Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Good List 9-28-11

10. Mini Babybel white cheddar cheese. Quite possibly the most delectable 70 calories you will ever consume. Also, it's pretty fun that it comes in a little wax cocoon.
9. Only 3 NFL teams are currently undefeated this season. 2 of them are Buffalo and Detroit. Awesome. What can I say? I have a thing for underdogs. 
8. The way Gracie assesses all bags/storage items (backpacks, purses, DS cases, etc.) by whether or not they have a good place to put your snacks. ;-)
7. Warrior. What a heartbreakingly brilliant film. Yes, I cried at an MMA movie. Several times, actually. Hush.
6. Getting to be on set for Jared's video shoot for Seven Daily Sins last week. Really fun and interesting.
5. Our adult Sunday School class (which is currently focused on marriage) has been PACKED 2 weeks in a row. God is good.
4. Ladies Bible Study started back up again yesterday. This makes me fabulously happy.
3. Earlier this week, Macy found the journal that I use to jot down notes for my "good list". She read the entire thing. Now she is working on her own list. I can't wait to read it. :-D
2. I'm picking up my Tiff from the airport tomorrow for a super fun long weekend here in Vermont which I already know will feel way too short. But I'm grateful for at least our short time together.
1. The conversation I had with my sister earlier this week during which she informed me that she's pretty sure MY WHOLE FAMILY in Texas will be coming to Vermont for Christmas this year. This is the most splendiferous news I've heard in a very long time. And now that I have publicly noted our conversation, there is way more pressure on her to make sure it happens. (See what I did there, Vick? ;-) I'm . . . . . dreaming of a white . . . . . Christmas . . . . .

Picture Perfect . . . . . Or Not So Much

Today is picture day. If you have girls in your house, you know this means this morning was a little more hectic at our house than normal. At the end of her primping and polishing, Gracie asked, "Am I picture perfect?" To which I replied, "Of course you are. You're always picture perfect to me." And to which Jared replied by singing Michael W. Smith's "You don't have to be picture perfect. . . ." And we all laughed.

And then this thought occurred to me-- Isn't that kinda like saying, "I don't mind if you're ugly"? So PSA to all the guys out there--  Maybe just stick with "You're beautiful." Just sayin'. . . .  :-D

You're welcome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

For my Kids. . .

. . . I pray huge prayers of thanks to God for sharing them with me.
. . . I pray that they will never grow tired of hugging me or holding my hand.
. . . I pray for wisdom and patience and unconditional love as I seek to raise them in a way that honors Christ.
. . . I pray that God will draw them closer to Him every single day of their lives.
. . . I pray that they will learn to chase after Jesus with all of their hearts.
. . . I pray for protection over their bodies.
. . . I pray for protection over their minds.
. . . I pray for protection over their hearts.
. . . I pray that they will learn at an early age to pursue holiness with much more focus than they pursue "success."
. . . I pray for a growing love and respect toward each other.
. . . I pray for the ability to love the "least of these."
. . . I pray boldly against materialism and self-absorption.
. . . I pray for teachable spirits and tender hearts.
. . . I pray for the ability to deal with disappointment (although this one gives me a queasy feeling).
. . . I pray that when suffering comes, they will cling with all their might to Jesus (although this one makes me downright sick to my stomach).
. . . I pray that we will always have open and effective communication.
. . . I pray that they will always value relationships over "stuff."
. . . I pray for wise choices.
. . . I pray that they will understand early in life how to hold possessions with an open hand.
. . . I pray that giving and sharing and serving will bring them joy.
. . . I pray for Godly husbands in their future.
. . . I pray for happiness and confidence in being single until those Godly men come along. 
. . . I pray for special friends throughout their lives who will encourage and enhance their Christian walk.
. . . I pray that Scripture will come alive inside their hearts during moments of critical choice throughout their lives.
. . . I pray that they will hear me say "I love you", "I'm so proud of you", and "I'm sorry" thousands more times than they will hear anything negative from my lips.
. . . I pray that they will never question that I adore and respect their Dad.
. . . I pray for overwhelming grace. That they will understand their need for it. That they will learn to give it lavishly and receive it gratefully.
. . . I pray for joy whether or not there is always "circumstantial happiness."
. . . I pray for self-confidence that comes not from individual accomplishments, but from recognizing their identity in Christ and his approval of them.
. . . I pray that they will become Gospel-focused women.
. . . I pray that they will become women of prayer.

Photo of the Week 9-26-11

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Good List 9-21-11

10. Cold weather leftovers. Soup, stews, chili. Yum!
9. Shout wipes. They can be life savers sometimes.
8. Airports with free wi-fi (which in my opinion should be all airports at this point, but since it isn't, I'm grateful for the ones that get it right.)
7. Salted Caramel Mocha. Oh. My.
6. Vince Wilfork's interception on Sunday. That was one happy fat man!

5. Old school Super Mario Bros. on the Wii for just $5? Yes, please! So many memories. . .
4. Ginormous buckets of hand-picked apples. So fresh and delicious!
3. Paul Tripp. We just started a marriage series in our adult Sunday School class, and we are using his video series What Did You Expect? The first session was excellent.

And the last 2 are brought to you by the following fact: WE'RE IN NASHVILLE!!! Which means:

2. Lunch date with my Trish today!!!!!
1. Fun times hanging out with old friends the Haggards and the McLemores, and FINALLY getting some snuggle time with this amazing little dude:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Good List 9-14-11

10. Vanilla Caramel Truffle tea. Especially on a scratchy throat. Soothing and yummy.
9. Ben Affleck's voice over on the Madden NFL 12 commercials. Crackin' me up.
8. The smell of banana bread baking. Scrumtrulescent.
7. SportsPickle. It makes me laugh. A lot.
6. The sounds of fall. Rustling wind. Crispy steps through fallen leaves. Crackling wood in the firepit. The clink of spoons into chili bowls. ;-)
5. Jared's Tom Brady bobblehead. Although it makes me wonder when I should begin to worry. (Probably a long time ago, huh?)
4. Selyna Bogino. I've never seen anything like this. Crazy. And amazing.
3. Grace suddenly decided on Monday night that she *loves* salad now after  years of declaring how nasty it is. Kind of random, but I'm happy for the new ideas this gives me for preparing healthy family meals.
2. That time of year (like right now) when every day seems to become more colorful. Fun to watch.

1. The beautiful and decadent "tea party" my fabulous friend Kim Carr prepared for my Mom and me last week (also for Jody, but she and my Dad ended up having to go to the dentist. Long story. . . ;-) Every detail was perfect from the table to the treats, and of course, the tea. But the very best part was the company.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bigger Isn't Always Better

I have had a pretty significant number of conversations lately with all different kinds of people at various stages of life who are expressing some form of the concern, "What if I'm not doing enough?" For some, the concern is born from being so busy with "normal life" that they don't have time to do the long list of other things (by which many of them mean "bigger things") that they think they *should* be doing. This can be due to job demands, small children at home needing attention, personal responsibilities that require daily time-intensive disciplines, etc., etc., etc. The circumstantial reasons for this kind of concern vary greatly, but I believe the underlying issues are quite similar.

And now I have to make a quick disclaimer since this could go in at least a couple different directions from here. The disclaimer is that the people I'm referencing here believe that they're walking in obedience in the "small" tasks they're doing. They believe that God has indeed called them to these tasks and that they are doing them to the best of their ability. And while I certainly can't see into their hearts or minds, I have no reason to doubt any of them based on what I know of the way they live and serve. So. The purpose of *this* post is to address those who are walking in obedience in the "small" tasks God has given them, but they are frustrated that they don't have the time/energy/resources to do "bigger" things. If there are those who are walking in disobedience and are experiencing similar frustrations, that is an entirely different discussion.

OK. Back on topic. :-D My advice to those who continue to doubt themselves in this way is this-- Cut it out. Seriously. Just quit it. There's absolutely no reason for it. And here's why I think that's good advice:

1. God didn't call everyone to be Billy Graham. He called some people to be the ones who invested in Billy Graham tirelessly and patiently and consistently so that he could become the man who would reach hundreds of thousands of people for Christ. We don't know the names of all of those people, because most of them are just "regular" people like you and me. Behind the scenes. Doing the laundry and washing the dishes and hopefully praying our hearts out for the Billy's in our lives. But can we all agree that without them Billy Graham might never have become Billy Graham? They are not less important. They are only less visible.

2. Someone much smarter than me once said, "If you say yes to everyone, you're lying to at least half of them." OH SNAP! I think that's probably true. Many times it is easier (initially) to say yes to everything rather than risk someone getting upset if you have to tell them no. The problem with this response is that we are limited creatures with only so much time and energy. And while I can't say with certainty that God doesn't call *anyone* to ongoing, tireless work, I am confident enough to say that *if* He ever does that, He does it to very few. For most of us, not only does He not expect constant "busy-ness," He in fact demands the opposite by giving us the commandment to Sabbath. In other words, it's ok to say no sometimes. Even if the only reason for doing so is because you need rest. (Now remember this is being addressed to those walking in obedience. I'm not encouraging laziness. Just sayin'. . .)

3. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy 80's CCM song, you may be "the only Jesus" some will ever see on this earth. And God may have placed you in their lives for that very reason, with the idea that you might love them and disciple them and "be Jesus" to them in a very real and present and constant way. If you have 10 or 12 people you're doing this for, it's probably pretty manageable. But if for some reason you decide that isn't enough and go out looking for 10 more and then 10 more and then 10 more. . . Well. Can you really be present with that many people regularly enough to have much impact? I would say probably not. Here's the analogy I used last week related to this: Let's suppose you have a bottle of medication that can absolutely save someone's life with just one dose. There are 12 doses in the bottle. Do you give one dose to each of 12 people and save their lives? Or do you dilute it down and give a completely ineffective dose to 112 people? The point is that unless God is orchestrating an "expanded territory" for you and providing the additional "medication" to reach the additional people, there is no reason whatsoever for you to feel guilty that your territory is small and therefore run yourself ragged trying to increase it. In fact, the more accurate assessment is that by keeping a small circle of influence, you are much more available to protect and serve and love more effectively those within that circle.

4. It's entirely possible (and maybe even probable) that God isn't telling you "No" on whatever bigger things you think you should be doing. Maybe He's just saying, "Wait." Don't force something that you aren't ready for if God hasn't given you explicit instructions to do so. Wait. For a different season of life maybe. For support to arrive 6 months from now that you had no idea was on the way. For a wide open door just to the left of the (wrong) one you keep trying to pry open. Now again I feel like I need a disclaimer. I'm not saying that the path will always be super easy and slick and glossy. You might face a few doors you DO have to pry open or a few challenges you'll have to deal with with very little support. HOWEVER, I believe that God speaks very clearly (though not necessarily and probably rarely audibly) about such things, and I truly believe that you will KNOW when He is calling you to something bigger than yourself. If He isn't. . . that is, if you are chasing something only because you have some kind of self-imposed guilt over it, that is the wrong reason to pursue.

So. I don't know if that is helpful to anyone or not, but these are the conversations I'm having with my little circle, so I thought they might be helpful to a few others too. ;-)

In short, I guess I would say-- Pray about it. Pursue every single thing that you truly believe comes from God, and ignore every single thing that you believe comes from your own sense of guilt. It's ok to stay small and simple. The people in your little circle will likely be glad you did.

Photo of the Week 9-12-11

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Me and the Gospel. (I'm the turtle.)

(Copied from Jared's blog, because I love this so much!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Good List 9-7-11

10. Chocolate covered almonds. They're magically delicious.
9. The wildly diverse list of shows our kids ask us to record on the DVR for them. The most recent request was The Waltons. Awesome.
8. Ximena Sarinana. She's adorable.
7. Crisp autumn nights. Fabulous.
6. The super snuggly, warm and cozy, crazy comfy PJs my Mom got me last week. I'm ready for our first COLD night!
5. Electricity. After the hurricane last week, I was reminded that I take it for granted WAY too often.
4. The AMAZING care package I got last week from a friend who loves me more than I deserve.
3. MikesChair. Specifically "Someone Worth Dying For." Great song.
2. Packing up 2 little lunchboxes and tucking a note inside each one. It's weird how much joy that simple task brings me. Makes me feel like I'm still somehow with them when they're away at school.
1. Getting to watch the NFL season opener with my Daddy for the first time in about 15 years. Way better than awesome. And it's the SAINTS!!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Kids are Weird ;-)

I'd like to think we don't watch tv *that* much around here. Well. . . except of course for football during fall and winter. But we do use our DVR quite a bit so that when we do have a lazy rainy or snowy day, there are some good options for the kids. It occurred to me a couple days ago how strange and diverse and not at all typical of 8 and 10-year-old girls our DVR list is. These are their favorites:

The Price is Right: Grace watched at least 10 episodes of this last time she was sick. And not only did she not get tired of it, she was actually *really* into it.

Challenge: This is that show on Food Network that challenges contestants to build amazing sculptures out of cake, candy and chocolate. Pretty interesting.

Phineas and Ferb: Ok, so this one is probably pretty typical for Macy and Grace's age. The twist here is that Jared and I love it pretty much as much as they do. Very clever stuff.

Monster Quest: They like to play the cynic to Dad's insistence that Champ and Sasquatch are real, but even so, they can't seem to get enough of these kinds of shows.

The Biggest Loser: I'm not sure when the next season begins, but Grace has been asking about it since the day after the last season finale.

Any cooking show featuring Nigella Lawson: What can I say? They have good taste. :-D

The Waltons: This is a fairly new request. Somehow they got sucked into an episode on a rainy day a couple weeks ago and decided they loved it.

Looney Tunes: Yes.

I'm not sure what this says about my kids in general. It's probably a pretty weird list by most standards, but I think it's pretty awesome to find them all snuggled up early on a Saturday morning watching Challenge instead of iCarly. ;-)