Thursday, April 30, 2009

Please forgive me

Sorry it's been a week since my last post. I'm leaving on a retreat tomorrow and have been spending most of my free time getting prepared for it. It will be my first women's retreat and I have a feeling it's going to be beyond good.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of take-aways to blog about in the coming weeks. Also in the works for next week are posts about a super sweet girl and an update on my future.


Until I get back, I beg you to use the next few days to catch up Compassion's trip to India. I spent some time tonight catching up on Angie, Melissa and Shaun's blogs tonight...heart wrenching.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Big 2-5



Laura Mills...I've only known her personally for 4 months, but I feel like it's been so much longer.

She is one of Natalie's best friends. Born only one day apart in the same hospital, they will tell you that they have been friends since her first day on this earth. I won't spoil their fun.

Over the past 6 years I've heard so many great things about Laura. I finally got the chance to meet the famous Laura last December and she exceeded all of my expectations. We bonded immediately and made lots of memories in a very short span of time.

This girl is a riot...and her hubby Mikey is such a fun complement.

My fingers are crossed that she will move to the east coast after she finishes her schooling out west!

So...Happy quarter of a century! Happy first married birthday! Happy Birthday, Laura Mills!


For the record, I know that I just titled the last birthday post "The Big 2-5." The thing is...I hate coming up with titles, it's late, and Laura is 25 too. She doesn't care...I don't either. :)

Redeemed--how I love to proclaim it!

I love a good hymn! For the most part I love all of the various arrangements...the original arrangement that I grew up singing brings back memories and the newer arrangements have a way of piercing my heart. It's amazing how changing a tune can give words a whole new life!

A couple of months ago, I found myself singing an old hymn and I just couldn't get it out of my head...

Redeemed--how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child, and forever, I am.

I loved this hymn as a child because the words were easy to learn. I love the hymn today because I have finally realized what the words that I've sung for so long actually mean.

Before the song got put on repeat in my brain, I had never really thought about what I was singing. I found myself asking the question, what does it really mean to be redeemed?

For the most part, when I want to know what something means, I look it up. This time was no different. Merriam-Webster gives quite a few definitions, but my heart was both broken and filled with hope when I read the last meaning: to atone for, to offset the bad effect of; to make worthwhile.

In other words...we are all going to mess up. Sometimes we mess up REALLY big. But NONE of our mistakes are too big for God. In fact, if we will allow Him to come in and REDEEM us, He can do some really neat stuff with our mistakes. He can make them worthwhile.

Remember back in Genesis when Joseph met his brothers years after they had thrown him in the pit to die? His brothers were scared, but Joseph was not mad. He told them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done."

Flip over to the book of Job. That man was attacked on all sides from Satan...everything was taken from him: family, animals, health...EVERYTHING. I've read about Job quite a few times, but when I read it with the idea of redemption in mind, something new popped out. Verses 8-12 of the first chapter detail the conversation between Satan and God. Pretty much, Satan said the only reason Job feared God was because he hadn't been tested. He asked God if he could test Job. You know what? God said YES. You see, God knew that what Satan meant for harm would only last a season. He could take all the bad that had been done to Job and write a way better story.

It made me think of my life. I can think of a lot of trials and issues that I have faced...still face. Sometimes I can get so down on myself. I become frustrated that I can't seem to repent and turn the other way even though I know I am not doing what God would want. That's where redemption comes in. I'm not going to lie...the redemption process can be hard, but if you ask me, it is so worth it. With redemption, I know that my struggles were not in vain. An old praise and worship song by Don Moen says it perfectly...

Lord I offer my life to you
Everything I've been through
Use it for Your glory

I choose to offer my life to God. I choose to let Him use it for His glory.


Redemption offers hope. Redemption is God's way of saying "not only do I forgive you...I am going to use that struggle, that trial, that mistake for good." It means that no matter how long you have struggled with it, God can still take it and make something good out of it...something worthwhile. Worthwhile can mean lots of different things. Worthwhile might even sound a little scary at times. It may mean opening up and sharing about an area of your life that has been redeemed in order to help others. But, I assure you...there is so much peace that comes from redemption!

As I type, I am praying for each person that reads this. I pray that you will have the strength to take your problems to the Lord so that He can redeem you. You may wonder why I'm praying for strength, but give it a day or two and I promise you won't be wondering anymore. I have seen in my own life that when you finally dig up the strength to give God the darkest areas of your life for Him to cleanse and make new, Satan gets scared...and when the enemy gets scared, he starts to attack. So, surround yourself with people that will pray for you. Trust that God is always there. Offer every area of your life to Him. Let Him use it for His glory. Bask in the hope that is given to us through redemption.



"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Titus 2:11-14

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Big 2-5

While I do turn 25 this year, it's not for another 7 months. Today the birthday wishes are for my bestest friend...Mrs. Natalie Orr!

If you've read this blog for long, you know that she means the world to me. Let's do a quick recap, shall we?


Wish I was there to celebrate with you today, Natalie Joy...but I'm super excited to see you, and the rest of the Pope/Orr clan, at the beach!

Happy Birthday, my sweet married friend. Beyond blessed by your friendship!



***The wedding photography was done by Bob Miller. FABULOUS, don't you think??***

Monday, April 20, 2009

Special Delivery

I know my God wants the best for me. I know He loves me more than I could ever imagine. I know He is faithful. I know His timing is perfect.

BUT I am still human. Though time and time again He has shown me that he is worthy of my trust, I still have times where I struggle to trust Him.

Today was one of those times.

I had a few free hours this afternoon so I decided to put on my tennis shoes and go for a walk to try to sort it all out. Then, I got home and realized that I forgotten to put the little red flag up on my mailbox today, causing the mailman to leave the letters that had to be mailed TODAY in the box. No worries, I thought. I know where the post office is. I will just take my letters and walk them there myself. Off I went, walking and thinking…letters in hand.

Along the way, a sweet friend called and offered some words of encouragement. She reminded me of the things that I already knew…God wants the best for me…He loves me more than I could ever imagine…He is faithful...His timing is perfect. She also encouraged me to ask God for a sign…something to let me know that He was still there.

We hung up and I kept repeating to myself over and over again.

God, I know you are faithful. I know I can and should trust, but sometimes it can be so hard. Help me to trust you in the little things and the big things. Lord, will you please give me a sign to reassure me that You are still here…and when you give me that sign, Lord, I ask that you would give me eyes to see it.

I continued down the road to the post office only to realize that due to being caught up with my praying, I had missed my turn and it was now after 4:00. The post office was closed. I was beyond frustrated. This letter had to be mailed TODAY! I turned around to head for home, upset with myself for being too preoccupied to do more than one thing at a time.

I decided to run home…FYI I HATE RUNNING…so that I could hopefully make it home in time to drive to the box a few miles from my house that has a 5:30 mail pickup. Due to the fact that I had already walked almost 4 miles and I hate running, it wasn’t long before I had to stop. I decided I would pray my prayer again and then run a little more. I’m not going to lie…I drew out the prayer a little this time because I was still hurting!

Guess what happened? Almost the second after my last word was uttered, a little mail truck turned down my street. A huge smile appeared across my face as I flagged him down. He was happy to take my letters and assured me that they would go out with the daily mail.

As I WALKED home, I lifted up another prayer to the Lord…but this time it was a little different. It was a prayer of thanks.

Lord, you never cease to amaze me. Thank you for reminding me that I can always trust in you. Thank you for helping me to see beyond a mail truck to see the sign you were giving me. Thank you for helping me to see, yet again, that you know my desires. You know my needs. Thank you for reassuring me that your timing is perfect.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guess I Will Have To Blog For Her

I was beyond excited when one of my favorite real life friends started to blog last year. I had begged her for MONTHS to blog and she finally caved when she moved to Boston. She figured it would be an easy way to keep up with her friends. And, it would be...if she ever updated the thing! Her last post was written October 31.

Don't let her kid you either. She tries to say "nothing is going on...I have nothing to write about." Lies, people. LIES!

Thankfully, we still have other ways of communicating with each other. About two weeks ago, I got a message that said..."Just got a 27 pound Easter basket in the mail from Barbie." THAT IS DEFINITELY BLOG MATERIAL!!


Barbie is her Mom and apparently since Sara was not going to be able to make it home for Easter, Barbs decided to send a little Easter love to Bean town. I don't know all of the contents to the basket, but I do know there was a bunny cake pan complete with all of the trimmings needed to make a bunny cake. This in itself is quite humorous. Sara is a lot of wonderful things, but domestic she is not.

Case in point...I got a frantic call earlier this week that went something like this.

S: Is it okay for cake batter to have lumps?
L: Well, those lumps are really bits of flour. So you don't want it to be too lumpy.
S: Uuuugggghhhh. What does that mean? My arm is so tired!

We decided that she had probably stirred it enough and I encouraged her to go ahead and put it in the pan. After reading the instructions she determined that the cake needed to go into a preheated oven at 350 for 28 minutes. Sounds easy enough, but remember folks...Sara is the one doing the baking and she not domestic.

For starters, she didn't know how to work her oven...I'm positive that it was not preheated when she placed the cake in to bake.

Then, we were still talking when it was time to take the cake out of the oven but she said it just didn't look right. I felt sorry for my sweet friend...until we figured out what the problem was.

You see, she read that it needed to bake for 28 minutes. So, she told herself it needed to be taken out at 10:28. That would be right if she put it in at 10:00, but she put it in at 10:08. Whoops! Back in the oven that bunny went to be taken out at 10:36. :)

After laughing for a good five minutes I insisted that she send me a picture after she had finished decorating the bunny. I got the picture a few hours later and was actually quite impressed with her decorating skills. Then I read the email and realized that the mad decorating skills were offered by her much more domestic roommate, Meredith.


Friday, April 17, 2009

This Can't Be MY Life!


For years, I have longed to be a nanny. From the time I was in 6th grade I have loved taking care of children. I find such joy in watching them grow and learn. What can I say?? Developer is my number one strength!

However, if you had told me when I was getting ready to graduate from The University of Alabama with a degree in marketing that two years later I would be nannying for a living, I probably would have laughed and said, "In my dreams!"

I did the corporate thing for about two years...baby-sat whenever I could...longed to be a nanny. Most of you probably know that God began closing some doors and opening some others. I'm so grateful that one of the doors He opened was the nanny door!

I have been doing the nanny thing for 2 and a half months now. I realize that isn't too terribly long, but I love it. I haven't talked much about the new job because the families I work for during the week aren't bloggers, and I don't want to freak them out by posting photos of their children.

But today is different. Today I had the day off.

So, I called two of my favorite Atlanta mommies, Courtney and Katie, and asked if I could kidnap their kids for the day. Since both of them have a blog, I have no qualms with telling you all about their precious children!

I met the DeFeo's and Douglas' soon after I moved to Atlanta. Almost a year and a half ago I started taking care of their little ones on Monday nights so they could go to their small group. Let me tell you, I have had a BLAST with them! What a treat it has been to watch their little girls grow. In the past two months, they have both added to their family and instead of one little girl each, they have two. Since their families have new additions, my standing date with Ella and Emma Kate has not been quite so standing. And, quite frankly, I don't like it...not one bit.

I was in desperate need of some Emma Kate and Ella love and that is exactly what I got! We hit up the local jump house, Kangazoom, first. At first I found it hard to believe, but it was even better than MJ. We laughed and jumped and went down the slide for about two hours. Then off we went to grab lunch at their favorite lunch spot, Chick-fil-A. Who am I kidding, it's my favorite too! I was careful to pick the CFA with a play area...wanted to make sure they were good and tired for their mommies!

At two years of age, Ella and Emma Kate are already best of friends and it is an absolute joy to watch them interact! So thankful for their mommies for letting me kidnap them, even if only for a few hours. Can't wait to do it again, girls!


And because I know my niece and these girls' mommies love videos...here's a little footage from the day. Are they not the cutest?!?! Sorry for the abrupt ending, I didn't have time to upload it on YouTube so I had to trim it down so I could post it.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Special Day with a Special Girl

I love my life right now. Love the challenges and newness that each day brings. But sometimes, I find myself longing to say "I'm a student at The University of Alabama." Maybe it's because graduation season is quickly approaching or it could be because I know that soon I will be living a little closer to my Alma Mater, but for whatever reason, the longing has increased in the past month.

My last visit to Tuscaloosa was so quick that it shouldn't even count. In fact, it made me miss it 10 hundred times more. So, I've been searching the calendar, looking for a day to just drive down and enjoy the goodness that is Tuscaloosa. I'm happy to say that time arrived last week and it could not have been better.


There were so many events that I enjoyed as a student...but by far one of my absolute favorites was Honors Day. For the most part, the day is a big deal for Juniors--the people that are getting tapped into the honor societies and the Seniors---the current members that are doing the tapping. But for whatever reason, I always loved it. I even went my freshman and sophomore years just to see it. When the weather cooperates they do the tapping on The Mound...a beautiful corner on the campus of UA's Quad. Sadly, it was expected to rain this year so they had to move it indoors.

Usually I am doing the nanny thing on Friday, so when a friend told me that Honors Day was coming up, I got a little sad thinking that I wouldn't be able to be there. But when I was home last week, I was glancing at my planner and noticed that I had scribbled "UA Honors Day" in my calendar on April 10. I thought to myself, I might be able to do. It would mean that I would have to drive from Brewton to Tuscaloosa early Friday morning and then from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta that night, but I could do it.

I called a friend, got the times worked out and decided to make a surprise visit. You see, one of my favorite girls of all time is a Junior this year. Translation...she was going to be getting tapped into the Honor Societies. After a little more sleuthing, I found out that she was going to be getting into not one but ALL FOUR of them. Quite rare, my friends...quite rare. If that doesn't qualify for a surprise visit, I don't know what does.

I had the most fun showing up at the sorority house, knocking on her door, hearing her say "come in," seeing her first glance up with a look that said "oh, Lindsey's here," only to quickly be replaced by the "what in the world? how is Lindsey here? she is supposed to be in Atlanta" look. Goodness, gracious, I love Honor's Day. I love surprise visits. I love you, Miss Sarah Beth and I'm pretty durn proud of you too!





Please pardon the attire. Since I wasn't planning on going, I didn't take anything home to wear that would be appropriate. It's also not the best of pictures...we have to find the camera that took the photo when we were both looking!

Monday, April 13, 2009

In A Category All Her Own

After posting this a few weeks ago, I got a lot of responses. Emails, calls, comments, texts...so many people saying how neat the story was. They are right, it was neat...that's why I shared it; but I hope everyone saw what made it neat was not ME, it was the HOLY SPIRIT.

The thing is, that isn't the first time something like that has happened, but more often, it's the other way around. Usually, I'm the one on my knees, battling the enemy, asking for someone to pray on my behalf and the Holy Spirit urges someone to pray. I have been the girl that has been thankful for prayers lifted up on my behalf more times than I can count.


Yesterday, I drove down to Chick-fil-A's Headquarters to meet with one of my favorite friends that is still working there, Amy. I pretty much love everything about Amy---except for the fact that she is an Auburn girl. It is nothing short of providential that she is one of the first people I met upon moving to Atlanta. I was in a new city--and state, didn't know a soul, and as a recent graduate had no idea what the working world was like. I was thrilled to have a "work friend." As the months went by, I found that Amy was becoming so much more than a work friend. For those of you that know me...you know that I prefer to keep my friendships separated, so at first I was hesitant about her knowing more than just the "work Lindsey." But, the truth of the matter is, I just couldn't keep Amy in her "work" category. In fact, she was making her own category...she was becoming my prayer warrior.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends that pray for me, but they are those things and roomies...or those things and best friends, etc. I feel like they are praying for me because they love me...don't get me wrong, I'm VERY thankful for their love and prayers!

There is no doubt in my mind that Amy and I would have a blast together if we hung out socially, but it was as if God spoke to me and said,

Lindsey, you have lots of friends to do things with. Lots of friends that pray for you, but you don't have someone that prays for you just because they want to pray. I'm going to give you that and I'm going to give it to you in Amy.

I didn't even know what that meant. At first I was a little nervous. This may sound odd, but when we first started praying for each other, we didn't really know each other at all. She was a sweet girl, but I wouldn't say we loved each other. We were simply meeting to pray for each other. Now, she's one of my favorite people ever and I love her to death. Thinking back to those early days of our friendship makes me smile because I know to the world, our relationship sounds backwards...but we were brought together in a God way; and that makes it even more special.

What a blessing it has been to have someone fill the category of prayer warrior! When we meet, we meet to encourage one another in their faith. There are no false pretenses. No masks. We are just two girls...


Two messed up girls...totally stripped to the core, honestly confessing our struggles, longings and hurts.

Two girls...trying with all our might to reject the lies from the enemy.

Two girls...challenging one another to a closer walk with The Lord.

Two girls...rejoicing in the way He has used circumstances in our lives to grow our faith.


And I...I am one girl...incredibly grateful for the way He has woven Amy into my life!


I began this post telling you that I have been on the receiving end of so many prayers that I have never asked for. I end by telling you about one such time that took place this morning.

Just today my sweet prayer warrior Amy called to tell me that she was praying for me between 7:30 and 8:00 this morning. She told me she was praying that Satan would not get a foothold in my heart today. She reminded me that the enemy is after those that are trying to advance His kingdom. She knew he would be after me. She wanted me to know that she was praying. What's interesting is that it was during that EXACT time that Satan and I were having a shouting match. Some would say it was a coincidence, but I know better. I have no doubt that she felt a stirring in her heart, and like so many other times, she put what she was doing on hold and lifted me up.

Thanks, Amy! God blew me away when He brought you into my life. I couldn't ask for a better prayer warrior!


As I was searching my photos to find one of my sweet prayer warrior, I had to laugh. This is the only picture that we have together....maybe next time we meet we can take a new one, Amy. For now, I love that this is the only one, because we took over a year ago at a work function. Proof of the fact that we aren't social friends. :) But, she is my prayer warrior...and what a blessing that is!


I Know You're Out There...

For as long as I've had a blog, I've had this little thing set up on it that tracks how many times my blog is visited or read using a reader. Over the past couple of months, the numbers have been increasing...but, the comments weren't really increasing, so I just figured my few faithful readers, all 5 of you, were hitting "refresh" a lot.

Well, I went home this past weekend and guess what. Everywhere I went, people were saying things like..."I've had so much fun reading your blog." or..."I know we don't see you much, but I feel like I know what's going on with you." one person even said I was a good writer. Seriously, at least 30 people me they were reading this thing. Who knew?!?! Not me. Want to know why...because they don't comment!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I like comments. In fact, I'm pretty sure most people that blog like comments. So, for the next few posts, I'm asking you to step out of your comfort zone and do a little commenting. You say you're reading, but I want to see what you think...on the blog. Not in an email, facebook message or text. On the blog. Come on, you can do it.

And, for those of you that told me "I just don't know how to comment." Have no fear...here are the step by step instructions!


---Scroll down to the bottom of the post and you will see a little link (on my page it is orange) that says # comments.

----Click on that little orange link and a box magically appears that says leave a comment.

----Type the comment in the box

After you type your comment, you need to one of the following three things before you click post.

----If you have a google account, click on the radio button by google and type in your info.

If you don't have a google account, no worries...just go to the next step.

----Click on the radio button by the word Name, type your name and hit post.

If you don't want me to know who you are, that's fine too...just go to the next step.

----Click the radio buttion by the word annonymous and hit post.


Ok, friends...come on, you can do it. It's not that hard...I promise! Can't wait to read your comments!

Nothin’ Like A Niece

This past week has definitely been one of my favorite spring breaks of all time.  I drove down to Brewton on Friday and spent the week doing anything and everything that my niece wanted to do.  We made cookies, played at the playground, read lots of books, checked our blogs---her idea, I promise, hunted Easter eggs, played at the playground, snuggled on the top bunk, dyed Easter eggs, baked some treats, watched baseball games, played at the playground, went shopping, ate Mexican, rocked baby dolls, went on walks…life was WONDERFUL.

My hometown is a special place.  I’m so glad my niece is getting a chance to experience life there.  The population of Brewton may be small, but it has some of the most LOVING people in the world.  It was a treat to get to catch up with them throughout the week as well.  

Now…picture time.  I know…there are tons; but remember, I was there for a week and my niece is the cutest thing ever!  I did my best and picked my favorites of the 200 or so that I took :)

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One of our first adventures…The Pizza Hut buffet!  This kid ate 4 pieces of pizza, two breadsticks and a cinnamon twist!

 

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Emma Kate…the baker!  So glad I have someone to pass along this fun activity to!

 

 

DSC_2613My wonderful mentor, Ms. Teresa, has 4 of the most beautiful girls ever.  I had the privilege of baby-sitting for her oldest two years ago and we have stayed in touch through many moves.  They now live about an hour from Brewton so she made my day on Saturday and they came up to play.  As you can see, Emma Kate and Anna Grace became fast friends! 

DSC_2712DSC_2706Emma Kate and I made the yummiest dessert…cherry/pear buckle!  Super easy and super yummy!

 

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A precious family that attends my church holds an Easter egg hunt at their home each year.  So glad we were all able to attend this time!

 

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Time to hunt those eggs!

 

 

 

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Playing dress up in the shoe section!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bracelets of the Paper Variety

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99.9% of the time...well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration...but at least 95% of the time that I am wearing one of these bands on my wrist I am not happy about my surroundings.


The bar scene has never been one that I enjoy frequenting. In fact, the only time I really enjoy going is if I know the band playing. Yeah, I'm one of those girls that pretty much just likes to sit at a table or booth and take in the music...away from all of the stinky and sweaty people that have had one or one too many choice beverages.

But after today, I think I may be finding my wrist adorned with more and more of those little paper bracelets. I still get the bracelets by going to a place with stinky and sweaty people that have consumed too much. Except now, the people are kids and they have consumed too much sugar.

Monkey Joes,
my friends, is pretty much a dream come true for anyone who has been cooped up inside with kids for a week. For those of you that have never heard of MJ or have heard about it but never tried it, you are missing out.

So, bring on the paper bracelets!