I took this picture at a recent store closing in Charlotte. Ironically, the one thing we wanted was the item with the small white sign on it in the background...Perhaps not the very best placement for the giant poster...?


Let us not confuse the two...

I'll just let these words speak for themselves. Or slap. Or sink into the heart.

"Service flows out of worship. Service as a substitute for worship is idolatry. Activity is the enemy of adoration."

From the chapter on Worship. p. 161, A Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster


Stinkin' Funny

Tonight (we celebrated Valentine's last night, ok?):

Jerod is in the den watching a nature special on skunks...
{Barley poots}
Jerod: "Barley just farted! It's like watching this in 4-D!!"
Shelley is ROTFL.


Uptown Girl?

I lived in Charlotte for eight years. Various parts, from Matthews to Providence/Sardis to Sedgefield (near Dilworth). I liked that there seemed to be hub-bub everywhere. Interesting people. Restaurants of every nation, tribe, and tongue. Stores filled with whatever I might want. And friends. Friends who lived 8 miles away, and yet it took 40 minutes to get to their houses.
So I met a boy (re-met, but that sounds weird), and he owned a house in Rock Hill. Rock Hill! I went to school there for four years, but never considered it home. Charlotte was home. Newnan, GA, was home. Rock Hill was a pass-through. Full of small-town politics...you know people who considered themselves VERY important, but outside of the city limits, no one really cared or knew who they were?
Rock Hill. An Applebee's, a Cracker Barrel, a few McDonald's, and a college. Big softball park. Four bazillion dollar statues declaring it as the "Gateway...to somewhere...or from somewhere." I never got the full story on that. A charming downtown district with old buildings and few tenants.
A far cry from my bright lights and big city.
Now, Rock Hill probably isn't technically a SMALL town. Last I heard, we were the 4th largest municipality in South Carolina...behind Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 folk. But it still has that stink, er, charm.
All of this set up to say...I like it here. I do. I like to think to think of myself as a big city girl. I don't like to concede to the notion of suburbs. But here I am.
When I most like Rock Hill is days like Thursday. I had a series of errands to run for my job. I was in and out of several very local establishments. I exchanged actual pleasantries and genuine conversation with people who know my name because I do business with them. It seems very "Leave it to Beaver" or something, but I admit...it's nice. It's nice to get to know people, even the self-important people, who have family and stories and businesses. I could go a week in Charlotte without anyone outside of my church calling me by name. The store clerks gloss over you there...especially in certain parts of town (SouthPark, anyone?) if you're not dressed just so or driving around in a fancy car.
So, I'm only 25 minutes from downtown Charlotte, but I almost feel like a have a great secret. The place we called "The Thrill" while in school. I can get to a friend's house in five minutes. I can get to Target in 8, work in 8 and downtown Rock Hill in about 10. We're not bustling. But life is good here. I have a sweetie. A cute little house. Nice neighbors who borrow the occasional cup of sugar and who rescue us when we need a teaspoon of baking powder halfway through the cookie recipe. It's the Hill, people. It's the Hill.


Time is ticking away, tick-tick-ticking away!

In another mini-confessional, I must say that I have a lifelong struggle with time. And really, who doesn't? We are either at odds with it, never using it wisely, wasting it on frivolities...or we think we have mastered it...never late for anything, planning and planning to save it by being better-organized and mapping our routes to save five minutes since we're missing that traffic light or railroad track.
But what if time is not at our disposal at all? What if it isn't even OURS to waste or to master? How about instead of fighting it, pushing against it, and even looking back at it with regret or feelings of success...we give it to the Lord.

The Lord told me pretty clearly recently that "All of your time is Mine."

To which I inwardly replied, "Excuse me?"

And the impression came again, "It ALL belongs to ME."

Not just the wee times I carve out for prayer, reading, singing, giving...but every minute of every day is HIS.

What does this even mean? I'm still trying to work that out with Him. It mostly means that I am listening to Him and relying on Him to let me know how to best use my minutes and hours. If it's His, He can certainly direct me on how to use it. In the process, I become less frustrated with my failure to master it...and less willing to waste it on things that will not further my mind, heart, and His Kingdom. He will allow time for rest. He will not allow for impatience, because that usually involves my heart being at unrest with someone else seemingly "wasting" my time or energy. Letting my time belong to Him will reduce frustration with traffic lights, slow people, long meetings, never-in-a-hurry husband, and a whole host of other things that seem to put me in a tailspin of evil. And may I disclaimer while I'm here (yes, I did just make disclaimer a verb, sue me)...I attempt to be ON TIME to events where there are other people because it is a community-minded thing to do. It is out of love for one another that we respect each other's time as THEIR gift from God, too.

And in the words of that wise Dan Wilson, "Whatcha gonna spend your free life on?"


Happy Groundhog Day!

Just a few things that make me smile. No, I am not Oprah; but there are a few favorite things...I won't be doing a grand giveaway to the bloggy audience (I wish I could!). Here's my list-in-progress.

1. Groundhog Day. (today!!) An underrated holiday. We pull a sleepy groundhog out of the ground and are intrigued about his weather-telling abilities. Punxsutawney Phil must be a morning groundhog. If this were me in groundhog form, I'd be biting this guy, for sure. Especially after staying up late watching the Steelers win. (surely, he's a Steelers fan, as he lives about an hour out of Pittsburg) Prediction this year, BTW, is for six more weeks of winter.

2. Dansko shoes: I have owned these shoes for about a month. They are amazing. Comfortable, stylish, tall enough to wear with dress pants, and foot-worthy for the longest day of walking about. When you have foot problems, cute shoes and comfortable shoes are often not compatible terms. These shoes marry the best of both worlds. I'm saving my pennies now for a brown pair and some sandals for summer.

3. Brooke Fraser's Albertine: Fraser is known for her contributions to Hillsong Worship in Australia. This is her solo album...it has been in near-constant rotation for me lately. Like Plumb and Christy Nockels combined: Click here for a music video.

4. I saw a sign outside of our neighborhood last Friday that said "Yard Cell." That makes me smile all over.

5. Photoshop. It will do so much. It's a powerhouse. Here is just a silly little example of its awesomeness. Just a little tweaking to make a dull picture far more beautiful. Note the subtraction of the stoplights, too. I could spend hours and hours discovering the intricacies of the Photoshop.