What a Weekend!

We had a great weekend this past weekend. Friday morning brought a playdate at Chesterfield Town Center with our good friends Amy/Jackson and Katie/John. It is amazing how much the kids have grown!
Jackson, John & Ella March 2010
John, Jackson & Ella March 2011
And from one of the very earliest playdates we had with Amy & Jackson
October 2, 2009 compared with Friday’s playdate (March 11, 2011):
We are superbly blessed!
Of course, all that fun led into an incredible weekend in Lynchburg visiting Jeff’s grandmother, aunt & uncle.
Aunt Margaret is a GREAT sport!

Of course, it can’t all be singing and roses, right? Ella woke up in the middle of the night Friday night with a fever. Luckily, Margaret and I were watching the 6 hours of Pride & Predjudice (with Colin Firth) so we just medicated her and let her sit up with us for a bit. Fever stayed up most of the day Saturday, but that didn’t stop Ella from playing or getting lots of love.
Reading with Aunt Margaret
Wearing Uncle Kenny’s boots!

“Riding” the tricycle. Maybe next time she’ll be able to do it herself!
Playing with a cat named “Little Dog” named after a cat named “Dog”
Really, it was hard to know she was even sick! Ella also got to pet a baby duck (and a grown up duck).
It was a busy weekend!! And – here’s a rare treat – we got a family picture:
It isn’t a great one (Jeff’s eyes are closed), but we’re all looking in the direction of the camera.
We’ll just imagine that he is praying his thankfulness to God for us. (hee hee hee).
Today has been a bit dramatic…which is all I could expect following a great weekend, right?
We had to skip Bible study today because while Ella’s fever dropped yesterday morning, it wasn’t quite 24 hours and I didn’t want to risk infecting anyone else. Then at breakfast, Ella informed me that she’d put a puff up her nose. So a trip to the pediatrician got substituted into our morning.

No puffs in her nose, but she has congestion in her lungs and a red throat so she got tested for strep & flu – both negative (thankfully). She has the same sinus issues I do, but she’s too young for any of the good treatments so we headed to Target with our prescription for an antihistimine. That took another hour so it was 3:00 before I got her close to her crib to nap.
It took her forever to wind down and doze off, but I think we actually accomplished that, too.
And now I’m just trying to relax a bit before making dinner (super easy thanks to Aunt Margaret sending homemade meatballs & sauce home with us!).  Anyway…
Happy Pi Day to all!


Let’s Try This Again

I long to be a good blogger.  I want to sit here everyday and open a window (not a door, though) into my mind and my life and share it with others.

Why don’t I?  Because it takes time and dedication.  Most days, those things are cherished gifts.

Most afternoons (Mon-Fri) you will find me sitting here at my desk and on a computer, but I spend a lot of that time working on church related stuff.  I love being the AV/Techie person at church, but after working on that, updating my facebook, and then reading the blogs of all the other “good bloggers” that I follow I find that I haven’t taken time to update my own blog.  Awful of me…right?

Oh well… I’ve decided to re-dedicate myself to my blog even if that means I play Mahjong Titans a bit less (seriously, I can veg on that for a good long while).

This week has been an interesting one…
Sunday was a beautiful day… it started off early with me playing a VBS recruiting video in our first service, then whisking the computer off to praise team practice.  Sunday School followed that…
Then the 11:00 service.  We were singing one of my favorite songs this week called Distracted.  This is a song that I, myself, brought to our group.  Of course, I brought it on the day that a friend was subbing for our regular guitarist (who is a LEGEND in the Richmond Area: Danny Hughes).  My friend KNOWS Distracted – as in plays and sings it without music and without hesitation.  I am not that comfortable with the song and neither is the group.  Well…our discomfort showed when we false-stared it TWICE…during the service…with visitors in the audience.  So embarrassing!!!

Sunday night The Bean got sick after showing no evidence of it coming.  That led to a sleepless night for me.  She didn’t get sick again, but I jumped up to check on her with every noise she made.  Fun.
Monday brought more sickness (of the opposite end) from El, but only for four hours.

Tuesday was a nice day.  We got together with some friends after Ella had been “sick-free” for more than 24 hours.  They were willing to take the risk of exposure and (thankfully) no one in their clan got sick.

Wednesday we chilled at home and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned.  We even washed the dog.  She was NOT happy…
But I was happy and the house smelled better so that is what counted.  On a side note- Maggie turned 11 years old on Monday!!!  She was my first “baby”.
Wednesday night I went to church to facilitate a Bible Study (loving leading…a new experience for me!  Will have to write about that tomorrow, maybe.)  While enjoying conversation in our small group about the book of Revelation, I got a text from Jeff that El’s dinner didn’t stay down.  Huh?
Anyway – still no fever or any other sign of illness and this time no “other” sick stuff.  I did sleep better last night.
Today brought running errands this morning and then heading to church to run the bulletin.  One of those errands was picking up toner for the big printer/copier at church only to find out once there that we didn’t need toner…we needed a new imaging unit.  So, we’ll be back at church tomorrow to print the bulletin and such.  Not like we could meet friends to play – not sure what is up with The Bean and whatever the “illness” is.
Even with all that – I still Love My Life that I’m living.  (hence the new blog title)
We Love OUR Life because the life I blog about isn’t just mine.  First, it is God’s and He is just letting me live it.  I’m going to start doing my best just for that reason.  Second, since Ella gets mentioned a lot I figure it is her life too.
I’m toying with paying the $10 to make my blog have its own site instead of having the .blogspot part.  Trying to come up with a good permanent name (that isn’t evieloucronin).
So there you have it… it is Thursday afternoon and I just realized I never ate lunch.  Why do I do that?  So busy feeding The Bean I forget to feed myself…
Oh – just because the pics are too cute not to share.  We had BEAUTIFUL weather in Richmond on Friday.  It beckoned us to Maymont to see the animals and enjoy the sun.  We met Amy & Jackson and Melissa, Skyler, & Emerson there.  Here are some pics:
Ella & Skyler watching the fox

Skyler, Jackson, & Ella in the eagle’s nest

Ella stealing love from Amy during lunch
Okay…here’s to me being a better blogger!

Happy Birthday, Ella Louise!

My baby is two today…
I’m not sad…just in disbelief that it has really been two years since:
Two years ago I discovered love as I never knew it existed.
Ella Louise Cronin!
We had her party this morning.  It had a ladybug theme & the whole place was red & black.  Even the tables got decorated as ladybugs.
Two Years ago there was no cake…this year, I baked & decorated a cake:

And since we had another cake left over after we altered the design, we decorated a 2nd cake: 
 Each cake part/layer had a different flavor.  The “Ella Louise is 2” was French Vanilla Cake, the head and top of the ladybug were Chocolate cake and the bottom of the ladybug was Fudge/Vanilla swirl.
It was a lot of fun filled with family & friends.
We are blessed:
Ella, today as you turn two here are some things you need to know:
You love to play.
You LOVE to sing and dance.
You like ladybugs, but this was your bday theme because your mom found that costume cheap and decided it would be great for your party.
You almost know who Cinderella is.  (This is very important.)
 You like to kiss your friends goodbye – this causes a great stir.
You like to sing the ABCs and make me sing it faster & faster.
You love “Where O Where is the Red Stop Sign” and insist I sing it over and over as we ride in the car.  You’ve gotten good at pointing out stop signs, too.
You love to run and laugh when you fall down (most of the time).
You are learning your right from your left.
You love all our pets and never hold Monkey’s crabbiness against him.
Your playmates are Jackson West, John Kottmeier, Becca Hatcher, Juan Esteban, Nate Brown, Hannah Shelton, and Taylor Boothe.
Of those playmates, we call Jackson your “boyfriend”
You adore Katie Quinn, Charlotte Rich, & Caity Brightwell and never mind that I leave you with them.  You just say, “Bye Mommy” and never cry.
You also adore your “Aunt” B.Jo – who loves you just as much.
Your Pop dotes on you like there is no tomorrow.
Your Mac thinks the sun rises and sets on you.
Your Papa becomes a teddy bear of a man like we’ve never seen.
Your Nana loves to find the cutest things for you
 (like the ladybug socks you’ve worn this week.)
Your Daddy thinks all day about coming home and playing with you.
Your Mommy can’t imagine a better life than being your mommy.
Your aunts & uncles adore you.
Uncle Warren & Aunt Ray-Ray can’t wait to live close enough to be at your parties every year and to visit you often.
You are blessed to have three great-grandmothers living: your G.G. (mommy’s grandmother), your Nanny (daddy’s grandmother), and Grandma Cox (daddy’s other grandmother).
You also have a couple of Aunts who would treat you like their own grandchild instead of as a Niece – Aunt Margaret & Aunt Carla.
And you have a great-great-aunt who never misses anything you do – your E.E.
You are one incredibly LOVED child.
Happy Birthday, Ellabean!!!
Mommy loves you.

Charmed Life…

I have lived a charmed life.  Can I admit that here?  Yes, there have been dark times (years spent fighting with my dad who is now one of my closest friends…a divorce…friendships lost), but when I look back over my life so far…I have led a charmed one.

It started in Richmond, VA but at just over 1 year of age my parents packed up and moved to Roanoke Bible College.  There I led a life of beauty and fun.  Finding my dad in the towering shelves of the library…eating lunch in the cafeteria…climbing in the Crape Myrtles along the main road…  I loved being a child on campus.  I am still friends with a few people who were my playmates (check out Neal Alligood’s blog) and the adults who adored me then still make me feel as adored as ever.

That is NOT Neal in the above photo…

While a student at RBC, my dad also preached at Roanoke Acres Church of Christ in Manteo, NC.  I grew up during those years with my feet firmly planted in Outer Banks sand on the weekends.  I loved the people there and still do love them.  We go to see them as often as we can.  Jeff often teases me that I act like a princess…well, honey, the people in Manteo started that.  There exists no other place on earth where I walk in and I am still the center of attention…though Ella has started to steal my spotlight on visits.

There was plenty of charm between Kindergarten and 8th grade, but you may fall asleep so I’m going to fast forward to my high school life.  Oh, how I LOVED HIGH SCHOOL!  Today on Richmond Mommies someone posted asking us about who we were in high school.  Here is my response:

I was friends with everyone. I was the DD for the getting-drunk rich kids and I could kick some boy butt in a game of Magic with my geeky friends. I went to every dance but the prom of my freshman year. I also won the School Spirit award two years in a row!   I LOVED HIGH SCHOOL! If I’d be promised that I’d have Ella all over again, I’d go back and do it again in an instant.

It is true…if I knew I would get to have Ella all over again, I’d head on back and relive those four years.  Sure, there was heartache and some shed tears (always over dumb boys), but I was in the band and friends with every sort of person in the school…even the girls with thick eye makeup who normally might have pummeled me.  Here is one of my favorite pictures with my band uniform:

Oh, how I loved being in the band…being a good student (but not so good that I made it into NHS – just wasn’t a goal for me)…having friends…going on trips…DISCOVERING STARBUCKS!!!

You know, there was a group of us who frequented the Starbucks across from Innsbrook (the first one in Richmond) that they CLOSED THE STORE and threw a graduation party for us when that time came.  We invited our friends and got to drink a lot of free coffee and eat anything out of the case that hadn’t be purchased that day.  What fun!!

Then I went back to RBC…for one year.  It was as wonderful as I ever imagined it.  Some of my childhood friends were there, too – two as students and one a high school senior who would be attending the next year.
But I got my heart broken and ran home that following summer.  You know, if I have any regrets in my life it would be that I left RBC.  I had made Master’s 12 as a freshman – my dream since childhood.  What a dummy.

After that I worked in a really fun job waiting tables in a bar here in Richmond.  While I’m not proud of everything that occurred in that year of my life, I learned a lot from that time and I had a GREAT TIME!  All of my “wild” stories in life come from that year.

And then I hit the motherload of joy.  I was hired part-time to run the youth program at Parham Hills.  I got new license plates “PHCC YTH” (which stood for Parham Hills Christian Church Youth and not for what it says phonetically).  I wore out the church van driving my middle and high schoolers everywhere they wanted to go.  Not only did we go to at least five states for youth conventions, but we had more lock-ins than I care to remember.  When a kid had a game, I took as many other kids as I could with me to see them play.  We had so much fun together.  The two SonicFLOOd songs playing are two of our favorites.  We had big plans for the future…
My teens were the best and it was great to be so young that I was close enough to their age to have fun, but old enough to know where the lines needed to be drawn.
I remember Rebekah phoning the mother ship with her braces…and Timmy nearly getting us kicked out of a Target (he wasn’t doing anything bad, I promise)
I remember standing in a room of 2000 people with my teens around me singing “Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble”…I remember how it felt when we got to the line “Swing Wide You Heavenly Gates…Prepare the Way of The Risen Lord…”  How moving it was to hear that many voices singing those words.
I was so sad to give up my position as youth director, but I had taken a full-time job and my time was so stretched that I was no longer meeting the needs of those teens.  I’ve always missed leading the way…someday I’ll get to do it again.  As soon as Ella is old enough to tag along.

Then, I met Jeff (see previous post for more on that)…and had Ella.

Ella who will be two years old tomorrow.

Ella who helped me bake her birthday cake:

Does it get any better than this?  I think so…and I can’t wait.

Profession of Love

Jeff and I went away this past weekend.  Mom and Dad had offered to keep Ella while we took a trip to their trailer in the Outer Banks.  We left Friday night after Jeff got home from work and stayed until after lunch on Sunday.  We had a great time…Just us.  We felt a little selfish about leaving mom & dad to care for our child, but they made sure we understood that they were looking forward to a weekend with their granddaughter.

We ate (and ate and ate) at most of our favorite places.  We started at The Jolly Roger for breakfast on Saturday.  Then we drove down to the Hatteras Lighthouse, where Jeff proposed June 17, 2005.

We stopped at Bodie Lighthouse and Coquina Beach on our way back up to the main drag of the Outer Banks.  We played Putt-Putt, something we LOVE to do together and have done since we were dating.

We ate lunch at the Beach Road Grill (Mahi sandwiches).  We shopped in the Used Bookstore.  Ya know, when we were dating we used to go to the Target near Willow Lawn and walk around, then next door to the Barnes & Noble and look at books for hours.  It was relaxing and we enjoyed spending that time together.  We looked at travel guides and picked out places we wanted to go.  We got coffees and just relaxed.  Granted, at the Used Bookstore there was no Starbucks in my hand or comfy chairs to get cozy in…but the feeling was there.  We were together, looking at books.
We went to the Home Depot and got a Hardy Palm (my pick) and a new doormat for our front porch.
We ate dinner at Barefoot Bernies – “our place” – which we discovered 3-4 years ago when the battery in the Jetta died the day we were supposed to come back to Richmond and we were trapped without a car for a couple days while one was ordered.  We walked everywhere we needed to go – including a couple trips to Barefoot Bernies to eat since that is close to the trailer.
I actually did not get my usual steamed sampler and ordered an actual meal this time.  I think I even shocked Jeff with that move.

Sunday, we got up and went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and then we visited the Wright Memorial.  We shopped at The Compass Rose for 75% off pots to use in our backyard and I got a new pashmina scarf that Jeff picked out for me.  And we played more putt-putt (five games in two days – Jeff winning three of them and me losing my title of “Champion”).  We finished our weekend with lunch at Goombays.

On the way to and from the beach we talked.  On the way home, Jeff specifically started talking about our relationship.  He went back to the beginning.  Nope…not our first date…the REAL beginning.

You see, Jeff was first introduced to me and my first husband when I was engaged to my first husband.  We met at Amanda & Adrian’s “villian” themed Halloween party.  It wasn’t a pretty night – I was sick…so sick!  I barely remember meeting him since I was nearly asleep on the couch while the guys played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  However, I was also dressed as catwoman so Jeff remembers me well.

A month after that, I got married.  I didn’t see Jeff again until that May when he was a groomsman in the Amos’ wedding and I was singing.  I was still married, though very unhappily.  I still didn’t pay much attention to the people around me…too focused on myself again and my unhappiness in life.  I do remember that he missed the rehearsal (ironically, my husband stood in for him) and barely made it to the rehearsal dinner.

That October we once again met up at the Amos’ Annual Halloween Party.  At this party, I asked him to flip my Corona for me since my thumb was too small to seal the mouth and get the lime to the bottom.  He obliged and again, ended up playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit with my husband.  Such a strange, strange world looking back… 

A month after that, I was getting a divorce.  It had nothing to do with anyone outside of my marriage, so don’t go getting any fancy ideas.

The week after announcing my separation I was substituting at Dumbarton Elementary and Leigh Foley pulled me into the clinic to tell me something that she was sure Amanda and Adrian wanted to tell me themselves, but she couldn’t hold it in…(I was sure she was going to tell me they were pregnant, but that wasn’t it)  She told me that one of their friends, Jeff, had a crush on me.  A crush that started way back at that very first introduction.  WHOA!
According to his friends, Jeff wanted to ask me to dance at Amanda & Adrian’s reception, but didn’t because I was married and his friends wouldn’t let him.  Talk about blowing your mind.

I know that it is somewhat disappointing to him, but I don’t count all of that in my story of our time together…regardless of how disappointing my first marriage was, I was still married and would never have even cast a glance in any direction – true now in my marriage to Jeff.

I first met (with eyes wide open) Jeff Cronin on December 1, 2000.  After Leigh revealed the secret to me, I called Amanda just to see what was up.  She and Adrian were estatic and immediately set up a night out – a huge group outing – to which I brought another friend as my “safety”.  We shot pool at The Triple and then decided to drive across the James to see the city lit up with Christmas lights.  Jeff offered to drive me and I ditched my safety and let her ride with the Amoses while I got in Jeff’s car.  Of course, we only drove to Jeff’s apartment and parked his car, then got into the backseat of Amanda’s beetle with my friend (yep- three of us in the backseat of a beetle) and headed across the river.  Since I was dressed to impress, I was not dressed sensibly…  Jeff, being the gentleman that he is, wrapped me up in his coat to keep me warm.
At the end of the night, he gave me his business card (with only his work number) so I could call him if I was interested.  I called Adrian the next day and got Jeff’s number at home.  I was definitely interested.

We went on our first official date on December 8, 2000.  Jeff took off from work early – something I didn’t realize at the time was MAJOR!  His friends nearly keeled when I told them that he picked me up before noon on a weekday (it was a Friday).  He brought me star-gazer lilies, which are now my favorite and were featured in my bridal bouquet.  We went to the Galaxy Diner for lunch and then walked around Carytown.  I still have the jeans I wore that day.  After hours of walking around we walked through the Fan to Video Fan to rent a movie (Shakespeare in Love which Jeff will never watch again) and then headed to his apartment where he cooked me dinner (Shake-n-bake Chicken).  We talked and kissed and snuggled on the couch until late and then he drove me home.  I later discovered that taking me home so late on a weekend night meant that he had to park about seven blocks from his apartment when he got back home.  Thankfully, he thought I was worth it.

We had a fun courtship that included a camping trip in the Outer Banks after we had been dating for just five months.  Seriously – I went tent camping with this guy so you know I was trying to impress him!  He was my date to Josh & Ellyn Foshay’s wedding at the end of that week of camping.

On our trip this weekend he asked me when I knew that I loved him.  I didn’t answer his question well.  I obviously had very strong feelings for him before that camping trip because in the weeks following it I was put in the position by a couple friends to choose between them and Jeff.  You can see who I chose.

I know I was in love with him before that year’s Halloween because I was sitting next to his friend Chris at the Amos’ annual party when I told Chris that I was in love with Jeff.  I hadn’t told Jeff yet.  I didn’t tell Jeff until Jeff said those magic words to me first.  I used to be able to quote the date, but I can’t remember that any longer.  I just know where I was when I heard them.  It will always stay with me.

The first three songs on the playlist today:  “To Make You Feel My Love” (sung by Adele), “When You Love Someone” (sung by Bryan Adams), and “That’s How You Know It’s Love” (by Deana Carter) took on new meaning when I was dating Jeff.  I had heard them all before dating him and I had always loved all three of them, but suddenly with him…they meant so much more.  I knew what we had was special – legendary – the stuff they write love songs about.

There was a time in our relationship when Jeff was unsure of our future.  That was a scary time for me, because by then I knew that I loved him totally.  About that time the movie “Hope Floats” came on t.v.  I’d seen it and I really liked it, but one of the songs from the movie stuck with me.  Because I was sure of what Jeff and I had, even if he wasn’t and the song put into words exactly what I was feeling:

To Make You Feel My Love (by Bob Dylan)
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawling down the avenue
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
In the song it says, “I’ve known it from the moment that we met”.  That moment for me was on December 1, 2000.

Honey, I can’t tell you the moment I fell in love with you, but I can tell you that it couldn’t have been long after we started dating.  You were my “Mr. Wonderful” and I could see our future before you could.
And look at us now…I wouldn’t change a moment of my life before you because here I am with you now…married…with Ella…perfection.

I know I don’t always make you feel my love in the best way, but I do love you more today than yesterday and I will love you even more tomorrow.

My dad, the church, Beth Moore, FORGIVENESS, and my AMAZING GOD

I find myself sitting at the computer in a sulky mood this afternoon.  I’m not sure why…

Ella and I have had a great morning.  We watched Sesame Street, then went to the gym where she played in KidWatch (which she loves) and I did cardio.  Then we met Amy & Jackson at Kangaroo Jac’s to play.  Katie was working so she ended up “bouncing” with the kids while Amy & I watched.  (Understand…we would’ve been watching even if Katie wasn’t there.  We do our best to let Ella and Jackson play together without us for as long as possible).
Ella stayed awake all the way home – even after the trip got longer due to a detour around the water main break on Hungry (forgot to call dad and ask if it was fixed yet).  She went down for her nap like a champ.

So why so blue?  I’m not sure.  I started thinking about the fact that I hadn’t finished updating the prayer list at church.  Then I started thinking about church and people and things that happened earlier this year that resulted in lost friendships.  And there it is…the source of melancholy.

See…part of what happened was a feeling from some people that my father should no longer be the minister at our church.  Some of the people who felt this way (really, all) were people that I considered to be my friends…even some like family to me.  I didn’t understand the reasoning behind their thought.

I know that you see me as biased in this situation (and I am a little…), but I think my dad is a great minister.  I didn’t always.  He was too much my DAD for me to see him without the DAD filter on.  If you’ve followed my blog over the years – as sporadic as it has been – then you’ll remember that I wrote one day about how much I hated being a preacher’s daughter.  It was the year of my dad’s 25th anniversary with the church and not one word had been said about doing anything for him.  Some churches send their ministers on paid vacations as anniversary presents and ours wasn’t even thinking about mentioning it.
So I blogged about my frustrations and thoughts and within a week a party was in the works.  It was a GREAT party with many people returning to visit and share their memories.

Let me tell you – my dad is a GREAT minister.  I have spent some time researching other religions and denominations of faith and one thing I find again and again are unapproachable figure heads.  The people who work “under” the minister do the day-to-day work of visiting the sick and needy.  They are people you call in the middle of the night, not that man who stands up front on Sunday (or Saturday).  Even in some independent Christian Churches the elders & deacons in the church do all the visiting of the sick and with new attendees.

At UCC, my dad is the guy you call in the middle of the night.  My dad is the one who (sometimes) beats you to the hospital the morning of your surgery to pray with you and sit with your family.  My dad has flown home from vacations to sit by the bed of someone passing on from this life.  My dad is the one who calls you after you visit and asks to come see you to talk about our church and your beliefs.  My dad sits with those getting married and counsels them in MARRIAGE and not just WEDDING.  My dad holds the hands of those in a marriage on the rocks and prays for them…right then and there…in their time of need.
If you need him…he’s there.  Man, I love who my dad is as a minister.  I am blessed to be his kid.  I didn’t understand why he would leave home in the middle of the night or fly home before we even got to Disney when I was younger, but I think I do now…

I attend a Ladies Bible Study at First Baptist Church in downtown Richmond on Monday mornings.  I love this group and I am thankful to my mommy-friend Whitney for inviting me.  Currently we are doing Beth Moore’s Here and Now…There and Then study on the book of Revelation.  If you’ve done any Beth Moore studies then you know that this woman knows her Bible and you will to if you study with her often enough.  She jumps all around to bring understanding and clarity.  I LOVE IT.  This week we did Session 4 covering Revelation 4 & 5.  In Revelation 4 the throne room of God is described. 

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Wow!  That is AWESOME! I mean…A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
Want to know the coolest thing I learned from Beth this week?

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,<sup class="footnote" value="[e]”> Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

That throne in Hebrews 4 is the very same throne as the throne John describes in Revelation 4.

WHOA!!!  I can approach that glorious thundering, lightning, amazing throne with CONFIDENCE because I “do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with [my] weakness”.

Now, my dad is not the “great high priest” and he certainly is not without sin, but he is able to identify with anyone who walks through the doors of our church.  He LOVES the people of our church the way GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN and you FEEL IT when you’re around him.  He even loves the ones who have treated him poorly at some time in the last 28 years…That to me is a mark of a GREAT minister.

I just can’t understand why people I loved wanted him gone so badly.  It makes me angry and sad.  I struggle every day with that “why”.

And here is the kicker…I HAVEN’T FORGIVEN THEM.

I thought I had…I really did.  Until this Beth Moore study.  Last Monday (9/27/10) Beth spoke about unforgiveness.  In Jesus’ letter to Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) Jesus says (v 4-5): Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”  The church at Ephesus hated what Jesus hated, but they did not love what Jesus loved.

Beth went on to talk about the fact that if we are holding on to unforgiveness then we are not loving what (or WHO) Jesus loves.  We are not loving them in the way Jesus loves them.  She also talked about the fact that we should be holding on to God with both of our hands – not dividing our loyalty.  She went on to say, “If we are hanging on to unforgiveness, we are not holding on to God.”  WHOA!  I need to get myself right. 
I am holding on to unforgiveness – forsaking my FIRST LOVE, Jesus.  If I don’t SEND FORTH TO GOD (not just “let go” of it and send it out to who-knows-where) my anger, frustration, and hurt then I am holding on to it and not holding on to God.  And that my friend is SIN.

So…I am SENDING FORTH my melancholy feelings to God.  I’ll let him take care of them.

Well, my 23-month-old (today) princess is awake and she needs a mommy full of God’s love (and a bit of His patience would help too)!  Before I go…I need to pray so the distractions of the rest of the day doesn’t cause me to miss out on putting down what I need to say to my creator today.

God, I give to you my frustration, my non-understanding, my upset, my anger, my hurt and my sadness.  It is YOURS.  I no longer want the sin of unforgiveness weighing me down.  Take my sin and HURL IT (Micah 7:19) into your crystal sea (Rev 4:6) of forgetfulness.
You are an awesome God.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for sending your perfect son, my great high priest, to walk this earth before and and die on a cross to save me from my sins.
It is in HIS perfect name I pray, Amen.


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.

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.