Backstreet Boys, Bad Hair and Bad Teeth or More Commonly Known as Middle School

I think the middle school years were three of the longest years of my life.  I look back at them and think bless your little heart Emily.  Most of my middle school years I have tried to block out.  I really have no desire to relive those years.   I am quite positive that no one really wants to relive those years.  I would love to find 5 people who would say that they loved middle school, okay maybe just 1.  I would be shocked if I found many people who loved their time in middle school or junior high as my parents so lovingly refer to it.  

I think the only thing I miss about middle school was the Backstreet Boys.  I definitely do not miss the awkward dances where the boys stood on one side of the room and the girls on the other.  Everyone loves the images of the slow dance in middle school.  I mean, so awkward.  You have your hands on the other persons should why you sway to the music with your feet firmly planted in the same position.  You sway to the soothing sounds of Crazy by K-Ci & JoJo.  Go on and try to pretend like you are not playing that song in your head right now.  It’s okay to admit that.  

I take these memories of middle school and try to imagine myself in the world that our Middle School Small Group is in.  I can’t.  Every week I sit in a classroom with about 15-20 of them and my heart breaks for them.  I watch them try and fit in.  I watch them try to figure things about themselves and it makes my heart ache for them.  The world in which they live is so different than the one I was in at their age.  They are immersed in a world of social media.  This world has so captured them.  It is scary and exciting at the same time.  Lucky for them it eliminates the awkward phone calls of when a boy calls you on your land line.  Oh wait, they don’t know what that is.  They post on Instagram, text, and take selfies more than anyone I know.  They are screaming for attention but struggle with what to do with that attention.  I wish I knew what to say to them at times.  

Most Sundays I look at them and want to tell them it gets better.  This stage of life does not last that long.  I want to tell their parents to endure, it gets better.  I want to tell myself they need you.  They need someone who will listen to them, someone who will encourage them and most importantly someone who will point them to the person who knows exactly how they feel. 

I want them to know Jesus.  I do not want them to simply have the faith of their Mom and Dad, 
but their own.  I want them to develop a love for Christ, His Word and His Church.  He is all they need.  In the midst of this crazy world that is around them, a world that changes on a daily basis, 
I want them to know that He is it.  He is enough.  Jesus is standing right there waiting 
for them and for all of us.  

I love my middle school students.  I do.  There are days that middle school ministry is hard, but I pray that we don’t give up on them.  I pray that we fight for them and fight for the futures that they have.  I pray that we teach them to walk boldly and passionately for the Gospel.

Football, Food, and more Food

Everyone knows that most people attend Super Bowl parties for two reasons and football is not one of them.  Everyone wants the food and the commercials.  In our house, we actually like the football part of the Super Bowl Party but that’s probably not the case for most people.  

We are hosting our Middle School Small Group this year for our party and we told them to bring a drink and a snack.  We had to tell them a few times that the snacks they bring will be dinner, so to make sure they bring something that would be a good dinner snack.  

I do enjoy watching the game, but there is nothing quite like good football snacks.  I mean, I even break out the Razorback Jell-O Jigglers during my fall football Saturday’s.  I’ve been trying to think of what snacks I wanted for the big game on Sunday.  I’m open to some suggestions.

Here’s what I’m thinking so far…
Andrea’s Pulled Pork.  I found this recipe from my favorite blog right now, the Mix and Match Mama.  Seriously, I’m loving both of her blogs.  One is her family blog and the other is dedicated to all things food.  She lives in Texas, so you know her food is delish!  I think we will shred the meat up and serve it with some BBQ sauce and some Hawaiian rolls.  Yummy!

Anyone who knows Greg and I know that we both love CHEESE.  It’s an addiction in our house.  That is one thing that would be extremely hard for us to cut out of our diet.  We could try, but it would end badly.  I found a recipe for a Loaded Baked Potato Dip.  It’s two of my favorite things in one, baked potato and cheese.  It’s basically a giant cheese ball that tastes like a baked potato.  I think we might have to give it a try and of course serve it with some Town House crackers.  

For my final recipe, I think I have to do something sweet.  This is where I’m stuck.  I love all things sweet and yes I crave sweets.  It is definitely a girl thing.  Greg never has a craving for sweets.  It makes my heart sad and jealous at the same time.  Silly boys.  I found a few options, but I’m not sold on any of them.  What are your favorite football sweet treats?  

You are probably thinking that I don’t need to make three things for the game if our students are bringing snacks too, but I do.  It’s in my blood, I love hosting and I love making fun treats.  Three is good for me.  Greg is probably thinking I’ll do about 8 things like I did for Thanksgiving.  Three is keeping it “simple” if you can call it that.  

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It is Super Bowl week and although Greg's team is not playing, we are definitely cheering against a team this Sunday.  Anyone who knows Greg, knows who we are cheering against. 

It's no secret that Greg and I love sports.  We have ESPN on at our house almost every night.  I'm typing this with the Duke game on as we speak.  Greg is a fan of all things New York.  He loves his Yankees, Jets and Knicks.  I love all things Razorbacks, Braves, and Thunder.  The only team we both cheer for is Duke.  We both really enjoy watching Duke Basketball.  

Baseball is both of our favorites.  Our goal is to go to every single MLB park in the country.  We've done a couple together and several on our own.  

Greg in his Yankees garbage and me in all of my OKC Thunder glory.

Greg and his Knicks who can't seem to win many games this year.  He wishes for the Knicks of the early 90's. 

A throwback pic from our very first MLB game together.  Go Braves!

Woo Pig Sooie with some great friends!

Let's go Duke.  Congrats to Coach K on the 1000 wins!

She Reads Truth

In the last two months, I’ve grown to love this app called She Reads Truth.  I heard about them from following Sophie Hudson on Twitter, aka BooMama.  She posted about how she received their Advent study.  I knew that most things that BooMama posts have been things that I’ve really enjoyed so I gave She Reads Truth a try.  I checked out their website and learned that they were in the first week of their Advent study so I jumped in.  I really enjoyed reading along with women all over the country and studying the same thing.  I also loved what the women were writing about. 

In January they launched two plans and I knew I wanted to take part in them.  One was their John study and the other was their Bible in a Year plan.  John is easily one of my favorite books in all of Scripture so I was giddy when I knew that was going to be one of the first studies I did fully with She Reads Truth. 

For me, their plan to read through the Bible in a year has been my favorite.  The structure that they have created seems to work really well for me.  6 days a week you read some Old Testament and some New Testament.  On Sundays everyone reads a few Psalms. 
Currently they are studying a few Hymns and soon start Esther.  I’ve decided during that time to go back and check out some of their older plans.  I’m about to start their Open Your Bible plan while still doing the Bible in a Year reading plan. 

They have multiple ways to access their studies.  On the site, all of their studies are free.  They also have an app for Apple devices.  I use the app for the Bible in a Year plan.  Some of their other plans are free on the app and some of them have a small fee.

I would love to hear from some of you as to what Bible study plans you use.  If you do use She Reads Truth, what are some of your favorite past studies?  There are so many great plans and resources out there now. 

Blizzard of 2015

Who am I kidding?  I would really like some snow about now.  NO, I do not want 2 feet but a few inches would be nice.  I did see that my car had a little snow this morning.

I will honor the #blizzardof2015 with looking back at some old snow day pictures.  Maybe I'll watch some Al Roker and live vicariously through him.

Poor little Baj, he's covered in snow.

I do believe that Raley Chapel is beautiful with snow.

I'm channeling my inner Narnia.  

God Bless OBU

On my Timehop yesterday was a note about how it had been 5 years since I started my final semester of college.  It came up on our drive to church and I sat in the car in shock.  Has it really been almost 5 years since I graduated college?  I suddenly felt older. Yes, older.  I mean, I had just placed my first order for night cream.  Yikes!

Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday I put that beanie on my head as a scared/clueless freshman.  I had no idea what was about to happen.  All I knew was high school was over, my parents were 3 hours away, and I was on my own. 

Over those next 4 years a lot would change about me.  I would meet friends who would laugh with me, cry with me, and do life with me.  I had professors who challenged me to think critically and to apply my education to all aspects of life.  Every time I pull out my Synopsis of the Four Gospels, I can hear the voice of Dr. Kelly.  I am so grateful for his class on The Life of Christ that changed forever how I read the Gospels and how I think about the life and ministry of Jesus.  

OBU, you represent four incredible years in my life.