Monday, November 28, 2011

The One the wind & waves obey

Aside from the obvious grievious evils of the world (rape, murder, child abuse, sex trafficking, etc.) there are really very few things I actually hate. Truth be told, at the moment the short list is as follows:

  1. Cockroaches
  2. Cottage cheese
  3. Weak coffee
  4. Saying goodbye

Lucky for me, the cold weather has sent the first into hibernation, the second only shows up as an ingredient in the occasional potluck lasagna, and the third has been all but eradicated by my handy-dandy Tervis to-go mug (thanks former BossMan!). As for #4, however, I've had more than my fill of it over the past few weeks.. and as much as this description will pain my sweet, never-at-a-loss-for-appropriate-words Scarlet O'Mamma, it has sucked. A lot.

**IMPORTANT side-note**
If you are one of the many people I feel like I failed at saying goodbye to in a way that appropriately honored the friendship we shared in Searcy, I am so sorry. It has absolutely nothing to do with you and what you mean to me. Change is something I don't have the greatest track record in dealing with as it is, and this was no exception. Please forgive me.. because I appreciate you and everything you meant to me more than I can put into words. For real.

Like I said, change isn't my strong suit. Whether it be paying a stranger to give me a drastically different 'do, deciding on what to cook for my first Thanksgiving dinner debut (more about that later in the post), or moving 500 miles further from home, the thought of branching out and taking a risk that could possibly end in disappointment for me (or even worse, for others that I love) fills me with unspeakable dread. Sure I can put on a good "I'm as cool as a cucumber/nothing phases me/I eat vulnerability for lunch/scared? b*tch please" act, but in all honesty, 90% of the time at the core my outlook on life mirrors the disciples' take on the storm in Mark 4, with my heart crying,

"Seriously Jesus? Don't you care if I drown? I mean, I know you said you wrote all of my days in your book before I was born, but are you sure you didn't skip over the past few months' worth of pages? And I totally accept that your ways are higher than my ways, but the altitude difference right now is getting a wee bit uncomfortable. Can you call your Dad in for a little heart-to-heart? I have a few suggestions for the Creator of the Universe."  

(And if I'm smart enough to be listening, the response I get is never the one I'm looking for. Because He really does know what He's doing, and He knows I often act dumber than the dust He created me from.)

So as G-Day approaches (aka moving-to-Georgia Day) the doubts have been swiftly mounting.

What if this isn't the right thing to do?

What if I fail miserably again?

What if I don't find a job?

What if I can't handle the school workload?

What if I don't make any friends?

What if this being ordained by You, Lord, was all in my head?


You get the picture.

But today as I was sitting here reeling from goodbye #4723, drowning my sorrows in a bowl full of Christmas Cookie-flavored ice cream (highly recommended.. you should try it ASAP) and a mega Pinterest binge, I began to realize how un-reliant I have been on the Lord and all He's done to make this possible. I've been dwelling on the negative aspects of the past month and failing to glorify Him in the numerous blessings He's thrown torpedoed my way. So humor me as I recap real quick-

  • A family (biological and spiritual) that has been nothing short of supportive throughout everything I've set my mind to do recently.
  • Wonderful coworkers that sacrificed time, money, and lots of love to throw me a surprise going away party on my last day at work.
  • Goodbye notes/Facebook messages/texts/etc. from precious friends filled with encouragement, love, and other tear-inducing sentiments acknowledging how much I meant to them during the past few years (which pales so much in comparison to how much they meant to me).
  • A chance to catch up with my BESTfriend KJC and awesome parents for the next month while I'm temporarily stationed in TX.
  • Having that S.B.o.M (Sweet Boy of Mine) come to Abilene to visit for the week of Thanksgiving.
  • A healthy mind and body.
  • A roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my back, and love in my heart both now and when I move.
  • The opportunity to share Thanksgiving dinner with a great group of my wonderful relatives.
  • New Years plans with my fabulously wild and crazy aunts, uncles, and cousins at a lodge on the Mississippi river
  • A freaking spectacular flend and her new hubs that I get to look forward to stalking hanging out with when I get to Gainesville


Thank you, Lord
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Funny how all that worry seems to dissipate as the goodness of what He's blessed me with is magnified.

"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm"

That verse reference brings this song to mind- Strong Enough to Save by Tenth Avenue North. The chorus' lyrics fit so perfectly with Mark 4, and in my humble opinion you can never go wrong with anything done by T.A.N. They're magnificent.

The One the wind and waves obey is strong enough to save

And because I know you're dying to creep what's been going on in my super-exciting life for the past month, I'll leave you with a few pics. Enjoy!

I mentioned my awesome coworkers and the surprise going away party they threw for me before I left:

Surprise! Great job hiding it, guys :)

Yummy cake.. They're too wonderful

My favorite party photog/office co-conspirator/kick-ass journalist (who can be found in all her glory here)

Then there was that one last visit to see Arkansas' beautiful outdoors with that SBoM:

The location

Ready for the hike
(or 2 minutes of walking uphill that made me sore for days. I need to work out)

Beside one of the Caverns. Thank you, camera self-timer

Perfect end to a perfect day.. I'm definitely going to miss this!

Now that I'm home with a lot of time on my hands I've decided to embrace the inner domesticity lurking somewhere way below my surface by actually cooking some of the stuff I drool over on Pinterest. My saintly parents have dutifully eaten everything I've subjected them to, and as far as I know no one's had to pay their dues to the porcelein gods yet (or they've just decided to humor me for another month).

I've used this little beauty often. One just like it has shamelessly been put on the top of my Christmas list

Hello homemade apple confit (whatever the heck that is. All I know is that it was good)

Then I branched out and made this. Not my best attempt. It tasted as weird as the combination of ingredients look
Along with the weird mac-n-ugly pictured above I attempted to channel the infamous Pioneer Woman. It was great except for the fact that the recipe I used failed to mention that this beauty was a bit spicy I-can't-feel-my-toungue-holy-mother-of-jalepenos-hotter-than-hell. Yowza. At least the men of the house (human and canine) seemed to enjoy it.

Now for my pride and joy-the Pecan Pie. Ignore the broken freezer-burnt pie shell and 5-year old corn syrup. It was prettydarngood y'all. I nice little replica ended up being one of my few successful first-ever contributions to the Hughes family's Thanksgiving get together. SCORE!

Along with time with Abilene fam numero uno, I have LOVED getting to hang my with familia-dos (I practically lived with these people during high school. They're heaven-sent in every sense of the word), especially the newest two. I may not be their favorite aunt (I'll give that title to you, KJC), but I'm proud to be considered #2. And for all of you that know my wild and crazy brudda, you understand me when I say that this may be my only opportunity. Just sayin'
Look at this cutie.. watch out ladies- he's legal in 16 short years!

Yes, I always have this effect on children. She loves me

And last but certainly not least- Thanksgiving! Unfortunately there aren't any pictures from the actual day because some doofus brought the camera with no memory card in it (whoops.. sorry Scarlet O'Mamma! You wondered why we peaced out so quickly after eating), but I did have a very special visitor come down all the way from Arkansas for the week. Uncharacteristically of me, not many pictures were taken, but here are just a few:

Again, thanks camera self-timer! Please ignore the no-make up/baggy sweat pants/rogue piece of bang-in-the-face look. I like to think it's more as"effortless" than "lazy", but who are we kidding here? (at least he's good-lookin')

And he can cook! I think I'll keep him around ;)

Shh.. don't tell Scarlet O'Mamma (again, good thing he's good lookin' because there's not much but BSC on this end)

This Pin-spired decoration + sweet flower + really dang cold night = impromptu living room picnic.


Monday, October 24, 2011

I Have and I Always Will

Who doesn't love a good wedding?
This is a rhetorical question. If you're about to volunteer as the lonely miser who doesn't, please refrain.. I'm really trying to work on being less judgemental, and if witnessing two people promise to love each other unconditionally forever followed by a rockin' reception celebrating the union doesn't put a smile on your face, I can't help but question your character.

A few weekends ago I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the wedding of a friend who means the world to me (I think I've mentioned her before). A and her guy, J, have quite a unique, God-written love story that is inspiring for so many reasons, all of which were magnified throughout the week leading up to the big day. Everything about it defied all worldly odds, yet there they were, three and a half years later, officially uniting their two lives into one. I say officially because I doubt anyone in attendance that day would disagree that there was little in either of A & J's lives that they hadn't already joined together through love and sacrifice.

Love and sacrifice.

(Sound familiar?)

Like I said, there are so many inspiring things about these two, individually and as a couple. But as I was trying (and failing) to fall asleep that Friday night after the craziness of day-before prep had died down and the excitement of night-before fun with friends was complete, I started thinking.. why does the relationship these two have stir me like it does? I mean, it's always awesome to be witness to two people who are undeniably meant for one another take their relationship to the next level, but A & J had something more. What was it about them?

Love and sacrifice.
I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale, as attested to by my childhood Disney VHS tape collection. But even so, there are no impractical glass slippers sitting in A's closet, nor is there a team of seven glorified garden gnomes doing their dishes after every meal. J didn't have to slay any dragons or climb a rope made of human hair to win A's heart, and the words "happily ever after" may never be used to describe the next fifty years. But still, they have something. What was it??

Love and sacrifice.
Finally It hit me that what they have goes so much deeper than romantic ideals so prominent these days, and most importantly it reflects the One who is Love. It's the kind of love that lays dow its needs and desires for the other person, tries its best to be patient, kind, and unselfish, and refuses to give up when it would be easier to say, "forget it". It forgives bad attitudes and overlooks bad hair days, dealing with the best and the worst of things with a good sense of humor, some hard truths spoken with a pure heart, and a lot of time spent talking to the Father. It's the love Jesus showed the world when He sacrificed himself by being was nailed to the cross and what he told the disciples to do through His Spirit when He rose up again . And it personifies Ephesians 5:22-23 and Colossians 3:18-19, where Paul tells husbands and wives how to love and respect one another. The love these two share gets to me because it touches on what I deeply need and continuously recieve from my Heavenly Father every single day, and it's inspiring because it's an example of what I know in my spirit that I'm supposed to give to everyone I encounter, whether or not they deserve it. It's basis of the 1st and 2nd greatest commandments, pulsing through the veins of everyone who's made in the image of the Almighty. We're all searching for it, we all desire to recieve it, and we all feel most complete when we're dishing it out. 

That's the love I see so clearly in A & J, the love that will do what it takes and sacrifice what it must in order to benefit the other person.. and this weekend strengthened my resolve to show that same love to everyone around me, because without it life's really not worth much of anything.

A & her two best Bridesminionsmaids at the rehearsal dinner

The wedding cake (that A made, may I add)

Beautiful A on the big day

The Girls in Green

A & J cutting the cake.

Me and my handsome date :)


And B'maids 1&2 the next morning, as it finally sank in that we'd lost our BF to a boy..
Although we're pretty big fans of Mr. J so I think we'll get over it :)


Finally, here's A & J's first dance song- I Have & I Always Will by Dave Barnes. What a perfect song for the sweetest wedding ever!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Georgia on my Mind

I used to think blogging was only for select groups of people:
  • Starry-eyed newlyweds bubbling over with the joys of their recently discovered domesticity,
  • Mommies and daddies needing a venue to share the latest news about their rapidly growing kiddos with family and friends,
  • Crafty, creative, granola-eating hippie-types trying to convince the rest of us materialistic consumers that we really could do it oursleves if we tried hard enough,
  • And those just plain narcisistic enough to believe that the rest the networked world wants to hear the minute details of their daily comings and goings.
Thankfully Twitter has all but eliminated that last category, but as for the rest, I've obviously changed my tune. I'm unmarried, childless, and void of creative talent, but despite not fitting into any of my self-imposed blog categories I'm hoping that this will be a place that I can share some of what Jesus is doing in my life with those who are bored enough to care to read about it.

So for all 3.5 of you still reading, I want to update you on my latest-

As of January, I will be moving to Georgia!

I 'll be (re)starting school at Brenau University in Gainesville next semester to finish up my degree in Psychology. My heart hurts to have to leave behind my as-close-as-family friends in Searcy, but I know that God has something in store for this new season that is unlike anything He's done so far. There is no question that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be (ask me if you want details.. I would be happy to brag on how gracious Jesus has been with me concerning this transition), but I have to admit that I'm equally as nervous as I am excited about the big move. Needless to say, all your prayers are GREATLY appreciated!

There's a song I want to share that's been that song for me throughout the past few months.. you know, the one playing on the radio every time you turn it on & streaming through every coffee shop you walk into? Building 429's Listen to the Sound was this season's selection. All the lyrics are p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l, but there is one phrase that seemed to be magnified every time I heard it. It said,
"You never know what faith is 'til you don't understand. Sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan."
 If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend taking a second to listen to it:

Leading up to the final decision to move there was a lot of silence from the Lord, something I haven't experienced much until now. I was beginning to get really frustrated and jaded, knowing something needed to change but too scared to do anything about it without clear direction (as in clouds opening, dove coming down, audible voice from heaven-type direction- I'm not picky), when a very wise friend reminded me that far too often

we wait..

and wait..

and wait

for God to give us a definite instruction when what He really requires is movement, any movement, on our part. It didn't sink into my hard head immediately, but when paired with these lyrics and so many other things that were undeniably God-ordained I got it. And the rest is history!

As for what happens next God only knows, and I'm beginning to realize how much better life is when lived that way