Friday, August 10, 2012

First Time for Everything

Earlier this week, I had my first opportunity to "guest post" on a friend's blog. If you get a second, check it out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


There's no debating that everything is up for debate in this day and age.

We quarrel over Presidential choices. We argue about paper versus plastic, and we just can't seem to decide whether technology has made our lives better or worse.

While my opinions are pretty pragmatic on the first two topics, I can see both sides of the last issue. On the one hand, I LOVE being able to check my bank balance while making dinner reservations and following the U.K. game, all on the interface of my iPhone. But on the other hand, I hate that my dad can't make it through dinner without responding to six thousand emails between the salad course and the entree.

Every now and then, though, something happens to tip my opinions in favor of one way or the other. Today was one of those days. I received a video text from a certain nine-year-old niece.

And I have never been so thankful for my cell phone.

We love you, too, Bess!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Run, Lori, run!

Judging by this photo,
can you guess which
of us had modeling
classes as a child?
The video below contains several of my favorite things: running, Disney World, and my cousin Lori. If she were filmed carrying a Kentucky pom pom in one hand and an ice cold Coca-Cola in the other, we might just have achieved Utopia.

For nearly a year now, Lori's been serving on the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel. It's an incredible, dream-come-true kind of gig you get by either promising Mickey he and Min can raise your first born child as their own or by participating in so many RunDisney events that that the folks in Orlando can't help but take notice. That's the way Lori landed it (well, that plus an incredibly competitive selection process!), and she's doing as great a job on the panel as she did in the video.

Mayme would be so proud, Leri!

But I'd STILL be her favorite.

Monday, June 25, 2012

my Happy Place

a man in his element
What's your Happy Place?

To be honest, mine kinda changes, depending on the season and my mood. When it's fall, I wanna be in a football stadium. Summertime? Pawleys Island, please, and there is rarely (by which I mean "never") a time when I don't strongly desire to be at Walt Disney World or wherever I'll find the Four I Adore, OR, better yet, at Walt Disney World with the Four I Adore. "Happy"? Try "euphoric."

I wish you could see this circa 1996
jet ski up close. On the side of its
purple body is written the word
"Jeremy." In turquoise. If I didn't
already love him, I'm pretty sure
that ultra-retro Dream Machine
would seal the deal
for my Tarheel.
Jeremy's way more consistent than I. Since he was small enough to dream of being "a race car driver or, perhaps, a sports announcer," his Happy Place has been a spot called Lake Chatuge in Hayesville, NC. His family's been spending summers there since Kawasaki was selling stand-up jet skis. Since we met, I've started tagging along on lake weekends and have come to really like this place, but Jeremy? He LOVES it.

That explains why we've already spent a couple of weekends out there this summer. One of those weekends, in fact, offered something for both of us - he got to be on the water. I, on the other hand, got to know that Confederate Railroad was opening for George Jones (assuming "No Show" showed) at a venue sitting on the banks of the lake. Sweetly, he suggested we ride the boat over to see if we could catch any of the concert while parked in the pontoon. Unfortunately, we couldn't. We could, however, ride around the massive lake for such a long time afterwards that the sky was pitch black before we headed back to the house.

fiery sky
Since it was late - and I'm pregnant - I was laying on the bench seat in front of Jeremy's Captain's Chair. As we cruised, I was in an out of a snooze, intermittently thinking about the feel of the spray on my skin and wondering whether I was seeing the Big or the Little Dipper.

What I wasn't thinking about was the fact that we were essentially in the middle of an ebony desert. Lake landmarks that lead the way by day were completely enveloped by the dark of nite. To me, a Lake Chatuge newbie, everything looked as non-descript as an early-pregnancy ultrasound; one cove was completely indistinguishable from the other.

In spite of this, though, I wasn't afraid. After all, this is Jeremy's lake! He knows it in right, out right, right up right, down right! Why in the world would I be worried that he'd get us lost?! Worrying, in fact, didn't even cross my mind ... until it crossed my mind that it hadn't crossed my mind.

"Man," I thought, suddenly stricken by the dark of the nite, "I can't believe I'm not scared. I must really trust this man!"

Then it hit me: shouldn't I just as blindly trust the Lord? After all, the whole UNIVERSE is His "lake." Exponentially better than Jeremy knows Chatuge, our loving God "knows the plans He has for me ..." (Jer. 29:11). After all, He planned my days before one of them came to pass (Ps. 139: 16). Still, instead of lounging mindlessly while He steers the ship of my life, I try to sit shotgun. I want to see the map of where we're heading before we even leave the dock. Surely, I'll have some input as to the route we'll take. Certainly, my way is better. Right?


"HIS way is perfect ..." (Ps. 18:30).

Realizing that and trusting it as blindly as I trusted my husband on our pitch-colored cruise?

Now THAT is a happy place.
our midnite ride

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To My Husband, on Attending our Second Funeral Together

Jeremy and I went to a funeral yesterday.

"This is the second funeral we've been to together," he told me as we headed, hand in hand, across the church parking lot. Jeremy's good about remembering things like that.  He can tell you where we went on our first five dates, which episodes of Andy Griffith have Gomer and which have Goober, and, of course, what number of funerals we've attended since meeting 16 months ago. In case you were wondering.

This particular funeral was a very worshipful occasion. While we were there, though, I couldn't help but think about a few other things I'd like for Jeremy to remember. These things would probably have never come to mind, were it not for the baby we're expecting, but in light of our upcoming son, I asked myself, "If this were my funeral, what are those things I'd want to be sure Jeremy never forgot?"

Morbid? Maybe. Will my mother maim me for even entertaining such thoughts? Highly likely, but in the uncertainty of this day and age, where babies are born with unsurmountable maladies and women my age are stricken with diseases once reserved for the elderly, it's really important to me to be explicit about my child's rearing.

I wrote my thoughts in a letter to Jeremy, and he gave me permission to share it with you today:

Dear Jeremy,

First things first: I want you to know that you are the most wonderful man I have ever known. You were a spectacular husband, way, way, waaaayyyy better than I deserved, and so worth the wait, and if God leads you to remarry now that I'm gone, I want you to feel NO GUILT for it. I want you to be happy, but more than that, I want you to pursue God's plan - and more than THAT, I want you to see that Biscuit pursues God's plan. As it is written in III John 1:4,

"I have NO GREATER JOY than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

To that end, I ask these things:

  1. Please ONLY marry a woman who seeks first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and who will DILIGENTLY teach our son to do the same (Deuteronomy 6:7). 
  2. Teach him diligently about the faith of his fathers. "... talk of [it] when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Don't you ever - and I mean EVER - abdicate your direction of his little life to a church or a school. In that vein, be vigilant about the doctrine of your church. Remember that there are those who claim Christ who will only lead you astray (Matthew 24:4-5). 
  3. Lead him, as the Good Shepherd leads you, in paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3). Develop in him a hunger for the things of God by exposing him to them, as opposed to the trappings of this world. Don't let Christianity be the afterthought of his life. Make it the centerpiece. The Bible says we are sanctified by the Truth; "[God's] Word is Truth" (John 17:17), so saturate his life with God's Word that he may be sanctified. Do NOT let pop culture dictate his tastes in entertainment. Guard his ears and eyes; protect his innocence from a sinful society that longs to rob him of it. Remember to "be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8). Don't give your enemy an entry point into your home.
  4. Discipline him. Remember, even when he tries to tell you otherwise, that discipline is a good thing. First of all, it demonstrates your love for him. "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24). Secondly, Proverbs 22:15 says that "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him." Clearly, discipline will teach our boy to grow into a wise man. Finally and most importantly, discipline, it is promised in Proverbs 23:13-14, will save his soul, so follow the example of the Lord, Who "disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:6), and discipline Biscuit firmly, consistently, and compassionately.
  5. Be liberal in sharing him with my family. Don't withhold him from them. Make sure he knows both branches of his family tree. In that spirit, don't forget there's Kentucky in his blood, and if, through the genius of genetics, he somehow ended up with my need to spend summer nites sitting on the Ohio River bank, catching lightning bugs and listening to mosquitoes fry on his granddad's bug whacker, while laughing with his cousins, 'til he nearly chokes on his oblong bowl of chips and cheese, let him.
  6. Along those lines, make sure he knows about my Mayme. Make sure he knows that I wanted to make his life as magical as she made mine. 
  7. Finally, Sweetheart, don't force feed him all-Tarheels, all the time. Also encourage his inner Wildcat, until that magical age when he realizes that eight national championships is greater than five and can make is own informed choice as to which basketball legacy he prefers to be a part of.
Thank you for the gift of our wonderful son. Now, train him up in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6), knowing that, "with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). 

I love you!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Someone Else's Ultrasound

Blame it on the hormones or the fact that I didn't sleep well last nite or fact that cutting back to one Coke a day has REALLY impacted my disposition (just ask Jeremy), but this video, sent to me by my friend Leslie, had me bawling. It also had me wondering "how do people say that there is no God?!" I am honestly dumbstruck that really intelligent people with really wonderful hearts can look at the human body - the most complicated "machine" known to man - and truly believe that it was formed by chance.

In his tongue-in-cheek "Big Mistake," David Wilcox expresses this shock way better than I ever could:

They taught us kids in school, between the recess breaks,
that the universe just sorta fell together like a Big Mistake.
It started with a bang that set the pieces flying.
Then it cooled and twirled into dinosaurs and dandelions.

It was a big mistake to have eyes that see,
to have love like this inside of me,
to have lips that smile, as I swim your kiss,
to have minds that will forever every part of this.
Ah, the moonlight shrouded in the clouds above,
and the autumn leaves and the falling love,
the still reflection in the moonlight lake,
All, they said, it was a Big Mistake! It was a BIG Mistake!

"Mistake"? Hardly. A "mistake" is expecting me to be able to cook, just because I have all of the utensils. Or hoping the laundry will fold itself if I just leave it in the dryer long enough (it doesn't; trust me - I've tried). The creation and formation of new life is no mistake, and it can only be wrought through the work of the only wise God, to Whom belongs all "glory, majesty, dominion, and authority." The only "mistake" is believing otherwise.

Don't believe me?  See for yourself.

"I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ..."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bye, Bye, Babies: Ten Days Without the Four I Adore

As the family addage goes, here the kids are "prayed up,
packed up, ready to go ..." on their second visit to Poland.
I don't know who my sister thinks she is.

Yesterday, she and my brother-in-law left for a mission trip to Poland, which, in and of itself, isn't even slightly offensive. But here's the catch.  She took every single one of the Four I Adore with her.


After dropping them off at the airport, I discussed the subject with my friend Leslie.  "Shouldn't she at least leave one ... as collateral?!" I asked. "Plus, it just makes fiscal sense. One less child times three meals a day times ten days in Poland equals buying a whole lot more of that Turon gingerbread they've been bragging about since their last trip!"

Camera-shy Camden didn't get
out of the frame fast enough
on this one!  Caught ya', Doodlebug!
I had Payton and Lila convinced. Turns out, if you promise an aspiring filmmaker you'll take him to Hollywood, he'll follow you to the moon and back again (Lila just made me promise we'd watch her new "Little Miss Sunshine" DVD.  Can do, Kiddo!). Sissy, on the other hand, was harder to persuade, so that leaves me ten days without a single squeeze from the four most precious people in the world.

Thank God for SKYPE!

And thank God for their safe travels.

And thank God for videos like this to tide me over, until my boys and girls get back home where they belong.

If you think of the Nunnerys over the next several days, please do pray for their safety, health, and for their undelayed return to the U S of A, where Aunta will be waiting, as always, with "candy in one hand and a camera in the other!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"It's a ..." BOOOOYYYYY! That's not what I expected!

15 weeks along on the happy day
when Biscuit first really showed himself -
I say it's a "happy day" for several reasons
but mostly because now people will know
I'm not just wearing muumuus and stretch
pants, because I've skipped the gym
on too many consecutive mornings!
This post is probably not politically correct.

In fact, before he left for work this morning, I asked Jeremy, "I'm thinking about blogging what I journaled yesterday; what do you think?"

As usual, he gave me a very supportive green light, and in that spirit, here I go.

Yesterday, as you may or may not know, Jeremy and I were able to get a glance at the Biscuit's gender. We aren't completely positive, but both my sister-in-law-the-midwife AND an ultrasound technician think he's a boy. Too soon to say for sure? At fifteen weeks, that may be the case, but both Jeremy and I agree that these sweet ladies wouldn't have even ventured a guess if they weren't pretty certain.

This is where the "politically incorrect" part begins.

To be honest, and to my great surprise, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me when I heard the words "It's a Boy!" I tried to act unaffected. I returned Jeremy's celebratory kiss, as if I were as pumped as Mr. Pressley, but the truth was, it stung. Apparently, I was more set than I thought I was on the idea of a daughter - who, I was certain, would love Dorothy Fields as much as her mama does.

This very menacing profile (?) was
the best picture we could get at
yesterday's ultrasound. I'll tell you
this: he looks nothing like the name
we've picked out for him. Judging
by this pic, he should be called Hulk
or Slayer or Hulk the Slayer.
Anybody know where I can get some
spike-encrusted diaper covers?
I KNEW I'd very quickly get used to the idea of a son instead. In fact, not quite two hours later, I already had, but delaying (or giving up) my Mayme's namesake, smocked dresses, and an already-planned, perfectly-themed nursery decor was way harder than I thought it'd be.

The very friendly medical staff, of course, showered us with congratulations. I feigned elation, hoping the palpable dip in my spirits was wholly unnoticeable to anyone other than myself. Jeremy, ever perceptive, did notice. As we walked away from the check-out desk (and several times after), he said, "I'm sorry you're disappointed."

I admitted the truth to the man who knows me best, adding, as we drove home, how silly I was being. Though, judging by the picture to the right, he's got a horrifying resemblance to Skeletor from "He-Man," our sweet baby has two arms, two legs, both hemispheres of his brain, a strong heart, and his daddy's long, bony fingers. Plus, my blood pressure is perfect, and my weight gain is well within the parameters I'd hoped to stay in for the early part of my pregnancy. Biscuit's got two (ginormous) eye sockets, a backbone - all he needs to grow big and strong. How silly - no, STUPID - of me to make an idol of a baby girl's name that my heart's been set on, since I was twelve years old.

"It's just that I wanted my baby ..." I started telling myself. It's like God stopped me before I could even complete the thought, though.

"No, Kristin," He whispered. "He's not your baby; He's MY baby."

Instantly, my attitude shifted when confronted by God's truth. Our mighty Creator is crafting this beloved boy to serve His purposes, not to give me a baby doll to dress up or a progeny to propagate my passion for the American musical. Baby Biscuit is being knit together to advance the Kingdom of the One Who has already planned his days.

What an incredible gift - and a humbling challenge - to be the one entrusted with his care!

It's no coincidence, I see now, that recently I've been reading about the mighty men of God in my devotions. Abraham. Joseph. Moses. Joshua. Caleb. Gideon. As I've read the accounts of each of these lives, I've been struck by the amazing things God accomplished through their willingness (or not) to be used, through their strength to go against the grain of mainstream thought. I suddenly began to think of my son in terms of these men and felt so excited that God might raise up the little man-a-tee in me to be a leader who strongly and courageously stands, a Man of Valor in a land of cowards.

As we continued our drive back to Canton, I also thought of Hannah. She surrendered the son for whom she had prayed, to the service of the One Who granted her request. In the same way, Jeremy and I want to give our son to God, to fulfill the role He's made for him rather than to be the extension of some self-serving agenda we've set for ourselves.

Sweet, sweet, sorta-scary-looking Jones, I love you so much. 
I am so thankful and humbled that God would choose me and your daddy

"Father, God, thank You for my baby boy. Lord, continue to give him good health, and prepare Jeremy and me even now to show him how to be a super strong man of God. Lord in Heaven, we give him already right back to You with the humble request that You would equip us to train him, to teach him diligently to be the man that You made him to be. Be gracious to him that he may walk in Your ways all the days of his life. Hem him in when he would be tempted to go astray. Thank You, God, for entrusting us with Your son. Empower us now to be faithful to the call You've given us.
We love you. In Jesus's name, Amen."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jeremy has an announcement to make ...

In other words ...
Jeremy & his parents
Jeremy & his nephews

three of the Four I Adore, including Lila, who asked
if I had my baby yet.  Not quite, Huntybun. Not quite.
Naturally, I have lots of thoughts about today's revelation, not the least of which is pride. When I told Camden his baby cousin would be named Jones, he immediately responded, "After (UK basketball player) Terrence?"

Not exactly, Kiddo, but I like where your head is.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to post where MY head is. In the meantime, suffice it to say somebody better call Coach Cal.
There's a new little recruit in North Carolina!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Sing Alleluia!"

One of the hardest parts of moving away from Greenville last fall was leaving my church.

This morning, though, I got to get a little taste of the place I love so much. Visiting Mom for Mother's Day serendipitously corresponded with the Four I Adore singing in an ensemble of several young Hampton Park-ers.

I may be biased, but I think they're absolutely, without a doubt, undeniably the most perfect people on the planet.

I defy you to watch this and disagree with me.

"Sing alleluia! Sing to the Lord of love!
Sing and be joyful. Rejoice in God above.
Alleluia, praise! Alleluia, praise His name,
Who came to Earth by human birth
to be my Guide and Friend.

I will tell the world the wonder that I know.
God's love watches over me wherever I may go.
Oh, praise! Alleluia! Praise, rejoice, and sing, 
for God gives us everything. 

 Sing alleluia! Sing to the Lord of love!
Sing and be joyful. Rejoice in God above.
Alleluia, praise! Alleluia, praise His name,
Who came to Earth by human birth
to be my Guide,
walking by my side,
to be my Guide and Friend."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Soapbox and Then Some

I really do want to blog more.

Much as I love my Cats, there are about 6,000 things I'd
rather my child wear to her first UK game then a blue and
white tutu - a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist jersey comes to mind
or, maybe, a hand-knitted Anthony Davis unibrow cap.
What I don't want is to blog too much.  Apparently, with children comes the temptation to put up a post every time your child, say, wears a new hairbow or FINALLY makes it home from Chick-Fil-A without having a total meltdown, or, maybe, when you just wants to show off the (tacky-looking) collegiate-colored tutu you scored on Zulilly last week.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm diplomatically resisting the urge to include links to posts like these (bless my heart), but suffice it to say that none of these blogs belong to any friends of mine.  That to say, if you start to wonder if I'm talking about you, I'm NOT.  No one that I know personally does this.  I'm talking about the type of blog written, for the most part, by well-intentioned women who inexplicably have time to write multiple entries each day about the crippling minutae of life with toddlers who would, I'm betting, be exponentially better behaved if Mama would break free from Blogger to do a little disciplining.  But, then again, if Baby were behaved, what would Mama blog about - besides, of course, hairbows and tutus.

Now THAT'S something to
blog about!
To these women - who shall remain nameless but whose inane posts have gotten the better of me on more than one occasion - I say what Neal Page said to Del Griffith:

"Here's a good idea: HAVE A POINT. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!"

Now that I'm off my soapbox, I can get to the point of today's post. Trust me, it isn't to brag about Biscuit's hairbows. Today, I want to boast on the God Who, even now, is knitting her (or, for my husband's sake, him) together in my womb.

Perhaps the most amazing part of pregnancy so far has been experiencing Psalm 139 in a whole new way. Parts of the passage have always been some of my favorites in the Bible - God wrote my days and knows my thoughts and hems me in? "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me ...!"

Other parts of it didn't really make sense, though, until I read them in light of this video. In case you can't tell - and trust me, I couldn't, either, had my sister-in-law-the-midwife not explained it - it's Biscuit, at 10 weeks in utero, practicing what I hope are the steps to the South Carolina Shag. To me, s/he looks like a toad / chipmunk / manatee who's about to walk on the moon.

See for yourself.

As I watched this clip for the 3,000th time, though, I thought about another part of Psalm 139:

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance."

"That's what that is!" I shouted in the midst of my "Eureka!" moment. What looks like an essentially shapeless blob of baby is what the psalmist called "unformed substance." However "unformed" it may look, though, the great Creator is molding and shaping and crafting my child into precisely the person He means His Biscuit to be. "My frame was not hidden from You when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth," David writes.  

What incredible knowledge to know that the God Who works in me is, already, at work in my child and that the child who is hidden from the rest of the world is completely seen and fully known by the God Who is making him (or, for my sake, her).


Now, I know it's not a picture of her first hairbow, but still. Raise your hand, if you'd like to hear Biscuit's heartbeat.

Me, too. 

Here it is - our baby's mighty ticker at 8 weeks old.

"I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well." 

Oh, and while we're talking baby headgear - there's a chance we'll know next Wednesday whether we'll be buying hairbows of ballcaps. Cross your fingers that Biscuit lets us get a clean look!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Much to Celebrate

Today, I turn 35.



... as in, the age my mother was when I was 9.

... as in, the age when NBA players - the lucky ones whose careers aren't cut short - RETIRE.

... as in, halfway to 70 and a whole lot closer to 40 than I ever imagined I'd be.

The funny thing is, though, I don't feel a day over 16. In fact, I fully expect half my high school to show up later tonite for a Sam's Club sheet cake and a rousing round of Bigger or Better.

Flag football, it turns out, is made all the
more exhilerating when the "field" is
full of groundhog-style holes. Just ask
my brother-in-law!
If they're coming though, they really should've been here Saturday nite.  That's when the party was. Jeremy invited his family, my family, and my friend Leslie over for a bash that included three flavors of homemade ice cream, a pick-up flag football game, and, in honor of Derby Day, some non-alcoholic Mint Juleps that tasted WAY better than the real thing.

Does this picture make
anyone else think:
"Cinderelly, Cinderelly,
Night and day,
it's Cinderelly..."?
The evening also included floors, freshly mopped by my industrious niece, Lizzie Gray. She spent the nite Friday and was, apparently, ashamed at the state of my mop-able surfaces, which is not surprising, because so was I. I knew she was bothered, though, when, halfway through her first Pop-Tart on Saturday, she was begging me to turn off Zeke & Luther and let her mop those floors.

Her wish is my command.

Huntybun knows what
her Aunta likes!
I'll stop right here and say this for my sister: I don't know what she's feeding those children of hers, but I sure wish she'd bottle it up.

Anyway, while Lizzie Gray whitewashed every piece of tile and slab of linoleum in the house, Jeremy was tending to the grill. He made the barbecue; our mothers cooked the sides; sisters came through with other odds and ends, and Lila, as you can see, brought the centerpiece. All I had to do was show up and celebrate, and that's exactly what I did.

I celebrated a husband thoughtful enough to not only plan the event but to also spend hours prepping food and pulling weeds before the big day came. I celebrated a family wonderful enough to spend a nite hanging out at my house, and I celebrated a knowledge that, at "Thirty.FIVE," I can finally say that there's not a thing about my life that I would change. 

"I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me."


"Change" is actually a great way to describe going ons at the Pressleys' place - birthdays, too, now that I think of it. Come sometime around November 5th, Jeremy and I will be experiencing the birth day of our first baby, and man, will things change then!

As you can see by this picture,
Jeremy and I are just a few months away
from becoming the proud parents of
what appears to be a manatee.
Since finding out about the baby several weeks ago, we've been referring to him / her as "Biscuit," my thinking being that, if I'm gonna have anything "in the oven," I'd WAY rather it be a Biscuit than a "Bun." That to say, don't be confused if you start reading here about a "Biscuit."

Whether it's a boy or a girl, names have been picked; nursery decors have been decided, and, most importantly, a first Disney trip has been added to the family travel plan.

Between now and then, I'm just gonna show up and celebrate.

"... my cup overflows." - Psalm 23:5c

Friday Nite Drive

This past Friday nite, my family and I went to see the Greenville Drive take on the Lexington Legends.

Now, you might think we saw Greenville play Lexington out of some sort of allegiance to Bluegrass ball clubs. While we surely have that - reference most every other entry ever posted on this blog - I assure you that it had nothing to do with our scheduling. That the Legends were playing was a happy coincidence of the random Wednesday afternoon when Daddy took a notion to take the family to the ball yard.

To be honest, I don't remember much about the game. Both horribly bored by baseball, Lila and I sat in the stands and painted toenails for the first four innings, while Lizzie Gray occupied herself by stalking the cotton candy man, until he-FINALLY!-brought her a big, blue, sugary balloon. I do, however, have the pictures to prove that it was a beautiful nite.

I guess the pictures also prove that Lila's got some kinda style ... and that Camden, bless his heart, has entered the "flat-billed" phase of early adolescence. Our only hope it that it ends before progressing into the "baggy-britches" rite of pre-teen passage.

Cross your fingers, Y'all.

Monday, April 16, 2012

True to the Blue

As Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio wrote, "I'll be watching this when I'm 60."

If 8 minutes is too many spend watching a team you're not as excited about as I am, try this equally-exciting, shorter-attention span theatre, great for watching while working out or, so I've been told, to remind your husband which team won a certain game played at Rupp Arena on December 3, 2011 (HINT: It's NOT the Tarheels).

2011-2012 Kentucky Basketball: It's a Good feeling by ukcat8fan

Goggles up, and GO, C8TS!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Christians, start your engines!

You probably already know this. But in the off chance that you're NOT like Jeremy, who's been counting down the days since the end of December, I'll fill you in on what I wouldn't know if it weren't for my NASCAR-lovin' husband:
This coming Sunday is the 54th running of the Daytona 500. It's also the first official race of the 2012 Sprint Cup racing season.

So, as all of North Carolina starts to feel the heat of rubber hitting the road at 200 miles per hour, it seems like a perfect time to hear a couple of drivers--both of whom have won the 500, by the way--talk about their own journeys in the Word of God.

Want to see more celebrities brag about the bigness of God? Visit the I Am Second website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

He Cares for ME?!

Do you ever hear something that you just can't stop thinking about? Maybe it's the first time you heard a certain song or the first time you saw a certain face, and, for whatever reason, you just can't get it out of your head

I had one of those experiences today.  I heard a pastor say something that I cannot quit thinking about. Here's what it was:
"While you may not hear God call out your name audibly, He knows it; He knows it well, and He knows you. He knows every turn of your heart, every struggle of your soul, every doubt, every fear, every sin, and He loves you still, and He leads you still, and He calls on you to trust Him no matter what."
God knows MY name? The One Who created the universe? The God so big He breathes stars (Ps. 33:6) cares about ME?! As impossible as it is to believe--even David, the man after God's Own heart, was blown away by this, wondering, "What is man that You are mindful of him?"--it's true. The Bible tells us in Psalm 139 that God has searched and known each of us.
"You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with ALL MY WAYS. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether." - Ps. 129:2-4
Further, we know that He cares for us, because I Peter 5:7 tells us so. Once again, I agree with David, who wrote, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it!" (Ps. 139:6). But the fact that it's so hard to believe doesn't make it any less true.

How does this reality change your life? What does it mean to you to know that the God, for Whom nothing is too hard (Jer. 32:17), not only KNOWS you, but He cares about you?

I, for one, just can't stop thinking about it.

a MONUMENTAL Heartthrob

Like most women between the ages of 32 and 37, I had an adolescent crush on one Mr. Kirk Cameron. Like most of these same women, I decorated my 5th grade Trapper Keeper with pics of Kirk I'd clipped from that week's Tiger Beat and spent each Growing Pains Tuesday nite camped out in front of the television set that sat on the floor in my parents' room.

Having seen a trailer for his latest work, I imagine that I'll soon be spending ANOTHER Tuesday nite "camped out" to see Kirk again - this time on a BIG screen, instead of a small one and with a sincere interest in his content instead of his cuteness.

If you agree with Kirk - and me! - that "our families are worth fighting for," plan to see Monumental in its ONE NITE ONLY showing on March 27th!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thank God for all I missed ....

I often tell Jeremy that music is my love language. I'm not sure Gary Chapman has actually identified that as one of his big five yet, but if you want to tell me you love me, don't waste your breath on "Words of Affirmation." Just turn on the radio.

As fate would have it, however, I just so happen to love a man who both works out without headphones and, though he's had his iPhone over a year now, doesn't have a single song on it.

How did this happen?! Seeking to put a song in his heart, I put an 8 hour playlist on his iPhone for Valentine's Day. The list included this little ditty by Darius Rucker, which perfectly sums up how I feel about the man who makes every day picture perfect.

Nite Light

This post will be short, sweet, and totally plagiarized ... well, almost totally plagiarized.

For the past several weeks, I've been reading in Exodus. Though this has nothing to do with the post itself, let me just say that Exodus is perfect for the adventure-loving Bible reader. There's even some sci-fi-like stuff tossed in there (the plagues and all. Tell me THAT'S not stranger than fiction?!), but after all that action in the beginning, the book sorta tapers off into "Here's how to build the Temple," like a Harlan Coben thriller that suddenly turns instruction manual. No disrespect intended, but to be honest, six verses in to the "priestly garments" part, and I'm longing for Leviticus!

Regardless of the literary structure of the second book of the Law, the fact that it's so fresh in my memory is probably what made this excerpt from Linda Dillow's Calm My Anxious Heart jump out at me, as I read it last nite:
God doesn't keep us immune from trouble. He says, 'I will be with you in trouble.' In the book of Exodus, we find the children of Israel camped by the edge of the Red Sea. It was nite, pitch black except for the pillar of fire God had placed between His people and the Egyptians. Can you imagine their fear? The screaming threats of the enemy filtered through the darkness. What would they do when dawn broke? Each mother hugged her child to her breast in fear that this would be their last nite.

Who could have imagined the miracle that awaited them? Hidden in the text is the tiny phrase, 'All that nite, the Lord drove the sea back' (Exodus 14:21). While the Israelites were quaking in their boots, the miracle occurred 'all that nite.' Because it was nite, they couldn't see what the 'wind of God' was accomplishing on their behalves. God parted the Red Sea, and they walked on dry ground to freedom
None of us are strangers to the proverbial nite, nor are any of us immune to fear, so we can all use Dillow's reminder that God is always at work, when we can see Him and when we can't. Whether you're sick or you're scared or your short on this month's mortgage, you can know that the God Who neither slumbers nor sleeps is wide awake, working all things to the good of those who love Him.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Family Annual 2011

Because, deep down inside of me, there STILL lives a high school yearbook editor, I give you ...

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Shutterfly photo books are the new way to preserve your memories. Create your own today.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Put Your Hands Up!

A girl can learn a lot from Moses.

Yes, that Moses, the guy who wrote as God dictated His Ten Commandments and penned the first five books of the Bible, the Moses who pleaded with Pharaoh to "Let [his] people go," the Moses who killed an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew.

Yeah, so I never said that everything a girl can learn from Moses is necessarily a "do as I do" sort of situation. Today, though, Moses - well, his example, more like - taught me a couple of things that are as relevant in my Christian walk today as they were in his walk through the Desert of Sin 5,000 years ago, and no. I'm not being allegorical about that. "Sin" is the actual name of the desert.

Join me, if you will, in Exodus 17. Having made it through the aforementioned desert, the Israelites are now in a place called Rephidim. They've had their fill of manna and are insisting on water to drink, doing a trick they could've learned from me, basically saying, "God, in spite of all the miracles You've worked on my behalf - the plagues You've sent, the seas You've split - You must not REALLY exist if You don't give me what I want RIGHT NOW." God does, of course, provide, but the Israelites soon learn that thirst is the least of their problems.

They're attacked by the Amalekites. The Amalekites were the descendants of Esau; the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob. Anybody sensing the tension? It doesn't take a PhD in Bible History to know that the former group had a birthright-sized bone to pick with the latter. In spite of themselves, God was on the side of His Israel, and the passage tells us that,

"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning." - Exodus 17:11

Following this prescribed pattern was so important that, whenever Moses's arms got tired, his brother and another guy would sit on either side of him and hold up his hands (v. 12). By this, we can know that the victory was NOT due to the Israelites' battle prowess. But there's also a couple other things we can know from this passage, as well.

The first is that God DOES have a prescribed way of doing things. Now, I'm NOT suggesting that we should throw up our arms whenever we're fighting one of life's many battles. Out of work? Reach towards the sky, and BAM: instant employment. Infertility? Hands to Heaven. Congratulations! It's a BABY. In fact, I'm a sports fan, and if you do that gesture in my direction, I'm either going to assume you're saying, "touchdown!" or that Kentucky's scored another three point basket.

What I AM saying, however, is that God blesses when we do things His way. Why did He only give enough manna for that day? "In this way," He said, "I will test them and see whether they will FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS" (Exodus 16:4). I'm not promoting legalism here, but it's undeniable from these texts and others that God wants His people to do things His way.

The second principle that jumps out at me from this passage is a symbolic one. After reading the same account in May of 2003, I described it this way in my journal: "It's only when our arms are useless - stuck straight up in the air, for instance - that God can really work without us trying to interfere and, inevitably, mess things up."

There are a lot of other times in early Exodus when God tells Moses (or his brother Aaron) to do this same gesture. "Stretch out your hands over the dust, and it will become gnats" (Exodus 8:16). "Stretch out your hands over the waters of Egypt, and they will become blood" (Exodus 7:19). "Stretch our your hands over the sea, and it will divide" (Exodus 14:21).

Time and again, God tell His children to lift up their hands, in a sense, relinquishing their control of the situation, so that He could get to work in it. It reminds me of something Louie Giglio says in his "How Great is Our God" talk. He's mentioning how understanding the vastness of the universe helped him to grasp the vastness of God. That changed Louie's life. In the way only he can, Louie said,

"[Until then], most of my praying had been advising God, correcting God, suggesting things to God, drawing diagrams for God, reviewing things with God, counseling God."

But in understanding Who God is, Louie was finally able to toss his arms in the air and say, "You know what? You're gonna be better at this than I am, God. You take control from here." And if you know anything at all about Louie's ministry, then you know God's done exactly that!

This is a lesson I learn and relearn a thousand times a day. We are to "Cast our cares upon Him" - another image, by the way, that involves us throwing our arms up just like Moses had to do! - and while I'm pretty good about doing that, I'm even better at picking my cares back up. When my arms are full of my struggles, though, how can they be free to lift them up to the only One Who can fix things, the God Who is big enough, as Louie (and the psalmist) puts it, "to breathe stars"?

So, see? Exodus isn't all about the Golden Calf, and Moses is more than just the baby who was hidden in some bulrushes. He's a guy that a girl can learn a lot from, if only she'll put her hands up and listen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wedding Album

I know ours isn't exactly the traditional wedding album. My mother's - and even my sister's - come to mind. They're both of the typical ilk - composed of mostly 8X10 images that are beautifully bound in a leather casing that's been embossed with a couple of names, a date, and, in some cases, a pair of bells. But let's be real. If Jeremy and I were after "traditional," we probably wouldn't have waited 34 years to get married.

So here you have it - a non-traditional album without a trace of leather on it - that contains the courtship, engagement, wedding, and honeymoon of me and that blue-eyed boy I was lucky enough to marry. Knowing me (and my Shutterfly obsession), I'll probably make another album one of these days. It may even include a little leather on it.

Until then, though, this one will do just fine.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's so Bad About "Daily Bread"?

I have this weird habit.

I tend to get stuck on a favorite food and eat nothing but that for weeks - even months - on end. Don't believe me? Just ask Jeremy how many times we've eaten homemade pizza since getting married or Elizabeth Wexler how many times she's heard me give the same order at the Sonic drive-through.

It's probably because of this tendency that I'm not all that put off by my reading of Exodus 16. In it, the Israelites have just been freed from their oppressive Egyptian captivity, but in their haste to get the Sam Hill away from Pharaoh, they must've forgotten to pack a lunch, because they're all wandering around in the Desert of Sin wondering when in the world it's gonna be time to eat.

If you know anything at all about the Children of Israel, then you know how they handled the situation. They grumbled, cursing everyone from Moses to the God Who'd just parted the Red Sea that they might safely cross it.

It's embarrassing how much in common I have with this motley lot. Their cycle of belief and unbelief, of contentment and complaining is exactly how I contend with conflict. Graciously, though, God chooses folks like this to be His people, and just as graciously, God heard the Israelites' cries for food and fed them in a way that would've been fine by me. He gave them the same meal. Every morning. For FORTY YEARS.

What's the big deal about that? I'm over a decade in to my almost-daily trips to Chick-Fil-A. If a little of something is good, then a lot of it is even better, right? Turns out, that's the very thing that strikes me about this Old Testament account - my desire for "a lot." While I'd have been absolutely fine with the same supper for nearly half a century, it's a lot harder for me to get my head around just having enough in the cupboard for that day's dinner. But that's what God commanded. They were to take "enough for that day" (verse 4). No more, no less.

Why would He, Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, choose to delve out His provision drip by drip? Heaven knows, He could've flooded them with food - enough on the first nite for the entire forty years - but He didn't. Why? Well, He tells us in verse 4. "In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow My instructions."

I can't help but wonder if they, like me, ever worried that God would forget to provide for them? It doesn't matter, if they did worry about it, because He didn't forget. He faithfully provided, in spite of their doubting and in spite of their complaining. Every day they'd go to get their allotment. Just enough for that day - no more, no less. He, Who cannot deny Himself, has been just as faithful to provide for me ... in spite of MY doubting, in spite of MY complaining.

I think the experience of the Israelites has so many applications in my life. Whether it be food or money or strength or energy, I want a stockpile. I want to know there's a trove where I can get what I need, so that I don't have to trust God to give me "daily bread." In other words, I want to walk by sight and not by faith.

But that's not the way God works. That's not "following His instructions."

He knows we are "prone to wander." When there's a big reserve - or enough manna on hand to make it through the next forty years - we tend to do things our way, and we begin to forget our daily, desperate need for the One Who promises to "bring [His people] in and plant them on the mountain of [His] inheritance-the place, Lord, You made for Your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, Your hands established."

Knowing that He's bringing me to His dwelling place makes me so excited. I just hope He serves homemade pizza.