Thursday, March 31, 2011

And the winner is........


Don't you love it when you work on a post and then Blogger freezes up and then your whole post is pretty much ruined when you had something so great going for a minute there.....

Okay.

I promised a first rate, professionally done drawing. And, my friends, that's what I'll deliver! I wrote all the names in mechanical pencil on high quality notebook paper, then I folded each one up into a tiny square and placed them in a bright green bucket.

Then I asked my faithful and over-paid assistants to pick a name from the bucket. They enjoyed the process so much that we decided to pick another!






Please notice in the picture to your right that Buddy Love, household icon of a dog, had to get in on the fun. And David's eyes are closed. But I am pressed for time and not into staging photos.

So... the winner(s) are : Alisha and Amy! Shoot me an email (crazymamacreations@ymail.com) after you've adequately perused the selections and let me know what you want me to send you! Even more, if you have a favorite verse you'd like me to design one especially for you in your favorite color, let me know!

Thanks so much to each and every one of you for playing this little game with me! I look forward to doing it again in the future. And I look forward to doing a non-washer related post tomorrow when I pick my next verse for the Memory Challenge! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement and support with me on this latest adventure!!!

Humbled...

Can I just say that I have been completely humbled by the support I've received over the last two days?!?! By my bloggy friends, by perfect strangers, by my face-to-face friends, family... the list goes on and on. And I want to thank each and every one of you. I wish I had the words to describe the feelings swelling up inside my soul, but there are none quite adequate enough. None. In the words of the grandma on Hope Floats (please tell me you love that movie, too!) spoken in the most beautiful Southern drawl... My cup runneth over!

I know I promised a post on why I chose the words I did for some of the pieces and the special verses that go along with them, but I have something else to share. It hit me while I was making the bed yesterday morning, putting the fresh sheets on for the week. I got to thinking about the process of creating one of these necklaces.

It all begins with a metal washer. Nothing fancy. Flat, about 2 inches in diameter, silver, and with a stinking hole in the middle. I wished I knew the first person who ever looked at it and said, "You know what... that would make a great pendant!" And I wish I had the kind of mind that could have seen it without being shown. To be honest, when I held one in my hand for the first time, I didn't think it could amount to much of anything. But once you've glued a circle of pretty paper and stamped a special word and poured on a layer of epoxy to make is shiny as glass ~ well, now you've got something completely one of a kind and beautiful.

That's where it hit me... that's what God has done for me. He started with something so small, a little cell which would become the 30-something mom I am today. {Psalm 139} He infused His mighty power and called me by name and claimed me as His. {Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine... Isaiah 43:1b}

Then, somewhere along the way, He covered me in His Son's blood. I can't tell you the very moment I was saved. Some would say that it was the night I was baptized at Dalraida Church of Christ in when I was seven. I'm not so sure I understood it then nor appreciated it at all as I had nothing to be saved from during those times besides talking ugly to my brothers if they ate the last Oreo in the pantry. If I had to pick a time in my life when I first felt saved, it would be last Spring. I felt redeemed, reclaimed, refreshed, repurposed. And I felt loved by a being greater than any other being in the universe.

The part of the washer process I am in right now is the epoxy phase. This, my friends, is the most tricky. See, when I mix the epoxy, it gets all these tiny bubbles in it. The folks I ordered it from say it's self-releasing, which basically means all those bubbles are supposed to rise to the top and release. For the most part, that's true. But I have to check on it periodically to make sure, and I stand over those almost complete washers with a needle popping the bubbles that refuse to release themselves. Once that epoxy is dry, it looks like glass (my precious David, whose questions never cease to amuse me even at nearly ten years of age, asked me, "How'd you get that glass on there, mama?"). Clear. Shiny. Indelible. I soaked one of them in water for HOURS because I didn't like the way it turned out, and it never gave way.

I am so imperfect... I make so many mistakes... I fall so very short most every day of my life. But I am thankful for a God who has a process lined up for me. And I rest on the faith that I will be so shiny and beautiful when He's done with me. And that just makes me smile.

Check back later today for the winner of the drawing from the comments I received!!!! I am going to do it up real PROFESSIONAL and all, complete with photos to prove it! Thanks again, y'all!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thinking outside of the box...


{Deep breath in........ and exhale.}

Notice the word to your left ~ FAITH. This entire post is a huge leap off a bridge for me...

The past few weeks have looked a little different around the Crazy Mama casa. A little less laundry has been done. Toilets haven't been quite as sparkly fresh as usual. I've seen the hubs look around when he returned home from a long day at the car lot... I hear the thoughts running around in his head... what the heck has she been doing around here all day????


I've been making jewelry. Out of metal washers. And paper. And mixing two part epoxy (which happens to be the coolest liquid substance on earth besides water). And making necklaces from suede and hemp. Go figure.

Talk about thinking outside the box. The box happens to be relatively small and green in color and heavier than it looks, and it contains 100 metal washers that are like blank canvases to me. I can't take credit for the idea; there are several sellers showcasing these pendants on Etsy, and the general idea was revealed to me from my neighbor who is embarking on a jewelry journey of her own. But once I saw it and realized what I could do... well, my mind hasn't stopped spinning since then. Literally. Some spinning happens to be good; too much is exhausting and scary. I've had mostly the latter, but today, I am so super excited to show my bloggy friends what I've been working on that the insecurity that I won't sell a single piece I've made is melting like the snow in the sun.

So check me out on one of the coolest websites around, Etsy, in my own personal shop, CrazyMamaCreations. If you forget where I'm selling, you can click on the coordinating page on my blog (up there in the right hand corner). I'll be posting here about new stuff and any special packages and promotions I am offering.

Oh, I was so excited that I almost forgot to mention that I want you to have a special piece of you own ~ FOR FREE!!!! Leave a comment on this post before midnight on Wednesday, March 30th, and I'll enter your name in a drawing to receive a piece of jewelry of your choice from the selections in my Etsy shop! Link to my shop in a post on your blog and I'll put your name in the hat TWO more times (that would be a total of three chances to win)!!!! Simply shoot me an email (find it on my Contact page above) with a link to your post if you choose to link my blog.

Happy browsing! Hope you like what I've done so far... there are so many more ideas swimming around in my CRAZY head!!! Stay posted! And tomorrow, I promise a post with a little more depth, like the reasons for the words, the verses behind the pieces, and what each means to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not consumed...

My Facebook status for the day is: The things of this earth may not be perfect, but I serve a God who is.

So true, right?

Life's not perfect, often times not pretty, and never turns out the way we plan it. But I happen to believe in a God that can turn any situation around for good if we step back and let Him do it. Some people out there in the world may find that belief absurd, but I happen to base my life on it these days. There were times, when I was younger, that, even though I believed in God, I may not have believed He cared about me, longed for me, craved to bathe me in His mercy. I was lost then, and now I'm not. I am refreshed in God's grace, sins wiped clean with Jesus' blood. I am human, and He loves that about me, and He's willing to take every single part of me and turn it into something beautiful.

So, cancer sucks and happens to be part of that whole not perfect part of my life. But cancer is not of God. (I'll be honest; the English major and mother in me hates the word sucks. But when it comes to discussion of cancer, there are other much more inappropriate words and colorful phrases I'd rather use, so I stick to sucks.) So what I can deem from my humble attempts at reading God's word is that He can take this experience of my mother having cancer and make some good come through it. Perhaps like panning for gold ~ in the midst of all this debris and silt and downright dirtiness there are little shiny bits that may need a bit of refining to be of value but are there none the less. That's the thought I am resting in today.

The results of my mother's scan were not as good as we hoped they may be. But, they weren't as bad as they could have been. The spots on her liver have grown, but there are no new spots to report. The fluid around her lung has returned. These two things show the doctor that the second treatment regimen was not effective in fighting the cancer. Yesterday they administered a new medicine via injection, and she will be monitored monthly to access her status. There are other options her doctor wants to try first before resorting to chemo for obvious reasons.

So, there's my clinical discussion of the results. I can't say that I can really describe my emotional reaction to the news. Anytime someone you love as dearly as I love my mother is ill, there are a wide range of emotions you encounter. Yesterday, I sorta felt a numbness. But that's a state I've perfected in my life, a place I've learned to go internally when I don't know what else to do with the feelings swirling inside of me.

What a blessing that I have been doing this memory challenge this year. I've got these six verses inside my head that are ministering to me constantly, even though I can't recite them perfectly or tell you the exact chapter and verse. But this one from Lamentations speaks the most to me today:

Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:21&22

We are not consumed. Not by cancer. Not by nastiness. Not by depression or fear or anxiety. We may be shaken. We may be a little deflated. But we are definitely NOT consumed.

God tells me in Isaiah:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

Let me paraphrase the verse in Isaiah: you will not be consumed nor overtaken.

God never promised perfect. He didn't promise pretty and nice all the time. But He did promise He'd be with me. And, to be honest, He's the only thing that's keeping my head above the water and my skin from setting on fire at this point. He's the one perfect thing in my life. And He will never fail me. He has provided me an amazing web of support, and I am so grateful.

Please continue to pray for my mother and the doctors that treat her. And for our family as we learn to depend fully on God for the faith and supernatural rest only He can provide our souls.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Little Comforts

I am drinking my coffee from my favorite mug this morning. If you opened up my {messy} cabinet to look over my small collection of coffee mugs, you would never pick my favorite on your own.

Your first guess, if you knew my very well, would be the Winnie the Pooh mug my dearest friend in the whole wide world sent me this year for my birthday. It says, "Friends stick with you until you're unstuck." Though I love it, that one's not my fave. I am not sure how many ounces it holds, but I have to have three of them to equal what I normally drink in one morning, and that just makes me feel like I have some sort of coffee issue.

Your second choice would probably be the real pretty one my mother gave me at Christmas in 2009, just after we discovered her cancer had returned. The words Love one another are beautifully scripted on it's side, and it sits up on a little pedestal in more of a tea cup style. It is one of my favorites to look at, but the rim of the mug is a little thick for drinking. So that disqualifies it as being my favorite.

My favorite happens to be a creamy-white mug with a red handle and a holly sprig on either side. Yes, it's a Christmas mug that I drink out of year round. I paid $2 for it about four years ago at Walmart when I was looking for inexpensive teacher's gifts. There are so many little details that make it my favorite. It happens to be the just-right thickness to keep my coffee the perfect temperature, holds just the right amount, and the coffee just tastes better in it. Is that possible? For coffee to taste better out of this mug than from that mug?

Don't get me wrong; I use all the mugs in my cupboard. But there are certain mornings I am drawn to that favorite. On mornings like this one when I am anxious and needing a warm hug, my $2 Christmas coffee cup provides a little fraction of that comfort. This might sound absurd, but it's my truth.

This morning, I find myself wanting to surround myself in comfort. I'd like to completely check out for the day, turn my brain off and flip the switch back on later today once the radiologists and oncologist have gone over my mother's scans and given the report. But, unfortunately, that's not the way life works. Wouldn't it be grand if we could transport our self to a comforting place? To that proverbial happy place in our minds? Most people say their happy place is tropical with warm breeze and the sound of ocean waves in the background. But, if I had to pick a happy place, it would be vastly different from most others.

Here's my happy place of comfort in my mind, a place I wish I could visit every now and then, but life situation and reality make it impossible...
I am lying in my parents' queen size bed in their master bedroom in our {old} house on Walbash Drive, two fluffy pillows under my head, covers up to my neck, warm and tight. My mom is lying on her side, her classic olive green Tupperware tumbler on the night stand beside her filled with ice water. Dateline or 20/20 or Primetime or something of the like is on. We are watching mindlessly, chatting and mulling over life effortlessly as we absorb the details of the story unfolding before us on the screen. We are physically comfortable and equally emotionally cozy. We can talk or not talk, and if we choose to say something, we don't have to worry about how it comes out or whether our opinion matches the other's.

That's the most comfortable place I've ever been. it may not make sense to anyone else out there, but it makes perfect sense to me. It's a place that doesn't even exist anymore ~ my parents moved from that home nearly seven years ago. But it's a set-up that existed long before we moved to that house on Walbash Drive. In fact, we did that in every house we lived in, and there were many over the years. And that's exactly where I'd go if I could check myself out for the day and go anywhere... but I can't.

So, where do I go today? Where do I transport myself while I am waiting and wondering and going through the motions of the day? I will look to the hills...

I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep.
The LORD watches over you - the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.
(Psalm 121)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miracles...

Do you believe in miracles?

I ask the question to you, the reader, as I ponder my own answer. I believe the miracles of the Bible. I believe in a God that is capable of miracles even in today's world, though I have never experienced one first hand. I have certain areas of my life in which I'd like to see the miraculous hand of God at work. So, there's my round-about answer.

A few weeks ago, I decided to start in Matthew and read through the New Testament again. I remember loving Matthew, specifically the chronicle of all the miracles Jesus performed. On Saturday, I sat down for a little slice of quiet time out on the back porch underneath the deck, and received such a nice little blessing. This is what I read:

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed." Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment. Matthew 9:20-22

If only I touch his cloak...
Oh, my... how I relate to this feeling. I'm behind Him, trying to catch up, trying to get nearer, closer, in the presence of... I am just close enough to touch the very edge of His cloak... not as close as I should be, need to be, want to be... not as close as the good Christians who make it to church every Sunday and don't drink Captain Morgan... I'm the no-name, nondescript woman who just wants to touch Him... and He turns and notices me, and calls me daughter... He knows I believe in Him, that I love Him, that I long to honor Him with all He's given me... He knows what's in my heart, where I've been and why, what I need... and He heals me.

This is why I love the miracles ~ this is how we can come to know Jesus a little better. He's wide open. He's right there and ready and willing to heal, even the lady behind Him that barely touches His cloak. I love reading about the way Jesus took away infirmities and burdens with just a word from His mouth. It's fascinating to me.

Ironically, it's scan week for my family. For my mom. She'll return to her oncologist on Thursday for scans and tests ~ the first since December. A miracle would be great. But, I must admit, I'd be happy with just good news... for no growth or new spots, for shrinkage of what has been there. In a way, a miracle has already been worked in my heart; my faith in Jesus has enabled me to know that my mom rests comfortably in His large hand, fully wrapped in that powerful cloak. Fully wrapped, warm and cozy, completely encompassed in His amazing power and love. He could choose to heal her, to wipe out her cancer completely if He saw fit. I believe that. But He sees ahead with clearer vision, whereas mine is clouded with things of this earth. He knows the beginning and the end and all the meaty middle, and He loves her more than I do. And so I pray, and I ask you to pray along with me.

Funny when you pray for someone you love so dearly. It's different. My prayers about my mom are less structured, more like a train of thought. I have quit trying to compile my desires and requests into complete sentences when it comes to my mom. He knows what I desire before my lips can form the words, so what's the point? They free flow throughout the day, and I now understand the concept of prayer without ceasing. It's not the prayer that closes out the Sunday evening service. There are no key words or phrases to hit. It's open dialogue between me and my Creator. Sometimes it's hard. But I know He understands. See ~ that's a miracle in and of itself, in more than one way.

I wonder how many reading these words right now are like me. Are stretching out their hand to touch His cloak. Keep stretching {I know I am!}, and know that He knows. And feel free to leave a comment if you have a special prayer request I can add to my list. I love to know that others are praying for my mother, and so I'd love to have the opportunity to pray over something important to you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Focus

I am a little (self-diagnosed) ADD. Well, maybe a lot. Oooooohhh... did you see that bird that just flew by? How pretty. Oh, I was saying...

I get distracted quite easily. Like in all areas of life. On Saturday, I thought to myself, "Hey... I'll take the big potted plants back outside and out of the garage. My husband will be sooooo impressed that I did that..." I got started moving them out, bruised tailbone and all, and even cleared out the dead foliage, cleaning out the leaves that had collected at the base of the palms, and cutting away stalks that were missing their pretty leaves. I think I got three of the six pots out onto the driveway and into the sun's rays when I lost track. Something else grabbed my attention; I don't even remember what. Probably a child. Most likely a child needing food or drink or hug to make a boo-boo better. An hour later, I walked back into the garage to find the three remaining plants still in the shade and hurried to finish the task before the hubs got home from work.

I've been thinking a lot about my verse this past week. About seeking His kingdom and His righteousness. About how in my pursuit of those things, I am so easily distracted ~ by disappointments of this world, by temptations and worries, by fear. I am reminding myself today to keep my focus on Him. Not on a friend that didn't turn out to be who I wished they were, not on the stack of bills that never seems any shorter, not on the whining six year old who won't give me a minute's peace. Focus in on His kingdom... how can I advance it, even if it's just under my roof? His righteousness... how can I strive to be more like who He wants me to be? What do I need to cling to, what should I break away from, and what are the things that are keeping my attention away from God?

The past year has been full of earthly disappointments. People have let me down. My faith has continually been tested through dealing with my mother's illness. The economy continues to be a swinging pendulum of inconsistency. I have wasted countless hours in fret over all these issues and more. About the people in my circle... about the spots on my mom's liver... about the mortgage and our reducing property value... about the rising price of coffee and gas... about all the things that I can't control or do anything about. These worries and disappointments become a hindrance in my quest for the Lord, and I have to find a way to stop that cycle.

If I remain in a state of seeking God's kingdom, righteousness, and {dare I add in} will for my life, then the earthly disappointments won't stop me from my forward movement. Maybe I'll turn my head or make mention of them or mourn their existence, but they shouldn't steal my attention away from my ultimate focus.

I want to focus more on honoring God, which, I will painfully admit, I fall short of quite regularly. Just because I am able to string a few words together eloquently at times doesn't mean that in most circumstances in life that I honor my Creator. In fact, I feel like I don't represent what's in my heart enough in the face to face moments. It's easier for me to be transparent and honest and forthcoming here in the blogoshpere than to the people I come in contact with regularly. I find that many situations present themselves in which I could challenge someone to think more about who God would want them to be, but I allow my own shortcomings to prevent me from doing so. Yet another distraction. It's a vicious cycle.

I think the moral of this post, for me, is that I need to focus more on focusing on God and less on the distractions of this world.

Focus.

Maybe I need glasses. But I guess that's where Jesus comes in handy, right?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham

If you caught my last post, you may have gathered that I was having a bit of a rough day on the home front. I hate those days ~ the ones where you feel like your patience is worn thin and barren in spots though your kids are never short on shoulder shrugs in your direction and rolling eyes.

Last night, Scott and I had added some stuff to the pool water in our humble attempts to get it looking not-cloudy again, and then we sat down at the glass top table outside enjoying the spring evening. The weather was superb, and the stars were brilliant. Out walks Madalyn. Grrrrrrr.

"Mama... can I read you this book? Green Eggs and Ham. I can read it ALL BY MYSELF. Come on... yet's read it." {Sweet thing still says yet's for let's, and it stops my heart every time I hear it.}

It was one of those moments where I wanted to scream, "I do not want to read a book; I will not, will not with a hook!" But I looked at her little skinny frame, so long and narrow, remembering the day that I sat with David as he read the exact same copy of the children's classic. Seems like just yesterday when I stop to think about it. How is it possible that she can read now? I was afraid that if I did not listen to Madalyn read and dared to blink my eyes, one of the grandchildren would come be-bopping out that door with the same book in their hand.

So, I obliged.

I am so glad I did.

Why is it so hard to slow down? Why is being a mother so difficult? Why are children so impossible these days? These are questions I will take to the pearly gates with me and tug on God's sleeve until He answers me. I am sure my Heavenly Father will not be irritated with me at all.

Yesterday, the onslaught of aggravation from my children included, "I want a cell phone! When can I get a cell phone? You're so mean! Everything is so unfair! Everybody else in the whole wide world has a cell phone! I'm bored! There's nothing to do. Why don't we have any candy? You didn't go to the store and buy us candy??!!?? We want to swim. You're so mean because you won't let us swim in the murky 68 degree water!" (There's more in any given day, but those are just the highlights from yesterday.) I was ready to run... I think I made that clear yesterday. And then Madalyn brought me a book I really didn't want to read but I no longer had to read it myself. She read it to me.

And then I heard this little quiet voice inside me saying, "I will give you the patience you need if you will slow yourself down to appreciate these things." And then I had to swallow the large lump and fight back tears as my daughter proudly read the whole book (with some assistance on certain words, of course) by herself.

It's flying by. The time. They're growing up. So fast. I love them dearly. Thank you, Lord.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ready to Run

Today is just one of those days when I'd like to throw my hands up and tell the kids, "You know what... help yourself to the contents of the fridge and pantry, and tell your Daddy I may or may not be back in a few days! See ya!" But, of course, I wouldn't allow myself to act upon the thought. But the thought is still there. How I am just tired of this place and these kids. How I'd like to fly solo for a day. How I'd love to smush some body's head in with my bare hands (and I am not even pre-menstrual right now, y'all!).

Yesterday, I dug through five large boxes of old cell phones and chargers counting, checking for batteries, and taking note of what kind of shape they were in. My son's baseball team is collecting old phones to send in for recycling to raise money for our tournament fees ~ in other words, the parents are pulling the work on yet another fundraiser. I was up to my elbows in cell phones laden with other people's germs and lots of dust. Good times. But we are 128 phones in the positive which promises to be profitable for the team.

Then, I spent a little over an hour in the car driving my fantastic son to meet his cousin to spend the night, only to turn around this morning at 9:30 and make the same drive so he could be back in time for his 10:30 practice that was sprung on us at the last minute.

My head is killing me. Too much Sudafed, apparently too little water, and my sinuses are still rivaling against me.

After practice, we get literally yards from the house, my head is pounding, and Madalyn screeches, "MY HAMPSTER!!! I LEFT MY HAMPSTER!!!!" She had left her little zhu-zhu pet on top of one of the tables at the ball field, and she was in complete freak out mode. I told her to relax, that I'd turn around and we'd go get it. I hear an immediate heavy sigh from David.

"What is wrong with you, David?"
"I don't wanna go back." Turns his mouth up in this pout that he has perfected in nine years.
"Well, I don't either, but I am trying to be nice by going back to find her toy she left."
Another heavy sigh complete with the other look he has mastered... this pre-pubescent I am so completely over you look that I'd like to smack right off his little precious freckled face. If the law allowed me to, that is.
"Are you serious, David? Are you serious right now??? If you give me attitude one more time on the way home, I am putting you out on the side of the road and you can just walk the rest of the way home."

No... to answer your question, David is NOT somewhere on the side of the road sweating and thumbing a ride right now. Instead of giving me attitude, he burst into tears. Is almost ten too young to be hormonally imbalanced? I mean, he has emotional outbursts equivalent to a 15 year old girl.

It's never enough. I never do the right thing. If I am pleasing one, the other is in a tizzy with me. They are never both in a good mood at the same time. And did I mention that it feels like the devil himself is squeezing the blood vessels inside my brain with his hot little fingers? Cause it does. And I am not certain I am thinking rationally right now because of it.

I think I speak for all moms out there when I say that we just all need a break from time to time. Right now, I need a break from a 9 year old attitude. Or perhaps I would just like to see a little gratitude from him and that would make things feel a wee bit better. Or perhaps I need those three ibuprofen I just took to kick in and knock the edge off this head ache before I hurt someone. Or run away.

Scott... if I'm not home when you get home, don't come looking... oh, honey, you know I'm only kidding! Sort of...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The fog is lifting...

The fog is clearing in my head, and I actually feel like a real person today complete with functioning nose and an oxygen count in the upper 90's.

About three years ago, I discovered Simply Saline when I had the nastiest case of strep ever. Seems like that time, when the strep bacteria got done having a party in my throat, they decided to check out my sinuses. I believe the conditions there were incredibly favorable, and the entire strep family decided to colonize there. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't blow the stuff out, and it wouldn't drain down. I was beyond miserable. My mom suggested I try to flush it out, which sounds disgusting now, but at the time, I was in such a state that if someone had told me to stick a blow torch up my left nostril and watch the flames come out the right, I would have tried it.

Anywho ~ it was then that I discovered the benefits of flushing out the sinuses. I only thought delivering a baby was a rite of passage into adulthood; that's nothing in comparison to delivering what I blew out of my nose that first time I used Simply Saline. And that's all I will say about that. So, for the past few days, I have self prescribed the following regimen: Sudafed, Allegra, ibuprofen, and saline flushes twice a day. I am happy to report that I am feeling fantastic as compared to my state on Monday. Hallelujah!

Hard to believe it's Thursday already and that Spring Break has come and nearly gone. Of course, it's been nice to sleep in and not have to get the kids rushed out the door for school, but I will relish the moment on Monday morning when I am able to take claim of the house once again. How I love the quiet of the house when I am the only one here.

I haven't written this week at all on my novel, but I have composed an article for another opportunity to earn a scholarship to the She Speaks Conference. I will revise it today and submit it this afternoon or in the morning. At first, when I saw that an article was required for submission, I thought, "But I don't write articles. I write fiction. I can't do that..." But then God said, "Excuse me, sweet daughter... you can write anything." Don't you love when the voice of God is louder than the demeaning thoughts Satan would rather you hear? I am trying so hard lately to listen to Him, to know that He believes in me, that He loves me, and that He can make all things possible. So, we'll see what happens. If it's meant to be, it will be. If not, then there's always next year. I will not rush or press or push... I will relax and let things happen.

So, that's what's going on in my world! Hope every one enjoys this beautiful weather today!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seek...

I'm down right now. Physically down. Sick. Just some sort of upper-respiratory thing that I am certain sitting out in the wind and damp cold of a Saturday evening at the ball park contributed to as well as the budding of Spring. The Bradford pears which were white with buds just last week are slowly turning the most brilliant granny smith apple green. My favorite little tree in out yard (and I have no clue as to what kind it is!) has millions of little fuzzy spouts that I know become tiny long slivers of leaves. The grass is beginning to find its way up toward the sun through the dried remnants of last year's life. Spring is here, and my sinuses have finally realized it. Enough said about that.

The last twenty-four hours I've had this internal debate going on... how do I determine the will of God as it relates to me? How? I am human ~ I have my wants, desires, dreams. God is perfect ~ He knows what I need, the exact path I should take, what my next step should be. So how do I merge the two? Where does the voice of God begin and the desire of my heart end? Where do the two intersect?

I've always heard that little voice inside of me, but along the way, I ignored it so many times. Looking back, it's clear to see that the voice was trying to save me from heartache, from obstacles in His path for me. Now that I am older and trying to tune myself into God more, I still find myself confused and questioning, "Which way do I go???"

Right now, specifically, I am struggling with this conference I'd like to attend in July. I'm looking at a total expense of $1000 (if not slightly more) for the conference and traveling. And I don't know about anyone else out there, but that's a whopping tally for this family! I took advantage of a scholarship opportunity (along with 300 other people) and was not selected. Honestly, I was slightly disappointed just because of that whole they didn't pick me thing, but I realized when I entered that God may find a need much greater than mine... He may see that someone out there is more spiritually ready and at that perfect point in their life to go and reap maximum benefits. All that being said, I find myself asking is this the Lord telling me this is not the year for me to go?

Last week, I decided to begin in Matthew and read straight through the New Testament again. I did this back in the fall of 2001 when I wanted to find out what the Bible had to say, and I have reread several books since then, but I wanted to re-examine the New Testament as a 34 year old woman. So, in my reading last week, I ran across an incredibly familiar verse to this little Church of Christ preacher's daughter, and I find it fitting as my memory verse for the Siesta Scripture Challenge in light of what's spinning around in my mind these days.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 33-34

I have always enjoyed the thought of the words of Jesus, and the Sermon on the Mount is literally chocked full of his advice on nearly everything. In this particular passage, the all these things he referenced were earthly worries - what to eat, drink, wear. I guess, if I wanted to make it quite personal for my life, I could substitute in bills, clothes and shoes for these growing children, and anything else that is of this world. I certainly fret over a lot of it, whether I want to admit it or not. And Jesus is telling me that I need not worry about all that stuff if I am seeking Him. Don't worry about tomorrow; take care of today.

In the past week, when my mind has started to get bogged down with unnecessary junk, I've heard that still voice say to me, "Just keep moving forward." So, I think I'll listen to that. I think the quieter and more still the voice, the more likely it is to be of God. The less complicated, the less anticipatory of tomorrow, the more focused it sounds, the more likely it's from divine vocal chords. I keep allowing my vision to be clouded by all my expectations, plans, worries, anxieties, inadequacies instead of turning to prayer and the Scripture and trying to find Him.

I can't say that this post has made a whole lot of sense to anyone else in the world but me. I'll blame that partially on Sudafed and partially on the fact that my mind operates in a totally different way than anyone other of God's creations, and that's one thing I totally love about myself. I think, for me, getting down to the basics of trusting and seeking God will keep me busy for quite some time and help me focus some of my swirling internal energy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to blow my nose.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm awake...

I'm awake, and I shouldn't be. No one should be awake at 4AM unless there's a crying baby in the house or they're sick. But I am.

I just paid some bills online. Changed our cell phone plan. Haven't checked Facebook yet, but that's next. Blogging always trumps Facebook.

I have a lot on my mind tonight. We've got our first baseball tournament tomorrow (or today, depending on how your brain processes time), and I am a little excited/anxious about that. Making the move to kid pitch is a big jump, and I love all these boys as though we all have common DNA. I'm also feeling a little pressure to get a necklace done to wear at the ball park... a really cute baseball mom pendant that I feel certain I could get a couple of sales for just by modeling it at the ball park all weekend. Or, at least, I hope.

And then there's the writing. The urge to punch the keys.

Mainly on Friday I wrestled with this voice inside my head... you can't do it, it'll never work, what are you thinking, you're way too inadequate to pull it off... I hate that voice. Hate it. I know it's not nice to hate, but I hate that. Hate that tiny little whisper of doubt that ends up amplified somehow in my head and billows over the voice of the Almighty.

So, I tried to rest in my verse today... May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

That's called the 4AM Crazy Mama paraphrase, so don't hold me to an exact quote at this juncture. And I can't even remember the chapter and verse right now, but I know it's in Romans. But I am so thankful to have had this verse in my little head today... funny how God helped me pick out the verse He knew I needed before I even realized it myself.

I am listening to the little snores and snoozes of my littlest one in her room. And if that doesn't tickle my soul, then nothing does. I love my kids. I love my hardworking, honest husband. And I am so very thankful for what God has done for us in the past couple of years. Very thankful indeed.

Okay... I am off to bed to ponder the hope of the Holy Spirit instead of that list of bills that needed to be paid... hopefully I won't lie there making jewelry in my mind or writing the next chapter of my novel. Time for sleep...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jingle Jangle

As I picked up Madalyn's backpack to put the check for her lunch account in her folder, I heard a little jingle jangle of change. Funny sound because cash is virtually obsolete at our elementary school. Lunch money is dispersed electronically via a super-cool little keypad, and each child has their own unique pin code. The only cash one sees in the lunchroom is for the occasional ice cream sandwich or the poor visiting parent that hasn't learned the just sit there and not eat trick and actually pays $4 for a meal. I digress...

So Madalyn's backpack is jingling like my granddaddy's pockets, and I put my hand into the side pocket to investigate. She's got about a dollar's worth of loose change, and I quickly called out to her, "Madalyn, where did you get all this change?" Her big brown eyes tell me she'd rather not discuss it, but after I ask again, she finally replies, "Darwin gave it to me. You know - I told you he likes me."

Madalyn is that girl... the one that walks in a room and takes ownership of it, not necessarily on purpose or by controlling things. She just has a way about her, a certain magnetism that people of all ages are drawn toward though they don't understand quite why. She is beautiful, no doubt, and I would obviously think it even if she really wasn't because I'm her Mama. But it's more than her outer shell... it's something about how she is. I can't quite put my finger on it. And I dare say that poor Darwin can't either, or he wouldn't have dumped the contents of his change cup into her tiny palm.

I never was that girl. I was timid, insecure, scared to be seen or heard in a crowd, terrified to ask a question or make a request. So watching the fruit of my womb skirt so easily through life stuns me, leaves me questioning how in the world does one parent a force such as that. But I suppose I'll figure it out along the way. This morning, I told her that if anyone wanted to give her money again to politely decline ~ tell them thank you, but why don't they buy them self an ice cream at lunch or save it. I don't know what else to tell her, and I can't say that she'll heed my advice, but you see the route I am trying to take with her. I don't want my daughter to be that girl that learns to take advantage of other people, especially not in kindergarten.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Oh, Heavenly Father... help me to be the kind of mother she needs and teach her how to be your girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dryer...

My dryer is on the fritz. Great. I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago when a few loads weren't quite dry when the dryer indicated they were. You know, just the waistband of the little jeans and a couple of socks, not the whole load. No big deal, I thought. Just toss them back in for a little more tumble time. Only it kept happening. Again and again.

I guess my dryer has done all I ever could have expected. We purchased it on my lunch break on a very cold early January day. Or was it late December? I can't remember which. We were in the midst of purchasing our first home in Montgomery, Alabama. I was preggers with my little man who is now old enough to be away at 4H camp for two whole nights without his mama. I met Scott at Sears where we purchased a refrigerator, coincidentally the very same one that sits in my kitchen today, and the dryer on one of those year with no interest plans. The we went over to West, a place that has since gone out of business, and picked out a washer on the bump and scratch row, and we paid cash for that little jewel.

I recall vividly how my heart had permanently taken up residence in my throat during those days. We were still classified as newlyweds having only been married a little over a year and not having dated all that long before our betrothal. I was still getting to know and getting used to him, and he to me. We were both young and very stupid. And I was pregnant and very terrified, and I think my spouse shared in that emotion as well.

Looking back in my mind, I barely recognize that girl that walked around looking at appliances for the first time while crunching the numbers in her head. Can we make it work? Can we afford the house AND the appliances we need in the house AND the power it will take to run the appliances AND this baby in my belly that will surely want to eat? And I think there were still so many questions in my heart... Who am I? Who will I be when I become mother? Can I really be his wife? Can we really make all of this work?

So that was eleven years ago. Wow. When I think of all the loads that little Whirpool dryer has tossed, I am amazed. From tiny little onesies to muddy baseball pants, from little pink washcloths to Justin Bieber tee shirts, from Capitol Chevrolet polo shirts to Moore Nissan pullovers, from size 4 (for a very short stint in 2003 when I got so super skinny) capris to size 10 jeans... my word, that little dryer has been worth every penny of the $300 or $400 dollars we paid for it so very long ago.

And somehow, we did make it all work. We're still tumbling sometimes on high heat, sometimes low, but always tossing and turning and preparing for that next load of laundry.

And apparently I'll be dryer shopping as soon as that Federal Tax refund hits the account. Good times. At least I'm NOT pregnant this time...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take Two

I started writing a post this morning, but shortly into it, I realized I wasn't making much sense. I am running on what feels like minutes of sleep, and I could barely keep my eyes open this morning. The first clap of thunder sounded at 12:30, and the pitter patter of Madalyn's feet came seconds thereafter. No matter what, if she hears thunder, she's in the bed with Mama and Daddy before you can count to ten with no Mississippis in between.

So, after tossing and turning and trying for three solid hours to share my spot in the bed with the a six year old, I gave up and took up my spot on the couch. Not much better, but at least I wasn't hanging on for dear life to the edge of the bed. I think I got a few hours, but not of solid sleep.

I had the pleasure of getting out into the real world of traffic this morning complete with heavy rain and road flooding so that I could drop David off at school with his sleeping bag and full over sized duffel bag. He is currently at the 4H Camp in Columbiana, Alabama looking for worms, touching snakes, learning about conservation, and, in general, enjoying NOT being in a classroom. On Friday, he'll return only to begin a week of spring break, and, to be honest, it was perfectly timed this year. Both my kids are just over school, so I am looking forward to sleeping in and having little to no plans. Oh, and no kindergarten reading logs.

It was a little strange to drop my son off and know I will not speak to him or see him until 1:00 on Friday. Actually, I have struggled with him going more so than I thought I would. It's hard for Mama to let go, to imagine him picking up his dirty clothes off the floor and placing them in the garbage bag I provided, to believe that he is old enough to make it without me for two whole days. Crazy. Seems like just yesterday he was spitting up on me every five minutes, and though those days were tough, they were nothing compared to dropping him off for two days at camp. I miss the stinky little boy already.

So today I have been busy at work on some jewelry... oops... did I just say that? I let the cat out of the bag too soon! Just a little teaser... hope to get a bunch of options ready in the next couple of weeks. And then I'll be announcing the opening of my very own Etsy shop! I can't wait to show you some of my ideas! Stay tuned in to see them and for a chance to win something from my shop for free! I've been praying and praying and thinking and brainstorming and trying things and coming up with ideas, and I think I've come up with some concepts that lots of you out there will love! Keep me in your prayers!

That's all for this rainy, dreary day. I think I am about to go bathe the dog. I was in the garage, which has become my makeshift workshop, and kept smelling something very unpleasant... it was Buddy. Figured it out. It's way past time for some freshening up. So here we go...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shine...

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Lysa TerKeurst tickled the bottom of the feet of my little soul yesterday by offering a scholarship opportunity to the She Speaks Conference this July. When I read over the details, my soul literally bubbled up in giggles, and the wheels of my mind began to spin. I have been praying and thinking and dreaming of attending the conference this summer for the past couple of months after a little bird put a whisper in my ear... Have you ever thought about attending the She Speaks conference?

The answer was an emphatic, "Nope." First things first, I am not a speaker. And I am so immature in my faith and struggling to discover exactly who God wants me to be in my daily life that I can't even fathom taking on the role of any type of spiritual leadership. But God kept poking His finger in my side, right into that little roll over he waist of my jeans. Arise. Shine. Write.

When I looked into the conference, I was delighted to find they offer three tracks ~ speaking, writing, and leadership. I scanned through the different sessions that were offered for the writer's track last year and knew it was right where I needed to be. By the end of July, I will have one finished manuscript, and I have at least five more swimming around in my head at all times of the day. The plot lines and characters come alive in the strangest moments... 3AM when I am tossing from one side to the other, when I am scrubbing the dishes, and when I cleaning the toilets. I have these voices, these lovely flawed women in my mind that are crying to come out and teach through their fictional lives, to better show the love, forgiveness, and grace found in my Lord and Savior.

I have finally come to a point in my life that I accept I have been given a talent, and it's writing. In the past year, the call to write has become such a strong desire in my heart. But not to write just anything; I long to write novels that will touch women in the un-obvious ways, that will make them stop and think, that can demonstrate God's amazing love for us all, this perfect, unending, deep love that we will never find in anything or anyone else. I look forward to the day that I can carry around copies of my own novels and leave one on the booth at a restaurant, in the chair at the dentist office, or on the table at Chic-fil-A right outside that germy indoor playroom knowing that my story can touch the life of most any woman that picks it up and chooses to read it, and that it will draw them closer to God in some way. Those are big dreams, but I am kind of tired of dreaming little...

No matter whether I win the scholarship or not, I will be there in July. Somehow. I had already planned on registering this Friday when our tax refund comes in, but the Good Lord knows we have a major household repair that cannot be avoided and need to reserve the rest for the down months of the car business. I also have full faith that God has orchestrated this incredibly beautiful and perfect plan ahead of me to get me there... I can't see all the details yet, but I rest on the faith I have in Him. So I am doing my part in writing this post, by dropping my name in the pot of consideration for the scholarship, as well as looking into a creative business adventure that I hope can pull in some extra cash for use around the household in the months to come.

Bottom line is this: I feel the LORD rising upon me right now. I feel it. He rises upon me, He's over me, through me, inside me, all around me. He's got His loving hand in every part of my life. I am so completely and utterly unworthy of any of it, so flawed and imperfect, so damaged and cracked on the outside, but I know that His light can shine through all of that. And I am excited at the thought of spending two days with other women that feel the same as I do learning more about how I can effectively shape my words and thoughts to spread the love of God around.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh, my aching coccyx!

Me + roller skates = NOT GOOD

Today is not a lesson in math, more so one on what not to do at a ten year old roller skating party when your son is one of two boys present and the other happens to look like he trained with those interesting looking roller derby gals. Kids don't really skate much these days, at least not in our part of the world. When I was young, skating parties were a big deal, and we went skating a lot on the weekends and for youth group stuff. It was a part of our life. But now, I guess travel sports and video games have taken over the simplicity of the roller skate. Very sad.

Anywho ~ David had only skated on one occasion before last night. And his little girlfriend, Miss T, was having her birthday party at the skating rink. When we arrived, I noticed he was the only boy there from his class. That didn't seem to bother him; in fact, he sort of acted like he enjoyed being the only guy and therefore absorbing all the attention from the girls. There was one other boy present that lives in Miss T's neighborhood, and he was skating so well that (dare I admit this) it got under my skin a little. Most of the girls were struggling still and this Roller King was whizzing by everyone on the wooden floor. My poor David couldn't make it three feet without falling, and so I asked him if he wanted me to put on skates and come out there with him. He said yes, and I made the first mistake of the evening... lacing up the brown skates.

I got out there, wobbly, but able to make it a few times around the rink without falling. I had skated a year before at the same place and had done fine. I was slow and unsteady at first, but I built my sureness on my feet up and held my own. But last night, the gears weren't clicking for me. My shins were on fire after the first lap, and things just felt out of sort, and on my fourth pass around the rink, I lost it. I felt myself teetering and tried to straighten up my torso to prevent the fall. But as I pulled vertical through my abdomen, my right skate slid forward and I landed straight down on my tailbone (formally known as the coccyx). The impact took my breath away, and I instantly felt like I was going to lose the contents of my stomach right there on the shiny parquet. But I managed to crawl over to the side (luckily I wasn't very far from the carpet) and pull myself back to standing, all the while looking around to see if anyone had seen the fall. If anyone did, I don't guess it looked as bad as it felt because no one asked about me or came to my rescue.

I just kept saying to myself in my head, "I broke it... my butt bone is broke! I just broke my stinking tailbone." There might have been some not-so-nice vocabulary mixed in there as well, but I was in so much pain that I am positive the Good Lord understood. I sat down, took off the skates, and rested for a moment. The fear was so deep within that I would break in half at the hip when I tried to stand again. That's how certain I was that it was broken.

Luckily, I was able to walk out of there and drive home. But it still hurts to sit, stand, and lay down. I woke up several times last night as I repositioned and my body reminded me that I have zero business putting on a pair of shoes with rolling wheels attached to the bottom.

I doubt it's really broken. To my surprise, there's no visible bruising this morning. But, man alive, it's unpleasant. And I am surely not going in for a $200 x-ray of my booty, for more than one reason, if you know what I mean. I can't even go there in my mind... just can't go.

Can I say with certainty that won't skate again ever? I don't know... if Madalyn ever wants to do a skate party, I would surely have to try again. I mean, I've never been one to let one fall stop me from doing what I want to do. I even tried canoeing twice before I swore it off forever. Time will tell...


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Plans...

Today was all planned out beautifully. The Bandits were scheduled to play their first tournament for the spring down in Millbrook, Alabama which happens to be where nearly all our family lives. We had a double header at 10:45 and then would break until 4 in the afternoon. I had been to the grocery store, loaded up on Powerade (which, by the by, is on the buy-one-get-one FREE list at Publix this week), fruit, chips, and the fixings to make sandwiches and chicken wraps for our meals. I even sprung for a twelve pack of real Dr. Pepper.

I made the sandwiches last night, washed off and bagged strawberries and grapes, packed a change of clothes for the drive home for both the kids, and mentally prepared myself for a day in the rain at the ball park. I was particularly excited to have the opportunity to steal away during the break and visit my grandparents at the nursing home just a matter of miles away from the ball park.

At 7:21 on the nose this morning, our coach called to inform us that the whole day had been cancelled because of the rain. I was disappointed that I had spent so much energy preparing for a day that wouldn't happen, but at least it's already done for tomorrow. But what I found myself disappointed about most was that I wouldn't be seeing my precious little grandmother today. I had been looking forward to it all week. Not that anyone looks forward to visiting the nursing home ever, but I long to see her sweet little smile one more time. I live in a state of fear that I may never see it again...

So just as rules are made to be broken, plans are made to be changed. We will be spending the entire day in Millbrook tomorrow, and somehow I will manage to slip away long enough to hold hands with my grandmother for a minute or two and see her childlike smile one more time. Happy weekend to all!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Taming of the Shrew...

This week has been particularly challenging in the Madalyn department.

Let me preface by saying that Madalyn is not a morning person. At all. Now, neither am I, so I happen to be a little sympathetic in this area knowing full well that it takes certain people (i.e. Me and Madalyn) more time for the blood to flow fully to the part of the brain that controls mood. Anywho... being the adult in this morning situation, I have been greatly impressed with my ability to maintain composure most mornings with Madalyn.

On Tuesday morning, Madalyn announced at 7:20 (ten minutes prior to walk out the door time) that she would no longer be wearing jeans or any other pants with those button things on the inside. This is the one distinct part of my daughter's personality that has me puzzled ~ how she can wake up one morning and swear something off, like the wearing of jeans. It would be like me waking up one day and saying, "You know what, I will no longer be wearing white socks." I just can't wrap my mind around her mind, how it ticks, how it spins and toils over seemingly meaningless issues. But it does none the less.

Now, at 7:20 on Tuesday morning, there weren't a whole lot of options other than jeans in her drawer. Add to that the fact that she wanted to wear a red shirt in honor of Jump Rope for Heart (as suggested by the voice on the intercom at the end of the school day that I am sure only the little girls in the building listen to ~ David NEVER came home telling me that he needed to wear a certain color anything), and we were in quite a conundrum. I was able to pull an ensemble together, a precious red and grey tunic with black leggings. Then I offered her the tennis shoes I have mainly made her wear since the whole does she have a broken foot ordeal, to which she snottily turned her nose up at and exclaimed she wanted to wear her boots. Dear me.

We put on the boots, only for her to walk down the stairs and exclaim that the boots hurt her feet, and so we put on the Adidas arch supporting shoes I wanted her to wear in the first place. So, you can easily see how our mornings go around here. And afternoons and evenings for that matter. It's an interesting cycle of pushing, pulling, stuffing, unleashing, holding on, letting go, and deep, deep breaths. I try to give in when it doesn't matter, like when she wants to wear five different shades of pink from head to toe and looks like a Barbie vomited all over her. Not a battle to fight.

Yesterday morning was perhaps the most difficult morning to date. We couldn't get her to wake up, and it's no wonder why as she came tip-toeing down the stairs at 9:30 the night before. Mind you, we put them in the bed usually around 8:30, so that's a full hour after she's been made to lie down. So she didn't want to get out of bed, she didn't like anything in her closet to wear, she didn't want to go to school, and she didn't want to breathe. It all came to a head when her daddy came in and made her get down from her loft by picking her up and putting her feet on the ground and telling her to get dressed or he would spank her. This is no way to spend your mornings, folks. No way. Her lips immediately pursed together as though her tears would come forth from her mouth. She's so tough, but so fragile. An amazing combination.

Last night, Scott had a brilliant idea ~ make Madalyn lay down at 8:00, a full 30 minutes prior to her normal bedtime and before her brother. She was devastated. It's not fair. Brother gets to stay up. I promise I'll get up in the morning. But I wanna sit with you, Daddy. Oh the drama was poured on thick, and the alligator tears were rolling down the pretty cheeks, and Daddy stayed strong. I was so proud... of both of them. Of Madalyn's attempts to manipulate her daddy (she's GOOD y'all!!!) and of Scott's ability to stay strong with the most precious little thing in his life.

I am happy to report that Madalyn did not get up last night to wander the house or request a cup of water or tell me that some part of her body itched or hurt. And I am ecstatic that we had no arguments this morning about jeans or pants or getting out of bed. And I am hoping that making her go to bed before her brother sent a little message and taught her a lesson. And I am so glad tomorrow is Saturday and we don't have to be dressed and out the door by 7:30 in the morning..............

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trip to the Orthodontist...

I totally should have been an orthodontist. If you take away the eight plus years it takes to become one and factor in how immaculately their offices are decorated, they must roll in the Benjamins at record speed and then pile them up in neat little stacks in the corner of their offices. I'm just sayin'.

David and I took the supposed-to-be twenty minute ride to the orthodontist this morning. We jumped on I-65 at exactly 8:38 and headed north only to come to an abrupt stop about a half a mile up the road. Lovely. Within a few minutes, the voice on the radio alerted my ears as to the cause of the hold up. There had been a multi-car accident involving a cement truck in between our current location and the ortho office. Over my right shoulder, I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance making it's way through the center of the two lanes. I knew we were in for quite a wait.

Usually, sitting in the car creeping along at a pace just a hair slower than a rollie-poly would not be something I deem enjoyable. But in the moment, I realized that I had my nine year old son captive sans MP3 player, PSP, DS, or little sister. Jackpot.

We talked. Laughed. Listened to tunes together. Sang. I listened to David's random thoughts and all his what if situations (that I would normally internally roll my eyes at). My favorite had to be, "Mama... what if the cement truck spilled cement all over the road?" My little man has the coolest mind. He has this ability to dream and imagine in ways that most kids his age don't have. And, to be quite honest, I've been missing him lately. I miss the real him, not the nine year old version of my sweet baby boy that rolls his eyes and tells me how mean I am.

See, lately, if he's at home, he's out the door as quickly as possible. Or on the phone. Or simply not talking to me. And I guess I never expected it to come this early. I didn't realize that at nine he would have the attitude of a fifteen year old teenage girl with fluctuating hormones. If I had known how quickly it would go away ~ the precious Mama's boy that loved me so dearly and thought I was the funniest, prettiest lady in the world ~ maybe I would have appreciated all the inconveniences of him being younger a little more. Or maybe not. I don't know.

We finally arrived at the orthodontist thirty minutes late. When I went in to use their restroom, that was when I realized just how much money orthodontists make. That bathroom was more beautifully decorated than any room in my house. Well, more beautiful than the combination of all the rooms under our roof. I digress...

David's mouth is coming right along. In the past three weeks, he's lost three teeth, and the orthodontist showed me all the loose ones telling me they would be falling out at rapid speed. And I believe the next time we go, it will be time for some metal placement in his little baby mouth. And that will really make him look older.

Where does the time go? I don't think I can handle this growing up thing any longer...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Wingdings

I couldn't do Tuesday Tidbits because it's Wednesday. So wingdings seemed to fit. Should be entertaining...

My face looks like that of a fifteen year old girl who eats nothing but pizza and drinks real Coke and stays up until midnight studying for a Biology test. I'm not talking a fifteen year old face that is fresh and dewy and virginal. My face is a mess of pimples, zits, and nastiness. When does the madness stop? At 34, I have spent the majority of my life battling acne. In my teens (and on my parents' wallet), I did the whole dermatologist thing complete with by-mouth and topical antibiotics and Retina. As I aged, I approached the issue with over-the-counter products especially after starting on birth control that seemed to ease the hormonal fluctuations. Since I had the factory shut down after Madalyn's birth, I've had good phases and bad phases. Right now, I find myself in a totally yucky skin phase, and I am really quite over it. But what do you do? What stay-at-home mom has the money to pay for expensive creams and medicines for their face every month? I mean, if it costs $200 to have my child's foot x-rayed, I'd probably be charged a luxury tax for acne cream. It's total vanity, I know, but I just think I have paid my dues as far as acne goes, and it's time for it to vacate the premises.

David sure has lost a lot of teeth lately. Monday he hopped off the bus with a ziploc bag in his sweaty little hand. He lost one of his baby molars that just so happened to be one of the two we had to have filled at the ripe age of three. I held the bag in my hand looking at the tiny tooth that I am certain caused much grief during it's breaking through the gums. I remember how difficult those days were ~ entire days of whining and tears and Motrin as often as I could administer it. I remembered the day I sat in the dentist office as he went back to have the cavity filled, feeling like a piece of doodey mom who had let her child get two cavities (even though she made him brush his teeth every night) and now would have the horrible memory of having dental work before he had even taken his training wheels off his bike. Then he be-bopped out the door with an extra pencil and sticker, smiling and asking what was for dinner. And there it was in a little bag, looking so tiny and insignificant. Made me realize that life evolves, old is lost, new comes through, and what seems to be a big, life-changing deal at the time will be minute in the long run. There's my deep thought for the day.

I am also working on some exciting things that I hope to reveal here on my blog through a fantastic give-away in the next few weeks. I am beginning a little creative business adventure, and I crave your prayers! Well... crave, covet, request, and beg for your prayers! For the past two years, the car business has been anything but stellar. I have wracked my brain for ideas on how to make money and still be here at home available for my children ~ not a ton, just a supplement, a little gravy for some months, a little something to help rebuild the savings we used to have. And I think I have finally found something that I can pull off and enjoy and be completely creative. I am excited and hopeful and prayerful and hoping all my bloggy friends stay tuned to see what is in store.

Okay... that's all my brain has for the day...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Overflow...

And just like that, February was gone. Seriously. When my mama used to say, "Don't wish your life away... time flies when you get older," she wasn't lying.

I haven't spent as much time in the Word this past week as I like to. I've been working on some things with my hands, and I've been writing (YAY!), but I haven't done my normal amount of reading. Usually the couple of days before I pick my verse for the memory challenge, I find a book or chapter in my Bible to read and seek out the special one to commit to my heart. But this morning, I found myself just perusing the high lighted passages in both of my Bibles looking for just the right one...

Romans is my stand-by book of the Bible. It's my fave in the New Testament, and that's funny to say because every time I read it, I am convicted by the words and challenges written by the Apostle Paul. So, this morning, this verse really spoke to me and where I am today:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

There's so much going on in one verse there that I am not sure I can get it all out in one post. If I were still taking that fun Advanced English Grammar class I took so many, many years ago at AUM, I would love to diagram this sentence. That was back at a time when I could tell you what official role each word held in the verse; now all I can tell you is why I like the words.

May the God of hope fill you...
That first bit tells me that God is active. He is the filler. He will fill me up. I envision a car on the side of I-65, empty tank of gas, traffic whizzing by, hazards flashing. God rolls up behind, twists open the gas cap and simply sticks His finger in. Just like that, the tank's full.

... with all joy and peace...
So, the God of hope is filling me up with all joy and peace. Funny how Paul didn't mention there being any room for fear, doubt, resentment, bitterness, shame (one of my personal favorites), insecurity, hatred. No... pretty much God is gonna fill me up with ALL joy and peace. I don't think there'll be any room left for the other stuff when God reaches the top of my tank.

... as you trust in him...
Now my part comes in. So God is the filler, and I am the truster. Trust is a tough one for me. You? When I think trust, I think in human terms, and most of the time when another human being asks me to trust them, it signifies I shouldn't. But what I've been working on in my mind lately is keeping in mind that God is anything but human ~ He is as far away from human as possible and perfect in every way. He doesn't request my trust; He deserves it, and He is the only entity that will never let me down when I rely on Him. In this verse, I finally realized that He will fill me to the point of my trust in Him. If I am only at a 50% trust mark, if I am doubting God can pull me through or provide or make His vision for my life complete, then I'll only receive half of His blessing of joy and peace. But the day I learn to just surrender all my earthly plans and fears and shame (oooooooohhhhhh, that hurts me to say) and insecurities, then the joy and peace found only through Him will spill over... I skipped ahead of myself. That's why I love this one so much.

... so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (emphasis added by me)
Have you ever overflowed your gas tank? Well, I have. I was standing at the Shell near my house, nozzle securely in the tank, watching the numbers tick, tick, tick, tick. I had the auto thing-a-ma-bob set ~ you know, the one that never works when it's 20 degrees outside and you have to stop for gas and you want to sit in a warm car while the gas is flowing, but on the most beautiful days when you want to stay outside with the gas, it works brilliantly. Well, on this day, it was a lovely spring day, and so I rested my back on my vehicle listening to the sound of the pump. In my daze, I heard the strangest sound, like water spilling, and I looked down to discover that the pump had not registered that my tank was full, and there was gas spilling onto the concrete below. I didn't know what to do. It wasn't a lot, but I felt weird leaving gas on the ground. I cleaned up the side of my car where it had flown down, and then I dropped the paper towels to the ground soaking up as much as I could. Then I found myself giggling out loud at myself (which is something I have learned to do, and I must look pretty crazy laughing out loud to myself at myself). So that's the message I think Paul wants me to have in this passage ~ Tamara, if you'll just trust God, honey, you will have so much hope, joy and peace that it will overflow your tank and you'll find yourself laughing out loud and wondering what to do next. I like the idea of God's hope overflowing out of me and leaving little puddles and trails everywhere I go, too. I like that a lot.

I can't not talk about the other person in this scripture, though. The Holy Spirit. He's someone that I remain perplexed about. He's everywhere. Literally. In me, through me, around me, just like His other two counterparts. He talks to me, He talks to God for me, He is a most precious gift. I've always heard Him, even before I knew He was there. I always heard that little voice inside of me, though there were multiple times I chose not to listen to what He had to say. But looking back, I see that had I listened, things would have been less painful. In this verse, it says I will overflow by the Spirit's power. I'm not quite sure what that means, kinda like I don't understand that automatic lever on the gas nozzles. Why does it work sometimes and other times does not? Why do some gas stations have it and others don't? Why was I well into my twenties before I understood how some people could sit in their car while the gas pumped while I stood there squeezing the nozzle for all fifteen gallons? Maybe I am trivializing the role of the Holy Spirit, but I promise I am not trying to be blasphemous. What I am getting to is this: it doesn't really matter to me how or why or what the Spirit does. I firmly believe that He simply does, that He is. I don't have to get it all to enjoy the benefits, and I am not going to get hung up on all the details of the Holy Spirit while I am here on earth. I will simply add those questions to the long list going in my mind of what to ask when I get to heaven.

So there's my fifth verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. Hope anyone reading this gets something out of my blabbering. See, for me, writing is my therapy. I can sort through things with my fingers that seem impossible to my mouth. I learn through my own writing thought process. As I type these words, especially those related to my faith and love of the Lord, my only hope is that it draws one person closer to the Love found in Jesus, one that is beginning to overflow in my heart. That's my only hope... to overflow and leave puddles.