Friday, August 30, 2013

21 Graces | Week 4

Read this post for an introduction to 21 Graces.

one. Possibly finding our Cali church!

two. Discovering a good bagel's no Soho Bagel like we had in Georgia, but it will suffice.

three. Saturday trip to Sonoma.

four. Late night (for her) talks with my McKinlie.

five. Mexican food for dinner twice in one week.  (Taco Bowl recipe here.)

six. And Mexican leftovers for lunch!

seven. Skype dates with Cait.

eight. Law & Order: SVU marathons.

nine. Decorating a little bit at a time. (Still need candles for the pillars, & I don't think I like the bunting...maybe replacing them with a brighter colored burlap?)

ten. Free Kindle books.

eleven. Some time to spend making pretty things.

 twelve. Grayson walking in the door from work with flowers for no reason...just on a random weekday.

thirteen. New music favorites.  Right now, Hillsong United's & Ben Rector's new albums.

fourteen. Google Music.  Except they need to hurry up & make an iPhone app.

fifteen. Great end to the She Reads Truth "Women of the Bible" reading plan.

sixteen. And an exciting new plan on Daniel to start soon.

seventeen. Seventeen days until our first visitors!

eighteen. Pretty fonts.

nineteen. Living close to Pinkberry.

twenty. Cali sunsets.

twenty-one. Getting to spend some time doing nerdy English degree things this week.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creation + Redemption

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb." {Psalm 139:13}

The Hebrew word used there is qanah.  God originating + creating + redeeming His people.  Built into the definition even when God created us, was our r e d e m p t i o n.

"But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.'" {Isaiah 43:1}

The whole idea of redemption was probably more easily understood to people at the time that verse was written.  They were well acquainted with the idea of a kinsman redeemer.  {Can you tell this concept has always intrigued me?}  The Hebrew word for redeemed used in Isaiah 43:1 is ga'al, to redeem by payment.  The Hebrew words for create/form already imply ownership.  We were His, & He still bought us.  When we made a mess of things, He made a way to bring us back to Him.

God is often compared to a potter, & us, the clay.  Pottery is messy.  You get your hands dirty.  Same with creation.  God was willing to get dirty.  He embraced the mess of creation.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waking Hearts to Life

Lazarus.  Dorcas.  Jairus's daughter.  JESUS.

All of these are people were raised from death to life.  They were physically dead.  No heartbeat.  No blood pumping through their veins.  No breathing in & out.  And they were made ALIVE.

These stories are amazing to us.  Miraculous.  But unheard of?  We tend to think that God doesn't work those kinds of miracles anymore.  

A doctor can keep someone's heart beating, even if only through the work of machines.  A doctor can pump breath into a patient's lungs.  A machine can breathe for someone who can't do it on his own.

But what about spiritual life?  Only Jesus can wake someone to real, eternal, forever life.  Do we take note of that miracle every day?

The heart beating in my chest is every bit as much of a miracle as those that Jesus raised from physical death.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 24, 2012

One year ago today, Grayson Carr asked me to be his wife.  At that point, we had dated for 97 days.  We knew very early on that marriage was part of God's plan for us, we just had to wait for the right timing.

We didn't rush into things.  Even though we both knew really soon after we started dating, we didn't talk to each other for awhile.  Even when we did, you could tell Grayson was nervous to bring it up because he thought I might think he was crazy.  But I didn't!  Well...I did think he was kind of crazy & still do, but not because he wanted to get married.  ;)

On Wednesday of that week, we had a prayer meeting at church.  We would normally have sat with some of our friends, but we sat with Grayson's parents that night.  I didn't think anything about it, but I found out later that that was the beginning of his scheming.  

On Friday when I was at work, Kelly, one of our Young Singles leaders at church, texted me to see if I could come by the church that afternoon to pick up some material to read.  We already had plans, so I told her I'd get it on Sunday.  Immediately after that, Grayson texted me to see if I got "the same" text from Kelly & said we'd just stop by the church & get it on the way to dinner.

When I got home from work, I was expecting him to already be at my house, but he wasn't.  I called to see where we were going so I could decide what to wear.  He was very cool throughout this conversation - kind of wishy washy, like he hadn't really thought about what we were doing yet.

So he picked me up & we got to the church a few minutes later, where we had this conversation:
me: Is she meeting us out here?  She must be about to leave anyway.
Grayson: No, we have to go in & get it.
me: Doesn't she know I'm starvvvvving?  I'm sure she's about to leave anyway!
[I said all of this while we're walking toward the church, but not even the building that Kelly's office is in.  That thought never occurred to me.]

As soon as we got to this grassy area, Grayson interrupted whatever very important thing I was probably saying, & got down on one knee.  Apparently he couldn't wait any longer!  He said great things about what marriage is, according to the Bible.  God intends marriage to be a picture of the Gospel, & that has been our prayer from the beginning.

After a few moments by ourselves, Grayson turned & pointed to Kelly & our friend Darby who were hiding to take pictures a little ways away.  As so many of my friends had already gotten engaged & married, I had a pretty good idea of what I would want.  Proposal pictures were high on the list, but I'd never told him that.  

We had a little mini celebration there in the church parking lot before we left for dinner in Atlanta.  

If I'd had my way, we would have gotten married at our church.  First Baptist Woodstock was why we met, & where we got to know each other, & played a huge role in both of our lives, but it's a really big church & even the chapel is bigger than what we wanted for a wedding.  For that reason, I love that Grayson chose there to propose.  It's a place that will always be special to us & we can always go back to.

That was one of the best nights of my life.

21 Graces | Week 3

My favorite weekly link up - 21 Graces.  See an introduction here.

one. Discovering a Starbucks gift card we didn't know we had.

two. Starting to decorate & make our apartment look more homey.

 three. Someone to eat things that I bake.

four. Weather cool enough to wear the Brooks running shirt I got on a realllly good sale a few months ago.

five. Finding a park where I can run.

six. Open windows.

seven. Having new pictures printed.

eight. Perfect sunroof weather.

nine. Real letters in the mail.

ten. Book recommendations from friends.

eleven. Kitchen gadgets that just make me happy.

 twelve. Making pretty letters.

thirteen. Funny-looking California squirrels.

fourteen. Quality people watching.

fifteen. Good nail polish that actually stays on for more than a day without getting chipped.

sixteen. Salted caramel sauce.

seventeen. A mantel to decorate.  Still a work in progress...

eighteen. Walks around the little downtown areas around here.

nineteen. Old tv shows.

twenty. Spending some time in a Hebrew/Greek dictionary.

twenty-one. A recovered journal.  Sometimes I just get tired of one before it's out of pages, so it requires a little makeover.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


The devotional I read today was on the Samaritan woman that Jesus encountered at the well (John 4).  This woman had a bad reputation.  Everyone in town knew about her.  She'd sought out satisfaction in many men, but had never found fulfillment.  These words from the devotional today really stood out to me:

"We can't know Him as Savior until we recognize our desperate, sinful condition without Him."
[She Reads Truth]

I grew up in church.  I was a good kid.  I never really got in much trouble.  But my sin is no different than the sins of the Samaritan woman.

How often do we recognize our own desperate need for Jesus?  If I'd only sinned once, I would need Jesus.

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The penalty for ONE sin is death.  One tiny little sin, in our minds.  And we have all sinned much more than that.  That first sin would send us to Hell for eternity.  But that's the beauty of the Gospel...when we find our satisfaction in Jesus & allow His grace to redeem our sins, we are washed clean.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

21 Graces | Week 2

Linking up (a little late...) with Jordy Liz Blogs again this week for 21 Graces.

one. A short-lived thunderstorm.  As much as I love all the sunshine & 70s-weather in California, I like rain & I miss it.  It rained for about 10 minutes the other night & everyone at our apartment complex was going outside to look.

two. Hanging things on the walls!  At our old apartment, we found out we'd probably be moving to Cali pretty soon after we moved in, so we never bothered to hang anything.  I'm ready to feel settled again.  I ordered lots of wedding pictures the other day & am ready to start putting them up around the apartment!

three. Having my OWN BED to sleep in again.  And my favorite sheets.

four. A clean kitten.

five. McKinlie starting college.  This seems like the day we've talked about for so long.  With a friend who is 8 years younger than you, it's fun to vicariously experience those exciting days all over again.

six. Trying new recipes.  This week: Flying Biscuit Grits (Flying Biscuit is our favorite breakfast/brunch place in Atlanta), Skinny Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, & Crock Pot Beef Carnitas.

seven. A husband who is great at his job & works really hard.  And I work really hard at not being in a bad mood when he has to work late.

eight. Crafting things for our apartment.

nine. Waking up to bunches of texts every morning because everyone I know lives in a different time zone.

ten. My dad's birthday was this week.  Can't wait til he & my mom come to visit in October!

eleven. Our two year "meetiversary," as Grayson called it.  We met at a Braves game in August 2011 (ironically, since neither of us cares anything about baseball) we went to with our Young Singles department at church.  And then started dating almost a year later.  [This picture was at another Braves game with the YS about a week before we got engaged.]

twelve. And this weekend is a year since we got engaged!  More on that story later.

thirteen. Figuring out where to go to buy what around here.  It's hard getting used to all different brands & figuring out what is cheapest at which grocery store, but I think we've finally got a pretty good idea.

fourteen. Facetiming with my brother!  Technology makes this whole living-on-the-other-side-of-the-country thing a lot easier.

fifteen.  Reorganized Pinterest boards.  Mine had just gotten out of hand.  My recipes are all separated out now & much easier to find.

sixteen.  I also added a board with some of my favorite blogs that I follow & posts that I know I'll need to come back to & read again one day.

seventeen. Unpacking I found lots of treasures.  Some things that were never even unpacked in our old apartment.  Like my favorite cat mug!  [I said this was Cat Eckleberg, but only my brother got it...]

eighteen. I love having our apartment set up.  We have a big window in the living room & I love sitting here in the sun, reading & drinking coffee in the mornings.

nineteen. I loved my years in Dahlonega during college & always being able to see the mountains.  Glad to be back near some mountains.

twenty. I love this tree outside our balcony.  I sat outside to paint something the other day & it was just nice to have something pretty & pink to look at.

twenty-one. The countdown is ON.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Review

This past Saturday, we decided to head north on the Pacific Coast Highway.  

When we visited California back in February, we drove south & loved that... we needed to check out the northern route.  [side note: I couldn't say a lot about our visit when we came because we were considering the move then, but only our families & a few friends knew...maybe a post about that trip later.]
My favorite stops this past weekend was at Goat Rock Beach in Sonoma County, [apparently this is where part of The Goonies was filmed.] and the Point Arena Lighthouse.

I feel like I say this all the time, but we really love having new places to explore.  It's especially nice right now while I'm looking for a job, that we can have plenty of cheap or free things to do!

Friday, August 9, 2013

21 Graces | Week 1

Linking up for 21 Graces today with Jordy Liz Blogs.

  1. an encouraging husband.
  2. trips booked for my parents to visit...
  3. ...& for Grayson's parents to come to visit!
  4. having a set date of when we'll get all of our furniture & no longer be living in an empty apartment!
  5. no-more-air-mattress countdown: 5 more sleeps.
  6. real mail from Rachel!
  7. having internet again & no more using up all our data on our phones!
  8. Skype dates with Cait.
  9. a huge Target...
  10. ...with a big clearance section that I can't wait to visit once I get a job!
  11. apples with peanut butter.
  12. a husband who comes home on time at the end of the work day, even if he has more work he has to do from home that night.
  13. finding one Christmas tree candle (our favorite & one of the few Grayson approves of) after going to several Yankee Candle stores.
  14. free movie tickets.
  15. a newly-discovered coffee creamer that I like (though I'm still mourning that I can't find coconut creamer in California).
  16. encouraging texts.
  17. a Safeway I don't hate (when we came to visit Cali, I apparently only went to the bad ones, but there's a good one close to our apartment).
  18. living close to the coast.
  19. today was the first time I made coffee since we got married.  223 days ago.  pretty good record.
  20. a husband who will come home & play a card game even after he's worked for 12 hours.
  21. planning weekend excursions.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

San Francisco Woes

This past Saturday we set out to San Francisco, about forty-five minutes from us.  I'm not sure why, but we just don't do San Francisco well.  I think we need some pointers.  Both times we've been, the roads were a nightmare to navigate, GPS got confused, & it was just kind of a let down.  Everyone else I know loves San there must be something we're missing out on.  I think I just need to know the good places to go.

Regardless, we had a good day.  Walked a good ways through Golden Gate park, & then Grayson found a good trail to get a good view of the bridge so I could take pictures.  

I still can't believe the weather.  Or that within 30 minutes we can be standing on the beach!

What are we doing wrong?  Where do we need to be going in San Fran?

Monday, August 5, 2013

July Books

I've always loved reading, but I've never been a very quick reader.  However, I read four books in July!  That's a big deal for me.  I'm not sure if I should attribute that to my kindle, joblessness, or a 4-day road trip, but either way, I'm proud of it.

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser
Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I loved The Swan House.  I'd pinned this book on Pinterest awhile ago, but then ran across it at a bookstore a few months back when Grayson was perusing (read: spending way more time than he'd actually admit) the "Programming Languages" section.  I sat down in the aisle at the bookstore & read the first few chapters, but then didn't pick it up again until we were at the beach.  Reminded me a little bit of Christy, which is one of my all-time favorites.

Hinds' Feet on High Places is one of my mom's favorites that she rereads every few years, but I'd never read it.  It's a short book, but not necessarily an easy read.  It's an allegorical story of Much Afraid's (the main character) journey to the high places, accompanied by her companions Sorrow & Suffering. 

Divergent & Insurgent were both really good & easy reads.  Divergent is being made into a movie that comes out next spring, so I wanted to have read the books before then.  Can't wait for the next one to come out in October!

I have an Amazon wish list a mile long of books I hope to read, but am always open to more suggestions!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Protecting the Truth

The She Reads Truth devotional today was on Priscilla.  Growing up in church, I've always heard Priscilla mentioned as one of the most influential women in the early church, but I didn't know much more about her.

I love how the Bible is always relevant.  I'm sure I haven't read this passage since getting married, so it spoke to me in a different way this time.  In Acts 18, we find Apollos speaking in Ephesus.  I studied Apollos pretty extensively in one of my writing classes in college.  He was an eloquent orator of this time.  And what he was teaching & preaching was true, but it wasn't the whole truth.
 "He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately." {Acts 18:26}
That one verse says two important things to me:

one) Partial truth wasn't enough.  God insists on the full truth.  Priscilla & Aquila could have let that slide, but they felt a responsibility to the Truth & spoke boldly to protect it.

two) As far as I can tell, every time Aquila's name is mentioned, Priscilla's name is there also.  This would not have been the norm at that time for the woman to be mentioned, by name, just as often as the man.  It seems clear to me that Priscilla & Aquila were in a marriage that was united for one mission - the Gospel.  They lived radically for the sake of the Gospel.  They risked their lives to protect Paul.  They were the Church.
"Do not be surprised when God uses you for the Kingdom.  Do not be surprised when His plans are greater than the plans you imagine for yourself [...] Saying yes to the Lord goes far beyond logistics [...] it reaches beyond the gifts we feel comfortable using." {She Reads Truth}
I hope that I would do the same.  I hope that I would insist on Truth.  We have this opportunity almost daily in our culture.  Society tells us so many things that are wrong.  Things that seem like they are logical, until we hold them up to Truth & look at them in light of the Gospel.  Knowledge is a gift.  It's not something we should take advantage of & hold closely to ourselves.  It's meant to be shared.  When we know the Truth, it's our responsibility to share it.  To live lives that show we believe it.  That's rarely something I'm comfortable with, but God didn't call us to be comfortable; He called us to look like Him.