Month One of 2012!

As promised, here is the first of 12 monthly updates on my New Years Resolutions.. I hope this makes me stick to them!! I counted 12 resolutions which means as long as I tackle one a month I’ll be perfect by next New Years, right?! IF ONLY…!

Spiritually
I will have a Morning Quiet Time everyday. Only missed a couple so far!! Hallelujah. Over 50% of my mornings start in this way.. getting better- This has been sweet time with me and God… and I should really increase the time I spend with Him. I am selfish. Really enjoying “Jesus Calling,” “Streams in the Desert,” and “Made to Crave: 60 days of devotion.” As you can see, I like to switch it up.

I will attend church at least 45 Sundays in 2012. Although I was in Pickwick, TN on the 1st of January, the 8th I attended Grace with the fam and the 15th Covenant with Mitchell & his family! The 21st involved PineLake Starkville- which I adoreeee! (and recommend to all MSU students) – Truly speak the Word in a contemporary setting. & the 29th, Grace again- pretty successful so far.. what am I at, 5?


Physically
I will not drink sodas and have only 2 sweet drinks/week. So excited about this!! Makes me feel so much better. & 3 solid weeks means it is officially a  habit!! šŸ™‚ I have had a few to many sweet teas- because, frankly, who can resist?? but not a drip (or should I say bubble??) of carbonation!

I’m sorry, I miss you too. I know its hard, but this may be best.

I will run 4x each week in training for 1/2 in April & continue after. Not quite there yet- starting hard core training February 5th (golly, is that 6 days away?!!!) But…. I have run a few times, worked out with Amy (Missfit Trainer), hit the Sanderson on multiple occasions, incorporated many 75 minute gloriously relaxing walks into my days, & lifted a lot with Mitchell! Better than lazy nothingness!
-Not a resolution, but a goal of mine is to exercise 6,300 minutes in 2012 (amounts to 20 min a day) and I am thankful I have managed to stay on track with that!

I plan on slimming down & toning up! I have lost almost 5 lbs.. excited to see more progress! All this thanks to a little friendly competition between M & I. Whoever changes their weight (M wanting to gain/Me wanting to lose) the most by March 9 aka. Spring Break.. wins!! Annnd winner gets to choose outfits for our photo shoot we received as a Christmas gift. (Thanks Val and John!!) Tune in March 9 to watch me win šŸ™‚ If you’re lucky, and M agrees, we may even weigh in on a video update!!

Educationally
I will complete 3 full semesters/atleast 42 hours (Spring, Summer, Fall) with at least a 3.2 GPA. Currently enrolled and doing better than last semester- yay!! Also, was accepted as an ambassador for Note Hall, a company that helps students excel in college, check it out!!



I will read 12 non school related/fun books by Jan 1, 2013. Does skimming count? … thinking I will catch up on this while by the pool this summer! I never stop long enough to read more than one sentence over, and over, and over. 

Blogally
I will write 100 posts in 2012- That means no more week long breaks for me & lots of reading for you!!  6 posts down, this is #7 (and 8 is in the works!!). 

I plan to update you at the end of every month on my progress for NYResolutions! Check šŸ˜‰

Organizationally
I will use only one purse for the entirety of 2012. STILL Loving my Camel Coach Chelsea Carry All šŸ™‚ Although I am on the hunt for a new wallet!!


&&& use only my Coach planner/agenda. Going smoothly!! Organized as ever although starting to get kinda scribbly!! Must focus on cleanliness.

Relationally

Mitchell & I are going to complete our jar slip assignments each week! Two down!! We had a Papa Johns/Movie Night for Mitchell the weekend before I headed back to Starkvegas. & say Joyful Noise (starring Queen Latifah & Dolly Parton) and raided Walgreens for candy pre-movie…! Don’t tell that we took 6 boxes in my purse šŸ˜› 


Really excited for a special date to Grisanti’s this Friday and Valentines Day in 15!! One of my favorite holidays.. If you care to hear the 2011 story, I’d say its a good one. Check back February 14!! Lets just say we were best friends, not dating, I received roses, he got one of his faves, and he won the competition šŸ˜‰



Are you keeping up with your resolutions? I hope so!!


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One Night of Incredibly Heavenly Indulgence.

After I tucked both Will and Walker into bed, I sneakily sliced one morsel having absolutely no idea the extravagance of what was about to come into contact with my tongue…


Some call it “Chocolate Chip Pound Cake,” I, on the other hand, don’t know what to call it, but it is so amazingly delicious…


1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup sour crema
3 beaten eggs
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding
3/4 c oil
3/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1 small semi sweet chocolate morsels

Mix together first 7 ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour at three hundred and twenty five degrees!
Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe Mrs. Carol!!



If you dare, 




go. 


run. 


quick. 




to Kroger. 


(or Kay Roger, however you refer to that lovely place)


even Walgreens,




whichever is 








closer.


And once your slightly crispy-edged pan of heaven lets a toothpick escape clean, cut a slice, draw a bubble bath, pour some milk, and have what I would call One Night of Incredibly Heavenly Indulgence.


Not being much of a recipe blogger, you know this must be to die for,


Passion.

This is a post I contemplated even writing… I don’t feel like the message is something I can recreate in the way He did. And the other 1/2 of me has been intimidated by Can You Stay For Dinner? (A phenomenal blog, you must visit- in fact, I’d say if you only have 5 minutes, read hers before you read mine!)
Anyways, the way hearts were moved in church last Sunday was thrilling. He spoke to my heart, to the person sitting beside me (you know who you are;), to so many broken people in one room. And I hope as I type the next few paragraphs, that He works in you too… & that you see this not as some type of advice or sermon, but as sharing between one broken yet loved believer and another, both living in abundant grace because no matter how each day unfolds, the God of this nation and Creator of this universe has a plan for us greater than any of us could dream. (Even me… who dreams quite crazy things at times!!)

I jotted down notes from Pinelake-Starkville on the final page of my planner… which should already tell you something about me… I can’t say I know many people who take their agendas to church, but mine ends up in my car, in class, at Phi Mu, even in the shower. (ok, that was an exaggeration but my phone has visited- I needed good music- whats a girl to do?!)
The main purpose of the live streamed sermon Sunday morning was this 

God wants to be the supreme passion in my life, ours really.

passion  (ĖˆpƦŹƒÉ™n) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
ā€” n
the object of an intense desire


And why wouldn’t He be our passion, the number one thing we seek after in life? Because His yoke is easy? Because His burden is light? or because we are selfish? self absorbed? control freaks? 
For me, it’s that last part. I am selfish, wanting all my time to myself. I am self absorbed, putting all the focus on myself. And I am a control freak. 
This reminded me of an excerpt of Lysa TerKeurst’s Made To Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God Not Food… on page 28, she so candidly describes the day she asked herself 
“Is it possible we love and rely on food more than we love and rely on God?”
Now for you, food may be nothing more than fuel for your body, but for me, food was at the heart of an  uncontrollable battle I fought for so many years. Anything can become a detracted focus in life. It doesn’t have to be porn, drugs, alcohol, it can be something as simple as an eating disorder, control, friends.
The trails of life indicate where you frequent, where most of our time is spent… Are the pages of your Bible bent to no end because you spend hours each day reading the love letter of all love letters? or is your iPhone running out of battery because you’ve spent 43 hours in a day (yes, I know there are only 24… but I wish for more!) reading trashy gossip and your oh so important Twitter feed? 
I am guilty, oh so guilty.
Where are your trails leading to? What is your passion?
We will never be perfect, but at least we are loved perfectly, by someone so perfect. 
Psalm 34:10 But those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

May we be urged today to set our hearts toward the only thing that can bring us true satisfaction in this life,

Thorns.

I have totally enjoyed the devotional book “Streams in the Desert” this year. (and I highly recommend it to all of you!) It was a gift from my mom as I left for my first semester and it has been marvelous. 

As I read a page in late December, only days after my favorite girl Phoebe passed away, I stopped when I read “I have never thanked thee for my thorn“… my thoughts went exactly like this, “Really? Of course I haven’t thanked God for my thorn. Why would I?! I thank Him for the good things…” 
But… I am supposed to be thankful for the “bad” things in my life, too. I’m supposed to be thankful for a broken heart and empty place on the couch where my baby always laid.. for disordered eating.. for loneliness… This quiet time brought me back to Earth. What we see as bad, the Lord sees as blessings. He is forcing us to lean on Him.
I am never promised another day. I am never promised anything at all. But my Rock and my Redeemer provides. When I am at my lowest, He only draws nearer. -What a marvelous truth!!

The Bible says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).” For some reason, I have read this verse over and over yet it never sunk in until I read it in my devotion…
The literal translation of this verse gives a startling emphasis to it, and makes it speak for itself with an intense force that we have probably never realized. (I know I hadn’t!!) “Therefore I take pleasure in being without strength, in insults, in being pinched, in being chased about, in being cooped up in a corner for Christ’s sake; for when I am without strength, then am I dynamite.” Streams in the Desert


George Matheson, the well-known blind preacher of Scotland, said: 


“My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn

I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, 
but not once for my thorn. 
I have been looking forward to a world where I shall get compensation for my cross; but I have never thought of my cross as itself a present glory.
Teach me the glory of my cross; 
teach me the value of my thorn. “

Can we all dare to pray genuinely, “Thank you, oh Lord, for the things that trouble me.. Thank you for the things I feel are bringing me down. Just, thank you.” ??
It’s hard. Really hard… but also mind changing and maybe life changing.


Think about it one more way… The Sidewalk Prophets sing in “You Love Me Anyway,”
I am the thorn in Your crown, but you love me anyway.” Jesus Christ LOVED the things that caused him dire pain as he hung on a cross for us.


Thankful He cares to refine me,



What is trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? -“Blessings” Laura Story

Beauty Evolving.

Beauty (and our view of it) is constantly morphing…
Sometimes this makes me thankful, and other times…. not so much.


One day, Facebook goes from being covered with comments such as “Time to starve while watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” to the next day being covered in YouTube videos inspiring women to be/men to wait for “Proverbs 31 Women.”
But it can go from good to bad, too.


This is a trap I, and the majority of other women, get caught in day after day. What is true beauty? We all want to look good on the outside, but that first takes a lot of work on the inside. I hope we remember on the days we feel not so Victorias Secret-esqe that the Lord of Lords himself is in awe of our beauty.


A sweet woman in my life, Mrs. Brenda, gave me the following to share with all of you.
Beauty Tips:
By Sam Levenson

For attractive lips, 
Speak words of kindness

For lovely eyes, 
Seek out the good in people 

For a slim figure, 
Share your food with the hungry

For beautiful hair,
Let a child run his fingers through it once a day

For poise, 
Walk with the knowledge you will never walk alone

As we enter into this new year full of new resolutions (or just old, failed resolutions that will definitely not fail this year;)), let’s keep a positive focus. Would focusing on being a Proverbs 31 woman above all else bring us closer to the beautiful woman we want to see on the outside? I think just maybe. 

P.S. Here’s a quote I read on a friend’s website that really got me thinking:

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.”  
-Andre Gide



I’ve got to remember to slow down. Embrace each moment. It is another year, whether the resolutions fail or not. 


Praying for each of you in 2012,