Wednesday, August 25, 2010

unfailing, unending love

often throughout the years i worked in full time ministry i would have people ask me, "why do bad things happen to good people?" sure, seminary definitely helps you to formulate the "right theological answer" but in real life sometimes people don't want to hear you rattle off a treatise on the problem of pain or how a good God can allow suffering in the world. they want to be able to look in your eyes and know that you get it...sometimes life isn't fair...sometimes people seem to have to endure much more than you could ever fathom they could endure. hurting, pain, suffering is unfortunately part of our life that we live in this broken, imperfect world. while they do still want answers to their questions, i think more importantly, they want to see that God's people hurt with them.

over the last few months i've been praying over and struggling through a very difficult situation that is happening in the lives of some of our family. cancer. what an ugly word from the start...a word that at it's very mention your life can seem as though it's shattering in a million pieces. hearing it spoken as a diagnosis in the life of a loved one makes you feel as though the rug keeps getting jerked out from under your feet. it can, in a moment, make you think that you have no hope. thankfully, i know that even in the midst of complete uncertainty, of dealing with things like life and death, and having to make important decisions about things that weren't even on your radar hours before a diagnosis that because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed {or destroyed or finished or at an end}. we are not consumed {or destroyed or finished or at an end} , because His compassions, His mercy, His goodness, His loyal love, His kindness, His favor not only never end but they never fail. Not only are they unending and unfailing but they are new...not just new every now and then or every quarter. His unending and unfailing mercies are new every morning.

what an incredible promise. God's love, compassions, mercy, goodness, and favor sustains doesn't come to an end just because we have come to the end of ourselves and it doesn't fail us when everything else that we thought was certain in life fails us. we can't always know why bad things happen and sometimes i don't think we are meant to know. we can know for sure that even in the midst of all things uncertain, there is a God who is certain, who not only loves us but loves us with an unending, sustaining, unfailing love.

my hope, my peace, my security {thankfully} doesn't come from having all the right answers or even having answers period. my hope, my peace, my security is found only and completely in a God who has such a great love for me that it alone can sustain me. does knowing and experiencing this great truth of God's love eliminate the pain and the hurt? of course not. i think we can read lamentations 3:21-23 with the understanding that in the midst of suffering {that it's a given it will exist}, God's love will not fail you.

today i am asking the Lord to take my thoughts, worries, and fears captive and replace them with the knowledge that His great unending, unfailing love will sustain me and i'm asking Him to give me the opportunity as i share and carry the burdens of others to extend the same hope He has so graciously extended to me.

Monday, August 23, 2010


  • weight watchers is going well this week. i've had a few missteps but overall, it's been a successful week. i weigh in on thursday mornings so we'll see what the scale that matters says ;-).
  • i've had several people ask questions lately regarding our future, what's going on with the house, with careers, with church stuff and my answer....i have no idea. it's maybe not the most informative answer but it's the truth. for one of the first times in my life i truly have no idea about most things but i've also never had more peace and confidence in being okay with the unknown. don't get me wrong, it wasn't an easy journey to finally land in that place but it has been worth it. i'm content with knowing that the Lord is in control and thank goodness, i don't have to try to be in control! my daily prayer has been, "okay Lord, what do you have for us/for me today?" all glory and praise for this belongs to the Lord because i certainly cannot do this on my own...i'm just so thankful that He has been kind, compassionate, and patient with me in this process of changing and molding my heart.
  • wow, that last thought was kinda heavy...on to a lighter topic ;-). tonight for dinner i made green beans {along with a chicken and rice bake} and it cracked me up that hubs specifically requested that i cook the green beans to death. he wants to see them almost shriveled up in the pot. i like my green beans like that but i also like them pretty much cooked any way...from slightly steamed to "cooked to death." i didn't find this out about hubs until a few months after we were married...after i had served steamed green beans (which were still pretty crunchy) a few times and the poor man tried to choke them down. now if he knows green beans are on the menu, he confirms that i plan to cook them beyond recognition. communication, it's a good thing.
  • i'm currently on the hunt for a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding (which is a little less than a month away) i do enjoy shopping almost all of the time but i don't like shopping "under pressure." and yes, i do feel some pressure to find "the right dress." i have no idea why but i do. oh and i just reminded hubs he'll need to dust off his black which he replied, "oh. i should probably try that on at some point to make sure it still fits." super. my reply? "yeah, if you're concerned about that, let's do it sooner rather than later." i can only deal with so much pressure ;-).
  • speaking of the wedding, i'm the wedding director. yes, you read that right...the wedding director. have i ever done this before? ummm, no but i'm sure i can do it. i'm actually really looking forward to being involved in their special day and hey, if it goes well maybe i'll have a new career in the works.
  • we start dave ramsey's financial peace university on september 5 and while i don't know that i would describe it as a potentially "fun" experience hubs and i are looking forward to it. we both agree that we have the desire to honor the Lord in everything we do...especially with our finances and we're excited about what we're going to learn. dave is pretty hardcore so i'm sure i'll share some of my ah-ha moments or insights here on the good 'ole blog.

alright. that's enough boredom for one sitting (that is if you're still sitting and haven't fallen out of your desk chair because you've fallen asleep ;-). until the next time you need help going to sleep at night....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

are you ready...

for some football?!? i know i am! i think the sundays after the superbowl are particularly depressing up until march madness and baseball season begins...which means that i think sunday afternoons in august-february are ah-mazing.

we're t-minus 2 hours away from the panthers first pre-season game. now, we're going to be realistic in the alley household this panther season...we're going to cheer them on but remember that this season has the potential to be a bit of a "building season" (and we're not going to really talk about the injuries that have happened at training camp). either way, i love football and can't wait.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

true confessions of my dvr

so this post isn't going to be enlightening or deep or serious at all. think lighthearted...think fluff. yes, that's right fluff (pointless fluff, at that!). i am such a fan of the dvr and truth be told, i'd rather wait to watch something after it's started just so i can fast forward through all of those unnecessary commericals. (which is a lot better than just muting them...just ask hubs...or in his case, channel surfing through the commercials. funny that we both drive each other crazy with how we "cope" during commercials. ha!)

so back to the true confessions... :o)

right now while i'm enduring such "a grave injustice" (aka gross summertime cold) i've been catching up on all my favorite shows that have been sitting in the dvr just waiting to be watched and it's been glorious. so in light of all the dvr fun i've been having, i thought i'd share the goodness with sweet of me, right? let you live vicariously through my dvr viewing pleasure. what can i say, i'm a giver ;o). **you should read the last sentence (which, by the way, holy run-on sentence, batman!!) in a very light hearted and slightly saracastic tone (but not a mean saracastic tone).**

for real, back to the true confessions...

rachel zoe project: i'm sorry but who doesn't love watching rachel and team zoe style people? i really love it and i think some of the things she says are absolutely hilarious. i've been using the phrase, "it's bananas" all day even though it's so last season. i told hubs i've picked up some "life lessons from team zoe" (ha!) one of which was if you have a problem/issue/something negative in your life the best way to "cleanse" it is to go shopping and just purchase a new look. of course! why didn't i ever think to do that? ;o) obviously, i'm kidding and not that shallow or materialistic but i will vouch for the fact that sometimes a little retail therapy can be fun...but...hello, shopping addiction if you use it to cope with all of life's problems (to be clear, something i'm totally not advocating ;o)

top chef: hubs and i both love top chef and always watch this together. i just love the competition, the crazy challenges, and hello....the drama :o). i'm having a harder time getting into this season for some reason but i've watched top chef from the very first season so i'll press on to the end of this one, i'm sure. as a total aside, i'm not sure about the whole "top chef just desserts" that's coming on soon....i have doubts that it will be able to make it. sometimes it's good to just leave the original alone and ditch the spin off shows....i'm thinking this will be one of those times.

friday night lights: who doesn't love coach taylor and tami? again, a show i've watched since the first season and even though the last few were a little bumpy i really like this season. i'm more than happy to let it take up storage space in the dvr.

bethenny getting married: i will admit that i was (am) a fan of the rhnyc (who am kidding...i'm a fan of most of the real housewives shows. it's like watching a train just can't look away) and was happy that bethenny started her own show which is great and not drama-filled like rhnyc.

best thing i ever ate: i just think this show is fun and interesting. i try to keep a mental list if i ever visit one of the cities mentioned because how fun would it be to sample one of those dishes they highlight on the show.

barefoot contessa: i just love her and even though her recipes aren't usually very good for you, i really enjoy watching her cook. all of her cookbooks are on my amazon wishlist. i just wish the team that preps her kitchen and makes it look so pretty and organized would visit my kitchen. sigh. i can dare to dream.

anne of green gables: last but certainly not could you not love anne (with an "e") shirley? pbs has been showing two episodes every saturday night and i've been recording them. i used to have the vhs (what is that?!) set of all of the episodes but i don't know anyone who even has a vcr (again, a what?!) anymore. i've added the anne of green gables dvd set to my birthday/christmas wish list but since those holidays are several months away, my trusty dvr is coming to my rescue. where else am i going to get inspiration to declare to hubs that "i'm suffering a grave injustice" or that i'm "absolutely in the depths of despair." ha! anytime i say something like that he looks at me and says, "been watching anne of green gables again, have we?" what can i say? he knows me well....he is, indeed, my bosom friend. (another anne reference, btw ;o). i also love that one minute i say something like that to him and another, we're talking like ganstas to each other. we have a hilarious yet identity-crisis filled relationship with one another sometimes :0).

and thanks to anne, just remember "it is a tremendous consolation that tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.....yet." so until tomorrow, i'm going to finish my dvr watching today.

Monday, August 9, 2010

well hello there

i know it's been quite a long time since i posted but we've had quite a lot of things happening in the alley household. i thought i'd start with the 411 on the last couple months...just to catch everyone up.
  • the diet/weight loss plan has been going really well...down 30 lbs. yay!
  • apparently the gallbladder is not a very big organ but it can cause some big problems! i found out the hard way half of june and all of july. thankfully, surgery went well and recovery is going very well
  • disney is still a magical, fun place even if you're recovering from surgery...our family {our whole family...all 9 of us} had a great time together.
  • immediately our return from disney hubs and i boarded a plane and headed to boston. he had fun working while i had fun experiencing the great shopping, food, and sights in boston. i had a lot of fun exploring the city on my own during the day and then in the evenings i would take hubs back to experience the highlights. i unfortunately, though, did not taste any clam chowdah. i tried to broaden my foodie horizons and i did quite a bit but i didn't get to sample the chowdah. maybe next time.
  • as soon as we returned home i was then in a mad dash to get ready for a hat and scarf party i co-hosted for a friend who is in treatment {chemo} for breast cancer. we had the best time loving on her and showering her with such pretty accessories.
  • now? now i am enduring a grave injustice.........a summertime cold. seriously? how is it that i've been sick for a total of 7 weeks this summer with 1 week of reprieve and now i have a cold. i'll be honest that i'm not a fan but i'll stop whining now. i promise...i'm stopping. right. now.
  • this week i'm preparing for my cousin's bridal shower which i'm co-hosting with my fabulous sister. i'm super excited about all of our fun plans...the shower will be so pretty and i just can't wait. i'm also seriously thinking over all the times i've thought that i'd like to be a party planner. the last couple weeks have fed that fun little desire...i do love planning parties {and bonus if it could be a party i wasn't hosting}.
  • today i've spent my time cleaning {is it weird to admit that i really loved it...i didn't clean much with the gallbladder saga}, planning meals, answering emails and i was happy to be back in a normal routine. yay for normalcy!