Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"King of Glory (You Restore My Soul)"

(by All Sons & Daughters) 



I know I didn't do a weekend post, but I'll catch y'all up on things later. I just can't stop listening to today's song. I've known it for a year or so, but for some reason never really listened to it until a couple of weeks ago.

So if you haven't played the video, please do so now. And read the words. Or you can just read them below (copied from We Are Worship). It has been awhile since I've posted entire song lyrics, but this song is worthy...

"I know a place
Where I can find You
Here in the valley
Of the shadows
Give me eyes to see
Where You’re leading me

I know a place
Where I can feel You
Here in the freedom of
Forgiveness
Give me strength to hold
Fast to what I know

You restore my soul
I’m Yours alone
Oh King of glory
When dark gives
Way to light
Your hope will rise
Oh King of glory

I know a place
Where I can hear You
Your truth is whisper
In the chaos
Give me faith to stand
Strong in this rushing wind

Surely goodness
And mercy
Follow me
Every moment
I will dwell with You"

Praying that you see where God is leading you, even if you're in the valley of the shadows.

Praying that you have the strength to hold fast to His truth and the freedom of forgiveness that He offers.

Praying that you're standing strong in the truth that He whispers in the chaos and the rushing wind.

Praying that goodness and mercy is following you as you dwell with Him.

Praying that you've found Him, feel Him, and hear Him.

Praying that you know that you are His and that He, the King of Glory, restores your soul today.



Amy

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Love is a Hammer"

(by Ross King) 



Since I didn't do my usual post last weekend, I didn't get a chance to tell y'all that Ross King led our church service last Sunday! It was so great!! I just love his humility and authenticity. So often we [Christians] are ashamed to speak about our struggles, yet he openly shared about how he suffered depression after his father passed away unexpectedly. Y'all know about my struggles in dealing with stupid cancer and how I've had to fight lies and doubt with truth. There have been times when I've known the truth in my head but have had to fight to believe it. Though my situation is different than his, I could relate to Ross when he spoke of singing the truth in the midst of that time of grief. He would sing in hopes that he'd believe it more. I get that! One more thing before I move on, he's moving and has a great moving sale happening on iTunes and his website. If you don't have his music or are missing some of his albums, now is the time to get some! Anyways...

I've had quite a bit going on lately, so I have a lot to catch you up on! I'll probably forget a few things, and some things aren't necessarily blogworthy, but I'll try to hit the highlights of the last few weeks!

First of all...Blue Bell is back!!


The high school had a "Meet the Falcons" night where we got to see all of the fall sports' teams.

The head coach said a few words about each team, and the part about cross country was kinda funny...he said they were like vampires or something, that they are the hardest working team that never sleeps (referring to them arriving at school well before everyone else...he said 3:30, but it's actually several hours later than that)!


A church member paid for the staff and their families to attend a Skeeter's game, so we did that one night a couple of weeks ago!


My boy ended up running a fever of 104.9 and stayed home from school one day. I don't normally take picture of my sickly boy, but he was wrapped up in blanket upon blanket. And he's never cold!


We went to my brother's house for Labor Day! I made his favorite dessert (banana pudding)!

I forgot to take any pictures until we were leaving and his kids had already gone back inside, so he humored me by taking a few selfies...





We got to watch Evie Kate one night! I was teaching her to say my name, and she sorta did while she was at my house. Nicole texted me to say that she said it on the way home! ü


Cody had a meet in Galveston on a very rainy day. In fact, the rain was so bad that I was an hour late to the meet. Fortunately it was delayed two hours, which gave me the opportunity to buy a rain jacket. {Side note: a Target employee had greeted me at the door and also happened to be behind me at the checkout. He made my day when he told me that when he first saw me he thought I was a kid who was there for the release of a video game!} The rain calmed down long enough for the varsity teams to run.

Cody's race was the first one, and he did well, all things considered. They combined 5A and 6A, so he ran against giants! OK, not really giants, but some of them looked like grown men! The rain picked back up for the JV races, and there were puddles in the sand/mud by the time the JV girls finished...as if it wasn't difficult enough just running on the beach!

By the time they finished, I was soaked all the way through to my skivvies! They made the most of it, though, and enjoyed a little mud frisbee before going back to school...


My adorable little neighbor had her 2nd birthday party last Saturday!


Laurien, Elly, and I went to Sam's Burgers Fries & Pies for Laurien & my mid-birthday celebration that afternoon!


Last Sunday was our annual Women's Fall Gathering at church! We heard a great message from Emily Mills of Jesus Said Love, enjoyed a delicious Mediterranean meal, were led in worship by my friend and co-worker Lindsay, and I got to host a table of super great women!
The thing that stuck out the most to me that night was when Emily was talking about what we're free from and free to. I won't try to quote her, because I didn't write it down word-for-word, but she was saying that the things that once brought shame, when exposed and surrendered to Jesus, will be used by Him. That's good stuff! It's beauty from ashes, and I just love how God does that!

Cody had a meet the other day that wasn't near as eventful as the one on the beach! It was in the afternoon, though, and they don't usually do as well in the afternoon. Overall, the team didn't have the best results, but it was a learning experience.



This past Saturday was a really great day! My friends and neighbors, Chris & Christen, are in the process of adopting a child. They had a garage sale to raise funds for the adoption, and it turned out super great! Not only was the fundraising a success, but it was also a beautiful picture of "family." Dozens of people helped out at the sale or donated items and/or money (or all of the above)! They are special, authentic people, and I'm so glad to see the outpouring of love on them!




Julie bought her first house, and Cody & I helped move some of her and Nicole's things into it on Saturday as well!


Then that evening, Chris & I went out with our friends Adam & Susan! {They're the ones who had the crawfish boil earlier this year!}



And yesterday evening I got to meet my newest little neighbor who was born on Thursday night! I didn't get a picture of her, but trust me when I say that she's precious! She's super tiny and has a head full of dark curls. ♥

Alrighty, I better get to bed so I can get my vampire to practice early in the morning. Haha! I hope y'all have a super great week! I'll try to catch up on your posts soon!! ♥

Amy

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"You Are My Joy"

(by David Crowder*Band) 



I discovered yet another post that I began a year and a half ago. And since I can't seem to find the time to even catch you up on the latest happenings, I figured I'd go ahead and post this because it's still where I am...

In the beginning of Growth Groups a couple of years ago, we discussed a word or phrase that described our spiritual life. I said that I am learning to abide in Christ, which is where God has been drawing me for a few years. But I still haven't fully arrived. I'm beginning to think that I'll never fully get to that place and stay there, but I plan on making the conscious decision to return every time I realize I'm not there.

Because I'm prone to wander.

Not far, but just outside of His rest.

Focused more on my struggles than on Him.

Tying my "happy" to something other than Him.

I really don't think I fully realized that I'm this way until the summer before I led the Made to Crave study and was captured by the following phrase:

We are taught to remain in God’s love so that we won’t tie our happy to anything but God. So our joy will be complete. Complete. As in not lacking anything. Complete. As in filled up to the brink with joy no matter if we are wearing our skinny jeans or not. Complete. As in satisfied with a fullness we can’t get any other way. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be to live as a complete person?

And because of that, I ended up leading the study on the book of John, which you may recall is one of my favorites. In fact, I decided to make it's own label because I've made so many references to the posts about it (so now they're easier to find)! Chapter 15 is where I have remained for awhile now {see how I did that?! Funny thing is I used a DC*B song for that post, too!} because it was such huge catalyst for change in my life.

"Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

I think I've tried to do life beside the vine for a long time rather than in the vine. But it's only when I abide in the vine that I experience the peace, joy, hope, and all of the other benefits that come from abiding in Jesus. But it's not just about me, because the fruit that is developed in my life ultimately brings glory to God.

I read something about fruit that described it as the delectable product of that which is created by the inner life of the vine. When I'm not in Him, I tend to seek hope, joy, peace, or whatever it is that I think I need, when I really just need Him. He will give the hope (or whatever it is that I'm seeking) that can only be found in Him anyways. I can read every verse out there that talks about joy and still not find it. But the true, lasting, not dependent upon circumstance joy can only be found in Him. When I find Him, when I'm in Him, I find joy. The same goes for hope, the same goes for peace, the same goes for love, etc. In seeking Him, we find Him.

And He is even better than the byproduct (or fruit). ♥

Amy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Albuquerque"

(by Neil Young)



I was looking through old drafts that I never finished and discovered that I never told y'all about my trip to New Mexico with Laurien!! Though it was a year and a half ago (I think I've got you beat, Brooke), it's still worth blogging about! So here goes...

I don't remember how it came about, but one day Laurien suggested that I go to New Mexico with her to visit her family. She had always said that I remind her of her Aunt Georgia, so she knew we would get along. We both had Southwest points, so we decided to go for it! We flew out on a Wednesday morning...



And arrived early in the afternoon. She held the yarn while I finger-knitted the scarf below:


We were given a warm welcome with chips, dip, and cookies. Laurien's cousin, aunt, and uncle are all great at cooking, and we got to enjoy the results throughout our visit. We enjoyed delicious bread, green chile chicken soup, pancakes, and so much other stuff. I completely failed to take pictures with Georgia and her family, though. I have no idea what I was thinking! I promise they really do exist, though.

We rented a car for the first couple of days, because we wanted to explore a little and didn't want to impose on the family. Our first full day was spent in Santa Fe...





We didn't really have an agenda. We walked through the quaint little town, stopping in shops as they appealed to us and enjoying the beautiful weather. Like me, Laurien prefers to eat at local places that we can't visit at home. She, also like me, doesn't eat a lot. So it worked out perfectly for us to share most of our meals!


We spent quite a bit of time just sitting in the town square after lunch. There was a possibly homeless guy dressed in a head-to-toe fur ensemble who warned us about Big Brother or something, "There's a camera up there, and you're being watched by a thousand people." We still talk about that to this day!

We wanted to go up the mountain before leaving Santa Fe, but we had a bit of trouble. The signs were a bit confusing. We kept thinking we were on the road to the mountain, but then we'd find ourselves going the complete opposite direction. Then, after we had taken the road that was clearly marked and had been going up for awhile, we found ourselves going down without having reached the top. At times were were quite confused and kept asking each other, "Are we going up or going down?" We stopped a couple of times along the way, just in case we really were on our way down!


We finally came upon a higher spot with an amazing view, though pictures don't do it justice!


Neil had told me about the place where we had dinner before heading back to Albuquerque. We sent him this selfie! :)

Both of our phones were dying on our drive home, and neither of us had brought a car charger. This was the night that Cody had a track meet, neither of his parents were there, and he got severely dehydrated. Fortunately I was able to get his texts and phone call near the beginning of the meet and had arrived back at Georgia's and had partially charged my phone before the call from the trainer. My stomach still churns when I imagine the scene. But it taught him to hydrate well, and he hasn't ever felt like that since!

Back to the trip...we spent Friday exploring Albuquerque! We found a place that serves peanut butter lattes and mochas! What a mouthful of joy!!


Most of the places we ate had been recommended by someone, but we took a risk on lunch. The food was as good as the name of the soup! ü


Since the weekend was upon us, and all of Georgia's family was home, we returned the rental car that afternoon. It worked out really nicely because Gary happened to work nearby and was able to pick us up. We spent the rest of our time hanging out with their family. Their oldest son and his wife came over for dinner and The Walking Dead. We enjoyed delicious Mexican Food that was a little different from our usual Tex-Mex, and I rediscovered my love for green chiles! We watched some March Madness, and Laurien and Eli played with toys from their childhood...


We also went to some antique shops before going to church on Saturday night...


Our trip home was pretty uneventful. Laurien and I had a funny discussion about introverts vs. extroverts at the airport. I got some coffee while we waited for our flight, and she was laughing at me when I got back to our seats. She had witnessed me talking to a couple of men while I waited for my coffee, which is something she wouldn't have done. I said, "Well, you were curious about the matching clothes, weren't you?" There was a large group of college guys in Hawaiian shirts, and all of the introverts were probably wondering why. People like me aren't afraid to ask, so I discovered that they're a baseball team whose coach used to live in Hawaii. Curiosity satisfied. ü

Anyways, we had a really great trip, and I would love to do it again! We traveled well together, shared food well, and were perfectly content to do activity or just sit and chill. It was pretty perfect. Georgia and her family treated me like one of their own, and I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to spend time with them!

Amy