Friday, October 30, 2009

A Good Metaphor

I love me a good metaphor (and, apparently, some good sentence-structure as well). But seriously, metaphors have this ability to touch my heart more deeply than just a story or stand-alone truth can. Maybe it’s because my skull can be a little thick and I need deep truths illustrated in the simple things in order to, well, GET them.

Clearly, Jesus understood this need for things standing for other things. Like when He said, “I am the lamb of God,” (John 1:29) or when He described us as being like “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Or how about all those parables He used? I think it’s because metaphor just resonates somehow, in our brains, helping us understand all the way down to our hearts.

At Catalyst this year, they gave every single attendee a copy of Margaret Feinberg’s new book Scouting the Divine. And I love it. You know why? Because it explains Biblical metaphors in their proper context, deepening my understanding. And, in turn, strengthening and deepening my faith.

For example, Feinberg visits a shepherdess, and learns what it really means for sheep to recognize their shepherd. The shepherdess explains: “Once they respond to my beckoning, I have them forever.” When I read those words, my heart just sighs with longing, with understanding, with recognizing the beckoning; and I am filled with gratitude in knowing that I am His forever.

Or when she visits her friend, a farmer, and learns more about what it means to offer our first fruits. To give to God the very things we have sweat and toiled to produce, because not only do they belong to Him, but He alone has actually made them grow (even if it feels like we did all the work).

Feinberg explains that the Word describes us as God’s vineyard, “a land and people that he loves and has gone to great lengths to plant, cultivate, and protect.” When we think of God as the master vintner, carefully pruning and growing His people, it helps us understand why, even though the pruning process can be painful, it’s always for our very best. Every cut, every trimming in our lives comes about for our greatest good. Just like the master vintner wants to produce the highest quality, most delicious wine possible; our heavenly vintner carefully prunes and grows us into the strongest vines, allowing us to produce the most delicious and choice fruit.

Speaking of metaphors, I know y’all are just DYING to hear all about my time here with my new friend Melissa (and you surely will hear more about it than you ever wanted, knowing me). But for now, let me just say this: It has been as refreshing as an ice-cold Diet Coke on a hot summer day. Or as fantastic as cheese dip, or Chick-fil-a . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And It's Only 10:45am

Let's review my morning:
1-Woke up early to drop off Jayci, then drove (more like inched) to the airport in ridiculous traffic. Because they thought it would be a good idea to make cars snake through ONE AT A TIME on the 285 ramp. Brilliant.
2- Parked about 20 miles away from the airport. Good thing we checked in online last night.
3-Left my boarding pass and ID on the table where they give you Ziploc bags for all your liquids. I am easily distracted apparently. Oh look! An airplane! This may or may not be why my dad enjoyed having me along on his big fancy business trips. I think I lent an air of professionalism.
4-Retrieved said ID/boarding pass, made it through security, arrived at our gate to discover that Delta had canceled our flight (one reason why checking in the night before might not be as efficient and brilliant as we thought).
5-Went to Delta counter, they were confused as to what our problem was . . . We informed them that the board-thingy said our flight was canceled. The friendly lady told us that we were on the 12:30 flight now. Thanks for the heads up. Great customer service Delta.
6-Figured I should call Melissa to tell her we were going to be late. Oh but it turns out I forgot my phone in the car (and I need my phone because it has the address of where we're going, it's our gps, etc etc)
7 - Now I'm sitting here in Friday's while Adam treks it 20+ miles to the car to retrieve it. Now that I think about it, I suppose this post could either be entitled: "Becca's Mishaps" or "Reasons Adam is the best husband ever"

The End.

At The Pumpkin Patch

In my I Heart Faces post this week, I mentioned that I couldn't decide which picture to enter. That's because my pictures (somehow, magically) turned out fantastic from our little trip to the pumpkin patch -- we dressed up our little kiddos in their costumes (they were the only ones dressed up. So what?)
Anyways, as promised, here are a few large number of the pictures!
The group shot . . . notice they are looking in about 7 different directions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crafty, In More Ways Than One

I can actually only think of one way I was crafty this weekend (unless you count the number of ways I mooched diet cokes).
This weekend was, however, an endeavor in craftiness of the most ambitious kind. My college roommate Gini and I relived our "glory days" by drinking large amounts of diet coke, eating Sour Patch Kids, chips and salsa, and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Oh and making stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Cute stuff.
Although we didn't necessarily make large amounts of money, we sure did have fun. And as an added bonus, we opened our brand new Etsy shop! If you'd like some hand-made stuff, visit and buy it RIGHT NOW (clearly I am working on using the word "stuff" as much as possible in this post. Because I'm a good writer like that).

But for real, go visit and make me happy. That's what this blog is all about right? Making me happy. For sho. And if I'm happy, I will work on making y'all happy too . . .So stay tuned for a "BG Doodles and Designs" giveaway, coming soon to a blog near you.

Buy Handmade

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Little Ladybug

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is Halloween/Dress-up. . . Luckily for me, we took our kids to the pumpkin patch last week (and we dressed them up to do it. Because we're not afraid to embarrass our kids for the sake of pictures). So my only problem this week was deciding WHICH picture to enter! (don't worry, I'll share more of them with you soon - I was going to say tomorrow, but we all know I shouldn't be making promises I can't keep!)

Isn't she the cutest ladybug ever? And she just KNOWS she can pick up that pumpkin, even though it's about the same size she is!

Want more costume cuties? Visit I Heart Faces this week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Quick, Random Post (What Else is New?)

As we speak, I am sitting in "our booth" at the craft show in Athens, GA. This, for those of you who don't know, is where I attended the University of Georgia for three years of my life (I graduated early. I'm smart like that. Or maybe not smart, depending how you look at the decision to spend less time napping and more time working for a living. Whichever). Anyways, if you want to feel old, I'm convinced there's no better way to acquire said feeling than coming to your college town and wondering if perhaps there's a young people's convention in town. Or maybe a large elementary school field trip? Oh wait. Those are the college students.

To get to Athens from our humble abode, you drive all the way down the longest, most boring road ever (and remember, I DO NOT exaggerate. Or rarely exaggerate). But seriously, I would like the good folks (whoever they are) who built the TARGET in the middle of nowhere to know that they startled me greatly with their bold business endeavor. Noticing the Target, I suddenly feared that I had made a turn without realizing it. Or maybe that I had driven clear past the (very large) UGA campus.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this "sleep-driving" (as I like to call it. Don't worry daddy, I don't ACTUALLY sleep while I drive). You know, when arriving at your destination you suddenly can't remember how you even managed to get there. Did you run a red light? Were you dancing and singing loudly to the Glee songs? (Not that I personally have done that one)

Speaking of Glee, the live music has just started up (yup, it's a classy craft show. Did you expect any less from me?) Which, I suppose, means I should get back to work.

*PS - I would post pictures of our cute little booth for you, but I forgot to charge my camera battery. Party foul.

Fall Festival

This past weekend, Adam and I strapped Jayci in her fancy new carseat (which is already riddled with crumbs and goldfish remnants), picked up Zack and Sabo, and headed back up to camp for the second annual Fall Festival.

Despite the decided chill in the air, the biting wind, and the 2 hour drive from Atlanta, we had a great turn-out and a wonderful time.

But don't take my word for it. Ask Zack if he liked riding a horse all by himself (although he did declare "the horse is broke," because she didn't want to gallop or, you know, move, without a small heel kick in the side).
Ask Sabo if he enjoyed doing backflips into the hay.
Or ask Anthony if he liked using our brand new basketball court.
And Turner if he liked painting pumpkins.
Or ask Jayci if she enjoyed was obsessed with the horseys (Yes! Yes she was!)
And if she liked wearing her new hat. And walking around in her new boots. Cause I think she did.
There's more pictures of the fall festival on the Vision Atlanta Mentoring blog.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Extended Scepter

Every Monday morning, I jump stumble out of bed, hopefully at least 15 minutes before Jayci wakes up, so I can shower and apply a teensy bit of the makeup. Why this massive feat of energy and strength you ask? Because Monday mornings are Beth Moore Bible study mornings at church. And if you think I'm going to sit there, surrounded by beautiful women of all ages, and watch Beth with her cute outfits and big ol' hair in my normal attire (which may or may not be unshowered, pajama-clad, diet coke in hand. . . ) then y'all don't know me very well at all.

All kidding and fashion/hygiene aside, I really look forward to Monday mornings(and not just because I get 2 hours kid-free time with Jesus). For anyone who doesn't know it, let me just tell you that Beth Moore? She likes to drop the Truth bombs. I wish you could see a page of my notes from one of the sessions. They may or may not be unreadable, what with all the scribbling and frantic note-taking.

This Monday, Beth was talking about Esther approaching the King unbidden. Shaking in her sandals, she waited to see if King Xerxes would raise his scepter or allow the axe to fall. But here's the kicker: when the King extended his scepter to Esther, she had to reach out and touch it. Beth points out that Esther had to walk forward and accept his approval.

Well DUH, I couldn't help but think. What was she going to do, ignore the scepter and let the axe fall instead? Of COURSE she reached and touched the scepter, accepting the King's approval; it was a matter of life and death. . . But isn't that exactly the point? Every day for us, we need to reach out and touch the scepter of OUR King's approval. He patiently holds it out to me, and I find myself too busy. too tired. too frustrated. too disillusioned. too strong. too weak. . . Too everything/anything to touch the tip of the scepter He offers. What I don't recognize is that it is still a matter of life and death. Every day when I choose NOT to accept His approval, it's like I reject the cross. Allowing instead the axe to fall, and the enemy to devour me like a roaring lion.

So today I choose to step forward (even if I'm shaking in my royal robes pajamas) and touch the cross. To graciously and thankfully accept the approval and the LIFE that He offers. And to walk in the Truth that I am accepted, loved, pursued, adored. To walk in abundant life knowing that I am a queen, loved by a King, with a purpose to fulfill and a destiny to meet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Think Pink: Hope

The theme at I Heart Faces this week is Pink, in honor of breast cancer awareness. I have been lucky (blessed really) enough to remain untouched by this disease so far, as far as my family and friends. However, I have been brought to tears by several of the inspiring and touching entries this week.
That said, I wasn't going to enter a picture this week because I thought that I wanted the spotlight to stay on breast cancer through survivors, memories, fights, bras, and more. However, I happened upon this picture of Jayci and decided to go ahead and enter it because it represents so much hope to me. And that's really what this week is all about isn't it? Hope for a future, for a cure, for fighting and winning. And nothing says that more to me than the sweet innocence of my little Jayci. I pray that she will never have to face breast cancer in her own life or in those around her. But if she does, I pray she will face it with courage and even joy in knowing that she serves a God who is still good, even when things are hard.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

*Visit I Heart Faces to see all this week's inspiring and uplifting entries (warning, I cried. But then I'm pretty much an emotional mess this week so that's to be expected)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Catalyst, Chalk, Crafts, and Calling

1. I told y'all I went to Catalyst last week. It was fantastic, seriously fantastic. And let me say that Chuck Swindoll might be old, but he can drop Truth bombs with the best of them. I'm actually working on typing out my (many) notes for the purpose of encouragement and edification for all the internets. While you wait, please enjoy these pictures of our time at Catalyst:
2. Jayci loves to play with/eat sidewalk chalk. And can I just tell you how fun/embarrassing it is when she throws a royal fit because I take it away from her mouth? I mean, how could I even do such a thing? I am so unreasonable.
3. Together with one of my dearest friends in the whole world, I am entered in a craft show next weekend (I know, I know, like I have time for this). In college, we sold some little crafty things, quite lucratively I might add (or not). Because it turns out that college lends itself to extra time and nurturing creativity.

Plus we didn’t drink or party, so what else was there to do other than watch Anastasia and scrapbook. What? No one else did that? Oh. Me neither.

Anyhow, our house has been particularly messy lately (shocking I know) because there's been an explosion of various and sundry craft products all over the place. But as a result, I have concocted much cuteness. All of which I will be happy to share on here soon. But for now, here's a sneak peek: a headband and dress duo, modeled by the lovely and talented Jayci.
4. This last one is a little more muddled than the rest of my concise and well-thought-out list (ha). But I just wanted to share a little bit of where the Stanleys are at right now, and where we feel like God is leading us.

We've known for a long time that we want to live downtown in community with the people we're ministering to. The problem is, well, selling our current house and finding a house downtown. One that is nice enough to, you know, actually live in (yet close enough to the hood so we can do ministry like we want to). One step we're taking on this journey is going to visit my good friend (well good friend in my head) Melissa of A Long way from the Theta House. Oh and if anyone has an extra hundred thousand dollars or so laying around, feel free to donate it to our cause.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Did You Miss Me? No?

Hey everyone. I know, I know, it's been a long time (like a week!) since I posted on here. The problem is that I planned a little bloggy break for the Catalyst Conference/weekend . . .and apparently God thought it needed to be a little longer so our internet stopped working. You know how God sometimes uses our enemies to accomplish His purposes? That must be what He's doing with Comcast.

I had a great picture all picked out for I Heart Faces this week too. But alas, it was not meant to be and I missed the deadline. Oh wells.

Instead, allow me to share some WAY better pictures than mine. They're from our recent one-year-old photoshoot with our dear friends the Altmixes of Altmix Photography. Talk about talented photographers. For realz.

(This one is her giving a kiss. Someone is going to have to teach her about CLOSED MOUTH kisses before she gets around the boys!)

Oh and on a completely unrelated, random note: Nothing says class like a Diaper Genie on your front porch because you didn't empty it out enough and it grew bugs actually cleaning up after your baby.

The truth is that I've been feeling especially overwhelmed with the whole being a mom, working part-time on web design, while doing ministry, helping start a church, trying to be a wife, live in community, and keep my house clean (I think we all know what's the first thing to go . . . ). Not to mention that I feel like a total failure as a mom most days because Jayci wont sleep through the night, eat ANYTHING besides cheese (hmm wonder where she gets that from. At least she has good taste), and when she doesn't get her way, or doesn't want to listen to what I have to say, she throws a MAJOR fit with full-on tears and wailing and gnashing of teeth (whatever that means). And my response? Well I usually stand there and look at her wondering: where did you come from? and what should i do with you? (all the while yelling at Charli to shut-up and asking myself WHY oh WHY the rescue hasn't come to get her yet)

Notice I didn't do a great job narrowing down my picture selections? And there were MORE, SO MANY MORE, that I loved and could have included. If you're obsessed with me and my family (and who isn't really?) or just bored, you're welcome to look at our slideshow on the Altmix Photography website.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here's the Plan, Stan

I always say that to Adam. Because, you know, Stan? Clever right?

Anyways, we are lucky blessed to be able to attend the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta for the next 2 days. So the plan is to enjoy that, and to enjoy my weekend following that. And maybe to rest and have a little special family time. Without writing on here, or reading what other people are writing on here, or in their own corners of the blogosphere. Because you know what? Sometimes we I just need a little breathing room to gain some perspective and to let the Lord speak to, and minister to, my heart.

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" -Psalm 37:7

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things (in Pictures this time)

As it turns out, I have already written several posts entitled "A Few of my Favorite Things" -- isn't that like a deadly sin of blogging? My fault folks, I'm just not all that creative when it comes to titles. That was always the hardest part of English class for me. I know, I'm lame.

This particular post, however, is totally allowed because I'm writing it specifically for I Heart Faces (where the theme is, shockingly, "My Favorite Things" -- well thank-you Captain Obvious. Sheesh, I don't know why y'all keep reading this).

When I told Adam I was going to include a picture of him for this week's theme, he said I should put one up of him from high school. That way, people would think I was saying "the hot pool boy" was one of my favorite things. This, for some inexplicable reason, gave me the giggles.
Because when Sabo and Zack saw this picture they said: "Adam you was too skinny. Now Becca been feeding you too much" (But no worries, because some of our friends are doing the Medifast diet, and Adam decided he will do the "Adamfast diet." A diet that, luckily for him, includes Frosties at 10pm. A snack which may or may not have been influenced by a chocolate-craving-hormonal wife.)
*But look how far we've come! (notice I didn't say how far in which direction)Another favorite: This new face. I mean seriously, how can you resist a face like this? Even when it's accompanied by her new favorite habit: Shaking her head no when she's doing something she shouldn't. And doing it anyways.
And my kiddos. This goes without saying. For realz.

Someone(not that I would EVER throw anyone under the bus. Ahem BRAD) forgot to bring me back my camera memory card so I couldn't take new pictures featuring more of my favorite things. Let's be honest, we all know what they are already. But just in case you forgot, here's a few of my daily (hourly, minutely if possible) indulgences/favorites.

Chick-fil-a -- I cant think of a better way to stand (or finish) my day. Especially if that cup contains another favorite thing. Fountain Diet Coke (why is it so much better?!).
I think we all know what else I love. That's right. Cheese. In any form really. But particularly when eaten on chips or in conjunction with any sort of Mexican fare.
Oh my. I might need some of this. Pronto.

And books. Glorious books. I've always loved reading (even when I had to take a stand for what was right and good and read on the playground, which was really great for the social life, let me tell you). Luckily, my current friends are much more understanding of my love. And one of them even got Jayci this amazing print from Etsy.
Oh and cleaning. I love cleaning. Or not.

I just need to stop before this post turns into a novel and I miss the deadline to actually include it on I Heart Faces. Which would devastate all of you, I'm sure.


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