Finding the Balance

In just under two weeks, my flight leaves for Orlando. I'm meeting my family there for my cousin's wedding, and we're doing some Disney vacation stuff, too.

I have been just consumed all day yesterday, and most of the week really, on the things I needed to do and buy to look absolutely amazing on this trip. I'm buying dreeses and bronzing lotion, I'm getting my hair highlighted and cut and my eyebrows waxed, I'm rethinking make-up and shoes - all to present some kind of fabulous image to people who I've known my whole life. There are some deep-seated issues wrapped up in that for sure, but last night there were two things that happened that reminded me of just how shallow my thoughts have been lately.

The first thing that happened is that I went to our FPU class - tonight's lesson was on debt. I pride myself on being out of debt except for my house (thohg in truth I owe that less to hard work and more to God's provision and a great housing market). But the truth is, imagine what I could do with no debt at all (including no mortgage payment)? And the only way to get there is to decide, one purchase at a time, what's more important to me.

The other thing that happened is that I read this post by a mom blogger who just got back from a trip to Uganda with Compassion International.

In the face of that reminder of such extreme poverty and our response to it, I seem to have regained a more balanced perspective. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look my best. But being driven by it, obsessing about it - there are far more important things to think about.


I changed the title of my blog, and here's why.

One of the blogs I follow on a regular basis is Today's Creative Blog, because I love seeing all the fun things that people create (and I love finding decorating inspiration for my house). Nesting Place was featured there recently, and she often talks about her sister, who writes Chatting At The Sky. I think that is the coolest name for a blog, and here's her inspiration:

Tuesday, after a reckless
and used day,
I was running and running
without a chance to stop
and chat at the sky.
And finally, I stopped
for a breath in the evening.
And suddenly, I was caught
by the scenery...
painting a picture of You.

~ Sarah Masen, Tuesday

I started thinking about how I love quotes and especially song lyrics, and how so many of them feel like they were written just for me. I've always disliked the name I chose for this blog, because I just couldn't think of anything else, but I decided that somewhere, in one of those songs that make up the soundtrack of my life, there might be inspiration for a blog title. This is the song I chose:

Your first dawn blinded you, left you cursing the day.
Entrance is crucial and it's not without pain.
There's no path to follow, once you're here.
You'll climb up the slide and then you'll slide down the stairs.

It's foreign on this side,
But it feels like I'm home again.
There's no place to hide
But I don't think I'm scared.

~ Nickel Creek, This Side

My friend Bethany told me when I decided to move to Virginia, that she thought this song fit perfectly. Its still one of my favorite songs of all time.

There's something in the water (and for Iris, pt 2)

Our church nursery currently has seven kids, five of them boys. There's a five-month-old baby boy that will soon join us, and there are three people who are pregnant. Two of them, both due in the next few weeks, are also having boys:

The shower I'm throwing is for Karen, on the right (Heather is on the left - this was at her shower a few weeks ago). Between preparing for the shower and watching the family behind John & Kate + 8 on Oprah last week, I must have babies on the brain, because a few nights ago I dreamed that I was pregnant with quadruplets. This is a little scary, because several months ago, I dreamed that Heather was having a boy (before she found out). Of course, I also dreamed that a very nice woman in our church was trying to steal my dog, so maybe I shouldn't be too worried.

Baby Showers and Vacation

Life is good here in southeastern Virginia. Now that we're almost through February, it finally feels like winter. And I'm ready for it to be over, mostly because I find wearing a coat a real annoyance.

In the meantime, I'm heading to Orlando in a little over two weeks for a cousin's wedding and a family vacation in Disney world. I didn't realize how quickly the trip was sneaking up on me, until my sister called to coordinate the things we're bringing. This prompted a bit of a wardrobe crisis, so I foresee a lot of shopping in the next week.

Also this week, I've been getting ready for the baby shower I'll be hosting next weekend. I'm making lots of cute things and having a great time doing it. I'll post pictures once I have some of these projects completed.


As a single person who has some experience with celebrating (and not celebrating) Valentines Day without a significant other, my feelings about the holiday are complicated. Sometimes the whole thing doesn't faze me at all. Sometimes I just get a little annoyed, like the time I went out for dinner with a group of friends and the waitress kept sub-dividing us into the married and the singles, then flirted with all the single guys (in this case, I was mostly annoyed not because it was Valentines Day, but because she was so tacky). And other times, if I'm being really honest, well let's just say its more of a struggle. In those times, I remind myself of all the good things I do have in my life, instead of the ones I don't. And I try to remember that there is a God who loves me, who has a complete and perfect plan for my life.

If you know me at all, you might know that music means a lot to me - because I love the way that the right song can teach me and inspire me and convict me and capture what I'm feeling in just a few lines. And when I need to be reminded of a God who loves me, music is one of the things I turn to. Around here, at least on the radio, that means K-love.

I don't have anything against K-love as a rule, though sometimes the cheesiness is just a bit much and the pledge drives make me insane. But its still good music, so I listen. The problem is, at least the last two years, they run a contest every year, where people write in with their love stories and someone writes a song about the winning story, called The Next Great Love Song. Cue the sappiness.

Someday I'm going to write in with my love story, about Someone who pursued me even though I was so unworthy, and who went to unbelievable lengths to prove just how much He loved me. That's the kind of songs I want to hear, anyway.


For the most part I like working from home. There are a lot of really great things about it - more flexibility, bits of time to do housework around the house, never rushing home from work just to dart off to the next thing.

There are downfalls, though, and the biggest one is this - working at home can be very isolating. Between the work day and an evening home alone, its totally possible to go a day without having a conversation with anyone. I'm not nearly as aware as I was before of all the things going on around me (like today - until I turned on the radio on the way to FPU tonight, I had almost completely forgotten it was Valentine's Day). The weirdest thing is when I go to lock my door before going to bed at night, and realize that its still locked from the night before. Somehow I don't think spending a whole day without ever going outside is healthy.

Sometimes this whole thing bothers me, but right now, it doesn't. Its just a little weird. If its really true that women speak need to speak about 7000 words per day (compared to men's 2000), I wonder where all my words are going. Am I just storing them all up to unload on the next unsuspecting person who says, "how are you?" Either that, or I'm having way more conversations with my dogs than I think I do.


This post is not intended to be a political statement in any way. To be honest, I have only just begun to investigate the candidates (the Virginia primary is next week). I recognize the importance of politics in America, and while I feel its my responsibility (and privilege) to vote, I don't find politics that personally interesting. The myriad of ads, particularly mud-slinging ones, in the 2006 Virginia senate election drove me up the wall, and I was thrilled when Election Day finally arrived and they were over.

All of that said, this is one of the best campaign ads I have ever seen. I wish more were like this - hopeful and entertaining, instead of repetitive and accusatory.

Two things I'm excited about

There are a couple things going on in our church that I'm excited about.

The first is that finally, I'm taking Dave Ramsey's class, Financial Peace University (FPU). I've been wanting to do this personally for a while, but balked at the $100 price tag. But, in October, several of us saw Dave Ramsey speak live at Catalyst, and we've now started an FPU class. We've only had two meetings, one of those a preview. But I'm really excited about the opportunity to open dialogue and talk candidly about money. I think when you can see change in the very real, practical issues people deal with daily, it also opens the door to spiritual change.

The second thing I've excited about is that we now have people sharing their stories about what God is doing in their lives during the worship service on a monthly basis. We've had two people share so far, and I think these stories, too, are really powerful. It helps connect us to see what God is doing, and encourages us, too.

We had our monthly leadership meeting tonight, and I always walk away from that very encouraged about what God is doing and where He is leading us. Our leadership team is made up of such incredible friends - I love working with them.