Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm not...

...
was going to write dead, but I'm really not...however if you're around me right now, that is questionable...walking dead. 
(For the record it is going to take a good 30 minutes and tons or re-writes to do this post...why?  Brennan has The Rescuers on...my ALL TIME FAVORITE kids movie...besides pippi longstockings...and Robin Hood...oh heck, where was I?)

My sincerest apologies...I've been a blog delinquent...tsk,tsk...I know.

So, coming back today I thought of all the blog posts I have running around my head (I think in blog posts you know).  My real review of Love Wins, my tales of the goings on in this crazy exciting family, my excited recap of Spring Break (let's just say it ended well) or my thoughts on running in my Five Fingers (yes I have them and Yes, I love them) but to be honest, I just don't have it in me (refer to first sentence)

So as I was cooking dinner tonight, I thought that I'd start back in on a lighter note...what are the MUST HAVES in my kitchen.  Exciting!
-Kitchen Aid Mixer...you don't have to soften cream cheese or butter with this puppy!
-My pots and pans...I am the proud owner of more All Clad than I deserve, but everyone deserves All Clad, cooking with anything else is a travesty...I mean it...ask me more if you want to get some CHEAP!!
-French Press...I sway time to time, but on a whole this is the ONLY way to make coffee. Easy, quick and the best...mmm, going to make some in a minute.
-Cookbooks-My Favorites-ANY church cookbook is awesome, or Junior League for that matter...tested and true recipes, The Pioneer Woman Cookbook (so fun to look at), and Cooks Illustrated (this is a magazine, but the absolute whole package, I cook more from that than anything else  LOVE LOVE LOVE)
-Good Season Italian Dressing- Yes, I make the dressing, but this is a staple ingredient in so much. Especially my Mom's Spaghetti sauce ( a good Scottish version) which I'm making right now for my husbands very Italian family...oh well.
-Yeast, Flour and Sugar- When groceries and money are low, these three can get you through any meal...pancakes, waffles, bread, etc.
-Good...I mean GREAT olive oil!- I get mine at Penn Mac in Pittsburgh and bring it down...so very good and you'll never miss butter
-Greek Yogurt, Honey and Granola-This actually stays at the office, but is such a treat
-Oatmeal and Natural Peanut Butter- How David and I celebrate breakfast after working out each day (well him each day, me every other (ish) day)
-Hummus-My kids first step to healthy eating...they fight over it!  With veggies or Wheat Thins.

That's about it...Curious...what's your kitchen must haves?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer part 2

So many thoughts in my soul...I get so IRRITATED every time I see a facebook post of Rob Bell in an interview...READ THE BOOK!  &*(%$$#  Yes, I said it...it ticks me off.  I've got about 20 pages left, and no I don't agree with everything, but I don't disagree with it either.  I'm irritated at him too for being so much in the Gray, but I understand that, I have a certain friend that shall remain nameless that likes to not land on the black and white of issues...ask more questions than give answers...it's annoying, but in no way do I question his stance on Christ, or salvation or the scriptures, because I know him...oh wait, these people must no Rob Bell to condemn him on his BOOK TOUR!!!!  Ok, ok, I'm done...grow up...ok, I'm done, I promise...for now.

So what was I writing about...oh yeah, Prayer!  So, on my last post I tried to make 2 points,
1-Prayer is a conversation and we should pray the way God has designed us to communicate, in our own way, easily, effortlessly and uniquely.
2-The more we hang around someone, we have a tendency to pick up their mannerisms, so by continuously "hanging out" with God, we may actually tend to look more like Him...strange, but it obviously worked for Jesus.

Side note- I have to say that I disagree when people make a statement like "Be Jesus to them" or "you may be the only Jesus people see"  Although I think we carry the weight of that responsibility, it isn't totally true.  I think the correct statement or way of thinking is to be the us that Jesus redeemed.  God made us to be us...not us to be Jesus...we are to be us with Jesus in us....does that make any sense?  We cannot be Jesus, but we can be ourselves, completely made new by Christ and completely able to share our story made righteous by His blood.  So even though by hanging with Him we may begin to look like Him, hopefully, we are still very much ourselves...which is a good thing.

So, my second point that I want to touch on tonight is what are you praying for?  I feel like there are two types of prayers....Redemption and Deliverance, both forms of healing.  And one of those is always given.
As we think on this and next time I'll break each one of these down, I want to share an illustration that I heard Crawford Lorits give once.
Sometimes when we pray we ask God to deliver us from a situation...and sometimes He does...and other times it plays out more like this...
A father is outside playing with his son, and the son falls on the ground and splits his chin open. (As a mother of 3 boys, this happens more often than not) He quickly scoops him up and takes him to the Dr., where it is declared that the boy needs stitches.  Now, this happened in the 70's when numbing agents weren't as widely used as they are today...in fact they weren't used in these situations at all.  So the Dr. informs the dad that he will have to hold the young boy in his lap and keep his arms pinned to his side, so the Dr. can complete the stitches.  The dad, with tears in his eyes, scoops up his son, and tightly wraps his arms around him.  The boy, scared and nervous, asks his dad if it will hurt..."yes" he says, "but I have to hold your arms down so the Dr. can do his job.  And if I didn't do that, it would be a lot worse."
Sit in this for a bit...think on this as you consider your own prayer life.  How often do we get mad at our Father, as it seems he is assisting in a painful process, let alone, not making it stop.  And it make take a lifetime to see it, but He wants what's best for us...and His redemption is promised to bring healing to situations that were not intended...but redemption can hurt, and sometimes He has to hold our arms down, so the Spirit, can put back what was broken...and there will be scars, but with scars come stories...good stories.
Be blessed today, as you converse with your Father and ask Him to reveal times of redemption in your life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prayer Part 1

Prayer is one of those things that alludes me...I mean when there are whole SECTIONS on how to pray in the book stores (christian and otherwise) there's got to be a problem!  But I think I've figured out why there are so many books!  I know, get the Nobel committee on the phone...

If prayer is described as conversation, then why do we try to imitate each other?  I know that Jesus told us how to pray, but saying a prayer by rote is not exactly heartfelt or conversation.  But that prayer can be heartfelt...for example, if my husband were to come to me and read a poem from a book, or even recited it, dead faced, yawning in between lines and mumbling...I'd kick him.  Now he may even try to make it feel more dramatic, pausing in the appropriate places and having an eb and flow to his voice...but I can tell it's just an act, and a good dramatic reading.  But, if he were to look into my eyes, speak those words TO me, as if they were his own...well, you know what would happen next...right, right!!!!

Or this...
When I was at camp one year in High School, my roommate for the week noted that she was starting to talk like me by the end of our stay.  I didn't understand what she meant, she sounded the same to me...no, it was the way in which she had conversations with people.  She then pointed out my specific mannerisms, how I trailed off at the end of sentences and finished thoughts to myself, how I shook my head and looked down a lot...I never noticed these things. But it made me realize, we all have a certain way of conversing that is uniquely our own.  Thus prayer...that's why often as we sit and try an learn how to pray from other people we my find useful things, but if we try to perfectly Copy them, it feels unnatural, it is unnatural.

We can take certain postures and tips and phrases and even words that other people use in prayer, but don't forget, you have your own unique way of conversing...don't lose it.  Look at how you uniquely have a conversation with other people.  Do you use your hands a lot (GINA!) do you laugh a lot, do you usually listen and say little?  Take these and apply them to prayer...it's just a conversation...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

soundtrack of life

Music...I love it...it speaks too me...through me...I think you get the point.

You can learn this by asking my husband...I send him songs when I can't find the words...songs about love, fighting, really messing things up (mumford and sons is really good for relationships).   You can learn it from my friends who for whatever reason, have received the good 'ol mix cd from me.  Whether going through a tough time, moving away, or just because...music is my language.  I think I've said it here before, that there is something in my soul, that communicates with God this way too...it's a heavenly language.
So, I thought I'd give you an update on where I am musically at the current moment. 
See full size image
*- Mumford and Sons, I mentioned before.  It's really funny how they have just exploded with an album that was recorded in 2009!  But it's a great album and I can't wait for their sophomore project (music language for Second Record...I'm SOOO with it!)



See full size image*- Katie Herzig is another super stellar artist.  She has a real mix of sounds, soulful, folksie, popish, it's just all there!  It's just the kind of music when you want to be happy and chill. Good for laying in a hammock on a Sunny day






*- Kari Jobe has just one of the greatest voices period.  I love it.  It's powerful but mellow, different, yet highly familiar.  Her passion behind the words she sings, also familiar, just takes some songs to a whole new level...she gets me going almost everyday.

 *- Bombay Bicycle Club could be one of my favorites at the moment.  They have been for awhile.  Like Mumford and Sons, they are a real smash up of instruments and styles and unusual voices, etc.  A little of everything and just some AWESOME chill music.  Read a book kinda music.

 *-Janelle Monae....I've got to give Lauren Walker TOTAL props for this.  As well as one of my other ALL time faves...Feist.  Janelle is a total change of pace for my usual set list.  A little funk, a little R&B a little 80's and all ATL!  She is fresh, in every sense of the word.

So, those are the New Additions to my Pandora over the past year, and of course, Imogen, Ingrid and Bon Iver still get thrown in the mix, but try any of these out and you'll be please...a little disclaimer, they are not all for little ears...so be careful who's in the room

Curious as too your musical likings

Monday, March 7, 2011

The gospel, according to Wonder Pets

In the latest episode of Wonder Pets (well, one of the only episodes we watch, because it's on dvd) I was listening as Ming Ming was talking to the Emu in Australia.  He was telling her that he is the largest bird there and she puffed up (as she usually does) and said that she comes from an impressive lineage too, she believes her great-grandfather was an Eagle.  Well the Emu just smiles at her (the best way an Emu CAN smile) and they move along.  He smiles, because she's a duck...duck's don't have any relation to Eagles...their ducks.  Unless man interferes (or domestication interferes) animals don't crossbreed.

And it hit me...is that what it sounds like to people when I refer to God as my father?  I mean, I'm human, sinful, as all are aware of, since we so often remind them.  And yet, I think I can claim God as my Father, among other intimate relational things?  Really...No wonder they often smirk and move along.  It's bizarre!

But what if Ming Ming were to suddenly spread her, what seem to be minuscule, wings and had a massive wingspan, only ever seen on...eagles.  All of the sudden her claim would have relevance, there would be proof.

It's not a new message, our words and actions need to match.  If I claim to be a child of a Father, I need to carry characteristics of that said Father...even in the case of adoption this is true!  My brother and his wife have adopted 3 children, from three different parents at 3 different stages in their lives.  Each of my sweet nieces and my force of nature nephew, all have some characteristics of Chad and Heidi.  Whether it's the way they say  certain words, facial expressions or their taste in clothes.  Because of the CONSTANT interaction with their now parents, they take on traits that make them known to be part of that family. 

So I am challenged that when I claim to be from a great lineage, that someone whom I stake claim in, and who in turn stakes claim in me, that I spread my wings and prove that not only to I bear a mark of that lineage, but might flight patterns model His as well.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rob Bell Bandwagon

...I'm jumping on...why?  Well...because I want too so there!

So if you are a little late to the party and have no idea what the up roar is about...click here  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/02/26/rob-bell-universalist/

If you don't know who Rob Bell is...well, you might want to grab a cup of coffee while we chat.

So, go click that link...you MUST watch the video and come back...

Okay, so we're all caught up?
Well, if you are on twitter, or maybe even FB, then this is everywhere, and everyone has an opinion and almost everyone is quite aggressive...almost foaming at the mouth kind of aggressive.  My goodness, it seems like people were just waiting in the wings for the slightest little...GOTCHA!  Whew, its, well, embarrassing.
One such twitter post was from John Piper:
"Farewell Rob Bell"

Wow...just wow.  (not that I need another reason to not care for Mr. Piper...but he gave me one anyway...yes, I'm entitled to that opinion too...)

So, as people were busy tying Rob to the stack and gathering the kindling and matches...I was thinking and asking D'vegas what his thoughts were.  Ever the nice and truly authentic person he is, his response was "I don't know."

So, I'm left to muddle through this alone...sigh...here I go.

I have two frames of thought..
1.) THE BOOK ISN'T EVEN OUT YET!!!!
I am a HUGE advocate for creating an assessment AFTER getting the facts.  People were using the book as a reference point for all of their arguments and it's not even available to read...seriously.  As far as I'm concerned I agree with the title...does that make me a Universalist?  Yoi!

2.) That being said, watching the video is enough for me...to question and tread VERY carefully until clarification FROM Rob Bell is made on his comments in the video.  As much as I agree that Love Wins...it won when Christ came...God set a system in place, that created a system that was about impossible to adhere too, in order to spend eternity (and the here and now) with Him...BUT He loved us so incredibly much, that He made an out.  He set up the system, and He redeemed the system and made it accessible to ALL through Christ.  That shows that God is a loving and good God...not the fact He wouldn't send anyone to hell (which I don't believe)

SO, what am I saying...I'm saying I don't agree with Rob Bell...that my interest is piqued on finding out more on his stand on universalism...and that even though I think those things, I would never EVER attack or feel I had the right to ...gasp...condemn him. Ridiculousness people...call your watchdogs back and relax...

*Sidenote...For the record an author whose writing I adore and has spoken and inspired me very much, was not too long ago put on the Southern Baptist Convention Watchlist for being occultic...you may have read one of his books Ragamuffin Gospel...yeah, Brennan Manning.

Be very careful which direction the bandwagon is going when you jump on it...wolves are a little bit harder to spot when there are a bunch around.

Curious as to your thoughts...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Petra - Computer Brains / Clean


Here is the song I was referring too in my previous post! Hair bands rejoice! Going back to the Roll-R-Skate!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So Much to say

...There are probably 15 times a week that I come up with a blog post in my head...of course I don't write them down, that would be too easy and efficient. So, I sit and try to pull them from the depths of my mind. Vague...
I know that most of them come from kids movies...that is really all that is in on in our house.  We got rid of Direct TV, got netflix for the Wii and an antenna, LOVE it!  At $9.99/month, we haven't missed it at all, and it's actually cut down on the CRAP in our house.  We can truely pick what the kids watch, not just choose based on what's available.  Oh that reminds me...
A couple weeks back I heard someone make the comment "moral sewage running the house"...whoa...I stopped dead in my tracks, not only was that a great phrase, but it's shockingly true. Not just in our home, which I would suggest we shelter just right of middle, but in a lot of homes.  Whether it's television, music, books, or mostly, our speech.  Petra or Degarmo and Key, used to have a song called "Garbage in/Garbage Out"  it was pre-techno, techno.  It is evident everywhere.
So, as I juggle continually with trying to be "in the world and not of it"  this moral sewage keeps me in check.  What does your home reak (sp) of?  What is the fragrance that fills the air?  I'm in HUGE gut check about this right now.  Introspection is always good, responsibility is even better.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rejoice in this again...today.



Need to post this again...Feel that a lot of us out here are under attack and need to be reminded that everything belongs to Him and no weapon formed against us shall prosper...Praise Him, in the midst, life it up and lean into His love. Dancing around also lifts the spirit...my soul literally revolves with this song.

....Your Voice it Thunders, the earth is shaking
the mountains now are shaking
Creation sees you...and starts composing...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rest

The other day I was laying down with Millie...she needed the nap, not me ;-) but when I got up to sneak out of the bed, I looked over and there she was fast asleep...I couldn't take my eyes off her.  She looked so...beautiful.  Sleeping, lips perfectly pursed, face relaxed, and...quiet...she was at peace. So that evening as my kids fell asleep I snuck around to all their beds and got a glance...yep, it wasn't just her...and it wasn't just the little ones...all of them looked beautiful.
Then last night, David and I sat down and I finally got to watch the documentary Babies...you must see it, I giggled and "awww"ed the whole way through.  But there is about 5 total minutes throughout of the babies sleeping...I loved it...the mouths suckling as they slept...the expressions they make as you wonder what they're dreaming about...so sweet!

And my heart question...does the Lord think I'm the most beautiful when I rest?  I somewhat think yes...as a parent, He thinks we're beautiful all the time...but I think when we climb up in His lap and rest, we look most like what He intended. Relying totally on Him...face relaxed, worry lines cease...lips aren't moving...breathing becomes steady...peace.  We can't live like this I know, but we don't do it enough, I mean really rest...

Hold tight little one...slow down your breathing...think on good things...and rest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A calloused Heart

I'm about to be very vulnerable (to quote the illustrious Dave Rhodes)

I'm about to talk about my...feet...Ugh...I think I just threw up a little in my mouth...gross.
My feet are awful...Calloused, rough...awful to touch.  My feet used to be wonderful, in fact someone once told me how nice they were...but that all changed in 2000.  And has continually gotten worse...why then? Well, that is when I was pregnant with Brennan...gained 40+ lbs (which I still have yet to lose, but that's another post) and my feet grew 1/2 size. Swelling, the added weight etc...it took a toll...and then happened again in 2002...and 2005 and 2006.  Yes...pregnancy did this too me. My feet grew a 1/2 size with each child except Millie and my weight went up and down (mostly up). 
So what do I do to my poor feet? IN an effort to lose some of that baby weight I start running...wow, that brought a whole NEW realm of callouses...crazy runners feet.

It's awful, awful I tell you...but you wouldn't know unless you really looked at them...or GASP...tried to touch them (which i wouldn't allow).

So this leads to the thought I had this morning while using my pumice stone in the shower...that is so much the definition of a calloused heart.  When we think of someone with a calloused heart, we think of a bitter old man, hunched over with a permanent scowl on his face, growling and mumbling under his breath...but is that really how it looks.  I mean, how do you know if it's calloused unless you reach out and touch it.
Nails painted, Burts Bees Foot Creme on...you'd never know to look at it.  Only when you touch it do you feel the callouses. 

Realising that whether the callouses came from great struggle and sacrifice(of my own : running or of someone Else's doing : pregnancy) doesn't matter.  It needs to be tended too...only by regular visits for a pedicure (time and money to sacrifice) will the callouses begin to be removed. 

So I ask you (ask "us" really) do you think you have a calloused heart?  When people reach out to touch your heart, do you wince at what they'll find...or even more, not even feel it?  You know they've attempted to touch you, so you respond with a smile, as not to hurt their feelings...but it did nothing for you...too much dead skin between the touch and the nerves...

You may have never considered yourself a calloused person...you don't scowl, you smile...you let people into your life... the "nails are painted" and you even dare to wear flip flops, so people know you're fine with your "feet".

We need to be razored and pumiced and massaged and loved...that is the only way to get rid of callouses and able us to feel.

Time for a pedicure?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My name is Courtney...and I'm an addict

(all reply) "Hi Courtney"

This week, I'll be trying to purge some of those addictions as I seek out God in many different ways, as Father, King, Lover and Shepherd.  All of those relationships have with them different modes of communication.  British Historical Dramas really bring those into clearer perspective.  We (as Americans) don't know what it's like to have a King as a close friend or father or lover...it's different, I like it.

All that to say (it has nothing to do with the next part of this post) that God has really been pushing back on me...I can feel the coals being stoked and the temperature rising...the refining fire is coming. I don't fear it as much as I used too...I know it now, know that the burn isn't constant and the cooling sting of the water bath after brings healing. But refining is ever so humbling.

So the question at hand is "What do I love"?  Is it God, the being, the author and perfector of my Faith, Love itself? or is it the evidence of Him that I love?  I'm not talking signs and wonders stuff here, I'm talking the evidence of  God...His hand persay...Do I love Him in spite of His hand or because of it?  Is what happens when God steps in just icing on the cake or is it what I long for?

Thought I was SO beyond this point, but apparently not.  It forces me to get to know God...again, better, more...

Is it hot in here. or is it just me?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Broken toe

yes...I broke my toe.
Well, not really, I kicked a table (a round one at that, so that all are able to be safe)  and it hurt like the dickens...and I'm cranky, and feel not good and...and....waaaaaaaa
[Not to mention, my kids have decided to play hide and seek and that means Millie in her squealy voice running around yelling "Apple Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Found you!  or I'm in the closet or Hi-Yah.  It's funny...but noisy and I'm yelling, don't touch the walls!]
David, the saint that he is, cleaned up the kitchen, as he always does, and is walking around in Long Johns trying to think of ways to help while mumbling comments.  I need a retreat...
Can you have a hospital stay, like the maternity kind, for a broken toe...or at least a semi-broken toe?
Sigh...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Whole

Sorry folks...blogging...not a priority, up until now.  I haven't forgotten about you two out there ( Thanks Gina and Mom!)
No regrets though...right, moving forward.  Picking up my Pen again.

So much is ready to come bursting out...but I've been told to keep quiet, it's okay...I can do it! Not for much longer though...so be just a bit more patient.

In the meantime, the word for 2011...Whole.  The spirit just gave it to me, and promised to continually reveal as I prod along...different than any other year, in the process of choosing my word, out of a goal or plan of bettering myself...a lot more exciting!
Already I feel that Whole is meant to encourage me in all areas...I guess Holistic. Not just bettering in all areas, but abiding in all as well...loving myself and those around me and within me.  Also offering my whole self...that's a scary one and I'm not going to talk about it anymore and pretend it's not there.

Blessings to you this entry to a new year...an exciting one at that...you can smell it in the air, feel it in the earth.  Almost a constant rumbling that something is about to burst forth...my soul just lept.