Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just a Symptom of the Disease

The disease being sin nature. The symptom today, Spiritual Envy. I have had a lot of time to think, pray, read, debate, etc. these days. In the more recent days I've been evaluating all that the Lord's been doing in my heart since I left Chattanooga. It's been a year of pruning with out question! I had originally begun this journey with a desire to evaluate what my life had been for the last five years. Now that I feel closer and closer to having that book closed a desire for evaluation of my current and most present life has arisen in me. Not so much what did God do, but what is God in the process of doing ?

Today as I read a few things and reviewed some items sent to me by friends and former colleagues I started to feel something I hadn't in a long time. I'm not exactly the kind of girl who wants what some one else has when it comes to material things, for the most part. So, I haven't had the feeling of envy in quiet some time. I really can't even remember the last time I felt a desire to have what some one else had. Which I guess is a blessing. Today however as I read about other's walk with the Lord, experiences and journeys I began to get so irritated. Almost even mad. I couldn't figure it out. I had just finished my quiet time, drank some hot tea, and was calm by my definition of the word. Then out of the blue or perhaps I should say green came that feeling, Envy. As the day has gone on I've lingered on the idea of spiritual envy. What is that ? Did I just make it up ? Never heard of it before. Envy, of course, I've heard of it before, but spiritual envy ? Never. What dangerous ground I tread !
I realize the people I find the most attractive or beautiful are those with a heart for Jesus and His people. Doesn't mean they are all in ministry, but more so that they have accepted Love and desire to pour it out on others. I realize the girls I'm most jealous of are those that I find beautiful. Not in the common sense, though they are all certainly gorgeous in their own rights. The men I'm most attracted to are those who's heart and mind over power the rest of their attractive qualities. Both of those being the one's that have found their freedom in letting go of them selves and holding on to God no matter what that means. Some have walked their walk alone most of their life. Some have been sent around the world with near strangers to share the gospel through song, acting, speaking and serving. Others, are stay at home mom's and wives living simply day to day with the first calling we as women ever had, being a help mate!

Today in all this self evaluation I realized I'm jealous of their Jesus!! The ability they have found to follow Him against all other advice, norm's, or temptations. The beauty that they are because of this Love and Joy that flows from their hearts because they do what they are called to. I am envious! I have a disease and today I suffer from the symptom of Spiritual Envy.

Today's prayer has been a line from a song, "If there's anything at all coming in between our love please show me". I am even afraid to pray it the words feel so strong to me. I confessed as I prayed that I wasn't sure I was ready for the answer to what I was about to ask Him for. While Spiritual Envy may not be the worst thing and in fact could be quiet the flattery to others, it surely isn't the best thing either. I want to take this knowledge I've gained today and apply it. Let it be one of the things that I let go of in my goal to hold onto Him. I want to turn my Spiritual Envy into one of the "irons" (proverbs 27:17) that sharpen me into a better person.

Much Love - Stacie <3

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just One More Minute, Hour, or Day!!!

How often have you been running late or fighting to just be on time and found your self yelling at whomever is waiting for you "one more minute !?".  When I worked two jobs I can't tell you how many times I would proclaim "If only there were more hours in the day!!!".  It seems to me we often find ourselves begging for more time. Well, I have good news. For the first time in 1,460 days our cries have been heard. This year we have one more day, 24ish more hours, and 1,440 more minutes. Its Leap Year!!! According to my lil' bit o research it takes the earth 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds to revolve around the sun. And apprently the early Egyptions were the first to notice. If we did not have leap year scientist say that after 100 years our calendar as we know it would be off by 24 days!!! Odd how the "small things" add up, huh ?

I've been thinking about leap year most of the month it seems. The idea of it. The oddness of it. The brains that figured it out. The fact that we trust those brains to not be pulling a excellent trick on us. The one thought that has kept resurfacing is, "what would you do with one more day ?". Would it be any different ? Would you fit something in that you normally couldn't or wouldn't ?  Will you do something extravigant ? Is it like a full moon where all out of the normal behavior can be justified by the movement of the earth and the solar system around it ? Also found in my research is the Irish/Scottish descending tradition of ladies proposing to gentlemen. It was deemed the one day that it was acceptable and if a man refused a proposal he was expected to pay by way of a kiss, silk dress or jewelry. Now, I'm not at all about being the one who pursues, but if I can get some awesome presents out of it I just may make an acception this one day ouf of four years. It's worth giving a second thought too.

All this fun facts and rambling to say, What would you do with one more day ? I'd love to know!  Just keep in mind it will be 1,460 more days before we get this chance again.  

Happy Birthday to all the Leaplings!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Faithful In The Small Things = Epic Fail

In Luke 16:10 it is written, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

In Matthew 52:21 it is written, "His master replied,'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"

           If I am to base my current daily comings and goings on these verses then it must be said and written of me that I have failed. I have for at least the past seven months, probably for the past ten months, if I'm being honest, been so focused on the big picture(s) that I have lost sight of the small ones.

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Mother Teresa
          Reading this quote alone explains so much to me. It brings complete revelation. As I have written in past blog entries I have struggled with the darkness we are each capable of. And in this time of searching for what God has next for me (big things, big picture) I have skipped past the things He has for me now (small things, small picture). I may write this same revelation over and over, but perhaps I am not the only one that needs a repeated revelation ? I write when I feel moved to do so or when something is weighing so heavily on my heart that I just know it isn't for my consumption alone. So, trust that if I repeat myself it's because I feel I am suppose to. It's perhaps my "small thing" for that day.  I haven't written in about a week because I have been wallowing in my own self pity. I've been sick for seven days straight, tired (from what I just don't know), contemplative and plain beat down by the enemy. I have asked a few of my most trusted for prayers and vented to them as well. It always seems that when I am most frustrated or hurting the answer is directly in front of my face and I refuse, REFUSE, to look at it or consider it. I am my own worst enemy. I am the "Enemies" biggest weapon against me. Satan need look no further than my own heart to find a weapon that might defeat me. Astonishing isn't it? That we would build walls, form weapons, think and debate topics that are to be our defence when at times all that is useless. Satan need look no further than our own reflection.
      Today as I was working on house chores, corresponding with some friends, working out, and just trying to get back to what I feel is "normal" these days, I found myself surfing a old acquaintance's website/blog. She is a worship leader and has a few songs that at this time in my life speak so specific to me. I knew today I needed to find them and down load them ASAP. And it's always so encouraging to me to see how much God has been working in someones life since last I knew them. Our lives move so quickly and it's difficult to keep up with everyone. I'm grateful for those who blog and make it easier for others to read, see, hear what God's done and is doing. I love it! I'm unsure of many things that warm my heart more.  In her blog she recounted some of the wondrous things the Lord had been doing in her life and world to get her attention and remind her of His plans for her. His commitment, "which says we can be confident of this: 'He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6. And in her words pulled from her blog, "He hasn't changed His mind concerning you" – Meredith Andrews Sooter. 
      I needed to hear those words today as I realize my unfaithfulness in the small things He has asked of me. He has NOT changed His mind concerning me!!!! Even my unfaithfulness can not change His heart, mind, and desire for me. I have an amazing family and great friends that I don't give enough credit to that support, love and encourage me when I am so unworthy. Today as I spoke to my Papaw I became overwhelmed at the idea that one person could love another so much, even when they don't deserve it. It is only a smidgin of what God's love is like for us. Even with our greatest love for our significant other, children, family, friends, etc. it is but a thimbles worth of what our God pours out on each of us.
        I hate making comittments. I'm unsure which family member to blame for my lack of abilty to see long term, so for now I'll act like I'm the first one to suffer this issue. :-) But I want to do my best to comitt from today on that I will be faithful with the little things. I will do my best to see what those little things might be in each day, hour, or moment. No one jumps across a stream with one stealth leap. They hop across on the little rocks in between.

For Meredith's Music and Blog click on www.meredithandrews.com
The songs I downloaded are......

"Can Anybody Hear Me ?"
from the  As Long As It takes Album

 "You Are Not Alone"
from The Invitation Album

I encourage you to check them out along with the rest of her music.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All The Single Ladies

Happy Valentines Day !!!
Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

            Some of you may cringe at those words or possibly even dislike me a bit for saying them with that many exclamation marks. But the truth of it is Valentines day is not just for those in love, married, engaged, elementary school parties, obsessive stalkers or otherwise. One of the many legends surrounding Valentines day includes that of the martyr who gave his life in defiance of the idea that people should remain single. Per tall tail he refused the kings law and performed the marriage ceremony of a young couple. His repercussion was death. Let's pretend that this is the actual "Heart" if you will of where Valentines day really comes from. If that is so, then the day isn't about the love of the young couple, but the sacrifice of the martyr. His belief as a single man, devoted to God that love should exist even if one doesn't partake in it the way most do and that we all should do our part to make it real for others if not ourselves.

             When my friend Ashlee's little girl Abbigale was just a brand new little thing I would do baby yoga with her. Stretch her little legs, arms, and do fun things that made her giggle, smile, and inevitably pee on Aunt Stacie. Now, I did hate getting tinkled on EVERY DERN TIME, but I couldn't resist those chubby lil' legs and that too cute baby giggle. One of my other favorite things to do would be standing her up on the counter, my hands safely and firmly around her baby tummy, and sing a little Destiny's Child while making her dance. I mean what young woman doesn't need to be reminded that she is "Bootylicious" or that "All the women who independent" should "Throw your hands up at me". And that "All the honeys who makin' money" should also "Throw your hands up at me". I mean it should be instilled at a very young age that all a woman ever needs to know about being confident, independent and strong she can learn from a DC tune.

Abbigale Ruth - Who could resist that smile ?!
            My point is, that there is no need to pout, cry, or be brought down by this sparkly and sometimes overwhelming "holiday". I feel that while I am single it is my duty to spend my time loving those around me and remind them of the importance their love has been to my life. As well as being grateful for the love I've expereinced and continue to experience daily from my family, amazing friends and forgiving God.  Yesterday, a day early, but still, I delivered a few Valentines to some of my biggest supporters. It brought joy to my heart and a smile to my face to know they felt loved by me. It wasn't a huge sacrifice. I did not have to defy a king and what not, but it did cost a penny or two and it took some time and creativity.

Home Made Chocolate Raspberry Trifle (personal size)
Home Made Valentines ( mailed late)


Heart Shaped Baking Pans Make Things Taste Better

       Love is a sacrifice no matter who is giving, receiving, or wanting it. It is the one thing that all people are fueled by. The lack of it, the desire for it, the expression of it, the pain and joy it causes. Recognize it or not, you too are fueled by love. Be confident in that. Use that to let someone who doesn't feel the power that comes from it "feel the love". Tell someone they are "Bootylicious". Give a shout to the ladies and gentlemen who gracefully survive this day with out bitterness oozing from their lips. Take a note from the romantics around you. Be vulnerable. Be real. Be Love!!

 Abbigale's little sister Piper Jane expressing her feelings on the topic of Vday!
This for those of you who just cant help but hate on it.

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short,
chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon." ~Author Unknown

With Much Love -

Stacie & Jack <3

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The House That Built Me

Cumberland View Baptist Church

          Most people grow up and look back at memories surrounding a childhood home. A tree in the yard that they fell out of. Marks in the bedroom closet of their growing. Stains on the carpet from spilled kool-aide. I did not grow up in one home all my life. My parents divorced when I was five and hence the changing of residence began. I do recall one of my very first bedrooms. It had pink carpet and was HUGE. Well, I suppose it may not have been all that huge so much as I was that small and so it seemed huge. It was Strawberry Shortcake themed and I loved it. I still long for that pink carpet even today. And I sure do have the Strawberry Shortcake lamp in my current room. I love the idea of using it in my future daughters room some day.  I always have and always will be the girl who LOOOOVES pink!! I don't even care if you do judge me for it. Won't change my mind one bit!!

         One constant in my life has been church. My family made sure that I had the opportunity to attend Sunday school, church, youth group and vacation Bible school growing up. And any other social event that was sponsored by the church or attended by family. I do not have siblings to help keep me entertained so I looked forward to every chance to do something new and get out where the people were. I looked forward to riding the bus to and from VBS in the summers. It will come as a surprise to most, but I adored leading the sing along on the bus. We would sing all the VBS songs we had learned each night. I'm not exactly sure where that girl went, but I no longer adore singing in public.

         I recently found myself with a few minutes to burn on my way to meet someone. So, I decided to take an old country back road that I hadn't been on in safely ten years. As I rounded the corner there it sat so small, bright and perfect. The church where I came to know the Lord. I decided to park for a few minutes and let it sink in. The building itself is no longer the main place services are held. They have a newer and larger building down the road. It's nice to see the three church building side by side. The encouragement that comes with the idea of church growth and the need for a larger building. It's a physical reminder of God's promises and faithfulness. It's also a good slap in the face for this girl that sometimes "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a great methodology for leading/participating in church. As I sat there remembering all the different times spent in that little country church I got a bit emotional. Across from the church is a graveyard. It is where most of the family that have already gone to be with Jesus are laid to rest. I thought about the different people I have loved, that impacted me so greatly and are gone to be with the Lord, this mixed with the memories that the church brought back sent me into a bit of a reminiscent whirlwind.

          I know that I have in different ways and at different times failed the God that saved me. I'm grateful He continues to love me in spite of all these failures. I also know that I've disappointed those that had such a huge role in my upbringing, salvation, and general existence. I'm grateful for their unconditional love as well. My newest thought is toward the idea of the responsibility we carry not with our last name or job title, but to those who made us who we are. The establishments, family obligations,  religious teachings, educational, physical, and emotional disciplines we learned as kids. I remember so clearly the burning in my heart and the shaking of my knee's that night I went to the alter in that tiny church. Why do I not wake with that same burning ? Why does it take looking at the building to remind me of the importance of that night and the responsibility I accepted in taking the name Christian ? Humanity, perhaps. Sin nature, maybe. Laziness, sure.

         As I continue to do my best at trusting God for my future. I need to also begin trusting His completed work in my past and the joy it brings me to realize that He has done so much for me. The people I've had the privilege to know, love and be loved by. I should not long for my days of solitude to be over and I don't. I am grateful for each and every solitary moment. Just as all those days filled with things to do and people to encourage me had a role in making me better, so do the days of quiet, solitude, and meditating, "The soul that has been enriched by communion with God will not be dismayed by isolation, but will welcome solitude".  I can easily say that if there is any one building in my past that holds childhood memories it is Cumberland View Baptist Church. The houses, apartments, and dorm rooms all were temporary and ever changing. That sweet country church however remains the same. I have a responsibility to be the person it helped create. I am a representative of not just the Lord's saving powers, but of the church He used to get me to them.

Quote by Come Away My Beloved Daily Devotional by Fracnes J. Roberts

Saturday's Totally My BF!!!!

There was a day when Saturday was my very favorite day. It's been awhile since I've given it the love I use too. Now that I am not working so much, most days feel like a Saturday. In my forever 24-7 work life Saturday was a breath of fresh air more often than not. It was the one day where there was rarely something on my schedule or to-do list. It was my Sabbath.

Beauty Products. I'm a addict.
    I am a firm believer that for us to be our most pleasant selves we have to have a day, hour, or moment that is just for us. Something in addition to a daily quiet time, eating, or drinking. For me, it's often magazines (m'brain candy), music, a rom-com, and/or beauty regimens. For many of us Saturday is the one day we don't have to do things like wear make up, style our hair, wear extremely fashionable, but extremely constricting clothing. It's a day to be our most natural self. On this beautiful Saturday I have decided that a magazine and beauty combo will be the order of the day.


I would like to challenge you to do something selfish. Something seemingly unimportant to anyone other than you. Something that brings you a simple pleasure. Something that just because you spent that bit of "selfish" time makes you a nicer person. Enjoy your Saturday!!  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Blogs I Follow and Why You Should Too!!

I think my fellow blogger's deserve a shout out. This version of putting yourself out there for critique, rejection, encouragement and support I think is bit on the brave side. I mean, it is called the world wide web, so the opportunities for rejection or negative criticism are vast. For me blogging is sharing apart of my heart and journey. It isn't something I get paid to do or something I do for the promotion of a item, product, company, etc. I blog for the purpose of being a voice I didn't have the chance to hear in my own walk. I feel the blogs below share a similar philosophy. I encourage you to check them out and maybe even start your own.

http://rideacrossohio.com  - Joe Painter - As the only male on my list I'll place his blog first. Gentlemen first in this situation. Joe is my political go to guy, actually he has probably become my go to guy on many subjects. Quiet possibly the smartest guy I know. Joe and his brother are going on a bike trip this summer across Ohio. For those of you who share my philosophy that walking from the bedroom to the living room counts as a work, must know how impressed I am with this goal. The brother's goal is not just physical. Joe's brother Jason is a cancer survivor and both have joined in the effort of helping people become more aware. As well as alerting people to how everyone can do their part in the fight against cancer. Everyone knows someone that's been touched in some way by the disease. The Painter's have a financial goal as well as a physical one for this race. You can find out more, donate and follow their journey on their page listed above.

http://sothecooksaid.blogspot.com/ - Cindy Cook - A sister not only in the faith, but in the ministry. Cindy and I co-ministered in the work of RD (resident director) at a Bible based university for the last five years. We share many of the same interests in arts, crafts, baking, and the Bible. She is easily a person I can point to and say that with out her I would not have survived. We are totally opposite in so many ways, but it is those differences that the Lord saw fit to put together to work for His glory. Proudly we both served, survived and have moved onto new things. But our bond, I feel I can safely say will be forever. You don't survive the things we survived and not have a bond that lasts for life. Cindy is a gifted teacher and disciple of the Word. She has a heart for women's ministry and for her role as a wife and home maker. In her blog you will find everything from coupons, DIY crafts/recipes to Bible studies and life lessons.

http://dcdana.blogspot.com/ - Dana Ayers - One of my bff's from high school. I have managed to keep up with very few of my fellow Class of 97' survivors. Dana and I along with a few others goofed off, went "crusin", and survived high school together. Dana and I accomplished graduating college and moving off into the "real world" while maintaining our friendship. I don't think too many people make it out of high school and move on into the world while keeping the same bff. Yes, she knows many of my secrets, but she'd never tell. She now lives in DC and leads a ever active and adventurous life. Her blog is humorous to say the least. Only in her world do some of these crazy things happen.

www.lovelikethislife.com - Dana Brown Ritter - College is a time of meeting MANY different people. Some similar to you and some not. Dana and I shared similar interest in both being COMS majors, on drama teams, floor leadership, loud and crazy!!! Dana is that girl that you never doubted would attain her professional goals. She somehow always went to bed way before the rest of us ever thought about it. HA! She is the next Katie Couric for sure!! She now, is also in DC working for a network and living life with her hubby. Her story is more than I could ever begin to share in a paragraph, but she is a wonderful writer/producer with her thumb on the political scene right now. It seems per her FB status she is always on her way to another debate or sifting through video's of said debates. Her love story is one that always makes me cry. I'm a sap like that. I love a good love story. You can read about her, her hubby, and their ministry on their site above.

http://theblushnetwork.com/ - Autumn Carey Miles - Another college friend!! Autumn and I ministered together in a women's ministry called True Identity. Her sister and I were accountability partners and her brother was apart of a traveling ministry team that I worked for. Autumn had a amazing story when we met and it has only gotten more encouraging as she has traveled on her journey with the Lord. She is now a wife and mother of two. She has begun a women's ministry of her own focused toward young girls in the college and teenage market. Her heart is a wonderful example of one focused on Jesus and the calling He has on a person's life. If you hear her speak you will notice immediately her deep desire to love like Christ and to share His grace with the beautiful young ladies living in today's society and the image today's society portrays for young ladies. I often find myself getting teary eyed as I read her blogs and updates. I share her passion for letting females know they are of worth!! If you have a heart for women's ministry or are even a mom, sister, daughter, aunt, or a female you will find her blog worth reading.