Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy Five-month Birthday, Erica!

Can you believe, it? It's been five months since my sweet niece made her debut into this world! She is changing and growing everyday, and I can't get enough of her!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What do I have to complain about?

Tonight's discussion at community group was based on Scott's sermon from passages in Exodus 15, 16 and 17, where the Isrealites were grumbling and complaining, instead of believing, trusting and praying.

Sadly, the sermon and the discussion tonight hit a nerve with me, since I seem to have a habit of complaining and looking at the down side of situations. If this fact about me surprises you, then I have been successful at hiding my true self from you. If this doesn't surprise you, thanks for loving me anyway! :-)

I really and truly do not want to be a complainer or a negative person, and many times, thanks to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, I am able to look at the bright side and think of all the things I have to be thankful in my life. I know that God is not finished with me yet, and does not give up on me in my weaknesses, and I am very grateful and humbled.

So, for the record, I do not have anything to complain about. I have a steady income and lots of good benefits from my employment. I have a home and a car and many material possessions that make my life easier. I have an AWESOME son and WONDERFUL parents, sister, brother-in-law and niece, not to mention all of my other loving relatives (even ones I'm not technically related to anymore, but who still care about me and keep in touch). I have an INCREDIBLE group of friends, both near and far, and am constantly in touch with them via email, phone, Facebook and in person. I have a church that I love and where I can serve and learn and grow in my faith. And the greatest thing I have to be thankful for is the love of God (that I mentioned earlier). What more could I ask for and why would I ever want to complain?

Thanks to my pastor for tackling this subject with us on Sunday, and thanks to God for continuing to show me how to get outside of myself and see the blessings all around me! Now, if I can just remember that when I am cold tomorrow morning when I go to get in my car and when the rude people cut me off when I'm trying to get on the interstate!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One of my favorite things . . .

. . . is when I go someplace in the Nashville area and unexpectedly see someone I know.

I think it all started for me when I was a little girl and would go to visit my grandparents (either set, but I especially have memories of this happening with my mom's parents). Maw-Maw and Granddaddy lived in Bel Air, Maryland, a small town north of Baltimore, where my mom grew up. They were active in their church and had each lived there most of their adult lives, so when we would go to the Harford Mall or to Thrift Drugstore, we'd inevitably run into someone that they knew. Usually, it was also someone who knew my mom as well, so they'd introduce me as "Nancy's daughter." I just loved that feeling of being a part of a community and knowing that people knew who we were.

Since Nashville is quite a bit larger than Bel Air, and I didn't grow up here, it took a while before I'd run into anyone I knew at the mall or out at a restaurant. But now that I've lived here for all of my adult life (over 23 years), I sometimes unexpectedly see someone I know when I'm out and about. And it never fails to make me happy! Today, it happened twice, so I got a double thrill!

First, I went to lunch with a friend and while we were finishing up, two friends from a church we used to be members of came in and we chatted for a minute. It was fun to catch up and tell each other how old our kids are now and spend time remembering experiences we all shared back then.

Then, for supper, Daniel and I went to Chick-fil-A in Brentwood before heading to church. While we were still walking across the parking lot, I spotted some friends from Grace, and we got to sit with some of them while we ate. In fact, we actually saw three GCC families while we were there!

I think Maw-Maw and Granddaddy would have been proud!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Riding on Jay's coattails

My good friend, Jay, recently wrote about a trip to the post office that I could really relate to. My common experience usually happens at the Kroger or Wal-Mart on Nolensville Road (pick one, since there are at least two of each store on that road). It involves having entire families (I'm talking generations here) going shopping together and taking their sweet time in the aisles and check-out lines. In fact, the other day, I was behind a few generations of one family in line at Wal-Mart and after the slowest cashier in the world (bless her heart), got them all checked out, the last two women decided it was a good time to cash a check!!!! Whatever!

Well, now I have another "favorite" errand place to add to the list of post office, Wal-Mart and Kroger. It's the cheap-o dry cleaners on Nolensville Road. I'm not exaggerating when I say that every time I go in there with my one or two items to drop off (or to pick up said items), I always get in line behind someone who has brought in every stitch of clothing that they are not currently wearing! Here I am with my measly pair of pants and a skirt and I have to wait while they empty garbage bag upon garbage bag onto the counter and the clerk has to painstakenly count each one and make sure nothing is hooked to anything else, and then write out the ticket, and then they have to pay . . . you get the idea. It doesn't matter if it's early in the morning, or closing time, I always have a knack for walking up just as the person with the most laundry in the world gets there. I even now have a habit of looking around in the parking lot when I am pulling in to see if I need to make a break for the door to try to beat that person to the counter. I haven't managed to do that yet, but I'll keep trying!

Whew, that feels so much better to get all that off my chest tonight! :-)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

I love a new year! New Year's Day is just a few hours different from the old year, but it always gives me a fresh feeling of excitement and newness. Of course, some years I have been happy to see go away and some years I am more apprehensive about what the new year will bring. This year, this day, I am mainly feeling excitement and anticipation. I have things that I would like to see happen this year and I have goals and lists (you could call them resolutions, I guess), but I have been trying to start this new day, this new year by giving these desires and goals to the Lord. I am so thankful for what He has done in my life and for all that He has given me and I truly do not want anything that is not in His plan for my life.

In church last week, one of the scripture passages was read from Psalm 84. I have heard and read this psalm many times, but one verse jumped out at me and has stayed with me all week. It is a verse that I want to commit to memory and have a deeper belief about this year:

"For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11 (NASB),
emphasis mine

I do believe that God is a sun and shield and that He gives grace and glory. What I want to believe more this year is that He does not withhold anything good from those who walk uprightly (or whose walk is blameless, as it reads in the NIV). I am not blameless and cannot walk uprightly on my own. Only Christ makes me appear blameless before God and only He can help me to walk the right path. But, if I am seeking Him, I believe that He will not withhold anything good from my life.

I had the realization this week that since that is true, that means that things that I think are good that I don't have right now are just not in God's plan for me right now, because He will not withhold anything good from me when it is His will. There are many good things that I do have and I am thankful to God for not withholding those from me.

I can't wait to see what good things that God has for me and for those I love in 2009. I am thankful for my family and friends and look forward to the times we will spend together this year. Happy New Year!