Wednesday, August 31

My Story

I got a phone call today from one of the pastors at 12Stone asking me my story and what led to me jumping in for open baptism this Sunday.  I’ve been tossing around the right words since I came from the baptismal.  As a blogger I wanted to present my story but it just seems like words just didn’t work!  As you know, I posted about the baptism itself, but my expression seriously just doesn’t do it justice.  Below is what I emailed to her.  She was moved, so perhaps I have the right words and have just been wanting to revise so I can relive.

I was raised Presbyterian.  Baptized as an infant and presented to my family church congregation – still have my little pink Bible I was given that day.  My father was a elder and assisted my mom as the high school youth leaders.  I loved being at my church; always gathering for the typical church potlucks with dish after dish of macaroni and cheese and endless gallons of pink lemonade.  I had friends there.  Life was “normal”.

When I was in the second grade, my parents divorced.  With that, my mom slowly pulled away from the church we grew up in – not all at once, but gradual.  My brother and I grew up semi-involved, but nothing like the experiences I had as a child.  Through middle school I joined the choir, only to quit after the Christmas program.  I joined the handbells because of my musical talents and their need, but that didn’t last either.  There was something missing that I just couldn’t find anymore… I didn’t feel anything.

After entering high school I became a twice a year Christian – Easter and Christmas Eve you could find me draped upon the pews.  I’d never fully listen, just show up out of duty if you will.  The messages never grasped my soul and I longed for noon to arrive so I could get out and get food.  My mom and brother joined in on the twice a year appearance schedule out of convenience.  Our family just lost the love for church and I lost touch with Christ.  I never felt abandoned or alone, I just took for granted the blessings I received as if they were just there and not gifts.

I went off to college at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) where I became best friends with a wonderful girl who is now married to a wonderful man.  They both have amazing faith and love for Christ.  I visited their church back in their home town a handful of times, but still didn’t have a connection.  I would reminisce about the times I had a church, but couldn’t find what I was looking for – the burn.

Upon graduating from college I returned to Lawrenceville to begin my “adult life”.  After finding a job and settling back into life in Atlanta, I decided that I needed to seek a church home – not for me, but for the family I was going to have one day.  I knew the amazing experiences I had as a child and felt it was my duty to my future family that I found a home for us even though I was not married, had no intentions of marriage and had no children.  So I began my search.  I visited the Vine in Braselton and frequented several Sundays there, but then fell out again. 

In February 2008 I visited 12Stone for the first time.  Overwhelmed by the size of the church, the friendly volunteers, the amazing music it was almost too much for me to take – and then PK began to preach.  I listened; held on to every word that he spoke.  I learned; his explanations and stories brought everything into perspective.  I loved; from five minutes into the sermon, I knew I had finally come home.  After that first Sunday I began raving about my new church – the big one that blocks traffic.  I invited my mom who fell in love immediately, joined a small group and continues to come every Sunday.  I invited my little brother, who struggled with his beliefs for a long time.  I am proud to say that I watched him accept Christ last year.  My husband and I joined a small group that changed our lives.  This “family” has held my hand and helped me understand so much of what I had left behind or forgotten over the years.  12Stone has brought my family back to living Christ-centered lives and I’m forever grateful.

The baptism was something I had wrestled with for about a year or so.  I believe that I was baptized at birth when my parents presented me to their church, but wanted to proclaim my love for Christ myself.  I struggled back and forth on whether it was the right thing to do or not.  My husband told me to ask God, that He would tell me what to do.  As much as I don’t want to admit that my husband was right, he was.  On the 21st when PK mentioned the open baptism I immediately got excited.  I elbowed my small group friend sitting next to me that Sunday and said, “I’m doing it.” 

On Sunday, I was beyond excited to be a part of open baptism at 12Stone – so much so that I was the third person to be baptized!  The whole experience is something that I will relive over and over for years to come.  The volunteers who helped me before, Travis for helping me into the baptismal and being the catalyst for such an amazing part of my life, the wonderful team who greeted me as I exited the church with hugs and dry clothes.  Every face is imprinted on my mind forever; every word will ring through my ears. 

I also have to thank the lady who honked at me driving by the Gwinnett Braves stadium and giving me a thumbs up and the wonderfully kind lady at Costco for stopping me to share that she too had witnessed my baptism.  

I still tear up when I write this down because I’m so grateful of the love that surrounds me everyday I’m a part of the 12Stone family.  

Tuesday, August 30

Mark Your Calendars - August 28, 2011

August 28, 2011 will be a day that I will never forget.  Furthering my walk with Christ, I was baptized as an adult.  When reflecting on the experience itself only single words come to mind.  Inspiring.  Exciting.  Peaceful.  New.  Forgiven.  Unworthy.  Loved.  Happy.  Blessed.  Awestruck.  I could go on and on here because it was as if time slowed for me to take in every second of the experience.  I remember the face of the gentleman who helped me gather my belongings, the elder who helped me into the tub, the face of the man who asked me the two most important questions of my life, and my nervously answering with “yes I do”.  The sounds of the thousands of people who witnessed my public proclamation of my faith will ring through my ears for ages.  The warmth of the baptismal water rushing through my hair and the feeling of being renewed will continue to crawl across my skin.  I will relive those moments forever.

I need to express extreme gratitude to several people…
 - Thank you to my amazing parents, who baptized me as a baby and taught me that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  Thank you for your guidance, your love and your faith journeys for showing me the way. 
 - Thank you to my husband who has continued to help me along my journey.  Thank you for loving me and showing me how God can run a marriage.  I love you forever Sweet Tea!
 - Thank you to my amazing small group family.  Y’all are such a vital part of our lives and spiritual journey.  Each of you bless me every day with your friendship and love.
 - Thank you to my college roommate, Becca, for being there through those years were I was lost.  Your Christ-centered life inspires me all the time!
 - Thank you to my extended family (the Hunt crew) for being there to witness such an important day in my life.
 - Thank you to all the friends and family members who sent encouraging words via text and on Facebook.  Each one of your responses brightened my day.

And finally, most important of all, thank you dear Lord for stirring my soul to be baptized as an adult.  Your blessings are more than words could ever proclaim.

God bless,

Wednesday, August 17

Nothing Like Fiber in the Morning…

Do you love breakfast?  I won’t lie… I don’t!  I feel it is a necessity that helps me bridge my way to a delectable lunch.  The whole aspect of breakfast foods – eggs, waffles, muffins and donuts – make me want to skip the meal all together.

When I first roll out of bed and stumble into the shower the only thing I’m thinking is “can’t I have just 20 more minutes?”  Once I’ve steamed up the mirrors and put on my face (also known as my Mary Kay billboard) I begin thinking about the gentle aroma of my morning coffee.  No where in my routine do I think about food, which is odd for me since I truly enjoy a good meal.  Once I pour myself into my car, fight the traffic known as Atlanta morning rush hour and plop into my desk chair I begin to notice a rumbling in my belly that can only be caused by neglect – breakfast has finally crossed my mind.  Though I never “crave” breakfast foods, I’ve trained myself to munch on the items of norm during my morning routine at work.  Normally consisting of some kind of fruit and starch, I’ve never found one that just made my day… but perhaps, now I have changed my mind.
You see, BlogSpark sent me this care package that included a little something for you and a little something for me.  I’ll start with my part:  Fiber One 80 Calories Cereal.  I know what you’re thinking, because I did the same, “a decent tasting cereal that is healthy for you AND has only 80 calories… no way.”  I’m here to tell you, YES WAY!  It is so good I seriously forgot it was healthy eating.  The squares each hold the sweet taste of honey while swirling around in you milk, leaving a little sweetness as they go.  Staying ever crunchy to the last bite, I gobbled up my cereal in amazement.  This stuff is good y’all.

Not wanting to be a lone in my trial, I shared a bowl with my hub who also raved about how “this stuff tastes like kids cereal… so good” with his mouth full of health.  We are fans, so much that I’ve started collecting coupons for our next grocery run.

Ok, enough about me, let’s talk about YOU, my wonderful, fantastic, supportive readers… my first giveaway has arrived.  I never thought little ol’ me would have such, but here we are and here is how to enter:   
     1.  Comment here about your breakfast routine or if you've ever tried Fiber One.
     2.  "Like" Fiber One on Facebook.  (Make sure to comment here so I know)

You will win:
     ·  1 box of Fiber One 80 Calories Cereal
     ·  1 sensor pedometer with USB connector to chart walking progress
     ·  1 neoprene iPod/smartphone holder with armstrap

Come on y'all... help me make my first giveaway a success!!  

Enjoy a little Fiber in the morning, 

Disclosure: Fiber One 80 Calories cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, August 15

Health Stats with Edna

Why in the world must the elderly share their medical stats with us of a younger generation while slothing around a doctor's waiting room? I feel like an announcer is needed to properly display the lineup of "achievements" some of said elderly have achieved...

Now stepping to the window, Edna. With a strong series of procedures, she ails from an ulcer, diabetes, heart problems and spider veins. A ripe age of 76, she has earned the honor of clean colon several years running. Her 21 year stint with her current cardiologist is best in the county...

Yes, I met Edna and yes, her stats are true. While waiting for my mom to finish up her "in-depth" video shoot, I was graced with the presence and medical rundown of dear ol' Edna.

Have you noticed that older folks enjoy discussing their medical history? Our discussion began with her asking why I was "in here". After bursting her bubble of excitement by telling her I wasn't a patient, she began running through her recent accomplishments which concluded with her colonoscopy she was "prepped and ready for". Trying to remain respectful without running out of the office screaming, I quietly sat and listened to her describe her previous day. I'll spare you the details, but just know it involved her intestines and stomach to be totally emptied with excessive trips to the bathroom.

Is this something that all elderly share? Or was I just blessed this morning?

Friday, August 12

Fridays should be about yummy coffee & cute heels...

ridays should be about yummy coffee & cute heels.  That’s my mantra for today.  Shoot it should be my mantra everyday!  Who doesn’t love delish coffee and cute shoes, right?

After a super challenging week at work (challenging to me and my limited amount of patience, not tasks) today my brain seems to be wandering along, daydreaming of me strolling along a bustling street with “The Motown Song” by Rod Steward and the Temptations as my background music.  Street vendors selling fresh fruit and veggies, florists and of course a cute coffee cafĂ© on the corner – I’ve got a skip to my step going along with the beat of Rod.  Sing it man…

Don’t you just love my mind today?!  I do.  It makes me smile.  Since I’m actually sitting in a not so fun, bland office, I will have to settle for my cinnamon coffee and cute heels while listening to some of my favorites on Spotify. 

So here is to YOUR super Friday.  Wishing you beautiful day dreams – if you’re strolling along a fall street listening to Rod, stop and say hey!
Much love,

Wednesday, August 10

Death of a Car Battery

Monday night was one for the books.  I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but after a long weekend celebrating with my step-bro in Tuscaloosa it sure was not needed. 

Every Monday I spend a few hours in my pink bubble learning new tricks and tips, sharing time with my MK girls and enjoying getting to know some of my customers a little better.  This Monday was no different, I arrived early to help set up, learned a lot, chatted and then strolled out to my car to head home.  I have a lot to look forward to when I get home – rest, my pups and most importantly, my husband who is ridiculously amazing… he makes dinner for me every Monday and this week was homemade chicken noodle soup.  Delish!

I hop in my car after a few “buh-byes” and turn the key.  In a flash everything sprung to life and then died away.  Thinking I had released the key too soon and that my 2000 starter needed a little more help, I turned the key again.  Nothing happened.  I just sat in darkness – in wet heat (did I mention it was raining?).

Being an independent woman, I scurried to the back of my Rav4 and pulled the jumper cables from their resting place.  Flagging down some assistance, I set off to resuscitate my car back to life.  I let it run for a moment and then sent the wonderful helper along her way.  I was ready to go home.  Making a quick call to report my status to home, I was on my way.

Pulling out onto the dark road, I felt like the car was sluggish.  It seemed like it just didn’t want to go.  Then. It. Happened.  Everything shut off, and I mean EVERYTHING.  No AC, no lights, no power steering and NO BRAKES!  I began struggling with the wheel and praying that I could get myself over into the ditch and out of the line of traffic.  Finally, when I was where I wanted to rest until Brandon could come assist I pulled the “E” brake.  Shaking and nauseated, I picked the phone back up to hear Brandon’s voice.  He was already heading my way, just needed to sit tight and he would be there to help. 

After reliving the resuscitation and the death of my car again, we made it home by the Grace of God.  (My car died again the minute I pulled into the parking lot, so when I say Grace of God, I mean GRACE OF GOD y’all!)

A $100 battery later, the reliable ol’ RAV4 is back in business.  I’m a little leery of other issues that may come, but for now it will do.  Besides, I have a goal to earn my free car… it just may need to be a little sooner than I thought. ;)

Friday, August 5

How to Tick People Off

Today, I'm in a mood.  No particular genre, just A mood.  While mindlessly roaming the net I found the below list that made me chuckle.  Useful tips, especially if you're looking to grind peoples' gears...

  1. Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
  2. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for sexual favors."
  3. Specify that your drive-through order is "TO-GO."
  4. If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
  5. Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.
  6. Insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep them tuned up."
  7. Reply to everything someone says with "that's what you think."
  8. Practice making fax and modem noises.
  9. Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers and "cc" them to your boss.
  10. Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
  11. Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
  12. Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
  13. Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the ink cartridge across the room.
  14. Holler random numbers while someone is counting.
  15. Adjust the tint on your TV so that all the people are green, and insist to others that you "like it that way."
  16. Staple pages in the middle of the page.
  17. Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
  18. Honk and wave to strangers.
  19. Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints at the cash register.
  21. type only in lowercase.
  22. dont use any punctuation either
  23. Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets.
  24. Repeat the following conversation a dozen times.
    "Never mind, it's gone now."
  25. As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
  26. Try playing the William Tell Overture by tapping on the bottom of your chin. When nearly done, announce "No, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
  27. Ask people what gender they are.
  28. While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
  29. Sit in your front yard pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
  30. Sing along at the opera.
  31. Go to a poetry recital and ask why each poem doesn't rhyme.
  32. Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles."

Monday, August 1

Re: Gumption

I'll post info/updates from seminar - it was truly an adventure - but before I do, I had to share the swift kick in the rear I needed.  Funny thing is, it happened once I got home.  The push and promise I toyed with in Dallas were surely secured yesterday morning when I sat in my wonderful church

Seriously think about it... what have you previously strived for and failed to hit your goals?  Gumption is the character to commit and complete!  Check out the video:

reGumption Remix from 12Stone Church on Vimeo.