My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Newsday Tuesday

It's Newsday Tuesday! We made it through another Monday and now it's the day of the week where I share a few current event items from the Nest and Beyond.

If you live in Florida, go vote. I have no idea who you should vote for but my Uncle Bill who is a poll worker in Okeechobee predicts that the race will be announced for Romney about two minutes after polls close.

Did anyone catch the snippet from last night of Romney singing "God Bless America"? Let's just summarize it by saying that he's no Donny and Marie. Not all Mormons can sing, apparently.

Conversely, I thought Obama's version of "Let's Stay Together" was great. In fact... I think he should forget this whole political career and go into the music biz.

My Little Kitty, Trouble, is whiny this morning. He must think it's Wednesday. He wants us to go back to bed. I do too.

But today is a big day for me... my (hopefully) last visit with the surgeon. Nothing like starting your day with an anal exam. (I'll give you all a few seconds to get that image out of your mind). I'm definitely feeling better.

While I was in that horribly rough patch right after the local anesthetic came off and the prescription of narcotics ran out every time I went to the bathroom it was AGONY. You can't even imagine the pain. My friend Pam, God love her, brought me over a squirt bottle that had previously held some hair product that she uses on her curly hair. It was TRASH ... something she was about to throw out... and it has made all the difference in the world for me. One man's trash is truly another man's treasure! I'm still not a fan of toilet paper ...

Which makes me even more aware of how beautifully God works in our lives to meet all of our needs and how He brings people into our lives for a purpose... even if that purpose is making it easier to go to the bathroom. True story. And it shows how easy it is to be a blessing to others. The simplest, smallest effort on your part may make a huge difference for someone else. You just have to be yielded enough to see these opportunities. I'm sure glad that Pam did!

I have another friend from waaay back, Sharon, who is always looking for solutions for the issues I bring up in my blog and a lot of her suggestions are really good. It means a lot that she reads my blog with an eye toward making a difference in my life.

There are a lot of people like that in my life... the ones who email me or message me or perform little acts of kindness toward me... and they add together to a really, enormously blessed life.

My blood pressure remains in what is classified as stage 1 hypertension. The doctor called yesterday and asked if it was still high. Duh. Yeah. I didn't really say "duh" to the doctor, I only wanted to. He asked me to keep a record of it for a week, first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening and then call him back next Monday. I have consistently tracked my blood pressure for the last month and have a half dozen high readings recorded in medical offices ...  but... sure... I'll do it for another week to show what I already know. Whatever.

They did finally get Austin's new medicine called in. His toe is healing well, considering that he's a strict flipflop wearer. The meds they had given him to help him sleep was just too strong. So now I have to find time to run to Cleveland to pick up his new prescription. Maybe tomorrow.

And we got child support yesterday! Yay! God is good!

I've started thinking about how I'm going to make up that loss of money in my budget once the child support train derails for good. Ideally... once a child no longer gets child support, they should be relatively self-supporting. Austin is a long way from earning any income. He will go into a vocational rehab program after he graduates but for now, our focus is one hundred percent on getting his diploma. The other day when I mentioned having to pay $50 for his gown, mortarboard and tassel for his graduation and he said, "If I decide to walk in graduation" to which I said, "oh, let me make it clear to you... this is NOT optional". I have worked to hard for this. (Sing out, Louise!) (You have to have seen Gypsy for that to make sense)

Anyways... I've decided to work at being what Austin calls, "Coupon Crazy". One of my co-workers showed me one of the tricks that these mega-savers use and I'm definitely going to explore that whole concept further. I'm not talking about stockpiling enough laundry detergent for an entire village... I'm just talking about looking for savings on products that we typically buy anyways. I think we also need to plant a few tomato plants and do just some very basic gardening. We eat a lot of produce and it makes sense to provide what we can for ourselves. Beyond that...  I've got to look into some other ways to earn money that won't translate into me being on my feet. I'm praying on it. Austin's got a green thumb so he could easily do the gardening. We just have to find a sunny spot.

AND ... I almost forgot... Today is my Aunt Ginger's birthday! It's a milestone birthday for her... I won't say which one but Ginger, don't forget that our office sells Medicare Supplement policies! Happy Birthday!

I guess that's all the news for today... hope you all have a great day and remember, if you're in Georgia and you want to compare your insurance rates.... call me... Mama's gotta pay for Austin's graduation gear!

Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reasons to have a Pollyanna Monday

I'm not gonna lie to you... I've got a bad case of the Monday Grumps. I slept great until about 12:30am and from that point on... I saw every hour on the clock. Oh, I dozed in between... but it wasn't that perfect night of comatose sleep that serves me the best.

We didn't get child support this weekend. Would have been nice to go ahead and do a decent grocery run but our pantry is bare. I get paid on Wednesday. I'll be picking stuff up piecemeal throughout the week.

I watched Pollyanna yesterday. I loved the book when I was a child and would check it out of the church library often. Then it was shown on tv and I fell in love. If you've lived under a rock or for some reason haven't been able to watch the movie... basically this young orphan goes to live with her rich aunt and she indoctrinates the towns people about this power of positive thinking device that her father taught her when he was a poor reverend and they subsided on handouts. She calls it the Glad Game. When she becomes paralyzed due to an accident (falling from her third story window in the movie, getting hit by a car in the book) she loses her will to play the Glad Game and the towns folk all crowd into her home to see her off for her surgery to be able to walk again... and remind her of her Glad Game.

(there's a much better summary of the movie here.... ) 

Anyways... my Reasons to Love Monday are my own little version of the Glad Game because, folks, Mondays are hard for me. Most of the time we have staff meetings so I have to be at work earlier... Austin is usually less cooperative on Monday... etc, etc.  However... I am stitched together with prayer. I am sustained in my walk, I have the ability to keep going on only because of the Power of Prayer. So my joy, my RTLM, come exclusively from a desire to find joy in my journey. I hope you will too... find joy in your journey...

1. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24
2. Let the Heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let them say among the nations, the Lord reigns! 1 Chronicles 16:31
3.But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11
4. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2
5. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3
7. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!” Psalm 70:4
8. For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. Psalm 92:4
9. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2
10. Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. Proverbs 29:6

I know y'all kinda zone out when I put too much in the way of scripture in this thing so I'm gonna leave it at those ten. The movie Pollyanna claims that there are over 800 "glad texts" in the Bible and indeed, that could be true. It is noted that anything that God told us over 800 times must be something He wanted us to do. It's hard. I know... Mondays are hard. I'm going to add a few more reasons to love Monday... and maybe you can add a few of your own to the list:

1. If Mondays mean anything... it means that we have jobs, or school, or responsibilities for the week which means that we have a purpose. Thank you God for my purpose in life.
2. If I'm leaving the house, it means I am healthy enough to function. Thank you God for giving me the ability to work.
3. If I can get anywhere, it means that I have transportation. Thank you God for a car that runs, for gas in my car. 
4. Thank you God for sustenance... for the oatmeal and coffee that fuel me for my journey today.
5. Austin has a safe ride to school. Thank you God for "Miss Nessa". 
6. Austin has continued in school to his senior year and his last semester. Thank you God for his (our) tenacity.
7. Thank you for the clothes we have to wear.
8. Thank you for hot water, soap, shampoo, hair products, makeup... to make us clean and presentable.
9. Thank you God for shoes to wear. 
10. Thank you God that we have good health care and are able to have medicines that make us able to do the things we need to do.

Rejoice and be glad. Live a life of gratitude, not attitude. Know that this whole day was pre-ordained for you by God. Nothing that happens today will be a surprise to Him. If you have accepted Him as Savior, also accept Him as Lord. Let Him guide your steps... let Him guide my steps. If you have never accepted Him, if you have lived a life of disbelief, let today be the day... even though it's a Monday... let it be the day that you come to Him, surrender to Him, lay your burden at His feet. God is good. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

do Christians give their fair share?

Do you ever want to run away from the reality of this world? I don't know about previous generations... much... I do read a lot of history and biographical books so I know a little but I've only been alive since 1968 so I don't know as much as my elders.

I just turn on the news and read my favorite news websites and I feel like there is so much wrong with the world today. Things that make perfect sense to me... or are perfect nonsense to me... are in conflict with the majority.

I read a facebook status yesterday that talked about how Christians (in this scenario Right Wing Conservatives) are supposed to care about the poor and instead, block programs that help the poor. Are you KIDDING ME?

Christians provide a huge percentage of care for the poor and disadvantaged. I know in my life it has been the church - fellow Christians - who have stood in the gap for me.

Mitt Romney strongly supports the Mormon Church... giving his tithes and offerings to the tune of about 14% of his income annually.

There is little difference between the Gingrich's and the Obama's... both giving around 2.5% to charity...

For the years before he was anointed Vice President Joe Biden gave an average of $369 a year to charity... roughly .03 % of his income.

Make no mistake... Liberals are all about helping the poor with OTHER PEOPLE's money.

When we talk about giving our "fair share"... apparently that means to the United States Government for them to decide - since we as citizens are incapable of determining who is truly poor and in need of assistance.

That's the function of socialism / communism, whichever we're headed towards... from each according to their means, to each according to their needs. No reward for success or hard work. No stigma for lack of willingness to work.

I've been on public assistance. I never accepted welfare - which goes under the acronym of TANF  "temporary assistance to needy families" - but we have been on food stamps (which, by the way, aren't really "stamps" that carry the weight of shame for using them - they are loaded onto a card which looks the same as a debit or credit card and no one really knows that you're using them. Which is why... when people talk about the urban legend of the lady in the fur coat dripping with diamonds buying groceries with Food Stamps -I question the relevance and likelihood of that happening in our current economic climate... but I digress) and we have been on medicaid. Austin is on Peachcare which is the program by the State of Georgia to provide medical assistance to children from lower income families. Again... no real stigma... we get a card that looks like any other insurance card and nobody knows the difference. I pay a monthly premium that is reasonable and the care he receives is good.

I consider my household to be one of the working poor. Although, I read something the other day that said that if you know where your next meal is coming from, you're not really poor. And that's the case. We have never been in a "pantry completely empty" situation. We've been close a lot of times. We've had weeks where we had meals that neither one of us really cared for - cereal or ramen noodles or whatever but we weren't starving. I made a donation to the local food pantry yesterday - we have received help from them in the past and I was glad to be able to give back. But we don't have savings. We live paycheck to paycheck. We struggle and I don't see that improving in the near future.

But I never fear homelessness. I know that my family, friends and church are a safety net for us. I know that we will never sleep under a bridge. We will never be stranded. Hungry. Alone. Not because I trust the U. S. Government to provide for us but because God is good.

I am frustrated with this political race. I'm unable to support Mitt Romney because there's a lot I disagree with about his faith, his attitude, his prior political leanings and activities. I'm unable to support Newt Gingrich because I believe he's a narcissist and an adulterer and you know how I feel about both of those traits. I'm most closely aligned with Rick Santorum but I don't believe he can win against Obama. Ron Paul is this generation's Ross Perot - just an instigator who isn't a serious contender.

I fear the state of our union if we are subjected to another four years of Obama. He has trampled on the Constitution. He has no respect for this country, it's people, it's laws. He is not a patriot. He is at best a socialist and at worst, a communist. (man... I'm going to end up on the no-fly list). I pray that he is not re-elected.

I've faced a lot of unfair situations in my life. Sometimes I haven't gotten what I deserve - in a poor me, nothing ever goes my way perspective. And sometimes, by the grace of God, I haven't gotten what I deserve in a "dodged a bullet" kind of way. There are a lot of things wrong with this world and some of them trickle down to affect me - you - our neighbors - none of us are more than two degrees of separation from someone who is being impacted by the economy. Few of us are enjoying peace and prosperity. You may have one but not the other.

It gets worse, y'all. We were so excited about liberating Egypt... and now Egypt is not allowing any Americans to leave the country. In my lexicon, I consider that being held hostage, although the media isn't reporting it that way.

Who is in charge in Libya? We spent an awful lot of money in a "no boots on the ground" military action there. An action that was never authorized by our elected Representatives... because Obama doesn't feel compelled to honor the system of checks and balances put forth in the Constitution.

We owe a lot of money to China. How long until they demand payment and completely unravel our delicate economy? How much larger will we allow our debt to grow?

Spin the globe, point to a country... there's a crisis either going on or looming...

Gas prices are inching up again. We're not willing to provide our own oil ... allow new pipelines to bring oil into our country... we're giving away millions and billions to developing new sources of energy and nothing is coming to fruition. Iraq is already back in chaos and Iran? Ready to "nuke 'em til they glow"... whether it's the U.S. or Israel or anyone who opposes them.

I don't have an answer and I don't mean to be gloom and doom. The blood pressure is still high, 149/94 just now and I'm resting... and have been other than the hour or so it took me yesterday to run some errands. I have restricted my housekeeping to cleaning out the fridge this weekend. (no big sacrifice there!) I probably shouldn't dwell on these issues but... in a way... I feel like we have to be awake and aware and watchful of what's going on. It's frustrating. It's frightening. I'll end with this... I think it's our only hope as a nation...

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and SEEK MY FACE and TURN FROM THEIR wicked ways... then will I hear from Heaven and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I love Saturday so much that I got up early!

  • Up at 3am thanks to a kitty who *HAD* to get petted and kept tapping me on the face. 
  • I might go back down for a nap. Maybe. I went to sleep crazy early last night. Just crashed and burned. It was a long day. 
  • I'm craving mashed potatoes. Random but true.
  • Someone I dearly love is going through a very dark time. My way of cheering them up: I talked about farting. 
  • Maybe it's the result of being an only girl with four brothers... and then a mom to three boys... I just think there's nothing that can't be cured with a poot. Or a description of a poot. 
  • Austin really, truly, honestly cleaned his room yesterday. 
  • He semi, halfway, sorta cleaned the kitchen. 
  • I am grateful for both. My forks have been found. I now have about two dozen forks in my drawer. For a time I had a fork hidden in my sock drawer because every time I would get ready to eat, I wouldn't be able to find a fork.
  • I found a great huge (about the size of a softball) fake diamond ring for the tree topper on my Valentines day tree.
  • I haven't gotten any comments on my blog this week. *sadface*  I get a few on my link on facebook and that's nice. I love feedback. Who are we kidding? I love affirmation. Praise. Attention. Ha! 
  • Little Kitty loves attention too. That's why I'm up. He still keeps trying to sit on the keyboard. If I read a book... he tries to nonchalantly lay across it. If I'm in the bathroom... he perches on the tub to supervise. If I'm in the bathtub... he whines. He worries about me being in water. If I'm in the shower... he watches. If I put on makeup, he cries. If I put on pantyhose, he tries to get in between me and the pantyhose... he knows it means I'm leaving. Every day when I pull into the driveway he's watching in the window and runs to greet me. He's a great companion. And he's skittish enough that he never tries to run out. Except that one time. Other than that... he runs in the opposite direction if the door is open. 
  • I've been meditating on a particular verse since yesterday. You know how you memorize verses and hear them time and time again and then all of a sudden you think, "whoa... what does that mean?" And for me, right now, that verse is Psalm 23:5, "you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over" (Heather version which is a blend of the KJV that we learned in Vacation Bible School and the NIV that I've been studying for the past twenty years)
  • I've been reading commentary on that verse and I'll share some of my thoughts in a separate entry. If you have any thoughts on it... I'd love to hear them. It's sort of the same fascination that I had with the concept of being fearfully and wonderfully made. Why the fearful? And here... why am I eating in front of my enemies? 
  • At any rate. I made it through another week and I don't take that achievement lightly. There was pain, especially toward the end of the day yesterday and Thursday, but it has been better. 
  • My blood pressure this morning is 138/88. I put in a call to my doctor on Thursday morning and haven't heard back about any changes to my bp meds. They called back about Austin's meds that needed to be adjusted and maybe... because I called about two things at the same time... it confused them. I know that's a borderline blood pressure - sort of pre-hypertension - but I just got out of bed in the past hour... I had a good night's sleep... I had a low sodium dinner... I took my bp meds about 10 hours ago... so it should be lower, I think. 
  • My goals for today are to get laundry put away... pick up a few groceries... go to the library... and that's it. 
  • I love Saturday.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Remember the guy, Epstein,  on Welcome Back Kotter who always had faked notes from his mom? He died. Gone from a heart attack.

I'm aggravated by the outrage over Paula Deen not announcing her diabetes when she was diagnosed. That's her business. If she's ready now... and if she wants to endorse a drug that is working for her... that's her business too.

I'm shaking my head over Demi Moore. I think she and Ashton were involved in that Kabbalah religion that is sort of a mystic Jewish hybrid. It seems like the breakup with Ashton has been rough on her. I wish she had a faith that would sustain her instead of having to abuse her body.

It makes me sad when people grieve without hope. I have been there. I allowed someone to manipulate me to the extent that I felt alone in the world. That's the thing... it doesn't matter how famous you are or how much money you have... your heart can be broken, your health can fail... everybody needs the hope that someone cares, that things will get better...

A customer who was struggling with paying her bill made the statement to me this week, "I give up" and I told her that was not an option. You have to frame everything in the context of "will this still matter five years from now?" and most of the time, that big hairy monster you're facing will be a tiny dot in your memory once you get a little time, distance and wisdom added to the situation. It might even turn out to be a teachable moment... a transformational situation... something that allows you to evolve to the person you were destined to be.

I was woke up by a headache during the night. It's a really intense, crushing pain in my left temple. Makes me wanna push against it to counter the pain. It's bad enough that I was dreaming that I had a headache... it broke through into my subconscious. I'll take a few advil and soldier on. I've lived with worse.

My blood pressure this morning is 122/81 so I don't think the headache is related to blood pressure. But we  have had a weird weather system come through so that could be it. Sinuses. Who knows? Just pray that it goes away.

Trouble has gotten into the habit of sleeping beside me... like a human... head on the pillow, body stretched out... sometimes even on his back... under the covers. He waits until I'm sound asleep before he sneaks in beside me... it's the cutest thing. He even snores sometimes.

My dad's devotional this morning, Oswald Chambers' devotional this morning, and a bible verse twitter account that I follow all have the same basic theme this morning about relying on God. Matthew 6 - is the reference from Pop and Mr Chambers, if you want to go there. The twitter account is using the same theme from the book of Phillipians. I know sometimes its hard to know where to start in Bible study. This is a great "admonition" and I love when all roads point the same way. That's great confirmation for me that God weaves a beautiful tapestry for us... different threads that come together in a unique way on the same day. I'm alert to those lessons.

I've spent longer on this blog than usual this morning. The pain in my brain is slowing me down a bit. Better publish this thing and get ready for work since I'm moving slow. Eleven short hours and I'll be on the way home. Yay! We made it through another week, y'all! God is good!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday - my most recent dr appt

Have you ever REALLY physically gotten on your knees before God? I decided to try it yesterday. I just had such a heavy heart about an issue that has been bothering me... I bent in complete submission to Him. I'm not gonna lie... it hurt... it's not like I have one of those handy dandy Catholic  kneeling benches... it was just me on the carpet completely yielded and focused on Him. For a few minutes.

And the result? It was like a veil was lifted that allowed me to see some things that were really important for me to know. I had to resist the temptation to be smug, knowing that God had once again, shown favor to me in a long range, kingdom building kind of way. I'm sorry if that's generic and not terribly descriptive but the focus isn't so much on what He showed me but how important it is to really yield to God. You may be able to yield from your recliner... or when you're driving... and I do have beautiful encounters with God in those situations but this, for me, was what I needed to do.

Austin's ingrown toenail that was removed is still causing him pain. Uncle Bubba had to check him out of school yesterday. So thankful that Bubba was able and willing because it was near about impossible for me to leave work.. .since I was leaving to go to the pain doctor anyways.

My visit to the pain doctor was good. Because I had that brief time with very little back pain after almost a full year of constant, unrelenting pain... it gives the doctor an idea of what the magic potion is for me in pain management. It involved rest.. a lot of it... not being in the position that I'm in 8-9 hours a day, specifically. It involved the tens unit (which helps a lot with muscle spasms). And this new medicine that I started in December that is the slow release version of neurontin. A lot of people can't take it... it works for me... but it gives me a little bit of disconnect so I can't take it during the work day. The slow release version keeps a little of that medicine in my system during the work day without the side effects... or, I should say, minimal side effects. I do have a little bit of daytime fatigue but I have that anyways.

The most important thing they found was that my pain is because of a problem with the gaba-receptors in the brain verses serotonin receptors. The serotonin meds that they kept giving me never worked. I've got to do more research on this... but I found this really interesting.

The only real downer was that my blood pressure is still high. 146/96. I doubled my blood pressure medicine ...the doctor had prescribed a higher dose but as long as the blood pressure was under control, I could take half... so since my blood pressure when I take it at home has been high lately, I've been taking the whole thing. And the whole thing isn't doing the job. So I've got to get back in touch with my regular doctor and see if they want to try something different. My blood pressure follow up isn't until mid February.

AND NOW... it's Thankful Thursday...

1. I'm thankful for what I'm learning thru this current trial in my life... and how the trials that have come before have matured me in Christ and become my testimony. I know that if anything happens to me on this earth, my daddy has my back because he has always shown that he is there for me. My Heavenly Daddy has shown me the same consideration. He takes very good care of us.

2. I'm thankful for a renewed hunger for studying the Word. I'm thankful for what I'm learning in that study. I'm thankful that God's word is living... there are times that verses impact my life in one way but when I go back ten years later, I see an enhanced meaning. Not different, necessarily, but the context in my life has changed.

3. I'm thankful for my Valentine's day tree. It makes me grin every time I see it.

4. I'm thankful for the library. I have really enjoyed reading this week. I'm a book worm by nature but I had gotten so involved in the facebook games that they had consumed every waking/not working minute. I'm glad for the time to read. You know... even if you're reading fiction... if you're in the right kind of book, you can learn life lessons or find quotes to encourage and strengthen you.

5. I'm thankful that although my earthly body is not as strong as it once was... my spirit is way stronger than it's ever been.

6. I'm thankful that Austin got to see his daddy and brother Cody yesterday while they were on a job here in   White County. It meant a lot to him that they came to see him... so much that my embarrassment on how messy the house is and the fact that the litter box needed to be changed pales in comparison to how pleased I am that he felt connected to his daddy. That's good stuff. I want my kids to have a good relationship with their father. (see point number one)

7. I'm thankful that the week that loomed long and daunting on Monday morning is winding down. Not to wish my life away... but I'm grateful for everything that I have been able to do this week.

8. I'm thankful that the pain doctor gave me three months worth of samples for the magic pill that is working so well for me. I knew it was expensive and I was going to struggle to pay for it. They promised to keep me in samples as long as they had them. HUGE blessing! Especially after having to pay 100% of the cost of this visit since I haven't met my deductible yet.

9. I'm thankful that my friend Natalie's book is being published. I'll give you more info and a link when it comes out, probably late summer. I know that it's going to really touch people and I'm so excited to read it and will probably give away a few copies.

Hope you all have a great day and that you'll take a few minutes to reflect on the blessings in your life...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

whiny wednesday- bloom where you are planted

I didn't watch the State of the Union address. I have no confidence in anything our president has to say. I'm weary of the class envy. I'm weary of the Robin Hood mentality. I'm tired of new programs that cost more money.

Does anyone realize that the rich people who are paying 15% are paying that amount on capital gains, not on earned income? In other words... Mr. One Percent makes a salary of $500,000 in 2010 and pays the normal ridiculous tax rate on that money. He wisely invests his money and earns x number of dollars in interest. He has ALREADY paid taxes on that money... but he has to pay taxes again on what he earns from what he earned. If the federal government taxed every dime that every one percenter earned... it wouldn't take care of our deficit. I have to budget based on my realistic potential earnings. So should we as a country.

I had an amazing experience yesterday at work. The whole day wasn't amazing but I prayed my usual prayer that God would bless our agency, profit our agency, make us light and salt in our community and I prayed that God would allow me to be a blessing to someone. My first call for the day was an elderly man who shared something that God had done in his life that led to the purchase of a new car... (after reviewing his coverage and offering State Farm Bank for his vehicle financing) I shared with him something that God had done in my life and we totally bonded as Christians. We shared with each other for a few minutes and he thanked me for encouraging him and I thanked him for the encouragement he gave me! Later in the day he came in to complete his transaction. I was tied up when he first came in and a co-worker (who just happened to be a fellow church member of his) helped him. Before he left, he and his wife wanted to meet me so my co-worker brought him back to see me.

Here's what this experience showed me: no matter the position of my body in the office, it's the position of my heart that either draws people to me or turns people away. I have felt so much discouragement because of my physical disability... No matter how far I can walk, no matter whether or not I'm strong enough to be at work every day. No matter what other people may say about me behind my back ... I have an opportunity every day to be a blessing to someone.

Bloom where you are planted. That's my motto for this year.

Reading in the book of James for my Beth Moore study has reminded me that there is no shame in "humble circumstances". In fact, I know that God has turned every crisis in my life into triumph. Even as I see evidence of losing favor with man, I continually find favor with God. Rich, everlasting, eternal connections that matter far more than any success on earth are placed in front of me on my path like treasures waiting to be discovered... like an Easter egg hunt... it's nothing short of supernatural... but I can only see those treasures when I take my eyes off of myself and adjust my vision to seeing things that God points out.

It's as if some people are destined to be successful on this earth and that is how they draw others to Christ - people such as Truett Cathy, founder of Chickfila. And others find humble circumstances on this earth and by achieving triumph over those circumstances... or living with grace through those circumstances... they provide an example or encouragement to others. This is why the whole class envy - "99 percenter" thing really gets under my skin. I would never have the kind of appreciation for what God could do if I hadn't had a need in my life. Needs. Plural.

Anyways... it's Whiny Wednesday... and that's my complaint, I guess, that we miss the blessing of being who we are, where we are, why we are there and instead allow ourselves to feel ... wait, let me personalize this instead of being general... I allow human perspective to color my perception of who I am and forget that all things work together for good... that no weapon formed against me can prosper... that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that every day of my life was known to God before it ever came to be. God knew that my marriages would fail. He knew that I would struggle financially. He knew that we would go through a  fire... that my physical body would become weaker and He prepared a way for me through and in spite of all of that.

 I cried on the way home from work yesterday... part exhaustion, part pain, part discouragement. Circumstances have not been kind to me and in my flesh, that hurts. Any discouragement I take upon myself is a failure to recognize God's hand in my life and a failure to bloom where I am planted. I have to keep the perspective that it's not about me... it's about what I can do with what is done to me. Lord, let me be a blessing to someone today.

Have to check in with the pain doctor again today. That's what's on the big agenda for today. I'm sure there will be no big changes with this visit. Just have to validate the use of the tens unit for the insurance. It's a long drive... but I'm sure it will be a good time for adjusting my vision.

Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Austin's bum toe

What a Monday we had! I have been putting off taking Austin to the doctor because 1) he hates to deal with that sort of thing and 2) I was missing so much work due to my own issues, it was hard to justify taking more time off of work. Except... the kid had an ingrown toenail that was oozing and swollen ... obviously infected. I have suffered from ingrown toenails from about his age... until the time that the podiatrist finally removed my two big toenails for good. So I made him an appointment for the latest they had available - which felt like a great idea until I realized that regardless of what time his appointment was... I was going to have to get him from school by 2:40 (their check out deadline) or otherwise I wouldn't be able to pick him up until 3:30 - the time of his appointment.

So I leave work in time to meet the ridiculous check out deadline at the high school ... drive like a crazy woman to make sure I get there in time... sign in at the window of the office (they won't actually allow you IN the office) and waited. and waited. I asked the little aide who was sitting in the window texting if they had called Austin yet and he said, "she's busy with something else", meaning the secretary. Do what? I said, "then kindly tell me what room he is in and I will go and get him myself". Seriously. I thanked God again that we are almost finished with the absurdity of public schools. Rather than having me go wandering through the halls, they found time to call Austin. We have to check him out by a certain time but they can take fifteen minutes before they bother to call him? Ugh.

Of course... this sort of messed up our plans. Since I had to pick him up an hour before his appointment, our itinerary allowed us *just enough time* to have a nice lunch in town. The fifteen minutes I burned waiting for them to call Austin put us in a position where there wasn't really enough time for a sit down lunch... so we drove through McDonalds... both of us were starving since we had both skipped lunch anticipating going out for a decent meal... we got gas... and went on to the doctors office.

Where we had to wait. And wait. And wait. Some woman wandered in without an appointment and asked to speak to the doctor, thinking about changing to this practice. I appreciate the fact that she wanted to meet with the doctor before she made her decision. I disagree with allowing her to walk in without an appointment. This got things behind schedule. Then... because what Austin needed done was going to take longer (apparently) than what other people needed done... they saw everyone else who was there for the afternoon before they saw him... so we spent a full two hours at the doctors...

His toe was (as I suspected) badly infected. They removed half of the toenail and put him on an antibiotic. They also gave him a prescription for his stuffy nose and something to help with his trouble falling asleep. It was definitely a needed trip, even though it was a long process.

Then the check out girl had an issue with the way the intake girl had processed Austin's insurance and that was a big hairy hassle ... while the poor kid was standing there with the feeling rushing back into his foot and his toe throbbing. Then we had to go pick up prescriptions which took for-blooming- ever.

It was a rough day for my back. Cold, damp rain... my osteoarthritis was flared up like crazy... by the time it was time to leave the doctors office I had trouble standing up. I waited at the pharmacy standing up because I couldn't stand the thought of sitting again and honestly wasn't sure if I sat in their hard chairs if I was going to be able to get back up again... got home... heated up some leftovers... read for a little while and went to bed.

The frustrating thing was that my day was so jam packed that I didn't have time to put into bible study and that has really been my source of strength this year. On top of that... when we cleaned out the car on Saturday... Austin took my bible and my Beth Moore study book out of the car. I would have been able to put that study to great use while i was waiting at the doctors office instead of reading "Welcome to White County" and Vanity Fair and old issues of Sports Illustrated.

And the hardest thing for me was that it was the first time ever that he has gone back by himself at the doctors office. I'm usually hovering, making sure that he is able to properly articulate and explain what is wrong with him. He wanted to go alone. I gave him a list of things to discuss... and based on the prescriptions he was given, it looks like he discussed all of those things. It's hard cutting those apron strings, but I'm trying. He did fine without me.

This morning my back is literally back to square one.... muscle spasms... the spinal stenosis is bad because I'm having trouble with my left leg. Any time things get swollen and aggravated in my spine that left leg gets weak. It's frustrating but I got a great night's sleep and I'm confident that I can do whatever I need to do today. At least, because of all the diagnostic testing I went through last year, I know exactly what it is and how to treat it and don't have to worry that it's something like kidney stones or something scary.

So... the moral of this story is... we survived Monday. God is good. All the time. Hope you have a great Tuesday! Love and hugs!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reasons to Love Monday - from the time machine

Well, Monday... we meet again.
It's been a long night. I was wide awake at 1:30 am, fell asleep again at 4am and woke up at 6:30.
My back is KILLING me. Just when I thought I'd licked that problem... just when I thought I was going to be able to report a miraculous healing to my doctor... here we are again. I'm using the tens unit this morning and it helps (the tens unit is a small electronic device that delivers electronic pulses to the muscles).
I'm going to need to drive Austin to school because the weather is horribly stormy.
Austin has a doctors appointment today to check on an ingrown toenail that is horribly infected (red, swollen, draining stuff). *apparently the word of the day is "horribly)
We're going to also address his inability to fall asleep. He's had this problem his entire life but asked that I not make him take meds for it when we moved here... now he is realizing that he needs to be back on meds for it.
I made coffee when I first got up this morning and forgot to empty the unused coffee from yesterday out of the pot. It overflowed... what a mess!
And I'm supposed to be coming up with Reasons to Love Monday so let me stop this Personal Pity Party and get on topic.

1. We bought the cutest little onesie for Iridessa that has a picture of a cupcake and says, "My first valentines day". So excited for Austin to give that to Logan today!

2. I found metallic silver sharpies which may be my number one favorite writing utensil ever! I don't know what I'm going to use them for but I've got them in my purse for whatever opportunity presents itself.

3.  Don't you love that little face? Can't wait to get back home to him after work.

4. My Christmas tree is now a Valentines Day tree. I think it's awesome!

5. This picture of my great-great grandparents - as described by my Uncle Bill - makes me feel connected to my past
This is Louisa McCubbin and he husband, John Pennington taken prior to her death in 1929. These are Dad's paternal grandparents and Dad is the photographer. The scene is Hulbert OK at Granddad's (William J's) gas station.

6. My grandmother with her two oldest children, Uncle Al and Uncle Bill, in 1937. She would have been 27 and in this picture she looks JUST LIKE my mom - I love seeing her like this, young and nurturing.

7. This picture is way cool too... my great-grandfather, William Judson Pennington and his siblings. He was born in 1878. Uncle Bill is named after him.
 Fanny is his older sister. Ethel and Lula are the other sisters. Jim is the other brother and Leo is the other one. All were born in MO except Leo who was born in Oregon. I suspect picture may have been taken in Miller Co., MO when Will married Alice Clow in 1905. 

So my reasons to love Monday are beyond the tangible and the present day. I look at these who came before me and realize that the struggles and sacrifices they made, made my life possible. I love seeing my ancestors. I'm discouraged that the pain is back but I also know that I can make it through. And I know it's not by chance or circumstance that today is the day I scheduled for Austin's doctors appointment. I won't be sitting as long as I normally would. 

Y'all. I'm just telling you... God is good. That's my biggest reason to love Monday. Have a great one!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Pa and... finding mercy

Joe Paterno has died.
I was never a big Penn State fan, but as I have mentioned many times, I'm a fan of fans. I appreciate the kind of passion and tradition that Joe Pa brought to the world of college football.
It's sad that his last few months held so much controversy. Will he be remembered for the great things he did and how he defined Penn State football... or will he be remembered for the shameful situation that occurred under his watch?

Will my life be defined by my successes or my failures? No one is perfect. All of us have some thorn in the flesh that has allowed us to bring shame on ourselves, whether privately or publicly. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We all need grace. If we could earn it, it wouldn't be grace.

There is a local news story I have been following about a 7 year old girl who was abducted, molested and brutally murdered in a town very near where I once lived. Her killer admitted guilt and then committed suicide the next day. Facebook and Twitter and local online news stories were full of people who celebrated his death. I wasn't comfortable with that. Yes... he did a monstrous, horrible thing... but he was still a human being created by God... I have a real problem with wishing death on anyone. Life is God's to give and God's to take away.

How would I feel if that were my 7 year old little girl? I can't answer that. I know that there is power and freedom in forgiveness... I've only had to exercise that on a small scale. Truly, my greatest bitterness toward Michael was not in what he did to me but what he did to my children, how he hurt, mocked, demoralized and alienated them. Definitely he broke me and obviously he broke my spirit but what he did to my kids hurt me far worse. I've had to work through the process of forgiveness of what he did to my kids... and it has been a process... but I know that only by forgiving him have I been able to move on. I would think the same blessing awaits for those who have been wronged on a much greater scale. I hope that the children who were violated because of JoePa's lack of action can forgive him posthumously. I hope that the family of this precious young lady who was murdered can find that freedom.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that all along, the prisoner was you.

Are there unforgivable acts? Maybe in a worldly view but not in a heavenly perspective. I'm no theologian but I believe that the only unpardonable sin is disbelief. If you believe in God... all can be forgiven.

I know that the world is full of people who avoid a relationship with God out of shame. "You don't know what I've done"... I know there are people who have wronged others... been unfaithful in their marriages... lied, cheated, stolen... I know there are people who have ended the lives of their unborn children... I know there are people who are walking around with a burden of shame so heavy that the only way they can lighten the load is by burying their heads in a variety of vices trying to drown out the voices that accuse them of *that thing they have done*... I know there are many who can't even begin to comprehend a God who can show mercy to ANYBODY.

That's why I love Him so much.

The world may always see the stain of sin in your life... God will see His child. Let Him love you. Let His mercy wash over you. Let go of the burden of shame and be who He created you to be.

Rest in Peace, Joe.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

stormy saturday

First light peeking through the trees... we're expecting stormy weather today but other than a brief food shopping trip... I'm in the nest all day.

Oh and Austin's overnight company couldn't come last night so we will go pick him up today. I'm always a tad anxious when driving around the county based on Austin's directions... never know when I will face a road that my little car can't handle. Hopefully Gator Boy lives on a paved road.

Coffee good. Cafe Bustelo is muy bueno, mi amore.

I finally found my popcorn bowl. It's on top of the cabinets above where I can reach. Austin's organization. Oy.

Y'all remember my magic microwave popcorn trick, right? 1/2 cup of old fashioned popcorn kernels in a paper lunch sack... fold the top of the sack over twice... put in the microwave for about 2 minutes (listen to when the kernels stop popping)... and you have a clean, healthy, no unpronounceable chemical laden popcorn. It's my favorite treat. I melt a pat of real butter and pour over it and it's the best!

My plans for today are to get my messy room cleaned up to the point where it looks like a healthy adult woman lives here as opposed to looking like a teenager or a sick elderly woman who can't take care of herself. It's a mess.

My living room is a mess because Austin broke his box spring - yes, the brand new one he got in July after the fire when he got brand new really nice bedding - by jumping on it. Jumping. On. It. Yes, friends, this young man will be able to vote in 40 days and he is still jumping on his bed. Anyways... when he last cleaned his room a few weeks ago he took the broken box spring out and put it in the living room and made arrangements with the maintenance man to either haul it off or take it apart and burn/recycle the metal parts. It hasn't happened yet so the box spring is LITERALLY in the middle of my living room.

My living room needs to be renamed the entry way because we do precious little living in there. My room should be renamed the den. Austin's needs to be renamed the rumpus room. Apparently. The kitchen is still the kitchen. The dining room. I don't know.

Little Kitty - Trouble - loves when the sun first comes up. He sits in the window in amazement.

Yesterday was a not bad day. I wrote two new auto policies which gives me five, I think, since I came back. I have to work harder to generate business in the back but it's been good for me. Bloom where you are planted, you know?

I spent my lunch hour getting snacks for Austin for the weekend and treated myself to a latte. Starbucks is no longer selling the pumpkin spice lattes... that season has passed.

I did have time to enjoy a salad from Ingles salad bar and a little study in 1 Samuel. I feel like there is so much spiritual/biblical/theological stuff that I want to absorb... I'm almost a little a.d.d. in my studies... however... I have always loved King David and was in a mood to sort of trace his life a little more carefully. David impresses me because he was nowhere near a perfect person... and yet he was used of God. It's encouragement to me as a person who has wandered off track time after time again to know that there's hope.

I've got a little more work to do on the passages I read yesterday because they didn't make chronological sense to me. In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel anoints David... and towards the end of the chapter King Saul has the blues and they bring young David to come and play the harp for him. Then in chapter 17 David is back tending sheep and Goliath is scaring the Israelites to death with his offer to do battle only with him. David goes to Saul and asks for permission to fight Goliath... and Saul goes so far as to outfit David in his armour - which David rejects because it's uncomfortable. Then after David is successful in killing Goliath, Saul asks who this young man is.

It's like... dang Saul... how can you NOT know who he is? Are you that out of touch with your subjects? The kid has been playing the harp for you... you gave him your own armour...

But when I read it in the Message version of the bible, it reads more like Saul is asking more about David's family because he wants to know MORE about David.

Anyways... my point is that when you read the bible out of a sense of seeking knowledge and wisdom and understanding... you will find things out that you already thought you knew. It's fresh and different every time.

So I guess that's all the happenings here in the nest. Hope you have a Super Saturday and Wonderful Weekend. Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, January 20, 2012


It's Friday and to God be the glory for getting me through another week. Had a bit of pain yesterday but it was tolerable. I was exhausted at the end of the day but I made it the whole day. That's what life is all about... little victories, day by day, moment by moment sometimes.

I am being discipled. Not disciplined. Discipled. I'm learning to be humble. I'm working on my character. I look at my sweet Steel Magnolia and how treasured she is by her community and her family. I know that she has spent a life of faith, working on who she is. I know that even her, in her advanced years and extensive experience, has had times when she was at odds with people in her life. I suspect that it grieved her in the way it grieves me. All of us, I believe, have someone in their lives who isn't their biggest fan. My challenge is to respond with grace. That's the challenge... that's what I work on daily... because it is those conflicts that make people really look at who you are and how you respond, right?

I'm on a shorter schedule this morning because I promised to take Austin to school today. He likes it. I'm trying to be supportive and encouraging during this last "mile of the marathon". I would hate walking to the bus stop in the dark and cold. So this morning I'm going to give him a treat. It puts me in the car a bit longer but it's ok. I use my time in the car to pray and I can use a little prayer. I'm wearing thin this week. Figuratively, of course. I'm wearing fatigue like a thick, heavy cloak but I can do this.

Austin has company coming for the weekend. Not the usual suspects... this guy I semi-approve of because he's a Gator fan. I am not thrilled about having someone else in the house all weekend. I like my space. This is a small apartment. It's supposed to rain. I need Austin's help to get groceries. But... all of that aside... I'm glad that Austin is social and has friends.

We watched a video last night of Austin's preschool friend Hunter and his band. Austin's not a huge connoisseur of music. I'm more a show tunes or Contemporary Christian music fan. But Hunter is talented and it's surreal to see who he has grown to be. Austin had a very profound statement, though, he said, "the last time I saw Hunter it was weird. Awkward."  It is hard to reconnect with people sometimes when you've both grown and you don't have the same things in common that you once had. Austin and Hunter were friends when they were going through potty training and that sort of thing. And Austin struggles with making small talk and articulating with people he doesn't know well. Although I haven't approved of the "element" he has connected with everywhere we've been... I'm proud of the work he has done to make friendships. It's not easy.

Every friend is a treasure. Every enemy is an opportunity. Every life that intersects with ours... whether for a season or a lifetime... makes an impact on us - and us on them... and I think as Christians we have to make the most of those intersections. That's what I mean by being discipled. If I truly want to be a follower of Christ, I have to make sure that when people pass through those intersections with me, that they understand how and why I am different. I can't put my focus on how they treat me... I have to put my focus on how I respond to how I'm treated. And if I'm treated in a way that I feel is unfair, I have a greater burden, as a Christian, to use that experience for my good and His glory.

In the end... it's not about me. No one can separate us from the love of God. If I am crucified with Christ, in other words, if I make my life about believing the crucifixion as the saving experience that allows me access to God and entry into Heaven... then these light and momentary troubles... these minor conflicts... these seasons of being "at odds" ... aren't going to change my destination, they're just going to present opportunities for me to extend the grace I've received to someone else. I've been on the receiving end of that grace and it is transformational. When I have been the ugliest, meanest, least deserving of forgiveness, I've received it, both from God and man. I need to make my life about giving in the same way that I have received.

Heavy for a Friday, right? Well... it's time for me to glam and spend a little time with my not so little boy and then head into the work world to make the most of the intersections I cross through today. Start the weekend countdown clock, folks! My weekend begins in 11 hours!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday - give God a place to hang out

It's thankful Thursday here in the Nest! I hope it will be for you too.

Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praise of His people. It makes sense, right? Who wouldn't want to be in a place where people say good things about you, appreciate you, make you feel honored and respected? I think some of my daily fatigue comes from feeling unappreciated and discouraged. If I'm around someone whose bitter... or complaining... I get the heck out of Dodge... if not physically, at least mentally and emotionally. I don't wanna be a place where God doesn't want to be because of my whining but...

Psalm 34:18 says that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. I also know that when the journey is long and I grow discouraged... God is close. So... from that I take that we're not supposed to be Fakey Fakerson and pretend to feel what we don't feel... if HE knows your heart, He knows that you're hurt. God still loves you even if you're not bubbling over with joy... it's a simple matter of this...

Praise Him in the storm. How many things have happened in my lifetime that I didn't understand... that broke my heart... that crushed my spirit? I'd have to tell you honestly that just about every day there is SOMETHING that takes the wind out of my sails. I've been mom to a teenager since November 14, 1999... you can bet that there's discouragement in that. I've been the mom to a kid with Asperger's syndrome since 1994. It's been a fight for my kid on a constant basis. I've been a single mom since May 8th 2000... that little interlude with the 2nd husband made me no less of a single mom. If anything... it made my life more difficult - minus having to pay the rent. I've suffered from chronic pain for a full year. Yesterday was the anniversary of the day that my back started to hurt. I've lost a home to fire in the past year. I've had struggles professionally. I've felt alone. I've been weary and worn out.

And yet through it all... God has worked in my life. He has been there. I don't get it right in every situation but I'm learning to say, "I don't understand why... but I trust you". I'm learning to start my prayers by acknowledging who He is... by thanking Him for loving me in spite of my brokenness... for continuing to hold me together.

Let me give my usual disclaimer for those who visit my blog who don't believe in God: If you will acknowledge the power of optimism in the midst of unpleasant circumstances, you will feel less discouraged. Isn't it all about the attitude of your heart? Doesn't having a proper perspective in all things... knowing that "this too shall pass"... doesn't it help you keep going? Even if you don't have a belief in a higher power, you can't ignore the fact that bitterness is destructive to your psyche.

I am still feeling less back pain. At the end of the day, I have some pain but it by no means as crippling and overwhelming as it was over the past year. I thank God for bringing me through that episode of life that the doctor said would NEVER get better. I don't doubt that finding a medication that seems to be helping with all of my chronic pain has made a huge difference. I thank God for the opportunity to have access to medication that helps. Am I healed completely? I don't know. But I'm better, that's for sure!

I praise Him for every day at the start of the day when I am able to get up and go to work. I praise Him in the middle of the day for everything I've been able to do. I praise Him at the end of the day for allowing me another day of pay... all that I am and ever hope to be is because of God's work in my life. He may work THRU a doctor, a pharmacist, a job, a client willing to purchase what I'm selling... He may work through a kid who remembers that it's trash day and voluntarily takes the trash to the street. He may work through a friend who gives encouragement. But in my heart... I believe that there is an almighty, omnipotent God who is orchestrating all of this good in my life... and who is working through the things that are not as good.

It's thankful Thursday... give God a reason to hang out with you... let Him inhabit your praise today.
Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whiny Wednesday - with my thinking cap on...

I've had my thinking cap on lately.
Not that I normally go around like a zombie.
I just feel that God is revealing things to me that I would normally miss... for no other reason than I've asked Him to.

I feel this enormous burden to pray for people. Evangelicals call that "intercessory prayer". I've just had this overflowing heart for people in my world. Yesterday after I mentioned praying for prodigals... the Lord showed me more and more people - not necessarily prodigals - just people who were standing in the need of prayer.

What a blessing it is to realize how many lives intersect mine... despite the fact that I am such a homebody.
I realized yesterday morning that I was entering my mission field... that I WAS in full time Christian service, as long as I would choose to serve the Lord wherever I was.

And at work... from the 88 year old widow who is adjusting to losing her husband of 55 years and the loss of her vision... to the dad of the 17 year old with leukemia who has been receiving treatment since October and they've had to go to stronger treatments... to the man who had his assets frozen by the IRS... there are a lot of walking wounded out there who need the kind of encouragement and compassion that I am uniquely gifted to be able to give. I truly care about these people. I don't just endure their phone calls and questions. I am honored to be the one to help them.

But I don't have to tell you that... a lot of you are walking wounded yourself. I'm going to do a better job of praying for you too... because you're important to me.

Something else God showed me... another Tim Tebow lesson... so often in my job I feel ill-equipped and unsuccessful. I feel underpaid. Unappreciated. Disrespected. Maligned at times. And yet... every day I can point to client after client whose lives I have touched, people who ask for me because they know the compassion I bring to my job, people who are in our agency only because I'm there, only because of what I do.

I'm not a salesperson by nature... but I'm still successful in what I do. Timmy isn't a traditional quarterback, but he gets the job done.

Something else I realized... just as I'm not as good at sales as I am with service... I'm not as good at evangelism as I am at discipleship. I don't always have the words to lead people to Christ... but I'm good (I think) at helping people know how to live a Christian life.

Just as I'm not a great performer but I'm great behind the scenes in the theatre... with organization, support, costuming...

This is the reason I always say I'm a "fan of fans"... I love watching people who are passionate about things. My heart is to help people be even better with what they are best at.

I was excited to move here to be close to Jim and Angie so that I could be supportive of their ministerial roles by helping with the girls. It hasn't worked out that way. Illness and injuries and pain and fatigue have plagued me the whole time I've lived here. I don't feel any closer to them than I did in Jacksonville. I'm not a part of their ministry. Most of the time I don't even know what they're doing. And that's my fault. I've been so absorbed in walking zombie like through my life, stumbling, struggling... barely getting from point A to point B.

Yet. I believe that nothing in our lives happens by chance. Even when it could be used for evil. God has shown me a lot through my struggles. My deepest desire is to take the very things that have prevented me from doing what *I thought* I would be able to do... and use them as a springboard to strengthen my relationship with God and more importantly... to be serving God through my circumstances.

It is difficult ...but it is helping me to exercise discipline that I have needed to develop my entire life. Instead of stomping my feet, throwing a fit, engaging in confrontation, so far, by the Grace of God, I have absorbed the information... I have recognized what it is and I have set my intentions on being where God wants me to be, being WHO God wants me to be and letting Him control my circumstances. If God is for me, who can be against me? No weapon formed against me will prosper.

Do you see the process that has happened in my heart? If I am meant to be there... God will make a way. And if that job ends for me... God will make a way for me to do whatever He intends for me to do and I am resolved to serve Him wherever I am.

You know what Tim Tebow says to people who tell him he's not good enough? He says, "pre-shate it". Recognizing that he isn't enough in himself lets people know that GOD has raised him up to be able to do what he needs to do.

When David faced Goliath and was mocked and teased that he couldn't kill that Giant... David gave them his testimony "I have killed the lion and the bear"... and he went on and did the thing that God had told him he could - and should - do.

This Whiny Wednesday, I know for this world we will have troubles, Christian friends, but take heart, God has overcome this world. When you're feeling stepped on and beat up and insignificant and weak... know that in your weakness, He is strong.

Whether I succeed or fail, I know that God has a plan for my life and I just have to keep my "thinking cap" on and let Him guide me.
Have a great day, y'all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Praying for Prodigals

Yesterday was a long day at work. My back is still feeling pretty good. Nowhere near the pain that I struggled with for nearly a year. It bothers me just a little ... really, nowhere near as bad as it was... and mostly in the late afternoon. Now my tummy... that's something different... once I eat, my belly starts giving me trouble... so I'm fairly uncomfortable in the afternoon. I feel so much stronger but my strength sort of wanes in the afternoon. It's like... by the end of the day... I'm ready to go home.

I got home yesterday and Austin had completely cleaned the kitchen... I'm talking about organized cabinets... did the dishes... changed the litter box... scrubbed our white counters (who puts in white counters?) until they were white again. Everything was picture perfect. AND... he had cooked a pork loin AND made rice and cleaned up from cooking. Dinner was ready the second I walked in the door.

We were out of cat food, though, so I had to make a run into town... that's when I really ran out of steam. I went into Helen, to the Dollar General there... and it's up a flight of stairs. My legs felt like lead weights going up those stairs. Some bozo parked right behind my car rather than pull into a parking place... saved them about ten steps... and I had a "mommy look" for them that got them to move. How dare they delay me any further?

Anyways... Austin can be highly motivated... and then this morning... he's refusing to go to school. Sixth day of this semester and this is the second day he has missed. I argued with him but I don't have the strength of body or spirit to compel him to do what he doesn't want to do. If you pray, please pray that he will understand how important it is to be consistent in anything and everything he does. Every day for me is a struggle but I go...

I fear that he has found his way back to that "element" that led him astray before. Because he has no filter to know that there are things he shouldn't tell me... he confided that he was looking to partake in some activities that are illegal and inappropriate. I had given him money to go out with friends for lunch and a movie... but he reported that the movie started around 10:30. Obviously... there are no movies that start that early in the day... especially on a Monday, even if it is a holiday. I know that he's being shady... and I imagine that the clean kitchen was a guilt offering.

I know that a lot of my friends... both in real life and my blogger babes here... struggle from time to time with their grown and nearly grown children. I'm going to commit to praying for these children. It's a different world for them than what we grew up in. Morals have changed. Opportunities have changed... it used to be a guarantee that if you went to college, that degree guaranteed you a decent paying job... now there is much more uncertainty. I know it's a difficult time, this transition from dependent child to independent adult. Pray for mine and I'll pray for yours... comment here or on my link on facebook... or private message me the name of your child in transition and I'll commit to praying for all of these on a daily basis. They have so much stacked against them. My heart is just so heavy for these kids.

This passage is from Ecclesiastes 12

 1 Remember your Creator 
   in the days of your youth, 
before the days of trouble come 
   and the years approach when you will say, 
   “I find no pleasure in them”— 

I really enjoy the book of Ecclesiastes. It has so much wisdom in it. I also love reading a Proverbs a day - you can read the one that corresponds with the day of the month. I'm doing a study in James - Beth Moore's study - and it's fascinating to see a book I've read dozens of times in a different way. I've been reading from Oswald Chambers writings every morning. I'm cramming a lot in, so it would seem, in the way of Bible Study but I feel like I've wasted a lot of time and I have a lot of catching up to do. Simply stopping the computer games gave me a lot of free time to focus on these things. It's amazing how much difference it makes when you immerse yourself in study.

Time for me to glam and study a bit and get ready for work. Have a great Tuesday, y'all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

reasons to love Monday

I may have already shared this story but I am nevertheless reminded of it every year on this day... back in 10th grade I was standing at my locker and a friend, Sonya Carter, mentioned, "man, we shouldn't even be at school on this day"... confused... I asked why... "because it's Dr. King's birthday" ... and I said, "who?".

I had no idea. To be fair, I also didn't know who Elvis was when the neighbor kid came over to tell us he was dead.

Since then, as we all know, Dr King's birthday was made a holiday to be celebrated on the third Monday in January. And here we are...

I have never worked for a company that celebrated the holiday. I will be at work today and I'm praying that because many people are off today that I'll have more success with my marketing.

Yesterday I was still feeling a bit feverish and weak. I was intentionally lazy to make sure I reserved my strength for the upcoming work week. I did make a run into town to pick up lunch as I was craving (of all things) mashed potatoes. I took the long way into town because our church service was on the AM Radio... it wasn't the current week (I don't think) but it was still great encouragement.

I also watched about a half dozen other sermons on tv or online. I tease that I am "homechurched" but yesterday, I really was and it was a great blessing to me.

I have a confession to make. I don't know if this is a lead up to a calling but all of a sudden I am FASCINATED with people who are in full time Christian service. Beth Moore - and her staff. A childhood friend who works for Lifeway (Christian publishing) with the VBS materials. I would LOVE that job! People who sing and travel the country performing. Angie Smith and her writing. I just see so much joy in those jobs. To know that you get to make your faith your source of income... that to me is incredibly appealing.

Of course... it's important to note... all of these people did what I didn't do: they got a college degree to equip them to serve the Lord in the way they are gifted and called. I told you... I don't particularly see this as a calling but I do see it as a way to create a hunger in me for doing what I can where I am. Any job can be a mission field if your heart is yielded to God and focused on Him. Even a NFL Quarterback (see yesterday's post).

So let's talk about my reasons to love Monday this week:

1. After a successful week last week, I am more confident in my ability to work a full week.
2. My back pain has been practically non-existent over the weekend. Either the rest or the new medication I'm on has finally been the treatment that worked. For now... I'm grateful.
3. We don't have staff meeting this week... regular start time! Woohoo.
4. Austin is out of school today due to the holiday. No dealing with him this morning and he has promised to do some work around the house.
5. I slept really well and am on a much more normal, reasonable sleep schedule. My 8-4 schedule is now more like 10-6... and I'm sleeping good. Not waking up multiple times during the night. Really sleeping.
6. Since the New Year has come I have to meet my deductible again. I was worried about the cost of my meds... I am on six medications a day... I got three of them refilled and the total cost was $18. That was really encouraging to me. I know one of the others is super cheap but the one that is my "miracle drug", the one that I think is super expensive, I haven't refilled it yet as I still have plenty on hand and my doctor gave me samples as well.
7. I ate well yesterday. Actually. I ate well over the whole weekend. My appetite has returned but I still have a little apprehension about the digestive process so I am still eating smaller meals than usual. This has to be a good thing (the smaller meals). My strength seems to be returning in direct proportion to how/what/how much I eat.
8. I received so much encouragement yesterday by just immersing myself in different teachings that were on tv and online. I'm realizing that my strength is returning in direct proportion to what I put into my mind, not just what I put into my body.
9. My "surgical site" is still tender but healing. There is still some drainage which I understand is normal. I'm ready for THAT to end and everything to be normal. One hundred percent normal. I'm closer today than I was last week to complete recovery. I'm excited about every day that passes that brings me closer to where I need to be physically. My strength seems to be returning based on how I respect and respond to my body.
10. My car is running good. Huge blessing after last Monday's drama.

I'm praying that you are starting your week with a confident and peaceful heart. Whether it's a day at work for you... or a day at home... or even, like my sweet friend, Cheryl, a day for grieving... I pray that you feel God's presence in your life. Invite Him to spend the day with you... and I will pray the same.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

lessons from losing

I fell asleep last night before the end of the Denver/New England football game but... truth be told... I had switched over right before halftime and started watching Miss America. It's not that I can't stand to watch Tim Tebow lose. It's that his mission was - and always has been - so much bigger than what actually happens on the field. I knew that if the game turned around - and it didn't - that I could catch all the highlight clips today. I also knew that the rest of the broadcast would be negative and I didn't need to hear all of that.

I think one of the fundamentals of Christianity is that you have to be able to believe things not seen. Faith, simply put, is believing in things you have not seen. Tim Tebow hasn't been a successful football player because he is a Christian, although, certainly God has gifted him and equipped him in a unique way. Tim Tebow has been successful because he never listened to those who told him he COULDN'T be successful. Sometimes in life you have to stop listening to the naysayers. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself... in your God given talents... 

I don't believe you'll ever come across a single narcissistic Tim Tebow quote. He has confidence in himself only because he has worked hard, trusted God and has good people on his team who also work hard. He gives credit to God first, his teammates second and just acknowledges and honors the blessing of being a part of the team. His attitude hasn't changed since he was a third string quarterback with a throwing motion that "couldn't work in the NFL". When people say negative things about him, if he says anything at all, he says very simply, "pre-shate that" OR "God bless". 

You really don't have to engage in a verbal argument with people who don't believe in you. Nor do you have to engage in a verbal argument with people who don't believe in God. You very simply just have to live your life in such a way that the arguments are silenced. Get out there and do the very thing that they said you couldn't possibly do. It doesn't always come easy. The miracle comes when people who otherwise shouldn't be successful at something ARE successful. What's unique about Tim Tebow is that when he does the thing he shouldn't be able to do, he recognizes the reason for his success. He gives glory to God first, his teammates second and I don't know that I've ever heard him take any praise upon himself other than to acknowledge that he has worked hard. 

What's the lesson in that? Faith + work = success. You know where people check out on God? They get the equation backwards. They want you to prove it to them first... they want the success - the blessings - first and then they'll believe. Believing in what you have already seen isn't faith. Expecting success in something you haven't worked at is foolish. 

And when you fail... without having worked at something... without having believed it possible to do... how does it become God's fault? People don't believe in God because things haven't gone the way they expected them to go. 

You won't find many quotes attributed to Tim Tebow but there is a much loved speech that is referred to among the Gator Nation as "The Promise" that is so highly respected that it is on an engraved plaque outside the football stadium. It came after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss that prevented the Gators from having an undefeated season. 

To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida has never done here. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God bless.”

He did exactly what he said he would do. They went on to win a National Championship. Losing showed him that he had not done everything he needed to do to be a winner. He took the responsibility on himself, he didn't blame God for failing him... he blamed himself for failing God. (you can read more about the Promise and other things that make Tim Tebow a legend beyond his years at )

I'm sure in the grand scheme of things that Tim is disappointed in his performance last night. Yet I suspect that his mission on this earth was so much greater than winning football games. He's got the whole country talking about how a quarterback with the wrong skill set could win. He's got the whole country aware of how different he is... he's not showing up outside of nightclubs. He's not trash talking. He's not walking around with a different girl on his arm every week. He's not self absorbed. He has humility and wisdom beyond his years. More than that, though.. he has the sports world talking about Christianity. They may not believe in God any more than they believe in Tim Tebow but it's hard to argue with his results.

I love watching Tim Tebow win but I am so greatly encouraged by who he is when he loses. The passage of scripture that Tim posted on his facebook page yesterday was Romans 8:37-39 which says:

Romans 8:37-39

New International Version (NIV)

 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life is bigger than a football game... just as life is bigger than my little office and what goes on there. God is far more concerned with the change that happens in our lives as we travel from loss to victory and back again. No matter how successful we are... if we choose Him... nothing can separate us from Him. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

remarkable random Saturday

I made it through a period of not working for three weeks... almost a month between real paychecks... and I'm not broke or overdrawn in my checking account. That's remarkable.

I worked a whole week despite my still tender hiney. I thought I'd be lucky to get a few half days in this week... yet I made it all week and even managed to make a little money in the process.

It's still below freezing outside. There is ice on the mountain - beautiful - but so cold.

Despite the cold... I still went out and picked up Austin's breakfast from McDonalds. He won't be awake until after noon, I'm sure... but when he wakes up on Saturday and mom has his large sweet tea in the fridge and his two bacon egg and cheese mcgriddles in the microwave, it makes his day better.

I fell asleep shortly before 11 last night and slept until after sun up this morning. That never happens. I clicked the time on the tv when I woke up and it was after 8am. I'm always up at dark thirty, no matter what time I go to sleep. I felt so lazy and indulgent.

I also felt lazy and indulgent last night when I made hot chocolate for myself and used two packages of hot chocolate mix. You've gotta love that.

Austin washed the dishes and semi-cleaned up the kitchen after I went to bed last night. That's why I didn't mind heading out in the sub-freezing temps this morning to drive to town to get his breakfast. Granted... it was a chore I asked him to do three days ago... you take what you can get.

A friend of mine who I will allow to remain anonymous... got a shout-out from Ryan Seacrest yesterday on Twitter which I found WAY cool in that giddy, school girl kind of way.

A girl who did a show with me and Purple Michael back in 2002 - yes, ten years ago - where did the time go? - is in the new movie "Joyful Noise" with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. I'm the QUEEN of two degrees of separation!

I'm watching a "How I Met Your Mother" marathon today. High aspirations. Actually... I find the writing on this show really funny and I very much enjoy Neil Patrick Harris. Just like with Friends... I can imagine myself right in the middle of these characters.

I'm also planning to do a load of laundry, go grocery shopping with Austin, pick up prescriptions, work on my Beth Moore "James" bible study and oh yeah... watch a little football.

I don't care whether or not Denver wins... I'm just so grateful for the way that Tim Tebow has gotten the media talking about Christianity. I think that whether we win or lose in life, we (as Christians) should do it all to the glory of Jesus Christ.

One thing I've learned through my blogging... the times that I am the most broken and discouraged are the times that God is able to show through. Imagine that... when I get small and insignificant... there is room for God in my life.

Obviously... my little blog that gets about a hundred hits a day (about fifty of those from me checking to see how many hits I have)... has nowhere near the notoriety of a NFL quarterback. But it is a microcosm of what happens on a much larger scale: there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the glory.

What's sad... probably my greatest character flaw... is how broke and broken I have to be before I step out of the way and allow God to do what He wanted to do in my life long before I got broke and broken. I'm working on it.

Trouble the cat just came in between me and the computer so that I had to give him a little love... and I literally just sang to him, "I whip my fur back and forth" to the tune of Willow Smith's "I whip my hair back and forth". He appreciated it so much he came back for an encore.

Time for me to soak in the tub for a bit. Happy Saturday folks... we're gonna make it after all....