Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Glorious Day"

(by Jeff Johnson) Glorious Day - Glorious Day

Glorious Day by Jeff Johnson on Grooveshark

"One day when heaven is filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
He dwelt among men, my example is He

Chorus:
Living He loved me, dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day

One day they led Him up calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose o'er death He had conquered
Now is ascended my Lord evermore

(Chorus)

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day my beloved was bringing
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine

(Chorus)
Oh, Glorious Day...

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
"

  Amy

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"You Have Redeemed My Soul"

(by Enter the Worship Circle) You Have Redeemed My Soul - First Circle

You Have Redeemed My Soul by 100 Portraits And Waterdeep on Grooveshark



I hope y'all have had a great week! Mine has been really nice. I planted some flowers in my front yard, but I seem to be a failure at taking real pictures these days. I'll try to remember to take some pics on my camera when it's daylight! And I'll try to be better at taking pictures in general...

Baby girl realized this week that she still had gift cards from her birthday {in October!} and Christmas, so we took advantage of a day off school & went to the mall. We've developed a bit of a tradition where I take her there, and she buys me lunch. Nice, huh?! I tried to find an Easter dress but wasn't successful. I'm too old for the dress styles at most of the places where I usually shop. So I tried a few "grown up" stores & was reminded that I really need to be able to afford to shop where they do alterations (since some parts of me never grew up). :/

It's probably best that I didn't find anything, because it would've been short-sleeved. And I may have to wear long sleeves tomorrow to hide some color that I haven't been able to wash off from Color Me Rad today!

{more on this later!}

And to completely change gears...

As most Christians do this time of year, I've spent some time reflecting on all that Jesus went through during this week so many years ago. I am still in awe that He would suffer so much for me and for you. It breaks my heart to think about what His friends and family were going through on this day in history, this day between his death and resurrection. Of course, we know how the story ends. But they didn't get it. They didn't see it yet, and I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings they were experiencing. But how I would've loved to have been there the following day!

Alrighty, I better get some sleep. I feel like I've been all over the place with this post (as with most of them lately, actually). I hope you're having a wonderful Easter weekend! ♥

Amy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The Love of God"

(by Rich Mullins) The Love of God - Never Picture Perfect

The Love of God by Rich Mullins on Grooveshark

Something made me think of Rich Mullins the other day, so I've dusted off his tunes and find that my soul is both full and sorrowful at the same time. I still remember exactly what I was doing (even the exact turn on the road where I was driving) when I heard that he had passed away. Maybe that's weird, because it's not like he was a president or something. He [admittedly] didn't even have the greatest voice. But his music was inspirational, and he lived so radically different than most of us. It has been said of Rich that "he never sought to be perfect, only to be God's." I admire that about him.

A few weeks after he died, "20 The Countdown Magazine" produced a special tribute to Rich Mullins. I bought the two-hour recording that consisted of his music and interview clips that had me in awe and in tears (sometimes at the same time). I listened to the recording again this week and still feel the same awe, but now it's mixed with a little knowing from having wrestled with some of the same thoughts and beliefs about God, the church, Christianity, etc. It's also mixed with some conviction and a stirring in my soul to press on, because I still have a long way to go.

Rich had a way with words that I can't adequately explain {probably because I don't have a way with words like that!} The things that he said were sometimes introspective, sometimes theological, sometimes offensive, but almost always profound. They remind me of old hymns that are full of deep, rich words that you find hard to understand at times. But there's something that resonates inside and causes you think, really think, about them. And about God.

Anyways, I don't really know where I was going with this post. There are a lot of Rich Mullins quotes I could discuss with y'all, but I need to head to work so I'll save them for another time. So stay tuned for more on Rich Mullins, a man who really knew "the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."

Amy

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Head to my Heart"

(by Elenowen) Head to My Heart - Elenowen - EP





Well, I'm just going to be honest with y'all and say that I'm glad this week is over! My week has been consumed with a data management change at work, and I've literally lost sleep over it. And I promise that it's not just because of the dreaded "c" word...I'm open to the change it if really will be better for our church. Right now I'm not feeling it, and I've spent the majority of the week trying to figure out some solutions that will actually make it better than CCB (our current system). I'm not alone in my concerns, which makes me feel a little better because it shows that the problem isn't simply me & my aversion to change! Yesterday Lance was able to get our CCB contract extended for another month, which gives us more time to determine if the switch is the best choice. Sigh. I'll tell y'all about one funny thing that occurred in the middle of all of the craziness, and then I'll stop rambling on about this...We were on a conference call with the company we're in the process of switching to, and Lance had to step out for a phone call. When he came back in, he had a bright orange piece of duck tape on his forehead with the words, "I miss CCB!" ü

Anyways, y'all don't really care about that, huh? The rest of my week was good! The ladies had a PJ & Movie Night at the church on Monday. {I talked to Marcie & Michelle instead of watching the movie, though. That probably isn't surprising, is it?!} I also got to have lunch with Sloan one day & coffee with my baby brother! Last night was a girls vs. guys event at The Warehouse. The girls may have had a chance if they hadn't been terribly outnumbered, but they seemed to have fun anyways! I had brunch with Laurien this morning, then I spent the rest of the day at home (which was nice). I'm sorry to say that I only have one picture to show y'all from my week, and it's just an Instagram picture. {I'll try to do better next week!} I haven't done anything in my backyard this year, but my garden has a lot of color already!


As for the song, I've been listening to a little Elenowen. There's no particular reason for this song, and I really don't have a favorite line. But I like it, and I like Elenowen. So I hope that's good enough for ya!

Okey doke, I'm off to bed now. I hope y'all are having a super great weekend! ♥

Amy

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Difference Maker"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE)



I have finally narrowed down the pictures & have a chance to tell y'all about Venture! I have many more pictures & stories that I could share with y'all, but I felt like this best summarized everything...

We headed up to Arlington after church last Sunday. I got to feel all big & powerful again by driving a 15-passenger van & enjoyed visiting with Kloè {or "Toey", as Cody pronounced her name when she used to watch him as a preschooler! And yes, I still call her that!} on the drive. After dinner, we went to see Oz the Great and Powerful then got settled in at the church where we slept for the next few nights. Each morning, we'd eat some breakfast and have devos before heading out for the day. I picked today's song because of a charge that Aaron gave the students to make a difference in the lives of the people we'd encounter.


We worked with the same organization as last year, and were sent out as their delegates (& ultimately, Christ's) in the communities where Mission Arlington consistently reaches out to share the love of Christ. A group of us was sent to a Boys & Girls Club:

It was Science week, so we did some science experiments with the kids and helped them research different science topics. After lunch one day, the lady who was over the club asked me if we had a Bible verse prepared. We didn't, but I told her that we could certainly come up with something! I figured we could relate the creation story to our science research, and then maybe tie in some John 3:16 or something. I knew that Madison was quite capable of doing an impromptu lesson, and she was willing. I think she did a super job, and the kids asked her to tell more Bible stories! ü


The rest of our church group went to an apartment complex to do a Backyard Bible Club type of thing, give out bread and baby food to those in need...

... & love on a bunch of kids!

My group went to the apartments after lunch on the second day, where we played a lot of "Down by the River":


Our evenings consisted of fun stuff in the DFW metroplex! In addition to the movie I already mentioned, we played whirly ball again...


...went to Medieval Times...

...and spent our last day at the Dallas Zoo:



Aside from the Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sundae heartbreak, it was a wonderful trip! I am so blessed to be able to serve the Lord (and hang out) with these amazing people! ♥

Amy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Against the Wind"

(by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band) Against the Wind - Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Against the Wind by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band on Grooveshark

I really do plan on telling y'all about Venture, but I'm still narrowing down the pictures to a reasonable amount for a blog post. I've been thinking about posting today's song for a few weeks now, so I decided to go ahead and do it because the wind has been something else! It wasn't quite as strong when I ran yesterday, but it has been seriously intense lately.

The first time I ran for 20 minutes straight was not enjoyable (to say the least). As I mentioned before, I was seriously dreading that particular workout. But I made it! I didn't quite complete two miles in that time, though. Given the 30 mph winds, Aunt Flow's visit, and feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted (from the CURE OM conference), I'd call it a success that I didn't give up and start walking. My next couple of workouts (intervals of walking & jogging 3-10 minutes) seemed super easy after that!

I missed a week because of Venture and vanity. {Yes, vanity. I had no time to go through the beautification process after running & before a couple of things that I had going on, so I decided to forego the workout. Lame, I know, but I'm just keeping it real...} But I got back on track yesterday, and from here on out (weeks 7 & 8), I'm running for a straight 25-30 minutes each time. No more easy interval workouts.

Since I'm being honest with y'all about vanity & such, can I just go ahead and confess something else? I'm really not enjoying it so much, and I'll probably go back to riding my bike when I'm done. But I spent a good chunk of change on my running shoes, so I feel a bit guilty about giving it up completely. Also, I really thought I'd be a little faster at this. :/ I know that it's completely unrealistic of me to think I could not run for over 20 years & miraculously run well within a couple of months. I didn't expect to run a 6-minute mile anymore, but I seriously didn't think that it'd take me nearly 10 minutes. I don't really know what is realistic, but this is certainly not what I expected. I'm not trying to win a race or anything, which is what I keep reminding myself. I'm doing this for Kirby. And as I've said before, if he can get back out there & run after all that he's been through, then surely I can do it, too.

Just maybe not as fast as I had hoped!

Amy

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Fire and Dynamite"

(by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors) Fire and Dynamite - Chasing Someday





This week has been super! It began with Venture, which I still need to tell y'all about. We got back late Wednesday night, and I worked all day on Thursday. I work for super great people who insisted that I get someone to fill in for me on Friday, so I got to sleep in a little & hang out with my kids! And my baby brother took me for coffee yesterday afternoon! ♥ Tonight we celebrated our friend Robert's 40th birthday! There were a couple other fun things this week...

My baby puppy turned six yesterday! She didn't get a present to destroy this year, but she got her fancy birthday meal with a candle:


Our new friend David (the other pirate at the OM conference) invited us to a crawfish boil in his sister's neighborhood this afternoon. I've known about David for awhile now, because he had a crazy experience with ocular melanoma: his eye actually exploded! (You can read the entire story on his blog, if you're interested). I hadn't realized that he was at the conference, but we ended up at his table that Sunday. Something he said during lunch caused me to realize who he was, and I said something like, "Oh! You're David of David Stewart Cancer Fund! I read your blog!" And as if he didn't believe me, I proceeded to pull up my blogroll on my phone. {I'm such a weirdo!} Anyways, he's from Kansas, but his sister lives in the town just north of us. He stayed in town for some appointments at MD Anderson, and he went to the rodeo with Christopher one night. His sister's neighbors get together all of the time to cook out & stuff, and we got to join them today. The crawfish was spicy & delicious!


As for today's song, it purely a guess. We listened to all kinds of music on the trip, but I'm also having some scrobbling issues. My computer is too old for the latest scrobbler update from last.fm. So the only songs that get scrobbled are the ones I listen to on Google Play or the Melodies app on my phone, which means that nothing I listen to on iTunes or my iPod get scrobbled. Anyways, today's song seemed like a good one to post. I've been listening to both Ellie & Drew Holcomb lately. And since I already posted one of Ellie's recently, I thought y'all might like to hear one of Drew's. I think this is the one I've listened to the most, but y'all really don't care, do you?

Alrighty, I'm heading to bed! I hope the rest of your weekend is super! ♥

Amy

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Peanut Butter Chocolate"

(by ? ~ I really have no idea)



I really have quite a few things to share with you, but I have to narrow my pictures down by at least a couple of hundred before I can tell y'all about Venture! For now, though, I need to tell y'all about a tragedy. Maybe even a conspiracy!

First, my baby brother & I went to this adorable little coffee shack in Katy on Saturday. It's the only place left in my part of the world where I could buy a Peanut Butter Mocha Frappe. Did you see the word could in that last sentence? Sadly, I found out that it had been discontinued. And I was so very disappointed about it.

But my hope was restored when I remembered that we were headed to the Dallas area for Venture, so I'd be able to go to Braum's and get my Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sundae with German Chocolate ice cream! Aside from my friends & family, that sundae is the one thing I miss about Dallas.

You can imagine my excitement as we arrived at Braum's on Tuesday! In fact, I posted this on Instagram:


My excitement quickly turned to utter disappointment when my baby girl broke the news to me that my sundae was no longer available. I was in disbelief! In fact, Aaron [youth pastor Aaron, not baby brother Aaron] was amused at the look on my face. But I'm pretty sure the look was something akin to heartbreak. No lie. The guy behind the counter explained that it had been discontinued about two months ago and offered the hot fudge sundae with peanut butter ice cream as a substitute. As if anything could possibly come close to being a substitute for the best sundae ever! I got it anyways, because I honesty didn't know what to get. I've been getting that sundae (and only that sundae) for 15+ years.

As you'd guess, it was nowhere near as tasty.

Last night, my baby brother messaged me to say that he was with Chris when I sent the following text:

Did you see that? #peanutbitter ü Since Aaron was with me at the coffee shack, he is well aware of how I feel about the discontinuation of peanut butter/chocolate things. He thinks it's a conspiracy. Who wouldn't like peanut butter & chocolate together?! Why would they do this to me?! Sigh.

Amy

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"The State I'm In"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE)




There's no particular reason for today's song, other than the fact that it's NTB. And it's new. And I love it (of course)! My most played songs this week are the ones on my workout playlist, and they aren't as worthy of posting as this one! ;) If y'all didn't see NTB's Cercas Blancas EP on NoiseTrade, you should totally check it out. This song isn't on there, but there's one new song.

Alrighty! Moving along to my week...I was able to attend my baby girls' awards assembly the other day. I don't know if y'all remember when she won Principal's Award last year, but she did it again this year! 'Cuz she's awesome like that. {Seriously, she is!} Though my picture of her receiving the award didn't turn out so great, I did manage to get a shot of the Principal's amazing sparkly tuxedo coat:


Speaking of my baby girl, we both got haircuts the other day! And we both made some changes. She only had a few inches cut off the length, but she got bangs (for the first time ever). And she's super cute! Mine is shorter than it has been in more than 15 years. Y'all know how I feel about change (especially when it comes to hair), so you could probably guess that I'm not really a fan of the new 'do...


I'm excited to say that Spring has officially arrived in my backyard!! I know the official start of Spring hasn't happened yet, but the hummingbirds are here!! Y'all may remember how much I love them, so I was ecstatic to see a couple of them enjoying my garden this morning! The first one came and went too quickly for me to get a picture, but I saw this beauty in the neighbor's tree that hangs into my yard:



Y'all probably won't hear much from me this coming week. I'm heading out on another mission trip with the students tomorrow (like the one last Spring Break)! I better get packed! I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend {& week}! ♥

Amy

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"How Can I Keep from Singing"

(by Ginny Owens) How Can I Keep from Singing - Say Amen

How Can I Keep from Singing by Ginny Owens on Grooveshark

I finally have a chance to sit down and tell y'all about CURE OM's Eyes on a Cure, the ocular melanoma patient & caregiver conference this past weekend.


It began with a Meet & Greet on Friday night, where it was super great to finally meet so many people that have been a part of my online OM community for many years. Afterward, we went to dinner with the planning committee (of which Mister Christopher was a part):

The only member missing from the picture was Rob, who hadn't yet arrived from England when the photo was taken. He made it in time for dinner, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him over the weekend! For Christopher's benefit (I'll let you guess why), I took a picture of the two of them together:


We spent a good portion of Saturday with former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and her husband Coach. She & Chris both spoke at an Ocular Melanoma Foundation conference last year, so he had already met her. But I had really looked forward to meeting her, because she knows my friend Amy's in-laws! ü She's pictured below with Tim Turnham, Executive Director of the Melanoma Research Foundation:


We were given a lot of information over the weekend. Though the doctors and researchers did a terrific job of trying to explain things in layman's terms, there were still several things I didn't quite understand. For instance:


We also had a couple of peer-to-peer sessions, where we were separated into small groups based on whether we were patients (with/without metastatic disease), spouses, or those who had lost loved ones to ocular melanoma. Chris spoke on a Survivor's Panel, along with two other people. One of them is a legend in the OM community: she was diagnosed with OM almost 33 years ago and has survived over 10 years with metastatic disease!

The best part of the weekend for me was finally meeting so many people who have been a part of my online OM community!


Out of the entire group, I was most excited to meet Sara:

Not only is she the Co-Founder and Director of CURE OM, but Sara was the first person in the OM world who I communicated with after Christopher's diagnosis. We have stayed in touch all of these years, and I grieved with her when her husband Gregg lost his battle last year. She continues to be an advocate for those of us who are still in the battle, and I am so thankful for her.

In addition to the people who I have communicated with online, there were a lot of new faces as well. Not that any of y'all will be surprised about this next little fact, but I met a man & his wife who are practically neighbors of mine! They live in the neighborhood right next to me, and he is at Kroger as often as I am! ;)

One of the funnier parts of the weekend was when a lady went up to Chris after dinner and said, "Will you be our pirate?" She wanted a picture taken of her & her sister in their pirate shirts with a pirate standing between them! There were only two people with eyepatches, and Chris was definitely more pirate-like! ü


Unfortunately, we didn't think to take a picture of all of the attendees until many of them had already left. This picture that I got off facebook (along with a few others in this post) shows you an idea of how many people were there:

But this is all we managed to get as the conference wrapped up on Sunday afternoon:

As I'm sure I've said before, I'd rather not be on this particular journey. But since this is a part of my life, I'm so glad to share it with an amazingly supportive group of people!

Throughout the weekend, there was a theme of hope...

...hope regarding the latest research advances and what they mean for the future of OM (& cancer, in general)

...hope because we are not alone in this fight

...hope that through the collaboration of many experts in the field: 1) there will soon be a standard surveillance agenda (that will prove to our insurance company that they should continue covering routine scans every six months for the rest of Christopher's life), and 2) every newly diagnosed OM patient will be offered a biopsy (that will give them a better idea of their genetic mutations and what their future holds)

...hope in the One who keeps me singing. Tim closed out his presentation with some of the lyrics from an old hymn that I was able to find for today's song {which I think is pretty hopeful!}

...and hope that does not disappoint. This girl's heart did somersaults as one doctor ended his presentation with a slide of Romans 5:3-5a, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us..." ♥

Amy

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Don't You Know You're Beautiful"

(by Seabird) Seabird - Rocks Into Rivers - Don't You Know You're Beautiful



This is the last day of:

Before I forget, I want to thank all of you for your support & encouragement this week! Y'all are super! ♥ My friend Natalie reminded me of today's song, so I thought it'd be a great one to close out the week. I actually posted this song the day before NEDA Week 2010 {& a day or so before I knew that NEDA Week existed!} I loved the song then, and I still love it now! Plus Natalie's brother Brandon is in the video, so you should totally watch it! :)

I have a little Ocular Melanoma community news to share with y'all...I've told y'all about our online community, and I've mentioned {at least a couple of times} how few OM patients are in the area. In what will officially be 4 1/2 years tomorrow, I had only been able to meet one person. Until last night! finally got to meet a lot of my Ocular Melanoma family!! I'll have to share more about it later, because I'm exhausted. It has been a long & emotional {but good!} day, and I have another full day tomorrow. But I'll leave you with this photo:


And if you can believe it, that's all I have to say right now! I'm off to bed! I hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend! ♥

Amy