Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blameless Birthdays!

I figured today I would combine what I wanted to talk about into one confusing topic!

I thought January was the month for birthdays, but BOY was I wrong!!!

Here's my montage of HAPPY BIRTHDAY'S!!!! They are not in birthday order. 

Jolaura Bell who has been one of my faithful, devoted best friends for probably almost 10 years now! Wow!  I could have cropped her husband out of the picture, but it would have looked funny with her just floating in the air like that! Jolaura has been there to see Grant and I through our relationship and she was one of my best friends standing beside me at our wedding!

 Matt Tubinis, my favorite brother-in-law! I am thankful that Grant is now not the only boy (besides Dad) in the Morella household anymore (officially). Matt is a youth pastor for Lord of Life Lutheran in Germantown and he is wonderful at it! Kristina and I never would have thought that we would BOTH marry ministers! God works in crazy ways and I know it will be a blessing for Kristina and I to have each other to talk to and compare notes on being minister's wives!

Diana: She has probably known me the longest-Mom! I don't think she's hit her 50's JUST YET...she likes to say she's still 25, which is sooo weird considering I am about to pass that! I couldn't ask for a better Mom and she's turned into a faithful friend as well!

Grace Walker!!! Oh, crazy, GW! I love this girl to pieces! She is one of the most open and honest friends I have out there and if she's thinking it, you know it...that's a good thing! She has a wonderful new blog: A Dyslexic's LIfe: Unedited! and I met her through our mutual friend, Allison. She loves the Lord and works in several different ministries...and... she's getting MARRIED soon! Can't wait! 

Me and my bank account know that there were plenty of other March birthdays but I figured I would honor the latests! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Y'ALL!

Now onto the blameless part of my title! Last night I went to our high school girls bible study at Jessica N's house and we started this new booklet called "Girl Talk". The girls and Jessica and I went the week before to Lifeway to pick out a new book and they unanimously voted on this one. I was thinking that it's so funny how some of the same things I struggled with back in high school are still haunting me today! I think with girls gossip is one thing that will continue to be a struggle. 

Our study began with a talk about our words. It named off a bunch of mean saying that some of us have heard all through high school (or for me and my boy hair cut stage, I heard mostly in middle school...we have pictures somewhere to prove it!) The bottom line of this weeks lesson was that words can hurt. That old saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is sooooo not true! 

As I was reading this morning.in Matthew where the Pharisees had PLANNED it out to try and trap Jesus into saying something wrong (this is Matthew 22: 15-33), I was reminded that Jesus was tempted in all ways just as we are. They were asking him about paying taxes and whether it was right to pay Caesar or not. Through his words, he proved to be blameless. Also, starting in verse 23 the Sadducees did the same sort of thing by asking Jesus about marriage and if a wife has more than one widow, who will be her husband in heaven... they were also trying to trick Jesus into saying something that was contradictory to his Message. Once again...he was blameless.

Little side note...BTW-verses 30-33 tell about marriage in heaven. I like to think that I will still be married in heaven to Grant, but clearly here in the Bible...I am wrong. It's just hard for me in my womanly emotions to think otherwise. Back to the topic...

All that to say-Jesus was tempted and tried throughout his life...2 examples are above...and he came out blameless. I know we are not Jesus but we are striving to be like that and I think the LEAST we can do is try to watch our words! We read a verse about being accountable for our words (I am not sure if it was this EXACT verse, but it applies all the same):

"Good people have good things in their hearts; and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things. And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said. The words you have said will be used to judge you. Some of your words will prove you right, but some of your words will prove you guilty" -Matthew 12:35-37

Someone joked that there are a lot of jokes that she wished she could take back, but that is so true. All this to say that I really need to watch my words more carefully...it is something that I am aware of as a girl/woman, but it's good to be challenged regularly on that.

Last subject, we celebrated Amanda's getting married this past Saturday with a brunch at her Maid of Honor's house! Here's a pic! Remember, that extra bit of roundness on me is a baby...don't judge :)

So begins wedding season (actually, it has already began, but here it begins again!)
From left to right, Jenny Beth, Erica, Amanda Nixon soon-to-be-Brewer, me, Lauren McDaniel-soon-to-be-Hannaford, & Audrey.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Calorie Counting & A New Yorkie!

As I am salivating for McDonald's right now and have gained more than I have lost in the past 15 weeks (pregnancy, holla!) I decided to talk about one of my favorite subjects...WEIGHT WATCHERS! This is something I am SUPER excited about! You may not be able to tell because I was bountifully blessed with child bearing hips, but I really do care about knowing what I am putting in my mouth. AND, even though at this point in my life I hate running with a passion, I know it keeps me healthy! So, with all that being said...I just heard on the radio this morning on K-Love that with the new law that was passed about health care reform, there is a part of that law (I think...I don't know all the terminology...I think it was part of the law or bill) that says that more than 200,000 restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards, and drive-throughs.

Let me clarify...this blog post is not about the new law that was passed...I don't care to discuss that, partly because I am not up to date on all that is involved with it...but, I am excited about this!

Here's the article I found that explains it a bit: Calorie Count Disclosure And The Health Care Bill: Will This Lead to a Food Revolution? It's very interesting. The gist that I got from it is that if a restaurant has 20 or more locations then they have to post the calorie count. Exciting in my book!

Here's why I am so excited about it. I love Weight Watchers (can you tell I just learned how to "link" things on my blog! Ha!) because you don't really realize HOW bad you are eating until you have to know what the point value is. And, I am not a big fan of counting calories, partly because I don't know how, but, I think it's easier for me, personally, to subtract from 23 points then it is to subtract from 1200 calories...that's just me though. But, when I started WW I realized how bad things were that I thought were healthy for me. For example...I automatically think that chicken is healthy for me because...well, it's chicken! Wrong! One of my favorite things to have at Chili's is the cajun chicken pasta. It has chicken so it must be healthy and it has pasta which is good for you, right?! WRONG! Total, the Chili's cajun chicken pasta is 34.5 points! I almost had a heart attack when I first saw that! If you don't know the WW system, you get a certain amount of points for your weight and I get from 21-23 points depending on where I start when I am getting back on WW. So, if I got the cajun chicken pasta it would be OVER a day's worth of points! And, it's not THAT good! Trust me! Or, how about at Chick-fil-A...before WW (or when I splurge), I usually would get a Chick-Fil-A sandwich with a medium waffle fry....total points for that-17 points! So, if I have that for lunch, I would only have about 6 points left for dinner and that's hoping I didn't have any breakfast! CRAZY!

All that to quickly say-with WW you actually CAN have that lunch you really want, you will just have to adjust what you eat the rest of the day...it's just a matter of how much that Chick-Fil-A or Chili's is worth to you! I do splurge on the cajun chicken pasta, but now I will cut it in half with Grant or cut it into a third and have something else light on the side. You can make it work! That's why I like it because it's not that I CAN'T eat the things I like, it's just that I have to make sacrifices... now, off the WW commercial. That was all free, by the way (Yes, I stole that saying from Grant...it's an advantage of being his wife!)

So, anyways, with restaurants being required to post the calorie count, it may make us all more AWARE of what we are eating. By the way, I am familiar with the fact that 890 calories is a bad meal. Even if it's not displayed in WW points, I know what's bad and good.

Now, will it start a "Food Revolution"...I don't know, really. I am not sure if it will affect much how people eat KNOWING the calories because I wonder how many people truly care. It will be WONDERFUL for the people who are trying to watch what they eat, but I just wonder if the people who don't care will change their diets or not... interesting, really. Thoughts?

Before moving on, here is a GREAT website to figure out point values: Dotti's Weight Loss Zone!

On to more heart warming topics! Like I have said before...Grant and I are definitely animal people and lucky for us, so are our families! Between The Nixon's and the Morella's we have 12 dogs and cats! Well, as of last night the number increased to 13 (the 12th and 13th dogs were added within the past 2 weeks)! My Mom has been wanting a small puppy for a while now! I wanted a small puppy too when I bought Reilly...but, he's 45 pounds.

OOOH, funny story! So we went back to Puppy Corral to look at the types of dogs Mom wanted and we saw the girl that sold us Reilly, our puggle (half beagle, half pug), and I told her how she told me the dog would be max 14/15 pound and she said "Oh, well, sometimes they get up to 20" and I told her he was 45 and she was shocked! I guess Reilly was just the ONLY exception...doubt it!

Back to what I was saying...So, Mom has been wanting a small, tiny dog and my Dad and sisters wanted to get her one for her birthday. We have been looking at websites and I thought I finally found one and I showed my Mom the picture and played it off as it being someone else's dog-it was a mix between a Chihuahua and a Pomeranian (Chi-Pom) and boy am I glad I asked her because she DID NOT want it! So, all that to say, after putting our lack-of-finding-a-dog problem on Facebook, several people told us to try Furballs of Memphis and whalaa! We found a puppy for Mom! It's a Yorkie and it's a girl! Mom has yet to name her. The owner (I guess she was the owner) was wonderful and her prices were very reasonable!  Here's a cute picture of her (she's a ball of movement so it was hard to get a still shot):

I love when I have two random topics that I throw together to make a blog post...Until next time!

Monday, March 22, 2010

So, I've lived in 6 different states...

I like to think that since I have lived practically everywhere (who am I kidding...just 6 different states) that I am an expert of all of those places...well, I am not. I was born in (1) Chilicothe, Ohio and then moved to (2) Florida, (3) Georgia, (4) Louisiana, (5) Tennessee, and (6) Mississippi (for my college years and first bit of Grant and I's marriage). This past weekend (well, Thursday through Saturday) Grant took our youth group/s to Atlanta, GA to go to SIX FLAGS!

This was the first stops we made...well, let me specify...our group of 4 stopped here and half of us stayed and watched and the other half rode the ride. They had a blast and Sarah and I had a blast just watching! 

So, while we were in Atlanta we got lost a number of times...we like to call it "touring the city". I did actually recognize some of the areas and felt like I could help but it wasn't because I used to live in Georgia but it was because me and my friend Hannah had been in Atlanta in November with my job (Camp Electric) for a Youth Specialties conference.So, we went to Underground Atlanta for dinner on Thursday, Six Flags on Saturday and The Varsity that night and then headed home on Saturday! Perfect little trip!

If you look closely, you can see how the light caught my buck tooth. I say it gives me character...whatever... Let's just hope Baby Nixon doesn't inherit that from me :)

I am at a few days over 15 weeks today and I thought I would add my first "belly bump" picture to the blog. This was taken after a day at Six Flags so, I had to make it black and white to hide the shininess...just kidding...but seriously. HA!

Well, I find out the sex of our baby a week from Saturday so I am just counting down the days! I will keep you updated!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My 7 Things!

A friend from college Katie, tagged me in her "7 Things" on her website. The deal is that you write 7 things that are unique to you and then you tag 7 other people to carry this on! I haven't done anything fun like this on my blog yet! Have I mentioned that I am getting addicted to blogging!? Notice the new layout...I don't know if it comes with the design side of me, but I need change often... hence changing my blog once a month. I really like this format so I will keep it around for a while. Ok...so 7 things:

1. For those who haven't ever read my blog, I am now 15 weeks pregnant and feeling great! I am thankful every day for the Lord giving our baby one more day of life and I just pray he is gracious and merciful to bless us continually! I might make the other preggos mad, but I haven't been sick one day of my pregnancy. Now, granted, I have been uncomfortable, but not sick. I have a belly that I can no longer suck in. I am out of my first trimester (I had NO clue what all these weeks and trimesters meant and I SWORE once I became pregnant I would talk normal so the non-pregnant people would understand, but it's impossible to get around...once I hit 13 weeks, I was in my 2nd trimester.) This is the only ultrasound picture I have so far...I will get another one here in a few weeks.

"Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so he could put his hands on them and pray for them. His followers told them to stop, but Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me. Don't stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.' After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there." Matthew 19: 13-15

2. I am a pastors wife. Now, let me clear up some stereotypes. I think because of our husbands job, it extremely easy to think that we have it all together. WRONG. I have really started to LOVE Paul in the Bible and what he went through. He was Saul who for years persecuted Christians and then one day on the road to Damascus the Lord revealed himself to Saul who later became Paul (name change...nothing surgical or weirdish) and from that day forward he lived for Christ. But, living for Christ doesn't mean that it's easy (I might want that on my tombstone: "Living for Christ doesn't mean it's easy"). No where in the Bible is that said. Grant and I have been through many, many trials and tribulations and they seem to keep-a-coming, but the difference in us going through them as Christians is that we are not without hope. Paul says this and I feel like this often (WARNING: it's a lot of do and do not's):

"I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. And, if I do not want to do the hated things I do, that means I agree that the law is good. But I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. Yes, I know that nothing good lives in me-I mean nothing good lives in the part of me that is earthly and sinful. I want to do the things that are good, but I do not do them. I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do. So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things....What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So in my mind I am a slave to God's law but in my sinful self I am a slave to the law of sin." Romans 7: 15-25 (missing some verses in there)

3. I LOVE pickles! Not bread and butter, but dill. I have loved them for years...not just because I am pregnant. I can eat a whole jar in one sitting...usually in bed before I go to sleep. Grant HATES it...he can't even look my way when I have pickle breath!

4. I have a HUGE dog-a great dane named Tony Almeida (after 24 before he went all crazy on us!) He is about 6'2" when he stands on two legs! AND, we have a puggle (mix between a pug and a beagle) named Reilly (Grant spells it Riley but I picked the name). And, we have 2 cats, as well. We are BIG animal lovers. 

5.  I have a horrible fear of railroad tracks. elevators, and airplanes. They are all rightfully justified. Especially since one of my close friends got hit when she was in her car by a train on the railroad tracks!!! She's alive and well but I am sure now has a fear along with me. I believe that makes my railroad track fear justified if nothing else does!

6. Grant and I each had 14 bridesmaids and groomsmen in our wedding. People thought we were crazy but we had the best time of our lives! 

7. I am ITALIAN! I may not look it but I am! My maiden name is Morella! Kids used to call me Mozarella in middle school. Mean kids. On that note, I miss my Grandpa who passed away this past year a lot...more than I let on.  Grant and I went and saw Grandpa in the hospital when he was still alive but in a coma and I think that made it harder, but it gave us a chance to say goodbye and for that I am grateful. Things like that make you appreciate the relationships you have today with friends and family and remind you to strive to build onto those and restore any that might be on the rocks. Grant and I are blessed to have amazing families on both sides and extremely thankful!

Noooowww, for 7 friends to tag along:
1. A new blogger on the scene: Grace
2. One of my fellow preggos! I am glad she's been there before me to show me the ropes: Lauren B.
3. A dear church friend and the mother of two sweet angels: Ashley C.
4. My sis-in-love (ok, in-law!) Amanda N., soon to be B.
5. One who has since disappeared from the blog scene (this is my shameless attempt to get her back!): Allison B.
6. Always encouraging with her Penny Thoughts! Jessica N.
7. A blogger that inspired me to get to blogging: Candace
7 (again...it's my blog. I do what I want!): Fit Foodie, Lauren W.
7 (aaand, one more!) College friend and mother of a cutie pie: Val

So, there we go! Get to blogging!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Those who love Him serve Him well.

"Those who love Him serve Him well. Those who give him mere lip service will get up and act busy when He comes through the door" -'At His Feet' devotional by Tiegreen

"The Lord said, "Who is the wise and trusted servant that the master trusts to give the other servants their food at the right time? When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed. I tell you the truth, the master will choose that servant to take care of everything he owns. But suppose the servants thinks to himself, 'My master will not come back soon,' and he begins to beat the other servants, men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master will come when the servant is not ready and is not expecting him. Then the master will cut him in pieces and send him away to be with the others who don't obey.

The servant who knows what his master wants but is not ready, or who does not do what the master wants, will be beaten with many blows! But the servant who does not know what his master wants and does things that should be punished will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one trusted with much, much more will be expected." Luke 12: 42-48

I have heard Grant preach on living with an urgency that Jesus is coming back on several different occasions. I think we have even discussed it in bible study on Thursday nights and today I was reading in my "At His Feet" devotional by Tiegreen (WONDERFUL!) and it talked about this subject again. I wonder if God is trying to tell me something!?!? I think this is something that as Christians we NEED that constant reminder. The bible study said this morning that "Many Christians believe that Jesus is coming again but do not live with the urgency that indicates that it is a real belief." And, yes, Jesus did say that over 2,000 years ago but "he intends for us to live every day with an eternal perspective, sowing seeds that will bear everlasting fruit. He wants us to be single-minded in our service, preparing his household in the same way we would if He were standing beside us telling us what to do. "

That last part struck me. God wants us to be single-minded in our service. Single-minded with eternity as our focus. It makes me want to strive harder to tell people about Christ and to "sow the seeds that will bear everlasting fruit"

These pictures are from the weekend. I think that I have figured that Grant and I like to stay busy! It keeps things exciting! We had a pretty eventful weekend. We visited at The Morella household Friday night (my side of the family). Sabrina (youngest sister) and her boyfriend, David, were in town so we had dinner there and just chilled for a while. Grant played basketball later that night (not picture above) and the next day we helped out our bro-in-law Matt by passing out water at the Daffodil Dash 5K at the Botanical Gardens. One guy finished and had a 5 minute, 10 second mile! WOW! He was booking it!

We had a wedding shower (1st of the season for me!) for our college friends, Lauren and Chad, and then we headed to a party that was held at Mike Miller's old home by one of our friends we grew up with who lives there now. That is where the pictures from above came from. The court was up to NBA (I think it's NBA ...or something along those lines???) specifications and the guys had a blast pretending to live out their childhood dreams of being pro basketball players! I, being all preggo, just relaxed and watched. We had some Mellow Mushroom pizza (did the Memphis people know that it just opened here!?) and it was pretty good! Then, we closed out the weekend with Reverb at Bartlett which is always fun to see and hang out with the youth!

Now onto a new week...with a different challenge in mind of keeping single-minded with eternity as my focus! I don't think it will be easy and I am pretty sure that I will have to remind myself daily, but I am always up for the challenge!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feeling the Itch

I stole this picture from Candace :) We are at the Bellevue 5K Hope for Haiti Race. Sometimes it's hard to get this many people together all at the same time! From left to right: Amber, Huddy, Ginny, Candace (with her sweet niece), Allison, Grace and I. Let me say, I am a little grateful that the sun is bouncing off of me because if you didn't know I was pregnant, you would just think I let myself go. HA! Amber and Candace ran the race in record time (really proud of them!) and I kept the other girls held back with me walking but boy did Grace try to kill us with the speed walking! We actually jogged a handful of time...well, not a full handful...a few finger-ful of times, though. Our finish time will be kept a secret.

Which brings me to my thoughts for the day. I am at 14 weeks pregnant today (yippee!) and I am just feeling HUGE! I know all you previously pregnant women out there are laughing hysterically trying to catch your breath right now, but it's true! I remember when my cousin was pregnant and when Allison was pregnant and just felt like they wanted to get past that stage of "OOH, is she pregnant or has she just quit Weight Watchers all together???". So, the motivation for the picture from last Saturday is the fact that I am in the mood to work out...I am "feeling the itch" but I know I am a bit more limited. I remember Allison telling me when she was pregnant that at that point more than ever she just wanted to work out! And, as soon as she said that I committed her to a 5K 2 months after Hudson was born...no really...I did. I have a feeling that will come back to bite me very soon.

I know the safest thing is to walk for my pregnancy so I will plan on doing that...I guess I have been lied to thinking that walking really isn't considered a workout but I know that is a joke! For goodness sake-I took a walking class in college so I know if you keep your intensity up you can still get a great workout...and it's better for your knees (that was the Grandma in me talking). I was a spin class fanatic about this time last year and loved it and was pretty pumped because I was thinking it would help me lose weight...after doing it for about 6 months straight I hadn't lost anything! I was so shocked! And, I was killin' it on that bike! So, I decided then to start Weight Watchers and I automatically started dropping weight (it was NOT easy at all but it was a fun challenge)....so I started to think "well, why work out when my goal is to lose weight and I am doing it by just eating right"...so all that to say that I didn't really work out more than once a week in the probably six months that led up to me getting pregnant. And, I know they always say that you can "do what you did before" and at that point I hadn't done a whole lot...so for baby number 2 I at least know that I need to work out before I get pregnant so I can keep that going.

Enough of that. I promise I did not mean to be "Debbie Downer" about my pregnancy. I am truly and I mean TRULY blessed with this pregnancy! I have had NO morning (or night) sickness and everything is running so smoothly so I am honestly VERY blessed and thankful!

I love looking at the calendar and having things planned for the next few weekends! This weekend starts a wedding shower for my little sis' from my sorority (ok, who am I kidding-they were called "tribes" at MC) and next Thursday Grant and I leave with the youth group to head to Atlanta for Six Flags! We are also going to visit Millenium Park and eat at The Varsity (greasy but yummy food!)! I will be sitting out the rides being pregnant so we will see how that goes. And, then shortly after that I have an ultrasound to find out the sex of our baby! And, on that same day starts the Saturday night service at Christ Church! That will be a WONDERFUL day! Here's the website again: www.ccsaturdaynights.org

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend! Enjoy the weather (hope the rain holds out!)!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy 4 Year Anniversary!

As of today Grant and I have been together for 8 years total (No-Break-ups...that was in our "if we date" clause) and 4 years as husband and wife!

I included a picture montage...no particular order because I haven't figured out blogger and how to move my pics...but from the top: Grant's graduation 2006; A picture from our wedding; Us in our favorite place-New York eating hot dogs on our honeymoon! The ONE thing I wanted to make sure we did!; The actual moment Grant proposed; and prom together as a couple in high school.

What I think is HILARIOUS is that my hair is a different color in every picture...ha! Can you tell I am adventurous with my color...and very trustworthy of my stylist/s.

Thank you, Grant for being the AMAZING husband you have been! I love you and I am so thankful that the Lord brought us together....and that we have a little Nixon on the way! Not to say we haven't had our fair share of differences, but we disagree in a fair way...unless I don't get my way (joking...)

In honor of marriage, I wanted to re-post what I had copied from a Karen Kingsbury book from the Forever book in the Firstborn Series (my favorite book series of all time...well, might be tied with Twilight...ok, ok...it wins over Twilight)...

Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage
by Karen Kingsbury
From "Forever"-Firstborn Series

  1. God has you here to serve one another. Love acted out is serving.
  2. Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you'd lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby-find something you can do to have fun together.
  3. Laugh often.
  4. Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.
  5. Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.
  6. Keep short accounts. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are angry." Make it a habit to forgive.
  7. Determine up front that divorce is not an option.
  8. Learn about love languages. Not all people show love or receive it the same way. You want a back rub and your spouse wants a clean kitchen. The love languages are fairly simple: acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts, and words of affirmation. Learn them. Love is better received when it's in the language that person speaks.
  9. Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.
  10. Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. Confident men do not seek love outside the home.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gospel Community

We had our preview service in Arlington for the Saturday night service at Christ Church this past Sunday. The band sounded great and the message was awesome! I know I am partial because the preacher is my husband, but it really challenged me as a believer. I wanted to share my notes.

The sermon was on Gospel Community and the passage Grant used was Acts 2:42-47:

"They spent their time learning the apostles' teaching, sharing, and breaking bread, and praying together. The apostles were doing many miracles and signs and everyone felt great respect for God. All the believers were together and shared everything. They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers."

Wow...EVERY day, God added to the number of people saved!

Grant started by saying that we have reduced God to a beggar in the church and that as Christians we sometimes see Jesus as a genie...kind of a "what can you do for me?" type of attitude.

Grant started by listing characteristics of a family: sacrifice, discipline, love, forgiveness, acceptance. Are we seeing these things in our churches today? He purposefully pointed out that he was not slamming our church or any other church, but instead challenging us a believers.

A few key points about the passage above that we can pull out as believers to see how the believers in Acts lived:

1. They were devoted to the teaching of God's word: "They spent their time learning the apostles' teaching, sharing, breaking bread and praying together" (v. 42). 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work".

Job 12:13: "But only God has wisdom and power, good advice and understanding".

2. They devoted themselves to fellowship
Hebrews 10:24-25: "Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming."

We need encouragement to keep going in our faith.

3. The broke bread together: Communion
The Lord's Supper brings with it a self examination. 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29: "So a person who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is not worthy of it will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. Look into your own hearts before you eat the bread and drink the cup, because all who eat the bread and drink the cup without recognizing the body eat and drink judgment against them selves". Harsh words, but true.

Our sin will choke out our desire to follow God if we let it linger. Regularly examine yourself. It's not always fun...well, it's probably never fun.

4. They devoted themselves to prayer regularly
Acts 2: 43: "The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God"...They were constantly aware of the presence of God. If you know me, you know I am a firm believer in prayer. It changes lives. Just read my other posts.

Jesus holds everything together...do we live in that reality? Colossians 1:17: "He was there before anything was made, and all things continue because of him." It's all about Jesus!

If you read above in verses 44-46 the believers had everything in common together and they recognized nothing was theirs...it was all God's! In verse 45, it says that they would sell their land and things and give it to fellow believers if that's what was needed. They didn't sell everything, but they sold enough to help others cope. They sold what they needed for each other. Do we live like this as a gospel community?

As Christians, we are to carry each others burdens. If you are in our Thursday night bible study, you know that one of my favorite times together is when we do prayer requests. I love to hear the needs that are going on and how we as a community of believers can pray for each other! How awesome and rewarding to know that you can pray for a friend and God will listen! Galatians 6:2: "By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ."

And one of the last things that Grant emphasized is that the community of believers did LIFE together! Verse 46: "The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts". Satan and our culture has done a great job of compartmentalizing us...keeping us separate from each other. Grant was saying how we all are so content with chilling in our own homes and not fellowshipping with other believers. Why do you need to when you have a tv, multiple computers, etc. to keep you busy?

And, in verse 47 it shows that as the community of believers did life together and people were saved DAILY through God. Wow! Daily! How challenging is that?!

One of my favorite quotes by John Piper is this:

"God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him"

Let's start moving towards this kind of community in our churches and in our lives!

Can I get an "AMEN"?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Salsa & Ketchup, the new Veggies!

I have been stinking at bloggin! UUGH! I promised I would be better about it then I am. I just always think I have nothing to say but EVERY TIME I start writing, I end up having too much to say! So, I just need to make myself get on here more often. Right? Ha!

This post might be a bit scatterbrained because I have let my mind not blog for so long. But, here we go.

So, I have a problem with not eating vegetables...if you are a faithful blog follower of mine (all 3 of you) then you will know this is an issue for me. But, now with being all preggo, I have to think about the baby. My prenatal vitamins I have been taking have folic acid which I hear is a good supplement for the non-veggie eaters, so that makes me feel a BIT better, but still. I stopped and thought about how many vegetables I eat and here's what I came up with. I love salsa, I love ketchup, pickles, edamame and potatoes. So, I am good, right? Ha! Probably not! The other night I made a meal and I ate my edamame with it...it didn't really go together, but I made it work. And, I pretty much eat pickles every day...some might be fried...just kidding. I do love me some fried pickles, but those are a rarity. After looking at my fairly unhealthy vegetable list I just couldn't bring myself to eat any cauliflower, broccoli, or asparagus. So, hopefully the supplements will be enough.

All that to say, I don't consider my self an unhealthy person....I am a very faithful Weight Watcher follower, but I am aware that I need to get those veggies in my life. But, ughhh! The torture!

I had another doctor appointment yesterday and all was well. I am about half way through my 12th week! On Friday I will be out of the first trimester! WHEW! What a relief! This past Monday at my appointment the doctor just let me hear the heartbeat (a wonderful 162!!!!), asked me how I was feeling and that was about it. He said the next appointment will be about the same as this one...just checking the heartbeat and sending me home, but the NEXT will be when we find out if it's a WHOPPING BOY or a DAINTY GIRL! My luck, it will be the other way around...but I will still be happy even if my girl is a whopping boy size. Grant and I joke that we hope the baby doesn't get my child bearing hips, especially if it's a boy! Any votes on this matter? I feel like most of the women in my family think it's gonna be a girl...Grant would love a boy (I think because he knows a girl will have him WRAPPED AROUND HER FINGER!)...but in reality, we will be excited with either a boy or a girl. Not saying that just because I have to, ha! The Lord knows and has a plan either way. The doctor did confirm that there is only one child swimming around in there, though for all of those who got your hopes up.

In other preggo life, I ordered my bridesmaids dresses for both Amanda Nixon's wedding (wonderful, bestest sister-in-law) and Grace Walker's (WONDERFUL friend...even after really getting to know me!) wedding. You would all die to know the sizes. Pray for this ole preggo! If they truly fit in size I just might cry! The dresses are really my least of worries...if I get cankles... you might see me with pants on under the dresses! Naw-it's kinda fun to get pregnant in the weddings as long as I get the sizes right. I have also given in and am in the maternity pants. Yes, Yes, it might be a little early, but boy do they feel good. I can still technically fit into my jeans, but they pretty much cut into my skin and the belly band thing was making me nervous. I kept thinking it was going to ride up and show my opened pants to the world! So, I got me a good four pair of pants to wear for the duration of my pregnancy and I should be good to go!

I don't think I have updated my blogging world to what is going on with Grant's ministry and our wonderful church, Christ Church. That's what the picture on top of the blog is all about. A few months ago Grant and I went to California, California (I feel like a song should go there...) and while we were there on a Youth Specialties trip with my job, we attending a church called Newport Beach Church (I think I have talked about this in my past posts) and it was just AMAZING. Grant and I talk about getting out of the car and walking to the church and kinda getting nervous about the whole "who are we going to talk to"..."this is going to be awkward" kind of thing, but it was amazing! We were invited by some friends we met when we were at our booth representing Camp Electric who invited us to their church and the guys actually were volunteers who were a big part of who made up the church. So, from the second we walked in, we felt welcome. We were greeted by several people (come to find out all of this was strategically planned-the people that greeted us were part of a welcoming group...brilliant idea!) and ended up being spoken to in a great way from the Lord. We left there thinking that Memphis needs something like this. After overwhelming support by our church staff, Christ Church has decided to allow Grant to run a Saturday night service. Here is our website (Grant did the website...I think that if God hadn't called him into the ministry, he would have made a GREAT graphic designer!): http://www.ccsaturdaynights.org/

Here's a tid bit from the "what we are about" section:
Saturday night at Christ Church is a place to encounter the fierce love and forgiveness of God. It's a place of incredible worship that celebrates our freedom in Christ and dynamic bible teaching that helps bring truth to transform your life. It's a place to connect with people who are right where you are in life. It's a place to build meaningful relationships. It's a place where we do life together. It's a place for those looking for something different. Come and see.

So, if you are in the Arlington, Memphis area and are looking for something different, this service starts Saturday, April 3rd.

This was a blog about salsa and ketchup being the new veggies, my pregnancy, and God. I consider that pretty successful, don't cha think? Ha! Til next time...hopefully I will be more diligent about blogging!

BTW-I am frustrated with blogger and the layout of my pictures. I used to be able to move them around and not have as much trouble....any comments?