I heart The Olympics!

Well, it's that time again - The Olympics are here!  I don't know about you, but I love the Olympics.  When I was a little girl, we always watched the Olympics - I very clearly remember watching the night in 1996 when Kerri Strug landed that vault.  I remember last year rooting for Michael Phelps to take home all 8 of those gold medals and holding my breath as he and the other relay team members touched the wall just in time to do just that.

So it goes without saying that I am a little excited about this year as we have another showdown - Ryan Lochte has made it his personal goal to go head-to-head with Michael Phelps and win.  I must admit I am addicted to this story - not sure if it is the underdog taking on the world part, the laid back guy who flips a competitive switch part, or the Ryan Lochte is beautiful part that has me constantly checking for updates.  Who knows?

There is something about the Olympics and Olympic athletes that are so inspiring to me.  The athletes did not  come to Earth with special powers or from some other planet - they are human beings - incredibly talented human beings but human beings nonetheless.  The difference is the amount of heart, discipline, work, and pain they pour into those God-given talents.  It is often through sports  that we are reminded that we can all have greatness inside of us - the question is are we willing to do what it takes to share that greatness with the world.  Ask any athlete, that is often times a painful process because you must be willing to work.

The verses that come to mind are from Paul in 1 Corinthians.  
 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 
25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

I love that Paul encourages you to do your best - only one can receive the prize.  Mediocrity cannot win the prize, apathy does get you gold.  "Run in such a way that you may win" means you leave everything you have on the table.  At the end of my race, I want to know that I did my best, that I left everything I had on the table.  I cannot determine the results - I don't know if someone else's best will be better than mine, but I can be sure that I did my best.  That is what I pray for all the athletes - that they do their best and leave the rest up to the time clock.

As always, 

P.S. I am pretty sure you should watch this and read this!  


words and moments

I heard someone say once that we too often waste our words, waste moments.  Yet again some little snippet that catches my attention, and I end up dwelling on it far longer than any normal person would or should.  But here I am and it has to come out, so here we go!  Here's your chance to keep reading or change or mind...

Now I don't think that there is some countdown of the words you use or a word allowance, but I do think that so often we don't say things that need to be said.  More often than that, I think we say the wrong things. Perhaps we use a stand-in replacement for words we are sure will hurt someone or for words that we are sure will come back to haunt us eventually even though the original words desperately need to be said.  I must tell you I have been guilty of both - probably in the same instance.  I am the stand-in girl - rather than say what I really want to say - I lie, sugar-coat, tell you what you want to hear, any of those old cliche's to keep you from really seeing me or knowing me or my thoughts.  Following these instances, of course, are those moments of instant regret because some of my closest friends may not REALLY know me at all while others see me as a snob.

Sorry I digress, the point of this is that I think we  I need to make a more conscious effort to make the words we do say worth something.  To not waste my words - to know that the words that proceed from my mouth inevitably come from my heart and those words, like actions, have consequences and carry with them responsibility.  Yes you read that correctly - words carry within them consequences and responsibility.  I found this little acronym that I want to use this year at school, and I think it fits here.

Before you speak, think -
T - Is it true?
H - Is it helpful?
I - Is it inspiring?
N - Is it necessary?
K - Is it kind?

That simple idea has really struck a chord with me - Maybe we have forgotten the moral of "Bambi" and say whatever we want even if it is not nice.  Maybe if we I take a moment for allowing those words to come out and think, then perhaps that is an effectual first step in not wasting my words.

The second part is that we waste moments - perhaps we don't take the moment to say those words or perhaps we don't waste the moment when words are simply not necessary.  Or just maybe you all too often find yourself sitting, watching moments pass you by scared to death that you will fail.  Once again - I think we - I need to be more aware of the moments throughout life.  We only have one life - too brief a time to spend it on auto-pilot.

So I suppose my lesson for today is just to be there - to be present in your life and to use your words to build people up not to tear down.

I hope you all have a great Sunday.  If you do not have a church home - come visit us at CrossPointe Community Church.  




This one word brings about so many connotations. Such as - Should I be confident? Confidence sometimes comes across as arrogance and that's not attractive. Then again, no confidence is equally unattractive. Oh, and how exactly does one gain confidence if you are not born with it?

So what do you do? This is an issue for me as I am sure it is for many people. Over the past couple of years this search for confidence has kind of worsened for me. It's not an ever-present issue - it seems to reappear at times and subside at others. And through some searching, I have come up with a few theories...

Confidence comes much easier when in a pack. You ever see a lone college student? Not typically, right. Most of the time, there are at least a dozen sharing a pack of ramen noodles and a bottle of water. This was very much true of our friends - only it was a pizza and a coke. The years you spend in college can be some of the greatest times in your life - you eat horrible food, you don't sleep during normal hours if at all, you learn so much you feel like at any minute you could burst, and you make friends. Those friends are there for you to tell you are wonderful even if that guy didn't call, that you were right even though the professor has the degree, and that it will all be okay even though you might not see that through the caffeine-induced, sleep-deprived state.

It's the transition that kills you.

Once college is over, all those friends go their own way, down their own path - and so they should. So the true transition from adolescent to adult begins. And one day you look around to find yourself the lone, no longer in college, supposed to have it figured out, pack-less, girl struggling in this world that is constantly telling you that you are not good enough, you may be right but the other person is a pay-grade above you, and in real life, sometimes there really is nothing you can do about it.

I suppose that is where I have found myself recently. The transition. Or just following the transition - I am not really sure which.

It is during these moments, that you must dig deep down inside to that person you know you are and find strength to make a go of it without the cheering section. Through all my searching, it is Scripture - the Word of God that gets me through. Why would I go there, you may ask? Well it is my foundation - the pillar upon which I build that is never shaken nor altered nor added to. It is words that breathe life, strength, and yes confidence into me. It is where I find the God of the entire universe dying on a cross for me - for a world who hated Him and did not believe in Him so that He could bring us to Himself because He loves us. Wow. Love - love in it's weakest forms inspires confidence, but a love like that leaves me breathless.

You see the past few years since I finished college, it seems that Scripture has become increasingly important to me. It is precious to me - where I go for every situation or circumstance. I don't think it is self-confidence that is needed as much as confidence in God. He says I am loved, honored, enough, precious, and known - He knows me. That is what I take confidence in - sometimes I just have to be reminded when this world tries to tear me down and break me. So this is one of my favorite places to go -

1 But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3 “For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4 “Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
5 “Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
- Isaiah 43

I hope and pray the same confidence for you!



I have been thinking a lot lately about generations - future and present.  So I must give you a little bit of background for this so that you will be in the loop.  I have two sisters - Candace, the crazy I live with, and Brittany, the one with the precious little nieces and nephew!
Yes that redheaded little girl in the middle is our sister by blood.  She made it really easy to tell her she was adopted when we were little!  haha just kidding!  We are all very close - I mean don't get me wrong, nobody can make me more angry than those two girls but nobody else can say that and get away with it.  I like to think we are best friends and sisters. That's what you get when your mom sends all of you to the same bedroom and you are not allowed to come out until you talked and worked out whatever your were arguing about.

We grew up surrounded by family as many of them live on the same street as our parents, and summer time meant spending time at Mamaw and Papaw's house.  It was during those summers that we forged some of the closest friendships and shared experiences that shaped us into who we are.  We are still very close to these two crazies - yep they are as tall as church steeples.  A trait that must have come from their father's side.  

Now that we are all grown, we still go to Mamaw and Papaw's house on Sunday to eat lunch as a family.  Things are a little different now, and that is the subject that has been on my mind lately.  All four of us, plus Mallorie (Ben's precious wife), still sit at our kid's table, but we are no longer the youngest members present on Sunday.  Ben and Mallorie have two precious boys.  Brit has three children.  Candace, David, and I are rocking the single life.  We all have grown up jobs and grown up lives.  

Somehow things changed without our realizing, and we went from being the future generation to the present generation.  We went from being the children running around driving each other crazy to the one's chasing the children.  I was blown away upon this realization to be completely honest with all of you.  I suppose I thought I would recognize this great passage of time or there would be some sort of marker on the road that said, "Caution, you are now entering adulthood."   It is now our responsibility to make sure traditions like sunday lunch, respecting the elders, and big holiday get-togethers still have a place in our world.  We are those people shaping a world for children - how scary is that?

It is slightly scary to think about, but I think, in reality, we already do that.  Ben, Mallorie, Brit, and Jonathan are amazing parents to wonderful children.  David, Candace, and I are very involved in our nieces' and nephews' lives.  Our parents along with Aunt Debbie and Uncle Phil are amazing Grandparents to those precious babies.  All of us do our very best to infuse the love we received from our own precious Grandparents into every experience.  So even as we continue to figure this life out, we are shaping their worlds and making memories.

So we have become the present generation - no longer the wait-and-see.  We are the here and now - it is time to make that difference we always said we would!  It is time to be the people that we have fought to be!  Tonight I am full of love for my family and cheesy inspiration, so I will leave you with only this...


gilmore girls

Okay so one of the things that I absolutely love about summer time and being off from work is that I get to watch one of my all-time favorite shows on ABC Family - which just happens to be "Gilmore Girls."

The show has ended now so the one hour dose of re-run love is just what I need to put me in a wonderful mood, and somehow my words come out just a little faster after that show.  I mean I am from the South so obviously not as fast as they talk but I try.  Sometimes I fancy myself the southern, Christian version of a Gilmore Girl. I just love all the different personalities that are celebrated with this show! I just love this show - it's wonderful.  I learned quite a bit from this show (no sneering) - I shall share a bit with you now!  Enjoy!

1  Coffee is essential for survival - it's right up there with oxygen and mascara!
2  All decisions can be made simply by making the pro/con list!
3  Climbing out the balcony window solves all problems.
4  Sometimes you just have to jump.
5  If you're going to ruin your life, he'd better have a motorcycle!
6  Childbirth is akin to doing the splits on a case of dynamite.
7  Life is short - talk fast!
8  Your audience is as intelligent as you allow them to be!

If you have never heard of Gilmore Girls, then this post most likely will not make sense at all.  If you, like me, are a fan then I hope you had a good laugh!  

As always, I leave you with...


love and politics

Okay I have a little bit of a rant tonight. I have been somewhat frustrated lately. I must say that I am so tired of seeing political affiliation statements laced with the "if you are a Christian, you will re-post this" message!

And so many people are upset about the same-sex marriage issue or prayer in schools issue or the ten commandments in federal buildings issue. So let me introduce you to a little "National Government 101." As we are not a theocracy, you can not legislate morality. As much as we would like to, we can't. Our forefathers wanted people to have the freedom to believe whatever they wanted. More than that, they did not want a government telling them what to believe, how to worship, etc. At the time, they had just left a country that tried to do just that. Now I am not an idiot, the Declaration of Independence as well as our Constitution does contain quite a bit of Christian ideology and beliefs; however, there are many areas left up for people to take their own convictions on.
However, before all of you call me a crazy devil-worshiper. Keep reading. There is a point to all of this. When Christianity began, the early church did not organize a petition to make Christianity the national religion so people would change. They did not try to make governmental laws that made other people worship Jesus. No, they changed - God came in and totally upended their way of life. The early church was focused on living this life the way they had seen Jesus live it. The world saw the difference - the love of Christ radiating in and through their lives and God changed the world. The early church was not lazy - they put in the work. They suffered for their decisions to follow Christ - it was not in any form a popular or easy decision for them. To be completely honest, relying on someone else to "enforce the Gospel" kind of feels like the lazy way out.

So here is my thought. Instead of organizing the petition, why don't we pour love, discipline, and prayer into our children and teenagers so they know the power of prayer in their lives? Instead of hating people who are homosexual, why don't we show them love and how Christ's love changed our lives? Oh and while we are at it, we should realize that if people were seeing Christ in our lives, we would not need the Ten Commandments on the wall. The problem is this means a change of lifestyle, discipline, work for us (I very much include myself in all of this), and it will mean being uncomfortable, unpopular, and not necessarily safe. On the other end, we will experience joy, peace and love like never before.

You know I usually start these things with some little tidbit that stays with me and that I dwell on, and as I evaluate what is really going on - I see that this an area that God is refining in me. This may just be my thing - God cutting away the layers of facade in my own heart and life and revealing what is real in me, or perhaps, I am hoping, some of you are seeing some of the same things. We say that we are Christians, but I wonder if we could be convicted of that charge in a court of law simply based on our life's evidence.

Perhaps we should stop trying to force the government officials make a law that people change and start living a life that radiates the love of Christ. After all, real Christ-centered love is the only thing that has ever and continues to change the world.

"By this all men will know that you are my Disciples, if you have love one for another."
John 13:35



Our church has been going through a series entitled "CLEAN" using the book of 1 Peter detailing how we are and how we can live clean - holy in our unclean, post-modern, do-whatever-you-feel-like world.  Today our pastor framed this idea of being clean with the purpose of living this against-the-grain lifestyle.  Did you know that holy simply means different, set apart?  To me this word "holy" always meant something that I could never really understand much less achieve until one day our pastor enlightened us, and can I tell you it completely changed my view of a "christian" lifestyle?  The way I live is not going to nor should it resemble the lifestyle of someone who does not place his or her faith in Christ.
Anyway, sorry I get side tracked easily by things that rock my world.  The purpose of living differently is not so I can point and boast of all the things I don't do, nor is it to point and judge the things that others do.  The text used today was 1 Peter 3:18, and it states,
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that HE might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit,"

Okay so Christ's purpose was to bring people to God through His death, burial and resurrection, then my purpose is the same as Christ is my example.  2 Corinthians 5:20 calls believers Christ's ambassadors imploring people to be reconciled to God.  It is about the message - our purpose is to share this message of what Christ has done for us.

I am sure many of you are wondering why I am giving you a play by play from this morning's message at church.  Perhaps the accurate wording is that it bothered me.  This life in this time and in this space is to serve a purpose so much bigger than myself - it is to share the message that can change the world.  I am not sure if it was the rain or something else but I missed my Mamaw terribly today.  And every time I think of her, I think of the indelible mark she left on this world.  I want so much to leave my own mark on the world - I want people to see love in and through my life.  And not a fake love.  A real love.  I want them, you to see Christ in me - not just read words on a blog.

The part that bothered me and continues to bother me is that I am often not the ambassador I want to be.  I am not sure if you see love in me at all - fake or real. I have realized that I get caught up in myself - I don't show love because I am afraid that you won't love me in return or that you will hurt me.  It's not supposed to be about that.  We are not called to show love only to those who will love us back.  I am called to live a life that resembles the life Christ lived, and He loves everyone no matter what.  I mean He loves me with all of my baggage, my failures, my sins against His very nature.  How can I call myself His follower and not love who and what He loves?  I can't - that would be contradictory.  So I must make the choice to love and to live a life that reflects Christ.  

So as I strive to live a life of love that spreads the message of Christ, I hope that perhaps you ask yourself some of the same questions.  That perhaps I am not alone in this.  That maybe, just maybe, my failures will help you along your journey.  Also just know that Jesus loves you - He died so that He could bring us to God.


beads and recipes

So Candace and I are taking "A Daisy A Day" on her first adventure of the summer - we are going to the Farmer's Market in Downtown Laurel this Thursday to sell some earrings and headbands.  So if you are in town - come see us!
In an attempt to make more beads faster, Candace decided she would teach me to make the pretty beaded balls she uses in the earrings!  Well, ladies and gents we now know why I stick to crochet and headbands.  The one on the left is Candace's bead - the one on the right is mine.  Yes it does resemble a funky-looking egg rather than a true sphere!  However, she can no longer say that I have not tried to help!
Don't worry though, Candace fixed my mess up so the earrings will be absolutely perfect for Thursday night!

I also thought I would share with you one of my favorite things about summer so far.  As we are home during the day now, we have to cook lunch.  And as there are only so many times you can have pizza rolls, hot pockets, or anything else from the "college-dorm-food" section of the frozen-foods aisle, we had to get creative.  We love to experiment for dinner, but lunch is supposed to be easy and fast.  So let me introduce you to the grilled cheese.  This is not your ordinary, american cheese and bread grilled cheese.
This particular grilled cheese includes mexican chicken seasoned with a taco seasoning packet!  Today we added left over fried chicken that I cut off the bone and chopped into bite size pieces.

Anyone remember this pic from the other night? The left-over chicken breast became a the filling for a grilled cheese for lunch the next day!  It was amazing!  So my advice is this - use any leftover meat - i.e. taco chicken, sauteed chicken breast, taco seasoned ground beef, add cheese, bread, a little butter.  And you will have the best next day lunch ever!  You can switch it up a little and use a tortilla for a quesadilla instead of bread or heat meat through in a skillet or microwave to top a baked potato or mashed potatoes.

It may just be but this little method never seems to get old.  Oh, one other little tidbit.  Instead of a quesadilla, you could take left over meat of choice, add cheese, dark red kidney beans, bell peppers, onions, etc wrap in tortilla as you would for a burrito.  Store in a ziploc bag, tin foil, or plastic wrap in the refrigerator - and you have a quick homemade healthy lunch for work the next day!  For the OCD types, you could make several burritos, write on the wrapping what it is(if you make different varieties), and freeze them for a couple of weeks of lunches.  I am super excited about making the burritos to freeze when school starts back!  (Even though I am determined not to dwell on the fact that it is now July - the proverbial summer Sunday before the work week starts back!)

So I hope you all have a wonderful day!  Cook your own food - it's fun and so much better for you!  And please don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen!