hot bliggity blog 267

Friday, April 29, 2011

tornado alley

I would like to take a time-out and remember all of the people in the southeastern states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia who have been affected by the awful tornadoes that have been wreaking havoc the past few days. I have not watched much of the news coverage but what I have seen has made me sick to my stomach.


I grew up in southern Louisiana where tornados were very few and far between. Thus I do not like them and they scare me to death. Give me a hurricane any day over a tornado. When I moved to Alabama for undergrad I didn’t go with the general fears and nervous feelings that most freshman go to school with, no. My biggest fears weren’t professors, sharing a dorm with millions (100) of girls, or The Freshman 15. I was scared to death of the possibility and likelihood of tornados (and driving in the mountains). I cannot fathom how terrifying being in the storm must have been.


I have probably spent a total of 6 years of my life in Alabama, The Beautiful, so the people and state are very near and dear to my heart. I have gotten updates from many of them; so far all are okay, have minimal damage and some still without power.

Some of my loved ones in the area:

Grandmother & Granddaddy T-North Alabama
About 90% of my ENTIRE family-North Alabama
Aunt C & Uncle T-Georgia
Ellen & Jeremy & Company-Georgia
Laura & Company-Georgia
David & Penny, Marshal, Cason-Birmingham
Lauren-Birmingham
Savannah & Phillip-Tuscaloosa
So many more that I either haven't heard from or gotten a chance to talk to.


During one of the tornado breaks my Granddaddy walked some of their property to access damages. He came back reporting that 50+ trees just behind their house were down. More tornados ensued soon after. It isn’t the tree count that scares me but the fact that the tornados are ‘too close to home’, literally.


Please continue to pray for the people who lost everything, loved ones, and ‘normal’ life as they knew it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter blooms

I love flowers. I always have. I love their different colors, shapes, sizes, scents, and the way they can brighten any day. I also love that different species bloom in different capacities and volumes from a single-stemmed wildflower to an entire blooming tree like the Dogwood. I have always loved Dogwoods. I cannot tell you why exactly but I think they are simply beautiful. Who doesn’t love a nice big blooming tree of dogwoods?!

Image can be found at: www.botanicartist.com

On another note (a rather close one) I have also always loved Van Gogh’s Almond Branches in Bloom. I never realized until recently how similar the branches and blooms resembled that of dogwoods.

On January 31, 1890 [my birthday-100 years later of course! Ha], Theo [Van Gogh’s younger brother] wrote to Vincent [Van Gogh] of the birth of his son, whom he had named Vincent Willem. Van Gogh, who was extremely close to his younger brother, immediately set about making him a painting of his favorite subject: blossoming branches against a blue sky. The gift was meant to hang over the couple’s bed. As a symbol of this new life, Vincent chose an almond tree, which blooms early in southern regions, announcing the coming spring as early as February.

-from online source: Van Gogh Museum
Image can be found at: www.vangoghpaintings.net

What beautiful meaning and symbolism!

(You should know that last year I decided that I wanted to paint my own set of Almond/Dogwood branches and used Van Gogh’s Almond Branches as my inspiration. It didn’t go so well and to this day a 30” x 40” canvas abides in the closet that is underneath the stairs at my parents’.)

Squirrel.

Image can be found at: www.zonkio.com

Did you know that various aspects of the crucifixion can be seen and symbolized by a dogwood flower?

The CROSS is represented by the cross formation of the flower's four petals.

An unmistakable mark, or point, can be seen on the outer edge of each petal, representative of Jesus’ bloodstained NAIL scars.

The center of the flower resembles THE CROWN OF THORNS that was planted on His head.

The berries, or fruit, of a Dogwood are a dark crimson color representing the BLOOD that Jesus shed to wash away our sins, making them ‘white as snow’.

The Dogwood is a flowering TREE; Jesus was nailed to cross made from a TREE.
Image can be found at: http://www.visualforces.com/

Image can be found at: http://gardening.about.com/

This past Sunday we celebrated Easter. Easter marks the 3rd most important day in Christ’s life here on Earth: his birth, his death, and his resurrection. If God had not sent His only Son to be born of a virgin, He would not have died on the cross to cover mine and your sins. If Christ had not lived a sinless life yet still died for our sins, He could not have been dead and buried for three days. If He had not been dead and buried for three days He could not have been resurrected. If He had not been resurrected He could not save those who have put their faith and trust in Him and we would be no better of than if He had never been born at all.

Image can be found at: http://blog.pennlive.com/


I hope and pray that you know Jesus personally as your Lord and Savior. If you do, share His free gift of eternal life to everyone you know! We are called to do so. And if you do not know Him find someone who does and ask them why they have not shared The Good News with you yet. If you cannot find anyone there are plenty of people at your fingertips: your local Christian radio station and Christian churches all have people ready and waiting to talk to you.

We used to take Easter Day pictures in front of a Dogwood tree in my Grandparents’ yard. When I find one of the pictures I will add it here!

Friday, April 22, 2011

i came to dance my shoes off!

I had the privilege of being part of an

AMAZING event last week:

Dance Your Shoes Off!


Seriously.

It.

Was.

Awesome.

This church sponsored event wrapped witnessing, testimony, community, and missions all into one GIANT song and dance for the Lord. I have no idea how long this project took to prepare for on the administrative side but I do know that every single ounce of work and effort put in to making it a success was rewarded ten-fold.

Denise, Me & Heather

The purpose of Dance Your Shoes Off! was to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a powerful and celebratory way. Additionally, each participant left a new pair of shoes on the field for those in need. These shoes will be given to local mission agencies, including Star of Hope, individuals all across the world through our mission partners and mission trips.

To prepare for the dance, mandatory and optional practices were scheduled all during the month leading up to D-Day. At the mandatory practice, you were assigned a position number [like mine: O5] and a wristband that served as your free parking ticket, position holder, and reminder to pray for the event and the impact that it would have on the community.

Julie, Me, Joseph, Cassie & Heather

As mentioned above, part of the Resurrection Dance included leaving a new pair of shoes on the field to give to someone in need. About 2000 pairs of shoes were donated that day!



Two of my first friends at my home church. I met both Jill and Lauren on my first visit to a Sunday School class and they are both part of the reason that I returned the next Sunday I was in town (5 weeks later!). Both remembered my name and face when I walked through the doors again making me feel so special and welcomed. It’s crazy how something as simple as remembering a name can mean to someone. Why then do we so rarely take the time to do so? Unfortunately the class that I was a part of with Jill and Lauren ended last year and we have all gone separate ways but we try to stay caught up with each other as best we can.

Jill, Me & Lauren

I am amazed/thankful/wowed/blessed every single day at the number of meaningful friendships that I have made with some of the wonderful people that are here within our church family. And in a relatively short time frame, too!

Lindsay, Me & Amanda

I frequently see many of the high & junior school girls that I spent weeks getting to know last summer. It’s always neat to chat with them for a little bit, tell them they’ve grown another foot, and hear about the latest crisis that is the life of a teenage girl. [Man, I’m sounding old!] These girls hold a special place in my heart as I have [just recently!] turned that chapter in my book and recognize the importance and need for the presence of us [slightly] older girls who are strongly rooted in our faith in their lives.




The Resurrection Dance!


The field was absolutely beautiful! Like a giant Easter egg basket exploding with the brightest and shiniest eggs you could find, Discovery Green has never looked or experienced anything like it. I am so thankful that God created so many beautiful colors for us to enjoy and for designing us to appreciate them. I for one would not enjoy a world without color.


Rise Up! was commissioned by our church and written, recorded, and produced by Josh Moore, Lauren Camey ,and Jonathon Camey for this event.


The sight of 2000+ pairs of shoes left on the field to donate was extremely moving. I am thankful to our church for providing us this opportunity and unique way to serve our community and praise our Lord and Savior.


Click the link below to watch and listen to The Resurrection Dance & Song!



As I’m writing this, my cousin in Ohio just posted on my Facebook wall that she just saw this video played on Fox News. How cool is that?!

All Glory and Praise to God.

Amen.

beach + wedding = no beach

Whoo! I have been M.I.A for a good little while. My blog didn’t even recognize me when I logged in moments ago. I thought it was going to ask me for a urine sample but we were able to settle with just a fingerprint.

It’s good to be back on here, though! It’s not that I haven’t had anything to share, no, that’s not the case at all. I have been so busy I haven’t had TIME to share. And staying busy means that I have A LOT to share. So that’s what I’m about to do. Hold on to your mouse, folks; I’m about to share away.

First up: Marcie’s beach wedding

I met Marcie when I started working at my current job. She is our H.R. manager. She is also the Owner/Boss’s daughter. In short, she is someone that you want to get along with.

Me and the B-E-A-utiful Bride!


Marcie’s wedding was two weekends ago. Because of the drive, most of the guests booked a hotel to stay for the night. Christie and I got a room and planned on leaving at at 8:00 a.m. to head down and enjoy the day chillaxin’ by the waters’ edge. We both knew that neither one of us would even be out of our own beds by 8:00 a.m. but we tried to trick ourselves into thinking that we could sleep by the pool once we got there.

We left at 11:17.

(For the record I was up at 8:00, just moving at a snail’s pace.)

The drive down was fairly uneventful (thankfully) and we noted that the sun could not possibly shine any brighter nor the sky be any clearer. We were getting excited about some healthy Vitamin E and some not so healthy UV Rays. We wanted to bask in the sun and all it’s beautiful glory and warmth. We wanted to be sun-burned for the wedding. We wanted to pick up a few guys to take as dates to the wedding. [Marcie wanted us to.] We wanted to take naps under the cabana, the sound of waves and splashing water lulling us to sleep. We wanted paper umbrellas in our drinks. We wanted it all and were not prepared for any disappointments.

But disappointed we were.

As we neared the crest of the bridge leading into the bay...

the clouds came out...

the sun disappeared...

the temperature dropped...

the rain [our tears] came down.

BOO.

Our sad faces did not last long, however, after we started looking for our hotel. We had a confirmation number and new that we had booked at a Holiday Inn. Determining which Holiday Inn was the problem. Apparently there are 3 along Sea Wall. Walking into the first lobby and asking, ‘Is this our hotel? Does our confirmation number match anything in your system?!’, had us laughing so hard we could barely stand up straight.

After finding our hotel and nixing the pool we had to improvise. We didn’t get any healthy Vitamin E but we did get some much needed R & R. We didn’t get to bask in the sun but we did get to curl up in our double beds and enjoy pillows that ranged from ‘Soft’ to ‘Firm’ comfort levels. We didn’t get sun-burned but we ordered 2 large pizzas and divulged. We didn’t pick up any guys but we saw some that would have made lovely escorts. We didn’t take naps under a cabana but The Wedding Planner lulled us to sleep in our room. We didn’t get paper umbrellas in our drinks but we did make it to the wedding on time.

Barely.

We went through 3 hotel blow-dryers before getting out the door.

But we made it never-the-less. And, thanks to my handy-dandy pockets hidden in my dress, I was able to keep up with my hourly eye-drops. (Yes, I am still 'recovering').

It was such a fun wedding; I knew it would be. It was beautiful, too!

Leaving the ceremony.
Thankfully they both said, 'I do'! Ha!

The colors were a deep purple and bright yellow/gold.
You should take notes, all of you LSU diehards.

The food was DE-LI-CIOUS. I couldn't finish
my plate but was politely denied a To-Go Box.


Many people from the office were able to make it as well. It's fun getting to know co-workers outside of the workplace environment.

Christie & Joe

Me & Margie

PHOTO BOOTH!!! A photo booth is now a 'Must-Have' at
wedding receptions. What better way to remember and
document those at your wedding?


Marcie had a scrapbooking/page making table set up outside of the photo booth. Once you had your pictures taken you could make a page to put in their wedding scrapbook. She had baskets set out with funky scissors, pens, stickers, and fun paper to create a page. What a neat idea!

Hannah [Marcie's Neice/Co-worker], Me, & Christie
Weren't the dresses pretty (Hannah's)?!

Christie, Me, & Herb [Groom]

We were very sad when the lights came on and the dance floor cleared. They tried to appease us with flowers to take home. Of course we forgot them in our hotel room the next morning :(


Congratulations, Marcie & Herb, Alec, Christian, & Savannah! I pray that the Lord blesses you and your new family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

happy birthday, [crimson] ann white

One year ago on April 8, 2010, I had to make a decision.

A BIG decision.

A decision that I put off for as long as I could.

A decision that unless you live in the metro cities of New York City or San Francisco or European cities such as London, Paris, or Dublin, and want to live a functional lifestyle you will have to make.

A decision that had I not been forced to make, I might still be found somewhere in a ‘narrowed’ down list of 3, 4, 7, maybe 11 models, upholstery options, and rim packages.

I had to buy a car.

If I had a Top 10 List of things I absolutely despise doing, buying a car would probably come in fourth place. (Fourth behind trips to the dentist, waking up any day before 10:00 a.m., and being forced to eat any kind of bean.) I think I will start a Top 10 List of Things I Absolutely Despise Doing; sounds like a good idea.

Squirrel.

My first and only car was given to me by my parents during my junior year of high school: a 2001 Cherry Red Oldsmobile Alero named Ruby. That little car got me through 2 years of high school, 4 years of college (12 hours away from home), 3 years of Grad school and almost 1 year post education. She saw many a hurricane, hauled more than her fair share of shopping bags and miscellaneous (and always necessary) finds, and protected me from getting the bugs in my teeth that my bicycle could not have prevented.


Appearances can be deceiving: I appear to have aged immensly
since October of 2000 but there is still a 17-year-old girl inside
of me that can keep up with of the rest [most] of them.



We have shared some extremely memorable moments, Ruby and I.

Like the time we backed out of my driveway and began the 12 hour trip back to college. My friend Lauren had flown in to hang out for the week before and drive back with me. I had packed Ruby so full to the brim that Lauren had no other option but to ride the full 12 hours with her suitcase at her feet and my body pillow in her lap. (All-up-in-her-person would probably be a more appropriate description.) She will never let me live that down.

Or the time we got stuck in mud during a 7 month drought. Seriously, it probably had not rained in about 54 days yet somehow I managed to find the only 14 square feet of mud in the entire parish. I was a senior in high school at the time. About 15 of my guy friends stopped to help but were unable to produce any results. So I called Daddy. What else can a girl do when all of her friends let her down? Dad’s can do anything. I will never forget what my 6’-4” friend, Dan, said to me when he learned that I had called in Dad for backup:

‘Do you know how embarrassing it will be if your Dad gets here and is able to pull your car out when we couldn’t?’

‘Well if you don’t want to be embarrassed ya’ll had better get it out before he gets here because he will get it out. You have about 5 minutes,' I replied.

I’m sure you can guess what happened next. My parents had my car unstuck and ready to go in 8 minutes flat. Dad pulled up and started giving orders before he had even put his own car in park. He told my mom to get in my car to steer, assigned positions to 7 of the biggest guys, took the heaviest, most-stuck spot for himself and told everyone else to stand back. On the count of 3, they lifted it out and back onto the safety of the unwavering concrete. Needless to say, Dan was embarrassed but felt fairly good about himself because Dad had placed Dan directly to his right in the ‘strong-man line-up’.

(I would also like to add that I had not been off-roading or driving haphazardly by any stretch of the imagination. I was merely turning around in what I thought was my friend’s driveway. I turned in one driveway too early and unfortunately found out the hard way that said driveway was under construction.)

We have given many rides to many a passenger. I won’t tell you how many people she was able tote around back in her hey-day; I don’t think I could get in trouble, but I prefer not to put it in writing just in case. Let’s just say you would be absolutely amazed at the number of sets of fingers and toes she could pack in at once.

We were pulled over for silly reasons several times, ahem, 7 times before ever getting a ticket.

We got into one fender bender. It’s best if I don’t go into that as I get more than a little heated.

Yes, Ruby and I have made many fond and not so fond memories together.

But last year on March 13, life as Ruby and I knew it came to a screeching halt when she stopped dead in her tracks in my church parking lot and quit on me. Like, Out-Like-a-Light quit on me. I guess if you have to die somewhere just outside the sanctuary doors is a good place to do so. There was no bringing her back to life. Well, that’s not completely true; she could have been brought back for a very, VERY, VERY shiny penny.

Ruby's last picture before being picked up. I'm pretty sure I
was asleep when she was loaded up and driven away for good.
I think my parents planned an early pick-up so that they
wouldn't have to deal with my sometimes uncontrollable emotions!
Still lookin' good after 9 1/2 years!!!


Thus I had to go shopping for a new one.

I don’t remember many details of purchasing day as I have deliberately put them in my mental ‘Recycle Bin’ and have since then 'Deleted Forever'. It was an experience to say the least; one that Mom and I have vowed never, ever to to repeat without the help and physical presence of a trusted male. Mom and I went to the Toyota dealership that day with the sole intention of looking NOT buying. But buy I did. All I know is we were there for 6+ hours with no lunch or dinner break, had my dad coaching us over the phone as he was out of the state or country (it’s impossible to keep up with his whereabouts), and I may or may not have blown up in the manager’s face. My mild and learned dislike towards car salesmen turned into a very strong and experienced dislike that day.

My first car purchase complete with Big Girl Keys!
Can you see the traces of concern and 'What did I Just Do?'
look on my countenance?!

Did I mention that my contracting job had ended not 24 hours before Ruby was deemed unrepairable?! But that is another story about having faith that God will provide for another day.

For once, Mom looks like the calm one!


But I do love [Crimson] Ann White and have been very pleased with my purchase. She is beautiful! I have had zero problems with her and she has been a great commute buddy. She has yet to make it out of the state but I just know she would enjoy a trip through the southeast. (I require a plane when traveling any farther than that.)

vow12. 2 Corinthians 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
TEMPTATION was the title of this week's sermon at my church. I know I have shared 1 Corinthians 10:13:
'No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.'
Why and how are we so easily seduced by temptation? Why is it so easy to give in to temptation, even when we know that (usually) there will be consequences to pay after giving in? The truth is, you will always be followed by temptation; as human beings we are prone to wander. Satan will never give up trying to break you down.

By the grace of God our sins and temptations are covered by the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross. Hallelujah! I personally find myself having to ask forgiveness too often.

CHALLENGE: Pray that God will keep you from wandering into places that will lead you to temptation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

vow11. Proverbs 19:21

Proverbs 19:21
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.


Going along with my theme for the year: I am not here on this earth for myself, but for God's greater plan and, one way or another, His plan will prevail.

Blessings on your week :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

'Eye' can see clearly now....

‘Eye’ marked it on the calendar in blue, permanent ink
And anxiously a’ waited for one entire week.


‘Eye’ was mostly excited to be able to see
But on the day before, ‘Eye’ began to get cold feet.


So ‘Eye’ went to the gym, thought a work-out just might help;
Stayed going on the treadmill ‘till no more nerves ‘Eye’ felt.


‘Eye’ cleared out all my drawers of solutions & cases,
Knew ‘Eye’ld have no trouble filling up the empty spaces.


‘Eye’ recounted my eye-drops, prescriptions, & meds,
Ensuring ‘Eye’ had them all before going to bed.


My mom & ‘Eye’ were ready with ample time to spare
To pick up chicken biscuits to eat on our way there.


While waiting we played scrabble, it kept my mind at ease;
This was the last hour ‘Eye’ld need my glasses to see!


They charged my card & prepped me up; never once felt faint
When Dr. J assured me that he would feel no pain!


‘Eye’ had hand-picked out my footies to wear to the event,
He showed them off to everyone; they were such a hit!


The surgery went by fast; we mostly talked & sang.
‘Eye’m being very honest, ya'll: I barely felt a thing!!!


Next was the recovery, my mom clearly relieved;
Don’t think she had breathed out once, nervous she was for me!



They put these goggles on my face & promised they looked cool.
‘’Eye’ can see!’ ‘Eye’ cried, ‘And ‘Eye’ don’t care if ‘Eye’ look a fool.’


Exiting the building, ‘Eye’ already could count bricks.
To think of all the things ‘Eye’ve missed; Oh! It makes me sick.


My eyes so clear, ‘Eye’ even see the thoughts up in your mind;
Thank you, Dr. J & staff, for giving me new Eyes!!!


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