Sunday, December 26, 2010

new year. new day. new breath.

So let me give you a little insight into my situation at this very moment:

I am apartment/cat sitting for one of the many cute married couples I am lucky enough to know. They are off doing something with mountains, tents, fire and beards. But I walk into this cute artsy apartment tonight to find an angry cat who is not happy I'm about to invade his space. But I'm going to make this cat like me. I mean really? I'm gosh darn lovable! You WILL LOVE ME.

I'm actually pretty thrilled to be able to stay at their place because they live much closer to my work. They are saving me at least a tank of gas this week. I'm tooooo the mooooon! So let's add on to me already being pumped I get to stay here...I look on the counter and to my surprise I have puppy chow, instructions on how to make this cat love me, a scarf sweet Rosie made for me, and some cash money sitting there just for me. I had to refrain from eating the entire bag of puppy chow while reading my instructions for the week. I need to space it out over the week, right? Right?

But now after seeing how many times the cat can hiss at me in one night, I'm in bed  at 1 AM. I have work at 5:30 AM. Tell when you realize that I should have been asleep 4 hours ago.

My mind won't stop. I think some has to do with a new place, though I feel at home. But I do have so much on my mind. Too much for my fingers to keep up with tonight, that's for sure.

However, I do need to say a few things. Maybe it'll help me get some shut eye.

2010 wasn't my finest year. I'm not sure what you can accredit that to. I imagine most [all] of it will point back at me, but until I realize easy on me. I had some amazing high points and some unfortunate low points. But to be really honest, I'm so glad to see 2010 go. I've found myself loooooonging for 2011. I keep saying to myself how great a year it will be. It'll be a much better year and I can officially put the bad stuff behind me. But how silly a thought! I don't need a new year. I'm not even promised all 365 days of this "great year."

I'm not even promised a new day. So I have to calm myself down and realize what a new breath can mean. There's a Needtobreathe song "Let Us Love" and it says "every breath brings a chance for redemption" and I'm in love with that concept.

I don't need a new year. I have breath...and right now I am so humbled by that.

I'm crying at the thought that each breath I am taking is a true gift. Better than a Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. I want to say thank you with each breath He gives me, but I will choose to live graciously and pray that He is pleased with the words I say.

Oh, silly me. I don't need a new year. I am given a chance to restoration and redemption more times than I can count. I'm going to start breathing...and I'm not waiting until 2011.

 The Spirit of God has made me; 
   the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 
Job 33:4

A breath is a powerful thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

yeah. my heart?

Oh! If only I didn't fall in love everyday with the attractive bearded wonder who comes in to Starbucks every so often and bobs in head to "Jingle Bells" as it plays over the speakers for the 2709823098 time this morning. He has no idea I notice that he bobs his head and chances are good that he wouldn't know I'm alive if I didn't hand him his tall coffee. But I'm in love with him. Cute huh?

That's how my mind so easily works if I let it do what it wants.

My recent move has brought along a lot of new fellas. As a single 23 year old girl who has a tendency to be in love with love, I'm too the moon about this new development. But as a level headed Christian woman who's attempting to be more Christ like with each day, this could do a number on me and my heart.

When I was in high school I painted the phrase "Not Mine to Give" on the wall in my room. God and I were talking one night and He slapped me across the face with the harsh reality that I was giving my heart away to any boy who would show me attention and without their knowledge! In subtle ways I was losing the precious innocence that is so hard to regain once it's gone. So He so gently reminded me that it wasn't my heart to give in the first place.

For a while [as these things so often start] me, God and my heart were great. I knew He would give the right man my heart and the right time. I knew there would be a lot going on before I would even be notified that this boy had my heart and I was good with it. God would let me know when I needed to know.

I forgot to mention, the heart that I gave God...had a little string attached and as soon as some handsome somebody came around, I pulled that string and yanked my heart out of His hands. I was back in control, baby.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

So flash forward to today. I'm in love with a bearded wonder. Trying to walk in front of him as many times as possible so he'll look at me. And maybe after the 17th time, he'll realize I'm his future wife and strike up a casual conversation about how cold it's been lately and then ask for my number. We'll go on a few dates and the rest is cake. Love. All day everyday.

Can I put my heart back in my Dad's hands again? And cut that string? Yes? That would be AWESOME. I'm working on that. STAT.

Friday, December 10, 2010

update update.

I have a tendency of over thinking what I'm going to write and, I just feel like writing.

There's been, as always it seems, a lot of change lately.

In the last month I got a job at Starbucks. I know some people have a hard time with Starbucks for 230820398 reasons. But they are a great company who takes care of their employees with amazing benefits and a business model I can stand behind. I have been blessed with such a great staff at the store and LOVE our customers. I know with my college degree making coffee for a living doesn't seem like it would define "success" for me. But right now...I'm completely satisfied, fulfilled and full of joy each time I go to work.

The one down fall is working the morning shift and waking up at 4. I love the people who come in, but 4 o'clock AM is not my favorite. Nothing is perfect, right?

I'm still living in Bryant with Jessica and am loving it. We have a great Christmas tree [two actually]. It's fun. I'll post pictures later. We have a lot of fun. Late night talks and funfetti cookies are our specialty. However, I will be moving into Little Rock in the next couple of months. My drive each day is brutal and I can't seem to justify spending that much money in gas if I have the opportunity to move closer.

I know it seems life has been anything but consistent for me the last year. And really, it hasn't.

But I'm wear I'm going to stay for a while. I'm setting my feet on the ground and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. No one can take this joy away from me. God has provided so much. It's only because He's real that I'm alive...

So that's an update of sorts. For myself, really. So in a few years I won't forget to remember what a season of provision I am experiencing.

To God be all the glory.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

in & not of

I have been working at a bar and grill in Little Rock for the last 3 weeks. I am, as far as I can tell, the only Christian working there. I have never been more challenged and tempted in my life. When I first took the job, I didn't even think about it as my new "mission field" as much as I thought "I'LL BE MAKING MONEY, BABY!" But I thank a few friends who helped me realize what a gift I've been given.

I have never intentionally put myself about non-believers. Ever. Unless you count intentionally going to McDonald's instead of Chick-fil-A.. But when I look back at my life, unless I was on a mission trip [which youth really go on mission trips to sit in the back of the bus with a cute boy you never talk  to and try to get the trucker passing by to honk/toot/pull his horn], I never went out of my way to interact with someone who didn't know my Lord.

I can look back on my time in college and see how strongly God was trying to direct me to those who needed Him most. I think about that saying "Healthy people don't need doctor's. Sick people do." Well, I was just hanging out with all the healthy people of the world. What a joke.

I vividly remember having a conversation with one of the most intentional people I know, Christina Keaster [soon to be Williams. Bah!!] where she said she had joined an intermural team of girls she didn't she could try to witness to them. Are you kidding me!? She just rocked my world. [And can we note that when she said "witness to them" she didn't mean asking them "If you were to get in your car tonight and get in a wreck and die, do you know without a doubt you'd be in Heaven? Would you like to be certain of that? PUKE. She meant she wanted to build relationships with these girls. Love them like Christ loves. And allow the Holy Spirit to guide the rest.] I know it took effort to get to that point in her life, but to then BE THERE and see how much of her life was wrapped around His life...I admire so much about her heart and desire to be Jesus to the world.

She was meeting people where they were. On the intermural field.

I am walking into an environment where God is not welcomed. Unfortunately, most of the people I encounter aren't open to the idea of God, especially not a conversation about Him. At least right now. But I refuse to believe that will remain the case. I am trying to embody the saying "Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words."

Christ walks into work with me everyday. I'm truly learning what Christina learned years ago. And I couldn't be more excited. Some days I'm terrified to get into any conversation with my co-workers out of fear that they'll ask if I drink or do drugs...and what they'll say when I say no. No one is physically there to support me.

But bump that, man. When did I start needing anything other than Christ and Christ ALONE?

I realize the odds of me starting to drink heavily and do drugs don't seem very high. But can I tell you something? Some's the most appealing thing in the world. Satan, the little wiener, has mastered making the most disgusting things seem like the bees knees. Again I say, BUMP THAT.

It might not always be the most extreme struggle. But getting sucked into a negative attitude or mouthing about frustrating customers can hurt my witness just as much as smoking a joint with them after work.  I need to be strong. I don't have a choice. I gave away my horrible decision making ability to a God who made the best decision ever:

To create me out of love before 
I ever loved Him.

I hope you are encouraged to intentionally put yourself around non-believers and preach the Gospel. And also, realize how important it is to spend time with believers who encourage you and hold you accountable. Not to mention daily walking into the presence of the God who gave you life and praising, loving, thanking, worshiping, learning, asking, and simply.....being with Him.

Abba, I'm crazy about you and I ask you to use Your words through me to grow the Kingdom. I love everything about you. And am amazed you allowed me to know Your name. Thank you....

Monday, October 18, 2010

Right now...

1. I now live in Bryant with a real cute curly red head.
2. I'm waiting tables with my college degree and I couldn't be more excited about it.
3. I'm meeting people where they are and hoping I represent Christ fully.
4. I finally feel like I made the right decision.
5. I know I am leading a life that isn't so socially acceptable, but if it's eternally acceptable...I'm okay.

I'm tired of talking about the last year of my life. So those five points is all I want to say really. I want to talk about the present and what I know will be the future. I'm  not ignoring what has happened in my life by any means. But my main goal is to make my Dad proud. You don't have to approve of my choices. My worldly self really wishes you would, but at the end of the day if I'm at peace with my Maker, I know I've done the right thing.

All I graciously ask for is that judgement is kept where it belongs. Far far far away from here.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to youhe rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

5 days.

I don't know if I've had five days packed full of this much goodness ever! The last few days have been full of blessing after blessing...and I'm sitting here trying to absorb it all.

My sweet momma came up on Friday hoping to close on her house. She didn't. But we aren't letting that get us down. She will soon and that is going to have to be enough. But I'll tell you this, when I buy I house...I will not be using bank of america. It's been so hard on momma and they haven't helped her at all. It breaks my heart she's having such a hard time with this. But spending time with momma is always good for my heart. We had dinner out at my aunt & uncle's house. We ate more than we should and laughed more than we thought we could. I am so blessed by my family.

And I got to see my beautiful Samantha C. She drove up to The Hill this weekend to see some friends [me being one of them] and it was so nice to  sit around and catch up with her. She's the master of puppy chow, which I got to enjoy later in the weekend, and a master of words. I love this girl with all my being!

I have been awaiting this day for quite sometime now, ya'll. The beginning of football season marks so much more than another chance for the Hogs to redeem themselves. It's cook outs, scarves, sweaters and smores, chills in the air, hot chocolate and fire pits [we know how i feel about a good fire pit] But this was such a good Saturday.

Mom and I woke up early went to the square and got to enjoy all that the Fayetteville Farmer's Market has to offer. How I love the people there and the good foods. I got to wear my favorite sweater, drink good coffee, see the wonderful people and enjoy the chill in the air. After that we headed out to Prairie Grove for this wonderful craft fair. It was at the PG Battlefield State Park. Such a beautiful area filled with booth after booth of talented people selling the most interesting things. We walked around for hours. A few turkey legs were purchased [NOT by me] and a lot of good memories were made.

And by 6 o'clock that night I was sitting in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium calling the Hogs. I wasn't planning on going to the game, but a college friend happened to have an extra ticket and offered it to me for FREE. Yes, thank you! So I got to see old friends and enjoy a good game. Life was full that day.

The Hogs won, of course. They paid TN Tech enough to come make them look good, I'm sure. After the game, some dear friends ended up in my back yard with me and the roommate sitting around the fire. It was a late night filled with tears, scripture, walls, laughter and hugs. God is so good.

We woke up after a few hours of sleep, took showers to try and remove the smoke smell out of no avail. But made it out to New Heights for church. I am so blessed by this church and its people. The service was nice and provided me a reminder of how BIG God really is. The church is opening up a coffee house & global store. They went into detail about the plans and how it came to be. Such a neat story. Mama Carmen's will be the name. I love it.

After church, NH had a free lunch catered and boy! was it good! BBQ at it's finest. Thank you Penguin Ed's. A great time for fellowship. I enjoyed every second of it! But what kind of southern girl would I be if I didn't have a smile on my face with a plate of BBQ, baked beans, cole slaw and sweet tea sitting in front of me?

Monday & Tuesday
I'm combining these two, for the sake of a ridiculously long post. :) I should learn to post more often instead of giving you my week in review. [my reviews are never short]

Monday I went back to that craft fair and ended up buying a few things. I couldn't resist the second time around! And it was still just a good the second time. The roommate came with this time and that is always fun. This was right up her alley. Homemade soap and spoon rings!

That night I got to spend my evening with Gretchen having dinner and coffee. Some girl time was much needed and getting to know someone so great is never a bad thing! I am so blessed by her friendship and laughter. We surprised some of our boys and stopped by their apartment to find them watching a football game, which we enjoyed just as much. It was a great night.

Aaaand theeeeen...Tuesday evening was spent with the fabulous Beth. A night filled with a home cooked meal [spaghetti & chocolate chip cookies] and wonderful conversation. Again, getting to know someone so great is never a bad thing. Beth becoming a part of my life has been one of my favorite things.

I have been so encouraged by the last 5 days. I had allowed my circumstances to steal my joy and that was just plain dumb. No circumstance has changed but I finally opened my eyes and have been so blessed by what was already around me. Things that have never changed.

And that most importantly includes a God who is bigger than me. Who provides redemption and forgiveness once I let Him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

thursday favorites.

i didn't want to wait until friday to post a few of my favorite things from this week.

1. The Flying Dog

my sweet momma made her way up here for a visit earlier this week and we found ourselves on a pretty serious search for some thrift store finds. mom's idea of a find is old pillow cases for $.56 each [which she buys 12 of them] and you love her for it. and mine is this pretty lady. if she didn't cost more than i make in a week, she would have found her way into my home. but the flying dog is by far of the most magical places i've ever seen. i've been twice this week. and it doesn't help that it's so close to my house! oh dear, someone help me!

2. soul food

last night the roomie and i made enough food to feed  the 5,000. as we were running around town we both had quite the hankerin' for some good ol' soul food. and when i say soul food i don't play around. on the menu last night was grilled chicken [the only semi healthy part of the meal], fried okra, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, corn bread and sweet tea. and my momma taught me early how to make a  good sweet tea. i truly thank my Maker for being born in the south! as we realized how much food we were going to end up with, i made a quick call to a friend of mine and 30 min later 3 hungry men come walking through my front door. with extra okra in hand, too! needless to say, it was a wonderful night of food and fellowship! and it ended with a wonderful little storm. so grateful for that!

3. a sound mind

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7

i'm putting this as one of my favorite things because sadly i've had less than a sound mind as of late. and well, i'm claiming my sound mind in the name of God. i'm not sure how it all got so bad, but it did. and this week i finally got a hold of myself and my mind and turned it back to God. it's kindof nice knowing things are on the up & up. ladies, i think we don't realize how Satan attacks us. we're emotional beings and what better way to start us on the down hill, but to make us think we are flat out crazy. Beth Moore talks about that in some of her podcasts. she speaks a lot of truth about it, in ways only she can, and it really hit home with me. 

i am sane. most days! and when i'm on the verge....just give me a sweet tea and a few minutes to recite the Lord's prayer 18 times and i should be good.