Thursday, December 31, 2009

Walk With Me Through 2009....

I cannot believe that today is the last day of 2009...and more than that, the end of a decade! I remember the hype about Y2K, and here we are 10 years later! I know a lot of people say this, but for me this year really flew by so fast. I think it’s partly because so much happened!

In January, I continued my search for a job. While many days were difficult and I often felt discouraged and defeated, I got to spend sweet time seeking what God would have for me. In a slight distraction from my job search, I learned that my optic nerves were swollen and then commenced to undergo countless tests and see numerous doctors and specialists. It was such a scary time of the unknown, but a peaceful time of resting in God’s power and grace. Thankfully, the tests came back clear; apparently, I was just born with swollen optic nerves :)

I celebrated my 24th birthday and started my temp job in February. I spent most of this month scanning insurance claims- haha. Little did I know what God was going to begin changing in my heart and how He was already preparing me for something I had never even considered…We also started hosting events as an official singles group with the 20s at my church. Thinking back to those first few events makes me smile as I consider how awkward it was at first :)

In March, I was the Event Coordinator for my friend Austen’s wedding, and I got to see my sweet friend Nicki, who came to visit us in Dallas! I also said good-bye to my old blog and started this new one :) March is also the month that I started to actually surrender everything over to the Lord. Despite all that I had walked through in previous months, I finally started to understand that all of it was for His purposes and His glory.

I faced more health problems and was diagnosed with migraines in April. While I am not excited about migraines, I was excited that that was all it was, given my health scares in January. I praise God that I have a mild case and experience them very rarely. For me, April was a big month because I was finally able to say that I was employed! My long-awaited job hunt was over, and I started my new job as a Client Manager for an insurance broker, and I began my journey of learning property and casualty insurance. I got my P&C license, moved into my new apartment, and deepened relationships on the women’s retreat at my church.

In May and June, I continued getting settled into both my job and my apartment. My first year as a Discussion Leader with BSF came to a close, and I looked forward to the summer ahead! I tried my hand at real cooking and enjoyed Sunday Night Dinners with my brother and his roommate. We celebrated my brother’s 22nd birthday, Sasha’s 2nd birthday, and father’s day. I also started my studies toward earning my CISR designation.

My parents came to visit for the 4th of July, and I got to go on my own travels! I spent a few days in Seattle with my dear friend April before heading to Victoria, BC for a business meeting. Not a bad place to have a meeting :) And it was in July that God began to overwhelm my heart with His joy and presence...

In August, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. And my brother and I secretly plotted and successfully pulled off a surprise party for them!

In September, a new man entered my life- I started sponsoring sweet little Yusuf from India. It has been such a blessing to sponsor Him. I received a lot of sad news about my extended family, and God really placed them on my heart, giving me a new perspective on their need for Him. I also attended the Hartford New Producer’s school with the new kid at work. I didn’t have the best attitude about attending (mainly because me and sales are like oil and water). But I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to attend, because I actually learned a lot!

I finished sales school in October, earning my CLCS designation. My first set of letters for after my name! It was just in time to celebrate my 6-month anniversary in my new position. October was also a very reflective month for me. I spent a lot of time looking back at all that God had done in the past year, and I was truly able to see all that work that He had done in my heart. There was a lot He had to do (and still has to do), and I got to see a brief glimpse of the transformation.

In November, God continued to mold and break my heart, really speaking to me at the Fusion conference I attended with my 20s group. He started speaking to my heart, and I am currently working through a lot of things that He first whispered to me in November. My brother and I traveled down to San Antonio to attend the 50th Anniversary Gala for BSF. Then my parents traveled up to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with us here.

And now it’s December. Whew! This month has been full of Christmas celebrations, parties, family, and friends! I stepped into leadership with my 20s group, and I am excited to start the new year serving in this role. Tonight I will be going to dinner with Laura, then heading over to a new year’s party with my 20s group. I can't think of a better way to end this year :)

I praise God for such an amazing year! It was a year of transition and transformation, a year of building new relationships and deepening old ones, a year of answered and refocused prayers...I feel as though this year was really a year of growth. Definitely a beautiful journey closer to the heart of God (praise God!) My relationship with Him has changed in more ways than one- all for the better. How good and patient is our God to continue shaping my heart for Him!

Thank you, Lord, for 2009…I look forward to 2010 with You!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Oh Glorious Day!

Just thought I would share the song God has on my heart right now...

One day when heaven
Is filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to
Be born of a virgin
He dwelt among men, my example is He

[Chorus:]
Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified
Freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day

One day they led Him
Up calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him
To die on a tree
Suffering anguish
Despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose o'er
Death He had conquered
Now is ascended
My lord evermore

[Chorus]

Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day

One day the trumpet will
Sound for His coming
One day the skies with His
Glories will shine
Wonderful day
My beloved was bringing
Glorious Savior this Jesus is mine

[Chorus]

Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day

One day the trumpet will
Sound for His coming
One day the skies with His
Glories will shine

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in San Antonio!

I just got back from spending the week in San Antonio with family and friends for Christmas. I am so grateful that I was able to take vacation days and spend the week down there. It was a busy week full of Christmas festivities, and as always, it went by way too fast! But nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

Most of the week was spent in preparation for our family Christmas traditions. It was fun to run around and do last minute errands with my parents, get the house ready for guests, cook and bake all the yummy foods, rock out to Christmas music...you know, the fun stuff :) In the midst of the craziness I was able to slip away to see my sweet friends Nicki and Lauren. I was grateful to see Nicki; she now lives in Virginia, and I haven't seen her in so long! And I am always grateful for time with sweet Lauren. Lauren and I have been friends since middle school, and it is such a blessing to have her as a friend.

Christmas Eve we spent with my mom's family (tradition). We went to my Lita's church, had a fun white elephant exchange, and enjoyed the traditional tamales, rice and beans.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours :)

I grew up with all these boys....always the only girl. Haha.

Christmas day my dad's family came over to our house. My mom made an AMAZING meal, and we enjoyed fun time with family.

First set of cousins with Grandma.

Second set of cousins with Grandma and Grandpa.

I hope you know the gift of faith, the blessing of hope, and the peace of His love this Christmas and always! Merry Christmas!



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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some More Pics as Promised

Here are some more pictures from the Holiday Hoedown :)

Paul and the Ladies

Cotton-Eyed Joe

Fun out on the dance floor...

Such a good looking group! (With our adorable square dance callers)

Yeehaw!
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Hoedown

Last night our 20s group had their annual Christmas party. The theme: Holiday Hoedown! Hehe. Despite the fact that I am not much of a dancer, I had a blast! We hired a professional caller and square danced the night away. I was having too much fun that I didn't get a single picture, but as others post theirs, I will be sure to share. Until then, here are a few of me and Lindsey before the party. Yeehaw!



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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Too Many C's...

I am officially a CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative)! I finally took/passed my last exam, and they sent me my last little sticker in the mail. Because in the insurance world, they are really big on paper certificates and stickers. Go figure. So that makes 2 designations down (I recently received my CLCS), and now I can finally breathe for a little while. I can take a little break from studying. I will continue on my educational journey, but don't have to worry about another class until February or so. Having letters after my name still makes me laugh, but is still a little fun. (Even if they only mean something in my industry). But really, there are WAY too many C's...


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Monday, December 14, 2009

Under Construction

I apologize if my blog looks crazy right now...after all of my work to redesign my blog, the images I was using were moved to a different site. Guess that's what happens when you use free stuff ;) So bear with me as I start over!


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Flashback Fun

Ok. This picture totally made my day! They must be going through old pictures at BSF, because this is me, my brother, and my mom volunteering in the press.



You may have to click on it to get the full effect of the picture. I laughed SO hard when my dad sent this to me.

Why this picture is so funny:

  • Ummm...we all look so crazy confused. My mom looks downright scared haha.
  • I am totally rocking the bangs...you may not be able to see it, but I am wearing a clip on the top of my head because this was when I was growing out part of my bangs so they weren't so thick. So yes...they used to be worse than even this!
  • My brother's cast and shoes match his shirt.
  • My brother is totally rocking the comb-over :)
Why this picture is so fun:
  • Look how young we all look!
  • We had some really fun times working in the press...I miss it!
  • I have some sweet memories of the people we worked with in the press- both staff members and volunteers from around the world!
I miss going to volunteer at BSF and then go have lunch with my dad...this picture brought back some fun memories and definitely made me SMILE :)

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Christmas Present!

A few days ago, I wrote a post about how much I have been convicted about the way I spend my time and money, specifically with Christmas around the corner. I felt like I needed to probably clarify my heart...when I said I would return any gifts that I got and use the money toward giving clean drinking water to families around the world who are denied access to it. I realized after that that might sound a bit, well, rude. My heart was in the right place, it just didn't come out right. But before I even had a chance to clarify or re-word my thoughts, I got my first Christmas present via email, and I couldn't have been more ecstatic.


My sweet friend Laura understood my heart and she did the hard thing for me. She actually returned the gift she had already bought me and used the money toward Living Water International (which is all part of the One Gift campaign our church is doing). So I got this fun gift card in my inbox and then got to choose where I contributed the water. I spread it around to several different countries, but gave most of it to schools in India...mainly because Yusuf (the little boy I support) lives in India.


What an absolutely beautiful gift! Thank you, sweet friend, for understanding my heart and wanting to be a part of what God is doing. I praise Him for your generous heart, as well as for your love for Jesus. I am so blessed by this selfless gift, and I am excited how God can use 2 friends who made a decision to spend less and give more.

Thank you, Lord for using us despite the fact we are a mess. You don't need us, but you choose to be in love relationship with us, and you allow us to be a part of your kingdom work. I pray that you would use this humble gift to reach many for your kingdom. Thank you Lord for breaking our hearts for the things that break yours. Continue to work in our hearts, Lord. Give us the strength and the courage to know what it truly means to "offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You." May your name be praised in our tiny gift, for it is all for Your glory and honor.

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You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!

Last night our singles group had a fun outing to the ICE! exhibit at the Gaylord Texan. Laura and I went last year to the exhibit and loved it, so we decided to go again and invited a few extra friends! I just have to say that I absolutely LOVE the Gaylord Texan. My love for this resort/conference center probably borders on obsession. When I was looking for event jobs, that is where I wanted to work. But alas, God had other plans. Just being at the hotel last night made me miss my old job and the career path I so desperately wanted to be on. I was grateful for sweet friends who kept me distracted and helped remind me of what I would be missing out on if my life had taken a different path. God is good.

Here are some pictures from the night. It was -2 degrees inside the tent, so it was definitely COLD. We had so much fun, and it was great just to be with a sweet group of friends.

Waiting in line to get in!

Still waiting, but enjoying fun times with sweet friends!


We look SO hot in our parkas ;)

Let me see your excited faces!

Nathan was excited after some coaxing...

Laura is excited!

And I am most definitely excited!


Grinch faces....LOL.


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rethinking Christmas

Last Christmas, our 20s group participated with our church staff in the One Gift Campaign through Advent Conspiracy. And this year we are opening it up to challenge the entire congregation. I loved this campaign last year, and I have committed to it again this year.

Christmas has become something it was never intended to be...stress, shopping lists, traffic jams, unnecessary consumerism. All the marketing, the spending, the debt that people accumulate...why do we do it to ourselves? And why do we as Christians get caught in it? I can't help but be a little sick over what we have done to the celebration of Christ's birth. The fact that we as Americans spend $450 Billion every year on Christmas and it is estimated to take only $10 Billion to solve the world's fresh drinking water crisis...it's enough to make me stop and rethink my Christmas.

I love giving and receiving gifts as much if not more than the next person. Buying Christmas presents for the ones you love is a good thing. The whole concept of giving is biblical, and I believe God is glorified when we give to others. But do we really need half the things we buy? Do we really need an extra material thing? I have been very convicted lately on just exactly how I spend my time and my money. God has given me such an overabundance...am I really using His resources in the best way? Because everything I have is His...and I am pretty sure He didn't give me what He has so that I could spend it on things that will perish. I really feel like our American mentality has messed with our priorities and how God truly intends for us to serve Him.

What if we did spend less and give more? What if we spent less money on a material gift and more time with friends, family, loved ones? What if we decided to spend our money on something that actually mattered?

So this year, I have decided that I don't want anything for Christmas. I am so broken by what God has placed on my heart, that none of the material things matter. I can certainly do without gifts this Christmas. Anything I receive, I plan to return and give the money to the One Gift Campaign so that a family across the globe can have clean drinking water. I don't post this commitment out of pride or self-praise...I post it as a confession that my priorities are out of wack and something has to change. Instead I post it as a concrete commitment for which I desire accountability. Because I really want new boots for Christmas. And it would be so tempting to ask for them anyway. Because when push comes to shove, it's going to be hard to return something I open that I really like. But I am choosing to honor God by fulfilling this commitment to Him. I want you to ask me about it.



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Monday, November 30, 2009

To Date Online or Not to Date Online...

Today I was browsing good ol’ Google, when a pop-up ad filled my screen. The ad was for a Christian dating service. After my initial reaction- which was to laugh and click the “x” to close the box- I started to think about the whole idea of online dating. I couldn’t help but wonder what God thinks of the whole thing. Is it ok to join an online dating service? By joining one, am I showing a lack of trust in God? Does God even care?

Before I dive into this touchy subject, I want to put a disclaimer on my thoughts:

These are just my thoughts. I do not claim to be right in my opinions, and I pass absolutely no judgment on any individual whose views are different than mine…these are just some ideas that the Lord has placed on my heart. My only desire is to challenge other singles in their walk with the Lord and the path that He desires for them when it comes to dating.

That being said, let me dive into this whole idea of Christian online dating…

I know that online dating works for people. I know a number of people who have done it and have found the one they are going to marry. I couldn't rejoice with them more for the blessing that God has provided in their life through a relationship. Despite the fact that we live in such an information/cyberspace age, the idea is still somewhat foreign to me for my own personal dating experience. I still can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of “dating” someone through online conversation…even if it is only at the outset of a relationship. It’s strange in my brain to think that you can find the one God has for you through the internet. Call me old fashioned…but I don’t want a computer-generated husband :)

But beyond my personal weirdness about it or any safety issues that might become a concern, I had to stop and think about how God views it.

Is it ok to join an online dating service? I don’t feel it’s wrong to do this. Just like it’s not wrong to use the internet in general. Times change, methods of doing things change…I get that. So the concept of an online dating service is not inherently wrong. I really believe it comes down to your heart and the motive behind why you are joining an online dating service.

By joining an online dating service, am I showing a lack of trust in God? Again, this is where I feel that it comes down to your heart and the motive behind why you are joining. I have found that many people join a dating service because they are exasperated with the whole “dating scene.” Countless dates and no results…so they figure “what have I got to lose?” Many want so much to be in a relationship that really, online dating just opens up more options. Let someone else do the hard work of matching personalities to weed out the really bad dates. Save time and emotions to get to the right one, right? But my question has always been to these individuals, “Are you trusting God or man?” If you are, and you feel that God is leading you to date online- go for it! Who am I to stand between you and what God has called you to? And plus, who’s to say that God can’t use the internet for His glory and His plan? God can use whatever method He chooses.

But I have to ask you to truly search your heart and be honest…because I fear that many would find that they are joining out of the wrong motive: impatience, personal satisfaction and desire, or lack of trust in God. They desire so much to be in a relationship, and traditional ways have failed, so why not try online dating? I know that it would be that way for me. Our culture would say “Go ahead! Date online. It’s the way people are dating now. Take control of your own dating life.” And yet the Bible is filled with commands to be counter-cultural because He is holy and we are called to be holy. Consider these verses and ask God to show you His desire for your dating life:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

Does God even care whether or not I join an online dating service? God created us, loved us enough to die for us, and cares very much about every detail of our lives. As followers of Christ, we are to walk with Him daily, constantly conforming to the image of His Son. Our lives are to be in a constant state of submission before a holy and righteous God. In the words of John, “He must become greater and I must become less.” (3:30). God should be the one in control of our lives, which includes our dating life. It is a grave error to think that we don’t have to apply these truths to how we date. I believe that God cares very much how we choose to date. And I believe that He wants us to trust Him with the result of our dating life- whether that means to remain single for just a little longer, or even if it means that He is best glorified by calling us to live the blessing of a life of singlehood. Do you trust God that much? Are you willing to trust Him with every aspect of your dating life? Even if it means waiting longer? By joining an online dating service, are you trusting God to bring you that significant other, or are you trusting in the ways of men?

Again, this was meant as a challenge for myself and other Christian singles desiring to honor God in their dating life. Feel free to comment and/or share a differing opinion. My heart’s desire is to do the will of my Father, and I am constantly working toward what that actually looks like in practice. It’s all part of my journey to the heart of God…
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful for Thanksgiving!

I am sitting in my living room, my Christmas decorations are up (for the most part), Christmas music is playing, and I can't believe that tomorrow is Monday. The much anticipated Thanksgiving break is over all too quickly. But I am so thankful for the wonderful holiday I got to spend with family and friends.

My parents got into town on Wednesday, and we got to spend some really good time together. I covet sweet family time, mostly because I don't get it that often, and it always seems so short of a time. Thanksgiving morning, we enjoyed sleeping in a little and enjoying some morning coffee together. Then my mom and I got to work on the meal! Everything turned out wonderful, and we had such a relaxing day- eating turkey, playing games, taking naps, watching football, but mainly just enjoying each other's company without having to rush off anywhere. Yes, I enjoyed Thanksgiving in my pajamas and LOVED it. Haha.

Friday we ventured out for a little bit of shopping, but avoided the stores with all the frenzied shoppers. Laura was able to join us, and we enjoyed lunch, the Galleria parking garage, exhorbitantly overpriced pillows, and a movie ;) Saturday we had lunch with my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Murphy, as well as my cousin and her family who live in Ft. Worth.

Saturday night, we had our Singles Thankgiving Potluck. Clint made the turkey and hosted at his house, and everyone brought a side dish or dessert to share. We had such a blast! As I stood in the kitchen listening to all of the conversations going on, I just had to enjoy the moment and thank God for the sweet group of friends He has brought into my life. I couldn't help but smile thinking about where our group was a year ago when we were only few in number and it was like pulling teeth to get people to talk- LOL. What a blessing for the Lord to have grown our group and helped us develop relationships in Him. It's just interesting to me the places, the circumstances, and the people that God blesses us with at varying times in our lives. I am blessed beyond measure, and I praise the One from whom it all comes!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Excitement!

So yesterday was a fun day at work...probably because I didn't actually get much work done at all! Haha. I got to work super early so that I could leave later in the morning to go pick up the turkey for our family Thanksgiving. I thought I was being smart by getting there when they opened, but apparently I missed the memo of special holiday hours and was unable to avoid the crowds after all. So I ended up standing in cold in this long line...


Oh the price we pay for convenience. Oh well. Although there is a part of me that wanted to go full out and do everything on my own, I know come tomorrow I will be appreciative of the Honey Baked Ham Company who will be helping me this Thanksgiving ;)

I made it back to the office just in time for our Thanksgiving Potluck! It was a fun time with my co-workers, hanging out, eating the yummy foods everyone brought. I know I have said this numerous times, but I am so grateful for my job. I am so blessed to be a part of this company, and I thank God for the sweet people that I work with. It really is like a small family, and I feel blessed to be a part of it. I brought a Pumpkin Roll to the potluck, and I am happy to say it was a baking success! I got the recipe* from a sweet friend in my 20s group, and everyone loved it! I was a little nervous about it, because this was the first time I had made it, but it turned out great and it really wasn't that hard to make!


Oh and it totally looked like this too ;) Ok- maybe not this perfect, but not too far off. It at least looked edible enough for people to be excited about trying it!

In addition to our office potluck, we also celebrated my boss's birthday :) The excitement of the holiday is buzzing around the office, and everyone is ready for the Thanksgiving break. We got our official "Early Dismissal" email from HR yesterday, so we get to leave early today! My parents are on the road heading for Dallas, and I am really looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with them here. This is the first year we are missing big family Thanksgiving, so it will be a little strange not to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and crazy family drama :) But I am looking forward to the quiet of the week with my parents and brother.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! :)

*Here is the Pumpkin Roll Recipe if you are interested:


Ingredients

Cake:
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 c . Granulated sugar
2/3 c. Pumpkin
1 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

Filling:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
6 T butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

Directions

FOR CAKE:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

FOR FILLING:
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

GREAT is His Faithfulness!

God woke me up early this morning, and He placed this song on my heart...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Are Family

I am so thankful for my family. I am truly blessed by the amazing parents and brother that God has given me. I praise God for a family that loves and seeks after Christ. And I also praise God for the sweet relationship I have with each one of them.

I praise God for my earthly father. He is truly an example of steadfast faith and devotion to the God we serve. He is the humble and gracious picture of my Heavenly Father. My dad has taught me how to work hard, but more than that...to work as though I am working for the Lord. My dad has taught me the meaning of generosity and sacrifice. My dad loves me unconditionally, and he has shown me what a man of God should look like.

I praise God for my sweet mother. She is truly an example of faith in its purest form, and she is the epitome of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. My mom loves me in spite of myself, and she is always there to pick up the pieces in my mess of a life. She speaks truth in grace and love, and she knows exactly what to say at the right time. My mom has taught me the meaning of patience and sweet service to other people.

I praise God for my brother, my friend. He is truly an example of fearless faith, and he has shown me what it means to live out your faith with boldness and perseverence. He speaks truth with courage and clarity, and I learn so much from his wisdom. He truly has a heart for others, and he is the picture of humility and selflessness. He has taught me the meaning of loving my neighbor as myself.

I love you and thank God for you!


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Fresh New Look!

I have been playing with my blog design, hoping to achieve a fresh new look. Just felt like a change. I also decided I wanted to add a signature to my posts. What do you think?
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

To God Be The Glory...

This weekend I had the opportunity to go home to celebrate Bible Study Fellowship International's 50th birthday. It was such a special evening of praising God and being reminded of His faithfulness. It was so incredible to see how God has grown a humble ministry of 5 women to nearly 1,000 classes with 200,000 class members in more than 30 nations! I was so blessed to be there and be apart of the celebration. I got to meet more of the board members and Foreign Resident Ambassadors who are faithfully serving and teaching God's Word across the globe. It was also such a sweet blessing to reconnect with old BSF staff members, leaders, and friends from growing up. Here is a picture of me and my brother...we meant to take more pictures, but the evening was just too full :)

Not only was it exciting to look back at all God has done, we also got to hear about the vision of BSF for the years to come. It is so exciting to see the direction that the organization is heading as it moves toward fulfilling its aim of teaching God's Word to future generations. One of the most exciting things is seeing how God is working internationally. The founder of BSF, A. Wetherell Johnson, was originally a missionary to China before coming back to the states to start her humble Bible study. Her hope and dream was for God's Word to be taught to Chinese nationals. In recent years, BSF has had restricted opportunities to open classes for expatriates. Now, not only can BSF offer classes to Chinese nationals, they have the government's blessing to do it! Praise God!

It will be exciting to see how God uses such a faithful and servant ministry to reach the world for His name and His glory. To God be the glory GREAT things He has done!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Nostalgic Kind of Day

I don’t know why, but today I found myself missing things from my past. It’s like it hit me all at once, and I suddenly missed everything…

Baylor. I miss Baylor. I miss being a student, walking across Founder’s Mall and Burleson Quadrangle, going to football games, seeing Lady and Joy, and yes…even eating at Penland and Memorial Halls. I didn’t make it back for Homecoming this year, and I just miss being on campus. I wouldn’t ever want to go back to school, but I do feel nostalgic for those 4 years I spent at Baylor.

Summers. This is one of the sad parts of being an adult. Long gone are the blissful days of summer vacation. Even when I was in school, I worked through my summers, but somehow it was just different than working through the summer now. I think because even though I was working, it was still a change from the work of school. Now, work is the same…all. year. long. Haha.

Field Trips. Remember those? I had some really awesome field trips growing up: the zoo, the rodeo, the Alamo, countless museums, Spanish class field trips to Mexican food restaurants downtown, the USS Lexington, living history field trip, the Texas capitol, Natural Bridge Caverns, Sea World...my school would even take an all-school retreat to a camp for 3 or 4 days every year. I am not sure what made me think of field trips, but I miss them, so they go on my list.

Home. I haven’t been home since August. I know that doesn’t sound like a long time, but I live only 4.5 hours from home. And it seems as though the last few trips I have made have been quick overnight trips with a purpose. Things are crazy hectic and then I have to turn around and drive back. I really haven’t been able to enjoy being home in several months. I am so looking forward to going home this weekend! It will be a short weekend, but I hope to make the most of every moment I am there.

Family. Along with missing home, I just plain miss my family. My parents have been great to come up here to see my brother and I, but I still really miss them. And I know that I am really missing family when I even miss my crazy extended family- LOL. I hope to be able to see my grandparents, aunt, and cousins this weekend, especially since I won’t be going home for Thanksgiving.

Mexican Food. I’m sorry, but there is just not any good Mexican food up here. Some of the chains are decent, but nothing beats the hole-in-the-wall Mexican food of SA. Mexican restaurants are not on every street corner here like they are there. I definitely plan to get my fill this weekend. (Nicki, I know my pain does not compare to yours…at least here they attempt and sometimes come close to making good food; I’ll make sure to eat some tortillas just for you).

Margaritas. Ok, seriously, don’t laugh. This is my nostalgic day, so I am allowed- haha. When I joined leadership at BSF, I was asked to refrain from alcoholic beverages. I have never been much of a drinker anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. However, margaritas are my absolute favorite, and I have had the worst craving for one. I definitely miss them…

Baby Sasha. I love my dog- anyone who knows me would probably say that I am slightly obsessed with her. She’s my sweet baby girl, and I absolutely adore her. The other day I was looking through her baby pictures (I know she’s a dog. Don’t judge.) and I just miss her tiny size. Sasha has grown to be such a big girl- 80 lbs (but on a diet plan to get back down to 75 LOL). But looking at the pictures of the tiny ball of fur that I first brought home…I miss little puppy stage. I miss when she actually fit in my lap and I could pick her up in my arms. She still sits in my lap, but it’s just not quite the same experience for me…

Am I reaching that point in my life where I am going to start thinking about "the old days"? Haha. Have you ever had a nostalgic kind of day?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

God, Please Break My Heart

I don't even know where to begin. I don't think that I can begin to unpack all that God whispered to my heart this weekend. God has been speaking to me for several months now...little bits and pieces here and there. I knew that something needed to change in my life; I just didn't know where to begin. For awhile I have been feeling as though there was something more, something missing; I think part of me was fearful of what that "something more" would like like. But after this weekend, I can't ignore God's tugging on my heart.

I don't know what this is going to look like. And I am terrified of what it's actually going to mean. But I am committed to pray about what God would have for me. I apologize for being vague; I am still trying to work through some things in my heart. But I felt the need to write it down for the world to see. It is my first step toward this new journey. I am praying specifically that God will break my heart for the things that break His. I need to search the depths of my heart to understand why this doesn't just come naturally for me. I hate this part of myself; have I really become so self absorbed that I am unaffected by a hurting world around me? There are times when my heart is moved and filled with compassion and heartache...but I am ashamed to admit that I have hardly ever acted. I can't do that anymore. I have to do something.

I am also praying that God show me where I can be His hands and feet. I do my best to faithfully serve Him in different areas (BSF, our 20s group, etc.) But all those places are comfortable. And we are just not called to live a comfortable life. As much as I don't like hearing that, it's the truth. So I am praying about new opportunities to show God's love to a hurting world. I have been convicted lately about sharing the gospel. Someone asked the question, "when was the last time you shared the gospel?" And all I could do in response was cry. Because, again, I am ashamed to say that it's been too long. I could come up with all kinds of excuses. But they are just that: excuses. What excuse do I have to not share the amazing love, grace, peace I experience through a relationship with Christ?

So I am committing to pray. I am committing to lay my heart open before God and say, "do with me what You will, Lord." I would appreciate your prayers. My heart's desire is to draw closer to the heart of God; this is the next step in that journey.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fun Upcoming Events

How is it that one minute you have endless free weekends, and the next....not a free one in sight? Haha. My weekends are filling quickly with lots of random things, and it's really just a sign that the holidays are approaching. And that makes me VERY happy :) Here's a look at a few fun upcoming events that I am really looking forward to:

FUSION DALLAS+09
I am really looking forward to this conference. I will be going with my 20s group from church, and I can't wait! The Fusion Experience is an event for all 20 & 30 somethings in the DFW metroplex who love Jesus and want their lives to reflect their faith. I almost didn't go, but at the last minute felt like God really wanted me there. So I am excited to hear how He is going to speak.

BSF 50th Anniversary Gala
BSF is celebrating it's 50th anniversary, and I am excited to be able to attend the Jubilate Gala they are hosting to praise God for all the great work He has done. This is going to be a special evening of praise for the powerful work of God's Word across the globe in the past 50 years. It will be a special evening for my dad and the sweet staff at headquarters who have been such a big part of my life. I am so grateful for the faithful ministry of BSF; it has meant so much to my family and my own personal faith and growth in the Lord.

Thanksgiving 2009 in Dallas!
This year my parents are coming up here to spend Thanksgiving in Dallas with me and my brother. While part of me is going to miss the big family feast, I am super excited to have a nice quiet holiday with my parents and brother...just the four of us. Holidays tend to be so rushed and packed full of things to do when I go home, so I am looking forward to a relaxed Thanksgiving here...and not having to travel! :)

Laura's Birthday!
My sweet friend Laura's birthday is coming up in early December. I don't know yet what we are going to do to celebrate, but I am excited about celebrating with her! We will have to be sure to do something special to honor her special day :)

Christmas Parties!
Ok. I know it is just now November, but I already have 3 Christmas parties that I am planning to attend. And it just makes me so excited for Christmas! It's hard to think about Christmas, considering that the high on Friday is supposed to be 80 degrees...but we'll get there ;) I do have to throw this thought out there: while I am looking forward to Christmas, I have no intention of celebrating anything Christmas-related until the day after Thanksgiving. It's just not right. Why would you want to skip over the fun and blessing of Thanksgiving? Those of you who know me know that I have VERY strong feelings on this issue...absolutely NO Christmas music or decorations until AFTER Thanksgiving. I adhere to a very strict order of events ;) This is just a peak at the things I am looking forward to...

Skydiving For My Birthday
Since we're looking ahead to the things I am looking forward to...I REALLY want to go skydiving for my birthday!! I have always wanted to go skydiving; it's one of the things on my list of things to do before I die. My next birthday is a milestone year, so I wanted to do something special. So what better way to celebrate than to jump out of a plane?? I have opened it up to anyone who would like to jump with me, but even if I am the only one who jumps, I hope to be able to do this in February :)