Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving!

It's very very early on Thanksgiving morning - about 2am.

Thanksgiving week is probably one of my favorite weeks out of the year, if not my favorite. There's an excitement and anticipation in the air. The crusty brown leaves that are left over are blowing around outside and the temperature is usually really awesome (welcome to the South) and you only have to work Monday and Tuesday and your friends are in town and you do fun things like get coffee and go to movies and laugh your head off. You spend time with your family and all seems right with the world.

Thinking back on past years and reading posts from past Thanksgiving weeks, this has always been a wonderful week, no matter what. It's just always so magical. Christmas is basically here. People are decorating and shopping and Christmas music is on the radio but at the same time it's Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is great because you still have all of the Christmas season to look forward to. It's a time of reflection and thankfulness and a Christmas season official kickoff.

This Thanksgiving we will be missing a spot at the family table, with it being the first without my uncle. That's gonna be weird and hard, and quieter and not as funny. But I'm thankful for all the time we did have with him and the laughs and kindness that I think of when I think of him. I thank God for the blessing he was to so many people and that I will see him again one day in Glory, and laugh with him once again.

We will also be missing a little Beagle that sure did love Thanksgiving. But I thank God I knew such a precious creature and had the privilege of giving her a happy life. And that I will see her running in fields of gold in a red tutu one day.

And every day will feel like Thanksgiving.


Lots of things have changed since last Thanksgiving. We've gone through loss and chapters have ended and new ones have begun. But there's still so much to be thankful for. Life is a precious gift. Family and friends are precious gifts. God's grace is a precious gift.

My heart is full of gratitude and anticipation and love and content-ness.


And if any of this didn't make sense, I blame it on the fact that earlier this evening, I passed out and hit the floor and probably jarred some brain cells. That's what dehydration (and stress) will do to you. Drink your fluids!


I HOPE EVERYONE HAS A WONDERFUL, BLESSED, AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING! :)







eBa

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Music Before Thanksgiving?

I wrote this last November after seeing a lot of Facebook statuses, complaining about people listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I thought I'd share it again!

"CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE THANKSGIVING?!?!?!?"
Sure, why not?

So what if someone wants to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?  That's their choice.  Chances are, it brings them happiness, so who are you to say that they shouldn't do that?
I know when I'm stressed or upset, at ANY time of the year, all I have to do is listen to some Christmas songs and I instantly feel better.
What's wrong with listening to songs that celebrate the
birth of Jesus?
Songs that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Songs that make you wanna be a better person? Songs that remind you of memories and Christmases past and precious time with family?
SONGS THAT MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!

What's wrong with wanting the Christmas season to start sooner so you have more time to enjoy it?
I agree that Thanksgiving should not be overlooked.  I'm a huge advocate of being thankful and taking the time to celebrate freedom and what we have been blessed with.  But that has nothing to do with listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, so I can listen to Christmas music and celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. 
Christmas music is one of the only things getting me through the papers I'm writing right now.  I've been sitting at the teacher's desk in a warm, fluorescent-lit high school biology room (the one I had biology in in ninth grade...) listening to Christmas music and finishing up my grad school work. Which is what prompted this post.
I just think that Christmas music brings a certain happiness and feeling that nothing else does.  And what's the harm in wanting that happiness to start as soon as possible??


Just my two cents worth. :)
eBa

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jessica Simpson Isn't Always Right (Believe it or Not)

The title I gave this post hurts my heart because y'all know how much I adore that five-foot-two blonde ball of sass, stellar fashion sense, wit, humour, and sheer gorgeousness.
But no one is perfect!


Years ago, I read in a magazine that Jessica Simpson had said something like:
If you are dating someone and thinking about getting married, you should take a break for about a month and make sure you absolutely can't live without them before you commit.
Sounds logical, right? So here I am, with this advice always in the back of my mind for a few years, looking for the one I can't live without.

It's almost as if God allows me to think and say certain things just so that He can prove me wrong. Because I found someone I was certain I couldn't live without. What a rude awakening when all of a sudden that person isn't there anymore... but hey, I'm still living! I'm still living and breathing, but why?

This is why:
There's actually no one I can't live without, except Christ.
And He wanted me to know that.

Maybe He was thinking something like:
"Beth, you think you have it all together, and that your plans are perfect, and that you found someone you can't live without. But just to show you that I am the only One you can't live without, I'm going to remove that person from your life. You'll be amazed at how you can still live, and live joyfully without that human being because you still have Me, the only One you'll ever need. Man will fail you, but I never will. Trust Me."

Man changes but Christ never does.
Man will fail you but Christ never will.

If you go looking for a man to 'save' you, you'll end up disappointed every single time.

The only man that will save you saved you 2,000+ years ago.
On a cross.
Jesus wants our total dependence to be on Him.



Even if I had to learn that lesson the hard way, I learned it!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
eBa

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Show Must Go On

Back in the summer, I was going through a very hard time.

I would do something almost every day that I've only done a few times in my life - I would lay in bed literally all day and watch TV (mainly The Kardashians).

I did that for a while. I wallowed in my misery. I indulged in my pain and suffering. I felt better when I saw the episodes where Kim and Reggie broke up and she was heartbroken and depressed and laid around the house all day like I was doing.

But you can only do that for so long. At some point, you have to get up and say, "I'm not going to let this hardship define my life and who I am and where I go from here.
The show must go on."


And so you pick the pieces up, even when nothing makes sense. And you keep going and smiling and "faking it til you make it" because you cannot stay in one place, lethargic, wallowing in self-pity, asking God "Why?"


Instead, you thank Him for what you have, because 9 times out of ten, the good outweighs the bad in life.
You decide that from here, you're going to move on in the best way possible, making the best of what you have and being GRATEFUL, looking for the good in every single circumstance.

I remember literally wondering how I was going to go on from where I was; how I was going to live the rest of my life with certain memories haunting me and beating myself up for decisions I'd made and wondering over and over if they were the right decisions and overthinking to the point that I was almost sick.

It took a while, but I finally snapped out of it because I came to my senses and remembered that living that way does nothing for you and I realized that I was doing nothing for the Kingdom of God just laying in my bed and rehashing the past four years of my life. God had allowed me to get to that point for a reason, and He was calling me back from it, asking me to trust Him and where He was taking me and it was almost as if I could hear Him saying,
"This next chapter is going be so hard that it's going to require that you trust in Me every minute of every day and don't ask 'why' and don't even think about anything; just follow Me and I will lead you to where I need you to be. You have to blindly trust Me."

Because "I know who goes before me; I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine." .......and that's the most awesome thing ever. That's why the show can go on. Because the Creator of the Universe is my friend and has my best interest in mind and will help me act like nothing ever happened and go on with my life, reminding me every day that He holds me in His hands.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own problems that we forget that other people have problems too. And more often than not, if we put our problems out of our mind and just give them to God and focus on serving someone else, our lives will miraculously start to seem more positive, making more sense, and our problems will seem smaller. Because focusing on the bigger picture always helps. The small picture may show wasted time and hurt and pain and tons of question marks but the bigger picture shows a beautiful life with beautiful events and beautiful people sprinkled with human imperfections and imperfect events that all string together to form God's perfect plan.

Just like messing up in a performance - like freezing up and forgetting your ONE LINE in a church play or forgetting the steps to your sixth grade jazz solo in the dance recital to Backstreet Boys "Larger Than Life" - YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOU!!!!!!! People are depending on you, and you cannot just give up and quit because you made a mistake or froze up and forgot everything you know about life. Keep going even if you have to fake it for a little while, because even when you aren't in control, God is.

And He will carry you through any storm.

When I think about it that way, this all makes sense. I cannot lay in bed all day, for days on end, ever again, wallowing in self-pity, knowing that there are people out there, in my city who are unsaved and have no inkling of the hope that I have, the hope that carries me. 
I have been commanded to lead people to the hope that is in me so that they may have it too, and that's what I need to do.
There are people who are seriously hurting and there is no excuse for me to ever say, "I'm too depressed to do anything today."

My struggles and hardships will give me that much more fuel to drive me and motivate me to keep going to better myself and grow, despite my mistakes. And to help and witness to others... and a way to say,
"I overcame this, and you can too. I'm stronger now than I was before. Let me tell you about my God."




2 Corinthians 12:10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)







eBa

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Black Saturday Weekend












Last weekend in Boone...
Margaret, Morgan, and I got there Friday night and hung out at the apartment with Michael, his roommate, roommate's sister and cousin, and other friends.

I drank out of my fabulous Christmas mug that I keep there. It was 30 degrees. All was right with the world.



On Saturday morning, Margaret and I got up and went shopping. The Belk in Boone is fabulous. At least I think so. I got some good stuff for my Mama's birthday.

We met friends at the brand new IHOP!! It was so yummy.

Sarah arrived in Boone. Kacie met up with us. WE WENT TO THE GAME AGAINST LOUISIANA MONROE.

It was Black Saturday (blackout game) but I didn't have a heavy black jacket. And it was F R I G I D. So I wore my big brown Carhartt barn jacket that I got for my 18th birthday.

I was just glad to be going to a Black Saturday game because I haven't been able to go the past few years.













After the game we went to some friends' house, an adorable, charming, cozy little a-frame, right-out-of-a-fairytale home in the woods hidden in the mountains. We played games and listened to music and talked and a wonderful time was had by all.






As we were leaving on Sunday after church and lunch, we pretended to be tourists and took a picture on the side of the highway.














eBa

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lead Me to the Rock


This is one of my favorite verses.

From the ends of the earth...
From the darkest places...
During the most confusing times...
In the midst of the most hardship...
When things seem hopeless...



I call to You.
When I can't do it on my own...
Because I need You
And I'm only human
And I need guidance
And I need to constantly rely on You



LEAD ME
YOU are in control
YOU know what's best for me
YOUR will; not mine
Show me the way



To the ROCK
A solid ground


That's higher than I
To places I never imagined going
To a place of safety
To a place of growth
To a loving shelter
To peace
and comfort.




T H A N K  Y O U,  L O R D!










eBa