Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i'm not twenty.

i'm definitely not twenty. and i'll tell you how i know. at twenty i did things like: drink a lot, party a lot, listen to music loudly, ignore God daily, retail therapy, go to the beach by myself whenever i wanted, and didn't stare in the mirror at growing wrinkles or gray hairs.

because at thirty. things have changed. and thank goodness for that.

i didn't realize how much i had changed in ten years until i realized how much i changed in ten years. i know. very profound sentence. but it's true.

at thirty, i'm: married, a mother, walking with God, a stay-at-home mom, i have two dogs, laundry to do, a house to keep up, in-laws, a blog (ha.), i rarely shop unless it's for food, the husband or the daughter, i rarely go to the beach alone (as a matter of fact i've been two times without child in the past year), but i love going to the beach now because it means seashells and wowing over birds and waves and God's creation, and i listen to music but it's most always a form of worship music and if not, or if so, it's never super loud because almost always at the end of a day i have a headache from talking so much to my favorite little girl and who needs to promote a headache earlier than need be?

so that's that. thirty years have come and gone. and time passed and in that time God has done what He said he was going to do - help the old me go away and the new me grow. though i'm not done growing yet. and that's a good thing.

so let me tell you quickly about my birthday weekend.
friday night, todd took me out to eat. i suspected a surprise of some sort. but he assured me that he wasn't slick enough to pull off a surprise. and so when we made it to our restaurant and sat at a table for two and i looked all around and saw no one i knew; i figured that it really would just be a sweet dinner for two. but about 5-10 minutes later, while i was looking at the menu...in walks my mom, my brother and my sister-n-law with huge smiles on their faces. and my face, well i just had my jaw hanging wide open. i was speechless. and totally taken. it was awesome!

we have a really small family. it's just me, my brother and my mom on my side of the family. a long time ago, my dad's side of the family stopped keeping in touch with us; so our extended family shrunk quite a bit. so now when birthdays or holidays come around, we always want to be together. i just can't really put words on how sweet it was to see the three of them walk through the door. i felt so special. and so surprised! they all (ok, my brother didn't b/c he never talked to me before coming to town) LIED to me to get here. my mom told me she was sick - that she was running a fever. her thought was that if i thought she was sick, then i would surely think she was staying at home because there's no chance that she's going to travel if sick. BUT, she told me she was feeling yucky the day AFTER she had told me that an assistant teacher at the school where she is based had died of flu related symptoms. so for 2 days i cried over my mom. and PRAYED so hard. i had her dying of swine flu within 24 hours. i had todd holding me in bed while i cried and he prayed for her. that woman. sheesh. when it was all said and done, it was really pretty funny. and she felt terrible for my being so upset but it worked and they pulled a big surprise off :) [on a real note, though, there really was a woman who died at her school, so if you would lift up her family. it was a sudden death. and i know that grief must be heavy.]

me and my sweet mama.
birthday cake number 1
the sweet loveable liars. :)

on saturday, todd, loralai and i got up and went to the beach for half of the day. i love going to the beach with them. it's just the best. and morning beach trips are better than anything - coffee, cool breeze, then the sun pokes out, you warm up, play and then head home for lunch. ...but while todd took the short one back to put money in the meter, i called my mom to tell her thank you, again, for coming. and as i was talking to her, i realized something. i had my bikini bottoms on inside out! oh heaven help me. as i was telling mom my revelation, she said, "well is the white panty liner thing showing?!" GASP. it wasn't. thank you jesus that i was wearing a black suit and there wasn't one of those little liners. and you couldn't so much tell that it was inside out other than the dang TAG flapping in the breeze. todd suggested i go in the ocean and do the 'ole switcharoo of the suit. no thanks. i opted to not chance losing my britches to the ocean's current and just wear my inside out embarrassment.

proof that i was there. that i drank coffee. that i wore a black bathing suit. did you reeeeaaally think i was going to show you the tag flapping in the breeze? come on now. ;)

they have deep conversations.

that afternoon i went on a shopping spree - by myself. i haven't been to a club in years. but after walking through Forever 21, i felt like i might as well have thrown back a few shots. that store is insane. and i think that my thirty-ness completely rolled its eyes at the nonsense going on in there. when my phone ring is on high and i can't hear it over the noise, that's just silly. so i left.

but i didn't leave the mall empty-handed. i have a few pieces of clothes to wear that are cool (i guess) and don't shout mommy or 'hey i used to be able to fit into this pre-baby and now i'm just wearing it because it's all i have and i know it's uncool but, really, it's all i have'. now my clothes will just shout "hi. i'm new. thanks."

and so with saturday came birthday cake number 2. from todd and loralai. and why todd felt the need to make such a silly rhyme? i don't know. i think that to know todd is to know his odd and silly, yet sometimes confusing, humor. and that cake was delicious. i think the great american cookie cake is my favorite of all time.
it says: what's that little birdie? ashley's thirty? love you!

sunday was my actual birthday. (so that you know, i have never celebrated my bday for three days in a row. and have never felt the need to really celebrate my bday very much at all. so this was new for me and i actually really liked it). and i don't remember the last time my birthday was on a sunday. it was probably in my early twenties - when i wasn't walking with the Lord. so sunday, at church, on my birthday - now that was special. that pretty much took the cake. or made the cake taste even chocolate chippier. it was a beautiful day.

and i'm glad i'm not in my twenties anymore. i know that more change is to come. that's just part of this life. but i'm glad that the twenties are behind me. they were a huge time of change: i fell in love, out of love, lost a grandad, my dad, got married, had a baby, moved towns and houses three times...

i'd like to think that thirty will set the tone for a little bit of steadiness. if nowhere else, at least a little more steadiness as i keep walking forward with God. all things around us might spiral, but God remains the same.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. hebrews 13:8

on another note, loralai started potty training today. she pooped in the potty and peed four times in the potty. the floor. it was peed on four times as well. we read a lot. talked a lot. did lots of happy dances. ate lots of m&m's to reward the potty going. and i'll blog soon to let you know if the potty training is still in training after a few more days of this rodeo. this mama is whooped. and that kid, is so precious.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

all i am is all i have

i've been listening to a song lately: alabaster box: and at first i just enjoyed listening to it and singing along. it's got a sweet melody and Loralai really liked singing the "la la la la" part - so i kept it on repeat while we would drive around town. but the more i've listened to it, the more it's taken on new meaning to me. the more that God has revealed Himself to me.

the lyrics go something like this:
all i am is all i have
all i have, all i have to give
and i give it all to You

it's my fragrant oil
it's my costly perfume
i'll take my alabaster box and i break it open
let the fragrance arise

let the fragrance arise

so take every song
every spoken word
all of my dance
all of my rhyme
i give it all to You

it's my fragrant oil
it's my costly perfume
i take my alabaster box
and i
i break it open

let the fragrance arise


and that's where it gets me. at first i was remembering the story about the woman who opened her alabaster jar and annointed Jesus prior to his death. i kept thinking about what a sacrifice it must have been for this woman to empty her jar of her costly perfume. the scented oils that could have gained her money for her family, she chose to pour out Jesus. i kept listening to this song thinking, 'wow. that woman was awesome.'

i mean really, there are so many things that i cling tightly to. and it's just stuff. like clothes, extra ice cream in the fridge (i mean let's be real), jewelry, art i've collected or done over the years, my car. there are things that i know it would be hard for me to hand over. to anyone. and that's kind of hard to say. to think that if i was asked to give away an extra tub of ice cream and i have to think twice about it, that pretty much stinks. i think that shouts that i'm a weeee bit stingy. but maybe the better thing would be to think that while i might have to think twice about it, what would i do? would i give up the car, the clothes, the house, the stuff...if someone else needed it?

would the fragrance arise?

all i am is all i have. and all i have, i'd give it all to You.
but would i? i'm hoping so. i'm working on that. and i'm realizing something. and that is, that it's becoming so much more clear to me, and apparent, that when i'm gone, it will only be how i opened my alabaster box and gave of my costly perfume that people will remember the fragrance.

the scent of love.

how else are we going to show the world the love of God if we cling so tightly to our stuff? or even more, our talents. i told todd lately that i just feel like i don't have a pat on the back feeling for doing a good job. and i do a good job at what i do, i think. but i think the part that's missing is that there's something else that God wants me to do. He wants me to use my talents. the gifts only He has given me. but what are they? that's where i need to press in to Him.

it will be then, when i start using my gifts, that my alabaster box can really start pouring out. so for right now, if you get an extra tub of ice cream from me, or some hand-me-down clothes, or an extra roll of paper towel, or a meal cooked, or a hug, or an email...know that i'm pouring out all that i have right now. because, right now, it's all i have to give. and i'll give it all for the glory of God.

and so as i think about a friend of mine whose precious week old baby girl is awaiting the diagnosis of possible meningitis, i wonder what it is that we can pour out? and i think it's love. love in the form of beseeching God to go before the doctors, the nurses, to remove any infection, to be near the baby's parents, to cover them in his protective wing...that the power of our prayers would be so loud and strong that what would arise would be a scent of Love so sweet. love so sweet that it stains the heart of this little baby forever so that when she's older and gives her heart to the Lord that she can recall those first days when she first felt love.

what is in us is enough and it's all that God asks of us. that we give of ourselves fully to Him so that He can do a work fully in us for the sake of His Kingdom.

i hope you enjoy the listen and will please lift up our dear friends' little baby, madeline.