heart full of joy and tears in my eyes

Sometime in the next few days, I'll share with you the craziness that occurred last week.

But, for now... I'd like you all to read something that filled my heart with joy and my eyes with tears in the midst of this little episode of chaos on Wednesday. Most of you know that my sweet cousin, Blair, has Cystic Fibrosis. There are treatments... but no cure. It is a huge prayer of mine (and everyone who knows B) for God to lead researchers and doctors to a cure... and oh, what exciting news this is...

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Dear Friend,
I am writing today with great news.  This morning, we announced very exciting results from the clinical study of a new treatment for cystic fibrosis. The oral drug, known as VX-770, targets the defective protein that causes CF.
A Phase 3 trial evaluated patients who carry at least one copy of a CF mutation called G551D.
Patients who took the drug showed marked improvements in a number of key measures of the disease, including improved lung function, fewer pulmonary exacerbations, patient-reported reductions in respiratory symptoms and weight gain.
In addition, average sweat chloride levels of patients on VX-770 dropped toward normal -- indicating the drug is impacting the underlying defect in CF.
VX-770 is being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and was discovered in collaboration with the CF Foundation.

Vertex plans to submit a New Drug Application to the Food and Drug Administration with the hope of approval sometime
in 2012.
To learn more about this important development, visit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's website to read our news story and the announcements issued by the Foundation and Vertex and FAQs.
Our story was reported in The New York Times this morning. Read the article here.
This achievement would not be possible without your support.  Thank you for all you are doing to help bring us closer to a cure.


Robert J. Beall, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation


 To learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit www.cff.org.

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sometimes, life is hard.

Y'all this world is crazy. It's broken. It's heartbreaking. I am so grateful to have Jesus, a great family and  wonderful friends to help me live day-to-day, moment-by-moment. We are called to live in community. And the Lord has provided me with nothing short of a phenomenal one. Thankfully, we share burdens and pray pray pray for those of us that are dealing with hurt.

But the hard things are still hard. The tough times are still tough. There will still be crying, confusion and sadness. It's just part of this life that we live. And, it's ok... because there is MORE. Can I get an Amen and Whoop to that?!

I know that I speak for so many right now, but there is a lot of hard stuff that people are dealing with and facing right now. For some reason, the element of the "threes" (you know, everything happens in 3s) isn't in play this time. I have a lot of friends that are hurting. I lot of friends that are confused and scared of what the future holds. 3 deaths, 3 battles of cancer, a miscarriage. Just heartbreaking stuff. And, to be brutally honest... sometimes I just get tired of praying. I get worn out. I put the Bible away for a few days (or more). I get the mentality of "God, You're going to do whatever You want to do anyway... why do I need to even pray?!"

Here's the deal. Intercessory prayer, praying on the behalf of others, is biblical. If you are curious, let me know... I'll send you a long list of verses that lay these facts down for us. But, regardless if you want verses or not, Jesus interceded for us. On that thing called the Cross. He did something for us that we sure didn't deserve. But He did it. So, in my mind, that means that I need to put my violin down and get on my knees.

So, where do I start? Well. I'm glad you asked. I pick up this book...

Literally, when I don't have the words. The Holy Spirit leads me to a prayer in this book that does. A prayer that exactly portrays my heart, my struggle, my whatever-I'm-dealing-with-that-day. Even... EVEN when it's for a friend and, whoa, not myself? Why yes. Even when needing to pray for others.

These prayers no doubt stir my heart... get me aimed towards the right direction, and I very rarely want to stop there. That's when I open the Word and just let God fill me up. Help me to focus on Heaven. On the goodness that IS in this world. How blessed I am.

So, just to share. This has been the latest prayer in Valley of Vision that I've turned to often in the past week or so. I truly encourage all of you to pick it up...

"The Grace of the Cross"

I thank thee from the depths of my being for thy wondrous grace and love in bearing my sin in thine own body on the tree. May thy cross be to me as the tree that sweetens my bitter Marahs, as the rod that blossoms with life and beauty, as the brazen serpent that calls forth the look of faith. By thy cross crucify my every sin; use it to increase my intimacy with thyself; make it the ground of all my comfort, the liveliness of all my duties, the sum of all thy gospel promises, the comfort of all my afflictions, the vigour of my love, thankfulness, graces, the very essence of my religion; and by it give me that rest without rest, the rest of ceaseless praise.


Thou hast also appointed a cross for me to take up and carry, a cross before thou givest me a crown. Thou hast appointed it to be my portion, but self-love hates it, carnal reason is unreconciled to it; without the grace of patience I cannot bear it, walk with it, profit by it. O blessed cross, what mercies dost though bring with thee! Thou art only esteemed hateful by my rebel will, heavy because I shirk thy load. Teach me, gracious Lord and Saviour, that with my cross thou sendest promised grace so that I may bear it patiently, that my cross is thy yoke which is easy, and thy burden which is light.

*Also, as a side note, The Austin Stone just finished a sermon series on Heaven and Hell. Matt wrapped it up last week on Heaven. Don't worry I went to the service twice... because it was that good. If you are interested in hearing the sermons, you can find them HERE.


nothing short of a personality.

Over the past few years, I've heard of these personality tests... mainly from people at The Stone. Back in the fall, a friend gave me the Strengths Finder book (with the code to take the test online) and I decided to go ahead and do Your Unique Design on my own. I really like both of these tests... just because it helps you to define your personality and strengths. I'm a sucker for these random quizzes... an absolute sucker. Thought I'd share my results... because I think both test results are pretty spot-on. And that's just awesome.

Your Unique Design
100% Harmonizer
This is the warm, nurturing and affectionate part of your personality that expresses
love and concern emotionally through soft words, reassurance, permission, affirmation and appropriate
touch. Your Harmonizer offers emotionally expressive, feeling-oriented, unconditional love.
This is the strongest part of your personality. You can draw on these abilities at all times and have the
least chance of experiencing stress and moving into negative behavior when the tasks at hand call for
this part.

57% Persister
This is your protective part that evaluates and avoids danger. The Persister part of your
personality is value-driven, measuring everyone and every experience against an internal system of
your beliefs and standards.You have fair energy available in this part. You can call upon these traits for a moderate time as long as you continue to meet the needs of the lower floors of your Personality Structure. You must still return to those more familiar floors to energize yourself on a regular basis and ongoing basis.

57% Energizer
This is the playful, emotional, and spontaneously expressive part of your personality.
Much artistic expression and creativity comes from the Energizer part. Your Energizer cries, laughs,
sighs and jumps for joy. This part allows you to express anger in healthy ways, without attacking or
blaming someone else, and to experience and express deep grief or sorrow over losses and
disappointments.You have fair energy available in this part. You can call upon these traits for a moderate time as long as you continue to meet the needs of the lower floors of your Personality Structure. You must still
return to those more familiar floors to energize yourself on a regular basis and ongoing basis.

Strengths Finder

senses the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others' lives or others' situations. 
don't confuse with sympathy.

 create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

 recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

prefer to "go with the flow." They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

Have you taken either or both of these tests? If so, what were your results? And do you think they were worth you taking?? 


i like new things.

Wow. I have not been good at this blogging business. Lots of things brewing in the old noggin as far as blog posts go... but until I get them all situated, you'll have to do with a modge podge of a blog post... the links are embedded into the pictures if you're interested in shopping or learning more! You're welcome.

Here are some recent Etsy purchases... that site is 100% dangerous for me.

If your name is Olivia, close your eyes. Cause this is for Baby Emmaline!!

 How cute is this little guy?! I mean... super fun baby gift. I can just see little Miss Emmaline walking around with her owl pillow and a blanket in tow.

 I got these prints to put in my bedroom. I LOVE them. However, don't let the picture size fool you. They are only 8x10s... and that makes me a little sad. 

I've had the same make-up bag for 10+ years. It was time for a new one. So I found this one... AND I had it personalized. Whoop! 

Some other favorites these days...

I'm a nerd. I like to do my taxes EARLY. And this is literally the.best. in helping me get the most out of my tax return!

Buy this album immediately. Well. This is the cover of the EP, but they have a new album (Barton Hollows) that is #1 on iTunes right now. So, it will not be difficult for you to find it. You won't regret it. Seriously. Stop reading this blog and go download right now.

 I just signed up for this yesterday. I'm ambitious today... let's see about how I feel tomorrow...

This is a really cool site! If you love to read, definitely get you a Good Reads account.I love it because I can keep track of the books I have read or am reading. Not to mention that you can have "friends" that you can share your book lists with... therefore getting recommendations on "good reads". Niiice. Love it!

If you have an iPhone, want to work out, but need a little direction... this one is my new favorite! It's a Nike Training app that is just.for.women. There are different categories (Lean, Toned, Strong, Focused), and within that are multiple different workouts to choose from. The absolute BEST part of this app is that a) you can play your own music whilst working out, b) it tells you when to start and stop a circuit and c) there are instructional videos. Yes. I love that... I get to see what the work out is and make sure I'm doing it right. Very cool.