Saturday, October 24, 2009


just checking in to let ya'll know that mckmama is hosting a very fun giveaway over on her blog. you should hop on over there and check it out, too.

in other news, i've been bitten by some sort of sickness bug...not sure what it is but i can tell you what it's is not fun nor enjoyable. i'm drinking lots o juice and resting so hopefully, whatever bug this is will decide that i am no fun and vacate immediately.

i'll be back in the next few days with a new post. until then, i'm off to buy stock in tylenol cold & flu and tropicana.

pass the hand sanitizer :)


Sunday, October 11, 2009

hello, fall...

hello, fall...i heart you. i am so excited that the days are getting cooler and fall is definitely here and what better way to celebrate the start of my favorite seasons (because fall leads us into winter and the Christmas season) than a list on the blog (that and it's too early for me to think in paragraph format...sorry)!

so, here we go...

-all the decorations: this season in particular i have loved, loved, loved decorating my house for fall (because it's my first fall in my house and my first fall to be you didn't know that :). i have a gorgeous fall wreath on my front door, pansies planted in the flower pots, mums and pumpkins on the porch and that's just outside. :) i didn't go overboard inside, i promise. wanna see some pictures? good. i'm so glad you do!

welcome to our home :) this is the foyer

my dining room table

my two favorite magazines chock full of wonderful fall decorating ideas, recipes, and places to visit. (i am so gonna make those pumpkin cakes...LOVE them!!)

kitchen the table runner and flowers

kitchen countertop

love the pie plate!!

this container was full of candy corn and peanuts but joel hearts the candy corn/peanut mixture :)

-i just love the smells and flavors of fall. i love all things pumpkin...pumpkin bagels/cream cheese (thank you, einstein bros!), pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread...i think you get the idea :). my other absolute fall favorite is the harvest yankee candle.

one word: YUM!

-football: i'm a football girl, i admit it. i love nfl and college football. just this past weekend, i had the opportunity to take my daddy to a panther's game (they were playing the redskins and he grew up as a redskins fan...until the panthers). hubs had a paper and school work to finish so he encouraged me to take my daddy (don't worry...hubs and i have tickets to two more games so he won't miss out on going to some games this season).

my daddy and me (notice, btw, the my fall wreath on the front door :)

awesome seats and it turned out to be a great game

-day trips and weekend trips to the mountains! we are headed out very soon for a fun little trip to the mountains to relax, enjoy the leaves, nature, and just enjoy being together. hubs and i can't wait...we are SUPER excited!!

hope you have a fun-filled fall weekend, peeps! :)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

difficult lessons...

sacrifice. submission. selflessness. those are some pretty heavy words and the actions behind them are even more difficult, i believe. when i lived in texas, a guy named david nasser was a guest speaker at the church where i was working so obviously, the bookstore stocked his resources. i'd heard great things about this author/speaker and when i saw one of his devotionals on the shelf, the title captured my attention...a call to die: a 40 day journey of fasting from the world and feasting on God. i read the summary on the inside cover and instantly knew it was a devotional that i wanted so i purchased it. upon reading the introduction, he gives a disclaimer, if you will, that if you're not really serious about taking this 40 day journey or if you feel like you're not quite ready for it...the call to die, then maybe you should wait until you are ready. reading that gave me great pause and caused me to evaluate, "am i ready to answer this call to die? am i totally committed to a 40 day journey like this?" well, i can tell you right now my next thought was, "of course i am. i'm a seminary student, this is what the Christian life is about." well, i'll confess to you that i thought that i was ready but apparently, i wasn't. after reading the introduction to that devotional, i laid the book on my nightstand and that's where it stayed for the next few months until it was packed in a box and then placed on a bookshelf in north carolina. i've picked the book up every now and then but i don't know what it is about that particular book that gives me such pause but i'm ashamed to say i've never gone beyond the introduction. {i realize that Jesus calls us to daily pick up our cross...die to ourselves...and follow Him...and it's my prayer that is what we all make an effort to do as believers but let's just be honest and transparent for a moment and admit that it's a tall order and it's difficult. it's not impossible and it's not just for the super spiritual but it is a challenge. every. single. day.} maybe it's because in his introduction, he asks for a solid and serious commitment to the journey or maybe it's because the call to die isn't a very comfortable topic of study.

fast forward to this past week in my life and guess what the theme has seemed to be? yep, you guessed it...submission, dying to self, not my will but Your will. nothing major has happened this week but it seems as though the Lord is working to effect some change in this heart of mine. you see, over the last month or two the Lord and i have had the same conversation {well, it's not been much of a conversation because for the most part, i've been the one talking without slowing down to actually, you know...listen.} where i give Him suggestions as to what i would like to happen or if He would just listen to me, things would work out so much better. then in the next breath, i admit that i don't want to take a single step outside of His will. talk about feeling conflicted! :) sunday morning we had the opportunity to worship at my home church and the sermon was all guessed it...choosing obedience, submission, etc. the passage was out of mark when Jesus was praying in the garden of gethsemane and the Lord {gently} spoke to my heart reminding me that Jesus is my example. His choice to go to the cross was not easy, as that is evidenced in His agonizing moments in prayer to the Father but even as He pleaded for the cup to pass from Him, He ended every plea with, "not My will but Your will." quietly, i heard Him speak to my heart and all i could say is, "not my will but Your will." then, {oh yes, there's more} my apples of gold mentoring group's {older ladies mentoring younger ladies} Bible study this week was on submission. seriously? all i could think was, "okay, Lord, whatever You are trying to teach me, i'd love to learn it quickly because obviously, i'm not getting it." it was amazing that all He has been teaching me fits's as if He has a plan or something :).

there is a reason i believe Jesus tells us to daily deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Him because doing it yesterday just doesn't get it done for today and sometimes, it's a choice that we make over and over throughout the day. my heart and my desire is to willingly deny myself and take up my cross as i follow Him in my marriage, my work, my friendships, and my interactions in daily life. isn't it just like the Lord, though, to highlight two very important relationships in my life at the same time to show me how the lessons are related? the importance of obedience and submitting my will to Him in my relationship with Him and then also the importance of submitting in my relationship to my husband...the Lord has an order for the Church and a similar order in the family. can i be honest? i didn't realize how truly selfish i was until i married joel {and i know all my friends with kids will tell me just wait until you have a child} but the act of submitting doesn't always come easy. it doesn't mean i don't want to or that i don't have the desire to submit but i'm human and sometimes, my selfish desires want to be heard. i am thankful, so very thankful, that i have a husband who fulfills the challenge given in ephesians 5 to love his wife as Christ loves the Church. it definitely makes it much easier to submit when you know your husband has your best interest at heart.

so maybe, just maybe i will pick up that devotional sometime soon and sign the commitment in the introduction to complete the 40 day fast. either way, i am already on this journey with Jesus and i'm thankful for the way He speaks, teaches, and then gives the opportunity to put it into practice.

"when Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." ~dietrich bonhoeffer from the cost of discipleship


Friday, October 2, 2009

life is...

life here in the alley household is good. actually, i would say that it's great. the last two weeks have been amazing. my last day in the office was difficult but praise God my last Sunday was a good day! i didn't know what to expect or how i would deal with it but from the moment my eyes opened that Sunday morning, i was completely filled with and covered by the Lord's peace...the peace that passes all understanding. sure, it was emotional to hug the necks of children and parents i've grown to love over the last 8 yrs (2 1/2 yrs of interning and then 5 1/2 yrs after seminary) and to say goodbye but through all of it, i had such an overwhelming peace. i was able to enjoy my last sunday with complete assurance that joel and i are moving exactly in the right direction...relying on the Lord to guide us instead of handling it ourselves. :)

it was funny to me when people (before my last day of work) would ask, "what are you going to do with yourself now that you'll have all that time?" i would like to find those people and ask them to what exactly were they referring? what time? obviously, my life is less structured and there is waaay less stress but honestly, life hasn't slowed down. i'm working part time doing some contract work as a consultant for hgbc's daycare/mother's morning out program, i've started a pampered chef business {if you're reading and would love to host a party in your home, have a catalog party, OR place an order, just shoot me an email...i'd love to help you out! ;}, i'm in a mentoring program/bible study at church AND i've been decorating our house for fall. and i hate to admit it, but none of that stuff was even on my "things to do when i stop working" list. so, never fear, i i haven't been bored one single second over the last couple weeks and i couldn't be happier!