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!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

more stuff from Saturday

NOOOooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOo Rhianna!
That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Today didn't really turn out like i expected... back to that old saying that "Man plans and God laughs". I got to the office and the painter was there... the entire lobby covered with drop cloths... I went in and said, "ummm... did Duane not tell you that we open the office on Saturday?"... obviously not. That was sort of a stupid question on my part. The guy is super nice and offered to clear out... but the paint smell was so strong that I wouldn't have been able to hang anyways... I just told him if anyone stopped by, to offer our apologies for the confusion. It wasn't his fault. I had no idea he still had work to do. I'm sure Duane thought it would have already been done (Duane's been out of town for the past week). It just was one of those things.

I had already planned to have lunch with Angie and the girls so I called and asked if they were up (it was about 9am, they like to sleep in a bit on Saturdays when they can) and they were... so I took my McDonalds Fruit and Yogurt partfait and went over to hang out with the girls. Jim and Angie are back in their house but there is still a good bit of cleaning and painting and finishing work to be done. Angie's mom "Grammy" was there to pitch in. Jim had to head back to Discipleship Now. Angie needed to run get groceries and run a few errands... so I stayed and hung out with the girls, which was great fun for me! We played dolls and cleaned out the "dress up closet". My girls could open their own costume shop! We played "I spy" and jumped on the bed and practiced doing splits (I can still do one!) and just had great girl bonding time.

Sarabeth did NOT want me to leave. She blocked the door... begggggged me to stay... I told her I had to go clean my house... she said, "why can't you just live here?"... she is not usually clingy... but she has been pretty emotional lately with the damage to the house, being away from home for three weeks, mom being out of town for a few days and so on. When I kept the girls on Valentine's day she was a little teary when her parents left. I think she's just having trouble with transitions right now. She's a really sensitive girl... very introspective and quiet, like her dad. I was the social one, Jim was the quiet one. Jamie and Sarabeth are the same way.

Jamie is sick... still running fevers. At one point this morning she just curled up in my lap and wanted to be held. Grammy gave her some motrin before I left. When I checked in with Angie a few minutes ago Jamie was still running a fever. She's gonna take Jamie to the doc-in-the-box... tomorrow we're expecting bad weather (I hope!) and we don't want to have a sick baby and have to try to get her to the doctor then. Sarabeth is gonna hang with Aunt Heather while they go... and we're going to all do dinner together. It's a bit different from my plans for going to the concert... but I'm ok with it. I could just curl up in the nest and stay here until Monday!

The kids from Discipleship Now had some mission projects planned for today, it was part of the program, but they were outdoor plans... so one of the groups got to go to Jim and Angie's and help with the "disaster recovery". They finished up what we started upstairs. Sarabeth is like me... she loves a clean room but doesn't want to have to clean it herself.

We had sad news this morning... My grandmother's sweetie passed away last night. Jerry would have celebrated his 93rd birthday in two weeks... he and grandma have been an item for many years... he's like a part of the family. Grandma is 85... Jerry had been in a nursing home for the last little bit. She would go and spend every afternoon with him and stay until around 8pm. I know it's hard for her... sounds like the memorial service will be Friday. She lives "over the mountain" in Hayesville, NC. It's about 45 minutes from here.

I cracked open Austin's bedroom door with the thought of maybe cleaning it while he was gone. Then I had second thoughts... ugh.

I still need to make a run to the grocery store, but to be honest, I'm just not loving food right now. Anything good hurts to eat. Maybe this will jump start some weight loss for me...

ST3LBLTDKFKWC aka Stubby has been really possessive of me today. He squawks whenever I move.

I took a little nap this afternoon... woke up to talk to Dean... although I think we both were so tired that we mostly just grunted back and forth. He's taking a few days to collect his thoughts and plan his future. It looks like Andrea will have custody of the kids although I can't really *blog* about the terms and details. He knew this could happen. It still hurts, what can you do? He could use some love from the Blogger Babes.

Univ of Kentucky is playing LSU on tv... from Rupp Arena... so I'm watching basketball this afternoon.

It's been a relaxing day for me... I needed it.

May be more later... love and hugs!

only good stuff

I decided to challenge myself to write a WHOLE blog entry on things that make me happy... let's see how many I can come up with... these are in no specific order...

1. Playing dolls with Sarabeth and Jamie
2. Sarabeth blocking the door today because she didn't want me to leave
3. Singing the wake up song to Sarabeth this morning and being able to see her first smile of the day
4. Hearing Jamie say, "Time to get up, sister!"
5. Having breakfast with Sarabeth and Angie
6. My keurig coffee maker
7. McDonald's fruit and yogurt parfaits
8. My nest
9. Snow
10. the sunset behind the mountains
11. my country road commute
12. text messages
13. email
14. facebook
15. Beth Moore bible studies
16. my church - Helen First Baptist
17. Helen
18. town squares
19. karaoke with Purple Michael
20. showtunes
21. being catty with Candice
22. postcards from Robert Drake
23. quittin' time
24. pay day
25. commissions
26. the Great Commission
27. worship service at HFBC
28. Wednesday night dinner at HFBC
29. the Woodward kids
30. playing "I one it, I two it" with Sarabeth and Jamie
31. Austin's hot chocolate
32. new magazines
33. my laptop
34. my big tv
35. the air before a storm
36. the ocean (but not the beach)
37. venti iced green tea with splenda from Starbucks
38. fruit and cheese platter from Starbucks
39. having a picnic at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco with Jen
40. lunch dates
41. flying
42. Kristen Chenowith
43. Boston with Michael
44. Old Tyme Trolley Tours - anywhere
45. New York City!
46. New York City with Bryan and Candice!
47. being an aunt
48. being a mom
49. the Paris casino in Las Vegas
50. the Venetian casino in Las Vegas
51. air conditioning in Las Vegas
52. rest areas between Atlanta and Jacksonville (I know them well)
53. health insurance
54. the book of Isaiah
55. the book of Romans
56. Sunday School
57. Sunday night home group fellowship
58. my "young mothers bible study" on Wednesday night
59. roasted chick peas
60. roasted asparagus
61. my stepson Stephen when he's feeling sociable
62. taking Bobby to the library
63. Elijah saying, "I loooove you, Curious George!"
64. grilling with the Darby brothers
65. air conditioning in Jacksonville
66. text pictures from Whitney at Gators games
67. televised Gators games
68. University of Kentucky basketball
69. watching Jeopardy with Michael
70. our house in Woodstock - hands down, best house I've EVER lived in!
71. State Farm
72. closing a big sale
73. hugs
74. Jon and Kate Plus 8
75. Friends
76. Toddlers and Tiaras, Little Miss Perfect and other such shows
77. Ryan's blog
78. watching Cody play baseball
79. salmon at Longhorns
80. good Thai food
81. a clean house that I didn't have to clean
82. laughing so hard with Purple Michael that we fart...
83. Steel Magnolias, the movie and the phenomenon
84. being stubborn
85. Patsy Cline
86. Savannah
87. songs that bring back memories
88. singing along to the radio
89. not caring if I sing well or not
90. staying in touch with old friends
91. phone calls from Barry, Cory, Purple Michael, Matt, my BFF in Holly Springs
92. ambien
93. clothes that fit
94. finding socks that match
95. the capri sweat pants I stole from Angie that became my favorite Saturday outfit
96. my grumpy sweatshirt that Michael gave me
97. the Melting Pot
98. the library
99. the internet
100. Fox News
101. Rush Limbaugh
102. living in a place where they ask, "now, who are your people?" and having that actually make a difference
103. living in a place where who you know and who you're related to and where you go to church is your credit
104. hugs
105. comments on my blog (hint hint!)
106. voting
107. taking awesome pictures with my little digital camera
108. sharpies
109. birthdays
110. sterling silver rings
111. my grandma's quilt, bible and afghan
112. straight hair
113. barbies
114. Publix
115. Old Navy
116. thrift stores
117. naps
118. my bible that is falling apart... and the saying that a bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't...
119. My blogger babes/Mother Hens
120. Caleb's smile
121. tax refunds
122. the Olympics
123. people who are passionate about something - a favorite team, their profession, their faith, politics
124. bedtime
125. pillows
126. surprises (getting and giving!)
127. snail mail
128. peace
129. being alive

Ok... your turn... if you blog a "good stuff" entry, leave a comment so we can check it out!
love and happy hugs!

exhortation

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8

I've been thinking about spiritual gifts lately. Spiritual gifts are the unique characteristics that each believer has which make them useful in the Body of Christ. I have always known that I had the gift of mercy.

Mercy / Compassion Mercy / Compassion (Serving Gift) - The special gift whereby the Spirit enables certain Christians to feel exceptional empathy and compassion for those who are suffering (physically, mentally, or emotionally) so as to feel genuine sympathy for their misery, speaking words of compassion, but more so caring for them with acts of love that help alleviate their distress. The divine enablement to cheerfully and practically help those who are suffering or are in need by putting compassion into action. People with this gift: - focus upon alleviating the sources of pain or discomfort in suffering people - address the needs of the lonely and forgotten - express love, grace, and dignity to those facing hardships and crisis - serve in difficult or unsightly circumstances and do so cheerfully - concern themselves with individual or social issues that oppress people.

Lately I've been thinking I also have the gift of exhortation. It's defined like this: The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister words of consolation, encouragement, comfort, and counsel to other members of the body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.

Exhortation Exhortation (Speaking Gift) - The special ability God gives some to help strengthen weak, faltering, and fainthearted Christians in such a way that they are motivated to be all God wants them to be. The ability to help others reach their full potential by means of encouraging, challenging, comforting, and guiding. The divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith. People with this gift: - come to the side of those who are weak in spirit to strengthen them - challenge or confront others to trust and hope in the promises of God - urge others to action by applying Biblical truth - offers advise, an outline for a solution, or a program for progress - motivates others to grow.

Here's a link to a website that gives a lot of information on spiritual gifts: http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/refer.htm#Mercy

It also gives a spiritual gifts evaluation... which I haven't had time to take yet but will... http://www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift/index.htm

The point is... we are all uniquely gifted and possess the ability to play an important role in the lives of those around us. I've had a lot of opportunity over the past few months to exercise my spiritual gifts. And sometimes I've done a good job and sometimes I've been too self-absorbed to do what I am uniquely gifted to do.

Yesterday was sort of a cross roads for me... it seems like every time I interact with Michael, it's like stepping on a scale and evaluating my progress. In the beginning I really missed him. I still miss him to some degree... but early on it was relearning habits that was difficult... and to unlearn certain habits, I had to remember things at the worst. I had plenty of experiences to draw from. And then... as Dean and I grew to be friends, I began to feel his pain on top of my own... which was, at times, overwhelming, but it was still what I had to do. Seeing the parallels in how Michael interacted with Andrea & how he changed her gave me immeasurable insight into the changes that happened in my life. Same game, essentially. So then I had to grieve the fact that I was NOT special... that even though I am the only woman to have gotten him to the altar, that I was played the same way he played women before me... and it looks like the way he's playing the woman after me.

My intention is to make this a positive post, so stay with me on this for a second. I had to go through that discovery process to get past an addiction. I had to realize how bad that addiction really was for me. I wish the pendulum didn't have to swing that far - cause I was some kind of mad! - but that's how I began to heal. Ultimately, hatred will never heal you. It's a cancer that destroys the host. Over time I have had glimpses of compassion for Michael. Over time I have come to be able to pray sincerely for his wellbeing and happiness and prosperity and success. Every day when I talk to God about Michael, I find myself being as uncomfortable as I was in the psych ward while telling Michael's mom why I had to leave Jacksonville. I'm telling Michael's creator what a creep he was to me... and eventually... God began to let me see Michael the way he sees him...

When I got on the scale yesterday... I didn't find the anger or bitterness that usually exists. I found myself sincerely desiring to say positive things, to give encouragement... yes, there are some wrongs that existed, grave, lifechanging wrongs... oh but for the grace of God I am not standing in front of someone else having wronged them in such a way myself. I am starting to understand/feel/acknowledge that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Honestly, I could have been exposed in the same way at some times in my life and only by Gods mercy, wasn't.

I wrote this in an email to Michael yesterday and I want to share it with you.... (these are just exerpts, I left out a lot of it)

Forgiveness is a process, not instantaneous. I wish it was. I work on it daily.... Forgiveness does not prevent consequences....Forgiveness is a gift I give myself. It is what I do because not forgiving you seperates me from the God I love and worship. Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free and to realize that all along, the prisoner was you. I need to practice forgiveness. I know that but for the grace of God, I would have been discovered in my past indiscretions as you were discovered. I made all the wrong choices in men and in relationships before I met you. One might argue that I continued to make a wrong choice when I met you! When I think of you, I no longer burn with anger or hurt... when I think of you, I see you as vulnerable and wounded. I understand that people who continue to reach for something better - different - more - new - people who are incapable of giving unconditional love are also unable to accept it. I'm sorry that your heart is wounded in that way. I pray every day that God will fill your life with joy, prosperity, success and love. Yes, love. I know that our roles in this dissolving relationship are that you were the unfaithful husband and I was the "headcase" of a wife. After much prayer, I see it differently. I hurt for you. I am sorry that as deeply as I loved you, you were not able to feel loved. It is a challenge to me now to make sure the people in my life understand how much I love them, to do a better job at making people feel loved. And there are so many people that I love... so many precious people in my life that would not be here if not for you. I wouldn't be here, if not for you. I am so grateful to have this life, to be in this place, to share moments with my girls. I longed to love them and to share their lives. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to stop by Sarabeth's school for lunch with her... to drop Jamie off at her Bible study class and get "just one more kiss"... to have a sister in Angie and all the other beautiful souls that are in my life now. The truth is that I am healed. I am whole. I am strong. I have moved on. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I am scarred, no doubt about it. I just wish you could have shared THIS life with me. I wish you could know the joy that I know now... and that's not to challenge whether or not you're happy or content or successful, that's just to say that I feel so complete and I have compassion enough for you that I wish I could share this with you.

So what does this have to do with spiritual gifts? Well... like I said, Ive been thinking about exhortation. I know that I have this gift. I know that I need to work harder to use it better. I know that I am in a unique position to have hurt and then healed... I know that I have the ability to lead people toward healing. I want to do that. And in doing that... I need to make what I say here less about the whining and more about the winning...

Time to go to work. Have a great day! Love and hugs!

Friday, February 27, 2009

rambling about Friday

I've got about a dozen people that I really want to either talk to on the phone or email tonight and I'm running out of steam. Yes, I realize it's not even 10pm on a Friday night. I'm old. Accept it. I have. So if you expected to hear from me or have me visit your blog or respond to an email or a message and I didn't do it... forgive me. This does not mean you are not loved.

Stubby the 3legged butt licking toilet drinking kung fu kitty wondercat has become a growth on my leg. Austin is gone for the weekend and ST3BLTDKFKWC is not happy with the change. Not that he EVER wants to be with Austin, he cries - like a baby - really whines - whenever Austin carries him out of my room. But he is definitely not happy with the fact that the boy is not here.

Austin is at Discipleship Now... it's a weekend retreat of sorts for the teenagers from several churches in the area. They will have all these services and classes and so forth and then spend the night with a host family. Austin is staying with my friend Dana (aka my favorite blonde and Bailey's mom). I apologized to Dana in advance for the toilet seat being left up, the inevitable damage to her home, the fact that her couch cushions will never be the same again and the teenage boy funk that is certain to foul her home. I also told her that we have plenty of liability coverage. The kids stay at Discipleship Now until Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon we are expecting snow. I'm not holding my breath. Fool me once... shame on you... fool me twice... I'm done believing. This will be the time we get six inches and I'll be out of bread and milk. I'm pretty much living on cheerios and yogurt, though, so it's ok.

I think my brother is a glutton for punishment, being a youth pastor. Certainly he's paying in triplicate for all the stunts we pulled in our youth group. He was known as "The Toilet Paper Fairy". It was a lot of fun. One year for Christmas we rolled the mailboxes of EVERYONE in our youth group and left a candy cane and a card in the mailbox that said, "Merry Christmas from the toilet paper fairy". There were times that we did more than just the mailbox. It was good, clean fun. The best joke was calling someone in the morning and saying, "hey... I think you need to go flush your yard!". We didn't have caller ID back then.

Robert... haven't had time to respond to your last comment... but it was good! Love and hugs, still, again. Am I still on for next Friday night? You'll have to tell me what you need me to do. Remember... I'm rusty.

I think I've mentioned that I've taken to naming road kill around here. There is sooo much of it! I think because there's more... nature... around here... but you can't go half a mile without something dead. I always amuse myself with the names I come up with... "Flat Cat"... "Runny Bunny"... "Stiffy the Possum". The funniest road kill I've seen yet was this possum that apparently CRAWLED to the sidewalk (this was in town, mind you, we have some sidewalks, they get rolled up at dark, but we do have them)... the possum had crawled to the sidewalk and dramatically slumped over the curb... head resting on front paw... and died in that dramatic pose. Or. Well, if he was just playing possum... he gets the Oscar... it was hilarious. And just like the deer that we saw looking both ways before he crossed the road... I would have thought I was seeing things if Austin hadn't started laughing... "Did you see that?" Communing with nature can be fun.

There is so much I want to blog about... heard from Michael yesterday and today. Well, I wrote him first. Same story, same arguments, different day. Now I just roll my eyes and go... "yep. whatever". Strange how it stops bothering you after awhile. I mean... yes, I would love to have him say, "I screwed up.... you're amazing and wonderful and I'm an idiot for not realizing what I have..." but. Yeah. That won't happen. I would settle for an admission of guilt but I mostly get a generic "I'm sorry for the pain I've caused you". I always made my kids apologize by naming what they have done wrong and apologizing specifically for that. But. Oh well. Que sera. I don't know how many weeks it's been and I'm not going to count. Life is beautiful. I think I'll stick around a bit longer.

Next chapter.

Crunch and munch and I are still figuring out our new boundaries. It's interesting. (blows kisses) I'm talking to someone else... who is really nice... (and has never been married, thank you, trolls!) but we are JUST talking, lest anyone get up in arms and feel like comment bombing me again... and I got a pretty sweet message from Bear today. I texted him and said, "I'm not feeling the love" and he wrote back that there is lots of love. Mmmm. Ok. Just snuffalupagus kind of love. (Sesame Street reference for those who are not into preschool television).

I think I'm a bit caustic today. Must be emailing back and forth with Candice... my FABULOUS faux Sister-in-law. If she and Bryan ever break up, I'm keeping Candice. JKOC! Actually... I think if I don't start eating right she's going to disown me. It's one thing to have a sister in law that names road kill... but she can't be fat too!

I wore two completely different socks today. I may be carrying casual friday a bit too far. I did shave my legs today, though. It was just a rushed sort of morning. I'm working tomorrow too. I left a bunch of stuff unfinished today... having those few hours will be nice... and then I'm having lunch with Angie, her mama and the girls. Jim is at the Discipleship Now weekend all weekend, I think.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a concert at "the college". Since there is only one of everything around here... it becomes "the Ingles" and "the college" and "the walmart". Although, technically there are two colleges in my world... Truett McConnell and Piedmont. Not that it matters to anyone who lives outside of Butcher Holler. There are also three Ingles in my vicinity... in Cornelia, Clarkesville and Cleveland... tonight I stopped by the IGA to pick up snacks for Austin to take. I figured doritos are doritos, no matter where you buy them. I do enjoy the fact that they play contemporary Christian music at the IGA but it's still too small and dark for me. I'm really craving a good Publix run still. I want some of those great cinnamon twist things they have at the Publix bakery. (Robert, put that on my next wish list!)

Oh... but the concert... it's the group Rush of Fools. www.rushoffools.com Candice suggested that I request Freebird... (is that funny to anyone else but me and Candice?) ... I love the group, they play them all the time on the Christian radio station... which is about all I listen to because I love the inspirational stuff... I love to sing along...

It's really raining hard outside. I haven't even turned the tv on tonight so it's absolutely silent in this "house"... except for my stomach growling (because I haven't eaten) and my fingers clicking on the keyboard. Hope my little laptop keeps on chugging... soooo not ready to fix it. I should probably do my taxes soon. I don't expect to get much back, if anything, since I still have to file as married... *grrrr*.... which is total crap... I'm soooo not married!

Lots more good stuff... but I'm tired of typing and you're tired of reading. Love and hugs, y'all!

Oh yeah, one more thing! Dean! I love ya, man! Hang in there! God is good! Kiss the Deanie Babies for me... safe travels... God bless...





Thursday, February 26, 2009

random Wednesday / thankful Thursday combo

I am sometimes just amazed at the incredible fullness of my life... and amazed at the simple things that - to other people would seem so mundane - but from my perspective are just precious.

(these observations are not chronological)
After dinner last night Jamie wanted to draw on the whiteboard in the fellowship hall. There were no markers. I pulled out my scripture memory cards from my purse and told her she could write on the back. What did she want to draw? A picture of her mommy! She can write her name (backwards J, backwards E, but she's 4) and she wrote some more letters after her name. "What does it say Jamie?" "Mommy loves Jamie" and she gave it to her mom. On the back of this card from Galatians 5:1 "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery".

It was time for Jamie to go to her class but she wanted to finish her picture. Angie (she's back from her trip! yay!) took baby Elizabeth to the nursery for Michelle, who is 5 months pregnant and had a rough day (locked her keys in her car - which is a bad day for anyone but when you have five kids with you and are five months pregnant and late for church... stress!). So I sat with Jamie while she finished... took her to class... was rewarded with "just one more kiss!"... "Wait, Aunt Heather, one more kiss!" "Now... just one more kiss!"... I love this baby girl!

And then Michelle's son Eli, who is 5, blocked the door for me to get out of their classroom. He said, "you've got to say the password!" You should know that Eli's daddy is a graduate of Florida State. Other than that, they're really wonderful people... but Eli has been raised as a Seminole... and he takes umbrage at my Gatorism. Password... "Go Gators!"... "No... " he laughs. He's adorable... blonde hair, green eyes (I think they're green)... I used all the typical passwords that kids use... "open sesame"... "let me go"...."Please"... "Jesus loves you"... and Eli said, "It's something about Florida State... and something about Go".... so I said, "Go Florida State" *eyeroll*.... he collapsed in giggles, "You said Go Florida State, ha! You're a Seminole fan!".

I bought the girls little purses and filled them with the things that girls have in their purse... lotion, bandaids, pens, gum... I gave them little scripture cards like I carry and wrote on one, "I thank my God every time I remember you". Phillipians 1:3. Sarabeth can read... she read it out loud... and then she grinned her fabulous toothless jack'o'lantern grin! So worth the cost of the little purse and little treasures inside!

I woke up with a cold. This is not good.

Jeanne - no worries - this Dr appt was a med check to talk about whether or not we want to start weaning me off blood pressure meds and the welbutrin. I am probably ready to come off one but not the other. I have seen a doctor at least four times in between the time this appt was set and the time I missed it. They are totally following up on my meds and it's only been about two weeks since the last doctor said... "not yet" about the welbutrin. I *could* come off the bp meds because my blood pressure has been awesome ever since I've been here... but the bp meds also prevent migraines and I'm enjoying not having migraines like I used to. I'll reschedule and see them within the next month. As good as I'm doing and as good as I feel, there are still times that I am completely immobilized by things... like Tuesday... and so I know I need that little extra layer of stability for now.

Rain is on the way... I'll be a curly girl for the next few days.

Yesterday was Gus' last day at our office. He's opening his own agency for another carrier. I adore Gus but he was always sort of on his own schedule... would run out in the middle of the afternoon to go to walmart... get a haircut... whatever moved him. And that's great... but it would sometimes leave us shorthanded. He is one of those people who really needs to be his own boss. So... I think we'll be ok without him. I'm wondering if since there's an office open, if Duane is going to leave me in the lobby... I do enjoy being there, to some degree... I am meeting a lot of clients that way. I don't enjoy being treated like a receptionist by people who have far less knowledge and experience than me.... but that's an issue of my pride more than anything. It always amuses me when someone in a big office has to have my help doing something basic like posting a payment. It happens almost daily. Sometimes I'm really a brat about these things...

I've been trying to focus on Whose I am much more than I focus on who I am. I'm also trying to focus on what my purpose is instead of what attention I can draw to myself.

I am doing this Beth Moore Bible Study on Breaking Free. The way it works, we do five days of independent study, come together to discuss our answers and then watch a one hour video of Beth speaking on that week's lesson. In last night's video Beth was discussing her first book signing... she was humbled by the thought that anyone would want her signature on anything... but they couldn't find a place in the little bookstore for her to sign. They set her up out on their patio with a big fifty gallon trash can with a lid for her to use as her desk. Every time she bent down to sign, she would smell the trash. She said as she was signing, the Holy Spirit was reminding her... "I am the lid"... the only thing keeping her from being in that trash can again/still. She was never the trash... but without the power of the Holy Spirit in her life... she would still be deep in that can. Whoa! I could sooo relate!

We also talked about the Samaritan woman... the woman at the well... and the part where Jesus asks her to go get her husband and she answers, "I have no husband" ... and Jesus responds... "You have had five husbands and the man who you are now with is not your husband". I cringed a bit. Beth talked compassionately about what this woman must have been seeking... and wondered what it was that drove her through so many relationships... was she so needy that even men who loved her were unable to fill her needs? was she making bad choices? was she trying to fill a place that only God could fill? Beth said it more succinctly and I can't remember word for word to quote her directly but one thing she said resonated with me... "Stop trying to make your man your God. Let him off the hook. Let your mama off the hook. Let your kids off the hook. They will never be able to fill the empty places in your heart that only God can fill".

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Remember my long series of pondering the verse about being "fearfully and wonderfully made" ? I had a great conversation with a friend on Facebook about that last night and it gave me a lot of insight. I'll share that with you later because it's now time to glam and go!

Have a beautiful day! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

some thoughts for Ash Wednesday

The safest place to be is within the will of God.

God's answers are wiser than our prayers.

Error does not become Truth because it is widely accepted; Truth does not become error, even when it stands alone!

Humility is a paradox. The moment you think you've finally found it, you've lost it.

There has yet to be written a book intitled, "Humility and How I Achieved It." And yet, God expects (and rewards) an attitude of servant-like humility in His followers.

Never get so busy doing the work of the kingdom that you forget who the King is.

God specializes in happy endings.

The Bible: More up-to-date than tomorrow’s newspaper!

You can no more outgrow your need for God than you can outgrow your need for oxygen.

The Hellbound sinner's famous last words: "I did it my way".

No one can ignore Jesus forever.

The outlook is gloomy, but the uplook is glorious!

Death is not extinguishing the light from the Christian; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

Before an individual can be saved, he must first learn that he cannot save himself. M. R. DeHaan, M.D. (1891-1965) American Bible teacher

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car --Laurence J. Peter

Christ is a substitute for everything, but nothing is a substitute for Christ. -- Dr. H. A. Ironside (1876-1951)

All self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation.-- Dr. H. A. Ironside

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. -- Corrie Ten Boom

Faith ends where worry begins, and worry ends where faith begins. --George Mueller

A faith that hasn't been tested can't be trusted.-- Adrian Rogers

God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply. --Hudson Taylor

Trying to do the Lord's work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you. --Corrie ten Boom

The true follower of Christ will not ask, "If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?" Rather he will say, "This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!" --A.W. Tozer

Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, "shake well before using." That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable. --Vance Havner

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.-- Dwight L. Moody

You might as well try to hear without ears or breathe without lungs, as to try to live a Christian life without the Spirit of God in your heart. --D.L. Moody

When boiled down to its essence, unforgiveness is hatred.--John R. Rice

And Satan trembles when he sees, The weakest saint upon his knees. --William Cowper (1731-1800)

If lips and life do not agree, the testimony will not amount to much.--H. A. Ironside (1876-1951)

No one who really wants to count for God can afford to play at Christianity. --H. A. Ironside

The acid test of our love for God is obedience to His Word. --Bob Jones, Sr.

To be like Christ is to be a Christian. -- Daniel Webster

I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him.I ended up by asking Him to do his work through me.--James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)-- English missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission.

We are not only to renounce evil, but to manifest the truth. We tell people the world is vain; let our lives manifest that it is so. We tell them that our home is above and that all these things are transitory. Does our dwelling look like it? O to live consistent lives! --James Hudson Taylor

Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow. --Theodore Epp

How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in? --Oscar Wilde

Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do. --James Hudson Taylor

Salvation is a work of God for man, rather than a work of man for God. --Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952)

The Law and the Gospel are two keys. The Law is the key that shutteth up all men under condemnation, and the Gospel is the key which opens the door and lets them out.-- William Tyndale

Those who go to Heaven ride on a pass and enter into blessings that they never earned, but all who go to hell pay their own way. --John R. Rice

We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.--R.A. Torrey

Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender. --A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire? --Corrie Ten Boom

Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to have plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence. --A.W. Tozer

Do you need help today? Lift up your hands to the Lord in supplication and in expectation, and soon you will lift up your hands in jubilation and celebration. --Warren W. Wiersbe

Spare the rod and spoil the child - that is true. But, beside the rod, keep an apple to give him when he has done well. --Reformer Martin Luther

I would sooner read five lines of the Bible than hear five masses in the "Church".-- (Anne Askew - Martyred for her faith at Smithfield in 1545)

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible! --President George Washington

We have staked the future of American civilization upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. --President James Madison

I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. -- President Abraham Lincoln

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. --John Jay - 1st Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.--Noah Webster (1758-1843) -- "The Schoolmaster of the Nation."

We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. --President Harry S. Truman

A friend is one who has the same enemies you have. --Abraham Lincoln

If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by him. Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants. --William Penn (1644-1718), founder of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

pebbles in the pond

When you toss a pebble into a pond you don't just have a pebble sized ripple... it rolls out and grows bigger and bigger and bigger until the final ripple is many times the original impact.

So it is with the choices we make. The consequences ripple out far beyond the original situation. A good decision can multiply into great results for many people in your life. A poor decision can wound so many people.

I got an email today from a friend who is heartbroken... and his heartbreak is not of his own making. It is the ripple effect of some poor choices made by other people... and it's unfair. There's no other way to categorize it, other than unfair. His heartbreak is so deep and so real and just wrong. The selfishness that began this ripple effect that has impacted so many lives... including mine... could never justify the ultimate result, the innocent victims whose lives were forever changed.

I don't know much... but I know God is good. I know that He is able... I know that when we can't see His hand, we can trust His heart. I know that He makes a way where there is no way. I know that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Today while doing my bible study I came across this passage again and like always, it made me weep:

Isaiah 54:5-7 (New International Version)
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.

as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit... hmmmm... I know that wife. I AM that wife. I know that pain... I know that hurt... that desperation... that feeling that there is no possible way things could ever be right again.. that life is incredibly unfair and wrong and that God has abandoned me and that it is MY OWN FAULT that I am suffering... and then he says, "with deep compassion I will bring you BACK".... I weep at those words every time. He did. He brought me back. Some may argue that I'm not *there* yet but let me tell you, friends, the girl who types these words is not the same girl who curled up on her bed and waited for death. I was done. I was hopeless. I was devastated. But here I am!


Because God's grace is perfect... I had a doctors appointment scheduled for this afternoon and had comp time to cover my missed work. I left the office and I got in my car and I just sat there, paralyzed. And God whispered into my heart the song that, ironically, I was singing on the way back to the office from lunch just an hour and a half before...

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Most of you know that old hymn... do you know the story behind it? It was written by Horacio Spafford in 1873 and according to ....

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/t/i/itiswell.htm

This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor trau­mas in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). Short­ly af­ter, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words. They speak to the eter­nal hope that all be­liev­ers have, no mat­ter what pain and grief be­fall them on earth.

I called and cancelled my doctors appointment. I started praying... crying... crying out to God... telling Him that I trust Him but I don't understand... begging him to change HER heart... to fill her with love and compassion for her children... to realize what her *risk* will cost her children... praying that God would give her wisdom to see the things that I couldn't see, until it was too late. Praying that God would heal my friend's heartache...

My friend, my precious, wonderful friend who has walked beside me through the greatest heartache of my life... he is feeling the ripple effect of choices that my husband and his wife made... and I don't understand... I don't know how it is that the ones who cause the hurt suffer the least... and the most innocent ones suffer the greatest loss... I don't understand any of this... but I still believe that God is good.

When I was in the deepest pit, my sweet sister in law sent me this verse from Jeremiah...

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

When I went to www.biblegateway.com to copy the verse from Isaiah that touched me today... I found that the above verse was the passage of the day on that website... but not just that one verse that strengthened my heart... it continues...

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”- Jeremiah 29:12-13

I had to lose everything before I could humble myself enough to seek him. But in that desolation, in that time of heartbreak... He. Was. There. He made a way. He brought me through. He gave me hope. He gave me a future. He made me able to wake up, get out of bed, function, focus... He filled my life with amazing people and you... yes, you... my sweet friend... my treasured friend... you are one of those people who propped me up when I didn't have the strength to stand. You held my hand, even if only over the phone, you listened, you cared, you wiped my tears, you reminded me who I am and helped me see the strength in me that I had forgotten.

The only thing I can tell you, the only advice I can give is to seek Him with all your heart. God is still good.

Monday, February 23, 2009

still blah! still Monday!

Any time Robert Drake starts a comment with "Oy!" I know we're in for something good. Robert, have I told you lately that I love you? Even though I wouldn't drive into civilization to go to a hockey game with you with my child who wouldn't know sport if he was clonked in the head with a hockey puck? You're still my second favorite Jew. (Right after ... you know who!)

I appreciate the perspective from the Torah. And I believe that we have a loving and compassion God who would not wish us to suffer. I do believe that *apart from adultery* there were many things that were wrong in our marriage, even before it started.

I used to always tell my kids to accept the blame for the things that go wrong in their life, because if they have no responsibility, they have no power to change things. It is rare for some tragedy to befall us where we have zero culpability. I went into my marriage with great optimism, rose colored glasses (that's what I said!) and believed that love would conquer all. Even if I had the perfect husband, we would not have had a perfect marriage, there were too many negatives stacked against us. It's counter productive to go into all that now...

Anyways... Robert interjects that perhaps there are more Godly grounds for divorce than what I have mentioned...

I would, however, like you to consider some additions to your list which bear directly on your case and have legitimacy in your faith tradition. I think you said that in terms your beliefs, Torah law, in absence of direct new testament contradiction holds sway. Am I accurate here?

Yes, I believe that the New Testament gives us the new rules... since it was impossible for us to live under the law of the Old Testament. I don't hold myself up as the most learned biblical scholar, especially on the Old Testament. I am more familiar with the New Testament (the new covenant, as it would pertain to my life a bit more, as this is the one I'm placing all my chips on!) and I have searched the subject of divorce and ability to remarry quite a bit... and I'm still convinced that it's pretty much just the two things I mentioned... a non-believer who abandons his wife, and adultery. But I think the things Robert mentions are definitely GROUNDS for divorce... albeit not necessarily ones that grant freedom to remarry. And that's what matters to me... the women in my family live a long time. I don't want to be single for the next fifty years... nor do I want to be in direct conflict with the will of God!

If so, please consider that under those conditions, spousal abuse is grounds for divorce. this can mean both physical or verbal abuse. Additionally if one spouse takes actions to isolate the other from their community, that is grounds for divorce.

I found a very interesting website while researching Robert's point of view (not that I don't take your word as gospel, Robert, I just consider it expanding my horizons) http://www.shemayisrael.com/rabbiforsythe/shalombayis/issues.htm and it was interesting to me, the various Jewish rules for marriage and divorce. Most interesting to me, however, is the LENGTH of this... and it reinforces my belief in why we needed a messiah, a savior... because it is impossible to keep the law! Just click on it... there are some fascinating things there... some things to which I would say "amen" and some to which I would say, "oh my!" Truly I found myself in a few places!

There is another issue here worth considering as well, and that is forgiveness. I and nearly everyone else I have met are pretty darn imperfect. We all make mistakes, and sadly, even do bad things that are more than mistakes. There is a concept that says before you can ask for divine forgiveness you must personally confront those whom you have wronged and earn their forgiveness.

That concept comes directly from the New Testament *smirk*... in the book of Luke, chapter 6... and it's on of those "oh my" passages...

Luke 6:37-42
[37] "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. [38] Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
[39] He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? [40] A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
[41] "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [42] How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.


Forgiveness. I believe in it. I aspire to it. I'm working on it. I'm closer than I've ever been before. And then... I talk to Dean and my heart breaks. I can't tell you how often I've wanted to board a plane for wherever he is, just for an hour, to hug him... to kneel and pray over him... to let him understand that he is not alone. Instead I talk to him when I can... and pray for him when I can't. Sometimes our grief is too intertwined and sometimes I can't bear what he's bearing. I've promised to be there for him this week... there could be some decisions regarding custody and there is NO GOOD ANSWER. Whatever happens, his life and his children's lives will never be the same. I get so close to forgiving and then I see the faces of his children and remember the words that my husband wrote to Dean's wife, saying that "I know the risk but I believe it's worth it". It. Was. Not. Worth. It.

By the way, Dean, you might enjoy this verse...
Deuteronomy 22:22 (New International Version)
22 If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.


Robert says... and I agree... There is a concept that says before you can ask for divine forgiveness you must personally confront those whom you have wronged and earn their forgiveness. Whereas it seems from where I type that you have been wronged and you both have not found a way into discussing true forgiveness, divorce represents a divine fissure here.

Matthew 18:15-17 (New International Version)
15"If your brother sins against you,[
a] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[b] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

I really buy into this concept. I think it is a great solution for conflict. Here's the problem... (a)the idea is for resolving conflict among believers and (b) I've been there, done all that. This is why my husband and I end up having these phone conversations where we're both screaming at each other. He doesn't believe he did anything wrong. Yeah, he'll give it a bit of lip service but he ALWAYS justifies his actions by basically saying I deserved it. Last time I hung up on him and I truly closed myself off from him forever. I don't care if I never speak to him again. Have your attorney call my attorney. I'm done beating my head against the wall.

I however, desperately want you to be able to look at your self with honor and confidence in the mirror and know you are entitled to make decisions for your own benefit. If you are to be a divine instrument, aren't you best off putting yourself in a position where you might thrive?

Oh, I do so desperately want all of this. Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom. Robert, your comments are always fabulous and I know they come from a kind heart. I think you bring a lot of food for thought... a thought buffet, if you will.

From the "you can't make this stuff up" files... there was a claim I filed last week for one of our clients who didn't know where she was when she damaged her car, didn't know what time it happened, "was it dark outside?" "I don't remember". UGH! I got a gentle scolding from Duane about the comments I made on the claim (out of frustration) and I have been handling this lady with kid gloves out of repentance. Today she came into the office and, among other things, wanted me to look at her belly to see whether or not I thought she had broken ribs. Honestly. In my office she lifted her shirt all the way up to her bra to have me look at her bare stomach. I emailed Duane (who was just about to leave on a cruise with his family). He wrote back, "AT LEAST one of you is nuttier than a fruitcake". Heh, he. No, one of us is undermedicated. Some days I think it's me.

I really suck at this whole "no chew" diet. I had yogurt for breakfast.... nachos bell grande for lunch... an orange... and a mcdonald's apple pie for dinner. (Candice just beat her head against the keyboard in frustration with me). That's my balanced diet. I need a blender. I think I'll go to Walmart tomorrow and get one.

It's been a long day. I'm ready for bed. Love and hugs, y'all.

PS to Remo... I agree, I need to pick my battles.

blah! it's Monday!

I'm still in a place of wanting to be quiet. Makes it sorta hard to do the things I do in the course of a day, you know? I sorta HAVE to talk... but in a way, it insulates me from having to think about the things I have to think about.

My brother David and his wife Katherine are having another baby. This one is due in September, i think. Madeleine was born in November of 2007 and I still haven't met her. There was something that happened that caused a split and although David was always such a dear part of my life... I haven't been able to see him or his kids since summer of 2007. It broke my heart then... it breaks my heart every time I see pictures of his kids... it breaks my heart every holiday that we spend apart... it breaks my heart to have a niece I've never met... this is one of those Serenity Prayer things... you know, "God help me to accept the things I cannot change". I just pray daily for God to provide for them, to send people into their lives to do the things that Aunt Heather would do, to take allow truth to be a light so bright that our eyes are blinded by it...

In my Breaking Free Bible Study I'm on the chapter about Healing from Betrayal... I've spent two weeks working around this chapter. It's so hard... I've got some good stuff that I've gleaned from it that I'll share later (it's in the car and it's 20 degrees outside and I need to start getting ready for work).

I've decided that I'm not going to see Crunch n Munch any more. He knows this already... I just sort of pieced together that he has a really good relationship with his son's mother (who he is still married to) and although they have lived separately for quite a long time, I believe that if they can get along well enough to hang out together... they could potentially be reunited... and should be reunited for the sake of their child. I promise you this, if there was any way that Michael and I could figure out a way to work things out, I think we would have to give it a shot. I believe so strongly in the covenant of marriage.

I also figured out during my bible study last night that as heartbreaking as it was for me to find out Michael was unfaithful, in a way it set me free. I believe that the only biblical grounds for a divorce are either adultery - or if you're married to a nonbeliever who chooses to walk away. Some might say that I had both... but I know that Michael has faith in God. His faith is different from mine, more works based than grace based and more focused on religion than relationship but he does believe in God. I would have a hard time basing our divorce on that. Because our grounds (at least morally and spiritually, if not legally) are adultery, that frees me to marry again someday. And I really do hope and pray that at some point there IS someone else for me. Someone who is truly available, Godly, able to support me in my beliefs and encourage me to be a better person...

ok... have to get ready for work now... hope you all have a beautiful Monday.
love and hugs!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Midnight Cry

What an amazing day this has been for me! I am in sort of a quiet place emotionally. It happens from time to time. I just have to stop, catch my breath, and let my thoughts and emotions catch up with my life. I'm not sure that makes sense to anyone but me... I don't know another way to say it. I am so grateful to have the very full life I have here... to have a full time job, to have the opportunity to work Saturdays for extra money, to live in a place that is far enough off the beaten path that some things require a bit of a journey to obtain, to be actively involved in a loving fellowship of believers, to be actively involved in deep study of the Word of God, to be surrounded by friends who want to talk to me, chat with me, email with me... it's all exactly what I prayed for... and I know that I am blessed to be where I am today.

By the time we got home yesterday, I was spent. I didn't want to talk any more. I didn't want to entertain or be polite or do anything other than reflect. There is a lot going on in my heart and mind... sometimes I stay busy enough to avoid facing my inner demons. Sometimes I'm so busy that I don't stand watch like I should to prevent them from seeping in.

Austin is testing me. He has been incredibly rude and disrespectful this weekend. He refused to go to church this morning. I needed to be there by 9am because we were watching a Kay Arthur video on the first chapter of Genesis and I didn't want to miss it. Austin spent thirty minutes crying about how sick he is (he isn't) and how he hadn't slept well (join the club) and I know that I need to be the strong disciplinarian and make him do the right thing but I'll be honest with you, I needed to be in church today more than I needed to make sure he was in church.

I knew then... I know that whenever there are struggles and obstacles to block me from going to church, that there is something about to happen that the enemy just really doesn't want me to be a part of. I made sure to pray on the way to church that God would prepare my heart. Sometimes that preparation means I need to let go of things that are standing in between God and I... and I did that... I wrestled with Him last night over an issue but He was clear to me what His opinion was on the subject. This morning I did what I knew I should do. I didn't like it... but I needed to heed Him.

There was ice on the road on the way to church. Not a lot. You folks up north wouldn't even notice it. I'm a southern girl with bald tires living in the mountains. All is takes is one little patch of ice to turn your world upside down. I was careful. I went a bit slower than usual.

Sunday school was good. Kay Arthur is a great bible teacher and I enjoyed my time there. My sweet friend Tiiara, who has been sidelined with horrible morning sickness, was able to be in church today and it was good to see her and offer her a little encouragement. I've been there... thankfully I haven't been there in many, many years (as Austin will be 15 next Sunday!) but I still remember how HUNGRY I was because I couldn't keep anything on my stomach! I have been giving her husband tips to pass along to her... but nothing is working! She looks tired... she's 16 weeks now, it should ease up if it's going to. I understand some people are sick the whole way through... for me it stopped right at 13 weeks.

Anyways... between Sunday School and church I got to visit with Angie who is going to be out of town for a few days. She had to leave church as soon as the music ended to get on her way so we hugged it out and said our goodbyes. I'm so blessed to have a sister... I always wanted one... she watches over me and makes sure everything is ok in my world. I always feel a little lonely when she's out of pocket for a bit.

Our worship service was amazing. I don't know if I can really do justice to how incredible it was today. We sang a song that was sung at Misty's funeral and it always reminds me of how precious life is and how quickly - with just a breath - life can change. Misty had picked this song out for her mother's funeral, and then they sang it at hers just a year and a half later. We never know...

Then the choir sang a song called "Midnight Cry"... which is a really powerful telling of the rapture of the church. This is why it's hard for me to properly articulate to my broad and diverse readership just WHY our service was so precious to me today. There is this verse that is the foundation of my faith...

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (New International Version)
16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

and unless you agree with that, you won't understand why a Midnight Cry even matters. And this entry is not to encourage debate on this theology... it is my truth. If you want to know more about why I believe what I do, I'll be glad to share but I don't care to hear from anyone who wants to try to disprove my theology. My life and hope and faith are centered on this concept that there will be a day when the dead in Christ will rise and those who are still living, who believe in Him, will join them in meeting Jesus in the air... thin air... we will fly... we will defy gravity... we will no longer be bound to the chains of this world, to the restrictions of sin, to the sicknesses and heartaches and disappointments... we will meet Him, the one who died to save us, and the struggle will end.

I have to confess that I have not read the Left Behind series, but probably should. It might help me relate this issue to you a bit better. I have spent the last decade trying to find Heaven on earth... and the last few years trying to survive Hell on earth... and now I'm resting in between where I know that earth is earth and our time here is but a breath. I believe there will be a time when the church is raptured and there will be those who are left behind because they didn't believe. I wasn't ready to face this before... now I'm looking more and more forward to meeting Jesus. I think when you have a lot to hide, a lot to feel guilty over, it's hard to imagine / believe / accept / understand that there will be a day that we are held accountable for the things we have done (or haven't done) here on earth. I think it's easier to live life believing that you'll pay that bill when it comes... and because it all too often doesn't come for a very long time, or because we don't always recognize the far reaching consequences of our actions, we don't worry about it.

Midnight Cry was awesome. I'm going to try to get a copy of the recording of today's service so I can post it. Our little choir was ON today! And my sister-in-law was ROCKIN' on her drums! It was just an awesome, incredibly inspirational song. I'll post the lyrics at the end, if i can find them somewhere...

Pastor Jim preached on the Great Commission - Matthew 28:18-20.
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[
a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

He talked about how important it is not to just go out and lead people to Christ and baptize them but also to disciple them. Truly, for me, had the good people of Helen First Baptist just supported me in prayer long enough to get me out of "Egypt" and then left me hanging, I would have ended up right back where I was (emotionally and mentally, even if not geographically). The fact that they are a constant source of encouragement and support... that I have been befriended (in real life, not just on Facebook) and that they play an active role in my life has really CHANGED my life. It gives me hope.

He spoke for just a few minutes and then my friend Hana and her husband Emir spoke. Hana was born in the Czech Republic - during communism. Her father and her grandfather were pastors in a time where it was dangerous to openly believe in Christ. Her father used to take Hana with him to help smuggle bibles into their country (although she was a child and didn't really know what they were doing). She spoke about fear being the biggest boundary to the Great Commission... preventing us from saying what we think and speaking boldly about Christ. Hana's husband, Emir, was raised Muslim. He is a world renowned authority on Islam vs. Christianity and has published several books on the subject. He is also president of the local college (where my sister in law teaches). They spoke about witnessing together in Thailand and how much this strengthened their marriage. I adore Hana, have since I met her, and was so touched by what she shared today.

One thing she said that cracked me up... in her very thick Czech accent she talked about not having her own bible until she was 8 - a Czech translation of the King James Version. Her bible was smudged and the pages were brittle... it came from a shipment of bibles that were on a ship that sank... (if I'm retelling the story correctly). She said that we have so many bibles to choose from here... from the New American Standard to the Scratch and Sniff Bible (I'm not sure if there really is a scratch and sniff bible but that was hilarious to me!). It made me treasure my own bible even more.

So I guess the point of the story here (I should wrap this up and drink some lunch)... is that I am amazed to be in a place, a church, a body of believers... who boldly praise God, who have traveled (like me) difficult paths to be here in this place and to worship together. I am aware that some will call me a bible thumper, some will call me an evangelical... whatever names you have for someone who believes in Christ. I haven't been as bold as I should be... and that is because of fear. Like Hana said, fear is the biggest boundary to being who we are and sharing Christ.

She shared this verse in her native language with tears streaming down her face:

Isaiah 41:13 (New International Version)
13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.


I am blessed to have this life, to have these friends and sources of encouragement. I am glad that I didn't let Austin spoil my day, that I wasn't afraid of the ice, that I am here on this earth for such a time as this and that I will, someday, meet Jesus in the air. Watch me fly!

Midnight Cry

I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and it's closer now than it's ever been. I can almost hear the trumpet as Gabriel sounds the call; at the midnight cry,we'll be going home! I look around me; I see prophecies fulfilled everywhere; the signs of the times, they're appearing everywhere. Oh, I can almost see the Father as He says, "Son, go get my children. At the midnight cry, the Bride of Christ will rise. When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call His children, the dead in Christ shall rise to meet Him in the air. And it's closer now that it's ever been. And then those that remain shall be quickly changed; at the midnight cry we'll be going home. I look around me; I see prophecies fulfilled everywhere; The signs of the times, they're appearing everywhere. I can almost see the Father as He says, Son, go get my children. Oh, at the midnight, the Bride of Christ will rise! When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call His children, The dead shall rise to meet Him in the air. And then those that remain shall be quickly changed; At the midnight cry, oh, at the midnight cry, At the midnight cry, oh, when Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Steps out on a cloud to call His children, The dead in Christ shall rise to meet Him in the air; And then those that remain shall be quickly changed, In a moment, shall be changed, in a moment, yes, and At the midnight, oh, at the midnight cry, Yes, at the midnight cry, We'll be going home….We’ll be going, Going home......................

Saturday, February 21, 2009

hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit!

After my very brief sojourn, I'm back to cyberspace. The pins in the voodoo doll of my computer that my STB-ex-husband is weilding have not succeeded! Ha! Foiled again! I bet that man rues the day that he gave me a laptop... and wishes he had never let me have it before I left Jacksonville. I'm hoping he has a few other regrets, but I somehow doubt it...

I heard an interview with Steve Harvey this morning... he said that women who get cheated on should not blame themselves. It's nothing wrong with THEM... it's something wrong with the guy who cheats. I paraphrase, that's the essential concept. Truly, that has been the greatest hurdle for me, not losing him - but blaming myself for not being able to "hold on to my man". Such as it were. I guess he was never really mine to lose.

I'm in sort of a introverted cycle again. I wish I felt more sociable. I just don't. I want to nest. I want to sleep and rest and not have to talk any more than I absolutely have to. I hate the sound of the phone ringing. I appreciate people who call... and know they mean well and it's a good thing and so on and so forth. I just don't want to talk. I type faster than I talk. I can also be a little bit A.D.D while typing and not have to give anyone my undivided attention, which is hard for me. I'm always chasing rabbits, mentally.

Oh, the thing with the laptop... the new power cord had become very positional and then stopped working. The little indian guy at Frye's electronic who had not yet begun growing facial hair ....
mental rabbit: Austin has a little dark fuzz over his upper lip. He's very proud of it. It grosses me out...
anyways... the mailto:LIG@Frye said that it was probably not the power cord but the laptop that wasn't working... like... the little recepter thing was probably bent. It felt like a death sentence for my friend the laptop. He said it would be WAAAAY too expensive to fix, that I would probably need to buy a new laptop. *eyeroll* Look, I'm paid on commission too... I get that sales are important. I just don't need to be played that way. I thanked him for his opinion, bought the new power cord anyways... brought it home... and it worked... it's still a tad bit positional and probably my laptop is not long for this world... but it works for now. I have vowed to start a laptop and car repair savings fund immediately.

Someone asked if I could only sell life insurance in Georgia. Yes. I am only licensed for Georgia. I surrendered my Florida license to obtain a Georgia sales license. However, alllllls ya have to do is cross over the Georgia line and I can sell all I want. I'm working hard at sales but so far, nothing doing. Our life specialist, Gus, turned in his notice yesterday. He's opening his own agency. I really like Gus. He has five kids... he's a single dad... and a good dad... we have the same birthday, although I'm seven years older, he looks older. We have a good time together.

In other co-worker drama... Kevin's wife miscarried at 8 weeks pregnant yesterday. It was her fourth pregnancy, they have all ended between 8 and 16 weeks. It's heartbreaking... I sat with him for a moment and tried to comfort him after he got the call that she was on the way to the ER... but there are just some times that there are no words, that words are cheap and empty. Some pain is too deep. I gave him Psalm 34:18 - the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I've been thinking a lot about the 23rd Psalm and how it says, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me..." It doesn't say... "thanks for taking me around the valley" David went through it. And boy did he ever... and often by his own hand, by the consequence of his own actions... but he was a man after God's own heart. I like David. I think he and I have a lot in common. And that whole having a child with the wisdom of Solomon... well... maybe... Ryan's blog offers great perspective... albeit in the midst of a lot of "we were so trashed" recaps. Poor kid... grew up with a mom who tells everything she knows everywhere she goes. He was bound to be without boundaries. Love ya, Boo!

And his friend Joshy also has a blog, don't remember if I posted the link... check him out and give him some love... http://gtownsfuturemd.blogspot.com/

Chasing another rabbit... Rihanna's post beating photos made my blood run cold. I think every man that ever lays a hand on a woman should have another man (woman, being) who is stronger and even meaner exact the same injuries on him. An eye for an eye, baby! I also think that every man who cheats on his wife should have his thing cut off. Oops. The bitterness is showing again!

Dean soooo very much wants to make a vengeance trip. He wouldn't actually DO anything, I'm convinced of this. He's more bark than bite. (Remo, we may need your help getting Dean out of the pokey there in Phoenix...) He just wants to warn the spouses of my husband's new co-workers of the potential damage he can inflict. You can't blame him for that, poor guy has been through hell. I think just thinking through it makes him feel better... not that he would actually do it. Those of you who are his facebook friends, stop by and give him some love... things are getting tough and he is tired.

I found a passage of scripture today that made me jump up and down and clap my hands... I'll post it at the end of this entry for those who would like to see it (it's long). It just screamed Dean to me... and Dean, I will allllllways love you-oooo-ooo... you are always going to be number one in my heart, no matter how many guys I chat with or date or whatever ... and I will always pray for you and the Deanie Babies. God is good.

I'm struggling with the no-chew diet. I had grits and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I had a hot brown for lunch (see footnote). I had brunswick stew for dinner. I need to get a blender so I can make smoothies. That would help me get in some healthy stuff. The good news is that I don't really have an appetite. I'm on 800 mg motrin three times a day for anti-inflammatory and it's killing my stomach. I'm constantly nauseated. I've never had problems taking motrin before but... oh well. I have been feeling ok... talking and singing too much...

Time to tuck me in with the remote and some good magazines. Love and hugs, y'all!

Lamentations 3
1 [
a] I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.
2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;
3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.
4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.
5
He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.
6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.
8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.
10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,
11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.
12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.
15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall.
16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.
17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, "My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD."
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
34 To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land,
35 to deny a man his rights before the Most High,
36 to deprive a man of justice— would not the Lord see such things?
37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?
39 Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?
40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say:
42 "We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.
43 "You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through.
45 You have made us scum and refuse among the nations.
46 "All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us.
47 We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction."
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed.
49 My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief,
50 until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.
51 What I see brings grief to my soul because of all the women of my city.
52 Those who were my enemies without cause hunted me like a bird.
53 They tried to end my life in a pit and threw stones at me;
54 the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to be cut off.
55 I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: "Do not close your ears to my cry for relief."
57 You came near when I called you, and you said, "Do not fear."
58 O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life.
59 You have seen, O LORD, the wrong done to me. Uphold my cause!
60 You have seen the depth of their vengeance, all their plots against me.
61 O LORD, you have heard their insults, all their plots against me-
62 what my enemies whisper and mutter against me all day long.
63 Look at them! Sitting or standing, they mock me in their songs.
64 Pay them back what they deserve, O LORD, for what their hands have done.
65 Put a veil over their hearts, and may your curse be on them!
66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.


For info on the hot brown, check this link: http://www.randomatlanta.com/37/the-hot-brown-at-the-dwarf-house you have to see it to believe it.