Thursday, November 29, 2012

Olive Branches.

It seems that life has set out to teach me humility in the last few months before this year ends.  I have been in just about every awkward situation you can think of these past few weeks (I truly might write a book someday) and the overwhelming need to be a peace keeper and to be humble has weighed on me.  It's also been a theme in so many areas of my life.  At bible study this past Monday, after a week of just such circumstances I read this of the Proverbs 31 woman:

She is a peacekeeper. (Proverbs 3:17) - Wisdom's ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. (Proverbs 12:20)

Ah, peacekeeping.  It's never been a strength of mine.  I'm passionate.  Mouthy.  Impatient.  Expectant.  And frequently, entitled.  Basically I'm the opposite of this wise woman of Proverbs.  But man am I being forced to work at it now.

And more than having my hand forced I'm finding that I want to grow in this area.  Certainly I desire to be wise and if wisdom means peaceful and pleasant paths, well sign me up.  But I think the journey to these peaceful paths is the tough part, hm?

So here's my solution...olive branches.  Rome wasn't built in a day and wounds aren't healed overnight.  Forgiveness is sometimes a process and smoothing over bumps in the road behind you takes time (longer without an apology or any real remorse on the other person's part).  But when these awkward opportunities present themselves and you're faced with the chance to choose peace, try an olive branch. It's really the perfect example because they're small.  It's the simple but profound gesture of extending undeserved grace for the moment and the first step on a journey to peaceful paths to come.

If, like myself, you find that your pride is tripping you up because you deserve an apology or you're hesitant to give that undeserved grace just remember that there is frequently more strength in choosing peace.  It's not a sign of weakness but a show of character.  Or as Jennie Allen says, ' Jesus wants our dignity to come from him, not how we are treated. There is strength and intention in humility'.

So here's to olive branches this holiday season.  To being the bigger person even when you don't feel like it.  To forgiving the un-sorry.  To showing love to the undeserving.  To coming out smelling like roses in an ugly situation.  And a toast to all of us who have had to be on the receiving end of this at some point as well.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving, Engagements, and Family Oh My.

Whew, it feels good to be back in Tampa.  I'm looking forward to having my feet on the ground in my hometown for almost a full month!  But that's not to discount what an amazing month November turned out to be and what a sweet time I had with family over the Thanksgiving holiday.

My sister got engaged!  I got to be a small part of it (I delivered the now fiance for the surprise) and it was so sweet to be home to share in the excitement.

I loved the time with my cousins, even being put to shame at the gym by their fit selves.  I should probably start aspiring to be more like them.

I had the sweetest lunch date with my Dad - but that is a whole separate blog post to share the wisdom he gave me!

And I took a little rental car road trip to see friends in Southern Indiana while I was at it.

Whew.  As always like has been a whirlwind but I'm looking forward to slowing down, working on my goals for next year, and tying up some lose ends of 2012.  I'm now less than two months away from my trip to Africa and only 6 books away from finishing my 100 book goal for 2012!  Ready to finish this year strong.

Here's a little recap of my week away in pictures:

This little cutie, Asher, is one of my Dad's players babies and he was precious.  He also loved me and my oversized sweater and cuddle and slept on my all day.

Too many cooks in the kitchen.

Mom and I on our lunch date at the airport.

 And again.

Cousins, sister, and Luke (on the far right) my soon-to-be bro in law.

                  3rd annual ornament exchange - and this is the first year I'll have a tree to hang mine on!

Hope you all day a Happy Thanksgiving and much to be grateful for this year!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Roadtrip Weekend.

Okay everything on this blog is a little delayed lately but now that I've finished my final event for this season it may be safe to say I'll catch back up and be a bit more regular around here...but as sure as I say that everything will change.  So stay tuned.

Anyway,  I wanted to take the time to post some pictures from the Jacksonville road trip my friends and I went on the weekend before last.  After Pittsburgh and Indy I came back on a Sunday (after a Colts win) to prepare for to meet my friends in Jacksonville on Thursday night for another football game (you know I can never get enough).

It was truly one of the best weekends.   It was so fun to be with my Dad for lunch and pregame and nothing brings me more joy than my family and friends together.  I so love them getting to know each other and all the special people in my life getting along.  Ok fine, and the Colts winning was icing on the cake.

Dad snagged us pregame passes so we could spend a little more time with him down on the field.  I think after these I was too cold to take many pictures...

(Jason, Me, Dad, and Jared during pregame warm-ups)

 (Jason and I)

            (my sweet childhood friend/former roomie/small grouper/bff/favorite road trip buddy - Jess)

           (These two have quickly become two of my favorite people in the world - great guys.)

The boys followed me back to Tampa for the rest of the weekend which can pretty much be summed up by this photo:

We spent both days at the beach.  They spent it finding 102 sand dollars, two of which now grace my coffee table.

It was literally the perfect weekend.  I kind of want to go back and relive it again now that I wrote about it.

But don't worry, the travels keep on coming.

Never a dull moment.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Reading List.

And again I say, the list...

1. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
3. A Life in Stitches - Rachael Herron
4. Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles
5. Sing Me Home - Jodi Picoult
6. The 6th Target - James Patterson
7. Serendipity - Lousie Shaffer
8. Haiti: A Tumultuous History - Philippe Girard
9. Orange it the New Black - Piper Kerman
10. The Secret Holocaust Diaries - Nonna Bannister
11. 7th Heaven - James Patterson
12. The Icing on the Cupcake - Jennifer Ross
13. Mrs. Kimble - Jennifer Haigh
14. Sams Letters to Jennifer - James Patterson
15. Abducted - T.R. Ragan
16. First Time Landlord - Janet Portman
17. Off the Record - Elizabeth White
18. Lady of Bolton Hill - Elizabeth Camden
19. Velvet Elvis - Rob Bell
20. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
21. American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld
22. Daisy Chain - Mary Demuth
23. The Keeper - Sarah Langan
24. The Paris Wife - Paula McClain
25. Hollywood is like High School with Money - Zoey Dean
26. The Lucky One - Nicholas Sparks
27. The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes - Diane Chamberlain
28. Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy
29. Master your Metabolism - Jillian Michaels
30. The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen
31. Small Space Organizing - Kathryn Bechen
32. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
33. Organizing Your Day - Sandra Felton
34.  Me & My Big Mouth - Joyce Meyer
35. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
36. Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James
37. Crazy Love - Francis Chan
38. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen - Syrie James
39. Still Missing - Chevy Stevens
40. Seven - Jen Hatmaker
41. 17 Day Diet - Mike Moreno
42. Forgotton God - Francis Chan
43. Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch
44. Goodnight Nobody - Jennifer Weiner
45. A Desireable Residence - Madeleine Wickham
46. Sail - James Patterson
47. Anything - Jennie Allen
48. The Choice - Nicholas Sparks
49. The Sari Shop Widow - Shobhan Bantwal
50. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
51. The Atonement Child - Francine Rivers
52. Kisses from Katie - Katie Davis
53. A Version of the Truth - Jennifer Kaufman
54. Nantucket Nights - Elin Hilderbrand
55. Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult
56. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling
57. War Brides- Helen Bryan
58. Swim - Jennifer Weiner
59. Fearless - Max Lucado
60. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R Covey
61. Island of Lost Girls - Jennifer McMahon
62. Start Something that Matters - Blake Mycoskie
63. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller
64. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
65. Quiet Strength - Tony Dungy
66. One Breath Away - Heather Gudenkauf
67. Worth Lying For - Lisa Cheney
68. Mission Possible - Eva Moskowitz
69. The Furious Longing of God - Brennan Manning
70. The Guy Not Taken - Jennifer Weiner
71. Accused - Janice Catore
72. Slammed - Colleen Hoover
73. Point of Retreat - Colleen Hoover
74. 8th Confession - James Patterson
75. 9th Judgement - James Patterson
76. Erasing Hell - Francis Chan
77. Riversong - Tess Hardwick
78. Crash - Nicole Williams
79. Clash - Nicole Williams
80. Where We Belong - Emily Giffin
81. Recalculating - Jennifer Weiner
82. 10th Anniversary - James Patterson
83. 11th Hour - James Patterson
84. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag - Jennifer Gilbert
85. Dark Place - Gillian Flynn
86. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
87. Style - Lauren Conrad
88. Stuck - Jennie Allen
89. Testimony - Anita Shreve
90. Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult
91.The End of Everything - Megan Abbott
92. The Darlings - Cristina Alger
93. My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick
94. The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson
95. Married by Mistake - Abby Gaines
96. Three Weeks with My Brother - Nicholas Sparks
97. The Edge of Never - J.A. Redmerski
98. In Search of Lucy - Lia Fairchild
99. Domestic Affairs - Bridget Siegel
100. Red Sea Rules - Robert Morgan


Monday, November 12, 2012


The last few months have been a roller coaster and to say that they have left me humbled would be an understatement. But as I was finally hitting a new stride - a hard but purposeful one in which I thought things were as hard as they could get, I got leveled one more time. As I came a place of  acceptance for the areas in my life I couldn't fix and I challenged myself to handle them with grace I had no idea I would encounter yet a harder season in the form of friendships.

For any of you who have mourned the loss of a friend for any number of reasons, I'm sorry. In the pursuit of what I thought was right I came to a tough crossroad. Go with my gut or give the people in my life I have loved their way. It sounds simple but I wouldn't be writing this if it were, now would I? I've never been one for lines in the sand and I'm fiercely loyal but don't back me into a corner...

What I realize as I've grown older and unfortunately not much wiser is this - while you can't control other people, you are responsible for who you can control, you. And so as lines were drawn I didn't choose a side, I chose what I knew to be right.

Word to the wise, doing the right thing sucks sometimes. Maybe even most of the time. And it comes at a cost.

Doing what I thought was right when I felt like I had been dealt a bad hand has cost me dearly. It's cost me friendships. They may or may not ever be restored but will certainly bare the scars of my choice and theirs.

The loss of the friendships isn't all. Loss of trust. Loss of respect. Loss of intimacy. I could go on and on.

But in the midst of this I have been reminded of the big picture. Who do I want to be?  As I thought about my decisions I thought hard about the kind of person I desire to be and that has become the focus of this season. I'm still figuring it out but heres a few things I know...

I desire to be the kind of friend who's love protects.  I desire to be trustworthy and reliable. I desire to be honest even when it hurts.  I desire to be real. I desire to be gracious and loving. I desire to be like Christ in that I want my love to cover a multitude of sin. I desire to treat others to the gift of grace I have been given. I desire to be a person of character who's walk lines up with their talk. I desire to be uncompromising in my convictions. And I hope to earn respect where I cannot earn approval.

Maybe I will revisit this in a few months but as of now I don't see any of the involved friendships ever being the same. But for once in my life I can say if I had it to do over I'd do it the same.  My walk lined up with my talk and it cost me dearly but it didn't cost me my integrity and for that I am grateful.

For everything there is a season and I truly hope this one is nearing the end.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Indy Weekend.

Gosh I feel like the weekends are flying by these days.  Thank you for your sweet words on last weeks post, they encouraged me beyond words.  I spent the past four days in Indianapolis and what a sweet four days it was. It was FULL with work, family, friends, and family friends.  But even as I landed after midnight last night I felt grateful for every moment.

Our Colts event is of course my favorite event to work because I get to work with this guy:

It's been such a sweet three year work season for us to be able to do these events together.  I don't take a single moment of it for granted.  I truly have the most amazing Dad of all, how could I not care to further the message of how important father's are?

 Of course having these three along as volunteers took the event from good to great for me.  Absolutely loved spending time with them and it was so special to have them be part of my work event.

I worked Friday and Saturday but managed to get a lunch and shopping date in with my Momma and some time with my Dad (at 6am, taking him to work mostly).  Mom even treated me to some gear for this Thursday game in Jax so I won't freeze in my short sleeves!

Stuck around after the event on Saturday to play downtown with my friends and then to catch the Colts game Sunday with this pretty lady:

Felt good to be home with my parents and the goodbye didn't hurt as much since I'll be back with Dad, Jared, and Jason on Thursday and home for Thanksgiving before the end of this month.

God is good. Another great event and another great weekend.