Thursday, December 16, 2010

the one about my heart

I'm sorry I've been a terrible blogger lately. I have about 80 blog posts in my head, but just haven't had the time to catch up. Maybe I will over the two week between family, cooking, cleaning, and catching up on my to-do list that's 100 pages long. Sigh.

So, I'm going to start back with the Deeper Still conference I went to Dec 3 and 4.

Wednesday night, Dec 1 I was at Worship + Study where Chad spent the night focusing on our role in the AIDS Pandenic, as Dec 1 is World AIDS Day. He shared several stories and videos with us, and had us pray throughout the night for different issues. During our last time of personal prayer he asked us to focus on what our role in the AIDS story is. At first I couldn't even pray because I was so frustrated. We had just seen a video about Living Hope. I was frustrated because I want to be on the front lines in Africa fighting AIDS and shepherding people to their Hope and Healer. Sometimes I just get so mad because it's not like I'm ignoring the problem here in all of my American oppulence; I desperately want to be among the sick and dying, but that is just not where God has me right now in life.
For one of the first times ever in my life, I told God I was frustrated. Normally I'm just head over heels in love with God and just rarely ever have a bad thing to say to Him, cause He's awesome. So being honest with God about my frustration with where I'm not was hard for me. I said all that was on my heart and felt silence. I was pretty ok with that; I trust that God hears me and I wasn't looking for any kind of immediate apology from Him or anything. But I told Him. I cried out and gave Him the hurt places in my heart.

Friday night Beth and I arrived a little late for the conference, as per our usual style. We got into our seats right as they were dimming the lights and the worship set was starting. I had been excited about the weekend because I'm a Beth Moore junkie, but I hadn't taken the first second to quiet and prepare my heart for a word from the Lord. He didn't need my preparation, He was ready.
Almost as soon as the music started, the Lord started ministering to my heart. He didn't answer a single question that I had raised on Wednesday night. He didn't provide any answers for where I'm not, but He gave me an overwhelming gratefulness for where I am. I started thinking about the ministry I have with college students right here in this city, and I was overcome with gratitude. My ministry is so full, so rich, so vital, and so alive. Why have I wasted time wanting for something else?

I thought I'd share with you some of the specific things (mainly girls) God called into my mind that I am grateful for:

-the girl who has turned her incredible loss and grief into an opportunity for spiritual growth and maturity, and who is so quick to minister to others. She challenges me.
-the girl who is being so relentlessly pursued by the redeeming love of God. I look into her life and I am reminded by how much our God loves us.
-the girl who is drowning in a pit of sin, but she is reaching her hands and her face up to her Savior, seeking rescue from herself. I am privledged to walk alongside her.
-the opportunity to teach the Word of God.
-the girl who has a sweet relationship with the Lord, and who is always hungry for more. I hope Chloe Belle grows up to be like her.
-the girl who I've seen change from a happy-go-lucky freshman to a junior who is serious about sharing the Gospel and making a difference in the lives of people around her.
-the Godly people I work with
-the opportunity to share the Gospel

I loved that moment that the Lord soothed my heart. I was reminded that thankfulness can radically change your heart. And I was overwhelmed at how absolutely incredible this place is in my life. It's a place of beauty, and I couldn't ask for more.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the one that's good enough to eat

We were supposed to have communion last Wednesday night at UMin. We didn't and so I have a huge loaf of french bread that's a couple of days old. I made bread pudding tonight. Paula Dean's bread pudding.

It was the best thing I've ever made, and maybe the best thing I've ever eaten.

Here's her recipe.

I made a few changes to the recipe. First, I suggest 4 cups of bread, not three. Mine came out a little runny with 3. I also added a tsp of butter pecan extract with the vanilla. I happen to think that butter pecan extract makes everything better.
I also omitted the pecans because I don't like them, and the brandy because I didn't have any.
Once I made the topping sauce, I poured it on and put the whole thing back in the oven, which was turned off, till we finished dinner. It made for a nice hot dish at the end.

Make it. I promise, its so good you'll pass out.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

the one for world AIDS day...a day late

So sorry I didn't get to post yesterday on World AIDS Day. I certainly spent much time yesterday thinking and praying for AIDS. I read this excellent post that I feel sums up exactly how we should be feeling about AIDS each and every day.

read this amazing post.

give to Living Hope.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the one with my theme song

Each week at UMin Sunday School a college student gets things started by giving the small groups a fun question to ask. One week Katie Snider asked everyone to share what their theme song would be-you know, the song that would play loudly whenever you entered the room or did something really rad.

I felt like a loser because I couldn't think of my theme song. It made me feel old and so uncool. Then, over Thanksgiving I was rockin out in the car to my all time favorites: Queen. It all became so clear.

Here's my theme song. Fits me perfectly.

Leave a comment and tell me about your theme song.

Monday, November 29, 2010

the one with lots of goodies from Shutterfly

You know how the Keel family feels about photos. We love them. If we're friends on facebook, you know that Adam and I take about a zillion pictures of our little family. And while posting on the blog or facebook is fun, nothing can compare to the ultimate photo opp: the Christmas card. yay!!!

It's Christmas card season, which means I'm pumped each day to check my mail. I haven't gotten a Christmas card yet, but I know they're coming and I'm excited.

This will be our first Christmas card with precious Chloe Belle, and I simply can't wait. I'll be doing our Christmas cards this year with Shutterfly. I know I need to go ahead and order, but I can't decide on which one is the cutest! My top three choices are:

Which do you like best? I think I'll go with three because it gives me the option to write a bit, but how will I be able to only select two pictures of the beautiful Chloe Belle????

Shutterfly is perfect for holiday gifts. You can do cards, calendars (we're getting this one for Adam's dad for his office. good thing I know he doesn't read the blog, right? :), coffeemugs (which we're doing for CB's two great-grandads), and of course, their amazing photo books. We're doing a book of the lovely CB for each set of her grandparents. Couldn't be a better Christmas present in the world, if you ask me!

And, if you can believe it, right after the holidays will come Chloe's first birthday! Thinking of doing this Shutterfly invite for her little birthday blast!

I hope you're feeling inspired to go make a great photo Christmas card on Shutterfly. Just please remember to add me to your mailing list!!

the one where I'm thankful

Sorry to have been an absent blogger lately. If you are anything like me, you get really frustrated when bloggers are silent. I get so sad when I get on Google Reader and I have no friend blogs to read, only super-achiever mommy blogs that generally just make me feel bad about myself because of my lack of crafting/sewing/baking/organic-growing abilities.

I intend to make up for my silence with lots of fun blogs this week. I hope it makes your Google Reader happy.

For my first blog I wanted to write about things I'm thankful for, but after a rather unpleasant day, I'm feeling very cranky. I guess there's no better time to make a list of happies, right?

This Thanksgiving season, I'm happy for:
1. a husband I adore, and 9 days of no work to spend with him.
2. a daughter who is super pleasant, super happy, and super beautiful.
3. returning home from traveling and crawling into my perfectly comfortable huge bed.
4. a plate FULL of scrumptious food.
5. friends who invite you into their home to provide you with rest, encouragement, and good card games.
6. playing in the dirt.
7. the opportunity to pour into the lives of college girls.
8. how the Word brings life to my weary soul.
9. coffee with old friends.
10. in-laws who take care of my wee one.
11. the comfort of resting in Adam's arms.
12. hearing from friends that are far away.
13. trying out a new recipe and having it taste great.
14. the community of God's people.
15. the constant provision of the Lord.
16. contentment in Him.
17. when I catch Chloe Belle's eyes and she bursts into a huge smile.
18. funny blogs.
19. my job.
20. the confidence that if all my earthly blessings were to fall away, I'd still be overwhelmingly rich in my Lord.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the one wondering who you are

So, I've never looked at my blog stats before. I never wanted to know how many people were looking at my blog, I felt it would be detrimental to my already rather big struggle with pride; either deflating it or encouraging it.

But, I entered this contest thingie to get free Christmas cards if you promoted on your blog, and you had to put down how many people visited your site each month.

The thing about my stats that most intrigued me was the visitors from other countries. I have lots of friends around the world. I don't know if this makes me cool, cause mostly I think about how it makes me sad. On the list of countries that have people visiting my site, there are a few I totally got because I have friends living there:

However, there were some random countries. I mean, the countries aren't random, I'm sure they're super legit places to be. It's just that I don't know anyone who lives there:

I mean, why in the world would you look at this blog unless you knew me??? my readers in Vietnam, Denmark, and Russia: who are you???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the one with a beautiful quote

Christians feed on Scripture. Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don't simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus' name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.

Eugene Peterson
Eat this Book

Friday, November 12, 2010

the one when I'm a bad mom

I love blogs (thanks Jamie and Bethany). I have converted to Google Reader and I have a whole section of "mommy blogs." Almost all of them occasionally post about how they had a horrible mom day. It's usually because:
  • they fed their kids McDonalds all three meals
  • they were angry, short, and frustrated and snapped at everybody
  • they said a bad word in front of their kids
  • they weren't feeling particularly loving

Today I feel like a horrible mom. It's because I have a mental list of things I'd rather do than take care of Chloe Belle today:
  • lay in bed and re-read Harry Potter for the zillionth time
  • take a nap
  • lay in bed and watch a movie
  • take a nap
  • order a pizza and eat in while laying in bed
  • take a nap
  • lay in bed and read funny blogs, crafty blogs, friends' blogs (anything but serious blogs that would make me feel bad about myself)
  • take a nap
I wonder, are there other moms out there who are as selfish as me? I'm feeding CB great food today, I haven't cussed, I love her alot, and I'm not frustrated. But I sure as heck just want a day off to be utterly selfish.

Anybody ever feel the same way, or is it just me?

the one where you'll laugh

remember this post from a few days ago?

the one where I love etsy!

got little cb two beanies for winter. the monkey one is for her sock monkey themed 1st birthday party! can't wait till they get here!

Monday, November 8, 2010

the one when I learn

It's amazing how much being a parent teaches you about God. I feel like almost every little interaction I have with Chloe Belle is insight into the heart of my Father. Two little lessons I've learned lately:

#1 As Chloe Belle is growing and changing, my love for her grows each day. She's more verbal and extremely mobile, and more like a little person. I feel like each day I fall in love with her all over again. The other day we were driving and I stopped at a red light. I looked back at her to check on her. She's still in the pumpkin seat facing backwards. Often all I can see are her little feet kicking, or sometimes the top of her head. Stopped at the red light all I could see of my wee one was her little thumb hooked around one of her links. That's it: just a tiny little thumb. I teared up at the sight of it, overwhelmed by my love for that little thumb.
As I turned back around, I was completely caught off guard by this thought: If I am brought to tears over the love of my daughter just by seeing her finger, what is the magnitude of the love my Father feels for me?
I couldn't stop thinking about it all day, just pondering the depth of the Father's love for me. It was overwhelming.

#2 I love this new phase CB is in where she's pulling up and cruising around on everything. I don't love that she'll be walking in just a few weeks, but it is so much fun to watch her adventure and explore all the time. However, with crawling, pulling up, and exploring comes hardship. She's falling down quite a bit lately.
Her favorite place to go explore is the dog's area. She likes to bang on the crate, push around the big container of dog food, and of course, tip over their water bowl. I've been trying hard to discipline her to show her that this tiny area of the kitchen is off limits. Every time I tell her no, I think it just increases her desire to be over there. It's amazing how her little life is my big foolish life in miniature. Why do some sins remain so desirable when my Father has told me repeatedly to stay away??
Today CB was playing over in the dog area. Before I could get to her to pull her away, she pulled the dog food container down on her, falling on the floor and banging her little head against the hard floor. Man oh man did she scream.
As I comforted her, I knew that if she had only listened to my correction there wouldn't be this pain. And I knew that the same is true in my own life. How God would have saved me from heartache if I had only listened to His voice.

I love this parenting journey. I'm learning so much about myself and my God and having an absolute blast along the way.

the one with a little lemon

Your adorable little fetus is busy with thumb sucking, toe wiggling, and (not so cute but equally amazing) making urine and breathing amniotic fluid as the liver, kidneys and spleen continue to develop. Lanugo (thin, downy hair) is growing all over the body for warmth.

Here is the nugget. I feel bad for nugget, because I sure don't pay attention to it like I did when I was pregnant with Chloe Belle. I guess that's just the privilege of being the firstborn, huh?
I had a really hard time spelling privilege.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the one where you'll wonder if you're smart

My husband shared with me an article about how religiously ignorant Americans are based on the results of a Pew Forum national survey on religious knowledge. Big surprise. However, this is a matter of interest for me, since I spent 4 1/2 years getting a Master of Divinity and I'm generally a nerd when it comes to this stuff. So, I took the abbreviated quiz. I'll have to be honest and say I could feel my heart beating like crazy because I was scared of getting a bad score. I got a 100%. Yay for me! I'm not a religious idiot. Wonder if you are?

Take the abbreviated quiz here and then read the article (the article mentions several of the answers so take the quiz first!)

If you take it, let me know how you did!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the one with awkward photos

Spent some amazing time last night laughing with my man on the couch. What were we laughing at? Enjoy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the one where I complain

I should not complain. I have no reason to, and let's face it, nobody likes complainers. Plus, this little girl is in my life, so really, complaining is ridiculous.

So I won't complain. I'll just tell you plainly that my life is too busy, I am too tired, and I have too much to do. I feel like I just may snap soon. I really need this first trimester exhaustion to be over.
Sorry for the lack of posts, just know that it's not because I don't love you or that I don't have interesting things to say. It's because I'm struggling to make it all happen these days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the one about tv

So, if you know me well, you know we don't watch TV. I have to phrase that carefully, because we actually own a TV (it's too old to even pick up the basic channels, we got it for CB to be able to watch Baby Einstein) and because I do watch some select TV shows online (Biggest Loser and Community are my faves). But, all in all, I have relatively low exposure to television. We are super intentional about this. I could probably write a novel about why I hate TV, but I'll just stick to the top two things I hate:
1. It is an abundance of images and stories of things that are opponents of God
2. and thus, I am ashamed of how much I enjoy it.

Just read a GREAT article about TV. I really hope you'll read it. If not, here's my little favorite snippet:

"But when we get immersed in things like the Tiger scandal and reality shows that highlight and glorify our basest instincts (and our narcissism), when we're infatuated by the intimate details about the lives of celebrities (and pseudo-celebrities), we're like kids playing in a dumpster. Sure, it might be entertaining. It might be fun. But in the end, we end up covered in filth."

Monday, October 18, 2010

the one about my weekend

I'm sure you don't care, but we had a rough weekend.

Friday: Adam worked till 9. Came home and we worked hard to get packed and ready for the weekend.

Saturday: drove to Troy. hung out with friends. went to sleep. Around 4 am, CB's little front tooth came ripping through her gums and she screamed bloody murder for two hours, then was sad and fussy for another hour or so. awesome.

Sunday: CB wakes up 6 am. we get cleaned up and drive to Birmingham. I forgot Sunday clothes, so I teach college SS in my awesome Troy St shirt I wore the day before. eat lunch at church. leave for Alex city for Adam's Pa's bday party. Adam gets the time messed up, party starts at 2, we're planning to get there at 2:30. We get lost in Alex City. Arrive at party at 2:50. drive home. CB is tired of car seat, screams last portion of trip.
went to bed at 8:30.

8 hours of driving, screaming baby, too little sleep. not going to repeat that weekend anytime soon!

the one that's not so cute

remember these super fun posts when I was making my own baby food and it was all colorful and precious?

things are not so cute anymore.

I've started making Chloe Belle turkey. It was not fun to puree, it is not cute, and she hates the way it tastes. Who knows? Maybe after all these awesome vegetables, Chloe Belle has decided to become a vegetarian.

the one where I hope

that when I grow up I can be Homemade By Jill. Check out this awesomeness.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the one when I reflect

Today was Chloe Belle's baby dedication at church. It was a really important moment for us as parents. I've been a bit consumed with thinking about this whole adventure in parenting lately, so I thought I'd put it all down in words here for you [whoever you are that's reading this...]

Thursday night was the parent dinner for the ones dedicating babies. A couple in our church, who I personally don't know at all but who are very well respected, shared with us some thoughts about parenting. One thing the momma said burned into my heart. "One unbreakable law of parenting is this: parents reproduce themselves." She them showed a picture of her mother, her oldest daughter, and her oldest girl grandchild. She showed how they had the same hair, skin, and nose. Physical characteristics though, are the least of what we pass down. She asked how we would feel if someone said of our children, "she has her mother's faith, her father's obedience" or how about "she inherited her mother's sins"...

Certainly I have spent a great deal of the last 9 months concerned about parenting Chloe's sleep schedules, starting training her in obedience, and making sure she is stimulated correctly to help facilitate learning. But what is a constant weight on me is her little heart and her precious soul. I want nothing more than to lovingly guide her in a walk with Christ. I want her to love, obey, and enjoy Him all her days. And what weighs upon me the most is that she will look to me to understand not only how to have a relationship with God, but she will look to me to understand His very nature. My grace will teach her about His grace. My righteousness will be a lesson on His. My faith will be there for her to imitate.

Honestly, this overwhelmed me. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I met with God on Friday. I love how He always meets me at my need!!! I've been studying the Patriarchs for the past 4 months or so because we're teaching the Patriarchs at Worship + Study this semester. Friday I dug into Genesis 26 and looked at Isaac and how he reflected his earthly father. Isaac committed the same stupid sin that had gotten Abraham in such trouble twice in his life [they both lied about the identity of their wives]. I was overcome at how Isaac didn't just inherit his father's radical faith, but his sin as well.
I realized that my life will laid bare before my children. They will see my triumphs and my failures. But I left those moments with God no longer overwhelmed by this reality, but encouraged. Because despite how depraved and fallen my life and my sins can be, I serve a God who is capable of redeeming me. Not just redeeming my soul unto salvation, but redeeming my character flaws, my habitual sins, and my deeply ingrained rebellion. And not only can He do this for me, but He is capable for my children as well! My sin will not overwhelm me; instead I choose to be overwhelmed by the transforming grace of my God!

Praise God for entrusting me with this precious life, and for constantly teaching me more about Himself in the process. He is so very very good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the one about Kara and Jesus

I wasn't feeling so great last night at Worship + Study. I was just sitting in my seat quietly during the worship time. I looked around me and saw college students praising God with wholehearted devotion and bent over in their seats in fervrent prayer. Students were either focused soley on God or drawn in focusing on themselves. Then I looked to my right at the girl who sat one seat down from me. I love this girl. LOVE her. Next Wednesday will be the one year anniversary of her mother's death. She was neither lost in worship or deep in prayer. She was staring blankly at the chair in front of her. Immediately I was broken over the pain and grief that seemed to be draped around her like a cloak.
I thought about the body of Christ. So often we come together for worship and get lost. Lost in the Lord, lost in our own hurt, pain, and needs. And we don't look around at the people surrounding us and feel their hurts, pains, and needs. I was ashamed of myself. Ashamed at how me-focused my walk with Christ can be. Ashamed at all that I do not see.

Then Bobby began to sing a new song:

On that day when I see all that You have for me
When I see You face to face there surrounded by Your grace
All my fears swept away in the light of Your embrace
When Your love is all I need and forever I am free
Where the streets are made of gold in Your presence here to hold
Let these songs of heaven rise to You alone
No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering, You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness, no sickening
No hiding, You hold me now
You hold me now
In this life finally stand through my joy and my pain
Knowing there's a greater day there's a hope that never fails
When Your name is lifted high and forever praises last
For the glory of Your name I'll be living for the day
When the world has finally cease; all creation rest in peace
Let these songs of heaven rise to You alone
No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering, You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness, no sickening
No hilding, You hold me now
You hold me now

Although I may be blind to the pain and grief around me, my gracious and intimate Father is not. He sees the hurting, He pursues the grieving, and He makes the broken whole.

Monday, October 4, 2010

the one where I eat

Tonight we went on a little impromptu date because Community Group got canceled last minute, so we still had a babysitter. We went to Johnny Rockets. I'm clearly pregnant. I ate my burger before Adam was halfway finished with his, and then I had completely finished my milkshake [the glass jar and the extra cup they give you] before Adam had even eaten the whip cream off his.

I'm sure people were staring.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

the one where you vote

We're not finding out the gender this time around [take it up with Adam] so until he/she pops out, we'll be referring to it as Nugget. But, we're struggling with the girl name. You vote.

If it's a boy: James Walker. No debate on that one.

If it's a girl: Hannah, Anna, Ivy. What d'you think???

the one with the new toy

the one about family

All the 5 Flowers were together in town last weekend to celebrate Wendi + Shea's marriage at a reception at Barehands. I'd by lying if I didn't say I was totally worn out [emotionally and physically] at the end of it, but it was great to see everybody. Tod came in town with his girlfriend, Kate. It was good to meet her-she seems really fun and totally in love with Tod, which is awesome. The party for Wendi + Shea was tons of fun. Chloe Belle was the most beautiful girl in the room [and the world] and she was dressed up specifically for her aunt weeze-all brown and blue with awesome biker boots on. Good times.

the bride and groom

loves chewing on everything

precious to me.

chloe and aunt weeze

brother, me, and kate

the one where I'm back

Hi friends.
So sorry its been three + weeks since I've blogged. Life has been a bit hectic lately. I'll try my best to catch you up on what's been going on.

#1: I'm pregnant!
Crazy, right? We found out on Sept. 3rd and it was a BIG surprise! Adam asked me for about 20 minutes straight, "Are you joking?" I'm 9 weeks on Tuesday. The due date is May 9, although this time around I'll be ready a month early. Here's a precious picture of little CB so excited about her big news:

#2: We've made some big decisions lately. We've decided to stick around Birmingham for the next few years. Adam is going to start working on his Educational Leadership [administration] degree. He's going to start Montevallo in May. It'll take him two years to get the degree, and then the hope would be for him to get an administrative job here in Birmingham.

#3: We're looking for a house here in Birmingham. It's fine for us to stay here where we are paying rent, and we just might do that. However, we'd like to be in the Hoover/Vestavia area to be close to our friends and our church. Problem is, we can't afford Hoover/Vestavia. But alas, we're looking around. It's an interesting journey.

#4: Come May I'll officially be a stay at home mom. I'm going to try and soak up each second of this last year with my college girls. It's a surreal idea, staying at home with two kiddos, but I'm looking forward to it.

all for now. more catching up later.

Monday, September 13, 2010

journey to 30 #5

I want to nap, so this will be short.

#4. I want to share the Gospel once a week

When I made this one of my goals, it scared me. How in the world would this ever be a reality? Would I feel guilty when it didn't happen and then just give up???

I have shared the Gospel once a week since making this commitment, and today I led a girl to Christ. None of this has been because of my own worth or the work of my own hands, but it has been the grace of a God who loves His own renown.

I feel alive when I share the Gospel. I feel like it was what I was born to do. I'm grateful for this commitment in my life and I'm grateful for a God who is faithful to Himself.

I super loves Jesus.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

the one that makes me think

will you read this post?

I'm going to come back and talk about it again soon.

journey to 30 #4

#3. I want to commit more Scripture to memory [for reals-not just rote memory where it's forgotten a month later]

Along with some friends, I'll be discipling a group of college girls this semester. I'm super pumped about it. We're going through the book of John. As part of our commitment to one another, we'll be memorizing John 15:1-17. Here we go. I've got 11 weeks to train my heart to know this forever.
I'm up for the challenge.

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the one where I'm grateful

At Community Group last night we were discussing Sacred Marriage. One of the questions asked was something like this: Do you spend more time thinking about how you can make your spouse happy or more time thinking about how they aren't meeting your needs and expectations.

When I answered the question last night, I immediately thought that I spend more time thinking about how to make him happy. Because I do exhaust my little brain on ways to love him, encourage him, push him to Christ, and make him smile.

But, I realized I do spend quite a bit of time thinking about his shortcomings.
Simultaneously, something happened in my life that made me reflect on who Adam is as a man and as a husband. I am so sorry that I spend time thinking about his shortcomings, because he is an amazing man.

He is kind.
He is a relentless servant to everyone, but particularly to me.
He is super fun.
He is organized, mature, and responsible.
He provides for us.
He LOVES me.
He willingly and joyfully gives of himself to me all the time.
He is devoted to Chloe Belle and completely in love with her.
He is always honest with me.
He confesses his sins to me.
He thinks I'm perfect.
He wants to be a better man.
He loves the downtrodden, the hurting, the outcast, and the lost.

He reminds me of Jesus. I am blessed to have this man as my husband. I live each day in the comfort and security of his love.

Praise God for His amazing gifts. Of all the gifts I am most thankful for, I am thankful for Jesus and His grace, and my husband. Thank you Father!

Friday, September 3, 2010

journey to 30 #3

#9. I want to be more healthy; including cooking and providing healthy meals for my family and making exercise an important, habitual part of my life.

I've been thinking about writing this post for a couple of days. [insert here another statement about how busy I am. sigh.]
I'm so glad I waited till this morning.
Over the last 7 months I have been committed to health more than any other time in my life. Not my own health of course, but Chloe Belle's health. I made a commitment to breastfeed, the healthiest choice for both her and me for the rest of both our lifetimes. I stuck to my commitment those first three months when breastfeeding was hard, frustrating, and not at all what I thought it would be. In short, I had discipline. Me. I had discipline about health. Who knew?
The last two months since Chloe Belle has been eating food I have been a bit fanatical about what she consumes. I make all of her baby food, from mostly seasonal, local fruits and veggies.

So, making and preparing healthy food for my child: check. Making and preparing healthy food for my husband and me: utter failure.
In addition to all this, I get on the scale this morning and I've gained several pounds. I can easily attribute this to the start of the semester: frantic living, lots of food, and LOTS of coffee [full of milk and sugar].

So, hopefully putting this out there will give me the encouragement I need to change things up. This month we're doing 30 days of no eating out, and I'm hoping that will help. Also, I'm going to say no soda or desserts until Oct. 1.

Now I know I can summon up the discipline. I just have to live it out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

journey to 30 #2 again

after talking about my man I thought maybe you needed a reminder of how cute he is. So here he is, with Max just to up the cute factor.

have I ever told you how much I love him? cause I do.

journey to 30 #2

Slow starting on these journey to 30 posts. It's the start of a new school year and I am up to my neck in college students. I LOVE it, but it means less time for life.

#5. I want to be a submissive, supportive, helpful, and encouraging wife

Adam and I are entering a season where we are trying to be super intentional about our relationship. Our wonderful community group is studying Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. We've just begun, but I've already enjoyed talking as a group about the purpose of marriage. Thomas states that God designed marriage not to make us happy, but to make us holy. I've been challenged by this line of thinking. Whenever I get frustrated with Adam because he doesn't understand my thoughts, my heart, or my needs I try to remember that those moments can cause me to throw myself at the foot of God to find what I seek. Instead of hashing it out with Adam so that I'm better understood and thus more happy, I take my heart to the throne of my Savior and ask Him to simply remake me to make me more like Him. It is a very selfless view to take, and completely contrary to my nature, but by the grace of God I can be transformed.

Each Friday night Adam and I are having "marriage night." We're discussing Sacred Marriage and then doing something to intentionally build our relationship. We've played a super fun little marriage mad lib game and we took a really great quiz about perspective in marriage.

I'm excited. I can't wait to look back in two years to see the glorious work God has done in our hearts. I expect big things from my Jesus and big things from my marriage. Truly, my heart's desire is that our marriage would make us more holy, that our relationship would serve as a fashioning tool for God to make us like His Son.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the one that's funny

Sorry its been a few days since I posted. My life is insane right now: it is the start of the Fall semester and my life is overtaken by college students. Which I LOVE. But, it makes for super late nights, no sleep, no time with my beautiful family. It'll all calm down soon. I don't have much energy to give you a thoughtful post, but here is a funny post.
Adam was comforting Chloe Belle when she was really upset. Jimmie and Max decided they needed to be comforted, too. They just hopped up in his lap for a little loving. It was awesome.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the one with the painting

Beth's little Joey will be arriving soon. I painted him a little something for his nursery. It's meant to match his bedding. So fun!

the one where I love mornings

I love mornings with Chloe Belle. When I get her out of the crib she only wants one thing: milk. She's pretty uninterested in me. But I love that about 10 minutes into nursing, she gets enough milk in her belly and is ready to love me. She'll roll back on the boppy and put her little hand on my cheek to say good morning. She'll play with my hair and stroke my cheek then go back to eating. She repeats this little cycle every few minutes. It's as if she doesn't want to go too long eating without stopping to say, "I love you mommy!" It's precious.
I love my baby girl.

Monday, August 23, 2010

journey to 30 #1

At last. My first Journey to 30 post. I've been thinking and mulling over these things for over a month now, and I'm glad to be getting them out. Here's my list:

By the time I'm 30 [July 9, 2012] I'd like these things to be a reality in my life:

1. I want to be an obedient, fruitful disciple of Christ
2. I want to have a intimate, abundant, authentic prayer life with the Lord
3. I want to commit more Scripture to memory [for reals-not just rote memory where it's forgotten a month later]
4. I want to share the Gospel once a week
5. I want to be a submissive, supportive, helpful, and encouraging wife
6. I want to be a godly, encouraging, inspiring, and nurturing mother
7. I want to become more involved in matters of social justice; including praying more for social justice issues around the world, educating myself more on needs and how I can meet them, and most importantly...
8. Adam and I want to begin the process of adoption to graft a child in need into our loving family.
9. I want to be more healthy; including cooking and providing healthy meals for my family and making exercise an important, habitual part of my life.
10. I want to learn how to sew and crochet so I can make little pretties for my children.

whew. This is alot, but I'm so excited about living with intentional purposes. I'm going to be talking about these goals alot on my blog. Please leave comments and let me know how you're pursuing your own goals. Let's keep each other accountable to grow and flourish as we're lavished with love and grace from our Father. Yay! So excited!

the one with the winner!

Thanks so much for participating on my last post. I thought it would be fun to have you join in, but it was more than just fun-I really enjoyed hearing what you wanted to be different in your life. I have written down what you said, and I will be praying for you as you seek to see God work in your life and make you more like His Son!
Praise God for good friends!

I was very sophisticated in selecting a winner-I just asked Adam to pick a number between 1-6. He picked 4! Yay for Meryl! I picked you out a lovely prezzie last night and I'm popping it in the mail tomorrow.

Friday, August 20, 2010

the one that's #100!

Hi friends! This is my 100th blog post. Fun huh?
I thought of some fun ways to celebrate. I'd like to do a fun give-away like cool blogs do, but I realized I don't really have anything to give away. I'm not that crafty or anything. I thought about giving away a book, but I'm too selfish. I like all the books on my book shelf...

But, I've decided to celebrate in another way. I've been evaluating this whole blog thing recently, trying to decide what honorable purpose it holds in my life.
Simultaneously, I've been thinking alot about where I am in life and where I'm going. I have several friends who blog and have been talking about a certain milestone that is now looming ahead in our future. I am 688 days away from being 30. It doesn't sound too bad, but two years pass by fast. I want to be more than what I currently am when I hit a new decade of life.

Alas, blogging and my journey to 30 collide. In addition to updates about the mundane, fun, and precious moments of my life, [including all things Chloe Belle] I want to start using this blog as an accountability for all the change I'd like to see happen in my life in the next two years.
So, regular old blog posts will still be labeled, "the one..." but I'll also have lots of blogs about my "journey to 30." [by the way, I shamelessly stole the name journey to 30 from a friend from high school. It is the name of her blog. Anna, I sure hope you find imitation the surest form of flattery and don't instead think I'm a jerk.]

So, I'm excited about this new little venture of mine. I hope you are too.
I just reread my post and decided that if indeed you stuck in and read this entire, self-indulgent post, that I will do a give-away. Seeing as how the only followers of this blog are my friends, I will tailor the giveaway to who you are! I'll send you a little prezzie or a baked goodie in the mail if you win. Here's how you win:
Leave a comment about one thing you'd like to be different by the time you reach 30. If you're over 30, just pick the next age milestone for you. I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday, announce the winner Sunday night, and pop you a happy in the mail Monday morning.
Love you, faithful blog reading friends!

Monday, August 16, 2010

the one about ...

I've always said I'd never be a so-called "booby blogger." I've tried really hard to keep my posts about breastfeeding to a minimum. It's a real shame though, because let me assure you: the funniest things that have happened in my life the last 7 months have all been about breastfeeding.

Like tonight, for example. Hysterical. It's just such a shame I'm not going to tell you about it, cause its for real funny.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the one where I wonder...

...are you tired of me posting baby food pics? So sorry if you are, but I'm just loving this!
pears and sweet potatoes...mmm mmm mmm.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the one where I'm inspired

Totally inspired yesterday by some talks on Want to be totally challenged by what you eat and what you're doing about food problems at home and around the world? watch these:

Ellen Gustafson on obesity and hunger

Jamie Oliver about children and food

Ann Cooper on school lunches

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the one that's for Adam

My computer has been messed up for a month now, and I haven't done anything about it. typical me.
Chloe Belle and I send picture messages to Adam sometimes, and i just tried to do it forgetting that I can't send attachments. so, this post is just for adam.

Hey Adam, I tried to get CB to send you a message, but she was more interested in destroying the paper than smiling for the camera. She wants you to know that even though she ate your sign, she still loves you and hopes you have a great first day of school!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the one where I share

Article in RELEVANT. It's good-it's a conversation we're constantly having in UMin. Read it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the one about my father

Tonight was the FORUM at church. FORUM is when all the Sunday School Leadership of the whole church-from preschool teachers all the way to senior adult teachers-get together to plan for the coming semester. We meet all as a group for dinner and then break out according to where you teach.
Our Education Pastor always teaches for a few minutes at the beginning. Tonight he talked about legacy and how as Sunday School teachers we must be focusing on leaving a legacy for our students. He talked about a few teachers in our church who have left great legacies-a preschool teacher who has taught for 60+ years, a beloved 1st grade teacher who has taught for 54 years, a couple who has taught newlyweds for 30 years. He mentioned my dad and what a great legacy he has taught teaching 5th and 6th graders for 20 something years. When he said my dad's name, you could hear people in the audience respond at the sound of his name. Just at his name, they showed appreciation.
It's funny, they weren't talking about me, but it sure felt good. I guess when my father received glory, it made me feel good. I basked in his glory and loved it.

It made me think: if I get all warm and fuzzy when someone brings glory to my earthly father, why don't I respond with even greater emotion when someone brings glory to my heavenly Father?
My earthly father sure does have his flaws. We could make a list. But my heavenly Father has none. His perfect glory fills the heavens and the earth.

And to top it all off, my Father loves nothing more than His own glory. I was really convicted tonight that I need to make a much greater effort to lavish glory on my Father. I want to exalt His name in my life; I want His praise to ever be on my lips; I want to declare His glory among the nations.

Because He's my daddy, He's the King of Glory, and He is totally worthy of my praise.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10

Saturday, August 7, 2010

the one that recaps the week of friends

[I'm catching up on blogging this morning...expect multiple posts]

I had the coolest week! Pretty much each day of my week was splitting at the seams with good friends. I am blessed to have tons of lovely friends, but I can't remember the last time I hung out with so many of them in such a short amount of time. Here's my recap:

spent time with amazing old friends Patrick, Kevin, and Bethany

church is always full of friends

had end of summer dinner with UMin girls discipleship. I have really enjoyed getting to know Leah better this summer

Ashley Morgan spent the afternoon on my couch. I love her passion, honesty, and love for Jesus. Then I went to community group. Ah, community group. Faithful friends. Particularly love seeing Holly each week. This week Kelley was on a roll-homegirl should start a blog. Reading Kelley Smith would be hilarious.

Spent the afternoon with the precious Ashley Johnson and Tiff Healy. Then went to UMin faculty dinner. I am so blessed to do ministry with friends and people I love. I guess here I should say I spent some time at work with my friend Chad. I work with him each week, but he is an awesome friend so I shouldn't forget him!

Dinner with Adam and Beth. I love when its just the three of us. We're really are like a cord of three strands that won't be broken.

Lunch with Kristi Griem. Praise the Lord for her listening ear and faithful wisdom and love!! God placed her across that lunch table from me exactly when I needed it!
Met up and hung out with Rachel [Keener] McDaniel. I LOVE old friends!!!

But you know what the best part of my week was? I got to live another week with my best friend, Adam. I love that man something fierce.

the one with new stuff

I've been wanting to show off my new stuff for a while, and I just haven't taken the time to do it. But here it is! As lots of you know, we're super frugal, so new stuff is rare. Chloe Belle had to have a bag and lunch box for school [she starts in a week and a half! yikes!] and then we had a $10 pay pal gift that I wanted to spend on pretties for baby girl.
After much deliberation, I decided on the ladybug Stephen Joseph duffle, and I LOVE it. I got the matching lunch box [and her name is monogrammed in purple on the back of the bag]. And then we found these adorable hair clips on etsy for 99 cents!
Yay for new things!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the one that's a bit intense

I've been studying the Patriarchs this summer in preparation for the Fall. Chad and I will be teaching the Patriarchs at Worship + Study during the Fall semester. It has been a really rich study so far, full of difficult little nuggets of goodness. However, Genesis 19 has in the past been a particularly hard passage for me. Read it here.

I guess it was in college that I really struggled with how women are treated in the Old Testament. God's silence feels like tolerance of what happens. Genesis 19 is a pretty appalling instance where women are seemingly worthless. I have always found Lot's behavior abhorrent and totally worthy of punishment, yet somehow he gets credited as righteous in the New Testament.

I looked at the passage this morning with fresh [hopefully wiser] eyes. I realized that I am no different from Lot. He was trying to live righteously, but he put himself too close to the home of sin. He tolerated a little sin, and it came it and infected his family. Some seriously bad habits were established in his family!!

My sin is abhorrent before the Lord. And although I am on a path of obedience, I do allow myself to set up camp in some areas of my life that are just a little too close to sin. And I see the negative impact it has on my life.

I need to quit being appalled by Lot's sin and start being appalled by my own. I want to take Paul's advice and flee from sin so that my camp is no where near sin's camp. I desperately want to live a life of righteousness, obedience, and whole-hearted pursuit of the Lord. That way, my daughter will reap not the fruit of my sinful habits, but the fruit of wholeness and righteousness!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the one about friends

My 10 year high school reunion was this past Saturday. I got to spend the day with my three favorite high school friends. It was awesome. Although I've hung out with each of them bunches since high school, I do think that this is the first time since we started college that all four of us were in the same room together. It was bliss.
Bethany and I met in elementary school, and were undisputed best friends by the third grade. We've been in each other's lives since. Ours is the kind of friendship that stories are about: we literally have walked through life together. Its awesome. I met Patrick in third grade at church; he went to a different elementary school. We were super awesome buds. I still remember doing some SS play about the ark of the covenant together in 3rd grade. Sulli has been my buddy ever since. Kevin entered our life in middle school: 7th grade is when all our little universes collided and we were a group. Sure, things happened when we weren't always as close, [mainly Patrick dating another girl and me going off and being weird] but we'll always be buds.
ok, was that enough nostalgia for you?

love you friends.

the one with lots of orange

I made butternut squash for Chloe Belle the other day. It took forever to roast, but it made the whole house smell like heaven.

mmm. homemade baby food is yummy and cute!

She loves it! Look at her diving into that spoon...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

the one about the big day

Lots of fun things happening today-should have an awesome post tomorrow.

Today is Adam's 27th birthday! Yay for my husband!!! He is my absolute favorite thing on earth. Hopefully we'll have a fun day celebrating him.

and then...tonight is my 10 year high school reunion? Can you believe it? Clearly, I'm not going. But, I am excited that my three all-time favorite high school friends are coming over here for lunch today. hoorah! I LOVE Bethany, Patrick, and Kevin!!!

[this is patrick, kevin, me, bethany, and brandon the night of our last hhs choir concert. those were the days!]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

the one where she stands

Chloe Belle can stand on her own. for reals. I mean, she needs something to hold on to, but let's face it, she's a rockin awesome big girl.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the one with a verse

this has a hold of my life right now:

God said to Abraham in Genesis 17:1:
“I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless”

-without defect

walk with God in wholeness. I feel like this is the theme to my life right now. I desire this wholeness with all that I am.

Monday, July 26, 2010

the one where I'm cooking

I'm making all of Chloe Belle's baby food. I love knowing exactly what she's eating, and it makes me feel all Betty-Crockerish. She loves it! Eats every last bite!!