Friday, December 16, 2011

A visit to the bluegrass state

Some of my greatest childhood memories come from riding for hours in the van to visit family. We would load up the car in the middle of the night and travel from Knoxville to either Kentucky or Ohio to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other distant family members.

This past week my dad called me up and asked if Connor and I wanted to go with him to visit his brother in Kentucky this week. I was so excited to load up the car and head down the road to get things started with my old man. I was excited to show Connor a glimpse of my childhood - even though I know he doesn't understand, nor will he remember it.

We had a lot of fun catching up with family that we haven't seen in quite some time, eating some real country home cooking (love me some biscuits and gravy!), and learning more about our family tree and history from my dad.

 My absolute favorite thing was a memory I will forever cherish in my heart - singing with my dad. I don't mean jammin' out to whatever song is on the radio. No. I mean singing some real oldies that my dad and I sang when I was really little - a little bluegrass if you will. They are songs that I sing to Connor at times and I loved singing them with my dad again. We both had HUGE smiles on our faces as we sang verse after verse of these old tunes. It truly made my heart happy.

So, one confession is that I need to get better at taking more pictures. But, here are a few from our trip:

Saturday, December 10, 2011


If you were to ask anyone really close to me what my passion is in life they would all tell you the same thing...youth.

Yes, I have a passion for "kids" of all ages, but my heart aches for high school aged students.

 I long for them to thirst and hunger for God in a way that is life changing not only for them but also for those who come in contact with them on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis - family, friends, acquaintances, the store clerk - EVERYONE.

I have a real desire for teen girls to find their fulfillment, acceptance, and beauty in Christ. Not in skimpy clothes, sexual attention, drugs, alcohol, boys - but in God. To have their heart hidden in Christ that a boy must also be seeking the Lord in order to find it. To save her body and emotions for her future husband. To be secure with herself in Christ.

I desire for teen boys to seek the Lord first. To shield their eyes from all the sex that consumes the media, school hallways, clothing stores, magazines, etc. To protect their future wife emotionally, physically, and spiritually before he even knows who she is.

The youth of today are the future of our tomorrow.

I desire for these young men and women to search for and strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

When I saw the following youtube video circulating around Facebook I got really excited. Why? Because this is a man after God's heart - a man who sets an example for all young men - proof to all young ladies out there that men like this do exist (for all those who have given up because they've dated losers). 

Question: Will you be part of the movement? What are your thoughts on this? Let's discuss.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Last night at our small group meeting, we discussed forgiveness. I'm not talking about your average Sunday school answers and general statements on the subject matter. No, we discussed real life, personal stories about forgiving people who have wronged us in life. My immediate thoughts went to the five people who robbed us a little over a year ago. I could handle all the stuff they took from us; what I couldn't deal with was the emotional damage it caused. I was able to forgive them and even prayed for them; however, I allowed them to have power over me in a way I never thought one (or five) individual(s) could do to another person. The Lord has brought me through that time in my life (through lots of prayer, Scripture, and friends) and has answered a lot of questions during the past year that has helped me to better understand the situation. I think one reason it was easy for me to forgive the people who did this to me was because I was not face to face with them at any given point. Yes, we were home when it happened, but I truly feel the Lord was protecting me in this way.

What would you do if you were ever face to face with someone who wronged you in such a way that it had a lasting effect on you emotionally, physically, or spiritually? What would you do if you were in this guy's shoes who was mugged at knife point? Would you offer him your coat and a dinner you with at your favorite restaurant? That is exactly what this guy did...

What a perfect example of loving others the way Christ loves us. Forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. What will you do in the face of opposition?

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

Julio Diaz
Julio Diaz recorded his story in New York City just days after he was mugged in the subway.
text size A A A
March 28, 2008
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.
But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.
He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.
"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.
As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."
The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"
Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.
"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.
Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.
"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"
"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"
Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"
"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.
Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.
The teen couldn't answer Diaz — or he didn't want to.
When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."
The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."
Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen's knife — "and he gave it to me."
Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch."
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."
Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.

While reading this, I realized that this guy (Diaz) forgave, showed love, mercy, and grace in a way only Christ can. We are all called to love one another the way the Lord Jesus loves us. Wow! What a great example. Now the question remains, what will you do in the face of opposition? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Raising boys

My morning ritual consists of feeding and playing with Connor and keeping up with current events (of course this means the Today Show - what else?!) One of the segments was about raising boys. Being a new mom to an adorable little boy (who will quickly become a young man), this caught my attention. (I was more than happy to put down the non-working Christmas lights to listen and watch) It was all about boys growing up and needing to keep close guy friends and be comfortable talking about their feelings and emotions. It also goes into detail as to why boys don't feel comfortable sharing their feelings (fear of being looked at as feminine or gay). Here is the link to the story:

I so desire this for Connor. I think relationships are a vital part of your life. I have personally seen men in my life lose touch with best friends and the ramifications that brings - emotionally and socially. It only gets more challenging to find a best friend the older we get so I really want to instill this philosophy in Connor from a young age.

What are your thoughts?