Thursday, December 17, 2009

what they brought day three...


I figured I would continue this theme of following the Voices of Lee on their journey on The Sing-Off. I really am just so proud of them! I think they are doing a phenomenal job!

Now it's down to the top three (and they happen to be my three favorites), so we will see how America votes on Monday at the live finale. Go to NBC 's website if you want to vote.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

second day of sing-off...


I'll tell you what, they just keep getting better and better...
Keep it up, Voices of Lee!

(my other favorites are Nota and the Beelzeebubs.)
Have you been watching?
Do you have a favorite?

Let me know what you think!

p.s. - anyone else SHOCKED that Maxx Factor is still on the show?!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

check 'em out...

Check out the Voices of Lee from my hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee, on The Sing-Off on NBC!

I went to high school with one of the performers (Chad - he's the blonde guy), and my dad is their mailman! (Well, them and all of Lee University.) Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I saw them on the show last night!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

these dreams...

I have dreams.

A lot of dreams.

And at this time I'm not really talking about dreams that you have while you are sleeping.
(Though I have a lot of those too.)

And I'm not really talking about daydreams either...
(Though the things of these dreams often appear in my daydreams...)

These are more like things I yearn for. Aspirations. Objectives. Goals.

Some are a little silly.

For instance, I love to sing. I wish I had been brave and tried out for some musicals... what if I had been really good...

And I wish I knew how to dance. I'd like to take a dance class. Maybe I will.


But most of these dreams are really meaningful.

One day, I want to be the kind of mother that my mom is.
I want to marry someone that will be the husband & father that my dad is.
I want to remain close to my amazing sisters. I want our families to be close.

I want to be like some of the woman that I have admired & learned from over the years.
Role models from my childhood like Andy Skidmore and Sheila Jones.
Women that have been there for me throughout some of my most spiritually developmental years: Trish Nason in my senior year of high school, Ann Ledet in my senior year of college, and Christy Johnson & Marcie Miller in these recent years.
Some of my closest friends that are continued inspiration: Sarah Beth, Carie, Laurel, Brittany, Amelia, Annie, Beth, Abbey, Ashley, Marci... I have been blessed with some of the most incredible friends...

God has used each and every one of these individuals to shape me in some specific way. And there are so many more. SO many more. And I am so grateful for the role that each one has played in my life...

I want to live my life in a way that inspires people.
But not because of anything I am...
I want it to all be about He who is in me.

I want God to have full access to me.
I want to passionately seek Him.
And love Him.
And live like Him.

I want Him to be able to touch people,
And love people,
And extend grace
Through me.

I want to be bold.
And listen to this.
I want to be meek.
And for these things to be true of me.
I want to be faithful, as He is faithful.
And I want this to describe my ministry.
I want to abide in Him.
And I want Him in me.


God, this is my prayer. Now I will do as You say. I lay myself down so that You will make me walk as one who is no longer lame. Your Kingdom come, Lord. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. You are alive in me. You are alive in us. Show the world who You are.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

christmas countdown...


The Christmas Countdown is on, and I have hardly begun my Christmas shopping!! My schedule is too crazy for Christmas to be right around the corner!

I sure am glad that I have Friday off...
maybe I'll be able to get some things done!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

a million miles in a thousand years...


A little over a week ago, I had the opportunity to hear Donald Miller and Susan Isaacs speak in Nashville. Now in case you don't remember, back in May I posted about Susan's book, Angry Conversations with God. (see posts here & here) Her book really resonated with me, and I was thrilled to hear her talk about it in person and even have an opportunity to meet her. (Why did I not get my picture taken with her?! I did get my book signed at least..)

As excited as I was to hear Susan speak, I was definitely just as excited to hear Don. (And maybe I had a little crush on him by the end... maybe...) I had just started reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years earlier that week and was only on the third chapter (it had been a busy week), so I was hearing everything with fresh ears. I took 6 pages of notes.

He spoke of the narrative. Our narrative. That is, the story that our life tells. And narrative has incredible power.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am fascinated with stories. Perhaps that is why I chose to pursue my bachelor's degree in English. I love hearing a person's story... what has led them to where they are... what is happening now... where they are headed. I love sharing my own story. I especially love sharing the parts of my story when I have seen, with great clarity, God at work. Those are some of my favorites.

I love true stories.

I love fiction.

I love movies and TV shows.

I get attached to characters. I relate to them.

I want their stories to end well. I want it to be good. To have meaning. To be powerful.

Because that is what I want for my own story.

I want meaning. I want to grow through conflict. I want to step out of comfortable ruts and begin to really live. I want to push through fear with great courage. I want to inspire as I have been inspired.

Don talks about all of these things and more, and I could go on and on about this book, about the things Don said, about my thoughts in response to his words.... But honestly, I'd rather have an actual conversation about these things than just throw my thoughts out there and get no response. So how about this: Get this book. Read it. Let me know when you finish, and let's get together and discuss it over coffee or something. I know I would love that, so please, somebody take me up on this offer!

(image found here)

And by the way, Don, if you are ever in the Huntsville area, coffee & discussion with you would be lovely.

Monday, November 23, 2009

because it's a battle..

10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

19-20And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (The Message)



This is what my girls and I talked about at Bible Study tonight. I could add my own thoughts. (I have a lot of them.) Or I could tell you all the different things my girls and I discussed. But tonight, I'm not going to do that.

I'm just going to let the text speak for itself.


(I recommend that you read this and then reference the passage in another version of the Bible, such as the ESV. It's amazing, the Words of God...)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've only seen 4 episodes...



.. but I love Glee!

Mostly for the music! Because let's be real... if my life were to be a movie, it would definitely be a musical!

Friday, November 13, 2009

from December 11, 2004...

(the following was found in one of my many journals)

It was over Thanksgiving that I had a discussion with my parents about some things that had been on my heart... questions... where I found myself spiritually... These topics kept our conversation going until well after midnight. However, much to my own disappointment, I left the talk with no answers to my questions. I was even more confused...

It was over the course of the next two weeks that I talked to several different friends, still searching for answers.. Where were these answers to be found? I had searched everywhere I could think of. I talked to my parents, friends, I had been looking through Scripture... What was wrong with me that I did not understand all of this?

It was about 12:20am when Laurel's phone rang. Kyle had called to see if we would want to go to Waffle House with the guys. Carie, Brittany, Heather, Laurel, and I decided to go, even though we really just wanted to be lazy in the room. Matt, Kyle, Otis, Durell, and Jay were going to meet us there.

It was when the waiter, Joey, made some odd comments and walked away with our drink orders that I made a face. Matt just looked at me, understanding my thoughts, and said, "Jenna, he could be Jesus." Now that was convicting. I kept that in mind as I struggled for patience and love during the ordering process.

It was about 1:45am when we started quietly singing around the table. "Our God is an awesome God..." Not an unusual occurrence for this group. We sing all the time.

It was just a few minutes later that we looked up to see a tall, well-dressed man standing at our table, just staring at us. He commented on our singing, and then, staring straight at me, asked us if we would sing at a function he is having on April 3rd at the Carmichael Center. I didn't know how to respond; I think I let out a nervous giggle and then a "wow!" The man introduced himself to us. He said his name - Fred Baxter. He proceeded to tell us that he played for the New England Patriots and adorned on his hand was the most gigantic ring I had ever seen! Yeah, he had won the Super Bowl last year. We were stunned. How crazy was all of this?! Mr. Baxter and a waitress, Kelley, asked us to keeping singing, so of course we did. I overheard one waitress say, "I am so glad they chose Waffle House!" Then Kelley collected our checks -- Fred Baxter paid for all our food! Could it get any better?!

When we were getting ready to leave it did. There was a man in the Waffle House that was deeply touched by our open display of praise to the Lord. I am not sure exactly how all of this happened; I don't know who spoke to whom first. All I know is what I witnessed myself. We were standing outside when this man walked out of the building and approached us. His appearance alone would have caused me to avoid the man, especially at this hour of the night, but the face of this man said something different. The man, Mark, began to speak. Chocking with the words, struggling to express what had been stirred up in his soul, he said these things. "I know you did what you did in there for yourselves, and for God, but I just wanted you to know that it sure meant a hell of a lot to me." He then apologized for his choice of words and continued speaking. He told us that he had lost all hope in our generation... he trailed off, holding back tears. "But not anymore.."

It was when Otis led a prayer for Mark, and I heard the man cry, that I began to really be shocked. Here we are, in the Waffle House parking lot, praying, over this man who is in tears. God had really surprised me with this one.

It was on the silent ride back to Faulkner that I realized something. The answers to my questions... What my brain could not seem to comprehend and the feelings that my heart could not seem to feel... the climax... the turning point... I am not longer the same.

I found Jesus.

When humbled again and again;
over and over.
When broken down to my weakest.
When I was helpless.

Then I found Jesus.

In the Waffle House w/the corner booth.
In the friends that I hold so dear.
In the waiter w/the quirky sense of humor.
In the Super Bowl star.
In the Waffle House waitresses
In the man in the trench coat...

There I found Jesus.

In the most unusual palces,
in the most unlikely people.
When knocked off my feet,
and I'm flat on the ground...

There I found Jesus.
And I will never be the same.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

it's been a while...



...since I picked up this book of mine that I love.

Here's one from St. Francis of Assisi:

God Would Kneel Down

I think God might be a little prejudiced.
For once He asked me to join Him on a walk
through this world,

and we gazed into every heart on this earth,
and I noticed He lingered a bit longer
before any face that was
weeping,

and before any eyes that were
laughing.

And sometimes when we passed
a soul in worship

God too would kneel
down.

I have come to learn: God
adores His
creation.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a note to self...

dear self,

why are you so unmotivated today?

why so tired?

is it the rain?

is it the cold?

why are you so easily distracted?

you have looked at the pictures that have recently been tagged of you on facebook way too many times, and you keep staring at that picture on your wall.

you probably need to start running in the mornings or something.
maybe that would clear your mind some.
or at least help you fit in that one dress again.

why don't you look at that to do list you've got sitting on your desk. stare at it instead. better yet, stop staring at things and get busy.

snap out of it.

focus.

even writing this note to you is wasting my time.

so play that good charlotte song one more time to make your motivation proclamation, and stop fooling around.

(and know that people are going to read this post and ask you if you ended up accomplishing anything today)

how's that for motivation?

sincerely,

jenna


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

i can't believe i won...

Seriously. I am so excited right now! And so shocked!!
I won a giveaway!!!!
Thanks to the lovely Christina at Down and Out Chic,
I will be getting a beautiful print from City Lights Photography!

I think this is the print I have decided on.
I love the vintage telephones,
& it will look fabulous framed above my desk!
You should go to her Etsy store and check out her beautiful work!
Thanks again, Down And Out Chic!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

seasons change...

...and the display of nature that we will be seeing in the upcoming weeks is most definitely my favorite of the changing seasons! But nature isn't the only place we see a change in seasons. Seasons change in our lives too. Sometimes they are very significant changes. Sometimes those changes are good, sometimes they don't feel good at all. I don't have any huge season change to talk about, but I do have a small one. And really, though some changes are small, they do end up having a lot of significance. So here is the newest change in my life.

A little over a week ago, my roommate, Ashley, got married to Cody (my co-youth minister), and so of course, she is no longer my roommate. It was sad having her move out, but it wasn't too depressing because they only live 2 minutes down the road from me! I think it would have been a lot harder for me to deal with if God hadn't already prepared some things for me.

Back when Ashley got engaged, I started praying that God would send me a new roommate. The next day, I had a facebook message from a friend in Memphis, telling me about a girl that would be moving to Huntsville. We started facebooking, she moved to Huntsville in May, we met, became friends, and now a few months later, she is my new roommate! God really has a way of working things out!

Meet Marci.

She is my new roommate.
And she likes to cook.
Which is fun, because I am not very experienced in the kitchen.
But this is beginning to change.

We both like to wear aprons.
And organize things.

And we like to invite people over to eat with us.
And have pretty table arrangements.

We are so domestic!

So here's to seasons changing! To new adventures, new friendships, and lots of fun! (& food.)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

dream of the day...


to be here...


oh how I want to explore Italy...


(these pictures have inspired my dreams today.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I still have a lot of growing up to do...

“When you make a choice, you accept the limitations of that choice. To accept limitation requires maturity. The child has not yet learned that it can’t have everything. What it sees it wants. What it does not get it screams for. It has to grow up to realize that saying Yes to happiness often means saying No to yourself.”
-Elisabeth Elliot

My blogger friend, Jessica, just posted something that was very eye-opening to me. Check it out. After reading it, I think I've realized that I still have a lot of growing up to do...

by the way, isn't this picture magical?
I wish that picture was me right now!
I found this photo here.
She found it there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

he called me out...

Recently in my life, there has been a recurring theme. It seems like I keep hearing the same message again and again and again. It's not very complicated, but yet, I struggle to follow through with the call of it. Let me back up. I'll fill you in a little bit better...

This Sunday morning, Gary Bradley, our preacher, spoke about opening our eyes to the fields. In John 4:23-38, we get a glimpse into an interesting conversation that Jesus had with his disciples. Verse 35 says, "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest." 

Jesus' words are just as relevant to us today as they were then to the disciples. We have a mission to carry out in the world around us. We are here for something far greater than ourselves. When we take the focus off of ourselves and look through our spiritual eyes, we will see that God is at work around us, drawing people to Him, and He needs us to be His workers. He needs us to be in the fields, ready to receive these people and guide them into relationship with Him. 

Last night, my senior high girls and I were discussing the mission that Paul was on for God. We were looking in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians, and we were talking about the urgency of Paul's message. We talked about how the Gentiles needed him to give them this message of hope and salvation... how there are people in our lives that desperately need to hear that same message of hope and grace and love. The fields are white for harvest. There is work to do. We just have to get up and do it.

And that is the message I have been hearing over and over again.
Get up. Do the work.

We make so many excuses. I'm not good enough. I don't know enough. I've got plenty of time. It's never the right time. I'm too busy... These excuses, over time, make us indifferent to the call. We have to overcome this indifference. I have to overcome this.

During Gary's lesson, I had a little conversation with God in the midst of my notes. I started praying something that I pray very often. But this time, I heard God's answer. And it was very convicting. Here's the brief conversation:

(me) - Lord, give me YOUR eyes. Give me your heart. Give me your words. Your passion. Fill me with your Spirit...
(God interrupts) -  I have.
(me) - Then show me what to do.
(God) - I have.

At that point, I didn't know what to say. I knew it was true. He has already filled me with His Spirit. He has already empowered and equipped me to do His work. And recently He has been showing me specific things to do. Have I done them? No. Why? Because I'm too busy? Yes.... but no. Honestly, it is because I have become too lazy

I am too concerned with getting time to myself... Time that I waste on television shows on DVD... Time that I waste on my couch... Time that I could be out in this city, making myself accessible to people that God is ready to speak to through me. God brought me here to work with teenagers, but I don't think that is the only reason. He has grown other passions within me. He has reached other people groups through me and my friends in the past. What makes me think He is finished working like that? He isn't. It just requires me to get out of these comfortable places that I have found. It requires me to get out of my office, off my couch, and into the coffee shops and under the bridges. It requires me to open my eyes, and not just hear His call, but get up off my butt and do something about it!

So this is the message I am hearing:

Stop being lazy.
Get up.
I have work for you to do.
The harvest is ready.
I have equipped you.
I have empowered you.
I am with you.
Now go.

Monday, September 28, 2009

adventures with chalkboard paint: aka, my first big do-it-yourself project


It all started it a can of chalkboard paint from WalMart. 
Just $8.97. Not bad.

Then I taped off the section of wall that I wanted to make into a chalkboard. I used a level to ensure straight lines, and several layers of painter's tape to keep the paint where I wanted it.


Then came the painting process.
I used a 3 inch brush. A smooth chalkboard surface requires a little bit of sandpaper and a lot of patience. For the 1st coat, I used long, horizontal strokes. I waited about 18 hours between my 1st & 2nd coats of paint. Before applying the 2nd coat, I used the sandpaper to lightly smooth the surface of the painted area, and then proceeded to apply the paint with vertical strokes of the brush. I didn't wait as long between the 2nd & 3rd coats - just 8 hours. Using the sandpaper to smooth the surface one last time, I then applying the 3rd coat and went back to horizontal strokes.


I was very pleased with the paint job, but I wasn't finished yet. Before writing on the chalkboard, one must prepare the surface. You need to cover the area with chalk by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk across the surface. Once you do that and then erase the chalk, the board is ready to be used.

Ta da!
And that is how I made my unique corner chalkboard.

before & after...

Ladies & gentlemen...

This is officially the moment that many (or at least a few) of you have been anticipating for months. My office makeover is complete for now, and I couldn't be more excited about coming into this room to do the job that I love!

Here is a view of what my office looked like before...


and after several months, here is the what it looks like now.


It looked like this picture below for a really long time. 
Things in boxes and piles.
It was horrible.


But now each item has it's place, and the front corner is much more pleasant.

And yes, that is chalkboard paint on the wall! 
Check back soon for some pictures of that process!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

soon and very soon...

..you will see pictures of my redecorated office. 

I know, I know. I've been saying this forever now, but this time I mean it! I just have to hang up a couple more things and I will be ready to post about it. (I am still waiting on one small detail, but I think I will just have to post about it later when it happens.) So early next week, be looking for pictures of the incredibly long process of my office makeover! You probably don't believe me, so I guess I will just have to prove it. haha

Tonight I am heading to Birmingham for the Ingrid Michaelson concert, so my weekend is starting a bit early! 
I hope you are each having a simply delightful Thursday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

just one of those days...

This didn't actually happen today. This picture is from about a month ago. It, too, had been one of those days. Everything was going wrong. I felt spiritually under attack. And then I left a devo, slipped in the mud, and.. well.. you can see what happened. That particular day, I physically felt like I had been beat up by the end of the day. My hip even hurt from the fall.

Today honestly hasn't been that bad. But it has been a little frustrating. And because I wanted to post something (but my office isn't finished yet so I can't write about it yet), and because today has been a wee bit stressful, I remembered this lovely picture and thought I'd share it will you all. haha!

Some days are so bad in such truly insignificant ways that it really is laughable. That is how today is for me. So join me in laughing as you try to imagine just what I must have looked like on that fateful night when an undetected layer of mud unsuspectedly sent me (and my phone, Bible, & keys) flying through the air. The saddest part was, no one was even outside to get the pleasure of actually watching it happen. 

I hope you each have a lovely day.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

hint....


Today I have been doing something.
Maybe in a few days I will tell you about it.
Aren't you excited?
(I am.)
:)




Thursday, September 10, 2009

i have never wanted a clock this bad...

(featured at this lovely etsy shop)

Just look at it.
Isn't it a beauty?
Can't you picture it in my office... 
vaguely telling me the time.
(ha)

So modern.
So simple.
Such a lovely shade of yellow.

And $32.
I want this bad.
But I just don't know if I can bring myself to it..

It's 8 1/2" x 8 1/2".
Is it worth it?

(By the way, I am nearing the end of my office makeover! Be excited! Maybe you guys will get to see it soon!)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

on this first day of september...

i am dreaming of blue skies & bright leaves
of crisp air & a cool breeze
sweatshirts & jeans

Autumn, I am eagerly awaiting your arrival.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the song playing in my mind..

Can't close my eyes
They're wide awake
Every hair on my body
has got a thing for this place
Oh empty my heart
I've got to make room for this feeling
so much bigger than me

It couldn't be any more beautiful - I can't take it in.

Weightless in love...unravelling
For all that's to come
and all that's ever been
We're back to the board
with every shade under the sun
Let's make it a good one

It couldn't be any more beautiful 
It couldn't be any more beautiful
I can't take it in

All that I wanted. All that I ever needed.
All that I wonder. So beautiful.

Can't Take It In - Imogen Heap

Friday, August 28, 2009

napping can be a very spiritual thing...

Today, I took a 4-hour nap.

I woke up early this morning to bring one of my freshman girls to school. (Her parents went out of town for their anniversary, so I spent the night at her house and stuff. We watched Hannah Montana. We laughed. I cried. It was fun. Okay, back to what I was saying...)

So this morning around 7:30am, I was sitting in front of Grissom High School (having flashbacks to my HS days). I dropped Sarah off for school, dropped Hannah Montana off at the Red Box, and then headed home to my apartment. 

I had things to do.
Lots to do actually.
With so much going on at work, the state of my home is a little disheveled.
Laundry is piled up in my floor.
I should really vacuum again.
There is some pile up of both dishes and garbage in the kitchen.
I need to get all my bills ready to pay.
And I have been doing a lot of reading, so I wanted to finish the last chapter of my book on spiritual warfare.

However, I went to sleep.
And I slept.
And slept.
And slept.
And it was good.

When I finally dragged myself off the couch a little before noon, I didn't feel any guilt. I felt refreshed. 
I really needed that sleep.

You see, Friday is my day off. And let's be honest, most Fridays I am not honoring my off day. I am going into the office to finish something or prepare for something... Some weekends there is more going on than others. (Last weekend, for example.) But, especially recently, I have found some reason that I need to be there.  

I tend to pat myself on the back for being such a "diligent worker" that I would go in on my off day. But I've come to realize that while I may be pleased with myself, but I know someone who may not be so pleased.

Check this out:

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no on will fall by following their example of disobedience." Hebrews 4:9-11

I need to be honoring my day of rest. It is the day set aside for me to be obedient to the commandment & example that God sets before us. 

So see what I mean?

Sometimes napping can be a very spiritual thing.

What do you think?