Friday, March 30, 2007

The Battle of Self

I'm going through a struggle in my life, and I wanted to post some current thoughts on it and see if anybody else had any thoughts/comments/suggestions about it. It's the battle with self. In the first sentence I almost wrote "going through a struggle right now," but I think that would imply that the battle is going to end soon, and I don't think it will end, ever. That does not, however, mean that it's something I can or should give up on or stop fighting.

Here's what I'm seeing about myself this week: I am just entirely wrapped up in myself. This is just the way of human nature, and I believe that it's something that only by God's power we can escape from. But He still calls us to greater heights, lovingly molding us to better reflect His character and His image, and He demands that we shake off the selfishness that comes so naturally and instead view the world through His eyes. Oh, what blessing I believe will come when I get there! But it's still a long way off right now.

Let me give you a clearer example of what I'm talking about by telling you about the specific circumstance that got me thinking about this. I believe that Christians are called to love others and treat them with respect, regardless of who they are or how much you disagree with them. I also believe that a Christian wife should submit and show honor and respect to her husband regardless of whether or not she agrees with him all the time. I know the Scriptures supporting this view, and I'll argue for it all day long. However, when you look at my life, you'll see that I don't act that way, and I especially do not treat my husband with the respect he deserves. This isn't an intentional inconsistency, it's something I do without being aware of it. If I'm upset or frustrated about something, I'll speak to my husband in a rude or disrespectful tone when he is entirely undeserving of such treatment. But here's what really gets me: Even if he DID do something wrong that would make him "deserve" my anger, I would STILL have no right Scripturally to treat him rudely. My words should be gentle and loving at all times, NO MATTER WHAT! Christ lovingly forgave those who crucified Him and mocked His pain. So what right do I have to mistreat my precious, wonderful husband who is so good to me?! None at all.

The problem is, as I mentioned before, I'm just not aware of what I'm doing. I'm so wrapped up in my own frustration and feelings, that I don't even think about the way I'm acting and how it might be hurting someone around me. So besides prayer, reading the Word, and asking God to work a miracle in my character, does anybody else have any tips for me? How can I get out of my own little world and really think about others? How can I stop myself from speaking harshly to my husband (or to anyone, for that matter)? I want my character and my behavior to honor the Christ who loved me and gave Himself up for me, and I want to be the Proverbs 31 kind of wife who "brings [her husband] good and not harm all the days of her life."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is There No Escape From Basketball?!

...Sadly enough, no. You have to read about it even on my blog. But it'll be a short post! I just wanted to put out a few basketball thoughts from this past week.

1. My worst bracket in a long time. I've made a bracket for March Madness every year since I've been in college, and I usually have eerily good picks. This year, however, it's looking REALLY bad. Only one of my picks for the Final Four actually made it there. I can't help but wonder if it has to do with the fact that previously, I would always just randomly pick a team to win. But now I've been living with a basketball fanatic for 1 1/2 years now, and so I'm picking up more knowledge of the game and teams, and so maybe I was trying to pick based on some actual knowledge instead of just randomness. Next year, I think I'll go back to randomness.

2. Sad for the Big XII. As mentioned above, three of my four Final Four picks didn't make it there. Sadly enough, those three were all from the Big XII - Texas, Texas A&M, and Kansas. What's up with the pitiful Big XII disappointing me?!

3. I don't want anybody but Donovan! As most of you will already have heard elsewhere, Kentucky's basketball coach for the past 10 years, Tubby Smith, resigned last week to take the head coaching position at Minnesota. So, UK is on a massive coach hunt, and Billy Donovan, the coach of the Florida Gators, appeared to be the frontrunner. However, they can't approach him while he's still coaching, and his team is looking good to win the tournament again this year. I got excited at the prospect of getting Donovan for our coach - I think it would be AWESOME and really good for Kentucky basketball. Yesterday, though, the Athletics Director at Florida gave an interview saying that he really didn't think Donovan would take the KY job, and that if it came down to money, Florida would be willing to match whatever Kentucky offered him. So now it's not looking like we'll get Donovan after all, and I'll be so disappointed! I don't want anybody else! So Billy, just come on to Kentucky. What else could you possibly achieve at Florida? We've got all the resources you could ask for... so just come to Kentucky, ok?
Ok, don't freak out. No pressure. Just make the right choice. You could get some more REALLY cool ties with UK colors...

Ok, I'll stop talking about basketball now. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, March 23, 2007

His Perfect Peace

As most of you know, this is Justin's last semester of class, and he will graduate in August after a summer internship. So we're on the cusp of a big change, and we're close to defining what direction our lives will be headed. So this is a big time in our lives, and at the moment filled with uncertainty. He has applied all over the place for his summer internship, and now we're just waiting to hear back. The waiting is so hard! I'm the kind that wants to be able to know what's coming and have my plan all set for it, and so as May approaches and we still don't know where we're going or what we're doing, that could potentially cause me a lot of anxiety. However, God keeps bringing this verse to my mind:

"You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock."
~ Isaiah 26:3-4

This is clearly a good verse for my situation, but it's also really hard. At the times when I'm feeling anxious, I'm clearly not keeping my mind stayed on God, or else He would be keeping me in perfect peace. So how do I really trust in the Lord? There's a difference between being forced to wait because nobody's getting back to us, and choosing to trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. So what's the difference and how do I move from the former to the latter? Well, thankfully, God led me to a verse that very clearly illustrates how to do this. It's a familiar one, but it takes new meaning for me now that I really need it:

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 4:6-7

So God gives us step-by-step instructions on how to trust Him.
1. Recognize that you're anxious over your situation and recognize that your state of mind is not the most God-honoring.
2. Pray and ask God for the solution to your problem.
3. Don't forget the thanksgiving! Thank God for all of the blessings He's given you, and take time to remember His promises. That will put your situation in the proper perspective, and it will bring you the peace that God promises.

So I'm not saying that I'm really good at this, and I certainly wouldn't classify my current state of mind as "perfect peace." This isn't just a one-time deal either. You keep praying and praising as often as anxiety comes your way - it may be once a day, or even once an hour! But I'm thankful for God's Word that teaches me how to live for Him, and I want to honor Him by not worrying about what is to come. He knows where we will be, and He will reveal that in His own perfect timing. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Random Notes of Interest (at least to me...)

1. Who says God doesn't care about the small stuff? OK, so this is totally a little thing, but it sure blessed me this morning. I was running late in getting ready for work, as usual. I was supposed to leave in 5 minutes, and I still had to get dressed and do my hair and makeup! As low maintenance as I am, it still takes me longer than that. So as I was getting dressed, I prayed, "Lord, please let my hair go up right the first time and look even halfway decent." I hadn't dried my hair after showering the night before, so those are the days my hair has to go up instead of trying to do something with the bedhead that results. The way I planned to do my hair today usually looks cute after two or three tries, but very rarely does it work the first time I try to do it. However, I said that prayer and then went in to do my hair. And I tell you what, it practically fixed itself - totally cute the first time! So praise the Lord that He hears our prayers, even when they're over something silly like our hair. :) P.S. I was still late to work, but not AS late as I would've been if I had to do my hair 3 times!

2. Oh, the Madness! In case any of you live under rocks, you may not have noticed that this time of year is the March Madness, The Big Dance, the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, the pinnacle of the year for my Justin. And it really is a madness. I posted extensively about this last year. What's really funny is that this year, I feel more caught up in the madness myself. I still don't really have an interest in watching ALL of the games the way Justin does. I mean, who can really watch 16 games in 2 days and REMEMBER everything that happened in each of them? My husband does. However, I made my little bracket again this year, and it's not doing all that badly. Texas losing hurt me deep, but I think I can still recover. My championship game is Florida vs. A&M. Go Aggies! (Now, I don't want this to be misleading. I picked the Gators to win it all. However, I'd be thrilled down to my toes if the Aggies could pull it out.) So I figure that since there's no way to avoid the madness, I might as well jump in and catch some of it myself. Here's to basketball.

3. Happy Birthday to My Blog! I was bored at work (Who'd have thought that?) the other day and looked back through my archives. I realized that it was March of 2006 that I started blogging! So happy birthday to my blog! I LOVE blogging, and it has been so wonderful to be able to use this as a tool to keep in touch with friends and family who don't live nearby (and even those who do!). One benefit I hadn't anticipated when I started blogging was how well it would chronicle my life even for my own memory. I went back and read all my posts, and it was so much fun taking that walk down memory lane and reading all the things that were on my mind in the past year. Totally fun. So I look forward to my blog being that for me in the future - a way to remember the joys and sorrows of my journey and to share it with my loved ones.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Me as an M & M

This week, I've been having a great time on, thanks to my friend Kristy. We're now Wee friends, which is nice being friends in the real world AND in the Wee world. If you'd like to make a WeeMee and be friends with my WeeMee, go to Wee World. I'm daisyjo37. However, instead of copying Kristy and posting my WeeMee on my blog, I found another way to make an online version of me at So here is me as an M&M:

Yes, these are the things I do when I'm bored at work. Welcome to my world.

Many apologies to my coworker Lindsay. I was posting this blog right at 5:00 yesterday, so I was in a hurry and I didn't finish the post! Besides wasting time on the internet when I'm bored at work, I spend many hours with my friend Lindsay, and we chat and entertain each other. On Wednesday we were given a project to use cute scrapbooking paper and some die-cut hearts and flowers to decorate giveaway bags for a Women's Conference this weekend. So as we let our creative juices flow in creating beautiful and unique bags, we regaled each other with tales from our childhoods. (You should hear Lindsay's traumatic playground story... It's a doozie. Mine is better, though, because it involves a full body cast. Thankfully it wasn't me in the cast!) I learned that as a child, Lindsay loved to cover her desk with Elmer's Glue or Rubber Cement and then have fun peeling it off. Who didn't like scraping glue off their desk as a kid? I know I did. Note: This is not as pleasant when you run into someone's GUM on the underside of the desk! Yuck!

So then Lindsay and I decided to revive this fun childhood pastime by covering various articles on her desk with rubber cement and then peeling it off once it dried.

Staplers, bottles of hand sanitizer, scissors, nothing was safe from our boredom. (Yes, we were REALLY bored.) Then I asked her if she'd ever put it on her hand and then peeled it off. She said of course she had and that was fun. So I proceeded to put a huge dollop on the back of my hand and waited for it to dry. When she looked up and saw me, she said "Oh, I've never put it on the back of my hand, I put it on my palm. Oh well. I'm sure it's fun there too." However, I learned a very important lesson about putting rubber cement on your body to have fun peeling it off. (Can anybody guess where this is going?!)


Yes, I had a big red raw patch on the back of my hand after painstakingly pulling off the huge patch of rubber cement I had so idiotically put there. So that's my story of what REALLY happens around this office when the bosses are away...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Greatest Show on Earth

Last night my sweet husband took me to see The Greatest Show on Earth. Yes, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town, and we got to go! As far as I can remember, I've never been to a circus (Mom and Dad, please forgive me if you've taken me and I just don't remember!), so this was a really special treat for me. I was dazzled and amazed by the ridiculous things these people and animals do. I got to see:

A woman juggling horses. No, really. The first act we saw was a woman with six trained white horses. It was neat to see them spinning in unison and following her instructions depending on how she flicked her whip. At one point, she had 3 of them weaving in and out of each other - looked like she was juggling them! Very cool.

An Upside-Down World. This is the act they were promoting in their commercials. This husband and wife duo were somehow suspended by their feet and juggling, drinking water, and dancing - all upside down.

Of course, the trapeze artists and tightrope walkers. I was expecting these ones, but that didn't make them less impressive. I was biting my fingernails, gasping, and covering my eyes just like everybody else. I think the part Justin was most impressed with was when 2 of the tightrope walkers got on bicycles on the tightrope with a bar connecting their shoulders. Then the lady tightrope walker crawled out to the middle of the bar and did a handstand on it. Talk about balance! Cool stuff.

Gail and her Flying Canines. This lady had 2 trained dogs and they had worked out a routine of the dogs jumping high in the air to catch Frisbees. I was just impressed at how well-trained the dogs were. They KNEW that routine and knew what was coming next. Even if they missed a Frisbee, they just went right on and caught the next one. I think that would be a fun life to be a dog trainer.

The Amazing Bulgarians. This group of about 15 people did amazing stunts using a see-saw looking thing to catapult one of them into the air to be caught or land in a certain position. At one point, they were standing on each other's shoulders, FOUR people high, and then the fifth one was catapulted up and landed on top - a stack of people FIVE high! Now that was cool.

And lastly, my favorite was the sweet elephant. They had her all covered in glitter with a silly head-thing on that she had to keep shaking out of her eyes. But she was so well-trained, just like the dogs. The trainer didn't have to give her any instructions, she knew what to do. The trainer just spent most of the time riding on her tusks and climbing around on her. I was most impressed when she got all four feet up on a little stand and then spun around while carrying the trainer in her tusks. Sweet girl. Maybe I could be an elephant trainer instead of a dog trainer... :)

So we had a great time, and I'm very thankful to my sweetie who took me out for a fun night. Happy Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I don't have much new to post, but there are some updates to previous posts, which I thought I'd fill you all in on:

Justin's Mono
My sweetheart is feeling better, but still not good. His pain and swelling are all gone, but he's still just really tired. That is slowly improving, though. At least I can see a difference in the amount of energy he has. So either he really is feeling better, or he's just getting better at pushing through the exhaustion. Please keep praying for him, though! The doctor said it'll be April before he MIGHT even start feeling like himself again. He went back to the doctor today, who told him that he's pretty much guaranteed to have a relapse within the next 18 months, and he may have bouts of it for the rest of his life. Apparently, mono is like malaria - once it's in your system, it never comes out for good. So that's not good news. The good news is that I didn't get it! It's been long enough now that I'm not going to, so I must've already been immune. Praise the Lord for that!

Upstairs Neighbors
We finally had to take some action regarding our upstairs neighbors. They started playing really loud music at 6:15 or 6:30 in the mornings! Loud enough that I could hear the song and sing along even WITH my earplugs in. (They really like Mariah Carey and Beyonce.) Justin tried going upstairs one morning and knocking on the door to ask them to turn it down, but they didn't answer. So I called the apartment management and complained, and they said they'd take care of it. I don't know what they did, but they haven't played any music in the mornings since then. Victory! I was extremely close to taking my Aunt Jayne's advice to start banging on the ceiling, but thankfully I didn't have to resort to that! So they're still incredibly loud up there during waking hours (Maybe they're learning how to Riverdance!), but at least they don't wake me up too early in the morning.

Career Changes for My Parents
Not only do my parents both have new careers - Dad in real estate and Mom in embroidery - but they've both also started working part time at WalMart! It's a brand new store in their area that's opening next week. So right now they're working on stocking all the shelves and getting the store ready to open. Once it opens, Mom will be in the Deli and Dad will be in Electronics. They're hoping to be able to coordinate their hours so they can carpool. This totally cracks me up, but I shouldn't laugh - they get a 10% employee discount off WalMart's already cheap stuff! One of these days I'll write a post with some of their crazy stories of what it's like to work at WalMart. Funny stuff.

Giving Up Sodas
Not much to say in this area, except I haven't had a Diet Coke in 3 weeks! Please PLEASE be very proud of me. I don't really even miss it all that much. Life goes on.

Bored at Work
And lastly, I'm still really bored at work, so I blog. My boss will be out again next week for Spring Break, so it's going to be really ugly around here. There's an online games website, BrainBashers, that I really enjoy going and exercising my brain. My favorites are the puzzle games and word games. Yep, I'm a nerd.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, South Africa

I've been wanting to post about this since the special aired on TV on Monday, but this week at work has been crazy and I'm finally getting around to it. I tell you what, I'm not a huge fan of Oprah herself - her show is entertaining, but all the weird spiritual stuff she does is over the top to me. But have you heard about this school she built in South Africa? To me, it seems like a very, very good thing.
It's called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, South Africa. Here's the website. It seems like Oprah, who has vast financial resources beyond measure, just wanted to give back in a meaningful way, something that would have a huge impact for the better. So she decided to go to Africa and build a school for girls ages 12-18, rescuing them from the deepest poverty and from the bleak future that awaited them. Out of the thousands of applicants, she and her team chose the 150 that had the most potential as far as academics, leadership skills, and personality. These 150 young ladies will live at the school (with running water and everyone has their own bed to sleep in - most of them have never had these luxuries), attend classes, and graduate with a world of resources available to them. (In fact, Oprah promised the entire first graduating class that she would make sure they ALL were able to go to the college of their choice, anywhere in the world. How much money does this woman have?!)

The neatest thing about the TV special was that most of it was just spent meeting the girls - learning their stories, seeing how they've been living and the hard work they're used to. Most of them have been raised by a grandparent because their parents are either dead or can't afford to take care of them. These girls have been through a lot. They are STRONG, and their stories will make you bawl. I was crying as I watched it!

If you missed it the first time, it's coming on again! Tomorrow (Saturday, March 3) on ABC at 7 EST/8 CST. Watch it or TIVO it to watch later. It's definitely worth seeing.

For me, I think it was so meaningful because I've lived in Africa. I've seen the poverty, the lack of education, the lack of opportunity. I know those girls, and I know what their futures look like. I could put names of my girls in Niger to go with all those South African girls you saw on that TV show. And Oprah, to quote what they said on the show, just "drastically altered the course of their future." She may not be the greatest, but she just made a HUGE difference in the life of 150 girls. Even if that's all this school is, it will have been worth it. I believe it will turn into more than that, because these girls are going to change their families, their communities, their nation, maybe even their continent! (One of them insists she's going to be the first woman president of South Africa!) I really hope they let us keep track of these girls, to see how they do and what becomes of them. I do have to say that this is an admirable thing Oprah is doing, she's making a difference the best way she knows how. Do it, girl.