Hello Sweet Cheer: 2012

12.25.2012

It's Time, It's Time!

Merry Merry Christmas!!  

     Today symbolizes what our AMAZING God did so many years ago.  Thank you Jesus for setting aside Your crown, leaving Your robes behind, & coming to this broken place in such a simple way.  You are the Way, the Truth, & the Life.


The weary world rejoices.


Merry Christmas to you & yours. 

Mere

12.23.2012

How amazing is our Savior?!

Well hey bloggie friends!

     I hope this Christmas Eve Eve finds you & yours in good spirits, enjoying whatever this season brings at your house!

     I have loved the family time & relaxation I’ve had in the past few days!  I’ve even enjoyed the hustle & bustle of shopping & wrapping a ton of gifts!  This is one of the first years I’ve had the means to really do all of the shopping for my friends & family.  Over the past few years I’ve bought a few gifts with some help from my mom on the rest.  It feels really good to put thought, time, effort & my own money into things I get to give to the one’s I love!!

Anyway, I want to talk about Christmas.  Surprising, right?

     Something I’ve been thinking about over the past four hours is how INCREDIBLY thankful I am for Jesus.  I’ve just been realizing & pondering how inadequate I am & how eternally grateful I am for who Jesus is & what He did for us!  I am constantly screwing up; saying things I shouldn’t say, acting in ways I shouldn’t act, thinking things that are completely selfish, & trust me the list goes on.  I can’t imagine living my life without knowing the unending grace the Lord has for us in our endless failures.  That’s all possible because of Christ’s death on the cross, which is possible by God’s UNBELIEVABLE incarnation.  I am blown away by that incredible truth.

     Christmas in America can get the best of us sometimes.  I think this whole season can get the best of us a lot of the time.  We are focused on getting the next best gadget & our children just want the next best toy.  We strive to have the best light display on the street, the best tasting turkey on Christmas day, bake the best treats but not eat them so as to keep our figures, & again the list goes on & on.  I don’t want this to be that typical thing you hear at Christmas about remembering that it’s about Christ’s birth.  I want this to be something that you read & have to spend a few moments processing because you’re realizing the great DEPTH of our Savior’s love for us.  Just ponder for a moment the fact that the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE came to this fallen world & lived 33 years facing all that we face & more.  He BECAME HUMAN for us.  He came here to reconcile us back to the Father.  I hope that rocks your world.

     It’s easy to sing songs like Away in a Manger & Silent Night without really thinking about what Christ did for us.  Yes He died on the cross to save us from sin & death, I think we talk about that a lot.  We could definitely stand to hear it more, but as Christians we really understand what He did for us by taking on sin & dying a brutal death.  Something I think we so often overlook is how amazing it is that He even came here & took on FLESH for us.  The perfect & spotless Lamb of God came here to this Earth & lived among the dirtiest.  He hung out in the trenches & loved on the broken.  He did something that is almost impossible to understand.  Let that sink in.  Hopefully it will be something that is in the forefront of your mind over the next two days.

     Yesterday I hung out with my sweet sister Callie, her husband Justin, & their niece & nephew Gavin & Serenity (who I blogged about on Friday)!  They are too cute!  We took them & our dog Zoey to the park.  It was such a fun day!


     Then last night just Callie & I went to a movie!  It was a lot of fun!  We saw Silver Linings Playbook, it was pretty good!  It's the one with Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence.  I loved it!


     When we got home we got in the hottub with my brother-in-law.  Today I slept in, spent the morning with Callie & Justin, watched the Cowboys game (huge bummer- we lost in OT), & then went to see Christmas lights with my family & the Paynes!  It was a full day & now we’re all watching Elf!!  It has been an awesome few days with everyone home.  My other sister, Rachel & her husband will get here on Tuesday morning after they do Christmas with the Lott side.  Then Callie & Justin have to leave Tuesday afternoon because of work on Wednesday :/  That’s definitely a bummer, but I’m glad to have them here for the time they do have off!!

Merry Christmas & Happy Sunday!  Love to all!

12.22.2012

Home for the Holidays!


   
Hello lovelies!  I have been home for a week now & am thoroughly enjoying myself!

I got home last Friday around 11pm.  My drive from Lubbock back home consisted of lots of loud music, a few pit stops & a constant rain storm that I just couldn't get out of.  It was alright though, I actually enjoy a little rain while I drive.

     Over the weekend I got to hang out with my sweet best friend, Lauren!  I love catching up with her & getting into all kinds of shenanigans around town.  We had dinner downtown, took a few pictures by the Christmas tree, & drove around town checking out Christmas lights.  It was wonderful!

     This week my mom & sister have been at school during the day but my dad is already off for Christmas!  It's been nice to have him home!  In the past five days I've had a few lunches with friends, done some Christmas shopping, visited a local youth service, finished some decorations around the house & wrapped a lot of gifts.  I also got a little crafty.  I painted a canvas & decorated two mugs.  (both pinterest inspired, of course!)


This was a gift for Lauren who lives in South Carolina.  She kept Texas, I've got Carolina!  I like to think of them as modern day friendship bracelets!  ;)


This is a canvas I made that I will most likely hang in my house somewhere!  

     Tonight my sister & brother-in-law drove in from San Marcos!  They got here around 5:45pm just an hour before my parents were heading off to church to volunteer at an event.  My younger sister also had plans, she went to a friend's birthday party.  Since everyone was leaving, Callie, Justin & I went over to Justin's parents house (they're basically like family to me since they dated for so long) & hung out with their niece & nephew.  It was a blast!  They are just the sweetest!  Here are some fun pictures from the night.

       

Gavin James & Serenity Nyann



     I hope your homes are filled with the smell of Christmas baking, sights of twinkling lights, & sounds of many family members spending quality time together.  Merry Christmas!!


12.12.2012

5 semesters down, 3 to go!

Hello 36 days of no school, 3 weeks of no work & quality time with mi familia!

     I finished my last final yesterday morning & am ecstatic about having a month to relax & hang out with family & friends!  Before I get too far into that though, I'd like to rewind a few days!  This past weekend I decided to do a little baking!  My friends Brandon & Leah Clark had a little Christmas party on Saturday so I whipped up a few treats to bring along!

     First I made S'mores Bars.  They were delicious.  Then I made some Resurrection Rolls, which are traditionally for the purpose of illustrating Christ's death & resurrection to children for Easter, but they were tasty so I went for it anyway!

S'mores Bars
     All you need is a package of cookie dough, a few graham crackers, some mini marshmallows & chocolate chips!  The first part is layering the graham crackers & the cookie dough to bake up for about 8 minutes.  Then you just add the chocolate & marshmallows to warm & get melty in the oven for about 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees depending on your oven.  YUM!  Check out a few pictures from the process.

           

Resurrection Rolls
     This one was a little more involved!  You need large marshmallows, a can of crescent rolls, melted butter, & cinnamon sugar.  The steps go like this: Take a marshmallow, dip it in the melted  butter, dip it in the cinnamon sugar, then wrap it in a crescent roll.  I finished it off by drizzling more butter & sprinkling a bit more cinnamon sugar on top before baking them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Here are some pictures step-by-step!

         

          

          

     I would classify both of these little baking projects as easy!  They were quick, straight forward & simply required a brain & capable hands!  Fun for everyone!

     Back to the here & now!  I'm finished with school but still have to work until Friday!  The kids I nanny for have school until the 21st, so for a while I thought I was going to have to stay in Lubbock until then.  About a week ago Curt & Bethany graciously offered to work around their schedules to pick up the kids next week so I can go home for the holidays!  They are too good to me!

     This week consists of catching up on sleep, laundry, cleaning, packing for an entire month & hanging out with Aden Ashley & Morgan Samuel.  They are a ton of fun!  Aden & I decorated some Christmas cookies yesterday, today they're watching a Christmas movie & tomorrow I plan on doing a Christmas craft with them!  I really enjoy my job… (if you can't already tell).  The kids get cranky, they talk back, they don't always obey me, but their sweet smiles & warm hugs make up for it all!  I've learned a lot about what it's like to be a parent over the last 4 months.  Some days I want to rip my hair out because of the way they act.  Some days they are a joy for the 3 hours we're together.  Some days it's a mixture of both & I love the little taste of motherhood I'm getting.  Trust me, I know 3 hours a day is just a taste...I've got a few years until I take on 24/7 motherhood, don't worry!  :)  Here are some sweet moments from my time with these two rascals this semester!

               


     What has been your favorite part of Fall 2012?  Have you tried any fun Christmas baking yet this season?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!  


Happy Wednesday!


12.05.2012

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, maybe not completely wordless.  Today I'm starting a new series!  This week it will consist of some of my favorite pictures over the course of the summer & this semester.  Starting next week it will just be some fun pictures from that particular week.

Enjoy!

              




Insti goodness.





Happy Wednesday!


12.02.2012

December Ramblings


     Yet again, I find myself sitting in front of my computer with a water bottle to my left, favorite sockies on my feet, groovy tunes playing in the background, & a mind full of swirling thoughts ready to be rightly placed into sentences.  I don't know how to express how much I love to blog.  I can't even believe I've kept it up for over a year now!  With each day that passes I love to write, create, dream, & publish more than I ever have before.  I'm just so thankful I even have readers!  With that, here's my post for today!

     December has finally come!  While the calendar is telling us it's time to play Christmas music, put up decorations, & tackle huge shopping lists, it's hard to feel like we're really only 24 shorts days away from Christmas!  It was 80 degrees in Lubbock today.  On December 1st, it was 80 degrees.  As a born & raised Texas girl, I'm mostly used to that problem.  For some reason though it's really throwing me for a loop this year.  Anyway, I'll quit going on about the weather & move on to what I really want to write about.

     Yesterday as I was driving to work, I was listening to 96.3 KLLL (country radio) when the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins came on.  The lyrics go a lil something like this: "You're gonna miss this/You're gonna want this back/You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast"  Yes, this song is generally played at high school graduations, sports banquets, etc. & is dreadfully cheesy but yesterday it felt very different.  As I was driving down Indiana Ave. headed for my daily mom duties (no I don't have a baby, I just have a few kids I hangout with during the week) my mind started racing.  As the lyrics rolled on I began to think about all the life I've lived.  All the seasons I've lived through, & all the fun, incredible memories I've made in my short 20 years.  As those "picture moments" as I like to refer to them as, were running through my mind, I was in awe.  I was seeing & remembering all that the Lord has allowed me to enjoy in this life.
Sidenote: I am constantly amazed by the way God speaks to me.  

     If you know me at all or have been reading this blog long enough, you know that I live in the future.  I am usually focused on tomorrow or next week or next year or the next chapter.  I'm pumped about what God is GOING to do.  And where God is GOING to take me.  I'm not always as appreciative or focused on what He IS doing.  I don't always love where He HAS taken me.  I've struggled in this area all my life.  I've always been more focused on tomorrow than I am on today.  This causes me to miss opportunities.  I basically have a severe case of tunnel vision, focused only on the times ahead.

     The song & my future-thinking-issues come together at the point that I began to realize how much I'm missing in the midst of my rat race outlook.  The Lord began to reveal to me how much growth is happening in this time of my life.  He began to show me how much ministry there is to be done here.  He said, "Slow down.  Enjoy today."  & I first said, "But what about when I graduate, what about when I get married & have a family, what about…"  After some back & forth, I eventually came around & began to really understand what He was telling me.  I am so concerned with & worried about what tomorrow could or should be, that Today gets lost in the mix.  I'm missing life by planning life.  I'm missing my life by planning my life.  While graduating tomorrow, moving back to Dallas & starting my life sounds great, I know that's not realistic.  While I am still ecstatic, I mean ECSTATIC, about the day that God will place in my life the man I will love & honor all my days, I know that I can't focus on that right now.  I don't want to rush through the wonderful season I'm living in right now.  I'm learning to be content where I am now.  I'm learning to be thankful for this season of my life rather than hopeful that the next one will be better.  I love what God is teaching me.  I love HOW He's teaching me, in just the way He knows I respond best.  My God is faithful & sovereign.

Not to mention, I have the sweetest friends on the planet so why would I want to run off & leave them just yet!?

     My challenge to you as readers is this: How often are you worried or concerned about what the future might hold?  How well do you deal with the unplanned?  Are you missing moments God is orchestrating by looking too far in front?  Do some self reflection & try to coerce your focus back to the here & now.  

     On a lighter note, tonight my friends & I went to the 54th Annual Carol of the Lights!  Here at Tech it's one of our many school traditions (my personal fav) where there is a ceremony, some singing & then all the Christmas lights on campus buildings light up all AT. ONE. TIME.  It's a blast & I'm super glad we went!  Here are some fun pics of our evening :)

 


 


Happy December, friendlies!  Peace & blessings!

Mere

11.28.2012

Thanksgiving & Hurt Feelings

Hi bloggie friends!

     I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving spending time with friends & family!  I sure had an awesome few days off of school & work!  I got a hair cut, had a dermatologist appointment & even got to catch up with my best friend over breakfast on Saturday!  I spent five wonderful nights at my parents house in McKinney & got back to Lubbock Sunday evening.  Here are some fun pictures from my visit with family & our Thanksgiving celebration!






     Unfortunately, after such a great week I came home to find out that my house had been broken into while my roommate & I were away.  Womp womp womp.  Huge bummer!

     My roommate got home first & texted me about it while I was still on the road.  A few of our things were taken, our house was a wreck, & my feelings were hurt.  I don't know how else to describe what I felt when I found out.  I felt violated.  I felt hurt.  I was super bummed out.  It's a weird feeling to know something like that happened & there is nothing you can do to change it.  I've had a rough time sleeping the past few nights which is tough, not to mention I'm starting to get sick.

     Even though it stinks & I'm frustrated about the whole situation, God has taught me two very important things over the past few days.  First it's been cool to realize how God is still God in every situation.  He is still concerned with the details & still has His hand on everything.  For example, I feel extremely blessed that I didn't get home first.  My roommate walked in to see the house in shambles & I had a few hours to prepare myself to see what had happened.  Also, my roommate Josefine doesn't have a car, so I'm incredibly thankful that she wasn't there when it happened!  If she had been there they might not have known & that would have been an entirely different experience.  The Lord is really teaching me how He is constantly working in our lives & how He is still orchestrating the details, things that seem minute but turn out to be very important.

Missing this simple piece of jewelry today.

     The second thing I feel like the Lord has taught me is, ironically, thankfulness.  I just feel blessed to have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, & a cozy warm bed to sleep in.  Those things aren't rights, they are privileges & after having my house broken into, I'm even more aware of that.  I am blessed to have a car to drive & clothes to wear.  Although we are now transitioning out of the season of Thanksgiving & into the season of Christmas, I find it so important not to allow the heart of thankfulness to leave us.  I think more than anything this season should be an extension of thanks with an addition of selflessness!

     My challenge to you is this: For the next month or so, try your best to focus on doing things for others.  Not with an attitude of pride but with an attitude of service.  We are so blessed in this country with so many freedoms & a lot of privileges so I pray that we might be able to reflect on the blessings in our own lives so that we can focus on being a part of the betterment of others' lives!

Happy Wednesday & welcome to the Christmas season!

Mere