Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wise Words

"Time has been given to us to cause love to grow, and the success of our lives will be measured by how delicately and sensitively we have loved." - Brennan Manning

"We can proclaim with theological certainty in the power of the Word: God loves you as you are and not as you should be! Do you believe this? That God loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity, that he loves you in the mornings sun and the evening rain, that he loves you without caution, regret, boundary, limit, or breaking point?" - Brennan Manning

I just thought I'd share these two thoughts from my daily devotional with you today. These are from two completely different days, but I believe that the one (loving others) has much to do with other (allowing ourselves to be fully loved by God). Brennan Manning has a way with words. His words are at once convicting and encouraging. I dig that about him.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Off-Roading in the...Accord?

Jason and I were just minding our own business today, returning a movie to the store. We spot a turtle making its way across the parking lot. Not good. Yertle will soon be a pancake if we do not intervene. Jason takes action and goes out to pick him up and take him to the grassy area behind the little shopping center. It was plush and nice, but...not good enough for my sweet hubby. Just minutes from our house is a luxurious state park. Only the best for Yertle.

So, we dump our box of emergency supplies in the trunk and put Yertle in there for the ride. He is decidedly timid, this turtle. He has gone farther into his shell than I have ever seen a turtle go. As we ride along, he decides to poke his head out just enough to see (still under his shell, of course...well-protected). He has a piece of grass stuck to the side of one eye. This concerns me. It concerns Jason more that it concerns me. Like I am going to stick my finger in there and retrieve it. I am not stupid! That turtle had some hard-core finger nails (ok...claws) and was in serious need of a manicure. I am not going to risk my own fingers for a piece of grass that Jason assures me, "The turtle will take care of that later." He is funny, my husband. I think I was making him nervous, petting the turtle and looking so closely at him and all. Honestly? The little guy looked strangely like "The Grinch" in the face. He had the same nose! Very Dr. Seuss. Hence the name "Yertle." I talked to him the whole way to the park, assuring him we were taking him to the spa of state parks. I am a dork.

The real fun began once we left Yertle in his plush new surroundings. I say "his," but I did not confirm the sex of the turtle. Not even sure how to do that. Nor do I really want to know...? Anyhow, I digress. Jason left Yertle on a path to the water. He watched to make sure he was ok and came back to the car. He got in the car, satisfied with his good deed, and proceeded to back out. We were just off the road, really no farther than you would be if you pulled over to the shoulder on the highway. But, did I mention we've been experiencing a bit of a tropical depression? Flash floods, storms, and the like for the past several days. Yep. There may have been a little mud. So....the wheels started spinning' and the mud started flying. I was mildly concerned that we might get stuck, but pretended not to be. Jason was highly frustrated, but somehow managed to maneuver the car side to side whilst spinning the wheels. A lot of mud and tire spinning later we skidded onto the road. It was crazy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On the Road Again

I've been noticing personalized license plates a lot more lately. I am not sure why this is. Jason and I have been spending a good bit of time on the road as-of-late, but most of the ones that catch my eye are in-town. I saw one the other day on a BMW that said: FSHRHNT. One has to wonder just how much fishin' and huntin' is getting done in a Beamer! A random one on the road to Arkansas recently: ONJFAN. I am not sure I would've known what that was, except she had a license plate frame that said, "I'd rather be at an Olivia Newton John Concert." And she was maybe 25ish? It was funny. Just today I saw one that read: "CURRENT." Jason and I speculated that the dude driving the truck didn't have current tags for so time and chose the plate because he was irritated.

I see a few that make me smile/think, too. Religious ones, thoughtful ones, weird ones that don't seem to match the car and/or owner. I saw one just yesterday that caused an epiphany of sorts. It simply read: DONATE. I liked it because it was thought-provoking and a reminder to love generously. As I sat at the red light something else occurred to me, too. It shows what a complete nerd I am, but I think it is worth sharing nonetheless. The word "Nathan" in Hebrew means "giver, to give". The root word means "entrust, consecrate, yield" and other similiar ideas. I have always loved this word/name. So, as I was sitting there staring at the license plate, it dawned on me that donate = do give. I thought that this was pretty fascinating It would definitely preach/teach. This is especially true if you take it further with the root word meaning. Kinda cool, eh? :)

As a side note, I am "on the road" as I type. I think it is pretty cool that I can sit over here in the passenger seat and write a blog while my husband drives. Oh, the advances in technology! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Word of the Week: RELEASE

While spending a little quality time with my mom on one of our trips to Arkansas, she said something that really resonated with me. We were talking over a Snow Joe (My mom's favorite addiction at Books-A-Million) one day about life and things. More specifically, we were talking about communication in marriage. She has always been an advocate for sharing exactly what you are thinking and feeling with your husband/wife. We should always feel safe expressing our joys and concerns with our mates.

This is advice worth taking. However, doing this well requires great discernment. This is especially true on the "concerns" side of things. We should tell our spouses everything, but not without some sort of filter or waiting period on some things. We women fail at this a lot, I think. This is why men think we are nags. :) I am learning all about this. Jason does not think I am a nag (yet!) , but I do get the sense that I say to much at times and maybe step on his feelings on some things.

What my mom said to me that day came after I asked how and when I should talk to Jason about things that frustrate me. I started talking about one thing in particular and how I felt it hurt his feelings a little. She said, "You should definitely feel like you can say anything to your husband. But sometimes you get stuck on one thing or another, Julie. You have to learn to release some things. You can still talk to him about them when they happen,'ve got to let them go after that." This might have bothered me a few years ago, but I saw a lot of truth in what she said. RELEASE it. It is especially hard for me to RELEASE something I feel like I have no control over. The issue we were talking about is one of those. I do need to learn to RELEASE my frustrations, LET GO of worries, and LAY ASIDE my opinions. She spoke the truth in love to me and I am doing my best to take hold of what she said while RELEASING other things. It is definitely easier said than done, but I'm trying!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Word of the Week: EMBRACE

Yea, so I missed a week. Sorry about that. I totally left y'all (the two or three readers out there...!) hanging on the "word of the week" last week. I think I needed a little longer to contemplate the whole WITH thing. That pesky little preposition is more complicated than it seems. Sometimes it seems like a four-letter-word in the worst sense. Maybe it is because I pride myself on being fiercely independent when, in reality, I need people. I need God. And at the same time, I have this not-so-great-or-holy desire to go it alone. Me thinks I am more stubborn than independent most of the time.

I like to think that I am relatively independent and somewhat adventurous. A quick look back on my life will show you that I am not afraid to embark on something new. I am proud of that fact. It also takes me forever to take that first step. I fight back fear every step of the way. Ironically, another look back on my life will reveal that some of the best decisions I have ever made were made with a somewhat spontaneous leap-of-faith (what can I say...I will always be somewhat cautious).

All of this and a couple of conversations with people over the past week have led me to the new word of the week. The word this week is: EMBRACE. I am thinking of this word in the sense of acceptance, peace, and surrender. You can define it however you like in the week ahead, but I am thinking about it in this way. We need to make peace with ourselves, surrender to who we are instead of the idealized version of ourselves. This doesn't mean we use who we are as an excuse not to grow. It means accepting our weaknesses and considering that they might actually be strengths, too. It means taking a long look at ourselves and saying with God that what He made and what I am becoming is good. Like my mom always quotes, "God doesn't make screw-ups!"

I am a very quirky, sometimes clutzy, deeply loving, wonderfully awkward, randomly adventurous, slightly spacy, always analytical, exceptionally nerdy woman. I can be impatient at times, especially with myself. I am a mess, but God's grace is making me new everyday. I am learning to EMBRACE me...all of me. It is quite liberating. You should try it. :)