Thursday, May 20, 2010

Conversations with Jesus

I am on a journey to build my relationship with God. Everything finally clicked for me last August. I remember exactly where I was. All of a sudden, it was like God pulled back the curtain and said, “Look what I did for you.” It brought me to my knees and my life has not been the same since. I thank Him every day for that moment.

However, my biggest struggle over the past months has been feeling close to Him. As a child, I was taught to bow my head and pray. Whether it was taught directly or I learned it from reading and the general idea that God is “up there” in heaven, I always felt like I was praying or talking to someone unreachable. It never felt real.

I wrestled with this a lot as I tried to start praying again late last year. I saw God working every day. I watched people talk so passionately about their relationship with Jesus. I learned that we can talk to Jesus and He will relay our joy, love, praise, and concerns to God. I knew He was there. He just felt so out of reach for me personally. I finally confided in Lenny about this a couple of months ago. What he said felt so profound, though it was so simple.

He told me a story he had read about a man who had always felt that prayer was “over his head.” He didn’t know how to do it and didn’t feel comfortable with it. He was encouraged by a friend to sit down, place an empty chair in front of him, and picture Jesus sitting in the chair. Then, just have a conversation with Jesus.

Wow…it had never occurred to me. He is with me, not necessarily above me. So, I started trying. In the car, Jesus was my passenger. Sitting up in bed at night, cross-legged, He was my friend sitting the same way, at the end of the bed, leaning in to listen and share in my joy and pain. Walking into an uncomfortable situation, He was my Father, walking by my side, lending me His ear and letting me pour out my fear and concern.

Not only has this become easier, but it has become essential. I am finally feeling the closeness I craved and it is very real. Jesus is with me everywhere I go and I always look forward to our conversations. He’s my driver, passenger, friend and Savior. Today was the best day I’ve had with Him yet…and we’ll talk again tomorrow.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I love my sister, Lauren. She’s six years younger than me. She’s gorgeous, opinionated, and knows how to take care of herself. We are so different. I’ve always been the quiet one, the people-pleaser, teacher’s pet. She was always the rebellious one, determined to get her way, the one with the devilish smile (she’s the evil looking one in the picture below, LOL). Yes, you’re welcome to make fun of the hair. We’ve heard it before. Did I mention that Lauren has the best hair in the world? I was always jealous of her hair.

I remember how annoying she was when we were growing up. She wanted to be everywhere I was. I wanted the exact opposite. She was so cute. So sassy. A sure firecracker. We had many heated arguments, we slapped each other around; we were the types of siblings that fight and claw our way to a loving, sisterly relationship.

We’ve both been through some terrible times already. We’ve both fiercely defended each other and taken care of each other during those times. I love knowing that, even when I’m at my worst, my sister will love me. I love knowing that, no matter where her life takes her or what joy and struggle may await her, I’ll love her as well.

I love knowing that she looks like mom, I look like dad, but people so often say, “Are you sisters?” I love it that, if she answers my phone, people can’t tell our voices apart. I have a picture of her that I kept on my desk when I worked in an office. I had to put her name on the picture because so many people kept asking if it was a picture of me (who would put a picture of themselves on their own desk?). I love that. I love all the little things that make her different, like the fact that she’s not crazy about pizza or chocolate. She adores animals. She’s broken her arm eleventy-flaven times. She has a crazy arm for softball and is an excellent writer. She can play the piano by ear. She can sing…she just won’t. ;o) She’s always supported me and been proud of me, even when it was she who needed the support.

I just got off the phone with her today and had this overwhelming need to talk about how much I love her. She works at a bank just five minutes from my house. Some days, she’ll come to the house to have lunch with me. Just about every day, she calls me during her lunch break. I love talking to her. I love knowing that we are fortunate enough to talk this often, to live in the same town, to be getting older together.

I know things will change eventually. She may decide she wants to live elsewhere, she may get married, who knows. But I will always love her dearly and look forward to seeing her face, hearing her voice, and experiencing the utter joy of having her as a sister.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happiness Machine

Thanks Chuck Vickers, pastor at Stokesland Baptist in Danville, VA (my hometown)...he posted this video on his Facebook page today. Not only did it make me smile first-thing this morning, but it immediately made me think about our upcoming series at PCC - Free Stuff - Getting into the Radical Generosity of God (the series graphic, shown here, was created by our very own Beth Brawley Stoddard - she's so awesome!).

What if, in place of this machine, God was standing there handing out free stuff? Isn't He already? Why aren't we all gathering around, rejoicing, and laughing like children? I know for me, personally, I fall short all the time because my priority becomes MY day and MY list of things to do. ME

In reality, it's all HIS. It's all about HIM. Every bit of it...and He's turned it all over to us. Giggle. Get excited. Tell somebody else. Guess what else...if you think about it, we're all happiness machines. I don't want to wait for someone to pay me before I dole out some joy, before I tell them about God's ultimate gift. I'm working on being generous!

I'm so excited about our upcoming series. We start this week, May 9. I hope you can join us!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Naming the Firstborn

This is my first real blog. Not that I've written a fake one. However, I'm not itching to share my only other attempt.

I love to write. My thoughts move much faster than my mouth. Luckily, I can tap the keys almost as quickly. Conclusion: keep mouth shut...blogging is for peeps like me!

I like to plan things. So, I thought carefully about the topic of my first blog. It was supposed to be about creativity and how I hope to use this blog to expand my creativity, blah, blah blah.

Then I had to setup this account and actually name my blog. I laughed so hard through this process that I decided I'd write about. I'll try not to write a book. However, my thoughts are SPEEDING.

I wanted my blog name to be meaningful, catchy, and something I wouldn't look at in three weeks and wonder what the heck I was thinking. I love the word "puddle." I started with "Puddles of Love." the name was taken. Thank you person that took that name.

This blog will likely be a creative outlet for me and a place to dump my very random thoughts. So, I recalled our small group discussion last night about what it's like inside my head (yes, somehow that was a topic of conversation). My wonderful husband proceeded to bang his hands together and ask everyone if they remembered the toy monkey with the cymbals. Ha ha. Very funny.

So, I tried "Monkey Cymbals." Bingo. It was available. Of course it was. It will make me cringe every time I see it. Next please. "Crash of the Monkeys." Yep, also available. However, I wasn't rejoicing. There's something about referencing monkeys in your blog title that screams "weirdo."

My brain is like swiss cheese. Thus, the thoughts that will fall through the holes into this blog. So, I looked up something more elegant than swiss cheese. How about "Holy Jeans." Play on words, cute, explainable. Also TAKEN. That's ok, you can have it. Not thrilled with it. Slight gag factor.

So, what about my favorite words. I love the word "critter" for some reason. I love biscuits. "Critter Biscuits." Also available. I'm still laughing. Funny, but not really. I must be getting sleepy.

Then it HIT me. Thank you my dear food-loving friend, Holly. At Christmas, I made these funky little cookies with Fiber One cereal. Chocolate Chips, Fiber One, and Peanut Butter. They're tasty, look a bit like reindeer droppings, and we called them Fiber One cookies. That name is really NOT fun. So, Holly renamed them Lindsay Cookies. Cute. I laughed. But it just came back to me. Presumptuous to use my name in my blog title? I dunno. Not sure I care right now. Perhaps I will in three weeks.

The firstborn blog has a name folks. Say hello to "Lindsay Cookies." Stay tuned for the next batch (gag).