Tuesday, April 29, 2008

painting pictures of egypt

this past weekend was an incredible weekend and time with the Lord and with my friend marissa. marissa is the type of friend that is rare and we talked this weekend about how we believe we will be friends for the rest of our lives. there is just something about a friendship where you are bonded together not just by memories and fun times but your bond is from a common love and desire to know Jesus more and encourage the other person to do the same. she is one of those friends who knows me deeply and still loves me completely (thank you, Jesus!); she has lived me with on a couple different occasions so she has been subjected to my cranky post-nap moods and not so talkative morning moods. while we don't get to see each other as often as we would like, our times together are valuable and are very sweet.

anyway, back to the weekend...we attended the going beyond conference at hickory grove and can i just tell you how amazing it was to go in and sit down...not to work or be responsible for anything? my goal and desire for this past weekend was to be fed; i wanted to intentionally take some time for myself. i can tell you for sure that marissa and i are beyond thankful that we were able to sit under the teaching of priscilla shirer and more than that...overwhelmed beyond measure to have heard from the Lord in such a clear and personal way.

the theme of the weekend (and the name of the conference) was going beyond...going beyond in your relationship with God and following Him to the "next level." priscilla taught about the children of israel and their journey to the promised land. while the journey to step out and leave egypt and travel through the wilderness to the promised land was not easy and for sure was not always pleasant, it was a necessary and worthwhile journey. as i sat in the sanctuary and clearly heard the Lord speaking to me and i knew He was also speaking directly to marissa's heart, i constantly thought about the lyrics to a sara groves song, painting pictures of egypt. we know from Scripture that there were times the israelites longed for the past because it was predictable...it was familiar. sometimes the journey God calls us toward looks scary and uncertain and difficult...sometimes it's easier to stay in egypt, to stay where it's familiar and comfortable but if we stay in egypt, we miss the blessing of walking through the wilderness with God AND we miss the life He has planned for us in the promised land.

while the Lord spoke to marissa and i in different ways, we both walked away knowing that if we are going to follow Him completely, there will be times when we have to pack up and leave egypt....stepping out in faith that His plans and His ways are always the best. i certainly don't want to be someone who makes choices based on what is comfortable and familiar; i want to be radically obedient in my walk with the Lord...following Him at all costs.

if you're reading this, will you take a moment and pray for marissa? God is calling her to pack up and leave "egypt" without any clear direction at this moment and while she knows she can wholeheartedly trust Him, it is scary stepping out into the unknown.
i am certain that the Lord is about to take marissa on a journey like never before and i am excited to see how He is going to work and where He is going to take her.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

100th post (well, i'm about 3 posts too late)

well, i hit 100 posts about 3 posts ago but life has been crazy busy and i just realized it (that i hit the 100 mark...not that life has been busy). so, i'm taking this moment to celebrate hitting the 100 post mark...yay for me and for the blog! apparently, it's typical for the 100th post to be a massive list of 100 things about me and since we all know that i love me some lists...here i go...

100. i'm crazy obsessive about things matching...pens to paper i'm writing on, my gifts/cards/gift wrap or gift bag matching. i can't sleep in mis-matched pj's. just isn't going to happen.

99. i don't like conflict and i don't like fighting with friends and family...in fact, i absolutely hate it so much that i will make them talk out the problem so that it can be resolved quickly...i'm all about the quick resolution!

98. i really only like drinks in cups with ice (LOTS of ice); i'll drink them in cans or from a bottle but my favorite is to have my drink with ice and a straw. weird, i know.

97. when i was in the 4th grade, my teacher mrs. keever would give my mom a report every day at how i got injured that day; 4th grade was an eventful year for me.

96. i believe that i have the best and most comfortable bed in the world. i seriously LOVE it.

95. God has blessed me with a handful of friends who know everything (and i mean everything) about me and they still love me. i think they deserve some sort of award...i'm going to work on that one ;).

94. i planted a tree in the side of our yard with my grandpa when i was little (7 or 8, probably) and now that tree is as tall as our house. i love looking out the window and seeing that maple tree...it reminds me of my paw paw and i simply adored him.

93. i absolutely LOVE
this store in dallas AND...BONUS...this store is right next door. i'm telling you, it's a recipe for a little piece of heaven wrapped up in a girl's day out.

92. i am a big fan of fresh flowers. i just love to have them around; they brighten my day and make me happy.

91. i can listen to the same song on repeat forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

90. i've never seen the pacific ocean.

89. if i didn't work in ministry full time, i'd absolutely love to be an event planner.

88. i'm not so much a fan of working in a retail store...my career in the retail world lasted one whole month. i did, however, get some great clothes out of the deal!

87. when i was little, i loved my sister so much that i wanted to be just like her...now, i am happy to report that she is my absolute best friend and i still adore her. i might even adore her even more now that i'm an adult because i'm much closer to her now. she's an incredibly amazing, fabulous girl. seriously, you'd absolutely love her, too if you knew her.

86. my mom makes me laugh and i really like just hanging out with her. she also would do ANYTHING in the world for me...i know this because she's proven it time and time again. she's also a godly lady who has instilled in me the importance of loving and caring for your family...she doesn't just talk about it...she lives it.

85. my daddy was my hero when i was growing up and as the years have passed, i can say that he deserves the "hero" title. i can't write anymore about it or i might cry.

84. my brother-in-law is much closer to me than just an "in-law." i've known him since i was 5 years old and he's just such a cool guy. i simply ADORE him, too!

83. i love my sister's kids like they are my own...i can't imagine loving them anymore than i do or that it's possible to love someone more. not only do i love them because they're my nephews and niece but i love hanging out with them. they're INCREDIBLE kids who love having fun and who know how to love well.

82. my family is important to me, can you tell?

81. i am so amazingly blessed to be engaged to joel alley. i love him so much and just think he's the best. ever.

80. i am also blessed to have such a great future in-law family. i love hanging out and spending time with the alleys...i truly think they are all the best. (AND i know what a gift it is to have such a great connection with in-laws...)

79. i don't think the big toe on my right foot is ever going to go back to a normal size. there are many posts dedicated to "the toe" if you have no idea what i'm talking about, do a little research and you will probably know more than you ever wanted to know about my big toe.

78. i was called into fulltime ministry when i was 15 but i also used to dream about singing on broadway. so, i used to pray that God would allow broadway to be my mission field (obviously, He had other plans). specifically, i wanted to be eponine in les miserables...i mean come on, singing "on my own" and then "a little drop of rain." it was this alto's dream.

77. i think ribbon makes everything better. lots and lots of ribbon.

76. i love to include confetti in my cards. so, beware the next time you open mail from me!

75. the only foreign country i've ever visited is canada (unless the bahamas count). i think i should get my passport and start travelling!

74. i love getting facials and massages but i never do.

73. i arrange my books on my bookshelf by height instead of topic, author, etc. i thought this was how everyone organize their books until joel pointed out that i am the only person who does it that way. hmmph. go figure.

72. i have an arrangement of cannon in d with silent night that i am going to use in the wedding. i listen to it at work if i'm frustrated, stressed, or upset because it instantly makes me happy. it's beautiful.

71. pizza hut makes my favorite pizza (well, except for california pizza kitchen).

70. lip gloss and lotion are two things i can't live without. i can't stand for my lips or my hands to be dry. ewww.

69. i moved 5 times when i lived in texas...that's craziness. (and believe me, it was craziness moving that much considering i only lived in texas for 3 1/2 years.)

68. when i lived in texas, i lived in a senior adult retirement apartment complex. it was interesting and BOY do i have some stories i could share. if anything, my life was never boring!!

67. i used to think that the difference between playing 8 ball and 9 ball in pool had to do with the number of balls on the table. i have since discovered it has nothing to do with the number of balls on the table.

66. i only wear white gold or silver jewelry. i haven't worn yellow gold since 7th grade.

65. i have a book about potty training in my office, no more diapers for ducky, i just thought it would be a good purchase for a preschool minister...considering, i haven't the first clue about potty training. i've never had to use it or loan it out but when i see it on my bookshelf, it makes me smile.

64. i had planned on being an american sign language minor in college and i made it through two years of asl but i ended up with a minor in sociology. i would like to report to you that i have not at one moment used anything i learned in sociology...i'm sure my parents would love to know that. i have, however, made good use of my religion degree. so, at least there's something.

63. i've had a total of 10 oral surgeries/dental procedures in my life but have only had to have two cavities actually filled. i still have about 2 or 3 more procedures to go...i've decided to take a hiatus from the dental procedure world for a couple years and then i'll go back and let them finish everything out.

62. i'm a rockstar wii bowler. i am not, however, a great bowler in real life.

61. i've had 3 cars in my life...a honda accord, a ford explorer, and my toyota camry.

60. i love sports. LOVE them. football, basketball, baseball. i love the competition and everything that goes along with it.

59. if i love a movie, i have no problem seeing it again and again and again. just ask joel how many times i saw ps i love you in the theaters. it was shameful, really. (and as a side note, it comes out on may 6 and this girl will be first in line to buy it.)

58. i love going to the beach with my family but i don't love the sand. i love the atmosphere and all the fun stuff we do together while we're down there but i am not such a fan of the actual sandy beach. i do like the ocean, though.

57. sticking with the beach theme, i don't really like seafood but i will eat it once a year at the beach with my family. i don't particularly like it because when i was growing up, we ate fish every friday night (fish camp fish...and if you're not from gastonia or north carolina and don't know what a fish camp is, well then, you are truly missing out. but, that's a whole other story for another day).

56. i absolutely love and adore all things Target (the store) but i have to say that trying to register there for my wedding was more than a little frustrating. it had the potential to tarnish my love for all things Target but (thankfully) i pushed through.

55. i've only been a bridesmaid 3 times in my life (and one of those times was my sister's wedding when i was 10). needless to say, i don't have 27 hideous dresses hanging in my closet. thank goodness ;).

54. i've always, always wanted to go to hawaii. the cool thing is, i'm pretty sure that's where we're going on our honeymoon. yay for that!

53. my love for flip flops has proven to be functional since, at this time (and i'm afraid for the rest of my life), my big toe...you know, "the toe," is still too swollen to wear all my cute, fun, and trendy sandals that are sitting on the shelf in my closet. (and who am i kidding...some are under my bed!)

52. none of my diplomas or my certificate of commissioning have been framed...it's been on my to-do list for 4 years (at least). maybe someday i will get it together. maybe.

51. my allergies used to be so bad that i needed allergy shots but once i moved to texas, they just went away. i don't really have any allergy issues anymore (except to down...that still messes me up). bizarro.

50. whew. i'm halfway there. that kind of depresses me because this is waay harder than i thought it was going to be.

49. i really love reality tv--much to joel's dismay. american idol, top chef, project runway...

48. i will only write with a certain type of pencil. it has to be a no. 2 pencil but i don't like the kind with soft lead...do you know what i'm talking about?

47. i'm going in june to hear beth moore, kay arthur, and priscilla shirer speak. i can't wait!!

46. there are only 222 days until my wedding. yay!

45. when i was in high school, i used to practice my handwriting because i was certain i was going to be an elementary school teacher, teaching at-risk children. (God certainly had much different plans, didn't He?)

44. when i was much younger, i used to also practice writing other letters in case someday i married someone whose last name began with an S or an R or a T or an M. i now know that there was no need to practice different letters because i'm marrying a boy whose last name begins with an A...and trust me, i've been writing that letter for a long time. i've got it down ;).

43. my new name in 222 days will be amy grayson alley. such excitement!

42. speaking of the wedding and excitement and things...i just have to brag on this boy that the Lord has given me. this past weekend, i had some time to truly reflect on the goodness and faithfulness of God in my life and in His provision of this godly man. i am blessed, blessed, blessed beyond measure by the opportunity to marry joel alley (aka..."the boy" ;). i'm excited to see where the Lord leads us and how He works in our lives.

41. my "to-do" checklist on
http://www.theknot.com/ says that i have 184 items to do and 45 items that are over do. who says wedding planning isn't overwhelming? geez louise.

40. i love singing (and sometimes at the top of my lungs) when i'm all alone in my car. i love it.

39. i accepted Christ as my Savior when i was 7 yrs old and it's been one amazing and unbelievable journey.

38. i am officially saying goodbye to my twenties this year...yikes. we are just going to pretend like november 12 doesn't happen this year. ;)

37. i feel the need to keep my nails manicured now that i'm engaged (normally my hands aren't an area people notice but right now since i'm newly engaged, more people notice my hands than normal). is that weird? even more weird, i made sure my nails were manicured the day before joel and i went ring shopping...i just wanted to have pretty hands :).

36. i love the old testament. in fact, in college, i loved studying it so much that i decided to take hebrew for fun. you know, just to learn something...it wasn't required or anything. and yes, i will officially admit that i claim that i was suffering from temporary insanity when i made that decision. it was not one of my finest collegiate hours. i did learn, however, that i could count on my hebrew class because they were all praying that i made a C so that i could graduate. oh, because did i mention i had this moment of insanity in my SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE? yeah, not my brightest moment, either. (i can, though, sing the hebrew alphabet for you. we watched a barney video where he sings the hebrew alphabet. i'm not kidding.)

35. the song, shackles, truly does make me want to get up on my feet and dance. for real, yo.

34. did i mention that travis cottrell AND mandisa will be there with beth, kay, and priscilla? yaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!

33. i sang for years in auditioned choirs but i don't sing anymore. it kinda makes me sad because i miss it but i don't have the time anymore.

32. plastic stadium cups are my favorite type of cups in the whole world.

31. even though i'm a children's minister, i can't stand clowns, jugglers, puppets, ventriloquists, etc. i just think they're all kinda weird and creepy. (sorry if i've offended you if you love or are involved in any of those activities...it's just not my style.)

30. my favorite type of bottled water is deja blue but they only sell it in texas. such sadness for me.

29. i could eat at chick-fil-a everyday.

28. i sometimes catch myself watching hannah montana even if there are no children in the room. shameful, i know.

psalm 86:11 is one of my very favorite verses.

zephaniah 3:17 is another favorite.

25. i didn't quite make it in the dorm at southwestern an entire year. it was kind of gross and i was happy when i found an apartment and a roommate! (only to move 2 more times after that...)

24. when i lived in my last house in texas, one of my next door neighbors was donnie nelson, jr. who was the assistant coach of the dallas mavs. it was fun to watch the pro ball players playing pick up basketball in his driveway.

23. i've stood in emmitt smith's locker at texas stadium. it was a cool moment.

22. i'm horrible, absolutely horrible with directions but if you can point me in the direction of a mall, i can find where i'm going. i can find my way if i use a mall as a landmark ;).

21. at my last church, we had to wear our staff badges ALWAYS. well, yours truly always seemed to misplace hers or forget it. when we forgot our badge, we were supposed to go sign out a staff badge with a number on it for the day. let's just say that "Staff Badge #33" became amy grayson's personal staff badge. i still have it, actually (you were supposed to turn it in at the end of that day but i just kept it because i always needed it and i found it the other day. i laughed out loud.)

20. my favorite stone is a sapphire...which is not anything close to my birthstone. i, personally, have never liked my birthstone so i decided to adopt a new one. i can change the rules like that, right?

19. i only use journals that are spiral bound. i have to be able to fold it back when i'm writing in it.

18. i can't write with pens that have no caps. i just end up throwing them away.

17. i could spend forever in office depot or office max. i love office supplies.

16. when i was born my parents decided they wanted to name me jamie but apparently, my sister was a big fan of the name amy (and NOT jamie) and they listened to her. that is why i'm amy and not jamie :).

15. i absolutely adore sunday afternoon naps. love them.

14. i am not a fan of email forwards. in fact, i usually delete them before i even read them.

13. i am not a morning person...no way, no how.

12. i don't have one particular favorite color...i like too many colors and it depends on what it's for.

11. i'm usually a pretty decisive shopper...i go in, get what i need and get out. i only go to walk around or window shop if i'm with someone.

10. i'm taking my nephews to nascar speedpark this friday and i'm super excited to go and just hang out with them.

9. i currently live in the house my grandpa built 61 years ago. i love it so much...there are so many memories there.

8. blowing rock, nc, is one of my favorite places to visit. i love, love, love it.

7. i love concerts and live music.

6. my co-workers thought it would be funny to introduce me to
jeff slaughter (lifeway's vbs music guru guy) as "his biggest fan" and "the president of his fan club" and also told him that i was so nervous to meet him. now, just to ease your mind, none of those things are true. i do think he's really talented and seems like a fun guy on the stage but come on now. he followed me outside to have his picture made me with me because he thought i was too embarrassed or nervous to approach him myself. i was embarrassed alright but not because i couldn't wait to meet him. fun times with the children's ministry staff, i tell you. fun times.

5. if you call my cell phone and hear my voicemail that my phone is lost in my purse, it's not just meant to be funny...it's more than likely true.

4. my favorite cake is ice cream cake. no, wait...my favorite cake is chocolate cake with white icing. oh, i don't know. i love them both.

3. the flip calendar on my desk (with funny or sometimes inspirational sayings) has not been changed since april 1. busy much?

2. starbucks is one of my favorite places to just go sit and watch people (and drink some fabulous coffee).

1. praise the Lord, i'm done!!

all i have to say is that if you read that entire list, bless your heart!

(and no, your eyes do not deceive you...even though the date for this post is last tuesday, i didn't finish it until today...monday, april 28. see what i mean by crazy busy?)

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Monday, April 21, 2008


well, i'm happy to report that there is no more strep throat (for me, at least) and the 2008 mommy & me tea is officially over. whew. i've decided i'm going to take this week to just exist and catch up on all the stuff that i've neglected over the last 3 weeks...you know, stuff like laundry, paper work, etc.

of course, i completely forgot to take my camera along on saturday morning to capture a few photos of our decorations (which were AMAZING...linda morrow, melissa guinn, cindy harrell, and amy eller...they did everything) but i was able to snag a few from "the boy" who caught some shots for me toward the end of the morning.

oh, and i have not forgotten about the promised post about the texas trip (with pictures!!) that, too, is on my list of things to do this week. you know, the list of things that i have neglected...trust me, it's a long list.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

strep throat stinks

for real, i don't recommend it. if you're planning on getting sick anytime in the near future, skip the strep.

just some free advice for my peeps out there in internet land. oh and no worries, the medical advice i'm dispensing is free. (i know, i know you're thinking, "score!" no one gives free medical advice any more. well, i just want you people to know that i'm here for you ;). now, i'm off to find my tylenol and hand sanitizer.

until next time...

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ps--and in case you were checking back in to get an air conditioning update, apparently, the air conditioning at work is still running on full blast. anyone have a ski jacket they'd like to share?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

i'm alive...frozen solid but still alive

just a quick update to let you know that i am, indeed, still alive and made it safely home from dallas. i had an absolute blast and plan to blog about it soon. (complete with pictures!!! which is a pretty big deal for the girl who never remembers to take pictures. i always have my camera with me and it never fails that i realize what a great picture i could have taken...if only i would have remembered that my camera was in my purse OR i think to take the picture and my camera batteries are dead. seriously, happens to me almost every time i try to take pictures. but, this time, my friends, i was successful in my picture taking ventures. i just thought you would like to read a whole paragraph about the ongoing saga of my picture taking abilities...or lack thereof.)
anyway, back to you know, the point of the post ;).

like i said, i am back and have been meaning to sit down and give you a full recap of my fun times in texas (with pictures!!) but i just haven't had the time, yet. i've been busy with a conference at church, trying to spend as much time as i can with "the boy" (because i can't even begin to tell you how much i missed him in while i was in texas. it must be love :), thinking about and planning for the BIG DAY (which is december 6, 2008), AND also trying to make sure everything is ready to go for the mommy & me fashion show & tea next weekend. so, needless to say, i've been a smidge busy.

also, apparently there is some problem with the heating/air conditioning system at work and the air has been running on FULL BLAST for the past 3 days. i know that the guys here are working on it as quickly as they can but it's still no fun to shiver. we're all up here on the 3rd floor bundled up in blankets and coats trying to work and we have learned that once your body has gotten used to shivering, it's hard to stop...even when you're standing outside in the sunshine. the plus is that the cold air is keeping us all alert and awake but my typing abilities are being hindered by the shivering. :) (and, of course, brilliant girl that i am...i am wearing flip flops today. what was i thinking? my toes are blue. and so the drama of the forbidden flip flops continues...cari, do you remember that?)

anyway, ya'll have a great day and i hope wherever you are, that you are warm. :) travels in texas post (with pictures!!) is coming soon.

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