Matthew’s New Book "Hear No Evil"

Hey all! Well this is going to be a giveaway kind of time. I don’t do them that much but there are a bunch of things I want to share with you all in the next several days. Here is the first…

You all have heard me talk about my friend Jessica and her son Elias. You may know that her husband Matthew is an author and he has a new book out. He is letting me give away 5 copies of it, so if you want to win one, please click HERE to enter. His newest book chronicles his memories of childhood, his love of music, and the journey the Lord has taken him through. I think this is is best-written book so far, and while we have very different upbringings, I laughed and cried several times while reading, picturing the little boy who just wanted to listen to Sandi Patty…

Matthew would be the first to tell you he has a snarky sense of humor, but knowing him in real life is funny because I know that, but it isn’t my experience with him. He would do anything for anyone and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He has one of the kindest hearts I know, and while his writing persona is edgy, I know the guy who would cry because he hurt someone’s feelings and will reach out when nobody else will.

This has nothing to do with his book, I know. But I wanted to tell you all.

So Matthew, the jig is up…:)

I wanted to share one of the most meaningful things he has ever written (obviously I’m biased) It was only 5 words but it said more than any book he could have written. In fact (and I don’t know that he knows this) the card still hangs in my sewing room.

He wrote it the day of Audrey’s funeral and left it in a basket for me at the back of the church. It is so precious to me to have friends and family that have said the same thing in words, in deeds, and in prayer.

I don’t take it for granted for a moment.

Thank you, friend. And may the Lord bless you as you tell yours…

With love,
Angie

P.S. For the record, Jess made the cards. Matthew doesn’t carry a flower stamp around with him as far as I know…:)

Haiti!!!!

Please help Compassion help Haiti…
You really should live in Nashville, but in the event that you don’t, you can still be a part of this! It will stream live on Saturday night right HERE. If you do live here, you can still get a ticket (for now…not sure how many are left…).

Click on the picture below to find out more information, and thank you in advance for your support!!

Help Haiti Live - Feb 27

Haiti Video

Love this. Love it.
You can see hubbs near the end of it-he’s in the front.
I am amazed at the talent, seriously. Just WOW.
Proud to be a part of such an amazing community…

(Make sure to mute music at bottom of blog :) )

Ministry and Grocery Carts

I was so inspired at the grocery store today that I just had to share.

Avocados are on sale. That’s all. Go on back to whatever you were doing.

Okay, that’s not it. But it does make me happy when they’re on sale.

It has been a long day today and I was wiped out. I took the girls to a great play-place, then to McDonalds, then to the fabric store (Harper Stamps, I may have gotten a little something for you…I can’t resist sewing for babies who love a good monogram…:)), then for slushes at Sonic, followed by a trip to the grocery store. I must say, they were total troopers but I will never try and do this many things in one day. And no, 2 stops at fast food places is not normal for us. But it was good.

So, needless to say I was a little wiped out by the time we hit Publix, and it seemed like the girls were all over the place. I tried to shove all the essentials in the cart while they darted around but by the time we got to checkout I was not in a happy place. And the fact that the trashy magazines were featuring a woman wearing a bikini and holding her 5 week old son did nothing to help me.

TOTALLY brought me back to the time Todd and I did a bikini/speedo beach photo shoot 3 days after I had the twins. Because that’s normal. Bikinis and infants.

And if you believe that, I will sell you some avocados for $10 each.

So anyway, we’re checking out and I have lost all patience. I mean, you would never have known that, because I’m smiling like the happiest clam in the ocean and waving to all the cashiers I always see there so I don’t lose my sanity. Incidentally, Mr. Ike always helps me to my car and I have started parking a little farther away so I can chat with him more. He is the nicest guy, and I found out several months ago that he’s in law school and works at Publix to try and pay his way. He has broken English so I’m not sure how much effort people put into connecting with him, but man are they missing out. He is incredibly smart and just a genuinely good guy.

Despite the fact that we have been going there for umm, years, Kate finally noticed tonight that his skin was darker than hers. I told her he used to live in Africa and he had only been here a few years. He was still putting groceries in the car so I’m pretty sure he saw Kate pump her fist in the air and exclaim, “That is so awesome, because that’s where we live! LOVE Africa.”

I tried to explain that Todd used to live there. We got a good laugh out of it though, and I confessed to Mr. Ike that I would not be making trips to the States every week to come to Publix. But I might for Target.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Paying for groceries.

Well before Mr. Ike helped me out, Ellie pulled a book off the little Christian book thingy that sits by the checkout (Do you all have those? Pretty cool!). She brought it over to me and asked if she could please buy it. It was called “100 Daily Prayers for Women.”  She can read, so she knew what the topic was. I knew we had about a bazillion books that were very similar at home so I shook my head and told her no. I asked her to go put it back and then finished up at the register.

A few seconds later, I felt a hand tap me on the shoulder and I turned around expecting to see someone I knew saying hello. I didn’t recognize the man but he was in the checkout lane next to me and had seen the interaction I had with Ellie. Very gently, he smiled and said, “Excuse me, ma’am? Would it be okay with you if I bought that book as a gift for your little girl? It would be my honor.”

Wow.

I chatted with him for a few minutes, explaining that we were Christians and that we had a kind of extensive library of devotional-type books and he nodded happily.

“It was just really a special moment to see a little girl asking for a book like that. I just thought that, you know, if you couldn’t…well, I just thought I would offer…”

I haven’t stopped thinking about it because it was such a small gesture, but based on the fact that this was a person who didn’t want to miss a ministry opportunity. He didn’t force it, he just sensed that it might be a door cracked open a smidge.

I love it.

I want to see those moments more clearly and have a sense of what the Lord is calling me to do.

What if it had been another harried, exhausted woman who didn’t know where she was going to turn that night when she got home? It could have been anyone.

I am sure it was me because I needed a reminder.

The Lord works everywhere.

Even in frozen food and chaos.

I’m praying for you as you read this, asking the Lord to grant you wisdom in discerning where He is calling you to go out on a limb and tell His story, even if it feels insignificant.

I think I need to make a trip back to the store and have a little talk with Mr. Ike about his thoughts on the Lord. Pretty soon he’s going to start wondering why a big pregnant lady is parking in the back of the lot.

I’ll just tell him that’s the easy part.

After all, we flew here from Africa just to talk to him. What’s a couple more steps?

Hmm, a couple more steps. Here to there. One register to the next.

How about you? I would love to hear how someone has blessed you in an everyday way…

I’m so blessed to be walking with you.

One little step at a time.

Love,
Angie

P.S. I may need to expand my ministry to a few more girl scouts. What if they need to know about Jesus? I’ll stick to that theory.

Winners and a Great Song :)

Click on over to my other site to see if you won!!! And if you didn’t, you can still use the code “markedbylove” to get 15% off your order until the 26th…here’s the link :)

I just mentioned on Twitter that Selah was nominated for some Dove Awards today…so proud. I thought I would post this video on here in case you haven’t seen it. It is definitely one of my favorite Selah songs ever. They should be playing it on the radio now…if you haven’t heard it it’s probably just not added yet (and hopefully will be!!!). I have gotten SO many emails about this song…the lyrics have helped me through more rough nights than I can count. I hope it ministers to you today…

Many of you have written me about this song and how the words have spoken to you. Please know if there is something in your life that feels “unredeemed,” I am praying for you now and would love to know your story. Feel free to leave it in the comments so we can all pray together for you, or, email me if you don’t feel comfortable sharing publicly.

Love, appreciation and prayers,
Ang

Little Miss Charlotte

Well folks, we’ve got a busy little bee here. This baby girl is a mover, a shaker, and an energy-sucker.

We are so in love with her.  It has been such a neat experience to see the girls at an age where they can really understand and want to protect her (and me). They hardly let me bend over to clean anything up off the floor because they don’t want me to have to be “bendy” when she’s in there. You know, she might get squeezed or something. :)  Kate has taken to talking to my belly but it’s in the same voice she uses to call the dog. It is equal parts endearing and alarming. It’s more like a gutteral growl with some expression of love woven in somehow. This isn’t making sense. I’ll try to film it so you can feel like you’re in the chaos of the life that is “The Smith Family :) )” Todd and I spend nights on the couch waiting for her to move. I think she’s already a fan of his lullabies…:)

I had a doctor’s appt today and it was good and little bad. I’m going to share so you can pray with me…you all are so great about that.

My doctor got called back for an emergency at the hospital right as I checked in so I asked if someone else could check me. Really, I didn’t even need to be examined but I just had that feeling and thought it would be best to ask. They were really sweet and grabbed another doctor. She told me that everything was fine with my cervix as far as she could tell…remember, that was the issue with the twins?

So that was a relief. I told her I have been in a crazy amount of pain (I’m not going to throw a pity party here, but this has DEFINITELY been my most physically difficult pregnancy so far). I felt like something might not be right…it turns out that Charlotte is really, really, (really) low down, so I’ve just got a lot of pressure and it’s pretty much torture. I won’t go on (it’s not the end of the world), but I’m just so stinking uncomfortable and feel like I am of no use to anyone in this shape. You all know enough about me to know I love being involved, digging in with the kids, just BEING PRESENT. And this has put a kink in my attempts at normalcy.  She didn’t put me on bedrest, but she did tell me to buy a support band to help (have you ever had one? did it help you?) and I’m testing it out. I think the main thing (in my limited understanding) is that because she is low, she is putting pressure on a cervix which has been known to rebel at the least optimal times. Would you please pray that things will go smoothly, and that this isn’t the beginning of the issues I had with the girls? Thank you.

Based on what she saw (and knew about me), she told me that under no circumstances should I travel with Compassion to El Salvador (DARN.), so I had to back out of the trip. I so wanted to be a part of it but she made it very clear to me that this was not the best idea…I think it is the right choice but I really am down about it. I will keep you all posted as Selah will still be on the trip and I’m sure will keep us all in the loop on what the Lord is up to over there.

So, I know this is a quick and random post, but I so covet your prayers during this time. They would like me to have another ultrasound later this week and instead of waiting 5 weeks for my regular check-up, they want me back in 2 instead. I think they just want to keep an eye on things, and I don’t feel like there’s any reason to worry (so don’t you worry either!) but I really wanted to share everything with you all…my friends on the other side of the computer.

I love that I get to live life with so many wonderful women as we journey together.

In the comments, please continue to post prayer requests. I check them frequently and would love to know what I can be praying for on your behalf. I will announce the Lisa Leonard winners tomorrow when I have caught my breath a little…for now I need to catch up on the Olympics :)

Much love from me and the itty-bitty,
Ang

(In)courage post

I posted something from awhile ago, but I am hoping some of you can relate…click HERE to read “The Glorious Hem…”

And may you be inspired as you walk today, in full knowledge of who is waiting for you.

Much love,
Ang

And don’t forget to head to my giveaway blog to enter to win a Lisa Leonard necklace!!! You have until noon on 2/16 :)

Well Hello, Precious…

**Just for clarification, you aren’t entered in the contest if you leave a comment here!!! You have to hop over to my giveaway blog….didn’t want anyone to miss a chance :) )**

Two words.

Lisa. Leonard.

I have always been a huge fan of her (not just her jewelry…she is an amazing, gifted woman in many ways) and I never pass up an opportunity to share her with you all.

Have you seen the new heartstrings necklace?

I know. It’s absurdly cute.

AND, you can win one (actually, I’m giving away THREE, so you’ll have more chances!!!)

I will also have a really special announcement in the coming weeks that has been in the works for awhile…hmm….you’ll never, ever guess if Lisa has created something special that I might want to share here…let’s just say it is a blessing and a treasure to me and I hope it will be to you all as well.

In the meantime, CLICK HERE to enter by noon on 2/16/10, and if you don’t win but want to get something anyway, enter “markedbylove” as your discount code and you’ll get 15% off your order until the 26th!!!

Why “markedbylove?” Because Lisa and I are up to something. As soon as it’s ready, I’ll share it here :)

Much love to you all,
Ang

Confession

Last night I went to my Community Group, sat with people who I genuinely respect, and broke down into a crying fit that roughly resembled a deranged gopher. All who read here know I don’t pretty cry. This was no exception.

I got a lot of very wise advice (from them and from several other people I bawled in front off in the last 48 hours. And yes, that includes a stranger in the drive-thru) and have been processing what I want to say and react to what has caused me such distress.

It all began with a few people saying some “not-so-great” things about me on another blog. I sort of expected it as I indicated in my last post, but wow. So I’m crying and I’m asking for people’s thoughts, and a great guy in my group says the following:

“I have three pieces of advice for you. One is from the Gospels and it’s spoken by Christ. The second one is in 1st Peter, and the last one is a direct quote from the movie Evan Almighty.”

Preach. It.

Honest to goodness, it was profound. Seriously. And the Evan Almighty part has made me think and pray a bunch today. I’ll share it with you all some other time, but for now, a confession.

As I lamented in self-pity today for the second day, I begged the Lord to intervene and protect me.

If it had been a movie, I would have been laying on the ground in a white dress, mascara dripping down my cheeks (in a pretty way. Not like a weird Halloween mask way) as a fan gently blew my hair around my shoulders. I may or may not have been glowing angelically. And underneath the dress, just for fantasy’s sake, I was wearing a pair of skinny jeans. They looked fabulous for the record.

All the while, the Lord was patting me gently, hanging on every word, lamenting the fact that I was so wrongly wounded. And He was completely on my side, naturally. So when I asked Him to speak to me, you all can imagine my surprise when gently and lovingly I sensed what He was saying.

Get. Over. Yourself.



He didn’t use those words. I didn’t actually hear words. But the fan definitely stopped.

I’m sure I listened harder, praying about what I had heard, but it was unmistakable. I went to bed very convicted about my pride and the fact that I had gotten sick (not just figuratively) because I was so devastated that somebody didn’t like me.

Today the feeling has plagued me and again tonight I spoke to the Lord. I turned off the radio (and you know it is always on the best song when He tells you to do that).

Once again I sensed what He was saying, and once again I had to face something I am embarrassed to admit. I never felt condemned, I just felt conviction.

“Why Lord? Why? I don’t want a few mean things to upset me this way. It’s ugly and I don’t want to be like this. Tell me what it is I’m supposed to get out of this, because I feel like there’s something you want to say to me.”


I sat still and listened. It was unmistakable, and tears burned my eyes as I processed what I knew He was saying. Or rather, what He was asking.

When was the last time you got physically sick over something someone said about Me, Angie?


My heart started pounding as the weight of this settled in.

I’m trying to remember you crying to your friends because you wanted to defend me so badly and you couldn’t figure out how…


Listen closely to the background music. Yes. That noise was skinny jeans and they were ripping. This would be a good time to cover your kid’s eyes.

I did try to defend myself, telling Him how much it hurt, asking Him to understand what it feels like to be in my position. This is my child we’re talking about, God. Come ON. I can’t just sit back and listen to all of this associated with her. It’s too much…

I didn’t quite get that one all the way out. Because He reminded me He isn’t unaware. Well that was an uncomfortable moment for me. He actually does know, and it was a whole lot more dramatic than something involving a blog.

So the bottom line is this. It would be easy for me to say a bunch of nasty things and retaliate to what I think were some seriously inappropriate comments, but I genuinely realized today I have some other things I need to focus on right now. Namely, the fact that I got bent out of shape over something that hurt my self-esteem.

And the gopher? Is ugly.

People are going to say what they say, and as much as it hurts, I am in a position where it sort of comes with the territory. I’m going to be honest…I wish it rolled off my back. It doesn’t. But I also didn’t need to go read it-that was my fault. I’m not even going to defend myself here, though I’m tempted…we would all be tempted if we were being honest with ourselves. It’s not the thing I need to confront, and I want to confess to everyone who reads this blog that this is a real struggle for me.

It’s human to be deflated by criticism.

It’s not a great idea to live in a place where you obsess over it. I’m not glorifying God in a position of continuous self-pity over something that is just plain part of life.

I would be tempted to say something about pulling up my big girl panties but the whole maternity panel thing is kind of ruining the analogy.

I am going to work on it though.

In addition, I will be purchasing the movie “Evan Almighty.”

Let me go ahead and put in my little request here. The absolute last thing this post is intended to to is stir any of you up to go and post things to defend me if you see something that isn’t the most complimentary thing you’ve ever read. This is not a call for retaliation, it’s a reality check that I wanted to share because you see a lot of nice pictures of me and I tell you really sweet stories about my kids and my life and as you know, that isn’t the whole picture. Will you pray for me as I try and learn to navigate these waters? That is honestly the thing that would mean the most and I trust you to respect me on this one.

And as for those of you out there who disagree with my words, motives, or anything else that might be laying on a kitchen counter in the background of a picture I post, I have one request of you, and I think it’s fair. Please leave Audrey out of it. I won’t say more than that because we are all adults and we will use our own discernment as to what that includes, but I am asking you this as a mother, not a blogger-lady who lives in cyberspace. I am sure we can all agree that crosses the line (I hope).

I feel like this is kind of going to be anticlimactic but I do have another prayer request. I am going to be traveling to El Salvador next month with Compassion International to visit a few projects there. It is actually an artist trip (You’ll NEVER guess. It’s Selah) but I get to tag along because I have been a part of Compassion in the past. It’s a super short trip (only 3 nights) and they are doing way more than they need to in order to ensure it’s not a physically taxing trip in any way for me.

It’s the first mission trip I’ve ever been able to go on with Todd and I’m really excited about it.

I’m also going to do my best to leave my pride at home.

I would hate for them to have to pay for an extra seat.

I appreciate you all more than you know…thank you for your love and grace.
Ang

This Just In….I Heart Beth.

Started out my day with my mom’s group. Just began Beth’s “Breaking Free.”

Came home and saw that my new book came (the one by you know who). I read it for a couple hours while my kids drank bleach and ran in the street. That was a joke. We have a fence.

Actually we don’t even have a fence. We need one, though. The bleach is getting all over the road.

And now, I’m finally getting around to entering the winners of the contest to win her book.

Hmmm….this is embarrassing, even for me.

I must say, this book is one of my favorites from Ms. Beth. I have already had a bunch of great conversations with some of my favorite people about some of the things she discusses. One of the questions posed in the first few chapters has to do with the one thing you think would bring you security.  Every time my phone rings, I start out with that question. Incidentally, it’s a good way to get rid of telemarketers.

If you didn’t win, hop over and order it up. You will not be disappointed, I assure you. I will say I have used more post-it notes than should be allowed by law and I broke into tears at least three times.

I have been really challenged by a situation my family is facing and have let myself feel hopeless about it. I feel really down about the way things have turned out, and this book has opened my eyes to a lot of things about the other side of the coin. Instead of feeling anger, it has really unleashed a fresh round of empathy for the other party. There is so much from our past hurts that spills over into our lives, and I am making a conscious decision to try and think through that as I deal with situations that sting. Insecurity is rampant, and one look at our society will tell you why that is.

Be better. Be prettier. Be richer. Be nicer. Be sexier. Be younger. Eat a box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting.

I threw that last one in to make myself feel better.

I know you all can relate. Does it surprise you that I beat myself up about my parenting? That I really don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror? That I have baggage from my past that I have to face every day? That I wish I was so many things I’m not? More spiritual, a better wife, a better cook, and ON and ON and ON.

Please do me a favor…don’t address these things in your comments…I know you love me and will tell me nice things but this isn’t a cry for attention. It’s just stating the reality of my thought-life so you will know you aren’t alone.

Feel free to share any prayer requests you have in the comments section so we can come together as women (and the three men who are reading) and pray for each other.

On that note, I’m going to say something that I can pretty much tell will get me a couple nasty e-mails, but it’s something I think is important enough to address. May I be frank with you? I don’t want to hear you all bashing other bloggers. Particularly ones that I happened to have dinner with, and also happen to be friends with. You don’t have to love everything she says (or anyone for that matter), and in fact, you don’t have to read it. I happen to know this particular person (yes, I’m talking about MckMama) better than most of you do, and as a fellow Christian, I’m really over the hate. This isn’t meant to be mean-spirited, I am just frustrated with the way people go out of their way to try and hurt others. We are supposed to be a city on a hill, friends. And snuffing out other people’s lights only serves to dim the whole town. Yes, it is a very small proportion of her readers, but they have tried to make their way to me and I want to make it very clear that I have absolutely no intention of joining the ranks. I genuinely hope that those who have tried to beat her up will take some time to get to know her heart. They might just be surprised :) And if anyone sees any comments that are inappropriate regarding this matter on my blog (not just about her…about ANYONE), please feel free to report them to me.

Okay, off the soapbox. Just share the love, people. Share the love. We’re all in this together.

Really, off the soapbox now.

On a brighter note, here are the winners from the book contest!!!! Please email me if you are one of the four and we will get the books right to you :)

Blessings and LOVE,
Ang

Facebook
pick me pick me!!! Mr. Random Number Interger Man!!!
I love me some Beth Moore! I would love to read her new book! :)
I think Spiritual Shadowing is “biblical” !!! Isn’t it?? Well, it should be!!
Thank you for the opportunity!!
Bountifully Blessed in Bloomington~ Bridget!!
That’s exciting! I always enjoy your posts about Beth Moore :)
Thanks for opening up another book contest! Excited to see who wins.