Thursday, August 30, 2007

An Installment of Audreyisms

Episode One: Cookies and China

A: Omigosh, Mom.

me: What?

A: Miss Ashley and I made cookies last night. And....omigosh...we made some with white chocolate and macamamia muts....and they were just HORRIBLE! They had nuts in them! Disgusting.

*Commercial Break*

Brought to you by the makers of Toll House Cookies - Chocolate Chip, of course.

*And we're back...*

(Scene: Daughter on a pleasant bike ride with Mom. Polly Pocket helmet strapped on, girl atop bright blue, purple and white bicycle, pedalling her heart out while her Care Bear shoes' lights flash with equal intensity. Mom, wearing brown flip-flops and workout attire, breathlessly follows.)

A: Mom, you know what China rhymes with?

me: What?

A: China rhymes with bagina!

me: Bagina? You mean, v*gina?

A: Yeah.

me: Do you know what v*gina means?

A: No.

Next week: A lesson on female anatomy. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Martha that was "Martha" before "Martha" was "Martha"

Luke 10:38 - 42 tells the well-known tale of our anally-retentive, maybe even obsessive-compulsive, sister Martha and her seemingly indolent, oblivious, hyper-spiritual sister Mary. Having always read this story with third-person omniscience, I've always chuckled with arrogance, shaking my head and rolling my eyes in Dwight Schrute-like manner, "Oh, Martha. Don't you know that Jesus is the better choice?" But as I read the text this morning, the Spirit illuminated my heart to the Martha in me. Maybe I was being a little too hard on Martha. Maybe I was jumping to conclusions. Maybe I had previously shut my eyes to the battle that must have been waging within her - an internal battle similar to my own.

Let me set the scene (at least the scene in my overly active imagination):

A man is coming to town. Not an earthly king, not a noble, not a prophet, not your average teacher. A man. A man surrounded and preceded by rumors of miracles, healings and authoritative teaching far surpassing that of any scribe or teacher of the Law. People have even uttered the word Messiah about Him. The Messiah, coming to her village - Martha's village.

Now Martha is the "Martha" of her village. Actually, Martha was "Martha" before "Martha" was "Martha." Stewart, that is. She is the hostess with the mostest. The queen of clean. The diva of divine entertaining. If anyone entered the village needing a place to recline and dine, Martha's place was it. She lived for that kind of thing. It seems like a flawless fit: the perfect houseguest meets the perfect hostess.

To the typical guest, the evening goes along swimmingly. The food and conversation are equally savory. The courses flow gracefully from kitchen to table. The hostess neglects no detail. She is the epitome of service. But in the heart and mind of the hostess, lies an alternate reality.

To herself she remarks, "Why can't my sister help me? Doesn't she see that I'm wearing myself out? I would LOVE to be sitting at the Teacher's feet right now, soaking it all up. But, who would prepare dinner? Who would serve? What would people think if I just sat there like that? I certainly wouldn't be a good servant nor a good hostess. Hadn't the Teacher said something like "being a servant to all"? That's what I'm desperately trying to do. I just want to do the right thing. Aren't I entitled to some help?"

Martha is dumbfounded. Serving, hosting and doing have usually somewhat satisfied that aching in her soul. It gave her purpose. It gave her a name. She felt in control. But tonight, she feels anything but. She feels completely out of control. Since it seems controlling her own world isn't working, she turns her attention to controlling her sister's world. She makes judgments as to what Mary should be doing. Martha works herself up enough to summon the help of the Teacher to "set things straight."

Because Martha is the perfection of polite, she probably entreats him personally - leaning down towards His ear as she clears the table saying, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me."

A moment or two passes as He turns to look at her. His gaze is penetrating. It's as though He heard every unspoken word uttered by her heart. It's as though He sees the widening gap in her soul that her works have failed to fill. It's as though He notices the control that continually slips from her grip.

Finally, He answers her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

I'm not sure what Martha's response was to this. Scripture doesn't say. What Scripture does say is that He loved her. John 11:5 says "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

Maybe Martha sighed with relief. She didn't have to be the perfect hostess or servant. She didn't have to be in control. She didn't have to please everyone. She only had to "just be" - not "just do" - at Jesus' feet.

Or maybe Martha was still distracted by Mary. Perhaps she obsessed over Jesus' approval of Mary's choice and lamented over His seeming "disapproval" of her. She completely missed the point.

Or maybe Martha pondered what He had to say. She mulled over it, examined it, looked through it as a lens into her heart. Maybe she slowly awakened to the reality that He hasn't demanded perfect servanthood but rather worship of the Perfect Servant.

So Martha and I are a bit tighter today. I understand where she's coming from now. I intimately identify with her desire to do, to please, to control, to be perfect. I, like Martha, am glad that Jesus still loves me - that He still woos me. I am glad that there's still a chance for me to choose the better portion - that which will not be taken from me.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Shout Out

To Natalie

The wonderful friend who found my long lost FAVORITE show.

Children of the early

Here's a hint:

A mannequin, a mouse and a fro.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's Good to Be August


Three amazing albums by three ridiculously talented bands make themselves available to the masses this month. (Warning: this post is plagued with amazings, movings, beautifuls and loves.)

First off, the recently released Glorious Day by Jeff Johnson

You may have heard one of his first singles, Glorious Day, on KLTY or XM radio. The song is a beautiful, moving arrangement of the hymn, One Day. Our church's very own Michael Bleecker is credited as the melodic mastermind.

Part of the album was produced at Space Way Studios (Shane & Shane, Will Hunt) in Dallas. Shane Barnard makes an appearance on Jeff's arrangement of The Old Rugged Cross. And, of course, it does not disappoint!

Jeff's country music roots reveal themselves in the song previously covered by Rascal Flatts, I'm Movin' On. The entire album oozes with favorites but strangely enough, this is one of mine. Maybe it's because Jeff seems to have a voice that was made for this genre...though, he can sing whatever style he wants very well!

Go to his website or iTunes and buy it. Now.

Next, Robbie Seay Band (affectionately called RSB) releases their second album with Sparrow Records called Give Yourself Away on August 28th.

Matt and I have been moved by RSB's musical artistry for close to a decade. Out of all the previous albums, this one is shaping up to be our favorite. Tracks to look out for are: New Day, Shine Your Light On Us, Beautiful Scandalous Night, Stay, and Go Outside.

If you love Coldplay, U2, or Explosions in the Sky...if you love soaring melodies, powerful guitars and grace-covered angst...if you love hope, coffee and melody...heck, if you love good music, you'll love this album.

If you're in the DFW area, there is a concert at our church on Wednesday, September 5th. We'd love to see you.

Okay, now go cash in your loose change at Coinstar and buy this album too!

Personal note: Robbie's talented and beautiful wife, Liz is a blogger. Check it out!

Last, but certainly not least, Shane and Shane release Pages on August 28th.

Get ready to be moved. An album filled with hope that does not discount our human struggle and filled with longing for God's transforming grace, it is perfect for the imperfect soul. The potentially controversial Embracing Accusation could have been torn from the pages (no pun intended) of my journal. A taste of the lyrics:

"The devil is preaching the song of the redeemed/That I am cursed and gone astray/I cannot gain salvation/Oh the devil's singing over me an age old song/That I am cursed and gone astray/Singing the first verse so conveniently over me/He's forgotten the refrain/JESUS SAVES!"

Other stand-outs: Vision of You, We Love You Jesus, Over the Sun (which was inspired by my husband's series on Ecclesiastes, Beyond the Sun), Holiday and Burn Us Up (go Shane E with that Motown flavor...just call him Stevie).

Another amazing album. Hope your cd budget is bulging. Buy it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Should Be Doing Laundry but I'm Blogging About Wrinkles

So, I'll make this quick.

I was encouraged by a certain blog celeb (you know who you are), to blog this story. So, here goes...

My mom to this day is self-conscious about the tiny (tiny, tiny) wrinkles on her forehead. You know, the ones that form when you raise your eyebrows when you're giving the "don't you test me" look. My mom is a beautiful woman. And has a beautiful face..."wrinkles" and all.

Even as a young mother, she felt they were obvious. Apparently, to a 4-6 year-old they are.

When I was in preschool/kindergarten, I proudly brought home a picture I'd drawn of our whole family: my little brother, Jonathan, my Dad, myself and my mom...with three black lines drawn across her forehead. My mom couldn't believe it.

Fast forward 20-some-odd years to me driving Audrey home from Mother's Day Out. Here's how it went down:

(Audrey is furiously running her finger across her forehead...back and forth...back and forth.)

Me: Audrey, what are you doing?

Audrey: Trying to paint lines on my forehead like yours!

I couldn't find my phone fast enough to call Mom. She had always given me a hard time for drawing that picture of her. She said it would come back to haunt me.

And how.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pollo del Rey del Ranch

Isn't my Spanish impeccable?

So, I'm pretty proud of myself. For the second time in our marriage (and in my life, really) I quartered a small fryer. If you're not the savvy chef that I am (ha!), small fryer means a nekked (na*ked) chicken with it's head cut off and it's innards removed...thank you, Pilgrim's Pride. I thought about posting the picture I took as proof that I actually did it. But, once I looked at the picture on my camera, it looked pretty disgusting. I didn't want any of my blog readers (the thousands of you) to soil your pretty computers in response to the nekked/headless/quartered/oh-so-very-raw chicken.

So just imagine a nekked/headless/quartered/oh-so-very-raw chicken right...


I know you're probably all wondering, "Well, what did she make??"

The kind person that I am, I will relieve you of the suspense.

.King Ranch Chicken.....Pollo del Rey del Ranch

It was mighty tasty. I'd never made it before but it definitely graduated from experimental to heavy-rotation dish in .2 seconds flat. I've noticed a few other bloggers (Simri and Sunni ) posting some recipes. So I thought I'd throw my hat in there...

King Ranch Chicken
From the Beltway Park Church in Abilene, Texas Cookbook - 1999
(sidenote: this cookbook was given to us as a wedding present...Matt had just accepted a position at the church as College Minister...we loved it!)

THIS RECIPE MAKES 10 SERVINGS! So, you may want to modify it if it's just you, your hubby and your 6 month old...or you and your roommate...or you could live off of it for a couple of weeks.

2 pkgs. corn tortillas
2 fryers, boiled and boned (make sure you save the stock!)
1 onion, chopped (I prefer red/purple onions)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.5 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/2 lb. shredded cheese (calls for cheddar but I got Colby Jack)

Dip tortillas in hot chicken broth. Line baking pan with softened tortillas. Add remaining ingredients as listed. Bake in a high lipped 9 x 13 inch pan at 325 for 30 minutes. Serves 10. (I greased the pan before I lined it with tortillas...easier to clean up!)

Yum yum yum yum yum...delicioso!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Fatally Wounded Heart

Been reading a book called The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender. Required reading for the leadership in our Recovery Ministry (which you can probably tell by reading my blog that I am crazy about). The book has been great and very eye-opening. Though I have never suffered abuse, I can read myself in almost (yes, almost) every page. Don't get me wrong. Abuse is horrific and absolutely intensifies and exacerbates the wound; but, everyone is wounded.


Everyone was born with a fatally wounded heart. We try with all that's in us to stop the bleeding. We can't really find the source of the trauma but we try with all our might to apply enough pressure to cease the flow.

Problem is, we can't. The answer isn't in least not the "us" in us.

The answer is Him. Jesus.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Jar Full of Hope

Blogging from my mom's computer...

Thanks, Momma!

There's a song we sing at the recovery ministry at our church that has grown so dear to my heart. The songwriter simply states the sovereignty of God...He is God in our living, God in our breathing, God in our waking, God in our sleeping, God in our watching, God in our waiting, God in our hurting, God in our healing. He is everything. But my favorite part is the pre-chorus...

Christ in me, Christ in me, Christ in me, the hope of glory!

I was born a perfectionistic people pleaser. I wanted everyone to be happy with me. I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted everyone to think I was neat. However, I had a tough time reconciling the fact that I wasn't perfect. Not everyone was happy with me. Not everyone liked me. Not everyone thought I was neat. I was flawed. I failed others. Simply put, I was human.

I have a hard time being human. I want to be super-human. But I'm not and never will be. There's only one who is super-human. Only one who can withstand the weight of perfection. He is Christ.

As a believer, though I am an imperfect and flawed jar of clay (2 Cor. 4:7), ordinary and blemished, within me I contain Christ, the hope of glory. The hope that one day, when I see Him, I will be like Him (1 John 3:2). But not one day before that. Though He may increase and I may decrease, there will still be that old man that refuses to die. Oh to shed this skin and put on a new one for good!

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." (1 John 3:1 - 3)


Monday, August 6, 2007

Possible Blog Hiatus AND Book Recommendation

Well...I'm finally breaking down and taking my computer to the Mac store. This potentially means I will have very, very limited internet access. I know all of you are going to be SO disappointed that I won't be posting random facts, pictures and personal reflections every few days. (Please read intense sarcasm into that last sentence.)

Pray for sweet albino Apple. May she recover quickly.'ll notice I've switched things up in the "Books I'm Reading" and "Books I've Read Recently" column. I highly recommend "Same Kind of Different as Me" but with a box full of Kleenex! I bought it Friday and finished it Sunday. Amazing. I am currently reading "Get Out of That Pit" and love it.

Lauren for Them Chandlers

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

8 Bits of Randomnicity

I was tagged by my friend Natalie to give 8 random facts/habits about myself.

The Rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (**if you’re a non-blogger, you can email them!)
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My eight random facts and/or habits:

1. My house might be a complete wreck but if our bed is made, I feel like it's "straight."

2. Growing up, I always wanted to write a book. I even started one a few times.

3. I like to sketch and paint.

4. I worked as a waitress at Texas Roadhouse in Abilene.

5. I played Varsity soccer in high school.

6. I played the flute in band.

7. I had braces twice. I had majorly messed up teeth. I could spit a constant stream of water through my two front teeth. I even had surgery to remove the tissue in between them so the orthodontist could squeeze them together.

8. I'm on the cover of a cd.

Now it's your turn, Kellie, Molly (when you get back to blogging!), Chavon, Stephanie, Christa, Bex, Summer and Melissa.

Have fun!!