Sunday, May 8, 2011

The week ahead....

Yesterday, I had the fun idea to document this week before travels by "quoting" some of my favorites- the Barenaked Ladies.  This brilliant idea came when I woke up thinking, "Wow.  In one week I'll be heading to Africa."... which of course led to my head singing "One Week" by BNL.  Then I realized that a musical countdown might be just what I need to get ready to go.

Let us begin.

In honor of my original thought, here's yesterday's song:

I can't quite grasp that in one week, we'll be headed to Africa.  Yesterday I spent some time not prepping for my trip, but praying for John and Laurie's "new" children.  I painted things to be hung in their rooms, and decorated some candles which I used to decorate a table since Laurie was coming over for dinner.  (Which, btw, we ate outside on our new deck!)  It was a super time to re-focus from my "to-do" list and think just about those precious children who are coming to be part of their forever family.

And, as if that wasn't enough goodness for yesterday, I spent the morning celebrating Mary's life by walking in the Race for the Cure.  I had several precious friends join my team, and I'm thankful for each of them.  I'm especially thankful for sweet Sara who walked the whole thing with me (and ran every time we passed our No Boundaries people... and when we crossed the finish line.)

 a little excited at the Finish Line...
 one of my favorite HillSongers was there, too!!
 E loved the pink everywhere, and asked for her picture by the Ribbon
post-race... It Is Well With My Soul

Today has been a near perfect Mother's Day.  My sweet girl fixed me breakfast- a NutriGrain Bar and cheese.  (This is her chosen breakfast most days of the week.)  Then she brought in the gifts she bought me- a Barbie (so I don't have to use hers when we play Barbies) and a kids book on prayer (so I can read it to her and we can learn more about God.)
 I should have taken the pic after I opened them... but you can see how proud she is...

After a super church service complete with Baby Dedication, we met my mom for lunch in Hickory.  I love being so close to Asheville... it makes a quick hour trip for lunch do-able.  E loves being able to see all of her grandparents whenever she can, and today was no different.

After lunch we were treated to E's first nail salon experience... and it was a win.  She asked if we could go back tomorrow. 
Matching toes...
E wanted to show off her nails, which also were painted, too.

Overall, a beautiful day.  And in the tradition of all good BNL things, I give you the song of the day- in honor of the woman who taught me how to love, how to laugh, how to dream big, and how to fold towels... Jane.

Monday, May 2, 2011

She just lived upstairs....

When I was in Middle School, I went through this phase where I wrote "essays" about my friends.  I have tons of them... just a little one or two pager about why I loved that individual.  In my mind, it was the ultimate yearbook entry.  (It maaaay have been a touch lame, too.)

Often on people's birthdays, I'm tempted to blog about them.  I want you all to know why I love said-birthday individual.  But let's be honest... I'm not sure you'd all want to read what makes ___ special over and over and over again.  (Although, while we're being honest, I'm still not sure why lots of you continue to read this anyway.)

Today is different.  I want to tell you about my friend Kimberly, who is celebrating her birthday today.  (Yes, I stole her picture from  her FB page.)  Kimberly lived upstairs in my dorm and we were in the same Small Group my freshman year.  Quite candidly, I don't remember who led the group.  I think it was Jenn, but it very well could have been Kimberly.  Early on in the semester, we divided up and were paired with "prayer partners".  Somehow, Kimberly and I got matched together.  It wasn't that we were best friends.  Honestly, I rarely saw her outside of IV time.  She was in Pharmacy School and I was... well... being a Freshman.

Kimberly and I met to pray weekly.  And for some reason, I rarely missed.  That was a big deal because I was missing a lot of things those days in search of things that would greater fulfill my life.  I would skip Small Group if it meant I got to do something more fun.  I would skip Large Group if I got a chance to go uptown with some of my friends.  I would skip Chapter events if it meant I got a ride to visit friends in Raleigh who had better access to "good times."  I was busy living a double life of knowing I should have one foot in IV (which was, at the time, my one connection to the Lord) and the rest of me in a life of self indulgence.  But for whatever reason, I rarely bailed on praying with Kimberly.

In retrospect, I asked Kimberly if she knew I was partying it up the whole time we were praying.  She said she knew something was going on, but she didn't know my life was quite as jacked up as it was.  (My words, not hers.)  What she did know, however, was that she was supposed to pray with me... and for me.

I don't think I can put adequate words around the jumbled-ness I felt in my heart during that year.  I was on the biggest roller coaster of emotions- I felt loved and rejected, cool and unworthy, fun and distraught, determined and lost, and completely a wreck.  Yet during that year, sitting in Kimberly's dorm room, I found peace.

Jesus ordained our times together.

He did not make us best friends.  We did not spend hours catching up.  We did not do a great job of keeping in touch after college.  We did not attend each other's weddings.  Yet He wove our hearts together and used Kimberly to keep me connected to Him... all because she was available.  She lived upstairs and I knew she was there.  She was consistent.  She was grounded.  And she radiated His love for everyone... and His love for me.

Today, she is the proud mom of 3 beautiful children and the wife of another friend, Tyler, and together God is using them mightily to grow His Kingdom in Raleigh.  But 17 years ago, she was "just" a girl who lived upstairs.  And she was being used mightily in my life... and for that, I am thankful.  I pray that I am "just" that kind of girl for others, too.

Happy Birthday, Kimberly.