New

(originally posted on 10/28/2012)

A friend of mine just started a new decade of living. While at her party I gave a short vespers talk about starting new. While reading the Bible, in preparation for this talk, I came across SO many Bible passages that talk about something new. Sometimes the word is used in the text and sometimes it’s not as blatant, but within the story itself you can see a new beginning springing up. Here are a few stories that I love to read. Notice all of the diversity in these stories. Sometimes it’s a man, sometimes a woman, sometimes it’s a group of people. The subjects are young, old, male, and female.God meets them where they are and offers them something new. Each person rises to the challenge, but only by allowing their faith to grow. They ALL have taken the big leap. They let go of EVERYTHING they thought they knew to be reality and allowed God to show them a NEW Way.

1. The Flood-God washes the Earth and everything starts fresh.
2. Abraham and Sarah- they welcome a new son (Isaac) into the world. This special child is used in one of the first living examples of the the sacrifice that was yet to come.
3. Esther- She moves to a new city, receives a new name, and becomes the new queen of Persia.
4. Peter (the Disciples)- Jesus calls each of them to a new life, a new purpose.
5. Jesus-He brings a new start and understanding of the Word.

Some other Bible passages:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 43:18-19
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Ephesians 4:22-24
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The Bible is FULL of fresh starts and forgiveness. It’s  FULL of hope and peace.

I am thankful for a God who is all for the NEW and doesn’t dwell on the old. He forgives and moves forward.

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Things that Form Us…Like it or Not

I had little to no real experience with boys/guys/men when I started “dating”. All I had was an obscure view of what guys wanted from girls. It was a very weird and warped view, mainly due to lack of guidance, misinformation and an early introduction to mild and sometimes graphic pornography. I don’t remember having “the talk” with my parents, but I do remember my friend’s older sisters making out with their boyfriends in front of us. Gross. I’m not sure that adults in the 80’s knew ALL that TV and movies (VHS) were exposing us to. If they did…they didn’t seem to mind it. 

My parents had no knowledge of this exposure (the extreme of it all), and they tried to protect me from losing my innocence, but stuff happens. It’s difficult to be there 100% of the time and as much as we try to be there for our children…sometimes evil creeps in and scars us, and shapes us into a different version of ourselves.As children we don’t see it as evil, but sometimes it’s uncomfortable, odd, and even absurdly silly. It isn’t until we are older that the damage is realized. Typically it’s due to a pattern of unhealthy relationships and unrealistic expectations. I had both.

Today I regret the hurt that I inflicted on myself and others. The selfishness I displayed (which most teens and young adults have). I wish I could take it all back and just be a better friend. If I could go back and advise that younger me…
But, that’s not realistic. Difficult, stressful, and wonderful times and also because of those terrible moments and while I wish that my mind was more pure, realistically…I cannot erase what has been seen and heard. The Bible gives me these promises:

For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Romans 12:2 also mentions a transformation by the renewing of the mind.
That’s AMAZING news! There is hope and multiple Bible promises that we can have relief and comfort from thoughts that plague our minds. It’s not so much that the memories are gone, but He gives us peace.
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Worship

Worship

Being raised in a Christian home doesn’t mean that you understand how to worship…or even if the word “how” should be paired up with the word “worship”. Is worship a noun or a verb? Is it an adjective or an adverb? I suppose I can be worshipful. Perhaps worship is a state of being, and not so much a thing that we do? I’m not sure, but I have a strong feeling that it’s ALL of the above.

My hope is to instill in my children the mindset that we can be in a worshipful/thankful/joy-filled state of mind in all moments of life. I have had more thoughtful/prayerful moments while driving in my car (with my eyes open) than on my knees next to my bedside. Forever etched into my mind is an image of my parents kneeling on their respective bedsides with heads bowed and hands folded in prayer atop the quilt covered mattress. Morning and night I would see them praying quietly and yet I could also feel that it was fervent. Their plead and prayers tangible to me. You could feel that it was an important and sacred moment. I recently heard a podcast about how emotion/fear/joy can actually be felt and often smelled. WOAH! Can you walk into a room, take a deep breath, and smell peace and joy? I think maybe you can, and I’m not just referring to your grandmother baking your favorite dessert or mom’s amazing casserole. It’s not so much an aromatherapy thing (which is also nice), but a chemical that we put out into the world. The scent of joy and peace.

Here’s the link for the article I was referring to:

http://discovermagazine.com/2017/nov/scents-and-sensibility

One thing that we have done off and on for the past 4 and a half years is have a morning worship thought on the car ride to school. Sometimes we talk about what we are thankful for, and other times we listen to a couple of praise songs and sing along. My favorite mornings are when my daughter reads a short devotional thought to us from a book. We have read through 3 or 4 books over the years, but the recent one is called; 100 Things God Loves About You. This morning we read #6: God Loves When You Let Him Carry You. It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear this morning. Even at 40 years old I have moments where I just want to curl up in the arms of my Mom or Dad and feel the safety of their embrace. I want them to carry me. To be four again and sit on my dad’s shoulders while we walk across the fields near the home where I grew up. Feel the cool October breeze. Place my cheek on the top of his head and rest. He is taking the path for me. What a beautiful picture. God is like that for us, and SO much more.

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and who are you?

There are many things that draw my interest (squirrel!), but it’s hard to find the time to get into all of it. My husband and I have been together for about 20 years and we have two lovely children. I work two part-time jobs, volunteer, and attempt to keep my home clean (tough to do). This is a place where I can share some ideas and reckonings.

My parents are both medical professionals and yet the sight of blood makes my knees and arms feel like jelly. I knew pretty early on that I was not going into that field. My degrees are in the areas of religious studies, education, and broadcast journalism. Since 2010 I have taught World Religions, Ethics, and Early Humanities at a local community college. This was something that I wasn’t sure about, but I have learned to genuinely LOVE it. Most of my life I existed as a closet introvert. People fascinate me and I enjoy meeting to new people (mostly small groups or one on one).

Music is a large part of my life, and it is in this discipline that I do most of my volunteering. So music may come up from time to time within this blog. I also enjoy coffee tasting, art, movies, and historical/folklore/stories. But…most of the time I stick to my schedule and that means that I’m up at 650 am, getting ready for work, rallying the family (I am the morning person in the house), and mustering up the strength to conquer the day. It’s not easy, and by 3 pm I’m usually ready to collapse. I am an anxious person which means that I often worry about the future, but my husband tells me that I have a lot of compassion and empathy so there’s that. I don’t have a very strong poker face, and sometimes I lack a filter…most of the time. God, help me! I’m on this journey and I love my family, my friends, life in general, and I love God. I wouldn’t be here without HIM.

No photo description available.Photo Credit: Joey Tolbert

My Parent’s 50th Anniversary

This has been a wonderful year for MANY reasons. One of my favorite and most stressful endeavors was taking on a 50th Anniversary Celebration for my parents.

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Above: Is a wreath that I made for the chapel door.

Chapel

Above: The little chapel- Fletcher Chapel where my parent’s were married 50 years ago.

We made white paper roses with burlap bows for the railings into the chapel. One of my Mom’s favorite songs is Paper Roses.

I used real/fresh cut and some silk flowers.

Above: Fresh cut flowers that I selected and arranged in this antique gold pitcher for the grand piano in the chapel. The head piece/barrette on the handle is also an antique both were provided by my Aunt Nancy.

window ledges in the chapel

Above: My friend Rachel helped me SO MUCH. She allowed for me to borrow all of these adorable glass vases for the flowers. There are 12 windows in the chapel and we mixed them up for fun. A little shabby chic décor.

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Above: The cake table. I purchased a wooden plaque, spray painted it gold, attached cardboard letters (which I painted antique white), and framed with satin/pearl ribbon. I used a glue gun for the adhesive.

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The guestbook/scrapbook table: Instead of a traditional guestbook I created a scrapbook for guests to sign. We also had a money frame and photos for guests to add to. I brought the flowers from the piano in the chapel over to the reception for additional décor. Special thanks to Rachel, Lisa, Donna, Billie Sue, Jodi, and Jimmy for helping with the reception set-up, planning, food, tear down, and MORE!!!

50 years

Above: My parents. Happy 50th!