Sunday, July 31, 2011

We Are in This Together...

We are thrilled to be a part of Crossroads Church here in Lafayette.

We love it. It's a great place for us and our kids. Lee has been a part of the worship team for about 3 1/2 years now. It's been a great opportunity for him to use the musical gifts that the Lord has blessed him with. And it's cool that people enjoy watching him worship. We've been stopped in Target, Walmart, and restaurants by people who attend the church, and they always tell him how much they enjoy it when he sings and plays. That's quite a compliment.

Once, he was getting his hair cut by one of the coolest hairdressers ever - Morgan Willis at Dore' Dore' Salon in River Ranch, and he was just talking to her as she cut his hair. A girl came around the corner and asked him, "Do you sing and play guitar?" Lee was a little shocked and said yes. She continued, "Do you play at Crossroads?" Lee again said, "yes."

She said, "I recognized your voice from around the corner, and I had to come tell you that I love it when you sing and play."

Lee was in shock. He said Morgan was too.

It's an honor to be recognized by others for the gifts and talents that God has placed within us.

Recently, Pastor David asked Lee and I to be a part of the prayer team when we are available. As many weekends that permit it, there is a special time during the worship service for people to have someone on the prayer team agree with them in prayer.

The past 2 times that I've been able to be a part of the Prayer Team, I've been able to pray with people about decisions being made and the safety of children. I've also prayed with people who are hurting. My heart breaks for them...with them.

I feel so blessed, and so humbled by the grace of God. If it wasn't for His grace and mercy, I could be that person standing there. It's by His grace that I'm not.

And because I know that it is God's grace and mercy working in my own life, I agree with them that God can and will do the same for their lives. I believe that I will hear them proclaiming the miracles and glorifying God because their prayers have been answered.

This world is full of people who are hurting. For just a few minutes during a worship service at Crossroads, I am able to agree with them, encourage them, and walk away still believing with them for a miracle. My faith is stretched with theirs. I am looking forward to hearing of the answers to our prayers.

I'm thankful to be a part of a church family where we can share our joys and sorrows with each other. I am carrying these burdens to the cross of Jesus now. And I know that my church family is carrying mine too. We don't have to live this life alone and on our own. We are in this together.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Poetic Justice

You can see it coming in a chick flick from a mile away. You know that the girl is going end up with the guy. And if she doesn't, I end up not liking the movie because it didn't end the way it should have!

We want the happily ever after ending. Even if it doesn't seem realistic.

We want to see people living in victory.

There's the saying, "Misery loves company." But I think that it's safe to say that most people don't love misery. There are miserable people who don't want to get out of their misery, but it's not fun to be around a miserable person...and to be the one to get them out of their misery - that's almost impossible!

You can't want something for someone more than they want it for themselves.

It just isn't going to happen.

You are in charge of how you live your life.

You can decide if you want to live in victory or in misery.

Sure, circumstances in life can cause you to be miserable. Victories may seem rare.

I'm beginning to chose to focus on the victories - however small or large they may be.

Victories in my life magnify my view of God.

Magnify means "to increase the apparent size of, as a lens does"

I can choose to magnify God or magnify my unliked circumstances...not getting my way.

Whatever I magnify is what is going to be bigger in my life.

I have a big view of God, but I definitely want Him to appear even bigger to me than He already is. I want to see Him clearer - not through a distorted lens of my way of thinking.

I don't want to live miserable life. I want to have poetic justice.

Really, Romans 8:28 (in the Christian Bible) is about poetic justice.

"All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose..."

So, even when things don't go the way that I think they should...or circumstances hit me harder than I'd like to be hit...I can still focus on the victories that lie ahead.

And no matter what happens in this life...because I have decided to follow Jesus Christ, no matter what...I will live with Him in eternity. It really will be the best happily ever after!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

11 months old...

Tomorrow my little man will be 11 months old. He's 1 month away from being 1 year old.

A whole year has flown by yet again.

Life looks nothing like it did a year ago.

I am not the same person that I was a year ago.

I've grown a lot. I've discovered new things about myself.

Life is quite complicated with 2 little ones who are 23 months apart. But I know that it could be more complicated. I have soooo much to be thankful for.

I have happy, healthy babies. Yes, Bella had to have her tonsils out, but the ENT told us that she is a very healthy girl, which is why she recovered so quickly. Every time we go to the pediatrician for check ups, he commends us on how healthy Brennan is. And most people tell us that our kids are so happy. It's noticeable. We are so blessed. We give all credit to God.

We were married for 5 years before we had Bella. This was intentional. For those 5 years, every time we would talk about kids - either other peoples or having our own - we would pray, "God, please give us happy, healthy babies who will love You and serve You all the days of their lives."

God has answered those prayers. I never want to take that for granted.

Lately, I am being encouraged and inspired! I feel like it has been a while...for awhile I've actually been frustrated. I've been in this "embrace the season" mode lately, and while I've been doing that with my kids - and enjoying life with them...I don't think I've been doing that spiritually. I've been frustrated with God because I wasn't hearing from Him what I wanted to hear.

Yes, I said that correctly. I believe God is always speaking to me...I just may not be listening or hearing what I want to hear...He doesn't answer things my way.

How do I know that God was speaking to me? He was answering prayers...and the more desperate I got, the more He confirmed in my heart and through other people speaking into my life.

This has been encouraging to my heart. It's inspiring me to dream again.

And the answers I've gotten may not have been what I've expected, but I know God is listening to me. I'm no longer frustrated...I am at peace. I have joy. I know God is moving in me and on my behalf. And I'm embracing this season of my life.

That's a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Recent Victories

I have a few victories that I'd like to share:

1. I am currently wearing my wedding ring!!! This has been a personal goal for a few months now. I've been wanting to wear it, but it seems like some of this post-baby weight stuck around in my fingers. Well, a week ago, I put it on...and it fits! It's not going to come off...definitely not loose, but it is not cutting off the circulation either! I'm pretty excited about this.

2. I've been consistently (for the most part) working out at home. I've been doing my 20 minute workout - 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels. It's an intense 20 minutes, and I normally don't like high impact aerobics, but this is perfect for me. Just when it's getting started, it's almost over. And I'm keeping up a lot more. I even think that I'm going to move up to level 2. I feel a lot better about myself, and I know that I have more energy. I'm also looking forward to fitting in clothes that I haven't worn in a long time -and even buying some new clothes! This is a huge accomplishment for me!

3. Lee and I have been reading a couple of books together. This is fun for me. I love to read, and it is hard to read without interruption, but I'm doing it. It feels good to be reading again. And it gives me and Lee something else to talk about - and it inspires dreams of our own. Definitely a winning situation.

4. We just finished YMI (Young Minister's Institute). It was a great time for wouldn't be YMI if I didn't learn somethings myself. I am always encouraged by the speakers who come in and share what God has placed on their hearts - and it always, always amazes me how they repeat each other without ever knowing who else said what. The Holy Spirit is amazing like that.

5. So, this one falls into the category of miracle...and I'm choosing to believe it. We have a family envelope that we keep extra cash in. We use this money to do special things with our family - like go on vacation, eat out for birthdays or our anniversary, or even buy something special for ourselves or the kids. Anytime we get cash given to us, we will put it in this envelope, and we try our hardest not to use it unless it's a special occasion.

We used some of the money when we went on vacation in Texas, and for a few other things like taking care of upgrading my computer. So, the family envelope was not at the status that it once was...but that's what it's for.

I counted it recently. It wasn't much in there. Lee asked how much was in there, and I told him what it was before I put a little extra cash in there. Over the weekend he counted it. He asked me again what I had told him was in there, and he told me what he counted. It's almost double what I said we had in there.

This blows me away. I thought outloud, "I wonder if God doubled it." Lee said he was thinking the same thing.

I'm choosing to believe that God reached His hand down from heaven and added money to our family envelope.

It's a wonderful feeling to live in victory.

What kinds of victories are you experiencing right now?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I never want to seem unapproachable. I don't want people to think that they can't talk to me.

When I was in college, my roommate Kate and I did everything together. Everything. You often didn't hear our names separate. It was one phrase "Kate & Bri." We are both generally quiet girls until you get to know us...Kate is still quieter than I Latham side kicks in and I can get loud. But, if you were to see us talking and laughing with each other, and then put me in front of a person I don't know well, and I didn't seem like the same person.

I guess I'm just not comfortable in my own skin.

Anyways, we were told by friends (later on, after they hung around us for a while) that they thought we were stuck up at first because we seemed unapproachable. We'd seem snobby because we didn't talk to people we didn't know...or we weren't the same people as we were around our closer friends.

It's a shame, but I still get quieter around people I don't know. I pull back into my shell. I don't know why, but I do. I can speak in front of a crowd of people, but 1 on 1 with a new person can really freak me out! I feel like I don't know what to to start a conversation, what am I going to talk about next when there is a 22 second lull in the conversation...

I don't know why I freak myself out so bad, but I do.

I am getting better. I'm making myself branch out more. Engage in more conversations. Not be a bump on a log around people I don't know.

I want to seem approachable. I want to be able to talk to people I don't know. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me...

I've been told that I have a "nurturing" personality. I do love taking care of people and seeing them be taken care of. And I want to be seen this way by everyone, no matter what because I do believe that God has given this as a gift for me to use to bring glory to Him. But, I don't always see the needs of the people around me. I have to talk to them to hear it. In order to do this, I have to be open and approachable.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I'm preparing to teach a journaling class again at YMI this year. This is quite humbling for me because I do not feel like an expert in this area.

Sure, I have a degree in English. I taught in the Louisiana public school system for 6 years.

But journaling is different. It's more of a spiritual discipline - like fasting or praying or worshiping - than it is just writing.

Each person's journal will look different from the next.

Each person will grow in their journaling as it is exercised - just as in prayer, fasting, or worshiping.

There is always room for improvement.

I believe some people begin journaling and quit because it is not producing the kind of things they feel that they should be seeing. They believe it needs to be a deeply emotional, cathartic experience every time they write, and when it's not, it's disappointing. So they quit journaling.

I don't always "feel like" worshipping God. I do not always want to sing songs of praise and worship. But I do, even when I don't "feel like it..." Sometimes I even feel silly singing when I don't want to sing. But I know that I must keep worshipping God beyond my emotions and personal experiences. And I will improve my worship the more I do it.

The same goes for journaling. I try to write everyday. Some days it is a paragraph. Some days it is 2 sentences and then I'm interrupted by one of my babies...Some days it is 3 pages (my journal is a smaller size book) The important part is that I write. I write my joys and my sorrows. My blessings and frustrations. My questions and answers. In my journal I am free to express the real me. And I find freedom in writing whatever comes to my mind.

Journaling is different from blogging. I try to be very honest and transparent in this blog, but not everything that I write in my journal will be seen on here. Sometimes my inspirations may come from my journal, but my journal is a safe place for me to express myself.

When I first taught my journaling class at YMI 2 years ago, I asked Alicia Britt Chole for some advice. She sent me a list of 5 things that have helped improve this discipline in my life:

1. Journaling is a discipline, which means it takes time to develop.
2. Journaling helps you focus your thoughts on God in a noisy, distracting world.
3. Journaling creates a lifestyle of reflection which deepens faith and thought
4. Journaling marks a memory point of God's faithfulness and our growth
5. Journaling provides a tangible venue to go to God first before we process with others.

It's amazing to be able to look back and see what God is doing in me and through me. I like to think of it as a record of where I have been and where God is taking me.

If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I'd love to help you develop this discipline in your life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

God's Got Answers

I've been praying a lot lately. A lot. I want to hear from God. Specifically. I have questions, and I know that He has answers...and I want to know those answers.

So, I pray. I ask. I listen. I don't hear specifically what I think I should be hearing.

It doesn't mean that He's not speaking or listening to me.

I know that there are some who may disagree, but I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that things happen for a reason. Everything. If the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes can say that there is a time and a season for everything, I believe that God would have a reason for everything too.

We may not ever get to see the reasons on this side of eternity, but I do believe that there is a reason for everything that happens.

Back to God speaking to me...

Just recently I made a statement to Lee about my blog...and how I've gotten such a great response from the posts I've made about Marriage Maintenance. I told him that I'm going to title my book that. I've always talked about writing a book, but it's never been anything other than me saying that. This actually has potential.

Anyways, that same night, Lance, one of our student staff members at UL Chi Alpha, texted me to tell me that he loves my blog and that I should title my next book Marriage Maintenance.

I definitely take that as a God confirmation.

That's what prophecy is. Confirmation of what God is telling me. If someone "prophecies" over me as they are praying for me, and I don't feel right about it in my heart, I do not have to believe it or go along with it just because it was prayed over me. But also, I can write it down, hold it in my heart, because the timing may not be right.

So, I am the place where God is confirming things to me through other people. It's a neat experience. It's humbling, too. God doesn't have to do that for me, but He knows that I'm human, and sometimes I require hearing it from other people in skin. That's kind of Him.

I'm still listening and waiting in anticipation for the questions that I have that I want Him to answer. But I'm learning to trust Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding.
6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths (or make your paths straight).

I'm learning the whole "lean not on your own understanding" part.

Sure I say I trust God, but if I take matters into my own hands, or I spend all of my time worrying about my situations and circumstances, then I really am not trusting God with all of my heart.

So, I'm learning. I'm listening. I'm waiting. He's speaking to me...and I want my heart to be ready to hear His answers...not ones that I've come up with on my own.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Some People Need an Audience...

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. I don't think I could have imagined all that we would have gone through during these past 8 years.

We've definitely been with each other for better or for worse...

In good times and in bad...

In sickness and in health...

We've shared a lot of joys and sorrows together.

It's hard imagining life without him. He's a part of me. We are a team. We have the joy of spending life together. We have the joy of sharing the good times and walking along side each other in the harder times of life.

And we are better for it. He brings out the best in me. He makes me shine so bright. I feel like I do the same for him.

We went to RUI (Reach the University Institute) a few years ago before we began our internship with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries.
One of our assignments there was to create a dorm program for the students who would be attending part of that week. My group's dorm program revolved around the "Easy button." We had different topics that a few of us talked about, and since I was married, they asked me to talk about relationships.

I used my own as an example...and talked about how important it is to be yourself in the relationship.

"Some people need an audience. My husband Lee is one of them, and I get to be his audience."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that repeated about me and Lee - and it has been 4 years since I said it! The people who have heard it love it...and to be honest, it is because they know how true it is.

We are a perfect complement to each other's life...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Marriage Maintenance - Friends Again

Just a short 8 years ago at this time, I was getting ready to marry my best friend.

I can remember when I knew that Lee was my best friend. Something crazy happened at a store in the mall - something that was like "oh my word, I can't believe that just happened in front of me" and I had to call someone to tell it to, and I didn't call Sylvia or Kate, my two closest girl friends. I called Lee. In that moment I knew he had become my best friend.

We know each other well, like best friends do. And we were friends before there was romance as well as after. It is our friendship that has kept us together.

Romantic feelings only last for so long.

Then they are gone. And you have to make a conscious effort to get your brain to produce those chemicals again. (I am definitely not an expert on the scientific side of this, but maybe I should study it)

Just like any friendship can grow apart over time, a marriage of two friends can grow apart too.

You have to work to have things in common.

This was especially true for us whenever we had Bella.

My world became all about changing diapers, feeding a fussy baby, holding a fussy baby (because she wouldn't let me put her down or let anyone else hold her)...everything was survival for me.

Lee continued to work and be a part of the Chi Alpha world, which I wasn't really a part of at the time.

One night, when Bella was close to 8 months old, one of Bella's favorite people came over to watch her. So, Lee and I went out to dinner...we sat at the table and hardly talked. I know he was tired and was I. We finished eating and then didn't really have anything else in mind to do together, so we went home.

We had only been gone about an hour. I started crying as we sat parked in front of our apartment. I had a small "freak-out" moment. We weren't really friends at that moment. Sure we were, but we weren't best friends like we had been. I knew couples who had gotten divorced because they weren't friends. I didn't want that to happen to us.

So, I can say that was a monumental night in our marriage. We have made it a conscious effort to be friends. To have fun living life together. To enjoy each others company. To be open and honest with each other, even when the truth hurts. To work through our frustrations together instead of letting them build up and explode.

Marriage takes work. Maintenance. Constantly. Life is full of changes. It is not static. It does not stay the same. So why would I want that for my marriage? I want it to be full of fun and love and life. I want it to be thriving.

A healthy marriage is the best gift I can give to my children and others who are a part of our lives.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friend from a Hashtag

I made a new friend through social media. It amazes me how God can use social media to bring people together.

I woke up at 4 am and I couldn't get back to sleep. Part of it was due to realizing I was sore from my new workout video 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. It's is way more intense than I like my workouts to be, but it is short enough and segmented into 3 different sections that I can handle it. And I'm seeing results.

Anyways, I have used a hashtag (#) on twitter to make a statement- it would look like this #30dayshred - and when you are on twitter, these hashtags are highlighted, and you can click on them or search them to see how many other people are using the same hashtags. Twitter even has top words/phrases that are trending locally or worldwide.

So, at 4 am, I looked to see who else besides me had used the hashtag #30dayshred.

I found a lot of women who seemed to be in the same boat as me. Moms trying to loose weight. Women who didn't have a lot of time. And this workout was killing them just as much as it was killing me.

I was intrigued by one lady's twitter id. It was Kelly_NoahsArk. So, I searched her. I saw that she is also a Christ follower, and she's also a blogger.

So, I read her blog. It was odd for me...I felt so connected to this woman I had never met. She wrote in a similar style to mine. She has a 3 year old girl. She's experienced loss and pain - not the same as my own...her second child was stillborn, something I cannot relate to, but she was continuing to live after the loss...and be there for her family.

I felt I instantly found a friend. So, I emailed her, which is unlike me. I told her I was encouraged by her blog, and that it felt neat to know that we were in the same sisterhood of Christ.

She emailed me back. She was also encouraged, and she thought it funny on God's part to bring two women together through a twitter hashtag about a workout video.

God is in the little details of life. I may never meet this woman face to face on earth, but I can read her blog and know that I'm not alone in the craziness of being a mom of 2 young children. And because we both have made decisions to follow Christ, we will be friends for eternity.

That's just awesome to me.

If you want to check out my new friend Kelly's blog, click on this link: