Mugs and Smiles

Thursday, October 18, 2012  ::   9 important comments

On Friday night of each Retreat de Moxie, we enjoy "organized laughing time." Our thought has been to plan intentional time to relax, laugh, be goofy, and get to know one another through whatever torture craziness my good/weird/uninhibited friends, Sara and Angela, asked us to do. Two years in a row they  invited us to choreograph dances to their "fantastic" music selections using strange props. This may not sound fun to you and I will admit the two minutes of stage time with your own group is long and painful. However, the twenty minutes of watching the other groups dance is pure awesomeness. 

Unfortunately, Sara and Angela were unable to join us on retreat this year. In efforts of sparing someone the awkwardness of trying to live up to their antics, we opted for a change in events. 

This summer Kim hosted a mug swap and I thought it would be great fun to engage in a swap with my Moxie friends. 

Weird dance party averted and everyone got a new mug! 

By the way, no one every complained about the group dance-off. Every one always participated. And, we all laughed until our sides hurt. There's just something about watching grown women dance funkily with light sabors and baby dolls that is so funny. Or, maybe I just lead a very weird group of women. I'm totally ok with that. 

Here are some highlights from our swap: 

All the mugs in brown bags with no names to increase curiosity. Perfect.  

 47 women getting ready to open their own brown bag or steal a mug from someone else

 Our awesome facilitator. Jenn teaches 4th grade gifted and talented students. She is intelligent and goofy just like her pupils.  

Jenn planned a few extra credit activities for people to earn additional prizes. Erin happily and actively (hence the lack of focus) performed "I'm a little teapot." Jenn did you ever give Erin her alternative prize? She earned it. 

There were several comments made about the creepiness of this particular mug. I, however, think it is unique and vintage-y. It's really more of a dainty cup than a mug. Alisa just moved away on an excellent adventure this week. Alisa, I hope you took your cute cup. 

Happy we didn't have to dance and swapped mugs with friends instead

Perfect for a teacher Jenn because sometimes she does quirky stuff that makes you tilt your head and say, "What?"

We went to retreat with 47 women and headed home with 47 women and one baby. A sweet baby girl decided she was ready to see the world a few weeks early! This text sums it up beautifully! 

I shamelessly swiped some of these photos from Janice, Jenn, and Tori. Thanks, friends. 

So, would you rather have a dance-off or swap mugs? Do you think Alisa's mug is cute or creepy? Are you willing to admit if you brought it? Do you have any ideas for the night of laughter for next year's retreat? Please share! 

Here and There at Beautifully Rooted

Monday, October 15, 2012  ::   1 important comment

There is a perfectly obscure verse in the Old Testament that many of us should probably mediate on,
and possibly even memorize.

Do you sometimes feel overly busy?

Do urgent needs often overtake truly important needs?

Does all the stuff that just has to be done sometimes take priority over conversation with people?**


Want to continue reading? 

Recently I was invited to contribute monthly to Beautifully Rooted and my first post went up today. Please click over and check it out. I would love for you to leave some comment love so I don't feel so lonely in my new rooted spot. Look around if you haven't visited Beautifully Rooted before. I bet you'll find some topics that interest you.  

Continue reading HERE. 

Moxie Memorizers

Monday, October 15, 2012  ::   12 important comments

I apologize for not having an October 1st memorizers post. I thought about writing a quick one, faking that I could do it all, and pushing through the discomfort. 

And then I remembered 

  • that I value authenticity in my relationships. 
  • that I own this blog, it does not own me. 
  • that we memorize scripture because we value God's word and how He transforms our lives through it, not because we get to post our verses twice a month on this silly blog. 
So I didn't post. I trust you kept up with the discipline even though the accountability of posting your verse for everyone to see was absent. 

Two of the top disciplines in my walk with Jesus that I truly love are memorizing scripture and worshiping Him through music. Since the change in my brain both have become very difficult. 

However, don't pity me. Do you remember that old Matt Redman song? "I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about you, Lord." 

Maybe I can't hear music the way I used to hear it or sing as loud as I used to sing, but I'm pressing into to worship Him just as passionately and possibly without the distraction of familiarity.

Maybe it takes significantly more effort to memorize new scripture, but I'm meditating on many of the passages I've already memorized in a much deeper way. 

Disciplines in our walks with Christ shouldn't become idols and shouldn't become obsessions. I'm not saying singing to Jesus or memorizing His Word were idols for me, but I am saying my current season is reminding me to depend fully on Him, not what I can do or have done for Him.  

I am still working on Colossians 2:6-7. Whew. It is such hard work, but I will learn it. 

Reviewing passages has made me grin a few times because of the timely application. I switched out my review section last week. The first card in line? 

James 1:2

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 

I'm certainly experiencing the testing, and I'm focusing on experiencing the joy!

Post your verses, friends. Feel free to share anything Jesus is teaching you through His word through the discipline of memorizing or reviewing scripture. 

Fall Compulsions :: And a Recipe

Sunday, October 14, 2012  ::   4 important comments

When fall comes I usually want to do three things. 

1. Go to Mt. Lemmon to enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaves. We had a wonderful time in the air and even though it wasn't that cool I wore a sweatshirt all day and pretended it was cold. 

2.  I don't know why, but the change in the air makes me feel like I want to change my hair. Cutting it all off sounds so appealing in the fall. I went for it a few years ago and swore I would never have long hair again. I lied. Right now I'm very tempted to cut it all off again, but I'm not going to just yet. Just so you all know your opinions do not sway me one way or the other. And, if you have an especially strong opinion about what I should do with my hair, I will have a very strong compulsion to do the opposite. Mm-k? Thanks. 

2009 short hair.  I don't updated short style beckons me. 
3.  I want to bake and bake and bake, trying new recipes I've pinned on Pinterest. Morgan and Carah are at the age that I can mostly just supervise while they bake and bake and bake. 

This week we made pumpkin scones from this pin

Just in case you aren't Pinterest savvy and would like the direct link to the recipe, here ya go

I like to try recipes from Pinterest that people I know have tried and recommend. If you are the same way, I highly recommend this one. The scones were fairly easy to make and the result was pumkiny deliciousness. 

These two beauties had a marvelous time. 

We used a pizza cutter to make the triangles. 

If you don't use parchment paper when you bake, you should start now. That stuff is amazing. 

I loved the way the orange tint changed after baking. They fluffed up beautifully which means we mixed the dough perfectly. 

I did not use the glaze from the recipe. Chad isn't fond of plain sugary glaze so I decided to make a thin butter frosting with a touch of cinnamon. I think they turned out lovely. 

One more shot of my cute sous chefs with our finished product. 
See those pretzels in the background? I'll post a pretzel using recipe soon that will, in the words of my friend Laura, rock your face off. 

What about you? What do you like to do in the fall? Do you want to cut off you hair? Have you tried any recipes worth sharing? Leave a link in the comments if you have a good recipe to share. 

Happy Autumn! 

Jumbled, Confused, and Strong

Thursday, October 11, 2012  ::   8 important comments

I haven't posted anything for a few weeks. If you know me personally or you've read any other posts you probably know why I've been kind of quiet.

Chad and I are still visiting doctors so I can get poked and prodded as doctors try to figure out why I randomly had a stroke one day. So far, all my systems have checked out beautifully which is a very good thing.

My heart? Great. My blood? Excellent. My arteries? Clear and flowing. One more test to check the smaller blood vessels in my brain. I wonder why they couldn't check the smaller ones when they checked the larger ones, but who am I to question a neurologist? I planned lessons about leaves for children in college. (No offense to all you fantastic amazing teachers out there.)

After this final test when they tell me the small blood vessels in my brain are also perfectly fine (which is, of course, what we are praying) we will move forward with a cryptogenic stroke diagnosis which basically means I randomly had a stroke one day. More about that when it becomes the actual diagnosis...

As for my quietness in blogging, my brain hurts. I mean, I can tell you exactly where my stroke occurred because when I think for a long time on a subject, or review my memory packet for too long, or engage in intense conversations, or plan four sessions on Titus 3 for a women's retreat my right temporal lobe throbs. So, in order to avoid pain in my brain, I avoid this blog.

The thing is I love this blog. It is a convenient tool to use with the women of Second Mile I am blessed to lead. A few people I've met though out life read my thoughts which humbles and excites me. It has also become a conduit for relationships with women I would have never "met" apart from this crazy internet land. When I'm not blogging I feel somewhat voiceless in these areas.

I was blessed over this past weekend in that Retreat de Moxie gave me the opportunity to use my voice with 47 lovely ladies. I spoke on Titus 3, challenging the women with reminders of how to treat people, who we were before Christ, that we are saved by His generous kindness and love, and how we should treat one another. The passage continues to play over and over in my mind. My prayer is it is playing over and over in their minds, too.

To be honest, this weekend took everything I had. The sports mantra "leave it all on the field" popped into my head several times during the retreat. After each session I went to my little closet that my sweet friends transformed into my room and laid on my air mattress and let the tears stream. Don't worry, friends. It's mostly stroke symptomatic. However, there was also emotion stemming from desiring my old brain back. I didn't want to have to lay down. I wanted to talk with everyone, to hear what each person was processing, to stay up late and laugh, but physically I just couldn't.

As I would lay there and pray, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 became more personal than it had ever been.

There was given me a thorn in my flesh (in my brain). Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me (probably more like 30 times.) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in all kinds of weaknesses." Therefore, in the quiet moments in my closet I chose to be thankful for this new weakness which allowed me to depend on Jesus in a way I never had. In my weakness, I pray he used my words to challenge the women and glorify Himself.   (Paraphrased and made personal)

After the third and last session on Saturday evening, I sat down and turned my heart towards Jesus to thank him for letting me speak to His daughters. I confessed to Him that I felt like it was the worst teaching I had ever spoken in my ministry years, that it was jumbled and confusing because my brain felt jumbled and confused, but asked that He would use it anyway. I confessed my feelings to some friends and they told me my assessment was wrong. Isn't the Spirit funny that way? When I felt my absolute weakest, He made something good for His people to hear.

"Remind the people...Titus 3" 

Thank you, Moxie ladies, for letting me lead you during the retreat. Your prayers helped to lift and carry me. You all make me so happy.

Thank you, friends, for continuing to love and support me during this weird time. I often tell myself what I'm going through could be much worse in order to gain perspective, but perspective does not diminish the fact that my brain has changed and this is difficult.

My hope is to continue to write on this blog. I'm pretending it is good therapy to help the re-wiring of my brain progress a little faster. Don't you agree?

Retreat de Moxie friends. Photo taken by the lovely Monique.