Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Favorites 2010

A few things to share on this Christmas....
  • My favorite Christmas song lyrics this year: You're Here by Francesca Battistelli
    Listen to it here; Download it for free here
  • My favorite Christmas verse this year: 

  • My favorite Christmas memory from this year: Receiving an escape ladder from my parents as a Christmas gift... and laughing so hard when everyone realized it was only a 2 story ladder (and we live on the 3rd floor)
  • My favorite Christmas video this year:

Hope you and your family had a blessed CHRISTmas!

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    I am thankful for so many things... and you're one of them :)

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Fun Fact: Spermaceti

    Spermaceti: a wax present in the head cavities of the sperm whale - often used as an ingredient in cosmetics, leathermaking, and lubricants.

    Now before you go making fun of this fun fact of the day, take a look at Lorelai Gilmore's mocking of it. See if you can count how many politically incorrect phrases she uses!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Things I LOVE about November

    November is my absolute favorite month of the year! No, it's not JUST because it's my birthday month {see #3 below}, although that definitely plays a part. I love November for sooooo many reasons! Here are my top 10 (in no particular order):

    (1) Cool-ER weather. This is the month that we {finally} consistently see some cooler weather here in Texas! Sleeping with windows open & letting that crisp, cool air in is SO nice! Plus, I'm a fan of cool weather clothes... :)

    (2) My Exam. No, I am not excited about my exam, but this year it is on November 2nd (tomorrow). And since I don't find out my results until January, and therefore won't know which exam to study for yet, I get to spend 28 of the 30 days of November NOT STUDYING!

    (3) My birthday. I'm slightly selfish and absolutely LOVE my birthday. Sure, part of it is being spoiled & getting all of that attention, but it's mainly because I get to share it with the people closest to me. Plus, I'm both a Words of Encouragement and Gifts love language person, and both are usually lavished upon me by my friends and family... which makes me feel unbelievably loved & blessed!

    (4) Fall colors & smells. Red, Orange, Gold, Brown... :) And the yummy cinnamon smelling candles (I just changed my Scentsy scent to Autumn Sunset.... yay!) I just can't get enough of it all!

    (5) Movies. The good movies start coming out in November. This year, I've been counting down the days until Morning Glory (November 10th) and HP7 Part 1 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1) (November 19). I can't wait to see these - and not feel guilty about having fun instead of studying!

    (6) November is the eleventh month of the year. And 11 is one of my favorite numbers (second only to 7, which happens to be the day of the month I was born on!) Yay for primes!

    (7) THANKSGIVING! Food, Family, Friends, God, Football, Thankfulness, Parades... Enough said!

    (8) Decorating for Christmas! One of my absolute favorite things to do in November is prepare for Christmas. Bring out the tree, the ornaments, the manger, the snowmen, and let's not forget the MUSIC! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

    (9) Shopping! Between all the coupons I get from my favorite stores {is it because I shop there so often?!} and Christmas shopping (not to mention Black Friday), I do quite a bit of damage in November! I will say, I love searching for the perfect items to give to my family and friends. I guess it's that love language again!

    (10) I don't know what it is - the holidays, the weather... - but people are just more cheerful in November. And cheerful people make me happy.
       
    What do you love about November?

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    A post about why I neglect to post...

    So it's been almost a month since my last post. And that's been bothering me. Not that I think I could be one of those people who posts daily (at least not right now in my life) but it is a goal of mine to make time to post what's on my mind.

    Sometimes I neglect to post because of lack of words. literally. sometimes I just have nothing to say.

    Sometimes I neglect to post because I'm just way too busy. which is often. but if I didn't post for the simple reason that I'm too busy, then I would never post...

    86736366, Tooga /The Image BankSometimes I neglect to post because I have way too many things to say and I can't narrow my train of thought {this is the most common reason}. I mean seriously. sometimes I just can't make sense of everything going on in this mind of mine. I get ideas for blog posts all. the. time. but it's hard for me to focus on one at a time. I get overwhelmed. kinda like lorelai in the clip below. [ignore poor quality]

    Sometimes I neglect to post because my words/ideas seem insignificant. I'll come up with something I want to say, but by the time I sit down at the computer to type, it seems ridiculous. it seems silly, because this is my blog. my space. and it should reflect me - no matter how insignificant I may feel. yet the self critic inside of me finds a way to talk me out of posting things that in no way stand up to the kinds of posts I read from others.

    So there it is. That's what's on my mind right now. :)

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Happy National Day of Encouragement!

    Today is the National Day of Encouragement!


    "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

    I have been so blessed with sources of encouragement all around me! And it sure feels like I've needed it recently! My family is amazing - always there for me no matter what. I don't know what I'd do without them! My friends - new and old, far and near - are one of the biggest blessings to me. They love me for me and are ready to encourage me at any moment. I am so blessed.

    Over the last couple of months, I have been reading a blog daily called (in)courage. It's basically a group of women who have a heart for community and for the Lord. I love waking up and reading what they have to share. It's an encouragement to see that others - even those I don't know - have been through the same kinds of things I have. These women share their hearts through this blog and it has seriously been an encouragement!

    A few weeks ago, in anticipation of today, the ladies at (in)courage set out a challenge. They provided beautiful cards from DaySpring and asked that we (their readers, their friends) would use the cards to encourage those around us. Well, if you know me at all, you know that sending cards of encouragement is one of the things I love to do :)

    I'm sort of going out on a limb with the card I'm sending tomorrow. It's so much easier for me to send cards to those I love. In fact, sometimes I get the urge to just go browse the card section and find a card for one of my friends. But this time, I'm sending my card to someone I don't know very well. But I know that she is going through a really hard time and needs the encouragement desperately. She is not a believer and I can tell that she is in need of love. I'm praying that my card will give her a glimmer of hope.

    What has encouragement meant in your life? How will you encourage someone today?

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Actuaries, Anvils, and Gilmore Girls (oh my!)

    So I went to a business lunch today. We have them every month or so. We get to go to a not too terribly fancy ballroom, eat mediocre food and listen to the most recent topic on pension plans and related topics. Most of them are pretty interesting if you're someone nerdy like me ;)

    Today my boss (my big-time boss - the senior actuary at our firm) gave the presentation. I even got to help him research it and prepare parts of the presentation, which is a big deal for me! It was on a topic extremely relevant to the work that I do - and in general, this guy is a great public speaker. So I was pretty excited!

    Somewhere in the middle of the presentation he used the word "anvil". I can't remember exactly what the context was, since anvils don't exactly relate to actuarial work, but I think it was some sort of analogy involving pounding. Anyway, the point is, he used the word "anvil".

    As soon as he spoke the word, I immediately started daydreaming about Gilmore Girls - which probably explains why I can't remember the context it was used in! I firmly believe that any and everything in life can be related to Gilmore Girls in some way. And, man have I learned a lot from that show. I learn something almost every time I watch an episode - even if I've seen it over a dozen times!

    For example (here's where I finally tie together the uncommon trio of actuaries, anvils, and Gilmore Girls) I don't think I knew what an anvil was until I watched this scene of GGs. It's probably one of my favorites. And  though my boss probably doesn't know it, he completely made my day - not by giving me tons of insight into the Pension Relief Act of 2010, nor by crediting me in front of everyone for helping him make the graphs in his presentation - but by making reference to anvils and filling my imagination with all things Gilmore :)

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Waking up Early

    I used to be a morning person... I really was! But slowly my ability to wake up in the morning has dwindled away. It sometimes takes an hour of pressing snooze before I can actually bring myself to turn the shower on. And by pressing snooze, I mean getting up out of bed and pressing the snooze button on the alarm clock that is on the other side of the room. It's that bad.

    Well, next week I plan on starting a boot camp at Georgetown Rec center. It's twice a week at 5:30 in the morning. Yes... IN THE MORNING. I don't know how I'm going to do it. But I'm going to try. I'll let you know how it goes :)

    Here's a clip on what Lorelai thinks about getting up early. And "early" for her is 6:30. That's not even close to how early I'm going to have to get up! Sure, she gets woken up by loud banging, but I promise that sometimes my alarm sounds pretty darn close to loud banging!

    Enjoy :)

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    New Profile & Reader Appreciation

    Since the "About Me" section of my profile (see sidebar) still included the words "newly-wed", "newly-graduated", and "newly-employed", I figured I should update it a little bit. Gosh, time sure does fly by! I've already been married, graduated, and employed for over 2 years! I'm officially grown up!

    A big thanks to all of you who read my blog!!! I appreciate every reader, especially since I'm pretty sure I can count you on my fingers! I'd like to know who reads this, so whether you're a faithful reader or just someone who pops by every once in awhile, leave me a comment letting me know (1) who you are and (2) what types of posts you like hearing most from me!

    Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Lessons on Joy

    As a kid and teenager, when people had to use one word to describe me, it was joyful. I was truly happy most of the time - and always had a smile on my face. It wasn't hard for me. There was so much in the world to enjoy and experience. And finding joy in all of that was something that came easily to me. What a blessing from God!

    And as I've gotten older and things in my life have gotten harder, the enemy has somehow taken hold of the one thing I always assumed would be in my life - joy. And I have let him.

    And the funny thing is, God is teaching me about joy right now. He is teaching me about something I never thought I'd have to learn about since it always came so naturally to me. How naive was I to think that I had joy down? That I could check that off my list because I was a pro at joy? Ha!

    The older and more experienced I get, the more I realize that there is always more to learn. God is HUGE, and I'm a fool to think that I could learn everything there is to know about even just one aspect of Him. He is way bigger than that. And so I have to accept that I will never understand everything. And as the circumstances in my life change, I will have more and more opportunities to learn how to be more like Him. While it's hard to accept, it's also saying a great deal about who my God is.

    So here I am, learning about joy. And the one huge thing that God has been trying to get through to me is: I am called to be joyful, but I can't produce joy myself. Only He can give joy. It is absolutely a gift. The enemy will always try to take that from me - to keep me from bringing glory to God - so I will always have to fight for it. I am called to fight for it. And fight, I will.

    John Piper explains it much better: "We must delight in God. And only God can change our hearts so that we delight in God. We are thrown back on God utterly. The Christian life is all of grace. 'From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever' (Rom. 11:36)."

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Girl Sings Opera

    Check out this amazing 10-year old opera singer from America's Got Talent... Brad kept saying, "She's not really singing... it's a hoax... the woman who is really singing needs to show her face!"

    This girl's got some talent! Here's Jackie Evancho:

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Good-O-Meter



    Thank God for grace! I would fail miserably if not for the One who stands in my place!


    "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." -Hebrews 9:15


    "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." -Ephesians 2:4-5

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    Here's to Freedom.

    What is this monotony? This going-through-the-motions every day without feeling anything? This unfulfilling, unsatisfying life that I have allowed myself to fall into? I know there is more to life than this.


    I. feel. stuck.
    -stuck in my daily routine. Get up, get dressed, drive to work, sit at work all day waiting for the "freedom" to go home, drive home, eat dinner, watch tv, maybe exercise, go to bed, do it all again. What is the purpose of this?
    -stuck in this apartment. Even on the weekends when I am "free" to do whatever I want, I feel trapped in the walls of our apartment. And I have a feeling I wouldn't feel any less trapped in something bigger. It's not the size. It's the stuff. It's the familiarity. It's the isolation from the world.
    -stuck at my job. It's not exciting most days. I really love what I do, but most days I'm not happy. It's my attitude. It's the environment telling me the way I need to act and feel and be.
    -stuck in my neverending to-do lists. There is always a list - or two or three - going of the things I need to do. Or that I want to do. They are always going in my head. Sometimes I can write them down and cross things off of them, but most of the time they just get longer and longer, hanging over my head and trapping me in stress.
    -stuck in my own expectations. The need to be great. To do great. To be my best. I have this idea of how my life should be and the goals and dreams that I have for myself. And they just mock me everytime I don't live up to them or take a step toward them.
    -stuck in others expectations. Of how I should look. Of how I should dress. Of how much I should exercise. Of how I should spend my time. Of how I should spend my money. Of how much money I should make. Of what my home should look like. Of what kind of car I should drive. Of what I should like. Of what I should sound like. AHHHH!

    I am a slave to this world. 

    I am a slave to others. To my unnecessary expectations. To my "should be"s. I am trapped, caught, suffocating, imprisoned, stuck. SLAVE.

    As Beth Moore puts it, "We become immediate slaves to the person(s) from whom we seek approval."

    BUT, Christ came to set me free from slavery. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." -Galatians 5:1

    I cannot continue to try to balance the Spirit and the flesh. They cannot work together. "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." -Galatians 5:17-18 God has freed me from the law. From the world. From the expectations of myself and of others.
    He has SET ME FREE. 


    To experience this sweet freedom that God is trying to show me, I must keep in step with the Spirit. I must not be conformed to the pattern of this world. I must yield to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to guide me through my routine, my job, my life. Every day I must make that choice. It does not come naturally. But it is so much better!

    Here's to freedom.

    Listen to this song: Better Way to Live - by Jason Gray

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    A Spirit of Power

    Christians are often mistaken for timid. Or cowardly. Or weak.

    Some see our humility and submission as a chance to walk all over us.

    And some of us ARE timid, weak, and cowardly. But God calls us to be strong. To be unswerving. To let the power of His Spirit dwell within us.

    And eventually people will see that power. That humble, devoted love. That compassion.

    At least, that's my prayer.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Blog Makeover

    I had some fun playing around with the layout, colors, and background of this blog tonight. I really like how it turned out... what do you think? Any suggestions?

    Encouragement this Wednesday

    Our God is AWESOME! He is Huge, All-powerful, Never-tiring, Enduring, Understanding, Creator, Loving, Everlasting, Wonderful...

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Shutterfly Site

    Since not everyone has facebook and it's not convenient nor easy to upload the abundance of photos I take onto this blog, I thought I'd start a Shutterfly website just for pics! I figure, I'm uploading many of them onto Shutterfly anyway - might as well use their resources to share!

    So take a look at the site when you get a chance. There's not a ton on there yet, but I hope to be able to keep up with it regularly. Right now I'm working on uploading adventures from 2010. At some point I might post things prior (such as our wedding) but for now, enjoy the Bevil's 2010 :)

    Click here --> Bevil Adventures

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    One-month Check-up

    It's been one month since I've taken my exam - and I want to reflect a little bit on how things have been going since then. Before I took the exam, I made a list of things I wanted to do - or make more time for - once I was finished studying. Here's how I've done so far:
    1. BLOG! Obviously, since I haven't posted since the day of my exam, I haven't done all that well with this. I always think of plenty of things I'd like to blog about, but when I get home from work - where I stare at a computer for at least 8 hours straight - the last thing I want to do is get online to blog. I would still like to get a little bit better at this, though.
    2. Keep the apartment clean. I feel like I've been doing a pretty good job at this. Stuff still gets cluttered, but I seem to be keeping things clean and keeping up with (instead of catching up on) laundry.
    3. Spring Cleaning! I haven't done much spring cleaning. And I need to. We have so much STUFF. Much more that we could ever need. 
    4. Invite people over. Check! It was nice to have people over - and to have the apartment clean enough to have them over!
    5. Spend time with friends. I've hung out with many of my friends and contacted or tried to contact them to catch up. I actually just got off the phone with my long lost Oxford friend, as I like to call her, who I haven't seen in almost a year! Horray for Skype!
    6. Make an "I'm done with my exam" CD. I made a country CD that I wake up to every morning! It's wonderful!
    7. WORK OUT! I haven't done as well with this as I would like, but it's definitely better than when I was studying! Right now I'm up to working out 2-3 times a week. I'd like to get that up to 4-5 times. Brad and I are considering joining a gym - probably Anytime Fitness - but I'll keep you posted!
    8. Play with my Cricut. I haven't really done this, BUT I have started making a t-shirt quilt out of my Phi Lamb shirts from college!
    9. Scrapbook. Again, I haven't done much, but I will probably take a lot of my scrapbook stuff with me when we go to PCB, Florida in 3 weeks
    10. Research small business ideas Not yet...
    11. Read! I basically read an entire book on our Memorial Day camping trip to Enchanted Rock! I hope to post more pictures of this soon! (click on them to see enlarged versions!)
    12. Make a MediaShout training guide for church. Still need to do this...
    13. Go for walks... OUTSIDE! I've gone jogging in the park with Brad twice and we went on plenty of walks on our camping trip... I'd like to do more though!
    14. Read my Real Simple magazines I have caught up and actually need to renew my subscription!
    15. Lay out by the pool - I'm hoping to do this this evening!
    16. Watch Brad play softball I went to the game last Monday night and Brad hit a HOME RUN! Do I have a talented husband or what?!
    17. Play with my camera. I've gotten a little bit of play time in - but I'd like some more! Another Florida project, probably!
    18. Plan a surprise date night for Brad. Not yet... but he still deserves one :)
    19. Design a Terranova t-shirt. hopefully soon...
    20. Go shopping! I went on a shopping trip with my "twin", Kim :)
    21. Be a more diligent employee. I am trying!
    22. Car shop! We have been car shopping, but it's more stressful than I want it to be.
    23. Play the Wii. Not yet
    24. Ride my bike! Not yet :(
    25. Cook! Not yet... unless you count cooking on our camping trip!
    26. Go to a coffee shop check!
    27. Get a massage for ME well... I did get one for me. But I also still have headaches.
    28. Bring snack to Bible study. I took a yummy fruit pizza! 
    29. Organize all my bills. They are partly organized... now I need to finish it up!
    30. Spend time with God.  I have started a Beth Moore study (which I happen to be just going through on my own instead of in a group) called Living Beyond Yourself. It's a study of the fruit of the Spirit. I can tell that God is working in me, even if I don't suddenly feel close to Him. We are working on it :)
    It looks like I've done a good job with about half of my list. It's a good start. I'd like to make some of these a regular part of my life - even while I study! My study days are creeping back up on me more quickly than I'd like!! I better enjoy this "time off" (if you can even call it that!) while I can!

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Lucky Girl :)

    I just have to brag for a second... I have THE BEST husband in the world. He is simply awesome. There have been SO many nights recently where I have come home from work, worn out and needing to study, and he's had dinner ready for me, chocolates in the cupboard, and the kitchen clean. What an amazing guy. I'm so glad I get to "grow old" with him. There's no one I'd rather have by my side everyday for the rest of my life than my best friend. Love you, Brad!

    And on a related note, here's another song I'm currently loving:



    Let's Grow Old Together
    Lanae Hale

    Right turn fall down
    You’re there to pick me off the ground
    And I can’t tell ya how you’ve turned my world around
    You come closer your blue eyes
    Have won me over and
    I’ll never be the same without ya
    Here with me through the sun and the rain
    I thought you should know that you’re my hero

    Let’s grow old together
    With my heart in your hands and your hands holding mine
    We’ll face the world together
    Cause you are the one I’ve been waiting to find
    It’s no secret, so I can’t keep it
    Cause it’s true…
    Baby, I love you

    Long day Come home
    When you’re there I never feel alone
    And my cares melt away into your arms again
    Your smile takes me
    Just awhile to remind myself to breathe
    Cause your still the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen
    I thought you should know that you’ll always be my hero

    Years turn us gray but my heart still jumps when you’re next to me
    I feel so safe cause you’re still by my side on those cloudy days and
    I’m so amazed by…you 


    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    Better than a Hallelujah

    This is my new favorite song. And it comes at a time when I really need to hear it. The phrases that really touch my heart are "God just hears a melody" and especially "Beautiful, the mess we are". How amazing is our God, that He would meet us where we are!




    God loves a lullaby
    In a mother's tears, in the dead of night
    Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
    God loves the drunkard's cry,
    The soldier's plea not to let him die
    Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.


    We pour out our miseries
    God just hears a melody
    Beautiful, the mess we are
    The honest cries of breaking hearts
    Are better than a Hallelujah.


    The woman holding on for life,
    The dying man giving up the fight 
    Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
    The tears of shame for what's been done,
    The silence when the words won't come
    Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.


    We pour out our miseries
    God just hears a melody
    Beautiful the mess we are 
    The honest cries of breaking hearts
    Are better than a Hallelujah


    Better than a church bell ringing,
    Better than a choir singing out, singing out.


    We pour out our miseries
    God just hears a melody
    Beautiful the mess we are 
    The honest cries of breaking hearts
    Are better than a Hallelujah

    We pour out our miseries
    God just hears a melody
    Beautiful the mess we are 
    The honest cries of breaking hearts
    Are better than a Hallelujah


    Better than a Hallelujah sometimes


    -Amy Grant


    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Post-Exam Resolutions

    I don't typically make New Year's Resolutions. I do evaluate how the prior year went and contemplate the things I'd like to work on for the next year, but I'm not one to really make a list just because I'm writing 2010 instead of 2009. Occasionally - okay, frequently - things in my life will get really chaotic and I'll find myself unable to make time to do some of the things I really enjoy. I usually make a mental list of these things so that I can make a point to do them at the next available opportunity. That's about as close to a "resolution" as I make.

    I have been studying for an actuarial exam, which I take in 10 days, since mid-January (so, almost 4 months) and as I approach the exam, devoting more and more of my "free" time studying, I find myself unable to keep up with my mental list of things I'd like to do. It's just getting too long. It seems like every day I think of one or two things that I'd like to get to "once my exam is over". I can't even count how many times I have said that phrase ("once my exam is over") over the last few weeks.

    It has come time to transfer my mental list from the "wishing and hoping" lobe of my brain to paper (or at least cyberspace). Here are the things I want to do "once my exam is over" (in no particular order):

    1. BLOG! I have been neglecting this and I know that my 2 readers are disappointed. There may not even be any readers left! I'd like that to change! I want to post at least weekly, if not more often (striving for daily is still a little too difficult an endeavor for me).
    2. Keep the apartment clean. Brad has been doing such an amazing job at picking up my slack, but he can't do it all by himself! I want to stay on top of this, rather than feel like I'm always having to "catch up".
    3. Spring Cleaning! I read this blog post (Blessing of Stewardship) and it really made me think about what I am holding onto (physically and otherwise) and why. I want to spend some time evaluating what things it's time that I let go of and pass on to someone else.
    4. Invite people over. I can't remember the last time we had people over to our apartment... New Year's Eve, maybe? It's been just way too long! After I get my act together with #2. and #3., we are having a party! I'm thinking homemade ice cream... :)
    5. Spend time with friends. My poor friends! I have told so many of them, "We'll hang out after May 13th!" I can't wait to spend guilt-free time with them over the phone, shopping, coffee, Gilmore Girls, Chick-fil-a, bike-rides, etc.
    6. Make an "I'm done with my exam" CD to rock out to on my commute - or as I'm cleaning the apartment!
    7. WORK OUT! I am going to come up with a plan and stick to it! Brad and I are going to try to exercise together as much as possible. Hopefully I'll post some of my ideas in a future blog post!
    8. Play with my Cricut. I have been neglecting this toy for too long. It misses me and I can hear it beckon every time I walk into our study. I just bought a new cartridge that I haven't even broken in!
    9. Scrapbook. I want to use the new cartridge from #9 to help me finish scrapbooking my wedding from almost 2 years ago! I also want to work on my card-making skills :)
    10. Research small business ideas to look into doing on the side. I don't really have the time to start something like this right now, but it's been on my heart a lot lately and it's never too early to start brainstorming and researching!
    11. Read! I love to read, and I'm in the middle of too many books. That's not the way I like to read! I like one book at a time - finish and move on! I need to finish Eclipse before the all-too-cheesy movie comes out :)
    12. Make a MediaShout training guide for church. This has been on my to-do list for about a year. It needs to get done!
    13. Go for walks... OUTSIDE! It's going to get hot... fast! I want to be able to enjoy God's beautiful creation, preferably before the Texas heatwave comes on full force (today's high is 90 and it's just the beginning of May!) **sidenote complaint: Exam season always encompasses the prettiest times of the year. I study from February to May and August to November. That leaves yucky cold winter and sticky hot summer. Granted, we don't really get a true spring or autumn in Texas, but I wish I could at least enjoy our wannabes!
    14. Read my Real Simple magazines that have sadly piled up over the last couple of months
    15. Lay out by the pool. We have a pool in our apartment complex, yet we don't take advantage. It's fun to watch the families and kids play. And I could even catch up on #14 while I soak up some rays (after applying ample amounts of sunscreen to my fair skin!)
    16. Watch Brad play softball for the Terranova Supernovas! Anyone want to cheer-lead with me?
    17. Play with my camera. I need to strengthen my photography skills, and what better time than wildflower season in Texas (okay, the END of wildflower season... see sidenote complaint from #13)
    18. Plan a surprise date night for Brad. He deserves a fun night out. I have not been the wife I know I can be lately. He deserves way more love than I show him! He's been a wonderful support through all of my crazy studying!
    19. Design a Terranova t-shirt. I have been wanting to do this for awhile! I have a couple of really fun ideas!
    20. Go shopping! And NOT as a study break... just for fun!
    21. Be a more diligent employee. Yes, I have been concentrating hard on studying, which ends up benefiting the company in the long run, but as my mind has been preoccupied with Benefit reserves, annuities, premiums, and such, I have not exactly been as productive at work as I should be.
    22. Car shop! That's right, we are getting a new (to us) car. And the car shopping process should be fun, but so far it has been stressful because I really just don't have enough time to devote to researching, test-driving, etc. After May 13th, bring on the contenders!
    23. Play the Wii. I'm a little frightened about what the Wii Fit balance board is going to say to me when I get on it for the first time after six months! It used to hassle me after 2 days!
    24. Ride my bike!
    25. Cook! I have the most amazing husband that cooks dinner for me most nights! But I haven't cooked enough to know a) whether I actually enjoy it or b) whether I'm any good at it. And plus, I'd like to give Brad a break every once and a while!
    26. Go to a coffee shop and actually ENJOY my cup of coffee - instead of using it as power juice to get me through a study session!
    27. Get a massage for ME and not for my headaches. Believe me, there's a difference!
    28. Bring snack to Bible study. I have taken a hiatus from signing up to bring snack to our weekly Bible study (one of the things I'm proud of myself for saying no to!) but I miss baking, especially baking FOR other people!
    29. Organize all my bills. Thanks to our amazing teamwork, Brad and I keep up with finances extremely well. But what happens with the paper statments (which we are trying to transition out of) is another story! There is a HUGE pile of unfiled bills and statements. I can't wait to organize them all - perhaps while watching some Gilmore Girls :)
    30. Spend time with God. This is the most important item on this list. God and I have some things to work on and I have been neglecting Him most of all through this study process. I am working on spending more time with him now, but I'm excited about how things can change when I have unrushed time to spend one-on-one with Him.
    May 13th at around noon begins my "new year" - and I'm excited about these Post-Exam Resolutions. Happy New Year to me!

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    Arise


    JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD.

    Ahh, what a beautiful picture of love. But as I was reminded today through Kyle's sermon, the real question is...

    WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

    If we have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord, a drastic change has occurred in our life because of that first statement. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

    You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

    So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

    The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.


    The daily difference of His death is FREEDOM.
    The daily difference of His life is FRUITFULNESS.

    Happy Easter.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Love Never Fails

    I have been meaning to post these lyrics since I first heard them on the radio. What a beautiful song! I wish I had heard it before I got married - it would be perfect for a wedding! The lyrics are below... take a couple of minutes to listen to it :)

    Love is not proud
    Love does not boast
    Love after all
    Matters the most

    Love does not run
    Love does not hide
    Love does not keep
    Locked inside

    Love is the river that flows through
    Love never fails you

    Love will sustain
    Love will provide
    Love will not cease
    At the end of time

    Love will protect
    Love always hopes
    Love still believes
    When you don't

    Love is the arms that are holding you
    Love never fails you

    When my heart won't make a sound
    When I can't turn back around
    When the sky is falling down
    Nothing is greater than this
    Greater than this

    Love is right here
    Love is alive
    Love is the way
    The truth the life

    Love is the river than flows through
    Love is the arms that are holding you
    Love is the place you will fly to
    Love never fails you


    -Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath