Friday, May 29, 2009

9 Ways God Has Spoken to Me

As many of you know, Clay and I have been praying for wisdom and direction concerning our adoption. To give you an update, we are continuing the adoption process from China, but we know that it could take years until our baby arrives. Beijing has temporarily closed adoptions right now due to the Swine Flu, so what should we do while we wait?

Only God knows, so it is up to us to listen.

Jennifer Schuchmann's book, 9 Ways God Always Speaks, has been such an encouragement to me that prayer is not a one-way conversation. In fact, prayer is most alive when we learn to become active listeners, engaged in dialogue with the One who knows us best.

As Clay and I reminisce, we realize that there have been many times when God was trying to tell us something. Below is a list of 9 memorable ways God has spoken to me.

1. Through Peace - When praying about where to attend college, I felt unrest when I visited other campuses, but I felt a peace when visiting Auburn. That might just be because the Holy Spirit lives in Auburn and it is the greatest place on earth, but still, I knew it was the place for me.
2. Through Conviction - When struggling through my first year of marriage, I stayed awake to pray one night and God opened my heart to my own sin. This revelation was a relief to me. I thought Clay and I were from different planets, but God showed me that if I allow Him to mold me, we were going to be alright.

3. Through Scripture - When making a career decision, God kept bringing Colossians 3:23 to my mind. Everytime I prayed, God reminded me of the verse. "Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men." It was as if God was saying, "I give you the free will to choose the job, but whatever you choose, give it 110%... all for me!"

4. Through Circumstances - There are times when the stars align and you just know that this is not a coincidence.

5. Through Godly Counsel - I am very thankful for friends who are not afraid to speak the truth boldly. Even when I did not want to hear it, I wanted to hear it.

6. Through Faith - Bill Boldt, our Campus Crusade director at Auburn (where the Holy Spirit lives), told us that when he was thinking about marrying his wife, he was 80% sure that she was "THE ONE". He had to trust God for the other 20%. I have always remembered that story and when it is time to make a decision, I have often trusted God for the other 10%, 20% or 30%. After that, it just doesn't make mathematical sense!

7. Through Contemplation - This is a Christian's way of saying, "Worry", but it doesn't count if you turn your worry heavenward.

8. Through Books - So many of my stories begin with the words, "I was reading this book the other day when I realized..." Jennifer's book is another example of a read that has changed my perspective and given me direction.

9. Through Quiet Prayer - Nothing is more powerful than quiet. In the stillness, God's answer is often revealed.

Feel free to leave a comment about a time when God has spoken to you. If you are looking for a great book to take to the beach, check out 9 Ways God Always Speaks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

7 Reasons to Pick up Your Spouse at the Airport

After six days in Estes Park at the Colorado Christian Writers' Conference, I was thrilled to arrive, safe and sound, at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. I was exhausted from the trip, excited about all I had learned and looking forward to seeing Clay. I expected him to drive up to the curb and throw my suitcases in the car, but he was actually waiting for me in baggage claim. What a great surprise! We ate together in the airport and exchanged presents and starred adoringly into one another's eyes (okay, the last part is an exaggeration). Below are 7 reasons to park the car and walk into the airport and pick up your spouse:

1. The reunion is more dramatic when you can run, hug and take time to reunite without the excessive honking of the carline.

2. The weary traveler is oh so thankful for someone to help with the suitcases.

3. If there are any problems with lost luggage, it is nice to go through it with someone who is calm.

4. Travelers are generally tired and lonely and never more excited to see a familiar face.

5. In the movies, true love always happens at the terminal. That is because the two lovers cannot wait another second... they must see their sweetheart as soon as possible. Maybe I have seen too many movies and so, I'm spoiled. And now, with the security risk, you cannot wait at the terminal... but you can wait in baggage claim.

6. Everyone likes to see their special someone waiting with flowers, or a sign, or chocolate... you get the point.

7. It's a great way to go the extra mile for the person you love most in the world.

Friday, May 8, 2009

8 Birthday Presents for Men

Clay's birthday was last week and the girl in me REALLY wanted to throw a big party. I wanted to buy him clothes and send him on a scavenger hunt, but he honestly does not want any of the hoopla. More than anything, he wants to relax (or chillax as the students say). He does not want me to blow the budget. And he certainly does not need the typical presents like cologne, ties, or a man bag. However, he does like to get some attention and he does appreciate thoughtful presents. So, with those stipulations in mind I have compiled a list (with the input of Clay and some other MANLY MEN) of gifts that almost any man would appreciate:

1. Good golf balls and a round of golf at a new course - Apparantly, certain golf balls are better than others.

2. Sports Massage - The masseuse will focus on overworked muscles or old injuries due to exercise. Even if your spouse is not a serious athlete, men often have scar tissue or pain around their shoulders, lower back and knees that can be helped by this kind of massage.

3. Concert tickets - You know your man's favorite group. Check out for upcoming events.

4. The Andretti Experience - Men can go 180 mph and feel like racecar driver for only $22.95. Didn't every little boy want toy cars for his birthday? He still likes them!

5. Car Detail - Speaking of cars, more than one man told me that he would love to have his car detailed. At first I was surprised to hear this, but now that I think back to my brother washing his car in our driveway, I realize that this must be one of those man things.

6. Guy Time - Of course your man loves to be with you, but they also need quality time with buddies. Your husband will love it if you plan time for him to watch the game with just a FEW friends. Be sure to invite the people he REALLY likes (not just your friends' husbands and boyfriends). Provide the food and cigars and stay out of the way!

7. Letter Describing Your Respect for Him - Even though you tell him what you admire about him, writing it is more permanent. Make a list of all the ways you think he is the greatest. He can read it again and again.

8. Cold, Hard Cash - You know your man. If he likes to save money, nothing will surprise him more than your ability to save money or make extra money that he can spend anywhere. This takes true dedication because it requires planning and work, but it is a gift that fits everytime.

Friday, May 1, 2009

6 Indicators that You are On the Same Team

Every Friday morning, Clay and I play basketball with some friends. Well, the guys play and I run up and down the court and they let me shoot now and then. Usually, Clay and I are on opposite teams and I have to guard him (since Clay is the dork who brings his wife to play, they force him to guard me).

This morning was different because we played on the same team, and I have decided that it's a better that way. I would rather be excited when my husband grabs a rebound or hits a three-pointer. I like running in the same direction that he is running rather than trying to get in his way, stop him, foul him or steal the ball from him (yeah right).

The game this morning was so much more enjoyable since we were working together toward the same goal. I would like to think that Clay and I are always on the same team, but below are six ways to check my actions and make sure. You know that you and your spouse are playing like teammates when:

1. You cheer for his/her success even if it means more work for you.

2. You pick up the slack and work harder when your teammate is having an off-day, or even an off-season.

3. There is an unwritten understanding that the team is more important than the individual glory of a single team member.

4. If a team member is hurt, he still shows up for practice to support the others.

5. Everyone understands their role on the team.

6. Success and failure are met together. Your teammate's success is your success. Your teammate's failure is yours as well. Blame is useless on a team. You work together to fill the gaps.