Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm An Open Book....

So when a faithful reader (who I’ve never met in person…all the more fun!) e-mailed me and asked me to share my testimony with him, I first suffered a brief flashback to my freshman year at Mercer University where my fellow students often wanted to witness and testify to me. One such student even sang a gospel song to me from the point of view of an aborted fetus in the middle of the cafeteria. Needless to say I was incredibly put off by their attempts. Fortunately my faithful reader clarified what he meant by testimony (“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth…”) in another sentence when he asked me to share how Christ came into my life. I am very happy to do so and appreciate his interest, although I warn you all that I don’t know how to shorten stories very well.

I always knew that I needed to “figure the God thing” out before I got married as I felt like it would be a mistake not to do so, but I didn’t want to wrestle with it in college as I knew I wasn’t going to quit drinking or having sex or doing other things that I knew were considered sins, and I didn't want to put forth the effort I knew it would require. I attended a very intellectual church (about 10 professors and a few students) comprised of Christians, but I didn’t really worship or know what I believed.

The year after I graduated from college, I taught elementary school and became friends with Lori, another first year teacher. She would occasionally invite me to7:22 (a Tuesday night service at a church over an hour away), and I would always decline. Finally she pulled one of those tricks on me that sneaky people do when they want you to do something you don’t want to do. She asked me what I was doing that evening, and I responded that I had an errand to run and nothing else. Gotcha! “Well great, you can ride with me to 7:22.”

7:22 is held at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, and I suspect there were 2000-3000 people in attendance that evening. There was a rock band. It was total culture shock as I grew up in a very quiet (non-joyful seeming) Presbyterian church. Seriously it was like a concert, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if joints were being passed down the rows. Out of sheer amazement and psychological curiosity, I went back a few more times. I ended up moving to Buckhead to take a job as a nanny, and I continued going to 7:22 some. I would attend social events with NPCC, but I still had never attended church there. I finally went, and although I didn’t really believe, I wanted to believe and have a relationship with God. I kept putting myself in the right places, and I guess God just kept pulling at me. And finally as my then-boyfriend pointed out, I was going to have to take a leap of faith. I wasn’t going to get an e-mail confirmation or be able to hold something in my hand that served as evidence that God existed and that His son had died for me. So I did take that leap of faith, and my life has been incredibly different because of it.

Fortunately I can now tell people all of the amazing ways God has worked and is working in my life. I am doing (and not doing) things that I never would have imagined. And God has blessed me beyond my imagination. I’m still really new at this “God stuff” and have so much to learn, but fortunately God continues to convict me in various areas of my life and has blessed me with some unbelievable friends. For example, the other day I was talking to my friend Jason about the challenges I've experienced as I’m trying to date in a Christian way rather than a worldly way (probably one of the most difficult struggles I’ve faced), and after a cookout Saturday night, Jason gave me two books he had picked up for my boyfriend and me about this very issue. How awesome is that? I could easily write so much more, but unfortunately my blog does not have a billable number.

p.s. I leave for Cabo in three days!! So excited!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lets Take a Vote....

Which of the Girl Scout cookies is your favorite? A recent e-mail debate with Donatello prompted me to pose this query to my faithful readers. I’ll give a brief overview of the cookies I consider to be the top competitors.

Tagalongs: Perfection. They are just the right combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and cookie. This perfect combination can be consumed in mass quantities with little chewing effort. To inhale more than five at a time, milk is required. I discovered these in law school, and I would sometimes eat a box a day rather than meals. I recently consumed 25 Tags in a 40 hour period. Delicious.

Samoas: Very good. These were my favorites for years (until I discovered Tags). They are unique, and you cannot really find any cookie/candy like them. Unfortunately they have one enormous drawback. Mass Samoa consumption causes jaw discomfort. Eating more than three to five at any given time is not advised. Some may consider this a plus as it makes it easier (almost mandatory) to savor these once-a-year treats. I am, however, of the school of thinking that if something is good, I’m gonna eat it ASAP. I’m working on overcoming this line of thinking as I know mass sugar/fat consumption is unhealthy.

Do-si-dos: Pretty good. These are made for peanut butter lovers. I like them dipped in milk. Easy to eat, and they make for a good breakfast. I am contemplating taking a box of them and dipping each cookie in chocolate to make a special treat.

Thin Mints: A lot of people love them. I’ll eat them in a pinch. The people I nannied for would buy their daughter’s required order number of cookies in the form of Thin Mints, so they had about 50 boxes in their freezer. I understand that Thin Mints freeze very well, but that only supports my claim that they are not the best kind of Girl Scout cookies. If they aren’t good enough for immediate consumption and necessitate your freezing them, are they really that wonderful?

I’m sorry, but the other kinds of Girl Scout cookies are not deserving of my review.

Please participate in my poll and settle my dispute with Donatello. May the best cookie connoisseur win.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What is it called when...?

I can’t quite put my finger on the word/phrase that I’m looking for to describe my emotional state last week.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back” comes to mind but is not exactly it.

So, I’m hoping someone else can help me remember and/or create an expression to aptly describe the way I felt because I'm sure to feel it again.

Last week was just one of those weeks. I was sorting through different things in my head (and prayers), and I had just finished responding to a personal e-mail (if I would refrain from doing this at work, I could help avoid this situation….but sitting at a computer all day means that I need some fun distractions….if nothing else, to avoid falling asleep). Writing the e-mail was kind of emotionally draining, and I had my mind in emotional mode rather than legal/work mode.

I had had a misunderstanding with a co-worker (technically a boss), and he came in my office to talk about it. It was certainly no big deal. It was just a minor misunderstanding that I wanted to clear up immediately…handling personal conflict is something I am really striving to improve upon. So as he was apologizing and we were talking, I just started crying. And crying. And I couldn’t stop. And I couldn’t really talk. I was trying to explain that my crying was not in response to our misunderstanding. Although the situation with him was stressful, it was about a 4 on the 10 point stressor scale. It was certainly not something that would normally warrant a sobbing session to the point I can’t talk in front of one of my bosses. NOT fun.

While that experience was every bit as awesome as it sounds, it really ended up being not a big deal (I had both eyeliner and concealer with me that day). Sure my co-worker thinks I’m going to kill myself because of our minor misunderstanding….seriously though, I’ve been most preoccupied with trying to determine what the word/phrase is to describe this situation.

When I visualize it I see a glass full of water (representing my emotions). When something is dropped in it, no matter how small (like a misunderstanding with a coworker), water spills out. It’s like the threshold has been met. Does anyone have any idea of how to encapsulate what I’m describing in the form of a word or phrase?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Sweetest Thing....

Last weekend on my way back from Nashville I stopped in Calhoun to visit with my family (I shared three of those aforementioned cupcakes with my nieces Alaina and Lauren and my mom). As always my time with Alaina and Lauren was delightful.

Alaina and I had a little bit of alone time in which I asked her if there was anything she would like for me to pray about for her. And with an earnestness that probably would not be believable if Alaina wasn't five years old, Alaina asked me if I would pray to God that He would always help me remember that she was there for me if I ever needed her and that I could always talk to her if I was having problems. How precious is that?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I Just Read a Fantastic Blog Entry

Since I could not express it better myself, I'm including a portion of a blog I stumbled across earlier today--a friend of a friend of a friend's blog. The blogger addressed an issue that I'm thinking about a lot, and I think he really makes some good points. Hope this stranger doesn't mind (and I don't think any laws would prevent this)!

There is a big difference between asking someone how they’re doing and actually caring about the answer.

I saw a young man in the mall once that had a T-shirt that had these words on the front "People always tell me to stop drinking.." and on the back the phrase ended with, "But no one ever asks me about my thirst." Today's culture (MEANING= The world we live in everyday! Even our lives!) is built around trying to avoid the real questions. Avoid that void, the pain, the hurt. Why can't we be more enticed to see someone’s soul? To really be in tune with someones heart?

Culture today lives for comfort and escapism and we wonder why were apathetic and indifferent. We should change our motto from "Land of the Free, to the, Land of the Numb".

We can create ourselves island paradises if we have the right supplies. (TVs, DVDs, music, espresso machines, laptops, video games, nice cars, the right relationships, the cool shoes, the high position at work or church). This was the idea Hugh Grant presented in the opening scenes of the movie, "About a Boy", the last line of that whole montage said the following," all island dwellers you often have to visit the mainland."

How often have we visited the mainland of our hearts? How often do we break out of this state of anesthesia and enter into another persons world and actually touch them?

As Brad Pitt says in Fight Club, "We're the middle children of history.... no purpose or place. We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives." We associate with this quote, with this movie, or at least I did because we feel lost in this culture that says that we live for ourselves. At least those people back when had something to fight for, to fight against, right? we are simply trying to escape reality and enjoy every fake minute of it. We are self-absorbed, living somewhere between depressed and happy and never simply content.

Turn off your TVs, your palm pilots, your cell phones, your video games, your computers for one night and face the quiet.

How does it feel?

Do you feel lonely? At a loss for what to do? Why do we always have to have something entertain us? Because it numbs us from the reality that we need something greater than ourselves. If we occupy our time then we don’t have to worry about the reality of life. That it is lonely without God, without a relationship with Christ. When life gets hard, the dating scene seems old, your children wont behave, your spouse annoys you, your job is depressing, your dog dies, whatever..turning to the numbing agents of TV, computers, cell phones, and video games feel empty don't they? They don't quite satisfy during those rough times. {As a side note- So we eventually turn to bigger self scenes, clubs, relationships, drugs, wealth and whatever else}

I'm not saying to turn into a monk and throw away all your posessions, but be aware of what culture says is important, be aware of what you turn to when you feel lonely and empty. Turn away from the thin things that this consumeristic culture has put in our lives and turn to the thick promises and security found in a relationship greater than ourselves, a relationship with Jesus.

And as a follower of Jesus the next time you bump into someone and ask them how they're

Show them the love of Christ. Crush them with love!

If you want to check out more of Jordan Ross's blog, click here

Monday, March 06, 2006

Setting a Record.....

I've been wanting to set some personal records. While I wish I had some awesome record to report, like reading the Bible every single day for a year or running a mile in seven minutes or volunteering every single week, I am instead reporting a personal record for cupcake consumption. Or rather, icing consumption. I've taken to just eating the icing off the top of cupcakes to preserve more stomach capacity for the really good part--the pure sugar icing.

I did not set out to set this record this weekend, but like many wonderful things, this was unintended. Last Tuesday I began searching on the Internet for restaurants and bakeries to visit on my trip to Nashville. I came across Darlene's Kakes (it's just OK....not exceptional, although I was impressed with the peanut butter icing which is fairly rare in bakeries). As a surprise, I decided to order a dozen for Donatello, whose sweet consumption can almost rival mine. I thought he'd especially appreciate these cupcakes since they had peanut butter icing.

Well Donatello had also decided to surprise me.....with cupcakes from the best bakery (at least when it comes to icing) ever. Party Favors in Brighton, MA makes the most delicious and sweet icing that I've ever tasted. Donatello and I discovered it several months ago when we were knocking around Brighton and decided to share a cupcake. The icing is about an inch thick if you choose the right cupcake (one with decorations such as a flower or the Cookie Monster).

Check this bakery out if you're ever up in or around Boston

When I got to the hotel room, I found a note that led me to a scavenger hunt....ending in the refrigerator with a container with five cupcakes! Exciting! I proceeded to eat the icing off of four of those over the three day weekend. I also managed to eat five or six of the cupcakes I bought Donatello (he was busy with the cookies I had brought him and real food). That brings my cupcake icing consumption to the grand total of 11. I'm not going to try to top that as it's just not healthy.

Did anyone else set any records this weekend?

As different Donatello and I are, there is one thing for sure....we both like cake! Check out our photos from a recent wedding....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My Boyfriend Looks Like a Child Molester

My boyfriend (a.k.a. Donatello....doesn't he look like the Ninja Turtle?) has taken up the habit of occasionally growing a mustache that resembles handlebars. Oddly, I don't mind (probably because normally he is, as a friend put it, a "cutie patooty"--I'm not so sure on the spelling there), although objectively he looks disgusting. Plus whenever I'm tempted by Donatello's normally good looks to be disobedient, I pull out a wallet size photo I have of him with his mustache.

In some photographs he reminds me of a television star from my childhood....Magnum P.I. Other times he reminds me of this man at the park who used to give me candy and ask me go for a ride in his car as part of our little secret. Hmm.