Friday, September 30, 2011

"ABC"

(by the Jackson 5) ABC - Anthology: Jackson 5



I've been incredibly inconsistent with my posts lately, so I thought something like this would be fun! I saw it on Lauren's blog & thought it would be fun to play along! Feel free to join me!

  1. Age: 36
  2. Bed Size: King
  3. Chore that you hate: dusting
  4. Dogs: one crazy one named Pepper
  5. Essential start to your day: caffeine
  6. Favorite color: pink & teal
  7. Gold or Silver: either
  8. Height: 5'3½"
  9. Instruments you play: I play a mean kazoo, but beyond that...nada
  10. Job Title: Full time wife and mom
  11. Kids: 2 ~ Elly & Cody
  12. Live: Texas
  13. Mother's name: Karan Sue
  14. Nicknames: Amus, Ames
  15. Overnight hospital stays: other than when I had my babies...just once. I got a concussion when a friend & I bumped heads in 5th grade
  16. Pet Peeves: drivers not using their blinkers
  17. Quote from a movie: {I can't pick just one!}
    “Dude, it's chocolate. Need I say more?" ~ What a Girl Wants
    "I just like to smile. Smiling's my favorite" ~ Elf
  18. Right or left handed: Right
  19. Siblings: short version: there are 11 of us!
    long version: one full brother, one adopted brother, one half brother, four step-brothers & three step-sisters
  20. Time you wake up: 6:10
  21. Underwear: ummm...yes? {not real sure what they were looking for there, but yes I wear them!}
  22. Vegetable you hate: I don't have a problem with any particular veggie
  23. What makes you run late: When I allow too much time to get ready, so I putz around doing silly stuff until I run out of time to actually get ready!
  24. X-rays: just my crooked spine ~ nothing too exciting!
  25. Yummy food you make: Chili
  26. Zoo animal: monkeys :)

Okey doke! I'd love to know if you play along! And yes, I'm aware that you can't see my header & stuff. Google has made some changes, & Chris has to change the path, host the images somewhere else, or some other technical jargon I don't understand! If it bothers you, you can view the blog in all sorts of different ways now (& you can click "classic", "flipcard", etc. on either of those links for more types of views). I'm not a big fan of change, but there's one feature that I think is pretty cool. If you scroll, scroll, and scroll some more, it'll eventually load every single post. Then you can use the little search feature to find everything I've ever said about any word you choose. Not that anyone really cares, but it could come in handy...say if you wanted to see every time I've mentioned random things like chocolate or Disney. Seriously though, I know there have been times when I remembered a bloggy friend talking about something but I couldn't find the post. This could be a helpful tool, I suppose.

Alrighty, I'm about to head out to MOPS, then I'll be scrapbooking for the weekend!! I've started tomorrow's post, so hopefully I'll finish it at some point. I'm sure you're dying to know what I've listened to the most this week {ha ha!} ü

Amy

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Forever Reign"

(by Kristian Stanfill) Forever Reign - Passion - Here for You (Deluxe Edition)

Forever Reign by Kristian Stanfill on Grooveshark

"You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Chorus:
Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Chorus

My heart will sing
No other name
Jesus, Jesus..."

Somehow, I had never heard today's song until I was listening to the playlist on Becky's blog yesterday. I then proceeded to listen to every version of it on Grooveshark. This song is so good. And so true. I hope it speaks to you today! ♥

"The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!’
The LORD is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.”
(Lamentations 3:22-25)

"But you, O LORD, reign forever;
Your throne endures to all generations."
(Lamentations 5:19, ESV)

"His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice
from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies
will make this happen!"
(Isaiah 9:7, NLT)


Amy

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Little Things"

(by Lamb) Little Things - The Best of Lamb 1996-2004 - Best Kept Secrets



I'm continuing my list on a Monday!!! How about that?! If you haven't taken the time to appreciate all of the little gifts that you have in life, I hope you will soon. Life is so much brighter when you focus on God & His blessings. Today I am grateful for...

  1. My Bible study girls
  2. Seeing (& benefitting from) community and accountability in my Bible study girls
  3. My health
  4. Reflective window tinting {now I can tell if it's creepy old neighbor guy at the door or Kristi & her cute kids. And I will open the door accordingly!}
  5. The opportunity to babysit my little friend {who loves his "Auntie Amy"!}
  6. Cantaloupe
  7. Reusable bags
  8. Reusable water bottles
  9. Ladies Game Night at church
  10. School holidays so I can sleep in :)
  11. Days when I don't have to be somewhere by a certain time
  12. Days when I can just veg on Amy's couch & watch TV
  13. My kids getting along (most of the time)!
  14. Catching up with the little sister of my best friend in middle school
  15. Excedrin Migraine
  16. My baby brother feeling protective of me ♥
  17. Friends who share their Astros tickets
  18. Enjoying the company of a super cute three-year-old boy :)
  19. Spending time with some of the sweetest, most beautiful teenage girls on the planet ♥
  20. Messages of love from my beautiful cousin Kendra
  21. Long emails from my friend in England
  22. Another mom to carpool with
  23. An extra 45 minutes each morning that I don't drive carpool!
  24. God's promise that He is with us when we are gathered in His name (Matt 18:20)
  25. Seeing answer to prayer in our Moms In Touch group!


What's on your list today?

Amy

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Slumber"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE) Slumber - The Reckoning





OK y'all...if you know me at all, then you're well aware that Needtobreathe & Gungor came out with new albums on the same day, and I was super excited about that! It was seriously the best CD release day ever! My only problem was deciding who to listen to. Fortunately, I didn't have to make the choice for myself. NTB emailed me the link to download their album first, so I was able to listen to it while taking the kids to school & on the way to/from Bible study. I got the Gungor link at lunch & had the opportunity to listen to it while I drove to/from Houston that afternoon. After that is when I didn't know what to do, but I have brilliant friends who helped me with my dilemma: I made a playlist that only had the two new albums, and I put it on Shuffle. :)

Of course I have lots of favorites ~ especially on the Needtobreathe album. Nothing against Gungor ~ it's just that NTB is one of my all-time favorite bands, & I like their sound better. Anyways, there was a little scrobbling problem once again, so I'm having to guess at today's song. {I know. Y'all are losing all confidence in my ability to provide an accurate song on Saturdays. Please don't be disappointed in me! It's really not my fault!} I've already posted "Drive All Night", so that couldn't be today's song. There's another one that I'm a little partial to because my friend Natalie's brother (who played bass for Seabird) recorded it, but that's not today's song, either. So that left three or four other songs. I'm not going to tell you what they are, because one of them may be next week's song. If you've listened to Gungor & know me at all, you probably know which one of theirs is my favorite. {Yes, that's a challenge! Can you guess it?} So anyways...I had to have a song for today, but not all of the songs are available yet ~ so I picked "Slumber" partly because there's an official video to post. The video has a lot of haters, though. I didn't really get it at first, and I'm not entirely sure I get it now. But I don't really care. If you don't like it, you should totally check out this live video of the song. {My favorite part is right around the 2:15 mark ♥} I've heard there's a radio edit ~ the album says "baby", but they change it to "come on" for Christian radio. I don't know. Anyways, Bear has this to say about today's song, "Beauty is all around you. You just can't see it because of the funk you're in." I can relate. And I want to focus on the beauty.

Now for the crazy weird stuff...there are some similar themes in a few of the songs on both albums. Gungor's is a concept album and NTB's isn't. And the bands are nothing alike. I would've thought the two albums would be completely different, but that's not the case. Not that you asked, but here are a few of the similarities:
  • NTB's song "Learn to Love" talks of holding true through both the darkness and the light. Similarly, Michael Gungor says this about "The Fall", "It represents so well what I often feel internally. Mixtures of love and fear, courage and cowardice, wonder and complaints… It’s not really the way I would prefer it to be, but that’s how it is, and I’m learning how to be content in the night."
  • NTB's "Slumber" & Gungor's "Wake Up Sleeper" both reference the same Bible verse (Eph. 5:14). NTB's reference is less obvious (lyrically), though the video seems to be symbolic of it. About Gungor's song, their blog says, "This song is a call to repentance, a call to wake up. It’s an invitation to join the poor and the sinner and the broken once again that we may come alive and join with God again."
  • NTB's "Keep Your Eyes Open" & Gungor's "Every Breath" both challenge you to let go so you can really live. {Yes, I'm listening!}
  • There are other little bits of songs that have similarities, too. But I'll stop there for now.

On to other randomness...Christopher always tells me that ads are geared toward a 30-something housewife named Amy, & I tell him he's crazy. Then we'll see a commercial that fits that description to a "T" (even down to the name), & I'll just shake my head ('cuz admitting that he's right is not on my list of favorite things to do). Well he went to a meeting for small business owners the other day, & he brought home a goodie bag full of exciting stuff:
{This is NOT a paid advertisement for Allstate}

Umm...who loves everything in this picture?! When I saw it I said, "This is like a dream come true!!" Seriously, people. I've mentioned all but the reusable bag & water bottle in my thankful posts already {why haven't I mentioned them yet?! I think I have two for next week already...} But I took pictures of some of them for my Earth Day post, & I use them every day! :)

Am I weird that I love the fact that the sight of this stack of books makes my girl happy?!

Have I mentioned that I love to read? Just about the only thing that Elizabeth gets from me is her love for reading. Oh, and apparently her ability to ramble...If we aren't fb friends, then you didn't see my status the other morning. So in case you missed it, this is what it said:
Elly was talking non-stop while I was making the kids' lunches. Cody had been trying to say something, & I finally had to tell her to pause for a minute. When Cody finally got to talk, he said, "She is undeniably your daughter. She can talk forever!"
A lot of people "liked" the comment. I haven't figured out if it was because they thought it was funny or they agreed with the statement. So I'm not sure if I should smile or be offended... ü

Moving right along...I saw this tag inside my wristlet the other day, and it made me laugh:

{Genuine Faux Leather?! Really?!}

My kids were laying down together yesterday. So as all moms should, I took pictures as evidence that they love each other. Or as Elizabeth used to say, "Look mom, we're lovin' our chother!" {She misheard "each other" as "ea chother" & would say things like the sentence I just wrote or, "Those kids are playing with their chother." I think she was 6 or 7 when I finally told her that chother wasn't a word!} Anyways, here they are now:

And in case you haven't seen how cute they were when they were little, here they were back in the day:

{Sigh}

Alrighty, I better grab some lunch before I go see my baby brother. I had a prison vending machine lunch last week, and that is so not healthy. You really should eat more than Cheetos & Peanut M&M's (or Chex & Twix). Just sayin'...

I hope y'all have a super great weekend!!!

Amy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Thank You"

(by Sanctus Real) Thank You - Pieces of Our Past - The Sanctus Real Anthology



Once again there was an appropriate theme song on a Monday, so I'm a day late in continuing my list of One Thousand Gifts. Some of the items on today's list may seem silly, but sometimes it's the little things that make me happy. And happiness is a reason to be grateful! So, here's what I'm thankful for today...

  1. Celebrating Kyla's birthday with my friends
  2. No visits from creepy old neighbor guy lately ü
  3. My baby brother talking about how Jesus is working in his life
  4. International Talk Like a Pirate Day posting a link to support OMF
  5. Encouraging words
  6. Nice neighbors
  7. My unchanging God
  8. Humor in the little things
  9. Learning to study the Bible better
  10. Febreeze
  11. New tunes from my friend Laurien
  12. RAIN!!!!!
  13. My community group
  14. Hugs from a sweet baby boy :)
  15. Sitting in the driveway talking to a friend for an hour & 1/2 {I totally wasted her gas ~ why didn't I invite her inside?!}
  16. People pointing out how God is using me in ways that I hadn't even realized
  17. People who know how to fix leaky faucets
  18. School buses {so I don't have to deal with the carpool line every afternoon!}
  19. My friend Felicity {whose birthday is today!!} & a little birthday surprise! :)
  20. A phone date with my friend Cassie {who moved far away}
  21. New music from Needtobreathe!!!
  22. New music from Gungor!!!
  23. "Happy CD release day" texts! :)
  24. Seeing the ladies in my Bible study classes encourage each other!
  25. Hearing my counselor say that I don't need to see him for a whole month (instead of every 2-3 weeks)!


I'd love to know what you're thankful for today!

Amy

Monday, September 19, 2011

"I'm A Pirate"

(by Cap'n Slappy, Ol' Chumbucket and Chumpail)



In honor of:

I have a special post by an even more special


But before I get to that, I'd be foolish to not take advantage of a day that's all about pirates to raise a little awareness for Ocular Melanoma! I know that my friends & regular readers are well aware of this disease ~ but on the off chance that somebody new shows up, I can't just pretend that this day is special because I like to talk like a pirate! To be honest, three years ago I never thought about pirates, and I don't think I ever thought about anyone wearing an eyepatch for any other reason than to look like a pirate. Now I know better. Since my husband was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, I've learned a lot of things that I had never thought about before. I had never even heard of eye cancer, much less OM. And I certainly didn't have a clue that people could die from it! But OM leads to death in 50-65% of the people who are diagnosed with it (statistics vary, and there's simply not enough known to have a more accurate number). That's why research is so important, but there is little funding towards research for this rare disease. If you (or anyone you know) would like to help the Ocular Melanoma Foundation in their efforts to find effective treatments to improve patient outcomes & one day find a cure for OM, donations can be made on the OMF support page. {for the record: not all Ocular Melanoma patients wear an eyepatch on a regular basis, but most of them have worn one briefly (even if only while recovering from surgery). Just thought I'd make that clear!} Also, you can help raise awareness by voting for Christopher to be the face of about.me. Voting ends tomorrow!

And now, for my guest blogger...my beautiful daughter Elly wrote something about her dad for school, and she wanted to share it with y'all. Because it has to do with piratey things, I thought today was perfect! {Before I let her take over, I have to say that the facts aren't exactly accurate, but they're close enough! Also, there's one part that struck me as funny: she seems to think that her dad isn't short. For the record: he's 5'6"!}



There once was a man named Butch. He wasn't tall, but he wasn't short. He had a beard that a pirate might have and earrings that looked like a "U" with circles at the end, which also looked as if he were a pirate. All he needed was an eye patch to look like a real life pirate. Well one day he finally did look as if he was. You guessed it: he got an eye patch.

You may be saying, "Now, why is Butch wearing an eye patch?" Well, it all started when he thought he saw a Chinese dragon shape inside of his eye. His family all tried looking but saw nothing. So after awhile he went to an ophthalmologist (or eye doctor) and got lots of x-rays. He found out that he had ocular melanoma, which means eye cancer.

He had a type of surgery done to get rid of most of the cancer, and it worked. The side effect was he lost almost all his vision in that eye. He could only see fingers at 3 feet away, which is very bad (as you can guess). He worked with computers, but looking at all those words his good eye got tired and he got headaches. So he got an eye patch to wear on the bad eye so it wouldn't stress to see those tiny words. The "pirate" looked in the mirror and whispered, "My life will never be the same."

And it wasn't much differently, actually. People stared and kids were either scared or amazed by the "pirate", but he didn't mind. He was different. We all are in our own ways. That's the story of Butch the "pirate", my dad.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"The Love of God"

(by The Reliques) The Love of God - To Feel and Be Loved - EP





I. am. exhausted. Why is it that I'm so tired when all I did was sit in a [very cold] classroom for the past two days? I got to participate in a Precept Ministries training workshop for the Inductive Bible Study Method, and it was super great! I think I've mentioned a time or two (or probably more) that I really enjoy the Word of God! Well, pretty much all I did for the past two days was study it, & I love it even more now! We started our study in Genesis 12 and went through Genesis 15. Our discussion ended with Galatians 3 and a comparison of the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant (the Law), & the New Covenant. It was super great & really insightful. Plus, we discussed the following bit of Scripture {that I love}:
"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

And while I'm talking about Bible stuff, I have to tell you that I almost cried at Bible study with my baby brother the other night. Good tears, though. He shared a little bit during small group this time (he didn't really say anything last week except when he recited 9 of the 10 commandments). I know that a lot of people like him undergo "jailhouse conversions", so I'm not naive enough to think that all is well for the rest of his life. But to be in a small group with these guys, hear their questions, & listen to them talk about what they're learning...I know that God is working inside them. Anyways, my brother shared something with the group that I had never heard before. He said that when he first heard about my tattoo, he thought that the word "freedom" was a sign to him that he wouldn't have to serve his full sentence. He went on to say that when that isn't how things turned out, he ended up in the IFI program and discovered a different type of freedom.

I had a somewhat crazy week, but I can't even remember much of it right now. I sorta feel like it's 4:00 in the morning, & I'm writing one of those Excedrin caffeine posts. Except it isn't 4am, and I haven't taken Excedrin in a couple of days. Speaking of...I thought I was going to end up with one of those posts on Thursday night/Friday morning. That day, I had met Sloan for coffee in the morning, went to Kyla's birthday lunch from there, went to Amy's for birthday dessert after lunch, & went directly from Amy's to have coffee with my friend Laurien. {I thought my stomach was going to explode. No lie.} When I got home, I had the beginnings of a migraine. Knowing the amount of caffeine I had already consumed that day {did I mention that I had a cup of hot tea when I first got up & a cup of coffee after the kids left for school?} I didn't really want to take an Excedrin Migraine. And for all I know, the migraine was caused by excessive caffeine. I have no idea. But I knew that I was going to be in a crowd of people at the prison [read: loud] & I couldn't go there with a migraine. So I took two of them, and my migraine went away. AND I was actually able to sleep that night! So y'all didn't get to read an extremely random post, but I'm sure y'all are glad that I got rest, right?

Is it terrible that I can't even remember what I did at the beginning of the week (besides Bible study)? I actually had to look at my calendar to remember...it looks like it was full of appointments ~ dentist, chiropractor & Christopher's eye doctors. I live such an exciting life, huh? Anyways, I knew there was something that I was supposed to mention ~> this isn't really an update, but we had a somewhat frustrating appointment with his ocular oncologist. At first, Dr B acted like things were looking good. Then he asked about the last time we saw Dr C. When we mentioned surgery, he said that he didn't like the idea of Dr C doing the cataract surgery. We explained that Dr C would only remove the cataract if he was already in there for the other surgery he talked about, and Dr B still didn't seem happy about it. He sent Chris upstairs for pictures, and we went on to the appointment with Dr C while we were up there. His visual acuity is now CF at face, but Dr C said that the eye is stable. There's no new radiation damage (since his appointment in July), and he wants to see Chris again in a couple of months. We thought we were good to go, but when we went to check out we discovered that Dr B wanted to see Chris again. So we went back downstairs. He looked at the pictures & asked what Dr C had to say about surgery. We told him that things were stable and there wasn't any discussion about cataract (or any other) surgery right now. Then he said, "A cataract is the least of your concerns right now!" What exactly does that mean?! You're probably thinking that I should've asked him that, but I know that he wouldn't have given a satisfactory answer. ('Cuz that's the way he rolls). So we really don't now what that was about. And he wants to see Chris again in two months. In case you forgot, we had moved to a six month schedule with him. And we have no idea why he wants to see him again so soon...

As for today's song...have I mentioned that I love The Reliques?! If you haven't checked them out by now, then I may have to seriously reconsider our friendship. OK, not really...but I may show up at your house in the middle of the night with their music blaring from my van speakers & force you {& your neighbors} to listen to them. Anyways, I love today's song! I think my favorite part is the whole "I am not afraid" section, but I also love verse 3:

"In Your death I am redeemed
Spirit blood wash over me
And in Your love I am complete
I lift my eyes up and look to Thee"


Alrighty, I'm going to attempt to get to bed at a decent time! I hope y'all are having a great weekend!!

Amy

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Too Late to Apologize, A Declaration"

(by T.J. and the Revo)



This is Celebrate Freedom Week in Texas public schools. My baby girl showed me this video last year, and I thought I'd share it with y'all! :)

Amy

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Gratitude"

(by Nichole Nordeman) Gratitude - Woven & Spun (Bonus Track Version)



Though life doesn't always go as I want it to, I still have so much to be thankful for! Today I'm continuing my list of One Thousand Gifts ~ a list of things I'm grateful for...

  1. Visits from hummingbirds {I ♥ them!}
  2. Cooler mornings
  3. Friends who are more than aware of my ambivalent tendencies yet tolerate me anyways! :)
  4. A great turnout for the Bible studies at church
  5. Being able to attend Bible study with my baby brother
  6. Catching up with old friends
  7. Reconnecting with my friend Stephanie's mom (that I mentioned on Saturday) and sharing memories with her that showed her a part of Stephanie that she never knew ♥
  8. My uncle's family (who has taken such good care of my grandmother for many years)
  9. Seeing my kids sitting close together on the same couch cushion & laughing together at something they're watching on youtube
  10. My counselor
  11. My chiropractor
  12. Firefighters
  13. Uplifting blogs
  14. Funny blogs
  15. Lists
  16. Crossing things off lists!
  17. Stickie notes
  18. Clipboards
  19. My super cute pink bike!
  20. Experts in the field of Ocular Melanoma
  21. Nice people to talk to while in the waiting room for said experts
  22. A mostly good report from said experts
  23. Finding humor in the midst of visits to said experts {Have I mentioned Christopher's ridiculous wisecracks before?}
  24. Health insurance
  25. An inexpensive (& muy delicioso) lunch menu at Chacho's


What are you thankful for today?

Amy

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Let Go"

(by Abandon) Let Go - Control





Well, this weekend hasn't quite turned out as I had planned. I made a quick trip to the town where I went to high school. A wonderful lady passed away this week, and her funeral was this morning. She was one of several "moms" that God placed in my life while I lived there. She exemplified Matthew 25:34-40, and her funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life. It was tough, though. And it was just an all around tough day. I hadn't seen my high school pastor in a couple of years. He is dealing with stupid cancer & isn't doing well. I had a wonderful conversation with my friend Stephanie's mom. But again, it was tough.

Then after the funeral I got a call from my brother about an email that I had somehow missed from my step-dad. My grandmother isn't doing very well, and they are about to put her in hospice. My drive home was spent on the phone with my cousin & uncle (who Grandmommy has been living with). They explained that on Monday they'll transfer her from the hospital (where she has been for the last week) to hospice, where they'll keep her comfortable & she'll be fed through an IV. So ya, rough day...

On a positive note, it was nice to see a lot of people I haven't seen in awhile! Several of my friends from youth group were at the funeral, and I hadn't seen most of them in awhile. I drove up last night & spent a couple of hours with my friend Dwayne's parents. I lived around the corner from them for a few years, and I just love them! {Plus they said I haven't changed one bit in all the years that they've known me. How could I not love them?!} Then I went to Roger & Faye's (they're my "parents" there) & stayed up way too late catching up with them! But it was so good! They were disappointed not to see my kids, but they said it was so nice to just sit and talk with me! :)

Enough about my little trip...

Have I ever mentioned how sweet my boy is? I had forgotten about a conversation I had with him last year, but thanks to Facebook {"On This Day in 2010..."} I was reminded of his sweetness! Apparently a year ago Thursday, the following occurred: I randomly burst out in song, & Cody said, "Well, that was an outburst." To which I replied, "Yep. It's one of my talents." To which he replied, "Oh. Well then I love it." Is he awesome or what?! ♥

On Thursday night, my baby brother's group began a Bible study in the prison chapel, and my dad & I are able to go every week of the 12-week course! Can I confess to you that I was a tiny bit weirded out walking through the prison? During visitation, we're barely inside the prison. Even then, it's a separate building & the inmates go through a gate to get to it. So we're with less than 20 of them. The Bible study was different, because we actually went through an entire cell block to get to the chapel. And there were probably 100 inmates there. I wasn't afraid really. It was just different. And a little weird. But I'm so glad that we get to be a part of it! I got to meet a couple of his friends. The one I was most excited to meet was "Macaroni", who we helped get into the program. He was also very instrumental in getting my brother into the program, so we were mutually grateful for each other (if that makes sense)! I also got to meet the guy who drew Supergirl! Some of the inmates led worship, and it was pretty cool! Dad, Aaron & I are in a small group with four other men & a couple of facilitators. These men are just like everybody else. They've made a few mistakes, and their mistakes caused them to be imprisoned. But Jesus died for them, just as He died for you & me. I almost cried as Frank talked about both of his parents passing away during the time that he has been in prison. And Charles looks way to young to be there (and somewhat paradoxical, carrying "Baby's 1st Bible" with arms full of tattoos). James has kind eyes and the biggest smile. Sly is quiet, but when he says something it's meaningful. And of course, there's my baby brother Aaron who is such a sweet kid.

The rest of my week was really good! I know I've already mentioned the Bible study I'm leading on Tuesday mornings, but I don't think I mentioned that we decided to offer it on Wednesday nights, too! I'm so excited to see how God is going to work in the lives of these women!! I also had a couple of coffee dates with Sloan & spent a day in The Heights with my friend Laura. ü

Today's song is super! Yes, I know I just posted it, but I didn't even say anything about it then. I don't want to do it a disservice by not even talking about it, so I'll post some of the lyrics for you. They're great, and I can totally relate...

"You could count the times that everybody’s hurt you
And build a wall so nobody can get through
But nothing's gonna change if you keep doing the same things
You could shoulder all the weight and try to do it on your own

Or you could let go of all these things you hold
You could let go and watch your life unfold
You're part of a grand design
Bigger than what you had in mind
But you’ll never know, you’ll never know
Until you let it go

So take a step back, widen out the picture
And see the world through the eyes of the Savior
Cause when we focus on ourselves there is nothing we can give
But when we lose it all we start to live
You got a front row seat but you're never gonna see the show

Until you let go of all these things you hold..."

Obviously the chorus continues from there, and they repeat stuff. But you get the picture!

Alright, I'm pretty drained & need to freshen up my face before my dad and aunt arrive. We're going out to dinner...I hope y'all are having a great weekend!!

Amy

Friday, September 9, 2011

"For the Band"

(by Relient K) For the Band - The Bird and the Bee Sides



I haven't done one of these in awhile, so I thought it was time! I'd like to call this "Friends' Theme Songs: Back When My Mister Was in a Band Edition". The people I'm talking about today were either in a band with my mister, have played with him at some point in time or are married to someone previously listed. There are other people I could attempt to find songs for, but these are the people who have songs already. If I come up with some later, I may revisit this one...

First, there's Freddy. I'd like to have a peculiar song for him, since he apparently says that I'm peculiar on a weekly basis. I thought it was only once. But alas, I've discovered it's much more often. I really prefer the term quirky. It sounds a little cuter & less...well, odd. I digress...OK, back to Freddy! His first name is actually Louis, so I think "Louie Louie" is appropriate. Chris thinks it's a dumb song choice, but I didn't really ask his opinion. His wife Cara's song is "What a Feeling". I know it's weird, but the song is by Irene Cara. Get it?! I don't know when I made the association, but who can ever know the randomness that is my mind. It's her song, and that's all there is to it!

Dan's song is "Daniel" for obvious reasons. And his wife Amanda's song is also one with her name. I know they aren't creative or anything, but sometimes the songs are just that obvious. Dan & Amanda deserve truly creative song choices, but I can't change the song my mind wants to think about for them. I'm sorry to be so lame.

And Nolan...Nolan with the awesome hair. Nolan who is in the Wayne Kerr video that I posted awhile back (he's playing electric guitar & is the one looking out the car window at about 3:07). FM Static's "Donna" is Nolan's song! ü I have no idea why he called (or wanted to call?) me Donna, but he did. I don't know if I look like a Donna, or if I look like someone he knows named Donna. I should ask him, but I think it embarrasses him. Anyways, despite the fact that he totally knows my name now, I haven't been able to hear "Donna" for the past 6 years or so without thinking of him!

Blake...Blake who is officially my friend forever! This one may seem strange, but his song is Ryan Adam's "So Alive". For the record, I have no romantic feelings for Blake. He did a cover of this song, and I like it. So it's his song. That is all.

And finally (for now), there's Jeremiah. He is the one who introducted our family to Homestar Runner about 9 years ago (or so). The first year that we went to Hollywood, he talked like Homestar so much that our friend Tara thought he had "special needs"! :) So for obvious reasons, J's song is what you hear when you first go to the Homestar website!



One last thing, today's song actually makes me think of a guy named Chris who played bass with Freddy & Dan before my Chris did. I can't remember if my Chris has ever played with the Chris that I'm talking about, so I didn't officially list him here. Plus, I don't know him well enough to give him an official song. So today's song will be his unofficial song. Does that work?

UPDATE: I can't believe that I totally forgot Josh's song! Chris hasn't actually played with him, so maybe that's why? But he played keyboards with J's band, and he used to be a bus driver. So the Caedmon's Call song (by that name) has always been his! OK, that is all...

Amy

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"The Sun is Shining Down"

(by JJ Grey & Mofro) The Sun Is Shining Down - Country Ghetto

The Sun Is Shining Down by JJ Grey on Grooveshark

With yesterday being a holiday {& having a good theme song} I'm a day late on my gratefulness post. Since I'm not actually linking up with the meme, I'm not too concerned about it. I hope you're OK with me posting "Multitudes on Mondays" on a Tuesday again. :) Today, I am incredibly grateful for...

  1. My husband surviving cancer for 3 years
  2. Cody signing "I love you" before running upstairs
  3. Elly making me origami roses
  4. Pepper greeting me enthusiastically when I get home
  5. Pepper greeting me enthusiastically when I wake up!
  6. Christopher's job
  7. Saturdays when I can sleep in
  8. Beautiful mornings spent on my patio
  9. Getting to see my aunt (from out of state) THREE days in a row
  10. My family of origin {who lives close enough to see regularly}
  11. My baby brother living right down the road!
  12. Getting the chance to brighten up somebody's day :)
  13. Rocking chairs
  14. Porch swings
  15. Bubble baths
  16. Good books
  17. A hot bubble bath with a good book!
  18. Circle E Candles {especially Bird of Paradise}
  19. Good conversation
  20. Kyla {who has a birthday this week!!}
  21. My friend who is 50 today!! :P
  22. A new year of MOPS
  23. A new student ministry building
  24. A new Bible study {it started today!!}
  25. Leaves shaped like hearts




As today's song says, "It's the little things, not expectation, that make life worth living." What's on your list of "little things" that you're grateful for today?

Amy

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Forty Hour Week"

(by Alabama) Forty Hour Week (For a Livin') - Ultimate Alabama 20 # 1 Hits



This one's an oldie but a goodie! :) The video cuts off kinda funny at the end, but it's still good...

I've had a great day so far! After sleeping in a little, I had my quiet time on my back patio (enjoying beautiful weather for the first time in months)! Then I had coffee with my friend! Now I'm off to meet up with my dad & aunt at my brother's house! I hope you're having a nice, relaxing Labor Day!

Amy

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"I Fell For You"

(by Amy Stroup) I Fell for You - The Other Side of Love- Session One





Today marks Christopher's 3-year cancerversary. For once, I don't feel the need to dedicate an entire post to it. I feel like I've already said all that there is to say numerous times. Today I am OK. If I think about it long enough, I could be emotional. But for now I'm choosing to focus on the positive. My husband is alive three years after being diagnosed with ocular melanoma. Some people can't say that. He isn't guaranteed the next six months, but he has survived another year! For that, I am thankful.

Speaking of...he's trying to raise awareness for ocular melanoma (OM) through a little contest at about.me. You should totally vote for him every day! If he wins, he gets his profile on a billboard in Times Square & will use that as an opportunity to raise more awareness for OM. So little is known about this silent killer, so foundations like OMF are doing all they can to find effective treatments and save lives. We are hoping that awareness will help raise funds for research, as well as educate people on the importance of early detection through yearly dilated eye exams. Anyways, you can vote for him by clicking the picture below & following the instructions:

{Have I ever mentioned that he goes by the name Butch? I don't call him that, because I like to confuse people...} ;)

Moving right along....this song isn't what I expected. I had been listening to Abandon at the beginning of the week, but I ended up in an Amy Stroup mood. I think I've posted most of the other songs I have of hers, so this sorta ended up being today's song by default. But it doesn't mean that I don't love it, because I love all of her songs! In fact, I would totally buy more of her music right now except for the fact that I pre-ordered Gungor's new album this week! I know, I just pre-ordered NTB's last week...I think I'm addicted to music...And what's crazy is that both albums come out on the same day. I'm not sure what I'll do! Anyways, back to Amy Stroup...she has a song on the Ten Out of Tenn, Vol. 4 album that's free this weekend on NoiseTrade. [The deal is over, so I removed that link] You should check it out {especially you, Brooke & Becky! I mean, these people are from your state!}

And finally, a recap of my week ~ because I know you're oh-so-anxious to know about my exciting days! {ha ha!} This week I...

...totally geeked out over this:

{175 facts & a bunch of pictures of Houston (then & now) ~ I know, I'm such a nerd!}

...had coffee with my friend Sloan!

...watched a little TV with my friend Amy :)

...enjoyed the company of around 120 women from my church

...didn't puke out of nervousness for having to stand in front of said women to give a synopsis of the study I'll be leading!

...worked a little {& watched funny weather videos while "researching" the current tropical storm conditions that could effect the Gulf. Have I mentioned that I work for an insurance adjusting company? It really was research!} ;)

...scrapbooked & ran errands with my friend Jana {& held her sweet baby!}

...attended our 1st MOPS meeting of the year! I am so blessed to mentor a table of beautiful young moms! ♥ I don't know all of them very well, but I know & love three of them already. I've recently interacted with the other two & have been wanting to get to know them better. I was seriously so excited when I got my table list that I ran upstairs & read off the names to Chris (not that he knows all of the ladies, but he has learned to smile & nod at appropriate times)! Anyways, I'm really looking forward to this year & hope that I can be a good Mentor Mom for them!

...got to meet my tragically hip friend's precious baby boy! {Have I mentioned that I love holding babies?!}

...went to our first youth event in the new student ministry building!

...saw my baby brother! :)

...didn't get enough sleep! {Goodness gracious!! Why in the world do I wake up in the middle of the night & just lay there for a stinking hour or more?! Then when I finally do get back to sleep, little bit has to go outside & eat/puke grass again...}

Alrighty, I'm off to bed {ya, we'll see if I actually make it there before midnight...} I hope your holiday weekend is super wonderful!! ♥

Amy

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Let Go"

(by Abandon) Let Go - Control



A new year of MOPS has started up, and I have the privilege of being a Mentor Mom again! I'm cheating today by posting what I wrote for the "Ask Amy" column of the MOPS newsletter. I was asked a few questions, and can I be honest & say that I struggled with the answers? There are many times when I feel like I don't have much to offer these women ~ especially when some of the questions they ask are things that I have a hard time with, too! So I did my best with the answers. I had limited space in the newsletter, so I had to use my words sparingly. As you know, that's not easy for me! So the stuff in the little curly brackets is extra just for y'all! {We can look at it as a commentary on my own words. Gosh, how do y'all put up with me?!}

  1. Being a new mom presents it's challenges. I sometimes find myself at 4pm and have only found time for a cup of coffee for breakfast and lunch! How do you manage to find time for yourself? First of all, you need to eat! While coffee is important, a healthy breakfast is even more important! As for "me" time, I still struggle with that. What I've discovered is that I have to schedule it most of the time. Sometimes that involves getting up early, and sometimes that involves staying up late. When I had little ones at home, my husband would occasionally take the kids somewhere when he realized I desperately needed some time to myself. I tried to take the little moments as they came (when the kids were napping or otherwise entertained). Another thing that was helpful was when another mom and I took turns watching each others' children once a week. {Can I be honest here & say that there are days when I find myself at 4pm and have only had coffee? Chris always asks, "How do you forget to eat?!" I don't know, I just do! And apparently I'm not alone if it was mentioned in a question!}
  2. What is the best advice you've ever received? The best advice I ever received was to let it go. I tend to be a control freak, so I have a hard time with things that are beyond my control. What I've come to realize is that by holding on to things and trying to retain control of situations, I am not trusting God. He has my best interest in mind, and He sees the big picture. What I see is only a small part of His plan. When I realize that I'm not trusting Him with a situation, I can still hear my friend Eva's voice encouraging me to let it go! As an act of faith, I have to relinquish it to Him and sincerely pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done." {Obviously, y'all know that this is something I still struggle with on a regular basis! There are days when I have to pray that (& more) repeatedly. And those days are reminders of my complete & utter dependence on God!}
  3. How would you describe your personal style? I would describe my style as "thrift store chic"! {ha ha!} I don't have much fashion knowledge, so I'm not sure what my style would be. I like ruffles & jeans, so whatever you call that! {Laura said that I could also say "casual cool". Since I don't understand fashion terms, I'm going to take it as she thinks I'm cool! ;) Thanks, Laura! ü}

Okey doke, that's all for today! I hope y'all have a good one!

Amy