Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meanwhile back at the Ranch: Harry Show and Blog News

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm just over here twiddling my thumbs as I wait for the plumber to arrive. There are things to clean and clothes to be washed, but when folks are coming in the door to work on the WATER one has to stop. My stopping has landed me here in blog world, where I've failed to keep pace. I don't keep pace in most avenues of life specifically running, but here I am. The blog posts are piling up and I need to do some hacking away at all my ideas. Here we go!

Several weeks ago, I got an email from the fine folks at the Harry Connick Jr Show asking me to sign up for tickets to be a part of the audience. Knowing I love a good show and entertainment, I signed myself and 3 others up to receive tickets. The request was quickly met as Harry has a new show, and people just don't know about it right now. Off we went barreling down the Palisades Parkway with visions of front row seats and pictures with Harry dancing in our heads.

We wanted a nice little spot on TV, so we informed the audience helpers of our Army wife status. This particular day Harry was all about the nurses and educators of the world.

 Now as for my honest opinions and observations about the show: 
1) This show is struggling and I realize it's a baby. Harry has great personality but it's for concerts not daytime TV.

2) We might possibly be groupies for these shows, and let's be honest we kinda are. We were able to recognize crew that was once used at Meredith's show. Ummm... yeah. We've done this too much.

3) There were some oiled up lifeguards advertising a free trip to Mexico. Harry kept commenting on their looks, and I'm all like - "Did y'all find these guys in the Subway 3 hours ago?"

4) Harry tried to do a Facebook Live chat with his guests and Facebook users. Hello.. the reason no one is commenting is because your show is not live, Harry. 

5) I completely forgot Harry was the bad guy on Will & Grace. Once he reminded the audience of that guest role, I was stuck in 2003 and wasn't coming back.

6) I was glad we could take pictures in the studio. The show airs on October 7th. I can't be held responsible for any facial expressions that may reflect my attitude about the lifeguards, some Harry cheesiness, or audience craziness. 

Y'all. This is what we call crazy eyes.. Not for Jane but for me.

BLOG NEWS: I was an avid follower of A Blonde Ambition blog that regularly featured Confessional Friday. Leslie S. passed away last year due to a heart condition. I emailed her sister in law to ask if the blog world could keep up the tradition of Confessional Friday going to pay tribute to Leslie and keep the laughs going - Friday is in sight! She gladly approved the continuation of the Confessions and I'll start the link up THIS Friday. Look, I get it.. there may  not be anyone to link up. But I loved this link up and will continue on! In the words of Leslie, "Be Blessed Lovelies!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Discipline of the Mind

My dad used to walk around and say every now and then, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop". Found in Proverbs 16.

I'm a thinker aka I think a lot. Jeremy says that I must have the inability to turn my mind off. Even when I go to sleep, I am oftentimes turning a million things over in my head at one time. When I have a day off from work with nothing on the schedule, my mind will find itself heading down a path of a nice little spiral. The proverb my daddy occasionally quotes rings true in this instance. Just like an overachiever kindergartner who is bored on the first day of school, the mind has to be filled in with new things. The kindergartener has to be given new material to store inside his mind - to learn, to grow, to be challenged. I have to put new ideas and teachings into my own mind in order to be challenged and grow also. By not reading and studying the Word of God, I am prohibiting my mind from being renewed into the mind of Christ.

I am currently reading Barbara Hughes's Disciplines of a Godly Woman. This quote from the chapter about the discipline of the mind precisely explains what I've mentioned above (Work with me here because she is quoting from someone else ha):
"In a book called Recovering the Christian Mind, Harry Blamers points out that while Christians may worship and pray as Christians, they are suffering from religious anorexia, a loss of appetite for growth in Christ. God has given us this amazing instrument-- the mind. We mustn't take it for granted. We need to program it wisely- never leaving it unguarded, unthinking, and undisciplined."

Isn't that powerful!? Wow! I am so challenged by this section of the book and think of several things to pull from this. Spiritual anorexia -- I've only learned about the starvation that occurs as a result of physical anorexia; however, the visual image of us starving ourselves spiritually by not studying the Word of God faithfully or shutting out harmful activities to our mind is absolutely powerful. Secondly, I think of my high school computer programming class and the hours I poured over trying to figure out the basics of C++. I didn't get very far. But in order to get a program to work on the computer, one must be pretty savvy with writing these codes/"commands" that will make this machine operate. In the same way, we have to program our minds to function properly. What does properly actually look like? Properly means the mind of Christ. This was the intended state of our minds before the fall of man. By His grace, the Lord is renewing and transforming our minds to that intended state. Romans 12:2 gives a better picture of this - Though the Holy Spirit is the agent behind that renewing, we can participate in be obedient as well. Guarding our heart doesn't just look like protecting it from the fellas that enter our lives, but it is applicable to EVERY part of our lives for those who are followers of Christ.

The writer of the Proverb knew the devil's schemes and plots when a mind is not being challenged towards growth in Christ. That idle mind can open a space for worry, doubt, fear and ongoing "what if" scenarios. I don't perfectly have the mind of Christ - far from it. But the Lord has been gracious to show me some of the trash that I allow into my mind and how it effects me. The Bible does not call us to completely turn the TV off and never watch again, but it does give fair warning about guarding what enters our mind and causes disruption. For me, I've had to cut out a few television shows that leave me down and out! I'm talking overwhelmed and nervous. I can't watch them anymore because I've noticed how much they effect me. It might look differently for you. Yet the only way any of us can discipline the mind is by reading and studying the Word of God - His Truth is what should permeate our thoughts. May we not be spiritually anorexic women, but seek to live godly lives as women seeking the mind of Christ. May we guard, protect and discipline our minds.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I am the True Vine: Kelly Minter Conference/ Raleigh Weekend

If you've heard it once, then you've probably heard it a thousand times how much I enjoy Kelly Minter and her Bible studies. I began her studies several summers ago after seeing a few bloggers write about the Ruth study. We gathered a small group of girls in an apartment and began studying the book of Ruth. Snacks and dinner were involved, but I greatly appreciated the conversation centering around the Truth of God's Word. This past weekend Kelly Minter spoke at the church I attended while I was in Raleigh, Bay Leaf. While Jeremy was slaving away at his PhD exam, I made it a fun trip with the girls. Friday morning came early, and by early I'm talking 4:30 - Translation: I don't see that time of day unless I'm waking up to use the restroom. But I did manage to capture this beauty while at the airport. See that sunrise. See that skyline. 

The weekend was jam-packed with seeing all the friends in Raleigh. Y'all - my campus pastor said the best friends you make are those you make in seminary. I can't agree more. The time I spent in Raleigh for all of a solid 8 years - I spent kicking and screaming and wanting God to move me. My heart is fond of this little area now, as I am realizing these are the women I've prayed with; laughed with; cried a dozen tears or more; studied His Word with; and have been in small group with over the years. He is faithful to provide friends at a time I never thought I would have any. 

Though I didn't take pictures too much, I was able to spend some time with Amanda during the day and quite a few folks that night. Jen took us to Nashers, a new sandwich place and I'm still dreaming about the sandwich I ate. The conference began on Friday night. I may have fangirled it and took a picture of Kelly while she was teaching and insisted on taking one with her afterward. 

Yep. I made the beeline and brought my friends along with me. 

The conference/teaching focused on John 15 and bearing fruit. We can be gifted to bear fruit physical but are definitely given the task to bear fruit spiritually. The fruit the believer bears cannot be done apart from Christ - This is where emphasis on John 15:1 comes in - "I am the TRUE vine, and my Father is the vinedresser." Christians are the branches, and we must attach ourselves to the vine for nourishment. Kelly gave an excellent word picture for my brain - Branches need the nourishment of the vine. We can attempt to attach ourselves to many vines hoping to find that nourishment or fulfillment - new clothes, new kitchens, husband, children, a clean house - The list could go on and on. Eventually, we will come up empty handed because these things are not going to provide the nourishment we need to grow. Jesus says, "I AM THE TRUE VINE." He is the truest of vines where we will experience fulfillment. He has come to earth to be the light in the midst of darkness. He reveals the Father to us and gives us life in His ways. Y'all I can't even begin to wrap my mind fully around this, but it's great! Only in Christ are we fulfilled, nourished, satisfied. He is the only vine who will gives us exactly what we need and sustain us. No worrying necessary. How beautiful!

Oh y'all it was a joy of my heart to gather with these two girls and pray together. We were in a small group together when I attended IDC and spent much time in prayer together. 

It wouldn't be a trip to Raleigh without seeing this red head. After the conference ended, some friends grabbed Mexi-cannnn and I shopped it up with Leah. However, I was able to make it just in time for this sassy lady's bday party. This corner of the Wake Forest world will always feel like home, even though I only lived there 8 months. However, over the course of the 8 years, I found myself there frequently - perched on a kitchen stool gabbing away to the one in the middle. This home has brought many new friends into my life, including Lane. We shared a lunch together around Mrs. Bush's table and have been friends ever since. I also finally got to meet that sweet Abby Grace. 

After a morning breakfast with Kelly and Heidi, I found myself in a familiar seat. I love a window seat. This time I was heading to New York out of RDU - not for a brief weekend, but for home with my husband. Those previous rides were filled with uncertainty due to the fact that I did a poor job of fully trusting the Lord during my relationship with Jeremy. However, this ride back was sweet - I was going home! No longer the home in Raleigh. But the home is New York. His faithfulness endures. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... 
John 15:16

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wicked Watchin'

The last week and a half has been Broadway Week in NYC. This means some of the greatest shows on Broadway offer BOGO tickets. Now that I know all about some BOGO, I quickly grabbed some tickets for Jeremy and I to venture into the city. Neither of us had seen Wicked and decided this would be the show for us. After church on Sunday, we headed into the city. This might have been one of the smoothest trips into the city, though we were running a little behind and sweating our ETA. WICKED WAS FANTASTIC! Having not been a fan of the Wizard of Oz, the show stole my heart. I'll take this plot line any day! I'm pretty sure there were several occasions where I realized I was staring at the play with my mouth wide open. I had to force my mouth shut haha. 

Living so close to the city, Jeremy and I are trying to take advantage of the opportunities available to us. I am continuously reminded of this first year of marriage and all the wonderful opportunities we've been able to have while here in New York!

Monday, September 12, 2016

John Adams

I attempted to read David McCullough's John Adams back in 2014 but failed quite miserably. Failure was bound to the 600+ pages and a two-week check out limit by the library. However, 2016 would be different! I wised up and asked my mother-in-law for the book as a birthday gift. I was so sold on the book that somehow I managed to tell her it was called "James Madison", rather than John Adams. I attribute that mistake to the university of the James Madison that I stop at on the way back to the north, but I digress. When the birthday packaged arrived, endless possibilities awaited as well as the four some odd months it took me to read the entire thing. Nonetheless, the day came when I finally finished!

John Adams, a founding father of the nation and eventual President, was also a devout Christian. The story of our nation's history just excites me beyond belief- Hello History nerd! This book not only touched my history-lovin' heart but it encouraged me in faith. Adams was greatly aware of the Sovereign God and His role in all of life. The following are a few quotes Adams's letters as shared in the book:

"But all the provisions that He has [made] for the gratification of our senses... are much inferior to the provision, the wonderful provision that He has made for the gratification of our nobler powers of intelligence and reason. He has given us reason to find out the truth and the real design and true end of our existence." (McCullough, 42)

"It is an idea of the Christian religion, and ever has been of all believers of the immortality of the soul, that the intellectual part of man is capable of progressive improvement for ever. Where then is the sense of calling the perfectibility of man an original idea or modern discovery.... I consider th e
perfectibility of man as used by modern philosophers to be mere words without a meaning, that is mere nonsense." (Ibid, 591).

"The doctrine of human equality is founded entirely in the Christian doctrine that we are all children of the same Father, all accountable to Him for our conduct to one another, all equally bound to respect each other's self love." (Ibid, 619)

"I believe in God and in his wisdom and benevolence [he continued], and I cannot conceive that such a Being could make such a species as the human merely to live and die on this earth. if I did not believe in a future state, I should believe in no God. This universe, this all, this [totality] would appear with all its swelling pomp, a boyish firework." (Ibid, 625).

With that thought I close today's post. This world around us - these people we love - this God who makes Himself known to us - it would all be worthless if Christ had not died. Because Christ has died, we have this great hope. I agree, Mr. Adams.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bachelor in Paradise Open Letters

Somehow despite knowing Nick Viall is now the next Bachelor, our household still managed to watch this past Monday night's finale of Paradise like our Monday night depended on it.

Dear Izzy:
When you decide to call Vinny because you've made all sorts of mistakes and he answers by saying "Who's this?", that most nearly means your number is not saved aka has been deleted. In the words of Vinny - Bye!

Dear Amanda, 
Andi's book is really good. You should probably read it. And when Josh "shushed" you at the end of what was shown on TV, well that's probably going to be your future [according to Andi]. Buckle up 
buttercup - You've been warned. #everythingissofun #sohappy #fantasyland

Ashley I, Chad has a message for you: But for real though, a girl never gets anywhere telling a guy who he should date. #rookiemistake 

Grant and Lace.. Yes, you will in fact need a ton of grace. And those, extensions. Friend, your natural hair is just fine. No need to add a foot and a half of extra hair in an entirely different color. #icanteven

Dear Carly: We like you. We like you and Evan and your weirdness. And because you're the underdog, we are pulling for y'all.  #hiimcarlynicetomeetyou #evanmadeherthrowup #hopeforall

Dear Bachelor Franchise, Please tell us that you have somehow miraculously paid off Jen so that she's going to pop back into Nick's season and just steal the show. #hireme #greatidea #themostdramaticseasonever

Until next year... I've got money! I've got muscles!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Learning a Thing or Two: Living in the North

In the blog world, I've written a couple of posts about various things I've learned about running, the Bachelor, attending weddings, etc. With next month marking the anniversary of my Southern presence in the north for a year, I decided it was high-time I wrote a post about a few things I've learned while taking on this beast of the north and planting myself right in the middle of it. A few caveats: 1) Yes, I realize my wedding anniversary is a greater momentous occasion and will write such an appropriate post on 10-3.  and Secondly) I realize that I have not learned all things of the north, and my interpretations may in fact be quite comical.  That being said, here we go:

1) I decided to write this post after having literally scoured the ice-cream aisles looking for the coveted Moosetracks ice-cream. You know what I'm talking about - peanut butter cups, fudge pieces, vanilla ice-cream. It's the making of a good time. Yet, every single time I came up empty handed until the moment Jeremy and I stopped at a local ice-cream hut. Here they are called Dairy Hut, IceCream Hut, Dugout.. whatever the case may be it will most definitely be boarded up by the end of October. Ice cream just does not do well in the colder months up here. I digress. While we were looking at all assortments of ice cream offered at the hut, I scan to see "Panda Paws: peanut butter cups, fudge pieces, vanilla ice cream." Now I'd previously seen something or other about Panda Paws in the grocery store, but it was not my coveted Moose Tracks so I skipped right along. And now, I realize in the north Panda Paws most nearly means Moose Tracks. #sigh #relief

2) There are in fact 4 seasons here. - It's not mild, hot, really hot. It's all about spring, summer, fall and winter with clear boundaries.

3) Anything fun and involving the outdoors is only open from April to October. Better get at it while the gettin' is good!

4) Sweet tea can be found. Hello McDonalds!

5) Diners are a thing. And by a thing, I mean - they are everywhere!

6) New York drivers are a little impatient. When a car in front is turning and will have to cross traffic, the driver behind stopped car will dip to the outer right side in order to go around turning vehicle that is waiting for oncoming traffic to stop. I felt like I'd arrived the day I moved to the outer right edge.

7) An exit and a mile marker do not coincide. Read: Exit 9 and 10 may very well be 15 miles apart. 

8) There is a chain here called Christmas Tree Shops. Jeremy and I went on a hunt for a tree in the aforementioned shop. We were more than disappointed when this actual miscellaneous shop offered a greater variety of chap sticks and Mucinex than actual trees. #truestory

And that my friends are the one or two things I've learned while living in the north. I'm thankful I've actually started enjoying it. Give me a tea and a sunny day, and I'm doing just fine!