Monday, January 25, 2010

I Wanna Quit the Gym!!

Many of you have heard my sob story of the evil gym, Bally's, that swindled me (okay really they just lied but I can't prove it) into a non-cancellable membership for a few years. Not only that, but they have since closed every gym in Dallas-proper with the closest location being in an area of Richardson that is no where near anywhere I go. They are the evil empire, I'm just saying.

Well, I knew my membership was ending sometime this spring, but couldn't remember exactly when nor do I know the steps to cancel. So I try to log on the website which proves to be entirely unhelpful. I sent an email note requesting the information as they charge you to call the help number (seriously? who does that? pure evil...). I may have to suck it up and call if I don't get information back quickly. Grr! I wish I had been smarter way back when I joined them; I was a gym-newbie.

All that to say, I have a deep affection for ole Chandler and Ross from friends in their attempt to quit the gym. Yes, they were enticed by looks and I officially can't quit, but I still find the episode wildly appropriate to my desire to quit the gym.

Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You Have to go to the Living Seas!

When I was little, whenever we were being obnoxious (which was never for me but often for my brother, haha) my mom would ask if we needed an attitude adjustment. This was not a good thing and probably included a stern talking-to and some other punishment (is it weird I don't remember what happened but vividly remember the phrase?).

One summer we went to Disney World with my grandmother, Mema, and my cousin, Mark. Somebody was acting out leading my mom to threaten the elusive attitude adjustment. Well, Mark had never experienced one but, having seen our reaction, knew it was bad. So, he thought of the worst punishment he could muster and decided it must include a trip to the Living Seas, our absolute least favorite "ride" at EPCOT. I can still hear him stating this with his thick Texas drawl.

Today, I really needed an attitude adjustment. I must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed or something, because I was all kinds of grouchy, annoyed, and tense. The smallest things would set me off in my mind, thinking ugly things. It was really quite ridiculous.

I started wondering where my attitude came from. I think some was just a slower, but frustrating, day after many many tough days, but also the cedar. I had a horrendous headache all day (this morning it was so bad I was nauseous) and realized the ugly ole cedar pollen was super high. Probably would have realized had I watched the news, but then again, I never watch the news. Anyway, I didn't feel fabulous, which definitely made me grouchy.

*sigh* thankful tomorrow is another day (I sound so Scarlet-esque!). It'll be a busy one spent mostly at Zales. Oh well. I guess everyone is allowed a grouchy day ever so often, as long as it's not the norm. I'll for sure take medicine tomorrow, though!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2010

Silly Kenzie...

I just saw this posting on my brother's blog and about died laughing. I know most of you have never met McKenzie, so probably can't imagine her voice saying these things, but I thought her determination and my brother's attempts to create a teachable moment were hilarious.

As a little background, McKenzie often makes comments about people/things being beautiful. While apparently innocent, she's gotten to where if you praise her for good behavior, etc, she'll correct you and say she's beautiful. A habit Adam and Heather are trying to nip in the bud knowing inner beauty is of much greater importance than outer.

Silly Kenzie, such a girlie girl.

Woah Nellie!

It’s only been two weeks since the holidays, but it feels like it has been months, or one at the very least. The reason? It has been rather difficult. Work has been nutty for one of my accounts that is in panic mode, my car decided it’d be a great time to breakdown, our heater broke while the temperatures were frigid, and I have been learning how much love hurts. Honestly, the latter of which has been the most difficult, and the one I do not feel is appropriate to discuss in this venue. Except to say that God has truly stretched and challenged me in many ways as I learn to love others until it hurts. Many tears have been shed, many prayers lifted, many hard conversations had, and many times of me opening my hands and allowing God to fill the void in my heart and in the knowledge that he loves in a greater way than me and has all of this in his hands. I know the road has only just begun, but I am confident that “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I apologize for being vague, but I do not believe the details of the story are as important as the truth that God loves us all, in a huge way. He is our helper. And when I worry and fear particularly as I fall asleep, I remember that “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4

In the midst of the craziness, I’ve had two wonderful weekends out of Dallas. The first was a retreat with my precious small group girls. We were crazy impressed that we had ALL but one of our little girls! And she was in LA for the national championship (we won’t talk about that sad game…). It was a wonderful weekend as they loved each other, relaxed, played, learned, and were authentic. I wish I had taken pictures, but alas, I was a horrid picture taker. Then last week we officially added a new girl, Lilly, to our group, specifically my little group. It’s a long story, but we are very prayerful about adding new members due to the uniqueness of our set-up and the sheer number of girls we have (we now have 16, I have 6). However, Lilly was an answer to prayer as one of my precious ones has battled loneliness at her school which no one else in group attends. Lilly moved here this summer and I am ecstatic to have her in our group, and even more to see how our girls have responded thus far in having her join us. And for those who know me well, you know this is a great feat that I did not have a panic attack at the thought of adding someone! Especially given the other drama we have going on; but it’s in God’s hands, I know.

The second weekend was with a slew of other fabulous women who serve on the student ministry team. I always love this annual retreat, but this year was especially precious as I am in such a good place. I have learned so much over the past several years, am struggling well, am hopeful, and believe God’s truth. This is HUGE, people! J While I did start to feel not so fabulous Saturday night after we unsuccessfully started a fire that I later realized had cedar in it (I’m very allergic to cedar and even though I was taking allergy meds, the burning put me over the edge), I didn’t let that hold me back. I could write volumes on my thankfulness for having the opportunity to serve on this team, not only just for my heart for shepherding young, impressionable girls, but also for the women who know me and have become my very best friends, the women I do not know as well but am impacted by their stories, and the family that exists across the entire team.

Phew! We’ll see how this next week unfolds! I was going to be out of town again this next weekend, but felt convicted that I needed some alone-time and rest at home. I also have a slew of things that deserve some extended time in prayer over, and I have been given the gift of a plan-less weekend to devote significant time to.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

To Be Your God

This past summer, I was reading through Exodus and Numbers digging in as deeply as I could. In doing so, I read Numbers 15:41: "I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt to be your God, I am the Lord your God." As I read and re-read these words, I was struck by the meaning. God had just rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt in the most miraculous way and yet they grumbled consistently, turned quickly to idols, and idealized Egyptian slavery life. They didn't want to do the hard work to travel to the promised land, they wanted to return to what they knew, even though it was horrible and a life of bondage.

I understand their sentiment. So often in facing hard times, especially during the years where I tried to break free from my chains of sin alone, I slipped back into it for fear of the unknown. Fear that God wouldn't show up or that I wouldn't be healed.

A little over a year ago, I experienced one of the scariest things in my life. I can still remember it vividly, questioning what was happening to me yet sobbing in fear that I wouldn't make it. But God thankfully gave me the courage to first share with one person and then more. With each person I told, the weight of it lessened and I saw that their words of encouragement and love were not empty words, they were Truth. I didn't have much faith, but others did and their faith gave me strength.

These times, these sins, these years were my Egypt. Last summer I feared falling back into the patterns and then God graciously revealed this verse to me. While simple, it's so profoundly states that God didn't bring me through Egypt for any purpose other than to be my God. And that is enough; I don't need anything else. He broke my chains to set me free to live a life with him, which is more satisfying and wonderful than anything I could imagine.

Tonight, I am living in freedom. Not perfect by any means, but wholly trusting that God is enough. Tonight, someone I love so dearly is in chains. As I listened to her sob, I couldn't help but remember being in the same place. I hate Satan, but know God will prevail. I am confident God will bring her out of Egypt and into his arms.

Oh Lord, do mighty things; bring freedom and healing. I know your heart breaks more than mine. I thank you for freeing us to be yours.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review of 2009

I'm stealing this from Jen because I thought it was fun. I'm sure she won't mind. :)

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Finished CR. Had surgery. Tried skiing… There’s gotta be something else, but I can’t think of what it is.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not completely, but I’m giving myself freedom there for I believe resolutions can be somewhat fluid and are open to change based on God’s direction. Though there were some that just exemplify my lack of discipline…boo.

I’m only making one this year and that is to read through the entire Bible. Last year my mom successfully read through the Bible using a chronological version. It reorganizes the chapters and books in order of when they occurred chronologically. Her time was greatly blessed and she learned so much, so I decided I wanted to commit to doing it this year, too.

3. What places did you visit?
Hmm…San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Lubbock, Colorado. I went to many other smaller places, but those are the “big” ones. Is it sad that I just said “big” associated with those places? Eh, oh well. To traveling in 2010!

4. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
I’m stealing part of Jen’s answer, a guy. And then secondly, more discipline (oh the curse of being an all-over-the-place person!)

5. What days from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory?
The days after my surgery feeling so very loved by family and friends when I felt like I’d just had a baby (I’m only guessing considering I’ve never had a baby). Our girls’ trip to San Antonio and the endless amount of teasing Stacy received from her love affair with Yao Ming; haha. Our little girls’ small group retreat. The day of Pride & Prejudice where Sarah relished Mr Darcy, the lover of her soul. And my weekend being Aunt Sarah with darling McKenzie doing girly, artsy things.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Truly, finishing CR. It’s such a long, arduous process yet wildly beneficial and one that has blessed me greatly. I can’t even express the amount of freedom I’ve experienced from digging in and allowing God to work. I had an opportunity to dig through my old books yesterday while working on some things for a small group girl and was astounded at all that I have learned and how the principles truly are integrated into my daily life in some way or another.

7. What was your biggest failure?
Well what a downer of a question! I suppose realistically it’d be exercising. I have a hatred for my gym (partially because it’s pure evil and will not let me quit though the closest location is 25 minutes away in an area of town I rarely go) and just stink at motivating myself. Again, I’m giving myself freedom here, well today I am, because I worked so hard on my heart and inside, which I feel is of much greater importance.

8. What was the best thing you bought?
My sewing machine! Though in all transparency, my grandmother bought it for me. But it sure is fabulous and has been put to great use!

9. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Boo.

10. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Being quiet and still. It’s a problem, I do not have idle hands, even when watching TV I have to do something. And when spending time with God, I have to have music playing.

11. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. I still do, but what a serious waste of time.

12. What was your favorite TV program?
Project Runway! And Katie got me into Brothers and Sisters

13. What was your favorite film of this year?
In the theater, I really liked 500 Days of Summer. On video, anything old school. High Society is probably one of my favorites, though I did not see it for the first time in 2009…

14. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Patrizio’s dinner with wonderful friends followed by dessert at our house. 28.

15. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
I’d like to say classic with some vintage thrown in, but I’m not sure if that’s really the case…this question may be better suited for others to answer about me

16. What kept you sane?

17. What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009?
That my life and circumstances don’t have to look like everyone else’s or like an essentially meaningless ideal that I have in my head.

18. What is a valuable spiritual lesson you learned in 2009?
That God’s timing may be completely different than mine, but is perfect. And that I have the fullness of the Holy Spirit in me; not a piece or a sliver, the whole shebang and boy does he want to work in and through me!

19. What are your goals for 2010?
Well, I already said my resolution, but I suppose I do have some goals, too:
1. Stick to my budget in order to save more and pay off the dumb ole surgery
2. Move more (I’m calling it move as opposed to exercise…maybe the change in vernacular will trick my lackadaisical brain…)
3. Knit or crochet a sweater. I know, random, but the patterns stress me out since I’m a self-taught yarn-worker!
4. Learn to quilt, just for fun
5. Complete 29 new things this year (this is an idea I stole from my friend Bridget; basically you do the number of new things for the age you turn in that year…so, I turn 29 and will attempt 29 new things!)

20. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Are you kidding me? Sheesh, I’m such a music person this is hard. But, I think I’m going to go fun instead of serious…maybe the subject of this song in my life will appear in 2010. *sigh*

See this post if you're interested in knowing the answer. :)

Have a Very Mario Christmas

Christmas was just fabulous! Lots of fun relaxing, food, and Super Mario. Super Mario? That seems like a strange thing to be included in a Christmas celebration!

Well lemme tell you, someone (I think my dad, but I forget) received the new Super Mario game for Wii and man alive is it fun and hilarious. We saw a commercial over the break for Wii that perfectly portrayed how this game goes. Topline, it is infused with elements from the old school Mario games, but you play "cooperatively." While I loved that element, the fact that you could knock each other off land, jump on heads, pick each other up, and eat one another with Yoshi led to much yelling and arm flailing. All in love, of course. Gotta love Mario!

Aside from that, we enjoyed hanging out and all the low-key elements of Christmas. Below are some pictures.

McKenzie made a nativity for my parents! It was so cute

McKenzie's Barbie tent created by moi...there was also a sleeping bag

McKenzie's loot from Santa

Potholders that I designed and made for my mom!

Corresponding dish towel; I made a retro-style apron, too, but never took a picture

McKenzie's new nightgown created by my mom (it's not hemmed yet). Funny thing, I had one similar to this as a kid that I called my Laura Ingalls nightgown. So, I kept telling McKenzie she was Laura, which she didn't understand; hence the facial expression :)

My brother "beautified" by McKenzie

All of us girls got funny socks!
Taylor Swift Barbie doll...she sang Love Story when you pushed her stomach

And one of my favorites...Hook 'em!