Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hot Lanta!

I just returned from a quick and eventful trip to Atlanta. One of my best friends, Charlotte moved there a few years ago and I got to go visit her for the weekend. Its pretty cool because I hooked her up on a friend date with my high school friend Michelle. They hit it off and are buds now and Charlotte introduced me to her friend Katie and we are friends now... I love making these connections and seeing how relationships build and grow...

Anyways, we had some awesome meals... La Fonda, a cute cafe with a variety of latin choices. I enjoyed a grilled pork and mango salad. We tried the outside seating, but its still a little chilly.

I am so ready for warmer weather!!

Thankfully, Saturday was bright and sunny. We started our day off with the traditional walk to Alon's. I actually don't think I've ever been to visit Charlotte without going to Alon's. Its a traditional french bakery a short jont from Charlotte and Rob's house.

**Side Note** I have yet to find a good bakery in Raleigh and think we need one!!

We love walking and talking... that pretty much sums up Saturday, Piedmont Park, more walking, more talking, more soaking in the sun...

Then we met up with Michelle for dinner at Flip Burger. Now, this is a great concept for a restaurant. Basically, its just really interesting burgers and milk shakes. Charlotte got her's with pimento cheese, mine was topped with avocado and Michelle's was made out of shrimp. We had a ton of fun, not to mention that we had a hot waiter... maybe he and Michelle will reconnect??

**I think the burger concept would work in Raleigh, but the ambiance was way to clubin' for something like Flip to work here...

After Flip we drove down the street to JCT bar where we listened to live music and overlooked the city sky line. We found some friendly people to watch our table while we went to do our photo shoot...

You know how married couples do those pictures?? ?? Isn't it fitting that Charlotte and I would do the same thing?

We rounded out the trip with more great conversation and breakfast at Rise n' Dine with Katie. Now, this place would be perfect for Raleigh. It actually reminded me a lot of Nofo with out the store. The thing I liked best about this place were the people working there.

They were SOOO nice and friendly, even for it being SUPER crowded. Sometimes when it gets busy like that at Nofo my charm and charisma go out the window and I just turn in to a robot getting orders, this was not the case there, still a high paced hustle and bustle, but keeping the personality up! I was taking notes and hope to improve my serving techniques.

I also learned that when you make poached eggs you typically put vinegar in the water to help the egg stay together. I'm not crazy about my eggs tasting like lemon, but I learned something new.

A great time all around. I'm so excited to meet little Nate when he arrives in a few weeks. Charlotte and Rob are going to be awesome parents.

Friday, March 26, 2010

So, God must be trying to teach me something...

Through all of the reading that I have been doing and talking with people and discussing... I came up with the question... "Is there a difference between trying to follow Christ and allowing Christ to live through you?"

Yesterday afternoon I was talking with my friend Robyn and we discussed how there may not be a difference in the semantics of it, but in how the individual asking the question perceives it could be on the edge of a subtle, yet profound distinction... one that I don't want to miss.

So, I after returning from my morning muscle and spin class, made Matt breakfast and then entered into my daily time with God... omelet, toast, juice, coffee and water (yes, I do this about every day)... I opened up the Lenten Devotional and here is what it said...

Gratitude is the opposite of resentment, and "returning" is an inner passage from resentment to gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of your life is your response to God's abundant love. Your life can be lifted up and offered to God in thanksgiving. You will know the enormous spiritual difference between living your life out of gratitude for God's love and friendship, and living your life trying to earn God's friendship. It sounds simple and in many ways it is. But life is also a struggle and choosing to live the struggle gratefully and humbly as a child of God makes all the difference between a fulfilled life and an empty life.

God, I offer you my life and my death in thanksgiving for the privilege of being born and being loved.

What struck me the most were 2 things:

First, God knows what questions I am asking and where my heart is and the Lord is speaking to me. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, but it just seems to be happening more frequently recently... WOW!

Second, Do I ever really consider just being alive, being born to be a miracle, to be a gift? Do you? When I do, I have one of those moments where freedom enters my soul and I need to stand up and do a cartwheel.

Pretty amazing stuff!
What about you? Do you struggle with working for God? Trying to earn God's favor?
Do you ever think about your life as a gift?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Life??

Today I get the opportunity to speak at the Peace College Chapel. I did this about a year ago and ended up reconnecting with a student whose mother was with me at Ramuda Ranch; her mother and I had walked with one another through recovery from eating disorders. It was surreal, but amazing...

Today I will speaking again and drawing a few things in from my recovery process, but more so will be walking the students through my journey of faith... the beautiful things that I have learned about following Christ and the distortions that I have and still face while following him.

If you want a copy of what I am going to say, just let me know and I'll send it to you (its like 6 pages long)...

anyways, Maybe its because I have been reflecting on this recently, maybe its because I am in church leadership, maybe its because over the past six months how I read the Bible and what that means for myself and the community of which I am a part have been shaken and I am open new thoughts, maybe these thoughts aren't new but I am just finding others who are expressing deeply held beliefs that I haven't ever been able to articulate... So, I have been reading!

Over the past week I have finished two whole 200+ page books and snippits of several others...
I recommend
Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett
Possessing the Gates of the Enemy by Cindy Jacobs

I don't claim to agree with every word in their pages, but they have forced me to think,
they have prompted me to pray and
they have inspired me to live more freely...

so, maybe they will inspire you too. I am going to move on to book 3 for the week here in a moment.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dynamic Water

Some of you have seen the pictures on face book from the murder mystery dinner that Matt and I were a part of a few weeks ago. We had a blast! Outside of just having fun and helping celebrate my friend Shannon's 30th birthday, we were helping to raise money for a great organization, Dynamic Water.

Dynamic Water is an organization dedicated to bringing clean, safe drinking water to those communities that don’t have access to such water.

You can be a part of helping bring clean water to individuals in Laisamis, Kenya. Its easy, just $20 pays one person's water bill for 20 years! Wow!!!

Here is how you can help:

In celebration of World Water Day, there is a fundraising campaign called “Pay the Water Bill”.

The idea comes out of something like this… if it cost $10,000 to drill a well that serves 500 people, that breaks down to $20 per person. So, by donating $20, you are essentially paying one person’s “Water Bill”.

The objective is to have individuals like you and me make donations in $20 increments and then encourage have us encourage our friends and family to do the same.

So, here I am, encouraging you... I paid 2 people's water's bill... will you do the same?