Monday, May 30, 2016
I'm abrasive and confrontational, especially if it is over something I care deeply about. He avoids conflict at all costs.
I jump in with both feet as soon as I get an idea, then figure out how to fix what I did wrong. He thinks about any idea for a long time, reads every book available on the subject, researches every website and blog post ever written about it, then takes forever to decide how to proceed.
I hate change, any change. Moving is about as close to torture as anything I've ever experienced. He has no real attachment to place so moving is not a big deal to him.
I am always doing something. Even if I'm sitting still I'm making a list, crocheting, reading, or making some sort of art. He can sit in front of the TV and watch comedy shows or sci-fi or golf, and do nothing else, except maybe take a nap, for hours.
I like sappy romantic comedies and absolutely nothing that could qualify as scary to a 5 year old. He likes sci-fi and slapstick comedy.
My projects and their messes make him a little crazy but he doesn't complain much. His piles make me crazy and I complain all the time.
I ask a million questions a day. He hates answering questions.
I see the negatives. He sees the possibilities.
I make artistic creations. He makes magic on a piano.
He drives me nuts, and not always in a good way.
He sweats 365 days a year, 24 hours a day in any kind of weather.
His laundry could quite possible qualify for toxic waste.
There is no remedy for his stinky feet.
And I often swear he doesn't really speak English.
But . . . I absolutely adore him.
He is brilliant.
The talent that God has gifted him with is beyond my comprehension.
The music that he can make come out of a keyboard is simply amazing. And there is not one iota of vanity in the man.
He loves Jesus with all his heart.
And best of all, he adores me, too.
Marriage. It's hard. It's not always fun. But so, so worth fighting for!
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
For the last couple of weeks I've been trying to reevaluate my time, predominantly on social media. I'm spending way too much time checking notifications and reading things that are interesting, but not really of life changing importance. So I've been consistently eliminating those I get notifications from and some that I follow on twitter. Next is Facebook. Then Instagram. It's amazing how much time these things can eat away before I even realize it.
So here is my goal for the rest of the week. ELIMINATE! Stop wasting time on things that don't matter.
I need to eliminate . . . things that don't immediately impact my life or have significance for my future or my family's future.
Which means I need to eliminate
. . . most of the notifications I get from Twitter,
. . . most of what I read on Facebook,
. . . a lot of what I scroll through on Instagram.
I love looking through all my social media. Unfortunately, I love it too much.
So, to all my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram 'friends', most of you will not be seeing me around much. At least that's the plan. If I am still commenting on your posts, you must of made the cut. Congratulations. LOL! To the rest of you, adios, amigos! Nothing personal! I just need my life back from my phone.
Are there things you need to eliminate?
Monday, May 18, 2015
When I started working with Celebrate Recovery, one of the men who started this ministry in our church told me it would be the hardest ministry I had ever done. I didn't doubt that. But I had no idea how God would open my eyes to things in such dramatic ways, and how he would use the women I was ministering to in ways I could not have imagined, to change my heart and bring healing to me.
Recently one of the ladies I've been mentoring for a few weeks moved out of the transition home she has been living in since being released from prison into an inner city ministry home. The day she was moving I picked her up along with her meager belongings. We spent the day together along with my youngest daughter. We ran errands, had a nice long lunch together and then moved her things into her new home. While we were running errands I took her by to see the home that my husband and I moved out of almost 2 years ago after 8 break-ins. The last year or so that we lived there I never walked out my door without being armed because of the crime all around us. I had become so angry with the whole situation that I lived with the constant thought that eventually someone would break in our home while I was in the house, and I would probably shoot someone and kill them. The pattern the criminals used in my neighborhood was for 3 minors to break in, one adult to drive, and another person to be the lookout. Knowing that if I ended up shooting someone, it would probably be a teenager, bothered me at first. But by the time we moved, I really didn't care any more. When that reality hit me, my husband and I knew it was time to walk away from the home we loved.
As my new friend and I were driving up to my old neighborhood, about 3 blocks from where I used to live, she interrupted our conversation to tell me that a rundown, now abandoned store we were passing used to be her address. She was homeless and lived under the bridge behind the store and they let her use their address to receive mail. I was a little more than startled by this news, and my heart just melted to think of all that she has been through.
As the home I had loved so much came into view, I pointed to it and told her a few things about it. I showed her the camellia bushes that bloom so beautifully in the winter. I told her about the sweet smelling wisteria that grows up the big tree on the patio. Then we rounded the corner and I showed her the abandoned houses and the crack houses where the crime was coming from that the police couldn't seem to control. As we passed by some of those houses, I noticed she was looking out the window. Then she quietly spoke and told me that she didn't think she remembered my house, and she didn't think she had ever broken into it, but if she had she was really sorry.
It was much later that night when the full irony of the whole situation really hit me. This woman, who is now my friend, is someone that just a short time ago I would have shot without blinking an eye, without even knowing who she was or what her story was, had she dared to break in my home while I was there. Granted, I probably would have been in therapy for the rest of my life. But in the moment, I would have aimed and shot to kill. And I'm a good marksman.
I don't write this to open a debate about rights or laws or obligations when you are a victim of a crime. That's a whole different subject. I can't explain why we were victims of so many crimes when the homes around us weren't plagued as often. I can say without a doubt that God's timing is impeccable, that saying he works in mysterious ways is an understatement.
It took about a year for my heart to heal over feeling like we were forced out of our home. I can say now in all honesty that I don't miss my house any more. I can also say that I believe that God knew where he was leading me. He knew that there was no way I could work with these women with the anger and resentment that I held toward crime, those who commit them, and the system that constantly releases them back onto our streets. He knew I needed time to work through the resentment and anger. I had no idea.
So, with those things in mind, this question has been burning a hole in my heart. WHAT IF . . . ? For a couple of years now, I've been asking myself, 'what if I really lived what I say I believe?' But this week it has been so much more prevalent in my mind.
We live in a culture where words don't always mean what we say. God's word calls us to obedience. It seems to me that most of us call it obedience if we just look like we are following the rules on the surface. He didn't say to obey when it is easy, when everyone else is doing it, when you aren't being challenged, when it goes along with the culture. He called us to a life of holiness that defies our limited understanding and ability. Then He equips us to follow that call.
With that in mind:
What if . . . the next time God tapped on my heart I just ran to the thing he was showing me?
What if . . . when God asks me to do something I responded with an immediate YES, before the enemy
had time to put a hundred excuses in my head?
What if . . . I personally ministered to the poor, the prisoners, the homeless, the outcasts, instead of just
sending my money hoping someone else would do it?
What if . . . I quit making excuses for why I don't respond to those tugs on my heart? I don't have time,
money, strength, passion, desire, you fill in the blank.
What if . . . I broke down some of those safe little walls I have built and actually listened long enough to hear
What if . . . I really lived out what I say I believe?
IF you do any of the above, you may find yourself running toward someone you just heard say she wished someone would just kill her because she doesn't have the courage to kill herself.
You may find yourself with your hands on the side of her face looking right into her eyes and telling her to just CHOOSE LIFE!
You may find yourself making new friends that look nothing like you, act nothing like you, and have habits and lifestyles that you completely disagree with.
And you may find yourself discovering that you have just realized what real obedience looks like. And you might even enjoy it.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
|Grand daughter, me and my mom, Oct 2014 at DaySpring FestiFall.|
This was just 6 months after her disastrous knee surgery. And, no, she still does not color her hair!!!!
Today is my sweet mama's 81st birthday. There are so many things I have learned from her over the years. These are just a few that I always want to remember.
I want to remember . . . how she always put family before her own needs and desires. Even though Mama is in constant pain, she always manages to come through when any of us need her. Everything from cooking meals, doing laundry, babysitting her grandkids and great grandkids, picking up things from the grocery store, and thousands of other little things, she's always available.
I want to remember . . . the story of the terrible accident that she almost died from when she was only 18 years old, her miraculous recovery, and how that accident left her with chronic pain, that most people never knew about, for the rest of her life.
I want to remember . . . trying to learn to cook from her with no recipes and how that drove me nuts. Just put a little of this, a little of that, and you come out with perfect cornbread! That never worked for me.
I want to remember . . . that birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, may only exist as an excuse for a family dinner in which every one is invited and any friends who happen to show up are treated as family.
I want to remember . . . that dinner always begins with a prayer of thanksgiving before one bite is taken. And that forgetting that detail is cause for severe looks and possibly having your hand slapped before it reaches your mouth. (That hasn't happened in years but I still remember it like it was yesterday!)
I want to remember . . . the odd way she holds her cards when we play card games.
I want to remember . . . her long, slender fingers and beautiful fingernails that were always polished every Saturday night to match her outfit for Sunday morning, before arthritis twisted her knuckles and the nail polish was left to a younger generation.
I want to remember . . . how she and Daddy read their devotions together every night before they went to sleep when Daddy wasn't working night shift.
I want to remember . . . the million and one times she has come to my rescue for everything from restocking my pantry when there was more month than money, to demanding that I bring my laundry to her so she could wash it when my week was long and we were out of clean clothes.
I want to remember . . . the pure joy in her face the first time, and every time after that, when she held each of my children and grand children.
I want to remember . . . the compassionate sadness I saw in her eyes when one of my children had gone through a particular hard time and how she ached to rescue them.
I want to remember . . . how she drives me crazy with her OCD weird little habits . . . and how much I am like her.
I want to remember . . . the first time as a mom when I heard her voice come out of my mouth, and how much that both frightened me and made me proud to be her daughter.
I want to remember . . . her extensive knowledge of all things plant and flower related, and how much I have learned from her in that regard.
I want to remember . . . that the best tasting pot roast, pound cake, and lots of other foods came from Mama's kitchen.
I want to remember . . . her total devotion to my daddy that has never wavered in 60 years of marriage.
I want to remember . . . that as a small child she made it clear that church attendance was never optional, that 10% of everything I earned belonged to God, and that putting God first was the only way to live your life.
I want to remember . . . that in spite of my rebellion and stubborn heart, she has always loved me unconditionally, perfectly modeling for me the relationship she has with her heavenly Father year after year.
I want to remember . . . all the ways that she far surpasses me in grace and southern hospitality.
I want to remember . . . all of it, even the hard times. Because much of who my mom is has made me who I am today.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
This past week I've spent a lot of time contemplating the weight of Good Friday, the celebration of Easter, and Holy Week in general. It's still so hard for me to comprehend the love that Jesus showed on Good Friday. The beatings, the insults, being spat on, the utter cruelty of the cross. And he chose this - for me! How incredibly humbling!
If I were forced to defend my faith with my very life, or in the face of a brutal rapist as some of our sisters in other countries are, if I knew my head would be chopped off if I didn't deny my God, would I still admit to my belief? Or, would I even continue to believe at all? I hope I never have to answer that in reality. But I do wonder.
Jesus' words on the cross, "IT IS FINISHED!" marked a finality that rocked the world of those looking on, literally, with an earthquake, graves opening up, and the sky turning to darkness. But truly, it was not the end of the story! For us, it was the beginning of our freedom, the necessary debt paid for sin. I pray that you recognize the agony of Good Friday, but that you rejoice in the celebration of Easter where your redemption comes!
Today, I am thankful for living in a country where I have been privileged to learn about my Savior openly and in freedom.
I'm thankful for a church that constantly challenges me to a deeper walk.
I'm thankful for relationships with believers who accept me as I am but refuse to let me stay there, spurring me on to growth in my faith walk.
I'm thankful for my family who stood by me at my worst and loved me anyway.
I'm thankful for my husband who lifts me up with encouragement to use my gifts for His glory and loves me like I had never imagined possible.
And, most of all, I'm thankful for Jesus who unselfishly gave His own life to give me mine.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Sometimes I wonder about God's sense of humor. And just in case you doubt he has one, just ask any parent of a child older than about a year old. Inevitably by that age there has been at least once that the parent has gazed with awe and wonder at said child and thought, 'God's getting me back for. . .' whatever.
Genetics are an amazing web of intricate combinations that are far beyond my comprehension. And sometimes, just sometimes, you find a genetic code that is so strongly stamped onto a person that you just have to look on in amazement.
And if you doubt that last statement, go back and ask the same parent again.
Most of us have at least one thing that we always swore would never happen when we became parents. In my case, one of those sworn to avoid things was my mom's standard answer for any question. "You'll have to ask your daddy." Translation, NO. See, Daddy worked at night for most of my early life. This meant when I got home from school, he had just left for work. And when I got up in the mornings, he was sleeping. So any request for permission had to be planned days in advance, which I never had the forethought to do.
For most moms, a stark reality hits us at the most inopportune moment and when we least expect it. Usually it's about mid sentence into what is about to be a tirade of warnings to a child who has done some dastardly deed or has uttered a forbidden rebellious statement that probably deserves a soapy dinner. And once it happens, you can never un-remember it. It's that moment when you open your mouth and your mother comes out. It just happens. And it's a frightening feeling. You are all at once a child in trouble and the old lady that you thought you'd never be.
But I really intended for this to be about something I did yesterday. I admittedly have the attention span of a flea sometimes. I can sit for hours and work on a project. But if I'm trying to multitask on chores, I walk away to get something and get distracted and forget what I was doing. I'm acutely aware of this brain malfunction. So I try really hard not to do two things at once that could be a problem if you forget to complete one of them. Like ironing. Or frying bacon.
Yesterday I was boiling chicken for soup. It was going to take a while. So I decided to do something else while I waited. I decided to wash a couple things that needed to be hand washed, which meant stopping up the bathroom sink and running water in it. It doesn't take long to fill a sink in a RV. But while I was waiting, I thought I'd take the two steps to the kitchen to check on the chicken. And I got distracted.
For the record, there is no overflow hole in the bathroom sink in our RV.
Now about that genetic code . . .
One of my daughters came in to pick up the grandkid after the water incident. She went to the bathroom. Being well trained by her mother, she wanted to wash her hands. But the bathroom sink was full of everything that was thrown in there off the counter to get it out of the standing water that had overflowed from the sink.
So I told her to wash her hands in the shower. But I forgot the shower floor was covered with wet towels used to sop up the water from the counter and out of the carpet where it spilled over to the floor. There was also a small pillow in there that my hubby had thrown in because the grandkid spilled soup on it.
I, like any resourceful mother, dug out the hand sanitizer in the pile in the sink and just squirted it on her hands and told her to go home and wash her hands.
By this time she was laughing hysterically. Not so much at the situation as at the fact that she tells people all the time that she got it honestly. If ever there was a child that was stamped with her parent's DNA, it's that girl. Bless her heart.
In other news, the chicken noodle soup came out fine.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
About a week ago my pastor asked me about giving my 3 minute testimony in church, then expanding that testimony into 30 minutes for Celebrate Recovery. I've been helping with Celebrate Recovery for just a couple of months. The Lord had clued me in that giving my testimony was coming. As soon as my pastor mentioned it to me, the nightmares started. Working with Celebrate Recovery has brought up so many memories that I would rather keep buried, hidden deep in the past. Things that are no longer a part of my life. Hurts that God has healed me from, but still bring feelings of shame and guilt when I dwell on them. There was so much damage that was done by poor choices I made. And fears that linger from damage that was done to me by others, those scars that fade with time but still sting when reopened.
Nightmares were a regular part of my life for a long time. For about two years after I was raped, I dealt with terrifying nightmares at least several times a week. They usually come back any time I have to open that wound again and talk to people about rape. Over the years, I've learned how to combat them. I know that prayer and fasting are the answer. But I didn't do that this time. For about a week, I just let them fester like an open wound. A week of sleepless nights. A week of missed opportunity to give my heavenly Father victory over my past. Again. Sometimes we are such lost sheep, even after we have been found. For me, I often find myself in a new pasture, or wandering in an old pasture that I thought had been destroyed, lost and afraid again.
Then I remember. I recall those promises I've learned to depend on.
I am reminded by my precious Savior that his love is sufficient, that his grace has covered my past, that I am no longer that lost sheep, that his plans for me are all good, that he hears me when I call to him.
And he answers.
And it hit me. Like God just reached down into the depths of my soul and clarified everything. My testimony isn't about mistakes I've made, my failures, my poor choices or insecurities, my broken life! My testimony is about what He has done in me, His healing, His redemption, His undeserved mercy. Three minutes certainly isn't long enough to recount all the amazing blessings He has poured into my life in the last 26 years. But 3 minutes of His miraculous works beats 30 minutes of my failures any day!
I pray that anyone reading this has found the beautiful healing love that can only come from a perfect God. If you are struggling to find God's grace, please know that He is pursuing your heart. His relentless love is infinite and unconditional. He will never fail you or desert you. And I would love to share with you how he has radically changed my life! Feel free to message me any time.
I don't know who said that. But it is true. As we age our bodies tend to become increasingly uncooperative, our minds forget more than we remember, and our spirits don't seem to have quite as much passion for things we used to think so important. But other than those little details, I haven't really found aging to be such a bad thing. And there are certainly some advantages I hadn't expected, like I can honestly say no to chaperoning youth lock-ins because I'm just too old. And since the kids are grown, I get to play with the grandkids and send them home spoiled. lol.
Last month my hubby celebrated his 60th birthday. He was a little bummed about thinking he was getting old. So my family and I threw a big surprise birthday party for him. I wanted him to see how much he is appreciated by so many people. He doesn't really like to be the center of attention. But I figured with lots of friends and family around he would forgive me. It was great to see all the people who came out to show him they cared. He's a pretty super guy, besides being ridiculously talented musically, really smart, and an accomplished computer nerd, he's just an all around nice guy. Plus he's an amazing hubby and father. Here are a few pics from the party.
Now, about that cake . . .
I made the cake using my favorite pound cake recipe, Paula Deen's Mama's Pound Cake. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mamas-pound-cake-recipe.html
I made three 9 inch square layers. The top one I cut in half. My piano man sometimes plays two keyboards at a time. Hence, the stacked look. It would have been more realistic made with chocolate fondant, but since I'm allergic to chocolate, the black keys were about all I could handle. lol! Making this cake definitely did not take as many steps as the Frozen cake I made for the granddaughter. It actually was pretty simple.
Then I covered it with the marshmallow fondant recipe from this blog:
Yes, I mixed it with a spatula, just like she says. I usually use my heavy duty mixer. But I actually found this to be much easier than I thought it would be. The only thing I found difficult with this recipe was, after letting it rest for 24 hours, it was really hard. Like so hard I couldn't knead it in one big ball with my arthritic hands. I had to break off pieces and knead a little at time. But one I got it kneaded, it was great to work with. Her site has lots of helpful tips and techniques.
The black piano keys are Kit Kat bars dipped in Wilton melted black candy melts, available at Michaels. I placed the Kit Kat bars on a wire cooling rack and spooned the melted candy melts over them. Then I smoothed the top with the back of the spoon. After they dried for a while and started to set, I lifted them off the cooling rack by sliding a butter knife under them and moving them to a clean spot on the rack. Once they were set, I just moved them to wax paper and refrigerated them until I was ready to use them. You can lift up the candy that dripped down under the wire rack and reheat it. Before I put the Kit Kats on the cake, I scraped any hardened candy melt drips off the bottom or sides with a sharp paring knife. This made the sides look straight and the bottoms nice and flat.
I glued them to the cake using this fondant glue recipe: http://rosebakes.com/make-fondant-sugar-glue/
This worked great!
The white keys are just fondant rectangles, rolled a little thicker than normal and cut to size. I used a tape measure to get my spacing pretty even for the lines. The indentions between the keys were made with an ice pick.
All in all, I was happy with how it came out. And my man was happy. That's really all that mattered. I am definitely blessed beyond measure!
Monday, February 16, 2015
Parties and events are kind of my thing. So my daughter, after much convincing, allowed me to just run with the whole party planning, decorating, games, cake, the works. I had a blast! Since all of that sugar was my idea, I'm sure their parents hated me by bedtime! But it was a perfect party.
If you are in the central Mississippi area, you can hire a princess for your party from: https://www.facebook.com/vaughnentertainment
I highly recommend them!
After they were made, I sprayed them with Recollections Simply Pastel spray mist in blue. I don't think it is available any more. Most of the crafty supplies came from Michaels after Christmas clearance, including the blue wrapping paper I covered the little tables with, the foam snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and the Recollections paper snowflakes on the kid's table, even the helium tank. And the balloons came from the Fun Finds aisle.
When Elsa arrived, she wanted to make an Olaf, too!
Then they played pin the nose on the Olaf. Elsa put the blindfold on each girl and turned her around. The girls were just giddy over this. So cute. I made Olaf by painting a background on white foamcore with shades of blue, purple, and white acrylic paint. Then I smeared some Craft Twinkles with my finger to make it look sparkly. I sketched Olaf on white posterboard then went over the lines with black Sharpie and cut him out. I glued him to the foamcore with Glossy Accents by Ranger and painted his arms and touched up the Sharpie lines with black, white, and brown acrylic paint to add some shading to him. Then I hung him on the wall with Command Strips so we could take him down after the party.
Then Elsa wrote down the gifts as the birthday girl opened them, and she got very excited over the Elsa Barbie! And the birthday girl got very excited over the Minnie Mouse play set she got. I love these two pictures.
The party favors were candy coated Oreo cookies with snowflakes on top, a little Wilton blue shimmer, and some Wilton edible glitter, all tied up in a Wilton treat bag with a balloon, a snowflake ring, and custom made 'thank you' tag by my amazing personal graphic designer (which I forgot to take pictures of!). The mold for the cookies, the snowflakes on the cake, and the snowflake rings came from www.teresascreateacake.com. The cookie mold makes 5 candy coated cookies. I used Wilton white candy melts and rubbed Wilton blue shimmer on top after they hardened, all available at Michaels. We topped off the bag with a Recollections snowflake sticker and they turned out just adorable.
And the cake, complete with turrets (Wilton Castle Cake kit), an 'ice' (Wilton clear plastic) staircase, and ice spikes (candy glass from this recipe: http:/www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com/2014/01/elsas-ice-candy_17.html?m=1) and snowflakes (Wilton white candy melts, Wilton snowflake candy mold, with Wilton blue shimmer rubbed on top).
I made the cake using Paula Deen's recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mamas-pound-cake-recipe.html.
The icing was http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Buttercream-Icing
And the fondant was http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Rolled-Marshmallow-Fondant.
After the cake was all put together, I used more of the Wilton blue shimmer and edible glitter on it..
Elsa, Anna, and Olaf were also present on the cake (Disney skating figurine set at Toys 'r' Us). The Olaf plates and napkins are Disney and I picked those up after Christmas at Big Lots, also. There's lots of after Christmas clearance stuff here!
And the group picture. Lots of little princesses. Just too stinkin' cute!
The birthday girl loved it all. And for a week after it was over, she would randomly say what an awesome day she had at her party. That, my friends, makes all the work worthwhile!
Links and other sort of stuff:
Queen Elsa: Vaughn Entertainment, Clinton, MS on Facebook. They have several princesses to choose from. Tell them I recommended them!
Cake recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/mamas-pound-cake-recipe.html
Candy Glass Recipe: http:/www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com/2014/01/elsas-ice-candy_17.html?m=1
Candy snowflakes on cake: Wilton white candy melts, Wilton blue shimmer, Wilton snowflake candy mold
Party Favors : Oreo cookies, Wilton treat bags, Wilton white candy melts, Candy mold and snowflake rings - http://www.teresascreateacake.com/
3D Snowflakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7of1MSYHcw