Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
Confessions

Thursday Things, 2 April 2015

Peachy Keen
My mom visited my grandparents last week and brought home the most out of this world homemade peach preserves.

I’m dead over this stuff.

I got a small little glass jar, and then a big mason jar. The little glass jar is completely empty. With the exception of a tablespoon my dad had, I killed the entire jar on my own.

I suppose I should have just taken a picture of a spoon in the jar for my Tuesday post?

Since we’re telling secrets about junk food...

I had french fries for lunch Monday.

Real life.

And yes, I did take a picture for posterity. You’ll see it next Tuesday.

We took a quick trip to El Reno, Oklahoma. El Reno is famous for their onion burgers and has been highlighted on national TV.

I didn’t have any healthy options (none at all). Sometimes I’ll forgo eating until later, but I was famished and desperate times call for desperate measures.

We cleaned the office

I shared pictures of our empty office on Monday, but what you did not see was the before state.

It was awful.

With lots of hard work and lots and lots of shredding (so much shredding!), the office is actually serving its full purpose.
Office overhaul

It needs some decorations, but I’m not too worried about that right now. I’m just thankful it’s not covered in stacks of paper and junk!

Oh the treasures we found…

I am so incredibly pumped for Easter weekend!

For lots of reasons.

First, I’ve never worked anywhere that had Good Friday off, so tomorrow will be a special treat.

Two, I have lots of things planned.

Normally that would stress me out a little, but I’m pacing myself and am going to try my best not to freak out if the house isn’t perfect or if the laundry doesn’t get done.

Three, I’m excited about multiple family and friends outings.

Will’s family on Friday, a special friend on Saturday, and brunch with my family Sunday. Wee!

Four, Easter brunch. I pretty much need to plan my entire macro and caloric needs around this meal. You’d die over the stuff we’re making.

Oh, and Easter candy.

It’s pretty much the best candy EVER. 

White Reece’s eggs? Dead.

Cadbury chocolate? Dead.

The Cadbury crunchy chocolate eggs? Dead.

Starburst jelly beans? Dead.

Pretty much all the Easter candy.

Five, early Easter service.

We usually go on Saturday to free up space for big Sunday crowds and I’m looking forward to it.

So yeah, yay Easter weekend!

The Break-up

I broke up with my phone and social media over Lent and it was the best.decision.ever.

There were a few important things I missed, like details about our friend in the hospital, but God intervened without Facebook (gasp 😊) and we found out anyway.

It was such a nice break and quieted my mind. 

April Fools

Did you prank anyone?

I’m old and boring and did not fool anyone this year.

My favorite one was when P took a pregnancy test for me when she was pregnant with Layla so I could fool Will.

Good times.

April Showers

We had our first bout of bad weather last week and thankfully came through unscathed.

I totally wish we could fast forward from March to June and skip storm season. I hate it!

Thankfully we have a storm shelter I intend to overuse.

Will, God love him, is the guy standing outside watching everything roll in at a distance. I pretty much have to force him in there with me.

Crazy.

Let’s end on a happy note

Check out Rocky.
Dad's little helper. That face! 😂

That face.😂

He looks so happy, right?

Will did some major dirt work in our yard a few weeks ago and snapped this picture of Rocky helping.

I love that dog.

That’s it for now! Check in tomorrow for Good Friday. 

music sounds better with You.

I’ve loved music forever.

My dad has drummed for over 40 years, so I think perhaps I was born with a music gene.

I sang in the choir as a child and young adult, and I played the cello and the piano for eight years (and wish I’d never quit!).

Music has always been and still is a big part of my life.

Back in the day, when epic songs like Jesus Freak and Flood were few and far between, I’d occasionally dabble in secular music.

Just the other day, I remember telling Will when I was in early junior high I’d watch MTV in my bedroom and have the remote pointed directly at the screen so I could immediately change the channel incase my mom walked in.

Real life.

As I got into high school, I listened to both types of music. I went through a phase when I tossed out all my secular music after a convicting series of sermons about some of the trash (and it was definitely trash) I listened to.

Eventually, I struck a “balance” and listened to both.

Even still, I’d always the put the Christian radio station on anytime I shut off my car to be safe.

You know, incase someone ever rode with me.

Looking back, my intent was twofold-

1. I wanted to create the appearance that everything I listened to was pure and holy.

2. I was actually convicted of what I listened to, hence why I knew I should have had Christian music on in my car. Only, I never stopped to think about the act of why I was changing the channel, aside from number one above!

Balance.

The best of both worlds, if you will.

Or so I thought.

Oh- and before I go any further, it’s important for me to note this post is personal to me and me alone.

I would never ever say just because I feel this way, it’s the “only” way and the right way.

Please, please know my heart on this. Today’s post is not meant to condemn or judge but offer a look into a major struggle I faced and overcame though Jesus. It’s not about me telling you you’re “wrong” if you don’t only listen to Christian music.

Each of us needs to asses our own hearts and determine whether this is a topic we are convicted by.

This is not a post where I’m looking at all of us in general.

This is very personal.

I would simply encourage you to consider what I share and make your own decision regarding how the spirit moves you.

This is a completely safe and judge free zone, trust me.

Okay- hopefully what I wanted to convey clearly came across there!

Moving on-

Balance. That’s what we were talking about.

I thought I had balance. I thought I could handle and control what I listened to and how it affected me.

I was an adult, for crying out loud!

Adult or not, music influences even when we don’t realize it.

I mean, can you imagine your childhood without the ABC song?

Or the Preamble without School House Rocks?

To this day, I have to sing my multiplication tables because that’s how I learned them.

Real life.

Music is impressionable.

I can often catch myself singing words to a song hours after merely hearing in the background. I’ll suddenly stop and realize, “Hey! I didn’t even know I knew the words to that song!”

Same with the junk I listened to in the past.

The truth is, I couldn’t control what I did or didn’t absorb.

It began so insidiously.

Completely innocent, even.

Only, over the years, things began to erode. Slowly and continually.

Practically undetectable.

When we moved to Kuwait, I had no spiritual support group and things got worse.

My music began to evolve and get worse and worse.

Oh girls, my face turns red with shame thinking about the complete and utter trash I listened to.

I get it.

Some of you think I’m crazy.

But let me tell you- trash in, trash out.

Before long, I wouldn’t omit the cuss words in the lyrics I’d sing. Before long, my attitude shifted. Before long, I began to justify other things and sins in my life.

And eventually, my heart grew harder and harder until the one single act of my music choice completely uprooted me from God and caused a spiral of awful decisions.

As strange as it may sound, music was a quiet gateway that made me vulnerable and distanced my heart from God.

If Satan told us his end game was to rip us from fellowship with Christ we’d never be okay with that!
That’s why he’s much more clever and sneaky and weaves his way into our life, often unnoticeably. 

Music is such an easy and innocent gateway.

When I began to draw near to Jesus again, I became bothered by the stuff I was listening to.

For awhile, I’d reserve my secular music for workouts only.

Except, I’m not ok with rape, murder, and drug use. So why is it ok for me to listen to it at the gym when it wasn’t ok anywhere else?

At some point I figured… Why bother getting caught up in the temporary pleasures, heartache, anger, and whatever else people sing about here on earth, when all I desire is to set my mind on things above, know and honor God, and look to eternity?

Verses

That put things in perspective for me.

These days, I pretty much completely listen to Christian music and am extremely selective with anything else.

I’ve found this is my greatest security from temptation.

I feel so much more positive and uplifted listening to positive and uplifting music. Imagine that. Ha!

Again, this is my personal conviction based on my own heart and past.

Reminders of my past are ever near, though, with dozens of purchased songs on my iPhone I’m unable to delete (I’ve tried and tried). I suppose it’s a good exercise in humility and where I’ve been?

Anyway, music is obviously very important to God. He talks about singing songs unto him hundreds of times.

Verses

The Bible commands us to sing unto the Lord more than anything else in the Bible- over 800 times! Not only that, but the biggest book the the Bible is devoted to it! God loves our songs of praise.

We also get a glimpse of Heaven and the songs being sung when we look at Revelation.

Verses

Our songs are important to God, so they’re important to me.

There’s no more room for the garbage I used to listen to. I’ve wasted enough time on meaninglessness and want to make the most of each day in Christ.

I felt compelled to share my heart on this topic today. If you’ve ever been there, you get it.

If you want to take the plunge and give some good quality Christian music a try (I promise it won’t stink!), I’d be happy to help. Shoot me a note or leave a comment and I will flood you with positive and uplifting music.

I realize today’s post may seem a little crazy, maybe even a little “extreme.”

What can I say, I guess you can label me a Jesus Freak.

Good thing that anthem rocks. smile

Thursday Things: The 11th Anniversary Edition

Tomorrow is my 11th anniversary.

Which simultaneously feels wonderful and weird.

How did 11 years pass us by so quickly, and where the heck did they go?!

In honor of the event, we’re doing 11 Thursday Things today.

1. Favorite things about the road to 11 include the new job, the alternate work schedule and having more time together, and buying our car.

2. Will and I have our best discussions: on long drives, at parks on sunny days, and on weekend afternoons as we become sad for the week ahead.

It’s pretty much always been this way, and now that we’re 11 years in, I figure it always will.

3. Looking back I realize I was (and probably still am) more selfish than Will.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but looking back on all the petty things I fussed about, he was (and is) far more mature and selfless.

I’m thankful God is working in me to identify my “self stuff,” as our beloved Beth calls it, so that I can be better and more selfless, too.

4. Unless it’s less than 10 minutes away, there will never be a time when Will tosses the keys and asks me to drive.

It’s been 11 years, and I’m still waiting. (Just between us, I like it better when he drives anyway!)

5. I’ve all but given up on Will being healthy.

Notice I didn’t say I HAVE given up, but I’ve pretty much all but done so!

I realize people change, but after 11 years, I doubt we’ll ever have his and her bikes or have a deadlift contest. Haha

6. In fairness, I have to say something about myself now.

Will has all but given up on me being tough.

By golly he’s tried, but I’m softer than a Jet Puff Marshmallow left out on an Oklahoma July afternoon.

7. I can’t pick a favorite married year.

I absolutely loved our first year because we had never been out on our own, and everything was so new and exciting.

Our time in Kuwait was fun (minus the work woes) and allowed us the opportunity for lots of adventures.

Our first few years back were hard, and I don’t like thinking about my ugly heart and distance from God. However, they also remind me of the fact that marriage isn’t always easy and things don’t always go to plan. It also reminds me of God’s love.

This year was a really good one and different than all the others.

Will and I have grown up so much over these 11 years. I feel like we have so much more love and respect for one another, and it has led to a deeper relationship. I honestly feel like we love each other more now than ever before. Eleven was a good year.

8. Much to our surprise (and perhaps dismay? Ha!), 11 brought some role reversals to the B-Love family.

I’m the golden retriever of the relationship, and Will is my lion. He’s firm, and I’m not.

This year was interesting because there were quite a few things that happened that brought out the lion in me, but rolled off Will’s back. Like super big things I felt he should have been riled up about!

What’s also funny, though, is that true to form, Will’s response was the wiser of the two. While it felt good to be the lion for once (albeit privately amidst conversations between just the two of us), it was much better to respond like a golden retriever.

Still- funny how we approached the situations completely opposite of our usual nature and much like the other person.

I wonder when we’ll start to look alike? 😂

9. The latter part of the road to 11 was hard.

Something completely rocked our world and has left us uncertain about the road to 12.

I’ve been hesitant to post about it, and perhaps I will in due time.

By God’s grace, he is carrying us through and has brought Will and I closer than ever.

What had the opportunity to cause strife, has brought agreement, understanding, patience, deeper trust in God, and more love.

By God and God alone.

10. Early in marriage, I came to accept most every trip we take will also include some sort of sporting event.

Namely football.

Eleven years in, and nothing’s changed.

The Miami Super Bowl in 2007,

the Arizona Fiesta Bowl & Miami National Championship in 08,

Multiple trips to Minneapolis followed by a road trip Green Bay for Packers games (and a trip to Indy Will took with his dad and brother to see the Colts),

Notre Dame, FSU, Nebraska and an upcoming “vacation” to Tennessee in 2015.

(Side note- here’s where I’d normally link you to all the posts of these adventures, but I’m a little lazy today)

We may be vacationing… But we’re also footballing.

Will understands this may not always be the case, and we’ve agreed an Alaskan cruise vacation is a definite must in the coming years.

Even if they don’t have a football game we can attend.

11. As we celebrate 11 years and look toward12, I’m hopeful and optimistic.

This year has the potential to be different than any other. God has orchestrated a strange and divine series of events, and we have no other option but to wholly trust Him.

I don’t know what 12 will bring, but I have faith God is going to show up, and I pray He guides and blesses our marriage along the way.

Look how young and crazy happy we are. I love it.

Will taking Brittny's garter off
Will & Brittny in the reception line

That’s it for today. Thanks for checking in, friends!

Things You Should Probably Know About Me

Things you should probably know about me

I really really really love cozy, fuzzy, warm socks.

Granny

The uglier the better.

Wills grandma gives all the granddaughters a pair every Christmas in our stockings.

At first I thought it was funny. “I’ll never use those,” I thought.

Then I tried them.

Game changer.

Like a vacation for your tootsies.

I mention my love for granny socks a lot on the blog, but if you didn’t know, now you do.

I currently have about fifteen various Nigella Lawson cooking shows that span about 13 years time.

I pretty much never make anything she cooks, but I find watching her cook soothes me, and I simply love every single episode.

Will used to expect me to delete each episode after I watched it, but now he knows they forever remain on the DVR.

End of story.

While we’re talking women and TV, Will and I almost always catch and watch the last five minutes of Wheel of Fortune.

99% of the time I comment on Vanna’s gorgeous dress for the evening.

i haven’t worn a formal in years but I want to get gussied up every time I watch that darn show.
Do you think she gets to keep the dresses? I’m guessing no, but if she does, I’d love to see that closet!

I get way too excited about things most people care little about. 

Like peanut butter and jelly toast, evenings, flossing, rain (without storms), Extra gum, mega huge drinking cups, and heavy blankets.

Real life.

I was born in the 80s, but I wish I could have lived in the 80s.

As in, been old enough to really appreciate the amazingness of the decades that was the 80s.

Totally born in the wrong decade.

Will indulges my obsession by watching 80s movies with me. I can’t prove it, but I secretly think he loves them as much as I do.

Well...maybe.

Tell me something I should know about you!

Friends in Low Places

Let’s talk about Will.

And his love for Garth Brooks.

It’s fierce, guys.

Way back in the day (read: the 90s), when Garth was huge on the scene, Will’s mom wouldn’t let him listen to Garth.

Somehow, someway, he roped her into letting him get a cd anyway, and the rest is history.

Oh my sweet Will.

You know the “Desperado” Seinfeld episode?

The one when Elaine’s new boyfriend totally went to a completely different place in his mind and “shushed” her anytime that song came on?

I kind-of sort-of feel like that with Will and Garth.

He’s country through and through.

Real life- when we was 16 he even had a fancy personalized license plate that said it.

Only instead of it saying “Country,” it said “Kountry.”

With a K.

Real life, ya’ll.

While Will never relinquished his love of country music, thankfully he outgrew the weird “Kountry” phase before I ever met him.

Thankfully.

I can’t be too hard on him. There’s definitely some awful phases I went through too.

Which I shall smoothly glaze over today…

(And as an aside, can we please keep this Kountry stuff between us? Thanks 😊)

Anyway, my sweet husband has always said whenever Garth Brooks had a comeback ("And I know he will one day,” he said. 😂), we would have to go.

Like stop everything we were doing and just go.

So yeah.

This weekend? We’re stopping everything and just going.

Incase you’re wondering, Will is pretty pumped.

I asked him if he was going to breakout his old cowboy boots and hat.

Thankfully, he’s not.

Don’t get me wrong, some people totally rock the cowboy look, but I can’t help but giggle a little thinking about Will getting all “cowboy up.”

The Garth Brooks concert extravaganza conciliation for me is food.

I’m not even going to tell you the excitement that awaits me.

I can’t even take it, guys.

For real.

I’m even going to let Will blast his favorite Garth CDs the whole way there and back and might even sing along to a few I know.

It’s about to get crazy. 

A Story About Words

Once upon a time there was a lady named Gretel who worked in fairy dust factory in the land of Pinkville.

This particular fairy dust factory was full of an array of ladies.

Some of the ladies purple, some round, some spotted, some curvy, and some a beautiful mixture of rosy pink and magenta.

For the most part, they all lived in kindness and harmony with one another.

One day, some of the ladies gathered round for office chatter. Soon, the discussion turned to Maude.

The ladies began to laugh about Maude’s clothes and eccentricity. They poked about how they liked to send notes about what she was wearing so the others could walk by her fairy dust station for a good laugh. 

Gretel stood nervously as the others talked. You see, she liked Maude. She appreciated Maude’s bravery to stay true to herself and not worry what others thought.

She liked Maude’s quirkiness and oddities.

It’s what made Maude, Maude.

Gretel thought about speaking up.

She thought of ways she could kindly and casually chime in to defend eclectic Maude, but she stayed silent.

The decision to stay silent upset Gretel. It’s not like she was going to create waves. She was among friendly colleagues.

Yet she stayed quiet.

She reflected on the decision afterward.

She she have spoken up. She should have been braver and unafraid to encourage Maude, who could not defend herself.

Though the office banter was minuscule in the grand scheme of Gretel’s Pinkville life, it still mattered.

You see, Maude had many broken hearts over the years, leaving her fragile. Gretel knew she was called to speak up for Maude.

To defend the fatherless, and plead for the widow, if you will.

Because it matters.

Because our words matter.

Because our lack of words matter.

More than we realize, sometimes.

Gretel knew this, and let’s face it, so do we.
Verses

**********

We don’t have to live in some fairytale land to be affected by foolish gossip and seemingly harmless chatter.

(As an aside note- how fun would it be to make fairy dust!? Calorie-free cupcakes anyone?)

Incase you’re wondering, I’m Gretel.

The situation was fairly harmless and never turned malicious, but it does matter.

My heart loves Maude, and I should have used my words to say something positive.

As christians, what we do say and don’t say matters.

People are watching, and dare I say scrutinizing us much more than others.

The Bible says to avoid godless chatter. Proverbs overflows with warnings about gossip, being a busy body, and ungodly words.

Even if we’re not the ones using them, I have to believe our silence makes us complicit.

Conversation such as these and a little gossip here and there seem harmless- but that’s the problem.

We’re weighing sins before a holy God who hates sin.

After the exchange about Maude, I felt convicted and defeated. Why didn’t I say something kind!? It wasn’t that hard.

I turned to my scripture reading for the day, Psalms 11.

Only, inadvertently I ended up unknowingly flipping to chapter 12 instead.

Definitely a God thing.

Do you know what this chapter says?

It talks about our tongue, our sinful mouths.

What I love most is just how beautiful God’s words are, especially compared to ours.

He’s words are pure, purified and refined by the fire as silver.

He uses his words, and they are righteous.

Verses

Oh girls I desire to have righteous lips, too. To have words refined by his holy fire

That means using words!

That means not sitting silent, and instead exuding kindness and love in things I say.

To stand up for others who are broken and have no voice.

Christmas is full of people such as these.

People that need us to speak words of life and Jesus.

Not for us to walk by silently and not notice their hurts.

Just as I said last week, people are looking for love, especially this time of year. They’re often more open to hearing the truth of Jesus at Christmas too.

I’ve said it about a million times on this blog, but I must convey my sentiments again.

I implore us to “be ye kind to one another.”
Verses

Whether it’s a “Maude” in your life or simply someone who looks like they need our help, I pray we encourage one another in the Lord and not remain silent.

It doesn’t take fairy dust to show God’s love. We need only trust and rely on His power.

Merry Christmas and happy Friday, friends. ❤️

Dust

When You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

God is love.

Such a simple sentence.

Such a seemingly elementary concept to grasp.

God is love,

He loves me,

I love God,

He loves others,

He commands we love others,

Therefore I love others.

So easy, right?

Good pep talk.

In football huddle fashion, let’s get out there and show some love this Christmas!

Break!

Not so fast.

The honest truth is that sometimes I have a love problem.

Sometimes, because of that love problem, I’m not very lovable.

And yet- God is love.

The other day we had the opportunity to host visitors on very short notice. 
People important to me. 

People that really needed to stay at our house.

Instead of loving these people and warmly inviting them in, I felt put out.

Annoyed that I had to rush around to light candles and lay out towels, selfishly wishing Will and I had the evening to ourselves instead.

Selfish.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Sometimes I’ve got hospitality problems, ya’ll!

As I lay in bed that night, my face grew hot with embarrassment for how I acted.

No one ever knew the frustration I felt preparing for our last minute visitors (um, though I’m pretty sure Will suspected it as I frantically threw dishes in the dishwasher and laundry back in the dryer haha), but I knew.

God knew.

I felt ashamed.

The Bible is clear on hospitality, both in the old and new testaments.

Verses

It’s also extremely clear on love.

I feel as though the two go hand in hand.

I love 1 John 4. It talks about how when we live in Christ, our love grows more perfect.

Verses

How do we think of others above us and show warm, loving hospitality?

By living in Christ.

Living in.

Abiding.

I love these words, and oh how I need the reminder.

I hate when I act selfishly. Since we’re rattling off verses, the Bible also tells us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but to think of others above ourselves.

Well huh. When you say it like that I feel pretty yucky for having a cow over opening our house to someone who really needed it.

The funny thing is, though, I totally had vain conceit.

There’s no pretty way to put a spin or bow on the reality.

I didn’t want anyone to see the dusty coffee table or dishes in the sink.

You know, because that’s never the reality of anyone else’s life.

Ha.

Why can’t we be vulnerable and show and share love?

It’s the most basic and biggest commandment- to love God with all we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

It’s children’s Sunday school 101.

Yet, 31 years later I’m still getting schooled on love and warm hospitality.

About just how selfish I am sometimes.

I’m so thankful God reveals these things to me.

I’m so thankful He shows me this yucky “self stuff,” as Beth Moore calls it, so that I can see just how desperately I need Him if I’m really going to love like I’m called to. 

People are looking for love.

True, authentic, pure love.

I mean, turn on the TV or radio and all you hear is how “we’ve” been burned by love and are searching for the real thing.

If we’re caught up in dirty dishes or feeling put out, chances are we are missing the point and a huge, a huge opportunity to show the love of Jesus.

What a shame.

I wish I could tell you’ve I’ve been miraculously healed of my frantic obsession for having a tidy house.

I haven’t.

However, I have been fervently praying to love Jesus more than anything else in this entire world, and that in loving Him first, I truly love others as he commands.

Selflessly and completely.

There’s absolutely nothing in me that can do those things.

This Christmas I pray and encourage us all to have eyes to see those who need love.

We don’t have to spend money to show love this season.

It can be a kind handwritten note to someone who needs it, baking cookies for an elderly person who lost their spouse, or letting someone going through a hard time know we’re praying for them and just how much God loves them.

I find Christmas opens doors and makes people more receptive to the gospel than other times of the year.

Let’s use this season to exemplify God’s love.

Lets abide in Him and spend time daily in his word and prayer today, asking Him to help us love as he’s called us.

More to come…
❤️

Thursday Things, 21 August 2014

***
Alright sweets, we are nearly weekend bound. Let’s finish strong!

Let’s talk about how this week is most certainly not my best in terms of eating healthy.

Not.at.all.

It involved this 5,000 calorie cupcake.

I'm dead.

Plus Will had two softball games Monday, one at 6:30 and one at 9:30, also known as past my bedtime.

What do you do when you have a two hour gap between games?

You eat French fries and fried pickles.

Real life.

And then I felt like a big heavy greasy bomb was in my stomach and I kind of wanted to slip into carb coma and pass out until morning.

So I did.

It was raining for Will’s second game so I stayed in the truck and fell asleep.

Supportive wife.

I also got to spent some quality time talking to a dear friend this week.

Oh girls, I am so refreshed by our conversation! We are not extremely close, however we have a common bond and love for God that has allowed us to strengthen, encourage, and pray for one another. 

Winning.

I’m kind of pumped about the weekend.

It involves a trip to a nearby fair with a little two year old girl. I’ve never been more excited to sweat my butt off in 100 degree heat and pet smelly blue ribbon goats in my life.

Here she is last year. Where does the time go!?

The fair!

Speaking of time passing, Lucy turned 8 this week and Boz turns 8 this weekend.

I fully acknowledge they’re not real kids, but I seriously can’t believe how quickly our time has gone with these old pups.

In hindsight, I feel a little guilty about getting them during our 45 day vacation home from Kuwait back in 2006 (but there was really no other time unless we waited until we moved home).

What were we thinking!? Staying with my in-laws with unruly puppies biting, tinkling, and flopping about!?

the babies

I also cringe about how we tormented our neighbors with their yapping during the nearly 2 years they lived with us in Kuwait.

Bad neighbors. Bad dog parents.

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t have real kids back then. We were totally clueless.

Soooo I’m 100% positive I’m not preggo, but guys, I’m having some seriously strange and insatiable cravings lately.

Like some weird stuff. Last night for dinner Will had leftovers and I had a giant bowl of broccoli and then proceeded to squeeze tablespoon upon tablespoon of mustard over it.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?

Don’t google that stuff either or it will pretty much make you worry about everything.

Okay, that’s it for now friends. Check in tomorrow! 

How to Fall Away From God (Streams of Consciousness)

When we cleaned the garage last weekend I found lots of interesting things.

Some I wondered why I even kept, some made me laugh (like my Super Nintendo), and still others made me incredibly reminiscent.

The reminiscent stuff is what I want to talk about today.

Do you have some time and some coffee?

Go get some and come back.

***

We found lots of “treasures,” but a few stand out:

A giant picture frame someone gave us, full of pictures of us with youth at the church where we served,

Post

A couple pictures that used to hang in my bedroom before I got married,

Post

And a journal I wrote in my first few months in Kuwait.

Post

All are distinctive, yet united under the same feelings evoked when I saw them.

Depending on how long you’ve read my blog, you may not know that Will was a youth minister when I met him.

Will & Brittny-counselors at Super Summer 2003

Here we are serving as camp counselors together way back in 2003!

It was perfect. I surrendered my life to ministry as a youth, and our marriage and ability to help serve alongside Will at our church was a dream come true.

Only, no one ever really told us just how difficult our time there would be.

It didn’t come easy like the places where we were before.

The youth were so very different than we were used to. No more squeaky clean preppy kids with parents who were involved.

Every week Will would drive the church bus to pick up almost every single one of those kids in some of the worst neighborhoods in town.

Only a few had parents that went to church, and only a couple helped out.

The biggest struggle was that the church was wrought in pain from the past. There was much division, and the church had never really recovered.

A few months into Will’s service, the pastor was asked to leave, and we faced so many new challenges.

Talk about a heavy load for two kids in their early 20s.

It was hard, and Will hated it. It wasn’t exactly the dream I envisioned.

Then the chance to go to Kuwait surfaced.

What initially seemed like something so outlandish, became an attractive opportunity.

We prayed about it and it seemed like everything lined up to go, and so we went. (Perhaps this will be a future post?)

If you read the archives from waaaay back in 2005, you’ll see lots of adjustments to the new life.

I didn’t work for my first four months there, which felt like torture at the time but in hindsight was such a huge blessing.

It gave me time alone with God. To seek Him and draw close to Him.

When I look back on my journal, I could still see a lot of immaturity and want to tell myself, “Oh Brittny, if you could only see how God was doing a work!” However, I also saw growth and my desire to really pursue a relationship with Jesus.  I had loved Him all my life.

When I looked at people seemingly very close to God who had fallen away, I could never understand it.

How could you be so close to God, and so deeply pursuing Him, and then all of a sudden completely fall face first and turn away from His goodness?

Well, sadly I can tell you how it happens.

Listen up, and be mindful my friends. It pains me to be able to share these lessons, but I sincerely hope it somehow serves as a lesson to some of you who may be going through something similar.

The truth is, when I would see people who were formerly strong in their faith who had fallen, I was only seeing the end result of much more.

A process.

Do not be deceived friends, the enemy is all around and wants us to stumble. The Bible says he looks for someone to devour.

Verses

It’s very true. The enemy was very patient with me, as I suspect he is with many believers.

It was years of slow erosion. Slowly chipping away in such tiny increments that I barely noticed. He’s crafty that way.

Oh friends, I allowed myself to step out from God’s umbrella of protection and became so vulnerable to deception.

How did it happen?

Let’s dissect.

1.Lack of Community

Moving to a Muslim country made it difficult to openly pursue a relationship with the Church.

Thankfully, someone we knew hosted a Bible study which allowed us the opportunity to meet with other Christians and fellowship and study the Bible.

Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, conflicting schedules prevented the leader from hosting and things dissolved.

Will and I were on our own.

The Bible stresses the importance of relationships with believers.

Verses

I needed that community of like minded people in my life to encourage, to get encouragement, and to have a support group as we collectively pursued God together as a unit.

It was hard doing life on our own, but we managed to adjust.

Of course we did.

If you’re a Christian not attending church, you’re missing out and vulnerable. I would encourage you to find a church that preaches God’s word and get plugged in.

Verses

2.Compromise & Complacency
In addition to lack of community, small compromises here and there primed my heart for falling away.

Seriously- like minuscule things that didn’t seem like a big deal.

However, that small wearing away allowed my heart to become vulnerable to attack. The more “small” sins I determined to be acceptable, the more I was on a slippery slope.

The more satan can get you to dip your toe in sin, the easier it can be to get dragged into the depths of the sea.

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, friends, no matter how we weight it here on earth.

Verses

The Bible says God has “honest scales.”

Sin separates us from God.

If we allow what we believe to be “small” sins in our lives, we are sinning plain and simple.

We are opening our hearts up for more and more compromise. I know because I did it myself!

Before long, compromise was followed with complacency.
Verses

Being totally fine with those “small” sins. In reality though, they were totally hardening my heart more and more.

Want to fall away from God?

Start making compromises and allowing sin in your life under the justification that “it’s not that bad.”

3.Apathy

Inevitably, compromise and complacency give way to apathy.

You just slowly stop caring about the things of God.
Verses

You might say you do, but the heart doesn’t lie.

When we first moved back, we halfheartedly visited churches and kept on the outskirts or things.

Having spent three years without attending made us sort of accustomed to not going.

The first few years home weren’t our best. As I’ve shared so many times, my heart was so different than the one I knew so well as a youth and young adult.

As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t feel like me.

I felt like some other person, so unlike the Brittny I knew my whole life.

Living a sinful life far from God.

I stopped praying and reading the Bible.

Apathy will do that to you.

Apathy is such a dangerous place to be for professing Christians.

In fact, I’d venture to say it is nearly impossible to come back from a place of not caring unless the merciful Lord intervenes.

Thank God He is slow to anger and bountiful in love.
Verses

4.Fear and Doubt

I started to feel Jesus’ gentle pull back to himself a couple years ago, but I believed I had gone too far. That He couldn’t take me back.

After all, I was the “perfect one” all my life. The youth leader, and the one who went on mission trips and truly loved God with every fiber in my being.

How could I go from that, to what I had become?

And how could God forgive me after I had already known his love so well and yet still fell away?

Apathy turns to fear and doubt.

And fear and doubt can often keep people from repentance.

It’s one of satan’s worst lies of all.

I was paralyzed in this fear, and yet slowly and continually, piece by piece, God reassured me of His love.

He reassured me that He could scatter what I had become as far as the east was from the west if I truly came with a broken and repentant spirit.

That he could restore me and bring me to an entirely new level of knowing Him.

Verses

***

Oh friends, this is but a glimpse into the story.  However, I felt compelled to share it with you because we must be on our guard against the devil’s schemes.

They’re much more insidious than we think.

Verses

That’s what makes them so dangerous and painful. 

If you want to fall away from God, you do the foolish things I did above.

Saturday night, as I tried to go to bed, I thought about the things I discovered in the garage and hot tears began to stream down my face.

The streams turned to quiet sobs, and I did my best not to wake Will.

Sooo, I crept into the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat.

Classy gal.

God and I had been in this place many times before (well, maybe not plonked down on the toilet seat per say, but in this very same situation).

I needed a lot of reassurance from Him along the way.

I found myself at His feet once more apologizing for wasting such a huge portion of my adult life living selfishly. Thanking Him for His mercy, and pouring my heart out to Him.

Telling Him how I want to get to the same level of intimacy we were before, yet in some strange way feeling as though I was more raw and intimate with Him recently than in my entire life.

I ended up reading exactly what I needed at that moment. This post about how God can make beauty from ashes.

In fact, the Bible days that things meant to harm us can even be used for good.

We serve a big God.

Bigger than our failures.

A God big enough to help us pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece that could only be used for His glory.

Perhaps you’re caught in one of these situations?

Maybe you’re on a similar path to falling away that I shared?

Oh friend, turn to Jesus.

I know the trappings of this world and “doing as thou wilt” sure seems great sometimes, but it pales in comparison to the freedom of living a life centered in Jesus.

I can say it because, unfortunately, I’ve lived on both sides.

Commit to Him and His plan, friends.

To wrap things up, I decided to hang a couple of those pictures.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even hang the collage I once deemed “hideous” as a simple reminder of the impact a life devoted to Christ can make.

Thanks for listening, and know I’m here to listen too!

❤️

The Hostess with the Mostess

A few years ago, when my heart was incredibly hardened, I would come unglued at the thought of people coming over to our house.

Absolutely unglued.

I was in graduate school, working full time, stressed out of my mind. Seemingly any little deviation from normalcy would derail me.

I would have such an ugly attitude.

Since I was in school at the time, our house was a disaster not as tidy as I hoped, so I would take off Friday and spend the whole day cleaning.

Cussing, and cleaning.

Angry and ugly.

I was mad my plans and schedule were interrupted, and I was always relieved when our guests left.

Oh friends, when I look back I was seemingly forever in a state of total pissed-off ness. Sorry for the term, but it is so very true.

You’d never know on the outside, but I did. I know Will saw plenty of glimpses of my ugly heart, too.

That’s the funny thing about the heart. You might be able to fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God.

As you have hopefully seen over the last couple years, The Lord has been doing a work in my heart and in drawing me back to him.

He restored me, cleansed my filth, and made me new.

I look back over the course of the last several months and see His guiding hand over so many changes in my life.

Hosting family last weekend was yet another confirmation of His grace. 

He is so good to me.

I never would have looked forward to hosting four people overnight before, and yet this time I did.

The Bible says to be hospitable without grumbling, and with his spirit and help, I was able to actually do that!

Verses

I enjoyed preparing for our guests last weekend. I got excited thinking about ways to serve them.

I made little gift bags.

While I cleaned, I didn’t stress about the details.

I simply thought about having our family with us and enjoying their company, and less about my selfishness and being “put out.” I didn’t feel that way at all! I was blessed to host them.

Who the heck is this lady!?!

Girls, The Lord has blessed us richly, and we should enjoy opening up our homes to others and sharing his blessings and love.

I realize I sound all fluffy, and that I’m making this transformation seem so easy.

Trust me, I’m not.

However, Jesus is able to transform even the hardest of hearts.

So how are ways we can begin that transformation and be the hostess with the mostess?

1. Be thankful

I find when I’m worrying less about what others have and what I don’t have, I’m much more conscious of what I do have.

Practicing gratitude is a must if you’re going to be a good host.

I decided to worry less about dirty outside windows and more on ways I could show my guests I loved them.

I decided not to worry about my house not being fully decorated in some places, and more about the many blessings God has given me and our house.

2. Be generous

Verses

Everything good and perfect thing comes from God.

It’s His, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

He’s given me a beautiful house he’s allowed me to live in, and I can’t help but feel compelled to share these blessings and God’s goodness with others.

Proverbs tells us that when we are generous we will prosper, and when we refresh others, we are in turn refreshed.

Instead of feeling like the life is sucked out of me, I want to feel like I’m willingly giving myself to others.

For example, I got totally giddy at the thought of making them little goody bags!

Just a simple mindset change actually blessed and refreshed me just as I prayed I would refresh my guests.

3. Be a servant

You don’t hear that much these days, do you?

Verses

I would often scoff at all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry associated with overnight visitors.

However, the more I prayed for God to soften my heart and make me more like him, the more I desired and actually looked forward to serving my guests.

I took joy in cooking something yummy for them, or laying out freshly scented towels.

I wanted them to see God’s love in me, and the best way I felt like I could do that was to serve them with an undivided heart.

4. Ask for a heart change

Sometimes?

Sometimes, just like my story, we need a heart readjustment. No amount of trying to serve or be grateful can change us if it doesn’t first start with our heart.

Oh friends I’ve so been there!

The good news is that He makes water flow in even the driest deserts. 

He can change your heart towards being the hostess with the mostess and a whole lot more if you let him.

But it’s our choice. We have to choose to turn away from or junk and let Him be Lord.

So what’s it going to be?

****
Here’s to hoping you show some hospitality to your family this weekend!

It’s Will’s birthday weekend, so I intend to do just that! Our weekend involves a peanut butter ice cream cake. HELP!!

Check in Monday! ❤️

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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