Friday, April 27, 2012

Amendment One - Not the only issue

I try to keep my opinions of politics and the state of the United States off of my blog. If I started blogging about those things, then I would probably want to share my opinions too much.  This one will be far more controversial than most things that I write about. This is not directly about Amendment One. And I don't want to debate politics, but I do want to explore some serious issues.

 With the issue of Amendment One taking over my facebook newsfeed and on the forefront of the minds of North Carolinians everywhere, it has made me think hard about many issues.

First of all, I am proud of Christians who take a stand for what they believe in without bullying others. Christians who vocalize their beliefs and stick to them without abusing others. I believe a lot of things are a sin - but I still hope that I can show love and hope and God's redemption to the sinner. 
I do believe homosexuality is a sin. Homosexual relationships, partnerships, marriage...I believe it is a sin. God created male and female for a reason - and I love the way that the characteristics and personality traits of men and women normally fit so well together. We are partners. We complement each other. We were made to. I think, even if you are not a Christian, it is obvious just by the way we are all made that men and women are meant to be together. The world wouldn't continue unless men and women were together. So I will never vote in favor of something that I don't believe in. 

Honestly? I don't think the issue of homosexual relationships has singlehandedly ruined the sanctity of marriage. I think that the sanctity of marriage was in trouble far before Ellen DeGeneres became so popular. I think the beauty and strength and purpose of marriage became watered down when Britney Spears got an annulment after only 55 hours of marriage. I think the fact that I'm more surprised when a Hollywood couple stays married longer than a handful of years than when they don't has done much to ruin the beauty of marriage. I think that the number of children who never knew their father, who experienced abandonment by their mother, the people all around us who have been married time and time again, the couples going in to marriage with no idea of what it even means, the couples living together before getting married, the wives that tear down their husbands and husbands that would rather stay at work than go home.... I think all of that did just as much - if not more - to destroy the sanctity of marriage. God's plan was in the beauty of one woman and one man being partners and best friends and lovers for life.

I will repeat that I think homosexuality is a sexual sin. Period. But I think there are other sexual sins that need to garner just as much attention and passion from us. There are twelve year old girls being pressured to do things that I didn't even know existed until I was in college (some things I probably still don't know about). There are fifteen year old boys making checklists of the girls they've been with and things they've done. There are young women on the streets selling themselves because they don't know any other way. There are men who find refuge from their families at strip clubs. And the threat of sexual predators on the internet is hard to miss - whether it's a 30-year-old man winning over a 16-year-old girl or the half naked women that pop up on the side of every webpage beckoning guys to click on them. Innocence is being stolen away rapidly on every corner in every classroom and office and bedroom...and it's scary. 

Other than voting for or against an amendment - what are we doing about it?

I think we need to start being passionate about people. We need to start showing love to people. Sharing Jesus with people. Praying for people. Caring for people. Showing them that there is a Savior who has overcome sin!

I'm not suggesting that Amendment One is not an issue. I'm just suggesting that it's not the only one. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life's Pause Button

 Sometimes - for only a moment - I like to pause life. Look around. Hear it. Smell it. See it. And realize how many God-things and answered prayers and dreams-come-true got me to this point. Realize how blessed I am. Enjoy the moment. Really find bliss in the blessings.

It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was a 13-year-old girl praying for and dreaming about her future husband - having no idea who he was or how I would meet him or what our story would hold. 

It seems like only a little while ago that I was a senior in high school, listening to "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts, driving home, tears falling down my cheeks because I was terrified of the unknown that lay ahead at college.

And has it really been over two years since I graduated from college unsure of what my career goals were and crying because I didn't want to leave my friends, my professors, my school-home behind? 

Then there were all those days that I would stare at my left hand - wishing for one...really two...rings. Wondering if and when Derrick Green would ask me to be his wife. 

A year ago I was planning a wedding (or frustrating my mom by not wanting to plan a wedding). Stressed about trying to find a home. Researching honeymoon locations and cupcake flavors. Planning a 125th ball at work. Counting down the days. 

And now here we are. Married. Settled. Blessed. He makes me laugh and works in his office and plays with my hair and holds me close. I make our lunches and do the laundry and scratch his back and write him random love notes all the time. We are crazy together and cuddly together and boring together and busy together. We're best friends. 

And it's not just being blessed in marriage - there's so much more than that. There's the comfort of home. The blessing of getting to experience traditions and laugh and make new memories with our families. Getting to eat and fellowship and watch movies and go on adventures with friends . Worshiping our amazing Savior with our great church family. Having a job - more than that a job that we enjoy, where we're challenged to grow.
I realize that God has been beyond good to me. I have been given much, and I hope that I never quit trying to use my blessings to bless and encourage others. 

No matter what your story is or what you're going through - everyone has their own blessings to be thankful for and to find contentment in. There's a reason God has you where you are. For such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

I guess I just never want to forget - in the chaos and in the calm - to appreciate where I am, where I've come from, and where I'm going. To see God's amazing hand in it all. And to really enjoy each moment.

Sometimes you've got to hit life's pause button to find bliss in the blessings.  To be that 13-year-old dreamer again. To see order in the chaos. To remember the good in the God-things. To see your purpose for such a time as this.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 
Ephesians 3:20,12

Saturday, April 21, 2012

What a Woman!

This past week in my girls' bible study we discussed the Proverbs 31 woman. What an example! What a challenge to each of us! 

As we read, I had the girls choose one quality of the Proverbs 31 woman that came easiest to them, one that was hardest for them, and one that was most important to them. It was an awesome reminder that God made us all different, yet we can all work together to accomplish some pretty awesome things. 

Before we begin, I must say that I know, as women, we try to do it all. I know I do. We try to be everything below. But we can't do it without God working through us. And we can't do it without taking time to take care of ourselves. Know what your priorities are. Know what God is calling you to do. And be okay saying "No" to some things that don't fit those lists. It's better to give 100% to the five priorities God is calling you to focus on then 60% to everything. (I'm still struggling with this myself.)

I hope you will be encourage, inspired, and challenged by the passage below and my application of it.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 
I love the words above and try to live up to them in my marriage. Too often today wives belittle and discourage their husbands - but it's our job to be a wife our husband can trust, a wife that takes care of our husband and builds him up with our words and actions. 

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night; she provides for her family and her servants.
  This woman works hard to see that her family is taken care of and has the best of provisions. She is not lazy, but is willing to give up her time to watch over and provide for her home.  She not only takes the care of her family, but also takes care of those who work for her... 

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night
Not only is she wise with her time, but she is also wise with her money. She is active in the family budget, making wise investments, and her husband can trust her with the family finances.

In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her house;all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 
This woman isn't lazy, but uses her talents and resources for her family and others. Not only does she give her time and heart for her own family, but she takes the time to give back to those who may not be as blessed as she is. While her first priority is taking care of her family and making sure they have all they need, she also makes sure that she presents herself well and represents her family beautifully.

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders.
She makes linen garments and sells them, supplies the merchants with sashes.
 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 
Her husband is respected by others and able to be successful,  in part because he has a wife he can trust, a wife others admire, a wife who is his partner and help-meet. While her husband is working hard, this woman uses her talents to bring income to the family and provide for others. Because of her hard work and kind spirit, she can look forward to what's ahead with joy, knowing that she is prepared for whatever God has for her.

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
This woman inspires others and speaks carefully, sharing her experiences and wisdom. She does not let things get past her in her home, but actively prays for, watches out for, and takes care of her home. 

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done, let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
What a life to live and legacy to leave! She is admired and appreciated by her husband - who has confidence in her as his partner through life - and her children, who have been taken care of and have had the godly influence of their hardworking, kind mother. She will be honored and her legacy will be great. 

Monday, April 16, 2012



Derrick and I have our degrees in it. But I can promise you - even after 4 years of classes and a lot of other personal research - I am not a perfect communicator. 

I enjoy philosophical conversations. "What if...", "Why do you think God did that...", "Do you think if _______ happened then ________ would happen?", "Do you think that God allows a song to come on the radio just for you?"...

Derrick prefers conversations about his passion: video. And I am in awe and envious of the way he can know so much about one subject. His ability to research, learn, and discuss videographer always amazes me.

Of course, 75% of our conversation is just 5-year-old best friend speak: "You're cute", "You're fun", "You're awesome", "You're funny","You're my best friend", "You're ridiculous", "You're crazy"... And, while those things seem silly and not-so-important much of the foundation of our relationship is appreciating each other and sharing that often and in many ways. Compliments and appreciation are a part of communication.

While we don't always communicate like we should or in the same ways, I think that communication is such an important part of my relationship with Derrick. My relationship with God. And of any relationship.

One thing I love about Derrick and my relationship - and hope for my relationship with God - is that we try to have a constant flow of communication about everything. All the day to day stuff. 

I try to talk it over with Derrick before making plans with friends, making appointments outside of work, inviting people over, etc. I want to share my life with him and consider him before making plans.

Derrick always enjoys talking with me about what he's thinking about buying before he buys it. He wants to share his life with me and hear my thoughts before making bigger purchases.

When I think he's said something that I don't agree with or something that has hurt me, I wait until we're alone, and I respectfully share my heart and my hurt with him.  How you communicate - your tone, your heart, your words - is so important to your relationship to.

We aren't perfect. And sometimes we don't talk about some things we should, and it presents a problem later. But I think too many couples - families, friends - don't discuss their daily lives with one another. They don't want to share their plans or their passion or their purchases or their heart or their hurt. Before they know it, they don't know how to get back. They don't know how to talk. They don't know how to be partners in life.

If you're going to choose to share your life with someone, then choose to share your life with them.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Busy. But Blessed!

I'm sitting here trying to unwind after a wonderful Inspire! Art event this afternoon. I need a minute to breath. Tonight is the Switchfoot concert with our friends the Bakers :) Tomorrow morning I'm a co-captain for service learning and field day activities at our Accepted Student Day and then planning and hosting our Undecided Student Pathway. Then baby shower and church...ahh...Sunday afternoon has got laundry and the couch written all over it.

I love it. And I try never to forget how blessed I am. With my job. My friends. My family. My husband. My church. But life is far busier than I could have imagined. Busy but blessed.

Looking ahead it seems overwhelmingly busy. Looking back it seems like an awesome accomplishment, making memories. It's awesome to be busy but blessed. Living every moment. And, looking back, I realize that Derrick and I have been extremely busy-blessed this past month. God has blessed us with such amazing family and friends. A great church. Great jobs that we're passionate about. And many opportunities. This is what it's all more abundant!

So what have we been up to?

Beach trip with the Greens - That seems so long ago. March 9-11 we got to spend the weekend with Dad, Sister, and Wesley at Myrtle Beach. It was a relaxing time - lots of food. We went to the boardwalk, played in an arcade (my husband rocked Deal or No Deal!) and spent an evening at the Pirate Voyage. 

Visitation Days and pathways - March 17 and March 31 I had Visitation Day at Campbell. I always enjoy these opportunities to share my passion and our programs with future students. It's both energizing and exhausting. After our March 17 Visitation Day, we had a special event just for our Exercise Science prospects...that was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot too :) 

Science Conference - March 23-24 I was at Campbell for the North Carolina Academy of Science conference. Yes, I get myself into some random stuff. The preparation for this conference ending up being a lot more than I had bargained for but everything went smoothly. It was an awesome opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and be used to encourage others.

Derrick's Birthday - I am always busy in March. I started my job at Campbell on March 24 two years ago. We always have a lot of CU events in March. And I feel like my poor husband gets slighted on his birthday. Hopefully he doesn't feel that way. This year he was showered with birthday cards from so many loving friends and family (thank you), we enjoyed a birthday lunch with our families, had Cookout with the Bakers, and then went out to eat with his Dad and sister the next week.

Derrick's Videos - My amazingly talented husband was very busy with videos in March. Dance Recital. Church videos. Work videos. And probably other videos that I don't remember.

Relationship Church - We've been really getting plugged in to our new church this month! Our small group is on Wednesday nights. And we've been blessed to get together with friends from church and have our pastor over to our home. Plus, I'm helping with the "First Impressions" ministry on Sunday mornings - so I've gotten to meet a lot of new people and really get involved.

Friends and Family - Thursday nights are Survivor night. Monday/Tuesday nights are nights for Derrick's family. I got to flashback to high school and watch OTH finale with my mom, plus we went shopping, took Easter pictures of my baby cousin, and we all got together for my Mema's birthday. Derrick and I have reserved Sunday nights for the awesome Bakers.

Easter! - This year I decided to start a tradition and invite both of our families over to our house for Easter. I cheated and we had bojangles for lunch (I'm thinking that's a good tradition), and then I sent everyone on a scavenger hunt to find hidden eggs around the house. We concluded the celebration with a game of Catch Phrase.

Life more abundant!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The end of an era...

I haven't really watched this season...but I am more than aware that tonight is the series finale of One Tree Hill.

Now, I'll be the first to say that it's probably time it ended. It's gone on long enough. Too far past the time we lost Lucas and Peyton. Too many new characters.

I'll also be the first to admit that I will probably cry when I watch the finale. Not because the show itself fills a huge void in my life. Not because the show itself was a brilliant art that shouldn't end. But because of all of the memories that are associated with one simple little show. 

I remember when Boy Meets World ended. And 7th Heaven. And Gilmore Girls. They all represented different times in my life. Different stages. Different ages. And this is no different. 

I still remember visiting Wilmington for the first time - and the magic of seeing where OTH was filmed. There's still that magic every time I go back.

My Mom and I used to always watch One Tree Hill together every Tuesday/Wednesday.

My Dad thought it was ridiculous...getting married in high school. I thought it was romantic. 

I was always Team Peyton. Except when Lucas was with Peyton, and then I thought he should be with Brooke. 

There was the day we were having coffee at Port City Java and saw Uncle Keith. I still feel excited thinking back to that moment. I can see every detail.

June 23 of 2007 (?) Whitney, Amanda and I had a One Tree Hill sleepover. I remember the date because Nathan was number 23. 

Touring the studio time and time and time and time again...

When Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush got married - I framed a picture of them. I thought they were brilliant together. And I was devastated 5 months later when they got divorced. 

One of my top ten days ever was the day I got my first and only ticket...and saw Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton at the Rivercourt. Jessica and I screamed and giggled all the way home.

My mother-in-law and I talked about One Tree Hill the first time that I met her.

And I can still remember how I felt watching each episode. Getting hopelessly caught up in the romance. Crying at the school shooting. Struggling when they struggled. Being shocked. Wishing Dan would finally die...and being sad when he did. 

So this is the end of another era. Which is pretty cool. I love the way certain things trigger our memories. But life is always changing. It's always time for a new memory. A new stage in life. A new opportunity.  

(P.S. I will not actually be watching OTH tonight - because I have life group at church. So don't ruin anything for me!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Things you didn't know about me...

I don't remember the first time I really watched Dawson's Creek.  But I'm watching it again for the umpteenth time...and I still get butterflies and cuddle-with-your-pillow-eating-chocolate-icecream feelings when I watch Pacey and Joey fall in love. I feel like I'm 15 again. Home sick from school, bawling with the roll of toilet paper as I watch the finale. If you've seen it - you know what I mean. 

I still sleep with my childhood blanket and Junior, my quillow from 8th grade. 

I eat cereal at night. I don't like cereal for breakfast. 

I make to do lists. All the time. Lots of them. Sometimes I put things I've already done on the list so I can mark them off. Sometimes I put "To do list" on my to do list...Wait - you probably already knew that about me.

I didn't know how to mail merge until last week. I'm not exactly gifted at administrative duties.

I have a phobia of pool walls. And shower walls. And hot tub walls. Just thinking about it right now is making me feel icky.

I'm pretty excited about (hopefully) seeing Titanic in 3-D

I have a weakness for fast food. It's a problem. Zaxby's tea. McDonald's frappes. Fast food fries. Cookout burgers. Addicted.

I think action movies are terribly, dreadfully boring. My husband still can't believe I fell asleep during Taken.

I think music is better when the guy and girl don't end up together. I like sad, sweet story-songs.  

I like doing housework. I've spent many a Friday night doing laundry...and I'm okay with that :)

I love British accents. Love 'em. And I love to talk with one every once in a while.

The smell of my laundry detergent reminds me of some positive memory of New York City senior year. I can't put my finger on it - but I like that it takes me back to that time and place.

I'm always reading more than one devotion book at a time. One just doesn't seem like enough...there's so much out there to learn about faith and God and the bible and marriage and ministry. 

Early 1990's country was so much better than today's. It's my dream to go back to 1992ish and see Reba McEntire in concert. I would cry. 

I hate spending money. And will tell anyone that people who spend hundreds of dollars on purses and shoes...are crazy.

I love reading Amish books. Beverly Lewis is my favorite.

I've been married six months today. It has been amazing! Our wedding is a wonderful memory - but I hope that it isn't the best day of my life. The days are constantly blessing me, surprising me, and leaving happy memories :) Welcome to being married to your best friend!