Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Childhood Memories

When I was seven, we moved to Dallas. That's another story.
The first house we lived in here had a FABULOUS swing hanging from a tree in the backyard.
Recently, I went to have dinner where Luke and Abby were house-sitting and I saw a swing very similarly to the one from days gone by in a front yard.

I will say, the swing I remember was not this safe. It was on a crazy long rope (seemed like 100 feet when I was seven), and the seat was wooden. We literally would swing so crazy high.

Love it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

One Stop Shop...

Recently, I passed this salon on the way to work.

Do you need to get some paperwork notarized after your Zumba class and finish up with a hair-do? No worries, all of that can be done here. 

There you go! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Friends - Mirtza

This is embarrassing, but I totally thought for the two years I hung around this sweet lady that her name was Mirsa. Fortunately they sound very similar. Know how I found out? We were saying goodbye in Florida and she wrote her email address on paper. The lights came on. I felt like a jerk.

This is sweet Mirtza.

She has the sweetest heart. Our relationship was in Spanish, which always proves to be interesting. 
We would often share about being single and she was very vocal about her desire to be married. I learned a lot about her family in Colombia and how she misses them. 

There were times she would ask for help with the munchkins. 
Mirtza has such a gentle spirit. She can be firm, but is so loving and kind. 

This summer, she was sent to pick me up from the airport in Orlando. It was a lengthy drive back to the house and we chatted about all sort so things. That is one of my sweetest memories with her. I was able to hear her dreams, passions, desires, etc. She shared about her goals and what she wishes for as she thinks towards the future. 
Mirtza has a precious heart for the Lord and I'm praying the Lord grants her the desires of her heart. . I'm thankful for the times we were able to chat, for her patience in my stumbling Spanish, to laugh together while watching the munchkins, and for her willingness to befriend a crazy gringa. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blessed, Encouraged, Thankful

A journey to obedience isn't always easy. I knew that leaving Panama would be difficult, mostly in the leaving behind of significant relationships. And truly, that has been the most difficult in missing my heart friends.

Yet, over and over, the Lord has continued to confirm this road of obedience is the right one.

Gonna be honest, my first day I was definitely doubting at moments and wrestling with, "AM I CRAZY? I have NO idea what I'm doing."

Enter day 2 - staff meeting day. I met with my "boss" (it feels so weird to say that, because she is so much more than that) and with our intercessor (yes, there is a prayer warrior on our team!). Lana, our intercessor, handed me her devotional from the week before and said she was led by the Lord to pass it on to me.

I read it back at my desk and wept. It hit so many of the areas I had given to the Lord in those first two days. It battled against my insecurities and spoke truth over the areas I had been continually laying before Him.

Here is a snippet from what she wrote:
"Great is the call on each of your lives. many of the words I spoke to Jeremiah are true of you today, for before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated each one of you. It is I who appointed you for the task you now perform. It is I who put My words in your mouths, whether you speak, sing, pray, lead, or do the work in an office...Do not say in your hearts, 'I am too young or I am too old. I am too weak or I am too inexperienced. I am too sinful or I am too bothered by too many other things.' Say instead, 'Lord, I give you all that I am. Replace it with all that You are.' Dedicate every moment to Me and I will minister to your own hearts even as you reach out to the hearts of those I'll bring to you whether in your personal lives or in the lives of those among whom you work."


I could share a snippet from every week of staff meetings/devotions because each one has been such a blessing and encouragement from the Lord. Thankful.

It's such a blessing to be a part of this incredible team of people. The sweetness of the Lord's provision is beyond measure.

Here is a snapshot/portion of the amazing team I'm privileged to serve alongside!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Penny Saved... a penny earned. worth advertising.

As taken to heart by this sign.

And yes, I bought one. But not because of the penny.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday's Friends - Mind-a-lynn

This past Wednesday lent itself to today's subject.
(Yes, I know I didn't post last Friday. Let's just say Abby couldn't emotionally handle the subject for last week. Maybe soon. Oh Sweet Four - who I am now calling the Gang o' Four, your time will come. AND I'm not going to be legalistic about my blog and feel guilty if I don't post.)

Sweet Mindy, who used to be my upstairs neighbor at 650 in Panama, lives in the surrounding area of Dallas. She wrote and said she was coming this direction and could we get together. Um...hello? YES!!!!

I saw this on the drive there and smiled to myself.

She called me trying to figure out where to park and I literally walked almost up to her car before she saw me. Oh how this lady makes me laugh! 

As we found a place to settle in away from the music from the artsy coffee shop, the past year since we've last seen each other melted away. Time stopped as we caught up. It felt as though both of us had lived years of life since our time together in Panama and there was much to share. 

Our time together was a sweet reminder and encouragement from the Lord. I so love Mindy's heart for people, truth, the Lord, pursuit, and openness. She is real. LOVE.THAT. We both shared our struggle of wanting to live open and genuine before people. Deep down, people are tired of the masks and the pretending that everything is "fine". We both shared how easy it is to slip into playing the role others expect and our fight to be real people. To remember what God has and is doing in our lives. To be true to that woman - the one He is shaping. 

I walked away so blessed. We laughed. I cried, Mindy teared. The hours passed far too quickly. But we are already looking for a time soon to meet again. 

Love this woman. Love that she is a sister. Love that she is a forever friend - picking up right where we left off. 

Mind - I can't tell you how encouraged and blessed I was by our sweet time together. Thank you. You are a blessing. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Lefties!

Happy International Left-Handers Day!

I received an article from my dad today to celebrate this momentous holiday!

Left-Handed Day

It included pictures and fun little captions that lefties struggle with in living in a right-handed world.
Apparently, only 10% of the population is left-handed, so that makes my daddy and I unique! :)

We are still holding out a slight hope that baby darling will be a leftie.

AND my sweet nephew - the Caleb guy - has a good chance of being a leftie. I'm cheering him on in that endeavor!

It's true that you do learn to adapt when being a leftie. You get used to blisters on your left thumb when using right-handed scissors for an extended period of time.
It becomes normal to smear ink on pretty much anything and to constantly have an ink imprint on your hand.
I've often wondered why I am able to use a computer mouse with my right hand, especially since I am so dominant left-handed. When I was a kid, I remember one Sunday "The Dallas Morning News" had a whole section for left-handed day where that particular section was turned from right to left. It was so fun!

Whenever  going to a person's home to eat or to a restaurant, we always have to plan carefully where we eat so as to "not bump" someone's elbow next to us.

Thankful my daddy and I share this particular trait in common!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Good Day

It's been a good day.

Started off awesome. I had FOUR picture texts from my sweet, Morg, this morning for the first day of school!!!! LOVED it! I saw here grinning like a fool looking at my sweet four. (I don't know what to call them - they are not my siblings or nieces or nephews or kids, maybe I'll just stick with the sweet four.)
THEN their amazing momma posted a picture of the four of them on facebook with a little note to me. Cried. It was like the grieving had begun. Tears rolling down my face. I'm super tempted to make The Sweet Four my Friday's friends tomorrow since I'm already super emotional about it.

Went to work.
Sweet gift from the Lord today. One of the things I've been missing recently is Family Dinners. It began as a purposeful accident (how's that for an oxymoron?), but turned into a tradition. This past year, nearly every night of the week, dinners were shared amongst a minimum of three. It was the BEST time for trying new meals, sharing food, telling stories, saving money on groceries, etc.
Thursday night dinners were also a highlight because even more people would come over.

Photo of Thursday night dinner:

Hey look! There's one of The Sweet Four!
So today at work it came up again about doing family lunches at the office where we would rotate bringing in lunch for the whole crew. Each person would only need to bring lunch for everyone once a month! LOVE this idea. It was a blessing from the Lord, for right now, since I had been talking to Him about missing that.
AND guess what I just realized?? It's Thursday!

I come home from work and I have a PACKAGE! Y'all, I don't know if you ever grow out of the Christmas-morning-excited-feeling when you get a package.
It was from sister. And look what was inside...

Last summer when I visited Sister, we went to this amazing popcorn places .These are my favorite flavors! (Notice - no sweet flavors. Love the savory!) AND there was a sweater/cardigan underneath that is beautiful! What a great sister!!!! Literally squealed when I opened it!

The night finished off with a fabulous, long Skype-session with my sweet friend, Jess. We have been trying to connect and finally were able to. Seriously, an amazing gift from the Lord. LOVED talking with her and sharing life.  I cried at the end as we prayed for each other. It was a great time of talking and laughing and catching up.

Good day. Thankful.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Disclaimers Everywhere

I have a bad habit. I love to read everything. It's ridiculous. Yes, I've read toothpaste tubes, instructions manuals, warning labels, etc (not to mention books, magazines, newspapers, etc).

In middle/high school, I used to program people's VCRs (remember those? I had to explain what they were on the way back from kid's camp). A couple would go out for dinner, I would babysit their children, and after the kids went to bed, I would program electronics so the clock wouldn't flash anymore. Why? Because I had read so many instruction manuals and could do it. Ridiculous.

So what's the point?
Y'all, there are crazy disclaimers and warnings on so many things. Yes, we've all seen the old school email forwards that used to get sent with those and the pinterest notes about it too.

Well, I came across one last night.

Do you see it?

Why do we need the disclaimer? Because you know somewhere, some poor watermelon farmer was sued because a runaway seed found it's way into a watermelon and someone choked or complained due to false advertising.

Yep, I read the sticker. There's material everywhere.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Truly, Nothing Sweeter

Tonight I went to a church I visited last week because they were having a worship night.
I saw in the same seat as last Sunday, kind of in the back, alone. I'm going to blog later about going to church alone, it's not that bad.

Sitting there, really, so excited to be in this place, preparing for worship in song and ready to see what the Lord had in store.

This particular church does the whole awkward, "Say hello to someone around you" at the VERY beginning, before anything else.
So I shake hands (missing the hugs, people!) with the ladies in front of me. One of them asked if I attended to which I replied, "Well, I visited last Sunday."

During the first song, Ms. Jane turns around and asks me to come sit with them. Gonna be honest, I almost said no. Simply because I find great sweetness in being alone in an environment like that - yes, it may sound weird, but there you go. But I said yes.

At the end we chatted for a few minutes and I find out, she is from out of town and is visiting her sister who attends this church. How sweet is that?

So thank you, Ms. Jane, for asking me to sit with you. You were a blessing.

I have to be honest - it was an incredibly sweet time in the presence of the Lord. I cried through a ridiculous number of songs, being overwhelmed by the grandeur of God, His holiness, His provision, His faithfulness, and so much more.

The sound of voices lifted in praise to Jesus is overwhelming. Makes your heart long for heaven!

And as a sweet treat from the Lord, one song was sung in both English and Spanish. LOVED that!

There is truly nothing sweeter than sitting before the Father and crying out to Him for who He is. Beautiful!

This is one of my new favorite songs and I really like it in Spanish! :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday's Friends - Nedelka

If any of you have ever been a part of the CCA community in Panama, everyone knows and loves Nedelka.
She is officially one of the school's "secretaries". Is that term even used anymore? I don't know.
But to anyone that knows her, she is far more.
She is the mediator of so many things. The one in the know, especially when it comes to MEDUCA.
She knows everyone in the school, their stories and backgrounds. Ned can find out answers about almost anything.

Ned (no, I did not give her this name, but I did adopt it. I first heard it used by Christina!!!) was one of the first people I met at CCA. She was the only one at the time working in the office besides the administrators. She was our go-to for just about anything. I would turn in paperwork to her, share funny stories, share prayer requests, tell her about a parent situation (gained SO much wisdom from her about these), and asked numerous questions about all sorts of things. I always loved coming to tell her a story about a student asking about Jesus or praying and she would rejoice with me. Loved that!

Nedelka is one of the sweetest and most servant-hearted people I have ever met. She has a plethora of patience and works with excellence in all she does. In all that Ned does, she has such a humility that is incredibly admirable.

This past year, Nedelka and I didn't work together at the school (though I would still see her and get some amazing hugs), but Ned volunteered in the children's ministry and we got to see each other that way. Most may not know this, but Ned was one of my biggest cheerleaders this last year. She was incredibly encouraging and I would walk away from talking with her rejoicing that the Lord spoke to me through her.

I so admire Ned's service, love for people, humility, her parenting (she is amazing, along with her husband Alex - and their babies are precious and so polite and darling). I'm  blessed to have shared life with her in lots of capacities. She is a precious sister and friend.

Yes, this picture is when we were saying "see ya' later". Thus the watery eyes.