Just a glimpse of me...

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Do you ever feel STUCK? In 2000, I began looking for answers to some tough questions in my life. I'd searched high & low and finally conceded to search the promises found in the Bible. Those promises have sustained & guided me through the loss of a parent, the struggle with anxiety & depression, the loss of a valued relationship and so much more! I've found joy amid the pain. And, I want to share it with you!

29 June 2012

Pistol Packing Mama - Beware!

And... they say that living in the country is sedate & boring!  Well, not when there's a brutal murder a mile down the road in the wee hours of a Saturday & the murderer is still afoot weeks (yes, I mean WEEKS) later!  When the conversation with your walking friend along country roads, fields & woods is interrupted by the sound of a low-flying helicopter buzzing over your head, life out here isn't boring.  When on another day you & a different walking partner glance over your shoulders to see three 4-wheelers slowly approaching while combing every inch the ditches along your walking road, it's not boring.  As a matter of fact, it's a little unsettling!

My friends & I have joked about running into the corn in the opposite direction - if someone walks out of the woods toward us. We've begun wondering actually whose DNA is on those discarded water bottles (shame on litterers - another blog) that we pass along the roadside. One friend is glad she brings her Akita along. Another friend has begun carrying pocket mace. My city-friends are telling me to be careful... to be safe.   

In a little sleepy town like this, how can he still be missing!?! Even America's Most Wanted has gotten in on the search.  

I've had several friends tell me that I need to get a gun to take along with me. And, I'm not really a "gun person." However, when I was in 2nd grade, my best friend's father made her a toy gun in his wood shop. She was a true "country girl". We had decided that her older brothers (19 & 21) had guns. Why shouldn't we?!?!  Hence, her father supplied us each with a "piece" to protect her family's farm from the notorious LIONS, TIGERS & BEARS that are so prevalent at the foot of the North Carolina mountains. (Ha!)

That gun has been going along with me on my walks for over 20 days now!  I guess you could say that I am a pistol packing mama.  Carrying a gun like that adds a whole new meaning to the term "pistol whipped."  

Do I put my hope of protection & safety in my neighbor's Akita, in my other friend's pepper spray, in the gun which slayed countless "scarey sounds" in those North Carolina woods many, many years ago?  

No!  I put my hope of protection & safety in something far greater... the One who hung the stars... the One who lovingly created me inside my mother's womb... the One who lovingly created the man who has eluded the authorities & needs a Savior now more than ever.  

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

"We faithfully preach the truth. God's power is working in us.
We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack
and the left hand for defense." 

I am not oblivious to the potential dangers around. I will proceed with caution as I am out & about.  I won't be careless.  But, I will trust in the Almighty God for protection from our "local fugitive" & so many other things in the world over which I have no control.

UPDATE:  Still looking for him... 5 weeks later...

19 June 2012

First Impressions

As a little girl, my mom used to tell me that I had to be careful what I said or did because there was always someone watching me. Really... did that just happen with me? Was it a "preacher's kid" thing. You know, everyone wanting to let the preacher know when his kids got out of line. I was always trying to do exactly what I thought was expected of me! And, I will admit, I was quite insecure as a young person. And, I might struggle with that a little as an old person too :)

As they say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." But, how much weight do we put in the first impressions?

  • I met a police officer who was taking bribes under the table -- so, all police officers are corrupt? 
  • A student came to take an exam & was unprepared -- so, that student is always unprepared. 
  • I met a young person who was inconsiderate - so, all young people are inconsiderate? 
  • The gay person I work with is hateful -- so all gay people are hateful? 
  • I met an overweight person who ate all the time -- so all overweight people lack self-control? 
  • The waitress who served me at lunch was slow & grouchy -- so, she's a bad waitress?
  • I met an elderly person who was a total grump -- so, all elderly people are grumpy? 
  • Those Christians I met were so rude -- so all Christians are rude?

Don't we all want a second chance from the first impression someone gets from us?  Why do we want a second chance but, often don't give that to others.  

Sometimes we just want to start over!

An old Chinese Proverb states, "Don't be over self-confident with your first impression of people."  There's always a back story to what is happening in a person's life.  Yes, we need to be careful to present ourselves in a "true light" - being the best person we can be.  But, we all fall short of perfection.  

For those of us who profess to be Christians, as Max Lucado says, 
"What makes a Christian a Christian is not perfection, it's forgiveness." 

The Bible tells us that... "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Romans 3:22-23

Let's be easier on each other... an impression is just that... an impression - not always a fact.

16 June 2012

The "Good" Gifts

Good gifts versus not-so-good gifts... does anyone besides me experience this in their lives?  I'm guessing YES!

When I was young, I loved baby pigs... baby pig pictures, baby pig figurines, baby pig stuffed animals, etc.  I stopped liking them somewhere shortly after junior high.  When did I stop getting "baby pig" things from my mom... ummmmmm, not quite yet :/  Thankfully, "baby pig gifts" have become few & far between.

When I was college age & began choosing my own clothes, it became obvious that I was picking a lot of pieces of clothing and outfits that were black, white or red... OR a combination of the three colors.  I still like red & black but... not everything that is red & black!

My children were, shall we say, less than thrilled to receive figurines in their honor one Christmas.  Our son was learning to play a few musical instruments at the time .Our daughter was in a singing & dancing group. Neither have asked to HAVE those gifts. But, I'm saving them... somewhere around this house!

What do I consider to be "good" gifts?  I guess things that are meaningful & given with love.  So, even a few gifts that I haven't particularly cared for have felt like GOOD gifts.  Because I felt they were given out of love. I was brought up in a the home of a rather "not-financially-secure" pastor. Our presents for Christmas was new socks, a new pair of church shoes, a winter coat (often gently used by another parishioner's child), etc.  Those were GOOD gifts.  They represented something we needed that was given to us in love!

What gifts do I give now to my children & family members?  Gifts that I know will be special to them... things that will mean something to them.  

And, what is the source of EVERY good gift?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  

Shared with the Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts Community on 01 October 2012
holy experience

14 June 2012

The Rumor Weed

We are a Veggie Tales family... well, from way back when the kids were young.  Their favorite present for a birthday or for Christmas in those days was a new Veggie Tales video. (Yes, that's video versus DVD!)  The kids are entering adulthood these days. And, a great present for ME would be all those episodes on DVD - possibly for future grandchildren but, definitely for me too!

The other day my "little" girl (okay, my young adult girl) & I were strolling along the side of the house. We were checking the progress of lilac bushes, the lilies left from the former owner which were given to her by her children, the bulbs we planted a few years back & the vinca that is so beautiful in bloom but, a bit intrusive. All of a sudden she cried out, "Oh my goodness! It's the Rumor Weed!"  Yes, alongside the soon to be blooming irises was a huge, thorny weed reaching to the sun :/ And, my mind immediately went back the Veggie Tales days & the story of the Rumor Weed.

How am I to deal with these horrible weeds overtaking our property this year?  They seem to be popping up in every single plant bed!  What's up with that?  Where did they come from?  What's the easiest way to get rid of them?
  • I was told that boiling water poured directly on the huge weed would kill it to the core.  I tried it... it didn't really work.
  • I was told to pour vinegar directly on the week to kill it.  I tried it... it didn't work.
Since I was a young child, I remember my mom telling me that if you don't get the entire root out, that most weeds will continue to come back up.  But, getting the entire root out is easier said than done. You usually have to use a long digging implement.  Sometimes you have to moisten the surrounding ground. However, they still tend to break off - leaving some of the root in the ground... for another day :/

"Rumor weeds" and rumors are a lot alike!  The Bible, in Proverbs 18:8, tells us that:
"Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one's heart."
Rumors seem to SINK deep down pretty quickly, taking root securely, and making extraction difficult at best.  So, what are the solutions?
  • Don't start them at all.  Watch your garden for early signs. Watch your thoughts & speech for early signs of wanting to "share" something that shouldn't be shared or said.
  • Get rid of them as quickly as possible. Be vigilant about check your garden & your life for the start & cultivations of rumors.
  • When you see one - get rid of it immediately.  Put a stop to rumors you hear. 

Like Larry Boy taught my children when they were young & reminded me as an adult, words have a lot of power!  Choose & share them carefully! 

01 June 2012


JUNE 2012

One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp)
#1000Gifts #JoyDare
Buy book here...      

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... here we go for... 

JUNE 2012
Today I find JOY in...

Fri 6/1

447. surprisingly gray & cold 1st day of June

448. singing at the top of my lungs along w/Lucianno

449. the last Friday night of empty-nesting w/the LOML
Sat 6/2
450. fresh fruit, veggies, pulled pork & hugs - celebrating Rachel!
451. friends who you can call & they drop everything to help you
452. honoring those who've gone on, acknowledging the holiness in the bond of marriage, celebrating a new couple with tried & true friends

Sun 6/3
453. silently sitting beside the LOML &
being full of words of thanksgiving for him 
454. home projects & doing dishes w/glam gloves

455. the silly thing my hair does when i lean against pillows to watch TV
this cracks me up -
meet the show choir mom!
Mon 6/4
456. winter wheat changing colors daily

457. the pond where the cows will wade to cool off in the summer

458. thoughtful gifts from a friend

Tues 6/5
459. dilapidated things along the way

460. friends with whom we can instantaneously re-connect 
461. early to bed - 1st time in ages!

Wed 6/6
462. summer salads - from whatever you find in the fridge & garden
463. Pruning results from hydrangeas that were falling over, ivy that was creeping up the house & fresh mint that's outgrowing it's plant bed.

464. Praying blessings upon a "rascal" 
Thurs 6/7
465. a 75 cent plant one year later

466. walking around my "beach house"
Paintings by my father, who began painting at 65!
Shells, etc. from our cabin at Yellow Creek Lake :)
A lighthouse on Lake Michigan
Watering Grandma's Garden - 1995

The children at Yellow Creek Lake -  1996

467. exercising - even when i didn't feel like it
Fri 6/8
468. note from a former youth group student - now all grown up
469. welcoming our college freshman home - lots of joy moments this day!

470. packed cars & cluttered floors

Sat 6/9
471. Bacon on the grill and Armed & Dangerous
472. AHS friends - the Babbs & Sears
473. Date night at home!
Sun 6/10
474. Church beside my son - again
475. BFF visits by the pool
476. Sitting outside w/the LOML as the sun sets
Mon 6/11
477. Double exercise day & surrounding beauty

478. Neighbors who eat hay

479. Baby squirrels who fall in pools... AGAIN

Tues 6/12
480. Low flying helicopters - YIKES
481. Using oatmeal to bribe my no-longer-so-little son out of bed
482. Being the guest audience for a speech
Wed 6/13
483. Pistol Packing Mamas

Now there's a BLOG in the making!
484. Fruit parfaits & fritattas

485. New friendships w/my book club girls
Thurs 6/14
486. Floating in COLD water under HOT sun
487. a room with a view

488. Writing at the end of a full & fun day
Fri 6/15
489. Double workout done before 11am
winter wheat in desperate need of harvest
490. Sam & Karen's w/son for ICE CREAM :)
491. Pot roast for dinner w/my boys -
reminds me of Sunday dinners growing up in the country pastor's home :)
Sat 6/16
492. Being a golf widow on Fathers Day weekend for a few hours - which rarely happens - so I was happy for the LOML
493. Unplanned & totally relaxed visit with a loved one -gardening
494. Fireflies, wind blowing thru the shagbark hickory, the cows mooing for dinner next door, a sparkling string of patio lights - evening!.
Sun 6/17
495. Making it on time to church - even though the alarm DID NOT GO OFF :/
496. Family Day / Father Day - 3 generations of men (2 of them fathers - the other a son/grandson)
497. Family time, including 2 cousins, for a Father's Day brunch
Mon 6/18

498. Walking on country roads twice today w/separate friends then iced coffee!

493. Pizza party - pizza, pop & Picard
(dinner on a blanket - watching StarTrek Next Generation)
494. 9pm church softball games = quiet time for me

Tues 6/19
495. coffee & conversation time outside on the swing since the LOML got to leave for work a little later than normal today

496. a guest for dinner - one of Tyler's classmates from high school
497. dusk on the deck & patio

Wed 6/20
498. double exercise AGAIN - done before 11am

499. cooling off w/my feet in a pool while sipping peach iced tea
& afternoon trombone practice

500. memories & friendships strengthened through the r12 study
Thurs 6/21
501. Double workout & then yummy leftovers

502. Totally relaxed fun evening w/friends whom we never get to see!

503. RAIN -- even a barely measurable amount
Fri 6/22
504. Waking to a FOG of moisture over our area

505. The sound of "rain" from just the dew dropping
506. Downton Abbey - FINALLY (thanks to Netflix...) 

Sat 6/23
507. Sit-down-dinner on a Saturday afternoon - rare :)
508. Cleaning the pool - from in the water
509. Our son using his God-given gifts to serve God's church

Sun 6/24
510. Orchestra Sunday - my favorite
511. Twitter & church; speeches; Real Hacienda; Sunday afternoon nap!
512. A sneaky husband - who loves (and likes) me :)
Mon 6/25
513. Double work-out Mondays & beauty along the way

514. Making a sandwich & chips for my not-so-little-boy
515. dreaming about rain - hope in the night
Tues 6/26
516. morning shade on the patio

517. a hairdresser who is my FRIEND & takes me through the drive-thru as my color is processing :)
518. seeing my little boy on the big screen (well, the one at Reardon Auditorium)
Wed 6/27
520. sitting by my hubby & watching the closing NAC service
521. splurging by having chips & Limeade for a nighttime snack
Thurs 6/28
522. winter wheat field - completely harvested
523. HVAC on a totally hot day!
Seriously 109 degrees outside!
524. inviting my daughter to go to a movie with me - 
letting her know that i still love spending time with her
Fri 6/29
525. throwing all sorts of fruit into the blender for a protein shake
526. encouraging tweets & pics from our IYC2012 youth & counselors
527. a pizza & TV night with my boys

Sat 6/30 My Wedding Anniversary <3
528. Morning devotions on the patio with the sounds of cooing mourning doves, chirping birds, wind through the trees... a great way to begin any day! 

529. weeding in the garden with my kids & the fruits of our labor

nothing like having both kids home
for our anniversary :)
Swiss Chard Salad :)
530. the fact that our 19 year old WANTED to watch a movie with us
(regardless of the fact that it was our anniversary night)

AND THUS CONCLUDES JUNE 2012 #1000Gifts #JoyDare 

I've taken the 1,000 Gifts Dare for 2012... click on the name of each month below for each one...
January 2012... I find joy
February 2012... I find joy
March 2012... I find joy
April 2012... I find joy
May 2012... I find joy