Monday, December 26, 2011

Mary's POV........

Yesterday morning I fell into my routine. Take Jack out, make the bed, get some hot tea brewin', and begin the day with some reading, praying, and thinking. As I sat to read I found myself with the realization that it was Christmas day. I knew that I didn't want to do the same ol' same ol' in my reading. I thought I'd veer from my regularly scheduled Bible chapter and go to the traditional "]Christmas story in the Bible. On Christmas Eve I read Luke 2, the account of Jesus birth. But on Christmas day the subtitle above a section in Luke 1 was the "Birth of Jesus Foretold". It struck me that Christmas was just as much about Mary's willingness to serve her God as it was about the amazing act of the birth of Christ. With out her willing heart and spirit what would this day had gone down in history as ? So, I read this section along with Luke 2 and the account of Christs Birth. There are four verses that stand out to me, Luke 1:30 "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.", Luke 1:37-38 "For nothing will be impossible with God, And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." , and Luke 2:19 "But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them  in her heart."

My mind cant help but be amazed at how calm Mary was depicted as being. I mean, based on what I was taught in Bible class I am told that Mary was only 15ish. Can you imagine being 15 and pregnant ? She was newly engaged and here she is approached by an Angel with a message far greater than perhaps any other message she will ever receive. I think on the excitement, worry, and dreams that come with just her engagement alone. The desire to be a good wife for a good man. To honor her parents with the plans they had made for her. And here she is told she will give birth to a King. Does she panic, stomp out of the room cause the plan is not as she anticipated, toss her hands in the air feeling betrayed by God or her parents, worry about her man, her wedding, her future ? No. She replies so simply and beautifully "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord......". OH TO HAVE SUCH CALM!!!!!! I confess I envy this part of Mary's nature. Yesterday I lingered on the thought of Mary. While being so thankful for a God that cares for my sometimes "dark and twisty" self so much that He would send His Son to die for my sins. I also linger on the work that God had to be doing in Mary. I long to be such a faithful servant. I don't know that I'll ever come near approaching any sort of close similarity to this part of Mary's character as a person, but I believe it is a worthy goal to add to my new years resolutions. Just thinking on the fact that one persons's following of the Lord will indeed have an effect on another person's ability to the follow the Lord. It causes me to pray much harder on the choices that will come to me in the future. I hope to be able to say, "I am a servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to Your word."

Merry Christmas Loves!!!!!
I pray your holiday was everything you dreamed it to be and more!!!

Much Love from Stacie and Santa Paws!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thirst and Quenching

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with friends in one of my favorite places ever. Per usual I crammed my visit with brunches, lunches, dinners, coffee meetings, walks and anything else I could get fit in a day or night in order to at least attempt to spend time with as many people as possible. Even with only seven hours of sleep in three nights total I still didn't get to see everyone that I wanted too. I set off for my visit thinking it would simply be a time of celebrating all things festive and Christmas-y.

One of My Favorite Cities - Chattanooga

Rock City Christmas Lights


Thinking only of myself and the refreshing I might get from being with close friends. I've been so thirsty for true fellowship I could think of nothing else in planning my visit. I had no idea that God had an appointment for me. In these few days I was reminded that my heart was made for ministry. The ministry of His people. My mind and mouth have been made to flow His words to His workers in love and encouragement. My ears have been made to hear the burden of His people and the victories that have only come from His fighting on our behalf. My life was made for better or worse to represent and speak of what He has done. How He has made me and how I have to fight daily and at times hourly against my sin nature. In being honest about these flaws in me I was able to shine light on some wounds in others that needed a "band aid". In sharing where I have been, I was able to help others from falling into the same "pot holes" I have had to crawl out of. In fighting my selfish pride I was able to hopefully begin the mending of a dear friendship. Now, there is a lot of I in this writing. By no means was it really me. It was God. I came back home poured out and exhausted, but amazingly energized at the thought that He indeed has plans for me. He WANTS to use me. I have been so focused on my thirst I haven't thought He may be just waiting to quench it. It is not a privilege to Him for me to be used it is a privilege for me to be chosen for use.  I cried more in these few days then I have in the last months. I felt His hand on me closer than I had since the summer. I'm reminded that when it seems He is far away, He isn't. When it seems He isn't listening, He is. When it seems He is done with us, it couldn't be further from the truth. Our cups weren't made to overflow. We are meant for receiving and pouring out all that is His goodness and truth. Isn't it funny ? We go into something intending to bless someone or be an encouragement and we walk away feeling we have been blessed and encouraged. I beg of Him that in whatever path He leads me down that I would always be clearly His daughter. As I look back on my oh so fun weekend I am thankful for so much. To name a few....... friends that love and even like me in spite of myself, always having a place to stay if I need to get away, people who make me laugh and smile till it hurts, people who remind me I am of worth to someone, people who let me share what God has and is doing, sleepless nights that come from fun days....and too much cotton candy, water proof mascara :-) , and His ever surprising extravagance of love poured out on me. What a wonderful way to go into the weekend of celebrating His birth.

These are a few sentences He has used to speak to me as of late.
Hope they encourage and speak to you as well.

"I will never leave you alone in the midst of any affliction. You cannot escape the crisis experiences if you desire to grow and mature." "And this is the will of God, that ye be about the Father's business." "I have a ministry for you. You have not found it yet because you have been earnestly and in sincerity and with humble heart trying to conform to the patterns of others."  - All excerpts from Come Away My Beloved Daily Devotional by Frances J. Roberts

"Nothing can give you quite the same thrill as the feeling that you are in harmony with the great God of the universe who created all things. " Dr. James Dobson

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm not dead.....

....just quieter than usual. It's been several months since I last blogged. I realize to the majority of my blogging friends that's basically a sin. But rest assured I am not dead, I'm just being a bit quiet. I know, just doesn't sound right does it ?! I am still in the midst of researching, praying, thinking, etc. about what might be "next" for me. I am still in my home town living and for the most part loving life. I am fighting to use my time wisely. Yes, fighting. There has been a battle with in myself of how to best spend each day. My most recent of prayers I pray before my feet ever hit the floor, "Lord, let today be a day that brings glory to You and brings me closer to Your will for my life." Not every day is a earth shattering revelation or a day that was totally productive start to finish. But I absolutely believe that even in the silence He is working. Words that He has brought to me as of late are be still, wait patiently, the quiet, know, rest, peace, faith and many others. A verse I've just today begun clinging too is Psalm 69:13 "But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of Your steadfast love answer me in Your saving faithfulness." Words and phrases like, "at an acceptable time", "abundance of your steadfast love", "answer me", they assure me that indeed He has a timing for ALL things in my tiny little world. That I can ask anything of Him and He will hear me. He loves me and wants to know what burdens me, excites me, brings me peace, and so on. So, tomorrow I will start another day hopefully with more faith than I had today and a step closer to what He has for me. I hope to spend even the moments of defeat, struggle, and nashing of teeth getting closer to Him.

A few things I've been up to.......
 Throwing down in the kitchen.....                                                 

Chocolate Eclair Cupcakes

Egg White & Veggie Frittata

White Chocolate Marshmallow Pumpkin Truffles
 Getting in touch with my inner Crafting Queen......                                       
Fall Wreath

Button Frame

Christmas Ornaments for Some of Those I love

of course coffee time with Jack Davis
and celebrating what God's done in friends lives.



Spendin' Time With.....               

With my crazy funny family....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Everyone's family is crazy. But not everyone's family is crazy-funny!

Since my move home I have come to realize just how hilarious my family is. I have with out a doubt come to the conclusion that with out them I would have no sense of humor or comedic timing. I have been sharing with friends the side splitting conversations I have over heard from family since I got home. A few close friends have had the opportunity in years past to experience it for them selves. With the constant urging of two very close friends that might as well be sisters I have decided to start sharing the madness with the rest of you. Find comfort in the fact that yes, every family is crazy. But I  find comfort in the fact that my family is crazy-funny.

Back ground info. I hail from a tiny town in East TN. I am a only child but with MANY close extended family members. Great Aunts/Uncles, cousins all the way down to the 10th cousin type of situation, have been apart of my upbringing. In the same way that one might experience with a aunt/uncle, brother sister. I was raised in a single parent home and would consider myself the quiet one of my family. For those of you that know me that will sound crazy, but gives you a good measuring stick for how I became who I am. Enjoy and feel free to LOL or ROTFL. For those of you that are abbreviation simple that means Laugh out Loud or roll on the floor laughing. Dana & Amber - I hope you are happy. If I get disowned I 'm coming to live with you. Jack Davis has his bag packed just in case.

I'll work on continually updating this until my family puts a hillbilly hit out on me.  Decoded: A shot gun and a deep hole on some family owned property.

For the sake of those I love still loving me after reading this I'll keep it anonymous. You know who you are dear family. I love you!!

Conversations of a married couple:
Wife to Husband: If you ever open the door with out seeing who it is first and let some hoodlum in this house, I'll shoot you instead of him.
Child:  Maybe I should confiscate your guns ?

Husband to Wife: I'd rather learn to cook then learn how to use the Internet.
Wife: You've been saying that since we got married. 60 years ago.

Wife: Honey are you helping clean up ?
Husband: No I'm taking these paper cups to use as spit cups for the ride home.

Wife: Are you watching Bonanza ?
Husband : No It isn't 3 o'clock yet.
Wife: Oh yea, it's a repeat at 2:30.
Child: Aren't they all repeats at this point ?

Things you hear at a family reunion.
Great Uncle at a family event: w/ guitar in hand -  Anyone got a song on their heart ?
Cousin -  Let's sing that Johnny Cash song about the man dying.
Great Aunt - Oh that's sad.
Cousin #2 - I'm concerned with what's on your heart.

Great Aunt: When I was growing up they told me peace signs where a sign of the devil.
Great Niece: I was told that too.....probably by you!!

Conversation on Road Trip:
Sister: My husband and son seem to have lost my daughter's dog, Pepper.
Sister #2: What kind of dog was pepper ?
Daughter no longer asleep in back seat of car : What do you mean WAS Pepper ?!!!
Sister: Thanks !

Conversations from a Funeral:
Daughter to Mother : I've already found several places I'd like to be laid to rest. I think if I don't choose the one near the house my husband won't visit me if I die first .

Cousin to Cousin : Remember when y'all baby sat me and left me on the toilet to go out side and smoke ? You knew I couldn't get down from there with out help .

Sister to Sister : That's a beautiful song . Who's singing ? Answer: You're daughter !

The Yankee's are coming! - Decoded: Northern family are on their way for a visit.

I'm going outside for some fresh air. - Decoded: I'm going to smoke.

Potluck dinner this year for the family reunion. - Decoded: You better bring most of the food cause I'm buying chicken.

I've been in the field rollin' the hay. -Decoded: I've been in the field rollin' a .......

Turn the page. Finish a chapter. Close the book. Begin living the next story to tell....

Thanks to everyone for the Birthday wishes, cards, and gifts. It was a wonderful day and couldn't have been more perfect. With the survival/celebration of another year and the entrance into a new one there has been much introspect going on in my mind and heart. I have made many "big" life choices in this past year. Survived several heart wounds that felt like they might kill me. Found a home for the summer that allowed me peace, quiet, alone time with God and nature something that after five years of living in "the hood" and full time ministry I had begun to think didn't exist any more. As I have settled back into my home town I have been going through the memorabilia that my mom had kept for me. Old homework, clothes, toys, pictures, keep sakes and what not. I have read and now burned many old journals. Wow ! That's all I can say to middle school and high school Stacie. Wow, Girl! You have come far and yet.....not so much. In all the introspect, evaluation, revelation, laughter and tears that have come from visiting who I use to be I have found the strength and need to make some "big" inside life choices that I hope will help me become who I want to be. New motto: Turn the page. Finish a chapter. Close the book. Begin living the next story to tell....

Turn the page. Finish a chapter. Close the book. Begin living the next story to tell....Recycled mistakes are just that. We are choosing not to learn from our own pain. Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I no longer want to see myself as an emotional cutter. Mistake once, acceptable. Mistake repeated, unacceptable. Relationships no matter their "title" change us. I from the deepest part of my heart believe that ALL relationships are for a reason, some a season and some a life time. Some of them are for our benefit and some of  them are for the other person's benefit. Some are worth keeping hold of no matter the cost. Some are in need of loosening our grip on no matter the pain, no matter the title. Love. It is unconditional and based on nothing. It isn't earned. It isn't deserved. It simply is. It decides everything we do. The lack of love, the desire for it, the pain from it, the high from it, the bliss it produces when it is perfect. The ultimate love of His sacrifice for us. Love, it defines who we are. Like it or not. While we may love someone forever that doesn't mean they will forever be an active part of our life. The stories of our lives will be littered with the lives of those we loved, that loved us, that we tried to love, but couldn't. While my new motto it isn't the same idea as "it isn't personal it's business" it still is in the family of that ideal. Perhaps the flip side of it, "it isn't business, it's personal", but with the same bottom line. When something is done. It's done. Let it go. What's the use of holding on to something that isn't good for you ? What's the use of holding onto someone that loves you with conditions ? "If you are "this" then I will love you. If you do "that" then you will deserve my love. Until "this and that" are so then I will with hold my love." This is not personal. That is business.

Along with evaluating who I am and my role in making me, me. I am coming to a place of acceptance and appraisal. What's my worth and why ? What needs changed ? What's wonderful about who I am even if no one else thinks so.  I am also assesing the relationships I have. The role they play in making me who I am. Who contributes ? Who weight's down ? Why ?  It's o.k. to finish a page with some. It's good to know a chapter is done and that it made you better. It's amazing to put a book on the shelf knowing you did all you could to understand it. Even when it meant reading the same sentence multiple times. It's freeing to realize you can start living the next story to be told. A blank page. Chapters untitled. Book unbound.

 Turn the page. Finish a chapter. Close the book. Begin living the next story to tell....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What Now?

I am slowly settling in to my old/new crib. Unpacking, STILL. Catching up with family and I hope to soon spend some time with old friends and visit some church's. As I "settle" in I am slowly getting to the question of  "what now?". I know that I have obeyed the Lord in my choices to this point. However, I struggle with what to do next or even how to pray about it. I loved my last job/ministry/calling. I don't want the next thing I do to be something I don't love. I realize there may come a point where I have to take a job simply for the financial survival of it, but at the moment I'm still holding onto the hope that there is something out there that I could love as much as I have loved my last jobs and still survive financially. While I know that I don't really want to repeat anything I have done before that leaves me with the question, "what's next?". What could I love ? What would I enjoy ? Where are my talents and skills best put to use ? I appreciate prayers, good thoughts and positive suggestions.

I hope now that I have a bit of root down to start blogging more frequently. Love y'all!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Bye's, Good Luck's, and Until Next Time's........

As a few of you already know in March I gave my confirmation that I would not be returning to my ministry/job for the following school year. After MUCH prayer, thought, wisdom seeking, and crying I came to the realization that 5 years was a mighty long time to have lived, loved, survived and not slept in the RD (resident director) life. I adored every minute of what the Lord surprisingly called me to in the ministry of RD. I was blessed with a second job of Activities Director that I also couldn't have loved more. It was a perfect melding of my gifts, talents, and the things I enjoyed doing. When I first arrived at what is now my former job, I felt the Lord say 5 years. At the time it seemed so far off I just logged it in the furthest part of my mind and went about learning about all that I had just stepped into. Coming into that 5th year I heard with a loudness a reminder of God's word to me 5 years prior and I quickly understood. Most RD's do the job/ministry for 2 maybe 3 years and for a reason. It is a 24-7/365 job. You are ALWAYS on call, even when you are out of town. You live in the same building with them and share a campus and city. It is more that I could ever explain in a blog, but was something the Lord used to change me forever. The opportunity I had to love these girls and help them along the crazy roads of life was priceless. The times of prayer, brokenness, and victories was AMAZING!! But my time is done and I proudly pass the torch to one of my former RA's ( resident assistant) and close friend. I am excited to hear about what the Lord does next for the ladies of DeMoss Dorm.

This Summer the Lord allowed me a time of rest, something I was in extreme need of. I had been praying very specifically about the need I felt for rest, relaxation and recovery.  The life of  a RD will drain you to the max in every way. The Lord answered my prayers and provided a peaceful, quiet, and serenity filled escape for the summer. I was able to read, pray, journal, sit in nature ( if you see me you'll know I worshiped the sun a bit too much) , think, spend time with friends, and sleep!!! Sweet uninterrupted sleep!!! Oh how I have missed going to bed and being able to turn off my phone, not worry about an alarm, gun shot, or cowbell waking me. During this time I applied for jobs, went on MANY interviews, looked at apartments, town homes, and lofts. All with the desire in my heart that I would stay in Chattanooga for awhile longer. As the Lord blessed with job opportunities he did not bless me with a peace concerning it all. With every interview, application, and apartment I grew more and more anxious. I kept thinking there's something I'm missing. Something I haven't focused in on that He is trying to get me too. After, once again, MUCH MUCH prayer, thinking, wisdom seeking, crying and perhaps even gnashing of teeth it came to me. Home. A home I left so quickly after graduation and a home that it seems I may have spent a long time planning to leave and never return to as a resident. Not because there is or was anything wrong with it. I had a pretty awesome raising. It's just I had always thought once it's done, it's done. Off to new things. Never repeat the same thing twice. However, much to my dispute He let me know in no uncertain words, He wants me to go home. As I talked with my mom and cried some more it was clear. Clear as clear can be through a tear soaked face. Home. I'm going home. He wants me to go home. Once I "fought" it out with the Lord, I grabbed hold of the peace He had for me the entire time. So, in a few days I will be returning to the home town I came from. I can't believe it. I don't know at what point I will believe it. It is so not anything I would've chosen on my own. But that's where the peace lay, if I didn't plan it I can be sure He did. If I hadn't been so focused on what I wanted I may have gotten to this sooner. I am grateful for His patience with us, with me. I am oddly excited to see what He has for me back home. I keep thinking on the idea that I was in such a hurry to leave growing up that there was something I missed there. That this may be a new adventure in a old town with familiar faces. I am looking forward to catching up with friends that due to time and distance we lost touch. I'm hoping to be a help to my family. The family that continues to support me and my crazy life paths. The family that supported me taking a path that lead me away from them and is now leading me back. It's so amazing to look and see God's handy work. He is so good to us. I just feel so undeserving.

As I finish some business here in Chattanooga I keep thinking, I don't want to do good bye's. I only want until next time's. I was chatting with a friend the other night and nearly broke down on the phone just at the word "good-bye", the reality of what it means. I forced him to change the subject before I became a inconsolable pile of tears. Perhaps it's selfish, but I just can't do it. I'm not gonna pack my last hours with good-bye's. I want to have fun, enjoy and embrace these last days in this beautiful city with my beautiful friends. I want to laugh and enjoy all that the Lord has done in so many lives over this summer. I plan to return for many visits. I have a couple part time job's with local music companies that will hopefully have me in Chatt once a month or so. So, I find it totally legit to skip the "good-bye's" and fill in with the "see ya next time's" instead.

So, that's me. A little update. Perhaps unwanted. But I just wanted to speak to all that God has done. He is good and I know that when ALL else fails I can cling to His hands and He will lead me to what's next.....when it's time. I love all my Chattanooga family and there aren't words for how much I'm going to miss the day to day of life with you in, until next time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Selfish! This Isn't For You.

Selfish! This isn't for you. I keep hearing over and over in my head, said from a Father to a greedy child reaching for more than her share of treats from the bowl He is reaching down to her. This summer has held many blessings for me. Some trials, many temptations, lots of confirmations and atta' girls from my heavenly Father. As I start to reflect on it all and store it up in my heart I hear it,the voice of my Father. Selfish! This isn't for you! Just like the knowlege I gained at my salvation of the saving power of my Saviors love, each step with Him is something to be shared with others. Others who may not know Him, others that may know Him and just need some encouragement. There's just no telling. But for me to keep it to myself, all that He has done, is selfish. This life is not my own. The blessings, trials, learning moments and loving moments are all apart of a life that He wants to use to bring people to Him. I am aware I am a unworthy and imperfect vessel, but I am eternally grateful that He saw me worthy of His love. He finds me worthy of trial and tribulation, a time that when focused on Him can instead of breaking you down, makes you stronger. Today, I sit in this busy coffee shop with a challenge for you friends. What is He teaching you now? What has He taught you in the past ? What has He brought you through that could save another ? Share it!!!! Find your voice. Blog, facebook status, a song, even a journal to be left behind for those that come after you. Find your voice, share your voice, let it be His voice speaking through you.    

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Silence, what a beautiful sound.

Today I write from a anything but quiet pizzeria. It is busteling with patrons and noises from the kitchen. I however am focused on silence. Monday I challenged myself to be silent. No t.v., radio, phone calls, facebook, etc. Now, I woke up to a fallen tree in the back yard so a few phone calls had to be made. Beyond that I spent the better part of the day in silence. I did house work, read, journaled, sat on the front porch enjoying the beauty of the day and God's provision, read, and read some more. I even took a moment to color a picture. I wanted to know if I could rest in silence or if I was indeed the kind of person my mother always accused me of....the child that just HAD to be doing something every hour of the day. As the day ended I was proud of my silent accopmlishment. It was such a blessed day. I loved the noise of God's creation around me. It was a sweet reminder that we are not alone. We share this earth with all sorts of things tree's, bugs, deer, chipmunk, puppies, and eachother. It reminded me that if a day goes by and I only rest, I have still accomplished something. He longs to speak to me through His creation. He desires to allow me time to rest in His presence with only the noise of my beating heart and the whisper of the breeze. He wants me to sit in His glory and say nothing at all. Yesterday in Come Away My Beloved ,a book that has become a huge part of my quiet time, there was a sentence that said "I tell you now, I am never silent;but you are deaf". The day before I read, "If I give you a time of rest, it is for a reason." These two combined lead me to challenge myself to seek out silent times. I don't know what your days hold, but I want to challenge you to find one where you can truly rest. Sit in silence and wait for what God has to say to you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog.....that was my question.

I have been debating for a majority of the Summer about blogging. I truly do not love to "follow the crowd" and so it's trendy following caused me hesitance. But after prayer and thought, yes I prayed about blogging, I have decided to jump in. The idea that what God has for my life just might not be for only myself, but more for others pushed me into the blogasphere. So, here we go, The Faith Journals. My desire is to share about the journey the Lord is leading me on and has lead me on in my life. To share what He has done and is doing so that perhaps there is one less out there wondering if they are the only one. If they are the first to take that step of faith, to ask that question, to say to God, "I know you are there with my mind, but today I don't  always feel you there with my heart". And to know He has reached out to someone, somewhere and reassured them that indeed He is there. Giving a hope that He will reach out to someone else, somewere else reassuring them that indeed He is there. And here we go misspelled words, in proper puncuation, and a English teacher or editors worst nightmare........follow me.