Monday, March 13, 2017

The Cause of Ruin

This morning, after turning off my alarm and telling myself I was getting up, I promptly snuggled back in with the warm little body of 10 month old Adam and fell back asleep for another 10 minutes. Oops! I blame the time change. And general sleep deprivation.

So, running 10 minutes behind on my morning routine meant a quicker version of Bible study. I chose Proverbs because they are like little truth nuggets that you can chew on all day long, and I chose chapter 19 at complete random.

There were so many delectable nuggets in that chapter that I felt like I couldn't savor them enough! Do you ever feel that way about the Word? I mean, I should always feel that way, but let's be real.

I could write a post about nearly any verse from the chapter, but Prov 19:3 resonated with me the most. "A person's own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord."

Okay so first of all, I see this almost every day with college students. Not necessarily raging against the Lord, but blaming someone else for the consequences of their own mistakes. Just this morning I was met with an email from a student, demanding a refund for a class because he was displeased with his grade -- blaming the professor. Insert my eye roll here.

But I think on a larger scale we all do this. How many times has something gone wrong or not the way we had planned and we think WHY God?! How many times have we felt angry with God or abandoned by God for the results of our own mistakes? I'm not saying we deserve every bad thing that happens to us. Some things are just a result of a fallen world, where "we," as in creation itself, are experiencing the results of original sin. That can be hard to swallow because listen, I didn't tell Adam to eat that dang apple.

But are we maybe misplacing some blame onto God when we suffer? Are we feeling abandoned when we haven't done a thing to connect with God anyway? I mean, what do we expect? Actually, I would argue we get a LOT more than we deserve. God continues to reach out to us, even when we continually push him away or are indifferent to him. God continues to care for us, even when we are not thankful for all the many blessings we have...for our very BREATH!

So, next time you feel like lashing out, or the next time you find yourself frustrated with God... take a minute. Is God really to blame for your circumstances? Are you focusing on the negative when there is a lot of positive you could be thanking him for instead? Is there a lesson in this that maybe God is trying to teach you? Don't let your heart rage against the Lord when the cause of your ruin is your own folly.

Pray to Him instead. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for help. Ask for strength and peace. And thank Him for all the undeserving goodness in your life.

And I'll try to do the same. Even when I'm sleep deprived. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sermon Notes - 1.15.17

I'm a note taker at church, but sometimes my mind starts to wander and I lose interest. I think about what I'm going to do for the rest of the day. What we're making for dinner that night. How little sleep I got the night before. And suddenly I'm behind on my notes and have totally missed the point of the message. This past Sunday, I tried something new. Instead of writing standard notes, I wrote them in a sort of poem. Mostly rhyming couplets, which is kind of my thing, but my scheme wasn't really consistent. You would think it would be difficult to focus while trying to come up with a poetic way to jot down the points, but I actually found myself much more engaged with the message. I felt like the Spirit was moving through me as I wrote. I don't know if I'll always take notes like this, but it was pretty awesome! And I thought I would share with you all! These are the notes on Brandon Williams' message "Everyday Christian: Week 2" from Jan.15, 2017.


These are not edited or polished. This is how I wrote it in church.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Revelation - transformation - declaration.
Grace, thanks, service, praise.

Tired and tarnished, overworked
Trying to love with a heart that's broke.
Shiny finish over rust and sin,
through the struggles of life - so easily chipped.

Holiness does not exist
without the holiness of Him.
Only with God's love can our love be true.
The Holy Spirit who makes us new.

My old habits lie in wait.
So easy to return, retreat, or run--
but face The Cross and see the way.

One step at a time on that narrow path,
lifted up by He who took on God's wrath.

Let's lift and raise our hands and our friends
with reverent fear and love of Him.
Abba Father, good and kind
will also judge my heart and mind.

Jesus stands and holds my hand.

Gives His righteousness, perfection
and so this is my revelation.

Clean to unclean. Unclean to clean.
This the work Jesus did for me.
So, become a fisher of men.
Jesus tosses me, the net.

Declare the work of what's been done
by Christ the Lord, the Holy One.

Our sin and filth painfully revealed,
a necessary step to being healed.
This healing, transforming--such high a cost
Jesus slain to save the lost.

This Perfect Lamb was not surprised
to have to die for you and I.
This was the plan from the very start.
We were not an afterthought.

Baffled, doubtful, it's hard to believe,
but the resurrection is the key.
Peter, Paul, such sinful men,
then chose to die to honor Him?
And then there's James--also to Mary was born,
writes parts of the Bible, calls Jesus his Lord.

So many reasons it must be true--
strengthens this life that's been given anew.
My heart has been changed, my salvation secured
because of the death that He has endured.

But he rose again, resurrected, Alive.
And so such is true for both you and I.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Not So Long Ago....

As we are on the brink of a new year, I find myself thinking back on years past. Years not even that long in the past, and how different they were.

Not so long ago...

Scott and I recorded Hallmark channel reruns of "7th Heaven" on VHS tapes. We were a little behind the times on this, but TiVo was just coming on the scene, and we couldn't afford it. And when we suddenly had to work all day and couldn't get our mid-day fix of the Camden gang, we did what we had to do. Much of our "pre-marital counseling" could have come from us resolving fights about which tape we were on and who was to blame for recording over an episode we hadn't yet seen.


Not so long ago...

I was a freshman in college and proudly proclaiming that I didn't want contacts because I liked how I looked in glasses, and I refused to conform to society's standards (I also rocked a lot of Green Day). 6 months later, I got contacts. But I still like wearing glasses. :)


Not so long ago...

I would complain to Scott not to use his "stupid little iPod (Touch)" to look things up. Why use that tiny thing when we have a perfectly good computer you can use?!


Not so long ago...

Facebook was brand new and only for college students. I even had friends at other schools who couldn't access it because their college wasn't a "registered user" of Facebook. You could only load 5 pictures at a time, there was no Newsfeed, and all the statuses automatically started with "Christy Murphey is...." You couldn't tag people. If you wanted to say something to someone, you had to private message them or write on their "wall."

My first ever profile picture - 2005 (picture actually taken in 2004)

Not so long ago...

I insisted I had no desire to own a smart phone. All I would use it for is Facebook, and that's not a necessity. I was late to the smart phone party and didn't actually own one until 2014! While I still don't care about the latest technology or brands, I do value having the internet in my pocket. In fact, we don't even own a computer anymore!

Not so long ago...

Scott and I complained about how tired and busy we were...but we didn't have kids. I'm still confused about that one.

2009
Not so long ago...

Zoe Cat was the center of our attention at home. Sad, I know.
We have apx. 50 pictures of her playing on this thing that we proudly bought for her. Because we were loving cat parents..notice the past-tense.
Not so long ago...

Our Garmin GPS was legit. Now we're lucky if the maps are accurate enough to even recognize our destination. Half the time the satellites can't pick us up anyway.

 
Not so long ago...

Everyone kept CDs on their car visors. We actually still have our CDs in those cases...they just aren't on the visor anymore. In fact, I feel like we're some of the last people in the world who actually buy and listen to CDs.

Not so long ago...

Netflix was just a convenient way to rent movies without late charges. In fact, Scott and I had the Blockbuster version before we switched to Netflix. We liked it because we could get movies in the mail and then take them back to the store if we wanted something new immediately. Instant gratification before the option of streaming! Now we don't even have cable because of the streaming capabilities of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Not so long ago...

I was in London with my friend Erin, hearing stories about her younger brother who I should meet.

Not so long ago...

I was pursuing my lifelong dream of being a high school English teacher, while also battling ulcers, nausea, and morbid fantasies of getting into car accidents or falling down a flight of stairs so that I wouldn't have to go through with it. Cue career change!

Not so long ago...

We bought TV shows on DVD so we could binge watch them any time we wanted. Aside from keeping track of boxes of VHS tapes, this was the only way to do so.



Not so long ago...

I was a SOAR leader at Georgia Southern because I thought it looked fun and I cared about students' college experiences. I had no idea it was the first step in my future career working in student services in higher education.

Not so long ago...

# meant pound or number.

Not so long ago...

Grayson looked like this:
Just after turning 1!


Not so long ago...

I was a college student struggling with my faith. Wondering if I would rather be a Christian or have fun, as if the two are mutually exclusive.

Not so long ago...

I was lost and confused and empty of my own selfish desires and plans, sitting down to the book of Ephesians, and hearing from God in a brand new way. I learned that my efforts were not the key to salvation and a relationship with God. That JESUS is the one who makes all that possible. That getting to know Jesus, rather than modifying my behavior, was the only way to change my heart.

Not so long ago...

I married the love of my life and ventured into the unknown in a little Stadium Walk apartment with nothing more than our uncertain career plans, a below-poverty salary, our cat, and our love.


Not so long ago...

My heart grew another size as we welcomed our littlest into the world.


Not so long ago...

We started going to a little up-and-coming church called Connection that met in an old blue building behind the Burger King. Who knew just a few years later we would be a booming church with multiple campuses in our surrounding communities?!

Not so long ago...

I thought I would be the perfect parent. I knew all the absolute right answers and would execute them perfectly.

(I'll let you catch your breath from laughing before we continue...)

Not so long ago...

2017 sounded like a fake year that would never get here. 2017?? Yeah, okay! And yet here it is, just a couple weeks away! I'm sure in just a few years from now, I'll look back on 2016 and marvel at how much has changed in such little time. My boys will be older, my hair will be even grayer, and technology will be something totally unfathomable today. But I know for sure God will still be in control, Jesus will still be good and loving and will guide my heart, and Scott Curley will still be my favorite.


2017....bring it!

Pirate House in Savannah..we had to pose with Jake!

Date night for my 31st birthday

Adam's first football game

Merry Christmas!

Family time! Ready to tackle another year!!



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 Election

I know the last thing we need is another voice in the madness, but writing is part of how I cope. Like many of you, I need some coping today.

I did not vote for Trump. I did not vote for Clinton. I voted for McMullin, a write-in candidate. His platforms and ideals best matched my own. His campaign did not personally assault me or those I love. I knew some would see it as "throwing away" my vote. But I couldn't in good conscience vote for someone who was untrustworthy, deceptive, openly racist, misogynistic, or who did not value me as a Christian.  Moreover, I'm pretty fed up with the division in our country, and I used my vote to express that the best way I knew how.

I knew McMullin would not win. That wasn't really the point. Knowing this, I wasn't sure who to "root" for last night. When I first looked at the results, they were pretty even. Then Trump took a slight lead and for a moment, I was excited. I usually identify as Republican so it felt natural to lean this direction. When I woke up this morning to find that Trump was our new president, I felt uneasy. I don't trust him. I'm not convinced he really holds any of the values that he claims to--regarding the sanctity of life and religious freedoms. I know that I have friends and people I care about who will be afraid, who will be upset, who will feel personally attacked by not only Trump, but by the country as a whole who chose to support him despite his views on these people groups.

I logged into Facebook, knowing it would be bad. What I wasn't fully expecting was the heartbreak and fear that so many are feeling. They literally feel that we (the country) have invalidated their existence by choosing Trump. They are scared of what this means for their families and their children. Being an extremely empathetic person, this is haunting me today. I have cried for others more than once.

I sat in a college dorm common area filled with passionately liberal students in 2004, when Bush was elected for a second term. They were mad, sure. They were disappointed. They proclaimed that it was BS. But they weren't crying. They weren't shaking with fear. They weren't consoling each other. It wasn't like this. This year is very different, in so many ways.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the most politically-minded person. I loosely keep up with the news, but even that is corrupt and biased, and I read candidate websites and take assessments and review charts to see the basics of what each party stands for. I've never been far right or left. I have voted both ways in the past. And that is a really strange place to be, emotionally, this year.

My Christian faith is my most important identity. I'm not happy with how our country has been moving away from this. And I'm not talking about gay marriage or even abortion. I'm talking about removing the right to practice our Christian faith freely. The Democratic party seems to think that separation of church and state means keep church out of the government (while the government continues to take over more and more), but it was created to keep the government out of our churches. Religious liberty does not mean that we are free FROM religion, but that we are free to HAVE religion. Lately it seems like that is only true if you are any religion other than Christian.

I feared that another term or two of a liberal president would erode our Christian freedoms even more. My little boys may not be able to pray at school. They may go through life being told they aren't allowed to talk about Jesus anywhere but at church. They may be told by educators that their belief in creation is false and ridiculous.

This has already started. I'm not being crazy here. I'm living it already.

I work at a state university. I work in a liberal arts program, so naturally--the professors around me and many of my students are liberal-minded. I work within the Philosophy and Religious Studies departments. The majority of what they discuss not only in their classes but in their free time is religion. But if I were to express my belief in Jesus as God, I would be "oppressing" them. That would not be allowed. And I'm not talking about trying to convert anyone. I'm just talking about sharing life experiences and intellectual thought. That's what we celebrate here, after all. But I was encouraged to remove a Bible verse from my wall. It wasn't even a controversial verse! Prov 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart. That's it. And there was concern that it might ostracize some students. Meanwhile, others are welcome to share their diverse values and beliefs and it's not a problem. Again, it's celebrated. 

There are issues here that go beyond politics. I get that. The Church needs to be better about loving others, teaching the Gospel (which is actually the most wonderfully accepting and loving thing there ever has been and ever will be, but you wouldn't know it the way some Christians operate!), and serving the lost and hurting. We wouldn't need so many social programs if we Christians did our job and took care of the "least of these" as Jesus commanded. So, trust me, I know. There are problems here with us that need to be addressed too.

But I was scared that there wouldn't be a chance. There wouldn't be any chance that those conversations could ever start, if we keep limiting the freedoms of Christians, putting them in boxes, and telling the world that they hate you and don't accept you.

But is Donald Trump the one to start this movement? I sincerely doubt it. He hasn't shown a whole lot of love thus far.

And I do love people. Your lives matter. Black lives matter. I believe that. And while I'm not perfect and I have biases that sometimes come out, even subconsciously, I yearn for you to feel safe and accepted and to have opportunity in our country. I really do. Women matter. We aren't just objects that men with power should be allowed to take advantage of as they see fit. We should be paid equally. Crimes against women should be taken seriously. Sexual crime should be taken seriously. No one deserves to be abused or raped or mistreated in any way.

I believe we have been operating under a broken system. And I like to think that the majority of those who voted for Trump did so because they want to see that system fixed in some way. They are eager for change. Just as we were eager for change when Obama was first elected. We still haven't found all the answers, so maybe this other party can do it. But we need a whole lot more than policy reform and shifting around funding to different areas and programs. We need a change of HEART, America!

I think everyone was fighting for what's most important to them. I hope that most of the Trump votes were not based on racism and sexism and other types of hate and discrimination, but were based on wanting more opportunities for the working class and wanting to try something, anything, to work toward a better system.

And I hope that those who are terrified and heartbroken right now are overreacting. Not because I want to invalidate anyone's feelings. I just hope that all of your worst fears are not going to come to fruition.

And maybe somewhere down the road, we can have a better option. An option that actually stands a chance against the same ol, same ol'. And in the meantime, I hope we all learn to love a little better. Raise your kids right. Take care of your neighbors, and love them as you love yourself. And if you're a Christian -- let's show the world what that REALLY means, and not what they think it means. Please.

I pray that we all find some solace and comfort tonight. And I hope some good can come from all this mess.

Love to you ALL!
Christy

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear Adam: 6 Months

Dear Adam,

Exersaucer for the first time!

So pleased with yourself



Halloween costumes! Rock band!

You love having Grayson read to you!

Chillin' with Daddy at Grayson's birthday party at the GA Southern Wild Life Center

You and Grayson sometimes come to our bed in the mornings. So sweet!



Cutie!

After eating black beans for the first time! Yummy!!

New shoes! Thanks Grammie and Pop Pop!

Hanging out in the high chair while Grayson plays outside
Everyone says time goes quickly and kids grow up too fast, but I'm achingly aware of it with you. Of course I am excited about you reaching new milestones. I'm one proud Mommy! But as you move further away from infancy, my heart breaks. Daddy and I were talking last night and I got choked up just saying that it's hard for me to see you grow up so fast. I know there is a chance we'll have more kids. We haven't ruled it out completely. But we are also not necessarily planning on having another baby. And each passing phase for you reminds me that it could be my last time being a part of that. You could be my last squishy newborn, and that's hard to think about. But I will say this, sweet boy, whether you are my last or the second of many, your very existence is precious to me. At least once a day I thank God for trusting me to be your mommy. I love you very, very much!

This past month you have grown so much! You're still in 6 month clothes, but I'm sure you could wear 9 month at this point. You can sit up unassisted, though you still topple over regularly. I surround you with pillows, just in case! I've seen you roll from tummy to back a couple times, but you don't do it often. In fact, you aren't a fan of laying down at all these days. You love sitting upright! I don't know when you'll start to scoot or crawl, or consistently roll in both directions, because you are always sitting up. But I'm sure you'll get there before too long!

You love to babble and squeal and "talk." You speak in consonant sounds now, so you are often repeating "da," "ba," and "ga." It was the craziest thing because you just woke up one morning talking like that! You have been talkative for quite a while now, but it was just little squeals and giggles and coos. Then one morning you woke up and you were just babbling away with all kinds of different sounds! We were amazed! You say "dada" quite frequently, but I'm not sure you actually are identifying it to mean "daddy" yet.

This week you had solid food for the first time! We thought it only appropriate that black beans would be your first food. It's always been Grayson's favorite, and we eat them at least 1-2 times a week in our house. So, you might as well get used to it now! I blended some up with a little bit of breastmilk and you ate it up! No gagging or coughing...and you actually chewed! Other foods you have tried so far are avocado, banana, and some sweet potato, apple, banana baby food pouch (just a tiny bit while we were tailgating with friends yesterday!). You have happily eaten everything we've offered. So far you are a great eater! Keep it up, please! But if you don't...well, we're used to it!

You've recently started reaching your arms up when you want to be picked up or held. It's the cutest thing! How could I say no to that?! You enjoy being in your exersaucer or sitting in your high chair, or just sitting on the floor playing with toys. You also like being worn in the Baby K'Tan. We don't do this too often, but when we do, you are pretty content! You like watching TV. Yes, this happens. Grayson watches TV sometimes, so of course you happen to watch it a little too. You don't watch full episodes or anything, but it does capture your interest for short bursts of time. Admittedly, this is helpful when mommy needs to switch the laundry or use the bathroom or do something for Grayson!

You went trick-or-treating for the first time this week! Well, technically you were just in your stroller, along for the ride, while Grayson did Greek Street Trick or Treat. But still! We were a 90's rock band. Though your costume was just a red onesie that said "Tougher than I look" and had a scull and crossbones on it, and some black jeans. In every picture your shirt was concealed from the stroller straps or how Daddy was holding you. Oh well! :) We also plan to go trick or treating on actual Halloween, which is a few days away. We cut out some felt pieces to stick on an orange onesie to make you a jack-o-lantern. Again, your shirt will probably be concealed most of the time, but we'll know you are still in the spirit!

I want to thank you for being the world's best baby, by the way! Seriously. You are so easy going. I mean, Grayson was an easy-going baby too, but you take "chill" to a whole new level! Definitely the most chill Curley these days! You rarely fuss or cry. You happily join in on all the things we do as a family, making it possible for Grayson to still have fun experiences (like going to the Wild Life Center for his birthday, going to the movies, going trick-or-treating, tailgating, etc...). You are almost always happy and smiling. You are so warm and snuggly and squishy. You fall asleep quickly and easily at night. And even though you still wake up at least once or twice a night (I'll give you a pass on that one), I still wouldn't trade you for anyone else! ;)

My sweet baby, you have my heart! I know you'll be a little reckless with it as you grow up, but every moment with you, no matter how simple, is precious to me. I cherish the way you wrap your chubby arms around my neck and chew on my shoulder when I pick you up. Your joyful laughs are infectious. Your big blue eyes melt my heart. I love the way you always grab for my hand while nursing and how you pop off and stretch back to look at the world upside down when you're finished. I used to think my heart had no room for anyone other than Daddy. And then certainly no room for anyone other than Daddy and Grayson. But what do you know? You stretched it and grew it and now I'm totally in love with you too!

Happy 6 months, littlest! Now the fun is really about to start! :)

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Adam is 5 Months!!

So, I started this blog a couple weeks ago and never got around to finishing it. Now we are just one week away from turning 6 months and I can't remember what was true a couple weeks ago and what is better suited for the 6 month post! But I also don't want to just delete it and not have a recap for this month. Because one day I may want to look back and see if he was rolling in both directions by now (he's not). haha! So, forgive this ridiculously short update! More to come in the upcoming 6-month update! 

Watching me dry my hair

Tummy time!

Happy boy!

Little spidey for Super Hero Day at Kids World

Loves his daddy! :)




brotherly love... lol!


 


I feel like I just wrote the 4-month blog! And here we are, 5 months old already! It feels like it's FLYING by! I know everyone always says that, but I am really just blown away by how quickly time is passing this year. One more month and he'll be sitting in a high chair eating food. Excuse me?!

Adam is a master of rolling from back to tummy. He does it almost immediately when we lay him on the floor to play. He still hasn't quite figured out tummy to back yet. It was this month of life that Grayson started the log roll for getting around, so I'm expecting that it's right around the corner. Adam holds his head up high, and can lift onto his forearms with no issues. He tries to get up onto his knees, but so far he just kicks furiously and pulls at the blanket to try to pull himself along. He enjoys being on his tummy, but I think he gets frustrated when he can't move forward or roll the other direction, so he'll start to fuss until we re-position him. But then he'll just roll back onto his tummy and fuss again. I'm constantly saying to him, "Well, don't roll onto your tummy if you don't want to be there!" But I know he's just trying to master a skill, so I let him work through it for a minute or so before rolling him back over or picking him up.

In the earlier months, I thought I had finally gotten my great sleeper! He liked to fall asleep laying in his crib, and he would wake only once a night most nights. But, no more! He's like a normal baby again. He prefers to nurse and rock while he falls asleep, or cuddle in our bed. He wakes at least twice, sometimes three times a night. He goes to bed between 6:30-7 every night and falls asleep really quickly. But sometimes in the middle of the night it can take a while to get him back to sleep. And while he did recover from the cold I wrote about in my last update (yes, we think it was a cold and not allergies), he is now sick with a new one! We have commenced the middle of the night snot sucking and running the humidifier. Which also means more difficulty sleeping. Oh well...it's all part of the deal. At least I'm used to it from Grayson!

He laughs and babbles constantly! He all has a really loud, high-pitched happy squeal that he likes to use. He still rarely cries or fusses. He's a perfectly chill and happy baby!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This is summer.



This is summer.


 

Water-logged air, heavy and thick. Salty, slick, and sticky skin.

Hands wiping, fanning, swatting swarms of gnats, smacking, smearing the bloodthirsty remains of mosquitos. 

The wafting fragrance of fresh cut grass, watermelon, chlorine, and the plastic of pool rafts.  
Exposed limbs and toes, flip-flops slapping calloused heels, frizzy hair, pulled into buns, pony tails, and braids. Makeup melting, mingling with the SPF 15. 

Rushing waves, where the sea meets the sky. Wrestling with unrelenting umbrellas and beach chairs, the grit of sand between toes, between teeth, stretched lycra and floppy hats, the sharp crunch of seashells. The laughter of gulls, of children giddy on sunshine, and grownups with daiquiris and Coronas on ice. The sting of green aloe on angry red flesh. 

New Eagles SOARing, gold name tags and embroidered shirts, sweating under the sun, shivering in frigid computer labs, holding to the hope of leaving work early.

Eager to read the angsty turmoil of teenagers, the ragged-edged dreams of moms, and the clothesline chitchat of suburbia. Beach books. Summer reads. Best done through the tinted lenses of foggy sunglasses. 

Sequestered in dark living rooms, curtains drawn, AC rushing over little boy legs, splayed across a blanket on the floor, Disney movies and an endless loop of Dora the Explorer, too hot to leave the cool confines of the house. 

Popcorn, potato chips, hotdogs, bar-b-que, corn on the cob, iced lattes, sweet tea, fizzy sodas and sugary Kool-Aid. The foods of the season.

Transition. Aging from one grade to the next. The promise of new clothes, ink pens, and notepads. Fear, uncertainty, the brink of newness, and the allure of boots and bonfires. Bringing it to an end.

Summer.
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