Thursday, December 30, 2010

Put down the stone

I've been reading an inspirational fiction book about this Christian professor who has an affair with another man. Her sin is discovered by the college and she loses everything...her job, her dignity, her reputation, her husband, her children and her faith. Everyone around her is determined to pick up a stone and hurl it at this hurting woman. Everyone wants to focus on her sin and force her to pay for it for the rest of her life.

However, God intervenes in her life and it becomes a great story of redemption and grace, but it really got me thinking and evaluating my own thoughts and actions.

Why are we so quick to place judgement on certain sins? Why do we categorize sins into "the acceptable sins" and "the oh-my-gosh-you-are-a-terrible-person-sins?" How come we think we have the right to judge people based on our own interpretation of what sin is "too bad"?

I know I am quick to judge others, when I myself am no better than the worst of the worst. In God's eyes...sin is sin. We all are sinners, so why are we so quick to be the first to pick up a stone to throw at someone else?

God reminded me of a situation that perfectly illustrates this truth. Last summer we went on a trip to the beach with a few of our best friends. We stayed in a beautiful condo that we rented for the week.

We (being the females) discussed the laundry situation and agreed that we would all throw our towels in the washer, and when it got full, we would do a wash. Great idea right? They however, did not realize that I am the worst laundry buddy in the entire world. I can ruin anything in the wash. Leave it to me to destroy your favorite shirt. Want a new color for that crisp white tablecloth...just give it to me to launder and I'll turn it bright orange.

Long story short, I didn't get the memo that it was only for white towels, and my precious self threw in a brand new, neon colored beach towel. So much to my horror, I turned the entire condo's luscious white towels, hot pink, purple and red. Yes indeed, my hubby and I were looking at having to replace about $250.00 worth of towels because of my laundry ignorance. Let's just say this put a slight damper on our beach fun.

My amazing best friend came running to my rescue and did what any girl in their right mind would do...called her grandma for help. Her grandma gave an exact recipe concoction that she felt would remedy my Tye died blunder. After hours of working with the towels, and washing and soaking and spinning and rewashing. Kayce pulled out spotless, white as a pale snowman, towels. It is entirely possible that I shed a few tears upon seeing those white towels.

But here is the truth I believe God was trying to show me. It didn't matter if that some of the towels were just spotted with pinks and purples, or if they were saturated with every color of the rainbow...nope...they all came out whiter than snow. I couldn't determine which towels had only been splotched or which ones had been saturated. The bleach concoction had covered it all, big and small and everyone of those towels was brand new!

Just like God's grace and forgiveness. His mercy isn't limited to just getting out spots or small sins. No sir. His mercy and grace is sufficient for the completely covered in, rolled around, and plastered-with-color sins as well.

So I need to get off my high horse and realize that we are all in that washing machine together, we all are tainted and stained. But thank the good Lord, that we have the opportunity to be made new. I believe the Lord wants us to reach out to those covered in sin and encourage and strengthen those who have been caught up in the "big sins". We need to love those who are hurting and quit being so quick to judge. We are not better than anyone else, we all, at some point mess up royally. So why not be a help to the hurting...a support for the lost and weary...a light for those who are blinded by the darkness.

Lord, help me to be quick to love and slow to judge. Help me be a support for those wallowing in destruction...not a person who is quick to throw a stone and cast judgement.

Now excuse me while I go see if I can remove a pen stain from my new sweater!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

My amazing husband went out and got me the most incredible camera ever for Christmas!!! I feel like such a professional with this camera! I cannot even mess up the pictures cause the camera is so awesome! Check out a few of these from our wonderful Christmas. We are so blessed to have such amazing families!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giving Grace

As many of you know, I am a graphic designer. I design brochures, business cards, pamphlets, booklets, postcards and more. But the designing is just half of the process. I also have these items printed. I outsource my printing needs to different printers, some locally and some long distance. At Christmas time, I am extremely busy with corporate and personal cards. November and December are two of my busiest months of the year. Things get pretty hectic, mainly because everyone and their mama is getting cards printed, and they all need it finished by Christmas. So essentially, every one's deadline is the same. That creates madness.

Are you still with me? I promise this will eventually make sense. (I think)

Long story short, I did quite a few jobs for large companies in and around the Baton Rouge area. One company in particular decided to go with a mailing option (meaning the printing company prints and mails out the cards for them) Much to my horror, I received one of the cards and low and behold the message inside was upside down. I literally burst into tears. Here... this huge client had depended on me for getting a Christmas card mailed to all 300 of their clients, and I had screwed up. Well...not me technically, but ultimately my services to them had failed. I called the customer service at the printing company and was told there was a glitch in the system, causing their orders to be rotated 90 degrees...resulting in an upside down Christmas card.

I was livid. I know I am tiny...I know I am barely 5 ft tall... but let me tell you, I let that poor customer service rep have it. I was furious. Even Lexie, who was sitting on my lap, got up and went into the kitchen for fear of being thrown across the room!

How dare they give me a defective product. How dare they not check these things out. What the heck are they doing all day? Why weren't these mistakes caught BEFORE being mailed to 300 clients?

I got off the phone with the printing company and fearfully called my client, whose cards I had messed up. I was terrified. I had made mistakes in the past in business, but nothing like this.

I just knew I was gonna get it. I told my client what had happened and in tears, I waited for him to holler. I waited for him to scream. I waited for him to criticize me or go on about "How could you let this happen?"

You know what he said to me... He said, "Ashlee, take a deep breath. It's okay. I'm not worried. My clients will understand. Don't even worry about it." Much to my amazement he went on to show concern for if I was going to lose money on the deal.

Here he was, totally having just been told bad news for his business and clients, and he was worried about me and my welfare. I began to cry even more. He totally should have been angry or at least frustrated with me. But no, he was so gracious and kind in dealing with my mistake.

I was so shocked by his response. His graciousness was so astounding.

He will get his new cards delivered, and hopefully by next year we will both laugh at this crazy ordeal.

But in the meantime, he has reminded me of the power of grace. He displayed grace to me when I was undeserving. It is so much like our heavenly Father. He has time and time again given us abundant grace. He has every right to get angry, to zap us on the spot for our behaviours, but does He? No, instead He forgives, He loves and He encourages us. Then He goes above and beyond and blesses us.

I am so thankful for my client's display of grace, and for reminding me that I am so undeserving of God's grace. It also challenges me to begin to give more grace to others. What a true testimony of our commitment to Christ... if we can extend grace to others, even when they don't deserve it.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cards and More!

Boy have things been busy! But I love this time of year because Christmas cards are so dang fun! I have been swamped with Christmas cards, birthday invites, shower invites, you name it...I've been working on it!
Here are a few of my favorites from the last few weeks! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving with the Moots

Let me just say Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without some cold weather. Hot, humid weather is soooo not what I envision for a turkey dinner. I mean, it's just strange to be wiping sweat from my brow while passing the gravy?

We celebrated Thanksgiving at the Moots' house and my oh my was the food delicious. Papa Steve sure can fry up a turkey! I ate two huge plates of pretty much just starches. kinda meal.

We did our best to get a photo for our Christmas cards, but for some reason, it just wasn't happening for us. The only one of us who was taking good pictures was Lexie! Isn't it ridiculous that she just rolls outta bed that cute?

Here are a few that may make the cut.

Isn't it funny that the day AFTER Thanksgiving, it's rainy and cold. Perfect Thanksgiving weather! Here is my dear hubby warming our little pup...all I can say about that is "Only Christian" Ha! He has been cracking me up lately with his sweet gestures!

Perhaps I should just let these two be on the front of our Christmas cards. Doesn't get much cuter than those two!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just looking...

I admit. I made a huge mistake. I now see the error of my ways. Here's the scoop.

I, in passing, made the comment to my husband that we need to look into maybe purchasing a new vehicle. You know, just talk about it for a few months, do a little research, just start planning for the purchase in like 6-8 months.

Well, apparently, what Christian hears is this "we need a new car this weekend" because before I can finish my sentence, we are at the car dealership. "We are just looking, babe" Yeah right...

So I make it a point to avoid eye contact with the salesperson and try and be as difficult as possible. I am not about to let the salesman think we are gonna actually buy something. Remember we are just looking.

While I am just looking out at the street, avoiding any participation in this endeavor, I notice my husband not looking, but sitting in a vehicle. sir. That is not part of the deal. I try and calm my emotions. He is just sitting. That is okay.

Next thing I know, here comes the salesman with the keys. Hello...this is not gonna fly. My husband is almost leaping for joy at this point. He is seriously in a state of elation.

Again, I try and control my initial reaction to tackle the salesman and throw the keys into oncoming traffic. Nope, I do my best to be polite. So I agree to go along, but I refuse to engage in any sort of conversation with this salesman or my husband.

My husband is in heaven and seems oblivious to my annoyance. He is too busy touching buttons, admiring the sound system, and commenting about how smooth it drives.

We finally leave the dealership after I pry my hubby's fingers from the wheel of the new car. My only saving grace was that we had tickets to the LSU game so we HAD to leave. Otherwise we would have been there all day.

Later that night my sweet man informs me that we can spend the following weekend just looking again at cars. Oh my...let me contain my excitement.

So this weekend at the dawn of morning, I find myself again at a car dealership. How on earth do I let him talk me into these things?

Do I really need to tell you how this story ends? Let me just show you...

**Disclaimer: I admit that I absolutely LOVE the car. I am so blessed to have a husband that cares enough about me to work hard and provide the best for our family. However, if you asked Christian how I did on this whole car buying process he would probably say, "She was a tad bit difficult" Ha Ha!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cry me a river...

I work in Marketing and Advertising, so I constantly find myself analyzing magazine ads, commercials, and billboards. In fact, I might even go as far as to say, it is a possibility that I have found myself becoming a danger to other motor vehicles because of my infatuation with studying billboards. I'm just saying there is a slight chance I have found myself swerving to get a better glimpse at an impressive billboard. Maybe that was me getting honked at and given the middle finger from a fellow road traveler. I'm not saying it's true...but it's possible.

Anyway, the other day I passed a billboard that just infuriated me. Seriously...I was so mad at this particular message being displayed.

It simply said, "Beer...Because you never got a pony."

Seriously? Cry me a river. Let's just justify doing wrong because you didn't get everything you wanted in life. You poor baby...

I mean, what kind of message are we sending to people? You never got that Easy Bake Oven you wanted as a kid, I'm so sorry...why don't you have a little pity party and engage in something destructive.

What was that? You never got that red scooter you poor, poor child, here...come drink away your sorrows.

I mean really, why are we so set on allowing disappointments in life to give us the right to spend our adulthood doing unproductive, harmful things?

It's no wonder our society has such a "poor me" attitude. Society is telling us we deserve everything we want...when we want it...and if you don't get are deprived and deserve to throw yourself a pity party.

It's why our country is so in debt, it's why people think they deserve all their wants immediately and why we have no drive or determination to work hard.

Isn't that such a shame? Make no mistake, I am guilty of that "I deserve it" attitude occasionally and I have a lot of selfish desires that I am learning to deal with, but it makes me so sad to see such blatant lies being broadcasted in front of our faces.

As the holiday season approaches, it is my goal to sit back and realize that things don't make me happy. In life, we will never have everything we want, but doggone it, we are a blessed people. Praise the Lord for all He does for us even amongst our selfish ways.

Okay...I'm getting down off my high horse!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Way beyond

I'm just gonna go ahead and summarize this blog post in one statement...We serve an amazing God. A huge, unbelievably big, not even comparable or containable God.

That's all I got.

Just kidding.

Lately I have been attending a bible study and Pricilla Shirer has been teaching on the abundant goodness of our God. She has been talking about how God wants to bless us way beyond what we can image. He doesn't want to just give us the basic desire of our hearts, but rather, He wants to blow our socks off with His goodness and abundance.

She gave some really awesome examples that we see just in our everyday life. For example...

Our God didn't just create a star to put in the sky for us to enjoy...nope, He created galaxies upon galaxies for our wonderment and amazement.

He didn't just create a bird or a butterfly...nope, He created millions of different and unique types and species of birds and butterflies for our enjoyment.

He didn't just give us bread and water to sustain us through life...nope, He gave us delicious fruits, fresh vegetables and mouth watering meats to feast upon for our pleasure.

He didn't just provide us with a plain blue sky and clouds...nope, He designed amazing, ever changing sunsets, sunrises, rainbows and crisp night skies.

He didn't just give us flat land for scenery...nope, He formed mountain ranges, deep canyons, rolling meadows, flower-filled fields and thick forests filled with lush greenery.

Don't you see, we serve a God who goes above and beyond for us. He doesn't just give us what we need to get by, but rather He pours out, and not just pours out...but overflows our cups.

We may face difficult times or stressful situations, and it can be easy to focus on the negative things that life can throw at us, but just remember...we serve an overloving, overgiving God who's desire is to pour out His blessings on us.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Walk to Remember

This is my sweet granny. Her name is Virginia and she is suffering from a terrible illness known as Alzheimer's. It is so hard for me to even talk about her. The loving, sweet grandma that I know and love has been replaced...her gentle spirit has been taken over by a horrible disease. I know none of it is her fault, it is just so hard to see her in such a different light. I have to remind myself that even though my granny is different now, she is still mine and I have to remember the wonderful memories we share...nothing can ever take that away from me. I also believe that my granny will one day have all her precious memories returned to her when she passes onto the other side. I believe that in heaven, she will enjoy every moment of her life without fear of forgetting.

We had the opportunity to show our support for Granny during a walk for Alzheimer's this past Saturday. I could not believe the huge amounts of people that were there to support a loved one who suffers from this terrible illness. It was truly an eye opener for me to cherish each memory, each moment because they are so precious, and so priceless. I know without a doubt, if my Granny could have one wish, it would be a day of reminiscing with loved ones about past cherished memories.

It was so neat to have our family walk side by side in support of our sweet grandma. Even Adlee was able to recognize that she was walking for her great grandma...that it was in her honor that we were there.Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of how fleeting and fragile life is, and how important it is to savor each moment with those we love.

I know my granny would have loved to see everyone walking in her honor, she would have been so proud of her little family. Nothing in this world gave her more pleasure than her loved ones.

So here's to you sweet granny, may you always know how special you are to us and we will continue to walk with you through each day because we love you and we are are so glad that you are ours!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sweet, Smart, Sassy and Six!

So, life has been crazy busy thing after the next seems to fall on our plates. We never seem to have a day with nothing to do!

I am behind on my blogging, so I thought I'd take this lazy Sunday afternoon to catch up on life's happenings. My sweet, smart and sassy niece turned 6 this month! She is in first grade and just an amazing little girl. She had her birthday party and boy was it a fun day! Complete with swimming, cake and lots of love from her family and friends.
Speaking of adorable nieces, this tiny thing decided to join the party in her best sunflower outfit. I can't say I've ever seen it pulled off so cutely! She is just the tiniest little thing. So little...and petite. I just love her to pieces.
This was Emorie the other day at our garage sale. Don't you just want to eat her up with a tiny spoon? I know I do...I can't get enough of her cuteness!
Here she is telling me with her eyes that enough is enough...she was done with her photo op!
Anyway...focus...I could post pictures of her all day...but back to the party. It was great to see our precious baby out enjoying herself in the pool.

Apparently Lex never got the memo that it is inappropriate to be caught making out in the swimming pool!

Happy Birthday sweet Angelle! We love you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Does that make me crazy?

  • I look forward to cleaning my ears out with a Q-Tip...does that make me crazy?

  • I have eaten Bagel Bites, Cheese Nips and Popsicles for dinner for about 3 months now, and I never get tired of it...does that make me crazy?

  • My husband and I sleep with our heads at different ends of the bed, and we both prefer it this way...does that make us crazy?

  • Sometimes, when pulling into the garage and I see my husband's golf bag, full of golf clubs, I find myself smiling as I picture hitting them with my car and running over them...does that make me crazy?

  • I refuse to touch uncooked meat, I'll use a variety of forks, knives and spatulas to maneuver the germ invested meat from one pan to another...does that make me crazy?

  • When I tell my pup to sit, she does...but she pees as well...does that make her crazy?

  • I tiptoe to the mailbox...and I have no idea why...does that make me crazy?

  • After watching UFC with my hubby, I feel the urgent need to hit, slap and punch him...does that make me crazy?

  • If someone sits or touches the bed after I just made it...I freak will either get violent or start crying...does that make me crazy?

  • When I walk near a classroom of little kids, I instinctively hold my breath...hoping to avoid germs...does that make me crazy?

I think I may need to change my blog title from "Blessed Chick" to "Messed up Chick" Ha!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Invites Galore!

I have been so blessed to have had so much business lately! I can barely keep up! I so enjoy getting to do birth announcements, birthday parties and showers. They are so fun and really get my creative juices going! Here are a few from the last few months!

**PS-Names, addresses, and pictures have been changed to protect the innocent!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lexie: A Retrospective

I vividly remember the day we picked out little Lexie. Christian had his eye on another pup that was a bit more hyper, but my mama-heart told me Lexie was the one that needed to become the next Moots family member.
This little cutie came to us about a week before Christmas and boy was she a handful. Poor thing had some sort of stomach issues and was having major bowel movements... like 15 times a day. (Sorry if that was too much information). She lost a little weight and really she only weighed about 2 pounds. We got our sick little baby on some tummy medicine and our little angel slept for a few days straight. She was so precious...
She is just like me...she loves to cuddle up in soft, warm blankets and just conk out. I can tell she is my child.

Before long, our sleeping beauty was up and into everything. If it was on the floor and she could reach it, she would chew it!

Our little pup continued to grow and thrive and soon became a full fledged diva. Demanding our full attention and claiming anything and everything as hers. Our Lex is now fully grown and weighs about 10 pounds. She is about 10 times longer than she is tall...a true weenie dog. She absolutely adores Christian. I think she likes him so much because he lets her slop all over his face...and I draw the line at puppy kisses. Her breath is no bed of roses. Christian informed me that we will be throwing Lex a 1st Birthday party...complete with hot dogs and games... I think it is time we start talking about having children!