My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Friday, October 31, 2008

bits and pieces

TMZ is cracking me up tonight... all the reporters are in costume...

I'm sick of political commercials.

Austin is answering the door for trick or treaters. We're giving out tootsie rolls and tootsie pops!

Austin has a bed courtesy of my co-worker Ginger and her husband Larry. They even brought bed linens for him! Austin had insisted he didn't want a bed but he was really proud of it and even made the bed all nice and neat.

Funny how we have a new appreciation for such basics.

And I feel like I'm contributing to Kelli's Eco-Friendly Friday since I'm using "recycled" furniture!

We could have gone to the college tonight for the big Halloween festival but I just felt like staying in and avoiding crowds and traffic and ... well... kids. I love kids... I'm just tired. I'm not in the mood for hundreds of sugared up kids.

This is the first year I haven't had a kid to take trick or treating in twenty years. It's weird.

We listen to country music at work all day. I'm ok with country music but it's not my favorite... although I'm loving the song, "I want a love like Johnny and June"... me too. That's what I want.

This friend of a client called today and asked me out. *thud* He had seen me while I was helping his friend and told me he thought I was something special... *eyeroll*... yeah. Whatever. I'm way too cynical right now to be moved by such talk. I'm soooo not ready for anything like that... and he's not really someone I would BE interested in... but it was sort of a reality check for me. I'm hiding behind a fat suit and a wedding ring and wanting to stay under the dating radar. This guy is too short ... I mean... I'm only 5'2... guys should be at least taller than me.

We had a really funny moment at work today when Gus (the single dad) was teasing me about my "pocket Mexican" (my term) and my objection to his height (or lack thereof). He indicated that I should have a minimum height posted in my office like they do at amusement parks. I said, "yeah... you should be at least this big to ride this ride"... and then I realized how perverted that sounded... and we all had a good laugh. Duane had left for the day and we were all "bonding". I work with some good people. I enjoy every last one of them.

Now I'm watching a PBS special on James Stewart hosted by Johnny Carson.... two classics... very nostalgic.

I'm really looking forward to a day off tomorrow.... especially watching the Georgia vs. Florida football game!

Sunday will be another marathon day for us... church, up to waaaay North Georgia for a luncheon for Grandma's 85th birthday... back to church... but tomorrow is a lazy day.

It's been six weeks since "it" happened. I'm so happy... sitting in the middle of my beautiful antique bed... making it on my own... with a beautiful life... I'm doing this!

I have a headache... a sore throat... an earache... I still have the "ick" going on but I'm happy. A bad day now is better than a good day used to be... that's pretty awesome. I'm grateful.

Hope you're all having a great time tonight! I'm looking forward to pictures!

pictures of Eden

Back in 2002, my dear friend and soul mate, Purple Michael and I directed three shows with the Clayton Alliance for Summer Theatre, aka CAST. CAST was a community theatre program through the Clayton County, Georgia school system. It was a good thing... a very good thing... many people who went through that program have gone on to work in professional theatre. Many relationships were formed that have lasted... the program, in it's purest form, ended in 2004 with the show that Michael and I created for the Fifteenth Anniversary. The program director was one Mrs. Mary Kraack - a theatrical genius and incredible woman who was surrogate mother and BFF to dozens of people. Mary has two sons, Steve (who is married to my high school friend, Mitzi) and Jason, who married Lindsay in 2003 (I think?).

During the summer of 2002 Michael and I worked on three shows: Footloose, Fiddler on the Roof and The Fantastiks. Footloose was comprised of teens and young adults. Fiddler was community wide. The Fantastiks was for people who had come up thru the CAST program and worked in professional theatre. Lindsay (pictured above) was our choreographer for Fiddler (my kids called her the "Dance Nazi"). She was (and is) amazingly talented. She went on the next summer to direct a very challenging production of Les Miserables, student edition. Jason participated in the Fantastiks... and during that time I got to enjoy his humor and talent and charming personality... along with a host of other incredibly amazing people...

You have these relationships in theatre that I refer to as "show relationships" where you meet someone and work side by side with them for hours at a time for days and weeks. You eat together, spend all your waking hours together... your life evolves around the show and with that common goal, you can't help but bond. Because theatre folks are ever evolving and because working actors and tech people are always going from one show to another... and moving on to other show relationships... you have a tendency to lose touch... but the bonds that are formed during those moments of extreme creative vulnerability and fatigue have a tendency to go on. I have dozens of kids that I worked with in theatre that I still communicate with on an almost daily basis via myspace and facebook.

So Lindsay and Jason, for me, are special people, but I had lost touch with them... until I was forwarded an email that showed a picture of their baby girl, Eden Pressley, who was born very premature, weighing 2lbs, 7oz about a month ago. I had been trying to get an update... and finally Jason's dad sent me a link with updated pictures. Eden is doing well... she will probably remain in the hospital for another six weeks or so... but she is growing and gaining weight and looking great! Here are a few pictures I snagged... keep Jason, Lindsay and Eden in your prayers!









thankful Friday... because I'm just different

I love Fridays because I get to wear jeans. Some of y'all have Thankful Thursdays posts and that's awesome... but I'm always MOST Thankful on Friday! I love Fridays because it's the end of a long work week and because I look forward to weekends here in the mountains. I look forward to church on Sunday. I look forward to down time on Saturday. I look forward to football Saturdays (Go Gators!). It's just a happy day for me.

As the number of things on my stress list dwindles down - things like getting a bed, making sure our bills are paid, all the utilities turned on, making sure my car is legal, getting mine and Austin's health insurance squared away (both had to wait for my first pay stub, which I get today!) - the fewer things like that I'm stressed over, the more I can focus on additional details... things like hanging pictures on the wall (which I haven't done yet but will do this weekend)... I can start to think about curtains (mom wanted to make them last weekend but I just couldn't visualize them yet)... And with Halloween passing us by tonight, I can start to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas! With my limited budget, it's going to take some careful planning to do something (affordable) for the people I love for Christmas. I've got to plan ahead!

I did sleep well last night (Thanks, Tina!) and my bed is perfectly cozy for me. I am feeling more of a cold coming on than I did earlier in the week... it was there, lurking, first thing in the morning all week, making me feel a little icky... and this morning my nose and eyes are dripping and there is a definite tickle in my throat and I have this junky cough. It was bound to happen sometime... and my health insurance will be back in force tomorrow so I am not panicked as I would have been to start getting sick without health insurance. I have a few things of antibiodics too... but for now... I'm thinking this is just plain old fashioned weather changing cold. I think I am going to forego the outdoor trick or treating/festival at the college and stay in tonight... which means I'll need to pick up some candy for trick or treaters!

I have some pictures to share but blogger isn't cooperating... I'll try in a different entry...
Hope you have a Happy Halloween and an awesome Friday!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

my bed!


We moved in here on... October 4th, I think it was... and since that time I have been sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor with an air mattress on top of it... you may have "heard" me complain about it a time or two... *wink*...



And finally... FINALLY... today I got a new bed! Granted... it's "new" in the same way a 1976 Pinto would be new... but it's mine and it's a bed and it's really very cozy!



It's been a stressful day... between the logistics for moving the bed up here... and working... and some behavior issues with Austin at school... *eyeroll*... it was bound to happen sometime!... I've had more than my share of troubles.

But here I am... sitting on a bed... a REAL BED! ... in my own little place... and I was able to pay the November rent... and the power bill... and the start up cost of the internet and phone (there was a delayed deposit on it)... and my tag... and my water bill... and we just MIGHT have enough left over to eat for the next two weeks! Six weeks ago I could never have believed this possible... and I am grateful and humbled by the whole experience.

Hope you all had a great Thursday! I'm off to catch up on blogs! *hugs*

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pictures!


Austin missed the bus the other day ... Tuesday, I think it was... and I had to take him to school. After I dropped him off I saw this amazing sunrise... great reward for my efforts!













My boys - Cody and Austin. Austin used to be a skinny little runt... notsomuch any more. Cody and Ryan came to make a delivery this evening (more on that later) and Cody had to harass Austin about his "Pop" belly.










Aren't they cute? btw... I hate the saggy drawers on Cody... but at least he got that hair trimmed a bit. Those are my babies...
more in a minute!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Happened Wednesday

I woke up this morning feeling sniffly and icky. This is a recurring theme for me. I prayed all the way to work... I'm learning to make my "commute" (and it hardly seems right to call it that - it's more of a scenic drive through the valley with the mountains in the distance) I'm trying to make it a time of focus, prayer, worship, preparation... and so far, that seems to be giving me a supernatural strength. Not as in Heroes special powers... but strength that passes anything I've had before, cheerfulness and peace and grace and excitement and enthusiasm that are just completely the opposite of what I have felt in the past. I have ALWAYS been tired. Seriously... my entire adult life I have been tired... I mean, first I was a young working mother with little children... and then I was a single mother... and then I was fighting such overwhelming depression... I'm just tired of being tired.

And... no, it's not a thyroid issue (that's been checked) and yes, without a doubt, I'm still adjusting to my new work hours... it's a big deal to go from working 25 hours a week to working 40 hours a week... it really is! And honestly... I'm still detoxing and adjusting from all the crap I was on... prescribed but still with lots of side effects, such as weight gain... so there are logical reasons for my fatigue... but it makes it no less frustrating. I am truly surviving at work by the Grace of God and His provision in my life. I'm having to depend on prayer... and I'm grateful for that supernatural power, soooo grateful! I just want to feel good.

Today has been a good day. Ryan is on his way to Atlanta from Philly (where he now lives and works). He will be here for a few days. If all goes well, Cody and Ryan will be bringing not just ONE but two beds up here tomorrow. I could- cross your fingers and say a prayer!- I could be in a real bed as early as tomorrow night! And even if they can't get the beds here, my co-worker has been able to locate a bed for us (I think I mentioned that they participate in a ministry that provides furniture to people in need... her husband has been watching for a bed for us! They have one ready to deliver on Saturday!) It looks like our time of air mattress sleeping is winding to an end.

I think I've mentioned another co-worker who is a single dad of five. My nosy self has been wondering what happened to the mother of those babies. Today we had a few minutes to talk and it turns out that his situation was similar to my first marriage - with his spouse being addicted to alcohol and unable to be a real parent to their children. I KNOW the weight of that responsibility... and it breaks my heart for him... and for his kids. But I also know that my kids are who they are because of that... they are compassionate, they are kind, they are really good about family obligations... and a big part of that is because they learned early on that their dad was going to play a different role in their lives than the average parent. In many ways, they had to be the more giving party in their relationship with him. They have loved him... and been protective of him... and been forgiving of him... they have been self-sufficient and they have learned to rely on other people in their lives who love them. My co-worker has just gone through three years of court battles to gain full custody of his kids - and he now has it. The mom doesn't even have visitation.

It just frustrates me how people don't realize how good they have it. I get aggravated at mothers who walk away from their children. Fathers who disappear and don't pay child support. Husbands who aren't faithful. Wives who shrewishly complain about everything. To find someone who loves you and wants to share your life is a beautiful gift. Cherish it. Honor it. Appreciate it. There are just so many hurt and hurting people who long for someone to share their life. How is any high, any buzz, any affection or attention from anyone worth throwing away a commitment? A future? Love?

Sorry to be soap-boxing tonight... I just get frustrated from it all.

Today was a good day for me. I had a great review with Duane and set my goals for the rest of the year. I haven't sold anything this week... I've got to get my game face on tomorrow and beat the bushes! I need some commission! He was very encouraging and positive and I'm grateful. I want to do a good job. I want to make a difference. God brought me here to do more than cash a paycheck. There is a greater purpose.

I was feeling really tired on my way home from work but never really considered missing church. I mean... I could have... my bible study class wasn't meeting tonight... but I wanted that time of fellowship. I wanted Austin to have that continuity. So we went... and had dinner... our usual table of assorted Gants and Natalie, the young widow... and the guy whose wife works late on Wednesdays... and the Pastor's 14 year old daughter with Downs... a pleasant group... with the usual hugs and hellos from others... it's uplifting and encouraging to be a part of the Family of God and to share time with them.

I went to the youth group service tonight just to see what that was all about. My brother taught from John 13 on washing feet - and being a servant to others. Afterwards, I went with Angie to pick up the girls from their classes... I love to be a part of their "dismissal" on Wednesday nights. I help gather them and their stuff and help Angie get them in the car... give 'em a kiss and a hug and tell them good night.

Jamie's little friends Bailey and Eli (little boys - both age 5) were giving me a hard time about my Gators shirt I was wearing. Bailey's family is all Georgia Bulldogs... and Eli's dad got his degree at Florida State. Only in the deep south would you have five year olds who are already loyal to a college team! Eli said, "Booo Gators... I like Seminoles!" and I said, "that's ok, Eli, I love you anyways". Eli is special to me because he is planning to marry Sarabeth... and because his mama is just a really loving, kind, Godly woman who has shown me much love and grace since I've been here. Eli is one of five kids and that also makes him special to me since I am one of five. Bailey is precious to me because his mom has also been a kind and compassionate sister in Christ. This is what it means to be a part of the Family of God... to enjoy the little children who are my earthly family but also to enjoy the little children who are of my sisters in Christ, my heavenly family.

Since Jamie always gets picked up from her church classes, she wanted to know who was going to pick up Austin from HIS class.... and so we let HER pick him up. She thought it was the funniest thing!

Austin has made a special friend at school. Her name is Dana. That's all he'll tell me. He's been texting like crazy... although he's been cautioned that he can only have 100 texts... and not to get used to it because it looks like the only cell coverage I'm going to be able to get is the emergency phone... no texts...

Ok... the sleepy bug is getting in my eyes... I need a good night's rest. *hugs* to all of you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the dirt on me

I got tagged by Emmi (who I adore, by the way!) who wanted me to share some dirt on myself. Seriously... as if there is anything you don't ALREADY know!

Here are the rules:
* link to the person who tagged you
* list 6 random things about yourself
* tag 6 new people
* let each tagged person know by posting a comment on their blog
* link to the 6 people you've tagged
* and let the person who tagged you know that you posted

Things you may not know about me - random- Let's make this fun - give yourself one point for everything you DID know about me already and leave me a comment with your score!

1. I'm left handed. Not just a little bit left-handed but "keep the paper completely sideways when I write and smudge ink all over my hand" left handed.

2. I have four brothers. (that's on my sidebar so not a lot of research involved there!) Jim is in Clarkesville GA, Michael is in Chattanooga TN, Bryan is in NYC and David is in Acworth GA.

3. I bite my fingernails.

4. I love sharpie markers. One of my favorite stress relievers is to color with markers. My husband called it "retard-istry".

5. I love live theatre.... creating, watching... you name it. I love musicals and will sing along with them whenever possible.

6. I love to sing. I'm not incredibly awesome or talented or anything. I don't care if I'm offkey. I just love to sing... I sing all the time.

I have to pick six people to tag... and I really hate that part of it. Sooooo... if you want to do this, tag yourself and leave a comment and I promise to link to your blog in a separate entry. I promise!

OK... for today's big news... I now have a valid tag on my car! Woohoo! I went this morning and took care of it... well, let me back up... I had PLANNED to take care of it this morning and then Doofus (aka Austin) missed the bus and I had a mini-meltdown thinking... AGAIN I would be foiled in my attempt at getting legal. But I took a deep breath and said, "ok... make me a bagel to eat in the car and let's go". So he did and we did and it was ok... it only put me behind by about five minutes...

Here's the funny thing... a week ago when I went to attempt to get the tag and needed the drivers license I stood outside the courthouse for about ten minutes waiting for the front door to be unlocked and felt like a big old idiot when the sheriff came to the door and said, "you just have to pull it". Doink! So this morning I walked up to the courthouse and there was a crowd of about a dozen people waiting and I asked as I walked up, "is it locked?" and got a chorus of "yes"es. Keep in mind... it was in the mid-thirties... it was cold! SO imagine what a hero I was when I walked up to the door and pulled it open! It was funny... I was only slightly smug... I did explain that the same thing had happened to me. The sheriff chuckled at me.... like I've said... in a small town when you meet someone the first time you are a stranger, the second time your paths cross you are old friends!

After getting the tag I surveyed the line for early voting and it looked pretty manageable. I figured better to take ten or fifteen minutes today rather than take hours next week... so I voted! Again, I was amused by the sense of community in our little town. Seriously... the guy who was telling voters which line to get in said to me, "alright honey, go ahead and get in Miss Betty's line" as if I knew who Miss Betty was! I guessed wrong and he corrected me, "Miss Betty is the lady in blue..." I said, "I'm sorry, I'm new here!" It was funny... and I promise, they really asked the lady in front of me, "howzyermama'n'em?" It's a word, not a sentence. They talked about who was expecting and who was "battling cancer". Nobody here HAS cancer... they're "battling". Anyways... I did my patriotic duty and now I can sit back and wait for the results. Next week.

Quick takes:

Cloris Leachman. I just don't know what to say.

It's cold here. Even colder in Chicago where my Purple Michael is.

Work was good today. My desk is set up now and I love it.

Today I finally hung up the clothes that I washed on Saturday.

Austin cooked chicken on the George Foreman grill for dinner and he's aggravated that I haven't eaten it yet.

The whole Jennifer Hudson story breaks my heart.

I'm planning another EBT tonight (early bedtime)

Sarabeth and Jamie had a soccer game tonight but it was too freaking cold for me!

Did I mention that it's cold?

Hope you all have a good night... love and hugs!


Monday, October 27, 2008

alerts and prayers and being real with God

Hopefully I've corrected the comment block (although I'm not really sure how it would have been blocked... it's set to accept from all, even non-blogger people). But anyways... whilst (Lainey's word!) trying to figure out what was blocking comments, I figured out that I can send post alerts to ten people. I don't know why only ten... but ten. So... if you'd like to receive post alerts (and I know there was at least one person who asked), let me know by comment or email and I'll try to accomodate you.

I had planned to go to a concert at the church tonight with Angie and the girls... and went to have dinner with them first... but the girls weren't feeling great and Angie wasn't feeling great and I had a bad case of draggy butts and the cold outside made me just want to curl up in my... um... air mattress... with a big blanket. Austin had a mess going when I got home... I would have had a complete meltdown if I had come home to that at 9 or later so I'm glad I came on home.

As Angie says... tonight is a good night to institute EBT... (early bedtime). I'm tired and a bit whiney... and I know a good night's sleep will help a lot. Y'all send me some love... I miss having comments today! I was feeling a little bummed out and lonely while driving home tonight... just one of those moments, you know? I just can't remember the last time I was really held by someone who loved me. It is better, far better, to be alone and lonely than to be with someone and feel that they are a million miles away... and I'm in no way ready to be in any kind of relationship... but I just miss that feeling of being held and comforted, does that make sense?

There's a popular Christian song - Held, by Natalie Grant - that came to mind as I was driving home and whining before the Lord (also known as praying) that "I just WANT to be HELD, is that toooo much to ASK, God?" And ... well, first He showed me the beauty of the mountains surrounding me, which always calms me... and then He brought to mind that song... here's the chorus:

This is what it means to be held. How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life And you survive. This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was When everything fell we'd be held.

Whoa. Here's a you tube link for the video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOufqWodFNo

comments?

I changed some settings on my blog which *should* have just let me get emails when comments are made... but instead it seems like people are unable to leave comments... I don't want there to be any misunderstanding... this is still a place of free speech... I haven't deliberately blocked anyone! Let me know by email at Julydarby@aol.com if you are having problems commenting...

thanks!

busy week ahead

Picture that my friend Cyndi snapped on the stealth in church yesterday of former Governor Zell Miller speaking. Cyndi had her camera on her because three of her four kids were baptized yesterday (by my brother! she got some awesome pictures of that too!). I was on the opposite side of the sanctuary, I sit in front of the drums - my SIL Angie plays the drums and we frequently exchange looks (winks, giggles, private jokes) while she is playing. It's a sister thing.


This is not a new picture but it's one of my favorite Jamie pictures... this is Jamie as Elton John... *laugh*.... since it's Monday, I figured rose-colored glasses were a good way to start the day. I have a tendency to think through my itinerary to when my next "down time" will occur and this week... that's looking like Thursday... it's a busy week ahead. We have a meeting at work this morning and I need to be there early... Tonight after work there is a concert at the church that I really want to attend... it would just be Angie and I as Jim is staying home with the girls. I may go straight there from work to avoid spending 45 minutes driving to Cleveland and back... Tomorrow before work I have to (finally) get my tag and hope to do the early voting thing, if possible. Tomorrow night is the girls' soccer game and I'd like to be there, if possible... i.e. if I'm not worn out.

Wednesday night we have fellowship dinner and bible study - sometime between now and then I need to complete my week's worth of homework for the class that I never seem to get to... Friday night we're planning to go to a Halloween thing at the college... Busy, busy... Good busy... happy busy... productive, taking part in the lives of our family and church and community busy...
Must get ready now...
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Sunday, October 26, 2008

sausage ball recipe

Dawn asked for the sausage ball recipe so I thought I'd share it with everyone... it's super simple...

3 packages of bisquick cheese biscuit mix or six cups of bisquick
1 1/2 cups of water
3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 packages of sausage

mix bisquick mix and water until dough forms, add in cheese and sausage. form into balls about 1 inch in diameter. bake at 425 degrees for about fifteen minutes or until brown

You can make these ahead and freeze until you're ready to bake. This is a standard Christmas morning brunch treat in our house and we ALWAYS make them ahead of time. It's a bit of work to get the sausage and cheese blended in the dough - and it takes some time to roll them all out but soooo worth it!

demonstrating my mad cooking skills


Who says I'm not domestic? I made a pie AND cookies AND sausage balls today! The cookies are no great Martha Stewart-ness on my part... I just bought the premade tube of cookie dough. The greatest accomplishment is not eating the raw dough before it can be transformed into cookies.

The pie is a rather cool deal... and I am rather proud of myself. You may recall that there was a practice pie about two weeks ago and I forgot the baking powder and pecans... today I made the real deal and it is awesome (note missing piece). For those who are interested in attempting the pie... it's relatively simple (meaning, if I can do it, you can do it)... you just crush 20 ritz crackers and mix with 1 tsp baking powder and a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans... butter a pie pan... beat 3 egg whites (separating the eggs is a tad tricky but you probably have one of those handy dandy egg separater things... I just used my hands)... beat the egg whites until they're stiff and then add a cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. When that's beaten in, fold in the cracker mixture. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes... after it cools... top with strawberries and, if you like, whipped cream! The pie is sort of a meringue and it creates all these nooks and crannies for the strawberries to juice into. It's really yummy!

This morning at church former Georgia Governor and former US Senator Zell Miller spoke. Here's his wikipedia entry for those who aren't well versed in southern politics... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zell_Miller Basically he was a Democratic Governor and after his term ended he was appointed to replace a Senator who had passed away mid-term. He went to Washington as a Democrat but his conservative values convinced him to convert to Republican. He spoke at the 2004 Republican Convention. I've always followed his career with interest and it was good to meet him. He was at our church to honor State Representative Ben Bridges, who is a member of our church. Ben was a Georgia State Patrol officer prior to his political career and he was assigned to protect Zell Miller. (Ben's greater distinction in life, as he and I later agreed, was that his daughter, Deidre, is my Jamie's teacher at Resurrection Episcopal Preschool.) Mrs. Miller was so sweet... she introduced herself to Austin and we were able to share with her our appreciation for her husband's service to our state and our nation. Zell was also gracious and shared that he was proud to be at our church - as we were proud to have him. I admonished Austin to remember meeting him as Zell Miller played an historic role in the politics of both our state and nation. Regardless of your political affiliation, it is always an honor to meet an elder statesman.

I think I mentioned that Austin was participating in Bible Drill and last week he was given a Bible. I am a little embarassed that he didn't already have one... all my kids HAVE had bibles over the course of their lives but I guess since Austin has never been able, up until now, to sit through church or bible study, I never made sure he had one of his own. Last week he said, "they gave me my own bible... I even got to write my name in it". Awww.... Yesterday when I picked him up he was proud that he had *almost* learned the books of the Old Testament in order (it's pretty tough... there are 39 books!) He even called Jim aka Uncle Bubba on his way home from the retreat to demonstrate his new skills... When we got up this morning Austin said, "I started reading Genesis last night..." "OH?" I have never forced my kids to read the bible. I have and will force Austin to go to church with me as long as he lives with me but I want him to want to seek God. Church attendance is one thing... having a relationship with God and an appreciation for His Word is something else. He said, "yeah... that whole thing with Noah and the Ark is pretty amazing..." and he started quoting facts and figures. Give an Asperger's kid any book and they will know it inside and out in a very short time, if they're interested. He asked if he could read the bible during worship service instead of having to "do all that singing and standing up and stuff". I agreed. I mean... yes, I would love for him to appreciate the worship service itself but so long as he is getting something out of the service and doesn't distract others, I'm ok with it.

While we were waiting in the receiving line to meet Zell Miller, etc, Austin had to recite the books of the Old Testament for Angie to show her he could do it. I'm so relieved he's found some interest in something we're doing at church... because he's GONNA GO either way, it just makes it easier on me if he's enthusiastic about going.

Time for a quick nap... Bible Study at 6pm... then dinner together with the families from Bible Study... and then tomorrow I have to be at work early... I'm tired... need a power nap!

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if God is for us, who can be against us?

Borrowed from What's New At My House (which you should all read...it's a beautifully written, wise and positive journal!) http://onyama.blogspot.com/2008/10/chapter-10-page-26-book-08.html

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.
The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. ""As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."
"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.
"So, my friend, why not take a while to just simply RELAX. Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while. Life is short.
Enjoy it!

I've talked many times about how everyone has a "worst thing" that is impacting their lives... and although my worst thing may not even compare to your worst thing... it's still the worst for me. I can very much relate to the little story above because often it's not that our worst thing is that bad... it's just gone on for that long. I've been accused of being an ostrich... of putting my head in the sand to avoid problems... maybe I am... but I also know that there are times that I have to lay my burdens down for a time, to be able to rebuild my strength and to gain a fresh perspective for dealing with them.

One really popular passage of scripture - Matthew 11:28-30 encourages us to come to God with our burdens

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


But do you notice that it says to take His yoke upon us? God isn't asking to be a dumping ground for our issues... He's inviting us to work with him - labor with him - imagine a yoke of oxen - how they are joined together and must go in the same direction and do the same work - He is inviting us to work with him and in that way find rest. I don't know what it will mean to you to take His yoke upon you. For me, at least lately, it has meant a ministry of prayer. I've never seen myself as any great prayer warrior but I am a great talker and God is a Great Listener (capital G, capital L!). For me it's meant to take the hurts and go before Him in sincere, genuine, honest, heartfelt prayer... asking Him to rebuild lives, mend hearts, protect families, uplift, encourage, provide... it means taking my disappointment and using it for His good. It's meant having a personal conversation about my personal conversion and it's meant naming names to the One who already knows the names... and asking Him to create a mighty work in this situation... asking Him to be glorified through this. It means that every day I have to take my hurts and my frustrations and my disappointments and any bitterness that is building up in me and ask Him to be yoked with me and help me keep walking under the weight of all that. And so far, every day He has. In the process... He keeps changing my mind about my anger... and replacing it with compassion... He keeps reminding me that there is nothing done to me that I haven't done to someone else, in at least some small way in my past. He keeps reminding me that "but for the Grace of God" go I. He keeps reminding me that I'm no better... no more righteous... no more Godly when I allow myself to be defined by my circumstances instead of who and Whose I am.

This passage is arguably the most victorious in the Bible for me... at least right now... this is from Romans 8:28-31
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I could spend a day picking apart this passage for you but I want you to take it at face value for what it means to you. I know people have different perspectives of calling, predestination, conformation, justification... I don't want to overwhelm you with the theology and doctrine of this passage. I just want you to see a few key points as how it relates to me...
1) God knew me before I was born... I believe Jesus carried my sins on the cross with Him. They knew what I would be up to here on this earth. He knew me before - "foreknew" me.
2) God's will for my life was always that I would be His child and His servant. At times in my life I have fulfilled that will for me... and at times I haven't. My intention is to be in His Will. He "predestined" me. - predetermined my destiny.
3) God put me in a place, in a position from early childhood to understand who He is. God keeps putting me back in that place an keeps showing me the role I play in His church, His kingdom, His work. I may not be a preacher or missionary or even a teacher, but make no mistake, God has given me a job to do - a calling - a work to complete here on this earth.
4) In my own little ole self I am not worthy of doing anything on behalf of the Maker and Creator and Savior of this world but because of Jesus' death on the cross, the penalty for my mistakes has already been paid. It's just as if those failures never occured. I'm justified. Just As If I'd - never sinned. I'm good enough to do whatever He needs me to do!
5) I'm glorified... I always see this as a future potential... when I go to Heaven, I will receive the reward - or glory - He has promised. But I will tell you, honestly, that if there was NO reward, no afterlife, no Heaven, I would still want to live life this way. I would still pick this life and this lifestyle over what I've had before. I can't imagine that it gets any better than this (but I hear it does!)

Therefore I will adopt this promise and believe that however ugly, painful, disappointing, hurtful the situation that God tells me it will all work together for my good. It doesn't take a huge leap of logic or faith to already see that I am in a better, happier, healthier place... and to see that as time goes on, those hurts will be replaced with joy, as they already are in so many ways today.

Sorry if my Sunday Sermon ran a little long... I really need to get ready for church as we are running late from my long entry... I hope these passages will help you feel Him a little more today and seek Him in your times of trouble. I love you all, even those I barely know! I appreciate that you want to hear what I have to say and pray that every now and then I'll toss out a nugget of wisdom that will be of encouragement to you! *hugs*

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Helen City Limits


I'm not really sure where Sautee Nacoochee ends and Helen begins... but there are a bunch of old buildings like this just as you get into Helen... there's a candle shop and a winery and an antique store and a granary and mill... it's your standard cute little town... I haven't gone in many of the shops on the outskirts of town but we will. Austin is also itching to try out the new putt putt place.







As you hit the city limits you can see the steeple of Helen First Baptist Church... I was stopped in traffic when I took this. I allowed myself extra time to get Austin and had to wait about 20 minutes... I had a magazine with me and I read that while I was waiting. Austin did really well on his overnight trip and came home all chatty and excited.

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This is life in a tourist town during peak season. I love that we go to church in Helen... but there is a steady line of traffic heading into town this time of year. It took me about 40 minutes to go a distance that would normally take ten... but... hard to complain... that's the tradeoff for living in God's country!














I love this little valley... this is right before the road to Jim and Angie's house.

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country road... take me home...









Pictures taken while on the way to pick Austin up from the church... I was driving so they aren't my *best* photographic work... but you can see the mountains in the distance... it's just so peaceful! More to come!

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my drivers license

For those who ask me why I'm "still" a Gator fan after leaving my Gator man... 1st quarter vs. Kentucky and Florida leads 28-0... that's some awesome football! It's not always easy for I am living in Bulldawg country... everything is plastered with those ugly "circle G" emblems... but I love my Gators and I love Tim Tebow and I'm not changing sidelines any time soon.

Stubby the three legged wonder cat and nurse woke me up at 4:30 this morning licking my fingers. I'm not sure why he wanted to lick my fingers... maybe he thought he needed to revive me. Maybe he was bored. Maybe he was hungry. I don't know... but he definitely got me to wake up. Ick! Now he is licking my elbow. I am not wearing any mouse flavored lotion, I promise. A few minutes ago I was on the phone with a friend and he was trying to insinuate himself between me and my cellphone.

Sooooo... this morning I went to get my Georgia drivers license. If you've been following my redundant saga, I have needed to get a new tag for my car since... um... April. Between my health drama and my relationship drama and lack of time and lack of interest... I didn't manage to even TRY to move my tag to Florida until the beginning of June... which was AFTER I got a warning in Georgia for the expired tag while I was there for Cody's graduation... and I wouldn't have been noticed at all had Michael not run into the back of my car "jokingly" at a stoplight... with an undercover policeman in the next lane. The policeman pulled beside me and said, "I'm a cop - don't worry, I saw everything"... I said, "Oh, that's ok... it's my husband" and the cop assumed domestic violence. *eyeroll* And of course, it was the day after Cody's high school graduation so he, Stephen and Ryan were all Cheech and Chong paranoid in the car with me... Michael got a lecture about safe driving and I got a lecture about my tag and so when I got back to Florida, I went ahead and applied for my Florida tag.

Except... my lienholder never transferred the title to Florida. I should have gone back to the tag office by the beginning of July and ... as I have mentioned previously... between health issues and depression and just not really caring and assuming that Florida cops wouldn't be so mindful of my expired Georgia tag... I just didn't worry about it. And then... it was time to move back to Georgia and when I went to finally do the right thing about my tag... well, the title had never been transferred.

So then it became a matter of having to establish residency in Georgia to be able to renew the old expired Georgia tag... and then it became a matter of being able to afford the tag renewal... and when I finally went this week to get the tag... I needed to have a Georgia drivers license before they could issue a tag. The nearest drivers license bureau is about a half hour away in Gainesville (there is also one in Toccoa and one in Blairsville, all a half hour or more away) and since I was going to have to miss a few hours work on Friday to take Austin to his retreat, I didn't want to miss time going to get my drivers license. So this morning was the appointed time to get a license.

Since Stubby the 3legged wonder cat and nurse decided that my wake up call should come at 4:30 this morning, I decided to go to the drivers license bureau as close to their opening time as possible... for the office in Gainesville, that meant 7:30 this morning. I made it there around 8am... I mean... I wasn't exactly PUSHING myself.. and I did have to put on a little makeup since I knew there would be a photo taken... but I was there not long after they opened. There was no wait... and I went immediately to the counter to begin the transaction.

I gave the lady my Florida license which lists me as "Heather Gant Darby" and my birth certificate which lists me, of course, as Heather Gant. I also had a copy of my marriage license from where I married Michael. Now here's the problem... I could show a paper trail of being born a Gant. And I could show that I was currently a Gant Darby. I could show going from Sauls to Darby... But I could not show the transition between Gant and Sauls... which is how the 2nd marriage license lists me. What the drivers license bureau wanted me to do was prove Gant to Sauls, Sauls to Darby... which is stupid... they had picture ID showing me as Gant Darby... I don't know why the Sauls should matter. So this woman tells me I'm going to have to get my marriage license from 22 years ago when I became a Sauls... so they could use that along with the marriage license showing me going from Sauls to Darby.

Now... I've had to deal with a lot of details in the past five weeks. I've had to bite my tongue and be patient and accept that some things are a process. Getting out of the hospital was a process. Moving here was a process. Finding a place to live - a process. Getting a job - process. Getting Austin registered for school took three attempts. Getting the utilities turned on was a process and an aggravation. I get it. I get that there are requirements and documentation necessary... but this last detail was so stupid... and the potential implication so overwhelming that I started to cry, standing right there at the counter of the DMV. That was the thing that did it. I also panicked a bit. I am still afraid that I will be forced back into some psych facility somewhere if I demonstrate the least bit of instability. Yes, from a logical perspective, I know this is not going to happen... but in those moments where I feel out of control... that's my first and foremost fear. I have to have that license to get my tag. I have to have that tag to keep my car from being impounded. I have to have my car to work and keep a roof over our head. It is too important to just accept what some document happy clerk at the DMV was telling me. I took a breath and asked for a supervisor.

The supervisor was about 14 years old. She repeated what the clerk had told me without even looking at anything. I explained my dilemma to her. I explained that I had been through a difficult time and was trying to rebuild my life and with the exception of the past year had always been licensed in Georgia and although I know they want me to prove Gant to Sauls and then Sauls to Darby in order... the truth is that I just changed my name in THEIR system from Sauls to Darby in the past year... and wasn't there some way they could look up my license to verify the Gant / Sauls / Darby trail? Finally... she agreed to look up my old license... and saw... that my name in their system was listed as Heather Gant Darby, aka Heather Sauls. She told me to tell the clerk that she had approved it for that reason.

Sooooo... I clean up my face and have a seat to wait for my number to be called. I got yet another clerk who didn't believe my assertion that the supervisor had been able to verify my identity... and so she walked away to get permission... and then came back and entered my Florida license info. And then my prior Georgia info... and then said, "I'm sorry, I can't issue you a new Georgia license because your last Georgia license was voluntarily surrendered". I blinked hard, took a deep breath and calmly said, "To obtain the Florida license which you are now holding in your hand....because it would have been illegal for me to maintain both licenses... and because it would have been illegal for me to maintain a Georgia license and Florida residence... " and without apology or clarification she said, "your license fee will be $20... you can wait at the next station.".

Done. I mean... I get National Security. I get the whole identity theft thing. But seriously... I had a picture id that showed who I was... why did it have to be so hard to get a drivers license issued?

I drove from there to Jim and Angie's to visit with mom, dad and the girls (and Jim). Angie is out of town. Sarabeth finally got to open her birthday present from me. It was so hectic at her party and she had opened so many gifts from her little friends that the family let her hold off until later to open... and Angie wanted her to wait and open it while I was there... and so we did... and she LOVED what I got her (a little stuffed dog in it's own carrying purse with little accessories). We went to her room and played with that dog and another she had previously... and had some really good conversation about all kinds of things. We cleaned her room a bit and made her bed and Jamie's and sorted through some of her toys and pretended to nap and then wake each other up with the Wake Up Song that I sing to them. We made birthday cards for a party the girls were going to today. I fixed hair and helped dress the girls and then they were off to their party... and I came home.... after stopping at the farm stand for fresh corn on the cob, boiled peanuts for Austin and some sweet potato bread. Then I stopped at Ingles for cat food and grapes... and now I'm home resting and waiting to go pick up Austin...

I don't know what time I was supposed to get Austin. Jim called the guy who went with the kids... and left a voicemail. I emailed the guy's wife... and she didn't know. I think it was 4pm... and traffic is backed up for about 5 miles heading into Helen due to the leaf watching tourists... so I'll leave around 3pm to go get him... and just walk around town until they get there. For now... I'm just enjoying the football game. Go Gators!

Friday, October 24, 2008

friday stuff

UPdate... PS... whatever... KELLY DAWN Rocks! She knew that I was talking about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego this morning! We did a musical about them back in the early seventies called, "Cool in the Furnace" with this rock/jazz music... that's how I became acquainted with the story! *hugs* Kelly!

Why does Stubby the three legged wonder cat think he is my siamese twin? He will not allow there to be more than six inches between us the entire time I'm at home. While I'm gone he sleeps on my bed. I didn't set out to be a cat lady. And he's got this lumpy skin that is impossible to pet... And why does he wait to do his grooming when he is attached to me? It creeps me out. I am just not an animal person. I try. I think that I should respect God's creatures. But when he pokes that stump of a leg at me... I just shudder! Yet... here he is... curled up beside me...

(I just saw Tina's comment about Stubby being a "nurse" cat... that makes PERFECT sense! I'll stop complaining about him...)

It's so quiet without Austin. I'm enjoying the break... not that he's high maintenance... but it's nice to think in paragraphs instead of two or three words at a time. Austin is forever popping in on me... and I love him... and enjoy him... and appreciate that he still wants to chat with mommy... but sometimes I just want to be still and quiet.

I'm loving that it's so cool here. It's perfect nesting weather! I thought about going out for dinner tonight but I just grabbed a "sammich" aka "sammy" (copyright Rachael Ray) from the Country Bake Shoppe on my way home from dropping off the Augster at church. I also bought some apple bread and some cheese straws. I'm not sure if cheese straws are a strictly southern thing or if they're a country thing or if they're just from the generation before me. I know that most women my age don't know how to make cheese straws. I love 'em! They're not healthy in the least... I can literally TASTE the transfats... but they're a great pig out alternative to oreos. I'm also enjoying a mug of hot green tea... heaven!

Today at work I had an appointment with Duane and the couple that the church secretary (via my brother!) recommended to me... we went over health insurance options for them. They bought one commissionable product and could very possibly buy another, more profitable product... as well as bringing all their insurance to our agency just to help me out... that's pretty awesome! Those contacts in the church and community are what will make the difference in my sales activity here. I'm greatly encouraged at the prospect. I have to keep learning and getting better at selling... but I feel good about the past week at work... in my first full week at work I made enough in commissions to make up the cut in hourly salary I took by moving here plus an extra 25 cents per hour! That's a great affirmation for me that I'm gonna be able to make it on my own!

One good thing about having bad credit - if someone steals your identity, they're not getting anywhere with it!

I've been shopping cellphone plans and, as I suspected, my credit will not allow me to have a traditional cellphone.... so I'm now looking into prepaid plans. There are some decent choices out there. I hate to talk on the phone so I'm looking for something that has an affordable text messaging plan. I really just need something in case of emergency and for long distance calls since we have a landline. The cellphone plan we currently have has been generously extended for a bit longer... which is good...

I had another flat tire today... my tire has a slow leak... and I just HAPPENED to stop to get a biscuit at the BP station and JUST HAPPENED to notice that my tire was "super mega" low... and for the first time ever, I was able to put air in my own tire. I know this is car maintenance 101, but I just never got the training. I didn't drive until I was in my late 20's and by then my first husband was not really into teaching me anything. And my boys have always taken care of that for me... The last time my tire was low Joshy was around and he went to the gas station with me and filled it... and showed me how to do it... and then this morning when I needed to, I was able to do it! I was so proud! And grateful!

OH! I can't believe I didn't share this with you already... I have a bed coming! It's a full mattress and box spring... I still need to find bed rails but if nothing else, we can sit the mattress on the floor! It will beat my little air mattress/twin mattress combo (which I will bestow on Austin). My friend Amy (from my uncle's office, not to be confused with Amy my BFF in Holly Springs) has a sister in law who is also going through a divorce... and she is, ironically, moving to Florida, and is unable to take the mattresses. See how that all works out? Amy will be back up here in God's Country next weekend and will bring them for me then. I'm so excited!

On Friday nights I like to just park the tv on the Food Network but I am growing so annoyed with the Neely's. They are too syrupy sweet... they make me gag! I may have to switch over to Nancy Grace.

New pringles flavor: spicy guacamole.... I love 'em... Austin says they're too spicy.

Plan for tomorrow... get my drivers license switched to Georgia so I can get my tag switched before I get in trouble. It will help my mama sleep better. I only really get nervous when I'm driving thru the town square in Cleveland. The rest of the time I'm pretty much alone on the roads. Well. I guess I get a little nervous driving through Helen. But we only do that on Sundays. I'm ready to do some road-tripping up into the mountains to take some leaf changing pictures. I also want to take pictures of some of the beautiful old churches around here... y'all have to see how picturesque this place is!

Sign that I have been in the mountains too long: today as I was driving home there was this guy in the median of the road that I found really attractive. He had a full beard, was wearing overalls and a ball cap and a flannel jacket. I seriously did a double take! He even had a bit of a beer belly!

I saw this little quote in a comment on a blog today and I thought it was beautiful... I don't know who wrote it but I've seen it before... g'night y'all!

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

curly, rainy, jeans kind of day

We have a cold rain predicted for all day.... fortunately it's a jeans day at work... and I'll be curly today because... well, it's raining, I don't have a choice. That all translates into low maintenance grooming this morning.

I didn't sleep well last night. I had the opportunity to go to sleep early and instead I stayed up reading blogs and such. On the blog, "Bring the Rain" there was a post about/from/by women who had lost babies. I read hundreds of comments to it... people sharing their grief... some of them babies who were lost 50 years ago... some of them women who had lost their children due to abortion... their stories are so compelling. I've never lost a child. I never even had to suffer infertility. For me it just took a lustful glance and I was pregnant. If I hadn't had my tubes tied in 1995 I'd probably be giving Michelle Dugger a good run for her money. I've never felt that kind of pain but it was interesting to read and see how women handled this devastating pain. Some had blogs - and I would take a few minutes to read their stories - and some just left an anonymous sentence indicating that they had suffered loss. If you want to check this out... here's the link: http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/

I've become intensely interested in how women, specifically Christian women, handle disappointment. As I've said many times... my situation may not even begin to compare to the grief of losing a child... yet, it's my worst thing. I'm interested in how Godly women deal with their worst thing... death, illness, disappointment, suffering... I am drawn to those stories... not that I have become pessimistic or addicted to drama and sadness... but because I find incredible inspiration in those examples of survival.

There's a story in the Old Testament that isn't one of your "popular" standard stories that kids grow up learning in Sunday School but I think it's a really cool story. There were some Israelite children that were held captive in a foreign land and the King of that nation created an idol and insisted that everyone worship his idol or else they'd be thrown into a fiery furnace. The Israelites refused... and they were thrown in the furnace... and God was WITH them in the furnace... and the furnace did not burn them... and the King began to worship their God.

I won't post the whole passage here... it takes place in the 3rd chapter of Daniel - if you want a little more background, start at the beginning of Daniel and read through this chapter. If you don't have a bible handy, you can just go to http://www.biblegateway.com/ and search for the passage. The key verse for me is this: in verse 27 the three Israelite boys are ordered to come OUT of the furnace since it is obviously not serving the purpose the king had intended... they came out and all the government officials checked them out and "they saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched and there was no smell of fire on them".

*laugh* So... my prayer is this... that I will walk through the fire and not be harmed. The world expects to look at me and find me burned, and broken and turned into a heap of ashes and... by the Grace of God... I will not be consumed. I will live a victorious life instead of... or maybe because of... the fire.

Lamentations 4:22-23 says "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "

Have a beautiful day... whether you walk in rain or fire or pain... my prayer is that you are not consumed. Hugs!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

transition

Tonight I'm just resting in a quiet room with Stubby, the amazing three legged wondercat at my feet. I'm not sure how Stubby came to be my watch-cat but he screeches like a banshee if Austin tries to take him away from me. I don't really want the cat on my bed... and... I mean, it IS an air mattress... but Stubs is de-clawed. I think. But... if the poor creature finds comfort in my presence for whatever reason, who am I to deny him?

I needed some peace tonight. There's been a lot of "reliving the moment" for me this week. I've felt a little shaken... I've had to defend myself more than I would like. I've had to have an opinion, speak up and out, remember the pain... and it's just... well... tiresome. There are times that I work so hard at healing that I forget that I'm really not supposed to be "over it" yet.

I remember that last 24 hours in the psych ward - once I had made my decision to leave Jacksonville. I was chomping at the bit. I was ready to leave. It was as if someone had tied a weight to the second hand of the clock to slow the passing of time. I told my doctor that I had too much living to do to sit still. Then I was shot like a rocket out of there and into "the rest of my life". There was so much to do... wrapping up my life there in Jax.... planning and starting my life here in the mountains... I was so busy pressing on that I didn't have time to reflect or mourn.

This week has involved a little mourning. I hadn't quite expected that to happen. I thought I was in a place of peace and victory. This week I have learned that I'm not as big, bad or healed as I thought I was. I've also been so blessed... there have been many healing conversations and experiences for me. As one of my new friends at church said last night, God is "stretching me" a bit. Sometimes I just have to be pruned a bit for the new growth to come out.

I'm not really sure where the transition stops and the living begins. It's like that old saying, "Life is what happens while you're busy making plans." I get up and go to work and come home and cook dinner and we go to church and we live our life and this seems like what we have done all along and then I'll have a reality check and remember that everything has changed... that my life has been completely rearranged and renovated.

Sometimes I feel like I'm that final episode of the Newhart show.. remember the one where Bob wakes up and he's in his old bed from the first Bob Newhart show with his wife from that show and he says, "I just had the strangest dream" and the dream was the whole second show... Vermont, Larry, Darryl and Darryl, Stephanie... all of it a dream.

I feel like all of the time in Jacksonville was just a dream. And when people contact me from that time in my life... it's like I'm being forced back to sleep... and robbed of my current reality. I can't stop caring about those people... I can't be completely unfeeling and numb to it all... but I don't want to go there... not even in my mind. On the other hand... sometimes all of this feels like a dream and I'm afraid that someone is going to wake me up and I'll be right back where I was... or I'm afraid that I died that night... and this is Heaven.... and that's why everyone from "then and there" seems so intangible. There is definitely a feeling of "this can't be my life"... it's just too good. Too normal. Too... everything I had hoped for in the way of church, family, career, my own little nest... I am blessed.

Austin got his bible out tonight. We were talking about responsibility. I was reviewing with him the things I need him to do every day... dishes... make tea... check the mail... his homework... his room... care for the 3Legged Wonder Cat... and so forth. Then he got his new bible... and said, "I guess you want me to read the bible too?"... Well... now that you mention it... it wouldn't hurt!

The perfect blog story would be that he started reading and found some incredibly inspirational passage that he shared and totally inspired me. Well... it wasn't quite like that... he started quizzing me on the books of the bible... and I think I answered everyone correctly. It's not deep theological study but at least he's got the book in his hands, right?

I am still feeling a bit icky... I don't think it's a cold... maybe sinuses, maybe just fatigue. I plan to rest a bunch on Saturday. After I get my Georgia drivers license so I can get my tag on Monday so my mother can quit worrying. Austin will be on his retreat from tomorrow afternoon until Saturday afternoon. Mama and Daddy will be up here tomorrow night. They are babysitting the Red Headed Angels while their mama and daddy are out of town.

I got my Letter of Clearance from the State of Florida today so that I can have my Georgia insurance licenses reinstated. That will be super-mega-awesome! Today I got a call from the church that there was a relative of a member who needed some health insurance! They have an appointment tomorrow with Duane (since I'm not really "legal" to sell right now since my license is in transition). I am so glad that the church staff knows to refer people to me! That will really help! I also got a call from Angie's mother regarding some health insurance... which gives me hope that I will be able to supplement my income with commission. I pray every day that God will help me to sell... and that He will give me the energy I need to do my job.

Ok... my energy supply is now depleted... time to turn in... thanks for your love and support and encouragement. I love you all! And congrats to Misty on her brand new baby boy- Brennen!

Here's my verse for the day... about transition...

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

G'night y'all!

Dawn

Hey... can someone tell me how to email in response to a comment? I frequently want to talk back to y'all....

Dawn... I live in Cleveland and work in Demorest. Jim and Angie live in Clarkesville and we all go to church in Helen. Cleveland and Helen are in White county, Clarkesville and Demorest are in Habersham county. Everything I do is within a 15 mile radius. How fun that you have a connection here!

I tried to find a map to show y'all the general area... if you go to this link http://www.georgia.org/Travel/regionalmap.htm you'll have an interactive map that shows the different regions of the State of Georgia. (for you homeschoolers, this is a great geography lesson!) I live in the dark green part at the top left corner of the map. To see details about Helen, Georgia, where we go to church, check out this website: http://www.helenga.org/ and there is another site about the whole Georgia Mountain region that has a lot of details about this area http://www.georgiamountains.org/ This is such a beautiful, peaceful corner of the world. Folks around here refer to it as "God's Country".

Time to get ready for work. *hugs*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

i use the word "really" too much

I woke up feeling a bit icky this morning but I dragged my sleepy butt out of bed and went to work... on the way home from work I REALLY (word that I overuse) just felt horrible. My head hurt. My throat hurt. I felt flu-ey and tired. I wanted to just come home and go to bed. My prayer was, "God, don't let me get in the way of receiving a blessing".

Oh... btw... I am taking my blood pressure medicine. I'm still on all my meds but I'm about out of the anti-depressant and need to get the psych in Florida to call in a refill. But I'm taking them. Now that I have a headache and a sore throat I think the dizziness this morning was a sinus thing setting in. Self diagnosis rocks.

Anyways... I laid down on my air mattress bed and closed my eyes for five minutes. I went through the mail... it still sometimes is a bit of a Pandora's Box but the really good news (there's that word again - and another sidebar - welcome to my A.D.D-athon) (Other sidebar - my boss is A.D.D. and it cracks me up. He will randomly walk away when you're mid sentence but then catch himself and say, "I can't believe I just did that" and I laugh. There are lots of attention challenged people in my life, including me. Now where was I?) Oh... really good news is that my car payment is caught up thanks to a generous gift from a friend. God is good.

Austin came in my room and asked if we were going to church. I said I didn't think so. I laid there... and took a breath... and got up and said, "let's go to church" and we did.

My ladies bible study class on Wednesdays is just awesome. We're doing a Beth Moore study, Believing God. http://www.lifeway.com/believinggod/ Tonight our usual leader was out of town and we sort of just led ourselves. There is such a kinship among these women... really, (see, I do overuse it!) there is a kinship among all the people in this church. They truly are a family. Tonight I was sitting at a table by myself waiting for Jim and Angie to get their dinner and sit down and this really (again) sweet older lady came over and said "you are always welcome to join our family" Awwww... I thanked her and said I'd visit their table one week.

During bible study we talked about the things that are affecting our life. Remember those verses I shared yesterday? There was another woman whose life was really (ugh! I need a thesaurus!) touched by them in the same way I was. I shared some of the things that are at the top of my trouble sundae. The love and support and encouragement from those ladies was so amazing. We prayed together about things... I got some advice... and the best advice was "do nothing for 24 hours" "wait on the Lord".... I feel so much a part of this fellowship. We talked about the Sunday that was my first Sunday... the Healing Service. I was healed. My broken spirit was restored. There are times that I have to stop and breathe deep and gather my wits again but I am not broken in the way that I was before. There was someone else who felt that same healing power on that day and she shared her story. I was so glad I was there tonight. I needed to hear these things, I needed that support. The woman who prayed with me on that first Sunday, the one who knelt with me and allowed my tears to wash over her... who cried with me... she was in the class and her love and wisdom are just a beautiful, wonderful thing. I am so blessed.

You know... the truth is that we will all have troubles. I don't have all the answers, I mean... I share from an honest and humble heart with you the things that I face... you may think my life is awesome, you may think my life is crap... and it's probably a little bit of both. I can just tell you that there is a very REAL spirit in my life now... a spirit that was missing before... and I am so grateful.

Many of you have a foundation of faith already in your life. Many of you are searching. I feel like it's important for me to share what I believe and why I believe it... below is the path to righteousness that I REALLY believe in... it's taken from this website: http://theromanroad.org/. Have a great evening!


"For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Romans 10:13
How You Can Know God's Love
"There is a God in Heaven who loves you as you are and not as you should be."Yes... you are right... there is a God. You know that must be true. The heart of the human being longs for God, and logic demands divine existence.While everyone believes God is... most sense separation from God. We know God must be holy and good. We see ourselves as unholy and not good. We conclude that God is angry with us and we cannot know Him.Good News! This Testament of God's love is His Word to tell us that He loves us as we are. That love will save us from our sin and make us what we should be as God's children.

John 3:16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." We hear Jesus say, "God so loved the world." God's love has no limitations. He loves "so". More than we can imagine. He loves everyone - not just some ones.

Romans 5:8 tells us that God loved us so that "when we were in our sin Christ Jesus came to die for us."

Romans 3:23"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"This verse tells us that all people have sinned. We have fallen short of God's intended purpose for us. God made us to know Him.... to receive His love and to love him in return. For love to be love... for God to be God... and for humans to be humans.... God gave us a choice. We can choose to love ourselves and turn to our selfish pursuits. That is sin. In our sin we cannot know God and His love. The result of sin is that we are lost... separated from God.

Romans 6:23"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Wages are just payment... due reward... what one has coming because of labor. The just payment for our sin is death.Death here means spiritual insensitivity. When we are still in our sin, we have no life with God. We are alive physically but dead spiritually. If we continue in that condition, we will be separated from God for all eternity.The wages of sin is death. but God's free gift is eternal life. While wages are earned, a gift is offered... no strings attached. God says He will give us eternal life - life with Him - in the place of sin's payment of death.How can God remain true to His holiness and forgive unholy sinners? Because Jesus, His Son, has paid the price for sin by His death on the cross.

Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we may be made the righteousness of God through Him." Jesus arose from the grave to conquer sin and death for all who receive Him as God's free gift. How can you receive God's free gift of love and life?

Romans 10:9-10"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." A person receives God's free gift of love and life by placing faith in Jesus Christ. To believe is simply to take God at His word. With our heart (whole believing) we believe that Jesus is God's Son who died for our sin on the cross and arose from the grave to live in us as Savior and Lord.To believe in Jesus will result in confessing that faith with one's mouth.Do you acknowledge that your are a sinner?Do you believe by faith that Jesus, God's Son, died for your sin on the cross?Will you now confess Him as your Savior and Lord?

Romans 10:13"for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." This verse says that any person who will call upon the name of Jesus, the Lord, shall be saved. To call means simply to ask in prayer. The verse does not require one to know more... do better... clean up one's life... or in any way try to add to what Jesus has done for us.Will you now call upon Jesus to save you from your sin so that you can know God's love and forgiveness? Pray like this: "Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner, and I am sorry. I need a Savior. I know I cannot save myself. I believe by faith that Jesus, your Son, died on the cross to be my Savior. I believe He arose from the grave to live as my Lord. I turn from my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive my sin and come into my heart. I trust you as my Savior and receive you as my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me." When anyone calls on the Lord in this manner, that one is saved according to God's Word. If you pray a prayer of repentance and faith, you are saved. You have God's word on it.If you have prayed this prayer to receive Christ as your Lord and Savoir, why not record your decision to follow Jesus as follows. Often times, a good place to write this would be inside the cover of your bible: Believing by faith that God loves me and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sin and arise from the grave to live in me, I, _______, do this day, ________, repent of my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. According to the promise of God in Romans 10:13, I have called upon His name and have His word for the assurance of my salvation.

Adapted from "The Covenant of God's Love" by Richard Jackson, Jackson Center for Evangelism, P.O. Box 99, Brownwood, Texas 76804, with permission. (c) 2000.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (R), Copyright (c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

some Wednesday things

I had weird dreams last night. I dreamed that I went back to get some things from the condo and there were rats everywhere. I tried to vacuum them up and they turned into cartoon ninja fighting rats and would JUST NOT go up in that vacuum. Then we went to subway and the guy at subway wouldn't let me have my own veggies on a tuna salad... and I curled up in a blanket and refused to eat anything. I don't know what any of that means... but it was a rather entertaining dream.

At some point Austin's three legged wonder cat planted himself on my chest and merowed me until I got up and opened Austin's door to let him in Austin's room. Austin had to sleep in his room last night because he got in trouble. He has eaten $75 worth of groceries in two days... he ate everything in the house... I think he was even licking the paint off the walls! When I say everything... I mean... two half gallons of ice cream, two boxes of eggos, 8 smart ones frozen dinners.... soooo much food! We talked about boundaries and self-control and since he had shown evidence of the capacity to have either, he was sent to bed like a small child.

For a long time I was in the practice of reading a Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs and they each contain little snippets of wisdom, not really deep theological study, so they make great passages to read while you're drying your hair or doing something else where you can't really dig deep into the Word. Today is the 22nd and one of the most noted parenting verses is in that chapter... verse 6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it". Austin's baby nursery was decorated in trains based on that verse.

I'm trying to train him in the way he should go. It's not easy. I don't have time and energy to watch him as carefully as he needs to be watched but I am going to have to do a better job of enforcing boundaries and giving consequences for stepping outside of those boundaries. For him it's not really rebellion so much as it is doing things to excess... sleeping... eating... watching tv... and some of that is adolescence and some of that is autism and regardless of the root, he can be trained to not give into every whim. He HAS to be trained to not give in to every whim.

The hard thing about single parenting is that Austin is the only person who lives with me and when he's mad at me, I feel very lonely. That's selfish of me to sacrifice raising him right for my companionship and I have to do a better job of being the bad guy when necessary. Mothers just aren't wired to be the bad guy.

Did I mention that I bought him two pairs of jeans and two sweatshirts yesterday? He just didn't have any long pants and it's cold here. I just got them at walmart and it was not that expensive. I would have gone to the thrift store but I didn't have time... Walmart is right by my office.

My blood pressure is up... I can feel it... just that feeling of dizziness and pressure... my vision is blurry today... I'm going to have to still my mind and not let the things from the past visit me today. Not today... I have to be careful. Of course... I never ate dinner last night... maybe that's why I'm dizzy. I'll have a bowl of cereal before I get my shower.

Today is my shorter day at work. I'll leave at 4 so we can get to dinner and bible study on time. We'll be home at 8 so it's still a long day. I haven't finished my homework for my bible study... I have just been so busy! That's a lame excuse.... I feel bad... I'll be cramming before class!

That durn cat just took off with my hair band that I use to make my ponytail at night! I have lost most of them... I bet that's what's happening. BRAT!

Time to get started with my day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

with deep compassion I will bring you back

I feel completely emotionally spent today.

Work is good. I met Duane's wife today and she is beautiful and down to earth and charming. So is his daughter... the one who prayed that God would give her daddy wisdom about whether or not to hire me. She's a sweet girl... I hugged both wife and daughter... I feel a real spiritual connection with them.

My conviction about work is this:
Colossians 3:22-24 22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Regardless of who signs my paycheck, my obligation is bigger than where I work and for whom I work... my obligation is to further the kingdom of God. I told Duane today in all sincerity, "I can't believe you pay me to do this". I had two more car loan applications today which were both denied... but I haven't submitted 3 loans in a week EVER... so I know that I am on the right track and that this whole idea of depending more heavily on commission will work out just fine.

Did I mention I was going to get my tag today? Well... no such luck.... I need to transfer my license to Georgia first. Sorry, mom. The nearest drivers license place is 30-45 minutes away so that will be a Saturday thing. And then the tag next Monday. Hopefully. In the meantime I am praying that I don't get stopped. I'm trying.

I am so emotionally spent today. Some days it's easier than others. Today I felt bitterness and frustration and jealousy and hurt. I'm just telling the truth. I know you all want me to be strong and victorious and bigger than this... and I know you want me to always celebrate the amazing transformation in my life and I do... and I will. But I'm just telling you... today has been hard. Today it has been harder to quiet my mind. Today I have felt fear again and I am praying tonight and reminding myself of God's promises to me. To all of us. Look at this awesome passage I found yesterday:

Isaiah 54:5-7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
5 For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God.
7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.


That last verse took my breath away when I read it... "with deep compassion I will bring you back". The context of this passage is God's promise to the nation of Israel... but we, as Christians, are adopted into that family and I am not afraid to boldly accept those promises on my own behalf and take them literally. That makes me want to stand on a table and scream to anyone who will listen, "HE IS GOING TO BRING ME BACK!!!". Is bringing... work in progress... on the way... not past tense... WILL BRING... what an awesome and beautiful thought!

I want you to know though, because I want to live openly and honestly, that there are times that the journey is difficult. And I know that there are people who are living with such greater hurts and disappointments, greater fear and frustration... I know that my worst thing might not compare with the suffering of others. But my worst thing is my WORST... it's the biggest problem I'm facing and it's the thing that sometimes brings me to my knees... but the good thing about being brought to your knees is that it's a great place to pray.

I guess the point is that we are always one phone call or knock on the door or one heartbeat or breath away from disaster. We have no guarantees. We can only know with certainty that we will be disappointed... that we will mess up... that there are times that stuff is gonna get us down... the only thing that does not change is God. He never moves.

Am I preaching too much? The thing about being emotionally drained is that you have to be filled. I have some emails to read and some blogs to read and I haven't had dinner yet... just really not hungry. I had grapes for breakfast... ate at the local Chinese buffet on lunch... and haven't eaten since about noon. I'm not intentionally fasting but I do have my mind set on so many other things... food seems unimportant.

Isaiah 54:17 says, no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord.

Have a great evening y'll!