Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Wedding of Many Firsts

r so many reasons, I LOVE weddings.  The wedding I attended yesterday was a special one because there were so many firsts.  

--The first wedding that I didn't really know the bride.  The groom is from my home town...a year older than me...has a sister that is a year younger than me...our parents are good friends.  I met sweet Corey Kate briefly at a party, but was invited to the wedding not for the bride but because of the groom.  

--The first wedding that I've attended with an "at home" reception.  Yeah, I know this isn't all that different, but I've never attended one so it was different for me.  Let me tell you, it was GORGEOUS.  The picture perfect setting for a wedding.  Think Father of the Bride and then think 100 times better.  I don't think my nerves could ever handle doing anything outside, but I sure do love it when others go with that plan!  

--The first wedding where the groom and groomsmen took advantage of the band break to show off a fun little dance they had worked up.  Oh my goodness...definitely a highlight.  It took me a few seconds to get my camera, but I still have about 3 mintues of it for your viewing pleasure.  Some of the guys are are older and some are younger but I'm proud to say that 6 out of 7 of these gentlemen graduated from my high school.  Apparently they learned more than just football plays during football practice! 

Congratulations, Justin and Corey Kate!  I pray the Lord continues to bless the two of you richly!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Psalm 16

For the past two weeks I've been stuck on this passage in Psalm.  For the record, this is NOT something that I normally do.  It's a new thing as the Lord has started teaching me about QUALITY over QUANTITY....maybe more on that in another post if you're interested.  

Since I do such a great job as thinking up titles for these posts, I bet you'll never figure out what passage in Psalm I've been stuck on!  HA!  It would usually frustrate me beyond belief to be reading the same 11 verses over and over, but Psalm 16 is chock full of insights.  Specifically, I have been thinking a lot about verse 6.  

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

My first remembrance of those words is my freshman year of college.  One of my sweet sweet Christian friends that I met at Alabama, Jessica Williams, mentioned the verse in a prayer and I remember thinking it was a neat passage.  Over the years I've heard the passage referred to a few more times, but I've never really dwelt on the words.  After two weeks, I think I can say that I've dwelt. :) 

As I think about all of the things that have happened in my life over the past two years in I think about all of the ways God has so meticulously begun to put the pieces together for my life in Birmingham...I can't help but take a few words from David's journal...The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Change Is In The Air

For the handful of you that actually read this thing, I'm sorry for the lack of updates recently.  I want to be better, but life has been crazy.  Good...most definitely good...but crazy.

For starters, summer is in full swing, so my travel schedule has picked up dramatically.  I've been gone every weekend this month and I'm going to make it 5/5 with a trip this weekend as well.  Those of you that follow me on Twitter know that most of those trips have been to Birmingham.  Why so many trips to the great city of Birmingham?  Well, for those of you that don't already know, I will be MOVING to that fine city in August.   

Now that you know where I'm going to be living, you might be wondering what I'll be DOING.  To that I would say, your guess is as good as mine.  Though I've been looking, I don't have a full time job yet. 

This time last year, the thought of the unknown absolutely unnerved me.  I wouldn't have dared left a wonderful corporate job or the children that I love taking care of to go to a place where I have no idea how I'm going to make money.  But in these past months, my faith has been stretched more than ever as I've been shown time and time again that my God is a God that provides.  That's one of His names, you know...Jehovah Jireh--The Lord Will Provide.  He has provided a wonderful ministry for me to partner with.  He has provided me with two fabulous roommates.  He has provided me with the cutest house you have ever seen.  He has provided me the chance to once again be able to "do life" with my best friend...and her incredible husband.  Confidential to Scott...Congratulations on med school, buddy!

So, I'm waiting.  Actually, I'm not just waiting, I'm actively waiting.  But even as I wait, I can't help but smile because I know that My God is not only a God that provides; He is a God that provides beyond my WILDEST dreams!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

6 Months and Counting

Almost 6 years ago, Facebook made it's debut and our lives have been forever changed.  I remember the first time November 21 rolled around after the introduction of FB...never had so many people wished me a Happy Birthday.  I loved it.  But, for the longest time, I've loved May 21 more.  May half birthday.

I love my half birthday.  For starters, my real birthday happens to fall right around Thanksgiving, so when I was a kid it was hard to get my friends together for parties.  As the years have passed, I've appreciated the day even more because it's a fun day and you don't get any older!  But, I think the reason I like it most is because it takes a special person to remember your half birthday.  Sure, 500 people tell me Happy Birthday...but facebook tells them when that happens.  The half birthday is only remembered by the truest and sweetest of friends.  

In the past few years I've had some pretty great things happen on my half birthday.  On this day two years ago, I started working at Chick-fil-A.  On this day last year I took the day off work and celebrated with friends and my two favorite Atlanta toddlers, Ella and Emma Kate.  

As great as the past two were...NEITHER of those will be able to top this years!  

To explain the first reason why, I have to back up a little bit.  A few months ago, my best friend's hubby got accepted to medical school in Mobile.  After months of thinking that she and her husband would be moving to Mobile for him to attend med school, he found out this past Friday that he had also been accepted to UAB.  (WOOHOO!  Congratulations, Scott!!)  The praying began as they sought God's will for the next phase of life.  This morning, Natalie called to tell me that after lots of prayer, they had a peace about where to go...and they were going to STAY IN BIRMINGHAM!!  Oh my goodness.  I was speechless.  I had resigned to think that we wouldn't live in the same town until we were 90 years old and living in the old folks home.  I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to live in the same town with her again.  One thing is for certain...I will NOT take it for granted like I did in college!  

Then, fast forward a few hours to when I got home.  I had a great day with the kids today, but it was definitely long.  I walked into the house and one of my roomates said "you got flowers."  Me?  Flowers?  I LOVE flowers but I can count on one hand the times I've received them.  I couldn't figure out why in the world I would get flowers or who would have sent them.  A card was stuck in amidst the daisies and tea roses...I pulled it out and tears immediately welled up in my eyes.  

Happy Half Birthday, to my best buddy!  I miss you and love you.  Love, Cason.

Cason and I worked together at Chick-fil-A.  You may remember that we went to Disneyland together in December.  I love her to death and miss her so much now that I'm not working at Chick-fil-A.  But, I think what made me even happier was the fact that Cason doesn't really care about half birthdays.  She knows that I really love them though.  For that reason, she called up the local florist and sent a little half birthday love my way.  This cute vase of daisies and tea roses will keep me happy for a good few weeks!  I want to be the kind of friend that recognizes what my friends love and then acts.

Thanks to all of the others sweet people who called, texted, facebooked and twittered today to wish me a Happy Half Birthday!  It was a great one!  Looking forward to the next 6 months before the bit 2-5!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A girl can never have too many moms

Mother's Day. It's probably one of my favorite days of the year. I'm not a mom right now...hopefully one day I will be...but I think it's great to have a time set aside each year to intentionally focus on moms. After all, they have one of the hardest...if not the ever.

Last year, I used Mother's Day to talk about my Mom...this year, I decided to do something a little different.

In my 24 years of life, I've been blessed to know many wonderful moms. I hate to even begin a list because I know I will leave off so many good ones...but some are just too memorable not to mention.

So, here's a much abbreviated list...starting with the ones I've known for the longest.

Amy Chapman: I used to baby-sit for her children...mainly her youngest daughter, Caroline, who in just a few days will be a senior in high school. Due to a shared love for Alabama football, our families have been friends for years. What makes her extra special is that throughout the years...whether it was when I was living in Brewton, attending college, or graduating and starting a job, she has always stayed in touch with me. I'll never forget one day when I was home visiting from college and she picked me up and treated me to lunch. I've gotten lots of wisdom from her over the years and for that I'm incredibly thankful.

Teresa Tucker: I met this sweet mom almost 12 years ago. She had only two daughters toddling and one that couldn't even sit up. I cut my baby-sitting teeth on her this day some of my favorite kids in the entire world. My heart broke when they moved 2 years later. Though I was young when I first met her and was only able to see her mommy-ness in person for a short time, I know she is the real deal. Over the years, she has added two more beautiful girls to her family. Not only is she one of my favorite moms, she's the best mentor a girl could have. Though many years have passed and I don't get to see her as frequently anymore, her encouragement and love have remained constant. Forever grateful for this fine woman of God.

Patti Neal: The mom to one of my best friends in high school, Rebekah, she opened her home up to me as if I was one of her own. She gives and gives and then gives some more. Everything that Ms. Patti does is done with excellence. So many great qualities about this special mom that I hope to emulate. Thinking back, I can recall many conversations that we had while sitting in her kitchen or out by the pool. Her advice has influenced many of the decisions I have made over the years, and I'm sure the same will be true for future decisions as well.

Leslie Williamson: Another mom of children I used to baby-sit for...Leslie has always been one of my favorites. My biggest baby-sitting fiasco ever happened when I was taking care of her son and I inadvertently locked us out of the house. How thankful I am that she didn't hold it against me and called me back again a few weeks later! Out of all of the moms, she is probably the best listener. If you as me, moms can't listen enough. She listens...she listens intently...and she will listen even if she's not interested in the subject. When you listen, you show your kids that you care. She's a listener...she's a great mom.

Madelyn Cave: I love my mom, so I love Madelyn. No, really...she is so similar to my mom that it's not even funny. She has the same looks as my mom and many of the same rules and mannerisms. It's really quite uncanny. I used to baby-sit for her children when I was still living in Brewton. They were young at the time, so it's doubtful that either of them really remember me...but each time I'm home visiting they always come up and say hi. It is the sweetest thing ever...and a sign of great parenting. I'm so thankful that even though we have a lot of miles separating us, she and her husband work hard at keeping in touch with me.

Rachel Winton: Mom to 4 boys, but really 5 because her husband is the youth minister at the Baptist church in Brewton and thinks he's a kid! She is another one of those moms that just gives of herself to anybody and everybody. I love watching her in action, because unlike most of the other moms on this list that I've had the privilege of watching, she is much more reserved. I'm not really reserved by nature, but I've learned so much from watching how she acts and reacts in certain situations.

Janet Pope: As the mother to my very best friend, there's not a day that goes by that I don't lift up a little prayer for this dear mom. I've heard stories for years of how great she is, but we became especially close in the months and weeks leading up to her daughter's wedding. She is one of the few moms on my list that has raised a child through the college years...she's actually raised two...and for her, the proof of her mothering is in her kids. Of course, I'm a little partial to Natalie, but her son Austin is every bit as wonderful too. As a mother, I know she's proud of them. I'm so thankful to know that I have her email address and phone number at my disposal so that I can get in touch with her whenever I need a listening ear!

Courtney DeFeo: First mom I met when I moved to Atlanta 2 years ago. Well, I'm sure I met more moms before her, but she was the first one I got to see in action. Her oldest daughter, Ella, is part of the Ella and Emma Kate duo you've heard about on this blog before. She has recently added another precious little girl to the mix and though they may be too young to realize it right now, they have got a great mom! Above all, she loves the Lord...loves her husband. Her daughters will grow up in a home filled with love, kindness, and happiness...what a blessing!

Katie Douglas: Every time I see this mom, my heart smiles. Her oldest daughter completes the Ella/Emma Kate duo...and she has another precious newborn named Harper. I just love the way she does motherhood. She's incredibly fun and laid back, but doesn't let her children run over her. There's a fine line to that...and she has it mastered! She's constantly looking for ways to introduce her daughter to new things. To me, that says "I want you to learn from me." It will serve her well years down the road when her girls go to her for answers instead of talking to peers or going to other unreliable sources. She's a rockstar mom! I'm taking notes!

Emi Gragnani: When I entered the corporate world, I immediately singled out Emi and thought...that's the kind of mom I want to be. Driven, focused and respected at work...but her priority was always her family. I was beyond blessed when I had the chance to take care of her boys for the first time a few months ago. I've always wanted to be a girl mom, but after one night with her boys I was a boy-mom convert. Her youngest is is barely 6 months old...her oldest is 2 and loves all things little boys love. If it has the word outside, game, running, or destruction in it, he loves it. But what's incredible is that even though he does all the boy things, he still knows how to show love. It's a clear indicator that he's receiving that love from someone...and I know his mom is one of those people.

Lysa TerKeurst: I have only spent about 72 hours with this mom, but I've read her books and read her blog and listen to her radio show daily---for those of you that haven't, I highly recommend all three---and let me just tell you, she is the real deal! Her story is an incredible one of faith. I was beyond nervous when I spent the weekend with her family last fall, but I quickly realized how unnecessary that nervousness was when she opened the door and welcomed me into her home with open arms. The mom to 5 children, she demonstrated through her words and actions what a true Proverbs 31 mom looks like.

Pretty good list of moms, don't you think? Except for the fact that I left out some of my very favorites...the moms that make up my family.

My grandmothers...Toni Ingram and Julia Smith. My mom...Robin Smith. My aunts...Marilyn Ingram, Lane Hunt and Sally Rice. My sister...Cile Wilson.

I am beyond blessed with the wonderful mothers in my family. All strong Christian women that have instilled in me from the beginning that life isn't worth living without Jesus Christ right in the middle of it.

They have taught me the importance of family. Sometimes we may disagree...but family always comes first.

Many have faced more hardship in their lifetime than they should have to, but though it all, they have allowed The Lord to reign.

Though I only have one mom...all of these special people at some time or another have used their mom cap to guide me, listen to me or cheer me on. For that, I'm forever grateful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ms. Lindsey Smith

I got this in the mail earlier this week. Now, I've gotten graduation announcements in the mail before, but the front of the envelope has always said something like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and family. This time, the envelope simply said Ms. Lindsey Smith. Are you kidding me? Am I already so old enough to receive my own high school graduation announcements? Please...don't answer that.

After I got over the initial shock of receiving it, I sat down and cried. Sure, some of the tears were because I'm sad to be so old...but pretty much the tears were cried out of excitement. It's true that graduation announcements signify an end, but they also signify a beginning. Beginnings are exciting.

What makes it even more exciting is that this announcement wasn't just for some random student graduating from the high school that I graduated from some 6 years ago. This was from Kayla. An absolutely precious young lady that I've had the privilege of knowing and loving for as long as I can remember.

To me, she's much so more than just a soon to be high school graduate. She's the little girl that I baby-sat and played Barbies with. The pre-teen that I had concerts with and made up dances with when she was too old for a baby-sitter. The freshman that I rejoiced with when she made cheerleader for the first time. The sophomore that blew me away with her honesty and depth when I had the opportunity to be her Disciple Now leader. The junior that tried out for cheerleader...made it for the third year...became the Captain. The senior that impressed me with the way she stepped into leadership roles with confidence and grace.

The past 6 years, I've had to watch her grow up from a distance, but I couldn't be prouder of the young lady she has become. She loves the Lord and her family and friends. She knows what she wants and works hard to get it. She's thoughtful and thankful. She is truly beautiful on the inside and out.

Congratulations to you, Miss Kayla...and the rest of the class of 2009. I pray that the next stage of your life surpasses your wildest dreams. Just keep The Lord as your top priority and the rest will just fall into place.

Now, I think I will fix myself a cup of tea and be thankful that I have 4 years before Kayla's younger sister graduates high school. Seriously, when I get one of those announcements from Madison, I just might die!