Monday, October 10, 2011

Lil Light O' Mine

I will never forget the first time I walked into the door of the DeFeo home.  A sweet mom greeted me at the door and a little girl, not even a year old, with a head full of curls looked up at me.    It was love.  Instant love.  That was September 2007.  Over 4 years have passed since then.  In that four years, I've watched Courtney love on her children and the children of others.  I've seen her fill my heart and the hearts of others with encouragement, love and biblical truths.

It is with great excitement that I get to share with you the news that the same mom that I met almost 4 years ago has started her own company, and it is launching TODAY.  Lil Light O' Mine was "created to empower moms and change little lives" and I have no doubt that it will do that and so much more!

The website is incredible.  The facebook and twitter pages will encourage you.

I'm not a mom, but with as much baby-sitting as I do, I know a good thing for moms and kids when I see it, and let me tell you...this is a VERY good thing.

I've got ABC scripture cards on the way to my house as I type and I can hardly wait to have them in my hands...and then to give them to some of "my" families.

Sweet Courtney...I'm so sorry for breaking down when I called today.  I really was trying my best to keep it together, but my excitement just had a way of coming through in tears.  I'm so excited for you.  Thank you for your willingness to step out into the unknown and allow the Lord to use you.  I can hardly wait to see all that he accomplishes through you and this company!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ABC about ME ME ME

I have a BIG Greek test tomorrow.  So, the blog is getting some love.

My friend, Lindsee, was the first to do this yesterday...and then I found out that lots of people love Lindsee too, because my reader had lots of posts with people copying her.

So, here it is..Lindsey in ABC format...

A. Age: 26...savoring every last minute of it before the next birthday

B. Bed Size: Full...I'd be perfectly fine with a twin though because I don't move.

C. Chore that you hate: Dusting...or any kind of yardwork.  Thankfully, my roommate and I have a yard boy.  Who knows, one of these days we may just get a maid, too!

D. Dogs: None here, but one at my parents house named Maggie

E. Essential start to your day: Ok.  This is a little embarrassing.  Every morning, without fail, I start the day by saying "It's going to be a great day!" I've done it every day since my senior year of high school when our high school football coach encouraged us to do it.

F. Favorite color: Hmm...I LOVE color.  Blue is probably my all time favorite...just can't pair it with orange!

G. Gold or Silver:  Both.  Just not at the same time!

H. Height: 5'8'....technically it's almost 5'9", but I like 5'8" better

I. Instruments you play: The piano...but only the treble cleff and the French Horn.

J. Job Title: Sales Manager...and full time student

K. Kids: None of my own, but plenty that I would claim as my own!!

L. Live: Alabama.  Love this sweet state and my current home in Birmingham.

M. Mother's name: the same as my middle name...Robin

N. Nicknames: hmmm...the typical ones are Linds, Lindzi, Lindzers, Linrobsmi...but then you have the odd ones that I acquired through the years: Bob and Corn top that list.  I won't mention the millions that my younger sister has for me.

O. Overnight hospital stays: summer before first grade when I had pneumonia...lots of stories from that visit, let me tell ya!

P. Pep peeves: Most of them center around English grammar.  I just can't handle it when people misuse the words their/there/they're or your/you're!  I know spell check doesn't pick it up, but it's in the 2nd grade grammar book.  Maybe I'll do a post on that one day.

Q. Quote from a movie: I love movies.  Don't watch them nearly as much as I used to.  One of my old time favorites is Serendipity.  Lots of great quotes from that one, but here's one you can journal on: "You know the Greeks don't write obituaries.  They only asked one question after a man died.  "Did he have passion?"  Those Greeks...they were on to something.

R. Right or left handed: Both.  I write, eat, and throw left handed.  I bat, cut, and shoot a gun right handed.

S. Siblings: Two sisters.  One 4 years older.  One 4 years younger.  I am the quintessential middle child and am only now starting to get over my "middle child" syndrome.

T. Time you wake up: 5AM...usually without my alarm clock.  Though now that school has started and my naps have been removed, I will say that I often sleep right up to it.

U. Ultimate vacation: Greece.  Now that I'm taking some Greek, I'm trying to convince my parents that this would be a great way to "better my knowledge."

V. Vegetable you hate: I think I like, or can at least tolerate, them all...wait, no, I do not like beets.

W. What makes you run late: I subscribe to the adage of "if you're on time, you're late" and am often at least 5 minutes early.  Except for church.  Despite the fact that I can see the building from my front porch, I'm almost always at least 30 seconds late.

X. X-Rays you've had: My lungs.  See letter O

Y. Yummy food that you make: I don't cook near as much as I used to...with the roommate I have, it's not really necessary.  But, if needed, I can make pretty much anything.  My specialities are appetizers and desserts though.

Z. Zoo animal: Giraffe!  I'm also partial to the elephants and monkeys.

So there you have it...26 random thoughts about me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When I left Atlanta and moved to Birmingham, I had a lot of reservations.  I knew Birmingham was where I needed to be, but it was still so hard.  One thing could have made it much easier though...a suitcase so I could take all of my "Atlanta people" with me.  Specifically, I wanted to take the sweet families that I used to baby-sit for and move them to my new neighborhood.

After years of baby-sitting, I feel like I'm an expert on the subject.  Well, let me clarify.  I'm not an expert on baby-sitting by any means...but an expert on knowing a good family when I see one, that I am.  You may think it's easy, but they are hard to come by!  After all, you have to have kids that are fun and obedient, and parents that trust you and aren't especially weird. :)  So, as I explained in this post, my Atlanta families were the best of the best and I often wondered if there would be even one family in Birmingham that could hold a candle to them.

Two years later, I'm blown away at the sweet families that I get to hang out with.  The moms wear the hats of counselor, mentor, and friend.  The dads show me qualities of a Godly husband and father.  The marriages give me a constant reminder to trust that God's timing is perfect, and waiting for the right mate is always worth it.  The children make me laugh and cry, strengthen my patience and remind me to live life to the fullest.

Then, when school started, those sweet families climbed to new levels of sweetness.  Seriously my love tank is overflowing.  I've gotten texts, calls and cards almost everyday filled with encouraging words.  I think my favorite was the little boy that asked if I was going to be in his kindergarten class. :)  Then, as if the words weren't enough...because they totally sweet family even remembered that I was thinking about getting a new coffee maker for myself to help with the late nights and took it upon themselves to surprise me with the Cadillac of coffee makers.  You know, the kind that has the little cups you put in so you have the exact amount that you need.  To say I was a bit overwhelmed would be quite the understatement.

My precious Atlanta families will never be replaced, but after two years in Birmingham, I can say with confidence that in so many ways the Lord has proven himself faithful to my prayer for sweet families, and for that, I am grateful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

this one's for the girls

Ever heard of the Martina McBride song "This One's For the Girls?"  It's been one of my favorites for years, but now that I'm back in school...reading hundreds of pages a week, writing papers and being called on in class to give my theological interpretation of a Biblical passage, I'm finding that it's running through my head more, but this time with a different insight into the words.

There are many reasons I am going back to school to get my Masters of Divinity, but most of them include these precious faces.  This one's for the girls.  The teens of today, and the teens of tomorrow.  Just typing these words and seeing these faces has given me the extra push to get back to my reading...even if I don't have a clue what in the world the words mean! 

**Yes, I thieved these pictures from blogs and facebook.  I  did it without permission.  I am happy to take the picture of your precious girl down if requested.  I promise, I won't take offense.  In addition, if your picture isn't on this post, it does not mean that you aren't just means that you weren't in the pictures that I was able to quickly locate.  My study schedule only allowed for a 15 minute break. :)**

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Before I started Divinity School, one of the most common pieces of advice was don't let your reading for your classes cause you to lose time for your own personal quiet time.  I tucked that little piece of information away, but didn't really think I'd have to worry about that. Of course I'd want to continue my daily quiet times.  I love them.

Then school started.  I was assigned hundreds of pages to read a day. Papers to write.  Quizzes to be prepared for.  A new language to learn.  Things got crazy real quick...clearly, I've barely been in school a week...and my early morning quiet time has been replaced with one final read through of the homework.  My 30 second Jesus Calling reading and 5 minute drive to and from class has become the new morning devotion time.  Not good.  I know.

Well, as luck God would have it, this arrived at my house today.

I heard about this book months ago because I'm a frequent reader of Emily's blog.  I knew I would love it, but was almost afraid to read it for myself.  It's not a secret that one of the things I struggled with the most is giving myself grace, and since I've worn the "good girl" label pretty much my entire life, I had a feeling that this book would really rock my world.  Well, after reading so many great things about it, I knew that I just had order it.  I have a feeling this book may be just the ticket to get me back in my morning quiet time routine and I can hardly wait!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meet My Crew...Allison

About three months ago I decided I'd start a little blog series called "Meet My Crew."  It lasted for all of one post, and then I kind of forgot about it.  Good thing is, my cousin, Allison did not.  Since she did the honors of reminding me, I figure she deserves her own little post.  So, without further adieu...Meet Allison!

When I was growing up, I always envied my friends that had cousins that lived nearby.  Not only did I not have a cousin super close in age, but none lived close enough for me to see much more than holidays.  While I still wish that I had some of those cousin memories from when I was a kid, I think it makes me appreciate the ones I am able to make now even more.

One of the best things about moving to Birmingham has been, hands down, getting to know Allison better.  In lots of ways we are alike...but we're different in all of the ways that make her better than me!

While I love to bake, Allison can out bake anyone, any day, and her cooking skills are getting better, too.  Don't even think about challenging her to a Just Dance danceoff...she can beat you blindfolded!  She can speak French.  For real.  Not just like a wannabe.  One day, if I ever make it big, which, is HIGHLY doubtful, but if I ever do, I'm taking her to France with me!  She's a trendsetter.  Want to know how the term "deuces" became a common phrase in her community?  That would be Allison.  

She is, by far, one of the wittiest people that I know.  Her sense of humor is one of my favorite things about her.  Even the mundane is hilarious when Allison describes it.  She has a comeback for everything, and now that we have twitter she has perfected her comebacks to 140 characters or less.  

It didn't take her long to clue in that I love hanging out with her, and it makes my day that she invites me to do it!  True, I would probably invite myself over anyway, but I love that I don't have to.  She's always so sweet to text me with an invitation to dinner, a request to call out things for an upcoming test, or if I'm lucky...she'll even swing by my house for an impromptu visit.

Her home is always hopping.  Yeah, she has a great space for people to hang out, but that's not the only reason why.  The people come because she is such a fabulous friend and host.  Her friends are some of the best in the land...but to have a friend, you must be one, so clearly she is a great one!

Allison is the school spirit queen.  I was never one to miss a school sporting event growing up, so I totally understand her excitement.  She's not just about the pep though.  I guarantee you that she knows more about sports than any of those other cheerleaders out there...and probably more than a majority of the people that are playing the sport!

While she would probably disagree, Allison is a leader.  I love watching her with a group of people.  She's respectful of others and their opinions.  When she talks, others listen.  She's giving.  She's humble.  Always putting others before herself.  She loves the Lord and her relationship with Him is something I could only dream to have when I was in high school.  Pretty much, Allison is incredible.  It's easy to  forget that there are 9 years between us because she is so wise beyond her years.  I'm so thankful she's my cousin because that means we'll be together forever...thank goodness, because I sure couldn't handle family get togethers without her!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One week down...

Well, I'm a week into school and let me just say, WHOA! As I sat in class each day last week, I just kept thinking to myself, why in the world am I doing this? What was I thinking? No..what was God thinking?

I have read through my old journals every night this past week...gotta remind myself that it was not of my own strength that I am actually doing this. I got into school because it was the Lord's plan, and I will make it through...if that's His plan. :)

I expected that I would learn and grow a lot, but after 4 days of class, two papers and 400 or so pages of reading, I think it's safe to say that I'm going to be growing in ways I never dreamed possible.

I've been so confused and stressed these past few days that I haven't been able to really think. Instead, I've been turning up the music and using it to worship. Currently playing...Kari Jobe. Kari is one of my all-time favorite worship leaders. I love the honesty in her music...she's one of those that just leads you to the throne when she opens her mouth. Truly a gift. This past week, I have been claiming the words of her song "You Are For Me." Well, this morning, for the first time that I can remember, the praise band at our church sang a Kari Jobe song...and not just any song...yes, they sang "You Are For Me." For those sitting around me today, sorry for the waterworks. As if the words of the song weren't enough already to remind me that God is there, it was such a special treat for them to sing it. As I sat and listened to the words it was almost as if God, Himself, was singing over me. Powerful indeed.

Here's the clip of Kari introducing and singing the song. Take a listen...then go get a copy of the CD for yourself. I promise, it won't disappoint.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ready or Not...

I bet you thought after almost 3 months of no posts that I was no longer writing. Truth be told, there have been lots of times over the past few months that I debated deleting the account and writing it off for this chapter of my life. Thankfully, I didn't...because days like today just have to be shared, and now that I'm going back to school, I feel like this blog may really start to get some attention. Procrastination at its finest. :)

Lots of things have happened over the past three months...maybe I'll do a post in the near future about that...but for now, I'll just pick up with today and ask for grace on everything that I've missed.

Today was a bid day for me. After months of anticipation, I found myself sitting in a chapel, surrounded by people I had never met as we became "oriented" to the Divinity School. The place we will be spending the next 3-4...or more....years. In many ways, it was like a dream come true, with a few nightmarish parts thrown in for good measure. The dream part was listening as Dr. George spoke on Hebrews 11. Often known as the "Faith Hall of Fame," I have read the verses that make up that chapter time and time again. The passage took on new meaning this morning, however, as we were instructed to move from certainty to trust, security to vulnerability and temporal to eternal. I felt like I couldn't write his encouragement down fast enough. Then came the words I wished I had never know, the phrases of "This is not summer camp. This degree will be every bit as hard to earn as a medical or law degree." Definitely not what I wanted to hear. Or how about "whatever grades you made in undergrad, expect to make a letter grade less" my over-achiever side about had a heart attack when that was said!

Thankfully, as I looked around the room, I saw so many faces that looked the same as mine. Fellow believers that have a desire to grow more in their own relationship with the Lord so that they can impact the Kingdom. I have no doubt that there will be tears shed between the time the first class begins tomorrow morning and the time that we receive our diplomas, but I also have no doubts that the support that I will receive from the students and faculty alike will be insurmountable.

After the end of a full day, I left still very excited about the future, but a little more apprehensive than I have been in the past. As I drove, I asked the Lord to calm those fears and to help me remember the reason that I was going to get this degree in the first place. It was not for was for Him. Then, because God is in the details, tonight I got a message from my cousin asking me to come to her house for a small group Bible study that she and some of her friends were starting tonight. I'm not going to lie, it warmed my heart on so many, because they were meeting on their own accord to dig deeper into God's Word and two, because they wanted me there. As I sat and listened to them share their desire for authentic Christian community, it was all I could do not to cry. I mean, I teared up, but I don't think they even noticed. Really, it was just too much for my little heart to take today though. The way they encouraged one another and were honest about their struggles was encouraging. It's no secret that high school and college aged girls are my favorite group of people in the world. As I sat and listened, it was almost as if the Lord was right there, confirming and affirming that girls ministry and Divinity School specifically, is right where He wants me.

So now, instead of being nervous, I am choosing to be thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to grow closer to the Lord so that I can in turn minister to others in a way that will give them a desire to grow closer as well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Copying is Flattery, right?!?!

What does one do when they have a blog that is currently on life support and continually finds themselves with nothing to write about? I don't really know the answer, but it's a question that I have been asking myself over and over again and I have decided that what I will do is take ideas from blogs belonging to my friends and hope and pray that they take the copying as a sincere form of flattery!

Up idea from my roommate and newest addition to my blog reader, Martha. After years of reading blogs, she has decided to venture into the blog scene. Though she's just getting started, I'm sure her blog will be filled with lots of wonderful posts. In order to introduce the blog world to all of her friends, she has started a little series called Meet My Crew. I love the idea and realized that there are quite a few people that I have mentioned on my blog, but not really talked about. So it first installment of Meet My Crew.

Since I am taking the idea from Martha, I feel it's only best to start with her.

Martha and I first met right before I officially moved to Birmingham. I was visiting a Sunday School class and she introduced herself. Despite the fact that she was an Auburn grad, I knew, even then, that we would be friends.

A little less than a year later she found herself in need of a new place to live and I found myself getting blessed with one of the best roommates ever. I tell everyone that I'm going to live with her until one of us gets married...I sure hope she doesn't get sick of me before I walk down the aisle...or that she walks down the aisle and leaves me too soon!

As small town, southern baptist, SEC football loving, sewing machine owning girls, we have a lot of similarities. Yet even with all of the similarities, she has taught me so many new things...and helped me to love even more the things that we have in common.

Here's a small smattering of reasons why Martha is the absolute best...

  • Parties, Parties, Parties...I've always wanted to have a warm and welcoming home. Now that I live with Martha, I no longer have to want it, I have it. She exudes southern hospitality and because of that our home is always filled with people, especially when she decides to throw one of her parties.
  • Mad cooking skills...she may not cook every night, but whatever she cooks, or bakes, always turns out PERFECT.
  • Words, words, words...She knows my love language is words of affirmation and she speaks it to me oh so well. It's one thing to speak words of encouragement and thanks when they are expected, but Martha has the "out of the blue" note down to an art. Walking into my room and seeing a little envelope with my name on it sitting on my dresser is sure to bring a smile...and more than likely a few tears as well.
  • Old school music...Some of my absolute favorite times are when we are sitting around in the living room, both on our computers. When all of a sudden we start taking a walk down memory lane with our old school music...especially the old school church music. I don't know, but it delights me to no end.
  • Tough love...she says that I'm the queen of giving it, but she's pretty durn good at giving it right back. I love how whenever we are talking I know that she is always looking out for my best interests. It's the part of friendship that you can't teach, and she has it.
  • Curly hair...I literally have hours of my life back thanks to Martha. After years of trying, I thought it was hopeless, but in 10 minutes one night she had me feeling like a real, live, curly haired girl.
  • Pictures...I love pictures, and have always done a good job at organizing them and getting them printed. Martha takes it one step further and keeps the frames updated. It's so nice to see updated photos of people we love all around the house.
  • Thinker...It's not uncommon for us to listen to a sermon and then chat about it. I feel like my observations are pretty basic, but Martha always seems to dig deeper. I love that, and it helps me to dig deeper too.
  • Embracing the moment...Martha truly knows how to enjoy the moment. I'm so glad that I'm getting to live my "single days" with her because it makes me love this stage of life even more. We don't spend hours wishing and planning a wedding. Instead, she has helped me to see the fun that can be found in the present.

The truth of the matter is, whether it's late night chat sessions, movies, walks to dinner, road trips, dance parties or pool days, life is definitely better with Martha! God has truly outdone Himself with this roommate. I pray that I will never take one minute of living with her for granted!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Joyful Reactions

Friends divide the pain and multiply the joy. I don't know if I have ever experienced the multiplicity of the joy part of that statement more than in the weeks following my acceptance to Beeson.

In the months prior to finding out, I had been secretly making a list of people that I wanted to call when I found out the news...whatever news it would be. It seemed a little crazy at the time, but I'm so glad I did it because I didn't have to think of who to call. I won't bore you with the reactions of every person on my list, but there are some that I don't want to forget... best friend that has walked the journey of apply to school, get too scared, apply to school, get to scared, apply to school the entire time. She has faithfully prayed for me, asked me the tough questions and cheered me on every step of the way. Sending her the message with the word TOP in it brought tears to my eyes immediately. Truly a dream realized.

Mrs. Teresa...During my interview I was asked to name a person in my life that has done for me what I long to do for others. Without hesitation, I began to describe the relationship that I have with Mrs. Teresa, my mentor. I met her when I was in middle school, and despite only living in the same city for 3 of the past 15 years, she has given poured into me, encouraged me, listened to me and loved me unconditionally. If I can do for teenage girls even half of what she has done for me, I will feel like I have accomplished something. Her squeal of delight and affirming words were a blessing.

Sarah Beth...another dear friend that has walked the journey of applying for school with me. She was my daily encouragement to fill out the application, read the books and write the papers. Her accountability was just what I needed...and I sure hope it doesn't stop when the real school begins! She was one of the few I got to share the news with in person, and she immediately decided that a trip to Summer Snow was in order to celebrate. cousin in high school. She isn't one to show much emotion, but when she know it's real. To see her excitement, and the subsequent excitement as she shared the news with her friends, was such affirmation for me. After all, I want to work with high school girls...and their smiles, hugs and cheers gave me reason to believe that they though I would actually do an okay job at it.

Sweet Moms...I love to fill my free time with baby-sitting. One of the greatest compliments in the world is when parents welcome you into their home and give you the chance to love their children. One of the neat things about baby-sitting as a twenty-something is that the parents are becoming more and more my friends. I loved getting to call so many moms to share the news with them...especially since I know they had prayed over the decision for so long. former boss at Chick-fil-A. I will never forget the conversation I had with my boss to tell him that I felt the Lord wanted me to work in ministry full-time and that in order to do that, I was going to need to leave the job I loved. That was more than 2 years ago. He was by far the best boss I have ever had, and leaving him was one of the hardest things I have done. Finally being able to call him and tell him that I was, in fact, going back to school, was so special. dear roommate. I know, I mentioned her in the earlier post, but she was such a large and important part in the whole process that she deserves at least one more mention. Her reaction was one of my favorites. She was the one, reading the letter...and doing a much better job of comprehending what it said. She was the first one to congratulate me. She was the one that sat there as I whipped out my list of people to call. She was the one who sat there as I began to go down the list, only to have NO ONE answer the calls. She was the one that I joked with and said "it looks like the rapture happened and the newly admitted divinity student was left behind." She cheered me on the whole way, and I know she'll be cheering me on the whole way through New Testament Greek, Spiritual Formation and Old Testament Theology this fall.

Okay...I think that's enough of the divinity school least until school starts this fall. Thanks so much for all of the encouraging words, cards, texts, emails and calls. My words of affirmation love tank is filled and overflowing!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

March 26...When Dreams Came True

I'm obsessed with dates. Not the fruit, not the social kind, but the ones on the calendar. For that reason, I can remember the exact date that things have happened, and from now on, I will stop and smile whenever March 26 rolls around.

March 26, 2011. It started off as a normal Saturday. I was up early...typical because try as I might, I have inherited the "wake up early" gene from my Dad. My sweet roommate, Martha, doesn't have the "wake up early" gene, so by the time she was waking up around 10, I was contemplating a nap, but when she mentioned she was hungry, I realized I hadn't eaten so we decided to go out for breakfast. We picked a girly brunch place and enjoyed catching up on the events of the week. A true treat.

When we got home, I noticed that the mail had come. A little odd because the mail usually didn't run until late afternoon on Saturdays. As I pulled it out of the mailbox and took a glance I realized that, for once, something important had come in the Saturday mail. A letter I had been waiting on.

At this point, I should probably back up to say that a few months before, after much prayer and research, I had decided to pursue my dream to get my Masters of Divinity from Beeson..a dream that I have had since high school. I filled out the application, wrote the essays (it's a wonder I didn't die during that process), and went for the interview. I pretty much did it all with only a handful of people knowing. As much as I wanted to get in, I figured there was no chance that it would happen, so there was no sense in telling people about it only to have to tell them a few months later that I didn't get in.

As I held the letter I realized that things were about to get really interesting. I remember looking at my roommate and showing her the letter as I fumbled for my keys to unlock the door. She just laughed...probably because she had just asked at breakfast if I had heard anything. I held the letter in one hand and noticed that it was heavy...that must be good, right. Martha assured me that it was...more papers, and things to return. Still, I wouldn't let myself get too excited. There was always a chance that it would say "sorry...but here is a brochure for some other options."

After what seemed like 15 minutes, I finally got the door unlocked and we sat on the couch to open and read the letter. I found myself reading and rereading the first paragraph because I just couldn't believe what it was saying...I had been accepted. My roommate, on the other hand, had already gotten the chance to read further down and was noticing that there was more to the letter than just a congratulations, you're in. She asked if I knew what it meant and I said, "I think this means I'm going to school." She said yeah, but keep reading!! I got to the next paragraph and about fell off the couch when I saw that not only had I been accepted, but I was selected to receive a scholarship. Not only had God fulfilled my dream to go to Divinity school, he had totally exceed it!

I got teary then, and I still get teary now when I think about it. God is so so good.

Needless to say, finding out about school changed my weekend plans because now I knew I had to go home to see my parents. For those of you that know me, you know that I don't make it home too often. In order to make sure that I didn't scare them to death with a visit, I called my sister, told her about school, and got her to agree to come up to Brewton so I could tell my parents that I really wanted to see my niece, so I was going to drive down for the day and they were going to drive up. I wouldn't be able to go down until Sunday, so I spent the rest of the day in thankfulness and awe. It was actually kind of nice to be able to reflect on all that had happened to bring me to that point.

I got up early the next morning and called my parents to let them know I was on my way. My Dad went on and on about how this was a waste of time and money, but I just kept my mouth shut. I knew that I wanted to tell them in person, so a down and back trip was really the only possible solution. As long as I live, I will never forget that drive down to Brewton. What would they think? Especially since I hadn't even told them I had applied. How would they react? What would they say? Heck, I wondered how I was going to tell them. To say I spent my drive praying would be quite the understatement.

I made it into town just in time to go to meet them at church. I did my best to act normal and enjoyed chatting with lots of people I hadn't seen since Christmas. We went home to a little mini-feast my mom had whipped up and I finally decided that I would tell them over lunch. Well, I guess it was more of a show than a tell. You see, on the way down, I decided to just show them my acceptance letter and let them read it. I figured parents-to-be did that with ultrasound pictures, so why couldn't I do it with my letter?!

Like I said, I didn't really know what to expect, but their reactions were priceless. Mom's mouth dropped wide open, and after about 5 minutes, Dad asked me if I was going to actually go. Well, yes, Dad...I do believe I will. :) I did my best to answer all of their questions and apologized for not telling them about it sooner. After all the questions had been answered, both seemed eager to tell their friends, so I knew then that they were happy.

After we chatted, I didn't have much time before I knew I was going to need to get back on the road, but there was one other person that I had hoped to tell while I was childhood Pastor, the one who prayed the sinner's prayer with me and baptized me, and one of my all-time favorite neighbors, Brother John. I walked across the street sat on the same couch that I had sat on almost 18 years ago to the day and given my heart to Jesus. Yes, I cried. It was such a blessing to be able to thank him for all he had done for me, and then to have him pray over me was more than I could take.

It's been a little over 6 weeks since I opened the mailbox to find a letter that would change my life. In that time I've gotten to share the news with so many, some that have prayed for this day for years, so it has been a delight to thank them for those prayers. I have been reminded yet again how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and friends.

As for school, classes start in August...August 29 to be exact. More than likely, it will take me 4 years. I am incredibly nervous about having to write theological papers...I'm not a theological thinker in the least...but, I am super excited to learn, and I know that I will get through it, and be a much better person because of it. When I graduate, I will have a Masters of Divinity, and for now, I feel that the Lord is calling me to use what I learn to work for a church as a Girls Ministry Leader....sort of like a youth leader, just for the girls. I have always had a heart for high school and college aged women, and I can think of no greater joy than to be able to do life with them daily.

So there you have it. Pretty much the reason I've been so quiet on the blog has been because I have wanted to say all of this for the past 6 weeks, but couldn't because I haven't been able to tell my current boss. You see, I really wanted to tell my boss in person, and since I work from home, I wasn't able to make a trip to the office until now. But, as of today, the office knows so I can now shout it from the rooftops...or the blogtops as the case may be....I AM GOING TO BEESON DIVINITY SCHOOL!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Ring for the Roomie

There are some moments in life that no matter how much time passes, you are still able to remember every single detail. One of those moments is the time a little over 8 years ago. I was a senior in high school, visiting The University of Alabama, and I met Lauren for the first time.

I'm actually going to skip over the details because that's not the purpose of this story...maybe another time...but the thing to know is that at the end of the day, we decided that we would be roommates the upcoming fall.

I can't tell you how many times I've thought back to my freshman year and said a prayer of thankfulness for the opportunity to live with Lauren. We weren't exactly alike by any means, but we respected each other and enjoyed spending time with each other...and all these years later, I can't think of a time that we ever fought.

While we were only roommates for one year, but our senior year, we were pretty much attached at the hip. We had all but one class together, and were always in each other's group for group projects. I pity her for having to put up with me, but there was no way that I was going to be in a group with anyone but her...a true marketing genius!

As it so often does, graduation forced us to part ways,. However, we've always managed to find a way to see each other at least a few times a year. This past visit was just a few weeks ago and I must say it was one of my favorites.

Lauren's parents have recently build a beautiful home in our old college town. She had planned to make a trip down to see them, and the trip only got better when she became engaged the weekend before. Once I found out that she was going to be in town for a few days, I knew I would have to make the drive down. There was just no way I was going to pass up seeing one of my favorite people, her new fiance, her precious family, and the RING!

It was the perfect time to get caught up on each other's current life as well as exchange stories from some of our more memorable college times...we definitely had some that we will never forget!!

As I drove home that night, I just kept thinking how grateful I was that it was the Lord's plan for Lauren to be my first roommate. She was the perfect match for me. One of the best people to go through college with.

Now, I'm thrilled beyond belief that she has found a perfect match in Griffin, and the perfect person to spend the rest of her life with.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Birthday and Belles

Apparently I am on the post every two weeks cycle...not intentional, but what can I say, I'm not the best at blogging.

Here's a little glimpse into what's been happening...

This precious girl had a birthday! I cannot believe that Little C is already a year old. She has grown so much these past few months and it has been a treat to see her personality really shine. I hate that she won't remember her first birthday, because her sweet Mom really did a wonderful job executing the ice cream theme. Truly a special day to celebrate a special girl!

There were a lot of things that my small town didn't have....mall, movie theater, starbucks...but I think the things I wish we had the most revolve around old Southern social events. When I think about it, I'm surprised that Brewton d0esn't have debutante balls and Belles to act as hosts for the city, but alas, we don't.

Thankfully, I am able to live my childhood dreams of those things through some sweet girls in Birmingham. My cousin and her friends were selected and presented as Birmingham Belles a few weeks ago, and to say it was one of the highlights of the year would be a dramatic understatement. I loved getting to see all of them all dressed up in their fancy hoop dresses.

Aren't they all so pretty?!?! These girls bless me beyond measure.

Most of the rest of the two weeks has involved packing, donating and cleaning. Martha and I are moving next week and to say we have amassed some junk in our twenty-something years of life would be quite the understatement. We have determined to only take the bare essentials, so as we've weeded out, we've made good friends with our neighborhood salvation army. While the house is not suitable for pictures now, I'll make sure to take some in a few weeks for a little tour. In fact, that will probably be about two weeks from now, so it will be the perfect thing to post about.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yet Another Catch Up Post

I just hate it when someone says "sorry I haven't been around lately...I wish I could tell you why, but I just can't." Don't you hate that?

Well, as much as I don't like it, I'm going to have to take that line for myself. Things have been really busy lately. Change is most definitely in the air, but I just can't blog about it quite yet. Don't worry, it's killing me as much as it's killing all 3 of you that read this thing...maybe even more because I know what the changes are!

Since I'm not able to blog about the changes, I'll leave you with a few pictures. It's been almost 6 weeks since my last post. EMBARRASSING! Pretty much the theme of my life since then has been travel. Feels like I've been pretty much everywhere but home. Trips to Pensacola, Seaside, Spartanburg, Key West, Atlanta...and of course the typical work trips to Auburn and Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama basketball team provided Martha, Christen and I with a great mid-week activity. We all enjoyed cheering the Tide on to victory...even Martha!

I got to lead a group of sweet 9th grade girls at a Disciple Now in Pensacola. One of the best things about the weekend was having Courtney in my group. I used to baby-sit her when she was a fun to see God working in her life!

Mrs. Teresa...AKA, the mom to Courtney and the world's best mentor. Can't imagine life without her. She's one of my biggest cheerleaders and to date, all of the advice I've gotten from her has been incredible.

The weekend after my trip to Pensacola, I packed my bags again and headed down to Seaside with some of my dearest friends for a little vacay AKA Adult Spring Break. To say we had a great time would be quite the understatement. We've already made plans to return next year! roommate...the runner.

The first night, we went out in our work clothes...and the nights after we went out in t-shirts and jeans. Getting dressed up is highly overrated. Oh, how times have changed.

The trip wouldn't have happened without Megan. Truly, it was her idea to get a group together for the Seaside 5K/half marathon.

The whole crew...runners and cheerleaders...after the big race!

While the travel has been tiring, the trips have helped to fill my 26th year with some wonderful memories, and for that I will be forever grateful. But...I am still really ready for things to slow down just a it summer yet?!?!?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Siesta Scripture Memory Team, Verse

Siesta Verse 4

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dreams Still Come True

Over the years I have been blessed with many friends. I would even say a handful of them could be called “best friends.” But, I only have, and will only ever have, one “childhood best friend.”

I don’t really remember the first time I met Laurie. We grew up in the same small town with older sisters that were the same age, and with exception of the preschool years when I went to St. Stephens and she went to Rainbow Circle, we attended school together until we graduated from high school.

In the beginning, our friendship was little more than play-dates and birthday parties, but as the years went on, the friendship grew. We shared secrets and fears. We took classes together and spent lots of time “studying.” We prayed for each other and dreamed of what life would look like when we were old and married.

A few years ago, Laurie met a special guy named Miller that she seemed to really like, and I was thrilled. He treated her like a princess and it delighted my heart to no end. Last month, Miler proposed, and the joy just seemed to overflow from my heart. When we were growing up, we used to talk about our dream wedding and it seemed that things were falling into place for her dreams to come true. I was smiling for days.

Last Thursday, Laurie and I met for lunch. Not surprisingly, much of the talk was about the upcoming wedding. And then, just before we left, she said something that left me speechless and took me right back to Brewton, Alabama and the days of dreaming about our weddings…she asked me to be a bridesmaid.

It’s not every day that your childhood best friend gets married, and to say that I am honored to be a part of it wouldn’t even begin to describe my feelings. While it’s something that we always talked about, that was years ago. Like many friendships, we’ve been through good times and we’ve been through some hard ones.

As the years have gone by, we have gained new friends. Those new friends could have easily taken “my place” in the list and I would have understood completely. But, they didn't, and by asking me, she totally made that dream of being in her wedding come true...I truly can't thank her enough!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sleep When You're Dead

Things kicked off on Friday with a trip to Tuscaloosa. Someone had a birthday earlier in the week that had to be celebrated.

Sarah Beth picked Chucks for dinner and, as always, it was yummy. I'm pretty sure that I could eat sushi every day, so even though I had already eaten it twice that week I wasn't complaining!

We continued the celebration at Innisfree. Since we had all already graduated from Alabama, much of the conversation was around how old we felt.

There was even a bet placed on how late some would be able to make it before calling it a night. I was pretty impressed with my ability to not be the first one to leave, but by 12:30 I knew I had to get myself on the road to Birmingham. While the drive is an easy one, one hour in the wee hours of the morning after working a full week isn't the easiest. By the time I got home and in bed, it was 2AM...way past my usual bedtime!

Brandon, Sarah Beth's boyfriend, and I being good little Episcopalians. HA!

Saturday morning there was no rest for the weary. I had gotten a call from Caitlin earlier in the week about a little demo/reno project going on at her house. As a surprise to her mom, they were going to be tearing down and rebuilding to make a large master closet/laundry area and then finishing off a bathroom.

Pretty much HGTV in real life...I knew I couldn't pass it up! It was so much fun getting to do all of the things that I see on TV. Sadly, I had to leave before it was finished, so I don't have any after pictures...Caitlin?!?!?!

By mid-afternoon, I was ready for a NAP, but I pushed on and instead made a road trip to Albertville, AL with Molly and Kathy for a show choir performance. While my high school has a show choir now, when I was there we did not, so the whole SC thing is new to me. I must say, I absolutely LOVED it though. The groups were incredible. We didn't take any pictures, but if we had, you would have seen lots of big hair, stage makeup and bright costumes. Those pictures, of course, would have been of the performers. Pictures of Molly, Kathy and myself would have been of chair dancing and our true blue wristbands. Despite the fact that Molly was down a contact and occasionally had to close an eye to see, (at this point, I was grateful that one of my childhood friends used to frequently wear one contact so I was never nervous!) we made it home and I once again found myself climbing into bed at 2AM.

I don't know how I did it, but somehow I got myself up for the early service on Sunday. With all of the running around on Saturday, I didn't have a chance to go to the grocery store for Super Bowl snacks until after church. So many people!! The afternoon was a whirlwind. We typically host groups over at our house, but I'm so glad this time we were going somewhere else. Getting everything done plus getting the house ready would have been too much for me to handle.

Now it's Tuesday and I still haven't fully recuperated from the weekend. Clearly I'm not the spring chicken I once was. What am I saying...I've never been one to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully I'll be rested up by this weekend because it looks like it'll be another busy one!