Thursday, December 30, 2010

My 2011 New Year Resolutions

1. Make more time to read the Bible and journal my thoughts. I've gotten away from journaling my thoughts on what I'm learning, and I want to keep a record of the amazing things God is doing.

2. Make more time to read books in general. And highlight in them and mull them over and write in them and share them with others. I realized that in 2010, I only read like 4 books I think. That is a record low for me. Where did the time go? Must. Be. Intentional.

3. Cook more often for my husband. I'm finally over being rebellious about cooking. I've vowed in my heart to cook him healthy and creative recipes and try to have them ready by the time he gets home from CrossFit. It feels so good to serve him in this way. I'm not fully sure why I resisted this before, but I know that now is the time to take up this duty! And the best part is, I've been enjoying it!

4. Keep our house cleaner. Instead of just accepting the messiness and being lazy, just make myself do those dreaded chores instead of whatever other task I'm filling my time with to avoid it. Just do it! I'll feel better and so will Bry. If not for myself, then for him, right?

5. This one is more for my husband (yep, guilty of honey-doing)... but, we need to finish our front bathroom! It's been under construction for a year now and I am ready for it to be usable again! So is he, promise.

6. This one is for both of us... knock out the little to-do fixes around our house and make our spare room (that's acting as a storage building) into a real spare bedroom (this will most likely require buying a storage building for the backyard)! We have lots of little "fix-its" that need to be taken care of, and instead of looking at them and crossing my eyes so it blurs and not pay attention to it, tackle the dang things and get 'er done! Again, I just know we'll feel better.

7. And another husband one that I might be able to assist with - build a fence. So our poor puppy can run free for as long as he wants without us worrying about him taking a tour of the neighborhood, getting lost, or getting hit by a car. Good, right? He'll love being able to take his time to use the bathroom and savor all the yummy scents around. And maybe he won't have to stay caged up while we're away! We'll find out if that works out or not.

8. Save money. Period.

9. Pay off all debt. We should just dig in our heels and get it over with! It's really not that much.

10. Sing more. Maybe even write a song. That's dreaming big for me.

11. Continue going to CrossFit (on average 4 times a week) (this is one resolution I kept this whole year) but also make time for other interests like Bible studies and womens gatherings and one on one time with a girl friend or maybe even some music lessons... even if that means sacrificing one night of CrossFit a week. (Bryan has approved of the whole missing CF thing for this already, don't worry.) ;)

12. Learn to sew.

13. Memorize scripture. Not just kinda know the gist of it. Memorize it!

14. I feel like there are others, but I can't think of them right now... I'll add to this list later if I remember!

May we all become better people in 2011. May we not waste any time of our short lives. May we press into God for his perfect plan for us and not squander what we are given. May we keep an eternal perspective and not an internal one. May we invest in what is lasting. May we love like we never have before. May we be fully surrendered to God.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I had never proclaimed healing over anyone before...

Until tonight.

Last Sunday a couple from England shared their testimonies about the work they've been doing there. About healing. Their stories were amazing. I left there with a fire burning inside of me to learn more about what God tells us about healing. I left there inspired, challenged, in awe that God gives us this authority to heal people.

I'd heard it many times before, been told, God heals, through the grapevine people are proclaiming healing over people and some are actually being healed. I used to think some of these people were.... Overboard? Fakers? Crazy?....

But after Sunday I knew. Something shifted in my heart. I was ready. A new chapter in my book was beginning.

Tonight I talked to my friend about healing for a pretty long while. We told each other stories, shared insights and encouragement. She and her husband have been submitted to this healing authority God has given us for a while now already. She said to me, "Yeah God is life and Satan is death!" and for some reason that penetrated me differently tonight.

Then I got a phone call from my sister in law. Again we talked about healing.

It's bedtime. Bryan is already cuddled up in bed.
Me: "You look cute."
Bryan: "I laid down and all the sudden got a bad stomach ache. Like searing pain."
(I know God is telling me to pray for him... I wanted so badly to retreat.)
(After a pause...)
Me: "Well can I pray for you?"
Bryan: "Yeah sure."
(I laid next to him in bed and put my hand on his stomach."
Me: "Is the pain here?"
Bryan: "A little higher."
(I move my hand up, take a deep breath and close my eyes.)
Me: "Lord you know what is wrong with my husband's body. Heal him. In Jesus' name. Amen."
(I look at Bryan)
Me: "Does it feel any better?"
Bryan: "Yeah."
Me: "OK you're not just saying that?"
Bryan: "No it feels a little better."
Me: "Like a 4?"
Bryan: "Like a 5."
Me: "OK so half better. Want me to pray again?"
Bryan: "Yeah."
Me: "Lord heal his stomach in Jesus' name!"
(I whisper)
Me: "How does it feel?"
Bryan: "Like a 1."
(I say loudly)
Me: "Really?"
Bryan: "Yeah and it's still getting better."

Now he is fast asleep beside me as I type. Searing pain to zero pain.

I don't share this story to brag or... However it could come off... I share this because God heals! Today! Now! Even the smallest things. He gives to us what we believe. He has given us the power and authority to heal in Jesus name!

Faith even the size of a mustard seed. But I don't want it to remain mustard seed sized.

I am amazed. So many things have taken on such new meaning. To be expectant of miracles, of God moving... That has so much more meaning to me now.

I love you Lord. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A friendship phenomenon... I've been seeing this all over Facebook and Twitter for... forever... people venting about how they've put all of this effort and love and energy and generosity into a person and that person does nothing but use and abuse them in repayment. I don't mean any disrespect or judgement to this venting person because I myself have done it many times, but we should probably realize that when we feel hurt we tend to build ourselves up to look better than we are and knock the other down to look worse than they are. So this brought me to a thought. You see, something that has been laid so heavily on my heart lately is the concept of loving the unlovable person; respecting the disrespectful person; giving to the greedy person. Learning the depth of unconditional love. No matter how your parent or sibling or child has hurt you, they're still always your family right, still always your child? No matter what dumb thing they've done, you just can't help but love them right? And you want nothing to do with the idea of ever not loving them! So my question is, that even with friends why should we love and give and respect only if we require that they love, give, and respect us in return? Why do we get so upset and threaten to drop them from our lives because of the mistakes they've made? Why do we turn to gossip, judgement, and slander against them out of our frustrations, instead of choosing to see them through the eyes of God, as works of art, in the midst of a journey where we learn, grow and improve? Why don't we sacrifice the desires of our hearts to always be treated well (regardless of what mistakes we've made, which are always so similar to the ones being made against us) and allow people to learn from the sins they commit against us. A better weapon for that fight is love anyway. It always wins - it encourages, inspires, and challenges. What would it look like to love all our family, friends and even acquaintances the way we should love? Sacrificially. You see, this makes me think of God. He loves us even when we don't love him. And that is his number one most important commandment to us - that we love him with all our hearts, minds, bodies, and strength. But do we? No. Yet, he loves us so much, he knows the number of hairs on our heads, adoringly. He knows our deepest desires and wants so badly to give them for us. He sings in joy over us. Did you know that he sings in joy over YOU? He cares so much for the sparrows... the nasty, wretched, dumb sparrows... and yet how much more does he love us, the only creation made in his own image? He loves us with a love a million times purer and stronger than we love our own children. Do you know a love stronger than that? A parent for a child? And yet, even when we completely turn our backs on God, he loves us with an intensity we can't even fathom. Many times, most especially with the people closest to us, we tend to feel justified. "But they've done xyz to me and it's just not right!" It really is OK to feel frustrated but what's not OK, is to sin as a result of it. And not loving, is sinning. So, you have a friend that is mistreating you. Turn up the dial on how well you treat them. See what happens. Don't abandon them. Don't distance yourself. Don't let the friendship fizzle out or worse, get in a fight with them over it. Get to the bottom of it. Dig in your heels. Figure out the underlying reason they are acting the way they are. Love them harder. Pray for them incessantly. Guard yourself from the wounds only you can allow them to give you. What I'm trying to say is, find your security in God, not in this human, and you will love better than you ever thought possible.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:A thought crossed my mind...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I know 4 couples that got engaged today! Congrats my friends!

Bryan had to work today too so he left early in the morning. I woke up without an alarm (yes!) at 10:15 (double yes!) and worked to get Bryan's stocking ready and the house cleaned for dad and Melly to come over at 1. I turned the Christmas music up real loud and just worshipped God on this wonderful day that we celebrate Jesus' birth as I cleaned around the house.

Dad brought over Christmas blend Starbucks coffee and lots of tummy treats - breads and donuts. Melly brought peppermint cocoa and hazelnut creamers. We had hot chocolate and marshmallows and candy canes to stir with, and apple cider. We opened each others gifts.

We gave dad his picture and Thunder jacket.

Bryan gave me 2 Disney blu ray movies - Snow White and Beauty and the Beast!, a book by our pastor that I'm pretty psyched to start reading, and a necklace handmade by an African woman, all from scratch even the beads! I love it!

Here's a better look at the necklace...

I got him 2 comfy tshirts, turtles candy, an athletic power and balance bracelet, compression sleeves, and season 8 of 24 on Blu ray! Yay!

We watched Batman The Dark Knight and vegged out together

And enjoyed the yumminess too

It was a simple and relaxing Christmas day.

Now I'm waiting for Bryan to get back from the plant and we'll probably watch one of the Blu rays we gifted each other. Hehe!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Just running some Christmas eve errands!

I love the stocking Bryan made me this year

Sooooo many presents at mom and Jim's house

My white elephant gift

Mom and Jim got us an electric fireplace stove! Yes!!! This means our living room, which is always the coldest room in the house, will be warm! And maybe out heating bill won't be as high. Plus I always love and appreciate some pretty ambiance.

You can barely see it but I made a Christmas card string to display all the cards and pictures we got this year. I like it even though it's up there kinda wonky. I just didn't want to be all perfection picky when my gracious husband agreed to help me put it up in the middle of watching a movie. Ha!

We also got tonight. A queen down comforter from Nick and Jenni, a plastic cutting board from Mel & Logan, and we also got from mom and Jim a tool set, drill bits, slippers, a puffy red scarf, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, a shelf with a secret hideaway compartment, and kitchen knives handed down because mom and Jim got brand new ones. Yay!

We gave Jim a large floor pillow to replace his other one that got thrown away, we gave mom a large soft throw blanket, Mel got a handmade by my friend cross that's purple and zebra print and Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy perfume, Logan got a flannel plaid button down shirt, and Nick & Jenni got a sheet set.

I'm glad everyone liked their presents! I sure love giving them! Happy Christmas eve everyone!

I'm so excited to give Bryan his little stocking stuffers tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 people that inspired me in 2010

(These are in no particular order.)

1. Sam Storms
Sam is our pastor at Bridgeway church. He is such an authentic person; the same person no matter what his environment. Sweater vests and all. ;) He is extremely smart and teaches Bryan and I so much. His messages are beyond inspiring! His theology is biblical and he has opened our eyes to the spiritual gifts and opened my heart more to the Holy Spirit. Our lives bear more fruit since we've been under Sam's leadership and we are so so grateful!!!

2. Curt Mayler
I probably misspelled his name but nevertheless he is the epitome of an inspiring person! He spoke at Bridgeway one Sunday while he was in town. I don't remember all of the specifics of his story, but he and his wife and children have lived in Afghanistan (or is it Iraq?) for years in ministry spreading the good news of the Gospel. He and his family, friends and mentors lives are in danger there every day (he has lost friends and offered his life in exchange for friends that were being held in jail for practicing Christianity) but still they stay and they do what God has called them to do. He isn't held back by fear, danger, ridicule, or the more luxurious and comfortable and safe life America offers for him, his wife, or his children. Amazing!

3. Sheri Yates
A beautiful woman of God whom I've had the privilege of spending some time with and learning from. Her passion to lead women to an intimate relationship with God runs so deep within her. I am grateful that she has poured into my life and helped me through a couple situations I've faced. She is a wonderful example of a godly mother and wife.

4. Cissa Newberry
My indispensable mentor and friend. She is my go-to gal for everything and I just love doing life with her. She is so selfless, unconditionally loving, forgiving and humble and I have learned so much from her. She challenges me to be better all the time and to make decisions based on God's truth. I can't say enough good things about her... All I know is I'd be so lost without her.

5. Lysa Terkeurst
A woman I've never met but feel like I know because of her blog and her ministry. Her blogs are so real and practical. On multiple occasions they've made sense out of my thoughts and feelings and have helped me to understand things about myself and others. She challenges me along with many other women to be who we are called to be. There's been so many times that I've read her blog and thought "MAN that's good!" and felt so excited about it that I forwarded it to others. I hope she never stops writing.

6. Destiny Mcloud
My sweet friend that is so much like me yet also very different. When I think back to when I prayed to God to give me "that friend" I know she is the answer to that prayer. Rarely our conversations are about anything other than God or marriage and those are two wonderful things to have on your mind, heart and lips. She is wise beyond her years because of how she chooses to yield to the Holy Spirit. I am consistently impacted by her authenticity and example!

7. Cheryl Singleton Guffey
Someone who started out in my life as an enthusiastic leader and Hope Chest volunteer that turned into a beautiful friend, encourager and bona fide example of a sold out woman of God in my life. Her words and zeal for life mean more to me than she probably knows.

8. Gianna Jessen
A symbol of hope. Someone who stands for what she believes in. A creative and shining light for God. I don't know her in person but I'd love to one day. I fell upon her existence by educating myself on abortion. You see, she has the most beautiful story. Google her. Follow her on Twitter. Search her on YouTube. She's bound to inspire you too. One of the most gorgeous souls on earth.

9. Draden, Caleb & Julia Newberry
I count them as one because the three of them together have impacted my life so greatly I can hardly articulate it. I have never felt such a bond with children. They are teaching me things I know God is fashioning me for in future motherhood. Their depth astounds me. They have wonderful parents to thank for that too. I know I wouldn't be who I am today without having known them and spent the time with them I've had the privilege of spending. No matter how old they get or how much taller than me they get, they will always be my little Newberry kiddos. They have changed me for the better, and continue to.

10. Bryan Hamell
Don't think it cliche that my husband is included in this list because he is one of the greatest challengers in my life to be better. He inspires me all the time solely with the fortitude of his God-given character and what he stands for. There is so much I could say it would be a whole 'nother blog post but my friend, I am not just biased because this man is the love of my life, because he is known for inspiring many others to.

Man, how blessed am I? Thank you Lord!

May I encourage you... Make a list of 10 people who inspired you this year!!! :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas fun

I've had a lot of pre-Christmas fun this year. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday to celebrate.

My friend Michele made me this pretty jewelry box and filled it with those yummy chocolates and a bottle of sweet pea lotion.

Lifegroup Christmas party!

This years stockings I made for my boys

Our broken but still beautiful tree with our family's presents underneath all pretty and wrapped

Judy made me this awesome blanket!

This is the gift I gave to my secret Santa girl at work. It's the same New York and Company candle I won at my Lifegroup Christmas party. Re-gifting is not wrong! I added Dove milk chocolates at least. :)

Angie gave me this.

And my secret Santa gave me a sheet of scrapbooking stickers with a breast cancer theme, a glass 4x6 picture frame, Tricology brown vanilla sugar lotion, some pen squishies, and some post its!

I love love love giving and receiving gifts. Its one of my favorite ways to express love.

We didn't do much this year which is totally OK. Our Big Cedar trip was an amazing enough gift that I don't want or expect anything more.

I'm ready for the break from work and the family time. Hope to play the game we learned with our house church with our families. Want to relax, listen to Christmas music, eat good food and drink hot drinks from mugs, read about Jesus' birth from the Bible, spend time together just loving, and enjoy.

I live for times like these. Such sweet anticipation fills my heart!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Big Cedar

Because the Newberrys are awesome and generous like that, they gifted Bryan and I a wonderful first year anniversary vacation to the gorgeous Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri! AND my amazing daddy also gifted us spending money for this trip. And let me tell you. My honest and simple hope was that it would mend my broken little bride heart of our honeymoon being less than fantastic... and the best way to sum up what happened is that it did just that, and more, than I could have hoped for. This vacation was a balm for my soul! And rest for my spirit. And it keyed into every romantic, whimsical, fantasy and dream-like desire of my heart. This place, especially at Christmastime is nothing less than magical. As soon as we drove onto the winding one-way streets of the Ozarks, I instantly started experiencing God's presence in the scenery. Driving into the resort, and feasting my eyes on the fantastic darkness of the mountains and lake and the sparkling Christmas lights adorning every building, nook and cranny around the Lodge, my spirit just sighed with anticipation of the wonder that would ensue for the coming weekend. I experienced zero stress commonly associated with travel, and what could have resided in me about boarding our puppy at a kennel for the first time, but only pure in-the-moment rest and wonder and awe at the beauty.

We went into the Registration building to check in. The woman handed us a card that said, "From Russ." You can't imagine the excitement and surprise we felt! And right there upon opening we found a gift card and note to enjoy a one hour massage for each of us. Oh GLORY!

We enter our room at the Lodge. My hope was for a fireplace. We didn't only get that. We got a fully equipped kitchen and dining area, a living room with a fireplace, back doors leading to a balcony porch with a table and chairs, a breath-taking view, a large 2-room bathroom with a shower and jacuzzi bathtub, a king size bed that was COMFORTABLE!, and TVs and DVD players in the bedroom and living room. AMAZING!

We dropped off our luggage and went straight to dinner. The Lodge offers a shuttle service. All you have to do is dial zero, tell them where you want to go and they pick you up almost instantly. We decided to go to the Worman house, which at the time we didn't know is the nicest restaurant on the grounds. It was beautiful! Live entertainment, a man singing classic jazzy bluesy songs into an old fashioned microphone, just a beautiful dining experience. Bryan got a fillet, and I got salmon. The best either of us have eaten.

We took an after dinner stroll around the grounds. Horse drawn carriage rides lit with Christmas lights sailed over the paths around the lake. We joined others warming by the two camp fires with benches around to sit on, a man with a guitar sang Christmas songs and other songs he'd written, people roasted marshmallows, drank hot cocoa, we sang Christmas carols together. Beautiful Christmas festiveness. Oh the charm of it all!

The Lodge offered a DVD rental service. So we decided to rent 'Dan in Real Life', turn on the fireplace and cuddle up on the couch. Such a good movie.

Next morning we visited the Devil's Pool Restaurant for breakfast. Yum. We gazed out the window onto the glorious view beheld us. We soaked in every moment of the lazy morning, drinking coffee, feeling the warmth. Then we decided to venture out into the brisk air and play some putt putt (Bryan makes fun of me for calling it that. He says "it's miniature golf!" Same difference right? :). Yet another amenity of the resort. It was so fun! We played through the course twice. I even got a hole in one once. The 9th hole was inside a giant fish! And oh the scenery of this place in the daytime... breathtaking! We took another stroll around the resort since now it was lit up by the winter sun. Waterfalls, a walking bridge over the most incredible lake, photo opportunities galore. Amazing beauty.

We rented another movie for an afternoon rest. 'Grown Ups'. (Some funny parts, lots of inappropriate parts. We gave it a C-.) But a good rest it was indeed.

We got a light lunch at the Truman Coffee and Cafe. Then from the table through the perfectly placed old fashioned window, we watched children gather to decorate Christmas ornaments. Oh you betcha! If you know me at all, you know I joined in on that. I decorated a little porcelain fish. With magic markers of course. :)

They had a show for the children and their parents. Someone dressed in a Christmas raccoon costume and walked around hugging the children and posing for pictures. A woman on stage sang country Christmas songs. She got the little kids on stage with her to play their own instruments along with her... tambourine, wood blocks, whistles... it was so cute! She asked them what they want for Christmas and gave winks to their parents who were taking pictures and smiling huge from the audience.

After this we met at the Carriage House Spa for our massages and they were just delightful. Soothing, calming, and the best massage I've ever had. What a wonderful gift. My body felt like a noodle after that. We went back to the Devils Pool restaurant for dinner. Bryan had a version of chicken fried steak but with a better cut of meat that I can't recall, and I had salmon again! It came with different sides this time. And it was so good!

Then we rented another movie. 'Enchanted'! We made a pallet on the living room floor and cuddled up in front of the fireplace. Bryan slept through parts of the movie, but I thought it was adorable that he'd watch such a girly kid movie with me. Of course I loved it. He admitted it was "a cute one". ;)

Just a little sidenote: we drank so much delicious coffee on our trip. And ate a lot of lavosh (which is a homemade cracker with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds on it). Delicious!!

Next morning we packed up, checked out of the resort, and attended our brunch reservation at the Worman House. It was the most glamorous brunch buffet you'll ever see! And it was delicious. And then as suddenly as our arrival came, our departure time came. So we headed on out. Leisurely though. We were in no hurry to arrive home yet. Didn't have to pick Wes up from the kennel until the next day, so we took our time. We stopped in at the Cosmic Caverns in Berryville, Arkansas and took a cave tour. That was really neat. Then a few hours later at some point, I don't remember the city, we stopped into an outdoor mall to find lunch. We ended up a PF Changs, and then went to Borders for Bryan to get some coffee. Then kept on driving. We stopped in at Whole Foods again in Tulsa (we did the same thing on our way out too) and then we went to Shawnee and met our friends Cory and Destiny for dinner. We didn't want that visit to end so we went back to their house to hang out for a while, and we got home after midnight.

After all was said and done we wouldn't have changed one thing about this vacation. The only thing Bryan says he would have liked is if it were warm enough to be able to canoe on the river and maybe if we'd been prepared to do a little outdoor hiking. But to have that, you don't get all of the Christmastime magic, so we say there's nothing that could have made our trip more perfect. Our hope is to be able to go back someday.

Maybe one of these days I'll be able to upload pictures to here for you to see of our trip. Need access to a computer with Internet that I can spend some time uploading pictures to, which I don't get very often. But if you're lucky! ;)

Thank you Lord for this amazing vacation with my hunk of a husband. We are blessed beyond belief. Beyond belief!