Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Runaway Bride

On any given weekend, you can tune into one of a variety of cable channels and catch a viewing of the romantic comedy, Runaway Bride. The story is of Maggie Carpenter, played by Julia Roberts, who has a difficult time finishing a wedding ceremony...her own. Ike Graham, played by Richard Gere, is a reporter in need of a career-saving article and decides to do an in-depth look at this phenomenon known as "the runaway bride." Whilst visiting her little hometown of Hale, Maryland, he interviews all of her past beaus and the bride herself. As any romantic comedy aficionado can predict, Ike falls for said runaway bride. Ike figures he can keep her from running if she just keeps her eye on him.

During the ceremony, Maggie is heading down the aisle. All is good. Her eyes are locked on her groom. Then, flash, a camera flash goes off and she's distracted. One little distraction and she hesitates, then runs out of the church making Ike her latest victim. I won't tell you how the movie ends in case you haven't seen it, but it's definitely worth watching.

As a child of God, I am so easily distracted from Him. Ooo, shiny object! Oooo, puppy! Ooo, squirrel! Ooo, latest book to read! Ooo, my phone is chiming for my attention! Ooo, Starbucks! Ooo, my need to socialize! Ooo, the latest television show! One flash of something else and my focus on Him quickly changes to that "something else." You could say I am the Runaway Bride. Oh, those that know me best know that when the day comes I marry (and I hopefully say 'when', not 'if'!) I'll be the most committed bride on the planet because I have waited and prayed so long for the man God has for me. But in my spiritual life, sadly, I am the Runaway Bride.

I'm the bride of Christ, part of His Church, and He is my Bridegroom. I should long to keep my eyes fixed on Him, never wavering, much like I dream of keeping my eyes on that future husband I long to meet at the end of the wedding aisle. Like many girls, I dream of that day. And, I can't imagine taking my eyes off the man who loves me enough to die for me and has pursued me to be his very own. But, wait, isn't that what Christ did for me? He died for me. He pursued me to be His very own. Oh, that my heart would be as devoted to Christ as it is to my future husband.

I should meditate more on this passage in Hebrews, "Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured the cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's Throne."

He did more than slay dragons for me, or fight tigers for me. He did more than buy a diamond ring to place on my left hand. He gave His Life for me. Shed His Blood for me. And His Righteousness covers my sin so I am white as snow...adorned like a beautiful bride. May the flashes of life never distract me from the One who loves me so.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This Trip Brought to You by the Letter S

I just returned from my annual trek to the little south Georgia town of Adel to visit Chad, Tracy and little Allison. As my friend, Christie and I were driving down, she reminded me this was our fifth trip. I thought about recapping each of the past years (which you can read here...trip one, trip two, trip three and trip four) but had an epiphany on the drive home to do something different. To celebrate this milestone, I decided to recap the trip by using five "S" words to describe this year's adventure.

Sashes - When we arrived Thursday evening, we shared with Chad and Tracy our fifth-year realization. Tracy had just returned from a women's meeting from their church where Chad serves as Minister of Music and had told all the ladies about our coming arrival. We joked that there would be sashes for us to wear that stated "Five-Years!" to wear proudly to church on Sunday so everyone could identify who we were. One of the running jokes of the visit was, "well, we'll have our sashes on, so they'll know who we are." Unfortunately, we didn't have sashes, but we were still welcomed with open arms as we have been the last four years.

Spaghetti - Tracy is a marvelous cook. Our visits always involve her favorite dishes of the moment and I always get great cooking tips from her. I can't enumerate the number of cooking tips and products I use today based on my annual Adel visits. This year, one of our meals was Tracy's world-famous (or at least Adel famous) baked spaghetti. The secret, my friends, is in the sauce, as I can attest to by reading the recipe. I can't tell you or I'd have to kill you, but let me say it is to die for. To prove the famous-ness of her dish, she invited their friend, Whitney, over to eat with us and as soon as soon as she heard what was being served, she proclaimed "Awesome!" We enjoyed a lot of great home-cooked meals, as usual, and Chad was a wonderful dish washer since we seem to dirty a lot of dishes during our stay.

Surprise - Before the trip, Tracy informed us they had a surprise for us on Saturday. I love surprises!! Christie guessed the surprise on our way down, and although Tracy didn't confirm...she was right. Great friends, Kevin and Sarah, came over from Tampa to spend the day with us. I had kept in touch with Sarah via Facebook, but hadn't laid eyes on them in a couple of years. We affectionely call them the "Sugar Family" (a bonus "S" for you and an inside joke that would take another blogpost to explain) and it was wonderful to see them and catch up on their lives. They recently moved to Florida as Kevin is active military (Navy) and is stationed at Fort MacDill Air Force Base. Spending the day with the "Sugar" family and Chad and Tracy was a great blast from the past and one of those comfort moments you want to last so much longer than it does.

Swap - As with every trip, we played lots and lots of games. This year we played a lot of cards....Rook...Golf....Tricks....and a game called Swap. Swap resembles UNO but a lot more fun and "active" as you swap your hand multiple times during the game. This is one game we played late into the night one evening and got slap happy...or more appropriately, "swap" happy. This one may be worth purchasing. I can also report that I still stink at Wii Mario Kart...even though I love it, I can't get out of last place. Thank goodness I don't drive in real life that badly.

Sibling - The trip had added fun from 16-month old Allison. Last year she was four months old, and too young to realize we were there. This year we got to love on her and watch her play, babble, and say her newest word, "Okay." "Allison, ready to go to bed?"..."Okay" You could ask her just about anything and she'd reply softly..."Okay"...so cute. I thought it would take time for her to warm up to us since we only see her a couple of times a year, but when we arrived, she came outside to greet us in the driveway and was all smiles. She even took each of our hands and escorted us into the house. Precious. Where does this "S" word, sibling, come into play? Tracy is expecting baby number two in February and in about six months, Allison's world will be rocked. One of our road trip tasks was to come up with name options for the next baby. We were given instructions from Tracy on the characteristics of a name that we needed to keep in mind and we presented a few that fit the bill. We are sworn to secrecy and would have to kill you (see spaghetti sauce recipe above) if we shared any of the names. Come February, we'll all know.

The trip was over all too quickly but our time was sweet...yet another bonus "S." Time with friends...especially the lifelong friends...is always memorable and fun. Thanks to Chad and Tracy for five years of great memories....with more to come.