Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hope in my Hope

I was thinking, this morning, as I got ready for prayer at Jennifer's cottage, about the order in which most people shower. We wash our hair first, right? This just makes sense to me. See, if I wash my body first, when I wash my hair all of the dirty water I rinse out will run down my clean body. So, I wash the top of me first and then the bottom. How like God. He starts with our insides and works his way out. Why? Because, if He just cleaned up the outside, our thoughts and desires would continue to dirty us.

I am reminded of a passage in Matthew. This is a verse I hope never to hear directed at me by Jesus:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like
whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are
full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. (Matthew 23:27)

As any woman, I sometimes get caught up in being critical of the way I look. But as I read this, I realize that no amount of outer perfection can make up for inner depravity. I can keep my hair expertly styled and wear masks of make-up. I can get regular manicures and pedicures. I can buy designer clothes and drive an expensive car. I could live in a big house in a fancy neighborhood. I could dress my kids in name brand labels. I could teach Sunday School and talk about how good God is and what the Bible says on this or that issue. But, as soon as I was left alone with my thoughts, I would find myself empty of the Spirit. I would still be a container for broken pieces.

I am choosing to do this thing God's way. Over the years, He has been healing all of the broken pieces and cleaning me on the inside. I have weathered the storms of Post Partum Depression and walked out the other side, stronger for my battles. I am a different person now than I was when He first started working on me. And we still have a long way to go together.

This morning, Jennifer read a devotion to transition us into prayer. In it, Jesus tells us we are continually being released to be the people He created us to be. I don't have to hide who I am or who I have been. I can choose to live a transparent life, in hopes that someone else will find hope from my hope and comfort in my comfort.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Felicities 6/26/09

In honor of Natalie, Becky has kept us all doing our Friday Felicities, and I am so glad she does it.

Friday Felicities

Corey got me a present in Chicago
Leila's whirlpool tub
Plans with the girls tomorrow
Quiet mornings
MP3 player
New notebook
$10 jeans from Ann Taylor AND Gap
Dark purple toe nails
Shiny clean wedding rings
Patty Griffin
Hebrews 8
Phone calls from friends


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did and Did Not

Things I Did Today

Had wonderful time on phone with hubby
Stopped by the Post Office to mail parcels
Had a lovely chat with a postal worker
Put gas in my car and bought a Diet Coke
Spoke to Jennifer on the phone
Wandered the Fondren
Bought Gap jeans for $10 at The Orange Peel
Browsed in Old Navy
Browsed in shoe store
Ate lunch at Chicfila
Hugged Rachel G
Chatted with Heather Black
Got a hug from Hunter
Read more of Zelda
Read a chapter in PoemCrazy while sitting in Borders
Gazed at an atlas
Wrote down place names in my notebook
Wrote two poems using place names
Texted with my sister, Rachel M, and Blair
Drove back to Leila's house
Checked my email
Read blessed message from Raigan
Wrote this list

Things I Did Not Do Today

Play the 'what if' game
Feel sad
Get angry
Break up a fight between my sons
Tell anyone to be quiet
Wish I were someone/somewhere else
Hate anyone
Eat too much
Spend too much
Feel guilty
Feel scared

Yeah, that list could go on a while.


The Blessing of Friendship

Yesterday, Leila and I went shopping. We can be such girls sometimes. On the drive back from North Ridgeland, we talked. Our conversation covered our own pet sins, our limitations in serving God and others, money, the love of money, carrying one another's burdens, depression, divorce, friendship, and that thin line between being in the world and being of the world.

I love these conversations. I love having friends who can talk about such a wide array of topics and share so much of themselves without fear. I love being able to do the same. True friendship is such a wonderful picture of how God loves us.

I am enjoying my vacation. I am reading and writing and talking with friends. I am letting my mind rest a bit, and it is a much needed rest. I tend to try too hard to fix everything in the lives of those I love. This week, I am not trying to fix anyone. Not even myself. I am just relaxing, going with the flow of each day.

May your week be blessed, as mine is.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ice Cream, Word Tickets, Audio Books and Zelda

Ice Cream
I am currently addicted to Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream. No other brand will work, b/c other brands are always missing the most important element of this ice cream heaven. B&J includes a yummy crust in their pints, and it is amazing.

Word Tickets
I have been reading PoemCrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, and I love this book. It is all about writing poetry and living a poet's life. One of the exercises suggested is creating and using word tickets. At first, I skipped this, but it keeps coming up in the chapters and I am loving the poems created using the practice. Susan uses a roll of "Admit One" tickets bought at a party shop and tapes or writes words onto one side of them. You can pair these words with objects to creat new relationships in your mind or you can draw a few words and use them to spark your inspiration. I have no roll of tickets, so I used bits of cardstock from my scrapbooking stash. I have been cutting and taping words from Cookie magazine. I will take them to Brandon with me this week for some play time.

Audio Books
I will be driving a lot over the next week or so. I picked up some audio books at the library. I am on a kids' book kick. The boys and I are listening to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I also picked up Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles, My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath, and Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop. I am busy ripping them to iTunes so I can listen to them on my iPod.

I am reading Zelda Fitzgerald's biography. I have never known much about her, but she is from Montgomery and that is hubby's hometown so I decided to learn about her. I am only half way though the book and she is already diagnosed with all sorts of mental disorders and has proven to be brilliant, though also insane, selfish, vain and a drunk. One day, I want to have an interesting bio written about my life as a writer... Please, God, don't let it be quite as interesting as Zelda's.

That's all folks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Felcities 6/19/09

It's FRIDAY! Woot and happy day! A mostly quiet day here. Media at church this AM and I need to clean the van out. My dog is fighting with a kernel of his dog food. He throws it in the air, growls at it, chases it... Strange mutt.

Anyway, as usual, on Friday, it is time to honor my God and my Nattie-Pie by sharing some of the happies in my life. Please join us by dropping by Becky's Blog.

Friday Felicities

My 1-inch picture frame (that is another blog post of its own)
Last weekends' retreat
Plans for seeing friends soon
Listening to audio books with the boys
Sitting by a pool with a book
Writing poems
Lines that stop me out of nowhere and insist on being written down
Bookmarks in the mail from Pattie
My cousin's grad invite arriving
Wonderful women who pray together and for each other
Pic of Haydn & Savannah as phone background


Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Felicities 6/12/09

Head over to Becky's Blog and join us in honoring Nattie but remembering our happies.

Friday Felicities
  • Saw Up with Haydn
  • My husband's compliments keep me grinning for days
  • New-to-me laptop bag
  • Legal research (yes, I am a nerd, I know)
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Spending time with Rosemary
  • SPEW t-shirt
  • The Message Bible

Have a great weekend! I am honored to be the speaker on a girls' retreat this weekend, so send up a prayer for me... and them. ;)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Currently: June 2009

Current Books: I am reading The Servant for Thursday morning small group. I am reading PoemCrazy for writing inspiration (loving it). I just finished a couple of review books, The Noticer (eh) and Velva Jean Learns to Drive (awesome). I am trying to get through another review book, The Dud Avocado, but it isn't doing it for me.

Current Playlist: The Embrace

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Trying on designer jeans that I can't afford to buy.

Current Color: The color of water.

Current Fetish: Scripture verses in The Message

Current Drink: Diet Coke

Current Food: Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Current Favorite Favorite: My husband. Falling in love with him more and more as each day goes by.

Current Wishlist: 7 jeans, summer blouses, a personal retreat

Current Needs: Dental work

Current Triumphs: Losing some weight, filling out David's kindergarten paperwork

Current Bane of my Existence: Things that hurt Corey.

Current Celebrity Crush: I have been crushless for a while, I guess.

Current Indulgence: ice cream

Current Mood: Tired, after VBS, but pretty content and confident in what God is up to.

Current #1 Blessing: MIL and FIL taking the boys for a week while I visit with friends.

Current Slang or Saying: "Remember Esther."

Current Outfit: A pair of dark blue jeans and a white striped sweater, my freshly cleaned wedding rings and my necklace with all 3 kids' names on it. Oh, and my fave comfy black shoes.

Current Excitement: A store I am wanting to visit in New Albany

Current Links: Isaiah 43, Awesome artist

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Natalie Rose York

Dear Natalie,

I asked Jesus to see to it you get a pedicure, a good book and a Diet Coke today. I have purple toes in your honor. I am wearing a silver tiara with sparkly rhinestones. Yes, I wore this to church. Some people asked me about it. That was nice b/c it gave me a chance to talk about you. It also made me stutter and stammer, in some cases, where I wanted to say just the right thing to tell a person who you were and how you lived and what God did in your life and those words did not exist. There is no simple concise way to explain to a passerby why this crown is on my head on this day. I hope my explanations, however incomplete, touched someone today. I hope, if nothing else, I was a reminder of how deeply people are capable of loving and that joy can be found in even the saddest loss. B/c I am smiling as I wear this tiara and talk about you. Last year, I was near tears all day, but this year I am smiling. This year, I have traveled a road with Jesus toward peace in knowing where you are and why you are gone. That doesn't mean I have all of the answers. That simply means I am at peace with not having all the answers. What an amazing place to be in this life. What an amazing life you lived, my friend. A life that is still being lived in the hearts of your friends and your family.

You are not here to talk about the books you are reading, but many others are reading books because of you. They are given away in your honor. There is an entire children's library named for you. In Memory of Natalie Rose York is scribbled within the covers of more books than I could even begin to count. Your name is written on paper bags and t-shirts for Relay for Life. A bunch of crazy women have purple polish on their toes right now. Some people will drink a Diet Coke while they think of you today (I would be interested to see if there is a significant spike in the sales of Diet Coke, tiaras and purple nail polish around June 7th every year). Prayers will be poured out for Jonathan and Anna... and Wes.

Yes, Wes. I was so angry with him, Nattie. The trip to your memorial service, last year, was full of my anger. I thought such mean things about him. I worried that I could not be in the same building as him without lashing out. Truth be told, I blamed him for us losing you. I kept thinking, if he had been there... If he had been a GOOD husband, he would have been there and taken you to a doctor much sooner and... These are all stupid human thoughts that have no real baring on what happened or did not happen. I walked into the funeral home where your body rested in pink pajamas and Wesley York was the first person I laid eyes on. He was walking toward me, on his way out the door. I didn't yell at him. I didn't seethe. I melted. Something inside of me gave way, and I just loved that man. After your service, I had the privilege, the honor, of praying with and over your ex-husband. I got to bend my knees and kneel before him, hold his hand and cry out to Jesus. I got to tell him how you loved him and prayed for him and would have given anything, did give everything, to see him come to know Jesus as you knew Jesus. Jojo and Cynthia stood with me. We held him up and wept with him in your absence. God forgave Wesley through us and for us, because we were not capable of doing so on our own.

I miss you Natalie. I miss everything about you. But I wouldn't ask for you back. A year ago, I would have. Two years ago, I did. Two years ago on today, I BEGGED God and yelled at God and cursed whatever "PLAN" this could be a part of. Today, I am calm and smiling, because I know you wouldn't want to come back. I am sure you will rejoice to see us when we join you, but none of us would ask you to leave the heavenly place of rest where you exist right now. You deserve the peace you have been given.

Thank you, Natalie. Thank you for blessing me with a few priceless years of your deep-hearted, soul-filling, friendship. I love you.


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