Monday, September 18, 2006

Pictures from our weekend in BAMA!

Here is my sweet little Tatum playing with Prissy. She just kept cracking up laughing/hyperventilating
Sharry and Josh, we had so much fun at their shower. Well, when everyone finally finished listening to the Auburn game on the radio in the back...
This is Cory. He decided he needed to ride the eagle statue outside the Plantaion House resturant. After church Jeff decked the boys out in their camo before we went to lunch... my family doesn't always wear camo.
Me and my baby girl sittin' on mom's couch
Isn't he know he makes you wanna smile...
Although I am not smiling when I realize he can't take a serious picture. Really Justin, what is that anyway?
The three amigos. These are Brandy's boys. Ain't they the cutest!
Cory ridin' his Grannie's/my mom's back
My adorable puddin pop! You can't say that isn't the most adorable little girl.
I didn't get to see KC's kids this trip but I'll post some pictures of them next time. And although I got to see Kathleen (Tim's little girl) I don't have any pictures of her, dangit. This weekend was fun. I'll have to write a blog about it when I get a minute.

Monday, September 11, 2006

God and Man

So some of you may have seen this painting before, it is by Michaelangelo and it resides on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Well, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel actually is a huge amazing work of art and this picture is just a small small piece of it. This little piece by itself is called "Creation". If you were to zoom out a bit more you would see that the two hands in the picture belong to God and man. God is the one on the right and man the one on the left. I now have a HUGE version of this in my dining room and I LOVE it. It's an amazing piece of art but it has so much more meaning than that to me. Okay so to most, just thinking about an Almightly God taking the time to create and form man in his exact image, well that's an act of love in itself. But as Justin and I were measuring, hanging, and admiring the beauty of my new piece of art, I really looked at it. Look at the hands here, the one belonging to God is out stretched, in fact in the bigger version of the picture you actually see God leaning as far as he can, if he were to lean anymore it looks as though he might fall right out of heaven, but he's trying his hardest. And man, is sitting comfortably (actually leaning back against a rock). Yes, he does have his hand reaching too, I mean, he does acknowledge that God is there, but he seems as though his effort isn't as great. Kinda like he's waiting for God to reach down and touch him and if he would only reach an inch farther for himself, their hands would meet. That is a visual representation of the christian walk with God. Yes, we acknowledge that God is there, that he exists and we pat ourselves on the back because we have our hand lifted toward him in a half-hearted effort. "Well, that's more than most," we think to ourselves. Meanwhile the almighty creator of the universe is struggling with all his heart to get our attention, urning for us to put just a little bit more effort into it. But this means we would have to give up our position on our comfortable little rock, we might even be put in a position that is "God-forbid" uncomfortable... It's so easy to say to Adam in the picture, reach a little further, come on just do it. Yet so hard for me to look in the mirror at myself and say, get out of your comfort zone, do something daring for Christ, show him you want to reach him as bad as he wants to reach you. Today I had to deal with a loss that I wish on no one. One of my precious lovlies passed away. Kathryn Renella was in my 4th block math class and was killed in a car accident this weekend. She was the ham of the class, couldn't close that mouth of hers for anything. And I loved her. Funny how my love can grow for students I have only had for a little over a month now. But, it's kind of like I am their substitute mother for an hour and a half everyday. You just think of them as your own. I love them all. It's hard to show that to a child when your trying to keep up the "mean" teacher act. I hope they all know deep down how much I love them. And I regret not getting to ever really get to know Kathryn. But in the month I did know her, she made me laugh. Something we don't take enough time to do. She made me. We were all just joking on Friday how loud class was going to be again now that she had gotten her voice back (she had laryngitis for a week). She was only 15. I'll miss her, this is something I don't believe you ever truly get over nor understand but, it brings back to memory a blog a posted a while ago...."Why do bad things happen to good people?" So I think it is appropriate that I post that blog again...

"Why do Bad things happen to good people??"
So, by the title of this blog one would think that I must have recently gone through something bad. No, not at all. But for some reason everything I read about lately seems to be dealing with that issue. And not surprisingly, I opened up to prepare the Sunday school lesson and what was the title?? “If God loves us, why does he allow us to suffer?” So I figured I would just write and see what comes out. It doesn’t seem fair, if you think about it. If I really try to live my life right, do all the things God requires of me, I should be safe from harm, and suffering. But, if that were true then wouldn’t I just be living right and following God to keep myself from bad things?? Instead of actually living this way in order to please God and show him I love him. It is easy for me to be faithful when things are all good, when the sun is shining on face and life is right. But is that true faith? If I compare it to the most important human relationship I know, that with my husband, I can see that it is ludacris for me to live my faith like this. For example, what if my husband only loved me when I cooked well, cleaned spotlessly, and loved flawlessly. That wouldn’t be true love, in fact, it would be non-existent love, because I never do everything perfectly. No, but when he hugs me even when I bring home McDonalds for the umpteenth time, and he smiles at me even though my stuff is scattered all over HIS sink in the bathroom, and he gives me a sweet little “I love you” even when I am over-reacting to something small he has done, THAT is when I truly see his love for me. Unconditional love really is the only kind of love that exists, anything else doesn’t qualify to be called love. Much like the story of Job, it is so inspiring. Job is, to me, the truest example of an unconditional faith. Satan himself saw how dedicated Job was to his God and approached Jesus personally. He proclaimed that Job is only so faithful because he has so much, if God would only let Satan throw him some curve balls, Job would fall in his devotion. We would hope that Jesus would then say, “No you will not mess with him, he’s my baby!” But then Satan would win you see, because he would always have the power to proclaim that we only love God because he gives us good things………. But instead Jesus said, “No, I have faith that Job loves me, he is strong for me, throw whatever you want at him, and he will not falter!” I want him to have that much faith in me, and I want to stand under the challenge like Job. Yeah, it’s easy to love and praise and trust in our God when things are peachy, but again, this is love not tested, praise not battered, and trust not trialed. It is when we are in our valleys, when we have hit rock bottom, that our devotion is truly shown. When I am walking through the wilderness, do I trust him then, to “work all things to the good of those who love him”. When I can’t see the light at the end, do I still count on him to lead me through the tunnel?? That is the only way to show true trust. Is any of this making sense. If God gave us the promise that Christians would be saved from all suffering……..don’t you think that everyone would become Christians purely for this benefit…….yet then the focus is “what can I get”, it becomes a self-serving purpose for getting saved. My Christ would not feel loved by this. We would not be choosing him, but choosing “non-suffering”. But it is when my grandma dies and I can proclaim, “It is all part of your good and perfect plan, your glory is worth our sacrifice!” It is when I lose my job and I can say, “You know the plans you have for me lord, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future”. It’s when I can feel the bitter cold of loneliness to the depths of my bones and it seems that I am at the bottom of everyone’s list and I can smile and say, “The lord is my joy and my strength, I will base me life not on fading lights, but on an everlasting one.” It is then and only then that he feels my love and devotion to him. By not letting “suffering” differentiate the Christian life from the non-Christian life, Christ is ensuring that we are indeed choosing him only because he is our Lord, not for any benefit we can gain. Isn’t heaven a gift enough, isn’t joy for now a gift enough, yet I have the audacity to ask God why, why can’t I be rich, why can’t I be saved from the perils of life. How can I ask for more than Jesus asked for himself. He certainly wasn’t saved from any perils. Who am I? So, the point I guess is……bad things will happen to good people. But it is Romans 8:18 that sheds some perspective on this for me, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” This is heaven people! We could pile up the hardest most persevering times in our lives, throw cancer on there, throw death on there, through break-ups on there, throw rejection, abuse, disappointment, persecution, every bad thing on that pile and it is not even WORTH comparing to the glory he will reveal to us in that day. That makes my soul jump for joy, literally inside my body, it’s jumping! Haha! And before Paul was finished with this little speech he added verses 24 and 25, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have we wait for it patiently.” So our hardships here on earth will give us an even greater hope for heaven. If he were to give us a perfect life here, what would we have to hope for??? But instead we get to wait for it patiently and anticipate the day we will have no suffering, the day when only GOOD things happen to good people!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Picture to Prove it!

Hey hey, I finally was able to get my phone to send these pictures so, they will be a bit blurry and not of the utmost quality but hey, at least they're pictures!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sensory overload...

Wow, I feel like I haven't posted a REAL blog in FOREVER. And I guess I really haven't. In no way will I be able to recap all that has happened over the last few weeks but gosh darnit, I'll try!

So I became a school teacher, I believe that's where I left off.........
I'm loving the whole teaching thing. Well, I love it when I am actually able to teach someone something, you know, just by giving them that tiny bit of knowledge that day, I've made them a better person, just a little bit more prepared to face life. And when you finally put all those little bits together, you have some pretty smart kids. The only thing I don't like so much about teaching is having to be mean. I hate being mean. But I've learned the hard way that nice teachers get taken advantage of. I end up yelling a lot more when I let them get away with little I have to start nipping those little things in the bud from now on. Pray for my meaness to come through! =)

Ok other than that, early last month Audge finally returned from CIY for the summer. I was so excited to see her. I really do love that girl! We got to chill at the beach and hang out around my house. It was a much needed roomate reunion. During which we decided that for our birth month (October, our birthdays are much too important to merely celebrate one lousy day) we are going to spend an entire day at the Portofino spa.....and get the WORKS!!! Can you imagine how stinking fun that is gonna be. Justin (financial backer)is in support of this idea so, it looks like it's a go! SWEET!
Not long after Audge got in Jill also drove down for the weekend. Plus my sweet little Ashley! So Jill, Tori and I threw Ash a bridal shower which was so fun. It turned out great and we are seriously the BEST cake decorators of all time. That night we all gathered for a little cookout at Kristi and Ruco's to celebrate Jillian's golden birthday. And then unfortunately Jill and Ash had to leave town the very next morning =(

So then that next Friday was Pace's little kickoff classic game. It was a jamboree type game where all the teams got to play a quarter or two. It made me realize how much I miss and LOVE high school football. The lights, the smells, the cheerleaders, the annoying guy in the stands right behind you with an air-horn.......yeah, all that! Toby, Kurt, Dallas, Megan and Tucker accompanied us and cheered on our Patriots. The game itself wasn't the most interesting (we won) but mine and Megan's adventures around the field were quite a hoot. Note to self: go to the bathroom BEFORE you go to the Pace game........Meg and I decided we needed to go and as we walked through the 100 degree heat outside we soon realized that an enclosed, non air-conditioned bathroom full of 12 or so colorguard girls is 120 degrees! Regardless we took our place in our respective stalls only for me to hear Megan calling for me. I barely heard her over the screams and yells of the hyperactive girls but I quickly realized she need toilet paper. I felt her pain and so I tried my hardest to pull up my pants and get to her. Well, blue jeans don't really just slide on up that easily when you are sweating to the 10th power, so it took me a while, a long while to even leave my own stall. But I did eventually come to the rescue and we made it safely out of there with a covenant never to go in again.

Speaking of Megan, I stinking LOVE her! It's scary how alike we are. We just laugh hysterically all the friggin time. She's a cute little blonde primp with a yorkie (imagine that) name Louie who is now offically Prissy's boyfriend!
Okay so when I'm not arranging playdates with Prissy and Louie, I've started a bible study for high school girls at my house at 7 on Tuesday nights. Wow, it is going fabulously! The girls are loving it, I'm so happy, I knew this was a good video series we were doing, but goodness, these girls are calling me and emailing me off the hook in between lessons to get more information. Plus, more girls have come every Tuesday, it's growing so well. It really makes my heart smile to think that even one of them will make the right decisions in their dating life, and partake in the overflowing blessings God gives with it! (Stop and say a little prayer for this bible study if you don't mind, God is doing amazing things!)

Okay so then somewhere in the midst of all that little Jen Johnson got married (that's audrey's sis). It was a beautiful wedding and me, Tori and Danielle got to spend some time together. It kind of reminded me of freshman year at FSU when I first met those girls. Danielle is so much fun. I forgot that. She makes me laugh, I'll have to keep in touch with her better. So that same night Justin had all the youth guys over for their monthly bashing party, UFC that is. They stay up and fight until the wee hours of the morn and then crash in our living room until we wake them up the next morning and drag them to church, it's a well oiled machine.

Alright, then we had another Pace football game which was 10 times better than the little jamboree thing we had. It was a full-fledged blown out GAME. We won yet again, and I just love seeing my kiddies walking around fully painted in red white and blue, rootin' on the Patriots. I'm prepared for next game with my Pace Football tee that I personally dolled up with rhinestones! Oh yeah, and the pep rally was AWESOME, I miss those too.

And that brings us to this week, yay, I knew we'd get here soon enough. So Monday was labor day, Thank God. Jus and I we're bored so we just jumped in the car and basically drove around looking for fun places to stop, we hit the usual hot spots like Wal-mart and Home Depot, Waffle house, etc. Then we came back home and took a nap. I think the best time we spend together is napping, is that sad. I just love napping with that kid. But the nap didn't last long cause everybody started showing up at our door to watch the Florida State/Miami game (which we, of course, WON!) Kurt, toby, Dallas, Megan, Tucker, Laura and Jeff all packed themselves in to enjoy the festivities. Keep Laura, Jeff and little Lane (their baby to be) in your prayers, she has been experiencing pre-labor pains and contractions. Luckily, they are in the clear after this Saturday, and hopefully little Lane will be here so I can be his God mother, I have yet to inform Laura that I WILL be his god mother and shower him with gifts and affection!

Tonight Megan and I decided we wanted to join the Olive Baptist choir. So we tromped our little paths into the practice, announced our presence and then realized this thing was two hours long rather than one like we thought. We didn't know any of the songs and actually giggled more than we sang. I think we will try it again next week, but things aren't looking to bright for us + the choir. I think they should give us our duet singing "Does he love you" by Reba MacEntire and be done with it!

Love you all and miss those of you whom I don't get to see very often =(