Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An Excellent Weekend

Last weekend was probably one of the best that I've had in a while. I was able to get off early on Friday and have the whole weekend free to do what I wanted.

Saturday was the "main event" so to speak. It started with breakfast at the Highland Bakery with the fam. That's where I literally got blessed and anointed while eating chicken biscuits. Afterwards, me, my mom, and my sister-in-law walked down to the Inman Park Festival.
Me and my mom.

Me and my sister-in-law.

This is probably one of my favorite festivals. We spent almost 6 hours walking around and buying stuff (soap, homemade donuts, artisan chocolate, handmade pottery, etc.).

One of the highlights of Saturday is the parade. It's quite eclectic.

The Seed and Feed Marching Abominable.

The Precision Attache Team.

Part of the Big Mask Project.

Box Heros
All in all we had a great time and by the end of the day I was exhausted. Sunday was the usual (church, napping, cooking) along with a little cleaning and prep for the week ahead. Unfortunately the weekend was far too short. It's back to the daily grind (or daily bulldozing as the case is more likely to be).

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Most Unusual Thing

Saturday morning I had one of the most random and awesome things ever happen to me...

I was outside Highland Bakery in Inman Park eating breakfast with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and cousin.
Not my pic but this is the Highland Bakery. [Source]
As we were sitting there a guy approached me and asked me about my shirt. I was wearing my Defend the Fatherless shirt I got from the Together for Adoption conference last year.
Definitely not me but this is the shirt. [Source]
I explained that it was about orphan care and then I told him about Walking With Orphans. He told me he had seen me when I came inside to use the bathroom and had felt like he was being lead to come and talk with me and pray over me. He then proceeded to bless me with some of the most encouraging words I've ever heard. My mom and I were both almost in tears. After giving me his words of encouragement, he prayed over me and asked for blessings for my ministry.

I know this doesn't sound like much but when I think about how God orchestrated it all, it blows my mind. I know it was no random happenstance that we met. I've been praying continually for God to confirm His calling on my life and this was one of those moments that I know He was speaking directly to me.

I could not be more thankful for the experience. And, needless to say, it got my day off to a fantastic start!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Counting my Blessings: Week 10

1.-10. Rescue and redemption through the sacrifice at the cross and Jesus' resurrection.

Really this blessing could count for my entire life. It was good to be reminded at church today how I was saved from condemnation by a God who never intends or wants to condemn us. I have called to Him from a place of despair and He heard me and rescued me because He loves me. Not because I'm good enough, not because I could ever do enough but because He loves me. It still baffles me. It's hard to fathom that anyone could love me and my messy, messed up, off the tracks life to step in and take the blame for all those messy, messed up, off the tracks things I did and save me. I deserved to be left to my own doom but I don't have to fear that because I have an amazing and gracious Savior who LOVES ME.

And the amazing thing is that He loves all creation. Every single person is precious to Him. I wish I could say that...that I look on my fellow man with love and compassion. But I don't always do that. It's horrible but I'm human and I don't love others like I should. I'm trying. Some days I try harder than others and some days it's easier than others. In my line of work I'm learning to look at the situation from all sides: to love our kids in their brokenness and heartache, to love their parents with all their wrongdoings and poor choices, to love the politicians and law makers who make the work harder...and I'm getting there. Thankfully, I'm not God. Because His love is automatic. It's knee jerk. It's infinite. It's everything our human love would like to be but isn't.

I struggle. I struggle. SO. MUCH. I'm fearful and afraid and worried and anxious. Sometimes I want to lie down when I should be getting up. I drive through neighborhoods and want a little retro house with a white picket fence, a husband, some kids, and a screened in porch for my cat. I want to read US Weekly instead of the latest update on Ukraine or U.S./Russian politics. I want to melt into the woodwork sometimes when I know I was made to go against the grain. Today was a good day though. A day when Jesus reminded me He is alive and He is here among us. The Holy Spirit is alive and well. I need to get out of this world and do what I'm called for. And I know it will fill my soul.

I'm still going to keep struggling. God didn't promise easy, just that He would never leave us. And if you are struggling, and sinking, on your own Jesus will lift you too. All you have to do is cry out for rescue.

Counting my Blessings Weeks 1-9 here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Make Up Your Mind

Dear Weather,

Please make up your mind and stick with it.


I guess I was sort of asking for it when I posted my praises of the warm spring weather in my most recent Counting my Blessings post. Today this what my weather app tells me we are in for:

What the heck?!?! 30 degrees! Seriously?!? Last week we were in the 70's.

Normally I wouldn't complain. Actually I like the fall. I love the feel and the smells of the season. However, I think there is something about that season (and winter as well) that triggers my anxiety. I don't know if it is due to an event (or several events) from my past that happened in the fall, causing me to associate fall with stress or danger. Maybe it's the shortening of days and the fact that I have to stay inside all the time (something you would think I love, seeing as how I'm an introvert). Maybe it's the actual temperature. All I know is that after a few days of nice weather my mood has improved tremendously. I've had some anxiety provoking moments but only one full blown panic attack in the last two months. And I was able to remind myself that feelings aren't facts and pull myself back together very quickly. It's not that things don't bother me, it's just that I feel I can deal with them so much better in the spring than I could in the fall.

This morning I realized that it really might be the temperature as I slept terribly last night, had a difficult time getting out of bed, and then was not in the mood to be talkative and sociable during breakfast. It's not that I was rude to anyone I just high tailed it out of the kitchen as politely as I could before I overstayed my welcome. I know when it's time to exit stage left.

For the rest of today I'll be bundled up hoping and praying that it gets warmer quickly. And maybe looking at property in the Bahamas...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Counting my Blessings: Weeks 8 and 9

You get a two-fer since I didn't take the time to post for last week.

Ways I've been blessed in the last few weeks...

1. Unexpectedly running into a friend at the UGA baseball game who has been in Afghanistan for the last year.
2. Having dinner with above mentioned friend, another friend I haven't seen in several months (friend #2), and friend #2's girlfriend.
3. Dinner with my "twin" Marissa on Friday night (sometimes we think so much alike it is scary).
4. Having someone write a grant proposal for Walking With Orphans.
5. Getting our first monthly supporter for Walking With Orphans!
6. Figuring out something technical on the computer without any help.
7. Finding out I'm getting money back from my taxes.
8. Getting approval to take my licensure test.
9. Getting a 97% on our treatment plans during our insurance audit.
10. Getting a 100% on our assessments during our insurance audit.
11. Sunday afternoon naps.
12. Spring time weather.
13. Walking the dog.
14. Conquering my anxiety over a situation.
15. Being with my family.
16. Seeing my mom get passionate about making a difference in people's lives.
17. Spending some one on one time with my dad while my mom was out of town.
18. Air conditioning.
19. Feeling like I got over a hump in my Romanian lessons.
20. Sinus surgery. I got it done several years ago and I can actually breathe during allergy season. I was so miserable for so long. Thank you Dr. Gadlage!

Here's weeks 1-7 of you want to catch up.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Productive? to start.

1. It was Monday. And I seriously just did a double take. Is it really only Monday?!?!
2. It was incredibly rainy.
Proof (through a window screen).

More proof.
3. I still have zero motivation for anything.
4. I took a 30 minute nap before I left for work. A nap. At 8:00 in the morning.
5. I spent an hour and a half tonight trying to get a monthly donation button set up for the Walking With Orphans website.
6. But you know what? I did it dang it! (scroll down here to see what all my hard work little PayPal button...)
7. I cannot tell you how many error messages I encountered (there were a lot).
8. I chewed my tongue to bits from the anxiety and frustration of it all (chew my tongue, that's what I do...judge away).
9. And then I had my second true, entirely Romanian conversation with a Romanian speaker without the help of a book or Google translate and it went well.

So, does today count as productive or not?

Saturday, April 5, 2014


From my Nightmare Before Christmas emotions chart in my office at work.
Something about spring has caused a longing in my heart. A longing to return to a place where little sun browned faces run up to embrace you with sweaty arms. A place where laps were made for sitting, legs were made for running, fences were made for climbing, and cheeks were made for kissing.

I long to be in Romania.

I'm leaving for my second home on June 7 for a two week visit. It can't come soon enough.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Mercies

I had a friend one who would say that God is always timely and always relevant. I believe that and especially on a day like today. My devotional this morning was on how God's mercies are new every morning. It talked about letting go of the past and starting fresh every year, month, day, and even hour.

These last two weeks have been killer. I feel as though I've been going on and on about it but working so much has taken a lot out of me. For the past two weeks I worked 12 hours Monday-Friday (except for the 1st Friday, that was a normal day). Last weekend I worked 6 hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I have been working for 10 days straight as of this morning, going on day 11. It's not even the working 24/7, it's the type of work. Reading files 2 or 3 times; checking dates, names, billing codes, authorizations; making correction after correction after correction...some of which aren't even on your work! It's stressful and, frankly, my "Give-A-Crap Meter" is officially broken.

I try not to let it show too much that I'm exhausted and I just want to be left alone but I'm not very successful at it I fear. I spent most of yesterday complaining to my friend in medical records, trying to bite my tongue and not spread gossip all over the office, and generally looking like I was about to murder the next person who sent an email to me. Last night as I lay in bed I did not have good feelings about yesterday. I should be more patient, more forgiving, set a better example, exude Christ more...blah, blah, blah...ugh! Why is it so hard to be a good example of Christ to others!

I'm a constant screw up. Like, on the outside things may look ok for awhile but a lot of times if you could see my thoughts and my heart and my motivations and all the inside bits...well, different story going on. No one is perfect but sometimes I really struggle to maintain any type of love for my fellow man. The worst part is I know and expect certain things to ruffle my feathers but, when they do, instead of preparing a sane and calm rebuttal, I generally tend to flip out. I love to throw pity parties, throw people under the bus, and generally justify my snarky attitude.

Right now I'm so ready for the weekend I could cry. Half of the office took the week off to recuperate but I don't have that luxury right now. Unfortunately, our department brings in the clients so we can have work to do and we can't just up and leave on short notice. I'm trying not to be bitter about it. I'm trying not to lash out at co-workers who work my nerves. I'm trying not to complain too loudly. I'm trying to care about my work because, really, I enjoy what I do...but even Jesus took time to himself every once in awhile and sent the crowds away.

Thank you Lord for new mercies every day. If yesterday could be stricken from the records, please, I'll try again today.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
-Lamentations 3:22-23