Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Time is Here!

It's Christmas and believe it or not, it actually feels like Christmas outside!(Unlike Thanksgiving when it was 78 degrees!) I've been home for nearly a week and will be here until Monday when I head to New Orleans for work, which means I won't be back to my house until late Tuesday...I miss my house! It's been fun, but I'm always ready to get back to my own routine.

This week has included spending a lot of bonding time with my parents, which has been nice. They decided they wanted to get a digital camera so my dad and I went to pick it out (I did the picking out, he paid! LOL) They are a little technology challenged! My 2nd niece was born last week so Aunt Ash got to see my girls- so sweet. Viv has mastered saying "Ash" and it brings a smile to my face every time she says it.

Christmas Eve was spent at my cousins with gumb and shrimp and corn soup- delicious! We popped fireworks afterwards and the little ones loved it. My little cousin loved using my Flip video camera and decided she wanted one- she forgets that she's only 8! We then went to my mom's sisters house and ate some more goodies and exchanged presents. Christmas morning we ate the traditional breakfast casserole and opened presents- I got bar stools! It's so funny the things that you get excited about as an adult. We then headed to a fancy hotel downtown for lunch- oh my! So good. This afternoon has been a lazy one, as it's cold and rainy.

This Christmas has been so different, especially with it being the first one without Maw Maw. She always loved Christmas and for the longest time we would all crowd into her house. A few memories over the years:
  • The year she cut down a Christmas tree from the woods behind her house. She was probably well into her 70's when she did this! It was a Charlie Brown tree, but that is one of my favorite memories.
  • The year we almost had ham sandwiches for Christmas Eve supper because it turned really cold and the pipes froze.
  • Seeing our handmade stockings (not by her, but she had them made) hung on the door
  • Our ornaments that had our names on it. Last year, we got these in our stockings. Mine is on my tree this year.
  • Date cookies- one day, I'm going to find a receipe for this!
  • Going to the christmas parade in Zachary
  • Going to the Christmas pageant at FBC Zachary
  • Everyone crowding into the house for Christmas and wrapping paper all over the place.
  • The gift cards from Maison Blanche (old department store in BR) and later from Walmart.
  • The year she got a VCR (after she asked for one) and asking what it was..and then telling my cousin that she couldn't watch Titanic because it was "too sad." :)

Even though Christmas was very different this year, one thing stayed the same: the Reason for the Season-Jesus. I'm reminded of how much a baby changed the entire course of history, that the Light of the World came into darkness-to seek and to save what was lost. Me. You. The entire world.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Long overdue update!!!!

I didn't realize it had been since July since my last post! The past few months have been extremely busy to say the least and well, Life happens. I'm going to try get better at posting. I read other people's blogs and think "my life is not interesting enough to blog about!" Here's a recap of the past few months.

  • August- we celebrated my Maw Maw's 90th birthday. It was a lot of fun. My little cousin was upset that Granny didn't have a waterslide at her party. My mom also turned 60!(I hope I get her genes- she doesn't look 60 at all!) My parents and I went to Arkansas for a mini vacation.
  • September- I went back to Ridgecrest in NC. Amazing as usual. Met a lot of really great people and got to witness a love story (not my own!) unfold between my dear friend Andi and my new friend Jonathan.
  • October- This month is a blur and was a tough month. My Maw Maw suffered a stroke and went to be with the Lord. She lived a long life and showed us how strong she really was. I got to spend some time with her before the stroke happened and it was precious time. THe funeral was beautiful and very fitting. I sang "It is Well With my Soul." This was her request-several years ago, she heard me sing it and told me that's what she wanted me to sing at her funeral. Later on, we found the song and "How Great Thou Art" written on a napkin and tucked in her Bible. I miss her terribly, but am so blessed beyond measure and words at having her in my life. I was able to experience the body of Christ and community during this time. It was amazing to be able to know that I was being lifted up in prayer and being able to ask for it freely.
  • November- Thanksgiving- very different this year. Still, it was nice to be at home and be with my family.
  • December- busy month!! My second "niece" is due to arrive any day now, my house is all decorated for Christmas, and Andi and Jonathan are now engaged! Love being to celebrate with them. Looking forward to going home for a week and unwind.

A lot has happened in the past few months, but another great thing is on the horizon. I'm going to RWANDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Super excited- mom and dad are less than thrilled. (They should know by now that I like to give them heart attacks with my adventures). I'm going at the end of May for 2 weeks (3 days after I turn 30--how cool is that!) with Portico. Not sure exactly what all we'll be doing, but I know that one project is an art camp for public school kids and there is a possibility that I'll get to spend some time in an oprhanage. Super excited about that. I could just spend the entire 2 weeks there. My mom said that I can't come home with any babies. LOL Fundraising has begun for our team. We need to raise about $33,000 for 11 of us to go. This is a faith challenge for me. I know that God funds what He favors, but that's a lot of change. Please pray for our team as we fundraise and plan for this trip.

Work has been steady busy with adoption and foster care. I love it (most days!) and it fuels my passion for the heart of the orphan even more. I am so thankful that God is given me this passion and a place to serve Him. I'm learning so much from the families that I work with and they inspire me. One thing God showed me at Ridgecrest that my job is more than a job. It's my calling right now and I'm to love the people put in front of me.

Singleness- well still in this season of singleness, but am learning so much while in it. Don't get me wrong, there are days when I absolutley hate it and hate coming home to an empty house, but God is faithful. He's doing a work in me right now during this season and I know also in my future husband, wherever he may be (in the Sahara desert, with sand in his eyes, trying to find his way back to me! LOL) But seriously, there is a peace and a promise in the waiting. That's amazing to me.

I'm in a great ladies Bible Study- "The Lies that Women Believe" and it's eating my lunch right now! This week is on priorities. I'm still processing it and will write more soon. Portico is starting a women's ministry and I'm on the leadership team. I love the women that God has put together and can't wait to see what all He will do through this ministry.

Okay, I think this is enough catch up for now. (I'm not even sure who reads this anymore!) I'm going to do my best to post more frequently.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beauty From Ashes

Kelly's Korner is hosting Show Us Your Life Friday- Share your testimony. As I was reading her blog, I realized that I don't think I had blogged about my testimony. I thought I would share..then I got to thinking, "God has done so much for me..where do I start?" So I figured I'd just share my heart..hopefully it won't be too long!

I grew up in a Christian home and was raised in church. My parents struggled for nearly 10 years with infertility before I was born and the story around my home church is that the church prayed me into the world! At age 7, I was baptized and "prayed" to receive Christ as my savior. I used "prayed" because I realize now it was my lips moving. I had all of the head knowledge of God and Jesus, knew the songs, knew the Sunday school answers. I was the "good kid."

At age 14, some friends from school invited me to attend a play with them. It was called Judgement House, basically a walk through version of Heaven's Gates and Hell's flames. I realized that night, I was lost as I could be. If I died that night, I would go to hell. I needed a Savior. On October 28, 1995, I began a real genuine relationship with Christ.

My teen years were rough. I mean, I wasn't rebellious, but tell me whose teen years aren't rough? My grandparents became very sick at different points, school, I was still trying to figure out who I was, where I was going. At age 16, I was diagnosed with depression. At first, I didn't understand (and I still don't!) but I knew that God was faithful. This has been a battle (I say battle, because some days it is a literal battle.) I've realized that this isn't necessary a bad thing, it's just something that God has given me to make me rely on Him more than ever.

I graduated high school and began my freshman year of college. That year brought about so many changes. I wrote in an earlier post about my ex boyfriend that was killed in an accident. That event literally brought to me knees and I learned so many lessons from my grief, even 10 years later. I became involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and it changed my life forever. I began to experience God for myself- my own experiences, my own learning lessons. I met some of my closest friends to this day and learned about servant leadership. I learned to love missions. I grew in my faith so much during that time.

I remember after graduation, grad school ahead of me, at our last worship service. My friend Joe was speaking and he talked about priorities. He said that God should not be a priority, but the page that we write our priorities on. At that moment, I felt the Lord gently tell me, "50 years from now, it's not going to matter how many degrees you have, how many letters behind your name or how many children you have. What matters is how you live your life for Me." It was a defining moment.

I went to grad school and then moved 200 miles away from family after graduation. I remember thinking "What in the world am I doing? God, where are You?" That was 6 years ago. These 6 years have been some of the most challenging, painful, yet beautiful years of my life. I can't put into words how good God has been to me during these years. I have my dream job in ministry (after questioning my calling to ministry at age 17 for years!) I have seen God provide for my every need, send me family where I am, given me joy beyond measure in little moments. Life looks totally different from my plan: at 29, I'm single, own my home, and have my dream job. There's no husband or children, or even a dog. Not exactly what I had pictured my life to be at this point, but I'm learning that God's timing is perfect. Some days, I look at how messy life can be and how flawed I am as a human being. But then I see how God has and can make beauty from my ashes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A little about me (AKA: Profile for Kelly's Eharmony/!)

I love blogs. Kelly's was one of the first ones that I read. I love her! (even if she is a Razorback fan!) She does this post on Friday's called Show Us Your Life Fridays, where people link back to their blog a posting on a particular topic. Well, this week's SUYL is rather's called "All the Single Ladies.." Just check it out for yourself.

I know that I've been a blog slacker lately and am not very connected to the "blog community" (I think i may have 3 readers!) but I thought that I would tell a little about myself so that if I get any new readers then they can know who they are reading about..(could one of those new readers be my future hubby??! LOL :) You never know...the pic at top is of me and my best friend...(my hair is a bit shorter, but still as curly as ever!)

I am 29 and live in North Louisiana. I moved here six years ago from Baton Rouge after graduating from LSU (geaux tigers!) with my master's in social work. I went to work for a hospital as a social worker on the labor unit. I learned so much that first year that I learned that that type of setting was not for me!! I then went to work for a faith based non profit working with children and families in crisis. I've been there 5 years and love it! I have transitioned into working more with adoptions and foster care, which are my passions. I earned my Licensed Clinical Social Work license in Jan. 2009. I know that I'm called to do this, as I've never really seen myself as having a social work job outside of ministry. Now I get to do what I love and minister at the same time...I love how God works.

I grew up in a Christian home, but did not come to know the Lord until I was 14. I walked the aisle at age 7 and was baptized but realize now that I did it because I felt it was expected of me. I was called to the ministry at age 17 but had no idea what that would look like (I'm still learning!) In college, I became very involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries where I met some of my closest friends and really grew in my faith. I began to experience God for myself. I did summer missions 2 summers and had a BCM minister who taught me and modeled servant leadership.

family is very important to me. I live nearly 200 miles away from my family, but we talk all the time and I try to get home as much as I can. I love spending time with my friends. I love traveling, although I don't get to do it much as I would like. Last year, I went to Croatia on a mission trip...AMAZING! I love to shop (only if it's on sale..I'm the bargain queen!) read, cook, work out, go to garage sales and thrift stores, paint, and sing. I recently purchased my first house(something I never thought I would do single!) but I love it!

This is definitley a season of change. I've gone through major changes at work(which have taught me so much!) plus changed churches. Not something that I had planned on, but when God moves, He often moves big. I recently read "Crazy Love' by Francis Chan and it really opened my eyes and challenged me. I'm excited to see what God has in store.

I feel like I'm on the blind date circuit! I've been on more than I care to count. Sometimes I think I have a sign that says, "OOOH, set me up with the strangest person possible!" But its all about the experience. I'm the last one in my circle of friends to be married and that's okay. God has taught me so much over the years in my season of singleness. I've realized that marriage is not the be all to end all so to speak. I'm at the point now where I want to share my life with someone, to serve the Lord together, not to make me happy.

This is so starting to sound like a profile for Match. com! :) My top 2 criteria for a husband: Love God more than he loves me, and realize that God loves me more than he ever will. I want to be able to serve the Lord together as a family, on the crazy adventures that God has in store for us. I love my job, but really want to be a wife and mom (and adopt one day too!)

So hopefully, you now feel like you know who you're reading about. Leave me a comment and let me know about you!

I know it's been a while!

I knew that it had been a while since I blogged, but had no idea it's been since February!! Alot has gone on and there may two posts today. Needless to say the past few months have been extremely busy and exciting! Here's some of what I've been up to:

  • Was in 9 different cities in Louisiana from Feb. to April doing foster care/adoption presentations for churches
  • Went on vacation to Gulf Shores the day after the last conference and went parasailing! It was so much fun!
  • Turned 29!
  • Celebrated being in my house for a year. Hard to believe it's been that long.
  • Am in the process of my first major home renovation project: my guest bathroom. It's being painted, and the new countertops ordered soon. (I know, eventually I'll get around to posting pics of the house- I really do have one!)
  • Was MOH for my dear friend Misty. It was a beautiful wedding, but hot!! Nothing like a summer wedding in LA.
  • Hosted my first wedding shower at my house
  • Had my first houseguest other than family
  • The entire family came for a weekend and we didn't kill each other! LOL
  • My precious "niece" Vivienne turned one and she's going to be a big sister. Aunt Ash can't wait to find out the gender and go shopping!
  • Went on 2 dates-one of which lead to 2 more dates, but I realized that it was going nowhere fast. The other one- we realized we were better off as friends. Mutual decision and no hard feelings.
  • Had a spa day- so much fun!
  • Getting ready for my Maw Maw's 90th birthday party
  • Have picked up some contract work on the side- extra $ which is always a plus
  • Read Crazy Love and it totally rocked my world, which leads to my next highlight
  • I started attending a new church. I'm really excited about it, it's relatively new and small, but very refreshing. It has opened my eyes to a new way of doing church- of church being a lifestyle. So excited to see what God is going to do. Portico
  • God is showing me so much in so many it.

I really need to do better at posting. So much to share. On to the next post...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oh, How He Loves Me

What a weekend! Friday, we had a rarity in Louisiana..SNOW! and lots of it. It started thursday night and it was a light dusting, but sticking. By Friday morning, I had 5 inches in my yard. It was beautiful. I'll post pics soon. I went to my neighbor's house and had a snow ball fight with her little boy..we had a blast while his dad and sister built a snowman. I walked home in the blowing snow, but it was breathtaking. My magnolia tree was covered in fresh powder. Then I made snow ice cream. I probably didn't do it exactly right, but it tasted good and it didn't kill me!

This weekend, I hosted a group of 8th grade girls for our church's Disciple Now weekend. I was so excited to be able to open my home up for this. I have such fond memories of DNow's from high school and college. It was a little strange to be a host home rather than a leader. I got a lot of strange looks and plenty of "bless your heart"'s when people found out that I was single and doing this. This was my first "function" at my house and I'm so glad that it was D-now.

The theme this weekend was the "Purity Code" by Dr. Jim Burns. Fitting for Valentine's day weekend. The purity code talked about being pure in all areas of life, not just sexual purity. Honoring God with your body, renewing your mind, guarding your heart. Our girls were a little closed off to it, because they feel like all they hear is "don't have sex."

Our speaker was Chad Norrishttp:// Oh my, can he bring it!!!!! I was so challenged and so blessed. My thinking pattern was challenged. I began to look at purity a lifestyle in all areas. Over the next posts, I'll write more about what I brain is still processing it all.

Last night's worship was incredible. One of the things that Chad really hit on was that purity should be pursued because of the love that the Father has for us. He really talked about how much our lives would be different if we grasped how much God loves us. That totally blew my mind. I've been a Christian for half of my life, and have been in church my entire life. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" at age 4 at church. I have always heard that God loves me, that Jesus loves me, knew it in my head, but never really knew it in my heart. Chad said that we feel like God is walking around with a billy club waiting to hit us with it because we fail.
I've talked a bit about my struggle with depression here. The past few weeks haven't been horrible, but haven't been great either. combine that with Valentine's day, being single, being the MOH for my dear friend in a few months, being the last one still single, well you get the picture. I definitley did not feel loved by God. But that's exactly how Satan works...twisting our thoughts, our feelings, playing with our emotions, stealing our joy, destroying us. I realized last night just how much God loves me...enough to send Jesus to die for me, enough to delight in me. But in order to know this fully, I have to know Him. To know Him by being in His word. Another post there too!

I was feeling rather insecure about being a host home because I'm single. I told one of the breakout session speakers that I want to be very intentional about serving Him while I'm single, but at times I feel like I'm spinning my wheels, waiting for the next thing to happen. She told me to keep serving Him the now.

I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfector of my faith. I want to pursue Jesus as I pursue God in my singleness and in my pursuit of purity. This is going to mean some sacrifices: tv shows, my time, how i take care of myself, etc.

I've always loved David Crowder. After last night, I don't think I can listen to "Oh How He loves Us" the same ever again. Ever.

"He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the waves of his wind and mercy." That line has stuck with me all weekend. I woke up this morning, on valentine's day, not hating the day, not sad that I didn't get flowers or have someone special to tell me that they love me. My Father loves me. My Jesus loves me. He loves me fiercly. He is jealous for me. He is in passionate pursuit of my heart.

I don't usually ask for prayer on this blog, but I am now. I want what I learned this weekend to take root. I DO NOT WANT A SPIRITUAL HIGH. I want to be forever changed by what He has shown me. The Enemy does not like this at all. Pray that I will be disciplined in my pursuit of the Father, that I will be thirsty for more of Him, to know more and more of His love for me. That He is wild about me and is pursuing me passionately.

I know that this is lengthy, but my heart is overflowing. He is jealous for me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I stole this from my dear friend, Lyndsey.

a bowl of……Fruit Loops

a plate of…….hot chocolate chip cookies

a stack of…….magazines!

a room full of….family and laughter

a box of….old cards

tickets to….an LSU game

a copy of….the latest edition of SELF

a set of…..cute dishes

a book of….that makes me relax

a day to….do nothing that I have to do

a morning to…sleep late

an evening to…eat dinner with friends

a week of….being at the beach

a case of….Diet Coke

a jar of….honey

a tube of…..lip gloss, any kind:)

a bottle of….Gucci perfume

a pair of…..comfy yoga pants

a bouquet of….stargazers and white roses

a string of….pearls

a bundle of….. warm blankets

a visit from… family

a roll of…….address labels

a pack of…..gum

anything from…..Sephora

anything wrapped in….shiny paper

What makes you happy? I thought it was really neat.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moments of Joy

As I wrote in my last post, my theme this year is "Choosing Joy." I'm really trying to be intentional with looking for joy in the moments, even when they are mundane or difficult. Here are a just a few joy moments.

  • My weekly phone call to my Maw-Maw, even if it's just for a few minutes. I'm so thankful that she can still talk to me, even if it's not always clear. I love to just be to able to hear her voice.
  • A catch up conversation with a dear friend. I loved being able to see what God is doing in our lives now and to be able to look back at where He has brought us.
  • That my mom and dad want to come visit me "just because." Forgetting the fact that I was just home 3 weeks ago for a week. I think they really miss me!! :)
  • The authenticity of friendships.
  • Being able to sit back and see God's hand over my life for the past 2 years.
  • Finally getting to do what I really love in regard to work (more on that later!)
  • Being able to sing in church on Sunday. I kind of miss not being in a small church for this reason.
  • curling up on the couch with my Snuggie and taking a nap.
  • hearing joyous news from a dear friend
  • planning for future plans for my house
  • Being able to say "my house!"
  • Sleeping late underneath the electric blanket

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Choosing Joy

The holidays are over and I'm ready to get back into a routine! I didn't get a chance to blog over Christmas, but it was a great one. I got to be home for a week, which was so nice. I got to spend time with my family ,and catch up with my best friend from college and spend some time with my friend's little girl while her oldest was in the hospital. I got a Crockpot and electric blanket for Christmas- my two favorite gifts!

I've never been big into New Year's resolutions, simply for the fact that I have really good intentions, but can't seem to stick with it. I was talking with my friend Lyndsey about a theme for the New Year. I'm coming into my last year in my 20's. Yikes! I want this year to different, to be my best year ever, in all areas of my life. I really feel like that God is going to do big things in my life this year, as evidenced by a few things that have recently happened that only He could do. Closure came to an area of my life that I so desperately needed. It stung at first, but it was a breath of fresh air. He revealed to me that even though the past 2 years have been very difficult in a lot of different ways, He has used it to prepare the way for the future.

I'm choosing joy. No matter what happens. I've realized that I determine how I respond to things. (I know, I'm a social worker- I know this- but its different when its you!) I can be miserable and wallow or I can choose to lay it at the feet of Jesus and choose joy. It's a conscious decision. For example, this morning, the garage door was stuck and it was freezing outside. This meant that I had to get out of the car, close the door from the inside of the garage and go out the front door. It was so cold!! But I just took a deep breath and said, "I choose joy." I want this for all areas of my life. I want to have joy and live on purpose.

  • When I'm buried in paperwork at work, I choose joy because I have a job.
  • When a parent's choice impacts their child, I choose joy rather than be irritated because God is using me to help their child and them.
  • When I am frustrated at people's attitude towards me, I choose joy rather than give into frustration.
  • When I get lonely from cooking for one and eating by myself, I choose joy because there is a table and food to put on it.
  • When I go to bed at night wondering "How did I get here?", I choose joy because I know that God is with me: walking before me, behind me, on either side, hemming me in, covering me with His love and faithfulness.

I'm choosing joy because the "joy of the Lord is my strength."