Saturday, February 27, 2010


While Larry & I were on staff at Rose Heights, there was a month when both Paul Baloche and Anthonys Evans (yes, both junior & senior) came to the church to do a concert. A month before, Larry was able to meet Max Lucado at a funeral for a church member....apparently Mr. Lucado was a relative of this person & he did part of the service for them. I missed all three events due to a sick child or scheduling conflict...or something. I was disappointed in all three cases because I'm a fan of all three (well, four!) of these guys. {Of course, I wouldn't have attended a funeral JUST to meet Max Lucado. That would be tacky after all. Maybe I could've just waited outside by the hearse.}

So anyway, early this month, we did THIS song at church and I loved it! I asked our worship pastor who sang it. He pointed me to Jared Anderson and then said "Guess what? He'll be in concert on 2/26 with Paul Baloche." And, as it turns out, the concert would be held at our old church, Rose Heights.

To be quite honest, my very first thought was " go & enjoy that concert & let me know how it was." I mean, when Larry & I left there just about a year ago, we left on good terms. No one there is angry with us. We've had lots of sweet people call, email, write, etc to tell us they miss us, but no one's ticked off. That we know of. Still, I haven't stepped foot inside that building since April 5, 2009 so it was a very awkward feeling to think about going back there. For anything. Fear kicked in. Would I break out in hives & have a panic attack the doorway? Would I feel like I was being glared at from across the auditorium? Would it just be weird to be there? If the concert had been held anywhere else, I would've immediately looked into tickets & such, but because of the location, I hesitated. I hemmed & hawed. (Does anyone know what that saying means anyway....hemmed & hawed.....hmmm....maybe I should google it. And why does blogspot tell me that it's misspelled if I put 2 Ws in hawed? Seems like there would be 2 Ws.)

A few days later, I heard the concert advertised on KVNE and decided that I really did want to go and I'd just have to pray that it wasn't weird for me to be there. And then it hit me. It fell on 2/26. The day after one of my very sweetest BFF's birthday! Hooray! It could be a birthday night out if we could pull off! A few quick emails later, I had tickets and a very excited BFF ready to go!! Hooray!!!!!!!

Fast forward to Thursday. Out of the blue, a work thing came up for Larry that would mess up him being here in time for me to leave and get to the concert. With the kids just recovering from the stomach virus from He...., my sister didn't feel comfortable having them over to her house. (I don't blame her--we avoid stomach viruses like crazy, too!) Mom was going out of town to attend the Feminar. I was afraid everything was going to fall apart on getting to go at the last minute, but my dad saved the day (err...night) when he offered to come over & hang out with the kids til Larry could get home. Yahoo!!!!! I rented he & the kids Up and they LOVED hanging out with Grandpa for a couple of hours last night. I'm so blessed with sweet parents!

Last night, for the first time in I don't know how long, I went out after dark with a girlfriend just for fun. I do go to the grocery store, sometimes with this same friend, every week to get groceries. After dark. But that's not quite the same thing! ha ha! We went to the concert & then stopped at Taco Bell at 9:45pm for a Coke. (We'd sound so bad if we said we went out for tunes & a drink....ha ha!)

When I pulled into the church parking lot last night, my heart did race a little. Would I run into a thousand church people who would use their laser beam eyes to shoot me from across the room? Would I throw up on the auditorium carpet from nerves? But my nerves were quickly layed to rest when I walked through the doors with my BFF & began to hug the necks of those who approached me. Honestly, there were only a handful of Rose Heights people there. It was mostly people who came specifically for the concert & the worship conference that was being held today. I think that helped. If it had 'felt' like a regular church service at Rose Heights, it would've unnerved me more. But it was just a building for the concert I went to. And that worked for me.

When Paul Baloche began singing, I closed my eyes & all the walls of the building fell away. I was no longer in the building where Larry & I served for several years, I was in His presence. God is still God no matter what building I am in. I was reminded that no matter who is standing around me, my Creator still deserves my attention, my affection, my praise. He drew me in last night. He helped me to shut out everything that surrounded me. The Spirit was present and moving and it was a beautiful night of worship with 2 great singers and a sweet friend at my side.

I'm glad I went. As usual, the anticipation was far worse than the reality.

The flash REALLY washed me out. I don't glow QUITE that much in real life. :)

If you click on this one, blow it up & squint your eyes, you might be able to see Paul Baloche on stage. He's at the front with his guitar.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Stomach Virus from He.....well, it wasn't good.

On Thursday night (2/18), Savannah's stomach didn't feel right when she climbed into bed. She was nauseated & I prayed that it was something she ate. No such luck. She was up half the night & continued to throw up into Friday morning...about 12 hours altogether. Poor kid. She had the weekend to recuperate and get back into the swing of things. By Sunday, she seemed to be better.

On Saturday, Sarah & I both had a funky tummy...not quite nausea, but not really "right" either. I couldn't put my finger on it, but we survived the day without getting sick and just figured it was our way of fighting off the 'bug'.

Everyone seemed fine on Sunday, so we went to church like usual.

Sunday night, Samuel went to bed feeling nauseated. He stayed home from school on Monday because he still felt sick. By the day's end, he was better.

Just about the time I wiped my brow & thought "'s finally all over!", I got it! Monday evening I felt REALLY bad, so I went to bed early. I'm glad I did. I got a little rest before it all started around midnight. From that point on, I was up all night long throwing up. Ugh. Yesterday (Tuesday), I stayed home from work & slept the whole day. I had no energy and was too exhausted to move. In fact, I stayed in bed til 5:30pm, only getting up to go potty and to go pick up the kids from school. That little road trip wore me out...I took a 2 hour nap when I got back! I think I ran a little fever last night, too.

I'm at home today. I'm not ready to move much and since I am still pretty wiped out, I decided that I needed one more day of rest before I go back to a classroom full of silly 3 year olds. I love the kids, but I know there's no way I'd make it today. I'm praying that NOW we're really D-O-N-E with this stomach virus.

Now...yawn...time for a nap.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What??? More snow?

Just a couple of weeks ago, you'll remember my post about our snow. The record-breaking, shocking, fabulous snow!! We were stunned & amazed & missed a day of school because of it. We loved it! It only happens once every generation or so.

Or does it?

Our forecast for tomorrow says:

A WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM 3AM TUESDAY TO 9PM TUESDAY FOR (edited) COUNTIES. SNOWFALL TOTALS MAY REACH 4" TO 6" IN THE WARNED AREA. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR THE SAME TIME PERIOD OF 3AM TUESDAY UNTIL 9PM TUESDAY FOR HENDERSON, (edited--where I live!) COUNTIES. SNOWFALL TOTALS MAY REACH 2" TO 4" IN THE ADVISORY AREA. Most areas south of I-xx could see between two and four inches of snow with over 6 inches possible in the warned area. Areas north of I-xx should see 1" to 3" with a few areas near 4" possible. Please stay tuned to your East Texas news leader as we fine tune where the heaviest snow will fall.

The snow should end late Wednesday...but the liquid that remains on the roadways will likely freeze over as temperatures drop below freezing Wednesday morning. This will be the tricky driving conditions from this storm system.

Holy moley! Snow in East Texas. Twice in one winter. Who knew??

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Food fights & laughter

After church today, we went to the China King buffet. We were eating like a nice little family...and then it all went south. Larry has a knack for encouraging others when it comes to embarassing situations, taking the edge off & helping them to not be so embarassed...all while giggling. Once when I was pregnant with one of the kids, we were eating in a restaurant & I dribbled ketchup down my shirt & it landed on top of my gigantic tummy. I looked up, shocked & embarassed. Of course it was a light-colored shirt so there was no hiding this giant smear of ketchup. I grabbed a napkin & tried to wipe it away but it just smudged & smeared it further. I dipped the napkin in my glass of water & tried to get it off that way, but it just wasn't happening. In a moment of despair, I looked up at Larry & he could see that I was embarassed. He grinned, stuck his finger in the BBQ sauce on his plate & rubbed it down the front of his shirt. I swear, even now, 10+ years later, I can't help but grin ear to ear re-telling the story. It was his sweet way of making me not stand out in the crowd...showing me that he was in this with me & would be embarassed right along with me if he had to. I remember sitting at the table giggling at his sweet gesture, feeling so very loved. He just grinned back at me & kept eating like it was no big deal. I swear, the man has NO concern where public embarassment in concerned. He would've dumped a cup of tea over his head if it made me feel better that day. (Ahhh...I love him!!)

So anyway, we went to China King today. Sarah was on the far side of the booth & when she came back with a plate full of curried potatoes, Samuel & I got up so she could get to her spot. She "walked" on her knees across the bench & just as she was turning to sit down, her plate went flying into the booth behind us. A friend was standing at the end of the table talking to Larry & she was so embarassed that she began to cry. Luckily, no one else was in the booth where her plate spilled, but she was mortified that she'd clumsily dropped her plate in front of our friend. I went to get a new plate for her & to let an employee know. When I came back to the table, her tears were gone & the giggles had begun. In an effort to make Sarah feel less embarassed, Larry had picked up a (very small!) piece of chicken off his plate & flung it over his shoulder. (There was no booth there, just a waiter's stand where they'd get drinks or write up tickets.) The kids roared with laughter at the sight of their very well educated, intelligent, mature (well...maybe?) father tossing chicken. But it worked. Sarah was no longer embarassed & it cheered her up.

As I sat down with Sarah's replacement plate, the food fight began. No one threw food out of the booth, but Sarah's shrimp tails (the part you don't eat) went flying at Larry. Larry's rice was flung at Samuel. Samuel attempted to toss a noodle, but when it didn't make it across the table, I gave him a stern look and said "Samuel! Don't toss noodles. That's gross. If you're going to throw something at Daddy, go for a chunk of Jello." He thought he was getting into trouble, but my silly statement made the giggles begin all over. Before it was all over, everyone had tossed something. Savannah was laughing so hard she could hardly sit upright. Larry elbowed her in a teasing way & she fell right out of the booth onto the floor. Of course that made the rest of us laugh hysterically. Then there was the conversation about Sarah tossing her "shrimp butts" at Larry. Oh yes, all sense of etiquette was gone. By this time, it was just us and 1 other occupied table in the whole restaurant so "public manners" pretty much went right out the window.

The waiter delivered our fortune cookies to the table about the time we all quieted down. Samuel got a rare 2 in 1 fortune cookie. His 2 fortunes were "You will experience great success in medicine." and "You will experience great success in entertainment." Since those were the 2 he got, conversation turned to his ability to become an entertaining doctor. Songs were sung about telling a patient they have a cold while playing an instrument....another child suggested tap dancing while rhyming a prescription "take two of these tomorrow!".

Around this time, we decided that it would be best for us to leave...before we got kicked out. ha ha!

There are days like this when I am horrified at the behavior of my goofy family, but most of the time they DON'T behave like this, so when we have a day like this, I try to keep my head on straight & remember that these are the days that build memories. These are the silly times they will remember into adulthood. These are the days I should cherish because all too soon, my two 9 year olds and my 13 year old will think we're dorks for having fun with them like this...all too soon they will be grown up & gone and I will wish we had one more silly lunch with them at the chinese restaurant.

Thank you, Father, for food fights & lots of laughter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stomach viruses & awards

For weeks, Savannah's been preparing for Solo & Ensemble competition. She first signed up to do a solo, which really surprised me. She's not much for getting into the spotlight alone...but she was OK with this. And then there were several other French Horn players who joined together to form an octet. Shortly after forming the group, 1 of the members had to drop out so Savannah was asked to join in. Together they practiced a million times to get the ensemble piece just right.

And then it happened.

Savannah got a stomach virus. Late Thursday evening, she said she felt nauseous. She sat in the bathroom waiting for it to 'hit' for a long time....she finally gave up & got in bed. Half an hour later, it 'hit'. She was up over & over that night and into the morning hours on Friday -- the same day as Solo & Ensemble. She had to pull out of the contest. She was SO disappointed to have to back out on the group at the last minute and to have to skip her solo as well! In fact, about 1am as she threw up for the 2nd or 3rd time, she looked up at me through tears & said "They have to have EIGHT people for the octet...I can't be sick!!". Her band director was able to pull another player into the group at the last minute. I'm not sure that he really knew the music, but if nothing else, he filled a seat in the octet. The group really missed her being there, though, because she knew the music really well & would've made the group sound even better! Still, somehow they made a 1!!! She was very pleased to hear that the group did so well....and even more thrilled when her band director emailed to let me know that they brought her home a medal as well!!! She'll get it on Monday. Despite the fact that she was at home, huddled in front of the toilet at the time, she was a part of the group & they felt like she deserved the award, too! How cool is that?!

Tonight was Samuel's annual Cub Scout Blue & Gold banquet. It's the annual award ceremony for Cub Scouts where they are recognized for all their hard work all year long. If you're my friend on Facebook, you've already seen these.

This is from the Blue & Gold banquet LAST year, Feb 2009:

And this was tonight. My sweet little Webelo scout has grown.

The boys are given a pin to put on their mother's ribbon each year as they advance through the ranks of the scouting program. Every year, the boys all giggle & make jokes about how they're going to stab their moms with the pins. Goofy boys...none of them actually do it, but they all pretend to. ha! It never gets old to them. This is me saying "don't stick me, please!".

There was a professional photographer there to take group pictures of each den. Of course, all of us moms were standing there with our regular cameras to take a picture -- no need for the expensive professional one! :)

Click this one to blow it up real really need the full effect. ha! Samuel tried to make THIS face during the professional pic, but I made him STOP IT. Even the photographer laughed about it, so I had to get a picture of it afterward. ha! We're so proud of our little nut!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I know I've shared this song before, but I want to do so again. It is exactly how I'm feeling this afternoon. Loved, blessed, completely overwhelmed by how amazing He is. I can only sit back & say "wow".

You see, over and over and over, God has taken care of my EVERY need, EVERY desire, EVERYthing. I don't just mean financial blessings, but like I mentioned in a recent post, that seems to be the area where Larry & I have to learn to trust Him over & over again. As little as a month ago, we were searching for a way to feed the kids and pay the bills. It was a very trying time, but today we're in a different place. Larry got the raise we'd been waiting for and while we don't have money to throw around, we're comfortable now. We can pay the bills, there is plenty to buy groceries, no one is going without anything.

I find myself continually in awe of God's grace in our lives. We've been given a couple of very sweet gifts since the time that Larry got the raise, since we've been in a place of relaxing a little & having some breathing room. I am SO very grateful for kind and generous and caring friends & family. But I'm even more THRILLED to be in a position to share some of His blessings with others now.

For those of you who've given to us, THANK YOU. I can not say enough how much it means to me to see friends & family reaching into their pockets to help someone else who is in need. And when that someone is ME, I am completely stunned. THANK YOU for loving our family. THANK YOU for sharing what you have. THANK YOU.

And to God above, THANK YOU. Your love is overwhelming!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In honor of Valentine's Day

An online pal did this on her blog & I loved it, so I'm stealing her idea & sharing my own "Things I Love" in honor of Valentine's Day. (Thanks Jen!)

Things I Love (in no particular order)

*Sunday afternoon naps
*Days when I am off work & everyone else is at work/school, relaxing & reading, writing, watching a movie, napping & snacking...bliss!
*Bubble baths
*a new issue of People magazine
*quiet times alone with God, feeling His presence and drinking it in
*celebrating things with my kids
*listening to the kids giggle, even if the source of their laughter is something that only 9, 10 & 13 year olds can find the humor in!
*finding the "Jesus spot" at Walmart on Friday nights (a few of you know what I'm referring to...and if ya don't, email me & I'll fill you in!)
*payday....because I feel wealthy for a few minutes :)
*snuggling into a cozy bed when I'm drowsy
*making eye contact & smiling about a private joke from across the room
*being able to crack 'grown up' jokes with my 13 year old daughter & have her "get" them (Note: NOT dirty jokes, but ones with a little more of an edge to them!)
*snuggling with my kids in my bed, especially when they're sick or after a bad dream
*holding my husband's hand
*laughing til I snort & my cheeks hurt
*hearing the very first few raindrops fall
*building a snowman with my family (didn't even know about this one til Friday!)
*watching my sweet daughter raise her hands in worship, without the slightest hesitation or concern about what others think
*good music
*secrets & "inside" jokes with family & friends
*seeing the 'lightbulb' come on over the heads of the kids I work with
*seeing past students run to say Hello & give me a hug on Meet the Teacher days...and then watching them look back over their shoulder as they walk away to go meet their new teacher
*knowing someone well enough that I can cry with them without feeling weird about it
*girl talk
*chocolate, baked mac n cheese, chicken, veggies, berries, quiche
*ice cold water
*watching movies with Larry after the kids go to bed
*going for a walk with Larry
*just hanging out & talking with Larry
*sitting around a campfire with my family
*sitting alone at the water's edge & listening to the waves at the lake
*the smell after it rains
*Mom's chicken & dumplings
*holding a sleeping baby

If you should choose to repost a list of things you love, let me know so I can come read yours!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Boy, oh boy, what a great 24 hours it has been!

I stayed up, running outside to take "1 more picture" til about 10:30 last night. I finally decided to take a shower & hit the sack around that time. I turned off my lamp at 11:30pm. And then it began.

The night that would never end!!!

At 1:55am, the power went off. It woke me up. I sat up & realized what happened & quickly hopped out of bed & unplugged the computer. I've always heard that it's when the power surges & 'flickers' or when it comes back ON that there is a danger to the computer getting fried. So anyway, I unplugged it all & got back in bed. I layed there for quite a while, not able to fall back to sleep. Finally, just as I began to doze off, at 2:20 the power came back on. The outside light right by our bedroom window came on & the fridge began to it woke me up, again. I decided to plug the computer back in & check to see if the local news station had posted about our school being closed today. JUST as the website pulled up & I began scrolling down the page, the power WENT OFF AGAIN!!!!! In utter frustration, I climbed back into bed. I was exhausted & crawled into bed without really thinking about unplugging things again. At 3:25am, it came back ON. I don't know why but I felt fairly confident that the power was going to stay on this time. (maybe it was middle of the night delirium?) Of course it woke me up again when it came on, so I went back to the computer & looked up the news site to see if the school was closed. It was not listed in the closings, but I was wide awake so I checked my email & was still sitting at the computer when I heard a loud crash outside my window. The neighbor's tree (in between our 2 houses) had branches breaking off from the weight of the snow. Realizing that's all it was, I crawled into bed & prayed for sleep! About the time I dozed off, WHAM....another branch fell. A few minutes later, the power went off again! At that point, I panicked about the computer having been switched off & on a couple of times by the power going back & forth so many times, but not panicked enough to go unplug it all again. I had been up most of the night & every time I'd been up, I had to go potty. Good grief...did I drink that much last night near bedtime?

I reached the point at about 4:45am that I was just praying for the night to end. Every time I got up to unplug the computer or look outside because of the falling branches, I'd see that the snow was still falling & it was piling up!! I kept thinking 'SURELY our schools will be closed!!".

At about 5:15am, Samuel got up to go potty & when he realized that the lights wouldn't come on, he got his flashlight & carried it to the bathroom. I could see the glow of the light through the house & layed in bed, giggling at the idea of him standing over the toilet, aiming the flashlight and (ahem...) himself at the toilet to see where to 'go'. Larry rolled over & heard me giggle & asked what was funny. It struck me as humorous but I realized I was probably just going nutty from lack of sleep. I explained to him about my night & why I was giggling. As we lay there whispering to each other, I heard the pitter patter of another set of little feet. These were headed our direction! Sarah showed up at my side & wanted to snuggle. She climbed into the bed and asked if they were going to school. I told her that I didn't know b/c our power was off. (Can't check the website or turn on the TV news to find out if you have no power!) Larry told her that we'd wait til closer to 6:00 & then he could use his work laptop to check the news site. She giggled with anticipation. And then it hit her. Tonight was supposed to be her birthday party sleepover. She started to cry, asking if we'd still be able to have it. We explained that we really didn't know...we'd have to wait & see what the day held. We promised to reschedule it if we couldn't do it.

By 5:45, all three kids were in our bed. Samuel had kindly awakened both of his sisters when he went to the bathroom. We didn't realize that all the time Sarah was snuggling with us, the other two were in his bedroom looking out the window at the snow!! At 5:50am, all five of us were huddled around the coffee table waiting for Larry's laptop to boot up, anxious to see if the kids would be going to school. Hooray! School was closed!!! The kids were soooooooooo ready to get outside & into the snow. They wanted to go out RIGHT THEN, but we told them they had to wait a little while. Breakfast & clothing needed to come first.

Snow day!!!!!

You've got to understand, as lifelong Texans we simply DO NOT get snow. We see flurries every other year or so. And MAYBE once every 5-6 years, we might get a tiny bit of snow that sticks, but it's *always* gone within 24 hours, and typically it's only enough to dust the ground....usually doesn't even cover the grass! Honestly, 99% of the time, what we call 'snow' is actually just piled up sleet, but we're thrilled to get anything that looks like snow because it just doesn't happen around here. In my LIFETIME, I've never seen more than 1-2" of snow. That is until TODAY. When we got outside this morning ( 6:25 am!), there were FIVE INCHES of snow on the ground! We have giant trees covering a lot of our yard, so the ground under those trees was pretty bare, but the rest of the yard was COVERED in fluffy, powdery, flaky white beauty!!! It was SUCH a sight to see! Larry and I were discussing it today and decided that the last time we had a decent amount of snow, maybe 2-3", was about 20 years ago.

It didn't take long until our entire neighborhood was out in the yards, walking up & down the street, almost everyone carrying a camera & snapping pictures. We made sure to tell the kids they might not see this much snow again til adulthood. And as it ALWAYS goes, by bedtime tonight, our yard was nearly's melted. Except for a little patch here & there, in the nooks and crannies of trees or a yard here and there along the roads, it's gone. We never have snow for long, but I'm sooooo glad we had THIS snow! I can't say enough about how PRETTY it I'll hush & let you see for yourself. onto the rest of the day!! (even though the kids spent most of the day going in & out the doors with socks on their hands) Remember how I said that the power went off for the last time about 3-something this morning? Well, by lunchtime, it was still off. We went to eat lunch at a local Mexican place not only for the yummy food but for the heat! You may see that 4 out of 5 of us are wearing our jackets in this picture (below). When we left the house to go eat, it was about 63 degrees in the house. It took us a little while to warm up!

Funny thing. When I asked the waitress to take this picture, she was happy to do it. As soon as she took the camera from my hand, Savannah said "Are you going to put this on your blog?". ha ha! She knows me well.

While we were eating, we started recognizing that Sarah's birthday sleepover was probably not going to work out after all. Even if we did get our power back on, if it didn't get turned back on pretty soon, it wouldn't have time to heat up the house in time for Sarah's guest to arrive. It might've been warm enough by bedtime, but I wouldn't feel right inviting over a guest to a cold house. We made the call & explained the situation to our little guest's mom (one of my best friends!) and she was completely understanding of the situation. We were able to reschedule for tomorrow afternoon. We'll meet at a local place & eat dinner at share cake with them. Whew!

After our lunch out, we drove around our little town & enjoyed seeing the pretty snow, all the snowmen in the yards and families out playing together. We saw one particular thing that we wish we had not, though! A truck passed us with a snowman standing up in the back. We laughed & pointed it out to the kids just in time to realize that (gasp!) it was not a snowman at all! It was umm....a private male body part, complete with all the appropriate parts & pieces attached...made of snow....standing upright in the back of a truck!!! We pointed it out to the kids & it sounded about like this:

Me: Oh look! Someone built a snowman in the back of their truck!! Look guys, in that truck right over there!!
Kids: Oh cool!
Me: Gasp! Wait, that's not a snowman, it's a.......(eyes bugged out, hand over mouth, didn't finish that sentence)!
Larry: (while on the phone with his grandmother) HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

(NOTE: He was just as shocked as I was, but he was dying laughing because I'd just POINTED OUT the giant male 'part' to our children!)

Kids: What? What's funny? What was that mom??
Me: Oh nothing!!! Nevermind.

We came home & attempted to take a nap so that I could get back some of the sleep I lost last night. Since the power was out, that meant no computer or TV to entertain the kids while Larry & I tried to rest. We tried to talk them into laying down as well since they got up well before the crack of dawn. Thankfully, we did get to sleep for a short time. I was jolted awake, however, by the sound of the power coming back on...and the immediate funky noise that the computer was making forced me to realize I had NOT unplugged it the last time the power went off in the wee hours of the morning! Gasp! I ran over & yanked the plugs out of the power strip without giving it much thought. Since the speakers were putting out a weird noise, I was scared something was wrong due to the power surging back on. I guess, in hindsight, pulling the cords out of the plugs wouldn't fix any damage already done...but at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. After a few minutes of being awake, I plugged it all back in & pressed the power button. *click* Nothing. The computer wouldn't come on. We tested the power worked. Everything else plugged into it worked. The computer was dead. I think I cried a little. (grin)

After calling a friend (THANK YOU MARK!!) who is a computer genius, we decided that MAYBE the power supply had been fried in one of the off/on/off/on power outages. I called Best Buy & talked to someone there on the Geek Squad. They told me to bring it & concurred that it did sound like a power supply issue. I drove up there thinking that it would take them 3-4 days to get to it. The guy on the phone had indicated that. When I got there, however, there was no one else waiting at the counter & the guy said he could have it fixed within 2 hours if that was indeed the problem. Sure enough, by 7pm tonight, my computer was fixed!!!!! Hallelujah! I think Savannah & I both were panicked about all the files & things we have stored.

I got the computer home about 7:45, plugged it in & works! After getting the kids into bed & reading my emails, peeking at facebook & coming here to type this, I am yawning & seeing this screen through half shut eyes. Time for me to hit the sack.

Oh...and did I mention that in amongst all the other stuff, Larry had a minor surgical in-office procedure done this morning? Oh's truly been a great day of fun & laughter, but it's been a long long day. I thought it would never end!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


All week, the weatherman has predicted snow for us today.

All week, most of the people around here have said "Yeah, right!". When it comes to East Texas weather, you just don't usually believe it til you see it. IF we do get snow, it's usually just a flurry that falls & melts the second it hits the ground. Some friends at work today were talking & we all decided that the last time we had any snow that actually stuck to the ground & stayed for more than 5 minutes was in 2004. It fell on Valentine's Day & it was really out of the blue. It fell & stuck for about 24 hours & then it was gone.

This morning at about 6:30 I looked out the window & was WOW'd. Snow! It was falling pretty heavily, too! It was sticking, but it was such a tiny amount that you could still see the grass all over the yard. Not exactly heavy enough to look pretty or do anything with. The kids went to school, bummed that we were not being granted a snow day.

When I pulled into a parking space at work this morning, the playground looked like this.

By the time I left work about 1:45, it was pretty much all gone. It sleeted most of the day, but didn't really accumulate. But ya know what? About 6:30 tonight, it started falling again....and now, at 9:00pm, it hasn't stopped! We've got about 2" of snow all over the yard now. The kids (and I!) are ecstatic!!! SNOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking a lot (again) about the topic of walls. The ones we put up when we walk into the four walls of a church specifically. Do you have walls? Let me elaborate.

There are 2 kinds of walls that have been on my mind. The first is a wall that goes up when you see a new person that doesn't fit your image of a Christian church goer. You know, the weirdos...the freaks....the strange-looking people that make your skin crawl a little. Someone like these folks:

Do these people belong in your church? Would you welcome them if they walked in the doors of your sanctuary? What about people who don't fit the socioeconomic level or racial or cultural norms in your church? Would you sit in the same pew with these people?

Do we, even subconsciously, have a wall up that says "I'm better than them"? Do we think that 'doing church' with those kind of people somehow deteriorates the value of our worship? Do we only share space with people like us? Do we scoot down the pew if they sit next to us? If so, who will reach all of these people (above)? Do we somehow have a corner on the grace extended by Christ when He shed His blood? Did He die only for people like us?

And the other sort of wall that has been on my mind is the wall we put up to hide ourself from everyone else? Do we hide our pasts? Or even more, our present? Do we cover our silent struggles, the sin areas that we wrestle with every day? Do we put on a "pretty face" for church and then immediately fall apart once we get in the car to head home? Do we feel like we can only be a "good Christian" if we have it all together?

You know what?

When new people walk into our churches and feel unwelcome because they don't fit in, don't look like the rest of the crowd, don't fit the same cookie cutter mold.... maybe they weren't raised in a church & don't know the songs, maybe they feel dirty & evil and unworthy of being there.....those people need to see the truth of who we are! If we always look (both physically & emotionally) like our lives are perfect models of Christianity, we will never reach anyone. How often do we shoot the wounded who walk into our church doors? Do we look at them & turn up our noses because they make us uncomfortable due to their addictions or problems that bother us? Do we just ignore them & never bother a simple hello? If you throw up a wall & pretend to be perfect & sinless, new people will run! I know I would!!

We need to be transparent in the church. We need to let down our own walls & uncover the things that are hurting us. We need to breathe deeply & open up our lives to the people in our churches. Do you struggle with alcohol or drugs? Do you have an issue with gossiping or lying? Do you live with gluttony & lust? Do you struggle to make ends meet all week & can't afford to put a dime in the offering plate? Please, by all means, share that. Talk about it. We are NOT perfect. NONE of us have it all together. Bring your struggles to the altar & share them with your church family. Allow them to pray for you & hold you accountable.

Let down your walls, folks.

Friday, February 5, 2010

If we could only see so clearly these days....

I'm slowly (very very slowly) trying to read through the Bible in my morning quiet times. Yesterday I read Ezra 9 and underlined a big portion of the Scripture. I realize that these verses are used in a different context in the Bible, but think about how we could apply them to our own lives today, here in the world we live in. Oh to have the humility & awareness of our sins!

Ezra 9:6, 8, 9b, 10-12, 13b & 15a
"O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.

But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.

God has not deserted us in our bondage...He has granted us new life...He has given us a wall of protection.

But now, O God, what can we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands you gave through your servants and prophets when you said: "The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to another. Therefore do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance."

and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved and have given us a remnant like this.

O Lord, God of Israel, you are righteous!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do you trust me?

Are there lessons in life that God has to teach you over & over & over again? For Larry & I, that lesson has always revolved around money. Keep in mind that Larry & I have never had a lot of money. We've always longed for more but God's always given us "just enough". And you know what? Perhaps that is best. When we have more than "just enough" we quickly begin relying on ourselves and feeling like we've 'got it all together'. When we have "just enough" (or less!) we have to rely on GOD for all our needs.

Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

If you've been reading this blog for long, you know that Larry & I left the church where we were serving last Spring. In doing so, we took a giant cut in pay. I realize that it doesn't seem logical to intentionally leave a job where the pay is great, but being a follower of Christ often doesn't make logical sense. We left because God led us to do so & asked us to trust Him for everything. When our leave was announced to the church, they took up a love offering for us, the church's way of saying thank you & goodbye. We were amazed by the dollar figure that showed up in our bank account. We were richly blessed. Knowing that we'd need that money after taking such a pay cut, we tucked it away in our savings account & held on tight for the ride of our life.

Psalm 25:2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Every month, our combined income fell short of meeting our needs. Larry gets payed on the first of each month. I get payed along the way as well, but it's really his paycheck that we live off of. Mine is just a supplement to his. Each month, we payed the bills and then did our best to make what was left stretch out for the rest of the month, buying minimal groceries and attempting to avoid expenses where possible. We cut things... and then cut some more, but by the end of the month, we were out of money. Living a basically frugal lifestyle already meant that there wasn't a lot left to cut without living in a shoebox & eating ramen noodles 3 meals a day. Month by month, we chiseled away at the savings account, always having to transfer some of the money from our love offering into the main checking account to get by 'til the first rolled around again. The one 'big' expense we had to pay for was a deposit on Samuel's ear tubes surgery last April. Other than that, we didn't touch the savings account because we knew we needed it monthly. If it weren't for that offering given to us, we would've never survived the past year. Truly, God provided for all our needs before we even knew what they were, by the hands of people who loved us & wanted to wish us well as we walked out of their lives. I can only see beauty in that. It's amazing the way God uses the body of believers to hold each other up.

Romans 12:5 In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.

Fast forward to late November. Watching the bank account balance drop toward the end of the month, we knew it was time to make the monthly savings withdrawal to fill in the end-of-the-month gaps. This time, however, was different. This would be our last withdrawal. There was no more in the savings account. Moving the last penny into the checking account was a little frightening. December was coming, and with it, Christmas. And as you know, Christmas falls at the end of the month -- the time that we were routinely out of money. We went to the bank & took out a small loan to cover Christmas. Thankfully our kids aren't used to a really elaborate Christmas. We've always made a point to keep Christmas focused on Jesus's birth, so they are used to just a few presents. But even with that loan to cover Christmas, our usual monthly expenses again outweighed the income that we had and as Dec. 31 rolled around, our account dropped into a negative balance. Let me just say this: PRAISE THE LORD FOR OVERDRAFT PRIVELEGE!! (Of course, that means having to pay a $28 charge per item that bounced, but it could've been much worse if we were having utilities cut off or vehicles being reposessed!!)

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.

When January 1st rolled around, we knew that the promotion Larry recently got would mean getting a RAISE, but until that raise began showing up on his paycheck (Feb. 1st), we were still in the same position of not having enough to get by. It was nice to have a light at the end of the tunnel, but there were moments when we wondered if that light was actually a train coming at us. If we could just make it through January, we would be able to breathe a little easier and relax a little. After paying the bills & covering the overdraft charges from December, we had about $115 to live on for the rest of the month. That means a month's worth of groceries for a family of five....a month worth of gas for 2 vehicles....a month worth of everything that it takes to survive. A month on $115. Folks, I am a bargain hunter but I'm not that good. Larry's job requires nearly that much in gas on a weekly basis due to all the travelling he has to do. How would we possibly survive a full month on that? We have no credit cards & remember, no savings. With great humility, my precious husband went to my parents the first weekend in January & asked to borrow some money to get through the month. They lovingly obliged & loaned him the amount he asked for. But even with that loan, by Jan. 20th, we were back in that monthly position of being broke.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.

With nearly 2 full weeks left in the month, we were stumped. We couldn't afford to buy groceries or put any gas in our nearly empty vehicles. The kids were suddenly coming home telling us they were out of glue or markers or some other random supply from school. A birthday party invitation was met with a groan because we knew there wasn't a single spare dime to spend on a party gift. (Thankfully we had a box of brownie mix which we mixed up & baked for a very happy little 10 year old boy who loved the idea of getting an entire pan of brownies all to himself!)

We started rolling coins. We started turning the furniture over & cleaning out the little nooks & crannies of the cars to find spare change. We were able to scrap together $38 that way. That bought enough milk & bread and a few staples to get through a few days & put a few dollars worth of gas in our 2 vehicles.

Luke 6:21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

About the time that ran out, the family I babysit for every day after school was able to pay me. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but it was enough to get us through another few days. Each night, we'd check the fridge & pantry & freezer and try to piece together something halfway nutritious to feed the family the next day. If we needed 1 item to complete a meal, one of us would run to the store & get it, but that was the extent of our grocery buying. We simply couldn't afford to do more. Our meals may've not been of the highest nutritional value or gourmet variety, but they were enough to get by on for a short time.

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Somewhere along the way, I was reminded by God of the many, many, many times He has gotten us through hard times before. We have never been THIS close to not knowing where our next meal would come from, though. And while the situation was a bit more grim, I knew that He would provide. {and the truth is, we have family nearby who would've fed us a meal or helped us if we'd asked...but ya know, there's that pride thing....especially when you've already borrowed money & hoped to survive on that!} Toward the last week of January, I told Larry that God was giving us one of those Abraham & Isaac times, where he'd have us get to the top of the mountain, knife in hand, raising it over our heads before this was all over. And that was exactly what happened.

The story of Abraham & Isaac can be read here.

During the last few days of January, we literally reached the final dollar in our piggy bank. We very literally got down to the last dime and had to trust Him to provide. And you know what?

He did.

Just like the thousand other times that He's had to teach us this lesson, we watched the fridge get emptier & emptier.....we watched the pantry's contents disappear.....and the little bit we had became like the widow's oil, stretching a little further every day. He provided for us and then provided some more. It doesn't make sense that we could make a loaf of bread stretch out for days when 5 people were eating 2 meals a day of sandwiches from it. And yet it did.

Larry got paid, with a raise, on February 1. The gas/mileage check we waited for most of the month of January was deposited today. We kind of feel like we're 'rolling in the dough' today after the month we've just survived. But the truth is, after paying the bills, some of this money is going into savings. And after the blessing we received today, some of it is going to be used to bless someone else. You see, the blessings didn't just stop when our month of little ended. This was on my porch when I got home from work today. No notes, no message on the answering machine. We don't know where it came from or who was led to bless us today, but we're grateful.

You see, over and over again, He provides. Before we ever knew that things would reach the point they did, God saw fit to lay it on the hearts of all those people last Spring to bless us financially. Do I think that I'm some especially holy & righteous person to receive these blessings? Absolutely NOT. None of this is about ME. If you retell this story to anyone else, please do not point to me. Sure, you can link them to this post if you want to, but my point is, this is all about HIM. To God be the glory for the things He has done.

And so...when God asks 'Do you trust me? Do you REALLY trust me?' what will your answer be? I know mine!