Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Things I Learned in 2012

Things are getting rowdy around here tonight on New Year's Eve... spending the evening with my friends, Alka and Seltzer, the cold variety (also the PM variety, so my time is limited here). Maybe it's the seltzer talking, or maybe I'm hanging onto a pipe dream of watching the ball drop into 2013... but I started thinking back to the past year, and wanted to document the top 10 things I learned:

10. I really enjoy knowing very little about what's going on in the news. For example, when someone mentioned the fiscal cliff to me recently, I was actually glad that I knew nothing about it. What would I have done about it anyway? Plus, any major news I need comes through my Facebook feed anyway- haha. That's kind of a sad statement. Call me a millennial if you want, but the fact remains that we just don't have cable... and I'm fine with it.

9. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing as a mom. Whew, glad I got that off my chest. I'm done trying to pretend, or trying to please people in restaurants that I don't even know. Yes, my two year old plays Angry Birds on my iphone, and he's beaten my highest score. Talk under your breath about me, but I no longer care. Doing my best here, and I'm over your judgment.

8. I'm very passionate about many things in this world. But I'm not going to talk about them all the time. The only passion I may talk incessantly about is my love for my Savior. He's done too much for me and in me for me to not talk about Him. You may not agree with my passions, and I may not agree with yours. That's okay. This past year, I've learned alot about listening to differing points of view. I can't promise you that I'll ever change my position on them, but I do care about how you feel, and I do care about your point of view.

7. Tragedy happens. It's like dog poo in a slightly overgrown backyard. It's only a matter of time until it affects you personally as you walk. I will experience it. You will experience it. Sometimes you can't do anything about it. But I want to love others through their tragedies. I hope you'll do the same for me.

6. I have learned that this is the time to care about my health. Gonna do it.

5. I have learned to take mental pictures of little things. My iphone camera helps with that too.

4. I have learned that I'm a terrible listener. Gonna work on that.

3. I have learned that every job has dysfunction. There are different levels of dysfunction; there's even some ingrown dysfunction. But at the end of the day, I have to remember that we're all human, acting out of our own hurts and insecurities.

2. I have learned that forgiveness does not, in fact, mean reconciliation. I thought this was true, but struggled all year with whether or not it really was. It's true. And while reconciliation may never happen, the black marks are gone. I no longer hold myself captive, and that's nice. (See my previous post for more on this issue)

1. I have learned that I am not promised tomorrow. If I have wronged you, let me make it right today. I will hold my husband and son a little tighter, try to speak love in all circumstances, and try to live out my calling. I'm going to fail in a lot of areas. That's cool with me. I'll keep trying my best though, and with the Lord's help, I hope to make a difference in the lives of others.

Happy 2013, y'all.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What we need most

I don't know about you guys, but the Christmas season always seems to highlight the best and the worst in my life. I'm always very thankful for what I have, as the Lord seems to remind me in not so subtle ways how much He blesses us each day. In the midst of all of that though, I am also reminded of my own shortcomings. I have so much to learn, and I tend to beat myself up during the holidays for bad choices I've made, for things I wish I'd done differently, for the relationships that went sour in the past. Two Sundays ago, our pastor said that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has a higher suicide rate than the other 11 months of the year combined. The enemy wants nothing more than to highlight hurts and pain in our lives during the one time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Savior... a time that should be filled with joy and celebration.

Well, I choose to not fall for that anymore. The past couple of weeks at church have been a series of sermons based on forgiveness. We've only done the first two weeks, but in those two weeks, I have been so incredibly blessed and set free. So, I wanted to share with you what I've learned so that if you are holding onto some unforgiveness, you might experience release and freedom as well.

The reason it's so hard for most of us to forgive is because we have a wrong understanding of forgiveness. We think that forgiveness is somehow minimizing the seriousness of the offense, or that it means reconciliation HAS to happen, or that we must forget what happened. Forgiveness is none of those things. The offense IS serious, you don't always have to reconcile, and you certainly can't be expected to forget what happened. But the problem is, we don't think it's fair for us to have to forgive. As Pastor Chris said two Sundays ago, you don't want to go the fair route. We didn't receive what was fair when Jesus paid for our sins, died on a cross, and reconciled us to God... WHILE WE WERE SINNERS. So, why are we so harsh with others when we didn't even receive what was fair?

Something else about forgiveness is that we usually just don't think that we can do it. Well, in a sense, that's kind of correct. I read a book called "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom several years ago. At the end, she is faced with one of the very guards who had held her captive in a prison camp. And as he asked her for forgiveness, she said there wasn't an ounce of her that wanted to forgive him. It still hurt too much. So she asked the Lord to do the forgiving through her, because she knew that He was the only one who could change her heart toward this man. And as she embraced that man, she wept with a flood of forgiveness and love that she knew couldn't have come from her own flesh. We can't do the forgiving in our own power. When we begin this work, it doesn't feel like we're forgiving anything, much less anyone. But as you continue to walk it out, the Lord does a work in our hearts. I promise- I've been there. In the beginning, I couldn't go off of my own feelings. I had to just keep walking it out and choosing to forgive, and eventually I knew that the Lord had changed my heart.

There are three things you can do to walk out forgiveness for others:

1. Pray for them. It's REALLY stinking hard in the beginning of the prayer, but by the end of the prayer, you'll find yourself genuinely praying for their wellbeing because you can't truly pray for someone without turning out to love them. Matthew 5:43-44

2. Bless them. This means resisting the urge to talk badly about them. Human nature makes us WANT to talk badly about them though. But don't. If you truly want to walk out forgiveness, bless them and do not curse them. Romans 12:14

3. Do good to them. Don't give them what you think they deserve. Do good to them. Taking revenge leaves no room for the Lord to do anything. You've taken it into your own hands and decided to play God. That's prideful. It's not up to you. The Lord calls us to overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

The best takeaway I had from this lesson was three simple words: The forgiven forgive. If you really know forgiveness from Him, then you are able to forgive others.

I feel sure that there will be more on this subject, as I have just been in tears the last two Sundays at church. Don't for a second think that I am not walking this out right there with you. I am still debating on whether or not to share anything about that part of my life. For now, until I know that I know that I should, just know that this is very real to me- it's a part of my history. We can all walk this out together. I pray that the Lord blesses you through this message as much as He did me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's beginning to look alot like... a TRAVEL STORY!

Last weekend was all rush, rush, rush! I had to get the Christmas decorations done, the advent calendar, and pack for my trip to Virginia. Needless to say, I DID NOT watch the SEC Championship game... apparently much to the amazement of others. But, I spent some great time with JM and M and made some wonderful updates to the house to show our Christmas spirit!
I've had these since we got married, but somehow have always forgotten to get them from Selma!
John Michael is really loving the idea of an Advent calendar
This was hard to keep a 2 year old from eating while I created it!
So, after all of that was said and done, I loaded up and headed to Virginia with my co-worker, Polly. Our organization recently hired a new CEO, so we were going to meet him, attend a conference planning meeting, and accomplish some other stuff too. Polly always blames me when our travels go awry... and she's right. People say that I should pay THEM to travel with me, because flights are always delayed, or crazy things just seem to happen.

I actually thought we were doing well- only a one hour delay in Atlanta (which to me is cake compared to some of the delays I've experienced). We arrived in Virginia, and started out on the mad rush to interview new employees, make conference calls in time, etc. I was planning on just staying with my friend and co-worker, Shannon... but when we got to the office, I went in for an immediate hug and she stopped me, saying that she might still be contagious. Oh no. After much thought, I told Shannon that while I loved her, I just couldn't risk another Christmas Day in the ER if I brought sickness home to my family. I would just go with Polly to the hotel and book a room. Surely they would have a room. (Don't call me Shirley)

After a wonderful dinner out, Polly and I took Shannon's car to CVS to get us some stocking feet (because we Alabamians don't pack for winter winter... we pack for summer winter... that's what we know). After a roundabout trip to CVS (which may or may not have almost included a fight between a tow truck driver and myself- I totally would have won, by the way), we set out for the hotel. The SpringHill Suites in Ashburn is one of my favorite places to stay. I stay there alot. So, walking in felt like going home for a short visit. While Polly checked in with one of the desk attendants, I went to the other side to see if I could book a room.

Me: "Hi, I need to book a room."
Desk guy: "For how many nights?"
Me: "Two."
Desk guy: "I can book you for tonight, but starting tomorrow, we're completely full."
Me: "That's okay. I'll just move my stuff to her room and shack up with her tomorrow night."

Other desk guy: "What did you say your last name was?"
Polly: "Bennett."
Other desk guy: "Can you see if you can find Ms. Bennett? I can't find her."
Desk guy: "Sure. Ms. Bennett, do you have your confirmation number."
Polly: (Sigh) "Yes, let me find it." (Shuffles in bag... pulls out folder... opens folder... reads out numbers) "Oh wait, that's my Marriott Rewards number. No, I don't have my confirmation number."
Desk guy: "Ma'am, your confirmation number will let us know whether you're booked here, or at another one of our locations."
Polly: "I'm booked here. I even made sure to tell the person who took my reservation that it was the one by the Chik-fil-A. And she said that it was."
Desk guy: "I still need a confirmation number."
Polly: (Deeper sigh- pulls out ipad) "How do I sign into the wireless here?" (I move over to help- she gets her email up- pulls up her confirmation email)

Now, let me stop right here. Polly is our conference director, so she knows ALOT about hotels. And before I go further, I want you to know that I'm not painting her to be a rude person, or someone who gets frustrated over nothing. Polly is a "oh well, we'll figure it out" kind of gal. But she knows how hotels should be managed, how reservations should be managed, and she expects things to be run in a professional manner. These two desk attendants were the nicest guys- and they were doing everything they could to sort this out. Okay, time in.

Me: "Polly, that email isn't from SpringHill Suites. It's from Towne Suites."
Polly: "Well, here's my confirmation number." (Reads off numbers)
Desk guy: "That is not a SpringHill Suites confirmation number."
Polly: "Yes, I realize that." (turns to me) "You know what this is?"
Me: (Silent, scared to speak)
Polly: "Language barrier. I couldn't understand a word that woman said on the phone. And I kept repeating to her, 'Now, this is the one on 7 across the street from the Chik-fil-A, right?' and she kept saying, 'Yea, Yeah' (in what I think was supposed to be an Indian accent) But, clearly she had no idea, booked me at the wrong hotel, and now we only have a room for one night! (to desk guy) I need a room for this ENTIRE WEEK!"
Me: (looking at the email, trying to hold in laughter) "Yes, this is by the airport here, this hotel where you're booked."
Polly: (to desk guy) "Please call that hotel and cancel my reservation. Book us a room for tonight, and I'll figure this out tomorrow."

So, we get a room, and we get up in the room, and I cannot stop laughing. I realize that me laughing in a situation like this does nothing to actually help the situation, but come on! It was so funny to observe this whole transaction taking place. Polly said, "It's not funny, Kay." And I said, "But it really is, Polly. I mean, this is the stuff blogs are MADE OF!"

The next night, we stayed with separate co-workers, and I think Polly continued that for the rest of the week. I have laughed retelling that story a couple of times. I think maybe Polly will laugh at some point about it. I did get a smile out of her that night in the room. And if it helps, I lost my phone charger on the trip, so if you want to say that I got mine, go right ahead. ;)

I got home Wednesday night, loved seeing my boys again, and worked yesterday. No matter how little time I'm gone though, it always seems like my boys grow up exponentially while I'm gone. For instance, Max looked a little older to me yesterday...

Like a grandpa, in fact
And John Michael was excitedly playing with one of his toys he got from the Advent calendar last night. I don't know that I've seen him get this excited about a toy before. The quick laying on the floor to talk to the snowman is my favorite part! I can't wait to see how he responds on Christmas morning! (Oh, and his birthday is this weekend, too!)

Hope you all are slowing down this season to enjoy the little things, and to remember the reason for the season. If you're interested, Michael is writing some on the meaning of Christmas, including some personal stories and things he's learned from the Lord along the way. Chock full o' goodness.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

He IS the gift

Michael and I have been attending a small group on Sunday nights, called Fresh Air. It has been really good, although challenging at times... you know how hard it is to get to know a whole group of people. Well, for me, the second small group was the initiation group for me, because from the very beginning, I was uncontrollably sobbing. Like, ugly cry, red-faced, hyperventilating sobbing. In a small group. Our second meeting. It was awesome.

Well, tonight we were talking about the Holy Spirit, which can always be an interesting conversation depending on any variety of preconceived notions. And so, you know, the conversation turned to the gifts. It wasn't the usual, "I think that's weird" conversation that I'm used to, which was nice. But in those conversations, I love to just sit back, listen and watch. The conversation opened up some questions from people here and there, and we started talking about different gifts and so on. At one point, there was discussion about everyone having the gifts... or do they? Or do some people just flourish in some gifts, and does everyone have every gift?

Michael and I used to get all up in arms during these conversations, but I glanced over at him to see if he was about to start in on anything, and as he opened his mouth, he said one of the most profound things I've ever heard. I don't know if everyone thought it was as profound as I did... but I really think the Lord meant it for me tonight. He said, "Well, here's the thing: the Holy Spirit IS the gift, and the way I see it is, it doesn't matter if He tells you to operate in this gift or that gift. It's all just about following His promptings."

Never thought about it that way. I tend to get caught up in the "rules" of operating in the gifts. But I guess the point is to just do what He leads you to do, and realize that HE is the gift. Cool word for me tonight. I hope it ministers to you like it did to me. Thanks, hubs. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Time for HIM

In the past several months, okay, maybe the past several years, I've struggled with this notion that I'm not DOING enough to serve the Lord each day. I tend to make myself feel guilty when I roll over and hit snooze at 5:00 am instead of jumping up and into the Bible immediately. And then 6:00 am rolls around and I barely have enough time to shower and get JM ready, so I push off my "devotional" time to... well, never, here lately.

So, I was talking to the Lord the other day while I was driving around, running some errands. I'm extremely honest with the Lord for those of you who don't know me. It was going something like this:

Me: Hey Lord, it's me... Kay. Oh wait, you already know that. I'm an idiot. Anyway, I was just thinking... I've been wanting to spend more time with you, and I think that the morning is really my only good time to do it because my days just get so crazy with work and JM and chores and supper and everything else (I speak in run-on sentences in my head). But, I mean, you know how much I love my sleep... and, so, well, sometimes... well, all the time... it seems like this morning thing isn't really working out for me because then I'm just talking to you while I fly through my morning routine, or while I drive, and let's be honest, you and I both know how ditzy I've been lately so I probably should keep my mind focused on the road (never mind the fact that I'm driving while praying this). But, Lord, am I a horrible person because of this? I mean, listen to me... I'm basically telling you that sleep is more important than you right now... geez. Why is this so hard for me????

And around this time, I'd gotten to the water works and was putting my bill in the little drop box (yes, I live in the 1920's). I'm walking back to my car, and He says, "Look."

I'm looking at the cutie pie sitting in the backseat of my car, smiling at me like it's the first time he's seen me all day, even though it's more like the 20th. It looked something like his smile in this picture:

And then He said, "I get that excited too."

Y'all! Is that crazy love?! Even a glance in His direction makes Him that excited. So, I realized that even five minutes is better than nothing. He just wants ME. It's a work in progress, that's for sure. But I'm definitely seeing it through different lenses this week.

He just wants YOU. It doesn't have to be formal, a certain period of time, or anything like that. All He wants is YOU.

Thanks, Lord. You're pretty awesome.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Comfortable Problems

For the love... there is so much I could be doing right now, like cleaning my house, pulling out some picture frames that I've wanted to hang, laundry (oh the never ending laundry). Yet, I'm unable to pull myself away from a story I ran across last week. In fact, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it either. Her name is Angie Smith, and she writes a blog called Bring The Rain. Well, she's written more than that, actually. "I Will Carry You," "What Women Fear," and "Mended" are three books that I see advertised on her blog. I haven't read them yet, because I'm still in June 2008 on her blog, making my entire way through it. I started at the beginning, in April 2008, when Angie and her husband Todd (singer for Selah) found out that something just wasn't right with Angie's pregnancy. I'll leave you to read her blog, as there's absolutely no way that I could do the story justice. But a funny thing happened as I continued to read, to cry, to read and cry, to sob uncontrollably... the Lord sparked something in me that I haven't felt for years. Passion for Him.
Yes, that's right, for all of you out there who have some notion in your mind that I have it all together... that I praise the Lord with every step... that I don't cuss like a sailor at times and then quickly pray that my son doesn't repeat it. If anything, I want to be honest with myself, and you. Judge if you want- makes no difference to me. I already know that I'm broken, so it's not a newsflash. But the past couple of years have been confusing at best. I've second guessed everything that I knew to be true... my ability to be a good wife, a good mother, a good employee, a good friend, a good person at all. I'm sure the enemy was having a field day with it. Have you ever noticed that the second you start to second guess yourself on something, there seems to be an event that proves you're right in thinking that ugly thought about yourself? It's easy to sit in that place for a long, long time. And I have. I've gotten pretty comfortable here. It's kind of like how Charlie Brown gets all upset about how nobody likes him, but the reason people get frustrated with him is because he constantly talks about how nobody likes him, and let's face it- that's annoying. Well, I think I've had a Charlie Brown spirit.
I want to go on record right now and say that as hard as it has been to get through Angie's blog, I have continued to read it because the Lord is doing something in me through it. As I read her posts, I realized that she hears the Lord so clearly in the midst of her day. And then she acts on it. And I found myself wishing that I could do that again... hear the Lord clearly in the midst of my day. As I sat in my big comfy chair, I looked at the back cushion where Max normally perches and laughed because he was stuck in between the cushion and the back of the chair. So I did what any normal "mama" would do. I picked up my cell phone and snapped a picture, planning to send it to Michael so that we could LOL at our silly dog. Max wasn't even upset about the fact that he was stuck. He just settled down into it and plopped his head over the back of the chair, trying to make the best of the situation. I thought to myself, "What a comfortable problem to have." And then I heard it. That still, small voice that I've been so desperate to hear said, "We must be careful to not get comfortable in our problems. That's not how life was intended."
That's not how LIFE was intended. That's so true! The author of life doesn't sit back and think, "Well, there she goes again. Gosh, I should really teach her how to be a better employee." He created life to be full of joy. And that doesn't mean that everything is hunky dory all the time either. Life is hard, y'all. But He's still on the throne.
"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" Revelation 5:13
And so, instead of doing the list of things that I probably should be doing around the house, I praise Him, and I allow myself to dream again, and I allow myself to trust Him again, and I praise- I praise- I praise. I'm reminded of Angie in so many things... maybe it's the fact that just reading her blog makes me think that she and I would be good friends... but the reason her blog is called Bring the Rain is because good soil only happens when there's a lot of rain. And while it's a little scary to say this, I say, "Lord, bring the rain... because it's more important for me to know You... and I don't wish for bad things, or hard things... but if everything is easy peasy all the time, I'm scared that I'll never grow. So I'm done with being mad about the problems. I'm done with wishing for easier things. Help me get through the difficult. Help me to face the hard times with my head held high. Help me to be a light in the exact places you have me."
We must not get comfortable in the problems. We have a solution. And in all things, He can bring peace, joy, comfort, healing, patience, love, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Time to be Thankful

The past couple of days have been a roller coaster for my family. However, through it all, God was ever present, and I learned so much more about myself as I learned so much more about God. I wanted to get it down somewhere before it left my mind- and also so that I could revisit it all one day and be reminded of what He was saying.

Things I learned about myself:

1. When I need to be strong, there is an endless supply of strength in the Lord.
2. I know now the peace that surpasses all understanding. So many people on the phone commented about how calm I sounded- some even thought I was in shock. But all I knew was that I had a peace that I couldn't explain. I knew how bad things looked and sounded even as I explained them. But God gave me His peace, and I was really never able to accept things the way they had been presented. All I could see and know was His outlook on things... and His outlook was far better than ours.
3. No matter how often or little I talk to my brother, we have a bond that cannot be broken. And I love that- and I love him.
4. I can pretty much take any situation and find something humorous to lighten the mood. However, I wouldn't recommend causing a patient who just had brain surgery to laugh. I got in trouble more than once. But Hurt Head Ted is now taking over for me.
5. I like Facebook and texting, and it truly is the easiest way to keep people informed, but there's nothing like a good old fashioned phone call.
6. I can survive solely on Starbucks and Diet Coke.
7. I am back in the business of reading my brother's mind. And it only took a 7 hour surgery to get that back up and running.

Things I learned (or was reminded) about God:

1. He is Good.
2. He only calls us to have faith the size of a mustard seed in order to move mountains.
3. He doesn't do things the same way I do (and thank goodness for that).
4. He hears our prayers, and works on our behalf long before we realize it.
5. He has an appointed time for all of us to leave this earth. We won't leave a minute before or after our appointed time.
6. Life's too short to waste it on things that keep us from carrying out His will, and He used a short five days to show me some things that I've been praying about for years. It was there all along, but sometimes you have to step back to see it clearly.
7. He secured even deeper in me that I am not afraid of death. In fact, I rejoice in it- because death has no hold over us. Life doesn't end with death. It begins. And that's not just the natural version of death- that's the death of things in our lives that we've been holding onto, but we need to let go of.
7. Lastly, we're not here for ourselves, or our selfish desires, or even to make a name for ourselves. We're here to point back to Him, to show others the Way, to bring Life into dark places. And it can be as small and as simple as one conversation. But people need to know that we care- so if we ask Him for His heart in all situations and for all people, we can't really go wrong.

There's still a road of recovery ahead, but I feel a new clarity that I didn't have before. I pray that we all move forward changed, and that we were able to bless others through it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Time for Easter Pictures

It has been quite a while since I last posted over here (and I said I wasn't going to do that). But, work has been insanely busy... to the point where I've been struggling alot just to get dinner on the table at night without having a meltdown. I've also been traveling quite a bit since this year began, and I have to go back to Dallas this week. Since I won't be back until Saturday (riiiiiiiiiiiight before Easter), I thought I'd go ahead and take some Easter pictures of JM today.

I kept trying to get all creative about where I was going to take his pictures, but then basically came to a "do or die" moment and just loaded him up in the car to go exploring. I spotted a little woodsy area at the front of a nearby neighborhood, and decided I'd go for the whimsical look today. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to go! So, JM and bunny went exploring, and I documented it.

We headed back home, and I spotted another field, so I asked John Michael if he'd be willing to do just one more...

He tried to warn me. He cried the entire time.

And what's a photoshoot without one of these (hehe)...

What a sweet angel. I love this little guy to pieces! I hope you all have an amazing week, and enjoy Easter with the ones you love. May we all be reminded of what He spoke so clearly to me about today... and that is HE IS GOOD! There is nothing that you are going through that He isn't working out for some purpose... and you don't have to worry about what that purpose is, because you can rest in the fact that HE IS GOOD. Love you guys!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lazy Sunday AKA Get up and do something!

I fly out of Birmingham in T minus 9 hours and 30 minutes. What do I need to do before then?
- wash clothes
- pack those freshly washed clothes
- pack everything else
- finish up taxes so I can send them off
- finish up two work items
- cook some things for my family to eat while I'm away
- buy some diapers so my child can live a sanitary life
- buy some food for my child so he can eat while I'm gone
- clean my house so that I can come home to it being messy again
- get to the airport an hour before my flight leaves

And what am I doing? Everything except what's on this list! And that includes watching JM be incredibly cute while he eats a waffle.

But he's checking my flight status and printing out my boarding pass for me, so I didn't add those to the list.

I need to get my buns in gear! Hope everyone has a great week! I'll be "nerding it up" at a database conference! (pushes glasses up nose)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's time for the Academy Awards!!!

I love all of the Oscar buzz... I can't help it. I guess I'm a sucker for an event where everyone dresses up and people go home with awards. And I LOVE the speeches that some people give at the Academy Awards. Let's face it, there are just some people in this world who are cocky and you can see right through them- especially in their acceptance speeches. I of course love the ones with humor, but I also love the sincere "I really didn't think I would win" speeches. And you can tell the difference between someone who didn't think they would win, so they're fumbling through their words versus the ones who "didn't think they would win" and then pull out a typed speech from their bra.

In honor of the Academy Awards on Sunday, I wanted to link you guys to a couple of ideas for throwing an Oscar party. I'm not throwing one, but Michael and I do like to fill out the ballots and try to guess who we think we'll win. I especially love the foreign film sections, where we just have to completely guess!

The first set of ideas comes from a blog I follow and absolutely ADORE! It's called "Skip to my Lou" and Cindy always has the best ideas. Plus, you crafty ladies should check out her "made by you Monday" posts, and link up to her blog on Mondays if you've made something fun. I love seeing what she picks each week. But her latest post on Oscar party treats and printables was too fun not to share!

I am also slightly obsessed with Bakerella... mainly because of an obsession with cake pops. But, y'all, look at these cookies!!!

There's a whole blog post dedicated to making these puppies. I mean, if I didn't have a toddler, and did have all the time in the world, I'd be making these for sure!

Last, but certainly not least, is the coveted Oscar statue. You wanted to make your own, you said? Well, ladies and gentlemen, this one still has me chuckling. I actually think it's a great idea, but for some reason I can't stop laughing about it. Probably because I act like a 12 year old. But at any rate, you could spray paint your Ken doll for decoration!

Is anyone hosting an Oscar party this year? We'll probably be lucky to even get to watch at all, but I think Oscar parties sound like so much fun!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mommy Meltdowns

I learned today that I don't know anything. And just when I think I might be on to something and start getting all cocky, I'm right back where I started... Knowing nothing.
It's not a bad place. It's quite humbling here, actually. And humble is always good.
After three Mommy Meltdowns occurred before 8:30 this morning, I realized that I do not have it all together. It wasn't a particularly fun place to be, but I think it was exactly where I needed to be.
I am thankful.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Submit to whaaaaa?

If you follow my blog, and you're a coworker of mine, sorry- you're getting a double dose of this message. Let me explain to the rest of you though.

I had to catch up on some sermons from my church, because we had to take JM into the doctor yesterday morning, and we were out of town two Sundays ago. So, I decided I would watch them today to catch up on what I'd missed. Wow. We've started a new series called "Running with the Giants," and God is speaking some necessary truths through this series! But for today's blog post, I will only focus on yesterday's sermon... it was focused on David, but the jist of the message is submitting to authority. Allow me to dig deeper though.

This isn't my first rodeo on the subject of authority. God has been speaking to me about this for a LONNNNNNNNG time. So, am I just hard-headed and not listening? Not really. I learn a new truth about submission each time. But let's be honest, my flesh is pretty powerful at times and likes to rear its ugly head trying to make me forget the truths that I have learned. I don't pretend to be perfect, nor do I pretend to know everything there is to know about submission. I'm just walking it out- crying, fist pumping, and stomping my feet along the way- but I'm walking it out.

Starting out, I thought that submitting to authority was what we were supposed to do, no matter what the circumstances. But I'm slowly learning that there is more to it: the four tests of submission is what I believe it was called in yesterday's sermon. After watching it this morning (you can watch it here), I started thinking about how it relates to my life. And the Lord opened the floodgates. I was getting revelation about authority, but also some MAJOR revelations about other things I'm dealing with. I laugh when I think about how the Lord must be saying, "Well, Kay, when you finally do sit down to talk to me about these things, I need to cover alot of ground, because I never know when we'll get the opportunity again." I realize that's sad, but I've come a long way, and I also realize that He gets so excited when I even glance in His direction too. I just love the talks that we've been having lately, and it has been such a sweet time- I wonder why I don't make time for it everyday. But, I'm working on it. Again, not perfect, just walking it out.

So, here's what I know. Submitting to authority is a necessity if I want to walk closely with Him. After all, the authority He has placed me under on earth was appointed by God anyway. And if I am supposed to work in everything as if I am working for the Lord and not man, then by not submitting to my earthly authority means that I am not submitting to Him either. And I don't want to be rebellious, because rebellion was instituted by the enemy. So, everyday, I am given a choice: A. I will listen to the Lord's voice, and submit even when it's uncomfortable (note: I didn't say that I would submit to all out abuse, and there's a difference- watch the sermon). B. I will listen to the enemy's voice, and rebel against authority, because of course I know better, and of course I'm right, and of course I'm more experienced in these matters than they are.

I learned today that the reason I may be more experienced in something than my authority is because the Lord wants me to use it to SERVE my authority. Kay's motto, enter stage left: I am only here to serve. I'm not here to make a name for myself, or to advance some invisible ladder. I am only here to serve.

I went through a situation one time that I thought was just going to be the death of me. I remember thinking, "If ______ happens, I'm done. I can't do it anymore, Lord." And then it happened. I felt defeated, small, unworthy of the Lord's favor, and second rate. But somehow in the middle of it, I saw this little bitty glimmer of light. And out of nowhere I told the Lord, "Okay, let's do this. Let's get through this. I don't want to keep learning this lesson over and over again. If I get out of this situation, I'll most likely run into it again in a different form, so Lord, do the work in me that you have to do for me to get through this and come out on the other side victoriously." And guess what... He did. I can't explain it other than the fact that sometimes the Lord does a work in us that is supernatural- and things that bothered us about a person, or things that were unforgiveable, or situations that made us come unglued- no longer have any power over us anymore. The only thing I can tell you is that when I started repeating my little motto of servanthood to myself, something within me started believing it. It wasn't that my life no longer had purpose- it was that my life had the biggest purpose of all. I am not in this life to make a name for myself, or to be better than anyone, or to be the best _____ of all time, or to be anything other than a servant. Jesus said that we must first become servants. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. So, it's okay if I never get recognition for something great; it's okay if people think I'm stupid, or not good enough to be this or that; it's okay if nobody EVER knows my name.

I am only great because of the One who made me. Not because of what I've done, but because of what He did for me. I am a servant to that fact. I will walk it out in whatever ways He wants me to. I joke at work and tell people that my job title is janitor. It used to be that I resented having to clean up messes, or fix things that were broken, or take a project that nobody else wanted. But I realize today that the title of janitor is an honor. It's the ultimate position of servanthood, and I will bear it proudly. I might get promoted, or have some sort of "Manager" title after my name, but I will remind myself every morning that I am a servant. I am not here to make a name for myself, or to advance the invisible ladder. I am a servant.

Do yourself a favor... watch the sermon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Picture of Trust

Today was one of those days where I felt like I was drowning. Michael currently has walking pneumonia, John Michael is teething (and hopefully not catching walking pneumonia) which makes him wake up at all hours of the night crying inconsolably. Work is EXTREMELY busy, and when I say that it's EXTREMELY busy, that's an understatement. I'm drowning under an insane amount of work to the point that sometimes I feel like just completely throwing my hands in the air and giving up. I got an email from our initial mortgage company today saying that I'm a possible target of identity theft due to a security breach in their system. Just typing all of this is making my chest tighten.

But there was one sliver of light from the Lord today: my dear sweet friend, Cindy Hopkins. Cindy is a coworker of mine, who works in our Northern Virginia office. She is a gem. After talking about some confusing database issues today, I just started stuttering to her something along the lines of, "I just don't know- I just- I- I have no idea- I just don't know." Cindy, taking the hint that I was suffering from a mind meltdown, shared with me something that the Lord showed her this week.

He showed her a picture of trust- someone who is skydiving with the trained skydiver attached to their back. One of Cindy's friends recently went skydiving, and as Cindy watched the video with her, she noticed how nervous her friend was before the jump- but after jumping, she was smiling and free the whole way down. Cindy reminded me that God is an experienced jumper, and He will open the parachute. All we have to do is enjoy the ride, and smile. This simple word hit me like a ton of bricks. My circumstances look a little gloomy, but I trust Him to open the chute for me. I trust Him to be the experienced jumper, so I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

Enjoy the ride today my friends. Life is seriously too short.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh alright.

After much deliberation within my own neurotic thoughts, I'm going back to a public blog. There are several reasons I have come to this decision:

1. Going through extra steps to write a blog post made me not want to blog at all anymore.
2. After thinking that my blog posts weren't interesting, Stuart Smalley reminded me that I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and people like me. After repeating that to myself in the mirror three times, I laughed my behind off and ate some sweet rolls. What does that have to do with my blog? Nothing.
3. I've decided that life is too short to try to live in my own little private world. So, hey world! Welcome to my life, and welcome to my blog. If I'm going to type it, I better be prepared for anyone to read it.

So, after much ado, and not a lot of blog posts, I'm back. I hope to bring you interesting thoughts- link you to other interesting blogs- and maybe even be a little vulnerable. I may not be interesting all the time, but I don't care. If you don't like it, don't read it. But I won't quit writing- because it's therapy, it's documentation of my life, and it's fun. I do promise to be honest, and I will from time to time share what I think the Lord has been speaking to me.

Now that I've gotten through my disclaimer, let's make some MAGIC! (Note: read with the genie from Aladdin voice)

My last post was in December after John Michael's birthday party. What I didn't have on hand at the time was this PRECIOUS video of JM and Foster (who is the son of our sweet sweet friends, Woody and Kristen). Y'all... if you don't know Woody and Kristen, you should. And if you have no idea how to get to know them, well, read Kristen's blog. Their son is at the top of my "favorite kids of all time" list. And these two together crack me up. I only wish we lived closer to each other so that Kristen and I could laugh at them all the time.

Yep, that's right. Kristen and I are laughing at Foster's rocking wedgie. We do that. Cause we're cool. And we can't wait to show the boys this video when they're 18. Hope you all have a wonderful week!