Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Challenge: Day 30

Day 30 Prompt: React to this term - Letting Go.

I don't consider myself a "copy-cat" but as I was reading the blog posts that have been posted recently from my blogger friends, I just happened to come across this phrase. I have been trying to find the right words for today's post and that phrase just fit. So, I am using it too. Crystal, I hope you don't mind.

My last post created a lot of emotion and I did lots of thinking and praying. I want to let all of you know that just a few short days after my post, I had that conversation with my Dad. I asked him to meet me at my house one evening so that we could talk. Turns out - my emotions really had been getting the best of me and letting my worries grow greater than they should have been. My Dad really wants a relationship with me as well and he told me to ALWAYS call when I needed him - even if I had to call kicking and screaming at him for something. We were both able to talk though some concerns we had as well as have a bit of laughter and genuine conversation. After about 2 hours, 12 misquito bites, and J-Man worrying the tar out of us, we finally ended on a good note and decided to both do what we could to continue to make our relationship work.

In the midst of the anxiety I was having as the days, hours, and moments led up to our conversation, I had a lot of prayer. I just wanted God to give me the right words to say. I didn't want to make my Dad upset, but I also wanted to make sure that I said what I needed to say - still respecting the fact that he is my Dad. I, by no means, wanted to hurt him or make him upset so chosing my words wisely was very important to me. Turns out, as it always does, God was right there with us. He allowed us to open up with each other and neither of us were torn down by words.

I am so thankful that I took the step to call him over to the house. I am thankful that I have a God that both of us can turn to in everything in life. I am thankful that I let go of my own emotions and worries and let God oversee the situation. I am thankful for my Daddy and love him very much.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Challenge: Day 18

Prompt for May 18th: Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt.

Sometimes transparency is a good thing. I don't do this often - become transparent in my writing, but for a few days (when I realized what today's prompt was), I contemplated opening my heart. Digging deep for a not so fond memory. Pouring out all my emotion on to this post. If you are reading this, then I have crossed that bridge. I have decided to post it. Please be careful when you read it. I have decided to shed a new light on a piece of my childhood, that to this day is tender.

I don't remember the day of the week or really what month it was, I just remember it was dark. I was in the seventh grade, my brother in the fourth (I think). Mom and Dad wanted to talk. We all sat in their room and the conversation started. I am not sure who spoke first, but they both said these words... "We love you both..." "This is not happening because either one of you did something..." "We have decided to separate."

In that first instant of shock, I am not sure what I said, if anything. I did a lot of thinking though. How could they do this to us? This was not my plan for our family. I didn't know there was anything wrong. Separate? Who is leaving? Where will Daddy stay?

Most of these questions were answered for us in the progression of the conversation. Tears were shed. My home was now going to be "broken". I vividly remember going to school the next day and sharing with my very best friend what was happening. Hoping that I was in a dream. Hoping that they could mend fences.

They didn't. However, for the sake of me and my brother, they did promise to remain friends and on good terms. They would not make this a huge battle between the both of them - the repercussions of that seemed to be much harsher.

My daddy moved out and then we began living at 2 houses. Mom's house during the week and Daddy's every other weekend. I remember really cherishing the times that I had with my Dad. Riding in his Jeep with the top down on warm summer afternoons. Smelling the leaves burning in the evenings. Going fishing in a friends pond. Cutting the grass and washing the Jeep. Staying in his two story mobile home that only had one step (it was in the door way of the kitchen and living room). That was a big joke between the three of us. Moments that I will cherish forever.

As time moved on, the relationship between my dad and I gained some distance. My dad remarried shortly after my parents' divorce was final and I gained a step-mom and brother. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderful people. I love them both, but it was a hard adjustment. I am not sure when it happened, but we eventually stopped going to dad's every other weekend, which made the distance in our relationship that much wider.

As I type this, I never realized how much it hurts to say Daddy. I know that man loves me more that life itself and would give his own life for me but I wish so badly that our relationship was so much better. Much deeper that him just being my "father". That innocent Daddy/Daughter relationship. Not one filled with pain, hurt, distance, or separation. 

Do I blame my dad? No, I don't think so. I just miss him. I want to be able to talk to him like I talk to my mom. Yell and scream and cry with him when things aren't going right, like I do with my mom. Have light hearted talks or deep discussions about scripture, like I do with my mom. I don't want to have to crave his attention anymore. Cry myself to sleep because I just want a hug from my Daddy.

The day will come, very soon, when I will sit down with him and talk. I want to talk all of this out. Tell him that I forgive him. This day should have already come but one trait that he passed to me is the fear of confrontation and wanting to make sure every. single. word. is right before I say it.

Daddy, if you are reading this, I love you. The time will come when I am totally ready to talk and I will let you know when that time is. Typing all of this is helping. Just be patient with me.

Mom, I love you too.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Throw-Back Thursday

Yes, I am posting this on Friday and yes, I am going to try and back-date it to yesterday. I wanted to work on this last night but sleep won. I hope you will understand. On this throw-back Thursday, I didn't have to look very far back to get a picture. You see, last week was extremely busy for me and I hate that I have gotten so far behind in my blogging as well as my Everyday in May blog challenge. So, I am going to just throw us back to last Thursday - May 9th.

On that day, the prompt for the Everyday in May blog challenge was: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words). Below is my photo:

You see, on this lovely day in May, I not only celebrated my 31st birthday, I also flew home from Pittsburgh, PA after a three and a half day work venture. The picture you see here is my view from the lovely airplane I was on as we were "parking" at home. It was so nice to be on the ground again. Nice to say, "We're here!". Definitely nice to say I was going to see Daddy J and J-Man in just another short hour. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and seeing my hubby and son for the first time after 3 1/2 days was joyous. Bocephus was pretty excited too.

The trip for work was nice. It was the first time I  had ever been to Pittsburgh. Eventhough we didn't do a lot of site seeing, I learned a lot about the city in coversations with people at the office. I was able to meet people face to face that I had met over the phone months ago and I was able to spend time with my direct co-workers and learn more about them. Oh, and I worked some too. I will say that I never realized that Pittsburgh was such a sports nation. Sports was the topic of almost every conversation. It was fun listening to others bicker about who was going to win the hockey game and then the next day -- who actually one. Definitely a different culture up there.

Oh, and did I mention it was my birthday last Thursday? If you are in the Pittsburgh area or are planning to travel there, please make sure you visit Oakmont Bakery! Can you just say, "Wow"? For our team meeting Friday morning, we had donuts and muffins from there and I tell ya, I don't think I would ever go back to Dunkin or Krispe Kreme if I was near this place! Oh, and for my birthday, I was presented with one of these lovely cookie cupcakes...

That bad boy was to die for! It was even filled with the cookie cream frosting. My team sang Happy Birthday to me and I even blew out a candle that was flameless. After arriving home, Daddy J took me and J-Man to my favorite restaraunt -- Outback and then we came home to a bunch of my family to have ice cream cake. It was a nice day and I am glad that I was able to make it home for a good part of the day to spend my birthday with my family.

Monday, May 13, 2013


*Excuse the blurriness of this photo.*
This is the only picture we took on our recent trip to Washington DC that I haven't shown you. Of course it is not a picture of something too exciting, you know, like a monument or flowers or even a prominent building. However, at the time, I told Daddy J to take it because it was kind of humorous. I mean really, who uses tape to hold their car together. Daddy J's comment to me was, "That screams no insurance." In that moment we had a few giggles but the blogger in me made my mind explore.

A few days after the trip, I was looking back at all of the pictures and came across this one again. My giggles slowed and I just thought, "How often do we try to fix things on our own, without the proper tools, or directions, or maybe without even asking for help."

There are many times in life where things come up and we try to juggle solutions on our own. Because we want a solution on our time or we think we know what is best, we try to fix our issues. However, we should never try to tackle these burdens alone. Come on guys (and gals too), face it - sometimes we just need to cry out for help. We need to make sure the absolute best solution is put into place. It is okay to cry out to God. He wants to help us. 

In 2 Chronicles 14, Asa was the ruler over Judah at this time. In the midst of trouble when Zerah (the Ethiopian) came out to battle against Judah, Asa had this prayer:
"And Asa cried to the Lord his God, 'O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.'" 2 Chronicles 14:11
After reading further, you will find that God does step in to help and He was able to defeat the Ethiopians. He is our helper - whether the problem is as small as healing you from your common cold or as big as providing a miracle to a family member who may be in the final stages of cancer.

I don't know what the person's situation was regarding the tape on the car - maybe they were just waiting for a body shop to have the time to work on it. However, whatever the case may have been, I am kinda glad I saw it. It has really made me stop to think about what I do when I need help. I will leave you with Psalm 121.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." Psalm 121:1-8 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another Day

I hate being gone for so long. My postings are becoming back-logged in my mind and they are going to get lost if I don't hurry up and get them down. However, it is late... again tonight. My mind is slowing down and my eyes are weak and heavy. Daddy J will be home in a few minutes and I am ready to rest. So, another day will pass without a written word. A written one that I want so badly to offer to all of you - my readers. But, there is tomorrow. I am so looking forward to making sure that I update then. I just need to enjoy the last hour of my Mother's Day with rest and relaxation. Neither of which I got any of today, and that is okay.

To end this evening, I will leave you with a beautiful picture I took today. Enjoy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Challenge: Day 6

The prompt: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?

Child of the King. Wife. Mommy to one boy. Owner of a precious Boxer. Daughter of 3. Sister to 2. Sister-in-law to 4. Daughter-in-law to 2. Blogger. Basic photographer. Sunday School teacher. Floutist. Lover of all things fall. Worshipper. Friend. Quiet. Singer in my heart. Aunt. Cousin. Niece. Granddaughter. Mentor. Example. Accountable. Blog reader. Smile.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Challenge: Day 5

May 5th prompt: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member.

This is a tough prompt. I follow lots of blogs. I enjoy reading about Kristin, Kelly, Caroline, as well as The Morris Family (just to name a few). I've found new-to-me blogs that I am begining to love as well at What Makes Savanah Smile, Next to Heaven, and Team Fuest. I also follow a couple of bloggers that I know personally (Mrs. Thurston and Courteney). However, to pinpoint my love and devotion for one of the many blogs that I follow is such a daunting task!

So, I will kind of go from here... There is one blog that I look forward to new posts on my feed whenever I sign on. That would be Jennifer at Seasons and Stories. There are a few reasons why.

1) We share the same name. Oh, just kidding. Yes, I think it is cool that we have the same name, but that is definitely not the real reason why I love reading her blog. There are many other Jennifers in this world!

2) She keeps it real. Even though I don't know her personally, I find that through her blog she tells it like it is - no matter what it is. I have learned that she does have a past of hurt, resentment, as well as deep wounds. However, all of those things have made her who she is today. She has made strides to conquer those issues and looks to have come out on top. She shines for those reasons!

3) From what I know of Jennifer, she is beautiful inside and out. She loves God, all three of her boys (2 of them are much littler than the third) and is loving life. I have learned that she has struggled with her weight but she is daily making great strides to conquer that as well. I wish that I could make myself climb on that wagon with her.

4) And... last but not least, she is a wonderful writer. She has a God-given talent with her writing and I believe that she truly loves to write. She is able to put everything into words just right and they seem to flow perfectly - into exactly how she wanted.

Jennifer, if you are reading this, thank you for your words. Thank you for sharing your life with the world. You are an amazing woman from what I know about you (and I only know a small sliver). Your boys are just precious. Oh, and I think you should consider the whole staging venture. It looks like you would be GREAT at it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Challenge: Day 4

Day 4: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it.

I am not one of those people that remembers quotes very well. I watch a movie or read a book for the story, not to memorize the lines. This prompt has been kind of tough for me. I do have a phrase that I have typed up and posted on my cubicle at work. 

"God didn't complete everything in one day, why do I think I can?"

I don't know where the quote comes from, I am not even sure where I found it. However, it is a constant reminder to slow down. It is the quality of things that I do that matter, not the quantity. Yes, the quote is more applicable at work, but is good to keep it on my  mind at home. No, all the laundry may not get done in one day, but if I spent an extra hour with Daddy J or J-Man, then I feel accomplished. I should just slow down sometime and not always feel like I have ninety-million things to do in one day. Even though I probably do, I try to remember to relax and do what I can and what is most important for that day.

The Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 was meant for Friday, May 3rd and I know that I am a little late, but the rules said I could be. I had the post kind of written out in my head and a little on paper all day but just never got the chance to type it up. So, here goes.. and if you are wondering, day 4 is coming at'cha next.

The prompt: Things that make you uncomfortable.

I felt the best way to make this in to a post was to just list the items out. I just didn't seem to flow very well in a paragraph form - not that ANY of you care. So, let's just get to it.

1) A bathing suit - and. every. thing. about. it! I am most uncomfortable in that moment when you get to the side of the public pool and have to take your cover-up off. Every one there just saw you walk in. They saw you walk to an open chair. They saw you set your things down. And now... they are going to strip down to basically your undies. Yes, I know they aren't undies -- but they might as well be on some. I hate the all-eyes-on-me stares. Especially since I think I look absolutely horrible in a bathing suit.

2) Any form of confrontation. I think that speaks for itself. I think it all boils down to the fact that I worry too much about what others think of me and I don't want to upset anyone. I wish that I could speak my mind just a little easier sometimes, but I guess that is just what makes me, me. If I have to do the confronting, I get all clammy and very anxious and there have been some times where I've gotten so emotional that I have cried. Never a good thing when you are trying to explain yourself.

3) Since I tend to be an introverted person, meeting new people tends to make me uncomfortable. Again, the thoughts of "what do they think about me" always pop in my mind. I have to meet some new co-workers this week. Wish me luck!

4) Hugs. No, no... not hugs from my immediate family - they are ALWAYS accepted. However, its those hugs from people that maybe I have met one time. Or the ones from distant family that I really don't know all that well. I have had to learn to get better about this because my husband's family is very hug-friendly. I guess I just have those moments when I cling to my own personal space and I really don't want anyone else near it. Especially if you are a super-duper hugger and love to hug a stranger... not me.

5) Snakes and Spiders. Enough said, right? EWE!

6) Obnoxious dinner party at a restaurant. It never fails when we go out to dinner with a certain family (that will remain nameless), they have to complain about something. Whether it be the server not filling their drinks fast enough, the dinner they just ate costs way more than it should (when they knew the cost of it while looking at the menu), or there was something wrong with the way their food was prepared. Oh, and they are never discreet about it. They can't just vent to us at the table, they have to speak loud enough for everyone to hear - except for the server. If he or she were to ask if everything was okay, lips are sealed. Zipped shut to the point you would think they were mute. Can I crawl under the table?

7) Last but not least - visiting the gynecologist. I think this makes every woman uncomfortable. If it doesn't for you, GO YOU! I know that everyone cannot have that 8:00 am appointment right after our showers, but I sure try to go pretty close to that. Oh, and those nice little paper shirts that we have to wear. Just lovely. My doctor's office always feels like the artic and that seems to make everything that much worse. However, when the 15 or so minutes are over, you have some relief knowing that you have another whole year before you have to go there again...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Challenge: Day 2

The prompt: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you'd like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic).

This prompt has been a struggle for me all day - hence the reason why it is almost 10pm and I am finally getting around to sitting down at the computer to type this. There are a lot of things that I feel like I am good at but most of them would not make easy blog posts, i.e. cake making/decorating, flute playing, eating... I am not even sure what I am about to type will come out like I want it to, but hopefully the words will continue to just spill out through my fingers.

Worship is one thing that I love to do and try to do well. As you can see from many of my most recent posts, I am a Christian and love my Lord and Savior. I also enjoy worshipping Him for all that He is in His greatness. There are so many different ways that worship can be done but I am going to provide some basic ways that I worship and reflect on my God.

**I do have just one small disclosure before presenting these ways of worship. Before anyone can experience true acts of worship, they must have taken the steps to accept God's ultimate gift of salvation and eternal life. If you have any questions about how to accept this gift, please feel free to email me.**
Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! Psalm 95:6 (ESV)
I believe that worship must begin with prayer. Prayer is a form of worship, but praying to ask God to open your heart to a time of worship will help you obtain the most from your worship time and truly show God how much you honor, love, and praise Him.

After prayer for an open heart, there are so many different ways that worship can be bestowed. Often times, I find that worship through music or song is most moving for me, but that may be different for someone else. Playing a simple hymn on my flute, singing a worship chorus, or listening to a few songs of praise on the radio all are ways that I find myself in the deepest form of worship. Obviously knowing the words of the songs are crutial so that I can lift those words to the Lord. If I am playing my flute, I find myself singing the words to the Lord in my mind.

Another form of worship is through scripture. Reading through verses of praise and adoration allow me to worship. The book of Psalm has several verses of praise. The few final verses of the book of Job also present words of praise. Through research of this topic, I found another reference around worship.
"But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24 (ESV)
These references are only but a speckle of examples that are presented in scripture about worship. The Bible is full of scripture that provides words of worship to our Heavenly Father. 
Another form of worship is through conversation with others. Telling others about the blessings that God has provided to you. Giving the gospel message to the lost. Speaking on the love, joy, and hope that God has provided you and can provide to others.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of ways of worship. As I have been typing, I have thought of other ways such as tithing, participating in ordinances of the church including the Lord's Supper. Worship is very important in the life of a believer. Christ ultimately desires a personal relationship with Him and wants us to love Him as he has loved us. One way to keep that relationsip close is through the act of worship.

Are there other ways that you enjoy worship?

Our Nation

On this National Day of Prayer, there are so many words of praise that I have been lifting up to the Lord. He is awesome. He is great, mighty and just. His ways are perfect and his blessings for you and me are more than I could have ever imagined.  His guidance through the daily events of life is freely provided. It is humbling to know and recount the life Jesus lived and His sacrifice for all of us. We are so not worthy!
Through all of this praise, though, is the constant and earnest prayer for our nation – the United States of America. What trouble we are in! We have turned our backs on God and Satan is in the midst of a hay day. How did we get so far to the left – so far in sin? How have we become so distant from the God that our forefathers founded this nation upon – the God that just wants us to keep His commandments and desires the most personal relationship with each one of us? Daily I hear of current attempts to belittle or take away that religious faith called Christianity in all aspects of this nation. Most recently – a move to court marshal any military personnel who profess to have a Christian faith.  
It burdens my heart deeply to see the actions taken by people of all walks of life in this nation.  Political leaders, religious leaders,  Hollywood,  the ordinary person whom you may call your neighbor or even a close family member are all taking steps away from where this country should be heading. We, as Christians, need to take a stronger stand. We need to bow down on our knees daily and cry out to God about this nation. Request His help.  Help that only He can provide.
I love being able to call America my home. I am grateful for everything God has blessed me and my family with. However, my heart aches for those who could care less for these same blessings; those who would rather claim the wrath of God than to be on His side. I, honestly, am appalled that those same people are bringing so many others down with them – forcing such immoral ideas into everyone’s lives. We need to stand up and love those that are hurting without God. Love them just as God loves each and every one of us as Christians.
I hope you will take a few moments to lift up a prayer for our hurting nation today. Tomorrow. Every day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Challenge: Day 1

It begins. The challenge that I spoke about here.

Day 1: The story of your life in 250 words or less (or one paragraph... no one will be counting your words, probably). Here goes:

I was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina in May 1982. I was born as an only child but just after a quick 23 months, I was presented with a sibling – a brother. I will never forget my mom recounting the story of when she was changing his diaper one day and he peed all over the place and I told her to “make him do it again”.
Fast forward some years – I became a child of God in the early 90s. I treasure the relationship that I have with my Lord and Savior.
My parents were divorced when I was in the seventh grade. Yes, that time was challenging but I am thankful that my parents have remained friends as things could have definitely been worse.
It was the eighth grade when I started stalking my future husband – a story for another day.
Through high school, I followed the academic plan that would get me to college. I marched the flute in the marching band and traveled to New York City and Orlando for band trips. I attended college in Greensboro, NC and moved back to my hometown after graduation.
My future husband finally realized we were “meant to be” in our senior year of high school. We dated for 5 years and married in 2004 and received our precious Boxer in 2005. We built our first house in 2006 (second one in 2012) and had our first child in 2009. Life is grand! … DONE!