Monday, September 29, 2008

In sickness and in health....

I've had just enough of the spotlight
When it burns bright
To see how it gets in the blood
And I've tasted my share
Of the sweet life
And the wild ride
And found a little is not quite enough

I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change

Empty me
Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition
And the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me
So I can be
Filled with you

I've seen just enough of the quick buys
Of the best lies
To know how broader goals can be drawn away

I know how I can stray
And how fast my heart could change
Empty me
Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition
And the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me
So I can be
Filled with you

'Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to you
Compared to you
'Cause everything is a lesser thing
Compared to you
So I surrender all

Empty me
Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition
And the poison of my pride

Empty me
Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition
And the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me
So I can be
Lord empty me of me
So I can be
Filled with you
Filled with you
Empty me

That song, Empty Me by Chris Sligh, has been ringing in my head today. The lyrics are such a challenge to me and a reminder that the little things get in the way and cause me to lose my focus on the Lord. It has been my prayer that God would show me those things that get in the way of my relationship with Him, and then give me the strength to let go of them, so I can be emptied and filled with His sweet spirit.

Today and the last couple of days have shown me, once again, how easily I can stray and how much I rely on things of this world, when I should only rely on him. Even things that are good and natural to wish for - in particular good health - can shift my focus off of the surpassing greatness of the Lord and onto my own petty life.

Adrian has been sick the last few days, Ben is suffering from some kind of an itchiness that resulted in a huge, bloody spot on his shoulder (a hot spot) that makes him feel pretty crappy, and I had a migraine today, something that happens occasionally. All of these ailments, which are so minor in relation to the sickness of my heart, only drag me away from recognizing the goodness and grace found in Christ alone. I am coming to grips anew with the challenge: Is everything a lesser thing compared to Christ in my life? I'm ashamed to say it isn't.

I all-too-often place value on my sleep, my relationships, my health, my comfort, my self-esteem, my family...whatever, that isn't placed on the Lord. He alone is of surpassing value, and everything in my life is only in proper perspective when Christ is valued most highly.

Things get so out of whack when I take him off the "throne of my heart" and replace him with those lesser things. It's only when he has the proper place in my heart and in my life and in my thoughts that I will have a proper perspective on the value of other things in my life, which are all lesser compared to my Lord.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You got here HOW?

So, looking through my website's stats today, I noticed there are some really unique search terms people type in that bring them to my blog. Some of the more common (and understandable) ones are searches for:

-Lyrics to Natalie Grant's song "Held" (This is the #1 search phrase that brings people to my blog)
- heartbeat for the nations
-Lauren Crane
-Various names mentioned in the blog or in the blogroll links

Those I get, pretty easily. Some are a little more cryptic as to why it brought you to my blog, but then I understand after a little research....

-"my dog is my child"
-"advanced elements kayak"
-"how to break into car with wire" (Burglars on my site?? Yikes! I hope that doesn't make me an accomplice)
-"do wake forest dorms have dressers?"
-"within a yard of hell"

This last group I just find funny! Some I understand, some I have no idea why my site came up when this was searched for:

-"Strap on tanning goggles"
-"how can i turn back time in my marriage"
-"why does my female dog foam at the mouth when she goes outside?" and "my dog bit a toad's head and foam was in his mouth" and "my dog foams at his mouth when walking" (What the heck?? What is wrong with all these dogs??)
-"Lauren Crane dancing" (Did someone really want to see ME dancing, or were they searching for "Lauren Crane: This Summer's Hottest Club Banger..." whose blog is 1 letter off from mine. Oh sheesh.)
-"I'M NOT SUPPOSE TO GROW i'M NOT SUPPOSE TO BE THIS WAY" (I am curious what "way" this is....Do I want to know?)
-"dresses for fat people"
-"bachelorette jenga"
-"brian crane" pickles (Hmm....)
-"B.O.S.S. Pimps Nation"..... (Uh-huh.)
"Spiritual" "kayak" "godly" (All great things. Not seeing how they are necessarily related.)

Anyways, I just got a kick out of reading those! If you're a visitor to my site, leave me a comment and tell me what you searched to get here!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why today is a good day....

1) It's the first day of fall, which happens to be one of my favorite seasons
2) The weather is GORGEOUS, telling me -not only that it's fall- but that it's going to be a good fall!
3) I comfortably busted out a long-sleeved shirt today...Time to reverse the wardrobe again!
4) I ate Moe's for lunch
5) My incredible boyfriend was here for the weekend with me, and I'll see him again next week!
6) Bedtime came early the last 2 nights, praise the Lord! It felt so good.
7) I have been able to daydream about fun trips to take, which is always a nice mental vacay
8) My voice is back in a big way. No singing yet, but, boy, am I talking!
9) My Fantasy Football team whooped up on Jason's (my boss's) this week. Reminds me of the day I did my interview and beat everyone in the office at PIG...
10) Also, the gazing balls are back in full-force on the lawn. Not all of you will know what I am talking about, but some will. The world seems right again now that they have returned from a several week hiatus :)

Lastly, but certain not the least reason my day is good, is that I am being challenged today to love my Savior more. Seeing that he's the only certain good thing in my life, that's a pretty good place to be....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Turkish Delight and other randomness

Any Narnia fans out there? If so, you should catch that reference in the title. I actually tried Turkish Delight last night at a place called....Turkish Delight. Go figure. The candy is kind of like a flavored gummy bear coated in powdered sugar...better than I expected, but not necessarily anything I feel the need to have on a repeat basis. However, I will say that I was surprised to find that somehow they made the "rose flavor" actually taste how I imagine a rose would.

Anyways, the Turkish Delight foray came after a tasty dinner at Hi5 with Teran, JJ and Adrian. If you live in Raleigh, you must check it out. All the food is $5!! I got the "stuffed" burger which has the killer combination of bleu cheese, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions....Delicious. Plus, since Hi5 is owned by the same people who own Red Room and Bogarts (in the same building, basically), we were able to have some free salsa lessons at Red Room, without paying the cover, since we had just eaten at Hi5. Hey - I try to be conscious of the whole money thing: Dinner, dessert and salsa lessons for $25? Not bad, I think.

The fun night out came on the heels of being sick on Wednesday (sinus stuff, maybe....Just a seriously sore throat) and studying my little tail off for my first seminary exam. I took that yesterday afternoon, and feel fairly confident that I did well! I'm just glad it's over. So last night out was, for me, a "Hurray! Adrian is here!" and "Hurray! I'm done with my exam!" kind of night. It unfortunately seemed to not agree with my throat, which got severely sore again as the night progressed. No biggie today, except I can't talk.

This morning I tried to go through a drive-thru...That did not work out so well for me. Not only are McD's workers not the friendliest crew on the planet, but when someone is desparately whispering into the speaker trying to place an order, they get a tad irate at not being able to hear them. I should have just gone inside, but I was feeling lazy like that. Oh well.

Anyways, if we need to communicate, until further notice, the telephone is probably not the way to do that, unless you happen to like to listen to unintelligible whispers!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm...."

Life is odd. Here are some thoughts:

1) It was record-breaking heat this weekend. Today, although it's mid-September, is still in the 90s. Mind you, that's fine with me, although I wouldn't complain if fall started soon. But why, oh why, in 80-90 degree heat was the heat on in my office building this weekend?? Lunacy.

2) Another thing that is lunacy is the GAS prices! Ridiculous! Many places here in Raleigh are sold out or charging an arm and a leg for a gallon of gas. For example, it ranges from $3.99 to $4.39 around my little ole' town. That's a jump of AT LEAST 40 cents from when I filled up pre-craziness, thanks to Adrian. The most ironic thing is that the price for a barrel of gas actually dropped to below $100 for the first time in a long while....Which should make prices go down, not up, right? Notsomuch, apparently.

3) Speaking of my amazing boyfriend, isn't it ironic that I - who swore never to do the long distance thing - am in love with someone who lives 4 hours away. It's not one of my favorite things about this relationship, let me tell you. However, also ironically enough, I am OK with it for now, even though it makes things more difficult. It just makes me appreciate the times we are together that much more, like this weekend when I get to see him!!

4) It is also somewhat funny (perturbing, whichever) that out of all the things in my bedroom, Ben decided to shred the one that inflicts pain on him. Last night, getting home from small group, I found shredded newspaper all over my room. Where did it come from? His whoopin' stick. It's the rolled up/taped up newspapers I use to spank him....If that's not an "in your face" I'm not sure what is. He wasn't super-selective though: He also got a hold of a blanket, an important undergarment and a favorite book.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Year Has Come and Gone

Last night I went out with a bunch of my girlfriends, old and new, and had a tasty dinner and a good time. The dinner was especially neat because the six of us who went to the beach exactly a year ago this weekend together were all there. Labor Day marked a year since I moved here and began this journey and new segment of life. When I packed my Dad's Honda up and drove the 400+ miles to get here, I had no idea what on Earth I was getting into! Here's a quick recap of what has happened in the last 12 months of my life...

-When I first moved here, for 2 weeks I lived in the dorms at SEBTS. I was not so excited to move into the dorms, even temporarily, but my apartment wasn't ready. It turned out to be a great blessing, because the first nights there, I was able to become friends with a girl named Kristi, who invited me to spend my first weekend in NC at her parents' beach house with 4 other girls. That trip enabled me to meet some great girls, some of who I know will be in my life for a long time!- Two weeks later, I moved into my first home of my own, a darling little apartment that I share with my turtles and dog.
-I was able to completely furnish and decorate it for right around $1,000. Thus, my love of bargain-hunting was fueled and grew.- I started my first "big girl job" at Southeastern Seminary and began seeing my name published in magazines and on the web....that's a cool feeling.
- I have endured a saga of car-crap, and hope that it's over. Right before moving here, my car (Pearl) began showing signs of severe sickness, so I left it at home to get fixed and drove Dad's Honda over here. It broke down on me within a couple of weeks, then I found out mine was going to cost a pretty penny to repair, then I hit a deer with my Dad's car...I finally gave him his wheels back, and traded my old SUV in for an XTerra. It then showed signs of sickness, and then I hit a truck with it, causing $5,000 worth of damage to my own car. It had a few other issues after that, but I think/hope we're on the upswing now!- Within a couple of weeks of starting my job, I felt clearly God calling me to the mission field. It was something I had thought about before, but decided "I'd rather just do short-term trips", instead of committing to live overseas. I figured it would be easier, and I could still play by my own rules. God got ahold of my heart though, and now, I've "said the eternal yes." I'll go overseas when I finish school.
- Just a couple of weeks ago, I started classes to work on my Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies. It is kicking my butt right now, but I'm hoping to get used to it and graduate with my Master's within a couple of years.
- I met a couple of "interesting" guys, went on a few dates and decided I was quite content being single until God showed me otherwise.
- God showed me otherwise by putting an amazing man in my life, who I love and am now honored to call my boyfriend.- I finally made it out of the "VL" club :)
- I tried to find my dog a new home - unsuccessfully - for a couple of months and decided to keep him.- I went through a crazy spell of wanting to get 2 dogs, but decided since I was planning on going overseas in a couple of years, that wouldn't be a good idea.
- I bought a kayak.
- I watched my alma mater, Union, get hit and wrecked by a F-4 tornado.
- I returned to Union to try and help with clean-up efforts. While there, I got to see some old friends and watch my Zetas win Variety Show for another year.
- I got hit with the news last Sunday that my Dad has some serious medical issues he is dealing with (see posts below). Prayer is appreciated and needed.
- I have fallen deeper in love with the Lord, and I have been learning to rejoice in Him and his gift of salvation, no matter what circumstances I find myself in.

So there you go: A year of firsts! First job, first apartment, first boyfriend, first kiss, first "big" purchases of my car and kayak, first time dealing with serious health issues within my family....A lot has gone on, and I know the Lord is good and He is sovereign. To those of you who are a part of my life here in NC, I thank you for what you have done and how you have helped shape me over the past 12 months. For those of you who have been with me for longer than that, thanks for continuing to be in my life. I praise God for each of you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Update on my Dad

Just wanted to share that Dad's surgery went well yesterday. They removed the melanoma and an inch and half of skin, and now we will wait for the pathology reports to let us know if they got it all. He is home now, and recuperating from a couple of days in the hospital. Thanks for all of the prayers offered on his behalf. The Lord is faithful, loving, sovereign and good. Praise Him for his blessings in our lives!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Hi blog readers:

I was working on another blog earlier this week, but will have to post-pone it until I let you guys know what's going on in my family and what the Lord is doing in our lives.

Sunday when my parents visited, they told me my father has malignant melanoma on his back. This is the most severe and aggressive form of skin cancer. However, they were hesitant to operate to remove it and test to see if it had spread until they addressed problem #2 - his heart.

Tuesday, they went to the hospital for a consultation and were told he needed to have the heart issue addressed first before they could do anything that would require him to be put under. They said even after that procedure, it could be a few weeks until they could safely put him under to remove the melanoma. This morning, he underwent a procedure to see how much of a blockage he had in his cardiac arteries and to fix it.

I'm thankful to say that, although 2 of the three arteries were almost or completely blocked, the doctors were able to put stints in and take care of those. Praise God that he hadn't had a heart attack with that kind of blockage, that the procedure went well and that the doctors were pleased with the results. Also, praise the Lord, they will be doing the surgery to remove the melanoma tomorrow morning at 9:30 (Friday), taking advantage of this hospital stay and curbing as much spread of the cancer as possible by removing it so quickly.

I know a lot of you have been praying for my family during the last few days, and I thank you so much. We have all felt the prayers as we have felt an unexplainable peace about the whole situation. God is so good, and I know whatever happens, my Daddy is in the Best Surgeon's hands. May the Lord be glorified in all of this, for he is the one who is the assurer of salvation and eternal life.

For tomorrow, selfishly, I ask that you would continue to lift up my father as he undergoes another surgery, this one requiring anesthesia. Pray the doctors remove it all, and that the melanoma is shallow, so they won't have to do the lymph node mapping, which could be more dangerous for him. Pray that Daddy is able to heal quickly. I ask for prayers for my Mom as she supports Dad and stays with him. Ask the Father for his continued blessing of peace for both of them. Pray for the surgeon's hands to be skilled in both the cutting out of the cancer and "plugging" the hole left behind. Most of all though, pray that God's name be praised through all of this.

Thank you for sticking with us, praying for us, and supporting us. I love you guys!