Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

*I began writing a column for our local newspaper.  I've had a blast writing it & have heard, throughout the year, that people actually read it!
*I launched a prayer team ministry on Facebook called P4TK (Praying for the Kids) after I had yet another friend lose a child.  P4TK is reserved for praying for kids with chronic or terminal conditions.  It's been such a blessing this year!
*I enjoyed a full day of teaching by Sheila Walsh at a local church.  She is amazing!

*Sarah turned 11.

*Samuel turned 12 & got braces.

*Using leftover flagstone from my a project my parents had recently completed, Larry built "the thinking spot" next to our house---a rock "porch" sort of place where he can sit and read, think or just enjoy nature.

*Our neighbors to the west of us are renters.  The house goes through tenants regularly.  In between tenants (and sometimes even when there are tenants living there!) the yard is often overgrown and dirty.  In May, they experienced a large rat infestation.  Their little "guests" found their way into our yard and left me completely digusted and grossed out on a daily basis.  Rat poison and a vigilante 12 year old with a bow and arrow eventually took care of the problem.  But in the meantime, ewwwwwww!
*Sarah won the 5th grade spelling bee.
*Larry switched jobs.
*The kids finished 5th, 6th and 10th grades.

*I returned to the preschool (where I've worked in some manner or another since 2007) for the summer.  My summers wouldn't feel complete without a twice-weekly dose of preschooler fun!
*Samuel went to Boy Scout Camp and Youth Camp.
*The girls went on a trip to Colorado & back with my parents while Samuel was away at camp.

*The kids and I took part in a local mission trip with the youth group, a '5 Day Club' hosted by Child Evangelism Fellowship, at a local park.
*I began searching for a job with a bigger paycheck.

*Savannah began summer band practices.
*Savannah turned 16.
*Larry & I celebrated our 18th anniversary.
*I was offered a job at a local law firm & began the job at the month's end.
*Samuel began his first season of playing football.

*Savannah got her letter jacket for UIL Journalism, giving our home a 2nd generation student to receive their letter jacket from the same high school for journalism pursuits.  (I got mine for being on the yearbook staff in 1994.)
*We traveled to The Woodlands, TX and stayed in a nice resort for Larry's cousin's wedding.  It would've been a great little mini vacation, but we brought home a stomach virus that we passed around amongst the family for nearly two weeks afterward.
*Larry turned 39.
*Samuel dislocated his thumb badly enough to need a cast for a week followed by 2 weeks in a brace.

*Sarah tried out & was accepted on the UIL Dictionary Skills team at school.
*We spent our very first Halloween at home, handing out candy to trick or treaters.

*I turned 37.
*Found out mid-month that I would be laid off at the end of the year.  Stress levels hit the ceiling and the job hunt began.

*Job search continued and many hours of sleep were lost as I battled emotionally & spiritually with the fears of what lie ahead.
*Christmas came and went.  It was a smaller, quieter Christmas than in the past, but it was a good one!

As we look ahead to 2013, we pray that your family is blessed!

Friday, December 21, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul

It's been a month since I updated the blog.  I don't think I have ever gone that long between posts since I started this blog in February 2006.  I know the handful of you who read this don't sit around waiting to hear from me, but I need to write.  It's my outlet.

Fortunately there is Facebook, where I've updated daily.  There are the thousand emails, texts, phone calls & people I run into every day who check to see how things are going.  There is my column in the local newspaper where I've shared a little of what's going on.  So I'm not hiding under the covers and sucking my thumb just yet.

In the past month, I have sat at my computer reading job listings, tapping my foot, bouncing my leg 90mph with my shoulders up around my ears.  I'm fidgeting, biting my nails.  I have prayed, nearly constantly, since mid-November.  I've never been in this position before, knowing that my lay off date is looming nearer with each passing day, and not having any idea what I'll be doing afterward.

I have a few ideas of things I can do for money until one of the bazillion jobs I've applied for comes through, until one of the people I've interviewed with says "Come work for me."  There has been one job offer, but it didn't work out.  All the sudden, I understand people becoming desperate enough to do criminal things to provide for their family.  (To be clear, I'd NEVER do that, but I am beginning to understand how they get to that point.)

I have ugly, messy, scary days where I shake in my boots and beat my fists.  Days when I feel like sleeping at night is just a way to pass the time while the world spins, all while I pray for survival.  I have days when it's all I can do to breathe in and out; days when I can barely claw my fingernails through the grime on the ground of this long, dark tunnel.  Hopelessness, fear, doubt...they've become my bedmates.

But then I stand in the shower with the water running down my face and I start praying.  Or I am driving down the road and a song comes on the radio.  Or I hear someone say something that wasn't even meant for me but I grab hold of it and squeeze it until it is empty of all the hope it gave me.  I've found myself pouring over Scripture, pleading with the words to jump off the page at me and bring me relief.  I've listened to sermons about surrendering, heard lessons about relaxing & trusting God.  I've printed Scriptures & taped them on the walls to read & re-read.

I wish I was to the place in this story where I can look back at it all & say "Ohhhh....that's how God was working." But I'm not quite there yet. I know the day is coming. I know (that I know that I know that I know) He's got all the details worked out, every single little piece in place. And I trust in that.  Really, I do.

But some days are easier than others to relax & trust in that.

There are days when I want to just scream "Why can't life be easy for us?  Even for just 5 minutes?"  It feels like we've struggled in one way or another over and over and over for years now.  Isn't it time for things to fall in place and give us some peace, God?  He reminds me, when I feel that way, that I can't look at all the thousand times He's come through for us in the past and assume He is going to forget us this time.  He reminds me of the thousand times He's come through for JUST the right time.  In His time.  Usually at the very last minute.  I can not think of all those times and worry about all of this.  Too much.

My heart believes that and my head knows it to be true, but my flesh still cries out for something concrete to grasp hold of.

In the meantime, I am singing this.  Over and over.  And finding that the more I focus on HIM, the more it really IS well with my soul.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:

If Jordan above me shall roll,

No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life

Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,

The sky, not the grave, is our goal;

Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!

Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20: Today I am grateful for...

I've lost track of what I've said I'm thankful for & what I haven't.  Tonight I just want to share a story with you from yesterday.  I have much to be thankful for.

Monday November 19th:

Early this morning, the church finance secretary called me.  She said there were several boxes of food with my name on them at the church office.  She didn't know where they came from, but she wanted to work out a time for me to come pick them up.  I couldn't imagine WHY someone was giving us this, but said thank you & told her I'd be there this afternoon to pick it up.

An hour later, my boss called me in to tell me that I'm losing my job in 6 weeks.  He was so very apologetic.  He's accepted another job elsewhere, so as of January 1st my job ends.  Talk about being stunned.  I think I just sat there & grinned like an idiot and tried to figure out what would happen next.  But while I was sitting on the couch in his office hearing this news, I couldn't help but think "God knew this was going to happen.  He provided groceries before I even knew!"

When I left the office to drive home, I fell apart.  I sobbed, I cried, I prayed.  The windshield and windows heard me begging God to provide...somehow.  When I finally reached a place where I could sort of breathe again, I started singing.  I didn't think of it on my was all God.  And what did He give me?  "Great is Thy Faithfulness!"  Even as I sang it, I warred against singing those words because I wanted to be all angry & frustrated...but I couldn't forget His faithfulness to us, even in my fear and sadness.  I am SO grateful that I've spent years tucking away Scripture, singing hymns and praise songs with such great truths hidden in them.  Today it was not ME but the Spirit who sang that song all the way to my house from my office.  By the time I reached home, I was at peace.  Still devastated & scared to death no doubt, but at peace.

I picked up the kids from school and we made the trip to the church office to pick up the groceries.  I had considered sharing all of the food with a friend who runs a nonprofit to collect groceries for families in need, but we decided to keep 99% of it after learning the job news today (and there was so much that I can't even fit 1 more tiny thing into my pantry!)  When we got home & started unloading the boxes, I found a little piece of grace tucked between the cans & boxes.  A sizable gift card to Walmart was in there, too!!

He provides before we ever even know there is a need, friends.

Great is His faithfulness.  Morning by morning new mercies I see.  All I have needed, His hand has provided.  Great is His faithfulness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nov 12-14: Today I am grateful for...

I know, I'm not doing so well at keeping up with this!  I think about it every day, but just don't have tons of time to sit down & type.  Playing catch up again!

Nov 12:  Today I am grateful for my daughter, Savannah.  At 16, she is so much stronger than I was at her age.  I fell prey to peer pressure and boys and selfishness at that age (like so many teens do), but Savannah is strong & has a good head on her shoulders.  So proud of her!

Nov 13:  Today I am grateful for my son, Samuel.  He reminds me of all the sweet things I fell in love with Larry for 20 years ago.  He is so much like his daddy in a million ways.  And for that, I couldn't be more happy.  He's got an awesome dad and if he grows up to be just like him, that will be a good thing!

Nov 14: Today I am grateful for my daughter, Sarah.  She is smart and talented and funny.  She is incredibly responsible and endeavors to never break the rules or hurt anyone (well, except for her brother...ha ha).  Sarah is such a light in my world.  I can't imagine life without her in it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nov 11: Today I am grateful for music.

Today I am grateful for music.

In my childhood, it was Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbitt, Dolly Parton and a million other country musicians that my parents enjoyed.  In my early teens I thought I was way too cool for country music and took a trip down rock & roll boulevard for a short time.  I remember Janet Jackson, New Kids on the Block, Def Leppard, Poison, Paula Abdul & Mariah Carey, among others.  As I reached the end of High School, I returned to country music.  Maybe it's because I had a little bit of a crush on Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. And George Strait and Vince Gill, among others.

In the latter 1990s, I figured out a thing about myself.  Or rather, I re-figured out something I had known for a long time.  That is, like the old saying goes "Garbage in, garbage out."  In other words, I made the choice to be intentional about what I was putting into my head and heart.  I still listen to country or rock (my favorites are now considered 'oldies'!) but my choice of music 95% of the time is Contemporary Christian.  That's certainly not to say that if you choose to listen to something else, you're bad or wrong.  It's just that for me, I must fill my head with something positive & God-honoring or I'll see all kinds of crap pour out in my life.

I know many people will say that music moves them, it expresses things they can't find the words for, it perks them up like nothing else can, it improves their mood and is a stress-reliever.

I agree with all of those statements.  But there is something more that I feel about music.

Being a writer, there are things that often I can write better than I can say.  For years, my choice of communication has been text, email, letters, etc.  But I can't write a song to save my life.  I really appreciate those who can!

So today I'm thankful for music and for those who write songs!  Your talent amazes me and is a huge part of my life every single day!  Thank you for sharing your gift.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nov. 6-10: Today I am grateful for...


I am running behind on my thankful list!  Time to catch up!

Today, I am grateful for....
November 6: ....freedom to vote, freedom to gripe & fuss if "my guy" didn't get elected (for the record, my guy did not get elected this time).  That's all I'm going to say about that.  I hate politics.

November 7: ...vehicle repairs.  My van has been making a funky noise for a month.  We haven't had enough money to get it fixed, so we've had to listen to it & pray that nothing broke while we waited for payday.  On Tuesday, we took the van in to a local dealership that is largely run by friends of ours from church.  They fixed the van & gave us a discount on the price.  THANK YOU Sean! (and Josh, Chris, Alley, Clark, Rick...and all the others!)

November 8: job.  In a time where so many people are looking for jobs, I am grateful that I have one.  And I am lucky enough to work with people I enjoy hanging out with every day.

November 9: ...facebook.  Seriously, how fun is it to have your birthday on Facebook?

November 10: spirit.  I am blessed to live in a community where school spirit is HIGH.  I've said before that we bleed maroon & white (our school colors).  Last night we had a MAJOR football game that would determine the district title.  Our undefeated football team faced another undefeated football team.  Both teams played HARD until the very last second.  It was tied several times throughout the game & in the last few seconds, the other team scored and won the game.  It was a sad loss.  Seriously, I got misty knowing how bad those boys wanted to win and knowing how disappointed they must've been to lose.  But it was made all better to see that the stands were PACKED with people who love our kids and were there to cheer for them NO MATTER WHAT.  And even better, I loved watched our awesome coach circle up all the boys after the game, have them take a knee, and prayed for them.  It blows me away to know how blessed we are to live here.  Small town southern politics or not...I love living here!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Nov 4 & 5: Today I am grateful for family.

I know it generally goes without saying, but today I am grateful for my family.

I grew up in a loving home, filled with great memories.  My parents are still married today, though I'm sure that over the years there have been times when they really wish they had killed each other.  My two sisters and I are pretty close, even though one of them lives over an hour away.  I have a wonderful collection of 8 nephews and 4 nieces from my side of the family.

On Larry's side of the family, we have his parents and amazing grandmother, who at almost 80 years old is still just as active and full of spunk as she was when I met her 20 years ago!  There are several incredible aunts and uncles, some super fun cousins and a handful of baby second cousins, too!

In my own home, of course, I have my awesome husband (who will get his own post later on!) and 3 great kids who I could not be prouder of!

Truly, I am richly blessed with a terrific family!

Where there's a WILL there's a way!

Last year, a little boy joined the Sunday school class I co-teach.  His name is Will.

Will is silly.  Will is funny.  Will has a bounce in his step that will make any teacher of 4 and 5 year olds grin.  It's that kind of bounce that screams "I am ALL BOY!"  Will loves to laugh, loves to pretend to be a super hero.  His smile these days shows off the space where he's pulled a tooth, that snaggle-toothed grin of a little boy who you would imagine has a pocket full of dirt and rocks.  Will is compassionate and tender, gentle and kind.  It's easy to love Will because his heart is as big as his fun personality.  Will loves to squish play-doh, play with the cars and truck, build with blocks and dress up like a soldier or imaginary characters.

Will is a little different than the rest of the kids in our class, though.  Will was born with a rare problem that I can't spell or pronounce, so I won't even try.  It affects 1 in every 1.5 million people.  What it boils down to is that Will was born without hands or feet.  He is 100% perfectly healthy and on track in every other way, though!

Most of the kids who surround him in our class don't even realize that Will's hands or feet are different from theirs.  Children are like that.  (Don't you wish adults were?)  They just don't spend their time checking out each other's hands and feet.  They see a curly headed blonde boy who likes to play with the cars and trucks with them.  Period.  It's not until they have to circle up for a game and hold hands with the person next to them that they even realize there is an issue.  And most of the kids don't question it then either!  They just hold onto Will and make a circle!

Will's family has been visiting Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for all of his life for treatment, surgeries, therapy of all sorts and prosthetics that Will uses to walk.  As far back as Will can remember, Scottish Rite has been part of his life.  It is an amazing place for families who have kids like Will.  They provide treatment for children with all sorts of orthopedic disorders and differences, regardless of the family's ability to pay!  What a blessing!  The hospital's website can be found here:

This December, Will's family and friends will join thousands of others in fundraising for Scottish Rite through their annual run/walk/race!  If you'd like to find out about joining them, whether by running, donating or being a part of their prayer team, check out Will's family's blog site about him:

After all, where there's a WILL there's a way!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nov 2 & 3: Today I am grateful for rest.

(Sorry I missed yesterday.  It was a late night.)

Today I am grateful for rest.
I don't get much of it lately, but when I do, I am oh so grateful for it!
I love to sleep.  And tonight I am excited that I get an extra hour of sleep due to the time change.

I will keep this brief tonight because I am anxious to get into bed & enjoy that extra hour!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nov. 1: Today I'm Grateful church

Honestly, I've been thinking about this all day long and I have had the HARDEST time narrowing down which thing I want to name for today's grateful post.  But I finally decided tonight.  Late tonight.

Today I'm grateful for my church.

And when I say "my church", I don't just mean the one that Larry & I are currently members of.

You see, I grew up at a Southern Baptist church.  I spent every single Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night (and LOTS of days in between) in that building.  My mom had a key and taught all sorts of classes, Bible studies, ladies' groups, etc over the years.  We used to have to arrive early for every event and usually we'd be there late cleaning up so my church was sort of my second home.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent playing on the piano and organ in the chapel (because I really thought I could teach myself how to play and none of those sweet people ever told me that I was driving them crazy banging on the keys.)  I remember lock ins where sleep never happened.  I remember youth group boyfriends and crushes.  I remember practicing gymnastics-style flips on the bars that separated the north parking lot from a huge drop-off between the lot and the building.  (I'm sure that sounds foreign to anyone who didn't grow up at this church, but all my PHBC friends know exactly which bars I'm talking about.)  I remember Sunday School classes and bowling trips and skating trips and camps every summer.

But more than all those funny childhood and meaningful youth years memories, I remember meeting Jesus at a revival when I was 8 years old.  I remember people who poured into me and filled me with Scripture.  I remember mentors who taught me lessons about who He is, who He was and who He will always be.  I remember mission trips as a teen that rocked my world and changed me forever as I served orphans in the poorest ghettos of Mexico.  I remember the foundations that were built all those years in that church.

And then I met Larry.  He didn't grow up in church, but went occasionally with friends and family who attended various churches.  When we met, he was attending a local Independent Christian church.  (Yeah, I didn't know that was a denomination either.  In the south, there aren't many of them so it was new to me.)  I remember going with him just to visit and falling in love with their contemporary chorus-style worship.  I remember the fiery pastor who was excited about God, but still so darn personable that you couldn't help but adore him and his family.  He was honest and real and he was a part of the life of this young college boy's life (Larry's), and in turn, he was a part of mine.  That was so cool to me!  Cool enough that we asked him to perform our wedding.

After we got married & moved to the first town where we'd live, we found a little teeny Independent Christian church in a tiny town about 50 miles from our apartment.  I laugh about that now, because we were willing to drive so far to attend this itty-bitty church when there were 100 churches in the town where we lived.  I can't remember the rationale behind that decision, but it made sense at the time.  That little church was only "home" for about 4 months, but the people were so sweet to the young newlywed couple who showed up all giggly and watched us hold hands in the back row while we sang our hymns.

When we left that first little apartment and set down roots for the first time, we joined an amazing church.  It was another Independent Christian church.  We had been recommended to visit this one and it only took 1 or 2 visits for us to decide it was the right place for us.  We were still young newlyweds, but we were welcomed like family.  I suppose living in a college town and being (then) college-aged, it wasn't uncommon for this particular crowd of people to welcome in young kids and treat them like family.  But the way they loved us during those years made all the difference in the world to us!  We became a part of their small groups, learning so much during those years.  They helped us welcome our first baby to the world, threw a shower for us, brought us meals, prayed over us and our little girl.  They came to our home for meals and Bible study and encouraged us to do the same at their homes.  We were only a couple of hours from our own families, but we never felt like we were missing our moms or dads or aunts or uncles with all these people around.  When I got snowed in at work while 4 months pregnant, the pastor's family opened their home to me for a few days until we could safely get my car (and me!) home.  When Larry had to have emergency gall bladder surgery, Savannah was only 4 months old.  We were out of a paycheck for a few weeks and this sweet group of believers showed up at our door with a check to cover our mortgage.  What a gift!  We hadn't even considered asking them to help, so it was so encouraging to see them offer to do that for us.  I guess that was the first place we felt like "grown ups" in our own church...not just kids attending where their parents were members.

Somewhere along the way, we moved again, leading us to the town where we live now.  We visited some gosh awful number of places, trying to find a church that was a good "fit" for us.  I compared every single one of them with the amazing place we'd left behind, even considering the crazy option of making the hour + drive back there every week because we were having such a hard time finding a new 'home'.  Savannah was 14 months old at the time and in the middle of horrific stranger anxiety.  I had given up on ever finding a place and was weary from the search, especially with a fearful, sobbing toddler every week.  I told Larry to go every Sunday until he found a place ...and then we stumbled onto it!  One morning, he was driving home from (night shift) work and saw a church we hadn't really noticed before.  He stopped and the very-early-hours-janitor was there.  He gave him some pamphlets and info about the church for us to look over.  He brought them home, we read them and right away fell in love!  Our first visit felt comfortable and pretty much right away, we knew this was "it".  We settled in at this Bible church and stayed for the next 7 years.  Over those years, so much changed in our lives.

Larry and I struggled, and grew, many times over.  Our Sunday School class group became tighter knit than any other group of adult friends I've ever had before or since. We added two more babies to the family, and apparently that was the trend.  Most of the rest of our class did the same.  We joked that our class, which was called "All God's Children" should be renamed "Having God's Children".  We studied the Word with them, we watched marriages blossom and wither.  We prayed for each other.  We learned from each other.  We created bonds and accountability relationships with these people.  We had weekly playgroups.  The men hung out & had regular Guys' Nights.  Larry went back to college & got his bachelor's degree. We walked through Savannah's four eye surgeries, Larry's 2 shoulder surgeries and Larry's head-on car wreck that scared us all to death. Our oldest came to know Jesus as her Savior and was baptized. Larry went to seminary, which was partly funded by that amazing church who believed in him and wanted to help him pursue full-time ministry.  He was encouraged and blessed by so many who helped him fulfill that dream and calling.  When he was hired to his first pastor job and we had to leave that amazing place we'd called home for so many years, there was a major grieving process.  We were super excited for what the future held, but spent a long time mourning the loss of those people in our lives.  Fortunately we still lived locally and getting together was easy, but it was always a little strained and a little awkward because we didn't have the same connection anymore.

At our new church home, where Larry was on staff, we quickly fell into step with the other pastors' families and grew to love a whole new church full of people.  They walked with us through the adoption (and loss) of two precious children.  They were there during Larry's spinal fusion surgery.  Samuel and Sarah both trusted Jesus there and were baptized.  But more than anything they were there for us through, we were allowed to be a part of their lives!  We got to be there for births time and time again (well, not in the actual room, but close!)  Larry was asked to be in the room with many families as they said goodbye to their loved ones, and spent hours praying with them and performing funerals afterward.  We were allowed to be intimately involved with the hard, secret, ugly details of their lives, allowed to pray with them and offer support during times when no one wants anyone to see the stuff that they hide from everyone else.  We got to lead children and adults to the Lord.  Larry was able to teach, to guide, to share life.  We were both able to counsel and to be there through some really tough things that our friends there faced.  Sure, Larry was on staff as a pastor and did the vast majority of the ministerial role, but we were there as a team in many ways.  And our season in that church was crucial to who we are today.  We were only there for 4 1/2 years, but I am grateful for the time spent there.  I learned so many things during that time.  I watched God move in miraculous ways.  I watched Him provide for us and speak to us through prophecy and messages given by members of the church at various times.  What an awesome 4.5 years!

In 2009, we returned to the Bible church where we spent 7 years before Larry went into full-time ministry.  It's a whole new church now...a new staff, about 80% new members, new programs, new ministries.  For a while, I kept comparing it to the way it was before and had a hard time embracing the 'new'.  But when I finally did, I realized that this 'new' church is wonderful in a hundred other ways.

Our kids have stated that they have learned more here about the Bible than they have anywhere else.  I love hearing that!  Savannah is serving in the nursery.  Samuel is helping with the tech/media stuff for the elementary kids.  Sarah has made friends and is getting more excited about taking part in youth events all the time.  I have been sooo blessed to get to know the children of the church (and their families) in the past few years as I've co-taught a Sunday School class for the 4 & 5 year olds.  I've made new friends and laughed, but I've also cried and loved and learned along the way.  I've been reminded of the beauty of the hearts of these people who have been serving for years, who have never stopped giving, who have poured their hearts out for the families of the church and our community.  This church has helped us (financially) more times than I can count over the past few years.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.  They are such fantastic people.  Enough just can't be said.

And to top off all the other awesome churches that I've been blessed to be a part of over the years, I'm honored to serve in a childcare capacity at two other local churches who love me and treat me like one of their own.  In fact, people from both churches have repeatedly asked me where I am on Sundays because they missed me in church, only to find out that I don't actually go to their church, but am a member elsewhere.  They've seen me with their babies and just assumed that I am a regular part of the place.  I love that!

So you see, I have so many really GREAT churches that have influenced me over the years.  The foundational church, the growing years churches, the ministry church where we got to serve and grow even more, the beautiful place where we are now.  And that's not even to mention all the places where Larry's filled the pulpit over the years where we've been treated like family who stopped by for Sunday lunch.

I know that no church is perfect and all of them have some really screwed up flaws.

I won't deny that much of the world is correct in their view of hypocritical, egg-headed Christians who have treated them like dirt.  (But trust me, that one hurts me just as much as it hurts the people who were treated poorly!)

I don't try to claim to have it all together myself.  I surely don't.

But I will say this.

Without the influence and the value of my church families over the years, I can't imagine where I would be today.  I am forever grateful for the body of Christ that I can call my extended family.  To all of you who've been part of a church with me since my birth, here's a big hug for you!  Wrap your arms around your shoulders & squeeze!  Today, I am grateful for YOU.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stream of Consciousness post

I've got to admit it.

Life is getting to me lately.  Or rather, the monotony of life.  Five days out of my week look remarkably similar.  Get up at 6:00.  Check the bank account online & balance the checkbook.  Wake the kids & feed them breakfast, pack lunches, run around like a chicken with my head cut off to get everyone (myself included) out the door on time.  Go to work, come home.  Evening activies, go to bed.  Rinse & repeat.


If Saturdays brought some excitement, I could deal with the weekly schedule looking the same over and over, but it hasn't really been that way in a while.  Honestly, we can't afford to do anything "exciting".  Once in a while when we do go do something, we end up "paying for it" the rest of the month ($$) so it almost makes it not worth it to go have fun with the kids.  Of course, I know they're worth it and I long for the memory-making fun stuff, but it's hard to get excited about spending money we really don't have when it means we're going to 'feel it' for the next several weeks 'til the next paycheck.  I long for the day when we have money to spare in the checkbook and life feels a little easier.  It may never happen, but a girl can dream, right?

I have never struggled with depression, but lately I can see how easy it would be for day to day life to wear you down to a point where you slipped into depression.  When you feel like you run 24 hours a day and you're never getting ahead, ugh!

But enough of that!

I'm going to try to begin blogging more.  In the past, I used this site as just a daily (or at least weekly) journal of what's going on at our house with our family.  In the past year or so, I got away from that, mostly just sharing whatever was on my mind or heart or on "big" days (holidays, etc).  But I want to get back to journalling more. So here's a quick look at a few things from this past week.

Sarah tried out for the UIL Dictionary Skills team at her school a couple weeks ago.  She found out this past week that she made the team!  I'm not even totally sure what a dictionary skills team does, but we're proud that she gave it a shot & made the team!

A couple weeks ago, I bought a Groupon for personalized photo Christmas cards.  We've never done that before & I am way more excited about it than I should be.  I just have to go to the site, pick out the template I want to use, upload the pics and press "order".  I've narrowed it down and keep going back to the site to look at them again.  I have to order them by Nov. 9th so I have a little more time.

This week we got to play host to one of my BFF's daughters while she was out of town.  We rarely ever (ok, pretty much NEVER) have an overnight guest on a school night because it's just too hard to get everyone to bed and awake on time for school.  But that wasn't the case this time!  I feel so honored that my girlfriend chose to let us keep her daughter.  We lovingly call her my niece & my kids call my girlfriend "Aunt Tara".  They totally adore her (as do I).

A girlfriend of mine in North Carolina is a freelance writer.  To be honest, I'm totally jealous that she gets paid (pretty good money, too!) to write all day.  Now and then she needs help getting all her articles written & she has a team of writers who work under her to tackle the big jobs.  I've joined her writing team and just got my first paycheck from her last week.  I won't ever make as much as she does because I only have time to write an article or two (or maybe 3-4) per week, but it's fun to get to do something semi-professionally that I'd love to do full time one day.

Speaking of those "full time, one day" hopes:  in January I hit the 1 year mark of writing a column for our local paper.  It's just a volunteer job (no pay) but I have a lot of fun writing it!  I find it hard to swallow (still!) that I'm really being published & people are reading it!  Maybe one day this will help my writing resume!  You know, the resume I'll use when I'm older, richer, able to quit working because I have to and able to begin teaching again (because I love it) and working on writing that book that I've been thinking about all these years.  Sigh.  Wouldn't that be cool?

Time for me to read my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow morning & hit the sack.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What? Only 74 days til Christmas?

Yeah, you read that right.  If you don't believe me go to this site & check for yourself.

Oh my heavens.

School started August 27th.  I started my job on August 28th.  And bam!  I blinked at it's October 11th.  Where the heck did September go?

Seriously, the past 6 weeks have FLOWN by.  It's good that time is passing quickly (days that dragggg are well, a drag.)  But I wish it would slow down just a tad so that I could relish the moments a little more.  I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round right now.  My days are a steady rhythm of wake up, get the kids ready for school & out the door on time, work all day, pick up kids, do homework & dinner and whatever is on the calendar for that evening, go to bed...and repeat.  Fall seems to work like that every year.  It's busy, busy, busy...go, go, go...and then before I know it, Christmas has crept up on us and I look back and wonder what happened between July & December.

Yesterday, I was driving to work after dropping off the kids at their schools.  As I pulled away from the curb of the last school, I extended my arm to press the button to turn on the radio.  I love my morning music & worship time.  But then it struck me.  I never really slow down and embrace the quiet, so this time, I did just that.

I prayed.  I talked to myself.  (Shut up, you know you do it, too.)  I rolled down the windows, but only for a second before I realized it would mess up my hair.  I thought through the evening's events and what I would be cooking for dinner.  I mentally went through the day ahead at work.

I realized that, after just a few minutes, I felt anxious.  It was like I couldn't live with myself.  I needed to be doing something!  I needed to be feeding my brain with multiple stimuli.  I needed noise (music or conversation).

And this was all during a 20 minute drive to work.

I am really looking forward to Christmas.  You know, the big holiday that comes in 74 days.  I look forward to it not so much because of the holiday focus it brings (although I loveeee that, too) but because Spring comes right afterward.  And for me, Spring is looking much less frantic & busy!  Sure, there will be things to do & special dates on the calendar still, but not nearly as many as the Fall.  So with that in mind...

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

Update on Us

Oh wow. It's been a few weeks since I posted! Time to catch up!

Our final week of summer was spent much like the rest of the summer---working at the preschool, hanging out at home, taking Savannah to and from summer band practice, watching TV, sleeping late. You get the idea. I didn't get to do a final week of summer post, but that's about all there would have been to report.

The kids started school on Monday, August 27th. Savannah returned to the high school as an 11th grader and these first 2 weeks of school have been great for her. She got her letter jacket last week. The funny thing is, exactly 20 years before she graduates, I got my letter jacket from the same high school for the same type of thing---both of us are journalism people! (Mine was for yearbook staff, hers for UIL journalism writing.) Samuel began junior high and has been delighted to start football. He has practices after school on most days & comes home famished & ready to eat through the refrigerator and pantry. He is also excited and happy that he was able to test out of the Reading Improvement class and return to his favorite elective class--CHOIR! Sarah started 6th grade at a new (to her) school. She is in beginner band & has gotten her name tag for her clarinet & is now ready to get starting playing it!! (The band directors ask the kids not to put together or play their horns at all before they teach them the proper way to do everything.)

I started my new job on Tuesday, August 28th at the law office. I am really enjoying it. It is certainly way different from everything I've ever done, but it's been good. I'm learning new things and am discovering that maybe I can handle jobs that don't include children, too. The only downside is that I won't be off with the kids during school holiday breaks or summer, but we'll tackle those days as they come. One thing at a time.

Last weekend we travelled to The Woodlands, TX for Larry's cousin's wedding. It was a treat to get away from home for a weekend and stay in a nice hotel. The wedding was beautiful & very fancy. On the way home, Sarah came down with a stomach virus and we have all passed around some version of it ever since. Mine has lingered the longest, but I'm on the mend now.

That's the update around here. Looking forward to catching up on everyone else's blogs this weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A few end of the summer pictures

I have a random handful of pictures on my phone right now that I wanted to share. I know the kids & I still have a few more days until our summer is officially over, but here's what I have for now. They are in no particular order here...just a random bunch of pictures. Enjoy!

Savannah really has no idea how cute she is! We went to the store to buy just a couple of "school clothes" items earlier this week and found this dress on a rack so I handed it to Savannah & told her to try it on just for fun. It fit her PERFECTLY!

A local church recorded a live worship CD a year or so ago. I finally got my hands on a copy of it earlier this summer. But by the time I got it, they were already working on their 2nd CD. My sweet friend Kate, the mom of one of my students this summer, got the new CD for me as an end of the summer gift. I love it!! Then again, I always love new worship music! Thanks Kate!!!

I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence at my house. But it's not. I took this one day last weekend to show my girlfriends. See the empty TP tube on the holder? And the whole big bag of toilet paper RIGHT THERE under it? It's like whoever used the last piece forgot where we kept the refills.
But the crazy this is that I found it the SAME WAY about 2 days later. Sigh. I think it's time to get eye exams for all of my BLIND family.

Don't worry....they're not really fighting. They were just laughing & wrestling around in the kitchen floor. When I got out the camera, they started giggling & pretending like they were actually pulling hair & fighting. They were laughing REALLY LOUDLY the whole time, though.

So LOUDLY, in fact, that their brother came & grabbed Savannah by the legs and started dragging her out of the kitchen so he could work on his summer science project for school without having to hear them. She grabbed onto Sarah's leg & it was hilarious watching Sam drag both of the girls out of the kitchen. ha ha!!

Monday was mine & Larry's 18th anniversary. I took a picture before he got home & texted him to show him my date night outfit. The necklace I put on shortly after this broke while we were eating dinner. least it was cheap jewelry!

Since I took the girls to look for a few school clothes items one day while Larry had Sam busy doing something else, I had to take him & get a couple pairs of jeans for school at a later time. We stopped at Whataburger for some fries & a coke while we were out. For some reason, he always thinks the ketchups on the table are meant to be used to build things...towers, buildings, etc. Ha ha!

He looked so cute in this hat, but I just couldn't justify buying it. We have no where for him to wear it.

Showing off his new haircut again. Isn't he handsome?

Laying on the couch watching TV last night, Savannah came over to snuggle & took our picture with my phone. I was trying to get her to smile in this pic.

And last but not least, I love taking part in an online group called Viewpoint Forum. It's a website where you join & fill out surveys for points. It takes a few months, but once you hit 375 points, you can choose to cash in your points for money or some other rewards. I can't remember what the other rewards are, though, because I always choose the money!!

Once in a while, they will send me a product to test for them & then I get online & do a survey about the item. One time I did a test for Bounty paper towels. This (see pic below) is the 2nd or 3rd time I've been asked to test a laundry detergent. When you test a product, it's worth more points than the once a week (give or take) surveys about random things.

I can confirm that the site is completely legitimate. I've been working with them for several years now! Check it out at They don't do a referral program right now, so I'm not going to get anything if you choose to sign up. I just want to share about a cool program!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

18 years with my sweetie!

On August 20, 1994 I wore a long-sleeved white poofy dress with a big ol' bow on the back and lots of lace. And did I mention poofy sleeves? See?

I walked down the aisle with my daddy by my side and stopped to stand in front of a crowd of friends and family to marry my best friend.

Happy 18th anniversary sweetie!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer 2012: Week 12

You know, I was a little sad that today marked the end of my summer....until yesterday. Now I'm anxiously looking forward to a new season of life.

But I have to be honest.

Today was my last day to teach preschool for the summer. And then it hit me as I got ready to leave. Today was really my last day to teach preschool, period. Unless God changes the course of my life (and you never know, right?) today was my last day to teach little ones. Starting a new job that will not allow me to teach in the summers means I am officially done. (since I had already given up teaching during the school year)

I walked around the building, peeking into my old classrooms...the one I spent so many years in, the ones I've worked in during the summers. I took pictures of a few things that I will fondly remember. I hugged a few people. I waved good bye. And that was it. I wasn't nearly as emotional as you'd think I would be. When I quit teaching full time a few years ago, it was much harder. But today there was a bittersweetness none the less.

I won't ever be signing in here again.

I won't ever be gathering up supplies for the day in here again.

I won't be taking kids out to this playground any more.

And somehow, for the first time ever, I can say that's okay.

Life moves on. Seasons change.
I'm embarking on a whole new adventure in a couple of weeks.
The kids are starting new school years soon.
So much can change in a short time.

No doubt I will miss my preschool babies. Sometimes it's easier to work with 2-5 year olds than it is to work with adults so I'm sure there will be days when I long to go back. But for everything there is a season.

A time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to mourn, a time to rejoice, a time to dance....a time to teach preschoolers, a time to work in a law office.....a season for everything under heaven. (that comes from the New Liz version of the Bible -- wink!)

{Note: Showing my age here! Anybody else have trouble hearing that passage without thinking of a particular 80s movie where the main character quotes this to a pastor & slaps the Bible on the desk stating "....and there is a time to DANCE!"}

I hesitate to shout from the rooftops that we have finally conquered our money problems and that life will be great from here on out. I've made that mistake too many times before and God has quickly reminded me that He is still in charge---good or bad! (Plus, the idea that life will be great from now on solely based on a new job & more money is ridiculous.) I realized recently that sometimes God gives us a little taste of what eternity will be like, completion, not wanting anything, complete rest in Him. If that's what this season of life is---just a taste of Heaven, I will trust in Him to take care of us into the next season, and the next, and the next.

My kids and I have 1 more week of summer. I'll report in 1 last time next weekend. Hard to believe Summer is nearly over, but wow....bring on the Fall! But in the meantime, I've gotta get me one of these before I can't use the intense heat as an excuse for it!

[And for any of you who have been wondering, 13 weeks of summer=91 days. Once again, I've proved Phineas & Ferb wrong....or they live in a magical place where their summers are about 20 days longer than ours.]

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Enough. And more.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite singers and bloggers (who happens to be a hometown boy who grew up at the same church I did!), Shaun Groves, posted a printable poster on his website. I printed it out and hung it on my bedroom door. I needed to see it often, a reminder to pray not for great wealth, but just for God to meet our needs. In searching for a job, I was growing weary of the financial struggles we've battled for the last several years. Each of the kids, at one time or another, have asked about the poster and read it themselves. This is it:
Over the past couple of months, Larry and I have looked at our bank account over and over, trying to decide the best way to get out of this bottomless pit, this endless, hopeless cycle we've faced for the last few years. The answer seemed to be bringing in more income. Yesterday, after every job I've applied for had fallen through and hope seemed to be lost on me finding a new job, we thought maybe a loan from our credit union would help break the cycle--if we could just get on top of things for one month, it seemed that we could finally get past this hurdle we keep facing over & over. At our wit's end, we felt desperate for a solution, so we called the bank & got things started on that. (After all, the payment on a loan would be less than all the overdraft fees we've been paying month after month for the last few years. Surely we have financed at least one of the bank executives' kids through college by now!)

Teacher inservice starts in a few days and nothing seemed to be working out for me job-wise. We decided that I would just go back to work at the school and wait for something to work out. But I'm a planner by nature so that really scared me as much as continuing the job hunt did. I kept hoping something would change, praying that something would open up in the school district at the last minute. But cutting it so close, getting down to the wire like this without feeling like we really had any more of an idea how to get by than we did a year ago was draining both of us. Truly, financial problems can take a toll on even a very healthy & happy marriage.

In trying to encourage my worried husband, I kept saying we needed to be patient & trust that God would work things out...that He has a plan for us....that He would provide our every need....that His timing is always perfect. Of course, I could only encourage him in that way because I had about a gazillion people reminding me to wait on God's timing and rest in knowing He would provide a few days ago on Facebook! I *knew* He would provide, but I was having a hard time living it.

Yesterday, Savannah asked me why I even needed a new job. I reminded her that we didn't make enough to pay our bills at this point in time and we really needed a job that pays more. She said (get this....) "But mom, we've always been okay. We've never missed eating because we couldn't afford it and they never turned off our electricity or anything." I responded that those things were true, but it was because God always took care of us, always provided in some way. She just shrugged & turned back to what she was doing and said something like " I said, we've always been OK. God's taken care of us."

Sigh. Yes, He has. Sage wisdom from my 16 year old. (Thank you, Lord, for this kid! I don't deserve her.)

This morning, I had no idea how the day would look by the time I went to bed. You see, today, a friend from our old church called and offered me a job.

A job that meets every single item on my wishlist. And then some. Perfect hours, more than perfect pay, great family-friendly environment, lots of fun little perks.

Oh my goodness!

When I was telling the kids about it, Samuel stopped me when I mentioned the pay and said "But mom, isn't that MORE than you were hoping to make? Isn't that more than ENOUGH?"

I remembered the poster on my bedroom door.

"Yes, baby. It is MORE. It means now we can GIVE more. We can HELP other people more. God loves to do things like that."

He smiled, nodded in agreement and said "cool." (After all, that's how 12 yr old boys show their enthusiasm for Providential intervention in life.)

Savannah just grinned & said "You know, you just can't point to anyone but God in this! It is everything you've prayed for!" Then she asked if we could pray and thank God for providing. The three kids and I circled up in the living room and praised God for giving us more than our heart's desire.

And somehow I kept it together and didn't completely melt into a puddle right then & there. Thank goodness my kids have turned out like this despite the many times their dad and I have fouled up over the years.

I'm still feeling a little stunned, shocked, amazed. I know my sweet friend who called to offer me a job today has no idea how HUGE a difference he just made in our lives. I know he has no idea just how deeply he impacted our family today and how many things about our lives will be affected by his actions. I know he acted because he saw that I was looking for a job and he had one to offer, but he doesn't realize how long that job offer was prayed for, how deep the callouses are on my knees. But I'm going to send him this blog link so he can see! Thank you, friend. From the bottom of our household's collective hearts, thank you.

As always, I won't go into detail here on the blog about exactly where I will be working. (Gotta be safe!) But I can tell you this much --- I will be an assistant to our friend who is a lawyer. It will be a whole new adventure for me since I have never done this before, but I am confident I can figure it out & do it well. I have plenty of clerical, computer, people skills, so I will be fine. Change is always scary, but this is a *very* good change. I will be able to wait until after the kids start school in a couple of weeks to start the job, so I have a little more summer left! Yahoo! A little more time for swimming, eating ice cream, taking pictures of summer fun, sleeping a little later and enjoying time with my kiddos.

"Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always.

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
From You Lord, from You Lord"
(part of the lyrics from Kristian Stanfill's song Always)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer 2012: Week 11

This week has been full of uncertainties for me, mostly surrounding the unknown of my future. In fact, my immediate future.

We determined last month that it's vital for me to find another job where I can get a bigger paycheck because, unfortunately, we can't pay our bills at this point in time. It's not just something that would be's really crucial that I find something. Soon.

Last month I approached my boss about the possibility of turning my part time job into a full time one. It was a long shot, but I had to at least ask. As expected, she stated that it wouldn't be possible for me to go full-time. I applied for a different position within the school system that would be full time and interviewed for it, but didn't get the job. And so, over the course of the past week, I've been running full steam ahead, looking for a job, putting word out to friends, networking as much as possible, searching the ads on our local newspaper website & Craigslist daily.

Today was a very full day, but one I feel pleased about. In the last 24 hours or so, I've applied for or had contact with a lot of places for jobs. They include:

1. Day care #1 --- applied for a morning teacher job at a privately owned/operated center.
2. Day care #2 --- applied for a morning teacher job at a church day care. (To be honest, if I had to choose, I'd like this one better because I would be allowed to infuse my faith in Christ into all my lesson plans, but hey...beggars can't be choosers!)
{Note: I have no idea if either day care center will be able to afford to pay me what I need to make....we'll see! I would love to be back in a preschool classroom!}
3. Day care #3 --- it was determined that the hours they are offering for teaching positions is not enough hours for me to make the $$ I need, so I am not pursuing this one.
4. A nanny job --- I have talked to the mother of this family by email, but have not heard back from her yet.
5. A test proctoring job at the local junior college --- I have emailed with the director of the department & will talk to her about the schedule, times, etc on Monday. This job will not likely be one that would be enough $$ to be considered a full time position, but it would be great for a little money on the side.
6. A school photographer job with a company that travels to area schools to take student pictures. The pay is good & they pay for mileage. I've emailed and called the contact person for this. Still have lots of questions about how things work, but it would be a FUN job if it works out.
7. A receptionist job at a local doctor's office.
8. Another job on Craigslist that I can't remember at the moment. ha ha!
9. Another full-time position within the school district --- I have only emailed with the department head. No idea if it will turn into anything or how many million people have applied for the job.
10. Online application completed for 2 area school districts

Honestly, if none of these things works out, I will take that as a VERY STRONG sign from God that I need to stay exactly where I am and wait on Him. Something is BOUND to turn up or work out with all these jobs...but if it doesn't, I know He will provide!

In other non-job hunt related news, Savannah started back to summer band practices this week. She's thrilled. (major sarcasm) And I picked up Sarah's clarinet for beginner band from the music store today. Thank goodness for sweet grandparents who are able to help with big investments like this!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to the monkeybars

I remember stretching out my hand, reaching for the next bar. With calloused palms, I'd grab it & try to hold on. Sometimes if my palms were sweaty, I'd slip off the bar. Sometimes it was hard to reach it at all if the bars were spread far apart. If I could swing my body just right, I could grab the next bar without much trouble, looking like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. But sometimes I missed the bar and would have to swing backward, gain some momentum and try again on the next swing. Sometimes I still missed the bar and in exhaustion, I'd just drop to the ground. Swinging back and forth for too long without something to hold onto and support my weight was tiring and before I knew it, my fingers would slip and I was forced to just let go.

I've kind of felt like I'm climbing the monkeybars for the last couple weeks. Like I can feel the weight of my whole body straining against my weak, sweaty fingers. Like I'm swinging back and forth over & over, reaching for the next bar, but it keeps moving out of reach.

God has reminded me to be calm & wait for Him. But I keep reaching for the bar anyway. I'm impatient. I want answers to questions now. I want clear, specific answers. I want to find a place of security & safety to rest and trust Him. I want to grip that next bar firmly.

Because after all, when I am safe & secure, I can trust Him fully. Until then, I need to take care of things.

Oh wait.

Didn't I just teach my 4 and 5 year olds something different a couple of months ago in Sunday School? I seem to recall a memory verse about trusting God in ALL things. The kids didn't know it, but that one was as much for me as it was for them. I can trust God in ALL things...even finances, jobs, bank accounts.

Haven't I written this blog post before? I keep having to learn this lesson over and over. (and over and over and over and over and over) Seriously, self....get with it! Hasn't He proved Himself enough times to recognize that He will take care of things? Enough for me to know I can rest & wait on His timing? Honestly, I get sick of hearing myself say it so I know you must get sick of reading it. But here I am, once again, relearning the same lesson.

I think the heart of the fears and doubts is a lack of control. We panic. We fret. We worry. We start seeking out ways to solve the problem ourself. We start searching for answers on our own. We start swinging furiously, arm outstretched, searching for the next bar. If we can just grab hold of it, we'll be safe.

But, God, if I don't know about this by this date, things will fall apart......
But, Father, I really need her to ......
But, Lord, I know I said I'd trust you, but.....
Jesus, have you seen the numbers in my checkbook? I know you already know this, but I really need a job......

Back & forth we swing, the weight of the world pulling against our hands as we reach & stretch & strain for the next bar. Sweat drips from our brow as we peer up at the bars, searching in the sunshine for the next spot to place our hand to get control over the situation.

All along, all He's asked is for us to let go.

Father, forgive me for doubting, for not believing, for working through my own strength, my own power. Show me how to rest in you, to quit striving, to stop reaching for solutions on my own. Show me again how to trust you.

Psalm 31:14 But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 25:1 In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.

Summer 2012: Week 10

I wish I could say that this week was full of adventure and fun and excitement....but it wasn't. There isn't really much to report, except that we've passed through yet another week of summer. It's nearly over, folks. Sigh.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Me? Control Freak? Nah...

A number of years ago, I bought the Power of a Praying Wife book and read it. I kept having to go back & re-read the first chapter or two because I just couldn't soak it all in. It struck deep down. You see, the first chapter or two are primarily about shutting my mouth & submitting to my husband. Heaven knows I need a reminder to shut up regularly, so this book ministered to me. (big grin!) For a long time, I did pretty good at the mouth-shutting part. But apparently it's time for me to read the book again because in the last year or so, I have found that Larry is commenting about me nagging and I try to look back & recognize what I was doing. Sometimes I see it. Other times I find myself trying to justify it "Well I had to say something! You were going to ____ and I knew it would cause ____." Honestly, if I just shut up & let him go ahead and do what he's trying to do, 9 times out of 10, I am either proven wrong or he recognizes his mistake and comes to me to apologize for it---without me ever having to part my lips.

God is good like that.

But today I had a seriously difficult time with this area of my life. I should preface all of this with this little bit of information. For the past 10 years or so, Savannah has gone to visit a couple of girlfriends (twin sisters) who live about 3 hours away. We have *always* met in the same place to drop off/pick her up. It's the halfway point for both of us to drive. I've been there so many times in the last decade that I could practically drive it in my sleep. I have a very specific route to follow, I know the exit # by heart. Larry has only made the drive with me a few times over the years, and he's even when he has, I've driven the route most of the times that he's come along so this is sort of one of those things that is "mine".

Secondary to that, I hate to be late anywhere I go. I'd much rather arrive early or "right on time" than to ever have to make someone wait for me. When I am scheduled to meet somewhere it bugs me if they don't plan their day well enough to arrive on time so as to not waste my time!

Back to the story of what happened today.

We were set to pick up Savannah at our usual location at 2:00. It's about 1 1/2 hours away. The plan was to leave from church (about 12-12:15) and swing through a fast food place on the way. I thought that getting food wouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes, so worst case scenario, we could reach our location by 2:00. However, at 12:57, we were only 2 miles from the church, sitting in a Burger King parking lot. That's when panic set in. Knowing that there was NO WAY we could make it by 2:00, I texted the dad who was driving Savannah and her friends to let him know we would be late. We got on the road and from the moment we pulled out of the parking lot, I found myself fighting to keep my mouth shut. Perhaps I would've done well to locate a roll of duct tape for my mouth...instead, I chose to stuff it with fries for the first few miles.

The interstate highway we needed to get to was north of the Burger King where we stopped. Larry left Burger King heading south. (Ladies, I can hear all of you. Trust me, I felt the same way!!) I tried to come up with a reason why he might be traveling in that direction, attempting to discern if he had forgotten that we needed to go pick up Savannah or if he had another path in mind to reach the highway. I really wanted to ask him, but felt like bringing it up would irritate him and make me look like a nag, so I kept trying to stay quiet and let him run the show. After driving a couple of minutes, it was eating me alive so I asked him quietly if he was going to take the toll road. He said yes. I went back into my mental conversation, trying to think of where that road leads.

Does it lead all the way out to the Interstate?
No, I don't think it does. It stops at another highway miles & miles from Interstate.
Maybe he plans to turn there & drive through some other roads that I'm not aware of to reach the Interstate.

Does he have any idea where he's going?
Is he just going to make us later than we are already going to be?
Doesn't he remember how to get there?
Grrrrrr! Stop driving, Larry! Just turn around & go the way I always go. I KNOW that route and can tell you where to turn and everything!

After turning on the toll road, I asked how long he thought it might take to get out to the Interstate. He just shrugged, clearly unconcerned about the time it would take to reach our destination. He even had the gall to turn on the radio & sing along to the music. (Can you believe the nerve of him?) I couldn't even concentrate on the music because I was chewing through my tongue & squeezing the handle off the door in an attempt to keep my mouth shut and let him do the driving.

You should know that my husband is the king of back roads, short cuts, little side roads that I've never seen or heard of. So I kept trying to tell myself that maybe he had a plan and we'd get there somewhere close to on time. But after driving for nearly 40 minutes, we were still passing things I recognized, things that I thought were a LONG way from the Interstate--we weren't making it to the interstate NEARLY quick enough. And after years of driving like a bat out of, well, you know... my husband has turned into a grandpa behind the wheel. As you can imagine, his strict notion of sticking to 5-10mph under the speed limit was driving me BANANAS as well. I even reached over & pressed the cruise control button, showing him how he could speed up & set the cruise to keep his speed up. After all, I'm sure he couldn't locate that button on his own, right? I was just trying to be helpful.

It struck me about that time that I needed to pray. I needed God to cover my mouth and set my mind at ease. We would surely arrive at the location. We would certainly pick up Savannah and bring her home as planned. If it meant getting there a little late, so be it.

But even as I prayed that, I kept having these fantasy images in my head where I threw Larry out of the driver's seat, took over and drove us back the route I wanted to go--the roads that are familiar to me. It felt good to smile and roll down the window, wind whipping through my hair, as I took control of the situation and saved the day, arriving on time to the destination. {Yeah, I fantasies are a little goofy.} And it was as I was imagining this scene that God whispered to me.

Let go, daughter. Even if you did talk him into going back to the road you want to take, you'd still be late. Let go. Submit to him the way you are called to submit to me.

Umm, ouch.

It struck me as I wrestled with my fleshly desire to take over and get our van on the "right" roads, that I often wrestle with fleshly desires to take control of so many other parts of my world. I don't need to take over the driver's seat. I don't even need to open my mouth. He's got this.

Submission, my me.

As we got farther and farther down a bunch of little dirt roads, as we turned onto the 13th or 14th county road that I didn't recognize, I still felt nervous. I didn't want the people bringing Savannah to be sitting and waiting. I didn't want them checking their watches and tapping their feet and wishing that they'd never let Savannah come stay with them at all since we were so rude in getting there to pick her up on time. They had plans to get to a ball game tonight. Would our arrival time make them late? I had it in my head that I could apologize in some big dramatic way & point to my husband, sure to indicate that it was HIS idea to take this crazy route that made us so late.

Shut your mouth, beloved. Don't point fingers. Quit worrying. Relax and submit to your husband's leadership.

But, but, but....I don't wanna. I want to take control of this.

And then it happened. We finally reached the Interstate highway we needed to be on. We were entering the roadway at an unusual point that I didn't recognize. Knowing the exit number we needed to reach, I checked the mile marker as we entered the highway. To my surprise, we were only 14 miles from the destination. I checked the dash board clock. It was 1:47pm.

Talk about a punch in the gut. All of my fears, all of my desires to take the wheel, all of my fretting over being late and frustrating our friends, all of that was for nothing. We would make it on time after all.

Be quiet, my daughter. Relax. Trust your husband. Trust me.

We pulled into the parking spot at 2:05. We went inside and used their restrooms and came back outside to sit at a shady table until we spotted our friends. They walked up just moments after we sat down, having just arrived themselves. It turns out they were running late as well.

Funny how God works out those little details.

I learned a lesson in submission today. Again.

Submission both to my husband's leadership and to God's: I was reminded of all the many, many situations I am trying my best to fix my way. I was reminded to let go and allow God to control things. I was reminded that I need to take my hands off the wheel and let God drive. Even if I disagree with the route life takes...even if I don't recognize what's going on or why...I am not in control.

And that's okay. I will reach the right destination at the time God has appointed for me to reach it. And I will be RIGHT ON TIME.

(Note: If you should feel the need to argue submission in marriage with me, feel free to privately email I will not post comments that are rude or argumentative on this blog post. Biblical submission is not at all what most people think. I am no doormat!)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer 2012: Week 9

I have been looking at the blog, thinking about how I need to write the Week 9 of summer post since Thursday night. I decided to put it off on Thursday because I had an interview Friday morning and I figured I'd just wait til that was over & write to tell you about it. And then Friday night rolled around and I forgot to post anything (you know, after I had the page pulled up for over an hour while I read all the blogs I follow). So here it is, 12:01am Saturday night (technically Sunday morning, I guess!) and I'm just now sitting down to write this. So here goes.....

Over the course of the month of July, it's become clear to us that the dollar figure on Larry's paychecks from his new job don't line up with what we had expected the figure to be. So I've been looking for a new job. I enjoy the one I have and will gladly return there if nothing else works out, but I have been on the hunt to see if I could find something else that will pay the bills instead.

I contacted our school district's personnel director (who happens to also be a good friend) and found out that there is 1 opening at the 6th grade campus I would enjoy. I applied and interviewed for the job on Friday. Now it's just a matter of waiting. If it does work out, it would mean doubling my current salary, so that would be ideal! I'd really like to get it, but I have no idea who all I was up against or what sort of experience any of the other applicants might have, so I'm just leaving it up to God.

In other news from our house...

Savannah has spent just over a week with her girlfriends. She visits them every summer. You may remember me mentioning them before. It is a set of twins who were Savannah's best friends in Kindergarten & 1st grade. They moved away the summer after 1st grade and shockingly, the 3 of them have remained incredibly close ever since. They are such sweet girls and it's been fun to watch them grow and to see their relationship change shapes, but remain so tight after so many years of living 3 hours away from each other! We are looking forward to making a drive to our half-way point tomorrow to bring our girl home. I sure do miss her when she's gone.

Yesterday, Samuel & Sarah attended our church youth group's day trip to a nearby large city. They ate lunch, played a game of Whirlyball (who knew there was such a thing?), went to a mall and then attended a minor league baseball game. They got home about 1:00am. They had a blast!

Time for me to crawl into bed & get my snooze going. Goodnight!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer 2012: Week 8

We have 1 more full week of July left (plus a couple of days) and then it's August.

I wrote an article last night for the newspaper where I have a column that went something like this:

As I write this (July 20), I am stunned to realize that there are only twenty eight days left until I have to report in for inservice time with (name of our local school district where I work--removed from this blog site for safety). Can summer really be just about over already? I've only got 28 more days to make this summer count! Here's the plan.

First, I'm going to pile the kids into the mini van and high tail it to the snowcone stand on ____ Rd. We haven't had nearly enough snowcones this summer. But, wait! None of my kids are fans of snowcones. Okay, scratch that. I'll just have one by myself.

Second, I'm going to set out the sprinkler or the Slip and Slide and break out the camera to get pictures of the kids acting silly and playing in the water. Nevermind, I forgot they are too old for that. None of them enjoyed it last summer when I made them do it then. I guess I can put a big check mark by at least one of my summer goals.

Third, I'm going to take the kids to swim at a friend's pool. We've only been swimming once this summer as a family. Fortunately, the kids have been swimming at camp, on trips and with friends. We are pet sitting this week and the owners are letting us use their pool. Hooray!

Fourth, I'm going to let them sleep late each day and take an afternoon nap myself. Hang on, I've been doing that all summer anyway.

Fifth, I'm going to grab a book off the bookshelf and stay up until 2:00 in the morning reading. Oh yeah, I've been doing that, too. (I suppose that explains the afternoon sleepiness.)

Sixth, I'm going to make sure that each of the kids has at least one fun, exciting experience before the summer ends. Of course, I guess a trip with grandparents to Colorado, two week long camps, an out of town visit with friends and a night of cousin camp at Grandma's house would qualify for that...and those things have already happened!

Seventh, every weekend when I grocery shop, I am going to buy a People magazine and read it cover to cover in a hot tub full of bubbles. Then again, I do that year-round. I suppose that's not just a summer 'thing'.

You know, it looks like I've done all the summer things I wanted to do anyway. I guess I am better at planning our summers than I realized. I suppose it's time to head back to work and school. 28 more days? I can do that!