Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a look into my heart.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26

Oh, the Psalms...how I find so much of what I need for any given situation or circumstance in my life. There are praises to lift to God in times of joy and abundance. There are lamentations to cry out during times of trial and valleys of darkness. There are truths to rest upon and hope to cling to when doubt surfaces in my all too human heart.

Lately, I've been finding myself stuck in this glorious book, written mostly by David (the adulterer and murderer who was "after God's own heart," in case anyone is keeping tabs). Despite the richness of the entire Bible, my heart gets pulled into the Psalms and I want to meditate on the same verses that have provided water for my thirsty soul.

It is the verse above that has been my spiritual song, the cry of my heart over the past few weeks. I keep dissecting every word, soaking in each line. The first is a refocus of my perspective, reminding me that there is none (and nothing) I should desire here on earth apart from Christ. How often (as in daily, hourly, and so on) I desire things on earth outside of Christ. How often it can be disguised as something good, but at the root, my heart has shifted away from the Beloved. It has sought my glory, my comfort, justification, vindication, attention, affirmation...it has turned away from the giver in search of the gifts.

However, it is in the next line that a beautiful promise is uncovered: "though my heart and flesh may fail, the Lord is my strength and my portion forever." Though my heart and flesh may fail...it's a given. He already knows. I am human. I will fail. My flesh will take over. The desires of my heart will shift outside of God's will and purpose. I'm not strong enough, but the Lord is my strength. He is my portion. He is waiting with open arms for the prodigal to return. Despite all the ways I fail Him: in my failure to extend grace, in my failure to love well, in my failure to hold my tongue, in my failure to submit myself to sanctification and, well...just in my depraved humanity, He is still there.

He is not weak and He is not lacking. He is my portion. If this is so, why should I desire anything else on earth? Why do I need to be "right?" Why do I need to complicate things? Why do I need to seek that which does not satisfy (Psalm 16:11)? Simple answer: because my heart and flesh fail. Nevertheless, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. As my dear Elisa put it, He is both the light and the way. May I desire no one besides Him.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

a forever friend.

"Cousins are childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends."

I saw this quote on Lyric's blog (http://muirfam.blogspot.com) and knew I needed to immediately post it to mine. (I hope she doesn't mind.) I've been so unbelievably blessed to grow up to be forever friends with a few of my childhood playmates, namely Christina, Elisa and Lianna. They've seen it all: the bad fashion, bad hair, poor color choices (see below) and know me probably better than I know myself.

We've been together on countless holidays, shared hundreds of meals, made dozens of videos (even as adults), watched (and quoted) the same movies over...and over...and over...

We've toasted many a good time and supported one another through the bad times. Some of my best, most beautiful memories are with all of us together...whether it was celebrating a birthday, looking at the stars, drinking mimosas, cooking a meal together, spending time at the lake or just processing life.

They've showed me tough love when I needed it and cared enough to call me out and have the hard conversations. They've consistently challenged me and have spurred me on towards sanctification. They are constant examples of Christ's incarnate love in my life.

These are truly my forever friends. A life. A love. A fousin. I have been truly blessed with kindred spirits who know every part of me and love me still.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

just because.

Ten points (along with my utmost admiration) for whoever can name the author and context of that quote.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

kingsland: the farewell tour.

The old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Well, the words never rang more true (slightly dramatic) when we (unofficially) said farewell to the lakehouse. (unofficial since it hasn't sold yet)

It was really a picture-perfect weekend at the lake. We enjoyed a quick boat ride shortly upon our arrival. This was followed by a delicious dinner of salmon, salad and beer bread. We toasted yet another glorious sunset with a bottle of prosecco. This was followed by star gazing and homemade strawberry shortcake...a perfect night.

The next day, we woke up early, went to church, grabbed coffee at the local Kingsland Coffee and jumped on the lake for some skiing. I'm not gonna lie. It had been a while since I took the skis out for a spin and I was worried I might be a bit rusty. I was pleasantly surprised to get up on the first go round and enjoy a nice leisurely ski...until my back started hurting and I let go. (knowing full well, at that point, how sore I was going to be the next day) Nevertheless, it was a great way to send the lake out in style and I was smiling from ear to ear the entire ride.

There may or may not have have been a music video (or 2) thrown in there along with multiple rounds of bananagrams, but I'll leave out the evidence for now. We took a few more pics out by the lake before we said goodbye and then headed straight to the Salt Lick. I had heard of this epic barbecue destination for years now, but never made it to the place to try it for myself. It was high time to sample the delights and suffice it to say, I was not disappointed. Not only did we get to eat awesome barbecue, but we also got to take advantage of Salt Lick Cellars: the winery on the property. It was by far the best experience I have had at a winery, thus far. Every single sip I tasted was delicious and unique. I give the winery 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up.

When they called our name, we were more than ready to dig in. We finished the last of our wine and headed into the main dining room to feast on smoked turkey, sausage, ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, potato salad and bread. We devoured every last bit and I was full to the brim the entire drive home (yes, all the way to Dallas).

As I was driving through the familiar hills of Austin on my way back home, I shed a tear or two. The memories that have been made over the past few years are some of the dearest, most joyful times in my life. When I recall the impromptu dance parties, delicious meals cooked together in the kitchen, countless toasts, new experiences (wineries, concerts, restaurants, etc.), nights spent gazing at the stars, meaningful and intimate conversations where I am reminded of Christ and His love...they are priceless and worth far more than any possession. And so, I leave you with a little banangrams tribute (how very appropriate):