Sunday, July 26, 2015

Love Does

Well, it's been a long time since I told you about the books I've been reading. There is a huge stack of books by my bed that I won't put away until I blog about them. I thought I would start with Love Does by Bob Goff. Have you read it???

Even though I read it last summer, it has really stuck with me.

Love Does really challenged me to stop planning, thinking, and talking about doing stuff, and just do something. It's no secret to people who know me well that I love to plan. I will plan anything...parties, lessons, vacations, etc. You name it, and I will plan it. Also, I tend to be a big dreamer. There are so many projects and ideas floating around in my head all the time. My biggest problem is that I find it hard to get past the dream and start doing. When I arrive in heaven, I don't want to have to say, "Well, I had a lot of good ideas, but I didn't act on any of them." Instead, I want to make sure that I don't miss opportunities for myself and our family to serve others and share Jesus.

Here are a few quotes from the book that really stood out to me:

This one pretty much sums up the whole book:
"In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does." (p. xiv)

"I think of church as a vibrant community of people consisting of two or more of varied backgrounds gathering around Jesus. Sometimes they are at a place that might have a steeple or auditorium seating. But it's just as likely that church happens elsewhere, like coffee shops or on the edge of a glacier or in the bush in Uganda. All of these places work just fine, I suppose. When it's a matter of the heart, the place doesn't matter. For me, it's Jesus plus nothing-not even a building." (p. 14)

I couldn't agree more with the quote above. It's Jesus plus nothing. Period. It is so frustrating to me when we as humans get all torn up over the color of the carpet in the church or some other unimportant issue. It's all about Jesus. Not carpet. Or anything else for that matter.

"I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter." (p. 25)

That one hit me really hard. A year later, I'm still thinking about it and asking Jesus to help me focus on what truly matters for eternity. Those things that have eternal significance.

"God is always trying to save lives, and it seems like He usually uses the least likely people to do it. So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable, something you're sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that's way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say yes." (p. 66)

This idea is really tough for me. I so want to be willing, but I wouldn't necessarily use the words brave and courageous to describe myself. In fact, I often find myself completely tangled up in fear. I don't want that fear to control my obedience to Christ. It's hard.

"I think God's hope and plan for us is pretty simple to figure out. For those who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said He wants us to be about, and that's your answer." (p. 143)

Oh wow! I struggle with this so much. It seems I'm constantly trying to make sure I know and am completely following God's will for my life. I've been reading a lot about this from other sources too. What seems to keep coming up is that since God created us, He is the one who planted those desires, dreams, and talents inside us. Of course, we need to make sure we are using them in ways that line up with the Bible. It just feels super freeing to me to know that the ideas in my head aren't a surprise to God. They are there for a purpose, and I just need to make sure to use them for His glory.

"What I realized about my faith is that I was doing just that, collecting information and memorizing things about God. I collected pictures and gathered artifacts and bumper stickers about Christianity, and I talked about knowing Jesus like we were best friends, when actually, we really hardly knew each other at all. And I memorized Bible verses and the names of the books of the Bible in order and the sequence of a bunch of events as well as who was there. At some point I had to confess that I was stalking Jesus." (p.198)

Because I am a rule follower in life, I tend to make sure I'm doing all the "things" right. Checking off all the boxes and calling it done without experiencing true relationship with Jesus. This also reminds me of the book Not A Fan (it's really great too). I don't ever want to be a stalker or a fan.

I certainly don't have it all figured out, but this book really helped me realize some important stuff. Honestly, I could go on and on, but I've already made this post way too long. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do. It may just change your life!

(If you have read Love Does, I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Friday Funnies

1. Remember how I just posted about my love for Nyquil? It has been brought to my attention that my brother, who's the pastor of our church, actually mentioned in a recent sermon that he knows "some people" who are actually addicted to Nyquil. I missed that week because I was out of town. But I only have one thing to say to that..."Hello Kettle, it's me Pot. You're black"!

2. Parker recently went to a Bible study where they were teaching about the fiery furnace. He came home and told me the three men in the fire were Shadrack, Meshek, and Aminuteago. He cracks me up! I was telling Brian about it, and I figured out that I grew up pronouncing it "Uh-BIN -di-go", but Mr. Fancy Pants (Brian) said he has always said it correctly ~ Abednigo. Isn't he just special?

(I just looked up these names to make sure I was spelling them correctly. Apparently, there are several different spellings for each of them. However, none of them are Aminuteago.)

How do you pronounce it??? I need just one of you to please say Bin instead of Bed!

3. One more little story for today that I've been meaning to tell you for a while. Back in May, I went to the Garth Brooks concert in Knoxville with a big group of family. Before the concert, I decided to go get a drink (and let's be honest, there were also peanut m&ms involved). I had noticed all the little whipper snapper twenty-somethings simply stepping over the empty seat in front of them instead of having to crawl over people to make it to the aisle. You see where this is going, right? I knew it was a bad idea before I even started. Unfortunately, I had a family full of cheerleaders who were encouraging me. I'm not even kidding when I tell you that my sister-in-law was LITERALLY cheering, "You can do it! You can do it!" The first foot seemed to go over with ease. As my 39 year old second foot tried to stick the landing, the chair quickly folded under me and trapped my leg as I fell so gracefully to the floor. At this point, my mom is up there yelling, "Her ankle is probably broken!" and my niece Megan was gently chanting, "You're ok, you're ok" as if I was a toddler who just fell off a swing at the playground. Meanwhile, other family members are laughing and thousands (maybe millions) of strangers are looking to see what other kind of pre-concert entertainment I might provide. I'm actually surprised Garth didn't add me to his tour line-up. I make a great opening act!

Please tell me you've done something embarrassing like falling in front of a stadium full of people!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Just Can't Quit You

I'm lookin' at you Mr. Nyquil.Image result for picture of nyquil

My family likes to give me a hard time because I like Nyquil maybe just a little too much. Strangely enough, I really love the green liquid kind. Of course, I don't take it unless I have true symptoms, but surely there's somebody else out there that likes it too. They keep making it, right?

Oh, how I love the peaceful sleep it provides instead of coughing and tossing and turning all night. I think I should be a paid spokesperson. Hey Nyquil, have your people call my people!

I remember when Angie Smith said her dad wrote the little slogan that Nyquil has used for years in their commercials. Remember...the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine. I was so jealous when I found out because I bet Angie got a lifetime supply. Only in my dreams friends, only in my dreams.

Please tell me I'm not alone. How do you feel about that glorious green goodness?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Come On In And Sit A Spell

Well hello there to all of you who are new around these parts! I'm glad you're here! (Hi to those of you that having been hanging out here for a few years too.)

I started this blog in 2008 mainly as a scrapbook for our family. Unfortunately, after Claire came along, my time of making "real, hold in your hand with precious stickers and scalloped edges" scrapbooks ended. Two kids will do that to you. However, I couldn't stand the thoughts of not keeping a record for us somehow. Blogging was kind of newish back then, but I decided to give it a try. Honestly, it's a true miracle that this little blog has made it so long. Somehow, it's still alive and kickin'!

Like I said, I mostly post pictures of our family and the things we do throughout the year. I also like to share recipes and some of our travel experiences. Every now and then, I write something with a little more meaning and EXTREMELY OFTEN my super silly side comes out. I don't worry too much about editing and such, so please don't judge. #thankyouverymuch Feel free to leave a comment anytime if you have any thoughts or just want to say hi. I'm glad to have some new friends reading along! 

Myrtle Beach 2015

We just returned from a fun trip to Myrtle Beach!
One of our traditions is to eat at Ultimate California Pizza when we first arrive.

Parker still loves to go by and look at the Nightmare Haunted House.

Parker caught several things in his net while we were there. This is a sea urchin.

Putt-putt at the resort on evening
Lots of fun in the water (diligently watching for sharks and jellyfish)

A dead crab (RIP Mr. Crab)

We celebrated our 15th anniversary while we were there.

Fun in the resort pool

Rides at Broadway at the Beach
Pool games and pina coladas

4th of July fireworks on the beach

Our Myrtle Beach pictures through the years

Monday, July 6, 2015

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

Do you remember that old song? The original song title said "Girls" instead of "Boys", but surely you can recall it, right? If you've never heard it or just need a little walk down memory lane, go ahead and click the link. Oh come on, you know you want to....I'll wait right here. I dare you!

Image result for to all the girls i've loved before

Since I was only a baby at nine years old when it was released and won it's awards, I may have taken it for granted all these years. Is it just me or is that Julio a little bit handsome? (Wink, wink)

For some reason this song from way back came to my mind the other day. It actually came out around the time that I was in an "extremely serious relationship" with my first boyfriend. Oh, he had the cutest buck-teeth and curly hair. Besides my Daddy and brothers, he was the first boy that I loved. Or so I thought. We met in Kindergarten and although I forget the details, we decided we would be boyfriend and girlfriend from that day forward. And so we were. For six years. I'm not even kidding. I have no idea what that even meant back then other than we told a few people here and there and were generally nice to each other in the housekeeping center. There was that one time that our families happened to be vacationing at the same time in Myrtle Beach. He invited me over for a day of playing on ocean rafts and eating out with his family that evening. The only real memory I have from that day is that his parents ordered us baby steaks when the rest of the family ordered big people steaks. We were completely offended as we were clearly not babies. After all, at this point in our relationship we were at least ten years old! Soon we went to middle school, and that old flame died.

It was soon replaced by a new middle school love. I was only in 6th grade when I became smitten with an upperclassman. That's right friends...he was a 7th grader. Blonde and freckle-faced, he let me know he liked me by pulling out my hair ribbon and running away to class with it. You can bet that I wore extra ribbons every day so he would always have one to steal. By the next year, I got to move to the same hall, and that's when the true romance began. He even brought me the cutest little Valentine bear. Folks, we were officially "going together". I'm not sure where we were going other than ballgames where he played and I cheered. Nonetheless, we were official. Until he broke up with me right before his prom to take another girl. I. Was. Heartbroken. He went on to high school, but he would still call me occasionally and come to the middle school games to flirt with me. Apparently, I'm a hard habit to break. Ha! Eventually, that love withered too.

All through high school, I had crushes on a few different boys. I seem to remember a "good ol' farm boy" on my bus who liked me, but I wasn't interested. I went on a few dates but didn't really have a serious boyfriend during that time. It was just as well I suppose since I was keeping myself busy with the one million clubs to which I belonged. Truth be told, I was President of most of them. I guess I wanted to be in charge way back then just like I do now. I'm bossy like that.

In college, there was this guy I knew from high school who I hung out with all the time. We always said we were just friends, but we never dated anybody else and pretty much spent all our time together. At some point, we acknowledged that yes, we were in fact dating. There was only one problem. He loved fish more than me. Remember that Brad Paisley song? I'm pretty sure it was written  about us. I didn't have to compete with any other girls. Just fish. And the fish always won. It didn't really matter anyway because we both knew we were better off friends anyway. He wished me well. I wished him and his fish well and closed that door.

While I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, the list of all the boys I've loved before isn't that long. I'm so thankful for that. While I waited for the one boy I'll love forever, Jesus protected my heart. He brought Brian into my life at just the right time. However, He taught me lots of lessons through all the boys I loved before. When somebody asks me how I knew Brian was the one, I usually explain how it just felt easy. I wasn't waiting at home while he was fishing. He wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with him. I wasn't second best. Ever. I could go on and on with reasons how I knew he was "the one", and a lot of those were based on lessons I learned through the years with those who were never supposed to be "the one".

Brian and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary on July 1. Those boys I thought I loved...they all turned out to be really great men. I'm still friends with most of them and enjoy seeing their families on facebook or around town. But for me, none of them even come close to the man I get to love forever. So I'm thankful for all those boys I THOUGHT I loved before. God used them to show me my one true love. Happy Anniversary Brian!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer So Far...

I have no excuse except laziness for not updating this summer. A month has flown by since we finished school. My how time flies when you're having fun! I have a ton of pictures to post to get caught up on what we've been doing.

I think this was taken at Mother's Day lunch. They look so grown up!
We've been swimming a lot! This picture was from their first swim this summer.

Taking a ride with Uncle Mark!

Parker learned how to mow!

He also advanced to the next rank in Boy Scouts.

Parker and Claire both had straight As all year, but I somehow don't have a picture of Claire's award.

Parker had an unfortunate visit to the dentist to get his last two baby teeth pulled.

Last day of school pictures to compare how much they've grown and changed.

Parker had his birthday party at the pool with friends.

A few of the boys spent the night. Apparently, this is what twelve year old boys do.

And this is how they sleep... or not sleep!

Oh, how funny my husband thinks he is! We had to stop at a store that had a sinkhole in the parking lot a while back. A KNOWN SINKHOLE PEOPLE!!! I told him not to go near it. This is what he did...jumped and danced on it just to aggravate me.
We've been to several birthday parties for friends. This one involved creek playing!

We've watched a few movies at home.

Max just loves when we dress him up. Doesn't he look thrilled?

I took the kids by to visit my old dorm room.
Garth Brooks concert was so fun!

We've invited lots of friends to swim with us so far this summer.

Of course, we went to get our free doughnuts on National Doughnut Day!

Claire brought home this giant teddy bear from a friend's house. Max pretended not to care.

More swimming with friends!

Wetlands Water Park

Dollywood! Claire was so proud to finally ride the Wild Eagle.

Movie time ~ Inside Out was really cute.

Father's Day

Max had his 5th birthday and ate off the family birthday plate.

A lemonade stand on a very hot day!
We've definitely been having lots of fun so far this summer!