Saturday, November 26, 2011


Love this new commercial from Target: 

It makes me crack up every time!  Merry CHRISTmas everyone! Enjoy the season, but remember why we celebrate.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good 'Ole Abe

The Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Too bad President's don't give speeches like this anymore.  If they did, I would think more people would tune in to hear that State of the Union address.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 1 1/2

Bright and early: Day Two. That's what happens when one goes to bed at 930. Oh, but I so needed the rest. Ten glorious hours. I'm staying with a precious couple from Refuge. I felt bad last night as I don't think I was very friendly with anyone. I was on the verge of tears from pure exhaustion. I think everyone understood though.

Today is our only day to sleep in and I woke up at the crack of dawn. Ironic if you ask me. But I'm enjoying just lazying around (as my nephew would say) for a bit. In all our crazy travel time yesterday, Sybil was able to procure a spot to do the children's backyard Bible club! PTL! Answer to prayer! Melita and Janelle were a HUGE help to Sybil as well! They helped to a lot of the leg work as well, so we expecting a big crowd of kids. Hoping 4 adults will be enough to spread around. Praying the parents of the kids come as well, so they hear the good news as well.

Despite exhaustion, yesterday really was an amazing day! My JP rode in a plane for the first time and loved it! I often looked over at him and his mouth was wide open while he starred out the window.

We had many methods of transportation to get us to Suquamish: car. Feet. Airport tram. Plane. Feet. Link. Feet. Ferry.Shuttle. Car again. Whew.

Upon immediate arrival, we were wished away to the Love's house for a cookout. The whole gang was there. My host family as well as Holly and her husband Don. Precious, precious people. We had a sweet time of dinner and prayer. I must admit, I think I nodded off at some point. Soo sleepy!! I'm thankful for these dear families who have literally been prayed for and over the last 14 years! They are a direct answer to our prayers!!! I can't wait to see what God has up His sleeve!!

Thanks to everyone for your prayers! We have felt them already. I look forward to sharing more good stories in the days to come!

Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seattle or Bust!

I'm literally so excited, I can hardly stand it.  In fact, when I'm excited about something, I usually don't get much sleep the nights leading up to the big event.  So, now I'm not only about to burst but also about to pass out.  I know, it's an oxymoron... or maybe a juxtaposition.  Whatever.  Today's the day!

For a series of nine years (one week each summer), God allowed me the amazing opportunity of going on a mission trip to Seattle, WA to minister to the precious Suquamish Native Americans.  I fell in love with these kind, gentle and laid-back people.  It seemed as though my friends would always have a place in my summer.  But abruptly, God closed the door.  I was deeply saddened and only hoped He would one again allow me to return... in His timing, of course.  (Though, we all know His timing and our timing aren't on the same schedule.) 

Pretty much from the day I met Jason, I've been talking about my experiences in Seattle.  I've shared stories of meeting kids when they were two years old and had the pleasure of watching them grow into teenagers.  I told him how amazingly gorgeous it is there; Heaven on earth.  How we can be sitting on the pier and see a bald eagle fly over.  I've shared many, many stories with my JP.  It was always my hope and dream that we could one day go together.  However, never in my dreams, did I know that God already had this trip planned!!  I think He enjoys surprising His children! 

Here it is, mere minutes before we leave for Atlanta, to spend the night with a friend.  Our plane leaves at 10:30 Wednesday morning.  Please be praying for my JP.  He's never flown before.  I love flying though, so I've told him all fun things.

My plan is to blog a little each night before I go to sleep.  We'll see how exhausted I am.  But I would like to keep you all updated with the amazing things I'm expecting God to do!

Normally, we do a full week of VBS, but things are going to be different this time around.  I don't exactly know what to expect, but that's just fine with me.  I just can't wait to be back again.  I always feel the closest to God out West.  I'm eager to see what He's going to teach and reveal to me.  I'm eager to see how He's going to work within my relationship with Jason.  I'm eager to see all my friends again!!

If you'd like to pray for us while we are are gone, here are our requests:
1)  NO RAIN - we need good weather, as we'll be outside all day, every day.
2)  Divine appointments with people.  We ask that Jesus remove the blinders from their eyes and open up their hearts to receive His good news.
3)  The opportunity to have lunch with the Elders of the Tribe.  Sybil has a unique presentation of the Gospel which would have a huge impact on them.
4)  The ability to reconnect with old friends.  Let nothing be awkward.  I can't wait to hug some sweet girls.  I tear up now just thinking about it.
5)  Finally, the safety and health of our team.

Thank you so much!!  Happy trails!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pocket of Grace

Jason and I want to share some exciting news with you about an opportunity God recently dropped in our laps to share the love of Christ with the Suquamish Native American Tribe. From the beginning of our relationship, I shared my love for the Suquamish Native Americans and have been praying the doors would open up so that Jason too would experience this same joy. Due to aging elders of the Suquamish Tribe, we knew we a “normal” week of vacation Bible school and other activities just wasn’t going to happen. Our God of the eleventh hour stepped in and provided new and unexpected opportunities. Before I tell you about that, let me give you a little background on the Suquamish Native Americans.

I first heard about the Suquamish Native Americans from my friend, Gloria Smith, who is a full-blooded native and who often shared about the hardships of her people, through prayer requests each Sunday. Even before I knew what was to come, God was preparing my heart. I developed a love for these people, whom I’ve never even met. Then in 1998, Sybil Johnson (our College director at Shades Mountain Baptist Church) mentioned to Gloria the possibility of taking a group of college students not just to minister to her people, but also “the forgotten ones”, the children. When Gloria heard that, she just cried. From the time she left the Reservation, she’s been praying that God would send someone to minister to them. Once the Elders granted us permission to come onto their land, our dreams were hatched and none of us were ever the same again.

From the very beginning, God was in the little details. He softened their hearts for this “Alabama Group”, and allowed us to go where only natives had previously been before. The doors for bringing His saving grace had been flung wide open and we fell into a pocket of grace that still exists today.

When the first team arrived on “the slab” (concrete area meeting area), two things struck me: the kind of beauty that takes your breath away leaving you speechless and the spiritual warfare that was extremely evident by the drug deal that was taking place not far from the little church. We immediately ‘circled the wagons’ and had a prayer time like never before.

By the end of the first week, we had been amazingly blessed. Not only did we plant seeds of salvation in many of the children’s hearts. But also, at least four girls accepted Christ, which we later baptized in our hotel pool the next summer.

For a total of nine summers (1998-2006), God opened the doors to allow me to return each summer. I was blessed abundantly with whatever I needed to go back. It amazed me, how each year He set up these divine appointments to remind me that He’s still in the miracle business.

So why thirteen years later, does my heart still beat for the hope of returning to this land? It’s there that I find purpose. It’s where I know God has specifically placed me; to use the talents He’s given me, to bless His people. There’s an indescribable fulfillment in being a sojourner for Him. An added bonus, I again get to spend time with these precious people, whom I love like my own family.

So, what’s the pocket of grace that I speak of? It’s when God has covered all the details you could ever think or worry over, often before you even ask them. It’s when you look around, and you see His fingerprints completely covering the situation. When you realize that He’s done all this for you, for your happiness, when you didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. It’s when you realize you went to minister, but instead got ministered to. That’s when you realize you’ve fallen into His pocket of Grace.

While in Suquamish, we will work alongside a new church plant on the Reservation, Refuge Christian Fellowship. Miraculously, the Suquamish Tribe has allowed Refuge to meet in their local elementary school. We’ll also set up a booth at Chief Seattle Days and help children assemble The Power Band, which is a direct presentation of the Gospel. This is a popular tool which uses a leather strap and multi-colored beads to represent the six elements of the Gospel:

Black is our sin before we are saved
RED is the blood of CHRIST shed for us on the cross.
WHITE we are cleansed when we are saved.
BLUE is baptism.
GREEN we are growing in CHRIST.
YELLOW/GOLD is our riches in HEAVEN.

We are praying for God to grant us favor with the people so we can show His love and salvation.

Three things are absolutely necessary for this work to happen. First, God’s divine blessing leading us to do His will and the work He’s called us to do. Second, we covet the committed prayers* of family and friends, as the spiritual warfare never lets up. Satan attacks us even before we arrive on the Reservation and once there, we wage a battle within the Heavens for Lost Souls. Finally, we need the financial support which equates to approximately $1,500 for us both. If you feel led to contribute financially to this mission, please make checks payable to Undivided Ministries. Please note in the memo section of your check “Suquamish Mission – “Insert Name””. All donations are tax deductible and should be mailed to: UNDIVIDED MINISTRIES, P.O. BOX 1101, Blountsville, AL 35031

We will leave for the Reservation on August 17th and return home on August 21st. Please mark these dates on your calendar and remember us in prayer while we are gone. Thank you for your prayers and support.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matthew 28:19, 20

*For more information regarding how to pray for missionaries, please visit this website.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Be the Active Ingredient

It all started on January 25, 2011 when JP and I went to get dinner at Smoothie King after working out.  On the bottom of my receipt it said, "Be the Active Ingredient".  It struck a cord within me and I knew one day it would turn into a blog post.  (That's the thing about being a writer, I never know where my next inspiration will come from.)  Little did I know, God would make me wait SIX months!  I have no idea why, but everytime I went to write, I heard, "wait".  So I did.  It wasn't until this afternoon that He gave me the OK to write about it!

Let me explain what this little phrase has come to mean to me over the past six months!

When I first started doing some research about active ingredients, I wanted a simple definition, however that's not readily available.  Try this one on for size:  "Active ingredients are components in a drug which provide some pharmaceutical value, in contrast with the inactive ingredients, which act as carriers to make the drug easier for the body to process. The term “active ingredients” is also used in the pesticide industry to describe the active pesticides in a formulation. In both cases, these ingredients are literally “active,” performing a specific function upon application or ingestion."

Or in laymen's terms: When something or someone has been added to a certain situation, it/we have the potential for greatness.  Or, at the very least, change.  Ahh, change.  I have a love/hate relationship with that word, but more on that another time.

Anyone has the potential to BE the active ingredient!  It just takes a little extra effort on your part.  Are you up for the challenge?   If you'll remember our complicated definition from above, the last phrase is the most important, "active ingredients perform a specific function upon application."  Let's talk more about that, shall we?

April 27, 2011, a day Alabama won't soon forget.  JP and I had the pleasure of volunteering through Church of the Highlands that very next Saturday.  We met at the Dream Center with our red SERVE t-shirts and were immediately sent within the community.  They piled us in the van, heading for Pratt City.  I have to say, first, I've never heard of Pratt City until we were there.  And second, it was an extremely surreal experience.  We had no real idea of what to expect. We didn't even know what the damage would be like. Let me just tell you, pictures do not do it justice.

There were two major active ingredients within the volunteer efforts: our Highlands red tshirts and food.  It was amazing!  They were the secret keys to get us beyond the police barricade and into the front lines.  "Oh, you're with Highlands?  Come on through." or "Oh, you've got food for us, sure, come on through."  It was like having a "Golden Ticket".

Once we got into the main part of Pratt City, it looked like a bomb had gone off.  We all just stopped and looked around.  Twisted metal.  Tree stumps as far as you could see.  Houses either completely gone or in complete ruin.  We even saw a matress speared through a remaing branch on a remaining tree.  I know you've all seen pictures by now, but until you've actually been there.  Met the people who's lives have changed forever.  Talked with the kids who are trying to act like it's a normal day.  Served food to families with only the clothes on their backs... you'll just never understand.

I don't say any of this to brag on anything great JP and I did.  There were COUNTLESS volunteers that day.  We met a lot of great people, all with hearts of service.  I would say that's another active ingredient: a heart of service.  Once we got our feet in the door, then it was up to us how to serve using the strengths God gave us. 

At one point, we (about 15 of us total - 3 in the cab, the rest in the back) all piled into JP's pickup, went further into the community and delivered tons and tons and tons of water.  What a site we must have been!  I remember starting to cry at first... the devestation...was unreal!  Even now, I have a mind's eye view and my eyes fill with tears.  I felt so helpless.  What could I do to help these people?  I decided right there and then, I would do whatever it took.  I would get out of my comfort zone and love on strangers.  I met a lot of amazing strangers that day.  I pray they are doing OK.

Since then, I've realized that anything can be a catalyst to cause an active ingredient explosion in any given situation!  You never know the potential impact you might have in someone's life.  For instance, I tweeted/Facebooked where JP and I were and that Pratt City needed more volunteers.  Later in the day, we went back to the Highlands Command Center (where all the military, police and utility workers came for food and drink) and my friend Mandy was there.  She said she read
on FB what I said and she and her husband came to volunteer.  My decision to ask for help (something I've also been learning this year) resulted in two more amazing volunteers.

My examples go on and on, but the point I'm trying to get across to you is that it doesn't take Super Man to be the active ingredient in someone's world!  Everyone has the chance every single day to make a difference!  Whether it's making conversation with the grumpy clerk at Walmart or Publix, trying to illlicit a smile from them.  Or allowing someone in on the road, even though they cut you off a few miles back and you're still steaming about it.  Go on, let them over.  Or if someone let you over, wave at the person to tell them thanks.  So many examples!

My challenge to you, dear friends, be the active ingredient in your world of influence!  You never know how your own decision might affect someone's life.. for eternity!!  Wow, what a responsibility.  Remind yourself daily.  I still have my Smoothie King receipt in my wallet.  Each time I open it, I'm reminded of the lesson God's been teaching me.

"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another. - Napoleon Hill"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Car Wash

Multi-colored car wash wax just brings a smile to my face and makes me happy. It's the little things in life. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Can You Change the World?

Picture taken by Meredith Quintana

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. " ~ Jack Kerouac

An Act of Love

"The work of creating is an act of love.  The God who flung from His fingertips this universe filled with galaxies and stars, penguins and puffins, gulls and gannets...peaches and pears, and a world full of children made in His image, is the God who loves with magnificent monotony." ~ Brennan Manning

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Listen to Your Inner Voice

Sometimes, while driving around, I want to "stop and smell the roses"; take pictures of beautiful things.  I never have my good camera with me though.  I guess I need to start taking it with me where ever I go?  Sometimes after a long, hard day, I'll take backroads to my house.  It's a little bit longer, but the drive is simply more enjoyable!  There's this spot along the way where I always tell myself I should stop there sometime and take some pictures.  Well, tonight, I worked late so traffic was nill. 

As I neared "the spot", my heartbeat got faster and I had to make a decision, pull over or not?  I listened to my inner voice and pulled over to captured this amazing view. It had just rained and there was a calming peace in the air.  After getting a few shots, I got back in my car and drove away; feeling centered and excited.  I love that God's given me the passion for capturing His creation. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Discipline Teaches Us Obedience

"Discipline teaches us obedience, and immediate and unquestioned obedience is a great gift to endow in a boy, a quality of character that will serve him the rest of his life. For it is an essential truth of life to know and appreciate the fact that the universe does not find you at its center. Rather, it demands things of you, requires you to live within its limits. No matter how much you wail and bellow, the rain will fall, summer will pass into winter, and a two-by-four will hurt you if you drop it on your toe. Welcome to reality. Learn to live within it. How much more true this is for a man before his God. You are loved immensely, and you must obey. This is the secret to Lesson One in the Christian book of spirituality. You are loved; you must obey." The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy 100th!

Have y'all seen the new Spring commercial?  You can call, text or email or text Veatrice Henson who's turning 100! 

"Veatrice Henson, a Missouri resident who is turning 100 this year. As part of a new ad campaign starting today, Sprint is encouraging its customers to reach out to the woman in order to wish her a happy birthday in the spirit of what it is calling “Random Acts of TogethernessTM.” 

Sprint is tracking the well wishes on its Web site, and notes that it will help Veatrice respond to the messages. That might be a tough job.

She’s already received more than 800 calls, more than 1,400 texts and more than 500 emails."  (Info taken from:

Want to contact Veatrice?
Phone: 816.892.5407

Happy 100th birthday, Veatrice!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Benefit Singing for Tornado Victims


Saturday, May 21, 2011
7:00 P.M.
Thompson Chapel Assembly of God
Jemison, AL


A freewill offering will be taken with proceeds to go to tornado victims.  Also we will take donations of non-perishable food items, baby supplies, hygiene items, garbage bags, flash lights, batteries, and cleaning items.

*One of my boyfriend's bands.  Come out and support a great cause!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Boyfriend Approved Tummy Yummy

I'm notorious for not being able to follow a recipe. When I was a little girl, my friend and I mistook salt for sugar and sugar for salt. Honest mistake, right? OK, how about the time, not that long ago, when I accidentally doubled an already doubled chocolate chip cookie recipe? Uhhh yeah, I gave away cookies to everyone I knew! All that being said, this recipe is VERY easy to follow, and quite tasty to boot! I hope you enjoy!

Southwest Chicken Bake

1 Taco Bell Original taco seasoning mix (Recipe calls for half a packet, but I found it better to use a whole one)
1 Lb. Boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. Kraft Light Zesty Italian Dressing
1 Cup canned no-salt-added black beans, rinsed (I used a 1 1/2 cans)
1/2 Cup Frozen Corn (I used two cans, drained)
2 Green onions, chopped
1 Cup Taco Bell Thick n Chunky Salsa (I used 2-16oz jars of Pace Medium Fire Roasted Red Pepper and Corn salsa. I didn't drain it, but should have.)
1/2 Cup Kraft Mexican style Finely Shredded Four Cheese (I used more cheese too as I basically doubled the ingredients)
2-2/3 Cups hot cooked long-grain brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's white rice, if it matters.)
**I recommend draining all liquids before layering them into the casserole dish.  I didn't so much, and my final product was a tad soupy.  

HEAT oven to 375 degrees.

ADD seasoning mix to chicken in medium bowl; toss evenly to coat.

HEAT dressing in large skillet on medium-heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 min. or until evenly browned. Scoop into 1-1/2 quart casserole; cover with layers of beans, corn, onions and salsa.

20 min. Top with cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted. Serve over rice.
I actually cooked mine a tad longer, of course, I have a crazy oven.  I found that the black beans didn't get cooked in only 20 minutes and were therefore kinda crunchy; Jason liked them that way though.  Hmm, to each his own.  

Also, it stands to mention, as I completely forgot about it.  Don't forget to time the cooking of the rice.  The casserole was nearly completely cooked when it suddenly occurred to me.  No worries, all was not lost.  My sweet, starving boyfriend enjoyed the meal to the last bite; even my crunchy black beans!

Recipe taken from:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

FREE music, tell a friend!

Check out Matt Jackson's new EP! Download it for FREE at!!!

Click here and download:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FRESH Art Café

I wanted to share some excited news with you! I've been talking about it for a while, but it's actually going to happen! I have photography which will be hung on the walls of a local organic restaurant, Fresh Art Cafe.  The owner, Kitty McCoy, is going to have an open house to showcase my photography and celebrate her one year anniversary as well!

The event is TOMORROW night (4/29) from 5:00-9:0pm (flyer time is wrong). I would love for you all to come by, say hello and see my photography! It's a new adventure God's leading me through! [Some of you might not even know about my new project. To learn more, read the story on my blog: Happy Feet.

FRESH Art Café
2100 Riverchase Ctr. #226
Hoover AL 35244

Also, read more about what makes Fresh Art Cafe tick from a customer and “up-and-coming” local Blogger Carrie Rollwagen (who was recently featured in Birmingham Magazine) who chose to give Kitty a few lines in her recent blog! Read it here, and follow her: Shop Small - Buying Local in Alabama
I hope to see friends and family come out and support me tomorrow night!  It would be a lot to me!  Who knows, we might play some games afterwards!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Limit

I've had a phrase stuck in my head the past couple of days, "Your love has no limit at all."  It's from a song off Enter the Worship Circle (Vol. 3); which I've fallen in love with.  I figured it was high time I write about it. 

I feel an unforseen pressure to write about something super intelligent, since I haven't blogged in a while.  I mean, with no new posts, it must mean something significant is brewing in my creative mind.  Well, yes, and no.  I do have something I'm trying to find the right words for; not sure when or if that'll happen.  But mostly, I've just been out enjoying life with my JP.

Your love has no limit at all.

I've been wanting a mountain bike for a while now, but was unsure of the best way to acquire one.  My JP went looking on Craig's List and found a TREK at a garage sale of all places.  The catch, we had to get there when it started... 7:30am.  This was no problem for my early riser boyfriend, however me on the other hand, took some conjoling.  My incentive was this "like-new" bike which currently retails for around $1600.  I was willing to pay $200. 

Off we went, in the early morning hours, to find me a new bike!  If nothing else, I knew we'd find adventures along the way.  We always do together.  As we pulled up to the house, a lady zeroed on 'my" bike!  JP and I both said, "Noooooo."  We "casually" made our way near the bike and heard the lady wanted something for her son.  Um, helloo, it was advertised as women's bike.  Just saying.

As soon as she walked away, I pounced on the bike.  Literally.  The bike and I almost went down when I tried to sit on it on the incline driveway.  Silly me.  After JP and the owner looked it over, we discovered it would need a little work.  She dropped the asking price to $50!  (She bought it in 2005 for $400.) Can you believe it, what a steal! 

About that time, some college students dropped by and had an eye on "my" bike as well.  The girl offered the owner $75.  Doh, in one moment, I was in a bidding war and had to make a quick decision!  I said, "Yes!"  I also got a brand new The North Face W Terra 40 Backpack, never been used for $50!  I know, it sounds like a lot of money for a garage sale, but current retail price is around $150, so I still got a great deal.  Eventually JP and I are going on a hiking/camping trip.  I'll have to work my way up to that though. 

Your love has no limit at all.

Two Saturdays ago, my allergies were at a all time bad!  I'm not sure why, but I always forget how bad spring is for me.  Oh, I love all the pretty flowers, but the thought of going outside just makes me cringe.  I was MISERABLE all day, while JP and I were collecting the necessary parts for MY NEW BIKE!  Yay!  New 'comfy' seat, chain, tubes for my tires, helmet, etc.  By the time we got back to his house, I was praying the allergy medicine would knock me out for some much needed relief.  Thankfully, this was the case.

I wasn't able to be of any help fixing up my bike until much later in the day.  He'd already completely fixed up his bike to riding standards.  He amazes me with what he's able to do when he puts his mind to something.  I'll ask him, "How did you know how to do that?"  He'll give me this funny look, "Um, I don't know, I just figured it out."  Wow, he's so cool.

I suggested we use CLR on my super rusty gears.  To my amazed relief, I started to see the shiny chrome peek through!  With a little more elbow grease and tender loving care, we cleaned and scrubbed the bike until it looked "brand new". 

Your love has no limit at all.

I have to say, it's a huge adjustment to gears and hand brakes.  My bikes growing up, never had gears and always had feet brakes.  Also, what's the deal with the helmets anyway?  I realize it probably is a smart thing to do, but we never wore helmets growing up and we all turned out just fine. 

JP and I have gone out riding together a few times now.  I love it!  I enjoy the challenge of making it up a big hill and the reward of flying down the next one.  As crazy as it may sound, I'm still learning how to turn.  Somewhere throughout the years, I lost my ability to turn.  It's really quite humorous actually.

Your love has no limit at all.

This phrase keeps repeating to me throughout my days, during the most random times.  I feel like it's my God song.  Just like it says in Zephaniah 3:17, "He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”   I feel like He's been reminding me that His love for me has no limits.  Nothing I could ever say or do will change that.

"My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it." — Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Feet

There was a certain time in my life, when I had to put the camera down and just live life. I loved capturing all life had to offer, but I quickly realized I wasn’t the one LIVING this said life. Recently, I had good intentions to document my life more through writing. However, one glance and you’ll see I haven’t blogged since the first of January. That’s not to say there haven’t been many things to blog about, I just chose to once again LIVE through the experience rather than editorialize my life. Hmm, there’s gotta be a balance.

Photography and writing are both huge aspects of my life. They are my creative force to find beauty in the world around me. They are my voice when I have no words. And finally, I believe they are the gifts God’s given me to share His love. Therefore it’s my duty and responsibility to not squander this talent.

At every turn, I’ve always tried to keep the attention on Him. I write for and see Him in the pictures I take. But sometimes, human nature creeps in and it wants to say, “I did that.” It’s easier for me to step back and do nothing rather than primp for the glory, when really it’s all about Him.

I’ve been asking Him to show me what my “Feet” project should be. Oh, that’s right, I never explained what that was. You see, last year, I went to a women’s conference through Church of the Highlands. The main theme was to put “feet” to your God assignment. In that, whatever you’ve been tasked to do for His Glory, put it in action. So, if you felt led to lead a Bible study for children after school, then you were to start one. If you felt led to run a marathon, you were to start training and make the goal to accomplish it. For me, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to do. Write another book? No, I didn’t really feel led to go that route. I’ve been thinking and praying about it for months, but all the while still taking pictures.

Jason frequents a local organic restaurant on Riverchase Parkway called “Fresh Art Cafe”. (VERY good food!! Please go support the business!! 2100 Riverchase Center #226, Hoover, AL 35244, 988-8360). The owner, Kitty, mentioned to him that she’d like to add some artwork from local artists on the wall for decoration, but wasn’t sure whom to contact. He told her about me and my love of photography.  She asked him to tell me to bring in some pictures and she'd hang them in her store.  How exciting huh?

JP told me about this conversation about a week or so ago and immediately something in me went, “YES! THIS IS IT!” Since then, I’ve been scouring my computer for my best of the best pictures. It was a daunting task at first. I wasn’t sure the best path of least resistance, but quickly realized I really did need to go through every picture I’ve taken in the last year. I spent most of last Sunday working on it. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I showed JP some of the ones I’d chosen thus far. He was impressed and renewed my sense of purpose.

I went to Michael’s the other day and bought a bunch of frames. That, my friends, is putting feet to a dream. To actually visualize my pictures in these frames made me VERY excited… but also nervous. You see, writing has always been easy for me. I knew God had blessed me with talent long ago. But photography is a recent passion. I do think I have gifting here as well. But it’s one thing for me to think that and an entirely different thing for strangers, who know nothing about me, to view my work.

Here’s the thing. I know this has been set up by Jesus. I honestly don’t think this is an accident. So, no matter what ends up on Kitty’s walls, I’ll know that I did my best; put my best foot forward, if you will (no pun intended [get it?  Foot Project]). That in and of itself is enough to bring Honor and Glory to Him.

So, if you're in the Riverchase area soon, you'll have to stop into “Fresh Art Cafe” (2100 Riverchase Center #226, Hoover, AL 35244, 988-8360) to not only get a really good lunch, but also take a look at my art on the wall!  (I'll let you know when it's they're officially up!) 

Happy trails!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

21 Days

Homework.  I've never liked homework.  Not in school, not as an adult.  I mean, who wants to bring work home?!  As much as I've always loved blogging, it started to feel like work.  So, I just sorta stopped.  God's given me this desire, passion and the ability to write things that most people don't see or know or even get until they read what I write.  Which is pretty amazing!  Humbling and amazing!  During my blogging hiatus, I feel as though I've been dishonoring God by not using those talents.  I've been thinking about that a lot lately. 

I've been working on, well, praying about what I should do for my next  "feet" project.  (What is "feet" project?  It's a whole other story that I don't feel like sharing right now.  Soon though.) Essentially, I was created for a specific purpose.  Now, what that purpose is, I'm not sure yet.  I might not know the full extent this side of Heaven (which is frustrating).  God's given me these passions so I need to use them.  So... I've decided I need to blog again. 

How long will I blog?  I don't know, as life is b-u-s-y!  I'm thankful that I'm busy.  It's a blessing the things and people I'm busy with.  My life has drastically changed the past nine months in ways I can't even begin to describe.  I'm extremely thankful for those blessings, but at the same time, I'm busy and therefore can't get as much done.  Or so I think...

Every January my church, Church of the Highlands, does 21 days of prayer and fasting.  It's essentially a tithe for our year.  We are giving God our first in the new year.  In past years, I've given up certain things such as listening to secular music.  (I remember how hard that was.  I was so committed that if I walked into a store and the radio was on, I walked right out.)  Well, most of the church does a total food fast (water only).  Some do a media fast, while some others does something specific they feel God is leading them to give up.  Ultimately, it's an offering to God.  Less of me and more God.

I personally can't do the no food thing.  I know my body and I would get horrendous headaches.  However, I can give God others things, such as my Facebook time.  Gosh, FB is like a Venus fly trap!!  I hop on to check something really 'quick' and the next thing I know, three hours have passed and it's time for bed.  So, yeah, I can give that up.  Sure, I might miss my friends and what's going on in their lives.  I'll also miss playing Scrabble with my sister, but you know what?  I can use that time I would have spent playing on the computer to do something productive.  Goodness knows there's not enough productive hours in the day! 

Jason also suggested I give up something I really love, like my nightly mug of Publix's frozen peanut butter cup yogurt.  It's ridiculous how much I love this stuff.  When he mentioned it last night, I replied by saying, "I can't give it up for a whole month!  God knows I can't do that!"  haha  So he said, take it a week at a time.  Week one: no Facebook.  Week two: No refined sugars (only natural sweeteners, like honey).  Week three: Haven't figured that one out yet, but perhaps add more fruits and vegetables into my diet.  Because, frankly I don't get enough.  My diet is not entirely the best for me.  I eat way too many carbs!  I'm not fueling my body with the things it needs to be strong and productive. 

Which leads me to the next step in my attack.  I want to get healthy.  Not just because around the globe made a resolution/"commitment" to get in shape.  No, no.  I never make resolutions like that.  I know this sounds crazy, but I know myself.  If I resolve to do something, it usually falls by the wayside within the first month.  Which causes me to get down on myself.  Instead, I set goals.  Sometimes I have to make them small and attainable, so I can push myself to the big ones!

Jason and I have decided to work out three days a week this semester instead of doing a small group.  Last night was our first night to really go at it.  We did about 25 minutes of cardio and 30ish minutes of lifting weights.  The gym was super packed.  I hope it's not always like that!  But it was amazing!  It was hard and it hurt and I sweated like a pig.  (Although, I'm not entirely sure that pigs actually do sweat!  Where did that expression come from anyway?)  The workout was really good.  I came home exhausted, but energized.  (Though, I did have an unscheduled nap in front of the TV before bed.)  I slept hard and woke up without any sore muscles.  That's good!  Guess that means I need to push myself harder and do more tomorrow night? 

I was on the way home from work tonight, when I was talking with God.  Not necessarily praying, just talking with Him about life.  It dawned on me that this was to be my blog post, but I knew if I didn't get those thoughts down then, I doubt I would remember them later.  Usually I think of good things to talk about while sitting in traffic, but by the time I'm in front of the computer; it's flown the coop!  I had the bright idea to use the voice recorder on my phone and talk through what I wanted to say.  Then when I got home, I would dictate back to myself what I wanted to say.  Good idea huh? 

So, yeah... this is the beginning of some kind of new journey.  I will do my best to be faithful.  Happy trails, friends!