Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unforgettable Weekend

What a weekend... I know, it is almost time for another one.. and I am still on last weekend. Last weekend I truly had a blast with a great friend.

Friday I took off work to drive to Hattiesburg, MS to see my friend Lauren. I haven't seen her since my sophomore year in college... when she moved to Oklahoma. But that didn't matter. Lauren was deployed, yesterday, at 14:00. She called me yesterday morning to say good bye before she left for Afghanistan. She will be gone 9 months, if their deployment doesn't get extended. Troops are leaving out of Camp Shelby almost every day... please keep them in your prayers.

So Friday I arrived in Hattiesburg at 11am. I waiting in the lobby of the hotel where Lauren was staying. She came running up to me and without a word we embraced in a hug that lasted forever. We finally stepped back to look at each other and say hello, and then embraced again. It was heartwarming just to see her. To see how good she looked, how happy she was...

I met a friend of hers and we then left to visit Camp Shelby. Lauren gave me a little tour and showed us her 'apartment' in the barracks. We then did something I couldn't believe, and will never forget! Patterson, her friend, had found this place in Pensacola, FL where we could race go carts.Yes, you heard right... Florida! haha I have driven 3 hours to Mississippi, and now we were about to get in a car and drive 4 more hours to Florida! HAHA!

We had a great time racing go carts, and ate a wonderful dinner at Outback. Patterson had never been to Florida... being from Oklahoma I could understand why. And it was a great last hurrah before leaving for Afghanistan. After riding go carts Lauren gave me a bracelet of hers, and asked me to wear it. I told her I would, and that it meant she had to come back and get it from me when she returned. And she said she would. I love my friend, and I pray for her safety... I hope you will pray for all the troops of America. They deserve our support, so that their service for us is not in vain.

GOD bless America!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Desires of your heart

'The Lord will give you the desires of your heart...' This is a phrase we have all heard... so many times. But have we really considered the context of this verse before asking God to give us whatever we want? Let's look at the passage and its surrounding verses for a little more insight (emphasis mine).

Psalm 37: 3-9
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

WOW. I see so much more here than just, follow Christ and He will give you whatever you want!! I see more a set of instructions, followed by great blessings of the Lord! Here is my take on the passage...

First, we must trust and do good. Through our faith in Christ we must trust Him to be in control while working daily to do what is best and striving toward his will.

Then we must delight have you ever seen those ho-hum, whoa-is-me people? No fun right.. so many people see Christianity as work... just a set of rules to govern life by. However, it is so much more!! Serving Christ is an absolute JOY!! Oh, praise the Lord for the opportunity to serve him!! Thank you Lord! When serving, we should hold our heads high and full of joy; not hanging our heads saying 'look how hard I am working'!

Thirdly, to commit our way to the Lord. His ways are not our ways.. and rather than asking God for a million bucks to solve all of your problems, ask Him to make His desires yours, to give you a heart like His. Seek Him, and in that you will find your ways changing. Now, it isn't wrong for us to ask God to bless us, by all means ask... but don't get mad when the answer is sometimes no.

Fourth, AGAIN, trust in the Lord!! Our heavenly father is just that, a father! He knows what is best for us and cares for us more than we could even begin to explain! After all, He sent his son to die on a cross for US!! Trust Him, give up the control we so desperately hold on to, in reality, we never really are 'in control'. Give it over to God!

Fifth, rest, wow! In our busy lifestyle how often to we forget to rest, to take time to reflect on God's word and it's meaning in our lives? Slow down, " still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10, stop, think, breathe in this magnificent creation. Take time to rest and worship your Lord!

Sixth, cease from anger, whoa. James 1:19-20 says, This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." Cease from anger, now, again.. this isn't that getting angry at unrighteousness is wrong, but acting out on that anger in such a way that does not glorify God, is wrong. Pray over those trying situations, ask God to do a work in you and help you to respond in a way that glorifies Him through your actions.

Seventh, do not fret, calm down, relinquish control.. let God handle it and trust Him to take care of your needs. The God who created you so deeply cares for you! He will take care of you!

I believe that if we strive toward each of these principles, then God will grant the desires of our hearts...and our desires will be in line with what He has planned for us. What an amazing word... what an amazing God. Praise Him for His everlasting faithfulness and mercy!

Lord, I pray over those that read this passage today. Open their hearts and eyes anew and fresh to what you have to say to them. Please Lord, change us, mold us and make us like you Lord. Help us to follow in the steps of your word and to seek you diligently each and every day. Bless us indeed Lord, and we give you all the praise and glory! Amen

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Father's day weekend was great! I was able to make the trip home Friday night. After a long day of work I was so excited to get out of the car when I finally arrived at Donna's house. 190 miles is no joke. UGH. HAHA!

Friday night was spent hanging out with the fam. Donna and I chilled at her house waiting for Mom and Dad to leave the funeral home. Unfortunately, my dad's half sister died this past week, so our weekend turned from family fun to working around unfortunate circumstances. No matter, we had a great time and celebrated life. So, after the funeral home Donna and I went out to eat with Mom, Dad and some of our Aunts and Uncles. Have you ever had dinner with seven senior citizens? 90% of whom have hearing difficulty??? Oh my gosh... it was hilariously embarrassing. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was yelling across the table at each other. And my dad, who is one of the worst, ended up being translator and repeating everything for everyone! What a night. Donna and I then went to the new yogurt shop, 32 degrees. I have to say it doesn't beat YoMo in Tuscaloosa, but it is a start for Troy. ;)

Saturday I was able to sleep until 7am!!! This, my friends, is a big deal!! I was so excited and my body appreciated the sleep too! Mom and I then lounged around, looked at coupons and got some things ready for Sunday dinner. My Aunt June came to visit and gather some fresh vegetables from our garden. It was so great getting to spend time with her... she means the world to me. I then had lunch with Mom and Dad and left to hang out with the bestie, Stephanie. We had a great time just catching up and chatting. We were up to no good after her boyfriend Bobby returned from ring shopping. We plundered his truck to find the ring... and find it we did! Don't worry! Stephanie didn't look, but she asked me to, so that we could make sure it wasn't just earrings. HAHA! After the relationships we have been through in the past, she needed the affirmation that the ring was real... and that is what I gave her. Boy, it is beautiful. *Side Note* I have decided through my past experience that I do not want to know about ring shopping or the idea of marriage in a young man's mind. I want to be totally and completely surprised. Never in my life would I have ever agreed to go through Bobby's truck.. but, this is Steff, and we have a special bond. It was an afternoon filled with excitement and I am so happy for her to have found that one true love. Those two are perfect for each other!! Saturday night I went out to eat with Mom and Dad and my second family. :) They, of course, had lots of questions about Hunter.. and I can't wait to bring him home for him to meet the family and friends.

Dad and his girls!
Sunday I went to church with my parents and then we were joined by my sisters and a few other family members for a wonderful father's day lunch. We then played with my niece, and opened Dad's presents. As I was packing and the rest of the family was heading to their respective homes, I got the phone call of a lifetime.. after missing the first one (I was DEVASTATED!!) Hunter was able to call again!!! They got a four hour pass on father's day!! After he had called and talked to his family he called me. We talked for a little over an hour.. and it was great!! It was so good to hear his voice, listen to his laugh and get a chance to actually TALK about what he had been up to. We laughed about how we are doing so many things backwards. I met his family without him, and this week my family will most likely meet his, without having even met their son. HAHA! I then made the drive home, unpacked, washed a few dishes and had dinner with Hannah and her family. It was a fun filled fast paced weekend. As are all my weekends spent traveling home... But I had a great time with my family and friends!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fitness goals

So... yesterday I went to the student rec on campus.. with the idea to get a little work done in the fitness department. I received a letter from Hunter about two weeks ago talking out his PT test and his recent run times. Hunter was a track athlete in high school, and his brother even ran track for Alabama.

His recent run time was 12:48, that is 12 minutes and 48 seconds... He ran two MILES in this time... WOW. So, naturally.. ever since we started talking, and I had my 5k stint last fall.. He wants me to run with him. Haha, no way. He runs almost twice as fast as I do.

Therefore, I must work on it... and get better. When he gets back from basic and AIT, I don't want to be miserably embarrassed. So... yesterday I began. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical, unfortunately, I was only able to make a distance of 1.55 miles, but my back is definitely soar from the arm workout. :) Hooray for progress! I then did 20 minutes on the stationary bike, for a distance of 9.0 miles. I was playing with my ipod and phone and what shocked to see the total distance. Hopefully after working up considerable distance and resistance I will have the endurance to actually run a few miles. :)

So, here is my workout goal.. hopefully I will stick to it!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This past year has been one of the most intense transformations of my life. A relationship I thought was forever, ended.. I graduated college, my friends graduated, all of us moved away.. I got my first real job, and started graduate school. Through this time I have lived through the most intense depression I have ever known. A friend of mine one told me, full of love and concern, 'Keri, you must seek out help for this...". It wasn't until that moment that I realized I had sank deeper than ever before. Me, being the stubborn person I am, believe that all things are possible through Christ. and I didn't need the professional help that my friend so greatly desired for me. I am happy to say, that even though life isn't perfect... and I am definitely still working each day at it... things are so much better than before. I am rising up out of my dark pit, God is teaching me.. and I am trying my best to learn everything He has for me. Now, sometimes I do get down, as well all do. But I can tell, even when I feel that I can't dig myself out of this hole I have laid in.. God is pulling me out.. and life is grand.

This is a beautiful song of growth... I love it so much.. please take time to listen to Laura Story's song Blessings. Through many tears, many sleepless nights, raindrops and storms that I couldn't even imagine... This song speaks to my soul. Praise God for His healing, mercy and grace!
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Friday, June 10, 2011

Phone call!

YES, I said... PHONE CALL!! Last night we were having a blast during the closing ceremony of Bible school. It has been a hectic week, but a great one! The kids have been so cute... and the workers did such a great job! I was helping with audio/visual and was working the sound board each night. Last night, just as I muted the singers and got ready to close things down for the last song, my phone started vibrating. It was a call from a 573 area code... who in the world?? I know no one with that area code... My first instinct is always to not answer when I don't recognize a number... but then it hit me. HUNTER?!? Wait, it can't be Hunter... but, maybe? I picked up the phone and said.. Hello? And, much to my surprise, and my amazement.. Hunter's voice spoke on the other line... I was speechless. LITERALLY. The connection was poor and it was hard to hear him.. but he was there! It was so good to hear his voice! I haven't spoken to him since the week of reception, right after Mary Allison's wedding, a little over a month ago.

We were only able to speak for a few minutes.. and he called his parents for a few minutes too. His mom and I spoke on the phone afterwards, sharing what he had told each of us. Be in prayer for those guys and girls. They need it. Praise the Lord for those willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

God knows exactly what you need, right when you need it. After a rough week at work and a fun, but exhausting week at Bible school.. hearing Hunter's voice was just the boost I needed to make it another month. I met for the first time with my research professor yesterday... Wow. I am excited, yet overwhelmed. I have a lot to get done... in a short amount of time.. but all my hard work will pay off. This weekend is officially dedicated to research, but that is ok.. I am excited for the opportunities that this will open to me and the experience and learning what I will and can learn from it.

Praise God for His infinite mercy and blessings! Thank you, God!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Ok so... this week I almost had a breakdown. School has started back and I am feverishly working on my research, while working, and continuing to help in the Tuscaloosa recovery efforts.. among the every day life things... I am so proud to say that Tuscaloosa is beginning to rebuild. 'We will return' signs are being posted, I saw a home actually get a new roof and so much debris is being cleaned up. My mother asked me yesterday... "How does it look?" I simply told her.. a disaster, but it is getting better. If you saw Tuscaloosa for the first time, it would knock you off your feet... but for those of us who have been here since April 27th, progress is being made! Praise the Lord!

Hunter has been gone for a month now. It has been a month (WOW, a whole month) since we have actually spoken or seen each other. Time has passed quickly overall... but some days really drag. I have been blessed however, in the fact that he writes me every day. Now, due to mail carriers etc. I don't always get them each day... the funniest thing is when I get a whole bunch in a day. This week I hadn't received any mail. I was disheartened, but blamed it on the holiday weekend. It was the longest time that I have went without receiving correspondence from him. Yeah, yeah, gag me. I haven't heard from the boy in a week. I know, I am super gagarific right now. But yesterday, much to my delight, I received 5 letters. I was overjoyed! I couldn't contain my laughter as I pulled each one from my mailbox. Who would have thought, letters... Don't get me wrong. I LOVE getting mail. So when Hunter told me that the only way we would be able to communicate was through letters I was somewhat excited. However, it has taken some getting used to in our fast paced, 'I want it now,' society. It takes the letters an average of three days to make it from Ft. LW to Tuscaloosa and vice versa. So as I write him and he writes me, it takes a little while for a conversation to actually get going, and to finish. It is so good to hear from him, and the letters are truly a blessing. What a treasure to have when I am older. No matter what happens in our relationship... Handwritten letters, what a legacy to share with children, grandchildren and family who will be completely immersed in the digital age!

The first set of letters I received, no return address... so I couldn't respond for about two weeks when we finally received his address. When he came down after the Tornado, he brought and extra set of dog tags for me to have. Isn't that sweet? I still can't believe he drove through the night, from Arkansas to Alabama.. just to make sure I was ok. But enough on that... haha. I can't complain about missing him. I knew what I was getting into from the beginning. And I have to say, that I am completely blessed by this situation. I am learning  to lean on God and trust Him more through this.. and that is invaluable.

As for school, thankfully I have a BEST FRIEND who majored in English in college. Praise the LORD for Mary-Anne!!! Me, being a math major, equals not good at writing papers. This summer I am doing my research.. hoping to be a published mathematician in the end of it all. And it has been crazy. One of the articles I was asked to read was 85 pages. When I get home from a long day of work, I definitely don't want to sit and read articles. But, I worked through it, and got my first paper submitted, (after Mary-Anne's careful combing through my grammatical mistakes) and my professor reviewed it.

Here is what he had to say:

You have done a great job on the paper. As you work through the comments and edits that I have done, I would like you to focus on making this a complete article written to help mathematics faculty understand these courses. Particularly those faculty who have not had much experience dealing with teachers, but are now told they will be teaching a math course for elementary teachers.
I think that this by itself could easily be published in a less research intensive journal and would make a great start to your masters project.
PRAISE THE LORD!!! My hard work, tears... frustrations and confusions.. I actually did something RIGHT! I can't wait to continue working on this paper, and to start actually meeting with my professor to work on it. Right now we are doing email correspondence since he is out of town. Wow, what an opportunity... and to now know, I am headed in the right direction! God provides, protects and blesses. Even when we think nothing is going right... He is working behind the scenes in our favor.
Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


So many times the devil gets us down... And so easily we let him. When I am most vulnerable is of course, that time of the month that Aunt Flo visits, and when I have an idle mind. As a person who usually goes 90-to-nothing all the time, on days when I just have time to sit and think, I must be careful to keep watch for the devil's snares.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

As I was driving home last night I began to ponder many things. Someone had said something unsettling to me, not something rude, just something I wasn't sure about. So I began to think on it... and mull over it. This, other events of my day, and my growing emotions got the best of me in that moment. As I began to think to myself: 'no one understands,' 'no one cares,' 'there is no one I can trust,' ... me, me me, selfishness, pity party!! Just as quick as the devil put theses thoughts into my head the Lord reminded me of a few lessons I have been learning lately and some past sermons and teachings at my church.

The devil is always there to take away our joy, to make us feel bad about ourselves, to tell us we are unworthy. He wants us to think that we are the only ones, all alone and worthless. However, Jesus Christ spent thirty-three years on this earth so that He could be our helper, the one in whom we put our trust, the one who understands all our pain.

Praise the LORD!! He is there for us to trust Him always! He CARES, He UNDERSTANDS! When we are lonely, HE is there to comfort us. In the end, there is no one else with which we should place our trust. The people, places and things of this world will always, 100% guaranteed, let us down or hurt us. But God's love never fails.

I stopped my thinking in that moment and praised God for His unending love and companionship. The fact that He is always there, never leaving us, just blew my mind. I am so thankful... so thankful for the opportunity to renew my trust in the Lord and to consciously work to always trust Him, no matter what. Praise Him for His infinite mercy and grace! I hope that you too can place your hope and trust in Him!

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

I pray that you would help me dear God, and all those around me, near and far... look to you in times of trouble, in times of joy, in times of peace and in times of heartache. You are the one we can trust, the one who understands, the one we can place our hope in. Set our minds on the things above Lord, keep our focus on You. Fill us until we are overflowing with your grace, mercy and blessings. Help us Lord, to pour out these things on the people around us. Guide us Lord, comfort us and give us peace. Let yours be the only face we seek.
In Jesus' name I pray ~Amen