Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Vitamix & Bravery

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I'm thankful for getting back into Intensity. I took some time out of our class at the gym, Intensity, when my mileage started to pick up. It was too much time, and wear on my body, to do both. But I decided it was time since the race was last weekend and I'm almost over my cold (can you believe it's been 10 days and I'm only 90% better?!). Well it was amazing to be back. It's crazy how hard that class is. I just ran a marathon and that felt AWFUL! Marathon shape is different than the kind of shape you are in doing that class (just like I couldn't run a marathon by just doing that class). Anyways, I'm excited to get back into the class 3 times a week!

I'm thankful for neighbors with kids. Our neighbors have 2 daughters, one's Mckenna's age and one's 4. Mckenna loves them. Lately, the last hour before dinner, we all enjoy time together. The girls play while we chat with their mom. It's a really nice time to spend together, enjoying the nice weather and good friends.

I'm thankful for the Vitamix. I think this was on Ronnie's list awhile back, but I'll mention it. It's so nice to be able to make yummy smoothies in a flash. Mckenna has at least one a day, usually two, and it's nice to know she's getting tons of fruits and some veggies all in one pop.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a brave little girl. I'm sure that having a daughter that's willing to risk an injury in an attempt to challenge herself on the playground will not always be ideal, but I enjoy it for now. She has very little fear when it comes to climbing, leaping, leaning, grabbing and jumping all over the playground. I'm very proud of the risks she takes and it's cool to watch the confidence she has in her own capabilities grow.

I'm thankful for brother time. I'm fortunate to have a little brother that lives about 15 minutes away and that I get to see on a pretty regular basis. I also have a little brother in Tucson that tries to come up to Phoenix as much as he can. But Andrew (the one 15 minutes away) and I get to hang out quite a bit and do things we both enjoy - gardening and Arizona basketball watching! It's always nice to have a hand at growing vegetables and cheering on the Cats :)

I'm thankful for web conference technology. Having sites that I can access to hold calls online sure makes life easier. It's just so useful to have a place I can schedule a call, share my computer and talk with my colleagues all in one place. It makes working from home much more manageable and many of the projects much easier to accomplish. 

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Choose to Look Outward

So, I don't really ever go into detail about my faith on this blog or do too many scripture quotes (although I hope it apparent that I'm a Jesus freak), but after my bible study this morning, I wanted to write about what I read.

These verses in Romans 4:19-21 in particular caught my eye and got me thinking. They say:

"19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."

Let me first give you just the quick backstory...

The "he" in the verse above refers to a man by the name of Abraham. Abraham was a great man of faith and ended up being used by God in big, big ways. God promised Abraham that he would have a child with his wife Sarah. Now, at face value this seemed like a pretty crazy promise since Abraham was about 100 years old and Sarah was well past her child-bearing years. So what did Abraham do? He simply believed God would do what He said He would do. Abraham didn't focus on his present circumstances and weigh them against God's promise. He simply turned his focus completely outward to the God of the universe while ignoring any inward struggle his circumstances may have provided. If you know the full story of Abraham, you'll know that he was not a perfect man, not even in this regard, yet God still used him and counted him as righteous to be the "father of many nations"(the simple fact that God never seems to choose people who have it all together to accomplish His Will encourages me every single day).

So, why did this verse stand out to me this morning? I don't really know. Maybe it's the fact that there have been times in my life where it seemed that because of my present circumstances, there was no way that God could use me to accomplish great things. Maybe it's because I feel so strongly that God has His Hand directly in my life guiding me through daily decisions that will ultimately lead to me being with my family for a long, long time despite what the statistics say. Maybe it's because I was told that I would never be a father, yet I had a desire to be a father at a very young age, never doubting that God would provide me a family. Maybe it's because my whole life someone has reminded me that the "median age is this" or the "life expectancy is that", but God seemed to always remind me that He was bigger and more powerful than any disease life could throw my way. Maybe it's because any time I start thinking that my God doesn't care, is too busy or maybe even to small to deal with the circumstances in my life, He always shows up in a BIG way.

Here's what I know. I serve a God that keeps His promises. I serve a God that promises that His Will will be done. I serve a God that uses the imperfect, the sinners, the diseased, the outcasts, and everyone in between to do His Will. I serve a God who can use a disease to accomplish His Will. I serve a God who doesn't waste pain. I serve a God who is not done with me yet.

"When there is no contest, it is true, no one, as I have said, denies that God can do all things; but as soon as anything comes in the way to impede the course of God's promise, we cast down God's power from its eminence." - Calvin

My prayer is that I can become even more encouraged by the fact that God has me right where He needs me. I pray that instead of focusing inward on my present circumstances, I can turn my focus outward, and have my faith strengthened knowing that God keeps His promises and has the power to overcome anything that this life has for me. I hope that I'm a man that trusts God in all of my circumstances, not just when life is good, but when life throws me a curveball...or a disease.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"What in the World?!"

There are a couple things that Mckenna does lately that I love, so I figured I'd write them down so I actually remember them when these early years become a blur.

"I missed you" - Mckenna tells me or Ronnie that she missed us frequently. Whether it's in the morning when we get her up, or if one of us has been back in the office working for a few hours, she tells us often. It is the sweetest thing. It's usually accompanied by a bear hug and some sweet snuggles. I'm not sure I'll ever tired of hearing "I missed you mommy" come out of her mouth.

"Bear down, Daddy" - If you know Ronnie, you know he loves his Wildcats more than life itself. I think if I forced him to choose between me and his cats, well, I may be packing a bag…eh, forget that, if he chose the Cats over me, I'd make him pack a bag..hehe! Anyways, point is, he loves them. He started singing their fight song as a cheer of sorts for Mckenna when she would do something cheer-worthy (a little self-serving, but she liked it, so it worked). Now whenever Mckenna does something she thinks is cheer worthy, like puts on her own shoes, goes potty and gets her own underwear and pants back on, is a good girl, she runs to Ronnie and says, "bear down, Daddy." He asks her what she did, she tells him, and the singing begins. The cutest is to watch her little eyes. They light up and then they, almost timidly, scan Ronnie's body and her own. She looks at his feet, and then her own to make sure she's doing it the same. Then she looks at his leg and then her own to make sure she's doing it the same. It's the sweetest thing to watch. And why does she ask daddy to sing it, you may be wondering. I don't know. Mom doesn't cut it. She may sense that I don't have the same love for the Cats that he does.

Baby Walks - Mckenna has asked to take her baby for walks at least once a day now. She gets her baby all ready in the baby's stroller, and then pushes her as we walk around the neighborhood. It's endearing to see her loving and caring nature shine through as she stops, takes baby out of the stroller, and proceeds to bounce and shush baby as she informs me that baby is crying. Once baby stops crying, back in the stroller she goes and we are off again.

"I'm a sorry Mommy" - That's how she says sorry, "I'm a sorry". I'm not sure where she got the "a" from, but it makes it even sweeter to hear her apologies.

"I dock it. I dock it" - This is actually "I've got it. I've got it"…but she says, "I dock it"…and it's awesome. She says it all the time. All. The. Time. When she wants to flush the toilet, put on her own shoes, dress herself, get her own snack, open a door, you name it. This one she's said for a long time, but it only increases in frequency as she insists more and more on being independent.

"Mandi Sharpe" - At some point she has realized this is my name. And now, it randomly makes its way into play time. The other day she was pretending to be on the phone and the conversation went like this, "Hello Mandi Sharpe. Are you running? Ok. Bye." The way she says my name makes me melt. However, it's less than amusing when she's in bed and wants out and I hear "Maaaannnndddiii"…umm what? I will never answer to my first name to you. Learn that and we will all be better off ;-) For a while now, she's "known" Ronnie's name. But I don't think she knows it's his name, instead she thinks it's how you're supposed to call for him in the house (I wonder who she's modeling!) "Hey Ronnie!" She yells (more like "Hey Wonnie")…But I think she thinks "Hey Ronnie" isn't "hey __(insert name of person)__" I think she thinks it's just one word "Heywonnie."

"You kidding me?"- This one is new in the last few days and cracks me up. She hasn't figured out the correct usage totally yet, but it's adorable even still. Today she was looking for pants in the dryer and I heard a muffled, "you kidding me?" to herself!

"What in the world?" - Another new one in the last few days. My mom reported hearing it the other day. My parents were sweet enough to offer to watch Mckenna all day Friday and Friday night so Ronnie and I could have hubby/wife time. Well Saturday morning Mckenna wanted to go for a walk, but Nana told her it was probably too chilly out still. "I have a sweatshirt in my bag," Mckenna negotiated. What Mckenna didn't know was that her mom usually is good like that, but this time her mom packed as if it wasn't January, at least not January on the equator. They went into Mckenna's room and as Mckenna pulled out shorts and t-shirts she exclaimed, "What in the world?"

…Gosh I love this stage!