Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sister Saturday: A Birthday Tribute

Today I want to celebrate and honor my dear friend, Rhesa, on her birthday. Rhesa and I met at Belmont almost 25 years ago (Is that right? Oh my gosh, YES!). She has become a sister-friend to me over these years, so that's why it's only fitting that I devote a Sister Saturday post to her!

Rhesa and I have experienced a lot together during our friendship. We had lots of fun times with our group of friends in college, eating in the cafeteria, going to movies, staying up late talking, taking "Dead Day" trips to my uncle's house in Memphis to study for finals by the pool.

We were bridesmaids in each others' weddings, but I couldn't put my hands on pictures to show. You'll just have to imagine the teal taffeta dress that Rhesa had to wear in my wedding and the floral-print Laura Ashley dress that I wore in hers (I had the better end of that deal).

Rhesa also walked with me through my divorce. She drove two hours one-way to spend the day with me, loving on me, along with Leanne and Doug, when things were still very fresh, and spent many hours talking on the phone and praying for me throughout that whole experience. She has always had a knack for calming me down and helping me to find peace in difficult situations, which is one of the reasons I am so thankful for her friendship!

Here are a few pictures I found that give you an idea of some of the fun we've had through the years.

 Here we are at Belmont in the "Big Hair 80s"
The lucky dude in the middle is our brother-friend, Michael Dean.

I wish you could see our faces better, but the car is part of the story.
One time when Daniel was almost two and Rhesa's firstborn was a baby,
I rented a car to drive to visit Rhesa in Knoxville. The rental car agency gave
me an upgrade . . . to a Chrysler Sebring convertible! Driving on the interstate
with a toddler wasn't really the setting for putting the top down, so one night
Rhesa's husband stayed home with the kids while "us girls" went out for a drive in the convertible.
You know where these young mommies went?

 Rhesa has two sweet sister daughters of her own.
Here she's at the lake with Rebekah (center) and Rachel (right).
Daniel and I got to take several trips to visit Rhesa and her family in
Somerset, KY, when they lived there, and we'd go out on
the lake in their boat and spend some fun time swimming and snacking!

We have another Sister-Friend, Leanne (left).
The three of us have stayed close and I treasure
them as my dear friends!

I can't wait to see what other adventures we find ourselves in during the next 25-plus years!
Happy Birthday, Rhesa!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dessert-of-the-Month: April

For my brother-in-law's April dessert (see here if you need the back story), he requested chocolate chip cookies. I thought that would be a pretty easy request to fill, and it was . . . for the most part. On the last day of March, one of my co-workers was celebrating his birthday and his family came by the office with a plate of cookies for him. He shared some with us and they were g-ooo-d! And they were chocolate chip! So I asked him for the recipe and he pulled it up from They are called "Award Winning Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies" and I don't know what award they got, but I think they deserved it!

I will definitely keep these in mind for the next time I feel like making a huge (6 dozen) batch of cookies. Speaking of that, I almost doubled the recipe (don't know what I was thinking), and I'm so glad I was short some ingredients and wasn't able to do that! Also, if I'm going to get into making cookies like this (which I'm not saying I am), I might need to upgrade from the little hand-held mixer that I got as a wedding gift almost 20 years ago.

I also think it would be fun to change up the chips a little bit, too. I'm thinking white chocolate with macadamia nuts. Or maybe peanut butter chips. The possibilities really are endless.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Week

I had two pretty powerful experiences over the weekend, one being the Women's Gathering at church, where some women who are going through some tough circumstances shared how God has been their Rock and Refuge during their storms. One of the women shared from Habakkuk 3, which lists all the things that are going wrong for the prophet, but he vows to still "rejoice in the God of His salvation" (Hab. 3:18).

The other meaningful experience this weekend was at my parents' church downtown. It was called "Celebrate Life: An Easter Music Celebration" (if any of you who are reading grew up Baptist in the 70s, you might remember this musical written by Ragan Courtney and Cynthia Clawson). It included music, drama, and the beautiful interpretive dancing done by a Christian ballet group called "Ballet Magnificat." The musical is a telling of the life of Christ, from the foretelling of his birth, to his death and resurrection. The Lord's Supper and the crucifixion scenes made me pause once again to consider the enormity of what Christ did for me and then the following scenes about his resurrection brought out the familiar joy and excitement that I have felt every Easter ever since I was a child. The choir sang, "He's alive, He's alive! He IS alive!" and eventually the congregation was invited to sing along.

I am working this week on the details related to the five worship services at our church this coming weekend (2 on Good Friday and 3 on Easter Sunday), and am also participating in the choir for these services. It will be a busy week, but my hope and prayer is that I will not lose sight of the true meaning of what Christ did for us on the cross. I want to have joy in my heart as I work and sing and remember that He IS alive!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #8

I'm a couple of days late, but I've been thinking about what scripture I want to focus on next. I think I've decided to give myself some grace and if I don't get all of these verses completely memorized word-for-word, I am at least spending time thinking on them and they do come to mind when I least except them to. It helps me to do as Paul encouraged in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

As a quick aside, I memorized that verse a few years ago when I was doing a Bible study called "Conversation Peace" which is all about taming the tongue and speech (something I needed then and still have lessons to learn). The writer gave the acronym, PREPLANT, as a way to remember the list of things to think about (probably using the New International Version). I still remember them in that order:  pure, right, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, noble, trustworthy.

Back to the verse I'm going to put in my mind and think on over the next two weeks. With it being Easter Week (or Holy Week), I wanted to find a verse that will help me to "preach the gospel to myself" any time of the year.

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, ESV

"Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that dwell in our hearts. Since the gospel is only for sinners, preaching it to ourselves every day reminds us that we are indeed sinners in need of God’s grace. It causes us to say to God, in the words of an old hymn, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’" (Jerry Bridges, The Disciple of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness.)

May we never forget the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Springtime at Radnor Lake

I've written before about how Radnor Lake is one of my favorite places on earth and Springtime at Radnor does not disappoint. I took advantage of a perfect Spring afternoon to go for a walk there this week. I didn't bring my camera, but thankfully, my phone took some decent pictures.

This one was actually taken with my regular camera on a quick photo detour to Radnor on Monday morning.
Today in my devotional book the writer, speaking from Jesus' voice, said:
"Heaven is both present and future. As you walk along your life-path holding My hand, you are already in touch with the essence of heaven:  nearness to Me. You can also find many hints of heaven along your pathway, because the earth is radiantly alive with My Presence." (Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, p. 109)

I immediately thought of my walk at Radnor and how it feels like a glimpse of heaven when I go there. The bright green new growth that was evident all throughout the woods. The late-afternoon sunlight coming through the trees. The pretty dogwoods blooming in their natural habitat. The shimmering lake and the babbling streams. By the time I left, I had praise songs and old hymns going through my head because I couldn't hold back the urge to give glory and praise and thanks to the Creator God!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Nothing

Daniel agreed to do a "guest post" and gave me permission to post this English assignment that he wrote this afternoon. He called it a "free-write" and I think the writing prompt he chose was the question he starts off with. My favorite part about this is that he wrote it in about five or ten minutes. As much as the proofreader in me wanted to change some capitalizations, I chose not to do any editing. I think he needs to write more often, but he won't listen to his mother!

“How was your day today?” And my mind goes off. I think of all of my classes, all of my projects that I have to finish before the year ends. April can be one of the hardest months of the school year; better weather, but still rainy, almost May but wait! now we have to make up those lovely days back in the winter where we stayed in bed. Almost done with regular schoolwork, but now to study for exams! Just not quite there. When one class seems as if you could spend all your free time working on it, and in reality, you still have five others to worry about, too. I think of each of my classes that I suffered through another day, just to come home and work some more. Although, friends can make it better sometimes. The fresh breaths of air you get about five minutes per hour, passing people in the halls, wondering if they have the same dread of next period’s test as you do. Oh, and lunch. Except this time of year you’re always making up a test, or studying for a test, or studying for a make-up test that you forgot you were taking today so you better study! No time for eating; that’s nonsense. Sometimes you might just be so tired that you zone out in the middle of class. Or worse, fall asleep. Then there comes the very rude awakening of a strange adult who you’ve only known for a few months smacking your desk, waking you up from your “seems like 30 second” nap. Until you realize, it’s your history teacher. And then, as if you’re waking up from another dream, a daydream that is, still a better awakening than the one in 6th period today, you sum it all up in a one word answer. “Nothing.”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm walking, yes indeed!

I've got a new little project for myself. I'm going to try to walk 100 miles in the next three months! Thankfully, I don't have to do it all at once (in case you were worried) and I won't be doing it entirely alone. Nashville's mayor, Karl Dean, launched a program to encourage Nashvillians to walk more and to use the greenways that have been built throughout our city and Davidson County. It's called the "Walk 100 Miles with the Mayor" (catchy, huh?) and you can read more about it and even sign up to track your miles here.

I love to walk outside when I can and enjoy walking in parks and on the greenways around town. Lots of times, I have to stay close to home in my neighborhood, due to time constraints, but the good thing is that I can count those walks in my 100 mile tally. I hope to get to some of the organized walks this spring, as my schedule allows, but my goal is to walk 8 miles a week (mostly 2 miles at a time) in order to reach the 100 mile mark.

I can remember when walking a few blocks to school was all that I thought I could do. The town I grew up in has a street that runs through it and it's three miles from one end to the other. There was a time when I was a kid that I thought I was going to die from walking not even the whole length of that street! My poor Girl Scout leaders probably wished they hadn't signed up for that job when they were walking with me down Ridgewood Avenue that day!

Then, in college, for one of my P.E. classes, I took a walking class. Yep, I got three hours credit for walking! We even had a textbook. I think that was when I first started enjoying the benefits of walking for exercise. My friends and I would get up early in the morning and go walk on the track together. After I graduated from Belmont and moved on to the "grown up" world, I continued to use walking as one of my main forms of exercise. I added aerobics classes in there, too, but walking is something I can do by myself, on my own time, as well as with friends. And, I have a "no excuses" place to walk right across the street from my house at the middle school track.

So, there you have it. I'm going to be walking, yes indeed, and will hopefully rack up 100 miles by July! Wish me luck . . . and come join me! It's more fun to walk with friends!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #7

It's time for a new verse to add to my brain, and more importantly, my heart. I liked the one that Beth Moore suggested for this time because it speaks to my need to not give up when things get hard. I have had this tendency for most of my life and while I don't usually actually throw in the towel, I get frustrated and get a negative attitude about whatever it is that I'm wanting to give up on. This verse helps me to remember to stand firm and let nothing, especially myself, keep me from finishing what I started (or what the Lord has started).

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sister Saturday: Team Emmett Edition

Today was the 1st Annual Team Emmett Courage to Conquer 5K, hosted by our church in Brentwood. Erica and Mary Lane had on their Team Emmett shirts and cheered on the runners/walkers with their Mommy. Russell and I walked most of the 3.1 miles together (he left me at the end to jog on in, but that was OK). There were over 400 people who came out to volunteer, run or walk and show support to our friends, Emmett, Wendy and Quinn Stallings, as Emmett battles cancer. If you don't know their story, you can read more about it here.