Monday, February 22, 2010

Living Like Jesus

As you know, I am always wondering about Jesus, his mercy and grace and the legacy we leave behind. I love when the Word is revealed to me in a fresh, new way. I'd like to share with you some thoughts on the subject of mercy and extravagant grace.

In the gospel of Luke we read the story of the man who was a tax collector. The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Luke 18:13.

Could you pray this prayer daily or even several times a day? I wonder what impact we would have if this became our inner mantra as we look to the Holy Spirit to guide us and to cause us to want to read and pray more each day. And to lead me (us) into sincere personal confession.

This prayer in and of itself is sometimes called the Jesus Prayer. You are supposed to pray the prayer with your head bowed, and once you pray it through one time, you bow from the waist. Then if able you are to, prostrate yourself on the ground. It has also been suggested that you begin by having thirty minutes of total silence so you can listen to God. I struggle with complete silence and prefer a low level of noise throughout the day. I often pray with music in the background even though the Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." This has never been easy for me to do.

But back to the scriptures and the concept of mercy. Don't we all like the idea of asking God to have mercy on us? If you read the passage from Luke describing the birth of John the Baptist to older parents, you learn that they had been barren and they were not at all sure they could give birth to a child. The people around John's parents actually rejoiced at his birth, exclaiming, "God had great mercy on them." Luke 1:58 "Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown Elizabeth great mercy and they shared her joy." (NIV)

I am more willing than ever to cry out out to Jesus as he passes by,"Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, (I breathe in) have mercy on me, a sinner, I breathe out)." I often pray this breath prayer as a prayer for personal physical healing or when I have messed up royally or acted like a Pharisee. Living according to the letter of the Law is not going to bring honor and glory to Jesus. And yet I am not worthy of this extravagant mercy. I do not have the inside track on truth because really at best, I am still a sinner.

Until next time, breathe in and breathe out (The Jesus Prayer). Some notes were taken from "The Year Of Living Like Jesus," by Pastor Ed Dobson. It's just another book I am recommending.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grill Master Special with Friends!

We love big, honking cheeseburgers in Greenwood. The bigger, the better! And if it's a pure beef burger we whoop and holler!

So, two weeks ago me and my All Girl Posse: Page, Karen & Kathy hit The Grill Master on Montague Avenue. Here's the lowdown on our Cheeseburger Plate Specials:

Burgers were soooo good. Pickles were requested by Kathy, Page, Denine.
Karen stated that pickles are not a normal condiment in the South, so you have to ask for them. Ha! So let me start with Karen's notes:
Her cheeseburger was perfectly cooked on a lightly toasted bun. She ordered her Special all the way, with onions. "There was no slippage due to excess mayo this time. Her fries were served hot, but then they got a little soggy after the fact. Sweet Tea was truly southern-style, aka syrupy sweet." Karen could not finish her meal.

Page ordered burger plate with half & half. She said, "the onion rings were great and I was the only one to try them. My burger was really good. The server brought me pickles on the side as requested. I ate all of the burger! I had to ask for pickles, the burger had a lot of mayonnaise on it, but the fries weren't salty enough."

Kathy showed great restraint today and ordered only a cheeseburger! She requested her burger well-done and it was just right (no pink meat showing). She too liked the slightly toasted bun. "My toppings included chopped onions, extra pickles which were delicious, and crisp lettuce. No cons for this meal."

Denine fell for the Cheeseburger Plate with fries, and a Coke. "I do think this is my favorite burger so far, in part because of the real beef patty and toasted bun. My fries were amazingly hot, but not crispy enough. I chose lettuce, mayo, mustard and pickles and then added a squirt of ketchup to complete my burger. I am ashamed to admit that I gobbled the entire burger, but left a lot of fries on my plate."

Grill Master offers a Drive-Thru window and the workers go out of their way to get your order right, even for finicky customers like my All-Girl Posse. Again, no cons here except for the less than crispy fries.

Tiramisu Take 1

Let's just say for this post alone that my first attempt at making Tiramisu was okay, not great. I followed the recipe printed on the side of Whole Foods brand lady fingers and I do think that was my first mistake. These lady fingers were hard, not soft and not at all like sponge cake. With this is mind, I will try again. In getting it right next time, I will then be able to cross #32 off my 101 List. It does look quite edible in the picture though and tasted fine. I'm aiming for fantastic here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Biggest Fear

There should be nothing scary about standing up in a crowded room of strangers to sing a Karaoke song right? Here are my current thoughts on singing at a Karaoke bar:

1. You'll most likely never run into these people again, ever!
2. It is perfectly acceptable to snicker and boo at really bad singers.
3. In a worst case scenario, you can run off the stage or just speak the words!
4. Wearing a costume helps disguise the real "You" or so I've been told.
5. Only the professionals bring their own CD's so it is cool if your voice cracks.
6. Doing it on a dare may be good motivation if you are a highly competitive person.
7. Never tell any of your friends that you want to try Karaoke.
8. Never put Karaoke on your ultra-important 101 List.
9. If possible sing only at an out of town establishment.
10. Practice your song at home in front of the mirror!

Having said all of this I can now admit that I did not follow my own list of "rules". That's right, I finally knocked Karaoke off my 101 List!! I got up in front of a room of perfect strangers and belted out my own squeaky version of PEACEFUL EASY FEELING by the Eagles, which in itself is strange because Allen loves the Eagles and I'm not a big fan. And to be honest, the crowd consisted of pure Karaoke regulars who cheered me on! They were motorcycle loving, patriotic, beer drinking folks, but they were also kind & enthusiastic.

But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here: I often scouted out the local Karaoke nights, but lived with a deep fear of actually putting myself up in front of strangers to sing. In fact, I even asked my family if it counted if I sang in the comfort of our living room. To my dismay they said, "Nope!" So, we picked out a specific honky tonk and date to do this thing. For the past week I tried desperately to weasel out of my commitment and went so far as to blame my family for conspiring against me~pretty sad.

But despite all of my many delay tactics, Friday night arrived and we drove to said honky tonk. It was immediately apparent we were the new people in a crowd of regulars. But the Karaoke maestro introduced himself and went to great lengths to put us at ease. In due course, I took a song book and browsed through umpteen song choices and picked one. Peaceful Easy Feeling ended up not being the perfect choice for my vocal range, but in the end it didn't matter. The regulars and my own cheering section pulled me through, so much so that I got up to do another song.

For me, jumping out of an airplane was still easier in some ways than singing. Karaoke is so much like the Public Speaking Class I told in High School and hated. But conquering another fear and wanting to go back for another Karaoke round proved to me that a fear is only a fear if you let it consume you. And I'd like to give props to my husband who got up to sing, and our daughters who wowed the crowd with dance moves and pure attitude! Yep, attitude.

In the end, our new friends waved Goodnight and gave us hugs. They asked when we'd be back. I guess it will be soon enough. For now, I will practice in front of my mirror and work up some "attitude!"

Gray is the New Blonde

This first photo is a picture of myself and my daughter Bethany taken just last week. The picture below that is one of me with slightly more hair, and a lot of blonde highlights. Notice anything different? And Bethany is sporting a great celebrity style herself.

I did it!!! I let the grays come in and faced my biggest fear (well, one of my biggest fears). I was tired of coloring my hair every 3 weeks and touching up roots even more often than that. I thank my dear husband for his encouragement during this process. I thank Donna who got me to blonde in the first place and I thank Page for the highlighting sessions. It has been a hilarious journey, filled with advice from friends who told me that they would never stop dyeing their hair. Well, girls I am living proof that it can be done.

I hereby cross #33 off of my 101 List. I will probably let my hair grow out a little longer but so far nothing beats the 2 minutes it takes me to wash & style this spiked, funky hairdo!!