Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Thing

So I think it's past time for me to share at least some of what the Lord has been teaching me the last few weeks. He is just so unbelievable GOOD! I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll begin with Dallas...

Like I've said before, I went to Dallas to see Caroline for a fun single girls weekend. But the Lord had bigger things planned. For those of you who haven't been checking out Caroline's blog (and why the heck haven't you been?!?!), here are some of the pics from that weekend...

Caroline met me at the airport and we went out for an early dinner to eat and really share our life stories with one another.

We spent some time at this GINORMOUS flea market (which to me wasn't really a flea was more like some really awesome out door vendors with just about anything you could ever want!). I bought a picture that has Psalm 46:10 on it. I'd been looking for that verse for my bathroom for FOREVER and got a GREAT deal on it. Lugging it back to Kansas City proved to be more difficult than I thought. Anyway, Caroline was in love with this...umm...interesting? painting and jumped (literally) for joy when they knocked the price down for her. :-)

We spent Saturday, July 3 at her town's 4th of July celebration. We weren't sure what to expect since Caroline had never been before. It may have been just a little bit of a red neck celebration, but it was fun regardless!! I almost missed the fireworks thanks to the line to the bathroom! Made it back just in time!!

So that's what the pictures tell you. What the pictures don't tell you is the time we had just talking - talking about our lives, our pasts, our relationship with the Lord. HE has been moving like crazy in my life for the last eight months and He really used this trip to see Caroline to show me just how much He loves me and how much He has planned for me. I would love so much to share the details of what He taught me (through Caroline...God bless her!), but it really is meant to be between the two of us. What I do know now is that I have a CONFIDENT hope for my future because of what He taught me in Dallas. I love Him so!

And what is so great about the God I serve is that He didn't stop there! I got home and have really been working on the sustained obedience Kelly Minter talked about in her Ruth study. I made a place for my Bible Study and quiet times. It's still a work in progress, but I absolutely adore my new space.

I have a nightly date with my Savior. I don't want my lack of obedience or readiness to get in the way of Him moving in a mighty way in my life. So I readied my life for Him. And He showed up.

If you remember one of my first posts was about how at 28 I am starting a new chapter. My pastor taught one Sunday that in the Bible the number 7 is the number of completion and the number 8 is the number of new beginnings. At the end of my 27th year, I was heartbroken, alone and completely devastated. Can I tell you how relieved I was when the Lord told me that He was going to begin a NEW chapter in my life for 28?! And because my God is true to His word, He has done just that.

I absolutely adore reading anything about being NEW. So you can imagine that when I opened up to Week 4, Day 2 of our Ruth study and saw that the subtitle was "A New Day" I was jumping for joy!! I love when the Lord writes something just for me! And this was just for me!!

This day was talking about Naomi sending Ruth to the threshing room floor to meet Boaz. Naomi gave her very specific instructions, one of which was to change her clothes. While we don't know exactly what Ruth was wearing or exactly what she changed in to, it was likely that Ruth was still in her clothes of mourning for her dead husband. Naomi was telling Ruth to take off her clothes of mourning! Kelly says "...we have known a time when God asked us to take off our clothes of mourning, clinging, grasping, wishing, hoping, striving, even praying for something....and move forward." 1 Samuel 16:1 says "How long will you mourn for Saul when I have rejected him?" And then the Lord said to me, "How long will you mourn for Matthew when I have rejected him? How long will you mourn over your singleness?" Good question, Lord. Good question.

Kelly goes on to say (can I just retype this entire day's lesson?!?), "When we're wrapped in garments of mourning, we're unavailable for whatever else God has for us. In a sense, we take ourselves out of the game. Though we can't be certain what Ruth had on, we know her NEW dress signaled a change, a readiness, an availability to Boaz and to God for the possibility of something NEW.....My simple hope is when God has held us, healed us, and lifted our heads, that we'd be ready to move forward with Him; and though our hearts may always ache, we won't stay in our mourning clothes forever."

I LOVE THE WORD!! Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a NEW thing! See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!" And He's right.....He has already begun a NEW thing in me! He's Creating a pathway through my wilderness and a river in my desert.

I will not dwell on the past. I will not mourn any longer. He has held me, healed me and lifted my head to Him. My heart is full. Jesus, I love you.

Pool Time!

When you're 28 and single, pretty much the only way you get to see your girlfriends is at a playdate.  Luckily, I LOVE their babies!!  So yesterday we headed to the pool - the six of us girls with a total of six babies who are four years old and under.  Needless to say it was a loud, splashy, fun day at the pool!!

 Luke (Allison's second baby) is our newest addition (born in April).  He was very content just laying in the shade while we splashed in the water!

 The mommies taking care of their babies.  I just LOVE Jackson's swim getup.  He was ready for the water!!

 I didn't ever get a picture with all six of us with the six babies in the same shot.  But I think you can tell how busy things were from these shots.

And, of course, I played with them all!!  This is Oscar, my friend Kristin's baby.  They're all so stinkin' cute!!

What a fun (but seriously exhausting) day!  And we were only there for a couple of hours!!  God bless those mammas!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good for the Soul

Not surprising, this past weekend was NUTS!  Saturday began with a super rehearsal with my friend Lori for our performance on Sunday morning at my parents' church.  Anytime Lori and I get together it's never a short visit.  We both love to talk TOO much!!  After spending a few hours with Lori singing (and of course talking), I headed over to my parents' house and FINALLY finished the photo book from our family vacation this summer.  WOO HOO!!  It was already late so I decided to hang around for their neighborhood pot luck (aka free dinner) in my parents' back yard.  Unfortunately, the weather here has been CRAZY.  The heavens opened and it rained super hard up until party time.  Obviously we couldn't have the party in the back yard, so we moved it to the "north patio."

As is tradition, my mom was making homemade ice cream.  (YUM!)  That is, she was making homemade ice cream cream until the motor on the ice cream maker broke.  Watching my mom and dad try to fix it was a little entertaining...

In the end, my dad had to run to Westlake to buy a new ice cream maker and so we were blessed with DELICIOUS homemade ice cream!!  YAY!  We had a super fun night with my parents' neighbors and their adorable kiddos!!

Sunday morning came REALLY early.  Lori and I had to be at church by 7:45.  Ick.  But we were SO blessed with a morning of worshiping our LORD through the gifts He's blessed us with!  Lori is an AMAZING musician.  We performed JJ Heller's "Your Hands" (arranged - at site - by the wonderful Lori Reed) and the oldie but goodie "Beautiful, Scandalous Night" (also beautiful arranged - at sight - by Lori!!).  She never played them the same way twice and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it!!

Another huge blessing of the morning was seeing one of my old kiddos!!  I had Arwen as a student in Kindergarten and First Grade before she had to go to another school because of redistricting.  I get to see her every once in a while when I visit my parents' church, but this morning she was playing the piano for communion!  She did a beautiful job!!  I was SOO proud of her!!  If you can't tell, I absolutely adore her!

Then it was home to my parents' house for a quick lunch and off to Courtney's house to skype with Caroline about our last couple of weeks in our Bible Study.  Unfortunately the skype mess decided to be difficult and we were forced to deal with the speaker phone.  But talk about being blessed AGAIN!!  Holy moly.

After our Bible study convo, I just had to visit with Courtney's adorable little girl Georgia.  Thankfully she had woken from her nap and was excited to see me, too.  Isn't she ADORABLE?!  We love eachother. 

I had to love on Georgia quickly, though, because I had to get back to my parents' house.  My mom and I were heading downtown to see the Kansas City Explorers play in the World Team Tennis championship game.

World Team Tennis was founded by tennis legend Billy Jean King and she was in Kansas City for the championship game.  And guess what!!  WE WON!!!

Ahhh.....this weekend was just good for the soul. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chiropractors, Cinemas and Concerts feels good to be blogging about something other than vacation pictures!! This past week has been really busy and overwhelming. While I was anticipating a fairly calm week, it ended up being anything but! I had my first real taste of second grade curriculum this past week at our district curriculum camp. We spent the entire week writing assessments that involve higher levels of thinking for our students in math. My brain was tired after Monday! I'm thankful to have had Valerie, one of my new teammates, to guide me through the curriculum. It's not hard....just new.

Besides curriculum camp, the week was completely bombarded with random stuff -- the most frustrating of which was a back that decided to not work. Wednesday night I woke up at about 1am with the most unbearable back pain! No matter what I did or which way I turned, I had this stabbing pain under my left shoulder blade. And, wouldn't you know, both my chiropractor AND my massage therapist are out of the office on Thursday mornings. Grrr. Don't they know I'm in pain?! So, after suffering through a morning of curriculum camp with a back that prevented me from doing any kind of movement, I made an appointment with a massage therapist I didn't know and a chiropractor I didn't know (but was highly recommended). Thank goodness for the two of them!! I'm still not back to normal, but it is SOOOO much better! I'm anxious to get back to the chiropractor again tomorrow for another quick tune up. :-)

After an exhausting week, I thought that I would surely be able to have a calm weekend! Wrong again. But this time at least I was having FUN and wasn't in pain!! Friday night I headed to see Eclipse (LOVE Twilight...I know it's pathetic and ridiculous, but I love it anyway!) with a friend of mine and pigged out on popcorn and Reese's Pieces. YUM!!! Saturday morning wasn't super fun as I was cleaning my parents' house, but then I had to privilege of taking one of my students (who will be in 5th grade next year) to see Despicable Me! Oh, we had such a wonderful time! Here's a pic of myself and Kaytlyn after the movie.
She's such a wonderful girl that I was privileged to have had in my classroom!!

Then Saturday night my mom wanted to head downtown to hear the Bryan brothers (check the previous post) perform with their band. Although a little skeptical, I agreed and we made a beeline for downtown with a short detour to PF Chang's for some delicious lettuce wraps and Chang's spicy chicken! Once we got to the Live district we noticed the Bryan brothers visiting with some people and wasted no time in asking them for a picture! Unfortunately, I left my camera at home and we had to use my phone...which is a little blurry.

Look how pretty my mom is!!

Bummer for us...we misread the information about the concert. We thought it started at 7:30 when it actually started at 6:00. So we got there just as things were ending. Seriously, though. Who starts a concert at 6:00 on a Saturday evening?!?

Today totally made up for the crazy week/weekend. Pastor Phil preached an AWESOME message this morning. I am SO excited to hear the rest of the series!! You can hear it to if you go to It's not up yet, but give it a couple of days. Amazing. I'm also super excited to be able to start sharing some of the AMAZING AMAZING things the Lord has been teaching me in the last few weeks. He is so GOOD!! I love that I serve such a WONDERFUL God!!


Friday, July 16, 2010

My Mom, the Rock Star

My mother loves tennis.  She loves tennis more than just about anything (except her amazing family, of course)!  She loves tennis so much and is on so many teams and does so many drills and takes so many lessons that I can't keep her tennis life straight.  So, I'm sure I'm going to botch this.  BUT her Tencap team won (I'm not sure what Tencap means or what they won, but it was a BIG deal).  So tonight they were recognized at the Explorers game.  For those of you who don't know, the Explorers are Kansas City's professional tennis team of which the Bryan Brothers are a part.  Again, if you don't know, the Bryan Brothers are pretty much the best doubles team out there -- in the world.  They were playing tonight and my mom's team got to take their picture with the Bryan Brothers b/c they won their Tencap league (or something).

And then look at how she's putting a move on one of those Bryan Brothers!  And with my dad watching and everything!!  

Congratulations, Mom!!  I'm proud of you!!! 

Ireland Day 5

So, basically the highlight of our touring day of Ireland was the Cliffs of Moher.  This is the most photographed site in all of Ireland, and the second we got there I understood why.  Why I don't understand is how someone could look at such a miracle and not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is alive and well!  Praise!!  Before we got to the Clifs, though, we ran across this adorable  little beach town!  I never would have imagined being in Ireland and seeing this site!

Anyway, here are the Clifs of Moher!

 I need to give a little background information before I show any more pictures so that there isn't anyone out there that believes that I am this fashion-challenged.  In general, I stink at regulating my body temperature.  Basically I am just always cold.  No, really.  I sit on the deck at my parents' house on summer evenings with a blanket.  So, obviously in Ireland (and London for that matter) I was constantly putting my jacket on, taking my jacket off.  Putting my jacket on, taking my jacket off.  I wore jeans every day of our trip because I'd be cold otherwise.  On our Clifs of Moher day, I wore skinny jeans and sandals.  I did not realize, however, that would be doing a little bit of climbing to get to the clifs and that I might want tennis shoes.  Now remember I'm wearing skinny  jeans.  Skinny jeans + tennis shoes does not a cute outfit make.  So, understand before you see anymore pictures that I realize I'm not making the fashion statement of the year and try not to judge.  :-) 

Again....not the fashion statement of the year.  But sandals are too hard to climb in!!  And just as another random thought for anyone traveling to Ireland, despite your logical thinking, it is NOT cold at the Clifs!  It was the warmest I had been the entire trip (notice I'm carrying both my wool cardigan and trench coat in my arms)!

We climbed up one side of the cliffs and enjoyed a gorgeous view, but we could see that the other clif had people on it much higher up.  And while I was just happy as a clam being where we were (there were signs saying "Extreme Danger" and drawings of people falling off the cliff!!), we walked down our side and hiked up the other only to find this sign.

Did we care that beyond this point was private property?!  Heck, no!  Notice us standing on the private property in the picture below the one with the sign.  But can I also tell you that I was as far from the edge as humanly possible!  I am NOT NOT NOT a fan of heights, so this was big for me!!  The funny thing was that when we looked to our right, we saw this amazing God-created scene and when we turned to our left we saw, well, another God-created scene...but one you could get in Kansas City....

It  was a little bizarre!!  But despite the cows and the private property violation and our "Extreme Danger" situation, we made it out alive!!  What an amazing experience!! 

After the Clifs of Moher, we headed to the Buren.  Now, the Buren is not something I know how to explain.  Basically, it's this area of countryside that is nothing but rocks.  And in a simple, minimalistic way, it was beautiful, too.  And that house-lookin thing was a burial site.  I am still trying to figure out how they got that thing to stand up!!!

That pretty much completed our touring time in Europe.  That night we stayed in Ennis at a hotel that used to be a monastery.  It was pretty amazing, but I think we were all so exhausted from 12 BUSY days that we didn't even think to take pictures of it.

And because I don't know where all of these pictures are actually from except to say that they're from somewhere in are a few more shots of the scenery.

The next morning we drove all the way across the country (which really isn't all that far....just a 3ish hour drive) to catch a flight in Dublin to go back to London.  And what's a sister for if it isn't to help you get your suitcase closed?!  Can you tell this isn't our first rodeo?

We got to the Dublin airport early and had to wait around for a few hours before our flight back to London.  Fortunately we had the World Cup on to keep us entertained.  Then it was time to board our flight!

Another explanation:  My mom was taking a picture of me getting on the airplane, so I thought I'd get to the top, jump/turn around and have a funny pose for the picture. extra large flip flop for my extra large feet might have gotten stuck on the step as I tried to jump and I might have almost fallen and this picture might have been taken at the moment I caught myself before I fell.  (This is what happens when you have long feet.  You trip a lot.  Like I did this week in my workout class when I fell head first over my step when I supposed to jumping up to the top of it.)

So we flew back to London, crashed for the night in London and flew back to KC (via Toronto).  The flight home was MUCH MUCH easier than the flight there, but we were still up for over 24 hours by the time we got home.  I was anxious to see my kitties (and a little worried they had forgotten who I was) and went directly to pick them up.  Happy to know they still remembered and loved me, I promptly went to bed and slept.  Ahh....I love being home!

I am so grateful and so blessed to have been able to experience this trip!!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!!! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ireland Day 4

Day 4 in Ireland we drove around the Ring of Kerry which is basically just a great drive for an amazing view!  We drove around the blue line.

Here were some of our views...

At one point we had to take a ferry...

Along the way we found a guy who let us hold his lambs (for a little money, of course).  But we LOVED it!  Please notice there's a dog in a bucket.  Yes, you read that right.  He had a dog.  In a bucket.

Here's more of our views.....I think these are from the lamb site.

And, yes, Ireland is filled with hillsides of sheep.

One city we stopped at was called Waterville.  It had a BEAUTIFUL beach!!

After the Ring of Kerry we stopped at Fort Staigue which is a Christian ruins that apparently is from 1000BC.  This was built with absolutely NO mortar!  WOW!!

THEN...and we were so excited to see this....there were sheep in the road!!  We're in Ireland...there are supposed to be sheep in the road!! 

Then we headed off to find our bed and breakfast!!

And then we were off to dinner at Kenmare!