Conversation #182: Sadness

I really have no words.  I have no children yet so I can't even come close to knowing what it would feel like to lose my baby, my child.  I also have no way to even begin to understand how someone can shoot anyone, but especially children, basically point blank.  Only someone that is very disturbed.  There is no way to explain it.  I don't even know the proper response to most of this other than I am praying and will continue to pray for those hurt and wounded by this horrible act.  All I can do in any situation is to turn to God, my Father, for peace, love and comfort.  I truly don't know how people make it through a day in this fallen world without Him.

First, I want to share this link from Melanie's blog, Big Mama - it is touching, perfectly said.  Read it here.

Also, if you feel unsure or are questioning why God would allow this, read THIS.  The only thing that helps me understand these tragedies and find any sort of peace or comfort is because I know God works through ALL and redeems ALL, and that someday I will understand all of this and His glory.

Lastly, I really don't want to get into the gun control debate today.  I wrote this post, sadly, not too long ago after the Aurora tragedy that you can read if you want a more lengthy thought.  I will say this, we will never have a world without guns.  They already exist - you will never recover them all.  That is the world we live in, not the utopia of a gun-free world.  Therefore, the idea to try and take away all guns scares me more than the current world we live in.  I don't say that lightly.  I am seriously questioning the decision to have a baby because if I let it, it terrifies me to think of raising a child in this world.  However, if there is ever a night I am laying in bed and hear someone enter my house, you better believe that I want to be able to protect my child from that person who didn't care if there was a gun ban law or not.  Like I said in my previous post, drugs still exist, prohibition didn't work.  The answer: Jesus Christ.  You see, it is becoming clearer and clearer to me how our Country is turning from God and yet at the same time is searching for control over chaos (tragedy, finances, health).  The only way to peace and security is Jesus.  The only way to find control is to submit to His perfect will.  He loves us all and grants me peace so many times a day.  He is the Light of the World.  With Him, there is no fear.  I have said enough.  Tomorrow will be a blog day of silence to remember all of those precious souls in Newtown.

I just want to leave you with lyrics to a song we sang at church this last Sunday by Matt Redman (from metrolyrics.com):

Even though I walk through the valleyOf the shadow of deathYour perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middleOf the storms of this lifeI won’t turn back, I know You are near
And I will fear no evilFor my God is with meAnd if my God is with meWhom then shall I fear?Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
And I can see a light that is comingFor the heart that holds onA glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troublesBut until that day comesWe’ll live to know You here on the earth
And I will fear no evilFor my God is with meAnd if my God is with meWhom then shall I fear?Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
You keep on lovingAnd You never let go
Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
Yes, I can see a light that is comingFor the heart that holds onAnd there will be an end to these troublesBut until that day comesStill I will praise You, still I will praise You
I can see the light
Yes, I can see a light that is comingFor the heart that holds onAnd there will be an end to these troublesBut until that day comesStill I will praise You, still I will praise You
Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
So strongSo wiseSo loving Lord
Oh no, You never let goThrough the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
Oh, Lord, You never let go of me



Conversation #181: 7 Quick Takes

I am back with 7 Quick Takes again this week - I kind of enjoyed last Friday.  Check out Jen's and the others here.

1. I have to share this - if you have a heart, I warn you, it might make you cry!  This was a story I saw when reading my daily Cultural Commentary post - check out the full story here.  Basically, this young boy has cerebral palsy and is on his school's wrestling team.  He finally got his chance to wrestle a very kind-hearted young man and this is the video, but seriously ready the story because I think it will encourage you!

2. So I sang the song this week "Reunited and it feels so good"...to my skillet.  Yep, I have been attempting to "cook" in our kitchen with only a stockpot for about the last 4 weeks or so.  I hadn't been able to locate the rest of our cookware, but I finally did this week and made stir-fry for real.  It was awesome!

3.  I am tired of getting headaches everyday.  Trying to get pregnant means I need to go off some of my migraine meds - the good news, now I know they were working.  The bad news: now they can't work.  I will survive, but getting more sleep would probably help too.

4.  I love Christmas specials.  Blake Shelton's was pretty hilarious and I love Reba McIntyre.  Although the part where they shot a bunch of the claymation characters was so wrong, it was also so funny.  I can't wait for Michael Buble's this Monday - although I have to say I like him singing better than trying to be funny, but I will still be watching!

5.  I still have no Christmas decorations up, but hopefully I will rectify that this weekend.  I am reading a Christmas Carol though so that helps.  Is it weird though that I picture the Disney characters when reading the real book?  Probably.  Oh well.

6.  I miss The Sing Off.  If you have never watched, you need to. However, I don't know when it is coming back.  It used to be a Christmas season show so I miss it right now, but I think it might come back after the first of the year.  Anyway, keep an ear out for it (haha) because they are always seriously talented.

7. Speaking of singing shows, the hubby and I kind of love The Voice.  Like all shows, some aspects annoy us, but overall the talent is AMAZING!  I will almost be happy if anyone wins because I love them all, but there are a couple I do love slightly more.  Anyway, basically each week I feel like I just watched a really awesome concert - the show last week was the best.  Check it out too.

Okay, that is all I have for today.  Also, don't forget to go check out my 7th post ever over at Misty's awesome blog. I will warn you, it is a bit political, but it sort of makes me laugh now what I was upset about that day.  It is so much worse in my opinion now, but it is what it is.  Overall, God is in control and bigger than any president, ruler, king, politician, etc.  I get to rest in that peace today and always!  Sure, some days get me down and I want to shake a million people and say, "what are you thinking?" when it comes to politics and the future of the Country.  However, my constant is the Lord and I am so glad I get to celebrate Him this season and always!  Merry Christmas!!!


Conversation #180: Babies

If you are following along with Misty's Christmas Link-up party, then you may know that my 6th post ever on this blog was a conversation about babies and how I was so not ready for one.  Check it all out here!

Well, my how things have changed in a couple of years (well not quite two).  Now I am longing for a baby like crazy - I want nothing more than to be pregnant!  See, I told everyone eventually I would be ready to not be ready.  I know once a baby comes, I will be freaked out and wonder how I will care for that little life, but I am so ready for that.

You see, back a couple of years ago my husband was still in law school, and A LOT has changed since then.  He graduated, passed the bar, started and now runs a successful solo practice, I took the PE exam and passed, got a promotion, and we moved to a bigger house ready to fill with kids!  God has been so good and gracious and blessed us so much over the last couple of years - none of the above would have been possible without Him!  Now I am trying to remember to trust Him and His perfect timing (it has all been perfect so far) when it comes to babies and getting pregnant.  We have only been trying for a couple of months so it isn't like we are in the throes of infertility.  I am not freaking out or anything.  I am just impatient and want to be pregnant now, so I know I need surrender that to Him and let it be in His time and in His perfect way.

Anyway, I just thought it would be kind of fun to update on the whole baby thing since it has pretty much made 180 since that 6th post.

How about the rest of you?  Have you taken a look back to see where your brain was in the beginning?  It has been kind of fun!

P.S.  If you read my 5th post about Missions and traveling - here is a little update.  We have yet to take a Missions trip outside of the country, but I do hope to someday.  We did get to take a little trip to the Dominican Republic to visit friends and celebrate being done with law school and the bar exam (so I have a passport now!)  Of course, that was a fun touristy trip, but we did get to see some of the local areas while driving to and far - just seeing how they live and getting to hear about it from my friend who is from there is enlightening to hear about how others live.  It also makes me truly grateful for this great country and having grown up here.  I really hope to not take that for granted and be thankful to that and God for His blessings daily!!!


Conversation #179: What I Wore Wednesday

*I discovered my problems with posting pictures were due to the fact I was using Google Chrome - seems weird that all Google products weren't playing nice together.  Oh well!
pleated poppy
So I decided to link-up today with the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday - this is my first time.  I'm not a stay-at-home mom, but I think I am still allowed to link-up.  A while back I realized that I was becoming very lazy in my dressing for work because I work at a city where most people just don't care what they look like.  That sounds bad - I work with great people, but most are over 50 and either the men have no clue or the women are going through menopause and where knit pants and shirts everyday that sort of look like pajamas in my opinion.  Now I don't have a banner day everyday, but I realized I was pretty much wearing khakis and a polo shirt everyday for a while so I started trying to challenge myself to dress better - it makes me feel better and I think presents a more professional image in my job as well.  So here are my most recent outfits:
 Outfit breakdown:
Silk Blouse, J. Crew, $? (I don't remember)
Pants, Gap, $13
Red Leather wedges, Sole Society, $40 (LOVE THEM - join here if you want great shoes at great prices!
Necklace, JCP (old), $16

Outfit breakdown:
Sweater, Lands' End Canvas, $16 (I think)
Cords, Lands' End Canvas, $20ish
Boots, Eddie Bauer, $62
Necklace, local place - old, $5


Outfit Breakdown:
Lacey Tank, J.Crew, $15
Cardigan, Lands' End Canvas, $16
Skirt, Talbots, $23
Leather boots, Banana Republic via Ross, $40 (5 years or so ago)
Necklace, Coldwater Creek, $10

Outfit breakdown:
Jacket, Lands' End, $30 (I love the back detail)
Top, LOFT, $18
Pants, ? - I honestly can't remember what pants I'm wearing this day, haha
Leather boots, Target, gift
Necklace, J.Crew Factory, $8

What have you been wearing lately?  Link-up over at the Pleated Poppy!

Also, don't forget to check out my 5th post ever over at Across and Down a Little with Misty!


Conversation #178: A Link-Up

Misty over at Across and Down a Little decided to host a fun Christmas link-up party where we count-up to Christmas by linking back to our very first posts ever.  Technically I had a blog before this one that grew to be bigger (not huge, I think I had like 140 followers), but then I became bitter over a blogging thing so I took a break for a while.  I started anew with this one, but it has been almost two years (okay a few months shy) since I started this one so it actually was fun to go back and look at where it began.  You can always scroll over to the side and check-out my archives, but make sure and head here so you can see mine and others first posts.

I would love to add a picture here for you, but Blogger and Google Chrome don't play nice apparently on my computer so I need to go back to use LiveWriter I think to make this all work.  Anyone else having these problems with uploading pictures?


Conversation #177: 7 Quick Takes

So I decided to join in on the fun with Jen and partake in the 7 Quick Takes Friday link-up that a few of my daily reads do, so here it goes (I figure this is an easy way to get me back into blogging):

1. I haven't blogged in so long it took me a few extra seconds to realize how to start a new post.  Sad isn't it?  I blame it on the house. And Thanksgiving.  And a cold.

2. So the house; it is actually coming along.  We can sit on our couch and watch a movie if we want now - isn't that fabulous?  I mean I thought being able to shower and use a toilet in the same room was big time, but now I think movie watching trumps that.  Plus, that has been nice since I have been so sicky this week that the husband and I have pretty much only watched movies every night this week.  It has been a nice and much needed break from the house renos.

3. Thanksgiving - we stayed in town to hang with hubby's family, and my parents also came down.  They are awesome.  Not only did they put together their own bed for sleeping without complaining, my mom totally did all of the dishes while they were here and cleaned my saw-dust filled house.  I miss them.  Glad Christmas is just around the corner!

4. A cold.  I hate being sick.  And, if you ask the hubs, he will tell you I'm the worst sick person and way too dramatic.  Probably true.  I hate being sick.  When I am sick, I try to decide which symptom I hate the most: headache, stuffy nose, sore throat or nausea.  It generally changes which one wins, but I think overall is nausea.  I have lived with migraines so long that I can deal with them, and eventually I succumb to the fact that I won't be breathing through my nose for a while so I just deal and sleep with my mouth open.  That leads to more sore throat, but then hot tea becomes the drink of choice for a while.  Nausea, however, I don't know how to do deal with that.  Also, not a normal symptom for me during a cold, which lead me to think I was pregnant, but I wasn't.  I also give in to it easier.  I hate throwing up so I used to fight it with every fiber in my being, but now I would just rather get it out and move on.  I so hope I'm not plagued with "morning sickness" if I am ever blessed to be pregnant.  I am also sorry if this paragraph got gross.

5. My husband and I are avid sports fans.  I was a bigger fan when we started dating in high school, then he far surpassed me in college, and now we both are pretty involved; although he is still way more into sports than me.  I do however listen to local sports radio everyday...but anyway.  We were at our last home football game of our Alma Mater on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when I noticed people asking for autographs.  We started trying to guess who it was, and for a second we though maybe Owen Wilson - would be really random, but his parents live nearby and he and Luke ('cause we are totally on a first name basis) have been known to come around campus in the past.  This first glimpse was why we thought Owen:

OKAY, I was supposed to have pictures here, but Blogger isn't letting me.  Anyone know if something changed?  I was just trying to upload ones from my computer.  It says to sign in to access stored photos, which I don't want to do, but then it won't let me do anything else.  SO FRUSTRATING.  Use your imagination for now.  Sorry!

 It really was Cole Beasley, a former player who is a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys.  Not quite Owen Wilson level of celebrity, but I love Cole Beasely so it was still pretty cool.

6.  I feel like we are missing out on life due to this house.  I said I wouldn't do that, but when you have no where to sit and eat a meal (and I mean the couch not our kitchen table, sadly) you sort of just get sucked into the renos.  I know we are going to try and not miss out on Christmas party stuff, but I already feel like I have missed so much and I'm losing my friends.  That is really sad and probably a bit dramatic, but you do lose friends if you don't put out effort, and I have been too tired to put out effort.  Shame on me.

7. I should attempt to put up Christmas decorations, but it is kind of hard to want to in a partially finished house.  I know that is silly.  I LOVE this time of year, but part of me just thinks, why bother?  No one will see them but me because it isn't like we are hosting anything at our house in the near future.  I am getting sad and mopey so I better wrap this up. I blame it on the clogged sinuses in my head and lovely aunt flo (the reason I know I'm not pregnant nauseous).

Anyway, check out the other quick takers on Jen's blog today!


Conversation #176: Post-election thoughts...if you dare

So I have been processing the election and needed to take a day or so to organize my thoughts which is why I hadn't posted anything yet.  If you are sick of reading election thoughts, by all means skip over this post.  However, this isn't really just about the election but just my thoughts on the country and government as a whole.

Yes - I'm conservative.  Duh.  If you didn't get that from the blog title, well I can't help you.
Yes - I voted for Mitt Romney.  I didn't think he was perfect, but I do think he was the better choice for protecting our liberties, freedom, and making a better country for ALL.
Yes - I am a little sad he lost, but more than that I am BAFFLED.

That is my one word to explain the election this time - BAFFLED.  I was blown away by the results, but now I am using it as an enlightening experience.  I have learned that I don't I fit into the typical mold of my generation so it is interesting (and sometimes mind blowing) to hear why people voted the way they did.  I don't think they are bad people.  I was/am genuinely surprised by the election results.  My husband's word(s) is CREEPED OUT.  I'll explain that in just a few (I kind of am too).

First, let me say that I think conservatives/republicans do a pretty poor job on the PR front.  I think they don't explain their beliefs very well so I am going to attempt to explain mine here.  I am pretty sick of being judged and/or labeled as racist, bigot, selfish, not compassionate, religious zealot clinging to my Bible (although that maybe isn't that much of an insult - I do cling to my Bible!) and many other things.  Like I said, other than the last part, I am none of those things and those are NOT platforms of the Republican party or Conservatives, at least not as a whole.  I clearly cannot speak for everyone in the country, but I would be lying if I said I didn't feel like some Democrats and Liberals acted like those things sometimes.  Which brings me to the meat of my post.  On the whole world level, there is only one type of person - a sinner.  We are ALL sinners and have ALL fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Now, knowing that, there do become two different people in this world and it is necessary to make that distinction to understand the rest of what I want to say.  There are believers/followers of Christ and then there are those that don't.  If you are not a believer, we will fundamentally probably disagree and never understand where the other is coming from because our lives are based on two different cores.  My core is Christ, and therefore that governs my life.  I don't know what the core is for others - mine was mostly self before I gave my life to Christ.  There ya go - those are the only different kinds of people I know.  I don't frankly care about the rest of the stereotypes we have.  Sure, I may disagree with your choices where it comes to things like gay marriage or such due to what God says in the Bible, but that is for you and God to discuss, not me. 

I posted one comment on Facebook (that I didn't even think was that heavily political) but it got a couple of comments, and all of that just got me thinking.

My number one beef with the government is its size and reach.  Many of the issues I don't agree with would go away if the government would back out of my life and go back to the limited powers our forefathers gave it.  I frankly don't think moral issues should be a government's concern, but we have to have those debates in politics because our country has allowed the government to be involved and we took moral issues to the political arena.  My comment on Facebook that sort of stirred up a couple of people was me saying how we can't afford entitlement programs (which I am learning are now called "social safety net" programs).  I can even admit that maybe they have good intentions or did so when they started, but they are out of control and we can't afford them.  That is simple to me.  We can't afford what we have now so how on earth can we afford extra programs like nationalized healthcare?  I know everyone thinks the answer is "tax the rich."  I am sorry, but I don't like punishing successful people who worked hard for what they earned, and I would much rather help people learn to help themself -that whole teach a man to fish thing.  So much of this was covered in my post before the election, and was said probably much better than I can.  I get that people fall on hard times, my family has, but I want to run to my brothers and sisters in Christ for help, not the government.

Okay, so here is my question for people who think the answer is to tax those with more to pay for those who don't/can't/won't.  Did you know that you are allowed to send in extra money on your tax return?  If you truly believe that these programs are a worthy cause, why not just send in extra without asking the government to make people do so?  OR why not get the government out of the way and let you decide to what causes you would like to give your money?  Someone told me once that they knew driving while talking on their cell phone was dangerous, but they wouldn't stop doing it until it became a law.  I just don't understand that logic, but it seems like it applies in this case, too.  People won't give unless they are required to by law?  But then I have to give my money to causes I may not agree with (Planned Parenthood for example), and frankly I would rather give more money to my church and the ministries there that I believe in.  Why on earth would we want a government to be our moral police? 

They are about the last people I would want doing that (and I work for a city government so I can talk from that side.  Before you stone me for working there, I believe God brought me to this job and I figure how better to affect change than from the inside!)  If you want to give more to the government, go ahead, but why do you have to make everyone else do it too?  Some people say it is because people won't, well isn't that their prerogative?  Again, why is the government their moral police?  They will some day have to answer to their Creator, why is it your job or the government's to do so today?  You see, Jesus told me, and you (if you are a follower) to help the widows, the orphans, the sick, the hurting.  He didn't say rely on the government to do it.  He didn't say, just pay more taxes so that you don't have to do anything because the government will.  Besides, governments, especially big ones, are ineffective spenders of money.  That should be clear to everyone.  Bush wasn't perfect either - he did spending stuff I didn't like either.  See, my basic thing is that we are asking government to do things (well some are anyway) that I believe God intended the church to do, and the government (especially some in it) make it very clear that God has no place in government so that makes me pretty sure they are going to mess up God's work.  Does that make sense?

I would love for these issues (entitlement programs, gay marriage, abortion) to be "debates" outside of politics and government because they don't belong there but they have been taken there.  Again, if you aren't a believer, this will probably all sound coo-coo to you.  I do have to say though, on abortion alone, I don't know how a believer could vote for a pro-choice candidate (that is not a party-line thing necessarily either, I know there are democrats that aren't pro-choice out there).  I really don't.  I guess that is the one area that it seems we have to get involved because that is a human life being destroyed, and that to me is so against God and the Bible.  If you are a Christian that also claims to be pro-choice, please try to explain that to me.  I will probably never understand, but I really just don't get that at all.  Sorry - that one is beyond my comprehension.

Okay, if you have made it this far - gold star!  Now is where I talk about the CREEPED OUT part.  Again, if you aren't a believer, this may sound cray to you.  My husband said he felt creeped out because it just showed him how much the spiritual world is at work in this nation, and not the good kind.  I know God is in control of all, so I know He was in control of this election but I also know He allows things to happen to show us our need for Him.  I know it is because somehow this is going to work for good and His glory 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB

My dad said God must have finally turned His face against America, and I said I think America turned their face against God.  I don't think you have to look to far in our culture these days to see that, and that is what is creepy and scary.  I know I can rest in the Peace that surpasses all understanding because Heaven is my home, not America no matter how much I love her.  However, I have to be honest, I don't really want to live in a place that turns against God (not in the sense of "I am going to move to X country" because I am mad).  I mean I wish I didn't have to live in a time where our nation may be on the wrong side of Israel (read Genesis 12).

Anyway, this was long and I hope this makes sense to you.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact me!  If you aren't a follower of Christ - I hope you want to at least know more about Him.  All are welcome in the Kingdom - He wants us all there!  Trust me, I am a sinner.  I was mean and ugly to my husband this morning, but as I keep trying to learn to walk in the Holy Spirit to become more and more like Christ, I know God's grace is enough and He already paid the debt for my sins.

In the meantime, I want to leave you with the words to an older church song that God gave me these last few days because this is where I am trying to rest.  In knowing that the only thing I want in this world that I don't deserve is God's grace, mercy and love and I am so THANKFUL I have those.  Everything else can just grow dim.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.



Conversation #175: Election Day!!!

I hope everyone has voted today, but if not, RUN! You still have time in most places! I don't get to rock an "I voted" sticker today because I voted two weeks ago. However, I did rock some red and blue for the day! 

Outfit breakdown:
Sweater, Lands' End Canvas, $20ish
Polka dot peplum top, Kohls, $7
Red jeans, Kohls, $20
Leather boots, Banana Republic via Ross, $40
Leather purse, Banana Republic


Conversation #174: The Election...some thoughts

Y'all have been lucky - I have been so busy with house stuff that I haven't gotten too political on this ol' blog this year, but don't worry, I still pay attention to these things.  Let's be honest, my blog title probably gives most of you an idea about who I support (although, it doesn't pertain just to politics).  I do hope everyone votes, and even though I may disagree with your vote, I am glad we live in a country where we get to vote.

This election season has been hard for me.  I pray often, and struggle with praying for who I want to win versus who will bring the most people to the Lord.  Sometimes I don't think that is the same person so it kind of scares me, but that is when I am glad I can surrender it to the Lord.  I pray that He is in control and that He is in each candidates life.  I did want to share an email my pastor sent out a few weeks ago when our church was talking about the election and current issues.  I really enjoyed what he wrote, and I'm pretty certain I couldn't have done a better job.  So if you haven't already voted early, I hope you are prayerfully and seriously considering who is the right person for the job, and then I hope you exercise your right tomorrow and VOTE!

It is lengthy, but worth the read:

October 12, 2012

“Making a Difference in the Election, November 6”

While I want to take a break from thinking out loud about our mission statement as a church, I want to apply our mission as a church (“reaching our world for Christ”) in the world of politics. Last Sunday I finished preaching 5 messages on 2012 Election Issues. It’s hard to summarize 5 messages in limited space, but I feel compelled to try.

God seeks godly people for His purposes in every aspect of life, and the world of politics is no exception. He calls all godly citizens (that’s us) to think godly about politics and all of life. God wants godly men and women in government, and He wants godly people making godly decisions with respect to government and life.

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (2 Chronicles 16.9).

I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one (Ezekiel 22.30-31).

Consider the Following Summary Points:

The eleven issues noted here are moral issues in the election before us. There are moral issues in every election. Those same issues are the issues of everyday life. They are the issues through which we are salt and light in the fabric of life. In fact, when we live and speak those godly convictions, the voice of God through the people of God becomes the call of God to salvation in their society.

'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.' (Jeremiah 29.7).

First, it is our moral responsibility as Christians and as the church to enter into the moral debates/life of our times – to think and live biblically. That is precisely why we are here – why God has us here – to live for Christ in the midst of a fallen world. The Bible (both Old and New Testament) was written into the political world of governments. For the past 21 centuries the church has lived under governments. The stories of Scripture where godly men and women spoke into governments for godliness are in every book of the Bible. Last week we considered just three of them – Daniel, Esther, and John the Baptist, and how God used their convictions to change governments and impact society. My prayer is – “God do it again, through our lives and through Your church.”

Second, because of this conviction, we must enter into these issues with others – ENGAGE, talk about them, care for people as you discuss them, love them, and seek ways to build bridges into their lives. Talk about them in your home, at work, in school, in your LIFE Group – wherever you are.

Third, our foundation for truth is the Word of God – it is the foundation for life and society in the naked public square. The truth is not public opinion polls of the trends of society. Our foundation for truth is the Word of God. Think biblically. Live biblically.

Fourth, our life as a Christian is a life lived for others. We refuse to live self-centered lives. We are called to love others. We cannot limit our love for others to only those who agree with our biblical and political convictions. We are called to love our neighbors whoever they are and wherever we are. Enter into the brokenness of life with redemptive love and biblical truth.

Fifth, practice prayer in private and public. Let’s pray together as a church. Even though our gov’t says pray has no compelling presence in the public arena, PRAY. Remember Daniel, who prayed three times a day when the law prohibited it.

To that end of pray, remember that this coming Tuesday, October 16, we continue 7 Tuesdays of prayer and fasting leading up to the election November 6. Four Tuesdays remain -

October 16

October 23

October 30

November 6

On each Tuesday, there will be three times to pray (6.30 am, 12 pm, and 6.45 pm). Come and join us.

Sixth, life begins at conception and abortion is the termination of a human life. Since 1973 over 50 million lives have been aborted and killed. We need leaders in gov’t who will stand for life. We need to love and invest in those whose lives have been impacted by abortion.

Seventh, marriage is a union between a man and a woman – embrace a biblical understanding of human sexuality. God is the One who has ordained marriage between a man and a woman. I want to share a website with you which references a letter written to President Obama after he took an open public stand opposing marriage between a man and a woman. The author reflects biblical thinking on this issue. It’s a long letter – carefully thought out. Please take time to read it.


Eighth, insist on the truth with respect to economic and social issues (Micah 6.8). Let me suggest just two crucial issues (although I confess there are hundreds).

Deficit spending will eventually ruin any country. The day of reckoning is here. Deficit spending is a moral issue that will bring us to ruin if not dealt with immediately. The deficit is an issue of justice. How intelligent people refuse to deal effectively with the issue is beyond me. While there are various ways to deal with the deficit, the immorality of a growing deficit is certain.

We are called to apply the truth with regards to the purpose of, the place of, and the size of government. For example, will we increase taxation to cover the deficit and healthcare and see the size of gov’t grow and grow more? Will we timidly allow gov’t to make these decisions, or will we speak and vote our voice?

Ninth, I believe we must maintain a strong position of supporting Israel as a nation. I simply go back to the first words God said when He called Abram to follow Him to a new country;

"And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12.3).

I do not say this at the expense of other issues in the Middle East, in Israel itself, or other foreign policy concerns. I simply believe it is a moral issue to strongly support Israel.

Tenth, vote, and encourage and persuade others to do the same. I quote from my friend Jim Denison and his column today. (http://www.denisonforum.org/cultural-commentary/536-what-worries-me-about-last-nights-debate)

In the last election, we had the second lowest voter-turnout in the world. At 47 percent, we were a point higher than South Korea. By contrast, Belgium's rate was above 90 percent; Greece, much maligned in recent years, votes at above 70 percent. Russia exceeds us by 17 percentage points, Canada by 13. Since our elections have been evenly divided in recent years, around 25 percent of the public elects our president.

Furthermore, in that same election, only half of those who would call themselves “Christians” even bothered to vote. Can you believe it!?!

Eleventh, and finally, I believe in the moral imperative of reaching the world with the gospel - in the immediate world where we live along with a commitment to reach every nation with the gospel. I cannot help but think of the apostle Paul’s admonition which addresses this point, together with prayer;

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2.1-5).

Talk about a compelling argument to take the gospel to the world! Salvation is only through faith in Jesus.

In conclusion, having finished our sermon series on 2012 election issues, this Sunday we begin a new series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In preparation for this Sunday’s message, please read John 14-16. Focus on the parts of the Upper Room Discourse that address the Holy Spirit in these chapters. We’ll begin our series on what Jesus taught about Him.

I pray that God will use these messages to move us personally and our DBC community to be the people He calls us to be in following His Son –

“To be a passionate LIFE transforming community reaching our world for Christ.”

Let’s pray to that end – let’s live to that end. It starts with me.

Joyfully and expectantly,

Pastor Hal


Conversation #173: What to 'do?

Alright, I promised yesterday and I need your help!  Here are the two hairstyles I am deciding between (similar lengths, just different shapes):

My hair isn't quite this long yet, so I am going to ask my hairdresser to cut into of these styles so it grows out into the right shape.  Okay, so should I go with Brittany or Thandie? 

P.S. Is it weird to use a picture of someone who passed away?  I hope not - I loved Brittany Murphy! 


Conversation #172: What I've been wearing lately (or really outfits from the last couple of months)

Don't you just love a really long and descriptive blog title?  Me too!

We are just blowing and going on the house (trying to get most of the big stuff done before my parents come down to stay for Thanksgiving) so I just don't have much time at all to blog.  However, once we hit the lull, be prepared for an abundance of house projects.  That also means hopefully we'll have unpacked and my camera cord will be found so I can quit uploading only phone pictures.  I'm still mostly holding out on house pics for that reason, but here is one teaser of our new granite:
It is called Sienna Bordeaux, and I'm pretty much in love it with it. Oh, and you get a sneak peak of the new cabinets too!  Things are happening, but there was...just...so...much...to...do.  We will finish one day.

So in the meantime, here are some pre-moving outfits, a few at the beginning of the move, and some more from the last week.  I didn't take many outfit pictures over the last 6 weeks because most of my clothes were packed away.  Plus, I was so dang tired everyday, that showering and putting on clothes somewhat appropriate for work was a struggle.

Anyway, here are some ways this ordinary girl has been dressing herself lately.  You can also see my hair growing out through these pictures.  It is a mess and I can't wait to get it trimmed up this Saturday.  I had cut it all off back in April, and now I just want to grow it out.  As I have been changing how I take care of my hair, I have realized I think the curls develop better with more length, but not too long either.  I'll share haircut options tomorrow because I would LOVE your opinion!

 Outfit breakdown:
Top, New York & Company, old
Pants, J.Crew, $42
Leather Sandals, J.Crew, $16
Necklace, JCPenney, older
Outfit breakdown:
Top, New York & Company, bday gift
Jeans, Gap, made skinnier by me, old
Necklace, Christmas gift
Leather sandals, Lands' End Canvas, $35ish I think
Watch, Michele, gift

I think the above and the next few pictures were a day I thought my hair was somewhat behaving.  I added them because you can see how it has grown (and this was a couple months after the initial cut)

Outfit breakdown (weird pose because I wasn't liking my hair this day):
White tee, Lands' End, $6
Pink Jeans/pants (we call them pants so they are work appropriate), JCPenney, $10
Leather sandals, Lands' End Canvas
Necklace, Target, $5
Watch, Michele, gift

Outfit breakdown:
Cardigan, Lands' End, $?
Blouse, Coldwater Creek, $?
Pants, Gap, $12
Sandals, Lands' End Canvas, $35
Necklace, Coldwater Creek, $10
Watch, Michele, Christmas gift

Outfit breakdown:
Top, Banana Republic Outlet, $10
Pants, Talbots, $7
Leather Sandals, Lands' End Canvas, $12
Necklaces, JCPenney and American Eagle Outfitters
Watch, Michele

Outfit breakdown:
Top, Tinely Road via Piperlime, $15
Wool pants, Eddie Bauer, $15
Leather Sandals, J.Crew, $16
Accessories seen above

Outfit break...
I got that new magnetic nail polish from Sally Hansen - I thought it was a fun effect!

Outfit Breakdown:
Dress, The Limited, $80 (a splurge for me, but I had been stalking a dress like this forever)
Leather Boots, Banana Republic via Ross years ago, $40 (I LOVE them)
Accessories seen above

Outfit breakdown:
Top, LL Bean Signature, $12ish
Jeans, Lands End Canvas, $? (probably 20 or less)
Shoes, Toms, Bday gift

Outfit breakdown:
Sweater, Gap, $10ish
Pants, J.Crew, $42
Leather Booties, JCPenney, $25
Purse, Banana Republic
(see how long and unruly my hair is!)

Outfit breakdown
(it was warm today, and I wanted to attempt to wear boots differently):
Jean Jacket, Gap, $20 (8 years ago)
Dress, Lands' End Canvas, $25
Leather Boots, Talbots, $22
Leather belt, American Eagle Outfitters, $?

There ya have it!  A slew of outfits for those of you who care, but I am sure most of you don't :) 

Hope everyone is having a great day!


Conversation #171: Getting there

So we are just going to assume that y'all know I am not posting much because I pretty much live, eat, sleep, breath house reno right now (sometimes I worry literally, I can't wait until all the dust has settled and is gone!)

Anyway, just wanted to pop in.  I could post some lame phone pics, but I would rather wait to post better camera ones once I find the cord.  So I'll just tease you with what we have going on: kitchen cabinets - gone. New cabinets - in the middle of being stained. Counter tops - pick out today during my lunch break. Master bathroom - 90% done!  Master bedroom - 95% done! 

We actually slept in our bedroom for the first time last night.  It felt so weird being 3 feet off the floor. I sort of worried I might roll out of bed and wished I had a toddler rail last night.  Luckily, no falling out of the bed occurred.

We are working fast and furiously, and this thing called a full-time job just keeps getting in the way :)  Really, though, we are making crazy progress and I think I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Granted, it is about the size of a mustard seed, but it is there.  Getting our bedroom, closet, and bathroom 100% done will be amazing, and it will be nice to have a retreat from the rest of the house.  "Someday" is getting closer!

What is new in your world?  I really do want to know!


Conversation #170: The unknown

Who has a fear of the unknown?  Raise your hand? You can bet both arms and legs and head and anything else I can raise is waving around in the air like I just don't care (okay, I digress, and I do care - far too much).  Lindsey (who writes a blog I love and have been reading for years now) talked about her fear in a recent post and it really resonated with me.  Click on her name to read the post.

So my biggest fear is of the unknown, and specifically right now, the end of the world.  Oh yeah, you know, no big thing.  I hate this, because as a Believer, I KNOW God is in control and NO ONE knows when Jesus will be returning.  God is not putting thoughts of fear and anxiety in my mind, but satan is.  I am allowing him to rob me of the joy and freedom I have being a new creation in Christ.  I just want him to leave, and I know I need to just turn my heart to Jesus and just meditate on Him and He will banish satan out.  Somedays it feels like a losing battle though;  like all I day I am just saying "Jesus, give me peace," over and over.

I read this book a couple of years ago that talked about end time prophecy and the like; it is actually a great book and I recommend it, and at the time actually gave me some peace about the end times, but also gave me more knowledge of prophecies in Revelation so I feel like I am constantly on edge hearing about issues in the middle east.  Then I try to remind myself that this is not the first time there has been conflict in the middle east, and I had a fairly strong fear about 3 years ago the world was going to end before I got to meet my nephew.  He is 3 and a half now so clearly I was wrong.  I don't think I actually know, I just worry because I don't know.  Does any of this make sense?

You see, I have always worried about this.  I remember being younger and praying, "Lord, just let me learn how to drive first.  Lord, just let me have my first kiss.  Lord, just let me graduate high school.  Lord, just let me get married."  Then the pleading kind of stopped.  Now, my biggest plea, is "Lord, let me get to have a baby first."  Isn't this just silly?  I know Heaven will be better than ALL of that, but my silly fleshly human mind just can't quite be okay with that.  Then I get mad at myself for wanting to wait so long to have a baby, and then I fall back into law/judgement/legalism and convince myself this is my punishment for trying to have a baby on my time.  That isn't how God works, and I need to remember that.  I need to remember "that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2) and to "not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34) 

I just need to remember to focus today.  The now.  In the meantime, I will just fervently pray that all will come to know Christ (and selfishly, my family and friends that don't).

On a completely silly note, I am also worried that we won't finish house projects and get to enjoy them - which is 100% CRAZY, and I will let go of that.  Honestly, I need to remember to take the house one day at a time too.  We did get a washer and dryer (so our clothes won't smell) and a new light fixture up in our bathroom.  Hopefully by Tuesday I will finally get to eat and drink cold foods again too!


Conversation #169: HGTV was lying...

They make demo work look like so much fun, but in my opinion, it stinks.  I would much rather be putting back and making pretty than pounding away with a sledge hammer.  It is messy and then you have to accept that there were (we are saying "were" not "are") critters living in your walls.  For example, we found acorn shells and nuts under the old bathtubs - gross.  We majorly bug bombed the whole house. 

Anyway, we are starting to gain some traction with the projects, and we are sleeping at the house now so we have much more time to do things (as well as logging more sleeping hours too!)  So below is sort of a dump of a lot of what we currently have going on.  Our goal this week is to finish up the master bathroom and closet and hopefully get the lighting figured out in the bedroom, too.  Then we will move to the kitchen!

We also finally bough a fridge last night.  I will save you the long version, but I felt like we couldn't give our money away.  We didn't think we were being picky, but we went to 3 Best Buys, 3 Sears Outlets, 1 Sears, 3 Lowes, Fry's electronics, and a local Habit for Humanity ReStore (there is a good chance I am leaving one out); oh, and we did a lot of looking online beforehand.  After a twelve hour shopping marathon yesterday, we returned home and our new fridge will join us on Wednesday.  Only a couple more days of soup and crackers for lunch and dinner!  All we wanted, something middle of the road, white, ice maker no water, and not a huge behemoth (our kitchen isn't huge).  We found exactly what we wanted online but couldn't find anyone that could get it for us in a reasonable time, until finally Best Buy came through - I can't even tell you how excited I am.

Okay, so now for some pictures of the progress:

 Demo of an old hall closet and the old master closet to make a dresser and reading nook in our master bedroom:
 The new nook sheet rocked and textured (just needs paint!)  Oh, and we got the new carpet installed

We wanted to open up the house a little and create an opening between the formal living room (we are calling the library) and our family room.  Here are before and afters of the new opening (clearly still in progress):

 Next are pictures of our bathroom demo; we almost entirely gutted it, ripped out the old doorway and made a bigger case opening.  So far, we have new Sheetrock up, the shower (with TWO shower heads)
installed, and the new sub floor is in place.  I can't wait for it to be done!

Two of the pictures just above (I was having a hard time getting Blogger to place these correctly) are actually from the hall bathroom looking back into the master.  We are gutting the hall bath too.

Here is the new shower (hard to get great pictures because it isn't a super deep room):
 We added a new wall in our bedroom to create a bigger closet and add onto the bathroom space to make it feel airier:

We will be adding a pocket door into that opening with glass in it so the light from the window can still enter our room.

This was our trash pile after the first weekend!

That is all for now.  Sorry for the poorly formatted pictures.  I just don't have the energy to fight with blogger right now, but I'll try to just post them more frequently so there is less to post.  Hope you enjoyed a look into my life lately!