Today is my last day to be an aunt of one nephew! :) Tomorrow morning sometime, I will become an aunt for the second time. I am so excited to meet this little one and find out his name! I'm excited to discover all the firsts that come with a second baby (if that makes sense). I'm excited to see John become a big brother. I'm excited to see Chris and Ann become parents to a newborn again...and see if they do anything different this time around. I am excited to get pictures. I won't get to see this baby as early as I got to see John, but I can't wait for the first time I get to hold him and cuddle with him and experience life with him. Look for many pictures to come as I "steal" them from Facebook!
I haven't done a Scripture Saturday or Scripture Sunday post in a while, so I thought today would be a good opportunity to let you know what I learned in church.
Today we had Sanctity of Life Sunday at church. It is a Sunday each year where we take time to celebrate life. It is in January because the Roe vs Wade decision which legalized abortion happened in January. It is a Sunday I always enjoy. There are some sad aspects to it, like the statistics that Pastor Ritch shared. 50 million abortions have taken place since that decision. That amounts to about 3,000 abortions a day. It makes my heart grieve to think about it. But Pastor Ritch also gave me great encouragement today. He preached out of 1 Samuel. For those of you who don't know the story, Hannah is barren. She goes year after year (which means this is not a problem that was going away for her) to Shiloh to worship the Lord with her husband. Pastor Ritch talked about how this trip went from anguish to adoration for her and how we can also go from anguish to adoration in our own situations. There were several truths that he pointed out from the passage that really struck me in my own circumstances. Throughout the sermon, I found myself focusing on anguish I have experienced, since barrenness is not something I have gone through. But singleness is a struggle for me and there have been times that I have felt anguish because the Lord has not granted me this one request. 1 Samuel 1:5-6 says that Hannah's barrenness was from the Lord. Pastor Ritch expounded on this, saying that her barrenness was not a curse of punishment. That when God designs anguish for us, it is always in view of a future joy. ALWAYS. What a great word! Although, I must realize that the future joy may come in heaven, there is always a future joy that will far outweigh the present circumstance! The second point that Pastor Ritch made had to do with Hannah's actions and resulting peace. Hannah went to Shiloh and prayed to the Lord. She poured out her grieving heart to God. She expressed that if He gave her a child she would dedicate that child to the Lord. Before Hannah prayed, verse 7 says she was weeping and would not eat. After Hannah prayed, verse 18 says she went on her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast. Hannah found peace in the midst of her grief. She found peace BEFORE she conceived a child. I do not have to wait to be married to have peace. Pastor Ritch's statement "Peace changes our hope, not our circumstances" was a huge blessing. Prayer refocuses our attention onto the Almighty, not on ourselves. The circumstance is no longer what drives us and motivates us and our feelings, but the hope we have in His future joy is what motivates us and our feelings. I praise God that He is my focus and not the earthly circumstances I face every day.
PS. For those of you who don't know the story, the Lord did open Hannah's womb and she conceived and gave birth to a son. And when she had weaned him, she dedicated him to the Lord at Shiloh and he lived there and became a priest. Hannah waited all those years for a son, and yet she was faithful to give him to the Lord just as she told God she would.
...that sometimes make me laugh the most. Mayhem. Not a word you hear very often these days. So, when I sat down to watch G.I. Joe and the credits started to roll, I was surprised to see that it was rated PG-13 for "strong sequences of action violence and mayhem throughout." I wasn't surprised that it was rated PG-13, but that there would be mayhem throughout. It made me giggle. Doesn't make you giggle. Sorry.
Kind of like when I get on weather.com and it says something about intermittent rain. Or billowy wind. Sometimes I think they are bored and sit there with a thesaurus to figure out how they can word the same thing differently today then they did yesterday.
Like I said, sometimes it's the small things that make me laugh!
Those of you who know me well know that I like to tell stories and my stories often contain several tangents. I think my brain has a little bit of ADHD. But sometimes this comes out in my dreams and it can be quite amusing. I was in the middle of a dream, which was already pretty weird. I don't remember most of it, but I was sitting outside on the driveway at my grandma's house waiting for someone to get home. And by sitting outside, I mean in a camping chair, waiting. All of a sudden, at the side of the house, I saw an owl walking. So I scramble for the camera that I apparently had with me (except it was my mom's because I was thinking that I was going to have to get her to send the picture to me so that I could put it on my blog--yep, I even think of my blog when I sleep). But as I was trying to get a picture of the owl, sometimes it would look like a cat instead, so I never got a good picture of it before it went away. And then I went back to the semi-weirdness of the rest of my dream. Sometimes I wish I had a dream interpreter on speed dial! :)
I know it's probably not the most selfless thing to do. But I just wanted to share a story. I've talked about the 14 year old client I see several times now. I'm not supposed to have favorites, but she is one of my favorite clients...and I don't say that about very many teenage girls! God uses her to constantly challenge what I think about myself and how I let my view of myself be tainted by what I think other people see. I was pretty nervous about my session with her today because I had accidentally shared something with her mom last week that I didn't know she hadn't told her mom. And the information did not make her mom very happy. So, I was nervous today because I thought my client might be mad at me. But she wasn't. Phew! We played a Jenga type game that has questions to answer for each block you take. I had to answer a question that was something like, "What is one day you wish you could erase or take back?" So, I answered the question and then she answered the question too (something she did not have to do). It was an insightful answer that allowed us to tangent from the game (the ultimate purpose of the game is to hopefully spark conversation) for quite a while. She talked about poor choices she has made and how she would go back to the moment where she made the first poor choice and not do it. After we had talked about that for a few moments and really talked through some of the choices she has made since then, she asked me if I am ever shocked by something a client has said to me. The way she worded the question was a little confusing to me, so she clarified for me by saying that she can tell me things that she can't tell anyone else because I don't get upset with her or appear shocked by what she says. It made me feel really good to know that this is how she feels, because it's kind of the purpose of my job but I haven't had a lot of clients say they felt that way. So, apparently I'm doing something right! And that allowed us to tangent even further from the game to talk about how she feels when she tells her mom some of these things and ways she wishes her mom would respond differently. Altogether, a very good session and one that I will have a very easy time writing the note tomorrow. Oh, and I didn't tell her that sometimes the things she tells me does shock me, I just keep my shock to myself! :)
I was driving between clients' houses today around 5 (Tuesday is one of my late nights) and was excited that I was still not hungry. Sometimes my late nights are a struggle because I like to eat dinner early. So, I was still feeling good at 6 when I was driving home. Yay for not getting super hungry. But literally five minutes from my house I got the shakes and started to feel light-headed. I hate when it comes on that quickly. Sometimes I get a headache, but tonight, definitely the shakes. I was planning to come home and eat something semi-healthy. But in my famished, I-need-food-right-now-or-else state, I panicked. I ate two handfuls of chocolate covered pretzels. And then I had a couple handfuls of chips. While I cooked tator tots and a hamburger. And by-passed the fruit. Normally I would eat an apple with my hamburger, but I didn't think yielding a knife with the shakes was a good idea. And it would have interfered with my stuffing of the face method of hunger control. Yikes! But I don't feel hungry anymore. And the shakes are gone. And I am no longer light-headed. :) But I probably gained 2 pounds in the process.
Yesterday was my 14 year spiritual birthday. 14 years being an heir of Christ. I have been finishing up memorizing a couple verses in Galatians 4:3-7, "So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." There is another verse (reference escaping me right now) that says we are co-heirs with Christ. As an heir, I have received the full rights of a daughter of God--eternal life, a place within the family of God.
I am thankful that I was able to spend my spiritual birthday at the Women's Conference at church. Often on this day, I spend a little time reflecting over the years since I accepted Christ as my Savior, but it was good to spend that time surrounded by my family of believers, worshipping Him and learning more about what it means to walk with Him.
My prayer for the coming year is that I would grow more and more in knowledge of Him, focusing on what it means practically to walk with Him. I always cringe at New Years' resolution time, but here are a few spiritual goals that I have been praying through for the coming year: 1. What is Scripture Memory going to look like this year? Last year I did a plan through Beth Moore's ministry where I memorized two passages a month. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this again or focus on memorizing a book of the Bible. Through prayer and some words of wisdom from others, I have decided to memorize the book of 1 John. I started this week and have memorized 2 verses! 2. Prayer. Prayer has always been something I have struggled with as a believer. I am not very consistent and I feel like I say the same prayer all the time. I want this to be a focus of something I want to grow in. 3. Church. I visited a new Sunday School class for the first time today and am praying about whether to make this a permanent change. I am in the singles class right now and sometimes feel OLD. People coming into the class are sometimes 10 years younger. Also, will ministry look different for me this year? Should I look into new ministry or should I continue in the ministries I am currently involved in.
So, those are just a few things I am looking at for this year.
We are in the midst of a two day women's conference at church. (And by "in the midst" I mean we were at the church for a couple of hours tonight and then we go back tomorrow. I am sitting on my couch at home as I type this). I love getting together with a bunch of women. It makes sense to dress up (even though if guys were there, I would not have thought this through as much (maybe that's why I'm still single!)). Tangent...do you like how I just used double parentheses! Reminds me of algebra. End tangent...I love getting to see lots of women worship God together. I love seeing the women's bathroom sign on the men's bathroom door (heehee). But, in true me fashion, I've been reminiscing some more. Sitting there tonight reminded me of another women's conference I attended at my church in Georgia about 14 years ago. It was the year after college. I took a year off before grad school and was attending a Beth Moore Bible study that the pastor's wife was leading. It was the first study I've done with all age groups and I LOVED it! My college roommate also did the study with me which made it even more special. Anyhoo, we had a women's conference that year and Holly went with me (she didn't actually attend my church but attended these two things with me). I can remember sitting in the sanctuary and two older women (of retirement age) were sitting in front of us. They also attended our Bible study. They were the best of friends and had been friends for a long time. Holly leaned over to me and said, "That's going to be us at that age." I remember a tear coming to my eye (because it's so hard to make me cry!) and still today it makes me think what a sweet moment that was. So, tonight at the women's conference as I was sitting with new friends, I was missing some old friends too.
(PS. Sorry about all of the parentheticals. I think I got a little carried away!)
Dr. Pepper. I love it. I hate it. But mostly I love it. I have cut way back on how much I am drinking. I really am facing the fact that I have gained a lot of weight in the last year and that if I continue what I'm doing (or not doing), I am just going to keep gaining. Everyone says you'd be amazed at how much weight you lose when you give up soda. So, in the last two weeks I have had two Dr. Peppers and one root beer. I've never been a big caffeine drinker. I don't like coffee and I can't drink caffeine after 3:00pm, so most of the time I only have one can of Dr. Pepper a day and not every day. So I have continued to say that I don't think this is going to make much of a difference, but I have to make changes somewhere, so it's a start.
And then I've added a little bit of exercise in. There is definitely nothing about exercise that I love, but I try and pretend to listen when people tell me all the wonderful benefits. The problem with exercise to lose weight is I don't have the time. I am not one of those people who can fit it in in the 45 minutes between A and B. I never will be. So, there are some weeks that I only have 1 day I can devote to it. I know this is never going to accomplish weight loss. So, my thought is, why bother at all. I'd rather be doing something else on that one day! :) But I'm trying, I honestly am. It's a work in progress. Enough said.
Oh, the original reason I was going to post something was to say this: I always think that when I go for a long time without a Dr. Pepper, it will be the best thing EVER when I finally have another one. But it usually is a little disappointing when I do have it. Just another Dr. Pepper. About 4 or 5 years ago I gave up Dr. Pepper for as part of a Bible study (and I think every other soda, too, but I can't remember). I think it was for a whole summer, about 3 months. That first Dr. Pepper I had was a poor, pathetic excuse for a Dr. Pepper. I was so disappointed. Maybe I don't even like the stuff anyway and I just drink it for the sake of drinking it! :) There are definitely days that I crave it. Mostly when I have something specific to eat that I ALWAYS have soda with, then I think the world is ending because I am trying to be disciplined.
Oh my goodness, have I ever rambled! Sorry about that. At this point, just for the sake of being honest, I'm avoiding buckling down to do paperwork. I have already missed my 2:00 deadline by 5 minutes...
Last night Emily and I were talking (I know...surprise!). We were discussing a guy I dated in high school and I couldn't remember if he was in the same grade as me but older or my age but a year behind me. So, I pulled out my senior yearbook to find the answer. I was on the yearbook staff for 3 years in high school. So, unfortunately, when I pull out the yearbook, it can never be a quick thing. It turns into flipping and reminiscing. And, of course, it is normally late at night and for over an hour. I didn't get to bed until much later than I had planned last night :). One thing I learned (or was reminded of) is that yearbooks sold for $45-$60 my senior year depending on when you bought them. Can you believe that? This spring will be my 15 year reunion. So, I started thinking, I wonder how much a yearbook would cost this year?! Holy smokes! I bet kids have to take out a loan. But, considering I can still enjoy the memories 15 years later, maybe that loan would be worth it!
No, we didn't actually get a new refrigerator, but we got a newly 2012 decorated refrigerator! Last year I cut up all of our pictures from Christmas cards and put them on the fridge for us to enjoy throughout the year. But it's like getting a new refrigerator! And for all those who know how I can be a little detail oriented, last year, the pictures started out by just going up with magnets. But that didn't last long because I couldn't stand it when the pictures were crooked. So now...lots of taped down pictures. Equal distance apart. If you're going to have chaos in your kitchen (which, let's face it, a bunch of pictures on a fridge will always look chaotic), you have to organize the chaos a little bit! Emily and I decided we have some good looking friends and family! :) And then I found this series of pictures on my camera. When I got home from Georgia, I was amazed by the sunset while driving home from the airport. I tried to take a good picture but never did the sunset justice because 1. my camera is not that fancy, and 2. I was driving so I kept missing the mark! The irony is that these are the only pictures on my camera from my trip to Georgia because I never got my camera out while actually in Georgia :).
Remember a few posts back when I told the story about the 14 year old asking about whether I had kids, a husband, a boyfriend? Well, today I met with her younger sister. Who is a sweetie. She is the one who bought me the ring for Christmas that is also displayed a few posts back. As we were working on some art stuff, this is the conversation we had:
Client: Do you have any kids? Me: No. Client: Do you have a husband? Me: No. Client: Do you have a boyfriend? Me: No. Client: You must be lonely! Me: (Trying not to laugh but failing miserably) I'm not lonely. Client: Do you have a cat? Me: No. Client: Do you have a dog? Me: No. But I have a roommate. Client: Oh, then you're not lonely! Do you have Facebook? Me: Yes. Client: Maybe you can get a boyfriend on Facebook! Me: Ummm, I don't think that's how I want to go about it!
Then, about 20 minutes later, she is digging all kinds of things out of her pockets in her coat. And she pulls out a pretty big stack of "I've been Krogering" stickers. She begins to tell me the story about why she has so many. Then she says, "Do you only have one roommate?" And I answer yes. And she proceeds to give me two stickers, one for me and one for my roommate! Isn't she so sweet! :) I called Emily on the way home to let her know that she had a Kroger sticker from one of my clients! Emily had trouble containing her excitement :)
Then I got home. I won't go into the details about my frustration with how the apartment complex chooses to not plow parking spaces and move on to the next big event :) But, you're smart, I'm sure you can read between the lines to get the gist of how I feel! You have to walk down a half flight of stairs to the door of my apartment. And there is a door to the right of mine. Well, I get to the top of the stairs and there is a dog in front of my door that starts barking at me. I tried to shoo it away but when I unlocked the door, it kept trying to bolt inside. So, as I was trying to figure out what to do, my new neighbors above me (mom, you'll be so proud...I learned her name!) were leaving to walk their two dogs and I mentioned that the dog was outside my door when I got home. She saw that the dog had a tag, so I looked and found a phone number. I called, but was at a loss as to what to say. So, I said, "Do you live in these apartments?" The guy said, "Who is this?" I said that I lived in the apartments and found a dog with his number on the tag. He stated which apartment he lived in, which was the next hallway down from mine. He said, "My stupid mom!" He wasn't home but said his mom was. So, I walked the dog over. Poor dog had just gotten confused and was one doorway down from where she was supposed to be. Luckily she let me pick her up and she was shivering because it was so cold. Who knows how long she had been there. The mom was very apologetic and a little frantic.
Quite the eventful day! And that was before sitting in my car for an hour and a half in freezing temperatures because I had pulled up to a house and didn't want to go in until I was finished with my phone call! Now it's off to bed!
I am kind of finnicky about the type of leftovers I will eat. There are a lot of things that will just get thrown away if they are not eaten. But even with the things that I enjoy, I always hate the last of the leftovers. You really have no desire to eat them, but you feel a grave responsibility to be resourceful and responsible. That is what I'm doing now. Leftover tortellini. The worst part is that, as a single person, when you commit to leftovers, you commit to A LOT of leftovers. And this week did not go according to plan, so the leftovers were abandoned for a few days, making today's meal even more "special" because many more days of sitting in the fridge and it would no longer have been prudent to eat them. That being said, I feel better finishing it off and now for dinner tonight, I can move on to other things! :)
It's my half-birthday. And for my half-birthday I'm requesting no gifts, just in case you were thinking of getting me something. And just in case you were planning to stop by and surprise me...I'm in my pj's and really need to go to bed early. :)
Speaking of gifts, I guess now that Christmas is over, I can start a birthday list. I don't really have anything I want to put on the list, but it's always good to have the list ready. I think I might use another post-it thingy on my computer. Very handy. And I won't forget where I put it.
I have a client who is 14. I actually really enjoy meeting with her. Usually the teenage girls are not my favorite clients. I have this incessant need to feel "cool" with them. Like I am in high school with them and have to prove myself or something. I act differently around them and actually sometimes consider what I am wearing the day that I see them. Crazy, I know. I wasn't even "cool" in high school, so I don't know why I strive to be cool now! Anyway, I've had some funny conversations with this particular client over the last few months.
About a month ago, out of the blue, she told me that in a session one day she should do my makeup. I immediately got all depressed inside because my first thought was, "She thinks I'm ugly!!!" However, I remained the cool as a cucumber counselor on the outside. I did ask her why she thought we should do that. She said that she likes to do people's makeup and it's what she wants to do after she graduates, so it would be fun.
Then today, we were talking about one of her aunts who does not have children. Here is how the conversation went: Client: Why don't you have any kids? (She's asked me this before, but I think she has trouble wrapping her mind around it) Me: Because I'm not married. Client: But you don't even have a boyfriend! Why don't you have a boyfriend? Me: Because no one has asked me out. Client: But I don't get it. It's not like you're weird or unfriendly. (I'm paraphrasing because I can't really remember exactly the words she said, but that was the gist.) Me: Well, maybe you should tell the guys I know that! :)
And then we went on to talk about some things that were more therapeutic for her!
Much of my Christmas break was spent in Georgia. It was a very relaxing week. And by relaxing, I mean we went out to dinner Thursday night and then I didn't leave the house until Tuesday afternoon. Lots of playing (with our imagination and with a whole lot of technology). Lots of cooking and eating. Lots of family time. Lots of loving each other. ZuZu makes a great back rest when you're watching a movie on the portable DVD player! At one point in time, John even spread his arms out across her back. It didn't faze her at all. Best dog ever.
One of the great things about John's age is that you can reason with him a little bit more. He kept wanting to eat the jelly while we were plopping it on the cookies, so I told him that he could lick it off my finger. This is actually a pose of that, because Mom didn't get the picture fast enough. So, I said, "John, pretend you're doing it again." And he did.
It rained A LOT while we were in Georgia. Mom and John played in the mud puddles. John got new rain boots for Christmas. He's a tad nervous when it comes to doing certain things, so he kept telling my mom, "It's okay to get dirty."
I bought John blank puzzles and we drew pictures and colored them and then did the puzzles. This craft entertained him for most of the afternoon. I kept trying to convince him that I was the Puzzle Master and he was the Puzzle Apprentice. But he would say, "No, I'm the Puzzle Master!"
Mom asked John to take a picture of me, her, and Chris but he wouldn't do it. I am getting particularly good at the self-portraits if I do say so myself!
Mom taught John how to play "I'm thinking of an ornament." It's kind of like I Spy. Honestly, when Mom was teaching him how to play, I didn't expect him to actually get it, but I was wrong. He did a really good job. In the top picture he is picking an ornament for Mom to guess. And in the bottom picture he is guessing which ornament Mom had picked. I like the sunglasses on his head too! :) John helped Chris put a new bookshelf together. I think this might actually have been another posed picture. We match! :) And look at the cute baby bump representing baby boy #2. I tried to convince John that he should name the baby "Green jello". He laughed. Just before we left for the airport, Mom asked John to pose in a picture with me. He didn't want to. So Chris bribed him with a few minutes of video games. He jumped into my lap! :)
Last year I sent out a Christmas card for the first time in many years. In it I pasted a list of new things that had happened to me in 2010. And there were a lot. Some little things, like joining Facebook :). And some big things like my family moving to Arizona. And some in between things like entering into a new phase of ministry with AWANA. When I was tossing around the idea of sending out cards this year, I tried to make a similar list. But there just wasn't anything to go on it. It felt like a ho-hum kind of year. Not a lot of newness. Just a lot of anothers. So I didn't send the card out. I can't bring myself to send a card that just has my name in it. I have to personalize it :). So, for those who were wondering, that's why you didn't get a card this year. But, for the sake of my blog readers, I figured I could still give you the list of "anothers." I have found the blessing in the anothers. Changes and new things are not always what they are cracked up to be. But settling into the anothers can be dangerous too (I'll save that for another day when I've had more time to process some of the swirling thoughts).
1. Another year at my job. Praise the Lord. In March I will start my 6th year at the Children's Home. 2. Another year in my apartment with Emily. We've talked about moving, but never settle on anything. We've also talked about how we have to meet and marry men at the same time so we don't have to break in new roommates! 3. Another visit to Arizona. I went in October to see Dad, Amy, Daynah, and Josh and spend time with their extended family of 8 boys. With it came a first (see, there were some!)--seeing the Grand Canyon. If I sent out a picture card, this is the picture I decided would have gone on that card:
Wouldn't that have been funny. No picture of me, just of my feet! :) 4. Another year in my car. I bought it five years ago yesterday. My second new thing: I paid it off in the spring, which left me debt free! 5. Another birthday :). I know that one goes without saying, but it is still one of the anothers.
2012 will bring some changes. Many of which I don't even know will happen. The first change will come in January/February with the birth of my new nephew. Today's sermon was about including God in making your plans. So, whether it is a another year of anothers or a year full of changes, I pray that I can honor God in the plans that I make!
Let's see. I am in my thirties and single. I love spending time with my family, friends, reading, playing games, and spectating (but not playing) sports. I was born in Illinois, raised in Georgia, and went to graduate school in Texas. I now live back in Illinois. I work at an agency doing in-home therapy with kids and their families. I attend Bethany Baptist Church and work with AWANA, volunteer in the nursery, and am active in the Career class. My favorite drink is Dr. Pepper (I even like Dr. Pepper Jelly Bellies). Winter is my favorite time of year and in the winter I love to curl up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate.