Tuesday, February 22, 2011

God Loves Ugly...

I have waited to meet this lovely young woman for quite some time now. This is my new friend Christa Black. I have heard just how fabulous she is from many of my friends and through her wonderful mom and dad, David and Amy who have served as the hosts for our soaking group every Monday evening. She is a violinist, a very gifted songwriter, a world-class performer, (she has toured with such people as Michael W. Smith and the Jonas Brothers), and now she can add author to her list of many talents and accomplishments. I am currently reading her smash-hit book, God Loves Ugly. This book has been mentioned here before. It is basically Christa's testimony and how she has overcome such things as addiction, eating disorders, and more. As my friend Candy has said, "...this book reeks of freedom. I could not agree more! It is a must-read in my opinion. On Monday evening, I had the privilege and blessing of getting to see Christa perform live at Monk's downtown. After her performance, I got to meet her. And, I must say, she is beautiful inside and out. I have loved getting to know her heart through reading her book. You can check out her book on Amazon and check out the music that accompanies the book on iTunes. The CD has the same name as her book. I hope your week has started off well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


One day I have waited for has come in two different ways. On February 15th, I reached blog post 300. I never thought when I began this blog in 2005 that I would find enough to write about. I am thankful for the few people that read and feel like they love me and feel comfortable enough to comment and encourage me. Honestly, I didn't think people would want to read about my little life. This blog has been an outlet for me in many ways. I find, that when I write things out, I process them and work out things that I sometimes find challenging to put words to. I really prefer to flesh things out with words. There are those times, however, that words are too much. I am very thankful and blessed to have safe places and other means in my life to release and to recieve what life deals at times. I pray that this space has been a place where you as a reader have found encouragement, a place where you have found relevance, and a place where you have been able to find a young woman who is striving to walk into who the Lord has called her to be. This blog, though small, belongs to Him. I blog what He lays on my spirit that I feel might bring encouragement and blessing.

The other exciting thing ahout February 15 is that it is the day that one of my favorite churches in America released their newest live worship album. You will find it pictured above. I really love Bethel Church. I don't know if I've mentioned this church and its many wonderful qualities on the blog, but you will find it on my side bar. I have not had the privilege of visiting in person, but it is a major dream to take a trip to Redding, California to experience it in person. Bill Johnson is a pastor that has been powerfully used by God to help form some of my personal beliefs and frameworks of what I dream "church" will look like in my generation and in my city. I don't know if you all know this, but I consider myself a 'Church of Christ woman with a Pentecostal spirit'. If you want to know more, just ask. Anyway, I love, love, love the worship that flows out of Bethel. They really know how, as a church, to experience the Presence of the Lord. Worship is a huge part of that. This fabulous church does it authentically and does it well. Check them out. My life has been eternally impacted by the teachings brought into my life by the ministers and worship leaders of this wonderful body of believers.

Hope your Thursday is blessed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Four Ingredients of a Perfect Valentine's Day...

V-Day Dove Milk Chocolate - A friend of mine recently confessed that she can be somewhat particular and to some may seem 'snobbish' when it comes to certain things. I think one of those things in my own little life is this certain, in my opinion, gold-standard chocolate. Dove Milk Chocolate just makes everything in life better. It completely can change my outlook on a hard day, it brings a smile to my soul, and I love reading the little treasures that are hidden in the wrappers.

Rascal Flatts Nothing Like This album - I love Rascal Flatts. This band is one of my favorites in all of country music. I love their lyrics, the twangy nuances of the group's lead singer, (I cannot think of his name right at the moment, I think it's Gary something or other), and the beats of their songs. I don't primarily listen to country, I'm more of a Contemporary Christian and Praise and Worship kind of a girl, but when I do desire everything country, Rascal Flatts is one of my go-to groups. I also enjoy Lady Antebellum and Carrie Underwood.

My sweet daddy did not stop with Dove Milk Chocolate and Rascal Flatts. You see, he is one of the most precious, most generous men on the planet, so he also surprised me with Eat, Pray, Love too. It was a complete and delightful surprise. What a fabulous movie this is. Although, Javier Bodem would probably not be my choice of a man to fall in love with, but the story is beautiful. My favorite character is Kalem, whom Liz Gilbert meets on her journey. I know, you can say it, I freely admit it. I am very very blessed to be completely spoiled and extravagantly loved by a wonderful man in my life. God did good. He treats his two girls like queens.

Here's one last little treat that competely blew me away. I had NEVER seen or heard of Mint Crisp M&M's, but, do you want to know a little secret? They are addictive. These little heavenly morsels were part of my mom's Valentine's Day surprise. My daddy and I adore them. Give them a shot next time you're at Target. You won't be sorry, trust me. You won't be able to eat just one

I hope everyone felt as treasured as I did during Valentine's Day 2011.

Valentine's Day 2011...

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Happenings in My World...

Hello, everyone! I don't exactly know why I've taken a 3-month leave of absence from the blogosphere. I will try to catch you up on my life the last 3 months, so bear with me if you can.

My family and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent in Marlin, TX with the Cunningham side of the family. We ate obscene amounts of food, had great fellowship time, watched football, and ate some more. You know, the traditional and customery Thanksgiving Day activities. To celebrate Christmas, we stayed in good ol' A-town and had time with my mom's side of the family. We went out to my aunt and uncle's house in Ovalo, TX for the day and most of the evening. Another onslaught of hunger ravaged all of us on Christmas Day as well and it seemed like all we did was eat, talk, and nap. It was so fun. My brother and SIL came to visit mom, dad, and I the week before Christmas and we got to enjoy them for an entire week. I love having my brother and SIL around. We miss them terribly. All in all, our holiday season was a very blessed one.

Here are some things that have kept me busy and entertained in my time away from blogland. You may see a recurring theme. I love to read, watch movies, and do bible studies as you know, so I didn't stray too far away from the things I thoroughly and completely enjoy too much in my time away from all of you. :) My pictures of the items are out of order with the reviews, so just scroll down and you can see the image that corresponds with each review. I'm not the world's best spacing genius.

I got this little book, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young for Christmas. It was actually given to my mom, but after I had talked about it so much she gave it to me. It is a devotional book written as if God Himself was talking to you face to face. I have LOVED it. It helps me a lot to have a beginning thought in each day before my feet hit the floor and I get out of bed to welcome my day. Having something to chew on spiritually also helps bring God's Presence into my ordinary earthly days, it helps to center myself in what is truly important and eternal. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in daily devotional thoughts.

Every week, I meet with Sarah Campbell, one of Highland's Youth Ministers, to discuss life and books. We began this time last year some time. I can't exactly remember when it officially became part of my weekly routine, but I love it. Last year, we did Max Lucado's "Experiencing the Heart of Jesus" study. In January we started reading and discussing Christa Black's new book, "God Loves Ugly." It is so rich. It deals with her self-image and tells the story of how God completely restored her identity in Him. It is my very humble opinion that every mother, daughter, youth worker, teacher, or anyone else who invests in the lives and character of girls so read this book. At the end of each chapter she has a very practical exercise that helps to put what she has talked about into practice in our everyday. You can also check her out on Amazon or at http://www.christablack.com/.

I am very devoted to all things Avonlea, so imagine my delight when I discovered that our library had copies of the Road to Avonlea series on DVD. It is based around the lives of the King family in a quaint farming village, Avonlea on Prince Edward Island in Canada. It is produced by Kevin Sullivan, the same man that brought us Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. I love this series. It is my goal to own all seven seasons. I currently own seasons 1-3 and thanks to the library am almost caught up on the happenings of the series. I'm halfway through season 6 right now. To find out more you may find it all here, http://www.sullivan-ent.com/ or just google Road to Avonlea and you will be able to find it quickly.

Just this weekend, I began "Her Mother's Hope." This is the first book in Francine Rivers newest two-part series, "Marta's Legacy." Francine Rivers is a masterful storyteller and one of my favorite authors. I love everything I've read of hers. It seems that every time I come across one of her series, I devour it because I love the different, very detailed, and lavish worlds her words can transport me into. This is a story set in Switzerland and Canada that is very good so far. I'm already four chapters in and excited to see where Marta Schneider will go and what she will do next.
Finally, the Ladies Bible Class at Highland has just started a new Priscilla Shirer 6-week study on Jonah. I've heard the story of Jonah since cradle roll, and as I grew older, on a flannelgraph, but I've never done an in-depth study on his life. I'm excited about what God has in store for me and the entire group as we dive into this four chapter book in the Minor Prophets. I've also never done a study with Priscilla Shirer before and I've found out that I really like her. She's practical, funny, and seems authentic. She is also a very good teacher. I also did not realize that she is the daughter of Tony Evans. I've heard my daddy talk about Tony from his trips to Promise Keepers while I was growing up. It's pretty neat to know a tiny bit about the family Priscilla comes out of.
So, you've finally made it to the end of a very, very long post and recap of the last 3 months. Bravo to anyone who stuck with me and actually cares about where I've been and what has been happening. Now, go and reward yourself. :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Happenings in My World...

Hello everyone! I don't know why I've taken a 3-month leave of absence from the blogoshpere. Here are some little snippets into my life during my time away.

My family had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Marlin, TX with the Cunningham side of the family. We celebrated by eating obscene amounts of food, had some great fellowship, ate some more, watched football, napped, and inhaled another obscene amount of food. You know, the traditional Thanksgiving custom. Christmas was spent in good ol' A-town with my mom's side of the family as well as my Nana and Pa, (my dad's parents). We spent Christmas eve with my Nana and Pa as well as my brother and SIL who were in town from Lubbock. They stayed with us the entire week before Christmas. It was so nice to have them with us for so long. We miss them terribly. On Christmas day, we ventured out to Ovalo, TX to my aunt and uncle's house out in the country. We had a massive and leisurely noon meal that lasted all day. I felt spoiled over all my gifts. My family is so good to me. It is nice to be loved. All in all, our holidays were blessed.
Since Christmas, I have been working through "God Loves Ugly" by Christa Black with my friend Sarah Campbell who also happens to be one of the Youth Ministers at Highland. We meet every week to discuss a book and this was her choice for our first go. It is a fabulous read. I have been thoroughly challenged, refreshed, and convicted all by one little book. It deals with self-image and I think one cannot grow enough in this area of life, especially in the culture and society we live in. Every teen girl, daughter, parent, youth worker, and woman needs to read this in my very humble opinion. Sooo good.

Happenings in My World...

Hello everyone! I don't exactly know why I've taken a 3-month leave of absence from the blogosphere. It has definitely been awhile. So, here is a brief rundown of what my life has looked like since October.

We had a great Thanksgiving with my Dad's family in Marlin. His sister, my Aunt Becki and her family joined us and we had a wonderful time.We did all of the traditional Thanksgiving things (eat, fall asleep, wake-up, eat some more, throw in watching football, eat, visit, and eat some more). After Thanksgiving we had my brother and his wife in town for Christmas