About Angie

Hi! I am a 40-something-year-old mom of three who enjoys writing and graphic design. I enjoy a microphone, too, and am looking forward to a potential speaking career in my future. Whatever the future holds, God holds it in His hands.

New Beginnings

So here we are in 2015.

I suppose this is where I say Happy New Year.

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How did this happen? I was just getting used to 2014.

You too?

But, alas! Time keeps on marching along. This morning I didn’t simply turn the page on the good ol’ calendar. I cracked open a whole new calendar!

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Oh, what a feeling!

All those blank squares, waiting to be filled. Appointments, dinner dates, tests, work schedules…all sorts of things…the good and the bad. This year, there will be two graduations and a wedding taking up spaces. There’s already a funeral listed.

The ebb and flow of life.

What will you do with your new year? Did you make any resolutions?

I did.

Or as a friend and I decided to call them, GOALS.

Want to see my goals? I don’t mind sharing.

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I even made myself a sticker chart so that I can track my progress. Stickers are fun, and should keep me going strong.

I hope.

I’ve already met a few of my goals for this week, including the fun project. I actually painted a picture today, and if you know me well, you know I’m not much of an artist. Still, I decided to take that whole “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” thing seriously.

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This one above – painted today – goes with the one below that I did last year.

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I’m quite pleased with the results.

One of my goals – as you can see on the above list – involves blogging on a regular basis. Thanks to those of you who keep nagging me to post. You know who you are. You’re why I’m here. Now. Kicked back on the couch after midnight on the first day of the year, typing on my laptop keyboard while the cat is sitting on my feet.

Today marks the start of a new year. (Okay; maybe technically it should be marked – but I am still awake so it still counts as the 1st, right?) Either way, it’s a new beginning.

I plan to make the most of it.

Do you?

Feel free to ask me every now and then how I’m doing; and I’ll ask you, too.

 

Random Things I Have Learned (or Re-Learned) Since My Last Birthday

 

Today is my birthday. Or at least it was. It’s after midnight and I’ve been typing frantically for quite a while. Oh, well. This always takes longer than I think it will.

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I am officially 46 years old. I don’t mind telling you my age; it actually feels kinda young, relatively speaking. Or at least I thought it was young, until I counted out 46 candles. That many candles makes quite an impressive pile. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with a random, left-over assortment of old birthday candles tucked away in a cabinet.)

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What?

You thought the candles would be on a cake?

Hahaha! Right.

Honey, Mamas don’t tend to get cakes unless they bake them for themselves. And today, the kitchen was closed. This is about all the attention these candles will see today.

Ahem. Back on task. Things I’ve learned this year.

The past year has been quite a journey. God has brought me to places I never would have dreamed possible. Along the way I’ve learned – or re-learned – a thing or two. God was a willing teacher when I was willing to listen.

What did He teach me?

Among other things… (in no particular order)

 

God is good.

We may not always understand, but He is always, always good.

Enough said.

 

You’re never too old to learn (or do) something new.

I’m proof of that. I was comfortable as a 40-something-fluffy-couch-potato-soccer mom. But comfortable is never as exciting as trying new things and experiencing new learning opportunities. I’m officially doing things I would have never dreamed I would be doing just a few short years ago.

I’ve learned to do so many new things this past year within that world alone, my head could spin. Turns out that age is just a number.

 

I can do anything…and I mean ANYTHING…through Christ who strengthens me.

40 pushups in under a minute? Yep.

Function after getting sprayed with pepper spray? Check.

Drive a squad car fast, lights on and sirens blaring, while calmly drinking my diet soda? Uh-huh.

But it’s not me. God’s got this. When I try to do something in my own strength, I fall short. But with God, anything is possible.

 

I haven’t arrived.

This has been a biggie. Somehow I thought I would have it all together by now, that I would have all the answers and life would be easy. I would have all of my fears and shortcomings conquered and be well on my way to being a completely, 100% committed, sold-out Jesus Freak.

Not happening.

Instead, there are many times that I feel like life is coming unraveled at the seams. I still get scared. I have times when I feel like I’m moving backward instead of forward. Two steps forward, three steps back.

You too?

I’ve learned that I will never arrive while my heart’s still beating, because this world is not my home. And it’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to still struggle with doubts and insecurities. That’s part of being human. If I had it all together, I wouldn’t need God. And He is all that I need.

 

I don’t like giving tickets.

If I pull you over for speeding, running or stop sign, or a headlight out, I probably won’t give you a ticket if you’re nice. You can talk me into a ticket. I’d rather you not. Compassion is never something I’ve been known to have, but I’ve learned that I have it in boatloads when I’m dealing with drivers just trying to make their way. Especially when I pull over a young woman for a headlight being out TWICE in one night, several hours and a number of miles apart…and all she was doing was trying to find a place to sleep that night. (I couldn’t believe it when I walked up to her car and saw her. I just knew that license plate number sounded familiar!)

That said, carry your current registration and insurance info in your car. If I have to have it, you do too. And traffic court isn’t fun for either of us.

For the record, I DO like arresting drunk drivers. It’s a great sense of accomplishment to get someone off the road when they’ve had too much to drink. But it’s a sense of accomplishment I’d much rather not have the opportunity to get. People, if you have been drinking, DO NOT DRIVE. It’s just not worth the risk.

 

Failing doesn’t make you a failure.

We all make bad choices from time to time. We all fall short of our goals. Sometimes we literally fall down. It might hurt. It might be hard to get up. The temptation may be to take it personally. To give up. But we must get back up and try again. And again…and again…and again.

Speaking of bad choices. For some reason, today I was reminded of one of my earliest memoires of a bad choice.

This is a picture of me when I was maybe 5 years old.

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Notice the ringlets. My mom worked hard to get those ringlets in my hair, and I often slept in rollers to make it happen. One day, I decided that I wanted to HOLD one of those ringlets. As I recall, it was the one in the very front on my right side.

Let’s just say that:

Bad decision + scissors = VERY short haircut for first grade.

Talk about an unhappy Mama. My kids have no idea their sweet Meemaw could yell like that. (Sorry, Mom!)

Anyway, the point is, God can redeem bad decisions. He can exchange failure for a future. Hair grows back. Wounds heal. We may suffer some consequences (like having everyone in first grade think you’re a boy) but we can’t quit. Let’s keep trying. As many times at it takes.

 

I have way too much stuff.

For my birthday, I marked off something that has been on my to-do list for years. Literally. I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to go through our house and make a video inventory of each room. I’ve never done it in the past because I thought the house was never in good enough shape to do so.

But this time I got over that. My house wasn’t perfect by any stretch. I cleaned as much as I could muster, took a deep breath, and started the video recorder on my phone.

It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it might to record everything. I quickly discovered that there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff that I would replace if something happened to it. It was just a whole lot of stuff. Period.

Time to start purging. Maybe that’ll be a goal to reach by my 47th birthday. Who knows?

 

Let’s speed things up a bit.

I’m sure you’re all getting tired of reading, my birthday is gone, and Rich has given up and gone into the den with a sigh. Brief snippets for the rest. If you want more than the Readers’ Digest version of some of these, just ask. I’ll be happy to fill you in.

 

Sleep is essential.

Naps are your friend.

 

There are many, many hurting and lonely people out there.

We need to find them. Perhaps you are one who is lonely. Reach out to someone. Don’t suffer in silence. Be a friend…find a friend.

 

It is very easy to be selfish.

It’s also easy to be proud, arrogant, greedy, lazy…you name it. The good qualities are much harder to achieve.

 

A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.

Everyone enjoys a pat on the back every now and then. It can really turn someone’s day around.

 

It is way easier to put on pounds than to take them off.

I’ve lost over 30 pounds in the last year. Every one of them is clamoring to come back home. Keeping them off is a daily struggle.

 

Sometimes life doesn’t lead where we think it will.

God probably doesn’t let us know in advance where we’re going because it would scare the daylights out of us. Either that or we’d try to take a short cut. Regardless, the path we are on may or may not end up at the destination we predict.

 

My tastes change.

I chose PF Changs for my birthday dinner. I used to hate Chinese food. Now I love it.

 

“Old” is a higher age than I thought.

The older I get, the older “old” is. I might never get there.

 

Aches and pains are a part of growing older.

I haven’t talked to anyone over the age of about 40 who doesn’t hurt somewhere. Sigh.

 

Stretching makes you more flexible.

Literally and figuratively. You grow that way.

 

Anything that has value takes work.

Sometimes a lot of it. But that’s exactly why it has value.

 

Blogging is hard.

And time consuming. (Does that mean it has value? Hmmm… Not sure.)

Sometimes with blogging, you have to simply give up and wrap up. The writing is never going to be perfect. There’s always tweaking that can be done, and I doubt I will ever run out of words.

 

So… with that in mind…

That’s all, folks!

Passion 2013

Passion 2013 was a conference aimed at college students. It filled the Georgia dome with over 60,000 students and leaders. Led by leaders such as Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin, the conference highlighted the atrocity of modern-day slavery and inspired the “Jesus Generation” to unite in a concerted effort to END IT. Passion I thought I knew what to expect from the conference. Daniel had attended Passion 2012 that had a similar focus. He had told me about it, and I was curious. I decided to go with our church’s group as a “chaperone,” like college students really needed those. Sarah tagged along because the conference organizers opened it up to high school seniors. Daniel also attended. His fiancé, Iva, was there with their church from Oxford. I was ready for a fun four days.

I had no idea that this event would touch me in such a powerful way. First, Here’s a few things totally random, yet entertaining, things I learned at the conference.

  • My rain jacket was only water resistant. It also had a design flaw that streamed water down the back of my neck. Notice I refer to it in past tense.
  • Starving college students are resourceful enough to try making Easy Mac in the hotel room coffee maker.
  • Hotel gift shops occasionally sell fabulous things like Ramen Noodles that totally hit the spot when you are as hungry as a college student.
  • It’s nearly impossible for 60,000+ people to manage to eat dinner near the Georgia Dome and still get to the sessions on time.
  • It is possible to feed lunch to those same 60,000+ people inside the Georgia Dome – all in roughly 20 minutes. It involves pallets and pallets of boxed sandwich lunches, numerous volunteers, cooperation from the masses, and precise organization. Oh, and a stopwatch to time it all. Yeah. They timed it.

So there you go. The random. The fact that most of them are related to food is purely coincidental. Now for the serious things that I learned.

  • Slavery still exists. Estimates are that there are roughly 27 million men, women, boys and girls entrapped in slavery today. 27 million. That’s larger than the population of the entire state of Texas.
  • Many of the items we take for granted – things like chocolate, clothes, jewelry, and smart phones – could very easily have been handled by slaves.
  • In particular, sex slavery is rampant. Even in the United States. It’s in more than just our major cities, too. It’s hit small town America.
  • College students are capable of raising phenomenal amounts of money. Over $3 million was raised at the conference that year, all to shine a light on modern day slavery. The money went to organizations who are committed to END IT.

END IT? Yes, END IT. The “End It Movement” was born as a follow-up to the Passion Conferences. It’s how they coordinate raising the funds and distributing them to the partner organizations. End It Supporters were asked on a certain day to put a red “x” on their hand to raise awareness. Here’s my attempt. hand But it was a video that they showed that got to me. That’s what rocked my world. I thought the video interesting from the moment it started, but I have to admit, I was a little tired and was only half watching. But then it had my full attention.

I found the video on YouTube and watched it again tonight. You can watch the video for yourself here.

It was at the 1:39 mark that I froze, standing inside the Georgia Dome, suddenly alone with God in a stadium packed with energetic students. That’s when I realized that the video I was watching was the vision that had been in my head the night I pouted over Speckles. The pictures were the same. The only difference was that there had been no words that night lying in my bed.

Sounds crazy, I know. But it happened. I stood there, unable to move, long after the video ended and the screen went dark. Those around me continued on with the worship service filled with stirring music. I simply stood. Once again speechless before a mighty and powerful God. The words rang in my head, pealing repeatedly:

“What are you going to do about it?”

What was I going to do about it?

I now knew where God was ultimately leading me, but I still had no idea how to get there. It would still take a few months for me to figure out even where I was supposed to begin.

We were given a visual reminder to take with us, cutouts of individuals representing modern-day slaves. I still have mine and stare into her eyes on occasion. She now stands as an additional motivation to continue to seek God’s will in my journey to fight slavery. Her name is Anya. DSCN6876 DSCN6877 That’s enough for now. More to come later.