Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gratitude-Day 3

The challenge:  Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today.

That's a tough one.  Not because I have to work to find something to be grateful for, but because there are just so many things I could choose from. 

I am grateful for friends who are quick to forgive and love me despite my shortcomings.  My friend Bernice is one of those rare people.  And I am grateful that once again she was gracious, forgiving, and kind, and didn't hold the issue against me. 

I am grateful for Scotty Harris. Not only did he do an amazing job on our photo shoot today, and was so much fun to work with, but saved me from a social media headache and got us up and running like it was no big deal.  Seriously...if you are ever looking for a talented guy with loads of integrity for your photography, website, or media needs, Scotty is the man.  His company is CrossFade Media Group.  Look him up and you'll see what I mean.

I am grateful for Dr. Bri.  She is an amazing chiropractor and keeps me right in line.  And that adjustment today was just awesome!

I am grateful for my husband.  I mean seriously.  He loves me unconditionally, and he "gets" me better than anyone else.  And who else would run the errands, pick up kids from school, and hold down the fort so their wife could go out and have fun on a photo shoot for the morning?  The man is even doing laundry tomorrow while I'm at work.  He is the best and I love him deeply.

I am grateful for meaningful conversation with my daughter Natalie.  I love that she trusts me enough to tell me what's going on in her life.  Even though we don't always see eye to eye, I'm so grateful that she knows I love her despite it all and always will.

Lastly, I am grateful to have so many blessings to be grateful for.  :)  What are yours? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gratitude Challenge-Day 2

So at the office where I work we are taking a 21 day gratitude challenge, and I thought it might be fun to share along the way.  Day one was accepting the challenge.  Today is Day 2. 

The Challenge:  Use the alphabet as a fun and quick format for making a list of the things for which you feel grateful.  Share this list with your social media through email, a blog post, or a facebook or myspace page.

A-Amy Petty.  I miss you every day.  You are one of the coolest people I know and I am so grateful for all your love, support, and encouragement.
B-Billy Petty.  I still have yet to fully appreciate everything you taught me and all the kindness you poured into my life.
C-Connor.  He is my kind, caring, funny son.  I love that boy!
D-Dad; I have so loved playing and singing with you, and am way excited that you are coming with us to Nashville :)
E-Erin; my spunky, vivacious, sweet girl.  She makes me smile every day :)
F-friends; good ones are hard to find and sometimes I take for granted that I have more than most.  I love you all.
G-grace; I need so much of it and deserve so little at the same time; makes me that much more grateful for it
H-honesty; even when I don't want to hear it, I am grateful for every time true honesty is shared between friends and loved ones
I-ice cream, especially if it's from Aggies
K-kindness; both received and given; the smallest acts can make the biggest difference in a person's day-be kind on purpose!
M-music; my favorite way of expressing everything I'm feeling and thinking
N-Natalie; my beautiful, head strong, intelligent oldest child; you bless my life every day
O-occupation; I have a great job and I'm so blessed
P-prayer; I have seen so many answers, even if they weren't the ones I wanted, that I will never be able to doubt the power of it
Q-quiet; for moments of stillness before God where I listen more than I speak
R-Rorry; you are the kindest, most generous person I know and I am more grateful than I could ever say
S-Sarah; you are sunshine personified.  You make your mama laugh I love you to the moon and back
T-Tim; my love.  You are the best part of my world and I am forever grateful that you not only put up with me but love me back unconditionally.
U-unconditional love
V-verses; I love when Scripture is right there and how there is always a great one for anything I face at any moment
W-worship team; I love being part of the team at Bethany; leading people in praise is one of my favorite things ever
X-xylophones-who doesn't smile when they see one?
Y-yellow; I love how bright and happy it is even if I can't wear it :)
Z-zest; as in the passion for life, not the soap.  :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Being Quiet

So anybody that has known me a while is probably already laughing just reading the title of this blog.  And I can't really blame them...quietness has never really been one of my strongest attributes, nor is it a word most people would use to describe me. 

I like to talk.  I'm good at it.  Saying things out loud is one way that I think and process information really well.  Unfortunately, that isn't always a good thing, especially if you end up talking to the wrong person (been there, done that).  Or if you're like me, you could be especially good at opening your mouth and inserting a whole darn shoe store (not a little Payless either, more like a big old DSW).

But I've learned something this year.  It came through some really hard things, and it's something that I'm sure God will be working out in my life for some time to come.  But it's something I've come to see more often than not lately is true not just in general, but for my life.

Isaiah 30:15 says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength"

I have come to find that this verse in my life is completely true.  God's promises for my life have never once let me down, and if there's one thing I have learned over the past year, I can trust Him completely in all things. 

But here's the thing...I may find good, Godly advice in talking things through with a trusted, wise, Spirit-led friend or mentor.  I have a couple and I am eternally grateful for them, because they have walked with me through some really difficult things the last several months, and they have both in word and example taught me this one thing:  to be quiet. 

To be quiet before the Lord.  To come before HIM and let it all out.  Even if it's messy, hard, and through tears or jagged sobs.  Even when it hurts so much that I can't find the words to really say what's on my heart.  But then to be quiet.  Because if I do all the talking, I will never hear the response.  I will miss when God whispers Scripture in my ear, like "I have loved you with an everlasting love", or "Come to me, and I will give you rest", or "I hold all things together". 

It's in dwelling in His presence in quietness and stillness, after all is said and done, that I find my rest and my true healing. 

I learned that again this week.  I had misjudged a situation solely because I was so busy talking it through on my own that I missed out on what God was trying to show me.  And it's not that I didn't hear Him speaking at all...on the contrary, I knew He was deep down, but I was so busy trying to figure it out and analyze it for myself that I cost myself a big measure of peace, and ultimately could have really hurt someone I care for deeply. 

In this world, we will always have trouble.  Sometimes that is discouraging to think about, and sometimes you just want to roll your eyes and be like, "Oh, come ON, really???".  But those are the moments to draw near.  To see for yourself that His Word is true, and that there is a strength and a peace that comes in quietness.

I find my shelter in Your wings, You are my breath, the song I sing.  You are my rock, my everything, and I find my healing in Your arms.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Abercrombie

I pretty much don't ever use my blog to address whatever story is swirling about in the news or on social media.  But there is one that has caught my attention as the parent of  teenager daughter, heck as a parent and as a human being, that I believe deserves a moment.

In case you missed it, the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, had some, shall we say, "interesting" things to say about who his stores do and do not cater to.  His comments are as follows:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids," he says. "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either." 

I am pretty sure I am not the only person or parent whose reaction to these comments were outright anger, indignation, and disgust.  Who does he think he is anyway? 

Well, for starters, you only have to look back to the 2002 Asian-insulting tee shirt controversy to see that Mr. Jeffries is a racist.  There is really no other explanation for printing and selling any item that is intended to be insulting toward an entire human race and culture.

But by his own comments (and there are many other equally inflammatory ones out there, none of which I will publish here because quite frankly, they are garbage), Mr. Jeffries is a mean girl.

We've all encountered them.  The girls who build their self-image and position off the backs of others, who consider themselves to be beautiful solely because someone else, in their opinion, is not.  Who make fun of others to build themselves up, and exclude anyone that they do not deem to be as pretty, fun, popular, or cool as themselves.  Their whole worth lies exclusively in demeaning other people, and like Mr. Jeffries, they think that is "cool".   Even if you've never personally encountered one, you've likely seen the movie "Mean Girls" and know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Mr. Jeffries is the Regina George of clothing CEO's.  He has built an entire clothing brand based on the same model....building up himself, his store, and sadly his clientele up solely by belittling others.

But what they really are, are bullies.  Sad bullies at that, because take all the "uncool" people away and their self-worth becomes completely baseless, and that is sad. 

Instead of being angry, however, I'd like to thank Mr. Jeffries.  Yup, I said it.  Why?  Because he just handed me a fantastic reason for my teenager to never shop there. 

I've never particularly cared for stores like his (or Hollister), that use sex as a selling point and that cost way to much for way too little material.  But my daughter wants to fit in, and other people wear them. 

However, my daughter, while definitely not a saint, DOES understand the concept of mean girls.  She has been on the receiving end, and we have frequent discussions about not becoming one.  She also understands the concept of being a bully.  She doesn't like them, and neither do I.  So now that I am done being a bit indignant and angry, I'd like to thank you, Mr. Jeffries, for making my job as a parent that much easier, and for exposing yourself for what you truly are, which is anything but cool.

He is Still God

If you read my blog last night, you know I went to bed with some stuff on my mind.  I just had to share that God woke me up this morning with a fresh revelation of who HE is, and that all the rest pales in comparison, and in the end, even though it may hurt in this present moment, will not matter.

HE IS gracious.
HE IS loving.
HE IS patient and kind
HE IS everlasting, and I can claim HIM as mine
HE IS the friend who never, ever leaves us
HE IS our shield and our defense when accusations come against us
HE IS faithful to the end

And because HE IS faithful to His promises, and I can rest peacefully there in His arms, knowing that even when all hell breaks loose, HE IS still God, and HE IS and always will be, good.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

True Story

One of my favorite songs is by an artist named Ginny Owens, and it's called "True Story".  The chorus goes something like this:

You see my imperfections, still You say I'm a masterpiece
A marvelous reflection, the image of Yourself in me
You paint with strokes of grace, undoing my disguise
You say beauty lies in the true story

Of where I've been, of where You've brought me to
Of who I am, all because of You

There are situations in my life right now that are unresolved.  There's nothing that makes me more nutty or uncomfortable than an unresolved situation.  I can't stand living in limbo.  Even worse when you aren't really sure why things still are they way they are.  My best efforts weren't enough, and to this day I still don't understand it all. 

I've been called a lot of things by some people, completely ignored by others.  And that's okay.  They hurt at the time.  Truth be told, they still hurt sometimes.  I'm human.  But I can take comfort that not only does God see and know the whole picture, He holds the whole world in His hand, and is more than capable to see to that which concerns me.

More importantly, God knows me.  He alone knows my heart, and the intents and motivations of it.  I want so much to be holy, to be like Him as much as possible, but the amazing thing is I am learning I don't have to be good enough.  I'm never going to be.  That takes so much pressure off.  Cause He knows that.  He loves me anyway.  He paints my life in strokes of grace, undoing my disguise.  And He says beauty lies in the true story...of where I've been.  What He's brought me through.  Of who I am, and it's all because of Him. 

No more pressure.  No more stress or striving.  Resting, even when the memories of what used to be try to come around and haunt me.  He sees the true story.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Ember.  A small, glowing piece of coal or wood, as in a dying fire.  A hot fragment of wood or coal that is left from a fire and is glowing or smoldering.

Have you ever felt so burnt out by a situation, or just by life in general?  Or maybe you are the person that has been burnt by another person.  Life has knocked you around and you just don't see it getting any better.  Perhaps you just want to give up because it hurts to much to care, and hope is not a promise but instead a painful reminder of all that hasn't happened, or all that has been taken from you, and all that remains are the smoldering ashes of a life that once was, or one that you have come to believe never will be.  What will you do?

Notice that an ember glows, even when it's dying.  There's something of a spark that burns brightly amidst the gray dullness of the ashes.  If you're still breathing, there's still hope. 

I Timothy 1: 5-7 says, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."

Inside an ember lies the choice of life or death.  You can step on it, and kill the fire forever.  Or you can fan it into a flame, and let your light shine.  That thing that maybe you thought would kill you may be the very thing that sparks your life into the brightest flame anyone has ever seen. 

It's amazing what God can do with a broken, burnt out shell of a life.  I know, because He's done it to mine.  And I am living proof that even if you are the one responsible for the wreckage, there's no person that does not have that little spark of hope, that is too far gone for God to breath life into the ashes and spark a flame that will never die. 

Don't you give up.  Allow God to fan into flame the gifts, the passion, the spark that He placed in your life.  You know, that thing that refuses to die even when the rest of your life is in ruin and all you want to do is quit.  Don't.  Allow God to breathe life into your ember, that small glowing piece in the midst of your dying fire.  Because your life matters, even if all that's left is an ember.