Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me at all this past weekend. One of my best friends, Charlotte, came into town to visit and like usual, we had a blast!

I will venture to say that "empowered" is the word for the week.

Charlotte, Jessica & I had a conversation on Friday evening about our financial states. Charlotte thinks women should be in the 'know' and take active roles in their family financial planning. I hate being involved in the nitty gritty of finances. It is annoying to me and there are too many little details...

But, on Friday I opened an IRA to roll my old Impact Athletics 401k into. Yes, I haven't done anything with this for the 5 years since I stopped working there... can you tell how much I love dealing with these things? Anyways, I opened an account with good ol Chuck! Charlotte asked me if I felt empowered... I said "no"... its just something else that I had to do and would prefer for Matt to do it so that I could take another walk with someone or have another coffee appointment where we talk about feelings!! Thankfully we soon changed the subject and went to get our nails done...

Then, on Monday I had a phone convo with Robert Courts. He was hilarious and very helpful in helping me to work through our financing options for our upcoming construction project. At the end of our conversation he told me I should feel empowered. There is the word again. This time I did feel empowered!

When Matt came home I explained what I learned and he told me that it was very helpful and thanked me for having that conversation. I'm not quite sure what the difference is between the 2 instances...

More empowering moments from the weekend:
  • Running a 10K to advocate for a Sexual Assault Free Environment
  • Driving a large mini van through Raleigh and not crashing it
  • Crying
  • Taking my time between events on Saturday because I needed down time (letting go of being on time).
  • Making it through dinner at Hayes Barton cafe with out wine or beer or liquor!
  • Taking naps 2 days in a row
  • Soaking in the sunshine
My list goes on and on... what makes you feel empowered?

A glimpse through God's eyes

Last year I had a conversation with a friend where I told her how much I wanted to hear from God and to see the world the way that God does. I wanted the clarity and conversation with my creator that I saw her having. I thought maybe those experiences only happened to 'special' people... now, I think I was wrong.

I starting asking for this.

Then, on Sunday during worship at church (about a year later), I began to cry... my tears were a mixture of anguish and hopefulness for people around me, close friends and family members who God is longing to extend his love to in uncomprehending ways. I felt a sweetness because it was a glimpse through God's eyes, and I felt anguish because I began to recognize how much God cries with longing for us to know him.

It is a beautiful to see this. It is humbling. Now I pray that it happens more and more.

Keep praying. God answers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Competitions are fun!

So over the past few years I have given my husband a hard time about playing fantasy sports. I just didn't get it... I still don't get it completely and think it would probably get old (at least to me) after checking over and over again. *

But, last night I found myself itching to know how my bracket was doing for the NCAA tournament. Thanks Shannon!

Before I left for home group last night I was ranked #1 and as of this morning I am down to sharing the 11 spot with several others. I think I will be checking the updates and watching games more during this March Madness than I have in the past.

Who did you pick to win? Go Memphis!

*I also realize that fantasy sports have a dimension of strategy that would potentially keep things interesting.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On Following Jesus

Here is a quote from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It is an allegory where Aslan (a lion) is the Christ figure...

p. 64

When Susan and Lucy ask the Beavers if Aslan is "safe", they are told: "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver... "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

The journey of faith is anything but safe, but it is good. It is challenging, it is worth it!

Learning about myself at the YMCA

For about a year now Matt and I have been members of the YMCA and every once in a while I will post about something that I am learning or experiencing there. Today I realized something...

I have been taking the 6AM classes regularly and there a core group of people who are there each time. We have become a sort of community in ourselves. We have jokes, we commiserate about tough work outs, we encourage one another, and some people have even come out to support fundraisers that I am apart of.

However, I don't really HAVE to be anywhere early in the morning and started considering sleeping in a bit more. This seemed like a good plan because the Y offered some new classes on Monday and Tuesday that don't start until 7 or 7:15. I thought to myself, an extra hour or so of sleep sounds excellent. I'll try them out and see how it goes. Well, I did that yesterday and today.

Don't get me wrong the work outs were great, but it just wasn't the same. I found myself passing by the people I know on their way out the door and my way in. I was one of only a couple people in 7AM classes and missed the communal aspect. I realized that exercise for me has changed from a get in burn some calories and get out mentality. Now I love the process, I am enjoying other people as well as the work out.

All of that to say, I think my 5:30 alarm will keep ringing... the more I am getting "older and wiser" :) The more I am learning that life is about the process.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Right to Play Certificate

Several years ago I became a lifetime member of "The Society of Childlike Grown-ups"

Here is what my membership entitles me to...

Walk in the rain, jump in mud puddles, collect rainbows, smell the flowers, blow bubbles, stop along the way, build sandcastles, watch the moon & stars come out, say hello to everyone, go barefoot, go on adventures, sing in the shower, have a merry heart, read children's books, act silly, take bubble baths, get new sneakers, hold hands & hug & kiss, dance fly kites, laugh & cry for the health of it, wander around, feel scared, feel sad, feel made, feel happy, stop worrying so much, stay innocent, say yes, say no, say the magic words, say ouch when it hurts, ask lots of questions, ride bicycles, color outside the lines, see things differently, fall down & get up again, talk with animals, look at the sky, trust the universe, stay up late, climb trees, take naps, do nothing, daydream, play all kinds of music, play with toys play under the covers, have pillow fights, learn new stuff, get excited about everything, be a clown, enjoy having a body, find out how things work, make up new rules, tell stories, save teh world, make friends with the other kids on the block and do anything else that brings more happniness, celebration, relaxation, understanding , health, joy creativity, pleaesure, abundance, grace, freedom, self-esteem, trust, love, courage, balance, spontaneity, passioin, beauty, peace, and life energy to Traci and to other human beings on this planet.

Furthermore, the above named member is officially authorized to frequent amusements parks, beaches, meadows, mountaintops, swimming pools, forests, playgrounds, picnic areas, summer camps, birthday parties, circuses, cookie shops, ice cream parlors, theaters, aquariums, zoos, museums, planetariums, toy stores, festivals & other places where children of all ages come to play.

I hope my membership never runs out!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fortune Cookies

Tonight Matt and I went out and used one of our P.F. Chang gift cards. We got several of these for Christmas and Valentine's day. The cool thing is that we can use these at Pei Wei or P.F. Changs. On this rainy Saturday evening we decided to head up to Pei Wei for a quick bite.

It was delicious, I'm looking forward to trying some of the other items they have to offer.

One of the best things about Pei Wei is they have baskets of fortune cookies on the counter where you fill up your drinks. We took 2 each. Matt's first fortune read...

He was a bit put off because this is not a "fortune", but mearly a saying... So I tossed him a second cookie... this time it said...

on one side and...

on the other...

We got a good laugh out of this as we drove away. Its especially ironic since we have been going back and forth between the time line for expanding our home and I almost had a claustrophobic breakdown today due to all of the clutter staring at me from every direction.

Jaffa-- almost done :)

Jaffa was the final city that we explored our trip to Israel. It was one of my favorite destinations because it reminded me of somewhere that Matt and I would love to randomly go and spend a day walking around trying to find an adventure.

It was a bit odd spending the day in such a romantic location with my brother, we took a long walk through the town and had great meaningful conversations, we even sat at a table sipping cappuccino as the sun was setting. It was a great time to connect with him. But, this is when I started missing Matt the most.

Also, Corey and Scott decided that they wanted to fight the Napoleon statue right after we got off the bus and we had to hold them back :)

After traveling throughout the deeply religious landscape for the past 8 days, Jaffa had a bit of a different feel... as you can see from the picture of the ram, there is a bridge with all of the signs of the zodiac. You are supposed to be able to go there and make a wish while holding onto your sign. I guess this is just another type of religion as well.

Its been a full week

If you read my blog, you probably already are up to date on the occurrences around my community of faith this week... as a leader at Visio it is humbling, a privilege, a joy, and also a challenge to be a part of so many highs and lows around us. 

Thank God for new life! Ethan Mullis & Presley Smith -- I love having an opportunity to make colorful signs for people :)

Thank God for working miracles for the Mullis' and for providing people to serve and love them. We have been in the middle of God's Kingdom work. It is amazing. Please continue to pray for them. 

On Monday, we started the EDA group and it went really well. Since then I have had several phone and email conversations with folks who are concerned for others or who are experiencing healing from disordered eating, control, fear, and perfectionism. 

I got to meet with 2 of our servant teams this week. God is working amazingly and surprises me often about how much he loves us. 

Last night several of my girl friends went out for a "Spanish Only" night. We ate at Jibarra and were the entertainment for the wait staff for sure. I thought it was a bit odd at first when the fellows kept walking by and taking one or two plates off of our table at a time. Then I realized that they were listening to our conversation... By the end of the night some of us were semi conversing with them in Spanish as well. 

This morning starts our church wide 24 hours of prayer. If you didn't sign up, but still want to go and participate you are welcome to join us in seeking the face of God for our community. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Atlanta is acting!

I recently went to see a documentary on domestic child sex trafficking that was compelling in many ways. One of the things we discussed afterward was what we could do about it. Here is one example of what people are doing in Atlanta.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Desiring some feedback

A few weeks ago Matt and I were exploring like we typically do on the weekends and came across a house that we really liked. Unfortunately, this house was not for sale or under construction so we thought seeing the inside would be a long shot... Well, leave it to us to find a way!

Matt went and knocked on the door and the 2 minute conversation turned into a 15 minute full tour of the home, contact info and dreams in our head. It was the grandma who gave us the tour, so we called Murt to talk a few days later. He sent us to The Bungalow Company... This is where our dream house was created.

As many of you know, Matt and I live in a 600 sq ft house and have been dreaming ever since we moved in about what types of expansions are possible. Its almost been 4 years and we are itching to have more space. So, we talked to a renovator on Friday. Michael Powell from Archwood Building Company is a regular customer of mine at NoFo. He came and had a convo with us that helped us think through some things and made the decision become more a realistic option. Wow! We could be doing this...

So, my questions (not stressing about it because that is not aloud via Matthew Rowe):
  • How much is too much? I want something that I can clean, has resale appeal, but isn't over the top. We have a budget that we feel good about, but right now we are able to save and be generous and I don't really want either one of those to change... I want to be more generous.
  • Are we smart or stupid to consider taking on more of an investment in our current economy? Fortunately, we are some of the people who have not been affected directly yet by the economic downturn and could be in a good place to do something like this. I'm just a little uncertain.
My confession:
  • I think I get something out of being able to say that we live in a 600 sqft. house. Somehow that makes me a martyr or someone who is stronger, different or more righteous that others. Really? Did I just admit that? Yep! Its true. I am a little scared of loosing that edge (even if its just in my head)
What I really want:
  • A bigger kitchen, so that more than one person can be in there at a time
  • Space to host people for dinner and parties, Matt feels very uncomfortable having more than one other couple over a time.
  • Space to have people spend the night, (right now our second bedroom is more like an office and we have to borrow an air mattress and then climb over them to get to our dresser if they sleep past 8AM)
  • A second bathroom... need I say more?
Okay, so those are my questions and thoughts. I would love some feedback. I am asking because I want to keep us honest as we move forward and make big decisions about how we are spending our money.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Valley of Elah

After leaving Jerusalem for the final time we drove through the Wadi Elah Valley. This is the place where David would have been prior to and then during his battle with Goliath.

We walked down a path to look for some stones (similar to the ones that David would have used in his battle). I actually have some, none are any bigger than the palm of my hand. There are tons of stones along this path and from what we understand lots of tourist groups stop here to pick them up. I'm not sure how there are still so many available.

Anyways, Scott and Corey had fun seeing who could throw their stones the farthest. It was fun to watch them. I wonder how far they could get them if they had a sling shot?

Then we drove up onto Tel Azekah where we could see the entire valley. We could see where Goliath and his army would have been coming from, where the Israelite camp would have been, and approximately where David would have defeated him.

It was special to be there with my dad, his name is David too. I was praying this morning for him to develop and seek after God's heart like David in the old testament, praying for God to continue to use him and thanking God for how much he has already been used in my life and in the lives of others. I have often put my dad on a pedestal, thinking that he was perfect. Well, I know now that is not true. He has lots of faults. But, the cool thing is that we all do and David (even one of the most famous people in the Bible) did too. We just keep seeking forgiveness, accepting grace, and following Jesus one day at a time... then we are changed from the inside out :)

*A side note, on Tel Azekah there was a small group of Israeli men training for the army. Lots of guns around, it was also surprising how young they were.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Would you eat this?

Here is what Matt requested for dinner tonight.

We have a running joke about the perfect food being one that combines cheese, bacon, pizza, and ranch... this is getting close :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One week, no alcohol

God of mercy, come
Into the hidden places of our hearts.
Christ of compassion, come
Into the broken places of our world.
Spirit of life, come
Into the polluted places of our lives.
Forgive us, heal us, redeem us,
Lead us from death to eternal life.

This morning I am wondering if I have learned anything so far from my dry week? Have I come closer to understanding my sinfulness, need for Christ, or what sacrifice is?

The answer... not really... not yet... but taking time this morning to reflect helped me gain some perspective.

I am in the place right now where I am feeling like "I" can do it. "I" can withstand drinking and haven't really been challenged that much, other than that I want to drink a glass of wine with dinner and don't.

I complain.

I talk about it with Matt and feel good about myself for being "strong", "holy" and "sacrificial" enough to give something up.


Well, I need Jesus just like everyone else. Even if I could give up wine on my own, without God's help, I am learning how much I want others to notice that about me. This week I am going to focus on my personal journey, no comparison, no seeking for outward approval... but a heart that wants to sacrifice because Christ sacrificed for me.

Confidence in my identity in Christ alone

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shiloah, Hannah, and baby Norah

Matt and I traveled to Roanoke this weekend to visit my family. Corey and Daniel just had their 3rd little girl, Norah. She is precious, but as a week old she doesn't really do much besides "milk", poop and sleep.

She is also bigger than I expected, maybe its because when we went to visit Hannah, she was tiny and also the first newborn I had ever held. Now, there are newborns all over the place in my circle of friends :)

I got to hold her a few times and also help Hannah and Shiloah hold her. They are so cute with Norah.

Matt and I also got to play with Shiloah and Hannah. They painted our finger nails. (yes, Matt's too!). One hand pink, the other hand white and both with sparkles. Matt is such a great Uncle.

One of my favorite moments from the trip was watching Matt carry Shiloah upstairs. As soon as he picked her up she got a huge smile on her face and then laid her head on his shoulder. It looked like she was in heaven. Pretty Sweet!

Dancing with Hannah was a highlight. Or was she Cinderlla or Snow white when we were dancing? I can't remember, but I love twirling around in circles in front of a mirror, so I fit right in with them.

I miss them, but it was fun to visit :)

EDA Group Starting Mon. March 9th

Last night I met with a few women who are helping to start an Eating Disorders Anonymous group. Its exciting to find the resources that we did online.

It has taken a few weeks to answer some questions that I had, but we have landed on the group being one that focuses on helping women in the process of recovery from anorexia, bulimia, and eating disorders not otherwise specified.

The last one may be a little tricky for some people to understand, but this is basically a catch phrase for those who are controlled by disordered eating and exercise patterns but don't fall into 'anorexic' or 'bulimic' categories. When I was diagnosed, I was something like an "anorexulimic"... some combo of all of them...

The women who I know want to be a part of this fall all across the spectrum in where we are in recovery, some for years, some for months. Some struggle more than others. We are all pursuing freedom.

I am confident that the 12 step process will help us to uncover and seek health in new ways. This is also a bit scary because I know I will also be asked to confront my lingering issues. Yeah!

So, if you want to join us come on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 7PM to Visio Dei. The first meeting will be Monday, March 9th. All meetings will last 1 hour.

Please let me know if you have any questions.