Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Weekend!

Have you ever had a REALLY good weekend? I just did. This weekend was FAN-tastic.

Friday was Marty's birthday. This is my first "husband's birthday" so for a long time I was really trying to plan ways to make it extra special and meet all my "good wife" duties for this day.

I woke up extra early that morning and made him a whole batch of his favorite cinnamon rolls. (This is a big deal because Fridays are my day off so I always sleep in as late as I can. Especially right now during the oh so sleepy prego stage.) Then I put candles in each of the cinnamon rolls and went into our bedroom and woke him by singing "Happy Birthday" in the dark candle-lit room.

Okay, not really. See, that was my PLAN. But the night before one of his coworkers told me not to let Marty eat breakfast because she was going to surprise him and bring him a whole box of do-nuts to work. I hadn't yet bought the cinnamon rolls, and I definitely didn't want to ruin this girl's blessing. Nor did I want my husband on a do-nut overload. So I decided to skip that part.

And not only did I not make him breakfast, but I didn't even wake up! I wanted to! I had every intention to. But when his alarm went off, my morning sickness was full blast, my head was hurting, my body was tired... and, well, I just plain didn't get up. I did wake up enough to say, "Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day. Love you!"

But it's okay I made up for it at lunch. I took him out to eat at Holly's... his favorite lunch spot in town.

Yeah, that one didn't work out either. Remember the morning sickness? It was still there. Bad. So I fixed some lasagna we had in the freezer and thought a nice lunch at home would be just as good... right??? It was disgusting. I had sent Marty on a grocery run a while back and he picked up a different kind of lasagna than what I usually get. I was skeptical but thought it couldn't be that bad. It was. THAT bad.

Happy birthday, Husband! We're off to a great start so far! Ha.

But it's okay because that night I picked him up from work and surprised him with a night out doing all his favorite things.

...Again, didn't happen.

I picked him up right at 5:00 and we headed straight to Greenbrier to watch some of the youth girls on homecoming court. His ideal night!

Okay so the actual DAY of his birth didn't go quite like I had planned, but it was still great!! We left homecoming early and went to eat (for free, thanks Mom!) at one of his favorite places. He got a New York strip that he's been wanting for months!

Then we came home and I let him open his presents. Finally.
(How mean is that to make him wait until 9:00 at night to open presents???)

We both agreed that our present giving this year would have to be way small considering we're trying to save every penny for our little one! So I had to get creative.

This was the result:

Have to incorporate something baby in every holiday now!

Remember Nintendo 64?? I found one at Game Exchange and got 2 controllers and a few games. Here he's playing Mario Kart. He loved it. I think I did ok. ;) Neither of us are gamers, but it's just something fun to do together! We've had a blast so far!

We went to sleep early Friday night (again, preggo sick tired woman couldn't handle all that birthdaying). 

Saturday we woke up to an almost 80 degree day and let me tell you, we played! We drove around just for the sake of driving around with the sunroof open. We did some down-town thrift store shopping, just for the sake of walking around down town. We took my grandparents' dog for a walk. He worked out. I took a nap. 

Then we got ready and had a fun birthday celebration night with some GREAT friends! We ate some habachi and went bowling with these beautiful people:

It was so much fun! Seems like it's been SO LONG since we've just had a night to hang out with a big group of friends like that. I guess that's what happens when you get married. We missed a lot of our friends who were in Oklahoma for the weekend!

After bowling we went back home and Marty had his two best friends over for some guitar picking and N64ing. I went to bed. :)

(Oh, and let me just add here that one of his friends lives in Hot Springs and they haven't seen each other since our wedding, so I invited him to come and stay at our house that night. He was our first official house guest. I think that gives me at least 50 wife points right there!)

Overall, GREAT weekend.

I'm very thankful that God allowed this boy to be born 23 years ago! I sure love him!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Want a job that "actually matters?"

Lately I've run into a lot of friends who are struggling. They are just getting out of college and having to find a job. Not just any job, but a job good enough to support their lifestyles and pay their bills. But they don't want just "any ole job." They want a job that matters.

Many will tell me how they have this desire in their heart to just make a difference and do something that's really impacting people and making a difference for God's kingdom. This is the point in the conversation where many will pause and look at me then say, "Like your job."

I love my job. And yes, I believe with all my heart my job matters. Big time. I admit that and tell them that. But then I tell them this, "But your job does, too."

And for anyone reading this who might be struggling with the same thoughts, the same desires in your heart... I would tell you the same. Your job matters. Your pay check doesn't have to have a church's name on it for your job to matter. You don't have to be saving a life every day for your job to matter. You don't have to be healing diseases or figuring out really hard puzzles for your job to matter.

Whatever you do, it matters. And I believe it matters to God.

I read an article in Relevant Magazine the other day that I thought really explained this topic in a very poignant way. Here's a piece of that article that might encourage you:

Your vocation, which in so many ways is unique to you, can genuinely matter if you keep your eyes on the Kingdom of God as your guiding North Star. Teaching matters when you treat your students as humans whom you love and whom you are helping. Coaching soccer matters when you connect kids to the Kingdom. Growing vegetables becomes Kingdom work when we enjoy God’s green world as a gift from Him. Collecting taxes becomes Kingdom work when you treat each person as someone who is made in the image  of God and as a citizen instead of as a suspect. Jobs become vocations and begin to matter when we connect what we do to God’s Kingdom vision for this world. Sure, there’s scout work involved—like learning English grammar well enough to write clean sentences and reading great writers who can show you how good prose works. Like hours with small children when we are challenged to make some mind-numbing routines into habits of the heart and Kingdom.
It is easy to see missional work in the slums of India as something that matters. Perhaps the desire to do something that matters is why so many of us get involved in missional work like that. But most of us don’t have a vocation like that, and that means most of us do lots of scout work as a matter of routine. We have to believe that the mundane matters to God, and the way to make the mundane matter is to baptize what we do in the Kingdom vision of Jesus.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remember This Moment.

I'm a very reflective person. I almost enjoy those great moments in life more after they have happened than when I am actually in the moment. I love to just take everything in, embrace it, and then reflect on exactly what just happened.

I think I'll spend the rest of my life reflecting on what happened yesterday.

Yesterday was my first ultrasound. I wasn't even sure if my doc was going to do an ultrasound because so far everything is great and I'm still really early... but I was so excited when she said she was going to.

When she first began the ultrasound, all I could think was STOP PUSHING ON MY BLADDER! I had to go in there with a full bladder because supposedly it helps see things better. She just kept pushing and I just kept clinching. But then, something amazing happened. Dr. Holland and mom both started ooohing and awwwing. Doc was like, "There's the heartbeat! And see the little arms and legs?" And mom was like, "Oh my goodness! Awww... there's my grandbaby!"

But I was like, "What in the WORLD are yall looking at??"

I knew this was a special moment so I was trying really really hard to see it and say aww too, but I was so lost. I felt like I was looking at tiny TV with really bad antennas. I couldn't see it!

So my doc zoomed in and pointed at exactly what I was supposed to be looking at. And that's when my heart stopped.

I saw my baby's heart fluttering. Over. And over. And over. I saw the little tiny arms and legs waving at me. I saw the kid moving like crazy! (An athlete in training.)

I saw life.

And I was amazed.

I didn't really have anything to say at the time. Marty said, "Really???" and I said, "Wow. That's cool." Nothing better could come out. I was too busy trying to get my million thoughts together.

Do you ever have those times where you can just hear God's whisper in your heart saying, "Child, remember this moment."?? I do.

Like the moment I saw my very first car and my parents standing there with huge smiles. Or the moment I received an honorable award in soccer. The moment I walked across the stage and shook the president's hand to receive my college degree. The moment I stood hugging one of my very best friends for the last time in years as she moved to the other side of the world. The moment I said, "I do." The moment at Christmas when everyone is smiling and laughing. Those defining moments in life... when you know that you're treasuring it now, but you will treasure it even more in your memories. The moments you know you need to hold on to and thank God for every day of your life.

This was one of those moments. The moment I saw the life in my kid. With my husband and my mom by my side. God whispered in my heart, "Child, remember this moment."

I remember. And I will never ever ever forget.

I have to say I'm a proud momma today. I can't help but want to show this kid off to everyone! I think s/he's already the cutest thing in the world. Even though s/he looks kind of like an oversized jelly bean with four little stubby arms and legs poking out.

I have him/her proudly displayed on my filing cabinet in my office, just so I can stare all day.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pregnancy Progress

I am now 8 weeks pregnant and a LOT has changed since last time I updated! At least, I think it's a lot. It's crazy how fast this little thing is growing right now! It's like every day he/she is developing new something. I love it. I've tried not to be TOO obsessive with it because I know I still need to focus on life. But dang, it's exciting!

This week Baby Summers...

  • Is now the size of a kidney bean! 
  • The little tail thing is almost gone.
  • Eyelids are formed.
  • Arms and legs are growing longer and webbed fingers and toes are forming.
  • Brain is growing like crazy.
  • Nerve cells are starting to connect and communicate. 

This week Mommy...

  • Has been SICK. It's yucky. I feel like I have a constant virus. The only time I'm okay is right after I've eaten a pretty good amount of food. But that only lasts about 20 minutes... then I'm sick again.
  • Has had to come to work late a number of times already.
  • Hungry and sleepy is my CONSTANT state of being.
  • Has eaten more pizza in the last two weeks than in my life. Craving it. Every day. It's the only thing that sounds good.
  • Oh, and chocolate ice cream. I'm on my third gallon. :)
  • Also got a craving for strawberry shortcake. So I've had that a few times.
  • But don't worry, I'm still eating TONS of fruit every day. Seriously, we go to the grocery store about every other day to stock up on more fruit.
  • Is definitely growing. Everyone said I'd grow really fast because I'm so small, but I wasn't expecting this fast!
  • Hips are widening.
  • Jeans are fitting a lot tighter.
  • Belly has a little bit of a pudge for the first time ever.
  • I'm not gonna lie... the whole body changing part is kind of weird. I've always been really small so seeing my body start to grow is somewhat freaking me out. But I know it's a good thing! There's just that part in every girl that has a minor freak out when the jeans start tightening and the belly starts showing!
  • Can't sleep at night! I am SO tired and I go to sleep around 10:00 but I wake up again at midnight. Usually to pee. Then I'm wide awake. I'll fall back asleep around 1:30 or 2 and wake up around 4. EVERY morning. It's driving me crazy.
  • Can't get comfortable either.

I'm definitely learning that there are some parts of pregnancy in which you thrive and others in which you merely survive. Right now, I am in survival mode. But I love it. I feel like I'm fighting a tough battle for a prize that's so worth it.

The other day I was getting ready for work and I was just thinking about the baby and what all was going on in my body and it just hit me. I am a mom. I have a kid... MY KID... growing inside me. And this kid is going to be mine to teach, to disciple, to love, to take to the park, to dress, to sing to, to play with, to color with... this is my kid. It just overwhelmed me. I didn't cry a whole lot but I was just overwhelmed by how much I already love this baby. I feel like these have been the slowest few weeks of my LIFE. I just want him/her to be here so bad. I can't wait!

I am so blessed to just have experienced pregnancy as much as I have so far. I know some women have never even gotten to this point, and that breaks my heart. I know that it is still so early and so many things could go wrong, but whatever happens, this is my child. And I love this child. And I am so thankful for this experience. 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm Sarah. Way too often.

I was reading the story of Abraham and Sarah yesterday. If you're not familiar with it, here it is in a very simple nutshell:

God promised Abraham and Sarah that their offspring would be numberless and that God would bless them. But, Sarah was unable to bear children. They tried and tried but she never got pregnant. So they decided to take the matter into their own hands and Abraham took  their servant to be his second wife. They figured that way she could get pregnant and have their children that the Lord promised. In their eyes, this was the only way offspring would be possible. So he slept with her, she got pregnant, they had a son. But the problem was, this was not God's will for them. This wasn't the way He said they would have a child. But Abraham and Sarah saw "no other way" and tried to fix it with a human solution, instead of trusting God. Anyway... years later, Sarah was 99 years old and Abraham was in his 100's... needless to say, WAY past child-bearing years. And God told them that this time next year, Sarah would have a son.

Sarah laughed and actually got a little sassy with God. She was pretty much like, "Oh, yeah... now that I'm old and worn out you're saying I'm going to have a kid??? Yeah right, God!"

But God's response to her struck me. Look at the end of this story:

Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’  Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

At first when I read that I was like, "Dang, Sarah!" You know that awkward feeling when you're in the presence of a dad getting onto his kid? That's what I felt like when I was reading that. I wanted to be like, "Sarah... you're crazy! How dare you smart off to God like that! How dare you laugh at him!"

But then I read it again and a question entered my mind...

How many times has God asked that very thing about me?

"Why did Jordan laugh and say, 'Really, God???' Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

I can hear it. And it makes me weak inside to think about. I've been Sarah. So many times. When God has put a vision in my heart to do something and it sounds great and all, but really I'm thinking, "Yeah right, God." Or when I'm sitting in church and there's a lesson about restoration and I think about a particular relationship in my life that God wants to restore. And I think to myself, yeah... that would be great. Sounds great. But... yeah right. That's impossible.

I wonder how many times God has wanted to just grab my face, look me in the eye, and say, "Child... WHY are you laughing at this? WHY are you doubting? Is ANYTHING too hard for me?? Don't you remember where I've brought you? What I've done? What I've made? What I've restored? What I CAN do?"

Some days I just have to get on my knees and say, "I'm sorry, Lord. I'm so sorry for my little faith. Please, help me believe. Help me remember."

Yesterday was one of those days.

He is so faithful. NOTHING is impossible for Him.

Let's live like we believe that. 


Monday, January 17, 2011

A VERY Sexy Prank.

Yesterday I was teaching the 7th and 8th grade girls class and it was time for the inevitable... the sex talk.

I figure the only way to handle it is to just be completely blunt and open. No poking at it with a straw. No beating around the bush. No sugar coating. Let's just be real. Let's talk.

So... that's what I did.

But not without a few giggles, wide eyes, red faces, and plugged ears. It was great.

I told the girls I wanted to just get it out there and get all the weirdness and awkwardness out of the way so that we could just be really open and talk about what we ALL know is going on in their worlds.

So after I talked for a few minutes and got their faces nice and red, we went around in a circle and I made them all say the word "sex" out loud without smiling while they said it. Haha! Let me tell you... it. was. HYSTERICAL! Then I bumped it up a notch. Now they had to all go around and say, out loud, the one word they hate the most concerning the whole topic of sex and puberty and all that jazz. Oh. My. Word. Even I got embarrassed on that one!

But after it was all said and done, I felt the activity was really effective. They were a lot more comfortable and loosened up a WHOLE lot. Now I think it may not be SO bad next time I bring it up.

But of course, the girls still thought it was just torture. So they decided to get me back.

I walked into my office and found little pieces of paper with the word "sex" written on them ALL over my office. I'm talking on my monitor, on my chair, covering my desk, on my walls, on my pictures... I busted out laughing.

This one was my favorite.

And they left this little note in the middle of it all...

Needless to say, my office was very sexy this morning.

And just some advice... if someone ever attacks YOUR office with sex, take it down as soon as you see it. I should have. But I didn't feel like it. And then I had a REALLY awkward moment when a guy came into my office and I got really embarrassed and said, "Sorry about all the sex in here."

Didn't mean to say that.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Today... I Grow Up.

Today is a day for the books. It's a milestone. A turning point. A day to remember.

Today is the day I begin my journey of Financial Education.

I know that probably sounds silly but here's the deal... I don't know ANYthing about finances. All I know is I save EVERYTHING and absolutely HATE spending money. On anything. But not really because I want to be wise. Mostly because I'm scared to death of money. And I'm mostly scared to death of it because I don't understand it.

So today... I'm changing that.

**Disclaimer... I didn't have a SINGLE class in high school OR college that told me anything, whatsoever, about money, economics, financial planning, etc. Nothing. I never had any reason to. It wasn't on my "degree track" and using my free elective hours on FINANCE??? No. Way. Now, I wish I would have.

But, let me say, I think at least ONE basic foundations class in finance should be a requirement in both high school and college. At least in college. Our classes train us to be good at our careers and prepare us for making money... but then when we start making it... we have no idea what to do with it. At least, I don't.

I have a retirement fund set up with money going into it from every paycheck, but I have no idea what it looks like, what it is, how much it is. I know that sounds pathetic. But that's the truth. When it's time for those W forms to be filled out, I just sign my name and let our secretary tell me what to put. I have no clue what I'm doing. I save a lot every month, but I don't know if I'm saving the right way. I don't have a clue where I should be putting my money, what I should be investing in, if I should be investing. I  know debt is bad. And I refuse to get into it. Although the way people talk, I'm afraid it's unavoidable. I know I should never spend more than I make. I'd be too scared to anyway.

For a while now I have really been wanting to learn and understand finances so I can control them, instead of letting them control me. So today is the day I am beginning that process.

With help from who else??? Dave Ramsey.

I'm starting this study:
It's the Home School edition of Foundations in Personal Finance. And yes, it's for high school students. I don't care. I figure I need to understand the basics before I try to grasp the complex. And I WILL grasp the complex. I am determined. 

I will be both the student AND the teacher for this study. But trust me, I'll be a tough teacher. No slack for this student. :) And once I get it, I'll be teaching my husband. And we WILL be teaching our children.

Once I finish this study I'll move on to the next... taking it one step at a time. I've already bought a few of his other books that I'll be reading as well. 

I'm excited to start this and so thankful for the chance to start it NOW... at the very beginning of our marriage/parenthood/life together. Before we have time to make too much damage. 


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Last night I went to bed completely overwhelmed. Normally, saying that would probably imply something heavy on my heart, stress, anxiety, etc. And while my heart was definitely heavy, it wasn't heavy with burden... it was heavy with Jesus.

I went to sleep so overwhelmed by Jesus last night.

About six months ago God really began to lay something on my heart concerning ministry. I love what I'm doing. I love where I am. But lately I have had a longing to bring my ministry more focused on girls. Our youth services happen on Wednesday nights and they are broken down into three services. We have a 5th and 6th grade ministry, 7th and 8th grade ministry, and a high school ministry. Normally I have the high schoolers... 9th through 12th grade guys and girls.

And I love it! I love our students. I love working with high school age.  My speaking/teaching style is very conversational. I don't like three point messages. I don't really like handouts and big powerpoint presentations to go along with what I'm saying. I pretty much just talk from the overflow of what God has been teaching me and putting on my heart. I am very transparent and vulnerable when I speak... I just like to get real with the students. But last semester as I spoke every week to about 100 guys and girls, I kept getting this tug in my heart.

As I would talk about a subject that was I was so passionate about, I would look out at the students and my focus would be so much on the girls. I kept seeing the hurt in their eyes, the insecurity, the fear, the guilt, etc. And I know those looks all too well. I have lived those emotions. And all semester I just developed this longing to just have the girls in a room, with no guys, to really talk about those things that we ALL deal with... to expand on my own transparency in ways that I can't with 50 guys listening.

So I went to Shawn at the end of last semester and I just told him what was on my  heart. I explained my vision, shared my heart. We talked about it then spent a couple of weeks praying about where God would lead the next semester. When we met again I was so excited when he said he wanted to give this a shot.

So last night combined the 7th-12th graders and then split the guys and girls up.

I was a little nervous as I was introducing the new series to the girls and sharing my heart with them about why I want to do this and what my goals are for the next seven weeks. At first they were a little weirded out, but I think after I assured them that this was NOT seven week series about sex they were okay.

Actually, they were more than okay.

The response I got the from them was so. stinkin. encouraging! They are so excited and so many of them said, "This is exactly what I've been needing!" Of course it is.. God knew what they needed and He put it in on my heart to meet them right there.

The series I'm doing is called baggage. I think the underlying problem for most girls in middle school and high school is insecurity. But why do we have so much insecurity? Because things happen that hurt us, scare us, confuse us. And as girls, we HOLD. ON. to those things. We remember, and hold on to, every single insult, lie, betrayal, bad look, etc. We can't let go. And we carry those around with us everywhere we go, into every area of life. And that becomes our baggage.

So for seven weeks I'm talking about different types of baggage that comes into our lives as girls that prevents us from loving God and loving people the way He has called us to.

I can't tell you how EXCITED I am to see what all He is going to do in this study!! All I did was introduce the topic last night and I already had girls texting me, messaging me, calling me all night saying that God has already begun to speak to them and work in their lives.

All I can say about that is.. greater things have yet to come!!

I am so thankful for Jesus. I am so thankful that He teaches us and speaks to us and through us. I am so blessed to get to do His work. I am so blessed to learn from Him. I am so blessed to be in His family.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Conviction I Need To Share

I have no idea how this is going to come out, but it needs to come out. It's been on my mind for months now.

I have been frustrated. Really frustrated.

Frustrated with what?

With seeing people be one way online and another way in person.

For some reason it has been driving me CRAZY to read a Facebook status from someone and then wonder, "Where is that in their life?" Or to read a tweet about joy from the most negative, bitter person I know. Or to get a really long wall-post full of encouraging words and support from someone who NEVER shows encouragement or support in person.

I mean, it's driven me so crazy for months now. In fact, there was one person in particular who just really got under my skin. It seemed that everything they tweeted/Facebooked sounded really good, but showed up no where in their daily life. Drove. Me. Nuts. I would find myself commenting on it (to Marty) all the time, talking about how frustrated it made me. He finally said to me, "Jordan... just stop following them. Stop reading their stuff. There's no point and it's only stumbling you."

That worked. For a while. But then I just found another person who seemed to do the same thing. And then they drove me crazy. And these people, these contradictory online lives, these fake statuses... they've been at the peak of my attention lately. I can't stop thinking about it, I can't stop noticing it. I can't stop being appalled by it. (I know this sounds so judgmental, and maybe it is. But please, hear me out.)

For months now I've just taken the approach of me being frustrated with these people. But I've realized... maybe I'm not frustrated with them. Maybe I'm frustrated with myself. Maybe I am seeing in them what I do not like about myself... what I wish to change about myself.

Maybe I'm that person. Maybe my statuses, my tweets, my blogs portray a Jordan that I would like for people to really believe and know, but my real speech, my real life, my real attitudes reflect a slightly less noble Jordan. And maybe every time I see this portrayed in someone else's online life, I get mad. Not because they are not living up to their own online standard, but because I am not. And they just remind me of that.

And you know what? I think that same principle could be applied to almost any situation in which we feel frustrated with other people.

Have you ever thought about it? Maybe the very thing the frustrates you most about other people is, in some round about way, something that really frustrates you about yourself? 

Most people would probably be way too prideful to admit to this. And for a long time I was. I just wanted to point out them. They drive me crazy. They are such hypocrites. They need to walk their talk a little better. If only people knew the real them.

They. They. They.

When the whole time it should have been, me. me. me.

But I praise the Lord that He has opened my eyes to it and shown me this hard-to-swallow truth. Because now I feel so free. Free to look past the speck in my brother's eye and work on removing the plank in my own. Free to let go of this in my life and allow God to reshape it, mold it, chisel it.

I'm free to look at it from completely open-minded perspective. And here's what I think.

It's not that the things I post online are made up. They're not. I believe they really are from my heart. They really are what I believe, what I long for, what I want to proclaim. The encouragement I show people online that I fail to show in person... it's not fake or vain. It's real. I mean every word. But people don't know that. People can't know my heart. And if they see an online life and a real life that aren't quite matching up, of course they're going to assume hypocrisy. I would too.

It's not that I need to stop writing those things online. It's just that I need to step up to the plate and have the courage and boldness to live them out in person. And it's not that my online life and real life are completely different. For the most part, outsiders probably wouldn't notice anything. But I notice. My husband would notice. My family and best friends would notice. And that matters to me.

Sometime I can write about forgiveness a lot faster than I can show forgiveness.

Sometimes I can write about faith in situations in which I have very little faith at the moment.

Sometimes it's a WHOLE lot easier to write about love than to act out love.

I think Paul would really understand where I'm at. In Romans 7 he writes,

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Sound like a confused, frustrated man? I think so. But sure sounds like a man I can relate to. I know what I want to be. I know who I want to be portrayed as. But I do not always live up to that. I do not always meet my own standards for myself. But I strive, because those really are the desires of my heart. 

My prayer for myself this year is that the desires of my heart become even more the actions of my life. I pray that I can look back on 2011 and remember it as the year I closed the gap between my online life and my real life. I pray that I don't become less online, but that I simply become more in person. 

If you read this thing all the way through, bless you. Ha. I know it wasn't my norm. It wasn't fun. Maybe even confusing. But thank you for reading through this with me. I pray that you can be encouraged and enlightened by my own convictions, and I pray that you stop and see where your frustrations toward other people might be reflecting your own shortcomings in your life. 

Love you all!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

This snow day came at JUST the right time. I have been SO tired. And Marty and I really haven't had much time to ourselves since before the holidays. So we really enjoyed today!

Marty was so cute last night when it started snowing. He stood at the window like a child counting every single flake he saw. He'd say things like, "There's one! Yep! Another one! Another! It's really snowing!" Once the flakes started really falling, we just knew we'd have a day off. And we sure did!

I was s.i.c.k. this morning when we first woke up. No matter what I did I felt like I was going to puke any minute. So we laid on the couch and watched three straight hours of CSI. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it was so nice to not have to do anything else.

Around noon I finally started feeling a little better so we got up and ate some lunch and by the time we finished eating we were antsy! I was really craving some snow ice cream, but we didn't have any vanilla. We were itching to get out of the house so we made a Kroger run for some vanilla!

We came back and walked around in the snow for a few minutes. Any other time I would be out playing it ALL day. But I was trying to be wise this time. I ALWAYS get the flu around this time of year so I really didn't want to risk getting sick. So we just threw a couple of snowballs, walked down the street, took a few pics, and we were done. We came back in and whipped up some ice cream and watched a movie.

Then I fixed some supper while he worked out and now we're sitting down about to watch the BCS Championship game! Typing it all out sure sounds like a lazy day... but that's exactly what it was! And I loved it!

Happy Snow Day!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

What. A. Week.

No matter what happens, I don't ever want to forget this experience. I plan to record everything I can about this pregnancy!

This past week (Week 6) was a BIG WEEK for both baby and momma!

What's happening with Baby:

  • Sometime around Thursday the baby's heart beat for the first time.
  • It is now beating regularly at about 150 beats/minute.
  • Facial features are beginning to form. 
  • The brain is forming and developing! Brain waves can even be detected. 
  • The first signs of the lungs, pancreas, and thyroid glad have appeared.
  • Kidneys and Liver are now rapidly growing.
  • Little buds are growing that will become the arms and legs.
  • Baby is supposed to look a lot like the following picture. Although I think my baby looks a little cuter than that. :)

What's happening with Mommy:

  • This week morning sickness hit HARD. Although, I don't know why they call it morning sickness. Because it's more like all day sickness.
  • I am craving chocolate ice cream. All day. Every day.
  • All I want to do is SLEEP. Seriously. For my lunch break I am usually just going home and sleeping for about 40 minutes then taking food back to work. I'm in bed at like 9:00 every night. 
  • The prenatal vitamins are NASTY, but I still take them every night.
  • My smeller is turned up about 10X more than normal people on any given day, so lately it's been INSANE. I feel like I dog. I am smelling EVERY LITTLE THING. And they all make me sick.
  • I'm getting headaches a whole lot. I never get headaches.
  • Although nobody else can tell, I can tell my body is changing just a little bit. My jeans are a little tighter. Just kind of feels like I ate a really big meal.
  • I'm can't stand being hot. No matter how cold it is, my window is cracked in the car. I have the house freezing at night. 
  • I'm watching EVERY little thing I eat and being a very strict rule follower. No lunchmeat, no caffine, lots of fruit, lots of liquids, trying to eat at least SOME kind of vegetable every day, etc.
  • I never know when to brush my teeth. The first thing I do when I wake up is eat, and the last thing I do before falling asleep is eat. Everything I do in between includes eating. I'm wanting to brush my teeth every hour!
  • I'm trying to practice sleeping on my side. 
  • Some nights I just can't sleep! I am so tired, but my mind doesn't turn off. I'm mostly thinking about Baby and all the fun times we'll have!
  • I'm peeing like crazy! Constantly!
  • I'm finding myself slightly more emotional, but nothing bad.
  • I'm supposed to be exercising a little every day, but I'm finding that VERY hard to do when I am sick every 30 minutes. 

Mart is getting so excited! Until now, he has been so sure that we were going to have a boy. That's all he's talked about. But then today on the way home from church he said, "I think I want a girl!" It came out of nowhere! At least now I know that whatever we get, he won't send it back! :)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

You can tweet it, but can you live it?

I think leaders are often imitated more than they are followed. Or maybe they're just being imitated as they're being followed. But either way, you can't deny a bit of imitation in every leader-follower relationship.

Whether we admit it or not, we become a lot like the person/people we are following. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, as long as the one you are following is worth imitating.

There are people in my life who I need to imitate more. In fact, as Marty and I begin our first few stages of parenting I have even found myself saying, "Okay I don't want to just follow their parenting style... I want to imitate it! I want my family to look just like that!" And again, I think that's ok.

Of course, the ultimate leader we are imitating should always be Jesus. But hopefully we have leaders in our lives who, if we imitate their lives, we ARE imitating Jesus.

But this has got me thinking lately about my own life and my own leadership. I'm totally cool with admitting that as a follower, I imitate aspects of leaders in my life. But honestly, it SCARES ME TO DEATH to know that there are some people in my life who are following me, and therefore imitating me.

It's convicting and it definitely keeps me on my toes. It makes me evaluate every single corner of my life and ask myself the question, "Would you want someone to imitate THIS part of your life?"

I've been thinking about this for a while and I've finally realized something.

They're not imitating what I tweet or post on Facebook. They're not imitating what I write in my blog. They're not imitating what I speak on Wednesday nights. I mean, yes, maybe those things do have impact, but what they're actually imitating is my life, the way I live.

  • How I speak to people.
  • My attitude.
  • How grateful I am, or am not.
  • How much effort I put into the things I am working on.
  • How I respond when someone makes me angry.
  • How I respond when my heart is hurting.
  • How I treat my husband.
  • How I value my family.
  • The time I spend with my friends.
  • What I do when I am with my friends.
  • The entertainment I watch, listen to, attend.
  • The places I go.
  • The way I serve, or don't serve.
  • The way I respect other leaders in my life.
  • How efficient I am with my time.
  • How I treat the waiter at the restaurant. 
  • My apathy.
  • My determination.
  • My procrastination.
  • My timelines. 
  • The ways I love, or neglect to love, the least of this world.
  • The joy I show, or don't show.
  • My level of faithfulness.
  • The gossip I do or do not participate in. 
  • My levels commitment.
  • My honesty.
  • My enthusiasm.

The list could go on and on, but the truth is, they're imitating THOSE things. The way I live my life. And the people under your leadership are imitating your life.

We can speak it. We can tweet it. We can Facebook it. We can blog about it. We can write about it. We can sing it.

But can we live it?

I have read too many tweets from people that sound great, but knowing the person, I have to ask, "But where is that in your life???" And I know that very same thing could be said of me. It's a shame, but it's true.

I want to stop tweeting it and start living it. I know that right now I have a youth group looking to me in many ways and I pray that my life can be worth imitating.

But in an even bigger way, I'm about to be a mom. And that imitation is about to be taken to a WHOLE new level. My prayer is that my kid never has to hear me speak something I am not living. I know that at times I will probably fall short of this, but it is something I am going to strive for as long as I live.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I think God would tell us to stop chasing the cats.

When I was a kid my grandparents always had two cats and two dogs. Nobody else in my family had cats, so the only time I was ever around them was at their house. So every time I would go visit them I would give them the quick, "Hey Nana! Hey Papa!" and go straight to the cats. I wanted to play with them, hold them, pet them, just look at them! So bad!

But there was a problem. The feeling wasn't mutual.

Those stinkin cats didn't want to have ANYTHING to do with me. As soon as I would get there they would run to the back of the house and hide under my grandma's bed in the back corner where they could not be reached or touched. I would try SO HARD to get them to come out. I tried every tactic. Sometimes I would try to bribe them by playing with a toy in front of them, or even getting some food out. Other times I'd try the "be as quiet as possible and sneak up on them and maybe they won't realize you're here then grab them real quick!" tactic. Nothing worked.

All I wanted to do was love on those stupid things but they could care less. They didn't give a rip about me.

After trying for a good 30 minutes I would make my way back into the living room and mope around, telling my grandma that her cats were stupid. And almost every time, I'd look outside her back door and see Bo and Krissy, her two dogs, sitting at the door with their tongues hanging out, tails waving, and paws scratching on the door. Those dogs LOVED ME! They wanted me to come play with them, hold them, pet them, just look at them. They cared about me.

And I loved dogs as a kid. I loved playing with dogs. But for some reason when I was at her house I didn't focus on the dogs. I focused on the cats.

It sounds so silly, but I guess it was the whole competition thing that kept me going after them. I wanted to prove that I could make those cats like me. Maybe that's why us girls are told to play hard to get. Guys love the chase, and I guess I did too. There were two beautiful dogs ready to love on me and have the greatest time ever, but I spent all my time and energy trying to get some dumb cats to care.

Sometimes I'm like that with people in my life, too. 

I value friendship in my life like it is a true treasure. I fail to show that often, but one of the top priorities in my life is my relationships and the way I walk through life with those I call my friends. Marty and I were talking about this a few days ago and discussing some of the different friends I have and what each one brings to my life. In the middle of that conversation he said something that is still ringing in my head, something I don't think I'll ever forget.

"I think Penelope is my favorite one of your friends. Because I think she truly cares the most about you." 

(For the record, I have no friends named Penelope. I thought it was a safe substitute name.)

After he said that I just thought about it for a while and let it soak in. It threw me off. He didn't pick the friend that hung out with us the most, or gave us the most stuff, or talked to us the most, or made us laugh the most, or brought us the most adventure. He didn't pick her because of anything other than the simple fact that he knew she cared about me.

That's love, you know? To be able to look someone in the eye and say with all sincerity that your favorite person in their life is simply the one who cares the most about them... that takes honest, selfless love. That's something a parent would say to a child, a sister to a sister, a husband to wife... ... a God to his children.

I believe if God and I were talking about this in the flesh He'd look me in the eye and say, "Jordan, my favorite friend in your life is the one who cares the most about you."

Why do I believe that? Because God cares about us. He cares about what makes us smile, what causes us to cry. He cares about what we like and don't like; what we're good at and what we just stink at; when we succeed and when we mess up. He cares. And He wants to care for us through other people. He wants to extend His own caring and understanding through the caring of a friend. And I believe He wants us to embrace that and allow that in our lives.

And God has placed some people in my life who I know with all my heart CARE about me. They care about every little thing in my life. But sometimes I don't embrace that. Sometimes I find myself chasing after the friends who don't seem to care near as much. Maybe it's the whole chase theory again. Maybe I just want to see if I can get them to care about me. I don't know why. But I do. I find myself trying so hard to get that one person to show interest in my life. I think things like, "We used to be SO close. She used to like me. She used to care. I know we can get that back," or "She seems to care so much about this person. Why can't she care about me like that? I'm sure I can get her to feel the same about me." And I'll spend so much energy and emotion trying to get that, or just desiring it. And the whole time I'm chasing that, there is another friend right beside me with open arms just waiting to love me, encourage me, care for me.

Kind of like the dogs sitting at my grandma's back door. Just waiting to share life with me. But I waste too much time chasing the cats, who honestly, just don't care.

I believe it is a blessing that not everyone I pursue as a close, caring friend becomes that. Proverbs 18:24 says,

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

We need to embrace THAT friend. I believe God would tell us all to stop chasing the cats in our lives. In so many ways we tend to validate our own lives by the relationships we have. They're important to us. They matter. So we need to stop focusing on the wrong things, and the wrong ones. That becomes so unhealthy. We need to embrace the true gift God has given us in those people who do care about us. We need to learn how to appreciate them, love them, thank them, and care for them back.

I don't know about you, but I think there are a few "thank you for caring about me" cards I need to write this week.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever!

Well, Christmas for our family was very exciting this year! Marty and I found out about the baby five days before Christmas, but we wanted to wait until each family Christmas to tell the family. We didn't want to just make phone calls. I had to be something fun and surprising that we'd always remember. And that it was!

We had three different Christmases where we told our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I went to Target and got a whole bunch of little baby socks. I put each sock in a card that was written to the new aunt/grandma/etc. from baby Summers. At the end of gift opening, we passed out all the cards and told them to open them at the same time. Each time I felt like I was going to pass out! I wasn't scared... it was just SO exciting! Our families were SO HAPPY. We had lots of screaming, tears, smiles, questions, and, "Wait... is this for real???" Ha!

Unfortunately, we only took pictures and video at one the first one. I guess we were just too focused to remember the cameras! Here's telling the Morgan side of the family plus Marty's parents!

Caitlin was the first to open hers. As soon as she saw the sock she started screaming, jumped up, and hugged me. Shortly after everyone else joined in! Notice Archie in the back!

"I'm gonna be a great aunt!!!!!!!!!"

Mom and Jessie both screaming, "I knew it!!" and Archie just in shock!

Now THIS was funny. My father-in-law was smiling and excited, but didn't know why. He looked over at Angie and said, "Who's pregnant??"

That's when she pointed to me. Look at his face!!! Hahaha it was priceless. He was in SHOCK. Don't worry though, he was excited!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Well... we're pregnant!!!!!!!!

I have been very quiet on all social media for the past few weeks because I've been about to BUST wanting to share the big news!!! Here's what I wrote a couple weeks ago:

[Written Monday, December 20]

Wow. I can't believe what I am saying. I am in shock. I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am amazed. I am overjoyed. I am scared to death. Wow.

Marty and I got married on July 31, 2010. Five months ago. Our "plan" was to wait about 3 years before we started trying to have kids. That way, we'd still be pretty young, but we'd also have enough time to just enjoy and get used to being married. There were trips we wanted to take, things we wanted to do before we got "tied down" (what horrible words!) with kids. Again, that was our tentative plan, but at the same time we were both very open to just living whatever life God laid out for us.

Well, I'm glad we were open. Because only a month after we were married we found out that our plans were about to change.

I have been dealing with some, um, "female" issues for the last few years and in late August and early September I went back to the doctor a few times to finally get it figured out. This time my doctor (girl doctor) FINALLY gave me a diagnosis and scheduled a surgery for mid October.

I'll spare you details, but basically in that surgery she found a number of problems. She was able to "fix" some stuff in that procedure, but it's a temporary fix. She said within a year the same issues would be back and we'd be right back where we started. Over time, these issues would get worse. So a week after the surgery I went back for a check-up and she explained the situation a lot more clearly.

She told us that we pretty much had a 6-8 month window in which we would be able to get pregnant. It wouldn't be impossible after that time, but it would be a lot more difficult. She said if we were sure that we wanted kids, we needed to start trying immediately.

This kind of rocked us a little bit. I mean, not that we weren't wanting kids. By all means, BOTH of us have been so looking forward to the day we became parents. We just figured that would be quite a while from now. I guess for a few weeks we just kind of let the information soak in and didn't talk a whole lot about it. Then, we finally sat down and looked at what we were really dealing with. We knew that if we chose to wait, we could be really jeopardizing our chances to have kids at all. It wasn't the timing we were really hoping for, but we knew that we wanted to be a mommy and daddy so bad. So we talked about it, prayed about it, and finally agreed we would just kind of go with it and see what happens.

We knew that with our situation we could be starting on a very long, emotional journey. We weren't sure if we'd get pregnant right off the bat, or if we'd be able to get pregnant at all. My doc had no idea what to expect, and neither did we. We just kind of said if God wants us to be parents now, we'll be parents.

And, I guess he did. Because the very first time we tried, we got pregnant. I wouldn't even say we tried. More like, we just didn't NOT try. You know what I'm saying? Yeah.

For the first couple of weeks, I knew. You can ask Marty... I knew. I told him, "Marty... I think I'm pregnant." I'd been feeling dizzy and having some HOT flashes and headaches. And OH. MY. WORD. I have never been so sleepy and exhausted in all my life! But with my health issues, this has been pretty common in the past. So I think he thought I just wasn't feeling well. He kept rolling his eyes and almost getting frustrated with me. He didn't want me to say that I'm pregnant because he knew how bad I wanted to have kids and he didn't want me getting my hopes up until we knew for sure. But I knew. I even told a couple of very close friends. It was too soon at that point to take a test, but in my heart and in my mind, I had no doubt.

I waited and waited and waited and WAITED for the day to come when I could finally take a test. FIIIIIINALLY on Monday, December 20, 2010 I took the test. I actually forgot to when I "urinated" first thing that morning. So after that I began drinking TONS of water just so I would have to pee again. Sure enough, I did. And sure enough, a big, "YES+" appeared on that thing!! At first, I just looked at it and said, "I knew it!" and then went back to blowdrying my hair. But then it hit me. I. AM. A. MOTHER!!! And THEN I had my little freak-out moment. Not bad freak out. Just, freak out.

I started breathing heavy. I think I cried. I just had a little moment with myself. Then I prayed. I said, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Oh my. Thank you."

And then I called Marty in there. He was getting ready for work and I said, "Hey Marty can you come here real quick and tell me what this means?" He didn't even know I was taking the test. I didn't want him lecturing me about getting my hopes up. So he came in there and I showed it to him and he looked at for a minute, then looked at it again, then said, "Are you serious!?!? Seriously??? For real???"

It was great.

I didn't know what to do so I just went back to blowdrying my hair and he went back to getting ready. Then about a minute later he came back in there and just hugged me. And of course that's when I said, "I told you so!" :)

This is truly a miracle and we are SO EXCITED!!!

I have gone back and forth on whether or not to make this a public thing. I know that it's still VERY early (we are only six weeks pregnant) and there are a lot of things that can happen. Many people told me not to announce it for quite a while, but I just can't keep this in. I have to share life with people.

The way I see it, this is 100% in the Lord's hands. And it's already such a miracle. I am a mom. Whatever is going to happen, He will provide and sustain. I want to be transparent and open about the entire journey. If things don't go the way I would want them to go, then I hope I can look back and see where He carried me, taught me, and shaped me. And I hope someone else can be encouraged along the way.

Please be praying for us as we begin this journey! I am already head-over-heels in love with this kid!!!!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

mexican food... sin...

For lunch today, I ate Mexican food.

I hate Mexican food.

Going to eat Mexican food is the same experience. Every time. It goes a little something like this:

I walk into the restaurant, very naive, expecting this time to be different. I get myself all pumped up, saying things like, "This will be good. This place is better than the last. Just order something simple. You'll like it this time." I don't know why I do that. Because what follows is ALWAYS the same.

We sit down with a group of friends or family (because that's the ONLY time I eat Mexican) and start munching on the complimentary chips and salsa. Now, I love me some chips and salsa. So this part is good. And it lures me in. It tricks me. It makes me momentarily forget the agony that is to come.

So what do I do next? I look at the menu. For a second I think, "I should just order some chicken fingers. I know how Mexican food makes me feel."

But do I? No. Why? Because I'm at a Mexican restaurant. I should order something Mexican. Just keep it simple... nothing extreme... it won't be bad. So it's usually chicken fajitas. Or just one or two tacos. That's it. Surely that won't be bad. I can handle that. Okay, I'm getting that.

We talk for a while, food comes. I hate the taste. I try to be very polite as everyone else engulfs their long-awaited plate of nasty. I eat enough just enough to say that I ate, and that's it.

I leave the place with a disgusting feeling in my stomach and a very strong smell on my clothes. The rest of the day I smell like dirty tacos and I feel like I have just eaten a plate of trash.

It never actually makes me sick, but it makes me feel MISERABLE. I feel so disgusting the entire day.

So why do I eat it each time? The same reason I ate it today: that's where everyone was going. I want to go eat with everyone. I enjoy the fellowship. I don't want to eat lunch alone. Everyone else is doing it and it's so hard not to join in!

This afternoon I was sitting on my couch feeling miserable after eating this and I got to thinking...

I treat Mexican food a lot like I treat some sin in my life.

I know I hate it.
I know it will make me feel miserable.
I know it will tear me up inside.
I know I will regret it for a LONG time.
I don't WANT to have anything to do with it.
But I do.
Because everyone's doing it.
Because I don't want to sit this one out.
Because it's so hard not to when I'm surrounded by it.
Because, for some stupid reason, I think it'll be different this time.
Because I try to justify it and tell myself it's ok this time.

Things like gossip... watching movies I know I shouldn't watch... talking about people in ways I shouldn't... laughing at things I shouldn't laugh at... these things take on the Mexican food form in my life so often. By myself, I never struggle with them.

I would NEVER go eat Mexican food alone, and I would never choose to watch a degrading movie alone.

But in a group setting, it's so hard to go against the grain. It's so hard to say no. It's so hard choose to sit out. So I go. I try to justify it in my mind. I talk myself into it.

And then I'm miserable. Every time.

Proverbs 26:11 says this,
"As a dog who returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." 

The thought of a dog returning to eat its own vomit is disgusting. It reminds me a lot of myself returning to Mexican food. Might as well be vomit. It's disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. And so is the thought to me returning to these disgusting sins that leave me so miserable.

So what's a simple resolution of mine?

Say no to Mexican food. And the sins in my life that look a lot like Mexican food.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

whatever's in front of me...

There's something so refreshing about the turn of a new year.

I've never been one to really get into writing new years resolutions because 1- I usually just write them out of obligation of needing a new years resolution, therefore I don't really care that much about them, therefore they rarely ever stick and 2- I pretty much spend the entire year writing resolutions for myself so when Jan 1 rolls around, I feel like I've already used up all the good ones!

However, there is still something brand new. Life is so often measured and remembered in terms of years. I can look back on my life and tell you which years were the worst, best, happiest, saddest, slowest, fastest, most exciting, most uneventful, etc. So I every time Dec. 31 rolls around and I know I'm looking a brand new year in the face, I can't help but wonder what it will bring.

Will this be a year of hard-learned lessons? Or major success? Will I remember the vast amounts of joy and happiness or will I look back and remember heartache? Will new people enter my life? Will major changes happen? 

Marty and I brought in our new year with some great friends!

Of course we had to ring in the new year with the traditional sparking grape juice!

We spent the evening just eating, playing games, hanging out... and I was fighting to stay awake. This old woman goes to bed EARLY these days! I almost drifted off a few times, but I made it!

As we went home, these thoughts and questions began entering my mind as I anticipated what 2011 would bring. I have no idea what exactly is to come. It may be another 2005 for me... one filled with much brokenness. Or it may be a 2010... one filled with MANY many many great changes! But whatever it is, whatever comes, whatever happens, whatever's in front of me... I want to totally and completely embrace it. I want to take it as an opportunity to grow in my love, my faith, my courage, and my character.

There is a song by Bethany Dillon that says it perfectly...
"Whatever's in front of me, I'll choose to sing Hallelujah."

This is my prayer for 2011.

Whatever's in front of me, Lord, help me to sing Hallelujah. 

[Christmas posts coming soon!]