Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sofie Marie's Punkin' Cookies

Dear fall weather and accoutrements,
I refuse to let you go. You cannot just appear in October and steal my heart and then leave at the end of November. I have had enough. Therefore, I will be continuing to make all sorts of dishes having to do with fall veggies, pumpkin num-nums, and cinnamon. Take that, winter.

In the spirit of keeping the fall season alive, I want to share a delicious recipe from my friend Sofie. 

Sofie's Punkin Cookies

What you'll need:

1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 egg
2 cups chocolate chips (preferably semi-sweet (or dark!!! That was my addition); milk chocolate is kinda overpowering)
What you'll want to do: 

So you’re in your kitchen, itching for something made of pumpkin that tastes like heaven, while simultaneously feeling lazy. 

Problem? No way, sister! 

Take the above eleven ingredients, dump ‘em in a bowl (no particular order! No separating dry and wet ingredients!) and mix ‘em together. 

Heat your oven to about 375°F. Line your dirty baking sheets with parchment paper—easiest cleanup ever—and scoop little balls of pumpkin joy onto your baking sheet. 

Stick ‘em in the oven. Hungry? Don’t worry, they’re done baking in 10 minutes. 

Ten minutes?! How is this possible? 

I’m not a scientist. I can’t tell you. I can only tell you that they will melt in your mouth and make a special place in your heart forever. The end!
PS: If you’re feeling special, mix together a cup of powdered sugar, a dab of milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl and drizzle it over your pumpkin cookies. 

How easy was that?


Long live the fall. 
:)

An October Day

October started off with a bang: Girl's weekend in Maryland.





Sweet group of friends at Butler's Orchard.



Dear friend, Lindsey.

With dear friend, Lauren.

The whole gang.
Fall is my favorite.

We spent the afternoon eating good food, watching the 6 hour BBC Pride and Prejudice, and breathing the pure, clear air of the Maryland burbs. It was a favorite fall weekend of 2011 :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Today

I put my arm around a lady who lost her husband several years ago and is still moved to tears when she hears a song that brings him to mind.

I sat and cried with a dear friend as she told me about her broken heart over the miscarriage of her baby.

I decorated for Christmas with a sweet friend who is going through one of the most difficult seasons of her life and is fighting to see God's goodness in the midst of so much pain.


Mighty Jesus, bear us over,
There to kneel before Thy throne.
May we join the saints forever
Praising Thee, and Thee alone.

Hallelujah, hallelujah,
Hallelujah, to the Lamb!
Hallelujah, hallelujah, 
Glory to the Great I Am.

Oh friends, you are not alone. 

God has not forgotten you, abandoned you, or rejected you. 

He will bring you through these times soon. Seek him, even in the pain, and you will find him. And one day, very soon, together with those who are His, we will be singing "hallelujah" together. 

Your Redeemer lives.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aunty in Action

Meet Mr. Lukey.

He likes to reach for fishies in ponds and squeal at the top of his lungs.

Love this kid. Flew through Dallas on a business trip and got to see this character and his new baby brother.

Meet Mr. Logey.

Cuddles with one of the newest squeakers, Logan.
Happy Aunty.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Waiting: Our posture, pleasure, and joy

Each year my beloved church cares for the single ladies in the congregation by hosting what I like to call the Cherish/Build up/Encourage/and Love-On-The-Single-Ladies talk. There's a panel of a couple pastors and they just pray for us, prepare a short talk, draw our attention to some scripture, and open up for Q & A. It's always something I like to attend.

Quick side note-- Let me be honest, I always walk in my church feeling very feminine, very loved, and very cherished. I don't ever feel looked down on because I'm not married, nor do I feel like my singleness is looked on as a dire problem/predicament/disease to be solved. Instead I feel very much an equally loved and cherished member of the Body. It's definitely not a perfect place filled with perfect people (because they don't exist), but it is a place filled with repenting sinners who are making a concerted effort to intentionally love and protect the single women in the congregation and make them feel treasured. And it's working.

So this Q&A time is great and I thought I'd share a couple highlights that I remember from past talks:

My pastor, Mark, was asked about 1 Corinthians 7:9 from one of the women in our congregation. It's the passage that talks about marrying rather than burning with passion. In a really caring way, he told her that he wasn't going to answer her question, but rather build up a framework for her to understand what she was asking. Big picture, if you will.  So, Mark explained that the posture of a Christian is to be in waiting. He shared some things that he has waited for for many years (like his children to be baptized, family relationships, etc). He explained that we wait for a wide variety of things! Whether we are waiting for a spouse, or for a friend to become a Christian, or freedom from pain or sickness or other things-- we are always waiting for something. What we have in common is that we are all waiting for Christ's beautiful, majestic return (Lord, haste that day), and until then there will be many other things that we will be waiting for. He encouraged us to see our waiting in light and context of the big picture. Really helpful (of course he said it much more eloquently than I did). It's also great to think about what we don't have to wait for-- like mercy and forgiveness, God's Word, prayer, His joy, peace, restoration, and many other things.  Overall thought-- the posture of a Christian is to be in waiting.

Another thing Mark said -- he said he didn't want any other woman to be attracted to him, only his wife Connie. It was just really good to hear that. Something very simple but it struck me-- love does not want "all eyes on me" or many lovers. Love wants one, and wants to be faithful to that one.

In light of those two things, let this selection from a Paul Tripp article sink in:

"Waiting, therefore, is not a sign that your world is out of control. Rather, it is a sign that your world is under the wise and infinitely attentive control of a God of fathomless wisdom and boundless love. This means you can rest as you wait, not because you like to wait, but because you trust the One who is calling you to wait."

"Wait for the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14.

Wait faithfully, prayerfully, and joyfully, beloved!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cherish This: No Condemnation!

"Nothing is more precious than hearing God say to us personally: No condemnation. Or hearing him pronounce the words over our guilty heads, Justified! If you cherish this verdict and this standing with God, then cherish your union with Christ. Make it part of what you value most in the world."


John Piper

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Bit of Perspective

Perspective. Sustainability. Wisdom.

All words which I'm becoming acquainted with more and more (and finding out that we have been strangers from each other). Perspective, in particular, has been challenging for me the past several months.

Sometimes I cannot seem to pull myself back and take a look at the big picture. I seem to find this most difficult when I'm in the middle of something really, really hard- like a sudden change of job or housing, a difficult relationship, financial squeeze, a disappointed hope, or even when I lack perseverance or self-control to finish a goal or project. Perspective. That's what I need. I need to hear the truth and I need the long view (which by the way is probably why I've been camping out in Romans 8 for nearly the entire year of 2011, and highly recommend doing so. The work is finished. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.).

The other night a friend and I were reading after dinner (well, we really only had dessert. Whatever, that's beyond the point) and she asked me if I had the book A Gospel Primer. A dear friend gave me a copy before moving to DC and it has been a great encouragement to me. I grabbed it and she read me the section called Perspective in Trials -- I have been camping there this whole week. 

I'm going to leave adequate space between sentences to give my mind a bit more room to wrap around and be saturated in these truths. I invite you to let your mind and heart do the same. Soak this truth up--

"More than anything else I could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them.

For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me.

When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad.

I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials (Romans 5:1-5).

The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to BOW to his gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  [[Insert big hallelujahs here! Yes, Romans 8!!]]

Preaching the gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for rejoicing that exists in them.

I can then embrace trials as friends and allow them to do God's good work in me."

Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer.

Buy it. Read it every day. And bask in the richness of the gospel!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Pictorial September Review

Honest moment: September is my favorite month. 

Of course this largely has to do with my birthday... but it also has to do with very important calendar landmarks like the release of Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks (they tell you October 1, but of course you can ask for it before!), and the beginning of leaves changing, and cooler weather, and everybody skipping to work while holding hands with total strangers, and new school (office) supplies, and babies smiling, and all other wonderful things : )

September is the perfect segway to all things fall... ahh fall...

Here's a quick overview of September 2011:

The month started off beautifully with a dear friend's wedding.

Kimberlee was a ravishing and energetic bride!
Highlights of the wedding weekend: A lovely rehearsal dinner where I was spiritually encouraged by hearing stories of God's faithfulness in both Paul and Kimberlee's lives. Kimberlee flying on my bed at the butt crack of dawn the morning of her wedding.  Perhaps I was a bit cranky at first (I was), but looking back it was so sweet to see her excitement and join her. Hands down, the DJ at the reception (Kimberlee's cousin!) did the most fantastic job!  He played snippits of songs (instead of the full song) and, before we knew it, we danced for hours! It was perfect. Great wedding party with lots of personality!

Then I had a special birthday!

At a cute dessert/wine bar before KARAOKE. You heard me.

The average woman will not tell you her age; however, I've never considered myself average. I will proudly claim these 27 years and be honest that they have been hard, beautiful, painful, good, and SATURATED with mercy from God. I hope to detail some of that mercy on this blog-- but most of that will be told through living life with me. So, let's have (decaf) coffee sometime (before 9 BAHA). 

The Newlyweds: Paul & Kimberlee Curtis. Love this. 
Minutes before I got a giant smooch on both sides.  Rascals.

Matt & Erica-- some of my first DC friends. Erica and I like going on bike rides and getting fruit and veg at Eastern Market. AND frozen yogurt :) 

Sweet friends, Kalani and Hannah, came all the way up from Tennessee to celebrate. Had so much fun with these two!
Fellow business barbie, my Lindsey Loulla Lou-Lou Bear, and Reggie in the background. Dear friends. 

Brandon, Jonathan, and Amber. Treasure nuggets.
The Girls! I love group pictures.
Me and the boys flexing... and Larrie. Classic.
The whole gang! The group slimmed quite a bit once we announced we were going to sing Karaoke afterward... : )


So grateful for all these faces and hearts and friends. Keep your eyes peeled for an October overview... :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Habibti is Coming!

Cannot wait to see this little girl and her mommy, my best friend, Jenee! They arrive this week as an extended birthday present to me- I'm one lucky girl! So excited for their visit (already listening to as many Celine Dion and 80's songs as I can!!!). 
Aunty Bek & Jolie girl, July 2011
 Jenee and I have been friends since 6th grade and it was around that time that we began calling each other "Habibti," which in its feminine form means "Sweetheart" in Lebanese. She will always be my Habibti! And now that she's a mommy, there's a little mini-Habibti joining her on this trip. Super excited to spend extended Rebekah-Jenee-Jolie time. Side note, Jenee and I may or may not have used to take days off school just to spend time with each other. Fun fact- Jenee married my cousin Nate and so now we are related! Dreams do come true.

Jolie likes Starbucks. Good genes ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thoughts from the 20's and 120's

I've been sick for a week and I'll be honest, it's been yucky feeling achy and having hot flashes-- but it's also been strangely refreshing. I've rested and slept.  I've taken a break from doing my hair and makeup.  I've tackled menial (but important) projects like my filing system, answering e-mails, and updating Quicken. And, I've had opportunities to catch up on fun stuff like iTunes updates and blogging. Now even though my ears are still blocked, my nose is still overproducing, and I have a cough like a smoker, I'm still grateful for the rest, quiet, and stillness that sickness inevitably provides. I crave rest and quiet, and see this as a strange blessing.

But with all the rest, cabin fever inevitably occurs... So, I escaped the apartment this morning-- A little overconfident, I think. I went to a garage sale on my way to the dry cleaners and the bank. Got a fun mirror and thought I purchased a Rascal Flatts CD (opened it up and it was Beyonce. Halo). Tricky garage sale people... Anyway, when I went to the dry cleaners, I said to the owner, "Good morning, Charlene. I'm here to pick up dry cleaning" and handed her my ticket. She then proceeded to give me a strange look and then went to fetch my clothes. Forgetting that I was in sweats had my hair in a skony tail, and was probably looking like death run over... She said to me, "Miss Tooley, I did not recognize you." I told her I wasn't feeling well and chuckled a little bit. That whole scene reminded me of the time in high school where Jenee and I took a semester break from wearing makeup. No one ever asked Jenee what was wrong, but a classmate Nick was really concerned about me during the first week of this experiment. I remember him tapping me on the shoulder in first period English class and asking me if I felt okay. I told him I felt fine, and he assured me that I looked sick. Awesome. Jenee and I still laugh about that.

Okay, that is definitely enough rambling...

A friend stopped in to visit me tonight. After fighting this relentless virus all week, it was sweet to have the company of a dear one who knows me well... who brings me tea... and chocolate : ) Been craving chocolate and popsicles all day.

Anyway, we spent some time in the 20's and the 120's of the Psalms after catching up. A few highlights I thought I would share:

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23:6.  A reminder that goodness and love (some versions use 'mercy') will follow me because goodness and love is an unchanging characteristic of God.  He does not change, neither will his intention to do me good or show me his love. Hardest to believe in times of pain or suffering, but still just as true.

"No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame [...]."  A consistent theme in the Psalm 20's, especially 25 & 27.  I daily struggle with feelings of shame. This promise deeply comforts me and serves as a reminder to fix my eyes and my hope on God, who will never shame me. His son has born all my sorrows and taken on all my shame, therefore removing it from me (Isaiah 53). Praise God.

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14. Linds read this over and over. Reminded of my pastor Mark's encouragement that the posture of a Christian is to be in waiting. We're always waiting for something-- someone to repent and believe in Christ, Christ's coming return (ultimately), but so many other things in the meantime- like jobs, heart change, provision, friendship, understanding, wisdom, relationships, answers, etc. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord, Rebekah.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121.

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever."  Psalm 125:1.  Another picture for us to materialize how sturdy, firm, reliable it is to trust in God.

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him."  Psalm 126: 5-6.  Besides Romans 8, this is my favorite verse in Scripture.  I remember the college chorale I was a member of sang a version of it my sophomore year. Little did I know these two verses paint a picture of God's faithfulness to me over the years, as I have faithfully worked through things with many tears, trusting that God would use it all for good and reap a harvest of righteousness in my life. Oh Romans 8, once again. He will surely work it all together for his good, and he is already doing so. Trust him, Rebekah.

Definitely pulling it together in this statement -- I'm still learning to trust. Learning to process.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Brewers

Missing these dear friends today.
 
Ben & Amy.
With the Brewer gentlemen: Hacket, Butler, and Lee. Those precious red eyes filled with tears.
I praise God for the tender men God is making even now. 
With the Brewer ladies: Katie, Emory Anne, Jane Haley, and Amy.

The whole crew at their going away party in September.

I especially love this lady, and miss being near her.

A few fun photos of times past with the Brewer fam...

Hair treatments for the girls. We pretended that they were "at the beach salon," towel and all. Steph and Katie came to the "beach" with us, too.
Hilarious.

Emory Anne and Janey, wrapped up in saran wrap for their special hair treatment.  Love my girls!

One of many Friday night pizza/game nights playing The Great Dalmudi. Lindsey was enjoying crown-time.  Classic!


I just praise God for this family and miss them dearly. Like my pastor always reminds our church, we must learn to "hug the parade," as it is likely that those who are dear will move away in a few short years, or in this case, one year. I am so grateful for the way Ben and Amy and their family pursued relationship with me. I'll have to write a whole other post about how it all started. 

Going to bed with a grateful heart for this family. A great way to end today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Man, I feel like a woman..." and other randomness like mustaches and best friends

Listen, Shania was right. And tonight, my military-body-builder-extrovert spin instructor proved it, as he joined in on verses like, "Let's go girls" (while he simultaneously apologized to the three men in our female-dominated class) and "Color my hair, do what I dare, oh, oh, oh!" Hilarious.

I have to admit, sometimes I picture myself flying off the bike accidentally. Or wondering what kind of triple axel I would do if my knee went out or something. Of course then I get to laughing in my head... and then inevitably I cackle out loud. Definitely did that during my lunch break today when I saw the picture that my brother sent-- one of him, with a freshly shaven stash that looked like the one my Dad used to rock back in the 80s. Burst out laughing!

Skyped with my childhood best friend, Jenee, last night. It was like food for my soul, as I have felt relationally pressed these days. We just laughed and enjoyed each other's company. One thing I really love about Jenee is that she genuinely loves me for who I am, quirks and all. I definitely feel the same about her, but I have noticed the particular love that has grown in our friendship over the past couple of years. It's like she has taken stock of the 15 years she's known me and has watched me change each year, and with grace and wisdom (and lots of love), she offers me such a helpful perspective to have insight into my actions and heart. I've noticed Jenee doesn't just jump and offer unsolicited advice; instead, she waits to be asked. I have so much to learn from her, and from the way she loves. I am grateful to God for such a comfortable friend. Let's grow old and gray in our friendship, okay Habibti? : )

A couple things I've been enjoying lately:
-Skyping
-Ironing with starch
-Sewing
-White Peaches from Costco
-Trader Joe's lime bars (UGH! Try them. Please.)
-Watering the garden early in the mornings
-Singing country music (I always listen to more country music in the fall for some reason...)
-Dairy-free cheese (who would've thought!)
-Riding my bike down to the river and looking at the military ships
-My label maker at work
-The hymns "Day by Day" (Charles Wesley) and "Not What My Hands Have Done" (Horatius Bonar)
-Tide with Downey (delicious smelling clothes)

Okay, goodnight. Sleep well, and wash your sheets with Tide.

:)




Sunday, August 28, 2011

"So, you're telling me there's a chance..."

One of many favorite quotes from my all-time guilty pleasure movie Dumb and Dumber... Remember when Lloyd asks the girl what his chance is of getting her number and she responds by telling him, "I'd say one in a million"? Then Lloyd retorts positively, "So you're telling me there's a chance!" BAHA. Love that.

Well, that doesn't relate at all to what I want to write here, but I figured the comic relief is sometimes what my heart needs. Just when I said to a friend that my season of transition seems to be over, I get an e-mail notification that our landlord would like to move back in -- in 60 days.

Yes, there are worse things in life, but I was really bummed. Bummed, not to give up an old house with out of control weeds and one bathroom and a crazy amount of spiders in the basement. But, instead, just bummed to be in transition again. I really wanted that to end with college :  ) Wishful thinking.

This morning in church I was reminded that as long as I live on this earth, which is not my home, there will be season after season of transition. Transition is a helpful reminder to me that my home is not here. God uses transition to stir my heart's preference to be self-sufficient and self-reliant, and direct it toward Himself. I know that is something to be grateful for.

So, I'm in transition once again. And I need to fall on Christ in dependence. He will provide all my needs, and all the needs of my roommates. He is not withholding anything good. This is purposeful and ripe, and that is why it's happening right now. It's been apportioned, and the measure is love.

Sometimes I just have to tell myself these things out loud.

Any helpful encouragement on transition is welcome.

Blessings,
RJT

Friday, August 19, 2011

The constant beat of love

Just a few snapshots of grace to nourish our hearts today:
 
"He rules by the force of love and the energy of goodness. [...]
 
His eyes never slumber, and his hands never rest;
his heart never ceases to beat with love,
and his shoulders are never weary of carrying his people's burdens."
 
Spurgeon's Morning selection for August 19.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A gathering together of all loves

"Alas! our longest reach is but a span of love, and our affection is but as a drop of a bucket compared with his deserts. Measure our love by our intentions, and it is high indeed; 'tis thus, we trust, our Lord doth judge of it. Oh, that we could give all the love in all hearts in one great mass, a gathering together of all loves to him who is altogether lovely!"

Charles Spurgeon, Morning selection for August 7

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts from Nocturnal Nessie

Gee wiz, it is super late. I just had to write about a really sweet evening.

We've had temperatures over 100 degrees for a while now, but today it was nice and cool outside. In fact, it felt more like October than August. Although I am secretly mourning the end of summer and the inevitable beginning of fall, I really did enjoy today.

I drove home from work (new job- praise God for his provision. Loving it. Now able to drive. No more sweaty McSweaterson and flat hair) with the windows down and the A/C off... ahh... perfect. Then came home and made dinner with roommie while singing to Fernando in the background.

Ate out on the patio.

As we finished our wine, we decided that the evening was too beautiful to let slip away without a quick bike ride. So, in a matter of seconds, we decided that we'd bike across town and get dessert at a new frozen yogurt place (my newest obsession).

So, we did.

We biked and chatted. I rang my bell "just because," and accidentally rode on the sidewalks (definite DC no-no).
And flowers were delivered to the office today. Sunflowers and roses. My mom's favorites...so I was thinking of her throughout the day. My new co-workers walked by and couldn't resist saying how beautiful they were. Another reminder that the rocks will cry out, even if we do not.

Sweet day. Sweet week. Cling to the good; toss the bad.

Calling it a night.

R

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;

"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,

Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

He not only cures, but crowns

"Christ is the most bountiful physician. Other patients do enrich their physicians, but here the physician doth enrich the patient. Christ elevates all his patients: he doth not only cure them but crown them (Rev. 2:10). Christ doth not only raise them from the bed, but to the throne; he gives the sick man not only health but also heaven."

Thomas Watson

Yes, I'm on a Thomas Watson kick :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The most tender-hearted physician

"Christ is the most tender-hearted physician. He hath ended his passion but not his compassion. He is not more full of skill than sympathy, 'He healed the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds' (Psalm 147:3). Every groan of the patient goes to the heart of the physician."

Thomas Watson

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lullaby Love

One thing God has continually used in my life to help me remember who he is and the truth of Scripture has been music. Recently I purchased a CD called Hidden In My Heart: A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture. You might be tempted to add this little gem to a long list of things you could make fun of me for (like my love for cleaning products, Celine Dion, and basically anything from a previous post about awkwardness), which is fine... but I would definitely encourage you to listen to this if you are a single man or woman, mother, father, child, aunty, married, etc. 

Songs cover beloved passages like Philippians 4, Psalm 139, Psalm 23, Hebrews 13, 1 Corinthians 13, Deuteronomy 6 and much more. It has been the source of endless encouragement to me these days. Sometimes I even wake up singing these songs.  Check it out and let me know what you think. Makes a great baby gift for all those friends starting their families! 



For more information, go to the Scripture Lullabies website.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A is for Awkward

"You're really comfortable with awkwardness, aren't you?"

A personal observation a friend pointed out to me recently. I thought to myself-- hey, awkwardness makes the world go round. If you can't be comfortable with the inevitable-- that something awkward is going to happen-- you might be really...uncomfortable. That's my thinking, at least. So, here are some memories of recent and past awkward moments in the past two years of my life...

--Picture this from my first week of work downtown. Walking to work from the metro. Crossing the road at Vermont and Eye Street. I look to my right; look to my left; swing my arms as any DC power-walker would do; and unfortunately make hand contact with (slap) the backside of the gentleman who is crossing beside me. As if that was not awkward enough, he then proceeds to have a friendly conversation with me, and between smiles tells me that he's glad it was me and not someone else. Awesome.

--Another one from the early days...I was running to catch a train (which you are not supposed to do). My feet tripped over themselves and I got some air-- flying five feet ahead, I landed on my knee and side and came to a screeching halt. One lady gasped and asked me if I was alright. With one shoe on and about ten seconds to spare, I rescued my prodigal shoe, ran into the train (still caught it...), and bawled my eyes out for 40 minutes. Maybe I was crying because my knees were throbbing, or maybe it was because I was so embarrassed! Awkward.

--On the eve of my birthday this past year, I decided to do a little experiment with my hair. Overnight I turned into a bobcat-cheetah hybrid, as my dark hair had blotches of blonde mixed in. Resolved, I called in late due to a "cosmetic malfunction."  I was the first client at the salon that morning, and thankfully didn't come out with bangs. Let's be honest. That would have been doubly awkward.

--In a recent interview I actually used the phrase, "Hey, cats are kids, too."  (?!?!)

--My sister came to visit and I purchased a Groupon for us to take a lovely "dessert cruise" on the Potomac River. I pictured desert and wine with nice music. Instead we had our choice of Costco cookies, greasy potato chips, and cheap beer, all the while being serenaded by crying babies and Coolio's Gangster's Paradise.

--Kayaking on the Potomac with a friend. Awesome. The 18-year-old boat boy asking for my number. Awkward.

--At a dinner with some girlfriends from work, I was laughing raucously while lifting up a pot full of rice (to take into the kitchen as we were cleaning up), and the lid flew off and karate-chopped the hostess's wine glass in two. Silence. AWK!

--(Recent) I pushed myself too hard at an exercise Bootcamp and almost threw up and passed out afterward. Three ladies stayed with me for an hour afterward as I lay on the cement while they fanned me and poured water on my head. Then one walked me home. And you thought this only happened on the Biggest Loser. Awkward.

Remember, awkwardness helps to keep us humble! : )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My life in pictures

A sequence of four photographs that seem to describe my life these days:
Self portrait.

New home.

Oh dear.

Time to get rid of the twin and save up for a big girl mattress.

All photos courtesy of Google images.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Off to the lake

Photo courtesy of Google
I'm packing my bags and am off to the lake this weekend with sweet friends from church.

Phone will be off.
E-mail will not be checked.
Job searching will cease.

Rest, peace, and a good book -- here I come!

Happy fourth of July!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Away from self

Oh Spurgeon, you've done it again. Totally needed to be reminded of these meditations from Hebrews 12. His morning selection for the 28th reads:

"But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all."

Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee--it is Christ;
it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee--it is Christ;
it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument--it is Christ's blood and merits;

therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ;
look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope;
look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.

We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.

If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him.

Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Coming up for air

DEEP BREATH. 

I'm coming up for air just in time for the weekend.  Having a really full schedule these days and trying to keep the most important things a priority in this crazy season of life-- a dear friend's wise suggestion.  Her e-mail ended with these two sentences that have encouraged me throughout the week:

"Stay faithful in the small stuff rather than focusing on everything you have to do.  The Lord will continue to be faithful."

Yeah. He will. He will never fail or waver or faint or change. He will not give up or abandon. He won't even change his mind. His plans are firm and as permanent in their place as the universe is in its place. Like my friend Loulla (um, nick name) always reminds me -- the secret things belong to the Lord. He draws our boundary lines in life in pleasant places (check out Psalm 16 for this reference) and we can trust him to give us what is best.

I've had to tell my heart to follow through in approaching Him in prayer. Run to Him even when I feel like things are spiraling. Sorry for being vague- if you want the "deets," let's go for coffee, or better yet a drive to the burbs while listening to Keane. Oh, Keane...new favorite :)

A few encouraging quotes to meditate on this weekend:

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."  Beloved Romans chapter 8. [High five, Larry!] 

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4

"No heart can conceive that treasury of mercies which lies in this one privilege, in having liberty and ability to approach unto God at all times, according to his mind and will."  John Owen

As my friend, the birthday girl, Jenn, would say--  Keep on :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Additions to the book list

Ran across two new books that I'm definitely adding to the list to read this year:

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand 

and 

Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope
by Mary Beth Chapman

Both are stories of redemption and God's faithfulness. As I hear more about God's faithfulness to others, it helps me to praise Him for his unstoppable grace that is on the move world-wide and has been through the ages. It helps me to love him more, to thank him more, and to praise him that nothing can stop him.

I'm reminded that:
I have been treated better than I deserve because of Christ.
All God's ways towards me are good.
He is good.
He will not and cannot ever fail.
He is perfect.
Nothing can thwart his plan.
His plan is perfect.

Hoping that as I read these books I'll have even more ways to thank God and praise him for his faithfulness throughout the ages.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds."  Psalm 36:5

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Deep Sea of Joy

I'm talking to instead of listening to myself today (thanks, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones). Here's how the conversation is going:

"The Lord Jesus is a deep sea of joy: my soul shall dive therein, shall be swallowed up in the delights of his society. [...] and thou, my soul, look on thy Jesus, and bid heaven and earth unite in thy joy unspeakable." 
Spurgeon's Morning selection for June 15

"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Psalm 16:11

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Psalm 34:8

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Melt this hardened heart

"The law breaks the hard heart, but the gospel melts it. A stone duly broken, may be still a hard stone; but the gospel melts."

Ralph Erskine

Monday, June 13, 2011

Friends: Engaged!

Paul & Kim back in April on the Sunday they got engaged.
Paul, Kim, & Kim's sweet parents
It's all in love.

Kim & Nerminey. Memories of a certain trip to the zoo on August 7th of last year... ;)

Spontaneous favorite.

The group who drove up to York to surprise these two friends.

Super sweet afternoon.

Kim & Lauren. We're all huggers.

Lauren, Kim, Amanda, and me standing in Kim's backyard

7 years of friendship. Sweet to the soul! Love this girl. (Don't miss Great White, Mr. Storey's boat, in the background)

Toots & Larry like to coordinate. Sweet, sweet gift of a friend.


Love these two!
Excited for September 10!