My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, August 31, 2009

Woe is me Monday.

Sooooo... Monday didn't turn out like I had planned. Austin had come home sick Saturday... and I started feeling bad yesterday... so I took both of us to the doctor this morning. (Again, thank God for health insurance)

I tested negative for strep (yay!) and Austin tested negative for flu (again, yay!) and although we are both supposed to "practice social distancing" (politically correct term for quarantine) we are not as sick as I had feared. (Thank God for health. And health insurance!)

I'm super sleepy... didn't sleep well last night... and the doctor is concerned that I'm only one week recovered from the bronchitis that Austin now apparently has... and with the steroids I've been on... and with the granuloma stuff... I'm more susceptible to illness. So... he's having to "social distance" himself as far away from me as possible. We're doing all the good health things.

And... since I've answered this question a couple of times today already - yes. I have been sick alot. It's because of the granulomas. My lungs are damaged. My immune system is shot. Probably has been for some time. So we're praying that my sore throat remains just a sore throat and not another round of bronchitis. This time the doctor didn't leave an option as far as work... she said, "you will go home and rest today..." And maybe go back to work tomorrow. She doesn't want Austin back in school before Wednesday. Good times.

It's gonna be fine. I've discovered a new internet addiction - SuperPoke Pets - and I'm having fun playing on that.

So feel free to join in my Pity Party and have your own Woe is Me day... and get it out of your system. We've got nowhere to go but UP! God is good!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

sunday stuff

I'm having my second cup of coffee now... at 1:30pm... because I don't DARE drink two cups of coffee before church! Our services last about an hour and a half. I'd never make it that long on two cups! But it's good... enjoying it now...

Austin went to church with Tasha. He's sick... has a nasty cold... which makes me nervous because the LAST thing I need is to get sick! I'm coughing up a little uck this weekend but I'm totally in denial. I am NOT still sick. No way. It's nine weeks past the initial bronchitis diagnosis and I refuse to believe that it could be still hanging around - or even recurring - not now. No way! Technically, what I have is considered "chronic" not "acute" so TECHnically, the symptoms can pop up at any time... which is why I'm on inhalers and singulair and stuff like that even when I don't have anything going on... it's a bummer but it is what it is. I had a ton of amoxicillin around from all the times i've been started on amoxicillin and had it changed to something stronger since I don't respond to amoxicillin. I had Austin start taking that last night. Hopefully that will knock this junk out of him.

It was interesting to me that Austin was so eager to go to church... but that's what love'll do for you. I wish I could say that he's eager to be in the Lord's house. Mmm. Prollllly not. But he's there. Sometimes the motivation is external... and for autistic kids, the motivation is almost ALWAYS external, so I'm thankful that he's motivated to go, whatever the reason.

I didn't get to see my girls at church this morning. There was a baptism at the river after church and I didn't go to that (although I could have and should have - I was just wiped out, headachey and ready to go home). They dismissed the parents who needed to pick up kids at childrens church and Jim went out... guess he forgot that is MY job... but, whatever... our sweet Jessie joined our church today so I was able to stick around and love on her for a minute.

I am headachey. Maybe the extra caffeine will help. A extra bit of joe never hurt anyone, right? *wink*

Which reminds me... I forgot to turn my cellphone back on after church. Oops. Will do that as soon as I finish this entry.

Sunday School and worship service were both awesome. In Sunday School we're studying Genesis... we talked about how animals didn't fear man until after the flood. I hadn't ever thought about that before... but it's interesting... once man started to KILL the animals and eat them, animals developed fear of man. Even my Stubby the 3legged wondercat is a big ole scaredy cat... he startles easy... and when he approaches me... it's all sneaky and slinky like he's testing me out. Still.

In Worship service we talked about Paul's second journey and how so many things went wrong... and how sometimes our response is to give up when things go wrong, thinking that SURELY it must not be God's will for our lives if things aren't all hunky dory. Sometimes (ok, all the time) we learn so much through those tough times. I know I did. Am. Still learning. Present tense.

We had an altar call for those who are in a time of struggle and you know... I didn't feel like it was about me... I feel like an overcomer. Not that I'll never have another second of hurt, disappointment, regret, etc over the things that have happened over the past year but the crisis itself has passed. It was pretty awesome to have that realization wash over me. The storm has passed. Now it's just a matter of cleaning up the damage.

Four years after Katrina and NOLA isn't all the way put back together... actually... in some ways, it's forever changed. I am too. Forever changed. My prayer is that the structure of my life that is rebuild is stronger than ever and can withstand much stronger winds and a much deeper flood. When we rebuild, if we're wise, we rebuild it better. That's what I'm doing now - making sure this new life is better than anything I ever had before.

I have a friend whose husband lost his job last week due to some things that were misrepresented by others. Ok, let's just call them lies...because that's what they were. I'm not sure what this guy's income was but I would say based on the home that they live in, that he was making a little bit more than what I make. Ok. Let's just say he made a lot more than me. So... because of the misdeeds of others, his life has completely changed. We don't know yet what the ultimate outcome is... we don't know how long he'll be out of work or what kind of job he'll have in the future and if that will be a similar income but we know... this change... this storm... was no surprise to God.

Some of the greatest injustices in the world result in the greatest miracles we could possibly experience. What others mean for our harm, God uses for our good. Most of the time, I think if people could see all the way through their actions to the potential consequences to themselves and others, that they would take a different course of action. But I also know that I wouldn't have changed a single thing in my life if that meant never knowing the God that I know now.

Anyways... today is my Cody's nineteenth birthday. Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning will remember Cody turning fifteen... time flies. Those of you who are in my real life might remember Cody being born... or... him standing outside the bathroom door of our hotel room on a trip to Chattanooga when he was about two years old saying, "Open the door, Wisa Bwackett..."... God love hm.

I'm having a Pajama Sunday afternoon and evening. It's quiet here. I'm thinking nap... even with the caffeine. If anything, the caffeine is making me sleepy. I am also REALLY wanting beef curry but there's nowhere around here to get a decent curry and that's too much of an indulgence to drive over an hour round trip for. Maybe I should change the channel from the food network.

Nothing particularly demanding coming up in the next week. Just a normal work week. Stasha and I have FINALLY been able to coordinate our schedules to both have lunch with Sarabeth at the same time. We're surprising her. Next weekend is a three day weekend and *hopefully* Cody and Marquee will be able to come up and spend some time. Another summer has ticked by...

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend. Love and hugs, y'all!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, I will go back to my husband as at first, for I was better off than now." Hosea 2:7

If you're not a student of the bible, Hosea may be a difficult book to start with... but it's an incredible way to gain perspective on our lack of faithfulness. I don't necessary mean literal infidelity, although that might be the case. Hosea uses the example of an unfaithful wife to describe Israel's lack of faith and separation from God.

My focus today, though, on this verse, isn't so much on infidelity as it is on going back to Plan A. Or... the grass wasn't as green as I thought it would be on the other side.

How many times have you gotten what you thought you wanted in life and then found out that it wasn't enough? Or that it wasn't as good as you thought it would be?

I twittered last night about DJ AM being found dead in New York. I got a few responses like, "who's he? who cares?". Well. God cares, for one. And I care because it's yet one more person who seemingly had it all... fame, fortune, future... whose life ended because he was self-medicating to take himself away from what most of us would think on the surface is a great life.

Anna Nicole. Heath Ledger. Michael Jackson. and on and on and on... the list of people who have things that most of us can't even imagine... who are able to go anywhere in the world... who have talent (ok, maybe Anna Nicole didn't have talent, but she had the ability to market herself)... who have no financial worries (seemingly)... but who need drugs to get them through the day... to help them sleep at night... to wake them up in the morning... How? How can those people who have it all... be so empty?

Maybe having it all isn't all it's cracked up to be? Or maybe... there's more satisfaction to be found in sticking with the original plan. The original covenant. Your first love - both spiritually in loving the Lord and seeking Him first - and in honoring your commitments to the people here on earth.

The lady mentioned in the verse above is named Gomer. She was a harlot. I'm not making accusations or slandering the woman... the bible tells us that she was a harlot. And Hosea sought to redeem her... to validate her... to make her respectable. And for awhile she was respectable... she gave him children... and we can only assume that she was a decent wife... but then she decided to check out the greener grass on the other side of the fence. She went back to her true nature... being a harlot. Until it wasn't working out for her like she wanted and then she wanted to go back to Hosea...

There is a phenomenon I refer to as "prison religion"... and by that, I mean someone who has lived without boundaries and with complete hedonism and disregard for their commitments and obligations and then ONCE THEY GET INTO TROUBLE want to go back to God... get it all straightened out... "I've changed." And because they now have this new found righteousness, they want to be able to avoid the consequences of their previous actions. Sometimes, the people in their lives are so relieved that they have found their way back to the straight and narrow that they show them mercy and forgiveness and don't hold them accountable for the hell they raised while they were wandering in the wilderness.

The problem with prison religion is that it's not a true repentance and change of perspective. It's a survival tactic to avoid punishment. I'm an expert on prison religion, having spent the last 24 years of my life dealing with an alcoholic who is only interested in doing the right thing when he can no longer get away with doing the wrong thing. Only when the law is after him... or he gets sick... or out of work... broke... downtrodden... He has the misfortune of only looking up when he gets so far deep in mud that it's not possible to sink any further down.

And the problem with THAT... is that you never really heal, you never really grow, you continue to complete the same cycles over and over again. And then you die.

Over the past year I've taken some radical stands about things. I've done some difficult things. I've made some difficult choices and I've sought a real relationship with my first love. Not my first husband, mind you (see previous paragraphs on prison religion). But the God who loved me from before I was born. The one who saw my body as it was formed in my mothers womb and who knew what all my days would be before any came to be. That first love.

I ended my first marriage - or rather I should say HE ended our first marriage when I finally took a stand and said, "You can't live like this any more and be married to me". It's me or the alcohol, buddy. It's your wife and three kids or the three day benders you keep going on. It's your family or the paychecks you squander trying to "get away from it all". It's the woman you committed to for better or worse or the drugs that make you feel better, then worse. And so he packed up and left. He made his choice. There was no looking back. Some people take forever to end a marriage... they break up, get back together, leave, come back. There was none of that. It was a miserable few years leading up to that point but when I drew a line in the sand... he was out.

From that point on I began searching for victim number two. I mean... my future ex-husband. I mean... a soulmate... the ultimate husband who would never leave me nor forsake me. Oh.Wait... that was God who said He'd never leave me nor forsake me. well, anyways. I was searching. And when I didn't find Mr. Right, I settled for Mr. Right Now. I allowed myself to be compromised in order to not be alone. And then I had this epiphany that if I had a great body, I'd find a great guy. And... I learned that the better you look, the more they come looking.

But you know... I still haven't found... what I'm looking for. Finally a man came along who wanted to spoil me (check!) and take me on fabulous trips (check!) and who seemed to have money (check! then uncheck!) and who could allow me to live in a great house (check!) and take me out to fabulous dinners (check!) and who wanted to woo me... and...

Here's the problem. Well, there were a couple of problems. I never asked God if this was the right relationship for me. As a matter of fact... I knew from early on that he was NOWHERE NEAR the kind of spiritual head of household who would lead me back to my first love - God. I knew that his situational ethics would mean a lifetime of compromise for me. I knew that he didn't believe in compassion (I was not allowed to use that word) or unconditional love (also, not allowed to use it) or in the authority of God's word (many hours of debate over this - and Austin would say, "YOU'RE FIGHTING ABOUT GOD!")

Or even... the very foundation of who I was, once you took away the chasing after a dream Cinderella - underneath it all was a woman who deeply loves the Lord and knows that she is set aside for a great purpose in Him... and yet... I married a man who believed that according to his religion, I was not even saved - that I was going to hell when I died.

How could he ever respect ME... if he saw me as someone who was going to hell ANYWAY??? And how. Could a man who loved me. Know that I was going to hell and not do everything in his power not to save me. ???

And I stayed. And I suffered. And I grieved the loss of relationship because... well, ultimately... a relationship that's built on physical beauty will fade... and a relationship that doesn't include compassion is empty... and a marriage without unconditional love is temporary at best. I started grieving the loss of my marriage almost as soon as it began because I knew... And I knew... I knew that it was a slippery slope with just a matter of time before I fell off.

Guess who was there to catch me? My first love. Guess who cleaned off the mud and dust and tears and blood and put bandaids on all the hurts... and wait... He didn't just clean me up... He returned me to a place of favor with Him. He allowed my life to be filled with joy. He redeemed me.

Maybe we'll talk a little bit more about Hosea and Gomer in the next few days. Maybe we'll talk some more about the relationship between God and Israel in the next few days too. In the meantime... I want you to think about what you're chasing after... and whether or not it is truly more important than your first love.

There was a lady in my bible study class Wednesday night who was disillusioned because of the loss of her marriage. She had done everything right... and still, he left her. She had been faithful. He had not. She feels abandoned and destroyed and like her life is over. She feels like she'll never find love again. I took out my business card and wrote the following verses on the back... and I'll close with them... for they are the words that keep me hanging on.

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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

weekend countdown

Yesterday my lifelong friend and sister of the heart left a facebook status talking about that moment that you hit in every workday when you know you are no longer going to accomplish anything productive… yesterday she hit that at 8am. I said I understood and then amended it to say (tongue in cheek) that I AM ALWAYS productive, every minute of the day (since my boss has facebook). Today I may have to admit that I’ve hit that point. Maybe I’ll rally and get my second wind here in a minute and get some calls made and so on and so forth. Right now, I’m feeling Weekend Countdown burnout BIG TIME!

Three and a half hours to go.

By the way, any time I work on Saturday, the following Friday I run out of steam. This is why I never work two Saturdays in a row. I’d be worthless by Wednesday.

The lady at Sonic yelled at me today because I parked under the awning that was across the parking lot from the restaurant so when she brought out my food, she had to walk in pouring rain. “Why’d you park all the way over here?” And I stuttered and stammered and got defensive and said, “it wasn’t raining when I got here. Traffic was blocking the other side of the parking lot. You should be wearing a raincoat!” And I tipped her two dollars.

It is sweater weather today… in August in Georgia… which hardly ever happens… and I am loving it! That’s why I went to sonic in the first place… because it was comfy weather.

I am feeling ridiculously unstressed today which is a huge blessing and most likely the result of prayers of some very sweet people who remember me in prayer daily… and also partly because it’s Friday and the stress is melting away. No matter how bad it is… I’ll get a break in approximately 3 hours and 25 minutes. And once I take Sarabeth to her friend Jorjann’s house for Jorjann’s birthday party, I plan to go home, get in my pjs and put my hair in a ponytail and hibernate for the next 36 hours. I’ll probably run to the farmer’s market and to the amish bakery. I may even clean house a bit. But regardless… I can do whatever I want, however I want and that makes me really happy.

I have to get busy marketing. Y’all have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. Love and hugs!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

whiny thankful whatever day

I think I’m ahead of schedule on here. I had Whiny Wednesday on Monday and Thankful Thursday on Wednesday but the truth is… I’m working on a little bit of both today. I lost out on a car loan that I had brought into the agency because I wasn’t here when the guy came in to complete the paperwork. That bummed me out this morning. I hate missing out on the credit and commission for something that I essentially sold… I just wasn’t here to do the paperwork. But… on the flip side… I just feel so darn good that it’s hard to feel bad. I had an awesome card on my desk that had come in the mail after I left the office yesterday… one of those talking cards that says, “you’re awesome”… Ha! Ok, well, if you insist! I hung it right beside my pictures of Cody

(yes, Cody, there are pictures of you on my desk… I know you think I have more pictures around of Stephen than of you… but that’s just not true! Stephen’s on the fridge where I HARDLY EVER GO and you’re on my desk where I spend a thousand hours a week!) (Speaking of Stephen – Happy 20th birthday, kid! Sorry I am not there to take part in the festivities… I’ll make you a mix cd of all your favorite show tunes and get it in the mail to you… that would be a BLANK cd!)

Yesterday I had my second head CT scan this year. They didn’t find anything. (Gosh… I’m funny today!). I don’t know what they saw. They don’t tell you. To me it was just one of those bogus extraneous things they do… but because of the cysts/growths that keep happening in various places, the pulmonologist wanted to see if there was any change in that one… since it’s the only real marker we have. Then I had my lung function test and that was QUITE a workout! I haven’t had that much heavy breathing since… well, in a very long time. A long. Long. Long. Time. The lady who did the testing was super sweet and they got me out of there in time to get home, get changed for church and get to church in time for supper.

Except. My son Lostin had disappeared again. He wasn’t supposed to go to Tasha’s since he skipped school on Tuesday. (Have I mentioned that yet?) Yet, that’s exactly where he was. When I went to pick him up he asked if Tasha could come to church with us. Far be it for me to deny someone the opportunity to go to church… so we made our way and got ALMOST to Helen when traffic came to a halt. First of all… there shouldn’t be traffic on a week day in Helen. Secondly… well. I guess that first point is the most important one. There was a fire at a shop across the street from our church… I’m not SURE exactly which building it was… it looked to be in the rock shop where they sell all those fancy colored rocks and boiled peanuts… but I overheard someone saying that it was the building where the palm reader is. You would have thought they’d have seen that coming! (Ok, I admit, that wasn’t my joke, I just overheard it and thought it was really funny!)

I’m skipping around but I just remembered… the respiratory lady said that my lung capacity looks good but there’s an odd sort of hitch in my breathing which would be consistent with the granuloma blocking part of the airway. This was the whole point of having the testing done… to see what we have to work with/ work around. The good news is that my breathing improved after doing an inhaler so it’s quite possible that the entire solution is to do what we’ve been doing as far as treating the symptoms. That testing really got me coughing and brought up a lot of ick but that was helpful in it’s own way.

Last night… supper at church… got lots of love from Sarabeth who is going through an affectionate stage. It was incredibly sweet to have her and Jamie come running when they saw me… lots of hugs… and I just happened to be waiting at the door on their way out so I got extra hugs. Austin and Tasha were nowhere to be found when it was time to go last night… seriously, that kid is driving me crazy. It took awhile for us to get out the door and on our way and I was worn out by the time I got home… it’s been a busy week.

My bible study class is awesome, I’m having a great time with the other ladies. Our study is on sexuality so that’s …. Interesting. Actually, to be more specific… it’s about body image and being uniquely female and God’s plan for covenant marriage (which you know I’m HIGHLY in favor of! Marriage is *supposed to be* forever!) and it’s about staying pure in body and mind and faithful not only to your husband but also to God… and how the marriage relationship is similar to the relationship between Christ and the church. I have to honestly say that I’m struggling with some of it because I’ve been so tunnel visioned toward thinking of myself as the Old Maid Aunt and have just NOT thought about men/relationships/etc.

Things are getting busy around here… hope you guys have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

my friend Joe passed this on to me... I thought it was beautiful and worthy of sharing!

Stars do not struggle to shine; rivers do not struggle to flow, and you will never struggle to excel in life, because you deserve the best. Hold on to your dream and it shall be well with you. The eyes beholding this message shall not behold evil, the hand that will send this message to others shall not labor in vain, the mouth saying Amen to this prayer shall laugh forever, remain in God's love.

Good morning. Your dream will not die, your plans will not fail, your destiny will not be aborted, and the desire of your heart will be granted in Jesus' name. Money will know your name and address before the end of this month. None goes to the river early in the morning and brings dirty water. As you are up this morning, may your life be clean, calm, and clear like the early morning water. May the grace of the Almighty support, sustain, and supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. Amen.

Love the Lord, Have a wonderful day in Jesus' name.

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you. I see something good happening to you, something that you have been waiting to experience. This is not a joke; you are going to receive a divine visitation that will move your life forward mightily by the outworking of God's unstoppable Power.

this day in history

On this day in history…
In 1920 women were given the right to vote.
In 1939 the first major league baseball game was televised
In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson was selected as the democratic nominee for president
In 1978 aviator Charles Lindberg died.

And on this day in 2008…
My husband was fired from his job beginning a chain of events that would lead to a completely different life for both of us.

So on this day we celebrate God’s provision… in providing both Michael and I new jobs – in different locations. We celebrate God’s wisdom in extricating me from a marriage where I would never have been loved, valued, appreciated, respected… We celebrate God’s guidance as I had to make many decisions in a very short time with a long term impact on the lives of myself and my children… and the many details that God had worked out in advance… We celebrate a God whose eye is on the sparrow, who also watches me.

Last night after a very long day… I sat in a rocking chair on the front porch of a restaurant in Cleveland, Georgia, listening to (and videotaping) my sweet nieces dance and sing to “This is the day that the Lord has made” with the kind of joy that only a child can possess – innocence – complete faith and trust – without a care in the world. And God has done that for me too… He has loved me like His little child. He has removed every care, every fear, every worry… He took a time of great disappointment and heartache and has turned my weeping into joy.

It has been a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy but it has reaped blessings that are beyond my greatest hopes and dreams. The things I thought would matter just one brief year ago have disappeared. Honestly, I had no idea. When things were really bad with Michael, I would imagine myself living somewhere else – anywhere else – but I couldn’t visualize how I would possibly find the resources to pick up and move, to change my life completely. Yet God knew.

I’ve spent a year surviving. I’m ready to go from surviving to thriving. It’s not enough to just get by. God heard my cries for help. God saw His child in pain. He had mercy on me. His grace was sufficient for everything. I’ve become aware of people who are living through their “worst thing”… and although it may vary from person to person… one thing always holds true, surviving your worst thing either makes you bitter or it makes you better. I think that once you get past your worst fears… once you go through a nightmare and wake up… once you learn that a little struggle only makes you stronger… you have a great gift – perspective. Perspective allows us to not sweat the small stuff. It allows us to respect our inner strength. It gives us confidence. It builds our testimony.

It gives us the opportunity to share with others from the wisdom of our experience. I don’t know what God has planned for the next year. I just know that He keeps putting me in a place of joy. He keeps bringing me through what I thought I’d never survive. He keeps putting a song in my heart and others in my path who need to learn the same tune.

On this day in history, God started turning me into the woman He wants me to be. This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

not me Monday... Whiny Wednesday two days early

Had to be at work early today for staff meeting.
Have to be at work early tomorrow for a class.
Had lunch brought in today.
Have lunch provided tomorrow at the class.
Two early days – two days free lunch. Life has a way of balancing out.
Lots of calls today. Been busy.
Still battling Austin regarding chores. I’m not really mean. I just expect him to clean up behind himself and take out the trash. It’s not hard. He just has decided that he doesn’t want to do it.
Part of it is being glued to Tasha every waking moment.
I’m glad he has friends, really, I am. He just needs to keep things in balance. Austin’s never been good with balance or boundaries or perspective. That’s my job.
He threw such a tantrum yesterday… complete with kicking, screaming, crying… I have to admit, he did his Drama Mama proud. What a show! Oddly… I watched him thinking I had missed something. It was so out of context… the amount of effort he expended trying to get out of doing a little bit of stuff.
I also have to find time this week to file abandonment charges on the kids’ dad. I don’t want him to go to jail but he’s not going to pay until he is forced to. I’m not willing to absorb his financial responsibility for the next three years. He owes soooo much money already. I complain about it a lot. It’s a problem a lot. If he was doing ANYTHING to help… it would be different. Austin’s seen him twice in the past year. How do you have children and just ignore them?
Little wonder Austin is unconcerned with consequences. Or perspective.
It’s ten dollars to file and means a trip to the courthouse. It will take forever for them to do anything, which is why I can’t wait to do it. We’re already six or seven weeks with zero . I don’t expect to see any money from him before December. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to absolve him of responsibility. I wasn’t some one night stand… I was his wife for sixteen years… this is his kid. And despite him being a royal pain right now… he’s a cool kid. For a brat.
I got a great little pick-me-up in the mail today from Whitney… she made a fancy little sharpie drawing of my name on cardboard… it made me smile.
Is it hypocritical of me to be aggravated that I had to interrupt my entry to answer the phone because someone was on a personal call. Oh yeah. I’m doing something personal too.
It’s been a long day. Miles to go before I sleep.
We had Kentucky Fried chicken today for lunch. When I first typed it, I wrote “Kentucky fried children”… which made me laugh. Good times. We had the grilled children. Um. Chicken. And all the heavy, starchy, greasy sides. After the donut I had for breakfast… I think I’ve broken every good nutrition rule in the book today. I’m probably not sleepy so much as I’m in a carb coma.
I just re-read this entry and realized I’m complaining a lot. I’m going to work on that.
I have some phone calls to make today… I’m going to close my office door and make those calls and the next two and a half hours are going to just disappear! And then I’ll pick up Austin… and we’ll go home to our happy little house and everyone will cooperate and be glad to do whatever they can. And we will live happily ever after.
I just remembered I have pink cookies in the office fridge that I was going to share with Sarabeth today… I think I’ll have one.
I started my day feeling a little stressed out… I had some weird dreams last night… things about Bryan and Candice having a blonde, blue-eyed baby… which would never happen for a number of reasons but in my dream the baby was highly intelligent…. Actually, when you dream about pregnancy or babies it has something to do with starting a new life and they’re buying a new apartment that’s in a fabulous location so maybe that’s what that’s about. I also dreamed that I was depressed and Angie took me to the spa to make me feel better… and they served us chicken salad…. And my old friend Scott was the masseuse. While we were at the spa, waiting on Sarabeth and Jamie to have a pedicure, my mother-in-law (the second one) showed up and we had a lovely time. Crazy stuff.
This is not the best blog entry I’ve ever written. Oh well. Life is good. God loves you. Have a great day. Love and hugs.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

quick sunday update

We had a great time in church this morning and I had a couple of pictures I wanted to share. For once, these are not pictures of my nieces... but two other precious girls in my life...

Our pastor's daughter Abbie... holding brand new 13 day old Azariah... daughter of my sweet friend Tiiara and her husband Levi.
I'm feeling great today. Just a tiny little bit of congestion... but my energy level is much better. I'll take a little cough here and there if I can just FEEL better!
I promised Sarabeth that I'd have lunch with her tomorrow... and bought some special pink cookies for us to share. A little boy joined the church today and his mom shared the story that he was inspired by Sarabeth's baptism and accepted Christ after that. I told Sarabeth that she would impact others by her decision and she has - already. I got a little teary over that... and couldn't WAIT to tell her after church.
Austin is in complete meltdown mode today. I'm sure it's in large part to the lack of sleep he got last night. I caught him making coffee at 1:30am... which interrupted my sleep... and made him grumpy today. He was aggravated that he was going to have to finish his chores before he could go to Tasha's and had a complete tantrum over it. I'm the meanest mommy in the world.
I've got dinner in the crockpot... which means - mark the calendar! I cooked! It's sort of a goulash /jambalaya experiment with orange bell peppers, onion, rice, tomato sauce, kielbasa and cilantro. I finally found cilantro that wasn't withered and rotten. I was excited. Who knows how this will turn out... but it's enough for a couple of days so I hope it's good!
I think I'm going to have a little EBT* tonight to prepare for the week ahead... I've got a class in Braselton on Tuesday... doctor appointment on Tuesday... lung function test and CT scan in Gainesville on Wednesday... bible study Wednesday night... and so on and so on. Friday night I'm taking Sarabeth to her friend Jorjann's spend the night party. I LOVE getting to be a part of her excitement for these little events and if I take SB, then Jamie doesn't have the separation anxiety of dropping off sister. If I happen to fall asleep before Big Brother, I'll catch up via the cbs website tomorrow.
Hope you're having a great Sunday! Love and hugs!

*early bedtime

Saturday, August 22, 2009

my Saturday

We had our photo taken for the church directory and it will be one of those happy memories that we reflect on when Austin is grown... He wouldn't smile... and told everyone who would listen how mean his mommy is. Ha! That's always been my goal... to be the meanest mommy ever! Honestly, the best picture they took of us was one where he had Austin assume the "thinker" pose and look serious. It looked like a portfolio picture.

Alas, I had not budgeted for Olan Mills this month... we're saving up for a pig, you know. I got the whole sales spiel including caution that I needed to pay the extra $23 for retouching of my photo that will go in the church directory... to take out the wrinkles. Austin giggled and the sales lady said, "We can also clean up acne". AS IF! How rude! But... the truth is that I think my wrinkles look just fine and the folks that are going to get the church directory see me every week. They get the "unretouched" version every week. Why would I spend grocery money trying to front like I'm ten years younger?

Apparently I've reached the age where my best lights are "candle" and "moon". Mercy.

I posted a picture of me in the sidebar of my blog that was taken before the photos were taken at church today. Before lipstick. I did wear lipstick in the official photo. I'm not completely uncivilized... although Austin and I looked like two homeless people from the waist down with his ratty jeans and my flipflops. You can see how ridiculously long my hair has gotten. I look like a long-lost member of the Duggar family.

Today has flown by. I guess every weekend does. I didn't work that long this morning... the cleaning guy came and he was up under me and made me feel like I was up under him so I went ahead and headed out. Other than one promising appointment, I didn't have much going on. The only phone call I had all morning was someone who thought they had called Walmart. You're gonna have that, I suppose.

I worked a bit, made my weekly run by the amish bakery... ok, this was awesome... four of the amish ladies were in the back of the bakery singing out of a hymnbook. I think they were practicing for church tomorrow but they were so precious... four part harmony... it really added to the charm of the place! And I bought our usual cheese bread, cheese straws and a treat.

I had my Auggie drama as previously noted... came home and fiddled with my hair to try to get it straight enough to be photo ready (not an easy job in August in Georgia)... went to have the church photo... had the drama described earlier in this entry... went and got ribs from North Georgia BBQ... and I've been home just relaxing this afternoon. Blink and the day is nearly over!

The good news is that I feel way better today. I am starting to regain my energy which is AWESOME! I still have the occasional cough but it's much better. I don't feel like I'm choking any more and I'm breathing better and my ribs don't hurt any more. It's all good stuff.

On the Georgia Traveler show on PBS they were showing Calloway Gardens and that general vicinity... they showed ALL the places that Purple Michael and I visited on my birthday weekend in 2005. Ah! Memories! Made me miss him...

Speaking of reminiscing... there are some notorious dates coming up in the next few weeks for me. I am getting my game face on and preparing myself spiritually. I wasn't prepared for the emotional upheaval that my wedding anniversary brought... I plan to prepare better for the upcoming "anniversaries". So much has changed in the past year... you think you know what you want and you think that you have your life figured out. Man plans and God laughs. I took a little time tonight and read through some blog entries from this time last year... Tropical Storm Fay had just gone through... Michael took the infamous trip to Philadelphia that was really a trip to Chicago with Andrea... and got fired... which was the beginning of the end for us. The 15th was the Bruce Springsteen concert we went to with Dean and Andrea... with Dean and I both in the dark that our spouses were cheating on us with each other... the 22nd was when the tropical storm came through and I opened his mail and discovered how deeply in debt he was... the 26th was when Michael got fired... the wheels just started coming off. September 26th will mark the anniversary of when I moved here... from hell to Helen... out of the wilderness...

I don't bring those days up to be bitter or wallow in self-pity but just to say that time (and God) does heal a broken heart. That what seems like the end of the world is sometimes just the beginning of a new, better life. I was miserable in Jacksonville. I love my life here! There was no way for me to even fathom the things that have happened for me in the past year and I have a feeling that the best is yet to come! So many people that I cross paths with are going through that worst possible scenario with unbelieveable emotional pain and I love being able to offer them hope. Just like the ring that replaced my wedding bands says, "hope"...

So the plan is to face all of these days with rejoicing and celebration at how far I've come... to praise the God who gives... and takes away according to His will for our lives and His goodness and mercy... to focus on the healing not the hurt... I think I'm going to be able to get through the next month without needing ribs and banana pudding to make me feel better.

Getting late... Cinderella needs to quit blogging. Love and hugs, y'all!


Today we have photos for the church directory. I straightened my hair and did pageant hair (on hot rollers) and it's semi-cute but very humidity sensitive.

I had to work this morning and it was fairly productive... I did a good bit of marketing and met with a prospective client. If the new client goes ahead and writes coverage with us, it's about $30 worth of commission. I mean, I won't be able to retire off the money, but it's something extra.

Austin wanted to be dropped off at Tasha's this morning and I agreed... with the understanding that when I came to pick him up, he needed to be ready to go. I told him i would be there at 12:30...

So I go to pick him up and honk... and then text Tasha... and nothing. It's like there's nobody there. When I get all the way to our house... I get a text, "I couldn't leave yet because Tasha wasn't ready."

Excuse me?

I called and said, "I'm coming to get you at 2pm. Be ready. Tasha isn't going with us and you're on restriction the rest of the weekend. She doesn't dictate our schedule". She's power tripping. I don't mind a bit if my boys want to be hen-pecked, if that's their choice. My life, however, is not going to be ruled by a 15 year old girl. Especially one I didn't give birth to.

He hung up on me. I was stuttering into the phone... "NO, he di-unt!"... I called back and said, "I'm on the way NOW. Be ready."

That was a half hour ago and I haven't said a word to him other than, "Get a shower and get dressed."

Now I don't care WHAT my hair looks like because I know we're going to end up looking like American Gothic. I'm angry.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekend countdown… in just over nine hours I’ll be curling up in my big pepto bismol colored recliner with my laptop in my lap, ready to surf the net until I drop.

The big news from the office so far today… the plant in my office is dying (I don’t think it gets enough sunlight in here)… I had a travel trailer app that was issued and I had quoted it correctly (which is a big deal because those are rated from the rate book instead of by computer. We have to use our skills) and there’s a bad smell coming from the kitchen. Shirley is trying to determine the cause. So far she’s taken out the trash, cleaned out the refrigerator and sprayed a lot of Lysol. My hair is still really wet and the air is going full blast so I’m chilled. I’m wearing yellow flipflops today. You really can’t have a bad day when you’re wearing yellow flipflops.

Just did a homeowners policy for a new client. Cha-ching! Need some hot tea now… my hair is still wet. My favorite Mexican client came through. He’s asked me out – and his friend has asked me out – but they’re both a little sketchy when I ask if they’re married. I know they have children. Both are nice guys but nice guys sometimes do not nice things and I’m not getting caught up in any baby mama back in Mexico drama. Eight hours until Yabba Dabba Do! Come on Friday! Fly by!

I just gave Theresa the play-by-play on the whole pig meeting last night. They call them hogs. They will be raising “show hogs” and they go “pig shopping” to choose a good “show hog”. I don’t know if that was funny to anyone but me but every time I hear the words “pig shopping” I crack up. Seriously??? We sat through a talk about raising beef cattle and I promise you I looked like a poop in a punch bowl – I couldn’t have possibly been more out of place. How did I go from opera and ballet to heifers and hogs so quickly? I may not be as Sex and the City as my sister-un-law Candice but I’m definitely not country. When they talked about the big event of the school year being the State Fair in Perry, I nearly passed out. Wait… lemme think about it… spending a weekend with a bunch of kids who get their kicks from fattening up hogs. Um. No. Can’t see it. Please! Somebody whisk me away to a day spa before I get manure under my fingernails!

BTW… thanks to Say It Ain’t So, Joe for the goat pictures from your yard this morning. My surreal life. My friends have goats. My son wants to raise a show hog. I’m knee deep in Green Acres without Oliver to guide me. Most people make a drastic move like this because they fall in love with a farmer. I made this drastic move to Mayberry to save myself. I’m laughing. I suppose it worked.

The power went out during the meeting. The power was out all over town, even at our house. They had police stationed at all the stoplights in town to direct traffic. Both of them. We had a lot of rain. The phones went down at the phone company. Who does the phone company call when their phones go down? I don’t know either. Fortunately both power and DISH were back up within 5 minutes of the time that Big Brother started so I didn’t have to miss much of it.

I was already traumatized before the meeting started because Austin had just told me he received in school suspension for today for arguing with someone. Aces. And there’s the detention hall on Monday for PDA with Tasha. And then… my friend Cyndi, who also has goats, was telling me how she’s going to raise chickens next year. I said, “who slaughters them?” She will. I could never. I shuddered. Literally.

Seven and a half hours to go. On my first cough drop for the day. Had my hot tea and it’s not breaking things up today. Haven’t done the rescue inhaler yet. That’s the next step. I feel good. I’m breathing better than yesterday. Not as much pain in the ribs, so that’s good. I didn’t pass Angie on the road this morning… but I was a little later than usual. She may have gotten to school before I went by. Tomorrow we have photos for the church directory. Trying to decide if I want to straighten my hair for it. If I straighten and it’s’ humid then it will be a frizzy mess. If I leave it curly and it’s not humid, it may not be curly enough. Decisions, decisions.

Working on a builders risk policy – which is basically a home under construction. It’s a little bit different process and I had to put on my thinking cap. It still fits, fortunately. Seven hours. Also working on a homeowners policy without a whole lot of information from the insured. Flying blind a little bit. It’s just an estimate hoping to get to quote his property. We’ll see what happens. Sometimes you gotta put a little Nancy Drew into the process to get a new client. I’ll do what I have to do.

Just realized I had some documents fr0m last week that I haven’t scanned in yet. Oops. Doing that now. Still need to make my marketing calls for the day. I try to do those before Ginger goes to lunch… close my door… knock ‘em out. I hate cold calls. I feel like a telemarketer. My self-esteem is not high enough to take that kind of rejection. So I try to get it done and out of the way. Six hours and twenty minutes. I’m thinking Taco Bell for lunch, especially if the weather is nice and I can stand to have a car picnic.

Keep going back to the builders risk. Trying to decide the best way to present the application – with the appraisal or the builder’s estimate. No contract. I don’t do this often enough. A little research in the rate manual to see what I have to have. Every day I learn something new. Sometimes Amy, Whitney and myself send emails to each other to announce/celebrate new bits of information. Even though Amy’s in Atlanta and Whitney’s in Jacksonville, I still “work” with them. I love my girls.

Down under the 5 and a half hour mark. About to go to lunch. Gonna put my game face on for a bit and get some stuff knocked out/sell some stuff hopefully this afternoon. Y’all have a good Friday! Love and hugs!

PS... gotta a little sumptin' sumptin in the mail today! Woohoo!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

all about the farm. it's my life, y'all.

How can I feel so brain-dead with five hours still to go before Yabba Dabba Do time?
God gave me ALL the strength I needed for yesterday… to keep chugging along and make it to my Hen Party last night… and I know He’ll give me ALL the strength I need to keep chugging today through my work day and the Pig Meeting tonight.
Yep. Hen Party on Wednesday. Pig Meeting on Thursday. That’s my life.
Tonight I will go to the “Ag Center” (short for Agricultural Center) and find out the nitty gritty details of what’s involved in raising a pig. Not that I don’t already know. *ahem* Debatably, I’ve already raised a pig or three. This time, though, someone is going to judge me on it. Not that I haven’t already been judged on it. Seriously.
Say it ain’t so, Joe. Sometimes my life is so surreal. I have to look around and see who’s watching me because surely I’m on Candid Camera or being Punk’d or something. And then I realize that there are a couple dozen of you out there who are watching. Maybe judging a little… I like to think of it as “constructively supporting and encouraging”.
Pig Meeting. Me. Ag Center. Me, the ultimate city girl. Or at best, Suburb Sally.
It really made me laugh hard the other night when Austin told me they have three agricultural teachers at their school. Three. My brother’s response was, “I’m surprised they don’t have five”.
Today I’m starting work on a new bible study. I’ll share lots about it, I’m sure. I do that. It’s a Kay Arthur study this time and I think she’s amazing. the study, ironically, is titled, "Return to the Garden". Not the vegetable garden... as in Eden.
And since I haven’t REALLY whined in this blog entry, I’m coughing a lot today, my ribs are aching, my throat is a little bit sore and I’m hoarse. In other words… same old, same old. No change, despite the thousands of dollars in medical care. Money well spent (or not.). thank God, once again, for health insurance.
Ok… back to the salt mine… have a great Thursday, y’all.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

whiny Wednesday, one day early

I might be grumpy. I'm not sure. I napped a bunch today... and it was nice... I love my cozy little nest. I'm going to list my gripes and peeves here, just to get them out of my system. Let's call this Whiny Wednesday, a day early.

It aggravates the stew out of me that they keep making a big deal about Hurricane Bill, which will probably never touch land. Big waves. Big deal. It means that the next big storm will be ignored because of the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome.

I'm aggravated that I have to pick Austin up at the school at 8pm. Not a lot aggravated, just a little. I'd be awake anyways. It's not far. It's not painful. I'm glad he's participating in extracurricular activities. So I guess I can take that off my list. I'm not really aggravated.

I'm aggravated that I don't have sick leave at work. After working for the same company for 7 years, I should have sick leave. Even if I've worked at different locations. Kathy aggravated the stew out of me but at least she gave me sick leave from day one because she definitely benefitted from my experience from day one. Just one of the little things that makes me feel underappreciated. But... God is faithful. He always makes a way. I took a sick day today but I know that I really needed the rest. I've done everything the doctor has recommended except take time off. so there you go. One day. Now I should be well, right?

I'm always bothered by hair colors that couldn't occur in nature. I have a few little wispy grays and I don't want to cover them... one, because it will dry out my hair and two, because it will take three boxes of hair color to cover this curly mop... but also because when I see a hundred year old woman with flaming red hair I want to scream, "Give me a break!". I saw a woman at the Rite Aid this morning with completely white, nicely styled hair. She looked beautiful. Way more beautiful than she would have looked with flaming red hair... or even worse... that blue black that can't possibly occur in nature. Or fushia. Or blonde hair on a dark skinned woman. You ain't foolin' nobody!

It's grown dark while I've been typing so it must be raining outside.

Hillary Clinton aggravates me.
The idea of national healthcare aggravates me. Go to the DMV or the social security office and then tell me that you want to receive your healthcare that way.

Double drive thrus aggravate me. People can't figure out the etiquette and end up all mad at each other. Not me - but other people.

People who call here wanting to collect money that my ex-husband owes aggravate me. He doesn't live here. He's never lived here. I don't know where he lives. I'm sorry that he hasn't paid you. You're barking up the wrong tree. He never told me who he owed money to when we married and he's surely not giving me an accounting of his accounting now that we're divorced.

Both my ex-husbands aggravate me. Neither one seems to be living up to their commitments. Financial or otherwise.

Having to be the bitter ex-wife aggravates me. I'm really a nice person. I'm not a nice enough person to ignore reality.

It aggravates me when they serve spaghetti for Wednesday night dinner at church.

Stubby the 3legged Wondercat's Kamakaze Kitty routine aggravates me. I'll be walking through the kitchen and he'll throw himself in front of me. One day I'm going to trip on him and it's not going to end up well for either one of us.

It also aggravates me that Stubby thinks that we should always share the same space... and that I should assume crazy yoga positions to accomodate him. Kitty's comfort comes first, apparently.

Profanity aggravates me. Especially when it's not necessary to articulate adequately.

Chronic bronchitis aggravates me. I know lots of people have it lots worse. I warned you that this would be a whiny post.

It aggravates me that I get a hundred hits a day on this blog and nobody ever comments. (Shameless ploy to get comments).

Austin dumped half a bag of cat food out and Stubby has a cattitude about it and doesn't want to eat it because it's not new food. Every day he needs to hear the rattle of the bag over his bowl... so I took the bag and rattled it from the closed end and he thinks he has new food. Ha!

Ok... I feel better now. There are lots of great things and great people in my life and I am waaaay blessed. Have a good evening, y'all.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gant Girls

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... Just had a frustrating reality check with Austin and vented about it on Facebook... he wants to do something special for Tasha for their three month "anniversary" and while I am eternally grateful that this precious young lady has suffered Austin for three whole months... he was planning to spend MY money to take her out somewhere "expensive". And when I had to bring him up to the reality that we can't afford school clothes for him, much less expensive dinners for anyone... he got upset with me.

The parent who stays is the parent who pays. Honestly... I had been debating about whether or not to file charges against his dad for abandonment and that made up my mind for me. If he had made any kind of half-hearted effort to do anything at all... or even responded to my email... or called... or anything... but once again, he just disappears. And all of this made my head hurt... so I decided to post some of my favorite pictures from this summer.

Me with my sweet sister-in-law on our "girls night out" with the sweet ladies from church. And then two of my favorite little candid shots of the girls... with Sarabeth painting Jamie's fingernails. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...
And we lived happily ever after.

my manic Monday

*Cough* *Cough* *Puke* *Puke*
We're a fun household. Stop by sometime, won't you? I have some surgical masks... leftover from my last germy illness back in Jacksonville.

Austin spent the overnight hours throwing up again. I don't know if he didn't get rid of the virus from Friday or what his deal is... I'm just glad he's past the age of vomitting on himself. Ugh. Those were some miserable times... I can't tell you how much vomit I've cleaned up in the last (almost) 23 years. When I woke up to find him with a bucket (with a trash bag in it, way to go, Auggie!) beside him... I thanked God for how far we've come.

I know that some people grieve for the loss of their kids' childhoods... we had a great time, my kids and me... and I thank God for them... they grew (are growing) into some really cool people. But I don't miss that itty bitty puke on themselves stage. I don't miss diapers. Middle of the night feedings. Ear infections. Nebulizers. Stepping on legos in the middle of the night. Poop Picassos.

Ok. Maybe I miss it just a little bit. Honestly... if I had to clean up puke right now, it would probably push me over the edge.

I'm coughing like crazy today. I feel like I can't get my throat clear. It feels like every rib is broken. I added all the meds they wanted me to add... and so far, nothing. People here are sending out search parties for me... I've burrowed so far deep in my nest... people think I've moved. I just want to BREATHE!

And while I'm complaining anyways, let me just have a word with you smokers out there.... STOP! The smell clings to you and makes me choke.

But enough about me and my minor afflictions.

My friend Jennifer's husband was in a motorcycle accident last week and he's in bad shape. Long story... in my world of one and a half degrees of separation... Dan was married to my friend Rachel. They had two little girls together - Jennifer and Rebecca. Rebecca and Cody were smitten with each other about... oh, gosh, I guess it was about 13 years ago... she cheered for his little football team. They were smitten enough that when my first husband's grandfather married his second wife and we went to Clarkesville, Tennessee for the wedding, we left Cody with Rachel so that Cody could escort Rebecca in their homecoming ceremony that weekend. He was six or seven at the time. At that time I was a (sort of) stay at home mom and kept kids after school... Jennifer and Rebecca were two of the kids I kept. Dan and Rachel divorced... Rachel remarried a super nice guy... many years later, Dan married my friend Jennifer... they have a cutie-patootie little girl together... and Dan is now at Grady Hospital and has a long road ahead of him to get back to healthy. So if you pray, remember Jennifer and Dan and their family.

Remember Josiah, my friend Misti's little boy who was not growing? Well... I saw a picture of him this past weekend and he is a chubby little Gerber baby! He even has a double chin! They're in Louisiana - but I think they're making a trip up here soon.

Austin has a field trip tomorrow with the Future Farmers of America. *laugh* I hope he's well enough to go and actually enjoy himself. Wednesday we start our bible study group back... and Thursday I have to go to the school for a meeting about raising the pig... which still makes me laugh. I'm working Saturday. We have photos for the church directory on Saturday. Next week I have to go to a class in Braselton... I have a doctors appointment Tuesday (checkup) and then another CT scan and my lung function test on Wednesday. And it's just an action packed life here in the hills... so we have to feel better, me and Auggie. No way around it!

My friend Cyndi has two kids who are down with the same bug Austin has... oddly, enough, not her child that is Austin's age... but anyways... she was making chicken soup for them today. I'm not nearly that domestic. I bought sprite and popsicles. I think he'll be ok. He got up and took a shower about an hour ago... I struggled with whether or not to leave him today to go to work. I ended up going in and working a little more than half a day. He's 15 but he still needs his mommy... and he was definitely glad to see me come in the door with the sprite.

So that's the scoop. Hope you're all doing well...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When you're up against a struggle...

I soothe myself sometimes with a song that starts with the phrase, "When you're up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams... " <---You can watch it here... I'm not blogger savvy enough to embed... I'll figure that out one day. But the words are:

When you're up against a struggle
That's shattered all your dreams
And your hopes been cruely crushed
By Satan's manifested schemes.
And you feel the urge within you
To submit to earthyly fears
Don't let the faith your standing in
Seem to disappear
CHORUS:Praise the Lord.
He will work for those who praise him
Praise the Lord. For our God inhabits praise.
Praise the Lord. And those chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you. As they fall powerless behind you. When you praise him.
Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
That we are paupers, when we know ourselves
We're children of the king.
So lift up the mighty shield of faith
For the battle must be won
Remember Jesus Christ has risen
So the works already done.

I'm not big on reading lyrics... sorry to make you read them *smile*, just click the link and listen to it. The point is that our lives are a battlefield between good and evil, wrong and right, God and Satan. And sometimes it seems like good ain't nowhere near winning. And the road gets rough and it seems like the disappointments will never end... And we just feel spend our whole lives trying to resolve problems and put out fires and mend fences and deal with stuff we don't want to deal with. But there's more... so much more to it. At least there can be. There's a greater purpose and a greater Being and a great reward at the end of all of it.

Today I just needed some time alone. That seems awful selfish, I guess. It's Sunday and I should be in church, right? Today I just wanted to stay in my little quiet space and keep the headache away and not have to talk or engage with people or carry on conversations. Working 9 to 5 (or, in my case - 8:30-5:30) wears me out. I know lots of people work lots harder for lots longer. I know others would be grateful to have a job. Or the health to be able to work. I love my church. I love being there. I'm grateful ... but I kept feeling the need to be quiet.

And then it sorta hit me this morning that I was given the quiet to have an opportunity to pray, to intercede for the situations that need intercession. Just as there are so many in my life who have gone before the Lord for me in times when I didn't have a prayer. Literally. Where I couldn't find the strength to pray. Or the optimism. Or the patience. Or faith. And I know that where I am now is no accident.

So if you're opposed to the practice, the little red box with the x in it at the top right hand corner is for you. And I'll pray for you too. But if you're willing... you can spend a few minutes with me, seeing what's really on my heart today.

Say It Ain't So, Joe... for the first time in my life, ever, to know that God's hand is in a new friendship, to see His will and way in our lives, for that special anointing, for His permission, for His blessing... we pray... (hope you like your blog name... it took me some time to come up with it. at least three seconds)

Tammy... the sister of a friend who had brain surgery about two months ago and has been in ICU ever since. Her family has remained so strong and their faith is a testimony to all those who feel they can't take any more. For her healing and God's hand on their lives.

Jen... God hears your cries for help and He is there. He will provide.

Angie... Carry one anothers burden and so fulfill the law of Christ. And she does... like the Energizer Bunny... keeping us all together, interceding, serving, praising. I pray for God's continued blessing on her life, that she will know how precious she is to Him and realize that He is so proud of her.

Stasha... Fear not, for He is with you. He has prepared a wonderful future for you. You will be used of Him in such a mighty way. What a blessing to know you now, while you're growing into the woman He wants you to be. And I will be there to say, "I remember when..."

Jessie... God is great at filling in the blanks. Whatever you're missing, He will provide. He gave me sisters and daughters... And He will give you all you need, too.

Incoming Truett students... that they will be blessed by our community and bless our community and have the life changing experience that should happen during this time of transition between childhood and adulthood. That no harm will come to them, that Satan will be bound from their midst and that they will make an impact on the world because of their time in our little town. And that God will bless Emir, Hana and all those who work to form these young lives... that the burden of fostering them into great servants of God will be a blessing.

Katherine and David... seven years is a long time. Four kids is a lot. God's grace is sufficient.

Mary.... that God will return to you ten-fold what you have poured into the lives of others. That you will continue to bloom where you have been planted and rejoice that God had such great plans for you as a wife and mother and member of your community. I praise God that He knew all those years ago that I would go from pulling your hair to being your lifelong friend. He's like that. Planting seeds that bloom for a lifetime and then a legacy. How blessed we are!

A.T. ... the more life changes, the more it stays the same. Sometimes we have to be refined by fire. In some things, pain perfects us. I pray for you to know love like you've never known it before... that the tears you have sown will reap unspeakable joy. That your vulnerability and willingness to do whatever it takes for those you love will be returned to you, that you will have the reward you deserve for all the love you give.

my family - ... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Our thoughts become words and our words become actions. Speak of hope. Count your blessings. I pray that you can praise Him. I pray that the legacy you leave is one of optimism and encouragement.

grandma... that God will bless her in the way that she's blessed others. That she will continue to live a legacy of faith.

Michelle, Michele, Mechelle - lots of Michelle's in my life and God knows each face, God knows each name. God know their pain, He knows their burdens and He has a plan for each one. And how fun is it to say, "I'm praying for you, Michelle" and have a half dozen women be blessed by that!

Sarah - Children are a blessing from God, every man (and woman) should have a quiver full. My dad determined that a quiver was five arrows and so that's what we had... five of us. I suppose, by that standard, you have a quiver full too. And sometimes that quiver makes you quiver in fear... how will you meet each need? He knows. And He provides. I pray that you have the strength to keep that quiver full of arrows on the straight and narrow... and I praise God for your testimony.

Natalie - speaking of testimony... every time I think I can't, I look at the live of victory that you live and I know I can do it. I don't understand why some of us are gifted in that way... why we are given a testimony that we never wanted to bear... but i know that He blesses it... and I know that He will bless you for being that example of strength for so many.

Kim, Angie, Cindy, Tracy, Alisa, Cyndi, Misti, Michelle (again) and all of my hen party... Young Wives and mothers... I am neither young, nor a wife... but you took me in. You befriended me and prayed for me and learned with me and taught me. I am so excited about a new study, a new time together... and although some of you have moved away... I know that our hearts are forever bonded by the chains we have broken together.

Blogger Babes, Mother Hens and BFF's... strangers are just friends we have yet to meet and God has used you... so many of you... to be the community I longed for when I was in a place of isolation. You picked me up, you dusted me off, you listened to my whining and complaining and offered your assorted opinions and encouragement. God has placed each of you in my life for a precious reason and I am so glad to have you in my life... even if I don't remember your first name or where you live... your words and your friendship are stamped on my heart.

Kat, Jennifer, Mary - and the dozens - maybe hundreds - of others who have worked hard to know God's Word so they could share it with me... disciple me... encourage me... teach me... God bless these three ladies and all the ones who came before them... and all the ones who will come after them... for the excitement and passion they have imparted into my life.

Red headed Angels - Hours spent holding baby dolls and listening to music boxes are some of the most precious hours of my life. Lord, let me always see life through the eyes of a child and let me always have time to stop and cuddle baby dolls... and to find pleasure in the simple things in life. I'm not sure what I did to deserve to be loved in that way but I am so grateful.

Not Him - for having the wisdom and grace to say, "I'm gonna love you in a completely different way from what you ever expected" and to go on to be my prayer warrior and friend. Praise God for giving us the patience to say... "I'll wait for God's will"... when it would have been easier (seemingly) to join forces. God is good.

The Outlaws - who can say if I've been changed for the better... but... because I knew you... I have been changed for good. Praying for you all, daily, by name and proud to have been one of you, if only for a short time.

the Unlaw - you're always on the prayer list, whether or not you think you need it... you have a special place in my heart... to be able to laugh, to moan and groan... to know that somebody in my life "gets it"... is a bigger blessing than you know... and I so pray for you, every day, that God will give back to you in the way that you give to me... without ever writing a check!

Oh Brother! How good and pleasant it is when *siblings* live in unity. My brother told me yesterday that he has the girls brush their teeth in the morning before they eat because when he was little his dentist taught him that. We had the same dentist. How did he learn that lesson and yet it escaped me? Siblings are the keepers of our history... they are the ones who go through your whole life with you. So I pray God's blessings on all of mine...

Those who seek... and some of you come here because you're seeking something. I don't know what. Maybe you don't know. But I pray you find it. And I pray that you get something more out of my blog than just a catalog of my aches and pains... I pray that I can share with you more of the healer than I share of the hurt.

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be. I watch mothers go through the empty nest syndrome and mourn for the loss of their children. I've never felt that loss... not that I don't miss my boys... but I guess I always felt that they'd be my babies, no matter where they live. I pray that God blesses them where they are... I pray that they learned something or other from me... that they know that mommy always loves them unconditionally... and that there is such a thing as unconditional love.

And I pray that somehow, something I've said makes a difference in your life today. Love and hugs, y'all.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm in love

I'm in love with my nieces... just when I thought they couldn't get any cuter... sweeter... more fun... we spend a day playing tourist in our little neck of the woods and they make me fall in love with them all over again.
I started the day by singing our special wake up song... (for those of you who went to Camp Pinnacle in the 70's, you'll remember it as "The Birdie Song")... then we had breakfast. Or they had breakfast while I waited.
Then all four of us... me, Stasha, Sarabeth and Jamie... got into my car and headed to Helen. Helen is a tourist town... lots of little touristy shops... lots of traffic, including foot traffic... and it's kitschy. People who live here generally avoid Helen and subsequently, the girls haven't spent much time there. It is a fun place to visit... when it's not hot and crowded... so, maybe in January?
Our main reasons for going to Helen were to go to the toy store (which is tiny but has great stuff) and to go to see Stasha's parents (who own a jewelry store and a shoe store in town). We spent a LOOOONG time at the toy store... mostly looking at music boxes. The girls went nuts over the music boxes! Sarabeth had to listen to all of them. Jamie mainly focused on the pink ones... especially the ones that had "ballerina ladies" in them. Such a great girl fix for a mommy of boys like me!
We walked through town just a bit... enough to stop in to say hello to Stasha's mom... and to browse (nervously for me) through the (very breakable) Christmas store. I wanted to get some fudge but it was on the other side of the street and traffic was heavy. It was easier to not try to cross the street with two little girls in tow.
We DID, however, go to Hofer's Bakery which has all kinds of "Bavarian" treats. Jamie had a donut... Sarabeth had a linzer cookie (which was covered in powdered sugar! yum!).... Stasha meant to have a linzer cookie but they gave us a donut instead and we didn't catch it until we were out of the store. I had a butter cookie... a huge one... covered in almonds... we sat at a little picnic table outside and enjoyed our treats.
Then... we went to Fred's peanut store north of town... and pooled our change (I didn't have any cash and they don't do plastic) to get some boiled peanuts. Fred's was fun... but we had bigger fish to fry.
We went... for the third time this summer... to Babyland General in Cleveland. It's a magical little old house full of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls... I've described it before... it's free and it's girly girl nirvana! I think we held every baby in the place... we saw two babies "born" and we just soaked it up. It was great fun but exhausting...
We went back to Jim and Angie's to make lunch and rest... I came home with a splitting headache but it was soooo worth it! I realized that I haven't been posting many photos here (as it's just too much trouble) but I included a few cute ones from today... the rest of the pictures are on my facebook.
Hope you had a fabulous Saturday as well... love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, August 14, 2009

it's friday, y'all

Weekend countdown. Three hours and some change. I’ve been trying to keep my nose to the grindstone today... trying to drum up some cha-ching. So far I’ve made three appointments and one other State Farm agent mad. Not the agent – one of his employees. And not really mad so much as… she wanted to know why I was calling her client to set up an appointment… and I didn’t really call her client, I called his brother who is our client, only our client didn’t really understand English so it got confused. This is life, I suppose.

On lunch I went to the really bad Chinese buffet place in Cornelia. It was, as expected, really bad. Usually it’s fairly empty so even though it’s not great food, I can enjoy some peace and quiet. Today it was crowded and there was this really loud lady sitting at the next table. It was hard to concentrate. I went back to the office and sat in the parking lot for a few minutes to really be able to have some quality time with God.

Here’s what He gave me today – two verses, both from Psalm 72.
Verse 3 – The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness.
Verse 12 – For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.

I love any verses about mountains because I so strongly believe that the mountains have been healing for me. I am calmed by the very sight of the mountains in the distance. Every time I venture south, I cry out in praise when the mountains appear on the horizon on my way back north. It’s home. It was always meant to be my home, I just had to do some other things in other places first.

Verse 12 is awesome because deliverance – the promise of deliverance – is a really cool thing. And it’s been proven true for me over and over again.

I had a young couple in my office today… just outside the (closed) door was his mother. While we were talking about their insurance coverage, the young lady told me she had just found out that she’s pregnant. And then she said, “shhhh! We haven’t told his mother yet… we don’t know how to tell her… what do you think?” and I said, “I think you should tell her before you tell anyone else…” Like the random insurance person that you just met. People are funny. I gave them a coloring book.

Whitney and her bf (Richie Rich – not his real name) are planning to go to see the Gators play at LSU this fall. I told her she would have to send me photos during the game since I live vicariously through her… and her fabulous travels. The Adventures of Whitney, the Gator Girl. Picture former sorority girl in sundress with red solo cup in hand… looking tanned and slightly buzzed… with the good looking former frat boy at her side, similarly buzzed. I’d envy her if she wasn’t just a fabulous person who works hard to be able to do fabulous things. I’m ready for football season to begin… ready to spend my Saturdays in front of the tv watching every possible game… or napping while the tv watches me. I confided to Whitney that I’m SICK of seeing red or black pickup trucks with the “circle G” Georgia logo on them. Every other vehicle on the road… ugh. That’s the only problem with living here – too close to UGA.

I asked Austin if he wanted to go to his high school football games this fall. He is just not that kind of kid. He doesn’t understand football and doesn’t get the social significance of being at the games, even if you’re not into football. He could be home playing Wii. Or glued to Tasha’s side.

Two hours to go. Not all of the past hour has been spent typing. Really. Only a small fraction. Things will bust open here in a few minutes. Fridays are feast and famine. It’s mind numbingly slow and then it’s completely frazzled. We’re one person short today – we pretty much are shorthanded every Friday, one way or another. Duane hates us to take off on Mondays but I think Fridays are worst. I usually try to take Wednesdays, since I work a shorter day that day anyways. I’m losing less hours.

I’m glad I’m not working tomorrow and glad to have a day with the girls planned… Sarabeth, Jamie, Stasha and maybe even Jessie. Two little girls and two big girls. For the lady with four brothers and three sons. It’s good to have girls in my life too. I was destined to be a boy mommy and I think I was a pretty good boy mommy… but it’s nice to have girl time too.

I guess that’s it for now. Hope you have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing… love and hugs!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Thankful Thursday

Things that made me smile today:

I made it through the whole day. I really wanted to call in sick today... but after talking it over with God, I decided I needed the hours. And so I went... and at one point today... I was the only one there... last man standing... I'm so grateful that He gives me the strength to do what I gotta do...

I had a great time of Bible study on lunch today... in the shadow of the Walmart sign... right there in Cornelia... It was warm but there was a nice breeze occasionally and it was good to have that time... And I learned a few things. Well, I guess I should say that I pondered a few things... like how God's timing is different from our timing... and how we get ahead of God and how we sometimes really make a mess of things by doing that. I was reading in Genesis, in case you were wondering. Chapters 8-17. Mostly 16 and 17.

I'm really excited about Big Brother tonight. It's a guilty pleasure, I admit.

I was thinking today about how at peace I've become about my romantic future. There was a time (a minute and a half ago) (ok, maybe a little bit longer) that I would panic at the thought of being single *gasp* forever. "Will it ever happen for me?" "Am I destined to be the lonely old maid aunt?" And it really tormented me. Then there was Crunch-n-munch and I knew I was nowhere near ready for any kind of relationship. And then there was this other guy who was an amazing man of God but God kept whispering to my heart "he's not the one"... and I threw a real fit with God and said, "That last falling in love episode almost killed me... how will I ever. EVER. have the courage to do that again?"

And He said... "Give me your heart and I will give it to the one who deserves it". And that settled it for me. And I don't worry. And He has met every need. And... all of a sudden... I'm really not lonely... and not fearful... and finding patience I never had before... and there is no frantic search...

Did you know that butterflies won't land on you if you're moving? You have to be very still. God told me for a year in Jacksonville to "Be still and know that I am God". I'm being still. And seeing possibilities without having to work to make things fit. I'm not getting ahead of Him. I'm letting Him decide who deserves my heart.

At rest in Him is a beautiful place. If you've never been there, I'd like to invite you to not just visit but to go there and live. I'm trying to take up permanent residence there.

I got a letter in the mail from my grandmother today. She talks about how much she enjoyed Sarabeth's baptism. She said, "she's a very brave girl" and my heart swelled with pride as if she were my own child. It was a sweet letter and it made me feel treasured... and I thought about how God loves us like we're His only child.

And then... Austin told me that I need to go to school for a meeting with him next week. The meeting is about the pig he's going to be raising. PIG. It's part of his Future Farmers of America club. Which totally cracks me UP! He will have to go every day and feed it and ... the other things that you do with animals. I found out later that he had a choice between calf, pig and goat. And chose pig.

Candice... when you come... I'll take you to see the pig. And then you can tell all your friends in New York City about your nephew's pig. Sooooueeee! Or maybe when you tell the story it will be Bryan's nephew and you won't claim him...

Seriously... every time I start to get depressed... I'm gonna think about Austin raising a pig... that makes me smile.

Thankful thursday

Happiness Is…

A call from my 85 year old grandmother, telling me she’s praying for me.
Passing my sister-in-law on the road for the second morning in a row.
Being able to keep up with 600 of my closest friends via facebook. *smile*
Knowing that the weekend is coming.
A checking account with numbers in the positive the day before payday.
A full pantry.
Thinking about doing some advance meal prep to take advantage of the full pantry.
A second cup of coffee.
Saving $50 on coffee since switching from the prepared k-cups to “fill it yourself” six weeks ago.
Health insurance.
Good medical care.
The things that God knows that He’s taking care of even before I know.
New friends.
Old friends.
Friends I have yet to make.
Sharpie markers.
Halls cough drops.
Hot tea.
Having lunch with my brother, my friend Stasha and my niece within the space of a week.
Air conditioning.
Hair conditioner.
Getting my next CT scan and Pulmonary function test scheduled already.
Teachable moments. Things that take us out of our comfort zone. Times that require us to depend on the Lord. Opportunity for growth. Peace that passes understanding. Not being defined by circumstances.
Payday. Paid bills.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

no surprises...

I'm home from seeing Dr. Brown who is a native New Yorker, left handed and has a great sense of humor. He and his wife visited Helen for the first time last weekend and he was amazed at how crowded it is...

I still have bronchitis. It is probably viral, since it hasn't responded to antibiotics. It's NOT pneumonia ... although there are times that I swear I have pneumonia.

There are old granulomas in my lungs. It's scar tissue. It's completely benign and probably harmless. They're going to do lung function tests on me to make sure. They're also going to do another CT scan. These tests will help set markers for what MY normal is. That way, in the future, if I get sick, we'll know just how sick I am.

It's like any other chronic disorder... it just has to be managed. Dr. Brown wants to treat me as if I have asthma (although I probably don't) and reflux (which I probably don't) because the bronchitis is causing a reactive airway response. This will treat the symptoms.

It is most likely that all of the little ailments I have had over the past few years are related to the granulomatous disease in some measure... sinus cyst, nevus sebaceous, catching colds easily and being slow to heal... all related to some degree.

It is possible that I have some allergy issues as well, which were exacerbated when I moved here where the climate is slightly different. I was offered a referral to the ENT ... which I declined for now... none of that is making the bronchitis any better or worse and I don't want to run from specialist to specialist. PLUS... I'd rather have the lung function data first.

At any rate... had I not gotten bronchitis, I might not have ever known about the rest of it. How many things happen in our lives that are a surprise or a concern to us but are no surprise to God? Ok... so nothing is a surprise to God... but the point is that all of our life stretches before us as a great unknown but He knows... "all of the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be". Psalm 139:16

Faith is just the bridge that takes us from the problem we know about to the solution God has already worked out for us.

I'm going to bed early tonight... Dr. Brown said, "I know you have to be worn out"... ummm... yeah... as a matter of fact... now that you mention it... I could whine a bit about being run down. But instead... I'll just be glad for the things that have been revealed to me over the past year and the resources, by the grace of God, to deal with them.