Archive for March, 2009

Your Love Makes Me See Who I Really Am

This song overwhelms me with the reality of God’s grace in my life.

I Need You To Love Me by Barlow Girl

Why, why are You still here with me
Didn’t You see what I’ve done?
In my shame I want to run and hide myself
But it’s here I see the truth
I don’t deserve You

[Chorus:]
But I need You to love me, and I
I won’t keep my heart from You this time
And I’ll stop this pretending that I can
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me

I, I have wasted so much time
Pushing You away from me
I just never saw how You could cherish me
‘Cause You’re a God who has all things
And still You want me

Your love makes me forget what I have been
Your love makes me see who I really am
Your love makes me forget what I have been

I’m Overwhelmed….by His grace.  His unmerited favor.  a gift from God.  Unearned.  Undeserved. God “favors” me.  He accepts me.  I didn’t earn it.  I can’t repay Him.   He’s a God who has all things, and still He wants me.  wow.

Twilight~Twemptation

Ok, let me just say that I never thought I’d be writing a post about this book/movie.  Never.  I’ve avoided it.  Haven’t read the book, haven’t seen the movie.  Won’t. Can’t.  You have no idea.

Let me also say that this time last year, I would not have hesitated to become “involved’ with Twilight.  Actually, that’s not true. I would have hesitated, but then I would have done it anyway.  I can’t even explain to you how much I want to read or watch it.  I say “become involved” because that’s what I do…I don’t just watch.  I think some of you know what I mean by that…if you don’t, I don’t care to explain. sorry.

Today I was preparing a post for this blog about a song I love and watching a vid on a video sharing site. I saw in “related videos” a clip of this movie put to this very song I was enjoying.  My desire to click the play button was intense.   Curious to see the touching emotional love scenes b/t the 2 handsome people.  Curious to see if I would connect emotionally…knowing I probably would.  Thankfully, God’s word came to my mind  “each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own desire.  and desire gives birth to sin”  from James 1.

Now I am NOT saying that this movie is sin.  It may not be a problem for you.  I’m not judging.  Really, I’m not!  But, as I have said more than once on this very blog, this genre is a problem for me.  I know it makes me weird and possibly makes me look all fanatically religious and righteous when I avoid it.  That’s fine, I guess.  Obviously I don’t care what anyone else thinks about me….since I even mentioned it, right? Whatever.

All this to say that I’ll be really glad when the Twilight wave has passed.   The temptation is rough and until now I’ve been enduring it quietly.  Until now. You have no idea.

and yes, I just found the tool bar to change font color…and I’ve had this blog for a year…slow learner, I am…jeesh.

If you want wisdom…

If you want wisdom…just ask.  That’s what God said in James, chapter 1. Just ask.   Oh, boy, do I want need wisdom.   Difficult decisions abound here in my world, as I’m sure they do everywhere.  But asking isn’t the end…

I think what I used to do, is ask–then go on about my business.  Flip on the tube, or a movie, or get busy doing other stuff—you know, doin’ my own thing.  In the words of Dr. Phil “How’s that workin’ for ya, Cari?”  Well, to be honest, it wasn’t.  I just wasn’t hearing from God.

Mark 4:24 says that the more you listen, the more understanding you’re given.  The more you listen….hmmm…

To me, it’s kind of like eating–whether I eat junk food or healthy food determines how I feel physically AND emotionally (oddly enough).  What I listen to, “junk” or truth, determines how I feel emotionally, mentally, AND sometimes physically.  This is a fairly simply concept, but, alas, I am a slow learner and sometimes the simplest things take the longest to “get”!

This morning, after I dropped the carpool kids off at school, I was asking God what to do with my sweet Cameron.  She’s “sick” again this morning, with a list of ailments that would make a person go, “hmmmm….”  I need wisdom.  I’m tired of stumbling around in the dark.

So, listen is the word for the day.   Is your life cluttered with “noise” that makes it hard to hear God?   Define that “noise”, then shut it off.  Because if you want wisdom, you gotta ask–then listen– for God.  He promises to answer.

To Give or Save…Water is Life

When we did our No Spend Challenge in February, there was some talk about what we would do with the money that we didn’t spend.  Would we save it all?  Give it away?  A little of both?  We had a family meeting and discussed it. (well, Kevin and I discussed whilest the young ‘uns listened–or didn’t listen, whatever)

We decided to wait until the end of March and donate a percentage of what we’d saved up to that point.  We’re getting close to the end of March and I’m working VERY hard to get as much in that savings account as possible before the 31st!   The charity that we chose was WaterIsLife, which I think is an Edmond based biz, but I can’t confirm this. They distribute these really cool filter “straws” that hang around a kids neck and allows them to safely drink water from any source that is available to them.  Really cool!

Anyway, when we were vacationing this last week, we went to Alabaster Caverns in northwestern OK and took the guided tour of the cave.  Our guide explained that the life cycle of a cave is centered around WATER!  When water seeps into cracks in the ground, the cave is birthed.  As water fills the cracks and starts to flow, the cave is formed.  Water recedes, and you can go in.  Eventually it will completely dry up and then crumble, collapse and become a canyon. (Every cave will eventually become a canyon!)    So, in a very real sense, Water is Life for a cave too.  I thought that was really cool, especially with this charity so fresh on my mind!

Cool facts you won’t find anywhere else.  You’re welcome.

Oklahoma vacations

Last fall break we vacationed within state.  We took one day and went to Norman–which is about 30 miles away, mostly just going to places we’d been before that we love.   Except the Warren Theater–that was new to us.

Now it’s spring break and we’re staying in Oklahoma again but NOT staying home all week.  This time we’re venturing a little further (about 150 miles!) and doing things we’ve never done before!  I’ve always wanted to see some of the sights in northwest Oklahoma.  Did you know there are sand dunes, salt plains, mountains, and caves in that area?!  Talk about diversity!  We’re staying in Woodward at an “inn”, poolside, and I mean indoor-heated-pool, poolside.

I’ll be posting pictures and highlights of our trip next week.

Sorry department store, Jesus has my checkbook

During our first 10 years of marriage, Kevin and I bought cars, bought a house, furnished a house, had 2 kids, and went on some great vacations.  We did it all.  If we wanted it, we got it or did it.  If we didn’t have the money at the moment, we did what everyone else did…we charged it. Right?!

Sure, we had nice stuff.  A nice house, cars that ran, great memories from trips…but we also had stress, pain and conflict.  Debt like that can feel like a dark cloud, or more like a 1000 pound weight on your chest.  It’s hard to breathe, hard to see past it, hard to believe that it could EVER be gone.  Neither of us had the answers. We couldn’t do it on our own.  Ironically, if we’d already had the tools to fix it, we probably wouldn’t have gotten into the mess to begin with.

October 1999.  Enter LifeChurch, God, healing, and Dave Ramsey.  Pastor Craig was using teaching that he’d taken from Dave Ramsey’s books.  Life altering stuff.  I was sure that preacher was speaking only to me that first morning.  I knew he could see and hear me crying on the back row.  I surrendered that day.  and it was liberating.

Kevin came to church with me on my 3rd weekend there, October 31.  Funny how I remember the exact day, huh?  The message for that week?  The Tithe.  Giving back to God 10% of what is already His.  Kevin’s response?  Do it. no hesitation…yeah, he’s good like that. 🙂

We wrote a check to God that week or the next (i can’t remember which) and so began our journey to recovery.  Acknowledging that all we have is really His.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but attempting to live in that mind-set causes you to make different choices in life and to re-prioritize what’s “necessary” and important.

I KNOW that during this series at my church, someone else is going to have a similar encounter with a holy, forgiving, merciful God.  I’m praying for you, whoever you are.

LifeChurch.tv brings you…money

Well, actually not money, but a special series with a special guest teaching about money.

In order to stimulate the economy, Americans are being encouraged to spend money.  Buying another car would help the auto industry, buying a new home would help the real estate market, buying more stuff would help the retailers.  Granted, that makes logical sense…but…excuse me,  the unstable economy makes me wanna keep my money, thankyouverymuch.

I am SO EXCITED about the upcoming series we’re doing at LifeChurch.tv.  Author and speaker, Dave Ramsey, is teaching for the next 3 weeks a series called Life.Money.Hope.  This stuff is so real, relevant and applicable for today’s world, it’ll knock your socks off!  If you’ve heard Dave’s radio show or read any of his books, you know his motto is “live like no one else, so you can live like no one else”.

If you can’t get to any one of the 13 physical LifeChurch.tv campuses, you can go to church online where ever you are!   http://internet.lifechurch.tv/

Even cooler, this video teaching is also available for free to churches!  Check it out.

My first time at Life Church was during a financial series in Oct ’99–wow, almost 10 years ago.! I wouldn’t have come for Jesus, but I desperately needed help with my family’s finances.   Who knew that I would find my savior there?!  Oh, wait,  He knew. 🙂

I Think I Love You!

My cousin mentioned a Shaun Cassidy concert from eons ago, which got me thinkin’…strollin’ down memory lane.    I did have his records, and esp. liked the album cover for Under Wraps (visually stimulating, huh…), the yellow t-shirt from the concert with his pic on it.

Shaun Cassidy Under Wraps But, crazy enough, yes…it’s crazy…I am still hooked on one particular song that his brother, David, recorded with his “other” family.  I wish I could find a better video to showcase this song, but here it is….don’t be afraid to sing along!

Lest you think I’m perfect…

’cause I KNOW that’s what yall are thinkin’…ha.

My sister made a comment on one of my posts about me and my blog being spiritual, and it got me thinking.  Am I?  What does that mean?  I feel like there is a certain level of expectation that goes along with that.  Maybe rightly so, I’m not sure.  What I do know is that it makes me nervous.  Because I:

  • am not perfect–not even close
  • have not arrived…in fact, I keep tripping myself up on my journey
  • don’t have it all together
  • am very selfish and have to work really hard to remember that life is not all about me and want I want
  • struggle with relationships-being a friend, being a wife…you know, thinking of others needs and feelings before my own
  • am critical and judgmental of others  (thinking they should be perfect even though I’m not)

Granted, I’m spending a lot of time in God’s word right now and I guess that’s coming out in my blog posts.    But that’s a choice.   And only because I was at the end of my rope, did I grab the hem of His garment. (I really hate that word picture–it’s from an email fwd that I see alot!)  But seriously,  I was tired, so tired, of trying to live life on the fence…and that’s where I was, trying to live in the world and conform, and trying to work and live for Jesus—at the same time.  My butt still hurts from squirming on those pickets! (how’s that for a word picture.)

I began to ask myself questions like, “Am I really all in?” “If I stopped believing in Christ today, would my life change?”  “Do I really love God?”   If I’m being honest, the answer to those questions was no.  And I’m talking recently, within the last 12 months or so.  That might surprise people that know me, or it might not.  I might have looked the part of the “Christian”, but deep down, I was bordering on practical Atheist.

I want the answers to those questions to be a whole-hearted YES!  The truth is, it’s not a switch that you can throw and it just happens.  It’s a daily choice to pursue Him, choose Him, love Him, give up stuff, put Him first.   So, why bother?  Because I need His forgiveness, His grace, His salvation, His guidance–I’m absolutely certain I would self destruct with out Him.   Christ gave His life for me–my only logical response is to give mine back to Him.

Just because I talk of spiritual things, does not mean I have it all figured out.  Don’t use me as an example of how to live life…  I’ll do my best, but I’ll fail…guaranteed.  I hope that as I spend more time with Jesus, that I will look more like him and less like me.  My greatest fear is that I’ll show too much Cari when people think they are looking at a “Christian”…that people would be confused about who Christ is, because I did not represent Him well. Only Christ is worthy of mirroring.

Goin’ to Beauty School

I tried to hold out during my No Spend Challenge in February, but I just HAD to get a haircut!  I trimmed it myself a couple of times, but I was in need of professional help!  Well, sort of professional…I LOVE getting my hairs cut at a hair school in OKC.   Well, sort of love.  I love that the instructor wears a holster around his waist for his scissors.  A holster.  He’s cool.  He also put both of his hands on my wet head and said I have a perfect head shape.  I do.  You can touch it if you want to.  No, you can’t.

I’ve created a list of pros and cons for getting your hair done at a school in case you were considering it.

Pros:

  • There is always accountability.  The student is accountable to the teacher and the teacher has the student looking on intently AND they’re all doing it out loud so that I can hear everything!
  • And I listen to every technical thing they say and then ask questions after the instructor leaves. “What’s the dif with all those different kinds of layers?”   “Why do you hold the hair when you cut it?”  “Why?” What?”
  • It qualifies me to cut my families hair, b/c I, in a sense, am going to hair school, right?  I mean, I’m there.  I listen to the instructor.  I pay.  They just make me go home and practice.  So, I’m qualified, ok?
  • and the number one reason I love it: It’s really cheap!  AND I save money by cutting everyone else’s hairs.  Double bonus!

Cons: (in the interest of fairness, I had to make this list too)

  • It takes twice or three times as long, b/c of all the checking and rechecking from the instructor.  That’s it really.
  • Oh, and when my fav students graduates, I have to find another student I like.  But, they’re a dime a dozen.
  • Sometimes the water is too hot or too cold and the chair is not in a comfy position when he/she is washing your hair.  This is a skill that obviously requires practice.

The pros outweigh the cons for me.  I’ll probably be opening up my own shop pretty soon.  I’ll let ya know.  Oh, and did I mention that my head shape is perfect?