Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Tis The Season

I have been very busy lately. Good busy, though. ‘Tis the season for lots of work during the week and lots of plans with people that I love on the weekends. (I think I am going to start using the word “’tis” in real life. 'Tis totally under-used.)

Here are some highlights:

Election Season
This past week Mr. Herman Cain came into our office. If you aren’t familiar with him yet, check him out. He is a republican making a run for the presidency (currently about 3rd or 4th in the polls), a businessman from Atlanta, a Baptist preacher, and is an incredible family man. Keep your eye on him. He's worth watching.

Me with Mr. Cain

Pool Time
I spent a lot of time hanging out with a few of my favorites recently – starting with my cousins and their kids.  While I did get whipped playing the wii, I made up for it by having the biggest cannon ball splash in the pool. I somehow got talked into doing a belly buster. I have yet to decide if my stomach is still pink from all of the sun I got or from the sting of the rather large bust that occurred. 

I had some quality pool/chat time with my girl friends from church, too. Love them. I didn’t show them my rad pool jumping skills. Maybe next time.

Barre Class
I am notorious for sleeping late and for extended periods of time. It drives my friends with kids crazy, but I am a great sleeper. I try not to nap often because there is no waking up after a ten-minute doze. Naps for me last 3 or 4 hours. On the weekends I could sleep 12-14 hours a night and still be tired. And when I say, “I woke up twice last night” it means I opened my eyes, looked at the clock, and instantly fell asleep again. There is no getting out of bed. No tossing. No turning. Well, not while I am awake anyways. I sleep walk a lot and about once a week I wake up in a different scenario than how I fell asleep – i.e. sitting in my closet floor, standing in my shower, wearing a completely different outfit, etc.  Just last week I woke myself up when I tripped the motion sensor on my alarm by going down my stairs. And I once convinced a fellow counselor at camp that all of our campers were missing, which prompted a camp-wide midnight search for fourteen girls. They were all in their beds. As was I when the counselor returned to see how my end of the search was going. Verify anything that I say after 10 pm. It might be the Sand Man talking. Anyways, all of that is to say that I have slept even harder than normal this weekend because I have been gloriously zapped by lots of time in the sun. I have spent all of my time swimming in the pool, laying by the pool, eating snacks at the pool, jumping in the pool, and going to my Barre Amped exercise class. Barre Amped is a type of exercise that incorporates pilates/yoga type exercises with the ballet barre (Who knew it wasn’t spelled b-a-r? Not me.).  It teaches small, repetitive movements to target key muscles - and they max out very quickly! We literally do the exercises with the intention of breaking down the muscle until legs, arms, and abs are shaking like crazy, which surprisingly only takes about 10-15 seconds for some of the exercises! I like it because it gives a great workout without all of the running and jumping that wears me down.

Okay, I confess. I really wanted to blog about my exercise class to give you the impression that I go regularly. I don’t. My groupon is about to expire so I had to squeeze in my last two classes this weekend. This was my first time to go since March. You won’t hear about it again until, well, until there is another groupon.

His Faithfulness
Do you ever have a song stuck in your head, not because it is constantly on the radio, but because it seems to sum up your life at that moment? Kind of like a theme song? I have had ‘Call on Jesus’ by Nicole C. Mullen in my head for a few months now. My favorite lyrics of this song are “When I call on Jesus, mountains are gonna fall cause He’ll move heaven and earth to come answer me when I call.” I have been extra aware of God’s faithfulness recently because I have actually taken the time to look for it. In the past when I have seen things happen in my life that can only be identified as God At Work, I think “Wow, how amazing. Imagine all of the things that happen that I don’t see.” And while of course I will never even come close to understanding the ways that He is faithful, I want to be more intentional about looking for it. Enter:  Prayer Box.  I sort of got the idea for a prayer box from Trish Ryan (the author of He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not from my top five book list). In Revelations 5:8 there is a picture of heaven that includes “golden bowls full of incense which are prayers of the saints”.  Trish shared that when she prays she imagines that each person in heaven has a bowl to collect the prayers of believers. Sometimes she has a lot to pour into someone’s bowl, and sometimes she doesn’t know what to say, so she will just pray “God, drop a prayer in Anna’s bowl tonight.” As I was mulling over this concept, I decided that I would have an actual box to write down specific prayers so that I can date each entry and look back to see how God has worked in that request. While some of the prayers are vague, for the most part this prayer box holds prayers that usually don't have the courage to pray out loud. I think that sometimes I am sometimes scared to ask God for exactly what I want because I am afraid of being let down, seeming selfish, or testing Him. But we are told to ask freely, so I do. In this box I write down exactly the things and the people that are on my heart. I pray for babies and husbands and jobs and cancers and friendships. I beg for miracles and ask for the ‘impossible’. I love to flip through the box and see God’s faithfulness through prayers that I have sometimes forgotten about or prayed a long time ago.  When I first purchased the box, I sat down on my bed with my notepad and my mind was flooded with so many faces, situations, and names that my hand could hardly keep up with my heart. 

Here are the vague versions of some of my very first prayers that I wrote down that first night:

For a dear friend:  “Help him find a job that he loves and a job where you can use him the most.”

For myself:  “Help me to find a church family in Nashville”, “Bless me with a friendship in Nashville just like I have with my best friends from college.”, “Give me someone to talk to that understands exactly where I have been”.

I finished writing all of my prayers, dropped them into the box, and stashed it under my bed.  The next morning I got up, opened my laptop and hopped on facebook. The dear friend that I had just prayed for the night before had updated his status to say that he had just opened a piece of mail that held an acceptance letter for a program to start a new job that he had been wanting. I was shocked. I had been nervous about praying specific prayers, but God reassured me that He is faithful and He does hear my every prayer.

As far as the prayers for me, God has amazed me yet again. Last winter, I decided to place membership at the church that I had been visiting for a while.  At the New Members luncheon I sat down at a random table with a girl that has now become that friend that I asked for. And this weekend I found out that she understands exactly where I have been. In one day, one choice, one moment – God answered all three of my prayers in one swoop. Yes, it took a little while to find out that He had. But He heard my prayer and was faithful to me. He moved Heaven and Earth to get to me. For that I am grateful.

Tonight at church we sang a song to put the perfect cap on my weekend:
He knows my name,
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls,
And He hears me when I call.

'Tis Beautiful.

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