Monday, April 30, 2012

Speakin my language.

Today, God used McDonald's to bless me. McDonald's. Did you get that? The fast food place with the big arches. That's the one. That's what He chose today, and I'm a touch overwhelmed by today's grace.

...wanna know what happened?

I did not sleep well and was having a rough morning, so even though I had brought pita chips and hummus from home to eat for lunch, I decided to get out of the building for 30 minutes. I didn't really decide where to go until I turned out of the driveway.

I was originally thinking Starbucks was a necessity, but opted to just get "comfort food" instead. So to McDonald's I went. Pulled in. Drive thru. Ordered. "1st window please". And the girl there asked how I was..."I'm good (lie.), how are you?" She answered, told me she liked my sunglasses and we giggled and talked about the sunshine for about 30 seconds. [Glad I didn't ruin that with a bad attitude. Should've just said "I'm okay" or "I'll be better after eating my body weight in french fries" or something. Hindsight.]

Then... as if that wasn't enough of a bright spot... I pulled forward to the next window.

There, a little man who barely spoke English greeted me with an iced tea and a "Hello! How are you today?" like he'd been expecting me specifically. My soul lifted. He disappeared. 30 seconds later, there he was again with my food. He was all smiles and not many words, but he helped. As I was about to pull away he said, "Your sunglasses...they are nice!" *big grin* And there you have it. It may not be the world's most profound encounter, but it was exactly what I needed.

God is so spot on. He knew that I--being on the verge of tears all morning--couldn't handle a deep, heartwrenching conversation. All I needed was what I got--a drive thru sized portion of grace.

By the way, my food was wonderful, and I was wearing my "backup" sunglasses...the cheapos from Target that live in my car for when I forget the fancies... Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simply Grace.

My B. Friend gave me a book for Christmas. It's called "One Thousand Gifts", and it was written by Ann Voskamp. Katie thought I'd enjoy this book because I had recently set out on a journey to be more grateful for the little things, and that is essentially what Ann's book is about. I knew as soon as I started it, this book was going to be a big deal. And I was right. I'm pretty sure I've underlined 50% of what I've read so far.
I was delighted to find that Ann also has a blog where she writes almost every day. You can find it here.  [as a side note, her blog has excellent background music!] I've also found countless phrases of wisdom on Ann's blog, and have started a notebook with quotes from the book and the blog that I want to remember or ruminate on for a little longer.
One thing that Ann says frequently...but I didn't quite understand until "All's grace." She was featured on The Today Show, and she said "It's grace to be here." I kind of just chocked it up to being a Canadian thing that, as a Deep Southerner, I would never understand. I was wrong. Today, Ann posted on her blog about forgiving our enemies. She included a prayer that she sometimes prays as she's sitting and knitting at the end of a day. This is what it says:

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have.
Enemies have loosed me from earth more than friends have…
Enemies have made me a hunted animal,
finding safer shelter than an unhunted animal does.
I found safest sanctuary in You…may too my enemies-made-grace.
I found greatest grace in You… may my enemies-made-grace
find Your generous grace alive and radical in me.
I found fullest forgiveness in You…
may my enemies-made-grace find faith and freedom in You
and Your forgiveness working surprising ways in me.
The longer I walk with you, Lord, I find I have no enemies:
only your gift of chisels etching me deep.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

 Enemies. Made. Grace.
"The longer I walk with you, Lord, I find I have no enemies: only your gift of chisels etching me deep."
All's grace. My enemies have been made grace because God uses them to shape me and mold me and form me into who He wants me to be.

"We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose."
Romans 8:28 (AMP)

All things work together. Enemies and friends. Good and bad. Easy and hard. Comfortable and awkward. All things work together because God is a partner in their labor. He shapes everything to work together for my good because I love Him and am called according to His design and purpose.
Praise the Lord!
All is Grace...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It's funny to me how scary that word is. Say it with me: "New." Funny-strange. Not funny-haha.
Sometimes there's so much "new" that I just need some "old" or "familiar" for my soul. That's how I'm feeling these days. It's not that there are so many things happening. Just life. But that's enough.

So to counteract the new, I'm listening to a lot of country music--The Westbound Rangers, in particular. That's my "familiar" right now. (haters gonna hate...)

I've also been talking to my sisters a lot. I love having sisters. We're growing up and our lives are changing and that is weird! But it's also really cool to think about all four of us being adults. With 12 years between Amanda and Autumn, we'll never ever be in the same phase of life at the same time, but if you count "adulthood" as a phase of life, we will be from September of this year when Autumn turns 18 until we die. That's pretty cool. My mom and her sisters have taken trips by themselves over the years to try to keep the special relationship that sisters share in tact, so Amanda and I have started planning our trips like that. We're going to run. It's not realistic for us to think about taking a trip together every year, so we're going to meet somewhere for a 1/2 marathon every other year. We're starting in 2014. That gives us time to train and plan and save money. There aren't any rules, so I know there will be some years where families will be involved or someone will be pregnant or sick or something unexpected will happen. But we're going to try this and see how it goes. We're going to run until we're too old. This is kind of strange since none of us have ever run a 1/2 (or whole...) marathon before, but it's something that's on my bucket list, so I'm forcing it on the other 3. :) Just kidding. Kind of. Anyway, I think it will be fun, and everyone else is on board too! We don't all agree on anything, so this is a big deal. Must be a sign that it's the right thing. ;)

In unrelated news, 8 of my friends are getting married in the next year. I might need some new dresses.