Thursday, August 25, 2011

So Excited!

I feel like a giddy child on Christmas Eve right now! Tomorrow is the Women of Faith conference, and I honestly can't wait! A day of inspiration and encouragement surrounded by an arena full of sisters in Christ plus quality time with my best friend....doesn't get much better than that!
Unfortunately, we will be missing the second day of the conference because we're trying to get home before Irene hits, but that fact won't rain on my parade. (pun intended!) I am so grateful that the Booksneeze program blessed me with this opportunity. I already know that this will be an experience I will remember for the rest of my days.
Have a great night, everybody!!

Beautiful Lesson

They say that children are great teachers, and every day I'm discovering another reason that saying is true. Tonight, as I gave Bianca a bath, my daughter taught me a lesson on beauty.

As I admired the gorgeous curls on the nape of her neck, my attention was then moved to my own wavy hair. I used to dream of permanently straightening my often unruly mane. But now that my darling daughter has the same feature, I wouldn't dream of touching my locks.

The same is true with my nose. I used to imagine how I would look with a longer, leaner nose. I despised my short, stubby one. But now that Bianca has almost an identical nose, I wouldn't dream of changing it.

All my life I didn't appreciate my own looks. It took my adorable daughter to show me just how beautiful I am.

You Could Win a Free Blog Makeover!



Traci, who blogs at Ordinary Inspirations and Graphic Designs by Traci, is giving away a FREE blog makeover!! If you could use one (I am right there with you!!), click here to read more about the contest. The winner will be announced on her due date - August 31st. Good luck!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I've Got A New Attitude!

My attitude coming into work this Monday morning was a bit different than usual. Instead of my normal negative attitude, I brought with me a huge heap of positivity and joy. I don’t have a different position. My job duties are the same. Both my boss and supervisor are scheduled to be in the office. So why the change?

We are currently studying the book of Titus at church. This week we focused on chapter 2. Though we covered a lot of material, the verses that stood out to me the most were 9 & 10: Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.



photo credit

While I am not technically a slave, this passage very much applies to my job. Pastor David asked a simple question: Is the way that you work making God attractive? Do people look at you and want to get to know Jesus better because of you? Are you bringing glory to God through your work?

Sadly, up until now, I think my answer to these questions would be a resounding, “no.”

The great thing about life is the number of second (and third and fourth and fifth….) chances we get. It’s inevitable that we will fail. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get up and try to do it right the next time.

Even though I long to be home raising my daughter, God has other plans for me right now. It’s about time I start honoring Him with my attitude concerning my job. Who knows how many people I have been unknowingly repelling from the Church simply because of my negative attitude? It’s time to start living like one who is drinking from the Living Water. It’s time to honor God with my entire life – my work-outside-the-home job included.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Loving Eyes

Earlier this week I was driving on Eastern Boulevard when I came to the red light at Stemmers Run Road. As I looked over at the Stembridge football field, I caught a glimpse of my nephew practicing with his team. In that very instant, my heart leaped with joy and I was overcome with a huge sense of love. He had no idea I was there, but that fact couldn’t contain my excitement over the mere sight of my sister’s baby boy.

The incident prompted me to think that God sees us very much the same way. We often get busy with life and don’t pay attention to His loving gaze. And yet even still, He is filled with love, passion, and excitement for us. (Read the Song of Solomon if you need a reminder!)

My eyes started to water as the light turned green, thinking of how amazing it was to be given such a huge blessing on my usually-dreadful drive home from work. Then I glanced upward and smiled at my awesome God.

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
~ Proverbs 15:3


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Fresh-Brewed Life



I was very excited to review “Fresh-Brewed Life,” mainly because Nicole Johnson is scheduled to perform at the Women of Faith conference I am attending later this month.

To put it mildly, I loved this book. Perhaps it was because Johnson penned the original manuscript at the same age I am now reading it, but I found that this book met me exactly where I was. I thoroughly enjoyed Johnson’s style of writing; I felt like I was listening to the stories of a close girlfriend. I underlined so many points in this book. I wrote in the margins. I recognized my own story in the lines of the heart-provoking prose.

Can anyone else relate to this? “ Each of us wants to be a godly, beautiful, smart, talented woman who cooks, cleans, ministers to the homeless, bakes her own bread, has passionate sex, changes diapers like a pro, teaches a Bible study, works from home, never yells at her children, wears a size 4, and lives in a picture-perfect house. How is it possible that in striving to be everything we end up feeling as though we’re nothing? Perhaps because “everything” is an illusion. It is an idol that will break our hearts. We must choose intentionally and wisely from our list of “everything” and then accept it as enough.”

I also really liked the format of the book. Included were inspirational quotes, directed journaling exercises, inspiring fresh-brewed adventures, and discussion questions.

I was so inspired and challenged by this book. I plan to read it again, this time savoring it slowly, just like a delicious cup of coffee.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher's BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sounds of Saturday

Right now, I'm listening to:

~ A CD of gentle piano music
~ The pitter-patter of rain drops
~ Soft thunder rolling
~ Crickets chirping
~ A far-off siren
~ The wind rustling the trees
~ The tapping of our swaying blinds
~ The hum of the dryer
~ Ice dropping from the ice maker
~ Bianca sighing deeply in her sleep
~ The rhythm of the keyboard as I type

I love how everything feels so still but very much alive. I think I could soak up this relaxing Saturday song for days and not tire of it.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46:10

Friday, August 12, 2011

Great Quote!

"The best way to keep your non-fiction as interesting as fiction = live a story worth writing about."

~Marla Taviano via WordServe Water Cooler

Friday, August 5, 2011

Transformation

Everyone loves a good transformation story, don't they? How else can you explain the appeal of shows like Extreme Makeover and The Biggest Loser?

Well, I am very excited to announce that starting tomorrow at 8:00 AM, I will begin my own transformation story. I have been blessed by a personal trainer whose rates I cannot only afford, but who also will come to my home. Not only that, but she is also a certified nutritionist, so she will be helping me to develop a healthier eating plan. I didn't think it was possible to have this kind of much-needed help that would fit both my budget and hectic schedule, but as I'm being reminded over and over lately, all things are possible when we keep our eyes focused on God.

I have committed to work out with Angela two times a week for four months. After that, we will see where our budget stands. But I am SO EXCITED knowing that no matter what, I am getting the butt-kicking, support, and accountability I need to finally start walking on the path to a healthy body.

Chelle, for the record, you have been such an inspiration to me. Through your story, I realize just how important a factor a helathy body is in being able to do God's work well. I hope my tranformation story is just as successful as yours! <3

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Big, Crazy Dream

Marcia Wieder of Dream University posted this video on her blog. In it, she reveals her big dream of becoming a talk show host. She then invited its viewers to leave a comment. "Perhaps you'd dare to share YOUR crazy dream....The one that's so big you don't tell anyone for fear they may laugh."

I'll share my response, if you promise to not laugh. : )

My humongous, colossal, gorgeous (and a bit scary) dream is to embrace a career and lifestyle that helps heal the broken and feeds my soul at the same time. I envision being fit and healthy in body, mind and spirit. I am a published author, a massage therapist, a personal trainer, a life coach, a singer, a talk show host, a positive role model, a supportive wife, a loving mother, and a true friend rolled into one amazing, joyful, peaceful me!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Elevator

For two afternoons in a row (Monday and yesterday), I took the elevator in the parking garage. Both times I held the elevator door open because I heard someone entering the garage just before the elevator door started to close. Both times, the person who entered the garage did not get on the elevator.

The scenario made me start thinking about my life in general. How much time have I wasted holding open the proverbial elevator door for people who don't even want me to? By holding open the door and remaining on the ground floor for someone else's sake, I have been unable to reach higher floors as fast as I could have.

And yet, if I simply went up, and the elevator door consequently shut in the face of the person who arrived just after me, I would feel terrible about it. I would consider myself pretty rude.

In the end, I suppose that no matter how quickly I would like to reach the top, I know deep down that I will always be willing to hold open the door for the person behind me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Get a Better Job

The bold words in my inbox spoke loudly to me: “Carey, Get a better job…” The email was an advertisement for a career search engine on whose hyperlink I did not click. But the message’s subject continued to ring in my thoughts hours after I had hit the delete button.

Ok – so this is old news: I am not satisfied with my job. All things considered, it’s not a terrible job. In fact, I would say it’s the best one I’ve ever had. But there is still this longing in my soul for a career that would not only help to heal the broken, but also to feed my spirit. The desire only gets stronger with each passing day. I also crave more quality time with my daughter, and I would love to find a career that would allow me to do just that.

The dreams tucked in my heart, as well as the talents and skills to make them reality are sacred gifts from God, and I don’t want to squander them. And yet I remain stuck in my current circumstances year after year, unsure of how to make a true breakthrough in this area.
Alright – let’s be honest – that’s not quite true. I know exactly how to have a breakthrough: I need to take a giant leap of faith. I need to put myself out there and risk failure, deep down knowing that I can’t possibly fail because God is on my side. I need to start following the path The Spirit has already revealed to me as my destiny.

Martha Beck said, “If you want to live peacefully, joyfully and abundantly, you must walk your talk.” I’m great at talking. Not so great at walking.

I need a proverbial (or literal??) kick in the pants. Anyone willing to do the honors?

Coming to Baltimore...

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If I were independently wealthy, I think I would spend most of my money on concerts. When I am surrounded by live music, I feel every cell in my body come alive. Butterflies dancing in the belly, heart beating in time with the drums, rushing blood making the skin tingle, shouts of unbounded joy escaping from the lips, feet tapping, head bobbing, hands clapping, ears ringing with the sounds of melodic delight... To me, this is pure bliss!!

I Dreamed a Dream


He said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.
~ Numbers 12:16


Last night, I had a dream in which I was famous. Flashes went off around me, as I smiled widely for the cameras. I waved at fans. I signed autographs. I spent an extended period of time in a candy store with a young girl who exclaimed into her cell phone, “You will never guess who I am with!” I was known, and it was magical.