Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reading the Bible in 90 Days - are YOU in??

Read the Bible in 90 days?

Why? Am I a glutton for punishment? Am I an overachiever?

I’m reading the bible in 90 days because it’s going to be my medicine, my food, and the strength I need to get 2010 off to a great start. I need me some Jesus more than I need my next breath…..and committing to an intensive reading program is way to keep me accountable.

2009 has been an upheaval of a year for me, and now I need a detox. My mind needs healing; my soul needs scrubbing; and my spirit needs to be rejuvenated. From the outside, my life has been fine. I have a beautiful, God-fearing family, a loving husband, a happy-healthy-precocious 4 year old, and a wonderful 16-year old stepdaughter (who I adore). I also started a new business (Scentsy); became a Partner at my “real job”; and I have super friends.

...But the inside of me has been in turmoil all year. As you’ve seen in earlier posts, I’m in that Egyptian desert…..complaining about the manna, circling around like an Israelite, wondering why things are not going the way I want them to go. Hmmm….could it be that I’m as stubborn as those silly Isrealites? Oh yes, yes indeed.

Posting my vulnerability is not so easy for me. As a woman who believes she is called to write for the glory of God…and to teach others about Him…it’s more than difficult for me to put my shortcomings and struggles on paper (or, I guess…online(!) for all the world to see). But honesty is where it starts, right? I’m totally feeling trepidation as I continue to type here….but I could not be a testament to God’s grace if I lived a façade.

The decision to read through God’s Word in 90 days is ICU for me. It is a commitment to bury myself in scripture, and therein find my Savior.

I’m totally geared up for this. Anyone want to join me?

Click here to read all about it: I’m Reading through the Bible in 90 Days
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Consistently Inconsistent

I think the most consistent thing about my blog is its inconsistency. Grrr..

Every morning, I faithfully read a handful of my personal much-loved blogs. And each day, I make a mental note that I need to write a new blog post. The effort generally does not go past the mental note part. However, there are good streaks of time where I post two or three a week….until the chaos of my job takes over.

Is it too early to make a New Year’s resolution? If not, then I want to officially make one now: 3 blog posts per week in 2010. You all heard it right here. Just be gracious when I’m lagging behind come May (or February, whichever comes first).

2010 blog posts will include my Journey Through the Bible in 90 days, along with Amy at Mom’s Tool Box. I am beyond excited about this. I love structure and planned reading programs…..but even more so….I love the word of God. I love digging deep into scripture and finding out what God has for me to find. It's my prayer that these posts will bless your life and encourage you to dive into the Bible for yourself.

I’m also going to keep everyone posted on the Sunday night cooking expos that I have with my neighbor Kathryn (who in the future will be referred to as NK (Neighbor Kathryn). This distinguishes her from Daughter Kathryn. Sunday night cooking expos should not be confused with any expert cooking blogs. NK and I are amateurs at best. For the last year, we have cooked dinner on Sunday evenings together…and the comic relief we have provided for our husbands is star-quality blog material. Sadly, they have not experienced nearly as much good food as they have laughs. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Hopefully, my love of structure will help me in my efforts to consistently post. Anyone out there willing to help me be accountable in this??
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just Stuff...

There is absolutely nothing going on in my head of which to write. So I have committed dead-head bloggy-ness with a list of only remotely interesting links and things:

I have bragged about this jewelry before, but I am totally in love with it. My good friend, Kimberly sells it - - and I’ve already accomplished 72% of my Christmas shopping on her website: www.stelladot.com/kimberlyjohnson

My niece Kristi sent me flowers yesterday because I am so special! Actually, she sent me flowers because I made Director with Scentsy (www.smellgoodie.scentsy.us). It’s kind of funny because I have a full-time job, which I love….but I started selling Scentsy in April of this year as a hobby. I am bowled over by the fact that now I have a team of nearly thirty people, and I am a DIRECTOR. It makes me smile just thinking about it…..not to mention, my house always smells good, and I have a nice amount of extra cash each month. Not a shabby deal I must say.

I think I may have a split personality (oh, not really!) because I talk all day long with Ph.D. economists about their careers, etc., and then I come home and talk to women about wickless candles. What can I say? I’m diversified.

This morning, I took Luke through the drive-thru at McDonald’s because someone forgot to pack his breakfast. He complimented the drive-thru lady for using her manners, so she sang a song to him. It was kind of sweet.

Thanksgiving…..so much to be thankful for….and that is what I’m going to continually remind myself of as we travel 9+ hours to Oklahoma tomorrow. Thankfully, we have the DVD player for Luke, and Kathryn will have her iPod.
One of my favorite reasons for thankfulness this year is that my mother-in-law is giving me her first set china. It’s the set that Larry’s father sent to her when he was in the Korean War. I never registered for China (gasp!), so this is over the top exciting (and precious) to me. I could go on and on about how much I love my mother-in-law….

Oh! One more thing! Did you know my Luke can shoot spider webs out of his…..? Yes, yes, he can. He told me all about it….

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RT (Re-Tweet) - 37 Days of Kindness

I get SO frustrated this time every year. Namely because buying presents for people and stressing out over the perfect gift is so NOT what Christmas is all about. My husband knows the tension is coming as I pull out the Christmas gift spreadsheet and start obsessing. Come the middle of November, my blood starts to boil and my mind becomes overwhelmed at the “task” ahead. Fighting the rush and the crowds to find ultimate gifts for friends and family is just not enjoyable to me. For the past few years I have done a lot of my shopping online, but even with that convenience, the buying-spending-hunting-stressing saga that defines the Christmas season is just plain ugliness to me.

This morning, I read Lysa Terkeurst’s blog post: 37 Days of Kindness. This was a timely post, and Lysa has inspired me to step away from the “rush” and the “frustration” and invest the next 37 days in loving people in honor of Jesus’ birthday.

I will not be able to stop the retail frenzy or holiday marketing efforts designed to encourage a season of spending. Neither can I change the expectations of gift-recipients in my own household; but I can change my own attitude….and Jesus can change my heart.

What better way to spend the next 37 days than to focus on showing love and kindness to other people. Maybe I buy someone a Starbucks….or maybe I buy a meal for a friend….or perhaps I simply make a point to call someone I haven’t called in a long time, just to let them know I’m thinking of them.

Who knows exactly….but I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s shaping up.

May Jesus be the ONLY one to glory in this….may this be my birthday present to Him this Christmas!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Waiting.....for what?

I have been waiting.

For what, I’m unsure.

There has been a little (or a big) something that God and I have been working on weeding out of my life for the last three years. This is something that God has explicitly told me time and again NEEDS TO GO. So why, you ask, am I still holding on to it?

Because I’m waiting! I’m waiting for the day it will become easier to let go of this. I’m waiting for the perfect day in which there will be no craving or longing for this particular habit. And I’m waiting for the day when He just snatches it from me, and I am gloriously willing to be obedient.

Ha! And the joke is on me. Because waiting is just a state of limbo to which Satan has lured me. He has blinded me with lies of how “one day, I’ll wake up with the self-control to do this……but it doesn’t have to be today.”

This “thing” has been choking me for three years, people…..and you would think that I would willingly and humbly lay it down. Especially since I am a woman who loves God, a woman who desires God’s glory to be evident in her, and a woman who is serious about bible study!

Oh! But it’s not so easy to let go of that "thing" which provides so much comfort! This “thing” is a pleasure; it’s a friend; it’s enjoyable; and yes, it’s an idol. I have acquiesced to Satan’s lies of how I cannot live with out it because life would be less endurable. But is life just something we “endure”? What a bold-faced lie! Yes, the enemy has stood on my inheritance for years - taunting me with the threat of hopelessness of ever reaching the promised land.

…..and then Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Do I have to wait for this abundant life? Will there ever be a perfect day to surrender? No, for goodness sake – NO to both questions! Because I am a child of God (an heiress!), my rightful state of existence is a joyful, free life. I can choose to believe God will satisfy me even when I’m aching for a temporal fix. I can fall on my face and cry out to Him for fulfillment; for help; for deliverance. When I do this, He will faithfully provide.

I have been missing God’s best for me as I have danced with the lies of the enemy. However, I should tarry no longer…..his best is there for me today. And if I kid myself in saying, “I’ll wait for that perfect day when_____,” then, well, I’m just missing the best.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Dry and Tasteless

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on a Friday that I would be doing a 30 day blog series on Being Free.
Since you have yet to see Day One of this series, suffice it to say that I have been in a dry spell.

If I had not been reading Jennifer Rothschild's Self Talk Soul Talk, I would be calling myself a crazy fool for talking about a blog series I had yet to write. I guess I thought that if I promised the internet that I would be posting this - it would magically appear at my fingertips.

But oh no. Quite the opposite. I have learned the lesson that before I commit to a series - I should at least write it first. Some would call that common sense......but procrastinators and Type A frustrated perfectionists like myself call that a normal learning process. Fail First....then learn from the mistake.

My dry spell has been ugly......I'm in a "season" right now where for the last three weeks, I have existed on a vegetarian spiritual diet (i.e. no scriptural meat). I have gone through the motions, and now I'm tired of it. Who do I think I'm fooling? God knows He has gotten only leftovers from me. My heart has been hard, and when my alarm goes off in the morning.....instead of spending time with Him - I've hit snooze over and over again. The sad thing is, I am the one who suffers from this......not God. Yes, He misses that time because He quite enjoys it, too.....but I am the one who gets dehydrated...and joy-less.....and ugly.

Can anyone else identify with me? I know that we all can't be "on" all the time.....but I feel like such an Israelite. I know the wonders God has done in my life; I know the JOY of doing daily life with Him.....yet, I so quickly forget and convince myself that I can do this thing on my own.

Please, please leave me your comments.......tell me you know what I mean.....
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So I don’t think I’m generally a negative person (at least I hope not)….but this morning as been hellacious. It’s not like I had a wreck, or got a flat tire, or even woke up an hour late (because those would be events worth my dramatic reactions). No, I just simply:

*didn't have my quiet time (a much needed practice for my sanity).

*left the house without my scarf (that was a crucial element to my outfit).

*walked out of the house with straight hair….and stepped into Houston Humidity. My hair immediately sprung into a frizzy, wavy mop…much to my chagrin.

*left the house without Luke’s football (which was a crucial element to his outfit….as he is a football player for Halloween…and today is trick-or-treating at preschool.)

*Larry spilled coffee all over the car.

*After dropping Luke off at school, I stopped at my usual convenience store to make my usual coffee-mixed-with-cappuccino - - only they didn’t have the usual cappuccino. I sucked this up and….

*went to the next convenience store, which ALSO did not have cappuccino mix. However, before I found this out….

*I slipped on their newly mopped tile.

*backed out and ran over a curb (minimal frustration….this is not an unusual occurrence for me).

*walked into the office and found an email from a client saying they owed me $13,000 less than our invoice reflects. Nice.

So today, I truly need to find the JOY in all of this. For the past hour, I have been telling myself over and over to change my attitude. This is even harder to do since I know I have a major case of PMS today (or so Larry tells me.)

In the big scheme of things, I can laugh about the trauma caused by leaving my scarf at home (I’m really not that vain).

I can laugh about my hair….because I just pulled it up into a ponytail. Take that, humidity.

I can shrug off the fact that I sent my son to school in an incomplete costume. I’m sure his teachers are actually thankful we forgot the football.

Larry cleaned up his coffee….so that wasn’t really my problem.

I did get my coffee on the third try, so I can smile at the obstacles this addict had to overcome to get her fix.

At least I know the convenience store was “clean”…..that’s stretching the positive outlook a bit….but I’m trying!

And I can deal with the client who wants to short me on the invoice. I am thankful I even have clients that pay their invoices!

But taking a trip to Australia would be nice.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For the love (or dread) of Halloween

I really wish I could call myself a Halloween fanatic. But I just can’t. I even have trouble capitalizing the H in Halloween…because I just don’t get the hoopla.
A co-worker of mine told me yesterday that it was her favorite holiday. I cringed. Really?? Is it really an official holiday? How embarrassing.

I have never cared for dressing up in silly costumes and going to parties. I just think it’s childish. And while I know there are many adults who enjoy this (and I certainly don’t judge)…..I’m just not one of them. Although I wouldn’t mind going to a Halloween party to see everyone else’s cute costumes, I would not partake in the costume-wearing festivities.

Is there such thing as a Halloween Grinch? If so – count me as a follower. I’m even the only one on my typical suburban Wisteria-Lane-Like street who has not decorated her yard in all things Ghoulish, Ghastly or Pumpkin-loving. (sigh) I truly have no desire.

This year is a bit different: Luke is nearly four years old…so he knows what Halloween is. He even has three (yes, three) costumes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not contradicting myself. Everyone knows a mom has to buy her child a costume for trick-or-treating! We initially bought him a Superman costume, which ended up being too small once we got home with it. As every good Halloween mega-store has a no-return policy, we were stuck with it. He doesn’t know the difference: he still jaunts around in that costume with sleeves that are too short. As long as the cape is attached properly – he’s good to go.

The second costume is my favorite. He’s an OU football player, complete with mini-shoulder pads and official helmet. I must upload a picture at some point; he’s irresistible.
And he’ll assuredly be a “hit” when we trick-or-treat at the homes in our neighborhood. Sooner fans living in Houston are not a majority living in the land of Longhorns and Aggies. I will have to check his candy extra closely to make sure evil neighbors didn’t put needles in his Reese’s Cups.

And Luke’s third costume is Bumblebee the Transformer. I’m about as big a fan of Transformers as I am of Halloween. Those things are Scary!! My grandmother bought him this costume when we were in Oklahoma over the weekend……because everyone knows Great-Grandmothers are the best people in the world. I was rather surprised she even knew what a Transformer was…..but I digress.

Since we are scheduled to attend a bazillion Halloween festivals/carnivals this weekend, I guess he will have a chance to wear each one.

My poor child. Hopefully my attitude about this silly October “event” will change (for the better?) before he is old enough to resent it. I’ll still go through the motions of doing all the candy-buying and costume-purchasing….but please, God, please don’t ever let him expect me to put cemetery headstones in my front yard.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's Get Personal

I saw this little questionnaire on Baby Bangs this morning, so I’m taking the cheap way out and using it myself. I am totally in a blog rut.

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while your blogging?

Coffee and pretzels. Or dried fruit. Or kit-kats. Or carrots. Lay's Cheddar Cheese Baked Lay's are also good.

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?

Aside from the obvious answers like my husband and my children – I would have to say life would be empty without books. I even have to have a book to fall asleep. We went on a trip to Dallas last year, and I forgot to bring along a book for the road. Oh my word - you would have thought I was a drug addict, and I forgot my needle. It was quite pathetic….and actually opened my eyes to what a book-junkie I truly am. Needless to say – I did enjoy the conversation with my family during that 4-hour drive, and I was much more ‘present’ without a book.

3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?

The beach. Most definitely – the beach. Although, if I lived on a beach, I would most certainly have a vacation home in the cold mountains so that I could utilize my fall/winter wardrobe.

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?

Mopping. I could go all my life without using a mop….and I would not be sad about it.

5. Who do people say you remind them of?

People call me high maintenance….but I really don’t mean to be. In all sincerity, I don’t think I am difficult or demanding or anything that I associate with high maintenance. However, after years of being told I am, I have to wonder……

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the fam?

I much prefer hanging out with close friends and family. I can do the occasional party, but it’s certainly not high on my agenda.

7. What's your all time favorite movie?

I have no deep answer for this. I love Gone With the Wind, Devil Wears Prada and You’ve Got Mail.

8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?

It depends. I am not a stickler for a nighttime make-up removal ritual. If I have worked out during the evening, I shower before bed (and hence, my face gets washed). Sometimes I just plain go to bed with a dirty face….and I’m cool with that.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn?

What is it?I want to learn to knit. I would LOVE to learn to knit. I took classes about four years ago….thinking I would develop a new hobby. After spending over an hour with me on the basics, the teacher told me I wasn’t picking it up very well. For a perfectionist, those words are poisonous. I haven’t picked it up since. Maybe when Luke graduates from high school in 14 years, I will try again.

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?

baking chocolate sheet cake and making burritos. This is strange because I’m a clustered mess in the kitchen….and it’s just odd that every time I make these two particular foods – people like them.

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?

His dimples, his laugh, and his legs.

12. What is something you love to smell?

My husband’s Very Sexy cologne…..and Lemon body wash from Bath and Body Works.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.

oooohh…..I’m not good at returning calls. I talk on the phone ALL DAY at work….and it’s not my favorite thing to do when I get home. And then it spirials into a guilt thing. I know I should call you back…but I don’t want to go through the apology process…so I put it off some more…and then the guilt grows because it’s been over a week now…..and the cycle starts again. Maybe I need therapy for this?

14. When you have extra money, what's the first thing you think to do with it?

Buy a new hand-bag or shoes…or jewelry…or a new outfit…

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?

It depends on how funny it is. I laughed so hard with my family this weekend over Luke’s sign language. Our good friend, Marjorie (Luke’s Grandma Day) taught him how to say “I love you” in sign language. When I asked him to show my mom and dad, he flipped everyone off…he couldn’t get his fingers in the right position…and every time he tried, the middle finger just kept popping up. We belly laughed for at least six good long minutes.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?

Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic and Gap (although Gap has been disappointing the last two spring/summer seasons); I also love Anthropologie sales. For Luke – my favorite place is Baby Gap.

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?

Learn to play tennis really well. I took tennis lessons right after Luke was born – but to play in league play, you either have to be a stay-at-home mom (which I’m not) or be willing to dedicate one night a week. Since I’m already over-committed during the week…..this is something I will hopefully pick back up at the same time I start knitting.

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?

What is the global definition of big spender? I'm not exactly weekly (or yearly!) shopping on Rodeo Drive...but I do like to shop....quite a bit. I'm that person that salesmen/saleswomen love to see coming.

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?

Meredith Grey – Grey’s Anatomy. I know, I’m shallow.

20. Would you want to be famous?

My first reaction is “absolutely, yes!” But I’m not so sure. All of us have a desire to belong and be accepted…..but I suppose that if we get that need met with family and close friend-relationships, we don’t have a longing to be “known” to the world. Having said that, it would be nice the Hollywood “IT” girl….for maybe a month. Think of all the free clothes and handbags...and your own personal stylist!

I would love to hear your answers…..!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Firefighter Luke

This month is Fire Safety Month; and last week at school, Luke was learning about the letter “F”. So naturally, last week Luke learned all about firefighters.

Friday afternoon he pranced into my bedroom, wearing nothing but a fireman’s helmet....

“Mommy! Guess what? I have my very own hose!”

Luckily, he did not spray said urinal hose all over the place.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crazy. Insane. Impractical

So my SheSpeaks team decided to blog about something crazy. Usually, I could whip something up about crazy....but for some reason, the creative juices are NOT flowing. Instead of being Miss Original, I had some help from my two greatest fans (my husband and son) and dictionary.com.

Sadly, you will see no evidence here of the aforementioned fans' assistance.....because freaking crazy blogger would not upload my pics. The issue could have very likely been of the crazy computer operator.....but for the sake of crazy, I always prefer to place the blame elsewhere.

First of all, I could not decide if I wanted to write about my crazy work life, my crazy aunt, the top ten crazy dumb things I have done (although that would be hard to pick!), or the songs I like with the word crazy in the title. Hello, Aerosmith, you would most certainly make that list since I sang Crazy my entire junior year in high school.

Since the word "crazy" has roughly five-ish definitions and because I am seriously lacking in the witty, critical thinking department this evening, I have decided to give real-Amy-life examples of each definition. Here goes.....

(1) mentally deranged; demented; insane. yeesh....I can't really call names here because that would be so inappropriate. But I can say that I have been associated with some mentally messed up people in my life. Have I been one of those people? At times, yes.....though I loathe to admit it. When I was neck deep in bulimia, I lived in a demented state. Everything revolved around food and all the things that should have been priorities in my life fell into a distant 10th+ place. So without poking fun and calling others crazy, I call a spade a spade. During those eleven l-o-n-g years of my life, I was insane. sick. hopeless. and yes, crazy.

(2) senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme. Some ladies here in the south would call wearing white after Labor Day a senseless and utterly unsound behavior. I grew up with a mother who put our white Mary Janes on the top shelf of the closet once September rolled around, so I know these beliefs run deep. However, these die-hard Southern fashionistas apparently don't read Vogue. It is very clear that there is such thing as winter white, and I (gasp) wore a pair of said winter white jeans to the theater on Sunday afternoon. Ignoring the September issue of Vogue is something I would refer to as "impractical".....and yes, crazy.

(3) Intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited. This one is easy breezy. I don't even have to think hard for this example. We are passionate and excitedly-enthusiastic about OU football. My husband Larry and I both grew up in Oklahoma and have deep OU roots. There is no time of year like football time of year, and Saturdays in this household revolve around "What time do the Sooners play?" from September to January. We are also especially competitive around here, so any whoops for other teams will not be tolerated (and they will be promptly deleted from the comment section.) Well, we aren't that ugly about it.....but yes, we are crazy about the Sooners.

(4) Very enamored or infatuated. I am totally head-over-heels crazy about my husband. My Larry is a warm, caring, compassionate, strong, wise and handsome man. Truth being told, the man was crazy to love me to begin with (refer to the crazy-insane bulimic in #1). Yet through every trial (major and minor), he is loyal and understanding, and he has unbelievable strength. I love that he is a leader in our church, that he supports me in this crazy dream of writing and speaking and that he is the best daddy in the world. He is my dream come true.....and I am oh-so-crazy about him.

(5a) unusual; bizarre. I have an aunt who thinks she sees things. She has even had premonitions before about people dying and various other catastrophes. I'm sure if you ask her, she'll tell you all about it. Enough said on this: I don't want her to think ill of me....and then have a dream that I die. Stefanie, I know you read this....don't tell your mother I mentioned her. :)

(6) I don't have super examples for #6. Actually, I don't have any examples for #6 because I have never heard of anything called crazy that is "weak, or falling into pieces"??

So here is a final (very random) list of things I consider crazy:

I think it's crazy that my nearly-4 year old likes to watch the Thriller and Beat It videos. I won't go into a dissertation of why I DESPISE this; suffice it to say that his 16 year old sister was staying home with him on the day Michael Jackson died. I'm pretty sure they watched CNN all day long....and shortly thereafter started downloading various MJ videos on iTunes. Some things, a mother just cannot control.

It's crazy that I so desperately want to start wearing my fall wardrobe.....but since I live in Houston, that won't happen until mid-November. Agh.

I also find it crazy that I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams with this life that I live. Not that my husband and I are among the mega-rich....or that we have no problems.....and not because of any material things.

But because the great love of Christ has so graciously....so mercifully....ACCEPTED us just as we are.....It's just plain crazy. bizarre. senseless. impractical.

HE is C-R-A-Z-Y about me!!

Click over to the The Other Mama for more crazy posts.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Unexpected Blessings

I had one of the best weekends of my entire life, and it's all because of little unexpected blessings.

I am a routine kind of girl. I like to be in control, and I operate on a schedule. It's not uncommon for my family and friends to use the word obsessive or anal when referring to my behavior.

I received two calls on Friday: both inviting me to do things that I had neither planned nor necessarily thought I would enjoy. However, I agreed to both (which assuredly was through divine inspiration).

So Friday evening, Larry, Luke and I loaded into the car and went to our friend Marjorie's (Grandma Day's) for dinner. Going to Marjorie's house is not out of the ordinary. She and Luke adore each other, and she has watched him and cared for him often through the last three years. At least twice a month, Marjorie will keep Luke on a Friday evening so that Larry and I can have "date" night. She is 81 years old and has to be the most spry "old" lady I have ever seen. Her daughter, Bonnie (Luke calls her Aunt Bunny) has been visiting from Boston for the last couple of weeks. So there we were, going to a little dinner party....and Bonnie was cooking dinner.

You're probably thinking what a stick in the mud I am for not appreciating our invite. It's not that I'm snotty or antisocial; I had a L-O-N-G week at work, and I just did not want to spend my Friday evening anywhere other than in my own living room.

We got there at 6 o'clock, which is when Marjorie told us dinner would be ready. It's a rare occasion that we eat later than 6:30-7:00pm, so needless to say, I was hungry. Before you laugh, read my post on favorite restaurants: I'm that same person who loves to eat at Luby's with the senior citizens.

When we got there, dinner was not ready; Bonnie was not even there! She was apparently "on her way". Oh how kind-of-no-REALLY frustrated I was. Ugh. My mind just turned from a tad bit "I don't want to be here" to "I cannot believe I'm here; I'm hungry; there is no food in sight; why am I spending my Friday night doing what I don't want to do??"

Finally, about 7 o'clock, Bonnie arrives. It's about time, lady. But here's where the blessing begins (and my bad attitude changed): she brought stuff to make homemade pizza! We had a blast in the kitchen (all five of us). Bonnie spread out the dough, I chopped onions, Larry did something, and even Luke got to spread the tomato sauce and cheese on the pizza. After the pizza was in the oven, we popped open a bottle of wine and voila: homemade fun on a Friday night. I even felt a bit like I was under the Tuscan sun.

That may not sound like a huge blessing to you; but God gave me a glimpse in those moments that life is all about relationship. I'm so often in a go-here-go-there, what's on my calendar next attitude, that I MISS these little things.

If I had turned down that invitation because it was too spur of the moment (and not something I had control of....), I would have missed out. After getting to know Bonnie, I love that woman. I love that she's not afraid to speak her mind; I love that she is honest and transparent and totally not ashamed to talk about the "issues" of life. I am grateful that we got to share a bottle of wine, homemade pizza and a bit of our hearts together on a Friday evening.

My second "out-of-the-box" blessing this weekend came in the form of a musical on Sunday afternoon. I am not artsy, and I have never understood why people think Broadway is so entertaining. I have to admit, I have always believed it was a little silly. Until. today.

My girlfriend called me on Friday to ask if I would join her for the matinee of Meet Me in St. Louis this afternoon. I have NO clue why I agreed because I truly would have rather sat at home on a stack of thumb tacks. As soon as I told her I "would love to go..", I got off the phone and cried out loudly, "Why??!! Why did I say that?!"

I griped about it all weekend. Again, I'm not a sour puss (not all the time anyway), but I love my Sunday afternoons hanging out with my family. I don't readily give that up. That is, until someone calls me and asks me to join them at the matinee. Geez, what was I thinking?

11 o'clock this morning rolls around and they pick me up. From the second I got into the car, I was transported to girlfriend time. I literally had a blast! We laughed and cried and had flat out fun.
I fell in love with musicals today; and would you believe, I even downloaded the original broadway performance of Meet Me in St. Louis on my iPhone as soon as left the theater. I think that Sunday afternoons at the theater could be a regular occurance in my future.

So again, a blessing that just dropped from the sky and hit me on my head like a ton of bricks. Yet another life lesson from the Lord about spending time with people, learning about them, being open to share their form of entertainment (which might not be my own idea of fun).

I had a danged good weekend.....and I've been singing Skip to my Lou all morning....
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite TV Shows! I LOVE Derek Shepherd

I don't just like TV. There has to be a word between like and love that describes my affinity for the televison. I am fond, very fond of the television.

TV provided some great bonding memories for my sisters and me: we loved old school Brady Bunch episodes, Saturday morning Saved by the Bell, and 90210 when it was not new and improved.

In my college days, Dawson’s Creek was the must-see every Thursday. This was way before DVR entered the picture, so if you missed a Thursday, you had to find a friend who recorded it on VHS. Hopefully, that friend had stayed home to record so that they cut out the commercials.

Missy at It’s Almost Naptime noted in her post that everyone has TV weaknesses. I have to agree, especially because my favorite shows are not on PBS. I am so far away from the woman who grows her family’s food in her garden and makes everything from scratch (with no trans fats or preservatives). I am also not the woman who refuses to allow her children some TV time. Luke totally knows that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on from 6:30-7:00am every morning.
He also knows that if it is a Saturday morning, he gets to have his breakfast on a TV tray and watch Disney Channel while he dines on instant oatmeal or homemade waffles. Instant oatmeal on the days that Daddy is golfing (which is most Saturdays); homemade waffles when Daddy is at home. Because yes, Daddy is the maker of the waffle.

There will be many reasons to judge me when you read my list of favorites. For crying out loud, I love Sex and the City. I know it’s not a wholesome television show. But the fashion, people!!

Grey’s Anatomy: I heart McDreamy. One of my favorite things to do when Kathryn (my 16-yr old stepdaughter) is at our house for the weekend is to watch Grey’s. Sometimes I purposely save my episodes so we can watch them together. Sorry, Kathryn; I couldn’t resist watching last night’s episode. I will re-watch with you next week.

Desperate Housewives: here is your first opportunity for judgment; and I agree, I deserve it. Larry and I started watching this during its first season, and we have hung on ever since. We went to LA a few years ago to Universal Studios, and I was in awe as we drove down the actual Wisteria Lane. Loved it. Every Sunday night about 9:00pm when Luke is all squared away in bed, you can find us watching the latest DH.

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette: this show is not the most admirable. Believe me, sometimes when I’m on pins and needles to watch the next episode, I try to self-psychoanalyze. Why? This show is dumb. This show is nauseating. Nonetheless, I’m watching. And then on Tuesdays (after the show airs on Mondays), I’m logging onto I Hate Green Beans to catch Lincee's blog about the episode. I think I have a problem.

I am not one of these people who have a “show” for every night of the week. I don’t watch The Office (though I wish I had started from the beginning). I’m too OCD to go back and start so late in the game. I don’t watch America’s Top Model or Project Runway or anything cool like that.
We are mega-fans of American Idol…..so if that was in season, I would have been obliged to write an essay on my love for the show. Since it is not in season, “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play.
One of my very good friends gets uber-excited when the new fall shows come out in September. I tried to get into that this year. I even circled new shows in my Entertainment Weekly and set my DVR to record them. But then, I couldn’t keep up. I just don’t have hours and hours to waste in front of the television. I guess I could argue quality over quantity or something like that to make up for my poor choices of what I watch when I watch. That might not even make sense to you, because after reading that last sentence, I am having a hard time understanding what I was trying to say. That is beauty of having no editor.

What are your favorites? Tell me, I’m dying to know if you worried all last season whether or not Meredith and Derek would finally get together. Are you a closet Desperate Housewives-watcher? Or are you thinking “Oh my word, Amy needs to read Philippians 4:8?” Not that I would disagree…..
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

I have missed you.....

Oh my. I have not been on my blog in like two whole weeks.

You know, it’s not like I am a big-time daily blogger like The Other Mama or Big Mama or Boo Mama….but when I’ve not posted in fourteen days, I feel out of the loop. Like I’m missing an earring or something. Or maybe that isn’t a great example.

Nonetheless, I have no eloquent, awe-inspiring words to share today. I just wanted to post to feel like my bloggy spirit has been revived.

A quick run-down of my life for the past two weeks will give you an indication of why I have not posted recently:

I’ve been going to 4-year old birthday parties, watching OU football games, working at my real job, playing with my Scentsy job, shopping (for Halloween costumes), catching up on Grey’s Anatomy on DVR, chasing my soon-to-be 4 year-old simultaneously with all of the above, and listening to Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA.

Why, oh why do I like that song? When I find myself nodding my head like, “yeah”, I am transported to my 12-year old self. And it’s kind of embarrassing. Now Luke moves his hips like, “yeah”, and it worries me.

That sums up my life for the last couple of weeks. I’m sure all three of my readers are glad I’m back. J
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Restaurants

When I sat down to write this post, my first inclination was to list four-star restaurants (in a lame attempt to appear much “finer” in my dining preferences).
But then I had to just get real with myself. While it may be perfectly true to say that The Palm and Truluck's are my favorites – those just aren't really places we frequent.

My Favorite Restaurants are (drum roll):

Baker’s Street Pub - this is a great place to just eat dinner and hang out with friends. It’s a mega-smoky atmosphere, though…..but otherwise – awesome food and great martinis. My favorite thing to order is just the plain ol’ cheeseburger. They are delicious!

BJ’s Brewhouse – 6 times out of 10, when Larry and I have a Friday evening alone, we’ll choose BJ’s. It’s just a random thing that the top two restaurants on this list have names that include “pub” and “brew house”. A beer enthusiast I am not. Our reason for loving BJ’s is pure and simple: BJ’s Favorite Pizza. Yum. Delicious. Unprecedented.

Cafe Adobe – To say that I love Mexican food is an understatement. Café Adobe is certainly one of my best favorite places for chips and queso. Although one time several years ago, Larry and I ate there one Saturday night…..and I bit into a beer bottle cap in my salad. Needless to say, I love the place so much that the incident did not deter us from future visits. Sad (and gross), but true.

Luby’s – why, you ask? Because one day, when I am old and gray, this is where my husband and I will go on dates. Oh, wait….we just did that last Friday. And no, I’m not joking. We had to be the only people under 70, but we didn’t mind. We LOVE Luby’s. I love the salad, the fish, the okra, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the hamburger steak, the green beans….and the jello with cool whip topping. Luby’s reminds me of a restaurant that serves what I would cook for my family if I cooked for my family.

Perhaps it’s also nostalgia that endears this old person place to me. When I was younger, my family always went to the mall on Saturday (hence, my love and addiction to shopping??).

On those weekly trips, we ate every Saturday evening at either Furr’s (which is now Luby’s) or Wyatt’s (which, since we grew up and quit going there, is now out of business). I’m not sure why we never ventured to other dining establishments…..but I didn’t mind. I had the same thing every weekend: child’s plate hamburger steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans and a piece of pumpkin pie (even when it was not “in season”).

When my dad would come visit me in college, we almost always found a Luby’s for dinner. And even now, when he makes a trip to Houston by himself we still go to Luby’s. If Mom is with us, we won't go. Could it be that she got burned out after years of Saturday evenings spent eating cafeteria-style macaroni and cheese and chicken fried steak?

Honorable Mention:

LC's. You will not know of this place if you have never lived in or visited Poteau, Oklahoma. However, this is where my love of crab legs and hush puppies was born. On Friday nights, they had a seafood buffet to die for. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was really that good, or if that was just the only option. The place had cracked wallpaper peeling from the ceiling and ketchup in those vintage plastic bottles - -but the food was greasy-delicious. LC died a few years ago, and I'm not even sure it's open anymore. But good stuff, I tell you. Good stuff.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Click on the link Friday Fave’s button on the sidebar to link over to Missy’s site…..
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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dreams of a Mother

When Luke was little more than a heartbeat with skin, I signed up for a newsletter that sends me weekly updates on his progress.

Throughout my pregnancy, I read these with scrutiny, looking for every small bit of information on how he was growing within me. Now that he is quickly approaching 4 years old, I often find myself hitting delete before reading them. (Because really, I can see the kid now and I don’t need any child expert to tell me that at his age, his imagination is growing and he might be scared of monsters. Hello. Crawling in my bed at 3:00 am might be some indication of this.) But then again, I’m no expert.


I got this in my inbox this morning:

Hello, Amy!

Around this age, you'll start noticing that some kids are more naturally athletic than others. You might know a 3-year-old who can catch a football or kick a ball with precision while another may fumble around.


“Yes! Yes!” I proclaim as I picture Luke’s perfect spiral soar across the living room. That’s Luke!

Okay, the Dalke’s are die-hard OU Sooner fans….not to mention that Luke’s uncle Bill (Larry’s brother) played for OU on national championship teams in the late 70’s. We are also over-the-top competitive, and both of us are athletes. So naturally, this is what I read when I saw this email:

Hello Amy!

Your son, Luke, is far beyond his age in terms of natural athletic ability. We have scouted him as he plays catch with his father in your living room and front yard, and we can tell he has a college uniform in his future. Although he has not even hit the small tike football field yet, he is destined to throw that ball at Memorial Stadium.

Over the next few years, you should prepare to be that annoying mother who the camera pans to in the stadium during championship games. We expect that you have this covered already.

Feed him well, keep him in good training programs, and we’ll see you in the stands!

OU Recruiting

So maybe that is a daydream of mine. If my husband were to read this, he would totally be rolling his eyes. I’m just wondering, is this where the competitive stage mom is born? Yikes!

Dear Luke,

I love you, and I won’t love you any more or any less if you don a football uniform, carry a tennis racket, or a golf club. You can be on the math drill team for all I care.

I pray that my dreams for you would never surpass your own. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God……and if that involves me singing Boomer Sooner after you throw a touchdown pass…….that will just be the icing on the cake!!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wake up little Amy - it's NOT about you!

So I picked up Louis Giglio’s I Am Not, but I Know I AM at the airport a couple of weeks ago. I have been a Louis fan since my Passion days in college. I chose this particular book because I thought my in-flight reading may be more productive if I fed my mind with God-things instead of reading my People magazines or the latest from Danielle Steel.

Little did I know…

Oh my word! This book was awesome.

“The story already has a star, and the star is not you or me.” -page 13

What a blow to my ego! And my ego so needed to be blown.

I realized that for the past YEAR (or more, if I’m being generous), I have not allowed myself to look outside of me and my own little world. Sure, I know God is God, and I know He is much bigger than creation and so on and so forth. BUT, do I live like I truly believe this?

By the second page, I was already humbled by the reality of God’s MUCH-BIGNESS. My eyes were opened to my own MEGA-small-ness.

I will never comprehend the true greatness of our God until I sit with Him in heaven, but Mr. Giglio’s words shot straight to my heart by reminding this poor soul that it’s not all about me.

This amazing God created galaxies that are light years away……and yet I dare to doubt that He can handle my tiny issues. The shame! And yet, He knows these issues are right in front of my face and He cares!! Oh how He cares!

There are no words for the impact this book has had on my perspective. The most I can utter is “….whoa!” I’m NOT the star of this show….nor will I ever be. So why do I try so hard to gain attention? Why am I so bent on being the #1 all the time?
Hello, Amy! Humble yourself before the Mighty God….the One and Only King of kings who created things your eyes cannot even see!!

I’m just saying….

If you need a dramatic change in your perspective, you ought to pick up this book. I pray that it will knock you off your feet like it knocked me off my high horse!

And all I can say is…..”….whoa!”
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Monday, September 14, 2009

What do Diet Coke, Classic Rock and a Swimming Toddler Have in Common?

I am sitting in the backyard on this fine Monday evening in Houston, Texas. My sweet Luke is swimming (asking me every 30 seconds for a band-aid....because apparently it's urgent). Yes, sure it is. But regardless, he will ask obsessively until something else captures his attention.

Larry is lounging on a chair playing Word Warp on my iPhone. This game is our new addiction, but I don't fear that he'll beat my high score so I let him play to his heart's content.

And I, on this bearable summer evening in Houston, am enjoying the calm atmosphere. Even our dog, Ranger, is not hyperactive. How I needed this night! It seems that for the past nine months, I have been in a tizzy over one thing or another (just a hint: my personality is totally Type-A-Obsessive Compulsive-must-always-be-panicked-over-something). From writing conferences to drama at my office to Scentsy parties to birthday parties and church mission outreaches, I have not slowed down. Peace has been like a pipe dream since the clock rolled to January 1, 2009.

So tonight, I don't want to run this quiet family time with many bloggy words. From now until Luke's head hits the pillow 8:30 (ish), my plan is to drink Diet Coke, give my husband helpful hints for Word Warp (yes, p-a-l-l-i-d is a word), and listen to classic rock on the radio. Classic rock is so not my choice, but in order to keep the unselfish atmosphere going, I'll endure.

And just in case you're worried, Jesus and I are dealing with this peace-thing. He is the Prince of Peace....so since He loves me so much - He's constantly working on me. :)
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Faves.....Blessed Assurance and Chuck E. Cheese (oh not really!!)

My favorite old hymns and modern praise songs…..a stupendous topic for this list of Friday Faves.

Keep in mind, these favorites I have listed for my hymns are based solely on the first, second and fourth verses of each song. I have no clue what the third verse in any hymn is…..I think it was against the Southern Baptist Convention to include the third verse in your song service. Either that – or it was just known across the Baptist faith that skipping this verse got you out of church a few minutes earlier.

The answer to that mystery will elude me until I get to heaven I suppose. But I digress.

I truly have too many favorite hymns to list in a brief Friday post. I am a sucker for the old Baptist hymnal. Be still my heart.

When I was six or seven years old and we would visit my Grandma McGehee, there was always a Sunday morning church involved. I loved sitting next to her during the song service because she didn’t even need a hymnal. She knew every word to every song, and I remember thinking that was so cool. Ever since then, when a hymn is sung in church, I find myself trying to sing it from memory instead of looking at the words on the screen. Oh how silly that is, I know. But who doesn’t want to be just like grandma? Well, of course without the smell of Oil of Olay and White Diamonds perfume. I’ll pass on that part.

Blessed Assurance – you just have to give your self a blessing today and click on this link. Even though the site does not seem to be technologically into the year 2009, it takes me back to my childhood, sitting in the pews of Double Branch Baptist Church.
And oh the JOY of knowing that Jesus is mine!

Victory in Jesus –

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins;
And won the victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.
I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.

As I sang this song throughout my childhood, I had no idea the impact it would have on me later in life. When I hear this song now, my heart leaps at the truth of its words. How precious is our victory over sin! How amazing is the death Jesus suffered so that WE could live in daily victory. I don’t know about you, but I just want shout, “Hallejuah!” when I sing about his plunging me to victory beneath the cleansing flood. I need a cleansing flood to soak me every morning before my feet hit the floor!

Having grown up a staunch Baptist, I am now a living-breathing Methodist (much to my daddy’s chagrin). Speaking of my father’s chagrin, I am now a conservative republican, which goes against my democratic-fish-fry-political-rally upbringing. But that is another story for another time. It would actually bore you anyway, because politics is just not a blog topic for someone who would rather talk about shoes and purses and toddlers and faith (in no particular order).

Which is just a beautiful segue into the topic of my favorite modern worship songs (or not).

Only a God Like You – this youtube link is of me singing. No, I’m kidding.

Revelation Song – on any given day, you could spot me driving my car and belting this song at the top of my lungs. It just gets me going like no other. However, when we sing it in church, I tone it down a bit. Otherwise, I would sound like a bad American Idol audition.

That’s it for my Friday Faves – head over to It’s Almost Naptime for more links.

I’m off to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon. I can’t say that adventure gets me as excited as reading about everyone’s favorite hymns. Although I am trying, for Luke’s sake, to have a good attitude about eating dry pizza and listening to a bunch of maniacal toddlers screaming as they play on dirty equipment. The germ-a-phobe mother I am not, but I will tote a large bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. He will bathe in it as soon as we head to the car (which hopefully is within two hours after our arrival.)

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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Fear of Monsters and What If's

Luke is afraid of monsters that live in his closet.

Every night before he gets into bed, we check the closet to see if there are monsters; and we remind him that 1) monsters are not real and 2) mommy and daddy will always keep him safe.

Last Monday night, Luke crept down to our bedroom at 4 o'clock a.m. and claimed that a monster was using the potty in his bathroom.

This was a very real scenario to him, so even though mommy and daddy knew the monsters were not, in fact, using his potty, we let him snuggle up between us in our bed.

Although his little 3 year old fears seem so silly to his 31 year old mother, I have to ask myself about my own scaredy-cat fears.

I am bombarded at times by fears:

What happens if I don't meet my producton goals at work this year?
What happens if I don't make Partner?
Just how financially secure are we?
What if my husband were to lose his job?
What happens if I don't close another deal for the rest of the year?
All of these fears (though huge in my mind) must seem ludicrous to my faithful heavenly Father. They are simple-minded compared to the provision of a Mighty God. I do know this in my head, but how do I move this knowledge to my heart?
I have created a little project for myself (by the prompting of a certain Holy Spirit). This "project" came from my quiet time on Saturday morning....after asking God how to put the feet of my revelations to the pavement of my life.
I was studying Psalms 34, and though I couldn't come up with a cutesy way to structure it (i.e. the Five F's to Freedom from Fear), I did come up with three steps that I will take when tempted to cling to my fears. Finding three steps really made me proud because I felt like my Baptist preacher father, who gives a 3-point sermon no less than 52 weeks a year.
When a fear bounces into the my thought closet, I will:
1) PRAISE the LORD - because when I am praising Him, there is no room for fears.
"My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt His name together."
Psalm 34:2-3
I will praise the Lord for His deliverance from anxiety. For His great love that saves me from the pit of despairing worry. For His blood that has purchased my pardon. I will lift up the Name that is above all names.....because my fears are unfounded when I rest in the shadow of His wings. The God who engineered the rotational axis of planet Earth can most assuredly handle my little life.
"I sought the Lord and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame."
Psalm 34:45
Instead of looking all around me to figure out my own method of deliverance (which, really, how many times have my anxiety-driven solutions worked?), I will look up into the face of the One who has faithfully delivered in the past. Is my Father not the God who parted the Red Sea on behalf of my spiritual ancestors? Is He not the One who raised Jesus from the dead? How small my own fears are in light of the true dangers in this world. And although I am tempted to stop this post right now as I think about the poverty across the world (and how silly my own petty fears are in comparison), I am still typing because I know God cares. Looking up instead of around is necessary if we want to give our fears to Someone capable of giving us peace in exchange.
3) REST in the promise of His deliverance.
"A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all."
Psalm 34:19
I will have trials and troubles as long as I live on this earth, but I can use my fears as an opportunity to seek the Lord.
Luke knows where he can run in the middle of the night if he hears monsters in his closet.
......and I know where I can run when those monster-like fears show up in my mind's closet.....
To the safety and comfort and salvation of the One who is bigger than all boogey-men.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Mommy's Favorite Songs

Mommy’s favorite songs to sing to Luke:

I grew up singing so many Jesus-praising VBS/Sunday school songs, and I hope that a few of them will stick in Luke’s heart as ones that “mommy always sang…..”

Of course, Jesus Loves Me is the standard. We sing this at night after saying our prayers. Luke and his daddy really get into the line – “God is strong.” They put a major emphasis on this, saying it in a loud, fierce, better-watch-out-devil voice.

My absolute favorite song is If I were a Butterfly. I don’t sing this to Luke often, but I have made a mental note to put this into our repertoire.
I remember loving to shout out this song when I was probably five or six years old. The words have been written on my heart ever since. I want Luke to grow up with the truth implanted in his mind that God has made him an original, one-of-a-kind special person. He doesn’t have to measure up to the strengths of others…..but he just has to be who God made him to be.
And just in case you have been unfortunate enough to never hear this song, it goes like this:

If I were a butterfly
I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings
If I were a robin in a tree
I’d thank you Lord that I could sing
If I were a fish in the sea
I’d wiggle my tail and I’d giggle with glee
But I just thank you Father for making me, me

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank You Father for making me, me

And my other very favorite: He’s Still Working on Me

And that’s all she wrote….because the lyrics say it well enough. He is still working on Luke’s mommy, thank you Jesus.

Click on the Friday Faves link at the right to hop over to It's Almost Naptime and see other Friday Favorites!
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family Carpool

Luke’s first three days of preschool have been a blast. Now that he is going to preschool on the campus of “Daddy’s work,” we have a family car pool.
I love it because we all get to spend half an hour together to and from our respective day time destinations.

I’m not quite sure Larry is totally crazy about this set-up…..because of the bombarding questions he faces at the end of each day (that’s what a wife does, right?), but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Luke’s little man personality is already starting to show up in so many ways, too. I was asking him all about his day at school on the way home yesterday, and after the eleventh (or so) question, he said, “Mommy, I told you already.”

Okay, I get it. You are a male, and you prefer to chill out after a busy day. I will try for your sanity and your father’s to be a little less inquisitive. As a guy, I know you will never understand that a girl likes details. As a girl, I would like to know who you played with, what you learned, what Sam was wearing, who you sat next to at lunch, etc.

Larry made fun of me on the ride home on Tuesday afternoon, and he started teaching Luke how to sing “Feelings”. The nerve of these two!

I am just bound and determined to make this “togetherness in the car time” meaningful. Next week I am going to bring Luke’s children’s devotional bible with us, and we will get the day started in God’s Word. I also have our Seeds Family Worship cd’s, which have been a hit with Luke. I have to manage this transition very gracefully, though, and make sure that Larry still gets a few minutes of his talk radio.
Hopefully Larry won’t throw up when he suddenly hears of his new drive-in-to-work routine. Maybe I won’t go so estrogen on him, and we’ll just slowly integrate new things.

Who knows? I will keep you posted on the Dalke Daily Drive. I’m sure that plenty of stories will come from it…..if I don’t go overboard talking about “feelings”. I may end up being kicked out of the carpool!
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Fingers, Mac & Cheese

I’m going on a date with my husband tonight. I get so jazzed when we actually go out to a restaurant, and I can enjoy conversation with my Larry without having to subdue my Luke every five minutes. Seriously, the restaurants have a good idea going with the crayons and fun place-mat drawing…..but it doesn’t last longer than 7.5 minutes. I’m hoping this is the standard attention span for a three year old and not an indication of early on-set ADD. Oh the horror….one person in the family is enough.

But I digress.

His favorite bedtime story lately is a book I picked up last year, called Why do you Always Have to Say Please? This book one of the cheesiest books I have ever read. It makes many desperate, far-fetched attempts to rhyme; for example:

“Don’t throw food because it could get messy;
If you are in a restaurant, you could hit someone’s Aunt Tessy.”

How dumb is that?

But, Luke loves it. He especially likes it when his Daddy reads it to him because Larry has a way of making books more enjoyable. Mommy is the serious reader; Daddy reads to make it funny. And depending on Luke’s mood, he’ll let us know whose turn it is to read.
But back to this silly book: it’s a book where these two kids are dining at a restaurant with their parents, and its purpose is to teach “restaurant manners.” I have to say that it must be soaking in because last night we went to dinner with friends, and not one time did he squirrel out of his seat. He must have remembered:

“No whining when dining,
And remember where to keep your hiney.”

Why did I buy this book? Did I just like the title? Who knows…..but if it keeps Luke in his seat, it was worth the $4.99.

That’s it for Friday, friends. I’m ready for my date tonight!

Until next week, remember, “Chicken Fingers, Mac & Cheese, never forget that it’s nice to say ‘please’.”
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Give me some WISDOM

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” ~James 3:17 NIV

I have been thinking often about wisdom lately. What is it? How do I truly live wisely? Do I just need to memorize proverbs…..or is it more than that?

Wisdom is that piece of character that resides outside of the emotions. As a woman – I am so prone to fly by the seat of my pants……constantly directed by my feelings. I can use me some wisdom: not only in teaching my child how to love or in living frugally, but also in my work life. I am a manager for goodness’ sake, and I cannot make business decisions based on how I feel! Because more often than not – I don’t like my employees. That’s horrible to say. I try so much to love them and be a joy in their lives……but that isn’t always how it stacks up. However, regardless of how I “feel” about them personally, I cannot make decisions for their career based on my emotional status. I NEED WISDOM.

And you want to know something ironic? Larry and I have been asked to teach a Sunday school class at our church for recent college graduates. After praying about the direction to take the class, wisdom has repeatedly raised its hand. Funny how the Lord lays something on your heart that you need to work on……….and then calls you to teach it so that you really have to study it. Thank God He is always purposeful in my life. He knows what I need and He makes sure I find a way to get it.

So Lord, here I come. You told me to ask you for wisdom; and when I ask, You have promised to pour it out freely.

If any of you have ever done a great study on wisdom that truly impacted you………..or have any ideas for a study……….leave a comment for me.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Trying Times of Toddlerhood

Give me a break! Please, sweet Jesus, just HELP me here!!
All weekend long, I have been struggling (yes, struggling to the uttermost definition of the word) with my sweet Luke.

He has attitude! And when I say "attitude", I'm not talking about a calm, precious, peaceful personality. Certainly not the kind Paul talked about when he told us our "...attitude should be that of Christ Jesus," Phil 2:2-4

Luke's attitude of late is one of defiance. stubbornness. ugliness. Anything BUT lovely.
And I, as his mother, have also failed to exhibit the patience the Bible calls me to have.

Why must he press me to the limits? Why does he act like a rebellious teenager when he hasn't even had his fourth birthday? I'm happy for the Amazon buy-with-one-click, because James Dobson's The Strong-Willed Child was purchased earlier today during the midst of a Luke Dalke Meltdown.

I want to be a good mother (as we all do).....and I somehow had this notion that motherhood is all pony-ride birthdays and playground bliss. Until, I heard my own mother's voice come out of my mouth two days ago as we were driving to the grocery store. The aforementioned strong-willed child was doing his thing in the backseat......throwing a fit that should have been filmed and submitted to the actor's guild. It was definitely one for the Oscars.

Anyhow, I pulled to the side of the road and my mother said, "Luke Philip Dalke, I will pull this car over, and I will wear your tail out and it will hurt." Except - it wasn't my mother.....it was ME. I said it. I did one of those "things" I swore I would never do as a mother.
And there went the dream of being the perfect mom. Out the window with my sanity.

Now I have realized that there is no such thing: No One has attained the crown of "Perfect Mother". And thank goodness! Because then my competitive nature would surely drive me over the edge to beat her record.

Thank God for GRACE. I am now convinced that there is more grace for mothers than there is for everyone else. There just has to be based on the law of physics.....or something like that.....because we NEED it desperately. All moms blow it. Every woman who has given birth to an innocent, lovable infant who has then turned into a toddler has thrown her hands up in exasperation.

And so now, after (1) a dinner where there were burps with no "excuse me's", (2) where there were two legs that kept finding there way out of their chair, and (3) where there was an ugly "I don't have to" attitude - - we are sitting in the living room watching the movie Cars. Both of us have a chance to redeem ourselves, and as I look down at this once again sweet little boy......I know that I wouldn't change him for the world.

And there will be more weekends like these.....you can just ask my mom.

Dear Mom,
Wow. You had THREE of us. I'm so sorry.....but I get it now. I promise that I have more love and respect for you than ever. I know you just always wanted to be the perfect mom. And you know what? You were......you did the best you could with what you had to work with!
I love you,
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Faves....

I'm joining Missy at "It's Almost Naptime" in posting my Friday Faves.

This weeks' topic is "What is your favorite music that you listen to in your car?"

I spend an inordinate amount of time in the car (driving to and from work), so I have either my iPod, a CD, or the radio going at all times.

My recent go-to music in the car is Christy Nockels' Life Light Up album. The entire cd is awesome (or in the words of a teenager, epic). The lyrics that "light me up" are:

I may live and I may die

Either way You're glorified

Bless the day I give my life away!

My "other" greatest-favorite in the car is Travis Cottrell's Jesus Saves Live.....Mercy Seat....enough said.

Luke's favorite is Seeds Family Worship. This is scripture based music that actually helps you (and your child!!) memorize verses! I love it because Luke is listening to the Word of God in the car....and he'll tell me to play it over and over. So literally, while we are driving, seeds of the WORD are planted into his mind. I highly recommend this to anyone with children. And Missy, I was turned on to this by reading a post you had written about it several months ago.
Thank you for the suggestion!

Lastly, Larry's favorite drive-time listening is talk radio.....and occasionally the classic rock station. :)

Pop over to Missy's site for links to other Friday Faves: It's Almost Naptime!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Scene in my kitchen on Sunday afternoon:

*One toddler size 9 shoe on the floor (who knows where its mate was)
*3/4 of a Transformer toy near the island
*One cap gun on the bottom shelf of the baker's rack
*6 crayons scattered around the breakfast bar
*1 very loved dog toy resting next to the back door

Everything was out of place except for the partridge in a pear tree.....and that's only because we don't have either.
Just shy of being anal retentive about organization, I like my house to be clean and put-together.
Clutter does not lend itself to my sanity. Suffice it to say that with a 3 1/2 year old boy and a 16 year old girl at home, I am insane at least 42% of the time.

Every other Wednesday when I come home from work, I breathe in the smell of clean Fabulosa floors and Windexed mirrors. These are the days a sweet lady cleans my house. Oh such days should come around more often, but that would cost more so I deal with it.

As I was surveying the madness that was my kitchen, I decided to just clean it up on my own instead of waste my breath trying to teach Luke a life-lesson about picking up after yourself. As I knelt down in disgust at the disarray, the thought struck me that my soul gets cluttered just like my house.

*Bad attitude in the long check-out line ("hurry-uuuPP muttered under my breath)
*A sharp tongue unleashed out of frustration at an innocently energetic 3 year old
*Ugly words spoken about an imperfect boss (by an imperfect employee)
*Selfishness in wanting what is mine to remain mine
*Fear of "what will happen" if I obey God in a certain matter

This is just a sample of the clutter that piles up in my heart like dirty laundry.

My soul needs to be de-cluttered every single day. A twice a month house cleaning by a hired service just won't be sufficient. Bringing my heart to the Lord daily and truly listening (that's my issue) to what He's telling me to weed out is a necessity. Otherwise pride and greed can build up and erode our intimacy.

Ephesians 5:26 says, ".....to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,"
A scholar could go several different directions with this, but one thing is clear to me: my spiritual house is cleansed by drenching myself in the Word of God.

Oh that we would all be as diligently clutter-free with our souls as we are with our physical homes. Well, unless you are the aforementioned 16 year old girl.....and you could use some (encouragement?) in being more concerned about the cleanliness of the physical, too.

I want that Wednesday-afternoon-clean-house happiness to be experienced in my "spiritual house" daily.

Thank You, Jesus for the power in Your blood shed on the cross for me. I am hopeless and helpless without You as my cleansing agent.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Scripture Memory Verse 16

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart."

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

I have just completed Week One in Jennifer Rothschild's Me, Myself, & Lies bible study, and I have been blown away to recognize where my mind spends most of its time. My thought closet is jammed full of fears and worries and generally negative thinking. Wow, I don't even like to admit that. But thank God, He has opened my eyes to this so that He can transform my mind by the power of His WORD. I don't think it's ironic that a couple of months ago, I posted about my mental rat-race.

Jennifer said at one point in the first week that "....worry filled meditation never leads to liberty. It turns your thought closet into a prison filled with life-choking weeds..."

My 16th verse for 2009 is Proverbs 3:3 because I need to plant that truth where the yuck has been.

Christ is grace and truth, and He is my standard.....

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Friday, August 14, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things.....

It's Friday, so I'm naturally thinking happy thoughts. Since I'm thinking such happy thoughts, I decided to post about things that make me happy!

Here is my Top Ten (keep in mind that these change at a moment's notice, depending on what mood I'm in; what time of the month it is; or whether or not my child just decided to color the carpet in his bedroom.)

In typical David Letterman backwards countdown style:

(10) Books. I love to read. And Karen Kingsbury is my all-time favorite Christian fiction author. I love how her characters become my own family (I'm not joking, I totally feel as though the Baxter's are my cousins). Every time I read one of her books, I sense my own relationship with the Lord growing deeper.....and that's pretty powerful y'all.

(9) Coffee (I particularly like the kind from convenience stores). Here is my recipe, tried and tested each morning for the past three years:

  • 20 oz. cup

  • 3 sweet-n-lows (or splenda)

  • 1 french vanilla creamer

  • Mix the creamer with the 3 sweeteners

  • pour roughly 3/4 a cup of coffee

  • top with the machine-made cappucino

This is a no-fail recipe for a DELICIOUS cup of coffee. If, however, you are driving on Hwy 69 in southeastern Oklahoma - - you are probably better off grabbing a McCafe at the nearest McDonalds.

(8) Maxi Dresses - although I have lusted after these in windows and catalogs all summer, I finally bought one for myself last weekend. It's literally the most comfortable thing I have ever worn.

(7) Plato's Closet - brand-name-gently-used clothing. I'm not much for buying tanks or t-shirts or shoes at resale shops.....but this place has been a wonderous discovery for my personal jeans selection. I have purchased Citizens of Humanity, Seven for all Mankind, and Joe's Jeans at very low prices (the most I have paid for one pair is $35).

(6) Lessons I learned in the Dark - by Jennifer Rothschild - I heard Jennifer speak at She Speaks, and she is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. She has such a beautiful faith, and her love for Jesus is written all over her face. I started reading this book on an airplane last weekend. Her words and encouragement just drove me to the feet of Jesus....right there in row 8C.

(5) Weekend morning breakfasts with my husband. There are fewer things I enjoy more than a)my husband and b) peanut butter and jelly toast.

(4) Jillian Michael's 30-day-Shred - those who know me, know that I really-really-really-really love to exercise. And this, my friends, is the work-out DVD of the year for me. To quote Miss Jillian, "you don't have to spend hours phoning it in at the gym..." I have sincerely seen a difference in my body after using this.

(3) Scentsy! Okay - I may be a little bias because I sell this stuff. But it's awesome! Scentsy is a line of wickless candles, where highly scented wax is melted by a 25-watt bulb in a decorative warmer. Sound confusing? Check out my website: www.scentsy.com/smellgoodie. There are over 80 scents and 50 warmers to choose from. There are also plug-in warmers that fit perfectly in bathrooms or hallways. I actually keep one plugged in 24/7 in my son's room....because it not only makes it smell better, it is his night-light!

(2) Stella & Dot jewelry - www.stelladot.com/kimberlyjohnson. My friend Kimberly just started her own business, and oh-my-gosh, this jewelry rocks! It's very reasonably priced....and what's not to like about jewelry that is sported by everyone from Paris Hilton to the Bachelorette Jillian??

(1) My FAMILY.

My family makes me so happy. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and I am humbled when I step back and think about how much God has graced me with these.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

That's just UG-ly

I haven't posted in five (six?) days because someone chewed my laptop power cord. That certain someone will not claim the blame....primarily because they cannot talk. I initially blamed Kathryn, my 16 year old stepdaughter for the incident; but then I realized she doesn't have a habit of chewing on power cords. So, it must have been the cat.

We just got back yesterday from a wonderful mini-vacation to Los Angeles. When I say "mini", I really mean 3.5 quick-not-long-enough days.

Larry and I took Alex, Kathryn, and Luke to Los Angeles to spend time with Lauren; and we squeezed every drop out of those few days. Disney Land, Venice Beach, shopping on Melrose Avenue and shopping at the Grove were just a sample of our adventures.

Luke just totally turns his show on when he's around his brother and sisters. This 3 and a half year old child evolves into a comedian when he has an audience. He even said "your mudder" (translation: your mother) to Alex in the perfect context when Alex was teasing him. Not that I am pleased that he is so quick with such an inappropriate retort, but it was pretty funny. Much of Luke's comedic behavior is a product of staying home this summer with his big sister, Kathryn, instead of going to Miss Dorothy's as he normally would. I am reasonably sure that Dorothy does not hold Michael Jackson video viewing parties or teach the kids rap songs off of her iPod. I'm just praying that when someone at pre-school takes away one of his crayons, he won't start talking about their mom.

So back to my original point for this post (which, I never started telling...!).

I had to discipline Luke several times during our trip for his ugly mouth and/or snotty behavior. He would back-talk me and just blatantly do things he knew were not acceptable. He even picked a burger (translation: booger) and put it in Kathryn's purse! Gross!

I felt like a parrot constantly repeating, "Luke, that's ugly; we don't act that way." I swear I said it twenty times in a half hour period.

I was lying in bed on Saturday night, praying before I went to sleep. In the midst of confessing a situation(s) where I responded to Larry with a bad attitude, I was reminded of my words.....only this time it sounded like, "Oh Amy, that was Ug-ly." It struck me that God would use the same words that I had spoken to my child - to convict me of an ugly attitude. Is He not the perfect parent, though?

It blows my mind that my love for Luke doesn't even come close to God's love for me! My finite mind just cannot take it all in. I am praying today that God will help me to know His love that surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

And Lord, help me not to act ugly (especially because I have a precocious child with a sponge-like mind, who repeats everything he hears...)


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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Waking up Late Messes with my Head

I woke up late today.

Too late to have my "quiet time"....and so late that I didn't have time to dry my hair before leaving the house.

My sweet Larry doesn't fare well on those days that I hit snooze, because I generally treat him like it's his fault. For example, today, my coffee didn't taste right (his fault); his attempts at humor were met with an annoyed eye roll; and each time he tried to make me laugh, I acted like "that was the dumbest thing I have ever heard".

Ewww.....when I don't spend quality time refreshing my mind in the Word FIRST thing in the morning, I am yucky.

On the way to work (we rode together this morning), I read Lysa Terkeurst's Proverbs 31 devotional aloud. The basic point was that we should allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts - - and in doing this, we must make the choice to overcome petty aggravations and disappointments. I love the statement she used, "If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, it's still a pretty good day."

After I finished reading the devotional, Larry grinned at me and told me that I could just dust myself off and say, "If bad tasting coffee is the worst thing that can happen to me today...then it is still a pretty good day".

I had to smile; and when I dropped him off, I drove through Starbucks. :)

Colossians 3:15-17, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What is in a Brand Name?

I have always loved brand names.

From the time I was in third grade and all my friends wore Keds, I have been aware of the power of wearing a "name".
My mom didn't want to spend the $25 on real Keds - so instead I wore the Payless version, which didn't have a blue tag on the back. This made my eight year old heart feel a bit "less than" the cool kids.

In fourth and fifth grade, everyone wore Guess jeans and Espirit outfits - also something I never owned. And oh, the conflict this created between my mom and me! Still, the underlying issue was that I wasn't secure enough in my own name to hold my head high in my JCPenney clothes.

I still love a designer name on my clothes. From Ralph Lauren to Juicy Couture, I love the confidence booster and status I feel when I wear them.....and don't even get me started on purses and handbags.
The name lust doesn't stop at clothes; I love to dress my home in Williams & Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.

What is up with this?

Not only is this an issue of insecurity, I think it's an identity crisis. See, I have concluded that my love for all things brand name is rooted in the desire to belong.....or to be accepted. By adorning my body, shoulders, or living room with a "name", I am letting people know I belong to the Cool Club.

In Isaiah 44:5, the Lord says, "Some will proudly claim, 'I belong to the Lord.' Others will say, 'I am a descendant of Jacob.' Some will write the Lord's name on their hands and will take the honored name of Israel as their own." (NLT)

This verse got me thinking about my name brand issue....and I plan to dive further into this topic because the very next verse starts the discussion of manufactured idols. Hmm....
It's not that I consciously bow down to Seven for all Mankind jeans, but am I not worshipping these things to some degree? Talk about getting the sharp end of the Sword of the Spirit on this topic! This hurts!

When it comes right down to it, I am a child of the Great Designer of all Creation. He tops Dolce & Gabbana and/or Diane Von Furstenberg in His artistry.....and no pair of blue jeans can wash this deluded heart whiter than snow.

Matthew 2:21 - "And His name will be the hope of the world."
Philippians 2:9 - "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Given the Truth of the verses above, with whom do I truly want to identify? The Maker of the Universe or the maker of really cool handbags? The Ancient of Days or the Hot-for-One-Season scarf?
When I think of it that way - the best choice is obvious.....maybe not so easy at times....but obvious.

Besides that, Jesus picked me and wanted me to belong to Him so much that He has my name written on His hand:

"See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands." (Isaiah 49:16 NLT)

Enough said.

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