Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Prized Possessions

Someone once asked me about my prized possessions. Hmm... For one thing, we've moved so many times and I've been told that every 5 moves is like a house fire. Well, if that's the case, we've had a handful of house fires and therefore, have weeded out many of our material things to opt for simplicity.

I don't wear much jewelry and what little I do wear are five/ten dollar chains purchased at the local clothing store. My wedding ring is my prized piece of jewelry and not because of its monetary value, but because of its symbolism and the promises my husband and I made to each other twenty-five years ago on our wedding day.

There are times I worry that when I pass from this life I won't have many heirlooms to leave my children.

My relationships seem to have the most value to me. Spending time with my family and friends is what I treasure the most.

I recently read the amazing true story of Ron & Debbie Hall and Denver Moore. Among the precious gifts Debbie created for her family were scrap books of memories she and her family shared together through the years. I really love that because when time became precious to their family, they didn't turn to anything of earthly value, but rather to those scrap books to reflect and reminisce and to laugh & cry together one more time.

This beautiful love story has prompted me to pull out some of my old pictures and at least begin sorting through them. It appears that this is one of the most precious heirlooms I can leave for my children.

It's interesting that when my father died this last year, the most important legacy he left for me was the precious memories we shared. My mother has offered me one of his rings embedded with gemstones. I look forward to resetting the stones into a ring I can wear. Will it be a treasure? Absolutely... but, again, not because of its material value, but because of what it will represent to me... a precious father-daughter love story.

So, I guess the moral for me is material things are only as important as what they represent. A ring can cost $50,000, but if the promises made as it is slipped on a finger are broken and shattered... the ring is worthless (at least it is to me... dust).

I want to leave for my children the legacy my father left me... the most tender display of love and may my family be blessed by the "prized possessions" I leave behind for generations to come... including a wedding ring of promises kept.

Love: priceless!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Wins

I've had a lot of experience this last year with the old adage, "If you love someone, let him/her go." From the passing of my father after a two and a half year battle with cancer, to my son's stepping out into adulthood and spending several weeks at a transition facility in Florida, to my daughter's move to Nevada for a fresh start.

I've heard people say that love is not worth the cost... I bet Mother Teresa never felt that way. Loving and then letting go was as natural for her as the act of breathing... take in... let go... take in... let go. I also bet she never went through a day without turning it over to the Lord. She reminds me of a sturdy oak that stood firm in the midst of tumultuous storms. Many found solace, comfort, and safety under her arms. God entered a frail, Albanian woman to love the poor, the weak, and the downtrodden. I pray God unleash that kind of power within me to be His Hands and Feet to the world... to risk loving that much.

Denver Moore uses the phrase, "catch and release," referring to those of us who engage in missions to make ourselves feel good, to "catch" others by feeding them a meal once or even twice and then "releasing" them back into the system... whatever system that may be. Many dangle the possibility of a friendship/relationship with others with no intention of making it last. Is it any wonder that trust takes time to build? What is really needed takes much time and effort on our parts... the kind of sacrifice many of us aren't willing to make... the kind that is impossible in our own humanness.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 5:3). God, I cannot be who you want me to be without your help. Thank-you for helping me to see others through your lens. Please unleash the power of your Holy Spirit within me, so others can see your fruits in me... love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The cost of love is enormous, but the rewards we reap as a result is far greater. This year, I've had to let those I love dearly... go. For me, there's a loss, but there is also a joy knowing they are all in a better place and I'm left with the most incredible memories that will last a lifetime (and many more to make in the future). Was the cost worth it... well, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!!

Love wins!!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

Well, I am starting to settle in, find my way around town, get used to my new apartment, and adapt to being away from friends and family.  I do love it here, it is beautiful. There is so much to do, there are lights everywhere, and music is always playing in the streets. People are happy, dressed to impress, and spending money like it is nothing. There is a never ending list of things to do, a lot of which is free or at least really cheap. There is a starbucks on every corner and a free glass of wine every time I choose to put a dollar in the penny slots!

I am currently in the Luxor Hotel & Casino sitting at a table just outside of the Starbucks. I am listening to Kesha and watching two ladies who seem to be having a blast together playing the nickel slots.

The plan for the day is sit here, drink my coffee, skype with mom and dad, write in my blog, explore the luxor a little bit, pick up Stephen from work, have lunch with Hunter, and then we are going to the theme park in MGM Grand and to explore a little bit and see the lions. :)

We did discover a local strip area called "The Fremont Street Experience".

It is an area of Fremont St. that they have blocked off with an overhead lightshow. They have zip-lining from one end of the street to the other, they have several casinos and dance clubs, there are bands playing in the streets and people dancing and having a good time. 

So far it has been a blast, but in addition to having a wonderful time, Hunter and I both have amazing job opportunities.  He has a customer service opportunity at a landline corporation out of Canada.  It pays well, has a great schedule, is full time, and is something he will be great at.  I have an opportunity with Verizon Wireless to work as a Customer Support Representative in the store. It is salaried and my training will be in Phoenix for 5 weeks.  We should know for sure if we snagged the positions within the next week.

I will keep you all posted!
Can't wait to see what else God has in store and what new experiences are out there for us to live through.

-Brittany :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Baggage Claim

I've been thinking a lot lately about friendships and the complexity of making them work. Many of us, I know I do, carry around baggage that hinder the development of our friendships. Whether it's the "low-self-esteem duffle bag," the "painful-past-experience carry-on bag," or "my-life-is-too-busy hanging bag" we all have ample reasons why this or that relationship takes way too much effort because after all... we're already weighted down with all this other stuff. Unfortunately, this all leads to a very lonely isolated life.

I challenge all of us to take a glimpse into our lives and determine just what kind of baggage we're carrying around that is hindering us from developing relationships with others. God wants to be our "baggage claim" and the cool thing is we don't have to reclaim them at the end of our earthly voyage. He's willing to claim them so that we can be free from them for an eternity.

Satan wants our load to be heavy, but God says His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). He wants to free us from the ties that bind us so we can be free to be all we can be for Him. Building and maintaining friendships is one of the most important things we can do for God.

Won't you join me at God's baggage claim? Let's once and for all turn our heavy loads over to Him and... LET'S BE FRIENDS :)

Blessings to you as you reach new heights in your relationships!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Same Kind of Different As Me

For all of you avid readers... I just finished reading one of the most amazing books. I read it on my plane ride to North Miami Beach and back this last week. I laughed and cried (I'm sure the passenger sitting next to me thought I forgot to take my medication).

The name of the book is: Same Kind of Different As Me.

I had a lunch date with a friend a few weeks back and she handed over this book and said, "Marisa, you must read it... it's your kind of book." Wow!! I'm flattered that she knows me so well. 

The book is about a modern-day art dealer, Ron, and a 20th century slave, Denver, who were brought together by Ron's wife, Debbie. This story is extra special because it is true and the writing is extraordinary!

Get it... read it... and then come back and post your thoughts. I would love to "book club" with you on this one :)

Happy reading!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Leap of Faith

Yes, I know... it has been far too long. I haven't posted in so long because I am on my way to Nevada! I have had packing, and planning, and arrangements to make. No, I am not on vacation, I have decided to move. I am moving to Las Vegas, Nevada with my boyfriend. I am totally crazy, right!? I am completely out of my mind!

Really it does take a huge leap of faith, a lot of trust in God, and a lot of trust in oneself to make something like this work.  All of the doors were opened wide and the move has gone smoothly so far.  I had lost my job back home, had found someone who was willing to take over the lease at my apartment, had received a job opportunity in Las Vegas, and the boyfriend that I am madly in love with had been planning to move to Vegas now anyway. Who wouldn't take all of this as a push in the right direction?

Not only did I have all of these doors open, but everything has been very easy and the trip has gone smoothly so far. I am currently sitting in Starbucks in Denver, CO enjoying a grande triple shot iced soy white mocha with light whipped cream while my boyfriend sleeps in.  I will admit, I am completely ready to get there and settle in. I am excited about getting into the apartment, starting to get things set up, and going out to explore our new home. However, I am still just enjoying this adventure with him one step at a time. So far we have just been stopping to see the sights and trying to not get into a big rush or get too stressed out.  Enjoying the journey has made everything seem so much easier.  So far on the way we have been playing games in the car, narrating for other drivers while stuck in traffic, having disco dance parties on the highway, seeking out interesting book stores and of course Starbucks', and simply engaging in good conversation.  :)  

I am learning, as I begin to journey into adulthood, that I have an adventurous spirit. I enjoy experiencing new things, taking chances, and just exploring.  I am incredibly thankful for my man because he is the same way and I think I am a little afraid of doing these kinds of things on my own. He has given me the opportunity to leave my comfort zone and start to experience the world a little bit. I am finally breaking out of my shell and starting to get excited about my future. I'm sure I will be posting more regularly about my experiences and my new surroundings. Watch out world, here I come!! :)

-Brittany <3