Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Smoke Signal

Here I am again: struggling. For the record, I hate being here :( I often wonder if I will ever reach a point in my life when I won't struggle, and when it will just come naturally to trust God regardless of what is going on around me. It is certainly a goal...a constant striving to conform more and more to the image of Christ. And yet, today, I struggle. Blah.
I know God has a plan. I know His timing is perfect. I know He has not forgotten me, and that He is working even now to draw me closer to Him. I know a lot of things. So why do I still struggle so much? Because I am a hopeless mess, that's why. Haha. It's a process- don't judge. Some of us are slower learners than others...
A friend sent me this email today, and because I am such a mess, I actually burst into tears after reading it- lol. How lame is that? But it really hit me right where I am, and it was something I really needed to hear. Whatever you are struggling with or going through, I hope this encourages you that way it encouraged me- even if it means a cry session. Haha. But I pray your cry session turns into cries to the Holy and Gracious God who loves you and cares about you more than you can ever know.
The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?' Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.
The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

I Want to Be...A Living Prayer

In this world I walk alone with no place to call my home
But there's One who holds my hand
The rugged road through barren lands
The way is dark, the road is steep
But He's become my eyes to see
The strength to climb, my griefs to bear
This Savior lives inside me there

In Your love I find release
A haven from my unbelief
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer my God to thee

In these trials of life I find
Another Voice inside my mind
He comforts me and bids me live
Inside the love the Father gives

In your love I find release
A haven from my unbelief
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer my God to thee
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer my God to thee
Currently Listening: A Living Prayer, by Alison Krauss

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wanted to wish everyone a happy valentine's day! In honor of this special day, I couldn't help but post some fun valentines. Enjoy and know that you are loved!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Birthday Celebration Continued

I already like birthday #24 better than any of the others, mainly because it seems to never end! LOL. I celebrated with my family last weekend, and this weekend was a fun weekend too! Friday we had a fellowship for our BSF group. That was unrelated to my birthday, but still a fun way to hang out with my girls and spend a Friday night. And it was definitely an adventure! About an hour before we were supposed to meet, I found out that the power went out at the house that was hosting the fellowship. We had already cancelled this particular fellowship twice before, so I just couldn't bear to do it again. So our sweet hostess made the decision to go forward in the dark! We lit candles, collected flashlights, and even tried our hand at building an outdoor fire. Several paper towels, matches, and a dental plan later, we had success! We had our own little BSF camping fellowship. And yes, we roasted s'mores.

Our set-up outside:

Roasting marshmallows

My girls were such good sports! What a fun memory...

The power eventually came back on, so we headed inside for a rousing game of Moses Taboo. That's right. We are studying the Life of Moses this year and one of the girls created her own Taboo game that related to our study. It was so fun and most definitely BSF!

Saturday I got to spend my birthday with Laura, and she took me to Forth Worth. We spent the day downtown; we ate lunch at Cantina Laredo, walked around visiting a few shops, and went to see a movie. We drove down to the stockyards in hopes of doing something that is unique to Forth Worth. Unfortunately, it was not quite what we expected. The rodeo was in town, so it was super busy. We could have handled that, but after passing row after row of motorcycles and their bikers and then coming across a massive amount of cow poop in the parking lot, we decided to go to Sonic for Dr Peppers instead. It was such a fun day, and I am so grateful to Laura for making it a great birthday! Somehow, we made it the whole day without taking any pictures (which makes me VERY sad), but I did manage to get a picture of the cookie cake she got for me. Laura said it showed our priorities- lol. I say: well, cookie cake is pretty important.

Today, my sweet brother came to church with me. It was nice to go to church with him; it's been a long time since we have done that, and I was really grateful to worship with him. He came to 20s group with me too, so I was able to introduce him to everyone. I was most definitely a proud sister! I can't help it. He's pretty amazing. After church, he took me to lunch for one of my favorite things: sushi! He is my sushi-eating buddy, so it was good to pick out new things to try. And catching up with good conversation over raw just doesn't get any better than that. He really is the best brother in the world, and I am so grateful for the restored relationship that God has provided to us. It is so fun to have him in the same city, and I am grateful for the time we get to spend together.

I am so grateful to everyone who made my birthday special. I have felt so incredibly loved in the past couple of weeks, for more reasons than just my birthday. I am grateful to God for the way He has comforted and loved on me in recent days.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oh HGTV, How I Heart Thee

Ok. I have to confess...I am officially obsessed with HGTV. I love the entire channel- the concept, the shows, the designers, all of it. It is probably one of the most inspiring television channels that I have come across. Whether it's 24 Hour Design, Color Splash, Decorating Cents, Design on a Dime, Designed to Sell, Designers' Challenge, Divine Design, or Myles of Style (just to name a few of my favorites- haha), I just can't seem to get enough! It makes me want to run out, pick fun paint colors, and redesign my entire apartment! My creative juices are flowing, and I have this incredible desire to redesign my space. When I get a new job and move to a new apartment, I will have somewhat of a clean slate, which will be perfect! The greatest part of a lot of my favorite shows is that they show you how to do things yourself, on a small budget (which is exactly what I need!) I have been carefully collecting ideas and absorbing as much information as I can to expand my decorating knowledge.
According to the online HGTV quiz, my design style is Classic Casual with a hint of Old World, New Way. Classic Casual is also known as Transitional. It is a mix of contemporary and traditional. It is usually updated, graceful, and enduring. Old World, New Way is deep, rich, and regal but muted for a time-worn effect. Finishes are distressed, woodword is rough-hewn. It is a lived-in but luxurious old world style. I couldn't have described it better myself! And how fun is that?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Very Happy Un-Birthday (or Early Birthday)

Since my parents were in town for my doctor's appointment, we took the opportunity to celebrate my birthday a little early (and of course, I was not about to argue!) We spent most of Friday and Saturday apartment shopping, which is one of my most favorite things to do. I am not sure why, but I really enjoy it. And my dad wanted to have a say in where I might live next. I found an apartment that I love. It's a perfect location, they will accept Sasha, and it's really pretty. It's perfect! Now I just have to hear back about the job...haha.

For my birthday, my parents bought me the perfume I have wanted for as long as I can remember. I know that sounds weird, but you don't understand how long I have searched for this heavenly scent! A friend in high school wore this particular scent, and I never asked her what it was. So for several years I have gone on a perfume-sniffing hunt to find the right one. No really, I actually did. Sad, I know. Last year, a girl in my bible study walked into the room and I knew right away the scent the followed her. I made sure to ask her what she was wearing; I had finally found my mystery scent! Burberry. I am absolutely addicted to this perfume. I love it! But even though I had finally figured it out, it was never in the budget. So my parents were sweet enough to buy it for me for my 24th birthday. Because, as my mom said, "you only turn 24 once, right?"

Last night, my dad took me to the Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake- my most favorite dessert! Laura, Michael, and his friend Gina were able to join us, which made for a fun birthday celebration. This isn't the best picture, but the only one I took of the night. You get the idea...

I have to say that I am kind of excited about turning 24. It's a year older, and not much of a landmark year, but I just feel as though it's a whole new level. A whole new stage in life. I can't really describe it; but 24 just feels like it's going to be a good year :)