Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eternal...but not yet

So what do we do with this eternity that our hearts are set on while we live in a decaying world which is anything but eternal? Over the course of the last couple of months, I've been forced to take that question off the shelf where I prefer to keep it.

So many losses recently. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death up close and personal with a dear family who lost a very healthy man just shy of his 50th birthday. Lyndon was my friend. His wife, Kim, is a close friend. His daughters Angela and Alisha both came through our youth group from the 6th grade to the 12th. My bond with Alisha is special. I've always considered her my 3rd daughter. She and Chelsea have been the best of friends - with all the ins and outs of that- since they were like 11 years old. Lyndon was a runner. His goal was a marathon. He collapsed and died after he had completed his first 20 mile run. The doctors say the running prolonged his life by many years. Kim and Lyndon were just finding the joy of an empty nest which leads to rediscovery. His first grandson, Kooper, just 8 months old, loved his PaPa...and was adored by Lyndon. So I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

Then just a couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of my niece, a young woman who kept my own child many times, a young woman I had watched grow up - was found dead in her home. 34 years old. Paige had a way of spreading love and joy like few people I know. Truly. So I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

Today, a young man, 20 years old who grew up with and graduated with Chelsea was shot and killed today. I'm sure we will find out more of how and why this happened, but as I ponder the heartbreak of his parents, I just have to ask, "Lord, what in the world?"

So once again, I take the question off the shelf, dust it off, and ask, "What do we do with an eternity that has yet to come? What do we do with the fact that we live in mortal bodies with mortal endings - sometimes tragic endings? How, Lord, do we face tomorrow and accomplish the tasks you set before us when all we want to do is hold those close to us and not let them go? How do we continue life when pain cripples us and grief swallows us whole?"

I don't know the answers yet. I may never know until it is answered in completion - my eternal completion. But I do know that He promises that He will walk us through it. I do know that His Word says to lift our eyes up to the One from whom our help will come. I do know that Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will bring greater comfort than even the Son could bring. I do know that we can hide in the shadow of His wings. I do know that when we arrive we will KNOW the ones who have gone before us. I do know that there is no pain or sorrow and that Jesus Himself will dry our tears.

And I do know that this pain we feel is not foreign to our Savior. That's why He came. So He could be our Great Priest because of the depth of His understanding of our feelings, flaws and flailings. So He could feel everything that you and I feel. Remember the shortest verse in Scripture? "Jesus wept." That is in reference to the loss of His friend Lazarus and said right before He raised him back to life.

Hmm. The One who sees-and controls- the imminent resurrection also feels the horrid, consuming power of grief. Praise God. He knows and feels. And He loves us enough that He wants us to have hope beyond the grief. That's why He came. So that when we ask, "Lord, what in the world?" He can answer - This isn't our eternity. Don't look for it here. We are eternal...but not yet. If that weren't the case, then, well, He wouldn't have had to come. And we would never have the hope of eternity with Him and the privilege and the hope of Him being our answer - truly our all in all - in our now - our hurt, our horror, our loss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

So what is your favorite Christmas tradition?

"Going" shopping...like "2 hour road trip to the closest huge malls" shopping.

Baking everyone's favorite cookies.

Decorating the tree.

Christmas Eve service.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve.

Listening to ALL my Christmas music.

My list is pretty endless...But truly my all-time favorite right now would be having both the girls and Jimmy and I at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together. I know that with Chelsea being almost 21, I have to cherish these years.

So flit over to this link and share your favorite tradition...and you might just win a $100 Visa gift card!


Saturday, October 3, 2009

ALWAYS ask for a window seat...

Lately I have been struggling with some things. And I have a confession. The longer I struggle with the issue the more susceptible I am to doubt. I KNOW God loves me and wants what is best for me. I KNOW God is always with me through every battle. I KNOW God forgives me for the messes I create. I KNOW God is willing to help me out of those same messes. I KNOW God is big enough to do whatever it takes to save me from the situation. But when He doesn't do it in the way or timing that I am looking for, I must admit, I begin to question those things. Thankfully, as soon as the doubt comes, I usually am very successful in refuting it, but still the doubts will sneak up sometimes. Anyone else know what I mean?

So last week I was travelling. Flew to San Antonio for a board meeting and a legal conference. Two very good, very productive days. Thursday I arrived at the airport and was so looking forward to coming home. I double checked to see if there were any earlier flights to DFW, and there were, but I still couldn't get from DFW to Wichita Falls any earlier, so I told the nice lady nevermind. I would just stay there and get some work done while I waited the extra hour. San Antonio's airport has free wi-fi and some lovely white rocking chairs to work from, so I figured I would be more comfortable there. And sure enough, I spent the next hour or so doing some work!!

About 15 minutes prior to boarding time, I made my way to the gate. I was in group 6 so would be boarding among the last. I became a little concerned when they abruptly shut the door halfway through boarding. Within a few minutes, they announced that DFW had severe weather coming in and had shut down all incoming and outgoing flights, but that all should be clear in about an hour. I figured if that held true then I would be fine to catch my connecting flight. An hour later, DFW was still closed. Having gone through something similar that would have caused me to have to stay a night in Dallas with no luggage just a few months ago, I called and rented a car at DFW. I knew if I could just get to Dallas I could get home one way or another! We eventually boarded the plane about an hour and a half late. Of course, we were all being assured that because the whole airport was shut down, making our connecting flights would be no problem. More on that later...

NOW to the real point of this post...Once we were in the air, I, in my window seat began reading my magazine, but I caught a glimpse of light out of the corner of my eye. I realized that I was no where near the wing, so I turned my head and...I began to watch the MOST spectacular thing I have EVER seen in my life. We were flying north, and as I looked out the window, I was looking east at that severe weather that had just passed through the Dallas area. It stretched as far to the north and south as I could see. A huge billowing mass of clouds - that was lit up in some form or fashion, literally the WHOLE hour flight. It was almost like watching twinkling lights on a Christmas tree. The lightening would flash deep in the clouds, on the outer edge, with strikes or with a dancing glow. But there was never complete darkness in that expanse. I was completely mesmerized by the show. I glanced down and again was amazed. I saw what appeared to be a blanket of cotton balls beneath us. I've never seen clouds like that...not the huge billowing kind, but the very small puffy type. It looked as if someone was opening a huge bag; it ripped, and all the cotton balls spilled out. I kept watching the light show and would glance down every now and then. I then realized that the sky was bright above the storm. I looked up. Against the deepest midnight blue sky was a huge gibbous moon. Almost perfectly full. Stunning. Beautiful moon, flashing storm, cotton ball blanket. Then the clouds below parted and I saw the lights, the buildings, the traffic of a city. As we began our descent, the tears began their descent. I didn't even care who saw. I thought, "Oh, please, just ask me why I'm crying. I need to tell someone of this incredible God who loves me so dearly." My God who says, "Look at this storm, closer to My perspective than you have ever been, sweet child. Now look below at the coming and goings of man and know this: I know the very number of hairs on every head of those below you. I created that moon, that storm and those clouds, and I created you, My beloved child. I'm big enough, darlin'. I'm big enough."

So when we landed, we had to wait for our turn to get to the gate. As we waited, I called and discovered that my connecting flight had already left. No worries, I explained. I'm sure the lady on the phone was baffled by my cheerful mood. I told her I had a car. After I hung up, I realized I should have told her that the time I had just had with the Most High was worth way more than a missed flight. I hope He inconveniences me again. I want to see Him out the window again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stop the roar

I have a dear friend who seems to be battling the great deceiver in a fierce way. Why is it so hard to believe that we are forgiven and His beloved? Perhaps it is because we become so battle-weary. Perhaps it is because the roaring lion that seeks to devour us is ROARING. Ever heard a lion roar? I remember last year when we were at the zoo. We were on the other side of that large acreage and could distinctly hear the lions roaring. But whether he is whispering lies of guilt and shame or roaring a reminder of our failures, he is persistent...and he is a liar...the father of all lies...in him there is NO truth. But there is One who IS truth. Not a lofty idea or principle to live by...but TRUTH. Living, breathing TRUTH! So for my sweet friend...here is some Truth.

The same God Almighty who created the heavens and the earth, all that is seen and all that is unseen, created you - in His image. Amazing, huh? He knows that Satan is dogging your steps and using others in his scheme. He knows that you feel left behind and vulnerable. He knows that you are sad, bewildered and overwhelmed. You see, sweet friend, He gave you that heart that has been broken by others because you so freely give it away. So He is NOT overwhelmed or surprised. In fact, there is good news - He stands at the ready. Psalm 147:3 tells us, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." He wants to heal you, encourage you, LOVE on you. Crawl up in His lap. Cry out for His love, His forgiveness, and His healing. Feel it wash over you. You are His beloved. The apple of His eye. His favorite.

Satan is lying to you. He is telling you that you have failed your children. Push the restart button and listen to our Jesus; The One and Only; The Living Word of God:

"But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him,
and His righteousness with their children's children." Psalm 103:17

Tomorrow is a new day to start over leaving a legacy of faith for your children. He will count it as righteousness!!! That is the only 'score' He keeps. Every time we exercise a little faith and step out in obedience, He counts it as our righteousness.

And as out of control as things seem, He assures us that we are never out of His care. And He is just waiting to come in and rescue you. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."

And finally, I want you to listen to these words:

Zephaniah 3:17 promises, "The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."

Wow. Do you hear Him? Be still, darlin'. Listen. He sings over YOU!

Now THAT is some truth that will shut the mouth of the lion.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And so it begins...where did I leave my galoshes???

Today was the first of at least a bajillion...no, make that two bajillion after-school practices for McKenna. She started the 7th grade yesterday and so volleyball practice follows shortly after!!

I can't even believe it. My baby is 12...oh, and the late bloomer...she may be blossoming. Suddenly it is important to fix hair and make up. Honestly, I don't know how I feel about that. Excited - my baby girl is growing up!! Sad - My baby girl is growing up!! Worried - My baby girl is growing up!!

Amazing how one small sliver of time can bring out a tidal wave of emotion. Like the day she was born, her infancy, preschool, her first day of kindergarten, her salvation and baptism... I think God gives us such capacity for emotion because He knows full well that the world will offer us an inadequate umbrella which of course blows broken, to deal with such a tidal wave. He knows that the tidal wave we deal with when viewed in succession with the other tidal waves of life actually equal a tsunami. And the world offers us a little piece of plastic held on a stick with spokes...oh, and by the way...that umbrella of the world...ummm...yea, a lightening rod.

And yet, He steps in and calls it all, "Good," and works it all to our good, and as if that weren't enough He offers us a peace and calm regardless of the 'storm'. And, boy, are there variations of a storm in this thing we do called life. The somewhat eerie, haunting, yet welcome snow storm...like those times when we just want to 'hole up' somewhere, find a warm place and not venture out - makes me think of when I brought my girls home from the hospital...sweet and a little scary. The raging thunderstorm of lightning, torrential rain and wind...like those times of raising a teenager when you are sure the storm has snatched your kid away and has swept a stranger into their bedroom!! The ravaging hurricanes and tornadoes when things are ripped from the fabric of your life...a divorce, a death, a defining detrimental decision. And yes, even in the sweet soothing showers of light rain followed by the rainbow...the kind that makes certain 'flowers' bloom like a beautiful, innocent child coming into her own...Yes, we need some peace that He offers...or at least I do, because I know that the first of two bajillion moments will literally blow by so quickly like the leaves in a sharp autumn wind that I will wish I had reached out and snatched a few from the air just to hold in my hands, examine and, well, cherish for a while. Because with Him, I can see it all as 'good'.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sappy Girl

I always tease my sister, Kitty, that she cries too easily, but honestly, since I tried to learn as much as possible from her, she taught me well. *grin* I am a sap. Genuinely, I love anything that tugs at my heartstrings. I love shows like Extreme Home Makeover and chick flicks with a happy-ending. I know that many of my friends feel the same way, so I am here today to offer you something sweet and tender. Mull this over. Let it pull at your heartstrings. Take it as your own.

"I am my beloved's. His desire is toward's me. " Song of Solomon 7:10

Or try this one out of The Message:

"I am my lover's. I am all that He wants. I'm all the world to Him."

This is something meant just for you from the heart of a God that adores you. I don't know about you, but I am so much like the heroine in some of my favorite movies. Prone to mistakes, jumping to conclusions, believing the worst while hoping for the best. So I know that I don't deserve the incredible love of our Savior, but I am so incredibly grateful for it. I love that the story has the happiest of all endings. Even if you aren't a sap like me, you can appreciate that!

He is crazy about you and wants the very best for you. You- the individual. You- the person. Not just 'you' the masses. Take this personally. Bask in His love today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I just haven't...but I'm gonna.

So it is half way through the summer and not one post from yours truly. And it's not like there haven't been some very eventful, cool things to write about...I just havent'.

I just haven't. Now there is a statement that unfortunately I have used far too much of late. I just haven't...blogged. I just haven't...cleaned my house. I just haven't...cleaned out my closet, under the bed, etc...all those summer projects that need to be done. But none of those, "I just haven't" statements/non-actions are as profound as this confession.

I just haven't been spending time with Him. There. I confessed it. I'm not proud of it, nor am I happy about it. It's just truth. It is just plain ol' ugly truth. And you know what else? Because it is true, I also have become more plain ol' ugly as a result. BUT, today is a new day...actually last night was a new night. I spent time...I mean real time, not the few minutes of prayer before I get up and before I go to sleep. I mean real awake time...in His Word, WITH Him. And you know what else? I think I was a little prettier today as a result. I know I felt better.

So, now...I'm off here...for more of Him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Brief Attempt at Survivor

Today, our church had a ladies' tea. The weather was very cool, cloudy and drizzly, but still a great day for time with sweet sisters! My sweet friend Casey picked me up, and of course, I was rushing, so I yelled bye to my sweetie, and ran out the door. As soon as I got to the Tea, I realized that I didn't have my cell phone, but that was no big deal. I didn't figure anyone was going to need me. The tea was so fun and inspirational. Sweet singing and a lovely speaker.

So as we arrive back at my house I realize my guy has left and I don't have my keys...'cause they were sitting right by the front door where I left them as I ran out. I told Casey it wasn't any big deal 'cause the spare key was in the storage building and I could just walk around there and get it. She offered to wait, but I said, "Don't be silly. I'll be fine."

You see where this is going, right?

As I enter the backyard, I realize there is a huge lock on the door of the storage building. I really wanted to be mad at my husband, but seriously, HE didn't leave my keys and phone in the house!!!! So then I start trying to figure out what to do. Option 1: Go to a neighbor's house, borrow the phone, call Chelsea and/or Jimmy. Option 2 - Call Casey to come back and get me. Option 3 - Wait for someone to come home.

Now here is the problem with Option 1 - typically when those two see a number they don't know they don't always answer. Actually, Jimmy will answer more often than Chelsea. She absolutely never answers a number she doesn't know. So if that occurred, I would be at a neighbor's house who, because they are kind, would insist on me just waiting at their house. So then I would have ruined their Saturday afternoon because they would have felt all obligated to entertain me until someone came to my rescue. Plus, depending on which neighbor was home (Is anyone ever home on Saturday afternoon? I mean really - probably not.), it could have been that real awkward weird thing of trying to make conversation in a forced situation.

The problem with option 2 is similar to the ruination issue with option 1 - I didn't want Casey and her crew to have to change their plans to accommodate her goofy friend.

So Option 3 was left. Now being resourceful and all, the first thing I tried was getting into my car, but of course, I was diligent and locked it last night. Sooo....now what? I walked around the yard for a minute feeling a little like Pooh when he would tap his head and say, "Think. Think. Think." Now mind you I was so smart to wear closed toed cute little flats to the tea, but had worn very stylish crops and a top with a short sleeved sweater over it so I was beginning to feel a little chilly. Now before you think, 'why not just sit at your patio table?' I will just remind you that it had been RAINING!!!! So all the chairs were very wet. Luckily the rain had stopped 'cause that might have pushed me right over the edge. So I thought, well, I guess I'll just have to go around in the front and sit on the front porch bench...looking like an idiot with my purse and umbrella. But then, SHAZAM!! I remembered there were the fold-up, in-a-bag, camping-kind of chairs in a big storage container thingy on the side of the house. When I opened up the lid - SHAZAM!!! - a blanket! Should I tell you that it was one we used for the dog...so it had hair and grass on it? Nah, that's too yuck to tell you.

So anyhoo...I set up my little chair and covered up with my blanket and waited. Then, SHAZAM!! I realized I had my Scripture cards in my purse. So Jesus and I sat on my back patio and He wrote His Word on my heart for a while - LIKE AN HOUR!!! Only problem - I think He was warm. I wasn't.

So, then I remembered that I could actually break into my minivan, aka. The Mom-Mobile. You see the side doors will open even if it's locked but it sets the alarm off (useful locks, huh?). Hmmm...the alarm would go off. I decided I didn't care. So that's what I did. I walked around to the drivers' side, and dadgum it!!! That door won't open. I was a little disgusted, but I decided to try the other door. I walked around to the passenger's side, pulled on the door, and YIPPEE - THE HORN STARTED HONKING...REALLY LOUDLY...but the door was open!!! I reached up and unlocked the front door, then reached in and across to unlock the driver's door. I closed the back door, and the alarm went off.

I went back into the back yard to clean up my campground and then went back to the van. I reached and opened the door. THE HORN STARTED HONKING!!! LOUDLY!!!!- AGAIN!!! So I jumped in and tried several things to get it to stop. Nothing I did worked, but eventually it stopped on its own. Now earlier in the week, I had worn some cute little shoes that required socks, but took my sandals for later in the day. SHAZAM!!! My socks were still in the van. Oh, my feet were soooo happy when I slid them on.

At this point we are an hour and a half into my adventure. I am looking around thinking how nice it was to be out of the wind and how dirty my van is on the inside when SHAZAM!!! Didn't McKenna ask me if I had gotten her phone out of the back seat? NO I HAD NOT!!!! I climbed to the back, and when I looked and saw that sweet little blue piece of technological heaven, I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus!!! Now, this little phone is of the pre-paid variety as we let McKenna develop and demonstrate her responsibility - she only had 12 cents left. One minute is 20 cents, but you know what? SHAZAM!! I have a debit card!! I reloaded the phone, called Chelsea and waited...Oh, and I asked Chelsea to come through the house and get my keys so that she could not only let me in my house but she could also let me out of my car - by unlocking it so the alarm wouldn't go off.

I'm not trying out for Survivor. My backyard was tough enough.

By the way, did I mention that last Sunday morning, McKenna and I rushed out of the house to get to church and as I shut the door, I heard the click and realized...yep, I locked my keys in the house. Luckily I had a phone that time. Do you see a pattern developing? I hope not. 'Cause if each incident is successively worse...I could end up locked out again...no keys...no phone...no clothes.

Oh, Lord, save me from myself.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In Honor of My Friend

I have a beautiful friend. Her name is Casey. Last week she had a birthday, but tonight was her suprise birthday party that I had to miss. Can I just say how much it stinks that I can't be in multiple places at the same time? McKenna had a volleyball game that I watched most of and then had to leave to rush back to be able to conduct the installation of officers for a local women's study club, Clarion Club. Don't be too impressed. I install officers using play tiaras and candy. Nothing hoity-toity about it. And I did have a lovely time with those sweet ladies - a great time actually.


So let me tell you about my friend, Casey. She is impressive, ya'll. She has three little boys- and I'm talkin' ALL BOY boys. They are stair steps really. Adorable, funny, and unique little guys, they are. And she has her Big Guy, too. So much testosterone. It just doesn't quite seem fair. So I try to make sure she knows that she is a Princess and that I will do my best to give her some good girly fun anytime she might want it.

And the girl is cute. I mean caaaaute! She did this whole weight watchers thing and she has already reached her goal. She worked really hard, but seriously in my opinion, she didn't have far to go...'cause did I tell ya'll...the girl is caaaaute! And she runs...seriously, she RUNS, people. She is committed and very goal oriented. Probably why she is so caaaaute, right? Stinkin' cute, actually.
Casey also has a sense of humor like few women I know. That's why she is my friend. I can be warped with her and she doesn't mind...or she loves me enough in Jesus not to tell me that she minds. She really makes me laugh, too. A lot. That's important in a friend, don't you think?

Another thing I love about my friend Casey is that she is like this multi-talented chick, ya know. Like she can cook and scrapbook and make all these cute things with scissors and paper and glue. I use those things and all I make are messes. See, I told you she impresses me.

Here is another thing she does very well that I don't...organize. See for every Bible study that I teach, Casey comes along side me and makes sure we have books, a place to meet, the announcements made, notices in the bulletins, all of those CRITICAL things that I tend to forget. I just want to talk. She makes sure I have someone to talk to. She may do it just so she won't have to listen to me all the time. She needs some other women to share her burden!

You know what my favorite thing about Casey is, though? She loves Jesus. I mean really loves Him. Enough to sacrifice for Him, enough to serve Him, enough to make sure her little boys know Him, enough to teach junior high girls Sunday School class (eek!!), enough to submit to and respect her man instead of choking him-while still stating her opinion very articulately! And she loves Him enough to be an adventurer, too. I just found out that she will be hosting 22 junior high girls for D-Now this weekend. Wow!!

But now do you know what my favorite of the favorite things about her is? She loves Him enough to know all my junk and love me anyway. She knows my garbage and doesn't think I stink because of it. . She even wrote me a note recently saying that she had learned so much from me. That made me cry. It stunned me. I cried. It humbled me. Oh, and did I mention she made me cry?

And she even shares her garbage with me. 'Cause it's safe for her to do that. Ya know why? 'Cause I love that girl!!!! That's all. I just love Casey Cody. Because...she is my friend. My real, true friend.

"Friends love through all kinds of weather." Proverbs 17:17a The Message

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Tonight was session 9 of our Esther study. Our last one. I'm bummed. But blessed.

This has been one of the BEST Bible studies I've ever been a part of, let alone led. I have grown so attached to my sweet sisters in this study. Beth Moore of course, taught us tons, but I think the emphasis on all things woman-dom just made the learning that much richer. And the fact that I actually exercised my gift-giving love language. I had such a blast finding small girly treats for my ladies.

And we had such a wide range of women in this group - several who had never done an in-depth study with us. Soooo fun to have people who haven't heard all my stories. We had an 80 year old still married. Several 60ish and 70ish - some married, some widowed. We had some 40ish and 50ish, married and divorced. We had some 20ish and 30ish still raising sweet little ones - or waiting for them to come. We even had a barely 20 year old - my first precious girl who came through my high school Sunday school class to do one of our 'big girl' studies - I can't even tell you what that meant to me. SO PRECIOUS to have time with her in the Word again. Thank you, Shelby, for being a part. We had some ladies who know more about the Word than I will likely ever learn in my lifetime, so for them to put up with me is an amazing little miracle in itself. That is truly humbling. As is having my older sister who is my hero be a part of the group.

It has been an incredible ride. As part of the study, Beth referenced Ecclesiastes 3:11 - The first part about "He has made everything beautiful in its time." But the verse goes on to say, "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." I thought the second part of the verse was very appropriate for tonight. Because eternity is set in my heart, it doesn't like goodbyes. Actually avoids them. Not good at them at all...turns into the ugly cry pretty fast. So tonight that is what happened. I struggled with the goodbye of it. How I love feasting on the Bread of Life...and how I hate when the party ends.

The good news? The last part of the verse - we still can't fathom what God is going to do with this investment. And We WILL be doing something else together...Can't wait to see what He has in store for us.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ahhhhhh....spa day

Today was a wonderful day for me. Last fall, my staff gave me money and a ticket to Christmas Magic, which resulted in a gift certificate for some spa treatments. So today, I had a 30 minute massage, a 30 minute facial, a pedicure, a deep conditioning treatment for my hair and a style (the package came with a partial highlight and a cut, but seriously, I don't want anyone's concoctions or scissors except Diana's touching my hair.) Honestly, the massage worked out all the knots in my shoulders, where there are always many and the facial was probably one of the gentlest, most relaxing I have ever had.

I could go on, but I'm too relaxed to keep typing. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

They've migrated...

Through an unexpected turn of events, I am currently listening to four very silly girls laugh, discuss, and argue (just a bit) while they play Apples to Apples. We are celebrating McKenna's birthday which was actually last Wednesday, but spring break offered the perfect opportunity for a sleepover. The only problem - it wasn't supposed to be HERE!!! My sister had planned the party and all the girls were supposed to be at her house. However, on Sunday, she stepped off the porch and broke her ankle. Coward...I think she did it on purpose. (Just kidding. But I must admit my suspicion. She has never been much on large crowds of kids.)

So anyhoo...she had a little day of fun scheduled for them. A trip to the local salon for finger and toe nail painting, getting their hair done and a little make-up applied. So we did that yesterday afternoon. Great fun! Then we came back to my house and they have sufficiently enternained themselves without anyone getting their feelings hurt, nothing being broken, no major arguments, and not even any tv/dvd watching (which I even rented some dvds for...just in case).

We have two 6th graders, a 5th grader, and a 4th grader. They are all sweet girls and so far...so good.

As for McKenna ~ she is a puzzle for me. She is so different from her sister, and honestly, from so many 'little' girls I have watched grow up. I think what makes it so unusual is her maintenance of her innocence. She is now 12 years old and in junior high in a small town. Tough age - usually the age where you really aren't happy with just being that age - you know, where they really want to be older, and certainly don't want anything to do with anything associated with 'little girl'. McKenna, however, seems to be pretty happy being 12. She doesn't ask or seek to do, act, or dress, like older girls. There are things she wants to do that are age appropriate, and then there are things that she really doesn't mind being seen as a 'little' girl. I thought yesterday as I watched two girls - 8th graders- come into the salon to tan, "I wonder how many of her 6th grade friends would die before being seen as 'playing' with the hair and make-up party." Certainly not all of them, put several names came to mind of girls who would either make fun of it or wouldn't be caught dead doing it. It really makes me sad. Girls are pushed to grow up so quickly...and not in very healthy ways.

So today, as I hear my "baby" - who isn't really a baby!- laugh and giggle with her friends - with a laugh that is incredibly contagious. Hurray for her. And hurray for all the young ladies who are like her - okay with just being the age they are.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God's Providence :)

This is too cool. Seriously.

Okay, bear with me while I set the stage. We are in the middle of the Esther Bible study written and led by Beth Moore - Thank You, Father, for a teacher who GETS You and GETS women. What a blessing she is as Your vessel. This study really is a study in the amazing providence of God and, in Beth's words, 'some mighty good theology' of knowing God's presence is always with us even when we can't see Him or feel Him. We got a little taste of that tonight.

As the facilitator, I have been trying to come up with little gifts that tie in to the study for our ladies -things that have to do with parties or entertaining, beauty treatments, just girly-girl things. Like candles (who ever has a party without lighting candles!!), bracelets, picture clips with a star (one of the Hebrew meanings for Esther), etc... I bought padded hangers to give them, but have literally hauled them in 3 - count 'em THREE times - only to forget to give them to them. I get way too caught up in the whole Bible study thing! :)

One of the things the study has used as a central theme is focusing on scenarios that complete the statement, "It's tough being a woman..." and then the blank gets filled in with different situations where it can be really tough being a woman.

Okay - now stay with me- the good part is coming.

Today is March 10. It is Purim on the Jewish calendar - which is the celebration of the 'reversal of destiny' experienced by the Jews when Esther's actions saved them from complete annihilation. So I thought that was cool- to be studying the event while it really is occuring - but...GET THIS - Tonight was session 7 of the series - the night when Beth starts teaching us the way our Sovereign God reverses all of those "It's tough being a woman" scenarios for us!!!! SOOO...we are studying our own reversals during this celebration of Purim - Don't tell me we aren't God's adopted children!

AND as if that weren't enough, someone pointed out that they were given lovely, perfumed, padded hangers on the night we talked about Haman's hanging!! I know, it is one of those things that your thinking, "I guess you just had to be there." And you may be right, 'cause those precious ladies and I got a big ol' kick out of those little kisses from God tonight!!! We just giggled and oohhed and aahhed Him!!!

His timing - ALWAYS right!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Youth Sunday

I've been waiting to post this because I was supposed to get some pictures sent to me that I wanted to post with it. 'Cause the last thing I was thinking about was pictures or a camera!!!..but no pics, delayed post, yadda-yadda.

I'm pushing on.

Sunday morning was an amazing day for our kids. We had one of our guys read a beutiful piece of scripture out of Psalms then pray. Another young man did the welcome. The guys leading praise and worship were awesome. And our sweet girls who had practiced so long for creative movement NAILED IT!!! We even had several of our guys act as usher and they didn't even drop the offering plates or anything!! :)

Then, sweet Zack took the pulpit and delivered a message. He was funny, charming, humble, and I must say brave. It's tough to get up in front of people and speak...let alone be a junior in high school and get up in front of your church on a Sunday morning...with a full house I might add. They even had to bring in extra chairs. Zack did a fabulous job.

Then my precious boy, Corbin, got up and did announcements. He cracks me up! He even announced the birth of his second cousin, but just introduced him by name and said, "I know he's a relative, but I don't really know what he is to me." Perfect.

All in all, the kids did a great job, but more than anything, God was awesome!
Congratulations to a great group of kids, and to God be the glory!!

And now, we get ready for Spiritual Preparation Weekend starting tomorrow night. And just wait until Sunday morning. My guy is going to sing a very special song. Can't wait!!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I'm sitting in my bedroom listening to my husband in the next room with some of the guys from the youth group. They have been practicing for our first Sunday MORNING youth service. We've always done Sunday night. Our creative movement praise team, For His Glory, will be doing two routines, our kids are leading worship, serving as ushers, praying, and reading scripture. And one of our precious young men, Zack, will be bringing the message. AND one of my favorite funny guys, Corbin, is doing the announcement. This is usually what Jimmy does at the end of the service, so I am thinking we may be about to see a great Saturday Night Live skit based on my husband!! If you read this, please PRAY for Sunday morning's service!

The three guys that are here are playing guitar and singing. I must admit I love to hear my guy sing even if it is with other people and through the closed door. I've always loved to here him sing. And I've always loved to hear him with the kids. I hear him talking now...teaching. Not really meaning to, but he is. 'Cause he is talking...anyone who knows him is probably laughing and thinking, "no kidding?" The boy CAN talk. I will never be one of those women who complain about a husband who doesn't ever communicate. And I'm so glad. I LOVE my guy.

Guitars - a few hundred dollars-
Chips & drinks - a few bucks
Listening to him invest Jesus in some kids - priceless.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On her 20th birthday...

My precious Chelsea is turning 20 in a couple of days. AMAZING. Both because the time has flown and because she simply is...amazing that is. I was beyond thrilled when I found out I was pregnant, and I must say it has been thrilling ever since. Not always easy or joyful, but definitely thrilling! So this entry is really for her - in her honor and to make sure she has all of this written down in some form!

Pregnancy was easy and exciting except for the morning sickness which was actually morning, noon and night nausea, but no throwing up. I've actually probably never felt better than when I was pregnant with Chelsea. Although it was during that time that I found out what heart burn was- I thought I was having some sort of attack, like maybe of the heart. Oh so young and dumb - Y&D syndrome.

When she finally came it took a little over 17 hours for her to make her actual arrival...two weeks early. I'll never forget the moment they laid her on my stomach and in all my vanity, through the tears I said, "Oh, Chelsea, you have hair!!" It has been a dominant topic in our conversations ever since. Along with all things girly. What fun to have a daughter. (Before you think me too shallow with her hair being the first thing noticed, remember that I had seen a sonogram showing all her fingers and toes, so I didn't need to count.)

And how wise of God to give me girls. I don't know what I would have done with a boy. I have had a BLAST being their mom!! As for her 'growing up years', in many ways Chels and I were sort of on our own. Her dad and I were married, but he was gone - a lot- so she and I spent so much time together. She was a beautiful, funny, and bright child. For example...Chelsea was 7 when I finally got pregnant with McKenna. One day she walks in as I'm getting dressed - this is late in the pregancy and I'm wearing one of those oh-so-feminine-NOT maternity bras. She wrinkles up her face and asks, "Why are you wearing THAT?" As I start to explain, she pipes in and fills in the blanks about making milk for the baby, boobies get bigger, yadda, yadda. Then she looks up at me and says, in all seriousness. "But, Mom. Your boobies didn't need to get ANY bigger." Thanks, kid. This would be the same child who when being potty-trained busted into the bathroom as I was getting out of the shower. Sitting on the potty, she looks up at me and says, "Hey, mommy. Your boobies are big. Big as your head." Sweet darlin' child. Ugh. I'm sure it was a perspective thing. She was sitting; I was standing. HAD to be perspective. Oh, whatever. She has learned a little tact since then, but don't ask her if you don't really want to know!!

Teen years were tough, as they are for so many, and even now, at 20, we have our moments. I think one of the primary problems is that when you devote yourself to loving in someone's best interest, it is tough to let them not always love themselves in their own best interest. In other words, letting life and their own choices bounce them around is tough to watch. It's one of the toughest things about being a mom. And although I watch my heart walk around outside of my body everyday in the form of two lovely daughters, I wouldn't take it back for anything. They are so worth it.

So as my oldest leaves the teen years behind, I am blessed to know that I did the best I could to lay a firm foundation...and on most days and in most ways, she is choosing to stand on it. She is fiesty, funny, oh-so fashionable, and above all she is my beloved first born. I can't wait to see what her life holds, and am fully prepared to celebrate it with her and walk the journey with her. It has been evident since her earliest years that God has a plan for her. What fun to watch it unfold and how humbly blessed I am to be her mom. Thank You, Sweet Jesus, for the privilege.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in a name?

Okay, so I posted a couple of weeks ago about the great loss in our family...our sweet dog Gracie having to be put "to sleep"...I always think of Paul telling us not to be ignorant about those who are asleep...yea, he was referring to death, too.

Anyway, my guy has been looking for a new dog since not long after Gracie went to the big dog house in the sky...or whatever happens to precious rottweilers that think they are lap dogs. Now this has made me wonder what might happen if I ever went to sleep...ya know...like that. I mean he couldn't hardly walk through the backyard without Gracie there. So if it were me, would the kitchen be the tough place? But alas, I digress.

Okay, so he finds several rescue rotts that he is interested in. One is named Ogre...no I am not kidding. The next one he is interested in...Fiona. I mean seriously. Even McKenna made that face where you know she is thinking..."What kind of wierdo..." She even said, "So what's the deal with the whole Shrek themed dog names?" Must admit, I was wondering too.

So Fiona came for a weekend visit. I'm sure we will be keeping her. She is very sweet and submissive, but last night get this. I am sitting on our bed and she can see me from where she is sitting in the living room. She looks in there at me and starts growling. Seriously. And then tonight she wasn't really looking at anything and she starts growling. What in the world? I've decided it is her name. So we're changing it. Actually we decided to change it before the whole growling nuerosis showed up. But Fiona? Seriously, who names a dog Fiona. Not us. Nope, we now have Minnie Pearl. Seriously.

Monday, January 19, 2009


No deep, passionate thoughts tonight. Just this. Jimmy burnt the popcorn. My whole house stinks. Ewwww. Stinky, smelly eeewwwwwww. Men should learn that the popcorn button on the microwave doesn't mean you can camp in the bathroom while it pops and expect it to come out perfect. Can I get an amen? God love him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

He showed up...again

I am sooo sleepy and about to hit the hay, but I just had to share something. I'll try to keep it short! Tonight was a Wednesday night so, of course, we had The Edge (youth worship). Jimmy wasn't feeling so great so he asked me if I would look over his notes in case I needed to pinch hit for him. He came back just as we were starting the praise and worship time, but about half way through the last song interrupted me (ie. my eyes closed, hands raised, praising like crazy) to tell me he was stepping out of the room. So I sang the words with a new fervency:

"Your will above all else.
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
To bring you praise.

Your light will shine when all else fades
Your glory goes beyond all fame.

In my heart, in my soul
I give you control
Consume me from the inside out, Lord...

And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord, my soul cries out..."

I offered it as my prayer of surrender and asked Him to use me as His vessel.

Now my guy is very supportive of all that I do, but he doesn't sit and watch my Beth Moore video at home with me in preparation for our ladies' study and he definitely won't come to our actual group time! So imagine my shock when I flipped open his Bible, and see the title, "Where Is God?" WHOA. WWWHHHOOOAAA!!!! I had seen Beth's intro video for Esther twice now ~ where she teaches us about how important it is to know that God is there even when you can't feel Him. I stood up in front of almost 60 kids and said, "I feel Him here tonight." Then proceeded to explain with a quavering voice what I just told you. And thus, with NO preparation, I winged a 20 minute lesson on what to do when you can't find Him or feel Him, and how important it is for them to KNOW Him, not just settle for a relationship based on surface emotions ~ to know Him by the truth of His Word~His faithfulness, His promises, His enduring love. And so on...

Afterwards, several kids came to me and said how much they appreciated the lesson, how it spoke to them, etc...so...yea, I'm pretty much crying again 'cause I know that was all HIM. ALL HIM.

How good He is to us. How gracious. How loving. How cool. I don't ever want to get over Him. Be glorified, my sweet Savior.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Holy Smokes!!! - Literally

Okay, God has just been stoking my fire about our new Bible Study group. We started the latest Beth Moore study on Esther tonight. I have just about been inside out over the deal the last few weeks - Holy Smokes from a Holy Fire!!! Well, tonight we FINALLY got to get our feet wet.

And what sweet feet we are wetting!!! We had such fun as we introduced ourselves. I asked them to share either what brought them to this study, their most cherished beauty tip, or a great party tip. FUN!!~and funny!

Such an incredible, diverse, precious group He gathered tonight - younger & older, veteran Bible Studiers & novice Bible Studiers, single & married & divorced & dating & engaged, moms with young children & moms with new grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but all Jesus seekers. WOW!!!! And I'm thinking we will have a few others join us next week. There was already such a sweet spirit of fellowship tonight. Can't wait to see what He does with this study and this group.

Beth shared in the intro that the study would, in part, be a study about our destinies. Our personal destinies. I began to ponder the idea of Esther and her destiny...and ours. At the end of the session, I had the ladies close their eyes and envision the most beautiful starry night sky they had ever seen. I reminded them of God's promise to Abraham about his descendants outnumbering the stars. Then I asked them to find the brightest one in the night sky they were seeing. I told them THAT star was them. They are the spiritual descendants of Abraham and reminded them of the incredible spiritual heritage they have as a result. I reminded them that as a star in God's sky, they not only have a heritage, they also have an incredible spiritual destiny as well. I am so excited that I get to observe their sweet destiny unfold for these next 10 weeks!

Those who might read this ~ please pray with us and for us!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Blessings to all eyes that might fall upon these words. As I type this, I pray - "Father, in Your infinite wisdom and omniscience, I pray that while I may not know exactly who might read this, or when, I do ask that because You do know, You will bless each one in the coming year with this simple request; one which I seek for myself. In finding our purpose, my Sweet Lord, I pray that love abounding will be the watermark of this year. Let us love You with abandon and each other with a love that looks like Yours. Becky, illustrated the perfect request, Lord, in her new calendar. Please, Father, more of You, less of me. In the MIGHTY name of our Jesus, Amen."