Welcome to my blog!

So the truth is that trying to survive in our world as a woman is hard enough at times but toss in some Christianity and you got yourself quite a challenge. My name is Miranda and welcome to my blog. I recently married the love of my life and went from the single life to the newly married adventure. I'm sure my upcoming writings will dive into this new and exciting stage of my life. Sometimes life is quite funny, sometimes it's downright entertaining, and sometimes it can get a little bit more serious. I love God and want to live a life that pleases him but that sometimes is easier said than done. :) So join me as I walk through the trials, struggles and joys of life when the only thing that works is a little chocolate and a lot of faith.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You Know You're In Love When...

So, here's the thing about being in love, almost everything else comes in as the runner up, which explains why I haven't been blogging although if I published the journal I have kept over the last 4 months I could quite possibly make a mint. Lol!

The truth is friends, I have been enjoying this season of my life. Every day I keep getting blown away by the sheer goodness of God and being able to be in this place. It is better than I ever imagined and I wonder some days if it's a dream and I'm going to wake up but thankfully that's not the case and my Joe reminds me of that everyday.

However I wanted to share some things that I've discovered over the recent months about being in love that I thought you would find interesting and I again do ask for your forgiveness for not writing more, I've missed it and missed all of you so you will be hearing from me a lot more. Well, are you ready? Sweet...

You know you're in love when...

1) You find yourself shaving your legs and armpits every other day(forget that once a month deal that single women have gotten away with forever even though they are still buried under layers of clothing in Western NY)

2) You suddenly become more fashion conscious(bye bye trips to Wally World in my PJs)

3) You see beauty and the positive side of everything and everyone (I mean so what if you have to wait in a line at Tim Horton's for half hour for your one cup of coffee while the person in front of you obviously woke up on the wrong side of the bagel-after all you're with the one you love)

4) You discover new talents like things you can do with one hand
(such as drive, eat, worship, text, walk, shop, hike, read, cook, set up furniture, clean, play games etc. because your other one is holding your sweetheart's)

5) You invent a whole new set of goofy expressions and silly grins
(and not because you secretly pass gas like babies do)

6) You suddenly want to spend every waking moment with that person
(talk about needing a planner like never before if you ever want to remember who all the other people you love are)

7) You miss that person like crazy and you've only been separated for five minutes
(trust me saying goodbye is so over rated)

8) You are no longer the most important person in your own life
(miracles start happening because your goals change to making someone else completely happy)
9) You wonder what you did before this time and you can't wait for the rest of your life to unfold >(Carpe Diem baby!)

10) You find yourself searching for video games, purchasing video games, playing video games, listening to video game victories and stories about video game strategies
(and you had zero interest in video games prior to this relationship)

11) PDA is no longer an urban legend

12) You are blown away every day by the reality of what God's love is because you experience a glimpse of it through your honey
(That amazing unconditional, love you no matter what, do anything for you, full of grace, belief that you can do anything, be by your side through anything, thinks you are the most beautiful thing in the world, will protect you till the end of time, will always think the best of you, will never tear you down, will forgive you over and over and over kind of love)

I'm sure there is so much more I can say here but the bottom line is that it has been incredible to see the give and take of love. I mean it's a remarkable concept for all kinds of relationships - doing what's best for the other person. Sheesh! Is that what God meant when He said "Love your neighbor as yourself?" :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wait is Over and the Story Begins


So friends, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I must admit that I have been caught up in a marvelous series of events beyond my wildest expectations and I have been waiting for the moment to write about it all and well that moment is finally here. Woohoo! :) I am so happy to finally be able to share with you the story of one of my greatest surprises from our faithful and awesome God…but first how about some background information?

When I became a Christian at the age of 19, I made a radical commitment to serve Christ with everything that I had and to always choose His way no matter what. One of my own personal commitments was to wait for the man that God had for me and not to settle for anyone else. I didn’t believe in dating around to try guys out like one tries on clothes in a dressing room to see whether he fit or not.

I prayed for a man who loved God, who would adore me, who would be kind, fun, romantic and adventurous. I prayed for a man that would be like a friend that I had known my whole life and was just reuniting with. You know, like you see him and think wow! and he sees you and thinks wow! That he would be someone who could appreciate foreign cultures and loved to travel. That our conversations from the beginning would be easy and that it would not take a long time to know that this was the one that God had brought into my life. Needless to say as the years went by and I watched friend after friend meet people, fall in love, get married and start families of their own, I began to lose hope and wondered if these standards were worth it. My prayer for years and years…and years it seemed, were a struggle between hope and despair over this man and whether God even had someone in mind for me or not.

I clung to the verses that reminded me that “God’s plans for me were to give me a hope and a future” and that I should “Delight myself in the Lord and He will give me the desires of my heart.” Also I remembered frequently that I needed to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding” and that “…as for God His way is perfect” and “His timing is not my timing,” and off course that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” and that “without faith it is impossible to please God…” It came to a point when I had to face the fact that I may never get married. Yikes!! The battle was to determine whether that was really what God had for me or was something was wrong with me. My options such as they were seemed bleak, I had to decide whether I wanted to settle and be miserable with someone that wasn’t God’s best for me, be content with being single forever and trust that God was enough or continue to hope in spite of everything that maybe just maybe God still had a plan…

Well friends, let me introduce you to the plan…his name is Joseph :)

On Easter Sunday of this year, April 24, one of my drama team members and close friend introduced me to his son Joe that was visiting church that day to see his folks. My eyes met his as I shook his hand and in my head I thought “Wow! He’s cute!” Yes, that’s possibly slightly shallow. :) Don’t judge me! I did send a text to his dad saying as much that same day. Lol! Of course from the dimly lit step that I was standing on, it seemed that there were many circumstances at the time that eliminated the possibility of ever having a relationship with this man.
However as it stood, my bff and I were good friends with his parents and so we ended up spending lots of time with them at their house for dinner, game nights, parties or out on excursions, picnics etc. and of course Joe would normally be a part of these events. So we started talking and joking around of course and I quickly realized this guy was so easy to talk to and he was funny. I thought I was glad that we can at least be friends. My friend would mention on occasion that there was some ‘flirting’ taking place on his side and mine but naturally I just brushed off such outlandish comments (but secretly I wondered if there was some truth to them. Shhhhhh, don’t tell her that though):).

On June 12th we were invited to a bonfire at their house where somehow I ended up sitting next to Joe (imagine that) and we talked throughout the night, and I must say it was an interesting and entertaining conversation. At the end of the evening we proceeded down the hill back to the house and I almost took a nose dive, but he was right there and reached out his arm and I caught it. It was the trigger for a text that I would send him after I got home saying, “Hey, thanks for saving my life, my public would have been so sad:).” (So maybe there was a little flirting:) Well his response was “So would I.” Ummmm….Ok deep breath, of course he was joking right? I thought to myself don’t be such a girl and read too much into that. My mail carrier would probably feel the same way if I nose-dived off a hill.

Well after some texting it came down to Joe leaping forward and suggesting that we should hang out sometime. Wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Hang out as friends or was this like a date? I don’t know and I couldn’t really think about it because I was having a minor hyperventilation issue taking place at that moment. Haha! Does it ever fail that a woman feels butterflies when a man that she actually finds attractive asks her out? I would venture to say no! A few days later we ventured out on our hang out/possible date and ended up taking in a movie and then talking at Timmy H's for 3½ hours. Not kidding! On a work night too! After some deliberation it was decided it was a date, well he assumed it was so I conceded cause well it felt sort of like one.

Over the next few days I saw him on various occasions and we started texting each other some. Within a few days I couldn’t remember life before Joe. It was weird, like he’d always been a part of my life or something and I was just getting re-acquainted. He made it clear that he had feelings for me but didn’t know where I stood. I admit I was a bit concerned because I knew we were at different places in our lives in many areas. And yet still there was something quite undeniable almost drawing us together. So he proposed, (ok don’t get too worked up, not that kind of proposal:)…yet!), he proposed that we start dating and make God the center and focus of our relationship from the start.

As much as I wanted to say yes right at that moment I decided to pray about it some more…I mean big step here. Joe would literally be my first boyfriend…ever!!! I had to think is this a man I could see myself spending the rest of my life with possible? I wanted to know that this was God leading. I was heading out of town for the weekend and vowed to give him my answer when I returned. In the meantime I was curious as to when he first became interested in me and so I asked of course and his answer was this, “As soon as I saw you…never thought you’d give me half a chance but as soon as I saw you. Remember when you walked over to dad that one day in church a while back, (Just a reminder this was Easter Sunday, the day we met for the first time),…and you looked my way? Yeah…I was like wow!!” OK, how cool is that! :) It gets better.

On my return from DC on June 27th, I went for a walk with Joe and basically asked him 100 questions about his life, beliefs, hopes, dreams and faith and by the end of the night as he anxiously and nervously awaited my decision, Joe Turner became my first boyfriend. By the grace of God! I went home that night and could barely sleep. He was not the man I had pictured my entire life yet there was something about him that I couldn’t get away from. I never wanted to know anyone in my life as much as I wanted to know him.

Since that amazing decision, we have been absolutely blown away by the relationship that God has blessed us with. It is hands down the most incredible, awesome, unexpected surprise of my entire life. From the onset we have done what we determined to do and that is make Christ the focal point and I think that God has been gracious to honor that. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I couldn’t imagine life without this man. There is too much to tell really since the last few weeks have been filled with romantic walks, holding hands, amazing conversations, the first time he told me he loved me, the moment I knew I loved him, the joy of praying together about everything, the gift of learning to put someone else first, taking in God’s breath-taking creation while star gazing at midnight, breaking out in a song in the middle of a conversation, dancing whenever and wherever because a great tune is on, worshipping in the car, praising God together in His house, enjoying comfortable moments of silence and getting blown away every time we look into each other’s eyes and think this is what love looks like…

Don’t get me wrong it is not that we are ignorant that challenges and hard times are bound to come and actually already have, but our goal is to build a foundation that is rooted and grounded in Christ so that we can better face those tough times.

So I would welcome feedback from you guys, please share your love stories of how you met or how you knew they were the one or something that ties you guys together. Trust me, Joe and I cannot have too much inspiration. :) It’s already been fun to see how our story has been an inspiration to some of my friends and I can’t tell you how much the support, encouragement and wisdom of our friends and families have meant to us.

So our story continues and no doubt you will be hearing more of it. Haha! Quite frankly, between you and me, I am hoping it never ends… :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thinking Before Speaking...a Good Idea!

Some days are challenging and some days are amazing but there are some days that I can’t help but wonder what happened? Let me explain, so there I was minding my own business, waiting on customers (as I am apt to do while at work), when a comment took me totally off guard. I mean I’ve heard about things like this happening but never dreamed it would happen to me. Oh to be in my twenties again when something like this was not a remote possibility…doggone thirties!

Anyways, so like I was saying, I was waiting on this couple and the lady begins whispering to her husband and nodding toward me and he’s saying “nah,” and she’s saying “yes I think so” and he’s like “no way” and she says “I’m going to ask” and he says, “no, don’t” and he looks nervous and through all this I’m just trying to work on their transactions and thinking “Hey, I can hear you!” I mean do they not understand the point of whispering after all?

So finally I look up when I hear the woman mutter something that I was certain I had misunderstood and I ask quite politely, “I’m sorry, what was that?” She proceeds to repeat the question “Are you pregnant?” (Flashback to Christmas episode of Family Matters where Steve presumed to say a woman on the train was with child…and she wasn’t.)

I thought, “You should have listened to your husband, because you are about to DIE.”

Tell me how does one respond non-violently to such a question? Let’s not even address the fact that our society thinks it is perfectly acceptable and normal for a young woman (and that I am,) to be PREGNANT without a HUSBAND!!! Obviously there are bigger fish to fry here but back to the story…

By sheer will power I refrained from reaching out and touching her…and simply said “No, I’m not.” To myself I thought “Stinking M&Ms, why must I love you so?” Sometimes the fewer the words, the better the result, because the woman who asked now began to stutter as she tried to get an apology out and the poor husband was grounded to the floor and his eyes were as big as saucers. Yeah, he wasn’t saying anything. Lol!

I can honestly say that was a first for me. When they were gone and my co-worker assured me that it was not true, and we had a good laugh about the audacity of people in this day and age, I did the only thing a woman could do in this situation…I headed for the M&Ms.

Hey, a girl’s gotta de-stress somehow! Right? :)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Now unto the second book of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 4 children (sons of Adam and daughters of Eve) find themselves stumbling into the incredible world of Narnia where the White Witch has reigned for a hundred years shrouding the land in ice and cold. By playing on the weakness of one of the boys, Edmund, she accuses him of being a traitor and she dares Aslan to stop her.

“Tell you what is written on the very Table of Stone which stands beside us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to kill.”

When Aslan drew her aside and offered himself as a sacrifice in the place of the young boy Edmund, she thought she had won and celebrated the victory. She killed him on the Stone Table. But death could not hold him and after a time with a loud thunderous crack the stone table cracked in two and Aslan was resurrected. He spoke to the 2 girls and what he said was so significant;

“…that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

What a promise! The Word of God tells us that all, every single one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We were all traitors destined for death. But even in the beginning of time God had a plan to rescue us. So Jesus did what none of us could do for ourselves. Sinless, blameless and a willing victim, he conquered death so that we could have access to eternal life. Spectacular!!

There were so many other great points in this story but that was the highlight for me. I mean it doesn’t get much better than that. That is the good news! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I tell you there is nothing that screams I need a fresh start like changing your appearance. All winter I have been growing out my hair and I had every intention to keep growing it. Then a few really significant things happened in my life this past week and I needed to just do something, anything! You know how that goes. In the past if I was upset or felt bad I would go buy something (as long as it was reasonably price and stayed within my budget and was actually an item that I could use)...OK so I never said I was a crazy impulse shopper. Lol!

So since shopping was out of the question I decided on a hair cut. Half my peops voted for long and the rest went with short. I struggled with the decision for days. Long, short, trim, cut???? What to do? I mean a haircut is a big deal. Life changing! Well for me anyways, I only get about 2 a year. So about ten minutes before my appointment, I decided I was going to go short. Why not? It's hair, it grows.Right?

So I did it. Jason chopped it all and I watched as dark ringlets of hair tumbled to the ground...goodbye hair. I stared in the mirror and I thought boy, I sure hope that the 'after' is better than the 'before'.

Well, it turned out a little sassy and some people said it made me look younger (Thank you Lord!) and even though it was a tough decision and I wasn't sure if I would have to break out my wig for a few months (yes I own a wig), I did it!!!! And I thought, the new hair is definitely representative of some other changes I need to make. Change can be scary at first like some of the changes I am making in my life. I thought they would be awful and hard but now I can see that they possibly will work out for good.

God has a way of doing that for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. There's a promise that definitely makes the cut! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Can You Hear It?

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is perhaps one of the most brilliant pieces of literature I have been privileged to read in this lifetime. It is a thrilling allegory that takes us into a colorful world of fantasy that echoes a deep reality. In reading it I found myself overwhelmed by the great truths that it presented and I found myself seeing some things in a way I had never seen them before. If you have never read this series it is my sincere recommendation that you dive in. You will not be disappointed.

However, there was no way I could read some of this without sharing about it. I welcome your input and I will try not to drag this out. But since there are 7 books, I’d like to share something that inspired me from each of them. I know what you are thinking and don’t worry, the answer is no, I’m not going to cover it all in this blog. That would be too long…even for me :)

Shall we begin?

The Magician’s Nephew

From the beginning we are introduced to the great Lion, Aslan, (an image of our Savior), and he sings Creation into existence. Those who are captivated by him hear the words to the most beautiful song they had ever heard, and experience life literally erupting all around them. But there were also those listening who did not share in this experience, namely one Uncle Andrew…

“When the great moment came and the Beasts spoke, he (Uncle Andrew) missed the whole point; for a rather interesting reason. When the Lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion,” as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing – only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. “Of course it can’t really have been singing.” He thought, “I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautifully the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. Uncle Andrew did. He soon did hear nothing bur roaring in Aslan’s song. Soon he couldn’t have heard anything else even if he had wanted to. And when at last the Lion spoke and said, “Narnia awake,” he didn’t hear any words: he heard only a snarl.”

I thought about this passage a lot. ‘Uncle Andrew’ is like so many of us today. I mean don’t we all start out with the song of God in our hearts? It’s like there is a place inside of us that longs for our Creator, our Father, but as we get older sometimes that song interrupts our plans. It brings conviction. It is a song that challenges who we are and what we are about. Some of us embrace it and it breathes life and purpose in us, but others begin to despise it. They begin to justify the things they do, living for themselves, a life without consequences. Does it sound familiar? Look around but don’t be fooled, I am not speaking about an “if it feels good, do it attitude” no, it is beyond that. In our world today, there is a conscious act of denying who God is or of making him whatever is convenient. No God - no consequences. Right? So those who want to just live their lives, their way, try harder and harder to drown out the voice, “…they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them – the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!” (Romans 1:25)

Hmmm…you see the longer one denies the truth, the easier it is to believe the lie. It is so important to stay captivated and to set our eyes on things above and not on things on this earth. I love that the Bible tells me that my God rejoices over me with singing. I don’t know about you but I don’t ever want to be in a place where I can’t hear that love song…

There is so much more to tell :) Sing, Sing, Sing!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What Does It Take? Part 3

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."


Following Christ is not a cake walk. Let's be real. If it was that easy so many people would do it, there wouldn't be backsliders, fence sitters, wide road runners or luke-warmers out there. The truth is if we are aiming to live this Christian life and follow in Jesus' footsteps, it’s going to cost us something.

Hear the Word of God in Philippians 3:7,8-14

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I think about some of the things in my life that I truly value and there is always a price that was paid. In order to truly appreciate it, it had to cost me something. For instance, my car-Al, God blessed me with him but I work hard to maintain him, to take care of him and to pay for him. Want to talk non-materialistic? How about every good relationship that I have-family, friends, co-workers...it costs me time, effort, patience, money...I literally invest part of my life into those relationships and get back as much as I put in and more.

So what does it cost you to follow Jesus? Here are a few I have thought of but I'm sure there is more. Following Christ will cost you:

1. Your Time - You can't build a relationship with someone without spending time with them. The same is true in building your relationship with Christ, you need time in prayer and time in the Word.
2. Your Talents - Well if all good gifts come from God, and He made you, it would stand to reason that your gifts and talents also came from Him. If He gave them to you, it was for a purpose, yes to enjoy them, but also to serve Him and bless others through them.
3. Your Treasure - Let's face it, you invest in the things you love. In order for God's Kingdom to grow and for us to follow in Christ's footsteps and reach out to others, it will take money. The question is not whether you will invest in something. We all invest in something, the question is which investment gives the greatest return.
4. No more excuses - Sometimes, we think that following Him is inconvenient, takes us out of our comfort zone, there are more important things to attend to first...excuses! To follow hard after Him, we have to do it in spite of the constant stream of obstacles. Believe me, there will always be a convenient and legitimate excuse.
5. Taking the hard road - it requires effort and courage to follow Christ. I mean you may encounter ridicule, embarrassment, accusations and opposition. Not to mention that you may endure trials, tribulations, hardships of all kinds...sounds appealing doesn't it?

Unfortunately a lot of people will say that life is not for them. It costs too much. What do they get out of it? Let's see, eternal life, fulfilling your purpose, helping other people, being light in a dark world, bringing hope to those who are lost, waking up everyday knowing that you are in the grip of grace and never alone, having peace that passes all understanding, joy...and the list goes on and on.

However, despite the many rewards both in this life and the next, there are those who aren't willing to pay the price...
Are you?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Does It Take? Part 2

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."


What exactly does it mean to take up your cross? Well first of all it gives the impression of carrying a burden, a not so pleasant experience and something hard. Any suffering that we endure for the sake of Christ is part of taking up one's cross and accepting the trials and tribulations (for we are assured that they will come), is also a part.

Look at what it says in Philippians 2:5b-8 "...have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!"

Jesus is our example for sure. Taking up the cross involves several things beginning with commitment. Being a Christian means not being ashamed of the Gospel but willing to proclaim it even when it's not convenient or comfortable. It means standing for what you believe even when it's not popular. It will involve making hard decisions and choices sometimes. It will involve sacrifice. The cross should be the banner over our lives not the other way around.

I read a play recently where a young woman (we will call her Jane) got saved and went to the popular 'cross shop' to get a cross. The crosses there were fancy, pretty, flashy, designer, small, big, on chains...you get the picture. Any kind of cross you wanted. Jane learned that many of her friends had gotten their crosses there. It wasn't the kind she had envisioned and was directed to a different shop. Here there was only one kind of cross-big, heavy, plain and wooden. They were free too, just had to be carried. There was no denying that cross. So she picked it up and began to carry it every where. Her friends noticed the huge cross and commented on it. They were actually a little embarrassed by her. Jane thought all Christians were supposed to carry their crosses and asked where theirs were. One by one they pulled out their tiny flashy crosses on their necklaces or inside their pockets. They explained that they had traded those huge crosses for ones that were more convenient. They could pull them out when they felt comfortable and that way they didn't make other people uncomfortable either. This didn't make sense to her, she wondered what was the point of claiming the cross only to hide it? Over the next few months, Jane realized that carrying the cross changed a lot of things in her life. Places that she had gone, things that she had done, people she had hung out with, choices she made all began to be determined by that cross and she started fitting things in according to how they worked with the cross, not the other way around. It wasn't an easy walk, but Jane found that she needed it, she began to depend on it and people noticed it. The cross she carried was beginning to affect the people's lives around her...one by one...in some way.

I think that was as good an example as I have read anywhere about what happens when we pick up our cross and begin to let it shape our lives. There is no way that we will not begin to become more and more like Christ who humbled Himself...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Does It Take? Part 1

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."


So from this passage it is clear that Jesus was given us direct instructions for godly living. He said that in order to come after him we must do 3 things. The first thing is to deny yourself.

Well, to be honest it is here that the battle of the flesh and the mind have front row seats. To deny means both to withhold something as well as to refuse to recognize something. In following Christ, we have choices to make that would mean keeping things from myself that would not be glorifying to God and also actually refusing to even acknowledge my desires as most important.

By nature we are sinful. There is a day by day (in my case minute by minute) battle of what should I do? how do I handle this situation? would God care if I did this? What if I really want to do this even though I know it's not the wisest decision? Are the consequences worth it?

The truth is that there is an inner struggle to gratify the things of the flesh while at the same time desiring to please God. I don't think I could possibly say it as well as the Message tells it in Romans 7:15-20, 25

"What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it, I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time...The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."

Now if that doesn't describe us, well at least me anyways...I'm not sure what will. Can I be real for a minute? Recently I literally crashed into this struggle in a way that I never had before. Here I thought this Christian walk was supposed to get easier Sheesh! no such luck! I was overwhelmed by the desire to do something that would have felt amazing at the moment but would have had repercussions that I hardly wanted to think about.

My thoughts on this whole business of denying oneself,is this- I believe that God uses situations to remind us that just when we think we have it together, we realize how desperately in need of a Savior we really are. I'm not sure I will ever stop learning that lesson now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coming soon to a blog near you...

I'm excited to share with you a personal study based on Matthew 16:24 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." I'm actually going to speak on this to the women tomorrow but I was really challenged by it. So naturally I want to tell you how some personal experiences made this verse very very real to me. So sometime over the next few days you can be expecting to read about a place in my life that I hadn't really been in before. Until then...be salt and light! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Day At A Time

In this life things certainly don't always go the way you plan. Take for instance my very first attempt at making lasagna. I had a moment of mental malfunction as I read the ingredients and ended up measuring the parmesan cheese wrong. No big deal...if it was off by an ounce but try 8 ounces! Not pretty, the cheese soaked up all the delicious sauce leaving a very salty noodle concoction that was virtually inedible (to everyone on the planet except my brother). Go figure! :)

Or maybe the entire direction that you thought your life was going to go in just didn't happen. I know I saw myself happily married, with 2.5 children and a cute house with a white picket fence, baking cookies and spending time with a family of my own. Never dreamed that I'd find myself in my mid thirties still waiting for this dynamic man of God to show up and sweep me off my feet. Actually never even dated much and definitely no bambinos :( I admit I sometimes look back at my life wondering whether I just missed it.

Or perhaps you did get married and it wasn't what you thought it was going to be and you have regrets. Maybe you lost a loved one way before you were ready to give them up or sickness or trauma entered your home. Perhaps your children aren't walking with God the way you want them to. Maybe you regret the relationship you have with your parents or that you hurt someone you cared about and you can't change it.

It's easy to become overwhelmed with life. The burdens are heavy when they are weighed down with good intentions, sickness, broken promises, shattered hearts and derailed dreams. It seems that nothing in this life is constant. Your entire world can change in an instant with one phone call, one choice, one act, one moment of weakness, insecurity, anger, hate or apathy, one turn of the wheel, one natural disaster, one second...

But in this world of constant change and disappointment, I am so thankful that there is Something that never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He knows the end from the beginning. He knew that we would face trials and tribulation yet He can work all things out for good (no matter what direction they take at first) for those who love Him. He is the Healer, the Redeemer and the Restorer. He brings peace in the midst of a storm. His timing is perfect. His ways are perfect. He doesn't make mistakes. He has a plan that is good. He calls us by name and knows every hair on our heads. He hears every cry of our hearts. He loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us so that even though in this life we may have hard times...the promise of an eternity spent with Him will be the Hope that gets us through.

So let's make this journey together...one day at a time...in Him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

His Grace is Sufficient...

There are some days when even a lot of chocolate doesn’t help and I just had one of those yesterday. This could be attributed to the fact that I am a woman and my emotions skyrocket out of control at the drop of a hat. For some strange reason at times like these, everything that I’ve learned in my entire Christian walk can just that easily flees from my memory at the precise moment when I really need to recall some of it. Go figure!

Situations between family and friends often get sticky. I absolutely hate it. I figure if I could design my own world everyone would get along perfectly…oh yeah, I can see how it must have been God’s desire too but what is that little pesky thing that always gets in the way again? Oh yes, sin and the flesh. Yuck! I tell you what some days I want to strip off this humanness with all its pain, selfishness, awkwardness and pride and throw it in the garbage where it belongs because it stinks.

It’s funny how the people we love the most, those who love us the most and those who know us best turn out to be the ones that give us the most joy but can also end up hurting us the most as well. What a concept. Could anyone have betrayed our Lord Jesus except one that knew Him so well? It’s a vicious cycle joy, hurt, pain, forgiveness, joy etc. However as long as there is forgiveness it’s okay because only then can Christ heal our hearts and repair what was broken.

It’s in moments of deepest pain when I forget all the promises of God temporarily, when I question His plan or purpose and doubt that He even has one. In the depths of my heart and soul I know those thoughts to be utterly false but it’s like verbal vomit and it just erupts from me based on my emotions and not what I know to be true. So am I ever thankful for the truth and the grace of God demonstrated through persistent and godly friends who talk me down from the ledge (not that I always want to hear it at the time) but eventually it builds a bridge from emotion to truth.

I know that God never gives us more that we can handle…some days I think I’m teetering on the edge of my threshold to be quite honest but here is one thing that I know…His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. So when something challenging comes along I can get upset or crazy or angry or sad but how I deal with it will determine how much control I’m willing to let God have and how much of my pride I’m willing to let go off or swallow I should say. That’s stuff a person could choke on! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Movie Mania

My life has been so busy in the last few months with meetings, surgeries, family, friends, working, studying, reading, speaking, dancing etc. it seems that I practically live by my planner. Can anyone else relate to that? I mean if it's not written down it doesn't get done usually. It has gotten to the place where I actually need to schedule free time if I am going to have any. (When did I become all grown up with planners and stuff?) Lol!

So I've been staying with my friend for the last month and she kept saying that she wanted to watch the Lord of the Rings series...all of them...one right after the next. Well I knew that delirium from the surgery must have finally set in because the thought of that was simply insane. I tried to convince her to watch them 3 nights in a row but it must have been a long time dream of hers or something. So I decided that last Monday (being President's Day) and seeing as I was off and we were buried under a foot of snow I thought why not? That's the first mistake people...thinking! Well in some cases anyways :)

So after lunch we began a 9 and 1/2 hour movie watching experience that ended at 12:30 am on Tuesday morning. Of course the usual lunch, dinner and potty breaks were included. It was relaxing and fun but there was a point of some definite tension when my friend (whose idea this was to begin with) fell asleep! That's right ASLEEP! for at least an hour, during the second movie. I couldn't believe it! Needless to say I was a little perturbed but it was all good in the end.

Listen, if you can find people who are willing to do something crazy like that, go for it because now I can say, "Lord of the Rings? Oh yeah, once I watched all 3 of them in a row." You pick your own series and just do it to have done it!

Of course if any of you have ever seen the movies you understand that there are deep spiritual truths that are brought out and I would be remiss not to share a couple of the ones that really spoke to me.

The corruption of the human spirit brought about by the ring in the movie is such a remarkable analogy of sin. The way that it causes decay in our lives, a rotting from the inside out, if it goes unchecked and how we constantly desire to do things even though we know in our hearts they are not good for us. We can't help it. It is our sin nature. But Praise God for His Son who made a bridge from that depraved life to one that is redeemed and everlasting. It is only by the grace of God I am what I am, who I am, where I am and who I will become. He made a way.

Secondly, the movie was a constant example of sacrifice. Giving up home and family to accomplish a task entrusted to them, risking their lives at every turn in defense of truth, freedom and what was right, putting aside their own well being in favor of looking out for each other's best interest. Time and time again we saw this in the movie and it made me think of God's sacrifice for us in sending His Son, amazing! It made me also think of men and women in our armed forces defending a country full of people they would never know but laying their lives down to keep them safe. It made me think about the sacrifices I was making in my own life to make a difference, to put others first, to change lives.

I am a movie fan, I won't deny it, but the coolest thing is how God can speak to us and change us through the things we love. There is rarely a movie I watch that doesn't speak to me in some way. (Of course, some things speak more profoundly than others - depending on the movie :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is the Price of Beauty Too High?

The things that women go through to look good, better, well at least somewhat presentable are extensive. I mean we find it necessary to count every calorie (how much calories can this double fudge sundae possibly have anyways?). We have hair stylists and not just hair cutters (then proceed to complain for the next 6 weeks that we can't get it to look nearly as good as our hair person), and then just when we are finally getting the hang of it, we go back to get it trimmed and start the vicious cycle all over again. Let's not even count the cuts and scrapes and how many times we have almost bled to death shaving our legs. As a single woman, I'll be honest, those puppies don't see the shaving set nearly as much especially in winter and especially not having any one in particular to touch them. Lol! That may have been TMI! Sorry folks! :) Moving right along...then there is all the plucking...oh excuse me, tweezing, waxing, manicures, pedicures, heel treatments, eye treatments, nose hair trimmings, conditioning, hair coloring, exercising, make up, makeovers and the list goes on and on.

Why do we do it? Self-esteem? To attract that special guy? To look your best for work? To just feel great about yourself? Or maybe it's because if the barn needs painting it should be painted? For various reasons it is what we do, I myself having been a partaker and an advocate of these various forms of torture...oops...I mean beautification rituals. But do I ever do anything normally? Puh...lease! If I did where would I get material for my blog? :)

So last night being the night before church, I decide to spruce up a bit. Since I am temporarily staying with my friend, I didn't bring all my supplies for the facial hair removal process, so after ripping some unwanted hairs off my face with wax coated strips (fun!) and recovering from the shock again, (it must be akin to child birth you know, going through all that pain and then holding your perfect little one...women say they forget the pain...i.e. until baby number 2 comes along and then it's like "oh yeah, this hurts, I remember now"), same thing practically, ripping unwanted hairs out, almost exactly the same...well they have to be pretty close anyways.

So I ask my friend for some tweezers and she gets them for me and about 30 seconds later, I accidentally knock them into the sink and as I frantically grab for them I watch them slip down the drain. Silly tweezers! So I'm thinking oh joy, now I have to replace tweezers and even worse my eyebrows are suffering the ramifications of it all. As you might imagine telling my friend about the incident was not easy because she needed those tweezers out of her pipe. So we break out the tool kit in order to dismantle the pipes beneath the sink and retrieve the rogue tweezers only we are greeted with a smell that made you want to give back your lunch. A mouse had gotten into the tool kit and decided to relieve himself. So soon we had a sink full of tools soaking in a soapy sanitizing bath and had to go out to the garage to find other instruments to take apart the sink.

It took a while to take apart the pipes. It seemed almost hopeless for a while but then it gave way. Unfortunately it also gave way to the most disgusting smell (even worse than the mouse pee) coming up from the pipes. After almost gagging yet again, the tweezers were recovered, safe and sound and it looked like things would soon return to normal except that removing the pipe, broke the seal so once it was back together it was like the fountain of youth with water gushing. Towels were brought in. This was not a good situation.

Now with a quite pungent odor and water gushing every where as soon as the pipe was turned on, you would think well at least the worst of it was behind us...you would have been wrong! Next thing the part attached directly to the opening of the sink broke off. Haha! I am not even trying to be funny or exaggerating at all. So fixing the sink right then turned out to be a NO! Time to call in a professional. After cleaning up the sink, drying up everything, we proceeded to wash all the tools, twice, and dry them. Yeah! This is every single girl's dream for Saturday nights. Well that's what I will comfort myself with in years to come anyways.

With the tools finally washed and drying we sit down to relax...but oh remember that pungent odor I told you about from the pipes earlier? It decided to make itself at home in the whole house. So back to the bathroom armed with vinegar and everything got cleaned again. Smell still coming...finally, cluing in to the fact that the pipe was still exposed, we proceeded to wrap up the opening and voila! no more stinky smell.

After all that I stood staring into the mirror and I picked up the tweezers and grabbed a hold of that single strand of hair just under my right eyebrow that had been bugging me for days and yanked it out and put away the tweezers. Not even joking! Now friends I know there is a deeply spiritual message here, maybe about vanity, maybe about helping each other or maybe about patience...but unfortunately I have no idea this time and was way too tired to figure it out so please forgive me.

But I will tell you this though, I am not sure I will ever use a pair of tweezers again. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A God Production

There is something simply amazing about how God works things out sometimes. The last few weeks, aside from being a blur, have been an incredible reminder that there is something far greater at work in our lives than mere chance and 'que sera sera'. I have learned so much about the power of obedience, sacrifice and love that I can't wait to share that with you. The only problem I am having is where do I begin...

Here's the thing though, not all of this is my story to share so I can't fully disclose all the details but I'm sure you will get the hang of things.

It all started a few years ago when I had one of the most crushing experiences of my adult life. I was at a place where I felt betrayed, devastated, broken-hearted and hopeless. I wondered if I would ever find a place to belong again or if God would ever use me again. (If I could give some advice here,please allow me to, be careful what you say and do in regards to others. The tongue does have the power of life and death. I have seen people have their hopes and dreams crushed, their hearts torn apart and their trust shattered because of the actions and words of others. Try not to have any of those casualties on your resume).

Feeling utterly alone I searched for a new place to worship and to hopefully get a fresh start. I found it. In the process of being on this island with just me and God, I found that I was never as desperate for a Savior as I was then. It was just the 2 of us for a while. Then He began to fill my life up again with new friends, new ministries...I was fortunate. You see for years I had struggled with being single because all my friends were married and had started their own families and so I prayed and prayed for a friend who was single who I could just enjoy life with (that may have been a little selfish, but in this life we need people to walk through it with). Then there she was. Over months and the couple years we've known each other, Lori and I became great friends. It is a rare blessing in this life to find a friend who really loves you for the good and the bad, who is just as close as family and who you know made your life so much better. I feel privileged. Don't get me wrong we have good disagreements like families do as well :) Lol! If she would only admit that I am right all the time, it would be fine!

Now I could tell you that Lori feels pretty much the same way and that she considers me the sister she never had...but that's for her to tell.

My biological sister Kimmy has been on dialysis for several years now due to both her kidneys failing. I mean I could tell you how she has been at death's door several times, how doctors were amazed that she is even alive, that she has prayed throughout and believed that God would help her through it all...but that's really for her story to tell.

About a year and a half ago my friend surprised me when she told me she was contemplating giving a kidney to my sister. If I could put into words all the emotions that raced through me simultaneously at that moment...I'd be the most talented writer alive. I was speechless (rare for me). So, not just talking about it she began testing to be a donor last summer.

I could tell you about the countless tests that potential organ donors must go through, the countless trips to the hospital, the follow ups, the emotional roller coaster, the risks, the rewards...but I won't right now...what I will say is that I have a tremendous level of respect for all of them that I never had before. They are miracles from God.

There are so many more things I want to tell you; how Lori was a perfect match for my sister, that my sister was overwhelmed when she was finally told, that it was a gift born out of love, that surgery was scheduled for January 26th, that the hospital had one of the best kidney transplant centers in our country, that both surgeons had 100% success in their surgeries, that Lori's surgeon turned out to be a Christian who lifted his patients up in prayer, that just about everyone we knew were covering them in prayer, that my sister's new kidney started working almost instantaneously (something that rarely happens), that Lori's nurse was amazed by how good she looked 2 days after surgery, that they both came home and are healing well, that my sister had her first taste of banana, orange, tomato soup and chocolate ice cream in 4 1/2 years, that Lori played a major part in something that is simply miraculous, that people who know them were blown away by God's amazing grace and that for both of them life would never be the same...I could tell you that but it's really their story to tell. :) Isn't it?

As for me? I just had a front seat to a God production. Here is what I know to be true, God is faithful, God works all things out for the good of those who love Him, there will be tough things that we go through in this life, God never promised us an easy road, but what prayer and faith can do is beyond words, and He is with us through it all. How many God productions go on around us every day?

Now if God can give my sister a kidney...I wait in expectation for what He does next. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Competition, Fashion and a Crown

I have never really considered myself an extremely competitive person. I mean generally speaking, in certain situations it is okay if someone else wins. For instance, I don't have to own the latest in fashion. So what if skinny jeans are in? Does it mean I have to be in skinny jeans? Trust me, it is not a good look for most who try it. Rather, I like having my own sense of style (I do use this phrase loosely for those of you who are chuckling right now). I don't always want to go with the flow.

Then their are the techies of our world who must 'upgrade'. I have had the same desktop PC for about 12 years and only in the last year did I venture into the wide world of laptops due to encouragement from my personal techie. Having found one I love I don't plan on upgrading for a while. My cell phone recently broke and I couldn't get one for another 9 months or so unless I outright bought one. Well some people would have jumped at the opportunity and gotten a new and improved phone maybe one with complete touch screen etc. Not me, I liked my old one so much I just found the very same phone and ordered it again.

Like I said, I'm not very competitive in certain areas. However, I've recently gotten into playing games and I've noticed a change in me that happens when I get in the zone. I hate to say this, but it is not a pretty change. Reminds me of that Disney clip of Goofy getting behind the wheel of his car and turning into Mr. Hyde. Scary! I remember the good old days when I never cared who won, it was all in fun. Now there's a whole new attitude. I mean the other day my mother kicked my butt in Yahtzee and my friend racked up most of the points in Rack-o and I am telling you...I was not a happy camper. Where did this attitude come from? Walk away, just walk away. Lol!

In playing these games though I realized that a little competition may not be such a bad thing. It certainly challenges a person to do better, to come up with a good strategy, to be on the look out for good opportunities and to keep an eye on the enemy (opponent) at all times!

When I was a kid I didn't play a lot of sports (never cared for all that sweat to be honest). Let's just lay aside the fact that my hand-eye co-ordination was more like hand-foot co-ordination, I didn't like the idea of getting hurt and the possibility of fatalities at any moment. Besides, I was much happier being class president and the top student in my class (not bragging peops just stating mere facts :)But I did love to run and there was hardly a 100 meter dash that I did not jump at the chance to be a part off. I was actually pretty good at the time and took home the gold often.

Today I find myself running a different kind of race, one not for "...a crown that will not last; but for a crown that will last forever..." Truth is, "...I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers (and sisters), I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Hmmm,it's like fashion you know, it may mean going against the flow at times. Or like upgrades, just because Christianity is packaged in new ways and different philosophies are popping up that are more convenient, their is no 'upgrading' the truth. It is what it is. God does not change. Or perhaps it's like playing a game or running a race where trying to be the best is a good thing, it means coming up with a good strategy, (spending time with God and in His Word on a regular basis). It means being on the look out for good opportunities (God appointments, the right time to share an encouraging word or tell someone about salvation etc.) and it means keeping an eye on the enemy (opponent) at all times (there is no doubt that we should put on the full armor of God every day, to help us win the daily trials that come and to keep our eyes on the prize).

Wearing the latest Nike's may be cool but reaching for that 'crown' is even better. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

11 Things To Do In 2011

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

I am keeping those 2 verses in mind this year as I set these goals. I believe it is good to make plans and look ahead (after all without a vision the people perish), but God's plans are greater than mine and so I share my list with you so you can know some of my heart's desires but with the understanding that this year I will yield my own plans as much as possible in light of a glimpse of His, which I know is far better. This is not an easy task...the laying down of your own will for His, the whole dying to self thing...always a challenge.

The thing I like about making the list is that I challenge myself. I know that it is easy to become complacent, apathetic, stuck in a rut, doing the same thing day after day. I long for change, I long for growth and challenges, I long to discover all that our great God has for me and those around me. Don't you?

Go ahead make your own list, it doesn't have to be 11 things but maybe 1 or 2. Something that you have been hoping to do but everything else gets in the way and you keep putting it off, it can be as simple as reading a one of the classics to as grand as organizing a fund-raiser for families in need. Whatever it is, I believe God puts dreams in our hearts. So live out loud...

And the list...

1. Make the most of every opportunity...loving God and loving people
2. Finish writing book or books
3. Write more blogs, dramas etc.
4. Graduate NYIP and work on being a better photographer
5. Work on degree
6. Get involved in women's ministry again and host a local women's conference
7. Read at least one book a month (borrowed this from my friend Lori-I liked the idea :)
8. Travel to a place I've never been
9. Work on being debt-free
10. Mission trip
11. Try something new

So there it is, there are some big things on there and some not so big things but the bottom line is nothing is impossible with God and I am excited to see what the year will bring.

Talk to you soon...hugs to all :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Promise of a New Year and a Look at the Past

Ahh the New Year holds such promise. It is the time that we all look back at the year that just flew by and remember the good, the bad and the ugly (the last one refers to bad hair days of course) :) Every year I do the same thing, I look back and think of all the things I wanted to accomplish but didn't. It fills me with mixed emotions. My time is always filled with unexpected surprises, great highs and inevitably some disappointments. The temptation to wallow in self-pity or regret at chances missed or opportunities not taken is strong until the thought of a fresh start. Suddenly the New Year is upon us and like a gust of wind it fills the sails of hopes and dreams once again. It is refreshing and exciting to think about what could happen, what changes may come and how God could move in the coming season.

I will admit that in 2010 I had a lot of expectations but life happened and many of those expectations went unfulfilled. To be honest I doubted at times but I know His timing is perfect and His ways are definitely not mine, so here I am ready to trust that God loves me and that His plan is good and believing that in 2011 it will be a whole other level. Of course nothing happens without faith, trust and some hard work and dedication.

So in 2010 I made a list of 21 Things to do in 2010. I wanted to give you an update, although there were many things on the list that I did not accomplish, there were some unexpected surprises that certainly made up for it.

Enough chit chat let's get to the list shall we?

1. Get healthy- exercise and eat right well I've had my ups and downs but I had a better year physically than 2009 which was awesome. Exercising died after summer though, gotta join the Y or something...soon before it all goes south.

2. Start a blog :) You are reading it. The plan is to be more consistent and post more often. Maybe get a bigger following and add some cool stuff to it.

3. Read through the Bible in a year -Done! Yeah! Actually on the reading list we actually read the New Testament twice and the Old Testament once so way cool. I will confess that I finished around 2 am on January 1st before falling asleep.

4. Pray for others more - I think I actually did this but still not as much as I should have. So many people who just need a touch from God...

5. Work on my degree
:( I am afraid I didn't do much in this area. The challenge in finding classes that are on-line through JCC that I have not taken is tough plus the expense of paying for them has been a burden. I plan on working on it in 2011 but maybe switching to a complete online program.

6. See a show (production) I've never seen Well I did attend Shakespeare in the Park and my first Sabre's game which was a blast (not sure that counts as a show though).

7. Read at least 7 new books including Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis so this was a no. I did read a few books but missed out on Chronicles. It is the first one on my agenda this year. I already have my bookmark ready :)

8. Take an art or photography class
In process. I am enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography. It's been interesting so far. It is a 3 year program I am hoping to finish in a year and a half

9. Go on a road trip with a friend
- Defintely took a few trips with my BFF Lori. Visited Austin for a mini vacation and took a few trips to Toronto and did a 'buy one get one' weekend in Buffalo. So much fun. Hoping to do a lot more traveling this coming year.

10. Organize a family portrait with all my relatives uh...let's not talk about it. Lol!

11. Try a restaurant I've never been to definitely did this a few times. Tried a little Korean spot in Chinatown, Toronto. Spicy Thai in Buffalo, amazing food. Tried Panera Bread for the first time and 5 de Mayo for Mexican (not as good as Don Lorenzo's)

12. Volunteer for a good cause
Volunteered at my church of course but also for the Gus Macker tournament for the second year. It was fun especially since my friend worked it with me.

13. Finish writing my book A work in progress...definitely on the agenda for this year. Already have one of my favorite teachers lined up to look it over.

14. Go to a conference Didn't make it this year. Bad timing with free weekends. Would like to puy on conference locally one day. I think that would be awesome.

15. Go to a concert or comedy show
If a family reunion counts as a comedy show I was there. Haha!!!

16. Visit a museum I've never been to - was hoping to get back to the Smithsonian but didn't make it :(

17. Host a tea party not a formal one like I wanted to but I did make a pot of tea one evening with the girls.

18. Go white water rafting
NO! Realized I may not want to drown just yet. So much to live for.

19. Go on a mission trip overseas
Finances just wouldn't co-operate this year but maybe it's in God's plan for the year ahead.

20. MOVE It is a deep desire to do this and hopefully it will come to pass. I will not miss the snow, sleet and sheets of black ice or the freezing of my digits as I wait for my car to un-thaw.

21. Tell at least 1 person everyday how much God loves them
I did really well with this but the months of November and December got pretty crazy and I fear I did not do it everyday. But I hope you realize how much He does love you if you are reading this :)

There you have it folks and up date on the 2010 list. There were lots of great stuff that happened that were not on there like trying the game of golf for the first time, playing tennis and going four-wheeling. Wrote and performed several dramas and did flags for the first time at church. Visited a castle, took a second trip to the African Lion Safari, flew by myself for the first time, tried to hit all the local cultural events of the summer and went to Rock City Park for the first time. Started a photography business and actually have had happy clients :) Checked out the Botanical Gardens and Pumpkinville. Discovered a cheap movie theater, Marshall's and Ollie's. Spent some time getting to know new friends and reconnecting with old. Pierced my friend's ear using a safety pin and ice (kids don't try that at home). Watched countless reruns of "say yes to the dress" and learned how to play at least 5 new games. All the other things cannot possibly be listed but as much as there were some hard times and days of broken heartedness there were some great moments and lots of grace. I thank God for the past year and the things that He taught me. But I have so much to learn and so far to grow.

I decided to make a new list. 11 Things to do in 2011. I am hoping that my year will surpass my list. That would be truly awesome. 2011 here I come!

Psst: Don't forget to check back for the new list... Luv ya :)


Miranda Tom