The Beauty of Friendship


Friendship has been on my mind a lot lately.  I love friendship and I value friendship, but I think at times we do not function with a correct understanding of friendship.  For example, according to Facebook I have 1,298 friends.  Interesting.  I looked at that number and thought how many of those 1,298 "friends" have I talked to this past month.  My guess is less than 1/3 of them.  I think social media is a great thing, it allows us to keep up with people who we do not see that often.  I get that.  

I looked up the definition of friendship and here are two of them.  
1. the state of being a friend; association as friends
2. a friendly relation or intimacy

I find that second one the most interesting.  A friendly relation or intimacy.  How well do I know my friends?  Do I know what upsets them, what makes them sad, what makes them happy?  Do I know what they struggle with and how I can better pray for them?  I have been very convicted of this lately.  I want to know my friends.  I do not just want to know the obvious things about them but the things that make them who they are.  I want to know what ways I can encourage them and be there for them.  

One of my friends asked me a question yesterday and I had never been so thankful for a text.  This friend thought she had done something to offend me.  Her text said she wanted to get together to talk and rectify the situation if there had been something that was done.  At first, I felt so bad that she would have even thought that.  She had done nothing wrong and I felt so bad that she was even questioning herself.  I then became very thankful.  I realized that lots of people would do one of two things.  Many of us might go and talk to other people about it to try and figure it out on our own or make the situation worse and others of us may just have bottled up those fears and never said anything.  

I want to thank that friend for just asking.  I'm so thankful to have friends that want to address situations when they are there and find ways to remedy those situations.  No, there was nothing wrong or an offense made but it is important that we can feel open enough with our friends to ask those tough questions. 

Oh Hey Rainy Monday

What's new?  It's Monday and it is raining.  I feel like it has rained every Monday this year.  I know that is an exaggeration but it is not too far from the truth.  Rainy Mondays typically do not motivate me too much but I'm going to try and be positive today.  I am going to try and do 5 things tonight after work...wish me luck.

1. Put up all the laundry
This is probably my least favorite thing in the world to do.  I hate putting up laundry.  I do not mind sorting laundry or actually doing laundry, but when it comes to actually putting it away I wish I had someone to do that part for me.  There is a reason why all of my laundry is clean and folded but sitting on top of the washer/dryer and that is I was much more interested in the Duke game yesterday. 
 
2. Make an Easter treat
Last month I made this yummy Peanut Butter popcorn.  I think I'll make some for Greg and I tonight with a Spring/Easter twist.  This popcorn can be made for any holiday.  Just change your sprinkle colors and M&M colors.  It is that easy and so tasty.  

3. Work on my Spring Cleaning plan
Work on my spring cleaning plan and actually starting my spring cleaning are two very different things.  I know there are certain rooms that I want to work on first, so tonight I will try to prioritize and do my best to keep the process as simple as possible.  

4. Read one chapter in my current book
Okay, I have about 3 books on my nightstand and Kindle app right now.  I will just pick one and read one chapter.  I can tell a big difference in my attitude when I read at night.  It calms me and helps me to wind down.  
 
5. Work on e-mails/posts to raise more for 4000Steps
Greg and I are still $245 away from our goal for 4000Steps.  I want to try and be more intentional to ask for some donations.  We can hit $500, I know we can.  If you want to help us, check out our fundraising page here

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone!  I for one am exhausted.  I am ready for some rest this weekend.  I'm joining in with some pretty cool Friday Favorites hosts today, Andrea and Erika.  These posts make me smile, there are so many people on the blog world and it is fun to see what's new with everyone. 





Greg and I are still trying to recover from D-Now this past weekend.  It takes me a few days and I think each year the number of days I need to recover increase.  Oh well, it is worth it.  We had a great weekend.  Our students learned a lot about what it means to be a part of the church and what the church is and does.  My sweet girls did so great.  They were all even asleep before my co-leader and I were on Saturday night.  That is a miracle!







On Tuesday, Greg and I celebrated our 3rd Anniversary.  A few weeks ago we were asked to go with some friends at church to see one of the local schools production of Mary Poppins.  We had forgotten that it was our anniversary, oops.  Oh well, we had a great time.




Who knows?  Maybe we will celebrate our anniversary with dinner out over the weekend.  That is if I'm not sleeping.  

Thursday and Friday are going to be all about trying to find some points in my bracket.  I refuse to let my Dad when our family bracket challenge.  I won't let it happen.  Go Duke!


Finally, we are getting excited about our walkathon in a few weeks.  We are taking part in the 4000Steps Walkathon on April 11th.  We are trying to raise $500 to help First Choice Pregnancy Solutions.  They help give women of our community information about unplanned pregnancies.  To me, what makes them special is they want to help these women in the midst of their unplanned pregnancy through the entire process.  It is a wonderful ministry and we are so happy to help in any way we can.  If you would like to learn more or to visit our fundraising page, click here.  I will post some more about this great ministry soon. 


Happy weekend everyone!



12 Girls and One Boy

Yes, those numbers are correct.  12 girls and one boy.  That is what our host home during D-Now looked like.  We had nine middle school girls, two leaders, one host home mom and a precious little boy.  It was beautiful chaos.  

It has taken me a few days to process but I am so thankful to have been able to be a part of D-Now at Richland Creek this past weekend.  We repeated over and over that it is the biggest thing that the students do all year and I think it is safe to say that it is easily one of the biggest things our church as a whole does all year.  There were over 260 students and small group leaders for the weekend.  That is no small undertaking.  Those numbers do not include the host homes, the drivers, those who served meals, those who led in worship, or probably the many other people behind the scenes that I do not know about.  

I think about all of those different groups of people represented and think what a perfect picture that is of the church.  The whole theme for the weekend was Ekklesia and we spent our last session with our small group talking about ways in which the students can find their place to serve.  We wanted them to think about their spiritual gifts and then find a way to use those.  Being able to see all of the volunteers who were doing just that was such a testimony to the students.  

I think a lot of times students and especially middle school students think that they are too young to serve and too young to play a vital role in the church.  That is absolutely false.  Many of them are already serving and are always looking for new ways to serve.  I think of many in my own small group who help on the preschool hall, some of them volunteer at the Special Needs Respites, some of them go out on visitation to try and invite people to come to church and share the Gospel with them, many of them volunteer at things like the Harvest Festival and the Easter Block Party.  These students encourage me.  They serve and they serve well.  

I believe this weekend has already made an impact on them.  I really think they are starting to see who the church is, what it does and how they can play a part in that.  Let's pray for these students.  Let us pray that what they learned will not just fade into a memory but would become a part of who they are and be a turning point for them as they become an active part of the local church.  


3 Years and 3 Lessons

Three years ago, I walked down an aisle in a white dress and said vows to my husband.  I entered into a covenant.  I do not take that lightly.  I know that I'm blessed to be able be a wife and to be a partner with Greg.  There are days that are harder than others, but we made a commitment and we plan to honor the Lord by remaining faithful to that commitment and to that covenant. 

Marriage has taught both of us a lot and I know that there are many more things that we will learn in the coming years.  Here are three things that I have learned so far.
 
One: I'm Selfish
Marriage brings out a lot about yourself.  I quickly learned that my decisions impact someone else and what I want may not be the best for our family.  Even today, I have to stop sometimes and tell myself that it is not about me.  I know this is a work in progress, but I pray that with each year this gets a little easier.  
 
Two: I'm Impatient
Greg is so patient.  It drives me crazy sometimes.  He is so calm and relaxed.  I wish I was like that.  He thinks so long about things and really wants to make sure we are making the right decision.  I'm thankful for the fact that he is patient when I am not. 
 
Three: I Married Up
I joked one time and said I wish I was more like Greg.  It's true though.  The way his brain works and how he processes things fascinates me.  He leads well and he loves well.  I could not imagine doing life with anyone else.  
 
Happy Anniversary Greg!  I am so excited to see what the future holds. 
 




 
 
 

Three Years and Some Perspective

Three years ago today, I was exhausted.  I had been decorating with my Mom and Mrs. Sandra all day.  I had no desire to answer any more questions.  At that point on a Friday night every bit of me wanted to say I do not care, as long as I'm married tomorrow I'll be fine.  

I have a hard time remembering a lot of details from our engagement period and the week of the wedding.  There is one thing that I remember vividly and that is what Donna Wright told me.  She basically told me that something is going to go wrong on your wedding day, probably something small.  The mission of that day for you is to get married, so if at the end of the day you and Greg are married than mission accomplished.  Even if someone catches on fire, if you are married than job well done although we hope no one catches on fire.  

We did in fact have something go wrong on our wedding day....

Someone accidentally took our ice ring for the punch.  Oh no...the dreaded problem!  I do remember that moment vividly.  My bridesmaids and I were getting ready and we hear a knock on the door.  A gentleman comes in and says to me we have a problem.  He then paused for what seemed like forever and then said someone has taken your ice ring.  Seriously, that's the problem?  I smiled and said it's okay.  

I knew we had two but that wasn't the point.  That silly ice ring was not going to ruin that day for me.  I was ready to get married.  Was I exhausted and emotional, probably so.  However, at that point we were only a few hours away from being able to start a life with my best buddy and I was over the moon happy.  I was not going to pull a Monica and freak out over something so silly like a ice ring or a missing vest.

It has been three years since and I find myself telling myself the same thing.  Things are going to happen and not go according to plan, but there is a goal in mind.  If that happens than mission accomplished.  



Friday Favorites

What a week!  How is it already time for Friday Favorites?

It's time to link up with Andrea and Erika and get this Friday party started!


It has been beautiful out this week!  I am loving these spring temperatures.  I can get used to 70 degree days with no humidity and no pollen.  I'm crossing my fingers that the pollen will delay a little more.  We will see.  Probably not.

With spring like temperatures coming, that means one thing for me.  Sandals every day!  Woohoo.  I'm excited about these cute red ones from Old Navy


Tuesday was a big day.  Southeastern hosted the Send Network.  That meant David Platt times two in one day and that evening hearing the Passion Band with Kristian Stanfill.  Greg and I had a great time and we both had a lot of notes.  We both were so glad that we made the time to go on Tuesday evening.  Plus, we were able to get the newly released (that day) Passion album.  Even So Come is their new album and we really like it.  There is a deluxe version on iTunes if you would like to splurge for a few more songs.


We had a little birthday celebration for Dr. Keathley on Wednesday which meant cupcakes in the office.  How can that be a bad thing?  We ordered cupcakes from Sweet Traditions in Wake Forest and they were so tasty.  We had their Chocolate Strawberry, Double Chocolate, Wedding Cake and Red Velvet.  Yum!  I enjoyed my Red Velvet one.

Our house also has some friendly March Madness competition going on.  Greg and I are in a competition with my parents, Wes, and Katy.  There are some funny bracket names in our competition.  Blah Kentucky, The King AKA The King, The Sizzle, Blue Steel and Duke Wins!  We will see who wins the friendly family competition.  

Have a great week everyone! 





Seamless



Over the last few weeks some of you have seen me post some about the Seamless Bible Study that is releasing soon.  This is Angie Smith's first study and I think it is great.  I am ready for women to get their hands on this great resource and great study.  

The study includes 7 sessions in the workbook and like most Lifeway studies there are video sessions that go along with it.  Angie wants people to understand the whole story of Scripture and not just the smaller stories we see in Scripture. 

I hope some of you will grab a copy and start this study with some other ladies you know and see how the Lord uses this study to help you better understand His story.  


I know this study is going to be a great resource and I am honored to be able to spread the word about Angie and her new study.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Surrender, Abide and Rest in Christ

David Platt shared in chapel on Tuesday and as always there is so much to learn from him.  We were talking afterwards and said that there are very few people who have that powerful soft spoken voice.  He talks and you listen.  His voice works in such a way that shows so much emotion but forces you to consider what is being said.  It is quite remarkable to me.

Here are a few quotes from his message...

"If you can trust Him to save you from eternal damnation, you can trust Him to lead you while on this earth."

"Unreached people groups are unreached for a reason: they are hard to reach.  All of the easy ones have already been taken."

"If there's any fear of putting a blank check on the table just remember who you're giving the check to."

"Refuse to put any limitations on where God is calling you."

"It is unacceptable that there are still people today that wake up and go to sleep without hearing the name of Jesus."

"The local church is the center of the Great Commission."

The three words that spoke so clear to me were Surrender, Abide and Rest.
SURRENDER TO CHRIST
ABIDE IN CHRIST
REST IN CHRIST

I love how the Lord knows exactly what we need to hear.  I'm sure in a room as full as chapel was that certain things stood out to others that were not the things that stood out to me.  There are many times that I feel like the person speaking is talking directly to me.  I hope and pray that these quotes above are not simply quotes, I hope that the words that the Lord spoke through David Platt would be used as an encouragement for us to do more.  There is plenty of work left and I do not want to simply sit and watch others do that work.  I want to partner with my local church and see the Gospel go forward.  I want to know the Lord deeper and strive to look more like Him each day. 

If you want to watch the entire chapel message, here you go.  All past chapel messages can be found on the Southeastern website.   



Hello Broken Bone

 

This might be the post that all of us are secretly wishing we did not have to do.  Our most embarrassing moment.

I had trouble narrowing down the field.  I mean I tripped in my own closet and broke my knee, burnt my forehead with a curling iron on picture day, I think you get the picture.  I'm not the most graceful human being.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how much I love doing D-Nows.  I think one of the most embarrassing things that has happened to me took place on a D-Now weekend.  A few of my friends went to our friend Cody's home church during our Fall Break Sophomore Year at at OBU. 

Our Saturday activity with all of the students was to go have paintball wars.  I decided being the awesome small group leader that I was, that I would just sit back and watch everyone else.  I would try to talk to some students and just hang out with them while they were waiting their turns.  Eventually, we decided to start playing catch with a football while we were finishing up.  

I am quite competitive.  I think that happens a lot when you have a brother.  Anyway, I decided that I was just as good as the boys.  Let me remind you, we were just playing CATCH not an actual game of football.  I decided to jump up in the air for the ball against a guy who was much taller and stronger than me.  We collided in the air and then fell.  He fell on me.  Everyone heard this popping noise.  Most people thought I had locked my jaw or something when I hit the ground when actually my wrist broke.  That's right, I broke my wrist because a boy fell on me.  Lovely. 

People like me are the reason why churches make you fill out a medical release form before you attend things.  It is good to have that insurance information.  A trip to urgent care, a temporary cast, and one extremely swollen wrist later I was the leader who broke her wrist.  I honestly do not think that my small group remembered anything else about me from that weekend.  It simply proves that klutzy people should not try to do things they have no business doing.   

The Lord Our God

Tomorrow night Greg and I are going to go to the Send North America Experience Tour at Southeastern.  We have had this on our calendar for months and we are both so excited.  We have known from the beginning that we would be able to hear David Platt speak and that the music would be led by the Passion Band.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that we found out that Kristian Stanfill would be coming.  That sealed the deal for us.  Of all of the Passion artists, we both really enjoy Kristian Stanfill.  

I know for me personally, there is something about the words in his songs that stirs my heart.  I love worship music and I really do love all kinds of worship music.  I can listen to Travis Cottrell for hours, followed by The Gettys, to Kristian Stanfill.  

I was listening to one of Kristian's songs tonight and was just reminded how thankful I am to be able to worship a God who knows me.  He knows me and He created me.  He loves me and fights for me.  There is something so incredibly powerful about Him.  

In listening to this song tonight, I am reminded just of who my God is.  He is the Lord.


He is ever faithful
He is never changing
He leads us
He makes promises
He keeps promises
He provides for us
He is good
He is a planner
He guides us
He is all we need

He is the Lord.  He is God.  

It's Friday Favorites!

Let's be honest...Friday Favorites are the best!  I look forward to reading all of the Friday Favorites posts all week!



I'm linking up with Erika and Narci today.  


Numero Uno


I have been posting about this all week on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  The #SeamlessBibleStudy is coming soon!  April 1st to be exact. I'm on the launch team and I am so ready to get my hands on this new Bible study by Angie Smith.  Surely you know by now that I really love Angie's stuff.  I've posted about her books in the past.  

Numero Dos 


YES!  This book has been great this week.  I've been reading a little here and there during my few free minutes here and there.  I really enjoy how Lauren will use personal stories and Scripture at the same time to try and explain what she is saying.  It is easy to read and the chapters are not that long.  Her website for the book has some great resources on it including some really cute phone lock screens.  

Numero Tres

I am having a hard time typing this because it pains me a little, but my third favorite this week is the time change.  I'm still having so much trouble getting up in the morning but the fact that it is still light out past 7:00 is absolutely glorious.  Not to mention, we have had perfect weather this week with 60s and 70s. Hello spring.  

Happy Friday!  Enjoy the sunshine and nice weather.  March Madness is beginning this week with conference tournaments and I for one am sooooo excited.  Go Duke and Go Arkansas!



Throwback Day: Nicaragua

 Happy Throwback Thursday!  I was flipping through some pictures the other day and was reminded of my first mission trip out of the country.  I was able to go with my brother and my Dad to Nicaragua.  Wes and my Dad had went the year before.  They thought they were pros.  

I remember I had two big fears about the trip...
1. I'm super picky and was afraid of beans and rice every day.  We ended up eating Tip-Top every day for lunch.  Hello fried chicken.  I think by the end of the week we were tired of it, but it was just a reminder to me all week.

2. I knew we were staying in a jungle type area and I was so afraid of bugs and mice in our room.  We had a mouse in our room every night.  He never came near us, we would hear him running around all night.  I remember being so scared wondering where he was and then my Dad told me that they had a giant snake in their room hanging from the fan.  I was instantly thankful for a mouse.  













Pink, Pearls and Chocolate



I remember that day my junior year of high school like it was yesterday.  The Lord had told me that He wanted me to serve in ministry.  I had no idea what that looked like.  I remember sitting in an office with my Pastor and his wife and asking them.  The calling was clear and that was to serve in Girls and Women’s Ministry.  The details, I had no clue.  I remember thinking I had two options, to marry a pastor and serve that way or to somehow become Beth Moore overnight.  You laugh now, but on that day that was my view of Women’s Ministry.  I knew with 115% confidence that those two options were not what the Lord was telling me.  I would not have minded getting Beth Moore’s hair overnight.  Her hair is a force to be reckoned with.  It always looks flawless. 

It was during those next few months that I would decide to go to Oklahoma Baptist University and somehow begin the process of preparing for ministry.  That is easily one of the top five best decisions I have made in my life. During those four years at OBU, I was able to serve a few different ways in women’s ministry.   Some of them were true women’s ministry positions and some of them were not labeled as women’s ministry but they were.  

The last two years at OBU brought about some incredible opportunities and internships for me.  I served as an intern at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in their Women’s Office.  Interning there allowed me to see ministry through the lens of serving the ladies of Oklahoma by equipping them to do ministry within their churches.  It was beautiful.  I was also able to serve at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas and Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma as the Women’s Ministry Intern.    These two churches allowed me to see how ministry happened within their own local church.  

All three internships taught me different things and allowed me to see different events and different ways of doing ministry.  I think many of us think that women’s ministry has to be pink and frilly.  That is not true.  Are some events more girly than others?  Of course.  I think there are times when we need that.  We need those late night talks with our girlfriends that are filled with chocolate and laughter.  I believe fully that what we need as women most is to be women who love the Lord and seek to follow Him in all we do.

It has been over ten years since that calling was placed on my life and that calling plays out much differently now.  Back then I tried to dictate what those details would be, I tried to understand exactly what the call to Women’s Ministry meant.  Today, that call for me is to serve in my local church.  It looks like a small group of teenagers who are at a pivotal time in their life and just need someone to walk beside them.  I love that I can have some of those precious middle school girls in my home and to spend time with them.  They are funny, they are sweet, and they are watching. 

It is time for me to grab a piece of chocolate and see what the next ten years or so of ministry look like.  It may not be perfect, but right now it is beautiful chaos.  The detail person in me struggles with that but the good thing is I know that it is supposed to be like that.  I do not need to know all of the details right now.  I need to remain faithful to what I have been called to do right now.    

Oh Yay...More Books!



The struggle is real.  I try to avoid it, but I can’t.  I have so much trouble reading one book at a time.  Most of the time I am reading through 2 or 3 books.  I will start one and get a few chapters or so into it and start another.  I do not know why, but that is how I operate.  There are three that I’m working on right now.  I’m almost done with one and about half way through the other two.  

These are the three that I am currently working on…





I’m really enjoying all of them.  I know I am not alone in reading multiple books at once.  At least I hope I’m not the only one.  

Here are some other books I’ve recently ordered for my Kindle app that I am excited to start…






I found out on Monday that I am going to be a part of the Launch Team for Angie Smith’s new study called Seamless.  It will come out on April 1st.  I think it is going to be a great tool for people to study Scripture and see it as one great story.  I will be posting more about here in the coming days and weeks.  If you are on Twitter or Instagram, you can use #SeamlessBibleStudy to see more as well.