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Friday, November 30, 2007

Caring, Conversation, Coffee & Connection



What is it about a good cup of coffee and a nice long chat with a really good girlfriend?

My soul can get the endorphin fix it is craving simply by planning this time. How uplifting it feels to have those I love the most take time of out of their hectic, crazy, busy lives to sit and linger over a cup of coffee with me...with me.

My mom calls it coffee cup counseling. I've heard it called mentor meetings, coffee and accountability, girlfriend gab. I think the English even call it tea time. No matter what we call it, I love it. I'll take all I can get!

I can leave this scenario feeling more encouraged and connected than I have in a really long time. Especially if the friend is someone I care about deeply and don't see near enough of in my crazy life.

Things are really good in life right now. God is moving mightily. The kids are doing well. The marriage is going well. The business is booming. I feel in tune with God's purpose and voice.

But lately I've felt rather lonely. Not alone, not depressed, just apart from those who happen to know the deep parts of me really well. Disconnected from the ones who know my heart, hear my heart, feel my heart...a feeling that one cup of coffee and one glance into my soul can cure.

Thankfully, I am learning to recognize this feeling and reach out to connect to someone before I launch into a pity party, cry for no reason or just become plain old isolated.

My life is entering a phase where it's harder to find gobs of time to bond over coffee, corporately pray and worship on weekends or evenings outside of church or even sit on a park bench and watch kids ride bikes.

I became intentional in building intimacy with girlfriends in college. I needed the accountability, encouragement and support. With my older friends I needed wisdom, accountability and experience that their life had given them already.

Now my life is more full and more busy than it's ever been with my family's responsibilities. Sometimes this breeds loneliness. Not a bad loneliness, more like a purposeful loneliness. I know what God is calling me to do. It's just different. Wonderful. Wonderfully different. I love it. I miss my friends. Friends I used to see regularly.

However, I am involved with many people on a regular basis...I don't feel many are involved in my soul life. The deeper life. The place where God speaks.

One way to enter that place together where God speaks is to spend lots of time there...together. The ladies who have reached out to the Lord, responded to him with me and prayed me through many, many years of life...They get me. They know me.

It's not that any of my newer friends don't get me or know me in this way. It just takes time.

Just like our relationship with the Lord, our relationships with our friends and loved ones take cultivating. We spend huge amounts of time together. Great quantities of time are spent together when life is slower, easier, smoother. Then when we hit a bump in life, the relationship is in place, the trust is built and we have that to fall back on for help and support.

Quality time is born from quantity time.

We can't build quality.

We can invest quantity.

Thank you to everyone who has invested quantities of quality time in my life. I pray God will continue to grow us and connect and add to our numbers.

Thank you to all my girlfriends who touch my soul. Your prayers, love, concern and support carry me to the throne of God on a regular basis.

Whether it's been short or long since we shared that cup of coffee know that as I think of you and pray for you today I am encouraged. I hope you are too!

I love you!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Wanna Be Like Martha?


I've been talking lately about time. I am asking God to redeem time in my life. I feel like busyness, chores, duties, responsibilities all eat away precious time. I know that in heaven we will never be distracted from those we love by the dryer buzzing at us.
When I was at my busiest and craziest during my month long sabbatical from blogging, I told God I hated the duties. I hated the time crunches. I resented the responsibilities. I told God I really hated feeling like Martha instead of Mary.

God said, "Why?"

We know Martha from the famous "Mary and Martha" story. Jesus is visiting and Mary is sitting at his feet listening. Martha is busy in the kitchen making sure the guests are fed and dishes done. Martha tells Jesus she needs help and he rebukes her saying that Mary has chosen the better thing.

"But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” "(Luke 10:40-42)


Martha has been introduced.

Martha has been introduced by making a poor choice.

Martha is remembered as being a caretaker, a responsible girl, a hard worker. One who chooses duty over pure unhindered, abandoned worship.

Gee.

Did she really love waiting on guests, cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen more than she loved Jesus? I mean really on a conscious level?

I hope not!

Was she mortified that her actions would be giving a message that her heart did not feel?
I think so.


Later we see Mary and Martha again at Lazarus's death. Martha hears Jesus in coming and gets up and runs to meet him. RUNS to meet him. She finds him and questions his timing in coming for Lazarus has already died. Jesus questions her faith asking her what she believes and rebukes her again, although more gently this time. She repeats what she believes with firm conviction that Jesus is the Son of God.

Including the part where she knows her brother would surely not have died if Jesus would have come sooner. If only he would have done something. Why oh why did the Son of God wait to come to the rescue of those he loved?

"Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”" (John 11:21-22; 27)

She had to tell Jesus what she thought he did not already know. But he knew. He had already told the disciples that Lazarus's illness would not end in death. It would result in giving glory to God.

Jesus had to ask Martha who she believed he is. Lazarus got sick and died so that Jesus could show the world who he is. So that he could bring glory to the Father.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.


Once Martha is reminded of this she can move forward. She knows how to bring glory to the Father.

She hurries to Mary and leads Mary to Jesus. Then Jesus being moved by love and compassion for his friends, heals Lazarus.

Here Martha is a leader. There were many guests at her house mourning her brother's death.

She was not cooking.

She was not cleaning.

She was not serving.

She was not putting casseroles in plastic containers.

She wasn't showing guests where the bathroom was.

She wasn't too busy serving them to leave them and go meet Jesus.

She left them.
She left them to seek comfort. To seek answers. To seek Jesus.

She left them to meet Jesus. She knew where to find him.

She not only met Jesus, she led her sister to him. She pointed her grief-stricken sister to the only One who could give peace.

Mary was so filled with grief, a whole room of people were consoling her. Martha had to be strong. For her sister, for her Savior.

I think Martha learned her lesson about serving versus loving. Every time Jesus speaks to Martha, she responds. Her heart is changed. She loves her Savior. She believes He is God. She knows He can heal Lazarus.

Oh, she questions Jesus's methods. He tells the people to move the stone from the tomb and Martha tells him to hold his nose because Lazarus has been dead for four days already. She questions his methods, she questions his ways, she questions his timing but ultimately she obeys.

She obeys.

She submits.

She humbles her spirit.

She throws off her unbelief and disappointment and puts on hope.

The stone is moved.

Lazarus is raised from the dead.

Jesus proclaims that he is the resurrection and the life.

God is glorified in Martha's life and the lives of her family.

Ultimately Martha receives her blessing. Her heart is changed. Her brother is resurrected.
Ultimately God is glorified.

Being like Martha may not be so bad.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Soccer Girl

We just finished up soccer season. Yay! I love playing games in seasons. This is so much nicer than the one hour a week lessons we have had in the past. One hour each week for nine or ten months is very tiring. Soccer season lasted three days a week for eight weeks. Now we have a magical break. Rest. No practice. No games. No hourly, weekly lessons. Ahhh!
Julia did a really great job. She's been sleeping with her soccer ball for a whole year in an effort to get us to allow her to play this team sport. She convinced us. She loved it. She's a natural.

She loved playing forward. She loved being in the action. She was in her coach's words, "The new girl that won't stay back. No matter where she's told to stand she goes further into the action!" That's pretty much who she is in life. One who seeks the action. One who can't seem to stay back. (Yes, we are praying!)







When she played goalie she would see what needed to be done on the field and forget she was supposed to stay in the box and try to run on the field to kick the ball.






When she played fullback she would forget she wasn't the goalie and try to stop the ball with her hands or even with her body! She really gets into the game. She's competetive. She's aggressive. She's fierce.
She certainly doesn't get any of those skills from me! Team sports was not my thing. I love to watch her play. She's confident. She's enthusiastic. She loves to run. She loves to compete. She has the greatest fun doing it.




She has a great time. She encourages others on the field. She passes the ball. She helps the referee. She doesn't get mad. She is a real sport.





Be on the watch for what this sporty girl's future holds. She's a real winner!





Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We're Very Cool People




That's right, people, the five days out of the year that you actually turn your heater on in Texas, we don't have one!



When our A/C guy installed our new system in July, I vaguely remember him saying, "Call me in the fall so I can hook your furnace up. It's over 100 degrees right now, you won't need it anytime soon."



Who says?


Who writes that on their calendar anyways?

Luckily our family doesn't get cold until it drops below 65. Our guests were cold but we didn't know it was broken at that point.



We got to spend Sunday huddled around a fireplace like Little House...together.



Some of this was good.



Together.



The kids stayed in bed at night because it was too cold to get out for any reason!



Some not so good.



Frost when you breathe. Not good.



Children running around the house to stay warm.



Running and yelling! Not good.


Bathing in freezing air. Not good.



Anyway, say a prayer for the part we need to come. Fast, I'm freezing!



Or, we can just wait a minute and it'll be 80 degrees outside again...It's Texas!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Head Game


Alyssa and Daddy invented a special game. The Head Game. Basically, two people butt heads until one gives up out of pain. The reason it is Alyssa's game is because she is the champion of hard heads!


This is one instance where being hard-headed pays off. She loves to win. Is that a middle child thing? To invent a game that only you can win...She loves it. Loves to play it. Loves to win it!

The Head Game, it's what we do for fun. Try it sometime. Alyssa is really Daddy's girl. She uses her stellar memory to recite the line-ups to the Rockets and Astros. She is totally involved in the game. Basketball, football or baseball. She is especially involved in the mascots. Remember she loves animals.


Recently Andrew gave her a big stuffed Clutch (the Rocket's mascot) doll. She exclaimed happily, "This is the best gift ever!"


Made his day.


This coming from the hardest head in the family.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grandparents and Ducks

A few weeks ago I got a wonderful opportunity to go visit my grandparents.

I just wanted to take a post to say how thankful I am for them. Some of my best childhood memories include them. They always did a wonderful job of making the holidays fun and family centered. They are the steadiness of the Mitchell family. They are always there, always together.

Grandmother and Papa are like peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese. They just go together. They are two of the most special people in my life. I've said before that they gave me stability when I needed it most.


Grandmother has a way of just making me feel loved with one hug. Of course, the hug always includes a Bit of Honey, chocolate chip cookie or piece of bubble gum. Papa has always made me feel like a special girl. I loved this visit. Although it was brief, it was a chance to get caught up and love my grandparents.
The boys loved feeding the ducks. They go straight to the freezer to get the bread Grandmother saves for this purpose. Then they go straight to the bridge to find the ducks.

Palmer is at that magical age where each of my kids has tried to stick their head through the bars of this bridge.


Hunter actually succeeded.


His head slipped through the bars just as Alyssa had a potty accident and Julia fell into the pond. My grandmother, in her very practical, no-nonsense way headed straight toward the house to get the Vaseline to squeeze anad slide his slippery head out from between those bars. My mother, in her flair for the dramatic grabbed her cell phone to dial 9-1-1.


I wasn't there that time but got a great big, belly laugh just listening to the escapades.


I love it!


Oh, the memories...
A special thanks to Daddy for doing this with the girls so the boys and I could have a special trip!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving, Tailgating, Traditions & tu







Thanksgiving night my brother and his family came for a visit. We spent the evening in a family bonding event searching for pizza. Did you know Domino's is the only one open on Thanksgiving night? We then proceeded to try to organize a few games and eventually settled on watching the kids interact with one another and laughing at them. They played tag, copied one another and read us books. A very enjoyable evening.

Then we got up and dressed in maroon, took a couple of crazy pictures and headed to campus for a good ole army tailgate. We took all seven kids under eight across Wellborn to watch the Fightin' Texas Aggie band. Miraculously we made it, saw it and loved it. Whoop!
We had a great time making memories with our cousins, teaching the kids Aggie traditions and being thankful with our friends and family. The tailgate was awesome. The weather was chilly but perfect to sit around the fire and eat yummy, hot gumbo from the Breaux's. And to top it all off the Aggies showed up to play football and decided to beat tu! It was a great holiday.
If you missed this year's tailgate extravaganzas, don't worry, we'll be back next year. So put it on your calendar. You need the whole Aggie football experience!










Friday, November 23, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Tailgate?


Come on out for the last tailgate of the season. Watch the Aggies beat tu with us on our big screen TV.



Limousine service to our tailgate area on campus starts 10:30 AM and runs back and forth from the Keller Williams office every thirty minutes until two hours after the game.



Park at the Keller Williams office 701 University Dr. East across from Blockbuster between the Hilton and Albertson's in the Chimney Hill shopping center.



We're sure to have a good time with good food, good football and good friends. Come on out now, ya'll hear!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks


Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

Family, Friends, Football

As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Think about football.

Yep, I said football. We've got the tailgate to end all tailgates for the end of the season tu gameday. Celebrate your friends, family and great Aggie football team with us!


We promise it won't be this hot!!!

Thanksgiving and football really do go together.

Sitting around the tube all weekend is how the folks spent a good majority of Thanksgiving at my house. Really, there was conversation, performances by children, games, dessert and much more during football...even naps.

I know not all of you like to shop in the crowds...so think of tailgating with us. We'll have great fellowship, fun, food and of course, football on the giant plasma screen TV inside our tents.

The game starts at 2:30...we'll be there around 10:30 and stay until two hours after the game is over.

The limo service will begin in the Keller Williams parking lot across University from Blockbuster between Albertson's and The Hilton and run every thirty minutes.

Enjoy some of our favorite tailgating memories and think about coming out to join us for our last tailgate of this season as the Aggies beat tu.





Future real estate agent.




Future movie star.


Even George the Monkey tailgates. We hope to see you there!

Visit http://www.smithteamblog.com/ and click on my blog for more specific details.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rejoice Always

"Rejoice...always...the Lord is near." (Philippians 4:4-5)

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
Jesus wept.
(Philippians 4:4, 1 Thesalonians 5:17, John 11:35)

The verses our sermon was our sermon were on at church on Sunday. The three shortest verses in the Bible. Do they contradict one another.
How can we be thankful?
Pray at all times. Live with an attitude of prayer.
How did Jesus rejoice always while weeping?
The questions we find ourselves asking is do we know why Jesus was weeping?
Was he weeping because his friend Lazarus was dead?
Certainly not, he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead shortly.
Was he overcome with compassion for his friends Mary and Martha who were mourning for thier brother?
Certainly.


Was he brokenhearted because they could only see the finite? They could see their brother was dead. Gone from them for now. They knew and believed they would be reunited with him on the final judgement day. They missed him today. They grieved.
They thought that if Jesus would've only come sooner, their brother would not have died.

Jesus was in constant communication with the Father. He prayed unceasingly so that he would know what God was doing. He was always one with God's purpose.
Jesus never missed God.

Not once.

Never.

He did exactly what God told him to never deviating from the truth that was ordained in heaven and predestined from the beginning of time. Jesus was not late.


Jesus knew.

God allowed Lazarus to die so that he could be resurrected. So that Jesus could give a physical illustration of who He is...The Resurrection and The Life. By resurrecting Lazarus from the dead, God was glorified. The glory of Jesus was revealed. The glory of God revealed through his only son Jesus Christ. Jesus's ultimate purpose on earth, as is ours, to glorify God.

Could Jesus have been weeping because he saw humans suffering greatly as a result of living in a fallen world? He saw what mankind brought on themselves as a result of choosing ways other than God's way. Lazarus's death was not a result of his own sin or his sisters' sin. Lazarus died because we live in a fallen world. A world filled with sin and all its ugly consequences.

Jesus saw that.

Jesus wept.


Jesus wept while rejoicing.


Rejoicing because he could see the rest of the story.

Jesus did not enjoy the cross for the joy set before him. He endured the cross for the joy set before him. The cross...torture, death, separation from God the Father. The joy...redemption, reconciliation, hope and a future with us and God together.


Pure bliss.


He rejoiced while weeping because he could see, once again, why he came to earth. He could see that left up to our own choices, we would be separated from him forever. He could see that, yes, this was the only way our relationship with God could be restored. He could see that all would be right and redeemed in just a little while longer. He could scorn the cross, endure his calling...rejoicing at its ultimate purpose, its joy. The cross equals joy.


This Thanksgiving, whatever your circumstance, let us endure our cross and rejoice for the joy set before us...and thank Jesus for enduring his in order to set joy before us.


Rejoice...
He is in our midst.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Strong Bear


Meet Strong Bear. Strong Bear just performed a wonderful Thanksgiving program to share the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims came to America because they felt God calling them here. They wanted to have freedom to worship God and give him glory.



Even when life in a new unsettled country was different and hard none went back to England. They all stayed in America. Many lost their lives that first winter. God called them. God has blessed their obedience. God has given us a great country where we are free to worship. Give thanks.



Strong Bear's program also included a delicious feast made especially for parents by all the four-year-old Indians.



We had a wonderful time and are very proud of Hunter, our Strong Bear.
















Happy Thanksgiving from Strong Bear and his family!!!