Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why not? Go for it

From the time I was very young, I have always loved trying, learning and mastering new things. It was such a blessing to have parents that nurtured and encouraged that part of me. I remember my momma putting a needle in my hand at a very early age and teaching me how to cross stitch. I was (and still am) fascinated at how good she is at it! We could be following the exact same pattern and hers always turned out looking so much better! My dad let me "help" him re-roof our house when I was 5.  My brother taught me how to make twisted rope friendship bracelets when we were like 7. I think I was about 8 when Dad was repainting his Toyota and he let me run the sander. But that's really just the tip of the iceberg...since then I've added these things to the list:

Horseback Riding
Crazy Quilting
Hand Stamping Metal
Baking Bread
Invitation Design

These really are just some of things I've learned how to do over the years.  People often ask me how I have learned all of these things and my answer is very simple...I just try it. And then I try it again and again and again and again....well you get the picture...until I finally get it! 


I really don't think I'm any more naturally inclined to these things than most people, I just try it and keep at it longer than  most.
One of my questions is, what keeps people from trying and learning new things?
Here's just my own personal theory on a few things that hold people back.

1. Fear - fear of failure or disapproval from others. 
My take on this is that we shouldn't be afraid to fail because if we do, then we're really just right back where we started but if we succeed...we have totally expanded our whole world! Growing up, people told me often that I wouldn't achieve my goals but I just used that to drive me forward and then I learned how to plug my ears and not listen. As I continued working toward my goals,, the song of triumph became louder than the noise of their pessimism. 

2. Complacency - some people don't even have a desire to try and learn something new. I think this is because they have lost their curiosity and made their world small. We settle for watching tv and pinning stuff on Pinterest that we never actually do. The world is so big...there are so many people that do so many amazing things and most of the time, they're even willing to teach you! 

3. Excuses - top one: I don't have enough time. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that there are genuinely a few people that really are too busy to take on something new but most of the time there is time in everyone's day to dedicate to learning something new. You will be completely surprised at how just spending 15 minutes a day doing something on a regular basis will totally begin to add up and yield results. And guess what, most of the time you can even practice whatever it is with your favorite show on! 
Life never gets old if you keep learning.

Here are more things I hope the good Lord gives me enough time to learn:
Harmonica (I stink at it right now. My dog, Winston goes and hides under the bed when I bring it out, lol, but I'll keep trying!)
Photography - all that shutter speed, lenses and aperture lingo makes my head spin right now
Mothering (don't know if I'll ever be ready for this one! lol )
And I know there will be new things to add that I will see and want to learn :)

I am so thankful for a sweet husband that not only puts up with all my new endeavors but encourages me and gives me tools to go for my dreams. He's such a blessing!

Are there things in your life that you want to learn? I encourage you to go for it! There is so much information now right at our fingertips that it makes it easy to get started. YouTube is incredible and I've learned countless things from video tutorials. In fact, when I want to learn something, that's usually where I start! 

Don't listen to that voice in your head telling you that you can't, it's too much trouble, you don't have enough time, no one cares, etc. Don't listen to the people that will tell you that you can't or that it's dumb.  Listen to my voice telling you that you can! You can! And our world needs you to go for it because we don't even know what we're missing out on right now!
Go for it!! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Independence Day

My favorite day of the year!
I love everything about this day:
the weather - so hot and thick
the smells - cut grass, sunscreen, mosquito spray, cookouts and gun powder
the fireworks - sparkles, showers of colors streaming across the sky, pops and booms
the flags flying - Old Glory, our beautiful reminder of the price paid and the freedoms we enjoy
the people - everyone seems to be just fine with hanging out all day long with no agenda besides hanging out and enjoying games, conversations, food and fireworks
the memories - oh the memories are my favorite and I will camp here for a little while.

Of all the days that are distinct in my mind, I can remember so many fourth of July's from my life.
As a little girl, snaps, tanks, sparklers and the growing black snakes were my favorites. Dad would help me light them and then he would set off the ones I was too little to do yet and I would watch with delight. Then we'd head to Plainview to watch the explosions of colors in the night beautiful. Cars lined the highway and truckers honked as they passed by. We'd drive home tired and talking about our favorites.

As we grew older, we started saving money in June so that we could go to the fireworks stand and pick out some of our favorites. We had lemonade stands, pulled weeds, made friendship bracelets and anything else we could think of. It was usually Tommy, Wade, Cale and me. We would go get colored smoke bombs, lots of black cats and M-60s, bottle rockets, roman candles and a few other things that shot up, spun around, popped and had colors. We weren't really into fountains, lol...they were a little too tame for us. Then the fun began. We blew up ant beds and yes, sorry to say, the occasional frog. One of our folks would cook hotdogs and hamburgers for us and there was usually a watermelon to be had under the shade tree at Cale's. So, so fun.

One of the last times we saw a good friend of ours on this earth, Lauren Caraway, was on Fourth of July at Mama Gayle's house. She was sitting in the front yard visiting with everyone, with that beautiful smile and a ball cap. Then the boys got a little carried away and somehow started a whole bag of fireworks on fire!...people scattered as things shot out like small missiles. Lauren's Independence Day was not far away. Which leads into what I really want to talk about next. I could go on and on with memories but I want to talk about FREEDOM, true freedom.

I started thinking about independence and freedom and how we view those two words most of the time in America. I would dare say we usually think freedom means being able to do whatever we want whenever we want. I know that's part of it...but is that really it?

These verses came to mind as I lay still:

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jesus speaking) John 8:32

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (Jesus speaking) John 8:34-36

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, live as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13

The freedom we have in America is truly a blessing and like no other place in the whole world. I am so thankful for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. However, there is a freedom that no government can give or take away from us.

True freedom is only found in knowing the Son, Jesus. Jesus is the truth and when we know Him, He sets us free by making us right with God through his sacrifice, giving us forgiveness, taking our shame and bringing us into eternal life. He gives us the ability to please Him. That's what freedom is.
We buy into the lie that freedom is doing whatever we want but then something happens...we become slaves instead...slaves to - money, pride, drugs, careers, doing good things, sports, fear, anger...the list could go on and on. The very thing we thought would make us free or make us feel good has taken us captive. Instead of fulfillment there is emptiness, anxiety, fear, bitterness, addiction...

The two last verses I listed say that our freedom is to be used to SERVE in love not to just do whatever we want.

I challenge you to take a look at your life and see if what you are actually now serving what you thought was serving you...and if you find that you are in fact a slave...I invite you to call out to Jesus to set you free, set you free to serve him, please him and find fulfillment in your life. Maybe you've never called out to Him, that's okay, He's lovingly waiting for you. Maybe you know the Lord already but find you've started serving other things, just come back to Jesus. He's there lovingly waiting for you too.

I'll wrap up with this: Lauren Caraway knew true freedom, she knew Jesus Christ. She loved others and served others. Even though her life was not long on this earth, she had the ability to please God because she knew Jesus. She now lives in complete freedom and wholeness with Jesus - forever. She is completely free from sickness and the things we still battle here. Her Independence Day is every day and ours can be as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Wimbledon - the very word just oozes tradition. Immediately perfectly manicured green grass courts with the Rolex clock, athletes in all white uniforms and The Royals in their box come to mind. I see in my mind the grounds of the All England Club, a place I've definitely never been in person before but have been to countless times through my television screen. It' one of my favorite times in summer leading up to my most favorite summer day - 4th of July.

I see the athletes walk through the tunnel with their big racket bags, all white apparel, sweatbands or visors and steely eyes. I wish I was one of them. Their ability to direct that bright yellow ball wherever they want stroke after stroke intrigues me. I see them battle each other but even more so, I see them battle themselves. They battle to stay the course in the midst of the electrifying crowd, the media, nerves and the opponent trying to enforce their own will upon them. All of their countless hours of training is for now, this moment. They put themselves on display for glory or criticism - most of the time both!

Such brilliant displays of grace, power, courage and brains. The ability to adjust to weather conditions, physical conditions and your opponent is a must. There's no one else to take the shots for you. You can't pass the ball to your teammate and there is no one to block for you. Winning and losing is totally on your shoulders. The ability to persevere is critical and the best have a dogged determinism that can't be equaled. And just like in any sport, any person can win on any given day so you must bring your best.

What's interesting though is that I did not grow up playing tennis or even watching it. I remembered hearing when I was little that my dad used to play and that he was very good but at that time in our little town of 2400, tennis was nowhere to be found. The only 2 courts we had were by the golf course, cracked and full of weeds. When I did get into Junior High the only sports we had were cross country, basketball and track. I loved all three.

I can't help but dream and imagine though about what it would've been like to compete in tennis. As funny as it is, I have literally dreamed of winning a big match on center court. It's definitely not in the Lord's plan for me to ever play on center court at Wimbledon but I do plan on going to watch a match there one day!

My favorite player, Roger Federer, will be playing in the semi final tomorrow (on my favorite day!) for an opportunity to reach the final. I'll be cheering him on from here! I want him to show everyone that even though he hasn't had the results lately that he's had a certain points in his career, he is still one of the all time greats and capable of winning more Grand Slams.

Why do I love Wimbledon so much? Wimbledon represents a dream to me. The dream to be great at what you do, no matter that is. It is the underdog pulling an upset and the champion executing the plan. What is your Wimbledon? What inspires you and shows you what hard work and greatness look like?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's time

After a long break from blogging I feel like it's time to write again, to share about our life and what the Lord is doing in it. 
There really is so much to share so be on the lookout!