Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gratefulness Project--Part 2

I'm back from New York City with a billion pictures to edit and post. Okay. Not a billion. It's probably closer to 400. Slight exaggeration...I'll put a couple throughout "the list".

My last portion led up to December, so I'll start this one with December 1st:

December 1: soup from Panera, a learning curve, familiarity, the unexpected

December 2: my commute, sparkling water, legs that work, the 9/11 Memorial

The "survivor tree" lived through the attacks.

December 3: Christmas decorations, new experiences, green-ness, jazz

At St. John's School

Lunch in Chinatown

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

December 4: sleeping in, a pumpernickle bagel with sun dried tomato cream cheese,
Biblical teaching, natural light

December 5: a friendly bus driver, having time, Smoothie King, my bed
December 6: Chick-fil-A, the staff at North Metro, breathing, sweaters
December 7: Garden Vegetable and Pesto soup (Panera), Cranberry Bliss Bar samples from Starbucks, being on time, fleeting sunlight, IMB Missionaries, water

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gratefulness Project--First Installment


I bet all of you (all 2 of you...) thought I had forgotten about my new project. Well, let me assure you, I have not! I actually love it. And I've had the chance to talk to a few people about it too. If you know me on a personal level at all, you know I love to talk. ;) So anyway, I have been wary of posting my daily lists on Twitter for fear of sounding just like everyone else in this holiday season. That's selfishness talking right there because I need to draw attention to the goodness of God whenever I can, so I'll try to be better about that.

If you remember, I started this the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I was preparing to head back to Tennessee for the 3rd time this month, and though it is not a difficult trip, 3 trips of any kind within one month can be taxing. So I wanted to direct my attention to the positive when it could be so easy to dwell on the negative. I say this to in no way "toot my own horn" because I can guarantee that I am still a selfish (which you've already seen evidence of...), ungrateful, broken human. But I want to be different. So I'm changing something.

Here's my list in its simplest form:

November 22:

reminders, leftovers, cardigans, Heather Pierce

November 23:

ability, hot water, Emmett (my car), time zones

November 24:

old friends, new friends, sweet potatoes

November 25:

Erin Morris (soon to be Mrs. Kyle Grasham), plans, cameras, Egg Nog

November 26:

sweatpants, kittens, college football, my mom

November 27:

heat, America, coffee, North Metro Baptist Church

November 28:

"pixie power" (see below), tights, the Internet, pockets

November 29:

warmth, Twitter, Starbucks, brakes

November 30:

Emergen-C, bread, furry boots, community, Winston (my iPhone)

And now here we are at December 1. Crazy how fast time goes. Here are a couple of pictures pertaining to my list for your viewing pleasure. :)

With Erin Morris (soon to be Mrs. Kyle Grasham) after she asked me to be her maid of honor! [edited to protect THE DRESS]

The GIANT coffee mug the Barber's brought me back from Disney World! Her cup says "Pixie Power". [referenced on Nov. 28]

It really is hard for me to believe that it is December. It's also hard to believe that I moved south and I had to scrape ice off of my car this morning... ridiculous. I'm heading to New York City to visit my sister and brother-in-law tomorrow morning! So I will keep up with my listing and report back when I get home! Until then, feel free to follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates!

Love to all who read.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratefulness Project

Well hey! I'm deciding right now to start a project.

In recent days, i've become more and more addicted to Pinterest...which i'm sure many of you have heard of and seen by now... Anyway, I recently saw something on Pinterest that said "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the stuff you thanked God for today?" (or something like that. don't quote me.) And that got me thinking. How grateful am I? The answer is "not very" in case you were wondering. So many times I focus more on the negative than the positive, and isn't that just the opposite of how I should act as a child of God? So, I promise this has nothing to do with this being Thanksgiving week. It actually has not been planned or thought out or even dwelt upon. I just want to be more grateful and find the good in every day. This does not mean I'll be blogging every day. There's no way I would ever follow through with that. Haha. So I'm going to commit to posts once a week (at least), but I'm going to use the wonderful technology that is my iPhone and the Notes feature to make a list every day, which I will then share with you on a weekly basis. Maybe I'll tweet them too.
Please hold me to this. I never want to overlook the blessings of God because I am so caught up in this world.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Everybody's doing it...

I've been reading back over some of my previous posts, as well as reading some things my friends and favorite bloggers have posted recently. It's led me to one conclusion. I needed to blog. I wasn't sure what I should write about. Nothing gigantic or dramatic has happened in my life since I started my job with the GBC (going great by the way!). So I was at a loss. My writing spirit was awakened as I read an article on CNN about the dedication of the 9/11 memorial in New York City yesterday. You can find this article .'>here.

As I read, I was extremely convicted. I saw where a friend tweeted earlier today that, after seeing the images again all over the news yesterday, he finally felt the weight of that day. He said he had been in shock for the last 10 years. I think, in a way, I have been too. I was 14 on that day...sitting in World History at Sycamore High School in Pleasant View, TN. We watched the second plane hit. At 14. Of course I couldn't understand all of the implications of those events at the time. I just remember knowing it was bad.

10 years later, I realize the effect that day had on New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, PA. I'll never be able to fully empathize or understand the way it felt for the people there because I wasn't there. I know that nothing I say could ever give them the comfort that they have searched for and will continue to seek. But I can offer all that I know, and that is Jesus. Jesus is our ezer kenegdo. Our Helper. The perfect fit to any situation we may be facing. When other people have no idea what to say or do, He does and He has and He will.

In thinking about how Jesus fits into every hole left after 9/11/01, I started thinking about how Jesus would respond...based on His character, His actions recorded in the Bible, His provision in my own life... This led to the deep conviction I felt while reading the above mentioned article. In the midst of reading about families attending memorials and the words of the current President and Vice President and Former Presidents, there were these statements:

"In all, 2,753 people died on two airplanes and on the ground when the planes slammed into the World Trade Center towers, causing their collapse. That total does not include the 10 al Qaeda hijackers on board the planes."

followed later by...

"The total number of dead in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania was 2,977 people, not including 19 hijackers."

The words that broke my heart here may surprise you. While I recognize the grief associated with the huge numbers of victims, my heart aches for the parts that say "...does not include the 10..." and "...not including 19...". Why? Why aren't they included in the totals? They died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania too. It is unrealistic of me to think that the 2,977 victims were all believers. It is possible, but not probable. As a Christian, I can't help but think that some of them are probably in hell. That may sound harsh, but it's true. As an American, I can see reasoning behind a division in the dead. Victims vs Terrorists. That one's not hard. However, my allegiance is first and foremost to Jesus, and, as a Christian, I cannot fathom Him making divisions within human lives lost. My God is Love. His heart had to hurt when any of those lives ended as he saw His creation mourning and grieving. His only distinction between any of us is lost or saved.

The Bible says, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but
is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all
should reach repentance."
(2 Peter 3:9)

...Not wishing that ANY should perish. That includes people who hijack planes and crash them into buildings. This is hard for me to comprehend because their actions made (and continue to make) me angry. But the Lord does not see sin like I see sin. He sees my sin as equal to their sin. He has forgiven me and removed my sin from me "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). He could've removed their sin too, if they had asked. Nothing is too big for God. No sin is too great. The only thing that sends us to hell is the rejection of the free gift offered to us in the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God.

God doesn't look at the people living on Earth and see Arabs and Anglos and Chinese and African. He sees those that are covered by the blood of Jesus and those that are not. I am so guilty of oftentimes letting my American-ness get ahead of my Christian-ness. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God who happens to live in America. My allegiance to Christ would not change based on my geographical location. I would do well to remember that.

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is
Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
(Romans 10:12-13 )

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28)

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
(Colossians 3:11)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Hi friends, followers, random visitors, people searching for cupcake recipes and finding my blog instead...

As you can see in the title, I have some news. I wanted to tell as many people at once as possible, and this seemed like the easiest way.

Many of you know that I've been outside of Atlanta since May working at North Metro Baptist Church with the girls in the Student Ministries. It's been such an amazing experience, and I've built some incredible, lasting friendships here. Before coming on board at North Metro, I was looking pretty seriously for a job in the Atlanta area. I had some interviews, but nothing that I really felt like I would enjoy doing. I was looking here because I felt like God was bringing my time in Nashville to a close for this season of my life. I'm not sure why or for how long, but I know that Tennessee is not where I can be most effective for the Kingdom right now. So I came here.

Thanks to Maclane (the Student Pastor here) and some incredible, encouraging contacts I've made here at the church, I kept my eyes and ears open for job opportunities in this area. About two weeks ago, I had an interview with the Georgia Baptist Convention. I am very excited to tell you all that I got the job! And I'll be staying in the Lawrenceville/Buford/Suwanee/etc area! I'm also going to be as involved as I can be with the Girls' Ministry at North Metro, and teaching 11th Grade Girls Sunday School this fall. I'm really, really excited about being able to put down roots here. The people in this church are amazing, and there is an incredible mission field here in Georgia. I believe that God has put me here at this time for a specific reason, and I'm so excited about it!

My actual job at the GBC is in the Information Services Department, so I'm looking forward to learning new things and being able to equip pastors and church staff members around the state to do effective and exciting ministry! I'll start there full-time on the 15th, and I cannot wait!

Staying here is bittersweet because I've never really lived anywhere other than Nashville. My family is there, so I will always be able to visit and "go home" for holidays and special occasions, but it won't be the same as living down the road. There will be some adjustments, but I know the Lord can and will see me through whatever I encounter because He has a plan and hems me in behind and before. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me!

Thank you all for your support and prayers. Please continue! Love you more than you know.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Hey pals. So I'm really excited about something and I wanted to share my joy and excitement with you! Here in the North Metro Student Ministries office, we're planning a luau. The Wednesday night before all of our students go back to school, we're getting together on the volleyball courts and fields, grilling out, playing games and wearing grass skirts. Well, the grass skirt part may not be entirely true... Hawaiian shirts will most definitely be making an appearance though. Fo Sho. I can assure you of this because the music is being provided by an "Old Man Band". This name was lovingly bestowed upon a makeshift band we've developed over the last month or so because it is comprised of a lot of dads. Aside from me and a guy named Eric who is about my age, the youngest guy has a middle school daughter... Hence the name "Old Man Band". (I've also been told there are some younger men in our church who dubbed themselves the "Boy Band", and that may have contributed to the name as well.) Anyway, with age comes experience. And talent. And jokes. So we have had the most fun practicing and playing all the songs we're going to do for the Luau. I mentioned at rehearsal yesterday that this is like a dream come true for me. haha. I get to sing all the cool songs (Heatwave, Locomotion, Proud Mary, etc...) in a setting that isn't karaoke or my car or the shower. We're doing summertime classics plus some other songs just for fun. It's such a pleasant atmosphere to be in too. All of these guys are so talented and committed. They take time out of the regularly scheduled lives to work on songs for a student event. I appreciate them more than I can say. I hope they're having fun too. I think they are. I know I am.

Island Blessings to you and yours. :)


ps. August 3. 6:30-8:00, if you're interested.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Of space. Of thoughts. Of time...
...and so it begins. The summer of interning. I am so so so tired. Not because of anything that's happened in the last few days...just because of life catching up with me. I need like a whole day devoted to sleeping. That's not happening this week though. We're full swing into VBS at North Metro, so every day this week we have 600+ children running around the campus. Tonight is the first night of a Senior/College Girls' Bible Study. Tomorrow night is a bible study that I go to every other Tuesday night. So it will be at least Wednesday before I can breath. And to top off the week, we have a middle school lock in this Friday from 10pm to 8am. haha. I'm planning on napping as often as possible.

There's been a topic that keeps popping up at various times and places in my life lately. It's the fact that students -- or girls in particular -- don't understand the reasons they should guard their hearts and their bodies. It raises the question of how much a student pastor or church staff member or Sunday school teacher should get involved, and how much should be left to parents. There is no guarantee that a student is being raised by godly parents or that their parents are willing, able and anxious to talk to them about issues of the heart. However, there are parents in this world that would be offended if their student's youth pastor started addressing the way they dress or speak or present themselves. It's a delicate balance, but the issue is one that we cannot ignore.
As a girl, I have no idea how boys think no matter what age they are. I can assure you that, as a teenager, I did not make decisions based on how my actions would affect my brothers in Christ. I didn't even think about it until my youth pastor or Sunday school teacher drew my attention to it. Sometimes girls argue that the boys are to blame for not being in close enough relationship to the Lord. At the same time, boys argue that it is the girls' responsibility to not draw their minds to any place that is impure. The fact is, it's everyone's "fault". It is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian to draw people to the Lord. Not to themselves. Not to a place of inappropriate thoughts or actions or lifestyles. To Christ. People should look at me and see Him -- not what I'm wearing or how I'm behaving. So it is up to me to be close enough to God for that to happen. As a person who is involved with student ministry everyday, it is also my responsibility to encourage students to draw near to Him as well. In Colossians, Paul writes "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God...Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry...Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (3:1-3,5,12-14) So many times we give lists and lists and lists of "don'ts" without ever addressing the "dos". Paul gives the Colossians a list of things they should give up and avoid. BUT then he gives them a list of things they should strive for. The mistake that is often made is that we tell students what they should not them reasons like "you might get pregnant", "you'll miss out on your childhood", "people will think bad things about you". We never tell them that they should strive for a closer relationship with the Lord because He is goodness and mercy and faithfulness and the meeter of all of our needs--physical, emotional, or spiritual. No one tells students that there is so much joy in knowing you're in the center of God's will that can never be found by doing things our own way. No one says that being in close relationship with God brings fulfillment that cannot be found in any earthly relationship. No one tells them that the Lord designed them individually and specifically for a purpose that He has set out for them. Or that friendships based in a shared desire to be like Jesus are so much closer and valuable than friendships based on earthly commonalities. Instead we list of things they shouldn't do because we say so or because it's frowned upon. We focus too much on issues without digging deeper in our study of scripture.
The thing is, if we show students or adults or children or anyone the importance of being in the Word and finding out more about the character of Jesus, all those other things will fall into place. If your heart is in the right place, you'll dress appropriately, speak appropriately, act appropriately...because your goal will be to do the will of God. All of your decisions will begin to revolve around the Lord. Through prayer and practice, we can align our desires with those of God. It's not easy. You can't sit down for the first time and expect to spend an hour or two in intense prayer and Bible Study. You have to practice. Start small. The Lord will give you strength and endurance. Let me assure you that I am preaching as much to myself as anyone. Maybe more. So if your focus and end goal is to please the Lord, you won't have to worry about your behavior being a distraction to another Christian. If you spend more time with Jesus, you'll begin to look like Him. And that will attract others to you. And your presence will draw people to God. To put it in Sunday School can go from being a stumbling block to being a stepping stone.
We need to value and encourage right relationships with the Lord. Focus on getting the hearts of people in the right place, and trust that the Lord can change their desires and actions and lives. We, as Christians, need to live like the Bride that we are...awaiting our Bridegroom--Jesus Christ. We need to honor and love and be loyal to Jesus first--submitting to His authority and wisdom and leading. He will take care of the rest. We just have to stop being so stubborn and arrogant.
Obviously this is not a complete thought process. Just thinking via blogger for the time being. Feel free to share your thoughts or ideas or criticisms. I'm friendly. :)

Until next time friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

oh, heeeeeyyyyyy!

Hello world. I write to you as I sit in the intern office at North Metro First Baptist Church of Gwinnett, Inc. (fondly referred to as "North Metro"). I could go back and recount to you everything that has happened between my last post and now, but that would probably take a full 3 months. So I'll hit the high points. You're welcome.
The week before Easter, I brought my mom to Atlanta to see "The Final Season of the Atlanta Passion Play". This meant I got to see most of my friends from my first internship in Atlanta, and got to spend some more time in this beautiful city. I went back to Nashville knowing that the Lord was trying to tell me something. I went back to work at J. Alexander's on Monday morning, and it was honestly like I was having an out of body experience and watching everything happen around me. That next Wednesday night, I had the same experience at The Fellowship at Two Rivers (that's my Nashville church's new name...more on that later). I went through praise team and choir practice and sound check for Easter, but it never really felt real to me. The only thing I could figure out was that maybe God was trying to wrap up my time in Nashville. For now. I can't tell you if I'll live there again because I don't know. I started looking for jobs in Atlanta, set up some interviews, and drove back and forth between Nashy and the ATL a lot. Like...A LOT. Like...once a week for 3 weeks. True story. As I prepared to come to Atlanta for a second interview with a company, I was talking with Maclane (student pastor at North Metro) about moving to Atlanta and what I was looking for. He presented me with the option of coming to North Metro and working with him to build and grow a Girl's Ministry within the student ministry. It's funny that that's what I'm doing now because 3 years ago, I didn't know Girl's Ministry existed.
Anyway, everything happened very quickly. I met with Maclane on a Wednesday, May 4. He called me to offer me the position on Saturday, the 7th. I went to J's later that day to talk to Richard (my service manager) about leaving and put in my 2 weeks' notice. And I cried. Then I got in the car and I sobbed. It was rough. That place has been the one constant in my life for 2.5 years. THAT'S A LONG TIME! I joked a lot about just putting a bed in the back because I spent so much time there, but honestly it was kind of like a second home and a second family. I love the people there so so so much. Over the next two weeks, Maclane found me a family to live with, and I prepared to leave Nashville. So on Friday, May 20, I worked my last shift at J's and cried a lot more. The next day, I packed up my car and drove to Lawrenceville, GA to the home of David and Lynette Barber, whom I had never met before. My first day at North Metro was the next morning which also happened to be Senior Recognition Sunday, so I met about a billion people.
It's been 11 days since I moved. I feel like I've known David and Lynette and their 3 gorgeous kids forever, and they've done an amazing job of making me feel at home. I'm getting into a routine at the church. I was only here for 5 days before trekking back to Tennessee for my aunt's wedding, but I'm back here now until August. At least. I'd love to be here long term, full time, permanently. Not necessarily doing exactly this, but I'm open to opportunities and possibilities. I've learned to not put limits on God and what He can and will do. Right when I think nothing will happen, He blows my mind again. I love that.
So right now... I'm so excited about meeting and investing in the lives of these girls this summer. They've been through a lot as a student ministry, and I'm so honored that the Lord is allowing me to be here and love on them! Everyone here has been so cordial and welcoming and wonderful. I could not ask for a better situation, and I am so grateful.
Stay tuned...

P.S. here are some shots from the most perfect wedding in the history of the world...
Me and Alayna at the Rehearsal Dinner

Amy had these made for all the girls...and they were necessary!

A shot of the program...

The most beautiful bride:

Being introduced as "Mr. and Mrs. Dale Massey"...


Friday, February 25, 2011


Day 4(.5?) of no bread/potatoes/chips/fries/etc... I'm not dead. I figured my body might go into shock from the complete change in dietary habits. As I have mentioned before, I like bread. It's my second favorite food (the first is cheese). :) It's not only delicious, it's also typically the most convenient option. So i've had to consciously and intentionally not eat bread this week. I've discovered so far that Jesus is the bread of life...the tortilla chips of life...the oatmeal cream pies of life... Lucky for me, He is everything and I need nothing but Him. He's been so good to me, so oftentimes I also want for nothing because of Him. Thank you, Jesus. I don't deserve You.

'tis all.

P.S. in totally unrelated news, i loathe ironing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Midnight Ramblings

I'm currently gorging myself on an obscene amount of tortilla chips. Why? I'm giving up carbs for 20 days as part of a time of prayer and fasting that my whole church is doing this month. It starts tomorrow. We don't have to give up carbs, but I figured I need to view Jesus more as my "bread of life" than I have been recently...and this will hopefully be an excellent representation. It's definitely not going to be easy. I love carbs. I've oftentimes asked for an all-carb diet. It's my comfort food, my discomfort food, my tired food, my happy food, my bored food, my cheaper than everything else and i'm broke food. I'm hoping and anticipating that God can and will do big things through this. I'm too dependent on myself. I have a hard time letting go. I've found that delegating is one of my least favorite things to do. It means I have to trust people and what they're going to do. I'd much rather do it all myself so I know when and how things are being accomplished. However, God has been giving me tons of opportunities to delegate recently. He's funny like that. In that same up carbs for any period of time is not going to be easy...mainly because I work in a restaurant where I have easily accessible carbs being paraded around me at all times. The good news is, this restaurant also has wonderful carb-free food. It's better for me anyway. Isn't it funny how God uses things like carbohydrates to teach me lessons about His character? I love that. Anyway, I'll try to keep you updated throughout the next 20 days. Peace be with you all.