TODAY is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Okay, so I’m over my bellyaching and have wrapped up my pity party.  I’ve put on my big girl panties and I’m dealing with the world.

TODAY IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!!!  I am currently sitting at the computer next to a wide open window.

Ella and I started the day differently than most…I had to wake her up!  We had things to do and people to see, so she needed to get on out of bed.  I should’ve woken her up 15 minutes earlier than I did because we ran a solid 15 mintues late all morning.

First, we headed to the gym.  If you’re not on facebook (or you aren’t one of my facebook “friends”) then you missed my new lease on life…my list of positive changes!  We have been members of the YMCA for over a year now and I’m going to get accomplished what I set out to a full year ago.  Sure, I went strong at first, but then I met these great moms and started having lots and lots of playdates.  I’m going to apologize to those moms now because playdates are going to be less frequent or we’re just going to be late a lot since I’m determined to hit the gym at least three times during the week.  Yep – I’m going to get there by 8 a.m. (goal), drop Ella off with those lovely ladies in childwatch, and head to the ActivTrax machine to get my designed workout.  Which reminds me…I need to do the ab work I didn’t get to this morning…
So far this week I’ve done three FULL BODY workouts – 20-30 minutes of cardio, weights, and ab work.  After that I’m disgusting so I also take advantage of those non-water-saver showers in the locker room and get dandied up before we head elsewhere for the morning.  Ella is in childwatch for a full hour and a half to close to two hours and she LOVES IT!!!  Those ladies take great care of her and she has lots to do and lots of friends to play with.

Today after our (shortened) workout, we headed to the church to get my church work done.  I started singing U2’s Beautiful Day (since it wasn’t on the radio) at the top of my lungs with my windows down.  Ella found this quite amusing as did anyone we passed as we slowly exited the parking lot.  It just really is a beautiful day!

Over the past couple of days I’ve had at least two friends (on facebook) post about being positive in the day.  “Waking up on this side of the grass” means that I’m alive and I owe God my happy thankfulness no matter what else is going on.  I’m determined to make that my mantra.

Here are a few more things that I’m looking forward to happening in the next four days:
Tonight – my friend Angie’s baby shower.  I get to celebrate another tiny God-creation.  And I just found out my friend, Angela, is pregnant and she’ll be at the shower tonight so I get to hug her and just love on another momma-to-be.
Tomorrow – a Mom’s Morning Out bike ride with some Richmond Mommies.  This was so much fun two weeks ago that I want to do it every week.  It is a good workout with some new friends followed by excellent coffee at Starbucks.
Sunday – Ella is MOVING UP TO TODDLERS at church.  Yes, a bit early, but she’s so much older than the other babies in the nursery and her development is on par with one of the kids who is older than she is.  I’m a little sad that she’s not a “baby” any more, but so excited that she’s going to get to learn Bible lessons and make Bible crafts.  I have her little backpack ready to go with diapers, a sippy cup, and her little Bible.
Monday – BACK TO BIBLE STUDY!!!!!!!!!!!  We’re going to study Beth Moore’s Revelation Here and Now, Then and There.  SO EXCITED!!!  It is really a blessing to spend two hours each Monday morning with a bunch of ladies of all ages talking about God and praying together.
GOD’S BLESSINGS ABOUND!

Before I leave you, I ask that you remember tomorrow the very unexpected sacrifice made by many Americans 9 years ago.  I will never forget where I was when the terrorist attack happened.  I also ask that you remember that not every Muslim is extreme.  Just like not every Christian feels the need to blow up an abortion clinic. 
I also want to ask everyone to continue praying for our troops overseas.  Today, many news outlets are saying that President Obama has concluded U.S. combat operations in Iraq.  My cousin, Hailey, is currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq and she says that this is not 100% the truth.  She is afraid that Americans will take their eyes off of Iraq not realizing that the troops there are still in grave danger.  They still carry their guns as they go about business.  They are still attacked.  There are still bombs.  Please pray for our troops – whether or not you agree with the war or if you did or did not vote for the current or past president. 
I’ll get down off my soapbox now.  Hailey, I love you and I’m praying for you always.

A book report

I read.  A lot.  Most people don’t know this about me.  I don’t always pass along books and I often don’t pipe up my opinions on books unless I’m asked.  This is the reason I got a late invitation to the book club I attend.  No one knew I read, so no one invited me.  Until one day, a friend posted that she was really looking forward to a glass of wine at bookclub.  I asked her about her book club and the person who founded the club (also a friend) quickly emailed me to invite me to join explaining that she didn’t know I liked to read.  So….now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
I need to apologize to all to all of the people that have suggested to me that I should read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  There was so much hype (which turns me off) and so many people suggesting it that I was actually relieved that I was going to be out of town for the bookclub meeting that would discuss it.  I didn’t even read it.  Until last week…  I had already read the March bookclub book (finished that the day of the February meeting) and really needed something to read.  Since we’re discussing reading Gilbert’s newest book, I decided that I should cave and read Eat Pray Love.  Man, I’m so glad that I did.  It was great!!!
I enjoyed reading about good places to eat in Italy (though I’m not sure I’ll ever find them if we get to go).  I now want to go stay in an Ashram in India someday.  And I totally want to go to Bali and find Ketut Liyer and sit on his porch talking about life.  Seriously…great book!!!

Here are four quotes from the book that have really stuck with me and why:

“…to even believe [what good works will yield] is an act of faith, because nobody amongst us is shown the endgame.  DEVOTION IS DILIGENCE WITHOUT ASSURANCE.”

Wow!  What a way to put it!  I’ve always explained faith – at least MY faith – as being willing to step out into darkness and trust that God will lead the way.  The author goes on to say, “There’s a reason we refer to ‘leaps of faith’ – because decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable…”  But what a great sentence – “Devotion is diligence without assurance.”  I actually put the book down for a moment to mull that one over.

…the day of the week that you were born is more important in Bali than the year…the patron god of children born on Thursdays is Shiva the Destroyer, and that the day has two guiding animal spirits – the lion and the tiger.  The official tree of children born on Thursday is the banyan.  The official bird is the peacock.  A PERSON BORN ON THURSDAY IS ALWAYS TALKING FIRST, INTERRUPTING EVERYONE ELSE, CAN BE A LITTLE AGGRESSIVE, TENDS TO BE HANDSOME (‘a playboy or playgirl’) BUT HAS A DECENT OVERALL CHARACTER, WITH AN EXCELLENT MEMORY AND A DESIRE TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE.

Ella and I were both born on Thursdays.  I just thought, “hmm..well, I’d definitely fit my character description in Bali”.  I’ll also say that I LOVE Banyan trees.  I thought that was cool.  I am trying to learn not to talk first or interrupt, but those are long lessons.  I actually started in a women’s Bible study today called Conversation Peace.  It is about taming the tongue (interesting since we JUST read that passage in James in Sunday school).  I also love the line from the age-old poem that, “Thursday’s child has far to go!”

“…LITTLE GIRLS WHO MAKE THEIR MOTHERS LIVE GROW UP TO BE SUCH POWERFUL WOMEN.”

Wow…I love that sentence.  I have a little girl and my life is amazing since she entered it.  She definitely makes me live.  She is full of energy and requires energy to keep up with her.  She is loving the “warm” weather we are experiences (the 60s) and longs to be outside.  Yesterday, Jeff walked back and forth in front of our house with her.  Everytime he tried to direct her to me (to go inside), she immediately started running the opposite direction.  It was funny, though not so much when he did carry her in.  I do believe she can be powerful.  Oh, God, let me be the mom that raises up a woman of power – power within herself that no one can push her down or around and power in YOU.

“But I was always coming here.  I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that GOD LONG AGO DREW A CIRCLE IN THE SAND EXACTLY AROUND THE SPOT WHERE YOU ARE STANDING RIGHT NOW.  I was never not coming here.  This was never not going to happen.”

My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

Just think.  Before I was born, God knew that Ella and I would be having a rough-nap afternoon.  That I would have given up naptime in her crip and reluctantly put her in her swing (so grateful it has a high weight limit and that she loves it), and returned to writing this blog.  God drew a circle around this chair and this desk….well, kindof.  He knew I’d be married to Jeff.  He knew I’d be the mom to Ella.  He knows if I’m going to have another baby someday or not (and how soon is that someday, God?).  He knows our days.  The Bible also says is Psalm 139 (NIV) “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways”.  God knows us.
I’ve known this for a long time.  Psalm 139 is my second favorite scripture in the Bible.  The whole chapter.  I love it.  It just really hit home when worded by the Sufi poem, “God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now.”
WOW!

So that is my book report.  I went into Eat Pray Love thinking it would just be a good read and came away with for page corners flipped for statements I wanted to remember (for various reasons…hence the Thursdays child thing).  That last one rocked my day.

Where are you standing right now?  Do you see your God-drawn circle?