Saturday, September 6, 2008

Food for Thought

Because of my very long drive to work I had decided to start listening to books on tape so that all of that time spent in the car would not be wasted on my dancing to the 5 songs that 107.5 play and then replay over and over again. (though, sometimes it is fun...i am definitely up on my jordan sparks and miley cyrus).

Anywho, my first choice was "The Shack" by William P. Young. I chose this because it is being talked about everywhere and I really wanted to know what it was about. So when I went to buy it at Lifeway they told me that the currently don't carry it because it's being reviewed for its controversial nature. So I persevered on to Barnes and Noble, bought it, started listening and got addicted.

As anyone will tell you about the book, you can't tell people what's going on...they have to read for themselves. But I wanted to share one part with you that has fascinated me. There is a part where the main character, Mack, is ask by God to tell what is going on in Mack's life. Mack starts to explain and then interrupts himself by saying, 'wait a second. Don't you already know what is going on in my life? Why do you need to hear it from me? Don't you know everything?' And God responds, 'Even though I know everything, when you come to me to tell you what is going on in your life, I limit my ability to already know everything so that I can hear it from you and see it through your eyes.' Basically, in the book, God was telling Mack that He loves us so much that He wants to hear our hearts and how it feels for us to be dealing with situations...even though He could tell us exactly what is going on in our lives.

I was amazed by this. No, it's not exactly in scripture that He does this, but what a great thought! I know I have personally dealt with a time where I felt confused that I had to go before God and tell him things He already knows and ask for things He already knows I want. But what a great thought that He limits himself just so He can hear our heart through our words...see it from our perspective.

Whether it's what He does or not, I can see Him doing that. He has the ability to do anything and I think that His love for us is much less 'I am your master sitting on a throne just waiting to punish you for doing wrong' but rather, 'I am your Daddy, who just wants you to love, obey, trust and spend time with me. Just let me hold you while I listen to your stories and I will comfort you and give you advice and rejoice with you.'

I encourage you to read this book. Yes, it is fiction, but the principals behind it are biblically based and very touching. It has propelled me into a deeper desire to understand the more soft and Daddy side of God. I am thinking about His deep love for us and His desire for us to live abundant lives that are filled up with Him. Not just because He is God and the bible says that is what we need to do, but because He TRULY knows that a life filled with Him will be the BEST life for us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Faithful

Hello everyone in blog world! It's been quite awhile...again....since I have wrote. But today felt like another good day to write.

God has been doing incredible things with my heart lately. He has been softening it in ways that it has never experienced. There is a worship song that says "Break my heart for what breaks yours" and EVERYTIME I sing that line I make it my prayer. Mainly because I know that my heart is humanly selfish and sometimes does not see beyond my own needs so I need GOD to come in and massage it a bit. And He has. I am beginning to see people and situations with a new light and love and I completely contribute that to reading God's powerful word. I am learning about God's grace and His desire for all to know Him in more profound ways. I find myself tearing up with excitement at what God is doing in my life and in the lives of others. My friends are being blessed and healed and I just got chill bumps thinking about it because i am genuinely SO excited for them! I know that the Holy Spirit is at work in my life. God is giving me eyes to see what He is doing and giving me patience while He is developing me.

God is just good. Not just because I am having a moment of breakthrough but because He walks us through those times of waiting for the breakthrough and strengthens our faith to believe breakthrough is coming.

I love HIM. I really do. I am just in awe of what He can do...at the work of His hands. I am so tired of taking things for granted and not realizing His majesty all around me that is crying out, "SEE ME?? How can you not stand in awe?" Seriously friends, look at the symmetry of a leaf, listen to the thousands of different laughs around you, look at the colors of the sky, the thousands of different color different shape flowers...wow. What an amazing artist He is. He is the original for everything. We are inspired by HIS artwork.

It's been a good week. My heart is changing in ways that I am pleased with but I know that I have to keep myself grounded in what is good and true so that my heart does not stray.

Thank you Lord for loving us no matter what. Thank you for holding us like a dad should and telling us that you know it's all going to work out good in the end. Thank you for creating us so that we could experience life and more importantly, life with you. Let me be not just a good christian, but a good CHRIST to those around me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

what's going on...

Wow. It's been awhile. I wanted to update those of you who read my blog on what has been going on in my life that has kept me far from the blogging world and basically any playing on the internet whatsoever. I started a new job on June 30. I am working at the corporate office of e+ healthcare in Nashville and loving it. I have a hybrid sort of position which means that half of my job is spent as the assistant to our Chief Financial Officer and the other half is spent working in Operations with our company's lawyers on Medicare/855s. It's way too much to explain over this blog, (or really in person without possibly putting someone to sleep) but I will say that I love being an assistant so that part is great and easy because I know it, but then I also have this awesome opportunity to work in the operations of the company and learn something completely new and challenging which I love. And working for this company has made me feel like I am apart of something bigger. e+ healthcare has 12 different cancer centers across the US and they are working hard to fight the battle of cancer by bringing in better technology and by creating incredible facilities that make patients feel like they are in a more warm and caring enviorment. They truly care about the patients and do everything possible to make sure that cancer patients are being taken care of and that there is something out there that is trying to make their battle more comfortable and efficient.

On the other side of life, (the one I don't have tons of time to live because I am so busy) things are going well. Everyone got back from church camp last week and are spreading the delightful contagious virus of passion for God to our whole church. It devastates me that I missed an opportunity to be a part of this because watching our youth worship and hearing them open up and what GOD has done is amazing. To be completely honest, it is really hard because they now have a bond that I wasn't a part of...which is fine and good because I was praying for them to have that bond and that experience the entire time they were away...but I know they are all going to help bond the entire group, those that went and those that didn't.

My life is busy. There is hardly time for me to enjoy anything that I once did like reading, crafting, walking, writing, spending time with friends and family. I feel like things are changing around me and I am changing too but I am not apart of those changes that everyone else is experiencing. I know that is a confusing sentanence, but maybe someone gets it. But for the most part, life is going great. I have a lot to be thankful for and God continues to bless an undeserving me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

11:00pm Cheeseburger

Yes, you read the title correct. An 11:00pm cheeseburger from McDonalds brought me joy last night. Margie, Max and I went to TPAC to see some of our dear and super talented friends, (Brittany, Emily, Cierra and Krista) perform in their dance recital. We had previously eaten at about 5:30 before the show, so after the 4 hour recital we decided we were hungry again! Now, this was surprising that Margie and Max who weigh about as much as my shoe were starving, but for me if I have not eaten in 5 hours it's time for a snack! And as we were sitting in downtown Nashville at McDonalds at 11:00pm, (which is WAY past my bedtime), we got a little slap happy. You know, that wonderful hilarious feeling that you just say the most random things and everyone thinks it's the funniest thing they have heard in weeks? I just love, love those moments with friends. I love to laugh more than I love to do most things and this was a great moment of silly laughter as we were talking about random stuff and recalling some of the hilarious, (yes, i'm still laughing, Margie) events of the night.

That was my joy moment yesterday. Just that great moment of laughter with friends. Slap happy, 11:00pm McDonalds run, crack lady trying to steal our cheeseburger money laughter :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pride

I had an experience recently that has enlightened me about the issue of Pride that I thought I would share with the few of you who view my blog. I am writing from the heart here…nothing fancy…just a little story about my most recent revelation.

Pride completely clouds your mind of what is right and what is necessary. Pride puffs you up into thinking that the entire world revolves around what makes you comfortable and happy. Pride makes you feel really important…in your own head. Pride destroys perfectly good relationships and puts a huge wedge between you and your most important relationship…your’s and God’s. Pride causes you to make decisions that you will definitely later regret.

My recent experience was that I made a mistake. A pretty decent sized mistake. I committed the total pride crime: I decided that I mattered more than others. That only my thoughts and my personal life mattered. That my decision only affected me. But this wasn’t the only bad part about my prideful mistake. I had committed to someone…something…that I would not make this choice and I was trusted. And I got caught. And you know what happened when I was caught? I got defensive. I wasn’t outwardly defensive at first, but inside I was boiling. Of course in my head I made about 25 excuses for why it was a ridiculous situation and how I should have not have to deal with it. And the very cruel but obvious truth was, I was really wrong and my pride was clouding my judgement.

Luckily, when I finally let God in enough to slap me around a bit, He did. After I had this revelation of my own stupidity, Sunday night David preached a sermon on Joy and how pride can sometimes rob us of joy. And that was a confirmation in my spirit that this was definitely a lesson that God was teaching me. And because of my recent experience, I was able to share with a few of the youth girls how I had let my pride rob me on about 20 hours of joy because I was so focused on how I was affected by a situation. And how my day changed and my heart was lighter and more joyful once I let go of the pride and just said, "all justifications aside...I was wrong and I need to apologize and let it go."

So, while I apparently have to keep learning this lesson over and over again, I get a little better at it each time. God is so good to have patience with me and continue to teach me. My moment of joy today is in realizing that my character is getting stronger because I am allowing God to shape it...sometimes slowly, but little by little i'm changing for the better. More of Him, less of me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Space

I have been sick all weekend. I'm not sure how one gets a mad case of the sniffles in the beginning of summer, but apparently it happens. So, here I sit talking in my marge simpson like voice, scaring the clients at work, while scaring fellow employees because as they will be talking to me and sudden steam of snot will come pouring out my nose...Completely out of no where with no warning. It's almost as if there is a little man in my nose waiting for someone to come along and talk to me, and then the little man gives a wicked laugh and then releases the snot and then laughs hyterically knowing he has just embarrassed me. Evil little man.

I slept about 3 hours last night...if that. Most of my night was consumed with tossing around, guzzling about 5 gallons of water and watching disney channels "the suite life of zack and kody." I needed something mindless to take my thoughts away from my raw throat and nose. Then today I am walking around as if I am not connected to anyone or anything around me. It's as if I am up in space looking down on the world but have nothing to do with it. I'm just aware of it. And I haven't even taken any medicine...yet. But the walk in clinic is calling my name today and I will answer very soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

His Presence

Sunday night was completely unexpected. I was not feeling great on Sunday morning because of some hydration issues from Saturday so we stayed home from church, which we never do but that was a rough morning. So after laying on the couch and staring at the TV for awhile, Jeremy and I got up and drove to Cool Springs to meet his parents. We had a great time with them, (they got me the cutest green dress and really cool wood cutting board), but I was completely worn out in time for Youth Group on Sunday night.

When we arrived I was just exhausted and having crazy hot flashes. After great worship and a great sermon, David had everyone split up and find a place in the room and pray for 7 minutes. And honestly, I just had no desire to do that. But there, in our church sanctuary, in the dark, alone kneeling before God, this incredible peace came over me as I prayed and rested in God's presence. There is nothing like that feeling of God holding you in a warm and gentle embrace and you feel that you could stay there forever and be completely happy. But the prayer...David ask that we ask God to "break us". Now, I have done this before a couple of times and I can definitely say, God answered that prayer with radical results. It's a really hard prayer to pray because in asking God to break you, you are asking Him to put you on your face knowing that there is no way you can make it on your own. And I struggled with it. I just told God that because of the hard times I have had in the past when I have prayed that, I am now a little scared of it.

Then, in His calming presence, He reminded me of how those times of breakage have formed my character and how they have given me more opportunities to minister to others because of the circumstances I have been through.He reminded me that I am never better than when I am doing things with His strength and not my own. So I prayed it. Not just because David ask us to, but because I truly desire more of Him and less of me. There is no better way to glorify God than to be full of His character.

So on Sunday my moment of joy was experiencing God's presence in a real way. Not because of the lighting and the music...not the "emotional" experience; but a real moment of truth between me and God that brought forth the realization that He is there...listening to me and ready to answer my questions. He is the most amazing Father.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

yard talk, garage sales and produce stands


Yesterday I was super duper busy so I didn't have time to write, but I did have a wonderful moment of joy that I wanted to tell you about.

Yesterday started off with sitting outside in the yard at Margie and David's house chatting with some of our best friends; Margie, David, Kristin, Chad, Alicia and Daniel. We were literally sitting in the yard watching the kids play and the dogs chase each other as the sun was warming our faces. After that, Kristin and I headed off to do some much needed garage sale shopping. We just started driving and we hit some really great houses and some amazing deals. As we were shopping, I would notice the types of things people previously owned and wondered about the kind of lives they live. Kristin and I made small fun conversation with the people who were all so friendly and in great moods. After that, we decided to stop at a produce stand and pick up some fresh veggies and fruits. And after I dropped Kristin off and helped her lug her $30 worth of stuff (which was tons) up to her apartment, I set off on my drive home. I managed to hit another really delicious looking produce stand a tad further out in to the country where I picked up some even more delicious foods. But when I was finally about to arrive home, as I was cruising down my long country road, it hit me...the joy of summer. the memories of summer. the way everything smells and the vibrant colors. It had been such a gorgeous day full of very simple moment that really brought me a lot of joy. I felt no pressure to be or do anything amazing. I was truly enjoying this summer day with it's light breezes, fresh cut grass smells and friendly local faces. And I thanked God for his artistry and for giving us seasons.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Joy Moments

While I was revamping my page today, the title of my blog jumped out at me and screamed for attention. "Finding Joy in Each Day". I originally titled it that because I was going to write blogs about the moments that brought me joy to encourage myself and others that it IS out there everyday...joy. Some days it's hard to believe it because of our circumstances, but that's the thing about joy; it's not dependant on circumstance, it's dependant on your relationship with God.

So I'm starting off my "joy moments" blogs with a newly realized moment of joy that happened this morning.

May 30th Joy Moment: My husband loves to hold me when he sleeps. When we are turning out the lights he says, "roll over so I can hold you" and then he falls asleep very fast. Now, this has not always been a joy moment. In fact, it's been a source of contention with us because I get hot easily at night. But this morning I was driving to work thinking about it and I began to find joy in this simple act. He finds comfort and peace in my presence and it is calming enough to him that it actually helps him sleep better. And I fell in love with this. How wonderful is it that I have a husband who loves to hold me? Some wives beg for this! But I don't have to beg or even ask...he just does it and it makes me feel needed and important.

I encourage you today to find joy in something that your husband does that you normally dismiss.

Stuck

You may have noticed that it's been quite a while since I have mentioned any weight loss. Well, that's because there hasn't been much more. Before I went to Savannah I had lost a total of 29 pounds. When I returned from Savannah, I had gained 7 pounds of tasty low country cooking. I could hardly believe it. We walked about 5-7 miles a day, and while we were eating not perfect, we weren't being ridiculous either. Since that moment on the scale, I have been beyond struggling to get back on track. I have somehow managed to lose 3 of those pounds, but I'm not sure how because I have been eating like pig. I would say that getting back on track is actually harder than starting the program. I'm trying to remember all of the things that had me motivated back in January, and they are good things, but for some reason they are just not enough to make me put down the ice cream and walk away from the vending machine.

I know that some of you out there reading this are thinking, "Come on. Just show some discipline." If only it were that easy! It's a hideous addiction. Hideous.

So, I am writing to plead for your prayers and encouragement. Maybe I just got to prideful that I could do it on my own and forgot that it was completely God that is giving me the strength.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

10 years ago

I meant to write this on my birthday but I never got around to it. Reaching 28 for some reason felt like a milestone, even though it's not a typical one. But on that day, i sat back and thought about where i was 10 years ago so that i could see how far i have come and what God has brought me through. So here it is, my "where i was 10 years ago" list

In 1998...

* I was helping lead a bible study group at our highschool and prayer group
* I did my first speaking engagement for a private Christian school where I spoke on "True Love Waits"
* I graduated from Gallatin High School
* I cut all of my hair off for the first time
* I was heavily involved with CYM (Cornerstone Youth Ministries)
* I went to Ft. Apache, AZ to work and minister on an Indian Reservation
* I left to move to Waxahachie, TX where I attended Southwestern Assembly of God University where I was majoring in Cross Cultural Missions (? seriously? I thought I had to have a degree for that?)
* I interned under Scott Wilson, Oakcliff Assembly of God's famous Youth Pastor
* I did street ministry in Dallas, TX
* I lived with a roomate who would eat Taco Bell at 12:00am and smack loudly so I became adjusted to sleeping with my CD player on.
* I was skipping chapel services 3 out of 5 times a week (imagine really, really old AG pastors telling of when they were in college...snore)
* I was constantly hanging out with Master Commission members, therefore I was also praying for 2 hours a day and reading scripture like a maniac.
* My favorite restaurant was "Gloria's"...an El Salvadorian restaurant in a shady part of town that was incredible
* I was threatening to start giving plasma so my parents would take pity on me and send money
* I was living off of the Chicken/Mushroom Ramen Noodles

Looking back through this list I can see where life is incredibly different now. I almost forgot how I was so involved in ministry and thought it would be my full time job (as in paying job) one day. I guess never say never...but probably never. I should probably get back to the kind of reading and praying I was once doing. I remember being so close to God and CRAVING Him. The more I learned about Him the more I wanted to learn about Him. So, all in all, this has been a good and helpful trip down memory lane.

What about you? 10 years ago you were...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A really great weekend

This past weekend was fabulously crazy! Although, I'm beginning to worry that I don't know how to function without having something to do. We had some one on one time and great fellowship with many friends. Friday night we did a double date with our friends Brooke and Jeremy. We chowed on some steak, drank some caffine. There were a lot of laughs. Saturday, we had a girls shopping trip with the youth. We headed to Cool Springs Mall to enjoy what turned out to be a really terrific trip and time with the ladies. I think everyone got a couple of new things that they all adorned themselves with on sunday and looked amazing! Saturday night, two of the youth girls, tiffany and kimmi, came over. Oh, and of course Tiffany's new beau Matt! We grilled out, played in the back yard, climbed trees, watched a movie. Sunday after church we had a fantastic El Ray lunch with our friends Chad and Kristin. More laughing and eating. Sunday afternoon, youth kickball game (i did pretty well!), then off to David and Margie's for even more eating and laughing and bull frog and salamander hunting. Monday...yes, you guess it...more eating and laughing with the Barnett family as they had a group of us over for an amazing meal! (Shout out to Kimmi's creative napkins!). Then it was off to Aaron and Beth's for a lot of laughing and good conversation. No eating...but only because we were full :) And here I am back at work today...exhausted but feeling full of joy because of the many friends we were able to spend great time with. We are really blessed to have so many close and amazing people in our lives.

Thank you friends for loving us!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Target Zombies

A new Species has been discovered:

The other day when I was walking around Target for the millionth time on my lunch, someone I knew approached me and apparently said my name twice before I ever heard them. She started laughing and told me that I was just staring off into space. I laughed back (secretly thinking that I do this really often) we talked with the "haven't seen you in forever" pleasantries for a moment and then she was off...leaving me to finish my shopping. As I walked around I began to notice that many women were doing as I was doing; Walking up and down aisles slowly glancing from left to right, up and down. They seriously looked like zombies. When they walked in they probably knew exactley what they were coming for but immediately turned to Zombies because of the bright lights, "SALE" and "New Summer Arrivals" signs. Some even had their mouths hanging open. Which leads me to believe that Target is just so fabulous and overwhelming that it's like walking into New York City. It's massive and astounding, there is tons to see and you just can't possibly leave without spending gobs of money.

So there it is. I am a self proclaimed Target Zombie.

Let it all out

Last night I had a moment of complete frustration with church people. I’m not talking about the people that are at church because they are focused on serving and getting involved with what God’s doing; I’m talking about the people that go to church, get somewhat involved and then start to nitpick at everything they see that THEY thought could be different. Things that THEY don’t agree with and that THEY think THEY could do better. Well you know what? THEY weren’t appointed by God to lead that church and make those decisions. THEY aren’t the ones slaving in prayer, trying to be a spouse and a parent while shepherding a church, handling the drama that goes on every day from church members, handling the problems that marriages and families need counseling for…THEY aren’t the ones responsible for a entire church congregations spiritual growth. THEY are self absorbed negativity spreaders who apparently have way too much time on their hands to sit on their bottoms and talk about how much better THEY would be at running a church, or if THEY were the pastor or pastor’s wife THEY would do it different. THEY need to have a come to Jesus meeting and realize that THEY have a specific calling on their life that THEY are obviously not doing because THEY are spending their time talking about how someone else is doing their calling.

And when did people decide that a church is all about meeting their needs? Who said this was the way it was suppose to be? The only one thing that can meet all a persons needs is God. No church will be perfect. No church will be everything you hoped it would be. I should know…I have moved around a lot and tried out no less than 20 churches in my life and not one of them is perfect. The one I attend now is not completely perfect…but it is the place I call my church home. And because I felt that is where God called me, I have plugged in and served and respected my pastors no matter if I agreed with everything they said or not. Church is honestly what you make it. In fact, I’m going to throw this thought out there; Most of the time when people are complaining about church not being what they want it to be and not meeting their needs, it’s probably because they don’t have a close relationship with God. Think about it; the closer you are to God, the more you reflect His character. Are these people reflecting God’s character by gossiping, spreading negativity and hardening their heart? We come to church to fellowship, to plug in and serve the Lord, to worship, to be fed. . If one of those isn’t meeting your needs at the church, go to God in prayer and seek Him on it. Don’t start bad mouthing and spreading disease among the fellow church goers. A wise woman I know once said, “Do you want to be responsible for a downfall in the church? I don’t.”

Grrrr….

Sunday, May 18, 2008

growing

ah. so finally i feel like i am ready to write about life, vacation and where life has me at this moment. i promise to be as brief as possible. sunny warm days make me feel alive. so imagine me writing this with a peaceful smile on my face and real joy in my heart.

first, savannah was beautiful. but more than the city being beautiful, my time with my husband...alone...truly made the vacation. in the busy touristy moments and in the quiet walking through squares, being beside him with no distractions was lovely. and because we have been so busy since we even became engaged, we had almost forgot the beauty of just spending time alone. the beauty of being with your best friend...your true best friend that knows what all your facial expressions mean and senses your mood and lets you be you and loves you anyway. how can i not want to spend more time alone with this kind of person? of course, i love my time with my friends and ministry time, but there is something rejuvinating about being with someone who doesn't expect anything from you but deserves so much. not that we had fallen out of love by any means...i love him more each day...but i fell into a different kind of love. which is what i think the years of marriage are like. you fall in love with each other in different ways because of the different things you learn about each other. or that's what they should be like, at least. as far as the city...GO. if you like history, architecture, beauty, food, antiques...then GO. it's a city that must be experience on foot or you will miss many of the most beautiful details. like in most cities, it's not the big tourist traps that are the highlights, it's the small quiet and lovely finds that make your trip. there is nothing like walking along those old brick sidewalks hand in hand with your best friend. this is by far the most romantic city i have been to in america.

and life. life is good and starting to get great. after vacation i am learning to say no and remember that i need those times to myself to learn what the Lord has for me and what He wants to show me in the quiet moments. He's good like that. find a quiet moment...he's there waiting to speak to you. i'm learning that each day there is something God has for me to do. it's not a moment i'm building up to, but a bunch of little moments and people that he wants me to enjoy and put my heart into. i've started taking more advantage of work being my current mission field. just telling people that i have prayed for them or that i will. listening to their stories and truly caring about them. everyone has a story to tell and needs someone to appreciate it. and i do appreciate people's stories. they are facinating. i love to see how God has made them fall in love with Him. on a lighter note, my house is starting to come together. my kitchen has a sitting bench and a cool lantern, my living room has more pictures and my front porch has flowers and rocking chairs. you should come over and sit and tell me some of your story.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Savannah

Because of the limited time that I currently have to tell you about my trip to Savannah, I thought I would go ahead and leave you with a slide show of Jeremy and I's trip until I have time to write a blog describing the amazing time we had. I am sure from the pictures, you will be able to tell that we had the most incredible and romantic time. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Amen"

The other day I was flipping through the channels and I landed on TBN. No, this is not a common occurance but every once in awhile I like to hear what new penacostal ritual or movement i'm missing out on. So while I am listening to some guy preach/yell that I have never seen before, I hear him say, "And all the kids are in the streets drinking and having sex and having abortions...." and while he is saying this there are tons of people in the audience yelling, "AMEN!" Now, if a lot of you have been a part of many penacostal services like me, this is not unusual...UNTIL you start thinking about what the word "Amen" is suppose to mean. The most common translation of it is, "So be it". It is most often used at the conclusion of prayers and hymns. It seems to stand as a sign of support and agreement. So why would some one say, "So be it!" to kids out in the street having sex and abortions? To me this is just one of the many signs of how a lot of once reverant rituals are being turned into something that has lost it's true meaning. You know, I could understand if they were yelling the also common, "Preach it!" and "Come on!" but "Amen"? So be it?

Anyway, this is just one of the many weird thoughts running through my head today. If you can prove me wrong, please do. I welcome any insight to this subject.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

28 Pounds lighter


I haven't posted a weight loss picture in awhile so I thought I would add this one. This was taken this past weekend at my friend Jennifer's baby shower.

Celebrating Earth Day

Due to the crazy pressure I was feeling yesterday, I decided to spend lunch outdoors at Rockland Park to celebrate earth day by taking in the earths beauty. I walked down through the trees to the water and sat in the grass. And I stared. And I began to feel some peace. I let the sun shine hard on my face and I breathed in the fresh air and somewhere in that moment I felt calm. I watched a turtle crawl into the water and I literally stared at an inch worm for 5 minuites wondering what his purpose in life was. I listened to the water lap against the shore. I know this all sounds somewhat crazy and like a cheesy book but that moment brought me back to the many moments I spent doing that exact same thing when I was younger. I was transported back to "my place". "My place" was the last access at the end of lock 4 road. After school my senior year, I would drive down there with my bible in tow, and read God's word while sitting in the middle of God's artwork. I loved those moments. It was so quiet and I was quiet. I needed to realize that I don't need or have to always be Martha. While I think that being actively involved is very important, Jesus is teaching me that there is a lot of importance in being Mary. In order to have the wisdom, love and compassion that Jesus needs me to have to be Martha, I need to be Mary and sit at His feet so He can give that to me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Slowly breaking

I am so ready to go on vacation. I am feeling it today more than ever. I can tell my body and mind are getting really worn out from everything I’m involved in. And I don’t want to ever get that way. In the past, I have actually had a little breakdown. Not a “put me in the hospital” kind, but the kind where you just cry and are irritable because you have so much going on and you feel burnt out and that’s making you not work your best any longer. And honestly, I feel like I’m on the verge of another one of those. I know that I almost always appear to be very happy and confident, but sometimes it’s just because I don’t believe that anyone else should have to experience me in a bad mood. Except my poor sweet husband who gets to see that side more than he or I would like. So right now, I don’t care how eloquent this blog is or how witty and creative I usually try to make them. I’m just venting. I’m tired. My home is being neglected because I am never home. And when I am home I just want to sit and rest but then something always comes up. I have so much going on and I see no room for cuts. The time I use to spend at home has been cut down because now I’m working out. But I can’t cut working out because it’s good for me and my body needs it. Then work is very busy…I work 40-50 hrs. depending on the week. But I can’t cut work out because I need the money. Then there is church, which I love. Being involved with the Youth is where I find so much joy and fulfillment. I know it is part of my purpose at this point in my life and there is no way I’m cutting back on it. Then there is cultivating relationships with my husband and friends. Trying to make any moment Jeremy and I have together a quality moment. Being with him is my favorite place to be. Then finding time where I can hang out with my friends who allow me just time to be ridiculous me. Then finding time to keep up with my parents and sister so I am a good family member. I just wish they lived here. It would be so much easier. Then trying to find time for God. And this is probably the problem. I am trying to fit Him in to my crazy life instead of fitting everything else around Him. Sigh.

My main point is that I just feel like I am spreading myself so very thin and that no one thing ever gets the best I have to offer. Jeremy and I leave for Savannah, Georgia on April 30th. We will be gone for 6 days and I am just so very excited to get away and breathe. *tear*

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stats

This blog divulges a few of my beyond the surface thoughts but I feel that I should share with you some of the more shallow and selfish parts of me...just so you can get a more well rounded picture. Because unfortunately, I am not always just thinking about God and how to lose weight.

Lindsey Stats:

* I am addicted to ridiculous reality tv shows (Biggest Loser, Project Runway, Top Chef, America's Next Top Model, The Hills...and more)
* I must have my sheets tucked in before I crawl into bed at night.
* My favorite type is humor is dry and sarcastic.
* My all time favorite movie is "When Harry Met Sally"
* I heart Vicks Vapor Rub. The smell puts me in a good mood.
* I still listen to Heart, Chicago and Journey and I am not ashamed
* I don't really like concerts unless they are sit down ones. I want to sit and enjoy and not have people bumping into me while yelling and spilling their beer on my outfit.
* I love to travel and I want to travel more. I firmly believe that everyone needs to experience other cultures and see other parts of the world
* I don't just love the color black because it is slimming. It's also sophisticated :)
* I daydream about being able to sing and play the guitar
* Although most people think I am organized...sadly, i am the opposite. I try so hard to be but it just takes to much effort that could be spent on something more important..at least in my opinion
* I love reading...when I have the time.
* I want to write a book one day
* I'm afraid of the ocean...and I hate sand on me. I prefer to be in a pool overlooking the ocean :)
* If I could have any job I wanted and not have to worry about money, I would be a photographer
* My favorite band is U2
* I love to wear dresses
* I'm obsessed with the Food Network. I could watch it 70% of my day (the other 30% would be spent watching reality shows as noted above)
* I love Jesus and hate religion
* I don't like talking on the phone. I would rather meet in person
* I'm more introverted than people realize
* I only drink coffee black
* I dance in my car to booty music
* I am afraid of the dark
* I loathe being hot

So there you have it. Some random facts about me. Now please share with me some facts about you :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reckless Abandonment

Reckless: utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless

Abandonment: to give up the control of

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking here lately about my devotion to God. It seems that this is a subject that God wants me to focus on because when I’m not thinking about it on my own, it comes up in conversation with other people, they speak about it in church, and someone gives a word that reminds me of it. God truly will always find a way to get your attention even if you are trying to avoid him.

You see, devotion has been a word I have been manipulating to meet my needs and not His. I have been afraid to be all out, glory blazing, captivated and surrendered to living for the Lord the way I KNOW he wants me to. And the reason I have been afraid is because of past experiences. In the past when I have given Him my all and “pressed towards the goal”, I have ended up going through some really tough trials. It seemed that the closer I would get to God, the more road blocks that would come in my way. The more I read the bible, the tougher things got financially. The more I prayed, the harder my relationship with my family got. The more I told my testimony; my anxiety would try to come back. And I’ve just been living in fear that if I start living in reckless abandonment again, big trails are assuredly heading my way.

This past weekend at the Women’s Retreat, Deborah Jackson ask us to take about 30 minutes to find a place to meditate on what she had just spoke about. While I was off thinking, God started to wrestle with my spirit again about where I was in my devotion to His word and to living to glorify Him. And then it hit me: This fear has been a road block to fulfillment.This fear has caused me to settle for a life that has been good and easy—but not great. And that’s what God wants it to be. Great. Full of adventure, mystery, on my knees, celebrating creation, loving without pause, wins and losses, joy and sorrow, ministering till I can’t anymore kind of great. He wants control. Not because he’s an overbearing mean father but because He truly knows what is best for us…trials and all.

When I really think about it, those trials that came my way did a lot of good in my life. They are part of my story…part of how God is putting me together. James 1: 2-4 in the Message Bible says this: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” I love where it says, “a sheer gift”. The word sheer means “clear” or “transparently thin”. So this is how we are suppose to view trials, not as a dark “what’s going on?” kind of situation but as something that is transparently obvious that this is just Gods way of working in your life. And I love at the end where it says, “not deficient in anyway.” Deficient means “lacking an element.” I want to view the trials that I encounter while living in reckless abandonment to God as His way of making my life something that isn’t lacking anything. And not lacking anything makes something what? Complete.

Maybe some of you are holding back because fear of what other people may think about you. Maybe some of you are holding back because you are nervous about what God may call you to do or who to love or where to go if you give Him your all. For me...mine has been fear of bad trials. So pray with me my friends that I would dive in head first being aware that crazy things may come my way but that they will only make my life more complete. That I would not fear. And I have honestly known for a long time that God has been waiting on me to get out of where I’m at because He has something bigger for me that I will never reach if I don’t start giving him my all. It all boils down to faith. Do I trust that His will is always best? Pray that I will. I know it’s what my soul wants but the flesh is quite stubborn.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Outraged

Today I am outraged. Why? Because the ignorant and inconsiderate people of Channel 4 news in Nashville INTERRUPTED THE OFFICE LAST NIGHT!

Here is the letter I am writing:

Dear Inconsiderate Fools of WSMV:
I am writing to inform your crew that myself, and I'm sure many others, are completely appauled that you would have such an idiotic lapse in judgement and interrupt the first episode of The Office that we fans have been waiting on for months now. Why you didn't choose to air your fiftieth weather report during the turkey bacon or orbit commerical, I will never understand. So I am writing to demand that you send me and thousands of other middle tennesseans a complete copy of last nights Office episode. This should be easy for you since you have such great powers like the high tech weather map that gives a 3-D shot of the weather and the Live Pinpoint Doppler Loop online. Also, i'm sure you can use some of that arrogance that thought you were better than The Office to persuade the executives at NBC.

I will be expecting my DVD in 4 business days. If I do not receive it, I will be forced to break your weather machine or kidnap Nancy Van Kamp.

Sincerely,
Lindsey

Friday, March 28, 2008

10%

I did it. This morning I weighed in and showed that I had lost another 2.2 pounds from last week putting me to a total 26 pound loss and exceeding my 10% goal. This marks a big day for me...for anyone that is trying to lose weight. Whoo Hoo!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the downfall

Today I am craving Mexican food. In fact, it's almost unbearable how much I want an enchilada and mexican rice....and chips and queso and for someone to overnight me an empanada from La Fonda in Cabo San Lucas. mmmm.... But other than today, I have actually been doing really well with not having ridiculously overwhelming cravings. Oh, by the way, i'm not pregnant...just trying to lose weight.


Seven years after my dad quit smoking I remember saying to him, "I bet you don't even get tempted by it anymore?" and he said, "Not true. I'll always be a smoker. I'm just choosing not to smoke." These words came back to me last week when I had a...well, we will just call it a "moment of weakness".

I was baking Easter cupcakes to bring to work on last Friday. It was 10:00pm and I thought there was no possible way that I would even be tempted because I would be weighing in about 8 hours and I had already maxed my points for the day. But I was WRONG. First off, they were white cupcakes, which are my absolute favorite, with cream cheese icing and peanut M&M's on top. (Green icing, three peanut M&M's...Easter basket! You see, right?) In the process of icing them, I noticed one of the cupcakes was a bit lopsided. As I begin to feel bad for the little odd shaped cupcake, I began to think of how no one at work would appreciate his character. Infact, they would probably ask, "What happend to this one??" and that would give the little cake a complex. So, I decided that being the non judgemental lover of all sweets that I am, I would eat him and his life would not be in vain. So I did. And then, like a psycho sweet addict , I took down two more of his buddies just to show them that I didn't show favor to only those who have flaws.

I went to bed that night feeling incredibly defeated. I thought I had moved past those moments where you fall flat on your face. After all, I have been doing this for three months. And then my dads words hit me...I'm always going to be a little addicted sweets. It may never go away. But I gain strength and health each time I say "No". It's like a thorn in my flesh. And seriously, it is a thorn...not a splinter. Food has been my weakness for years and years. It's not like I just had a little problem where sometimes I would have too big of a portion...it's like, "I'll have that 16 oz. steak with a huge side of pasta and half a gallon of ice cream for dessert every other day" But the best things in life don't come easy. My walk with Christ is not easy and it is by far the most beneficial and precious part of my world.

I'm learning. It's a learning process. Learning how to lose the weight, learning the real reason I should be losing weight, learning that being healthy must be a lifestyle because the ultimate goal shouldn't be to wear that size 6 dress, learning what makes me eat the way I do, learning that food should not be the focus of my day. I use to get so angry when people would judge overweight people. It would make me angry that my "flaw" my "weakness" was something that was visable to everyone around me. I didn't struggle with drinking, smoking, cursing, stealing, lust, envy...my struggle was with food. And while you could hide all those other issues to a degree, you could never hide being addicted to food. And I cared so much what others thought.

But these days I'm feeling good. It feels outstanding that I have taken control of my body...the thing I have been abusing for so long. And I'm sure there will be many more slip ups, but I will not let them take me back to where I've been...ever. I will just dust off, learn from my mistake, and keep going.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My part in the Body

“Comparison is so destructive. It erodes our love for other people and causes us to shun the gifts that God has given us. Like Peter, it keeps asking, “Well, what about him? What about her?” It keeps our eyes darting around the room, sizing people up, and holding up placards with numbers on them. It robs us of our own stories and gifts from God, all because we like someone else’s better. Comparison becomes a faulty scale on which we place ourselves, waiting to see how we balance out with the people on the other side. Comparison leaves us jealous and critical and insecure. It can propel us into unhealthy competition or relentless people-pleasing. God wants us to be free of that. Part of what it means to be created in the image of God is that each person has his or her own story, giftedness, and calling. I cannot find mine by looking at yours. Your story may inspire me or warn me, but I should never use it to determine my own. The gospel frees us from comparison, making it possible to admire other people’s gifts and be grateful for their contributions to the Kingdom.” ~Nancy Ortberg, “Looking for God”

After reading this passage I was incredibly inspired to write about it. I know this is a great struggle at times for both men and women, but I truly feel that it affects women to our core. It seems that I sometimes forget that I am living my own individual calling…building that very specific blueprint that God laid out especially for me. Instead, I look over to my right or left and ask God, “But why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I have that gift?” God is saying to us, “What’s it to you? You are called to follow me.” And Nancy Ortberg puts it so well when she says, “I cannot find mine by looking at yours. Your story my inspire me or warn me, but I should never use it to determine my own.” My story is my story.

It is so true that when we compare ourselves to other people, it “erodes our love for other people”. Because instead of celebrating the fact that someone is so gifted, so popular, so compassionate, so giving, so good at what they do, that we end up robbing God of the praise that He deserves for creating such an amazing human being. We stop appreciating that person for who they are and what they are contributing to bringing glory to God’s name and we begin secretly tearing them down in our heads and letting the ugly face of jealousy start to appear.

If I get gut wrenchingly honest, I will admit that I once struggled with this heavily. The constant to comparison to what I didn’t have overtook me and I would be completely oblivious to what I did have. I was blinded to what God was trying to show me by staring at other people’s callings and longing for their gifts. I had a hard time “rejoicing when others rejoiced” because I was too busy trying to figure out what they had that I was missing. I am so thankful that God has since released me from that, but every once in awhile I feel the temptation to slide back in.

Before I even came across the passage above, I had made a goal of telling other women when I am inspired by something they have done that’s great, or if they look beautiful. I feel like it’s almost becoming a lost art for women to truly see the great in each other and drop our pride to let one another know that. And thanks to Nancy Ortberg, I feel even more impassioned “admire others gifts.” God is a great and mighty God and I am really beginning to believe that He knew exactly how He wanted me to be and that I should trust that I possess the gifts he wanted me to possess…they are my contribution to the body of Christ. And I should be thankful that other people have different gifts and that they are contributing as well. Today I praise Him for his artwork of the individual. He made us in His image…I’m a piece of Him. A Chip off the ol’ block. And that’s good enough for me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

a trip to lawrenceburg

Jeremy and I went to visit his family in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee this past weekend. I really love going there. We had such a relaxing and lovely time. On Friday night Jeremy went to a dinner with his dad and brother at their church and I spent time with Tommy, Tabatha and their two wonderful children Carlee and Amelia. Amelia is just a little over a month old and she was PRECIOUS. On Saturday we ate, played on the farm and ate. Then we went to Aunt Dana and Unlce Larry's to play with cousin Megan's daughter, beautiful Molly Claire. Oh yeah, then we ate again. Pam, my caring mother in law, took very good care of us by cooking delicious meals and continually making sure that we were resting. Sunday we slept in like the slackers we were, then we ate again and headed home.
This slideshow I have created is to show you all just a touch of what it looks like on the Johnson land. And literally, that's just a touch because they have a lot of land. Even though I could never be a farmers wife, and thank God Jeremy has no desire to be a farmer, I am facinated by farms and the people that have the passion to make farming their life. And it would truly have to be a passion because it is some dirty work.

Monday, March 17, 2008

lindsey view

I thought Kristin had such a brilliant idea of showing everyone where she sat all day long while she worked and communicated with us, that I decided to steal it. I don't know about you guys but when ever I am reading an email from someone I always imagine where they are typing it. You know, when they say things like, "i'm sitting here..." it makes me try to picture what their "space" looks like. Maybe i'm just weird. Anywho, here is my "space". This is my view for 8 hours a day 5 days a week. It's not so bad. This is only half of my view actually. I have a lot of windows to look out which is more than most people can say who work in an office. And that is Lola, my computer. She gets more of my eye contact than I believe anything or anyone ever has. I stare at her like she is going to throw millions of dollars at me any moment. But instead she just throws task after task. What a heifer.


Friday, March 14, 2008

24 pounds lighter


Here my my most recent weight loss update: As of today, I have lost a total of 24 pounds! I'm very excited about this because I am one pound away from losing 10% of my body weight which has been proven to bring so many health benefits to ones life. Here is a picture from today with my very skinny friend, Erika.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

what's in a nose

As I was driving around on my lunch today, windows down and breathing in the spring air, a certain smell hit me that immediately put me back to being twelve years old, laying on the trampoline while basking in the sun and reading “Matilda” by Ronald Dahl. It was such an extraordinary warmth that I felt remembering one of my very favorite childhood past times. And it was so vivid. I felt like I could reach out and touch that trampoline that was so worn from many, many friends coming over to “jump”.

I am absolutely astounded by the fact that a smell can ignite a memory of special times in my life. It’s almost as if all moments of great emotion have a smell…or a soundtrack. When I smell Sandalwood I immediately think of Jeremy’s old apartment, the apartment where we would sit outside and talk then go back in and eat way too much ice cream. When I hear any older song by Phil Collins, I remember driving in my dads Oldsmobile and singing loudly with him to "Sussuido". When I smell firewood burning, it reminds me of being a teenager at football game bundled up in my American Eagle sweater and waiting for my new crush to talk to me. When I hear a Conway Twitty song, I remember dancing in the bonus room to the Twitty Bird’s Christmas album. When I smell fresh biscuits I always think of my grandmother, memommie, and I remember the absolutely irresistible homemade biscuits and gravy that I would look forward to eating for weeks. And then that memory triggers the memory of my granddaddy praying before we ate, “Amen Brother Ben, shot a rooster and killed a hen.” Amanda and I always thought that was so hilarious. And then there is the smell of freshly cut grass, which makes me think of my mom, in her wooden flip flops, tanktop, shorts and clip in her hair, outside at 8:00am on a Saturday morning mowing the yard and waking Amanda and I up with no shame. Which eventually brought us outside to help pick weeds. And then the smell of a grill going, which reminds me of summer nights, sitting on the deck talking to my dad while he grilled with a can of Budlight somewhere near by. One of my favorite smells is of the lake. This smell takes me back to being little and fishing with my mom and dad, taking home the fish and having a fish fry in the back yard with family and friends. I would always stand close to my dad waiting for a hushpuppy to be done. There is a spot on Gallatin Road where you pass Old Hickory lake and I love to roll my windows down, in the warmer months, and take in that memory.

Jeremy teases about how I have one of the most sensitive noses. This can be a wonderful and horrible blessing. But I suppose, if it means that I can have more memories, then I don’t mind it so much.

"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered· the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls· bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory" -Marcel Proust "The Remembrance of Things Past"

Now, please share with me one of your favorite smells…

Friday, March 7, 2008

It won't be easy

“Everyone needs compassion, a love that’s never failing. Let mercy fall on me. Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior. The Hope of nations.” - “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong

“You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

In the past weeks I am finding that the Lord has been showing me, in so many different ways, that loving people is what will bring the most glory to His name. In my life, I have spent countless hours reading and having those “deep and intellectual” conversations with pastors, seminary students and others who are searching for the new and profound interpretation of scripture. And, while those conversations have produced much knowledge, God always puts me right back to the simple truth of two of His greatest commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “'Love your neighbor as yourself”.

Sometimes we can throw out some of the must powerful and life changing scripture and quotes and it will fall on deaf ears because, sometimes, what a person really needs is just for you to sit down and ask them how things are going and MEAN IT. For you to just ask them over for dinner or out for a cup of coffee. For you to send them a card or pray with them when things aren’t perfect. For you to just sit in silence and listen as they pour their hearts out. For you to give them one of those hugs that says “I’m so happy that you are in my life”. My belief is that if we would become more aware of what condition the hearts are in around us and meet those needs according to God’s instruction on love, then we would see many, many more people come to know the Lord and be His disciple. These days it’s hard to find someone that’s genuine. In fact, I would go as far to say that it’s even harder to find a Christian who is genuine. I think it’s the Sunday morning shuffle of, “Hey! It’s great to see you!” and “we should really get together sometime” that we really need to work on backing up. Because, to some of those people that you say, “we should really get together sometime”, they cherish that and wait for that call because they “really need” to have someone spend time with them.

Have you ever met those Christians that witness their Christian morals instead of witnessing Christ? Those people that love to tell you how they don’t drink, they don’t watch R rated movies, they don’t listen to secular music, they pray 9 hours a day and read the bible for 5, that they attend church every Sunday and pay their tithe. These people drive me mad because if you are talking to someone who does not know the Lord, this is not the way to give them a desire to turn their hearts over to Christ. They are thinking, “oh good. RULES. Who doesn’t love living by a list of rules?” These are usually the same people who would be considered part of the popular “Christian’s are hypocrites” group. These people, those who do not know the Lord, are in need of someone to be their friend and tell them of Christ’s amazing hope and love that is offered to absolutely anyone. No one is exempt from His love and mercy…they just have to take it.

As the “Mighty to Save” song states above, EVERYONE needs compassion, a love that’s never failing. EVERYONE needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior. No matter how filthy their past or present may be, they NEED a Savior. They NEED a Hope. The NEED Love. And we have been commissioned by Christ as his ambassadors to spread his gospel…which is all about love.

God never said that being a Christian would be easy. But He did say that it would be worth it and He did die for us so that we may have abundant life. So, even though loving people can be inconvenient to your schedule and to your mood swings, this has nothing to do with us. I believe that God does want us to enjoy life but that is not the reason we are here. We are here to accomplish His will no matter the cost. Which is still hard for me at times, I will admit. But each day the Lord is showing me more and more how much He needs for me to get out of “what’s best for me” mode and get uncomfortable and start loving the way He loved.

Friday, February 29, 2008

One of my favorite things


Lately I have been attempting to define what makes “me” happy, or in other words, what do I do for myself to keep myself refreshed and joyful. The list I have been compiling is not incredibly large, but it is significant. Today I would like to tell you about one of my passions, my loves, one of my top three things to do completely alone: Grocery Shopping.

Yes, you read that correct: Grocery Shopping. I absolutely love it. But, I only love doing it alone so that I can take as much time as I possibly want and roam up and down every single aisle and really examine all of the products. And, if I feel like it, I will go back up and down all of the aisles a second time. Why? Well, first because I can and no one can hurry me along. Second because I might have missed new and tasty. And now that I am eating healthier, it’s a lot of fun to look at all of the healthy products. I love the search and comparison!

I should also mention that I only enjoy doing this in Publix. Yes, I know, it’s more expensive for something’s but I figure it provides the same amount of relaxation as a $70 massage would so I think it balances out. Publix is just more aesthetically pleasing and they offer Cajun crab dip samples. That sample is enough to draw me in since I refuse to buy a container of it unless I’m having a dinner party because I will plow through that thing like it’s my last opportunity to have crab.

My typical shopping adventure starts in the sale bin section. It’s great because sometimes I can get granola or fat free salad dressing buy one get one free. Then it’s off to the deli meat where I love to splurge on Boars Head Salsilito Turkey sliced thin. Then to the peanut butter, jam and bread section where I pick up my favorite Smart Balance Peanut Butter with Omega 3 oils and Thomas Light Multigrain English Muffins. I have also recently discovered Thomas Mini Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. Then I turn around to grab some Light Laughing Cow Cheese. After the cheese I head to the Fruit and Veggie section where I always get mini bags of carrots, Romaine Lettuce, bags of fresh broccoli and cauliflower, asparagus, red and green peppers, Red Delicious Apples, Strawberries and Lemons. This is by far my favorite area in the store. I love to dream about all of the fabulous things I could cook with all the fresh herbs. Then I head to the meat department, (aka: the spend a lot of money department) where I get Tilapia, (if it’s on sale), bag of frozen shrimp, organic chicken breasts, extra lean pork tenderloin, extra lean ground beef. Then I begin my journey up and down the aisles while headed toward the milk and cheese. Along this jaunt I pick up things such as Stewed Tomatoes, Black beans, thin spaghetti, tomato paste, fiber one bars, EVOO, Italian seasoning and basil (I am always running out of these), skinny cows, breyers free ice cream, lean cuisine’s and so on. Then I hit the milk and cheese section where I pick up Light Yoplait yogurt, light string cheese, light cream cheese, milk. Then while I am standing in line to pay I inevitably pick up a magazine, (usually Country Living or Southern Living).

So, there you have it. My random blog on one of my favorite things to do to relax. Now, please share with me one of your favorites…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

19 pounds




Because I am blogging my weight loss journey, i feel it is important to post pictures of my progress. Tonight I am showing a "Before" which was taken on Christmas night at my heaviest and then one I took tonight 19 pounds thinner. Enjoy! I know I will...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beautiful

I know that this is random and not at all intellectual, but have you ever stared in the mirror for a long time and disected your face? This is what I did this morning. So here I am, staring intensely into the mirror just watching my pores get bigger when I notice how big my nose is. In fact, since I have lose weight, (19 pounds), it seems to be getting even larger! Then I sucked my nose in so for just a split second I could catch a glimpse of what my face would be like with a smaller version of my nose...much better, I will say. Then I start to notice that my eyes are pretty far apart...not ridiculously far apart but enough that they are making my face look wider. Then I decide that my face is much too round and my chin isn't defined enough and my eyebrows are never the same size or tweezed perfectly like so many people's are. And then I see the little wrinkles and I start to wonder how long it will be before I have tons. This brings me to my cheeks that look as though I am storing nuts for the winter...even though it's winter so they shouldn't be there. Then I look at my teeth...now, being completely honest, my teeth bother me more than anything. They were once so straight but because I stopped wearing my retainer long ago they have gaped a tad an moved. If only I could afford caps...sigh. And don't you hate those days where your hair will just not fix the way it did the day before? the day everyone said how good your hair looked? And you just wish that stupid cow that licked your forrhead would come back and lick it the opposite way because you are really angry that your bangs won't lay right. Argh!

Now, after saying all of this and people preparing to type the, "you are beautiful just the way God made you" comments, I do love me. Flaws and all. I'm a woman hence I pick...at others and myself. It took a long time for me to come to the point that I am not defined by how the world sees me, what the world judges as beautiful, intelligent and talented. I am however defined by the word of God. I look at myself daily and remind myself that it is my heart that makes me truly beautiful and my outsides aren't too shabby either. As women, we have a real problem of comparing ourselves to each other. And on top of that, we are never satisfied with what we have...we always want something different; something more. There is that part of us that is restless because we are always trying out, in life, for the role that someone wants us to play...someone besides the Lord. And what I believe is more beautiful, more sexy, more interesting than that model with the amazing hair and perfect 5"10 body is a woman who is confident in who she is as a person, intelligent about what she believes, and beautiful because her heart is.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentines




This is a tad belated but I thought I would share what Jeremy and I did for Valentines day.

On Thursday we did a small but intimate night of dinner at Painturo's and then to see "Definitely Maybe" at the theater. Even though it sounds so simple, we turned off our cell phones and just focused on being together. It was lovely.

Then on Friday night we went to one of our favorite places to eat, Germantown Cafe in Nashville, and had a long, romantic 2 hour dinner. The restaraunt is located right outside of downtown and it has all lots of big glass windows so while you are eating dinner you are overlooking the skyline. As always I like to tell our menu: For our appitizer we had Crab Cakes (one of our favorite things to eat), then for dinner I had the Beef Tenderloin with a Blue Cheese sauce, cheesey risotto and asparagus and Jeremy had the Braised Lamb Shank with Mashed Potatoes and asparagus. For dessert we had a Chocolate Bread Pudding. It was so tasty and we had the best time just talking about everything, laughing, being young and in love...

Whenever I am with Jeremy I feel so at peace...so calm. As much work as marriage can be, there is nothing like living, laughing and being in love with your very best friend.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Serious


Last night Jeremy and I went to see “Definitely Maybe” and loved it. It’s truly about time we saw a movie that was about the beauty of timing in relationships. The movie was captivating, inspiring and beautifully put together. I love seeing movies like that. Movies where you get attached to a character and want to see them succeed, or where you identify with a character or even when you fall in love with who a character is and are inspired to be like them.

Last night that character was April. She is this intelligent, free spirited, opinionated, joyful, beautiful character that makes you wish you were that way. She is real, passionate, and addicting. She is the kind of person you would want to sit and have coffee with for hours and discuss topic from a great candle you found downtown to Jane Eyre to psychology. While I am thinking all of this, Jeremy leans over to me and says, “You like her because you think she’s you.” And that brought me to a whole new level of thinking. Without sounding arrogant, this is the person I use to be…no long ago. For about 4 years of my life I felt very trapped and defined by other circumstances and people around me. When I was out of that situation, I started to find me again…and it was wonderful. My sister would say, “You’re becoming you again” and I loved it. I felt like that joyful, free spirited person that loved life and laughter.

Now, for some odd reason, I feel like I have become so serious. Everything is so serious. Does anyone understand what I’m saying? Where I once was able to laugh about something now it has become a serious matter that will send me through the roof on a bad day. I get uptight and don’t allow myself to enjoy the things that I once did. I don’t take time for the little moments because I’m too busy focusing on the fact that taking time for those little moments prevents me from doing all my serious grown up stuff that I must be SERIOUS about. My dear friend Margie once said I was “Head in the Clouds Lindsey”. She meant this in a good way…in a way that only she can explain, but I loved it. I loved the idea of just being light and airy and happy. And then, yes…you guessed it…the seriousness came. And I want it to go away.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Mouth Speaks

Today I would like to share with you my thoughts on a scripture that we have read over and over again but it is a scripture that slaps me in the face each time I hear it...no matter how many times I hear it.

Matthew 12:34
"For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Wow. Just read it again and take it in. Think about what that means. I will disect it with you...

When I read this scripture I first start to think about the kinds of things that come out of my mouth during the day and how much of it i'm actually paying attention to. I wish I had a tape recorder going at all times so at the end of my day I could review all that I have said to myself, my husband, my friends and my co workers. What type of reaction would I have? Am I speaking things of love, kindness, gentleness, passion, mercy, encouragement, optimisim? Or am I speaking negatively, of hopelessness, anxiety, worry, failure, gossip?

The point this scripture is making is that we speak whatever our heart is full of. And what our heart is full of is our responsibility...it's not out of our control, it's in our hands. "Abundance" means "Overflowing Fullness" or "an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply." So not only is it just about what we are putting into our hearts but how much of it we are putting into our hearts. Because in order for us to have an abundance of love coming out of our mouth, we need to be filling ourselves to the brim and overflowing with things of love. And what has more love in it than God's holy word? I know that I read the scripture but do I read it enough for it to be an abundance? Not hardly. In fact, i fear that I am putting more time into filling my heart with things that are not Godly. Why do I fear this? Because I am thinking back over my conversations with people for the past week and realizing the types of things I am discussing.

We all know that there is the "power of life and death in the tounge," so we cannot ignore that our words have power. They have power over us and power over the people we say them to. That is a great responsibility that we need to take seriously.

You know how sometimes when you say things you shouldn't but you justify it by saying, "but I have a good heart." God is telling you how to test that. Test your heart by looking at what's coming out of your mouth. So what condition is your heart in?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

17 is the number...

...of pounds I have lost so far! I weighed in and I have lost two more pounds this past week for a grand total loss of 17!

I am giving God all of the glory for helping me have strength and discipline to get through this. I could not do this without Him. I know that because I have failed many times in the past and fell flat on my face. Praise Him for never giving up on me and always allowing me to come crawl back in his arms and ask my Dad for help.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Good hair, good food, great church

It's late. I just got home from a youth event with our church. I'm not in too philisophical mood at the moment but I would like to tell you about my great day.

Kristin and I started off the morning getting our hair done at my salon, Fruition Salon in Nashville. This was a great way to start the day because Keri did an amazing job on our hair and we looked great! So, since we looked great we headed on over to Green Hills to grab some lunch and do a little shopping! We ate at this new place, Zoe's Kitchen and the food was fresh, healthy and wonderful. We both would strongly suggest the grilled chicken wraps, pasta salad and pita chips. mmmmm.... We sat outside because we thought it was a beautiful day and amazing that we could sit outside in February. Then we headed to a few stores. We both ended up buying ourselves a little something in Anthropologie which made our day feel complete. Then we drove home and continued to talk about how great our hair looked.

Tonight we had the Youth Valentines Dinner. Both Youth Groups from The Hope Center and Sumner Life joined together for their first event. I think that it went very well and each person walked away knowing someone new. We have some amazing kids in this merged Youth Group and I am greatly anticipating what God is going to do with this group...how he is going to use them. They all rock.

That's my day. Nighty Night.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Out of the Box

So, I know that it seems like I’m obsessed with the book “Cold Tangerines” by Shauna Niequist and there is a good reason for that…I am. I am because she speaks so many profound truths that you would think would be common sense but because of our busy minds and lives, they become obsolete.

As I was reading the chapter, “Shalom”, I discovered something new about myself that I would like to confess to: I put people in boxes. I view each person in my life as “What place do they have in my life?” Or “What purpose does their friendship hold in my life.” Now, some of you might be thinking that sounds very selfish, but if you really look at how you view your friends and family members, most of the time you look at them the same way I do. As Shauna said, “I have been more surprised to find that I am given more life, more hope, more moments of buoyancy and redemption, the more I give up. The more I let go, do without, reduce, the more I feel rich. The more I let people be who they are instead of cramming them into what I need from them, the more surprised I am by their beauty and depth.” This quote has made me really sit down and evaluate the people in my life and how I have been viewing them. Because let’s face it, most of the time we end up defining a person by what they are in our life. For instance, I will use one of my very best friends, Kristin. When I think about Kristin, I think about how she makes me laugh by her wit and sarcasm and how I can relate so well with the way her mind processes things. I see her as the organizer of our events and how I feel like I am being educated just from being around her, how she is always so compassionate to whatever myself or our close friends are going through. How we are going through the same Weight Loss struggle and she is my dear accountability partner. NOW, that I am taking her out of the box, the box of “what does her friendship do for me?” and I am letting her roam free for me to admire the whole person that she is. Not just my friend, but what her character, her passion and her heart is doing for the world. I see that she is a humanitarian who is out to not just be there for me and our friends, but for anyone in the world that is hurting. I see that she wants to improve the lives of people by giving them a real Christian experience…someone who will not judge them but who will love them despite their race, income bracket, sexual orientation, religion, so that they will see the true Christ. She is a wonderful wife who is very dedicated to her husband, she has amazing work ethic at her job and goes far and beyond her normal duties, she is super loyal to her family, she wants to give of anytime that she has to be of service to those who need it, she has a passion for cooking and nourishing people…the list could go on and on.

My main point is, I now see beyond what I boxed her in with, (which was all good), but I have let her run free and watched all of the characteristics that maybe I was missing. I have seen the things that I could learn so much from her and I am starting to. We were created in God’s image which means there is so much more to us than meets the eye. We are beautiful, deep, complex, passionate, talented individuals. And we all are truly waiting to be discovered. So I am discovering my friends and finding that I am learning so much more of whom they really are and appreciating them more than I already did.

To my friends, thank you for being beautiful people and examples. Much love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Proof!


Here is my 15 pound weight loss picture. Actually it is the most recent picture taken of me. That's my momma...who is looking quite tired because she had just returned from a cruise. I'm looking a little sickly because I had the flu but at least you can see some weight loss in my face!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

political ramblings

With this blog, I am committing one of the great crimes of expressing one’s opinion: I’m going to talk about my current view on what’s going on politically. It’s been a journey for me and I’m sure that it will continue to be, but I am going to tell you what my little mind is thinking.

First off, I have always been a professed Republican. I grew up in a Republican household mainly because my father was well off and his views stemmed from what was best for his income bracket. Then when I became a Christian, the church that I attended made it very clear that as a Christian you must be a Republican and anyone who claimed to be liberal or a Democrat needed someone to throw some holy water in their face and then lay hands on them immediately. I didn’t really question this too much because it seemed right. As a Christian I didn’t believe in abortion, homosexual marriage or taking prayer out of schools and that seemed to line up with the Republican state of mind. I mean, in the first election I voted in George W. Bush said he consulted God for his decisions and prayed. Perfect!

For many years I did not question this. I believed as I was told a Christian should believe. I voted as I was told that a Christian should vote. True, this was my own ignorance and stupidity to just believe whatever I was told and not research for myself what I actually believed. But today I have. Yes, I have married a man that is a professed “Independent with Liberal Leanings”, but more than that, he is a very educated many who spends a lot of time reading and studying politics. So, while some of you are thinking, “she only feels this way because Jeremy believes this way,” I want to let you know that is not true in anyway. (Those of you who really know me know how utterly stubborn I am and that I won’t agree to something unless I truly agree to it.) But, he has educated me on some things.

First and foremost, as a Christian, I am concerned about the welfare of people…human beings who have a right to a good life…a fair life. I believe that everyone should have the ability to have a shelter, food, a chance for a job and medical coverage. If this means that people have to go on welfare to get it, then so be it. I am not against the program of Welfare. Of course there are people who abuse it, but there are also many people who truly need it. I think that the standards of receiving these benefits should be more closely defined, but I believe it is a beneficial program because of the number of people that it does help. There are many who are saying, “Well I don’t want my tax dollars going to lazy people” So what about those who aren’t lazy? What about those that are in situations that you or I have never been close to being in? Why should they suffer? Jesus said to feed and clothe the poor. JESUS said this. Yes, this is an expense but it is one that most of us can afford. However, I do think that the church should be doing more for this cause because it is our duty…our call.

This all brings me to my next point. Taxes. Don’t we all get tired of seeing how much money we lose in taxes? I know that I and many around me would be considered Middle Class…blue collared. As a Republican in the past, I did not realize that my vote was not so much benefiting me financially as it was people like my father and CEO’s of companies…you know, the people who don’t need the tax break as much as people like me and most of you. The Bush tax cuts did absolutely nothing for me. I want to vote for someone who is truly going to lower taxes for middle and lower income families. The previous administration did nothing of the sort.

You know, as I am typing I am thinking that this blog could go on and on. I could discuss my view on Education, Immigration, the War in Iraq, Gun Control, Homosexual Marriage, Abortion…but I am not going to because it would be even more lengthy than this blog already is. But I want to conclude with this.

Most people who profess to be a Republican Christian found their beliefs on this: Abolish Abortions, Homosexual Marriage and reinstate Prayer in Schools. Morally, I agree with this as well. Politically, History has shown that the Republican Party has been in power for quite sometime and have done nothing to make changes to where our world is currently. So here we are basing our vote on something that they used to get us emotionally wrapped up, by saying they were going to change these things and then they didn’t do anything. And let’s be honest, does anyone really believe that Abortion is going to be outlawed? Even if they say that homosexuals can’t get married, is that going to stop them from being in relationships? If we did reinstate prayer in schools, would that not lead to many using “freedom of speech” and instating Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto’s, Wicca prayer in schools? My main point in saying this is: We are getting so caught up in 3 of the 50 issues that are out there. These three issues are blinding us to things that CAN be changed. Issues like Poverty, World hunger and disease, Education, Affordable Healthcare, lowering taxes, strengthening our economy, ending the war in Iraq, Immigration, Foreign Policy, Social Security, and so on and so on. These are issues that we need to be focused on. These are issues that most likely will and can be changed.

So I want to encourage you to study your candidate’s issues. Find out what YOU, not someone else, but what YOU believe. As I have been studying, reading, watching, I am finding out that while I respect my fathers beliefs they are not necessarily what is best for me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One sack of potatoes and eight medium cantaloupes

I have done it! I reached the 15 pound weight loss mark! Now just 10 more to go and I will have reached my 10% goal! (meaning I will have lost 10% of my body weight since I started the program a month ago)

While I have found Weight Watchers to be an awesome program with so many options, I still managed to fall off the wagon this weekend. I had a little too much Italian one night and then yesterday's church Superbowl party, I thought it was the right thing to do to try everyone's desserts...you know, so no one would feel left out. Needless to say that I woke up this morning inflated by sodium and feeling a little down. But I didn't let it last for long because I know the best thing to do is to not let myself feel guilty. I just have to look at how I felt after I ate it and realize that while it was tasty, it was not worth the temporary satisfaction that turned into, "why did I do that?"

Do you ever notice that's how slip up's go? One minute you have determined that you can not live without that piece of cheesecake and after you have devoured it, you almost instantly feel remorse. We fall prey to so many "temporary fixes" that are just that. Temporary. They don't truly satisfy us. That being said, I do feel strongly that you should be able to have that piece of cheesecake or slice of pizza from time to time without the guilt...and I do. I just make sure that I have saved my points.

I still do not have a recent picture of me to show! Jeremy tried taking one for me yesterday but turns out my really pretty babydoll dress didn't do much to show that I have lost anything in the belly area! I will try to post a picture tonight.

Monday, January 28, 2008

taking off the rose colored glasses


Ok. So, I have noticed that anyone that starts a diet usually finds the most unflattering picture of them in their overweight stage and posts it. I have done that here. I have decided that part of this "blogging my weight loss" process is showing picture of the process as well! So, here is picture number one. This picture is at my beginning weight. It's not pretty and now looking at it I have discovered that shirt was not flattering at all! It's sometimes hard to really look at pictures of yourself. I mean really look. Look and actually see what you have been trying to deny for months and years. It's hard to not try to convince yourself that the bad picture is just that...a bad picture and not a mirror image of your real self.


The good news...2 more pounds down for a total loss of 12 pounds! I will soon put a picture up of me and my 12 pound loss!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I want 7 days


Do you ever notice how people count down the week days? At my job, I sit at a large desk in the main lobby and I always make it a point to ask people how their day is going and try to say something to make them smile. Recently, I have noticed that when I ask how someone is doing, they usually make some comment about "counting down till friday" or "it's Wednesday! Hump day!" or "One more day and this weeks done." And this got me thinking; why do we spend 5 out of the 7 days we have in a week counting down because of how excited we are about the 2 days that we consider to be our "good" days...where we really enjoy life. So, this probably means that we waste about 260 days of our year because we only consider about 105 of them to be good...to be enjoyable...to live what we really consider "life".


A book that I have fallen in love with, "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist, has inspired me to live beyond the weekend...to bring great life into the every day moments that we so frequently take for granted. I would like to share with you this passage from her book:


"But this is what I'm finding, in glimpses and flashes, this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I'm waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life tickling by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets-this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience . I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on news headlines but the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating without even realizing it. I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we extend to one another. That's the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don't even see it because I'm too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting." -Shauna Niequist


I want to choose to live EACH day, Monday, Tuesday, Wendnesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I want my life to be full of days that I feel I have made the most of life and the moments and people around me.