift you received this year? 
A tablet from my husband. He gave it to me early when we thought we'd be traveling halfway around the world but it's really turned out to be way more awesome than I thought it would!


6. What is your favorite book? 
Oooh....Just one?  Cancelling out all book sets and such, I would have to say "Choosing to See" by Marybeth Chapman. I seriously sobbed through the whole thing.


7. What would your dream job be?  
I don't know exactly what it would look like, but I know it would be changing the world for the Kingdom in whatever capacity I could.


8. What is one thing in your life that you regret?  
I regret times in my life when my own insecurity caused me to want more to "blend in" than stand up for people...or principles. I regret thinking that who people thought I was at 17 was the most important thing in life and letting it cause me to say/do the wrong thing. I regret that it took me so long to be comfortable with who I am and that because of that people got hurt.


9. What is the farthest place you've ever traveled to?
Brazzaville Congo.


10. Who is your favorite famous person? 
Ronald Reagan


11. What is your #1 beauty secret/tip? 
Coconut Oil. It will change your life.



So, there it is. Everything you never thought you even wanted to know.. Just taking up valuable space in your memory now. You're welcome.

Happy Monday Friends.....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting Is Hard.

Today has been hard.

Waiting is always hard. But for some reason, Today? I really feel it.

I have friends who think we've had it worse...getting a referral, losing that referral and of course, rejoining the waiting masses.

I can't help but think they have it worse. Waiting with no respite?

At least I had a season of joy and bliss in the midst of all this hardship... I have friends that are 12-18 months in waiting. Hanging on to whatever threads of hope they can. No experiencing the bliss of that day when your phone finally rings that special ringtone you have set aside for your case manager. No vacation from the anxiety and frustration.

That seems so much harder to me.

But regardless of the scenario....Waiting is hard for everyone.

Watching the days pass by without that magical call?

Doing the math? "Well if we get a referral in Jan., we might get court in April, which means we might get Embassy in June"

Re-evaluating your brillant math with each passing day?

Week?

Month?

Watching and  rejoicing with friends as they move through the process, all the while secretly envious that you are still in the deep recesses of waiting and they are floating on cloud nine?

No, it's impossible to try to identify if one person's waiting is easier...or harder...And it simply doesn't matter.

Waiting is just hard.

Period.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

40 Days. Part I

It's late. I just finished reading the last morsels of Seven.


I knew this would happen. In fact? I craved it.


The challenge to examine what I have. How much I could truly give.


Who I really am.


Each month gripped me. Where do I really stand? 


What do I really believe?


What am I really willing to sacrifice?


And first, it was the possessions.


We. have. so. much.


And right here, in my very community, there are people struggling to stay warm in the bitter winters. starving. barely hanging on.


Who am I to amass all of this and watch His children perish by the wayside?


Can I ignore the plight of those who are able to steal the heart of God all the while patting myself on the back for what a good job I've done securing the American Dream?


It made me truly sick.


Who am I that I would elevate my existence above any other?


One thing I am certain of. The pride of man, dripping off of our wealth and possessions, grieves the heart of the One who created us.


And I am broken by the reflection in the mirror.  


I am the problem.


So for 40 days, I am purging myself. 
It's merely a grain of sand in what God wants to do. but it's a start.


The focus? On giving possessions.


Clothing.


Jewelry.


Books. (my heart. stops.)


Houseware.


Stuff.


For 40 Days, I will examine every crevice of waste, abuse, negligence, self-indulgence, materialism.


I will change the way my family does things. I will no longer remain trapped in this hamster wheel that defines success by what we have. I will look at my brothers and sisters and give whatever possible to meet whatever needs I can.


What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
Saint Augustine


So in the next 40 days, I am believing for the chance to give away 1000 possessions. My prayer is that my eyes would be opened to the various opportunities to give and that I would make haste to meet the needs I see.



I may not be able to change everything.


But I can change something.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"My Children Are Hungry". (My Conversation with God) Part II

Read Part 1 Here.

I'm pulled over on the side of the road...so that the driving doesn't interfere with my arguments with God. Of course.

Me:   "God, I can't possibly drive around all day on the off-chance that I might find someone to give this food to?! Surely that's not what you intend??"

God:  "Daughter, Do you know what the future holds?"

Me:  "I don't know.  Maybe?"

God:  "You don't."

Me:   "Oh."

So I drove. First heading towards downtown and then feeling the urge to turn around and return to the area I first started.  Driving past the intersection that started this whole snowball of a morning and towards a more industrial area.  And then I saw him!!

Now, trying not to get too excited (this man might have just been walking from point A to point B and not been hungry at all) I  played it very cool...I first drove past him, felt confident he was who I was searching for,  then turned around, caught back up to him and rolled down the window.

Not only was he surprised to be handed a hot meal and hot coffee, but I didn't leave without mentioning that God loved him enough to send me searching for him....Because God knew he was hungry.

Gratitude. The air was filled with it.

Him for my obedience.

Me for God's patience.

I pulled away (back towards that infamous intersection. Again.) and lo' and behold, there was another man walking.  I was more confident this time...He wore a pack on his back (probably everything he owns) and walked with a faithful four-legged companion.

Once again I pulled up and rolled down the window.  "Sir?  It's awfully cold out, would you like a hot meal? Maybe some coffee?"  He proceeded to tell me that he shares everything with his companion and that both of them were starving today.

Hungry.

God knew. God looked down from Heaven and saw two of His most precious children that were hungry and sent me on a mission to meet a need. A need that no doubt would present itself again later that day, but for now, they were full. They were warming up. They were loved.

I returned to my original mission. Heading towards a supermarket to pick up supplies for an event later that day. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw another man standing with a sign "Hungry. Anything Helps".

Hungry.

God spoke to me again. "My children are hungry".

Without arguing. Without waiting for an official prompt. I turned around.

Back to the fast food drive-through.

Same meal. Same coffee. Same change.

And I took it to the man who was hungry. I offered him a genuine smile as I told him that God had sent me to give him something to eat. I watched as gratitude once again filled someone's eyes. At my obedience?  It didn't feel worthy.  I hadn't done much. I hadn't done enough.

I pulled into a parking spot and with tears in my eyes and my head against the steering wheel, I began pleading with God.

Me:  "God, there are too many hungry people. Everywhere I look...All I see are people that are hungry. People that are cold. People that are in need.  I can't help them all...."

God:  "You won't be able to feed all my hungry children"

Me:   (frustrated that--so far--nothing in this conversation was making me feel better) "I know, God! That's what I am trying to tell you!  Everywhere I look, I see hunger. It's too much!"

God:  "You wanted to see?"

Me:  "Well, yeah..."

God:  "You may not be able to feed every hungry person. But you can feed the ones you see"
 **********
 I had asked to see something new. I wanted something different. But in my selfish nature, I wanted something with God that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And instead? He took my blindness and He made me see.

Brokenness.

Loss.

Humiliation.

Hunger.

I didn't see men that were "taking from the system" (by the way, that has never been my belief, but it is one that people often use as a reason not to help others). I didn't see men that were choosing a life of standing in the cold. in the rain. hungry. Simply to avoid "getting a job".  I didn't see expectation in their eyes as I handed them those bags.

I saw God's favorite ones. I saw the ones that He dangled on a cross for. I saw the ones that could capture His heart with a simple glance of their eyes.  I saw the ones that He would move Heaven and Earth for to simply bring them a hot meal on a cold day.

I saw His children. The ones He loved more than life itself.

Literally.

And I knew? I would never be the same. I could no longer drive by when God had given me vision to see. I could no longer ignore when God had opened my heart and broke it into a million pieces.  I could no longer make excuses for myself when the people He loves most were suffering-- barely hanging on...and I had. so. much.

I was no longer blind.

And now that I could see? I was responsible to act.

I wanted to feel good about what I did. I wanted that preverbial "pat on the back" for my generosity.  But instead I was broken. I was overwhelmed by the need.

I was changed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"My Children Are Hungry" (My Conversation with God) Part I.

It was a Tuesday and I was travelling for work. Driving the same route I often did. Stopping at the same places I often stop. Ignoring the same things I often ignore.  Except, today? I wasn't ignoring them. There were two travellers that were standing off to the side of the exit ramp where I was sitting at a stoplight.  And I couldn't ignore how cold it was outside. And raining. Or, how tired and hungry they looked.  Hungry.  And then God spoke to me.

**********
I should probably back up a little here... Over the course of this month, I have been praying for God to show me something new. Something I hadn't noticed before. I was desperate to get back to that place of communion with God where everything I did was surrounded by the certainty that God was guiding my steps.. Now, don't misunderstand me..Of course that's what I want all the time. But with successes? with failures? with open doors? and others that get shut? It can be easy sometimes to forget about the spiritual realm and instead put the weight and glory of it all on your own shoulders.

Or at least it can for me.

**********
So back to the story....

God spoke to me. "My children are hungry"

'I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:36-40

Me: "But God, I don't have anything but a small orange"

God: "Then go get something"

Me: "But God, I don't have any money"

God: "Really? What about the money that arrived last night?"

Me:  "Oh..... my Christmas money?? But God? I was going to use that money to buy one of those awesome hats made in Uganda? You know....empowering the people! (as I made a fist and thrust it towards the sky, sure God would want me to spend my money on such a good cause...and such a cute hat)"


God: "But today? My people are hungry."

Me:  "Oh...Okay, God.  I'll go get them something to eat"

I want to make a note of something that I am not proud of here...I really do argue with God like this.

I wish I recognized the direction of God and never had my own ideas of He means...but that's not reality. I am thankful for a God full of mercy and grace who looks past how slow I can pick up on things and chooses to use me despite my flaws.

So I drove over to the nearest fast food chain and bought nicer meals than I ever even get myself! (Thanks to the prompting of the Lord) and as I am waiting to pay, God starts talking to me again.

God:  "Give them the change"   (Of course, the change worked out perfect for each bag to have $2.   Of course.)

Me:   (Still thinking my plan is better) "God, we don't give cash because we don't know what it gets used for"
(I am quite ashamed by how smug and self-righteous these words sound)


God:  "I am not asking you to determine what the gift will get used for. I am telling you to give it anyways."

Me:  (head hanging, ashamed of my own pride)   "Yes, Lord."

So  I drive away. Two bags filled with bacon deluxe burgers, large fries, extra napkins, ketchup, cream and sugars and $2 each. And two large coffees sitting in my console.

I was all ready to obey God fully.

And I got to the corner where the two gentlemen had been standing to find them....

Gone.

Gone?! Really God? As the delicious smells of  bacon, greasy fries, and coffees start making me dizzy, I feel the need to remind God that I am fasting.

"Umm hi, God? What do you expect me to do with all this now?? I'm sure I don't need to tell you this, but I am in the middle of fasting all these deliciously amazing foods!"

God:  "They are not my only hungry children today"

Me:   "Are you really asking me to go looking for hungry people??"

God:   "Yes. I am."

To Be Continued.....


Read Part II Here

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pay it Forward...

On Facebook, I am participating in a fun Pay-it-forward-ish event this year. Making 5 handmade items for the first 5 people to comment on that status and making sure it got delivered before the end of 2012.

The catch *of course* being that each person who commented then had to subsequently re-post it as their status and make 5 handmade items for the first 5 people to comment on THEIR post. 

Whew.....did you catch all that?

Anyways, I thought it might be fun to double it up (yes that is 10 items I now have to make) by also making something for the first 5 people to comment on this blog post.

Of course, the same rules apply though....you must then re-post and commit to making 5 handmade gifts for the first people to comment on your own blog post.  Aaaand, if you caught me on Facebook...you don't get two gifts =) But feel free to blog your own pay it forward campaign anyways!!

It's so much fun to make handmade stuff. I get great joy out of surprising friends with gifts...and whether or not I could "make something myself" it's a lot of fun to have my own surprise gifts every now and then, too =)

This is simply about spreading joy and friendship this year! LOVE THAT!

So here it goes:

Pay it forward in 2012 - I am going to make something handmade for the first five people who comment on this post. (You must in turn post this and make something for the first five who comment on your blog.) *The rules are it must be handmade by you, and your friends must receive it before 2012 ends!!*

Let the fun begin!! (again)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

7.

I am knee-deep in Seven these days.


I have written half a dozen blog posts about it that I may never haven't posted yet.


I am feeling it....


Like feeeeeeeling it.  


Maybe because I am past the horrific headache/caffeine withdrawal phase of This.


But seriously folks.


This book is changing my life.  Here is my new BFF  Jen Hatmaker's recent post about it. 


It's seriously good stuff....


Good like the million deserts and finger foods I had to abstain from at a watch party last night.


Good like watching the Hogs dominate over some little Kansas kitty-cats (sorry anyone out there rooting for the wrong team) in the Cotton Bowl.


Good like guessing the score would be 17-28 and watching the game end with the score at 16-29.


Good like knowing it was divine intervention that got your guess that close.


Seriously. Good. Stuff.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Things On My Mind

1. Affection. People will tell you that I am not a touchy-feely kind of gal. I don't randomly hug people (unless urged by the Holy Spirit), touch has never been my love language...It's just not who I am. I don't like people to comfort me by touching me and hugging me and rubbing my back. I would rather be given the autonomy to keep my composure.

Sure it sounds incredibly callis. But it is who I am.

Unless.

Unless, we're talking about kids. Then I become the blob of love and hugs and holding hands and rubbing backs.  I love how much my friend Mrs. Clover's kiddos love me (and they rarely see me so I can only imagine how much they love people they can actually recognize!).  I asked Meshack (not his real name) one day if he would let me hold him when he got bigger. He said "of course".  Well..what about when your 12?  Oh...umm, no, not when I'm 12.  Oh, okay I guess...what about when you're 11?   Yah, sure, you can hold me when I'm 11.

I was holding him on my side and he was resting his head on my shoulder.

I am certain that he won't let me hold him like that when he's eleven.

But I like that he lets me hold him like that when he's four.

Little Smith might be four.

I don't want to miss out on the affectionate, "hold-me" phase of childhood.

I will most certainly want to hold Little Smith when he/she is 11.  But LS probably won't let me.

So it's nice to know that LS might let me at four.

2.  It's only been warm enough to paint on days I am at work...except for last weekend when I didn't get out of my pajamas and pretended it was too cold so that I could lay on the couch and watch mindless hours of star trek  tv instead.

I have a big project I want to finish so that I can show it off for everyone to "ooh" and "aahh" over.

But it needs paint.

Which I can't do this weekend because apparently it's going to be remotely like winter?
What?!?  In January!?!

Ok, I concede. I will be far less nervous about Global Warming when it snows.

But I also need to paint. 

So torn....

3. The HOGS are playing in the Cotton Bowl tonight.   Woooooo Pig Sooooiiieeee!

4.  TOMS still isn't offering brown wedges anymore. Has the world gone mad and revolted against simple brown? Am I living in some twilight world where brown wedges don't exist?

It's getting ridiculous. I get on the website everyday in hopes that they will bring back the camel wedges I desperately wanted pre-Christmas, thus leading me to ask for them for Christmas, only to get money and find the shoes had disappeared.

Not cool Toms.  And, why do the wedges all  have to be peep-toes? I can't wear them in the winter that way!

Once again, not cool Toms!

5.  Moses is quite the character lately. I will leave you with a video made this morning of him enjoying his new ball. We start Puppy School is two weeks. Which is about how long I have before he's big enough to take over my home....
video
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Melange of Moses Moments

You can't help it......You want to look through them dont'cha?


The little hoodlum is too darn cute to resist.
That's his only saving grace right now.


Moses is about 3 months old now...and about 3ft tall on his hind legs....And all puppy.....
His favorite toys?


A rubber chicken that squeaks constantly....For real. Constantly. Without end. Until I distract him with a treat and remove the unwelcome guest.


Kate Spade shoes...Can I just vent for a minute about this one.... I don't buy nice shoes. Ever. I buy 80% of everything I own second-hand. On purpose. And these shoes magically fell into my hands at a bag sale at one of the local upscale consignment stores. I didn't even KNOW what Kate Spade shoes looked like. Or how sought after they are. So imagine my joy in walking out in my almost-brand-spankin'-new-perfectly-fitting-red-Kate-Spade-heels.  These shoes were how we realized he couldn't be trusted and that all shoes have to be at least 3ft off the ground.


Rest in peace, dear sweet, amazing bargain, shoes.... Rest in pease.


His food bowl. And when he gets the urge? He's got the urge. No amount of food or water with withstand his desire to completely destroy the food bowl. It has become his greatest nemesis, making its way into the living room almost every evening where he delights in showing off his recent massacre.

He's a monster.




My sweet wittle wovable monster.


video

Monday, January 2, 2012

two twelve fifteen?

I am not really sure how to count our wait.


Technically we had a brief reprieval from the awful dried-up land of waiting.


But since we are no closer to bringing home Little Smith, it doesn't seem like taking those months out of the count is right, either.


I suppose it doesn't really matter.


The fact is we are waiting.


Praying hard that God brings forth His will for our family.


Praying that our child is cared-for, loved, and that no attempts of the enemy to thwart our child's destiny make any headway.


Praying that Little Smith doesn't feel hopelessness, sorrow, or lonliness in this season of waiting.


That  somehow Little Smith would know that there are people out there loving him/her with everything they have.


That those people are doing everything possible to get to their child.


That they aren't going to stop until he/she knows the safety, love, and comfort of a family.


That they haven't given up.


And that waiting is really hard for them, too. 


Whether it's two months, twelve months, or fifteen months.