Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grace and Mercy

"Grace is when you get the good things you don't deserve.  Mercy is when you're spared from the bad things you do deserve.  God is generous with both."- Unknown

The smell of chocolate is strong and as I stare at hs mouth there are a few crumbs left on the side.  I can remember kisses full of chocolate crumbs and sweet candy breath and sticky hands around my neck.

Grace is like doublestuff oreos and mint chocolate chip ice cream and cherry and blue raspberry Icees without calories. 

He's next to me and he's laughing, posting about this good relationship with his Mommy and I am overwhelmed. I'm reminded of how Isaiah talked about coming undone when He saw God's train fill the temple, and while I know that it isn't quite the same, my heart is full of bursting. 

Grace is this boy sitting next to me, and the fact that as a ten year old, he thinks his relationship with his mama is good.  Grace is that he loves me, even after I have screamed and gotten upset. Grace is that God has given me him, and his daddy, and all my family, for such a time as this.

Grace and mercy go hand in hand.  Mercy is when I decide to laugh when he's done something he should get in trouble for.  I'm learning to be able to give grace, to give mercy... because it has been given to me.

And just like in Luke, when the Pharisees condemn Jesus as the woman washes His feet with her hair, those who have been forgiven much love much, and if you've been forgiven you should forgive.  Give grace and mercy.

Grace is knowing that I don't deserve anything, that my righteousness is as filthy rags, that I should be just a beggar, but I can be dressed as a Princess because I am chosen, part of a royal priesthood.  That's grace and mercy.

February has come and gone, pretty much. Two months of this year of grace, and it's been good and it's been bad but I'm learning, that as I accept His grace, I am better able to give it.  And as I focus on Him, I see grace and mercy and all of His gifts and again, I am overcome.  Just flat out undone.  Because His grace is not just sufficient.  It is grace that fills and spills over and saturates. 

Grace.  And mercy.  Thank You, Lord.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Always be Joyful.. Pray without Ceasing... Give thanks

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: "“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Is it okay if I tell you a little secret?  Ok, maybe it's not a secret, but I'm betting you can relate.

Right now, I'm sitting next to a 10 year old with ketchup stains on his favorite shirt. I'm trying to persuade him to finish his math homework, so we can study for science, and then head to church.  I have a little bit of a headache, and he is singing his own tune (you know the song... I bet your kids sing one kind of similiar.  Where everything that comes out of their mouth is in song form? Really loud?  Like at the top of their lungs.  Kind of like this: 4 times 6 iiiiiiiisssssss tweeeeeenttty four... or is it?  Mom, what is the answer?  Woooahhh...)

You get the point.  And it's Wednesday, the middle of the week, and it's turned winter out again.  The sky is gray out and it just feels heavy, and I'd like to do nothing more than pull the covers over my head and hide.  Or be on a beach somewhere, smelling like suntan lotion with my toes digging into the hot sand, while the ocean waves run over them.  Ahh...

It's easy to be joyful when I'm at the beach.  And I'm also thankful when I'm on the beach.  I pray a lot there, too, because for some reason the ocean makes me feel really close to God. There's something about the magnitude of those waves hitting all that sand that makes me realize just how big God is.. and how small I am.

But here's my secret.  I'm not really joyful sitting here right now.  I'm actually kind of crabby, because I've said the same thing over.  and over.  and over.  And he's still singing those same numbers, over and over.

However, if you read that verse, it gives us a little bit of control. I don't always have control  over my circumstances.  Sometimes I don't even feel like I have control over this very strong-willed young man, which is kind of scary.  He is independent, and argumentative, and sometimes I don't know how to respond.

So I respond in the flesh. Yelling. Threatening.  Getting angry. Frustrating him...

And then I look at this verse. When I don't have control over my circumstances, I have control over my reactions.  And I can CHOOSE to be joyful. Always be joyful.  When my head is pounding and I'm tired and don't know how I can pull joy off, I can choose... because His power is in me. 

Jesus sang "This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it" after the Passover Supper... knowing He was headed to His death.  He still chose joy.

Praying about everything opens up the way to joy... because if we pray and turn it over to God, then we don't have to worry about it anymore.  We will, because that's just how we are, but we don't have to.  We don't have to dwell on it.  We can choose joy.

And then thanksgiving comes, in every circumstance, because we realize that God is good even when our situation is not.  We realize that others have things worse than we do, or even if they don't, there is going to be a reward. Suffering today will be worth the joy we will have in the future. 

So today, despite my headache, despite the nasty weather, I give in and start singing. "I knew math was trouble when I opened the book... shame on me and... OH, Trouble, trouble, trouble..." Because everybody knows that a little Taylor Swift makes you feel better.  And he won't always want me to be a part of his duet. And I've learned a little from last week's lesson in Let. It. Go., about biting my tongue. What's even better than biting your tongue? Joining in =)

And when I'm not feeling joyful, or thankful, He understands... and His grace is sufficient to help me change my outlook.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts for the Night... Such as They Are

Writer's block tonight. Oh, there are a lot of verses running through my head, but I'm lazy and that would involve actually thinking.  So here's what I've got, such as it is...

(That just made me go on a tangent.  My little great-aunt Emma would always make us lunch and put it on the story and say... always, "And Mommy would put it out and say, there's your dinner, such as it is." I miss Emma.  I miss going to her house and hiking up the hill and rocking on the front porch.)

So, anyway... here's what I got.  Life's short.  Sometimes, we have lots of time to say what we want to say in this white space.  Sometimes we just might say too much. Choose your words wisely.  Love hard.  Love strong.  Love fully.  Always give your best, and go to bed exhausted, most days... but take a break to breathe in deep the windy air, to feel the rain belt against your skin as the sky lightens as the clouds move away.  Chase rainbows.  Look for the hidden sunshine.  And finally, when you don't know what else to do, give it to God.  It's all His anyway... and His grace is sufficient. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Time in His Hands

It's Monday.  I'm tired already.  I left my to do list at home, so all those plans went out the door. I worked through what I could remember, and crossed my fingers that what I had left off wasn't really that important for today.  I cleaned out my email, scheduled some CPR classes, figured out an advising schedule.  Posted a study guide and practice problems for ABGs.  Worked on a test.  Submitted my epi homework. Overall, a pretty productive day for a recovering to do list addict doing without her to do list.

All mundane tasks.  As I'm typing this, I'm reminded of two things.

I am mundane.  God is not.  I am ordinary.  God is not.  He can do big things in the ordinary. 

This morning, I read in Job 38.  By this time, Job's been through a lot. He's lost his family, his wealth.  He's been stricken with boils.  His wife has told him to curse God.  His friends have started blaming him.  And then there's God.

God, who took down the hedge protecting Job so he could prove his faithfulness.  God starts talking about creation, and basically asks Job, "Where were you?  What were you doing? Did you know this?"  He talks about storehouses of snow and placing the stars in the sky and hurling lightning.  His descriptions are thought-provoking, leaving me thinking about how very small I am.

But He still sees me.  He still knows my needs, and He still cares.  Psalm 31:14-15 says " I will trust in you, God.  You are my God.  You hold my times in Your hands."

The same Hands that slung the stars out and created the waves and hurl lightning... they hold my time.

That means that even my mundane is important...and so is yours. Even if your time is spent trying to remember what you put on your to do list.  Even if that time is a Monday... maybe especially on Mondays.  =)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Mouth

I've always had a thing for gossip.  I think it's part of being a girl, but I can remember clearly being in the 5th grade, sprawled out on a purple bean bag in my bedroom, with the telephone to my ear, curling the cord (yes, they actually had cords then) over and over while my best friends and I talked about who knows what... and who.

I can also remember my Dad telling me it wasn't wise to gossip.  That if I didn't know the absolute truth about things, I should just keep my mouth shut.  But still, to be seen as someone who knew... who had the dish about something noone else did... instant recognition.

As I got older, this penchant for words expanded to include providing my two cents worth when it wasn't even worth a penny.  Didn't matter if I knew what I was talking about, or if I had thought the statement through (because most times I hadn't).  I had an opinion, and everyone needed to know about it.

I've since realized that words hurt.  And therefore, I can hurt others in what I say. Not just in what I say, but in how I say them.  Hence my lesson this morning, with God stepping on my toes.

I just blogged last week about Proverbs 15:1, giving a gentle answer.  I also read in Luke 6 last week about good fruit and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. That means that what spills out of mouth shows what is in me... and sometimes, that's a very bad thing. 

This morning, I was reading in Lisa Harper's Malachi.  I really like the way this study is set up because the lessons are short, and you can do two or three at a time if you get behind.  As I was working through one, she brought up Matthew 12:33-37, which is essentially the same material as Luke 6, except it adds in some very scary words.  "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”- Matthew 12:36.  Every careless word.  Give an account.  Seriously?  Good thing God's got forever, because I say a lot of careless things.  I speak a lot before I think.  Sheww!

And then Proverbs 10:19, "When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise." See, when we just run our mouth, chances are we'll run it about something we don't know about.  Or eventually we'll say something that we don't mean, or something that is a false truth, or something that we've not thought about that will harm others. 

The tongue is a fire.  It burns... us, when we talk out of both sides of our mouth or when we gossip or when we put our foot in our mouth.  Others... when it's them we're talking about or talking to.  It's hard to tame, and it can get us in trouble. With others.  With God. 

So the answer?  Put a big piece of duct tape across our mouths for the rest of our lives?  I wish that was the simple answer. The real answer, though, is to look to Jesus.  He was led like a lamb to slaughter and didn't even open His mouth against His accusers.  He didn't get fiery hot and angry and let whatever was running through His mind spill out toward others. 

Get in His Word.  When my heart is full of His Word, my fleshly words won't be so apt to come out... or hopefully I'll think before I speak.

Speak truth... and edification.  Build each other up.  Live Ephesians 4:29 and Romans 14:19. And pray that others will do the same for us.

And when our mouths get the best of us, ask for forgiveness, because He is faithful and just to forgive us. We just have to open our big mouths and ask.  His grace is sufficient.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Weekend Prayer

Tonight is one of those nights I'm struggling with what to write.  I've had a rather uneventful day. I did attend a wedding shower for a beautiful bride-to-be, and got to chat with some family and friends that I normally don't get to see.  I also had a run to Spencer's Dairy Bar with Caleb, game night with Wallace, Caleb, Greg, and Regina, and got to watch UK pull off a win.  30 minutes on the treadmill followed by a nice long bath had me ready for bed, but UK and their OT changed those plans...

Anyway, today I've really been thinking about how many are in need... physically, emotionally, financially.  Our world is full of troubles, and it's hard.  Next week, two of my cousins (well, one cousin and one cousin-in-law) will be headed overseas for deployment.  Many in my area are out of jobs.  You hear of new cancer diagnoses each day, and marriages struggle and kids lose their way. 

So tonight, I'm praying for all of these things.  And I'm praying for you. 

Wherever you are, whomever you are, may you know God's peace clear to the marrow of your bones.  May you dig in deep to all He has to offer.  May you take deep breaths and clear your mind and bask in His goodness.  Rest tomorrow.  Take a nap. Take a walk. Read His Word.  Refresh your soul, and you will be refreshed. 

He's good... and His grace is sufficient. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Before I Die

#Beforeidieiwanna is trending on Twitter right now, and since I was drawing a blank as to what to write, here goes.

Before I die, I want to see my grandchildren, and hopefully my great-grandchildren.  I want to hug Caleb really tight before he marries the love of his life.  I want to cry at his high school graduation, his college graduation, his wedding.  I want to laugh about how funny he is and go a day without griping at him, remembering that he won't be little long.

Before I die, I want to see Wallace win a district basketball tournament... and I'd really like to see us go to state.  I'd like to see him pace up and down the court a few more times, and maybe even get a couple more technicals.  I'd like to see him recognized for what a great guy he is, even when he's a jerk.

Before I die, I want to see lots and lots of nursing students go on to make a difference in the lives of others.  I want to instill in them the importance of their profession, and remind them that someone believes in them, even when they don't believe in themselves.

I want to make sure I make more time to sit on my Grandma Na's front porch and swing with her like we did when I was little. I want to rock on my Grandma Bert's back porch.  I want to hear my Grandpa Paul laugh and see my Papaw Jr. smile...and freeze those moments, because that's what is important.  These people have made me who I am.

I want to discuss the Bible more with my Dad and listen to his perspective.  I want to spend time with Mom, because she's my best friend.  I want to hold a couple more nieces and nephews and see Kami on ESPN, or preferably have her get me on the sidelines for a Steelers game.

Before I die, I want to see Paris.  I want to see Hawaii.  I want to ride in a hot air balloon.  I want to dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean, see the ball drop in Times Square in NYC, visit Disney World again.  I want to get my doctorate and write a book and go to the Super Bowl, and the NCAA Final Four. Preferably to watch the Steelers and UK.  I want to visit the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore and go back to Niagra Falls, and see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Before I die, I want to remember how it feels to be loved just as I am.  Before I die, I want to make sure I make every minute count, and make sure I am a light in this dark world. Before I die, I want to fully appreciate that His grace is sufficient, which means that I don't have to enough, because He is.  I want to live life to the fullest, because we're never promised tomorrow.

That being said, there's a lot of living to be done... because He came so that we could have life, and more abundantly.  Now... in this moment.  What's your bucket list?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What I'm Reading- February addition

Today I spent about 15 minutes on Amazon, working on my reading wish list.  I'll never read every book that I want to, because they publish them too fast, but I'll sure die trying!  The invent of the Kindle makes it so easy to buy books.. and as I see books listed in blogs and on other people's GoodREads account, off to Amazon I go to star them.  One trip to Half Price book and I might buy a few... but I've already got a whole bookshelf in there full of books to be read.  And a girl only has so much time in the day. 

So right now, what am I reading, you might ask?  Or you really might not care... but if you do, read on and then comment and tell me what you're reading that's good. I just might add it to my wishlist!

In paperback, I'm reading The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand and Blessings by Anna Quindlen.  The Castaways is set in Nantucket, a beach novel, kind of, which I like to read in the summer normally... but sometimes in the cold of winter I like to pull them out and pretend like I'm basking in the sunlight on the beach.  I love this author; everything I've read by her is really good. Blessings is about a man who finds an abandoned baby and tries to raise it on his own.  It's been a really good read so far, too.

On a serious note, I've just started The Great Influenza by John M. Barry.  Recommended by my epidemiology professor, I'm just on the first chapter, but I really think I'm going to like it. The nurse in me likes to read about diseases and recovery and all that stuff.

I'm reading Calling Me Home for the SheReads book club. This book is partially set in 1930s Kentucky, in Newport, so it's been fun to read about what it was like during that time.  I'm enjoying it so far.  I'd like to have it read by the end of February, since that's when they discuss the book on their webpage, so that's probably what I'll read the most on this weekend.

I'm also reading Let. It. Go. by Karen Ehman for Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies.  I'm leading a small group on Facebook, and have truly been blessed by this study.  Next week we'll be reading Chapters 7 & 8, and I'm sure you'll read about them in another blog then.

Another religious book I'm reading for the Bloom book club on is Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home.  I'm a couple of chapters behind on this one, but hope to get caught up this weekend.  It talks about different types of prayer and how we seek God... and prayer is something we all need!

Growth is something I'm aiming for in 2013; personal growth, that is... and I'm reading John Maxwell's The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  I've got several gaps in growth that I've been working on this month.

Then, of course, that pesky War and Peace is still on my list on GoodReads... and Daniel by Beth Moore and Malachi by Lisa Harper. 

I wish there were more hours in the day.... or that I could be paid to read =)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Micromanaging Mama

This week, in the Online Bible Study I'm doing with Melissa Taylor, we read Chapters 5 & 6 of Karen Ehman's book Let. It. Go. There's been lots of good stuff in this study. I don't really relate to being a tin pot dictator, because my house is a mess and I'm okay with that, unless company is coming.  I've slowly learned that as long as there is a clean place to sit, and the toilets are clean, the rest of the house doesn't really matter, because they didn't come to tour my house, they came to hang out with good company.

However, Chapter 5 hit the nail on the head.  In this chapter, Karen talks about micromanaging our kids. At first, I thought, "That's not me."  After all, I'm dying for Caleb to play basketball, and he doesn't.  I don't freak out when he comes up with vests made from shirts he cut down the center or when he has so much hair gel in his hair he about stabs my eye out when he leans over to kiss me. (True story.... it almost happened. And it hurt.)

I see Caleb as how he is... unique, his own person, created by God in His own image, and fun to be around.  It probably doesn't help that I hear, "He is the sweetest kid."  or "He cracks me up." or "He is such a good boy." a lot.  Because that's where I started thinking about this whole micromanaging thing...

I've always been about what others think of me.  As a teenager, I never felt good enough.  I was shy and didn't talk a lot because I was afraid other people would think I was stupid, which just in turn made other peope think I thought I was better than them.  I've never wanted to stand out, but always wanted to be seen as good enough...

And this affirmation by others about how special Caleb is does just that.  Karen wrote in her book, "I wanted to control what they thought of me as a mom." That is so true for me.  I want Caleb to be well-behaved and respected because it makes me feel like I'm a better Mom.  I've had unrealistic expectations... maybe not necessarily in the way that Caleb dresses or his hairstyles or his friends or the activities he participates in... but he'd never know it by the way I quarrel.

"Hold your tongue. Bite down if you must.  Better a Mom's bleeding tongue than a son's battered heart."- Karen Ehman

All those times I've fussed and fought with Caleb over homework, or over things he's said, or him not doing something my way... It was more about my appearance than my heart.  Sometimes I'm overly critical because of my unrealistic expectations.

And it's not just Caleb.  I can be overly critical with anybody... holding them up to how I think they should act or what I think they should do or how. 

"A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."- Proverbs 15:1.  Anger. Resentment.  Grudges.  Stirs up... and keeps stirring up, as one bad word causes another and then another and it is a vicious cycle.  Sometimes, it's not in what you say, but in how you say it. Tone.  Inflection.  Portraying that they aren't good enough, or not important enough, or that you are too busy.

But a soft word, it turns away wrath.  Sends it in the other direction. This means it opens the door to love, kindness, peace.

I need a good word... how bout you? 

And maybe I need to start with myself.  And Caleb Bates.  Because I'm sure blessed to be this boy's Mama. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Proud to be Mrs. Wallace Bates

The end of a season is never easy.  We're so used to run, run, running... and then there's nowhere to run.  We come straight home from school.  We have all kinds of time on our hands. 

This year, though, it's a little different. To begin with, we played Breathit first round of the districts.  These games are always hard because for years Breathitt has been the big dog, and Jackson has been the little pup.  In the history of JCS, they've never beat Breathitt in girls basketball. Ever.  And most of the time, they've not even been close.  And we're all neighbors.  I mean, thinking about the boys game; you've got one of my favorite cousins (ok, I have a lot of favorite cousins) on Jackson's team, but then there's Alex, one of the ringbearers in my wedding. How do you love people for all of these years and then suddenly stop? 

With all the talk of Jackson potentially closing, there's been a lot of smack talk from both sides. Emotions run high, and I totally get that. I remember what it was like to be a teenager, and I was a smart mouth to boot.  These days, my mouth still sometimes gets me in trouble...

So all of the drama just escalated and escalated.  I was so nervous last night I couldn't sleep.  I wanted this win so bad.. for my girls.  For all of the drama.  But most of all, for my hubby. 

See, there's another reason why the end of this season is hard.  Since August, I've known Wallace is going to be leaving for 9 weeks.  At the beginning of school, it was, "We've still got volleyball and basketball season. It'll be forever." And then after volleyball, it was, "We've got basketball.  That's forever away."

Forever is almost here.  Three weeks.  It's almost like I wanted this season to go on and on, because I didn't want to face those weeks.  Oh, I know he's not going overseas and it's  not a long time like some of my family and friends face, but for this spoiled girl, it seems like a lifetime. 

So tonight came.  I thought we had them at halftime.  We were only down 3.  I could taste it.  He could feel it... but then Breathitt had something to say about it. And I watched him jump up and down.  I watched the tie flop, but he didn't pull it off.  I read his lips, and knew what he was going to say before he said it. 

And I memorized every feature... because basketball season is a long time away, and Texas seems like the other side of the world.

Tonight, I'm proud to be a Jackson Tiger.  All my life, I was a Breathitt Bobcat, and I'm proud of those kids, too.  But most of all, I'm proud to be Wallace Bates's wife.  He may be loud. He may be rude.  You may not like him because  he doesn't play who you think he should play, or he whines to the refs, or he seems like he's mouthing.  What you don't see, though, is a guy that loves his girls like his daughters, and loves kids in general, the guy that every kid in the school hugs, regardless of how rich or poor they are.  You don't see the guy who is just as liked by most of the kids on  the other teams, because he treats them respect.  You don't see the guy that worked three jobs so I could go through nursing school, and who is willing to drive to Louisville two nights in a row so he could be at ballgames in the evening, then back in formation for Reserves the next morning. That's my husband... and win or lose, I am so happy to be married to THE Wallace Bates. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Monday Musings on Thankfulness

How do you say thank you to a God as big and grand as ours?  This is the thought as I am reading about the work of the cross, the absolution of sin and the reconciliation of us with God through Christ Jesus.

This grace thing is a beautiful thing.  So is thankfulness.

And I ponder about love and laughter and life, as the sun shines bright through my window and the windchimes on my front porch sing His glory.

Blessings too many to count, yet as my pen begins to scratch my paper, I think back over the week.  Thankful for shadows: the shadow of my hand jotting down notes as I read Numbers, the shadow of the sun through the cloud during an impromptu snow storm, as the white flakes pour down suddenly, that one little peak of sun through the clouds. The shadow of Caleb sitting next to me, growing, growing, growing... Safe Haven and butter popcorn and good friends.  A glimpse in my rearview mirror to see one of my favorite girls walking by, and hearing my car door open so she'll slide in the passenger seat, 10 minutes to catch up briefly on a couple of weeks at college, and thinking of how a person can change, can blossom, can become even more beautiful in a matter of days.  Gifts in giving and serving: my 8 kiddos at children's church, talking about wishing they could go in the Minecraft game because you can make it anyway you want, or the beach, or someplace with 4 G, or Heaven... because it is heaven.  The gift of prayer, of unity in Christ's body.  Of laughter with Caleb as he looks at the snow, spitting, and says, "Maybe Jesus is shaking out the hair gel."

Gifts on paper: my notes in my journal, scribbled so that only I can read them, the book I'm reading laying on the edge of the bathtub. God's Word, that thin parchment paper that sounds so beautiful as you turn the page.

Sunshine.  Air.  Rest.  Time. 

All gifts.  I'm on 325. Won't you join me?  Because through thankfulness, through looking up instead of looking inward, through looking for the good rather than the bad, we see God's grace in its full spectrum. And His grace is sufficient.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

He is enough.

Hope you've had a blessed weekend. I've not got much to offer tonight.  I've been lazy for most of the day, and then finished a paper.  I did do 33 minutes on the treadmill, but walked instead of even attempting to jog.  Read a lot.  Soaked in alone time when Wallace ran Caleb to town.  Just enjoyed being...

God is good, and I know this.  Tonight's one of those nights I'm feeling it to my bones. I've been kind of melancholy today. I got emotional on the way home from church and started crying as Caleb was singing a song.  Crazy, I know... but God knows my heart. He knows your heart, too.... no matter what you are going through.

No matter what you're facing right now, I'm praying that God will show you He. Is. Enough. His grace is sufficient.  And all the people said...Amen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

To Her

Spoiler Alert: This blog will tell you about the ending of the book/movie Safe Haven, so if you have any intention of reading/watching, you might not want to continue. However, if you are a true Nicholas Sparks fan, you know it's going to be a tearjerker...

I sit in the movie theatre and the tears fall, just a couple, and barely noticeable, but I think how it is a good thing that Caleb isn't with me, because he gets tired of me crying during movies.  And I do it more and more these days...

Anyway, it's at the very end of the movie, when the hero has swooped in and saved the girl and proclaimed his love for her, where you know they are going to live happily ever after.  He hands her an envelope, with two words: "To Her"

This is a letter from his dead wife, written as she succumbed to cancer, the mom of two little kids and a husband who she loved enough to let go.  In this letter, she writes how she wishes she could see the new girl with her family, that she could see the love between her and the kids. She writes about hope, provided because he has gone on to love again.

And as I wipe the tears away, I think of how hard that would be to write.  I'm not sure I'd be quite as gracious. I'd like to think I would be... and isn't that the very definition of love?

Of letting go when you have to, for happiness sake?  And more importantly, of knowing when to hang on when the timing is right?

What would I write?  Would I write about how I hope her handles are grown out like mine, and that she can bear split ends? Would I write that I'm glad he found someone else to listen to his basketball plans, and that I would hope that her heart would leap in her chest as he paces the sidelines? That she, too, would grow to know that loving this crazy guy means knowing when he'd tell his guards to "jump" and "trap"?  Or that I am hoping Caleb would have someone more soft spoken, someone sunny and willing to laugh?  What would I write, other than "Love them well"?

Deep questions on this Saturday, and I drive home in the snow.  I think of this as I lean forward on the bleacher, studying his profile as he watches these girls pull up for a three.  I think of it as I sing out loud on the way home, laughing as Caleb tells us to hurry because our music is too loud.  I think of it now, as I sit and type as my hair is twirling, twirling.  Less than a month, and we'll see about letting go, at least for 9 weeks. 

Love hurts.  But is is also the best gift in the world.  And His grace is sufficient to let us keep loving, the best way we know how. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

2 Peter 3:18 SSMT 2013 #4

If you've been following along you know 2013 is my year of grace.  I've had some good days, when I've held my breath and counted to five (or ten, or fifty), and gave grace. I've had some bad days, too, when I've not...and had to give grace to myself for messing it up.

I'm on my fourth memory verse on grace, and this is probably one of my favorite ones so far, because it is my prayer for this year. 

"But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18, KJV

This verse is the last verse of the book of 2 Peter, so it is a closing verse.  Peter is wrapping up his message.  That's where the but comes in.  In the verse immediately before it, Peter has given the people a warning of being led away by evil.  So the "but" in the verse is saying... instead of being led away in evil, grow...

Grow in grace.  Isn't that a beautiful thing?  Grow... the definitions of grace given by talk about natural development... but growing in grace is anything but natural. Naturally, we don't want to give grace. We want to give others what they deserve.

And that growth in grace? It comes through knowledge... personal, intimate knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the epitome of grace and knows nothing but grace.  He is the one who can make this a year of grace for me, who can ensure that the fruits of the Spirit are evident of me.  And intimate knowledge of Him... through reading His Word and prayer and seeking Him. 

To Him... Jesus... the most high, be the glory. One definition of glorify in the Bible is "to make famous." So many people today seek glory, but it is our job to give Him the glory that is due Him. To make Him famous.  Now.  Right now. In today's messed up, scary world, where nothing could be good unless He was in it.

And forever will take care of itself... can't you just see Him, being crowned King of King and Lord of Lords?

Amen.  =)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Learning to Dance

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  I'll spend it riding a school bus to a small school, sitting in a gym, probably videotaping a ballgame where my husband is jumping up and down on the sidelines.  If we win, it'll be a good Valentine's Day. If we lose, maybe not so much.... but I've learned to get used to it the past few years.

This week, we're reading Chapter 4 of Karen Ehman's Let. It. Go... and it's all about Managing Your Man.  I've never been the manager of my man. He's pretty headstrong...and I'm not. He's loud and extroverted... and I'm not.  He can be a jerk sometimes... but so can I.  I like to think we are total opposites... and that somehow, we've made that work. Most of the time.

If you've read this blog at all, you know we've had some troubles.  We grew kind of distant.  That  happens when one person is coaching basketball and the other person is teaching night classes and spending a lot of time online for those classes.  It happens when neither person feels appreciated, when one person would rather run 13 miles while the other just wants to stay on the couch.  We stopped being friends, and grew to just tolerating one another.  

And then we woke up.  Some things happen, and I won't go into detail, but suddenly we were staring each other in the face and wondering who the other person really was.  And to be honest, I was trying to figure out where I had gone in the whole mess... and we realized that true marriage is not easy.  It's hard work. 

Karen talks about submission, and we modern day women try to shy away from that. We are proud that we are "in control" and that we can "multitask" and think for ourselves.  Submission is about so much more than that, though... it is about respect, and being a partner.  It means that I can see what Wallace's strengths are, and use those for my benefits.  It also means that I can see his weaknesses, and use my strenghts to make him better.  It means listening, really listening, before I offer my loud-mouthed opinions... and learning when to keep my mouth shut, which I'm not good at.  It means being a helpmate... someone who is in his corner.

I get that, especially during basketball season. Noone who has ever coached has been well-liked by everyone.  As mentioned before, Wallace is headstrong and tends to have the "my way or the highway" attitude. And sometimes that means people don't like his decision. It's up to me to be the person he knows is behind him, the one he knows he can vent to without me getting mad.  And again, sometimes it's hard to keep my mouth shut, but I'm learning to offer criticism in a nicer way.

To me, the most important step Karen talks about is learning that your marriage, your dance, looks different from someone elses.  It can be easy in our social media world to compare marriages, especially when I think of all the romantic dinners and flowers and candy and love notes others will be getting tomorrow... while I'm videotaping in a gym.  We have to learn to appreciate, and love, the place we are in individually. 

I'm learning.  I'm happy to say that I think most of the time, I have my best friend back.  It's still a tentative dance at times, but, hey, we've made it to another Valentine's Day.  And His grace is sufficient to keep us going. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grace for Others

I struggled with what to write tonight.  Some nights I'm like that... don't really have anything to say, or anything that I want to share.  Lots in this small mind, but nothing worth letting out ;-)

I decided to thumb through my journal to see if I had any ideas.  My journal is just a collection of quotes from books I'm reading, and my list of 1000 gifts, and any prayer requests I may have, and notes from my Bible reading (I've found that when I'm reading chapters such as Leviticus and Numbers, it is easy to stay focused when I'm thinking about the stuff I'm reading. )

Anyway, my eyes fell on some notes I took today while listening to a recording of a conference call for the Let. It. Go. study I'm participating in with Melissa Taylor's Online Bible studies.  The conference call focused a lot on unrealistic expectations, and setting the bar too high, and comparing our messy insides with someone else's cleaned up, masked outside. 

And then they said something profound.  I think it was Jill Savage that said it, the guest on the call. "If we can see ourselves as imperfect, broken, and in need of grace, we can see others as imperfect, broken, and in need of grace."

I am imperfect.  I make mistakes every day, sometimes every hour. I lose my temper and say mean things and act ugly.  I am broken.  Sometimes I am desperate because I am so broken.  I can't pick myself up.

But I wasn't meant to... because He has.  Through His grace, I am made perfect, and I am mended.  He is working a good grace.

But because He is perfecting me through His grace, I must extend grace. 

This is a message I'm hearing a lot lately. Grace... to others.  Grace.  Looking over ones faults.  Embracing the imperfections and the idiosyncrasies of others.  Grace... Marvelous grace. 

Grace for me... and for them... because His grace is sufficient. 

He does His best work in our imperfections, because in our weakness, He is strong. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Renewal through His Gifts

The washer has stopped in its cycle to get ready to spin, and in the silence in the house I can hear the wind chimes on my front porch.  It's been a decent day for February, though the wind is a little chilly.  I sit here on my couch, planning my evening, always planning.  It's unusual for my washer to be running on a weekday night, for me not to be in a gym, for me to have quiet time... home time.

God is good even in chaos, and as I think back over my gifts from this past week I see this.  It's hard sometimes to see His gifts when you are just worn out and tired and emotional... yet this Joy Dare has kept me searching, seeking, kept my eyes wide.

I see them huddled around their guard, her hair flowing and the rest of them sweaty from a ballgame.  In their tender comfort, the tears flow, and I am touched at the idea of family.  Family in a group of girls... these 12 teenagers who love one another on and off the court.  I'm just a small part of it... their basketball mama, but I am so grateful.  In the loss of a grandparent, they have come together to show us what life is really about, and that basketball is more than just bouncing a ball. 

And the past week, 5 games in 6 days with 2 funerals thrown in... the gift of a beautiful sunny day and seeing our girls laugh in victory, of a 15 minute nap snuck in, the gift of family and friends, of 30 minutes snuck in on the treadmill when I didn't see any extra time... the gift of God redeeming time, so that it all comes together when it should.

And I'm counting... Caleb's mean laughter and pausing in the day to watch you tube videos.  A good night's sleep, and the unexpected grace of being able to oversleep and still make it to church on time.  A day of rest, His love and mercy. New friends in my Online Bible study, and my heart, fixed... on Jesus. He took what was broken and fixed it, and now I am fixed on Him.  God's Word and Philippians 4:6 and Matthew 5:1-14 and Him... the author and finisher of our faith.

And now, as I sit here on this red couch thinking about getting up and hitting the treadmill and working on lecture  notes and getting started on a systematic review appraisal... even though I am still tired from last week, the gifts do something. They renew...

Because we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, and renewal of our minds come when we focus on Him, and in focusing on Him, you just can't help but think of all He has done, all He has given.  His gifts... because His grace is sufficient.

Join me at to take the Joy Dare, counting to 1000.  I'm doing more than 3 a day, so I'm on 293.  And He is so good!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Be Anxious for Nothing...

Caleb gets nervous on Sunday evenings. I agree with him that the weekends are never long enough, but he worries.  I'm not really sure why, because he has great friends and teachers and his dad is right there with him, but worry he does.  I think he may get it from his Mama, who tends to borrow trouble. 

Tonight I was talking to him about God, and how he tells us not to be afraid.  He memorized the verse from 1 Timothy about God not giving us a spirit of fear when he was in first grade. We used to quote it walking into school every morning.  Tonight, though, I told him about Philippians 4:6, one I need to hear myself, a lot.

Be anxious for nothing... Don't worry.

Instead (meaning when you want to worry, you do this...), Pray for everything. (Everything.  Nothing is too big. Nothing is too small.)

Ask God for what you need, and thank Him for what He has done. 

Caleb took me literally. He looked up at me and said, "God, what I need is a snow day." I'm betting God won't give him a snow day, but I'm also betting God will be with him at school tomorrow.  Cause His grace is sufficient, and He knows what we need... even when we don't. 

Guess it never hurts to ask, though, right?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Memory Work

My brain is tired.  My body is tired.  And I don't have much to say, so I'm typing out Matthew 5:1-12 for you.  Hopefully I'll get it right.  If I don't, I'm trying =)

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain,and when He was set there, His disciples came up to Him.  And opening His mouth, he taught them, saying,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are those that are merciful, for they shall  obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile against you and speak evil for you, Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven.  Just as they do unto you, they did to the prophets before you."

Ok...let's see how I did.  (And I'm memorizing the King James version, but my checksheet is in another translation, so it might be just a little different.) Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall recieve mercy. Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness'/ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Not too bad. Sorry to bore you.  Praying that those who mourn will be comforted tonight.  God bless!

Friday, February 8, 2013

He. Is. Good.

Feeling blessed tonight.  I love my husband. My boy is the best. My in-laws took care of Caleb, who didn't want to go to the game.   I rode to a ballgame with my Mom and Dad, who sat with me and cheered and yelled at the refs as I tried to remember grace and videotape.  I love that awesome group of girls that play their hearts out on the court, most nights.  I'm warm, had a long bath, and am getting ready to put my head on the pillow.  I know I'm going to sleep well because I'm tired.

God is good...and it's easy to recognize it on nights like tonight... nights when family friends are hurting and you can see the love in a special group of girls. Nights like tonight when Wallace is twirling my hair.  Nights like tonight when even after a loss, you know things are coming together. 

But I also know it isn't always like this.  Things can get ugly, bad... In some situations, things don't work out how we want. 

but God is good anyhow... because it is who He is.  The Great I Am.  He.  Is. Good.  And His grace is sufficient.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My Lullaby

It's 1130 and I should be asleep... or at least have the lights off and my computer turned off.  It's been one of those busy days, though, and I'm committed to doing the best I can to post every day, so even though I have nothing to say, here goes.

Wallace has Pearl Jam on and is singing to me... or maybe not to me.  At least I hope not, because most of Pearl Jam's songs are tragedies.  If you don't listen, though, you don't realize it.  Like Better Man.  When Wallace and I had only bee dating for a little while when he decided that would be a romantic song to sing.  He really meant it, too.... he thought the song meant that she couldn't find a better man.  I argued that it really wasn't a love song.  It's been an ongoing argument ever since, until last week, when Wallace started looking at old videos. 

And she was going to leave him...and the guy was abusive... and it didn't end well.

So, you can't always go by perception.

But I hope he'll keep on singing. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Wednesday.  I lectured today, then ran home to change clothes and head back to town, ride on a big yellow limo to a basketball game.  Tomorrow, I'll work all day, somehow hopefully put in some treadmill time, then head to another basketball game.  After the game, it's to the funeral home for one of our ball girls Grandpas.  Friday, repeat, except there will probably be a funeral in there, work, ballgame, funeral home for another of our ballgirls Papaws.  Saturday, ballgame, funeral, laundry...

No, I'm not trying to make you pity me.  The sad thing is, sometimes I resent all of this running around.  Now don't get me wrong.  I don't ever resent my ballgirls.  I love them like they are my own.  And I don't resent my job, because I truly love it.  The one thing that I resent is in weeks like this one, I feel out of control... which is scary for a control freak like me. As I'm writing this, I'm singing in my head, " get what I want.  Control.... I got to have a lot.  Control... now I'm all grown up." from Janet Jackson. Now there's a flashback. 

I'm reading Let. It. Go. by Karen Ehman, and the first two chapters have hit the nail on the head.  I needed to take that self-evaluation and see that I border on being manipulative. I have never thought of myself as being manipulative, but now that it's in black and white in front of me, I can see it.  I pout when I don't get my way.  I'm passive aggressive.  I'm at times an enabler.  I'm a martyr, taking on the world and then "dying" inside for the cause.  All in an effort to maintain control. 

And when I can't be in control, woe to the world and all around me.  I become angry.  I lash out.  I lose it.

The good news is, I'm recognizing it.  I'm also taking small steps to help me stay in control.  As I said last night, starting out in His Word.  Being in His Word throughout the day.  Focusing on one day at a time... one thing at a time.

Chapter 2 of the book talked about simplicity, or our lack of, in today's present world. I'm reminded of how out of control it makes me feel when my cell phone beeps at an email notification. You'd think that having the world at my fingertips would help me feel in control, but it only makes me worse... because I see all this stuff that I need to do and people I need to answer. 

And then there's Facebook.  I love facebook.  I post verses and encouraging messages and posts to my blogs there.  I lead an online Bible study group, and participate in several other Bible study groups... and stay in touch with old and new friends.  It's a great tool... but can lead me into feeling out of control when I look up and see that I've wasted two hours.  And also when I compare myself to others, which is easy to do!

So, this week, I'm going to do better.  When I get on there to play games, or when I'm not working in my Bible study group, fifteen minutes, max. As in set a timer.  And sign off when it goes off... we'll see.

One other point Karen made talked about Glorifying God.  When I'm trying to be control, I'm trying to take all of the glory... and I don't want to do that.  I want to make Him famous, through me.  Through my actions. Through my love. Through every thing I do for Him. 

So, I think in this blog post I've summarized all three options for this blog hop =) Sorry it was so long... but I had a lot on my mind.  And this is my blog... so I'm in control.  Ha, ha. 

"Together we'll learn to discover a crucial life skill: how to control what we should and trust God with what we can't." - Karen Ehman.  I'm ready. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Keeping My Sanity

I'm feeling much less stressed.  Maybe I'm just in denial, but that's ok, because I'm a lot happier.  Caleb may argue that fact, seeing as we once again got in an argument tonight... but I really am trying. And I think he is, too...

Anyhow, Ann Voskamp wrote a blog post the other day where she gave ideas to keep her sanity.  I think it was called The Sanity Manifesto? Anyway, I printed it off and hung it on my wall at work.  Also posted there is a printable from The TimeWarp Wife talking about my job being a priviledge, because it is work for God, and my wall hanging Holly made me for Christmas, with Jeremiah 29:11 on it.  And my Terrible Towel, and a redneck island necklace my cousin Rhett made all the cousins when we were at Green River Lake.  All stuff to see me through the day at work... reminding me of what is important in life, and what I'm living for.  God.  Family.  Friends.  Football (just kidding... or am I?)

Anyway, I've kind of adopted Ann's advice.  Every morning for the past month, I've started my day in His Word.  (Ok, I might have missed a couple of mornings....but I'm doing better).  It may just be 15 minutes to read in Luke or in my Chronological Bible.  Good days are those I can linger and read in several chapters.  But I start my day in His Word.

And I've been trying to plan... and I'm a big planner. But in this, I write down what I need to do for that day.  Just that day...  or maybe the next day, if it's something I need to work on.  And I focus on that.  For 25 minutes at a time, and then I take a break. 

Exercise... or try to.  Usually with a good show on or good music on so that I can lose myself because I really dont' like to do it... although I'm finding I'm looking forward to it.  I'll never admit it to Wallace.

And going to bed on time... maybe not lights out or asleep, but not working past a certain time.  This takes for some planning for this procrastinator, but it's important for me to wind down, catch up with Wallace, and figure out what the plan is for the next day, since it's basketball season in full swing and we have four games a week.

One day at a time... and I'm keeping my sanity.  Thank you, Ann... and thank You, God.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Generous Grace, Making Me Rich SSMT #3 and #Joy Dare

One month of grace and still I'm struggling.  I sit at the kitchen table where he is doing his homework, looking out at the half-melted snow.  There's something about the warm-up days following a snow that leave me depressed.  Once, all was white in the world.  Now, it's just muddy and nasty.  Sound familiar?

Where once the new year is exciting and... new... full of opportunities... a month in and I'm just tired. Could be because I sat up too late last night. Could be because I pulled up my assignments for the next couple of weeks.  Could be that I have to help with  homework, help set up for the Woman's Club meeting, take Caleb to a birthday party, and somehow make it to a ballgame for a little bit of the action.. all in a matter  of a couple of hours.

And it's the 4th already and I've barely looked at this third memory verse.  "You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich."

I'm looking at it, writing it, knowing that the only words I know are "generous grace", because that's what I'm focusing on, today, when I don't feel so generous. 

And I know it in my heart.  "You know..." Yes, yes I do.  I know it intimately, have seen it in action, God loving a sinner graciously even when I don't deserve it.

Generous grace.... of Him, who gave it all to come to earth to be poor.  Born in a manger.  Having no home of his own, and traveling on dusty roads to heal and save and love.  Made poor so that I could be made rich...

Rich in friends.  Rich in family.  Rich from love notes from my baby boy, and from words jumping off of the page at me, as I read of abounding hope and God being in control and His love.. oh, HIs love.  Rich from boxes of Gigi's cupcakes and my planner and books and gifts in pictures.  Rich in God's gifts, over 200 in January alone.  And as I focus on this, I'm remembering that clean snow that I came home to.  White, covering everywhere...

Just like my heart when I'm grateful, washed white because of His redemption, because of His generous grace, because of Him being made poor... because His grace is sufficient.

Counting the gifts with Ann at  Join me in the Joy Dare? It truly has changed my outlook... most days. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Fun

Introvert + messy house + lazy girl + Saturday class= I usually am not a good hostess.  At all.  I'm not a party girl.  Most times, I prefer to read on the couch or play Bejewled Blitz on Facebook.  However, Wallace Bates is not an introvert.  He is the life of a party, and the last couple of years, he has called me on my backwardness. Which means that tonight, it was our turn to host the Super Bowl party.

What I've learned is that it's actually fun to get together with people that you like.  No, my house may not be the cleanest or most organized, but the projector TV makes up for it.  And while I'm not a cook and usually serve pizza on a paper plate and chips and dips, it's not always about the food, but more about the fellowship (at least I hope that my friends think that).  What matters is more that I'm opening my heart and offering time and laughter...

So tonight, I watched the Ravens take control of the Super Bowl and ate pizza from Little Caesars and homemade cake and Diet Coke (not Pepsi, even though Wallace announced he loved Pepsi during the halftime show, when we all know that's a lie).  I listened as a little boy downstairs laughed and ran and had a good time with the other kids (even though I did at one time get a text that said, "Mom, I'm fine.  I was just hitting the door with a broom."... Not what I would have called fine.) I got a little scared when the lights went out... I think anyone living in a post 9/11 world automatically thinks about what might be in situations like that.  I laughed when we sat there for ten minutes with the sound off, thinking it was the broadcast when really it was just our set up...

And after everyone left, I sat on my couch, listening to Caleb chatter sitting next to me, and watched one of the best endings to a Superbowl that I can remember as the 49ers came back to almost win.  I watched Ray Lewis with the Lombardi trophy, and thought about how God is truly a redeemer, and can change our lives no matter how extreme, if we are just willing to allow Him to.

Thank you, God, for my friends and my family and for football.  And for good food, not cooked by me...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

January Review

One month down, 11 to go.  Can you believe it?  I am always in awe that time goes by so fast. Seems like we spend our lives waiting for things... and then before we know it, they are over. I'm hoping that will be my experience with this DNP program, anyway...

So, in an effort to be more accountable toward my "resolutions", I thought I'd make a monthly post as to how well I've been doing.  Don't think I'm bragging, because anything I"ve been able to do is through the grace of God!!! Now, I know this may be boring to you, so I promise tomorrow I'll try to have something more exciting... but here we go.

Not lost much weight, but I have been exercising at least 30 minutes 3 days a week. My goal is 6 days a week,and I've done that a couple of times... but it is ball season.  And I'm not a morning person.  Maybe February will be better in that way.

I'm on track reading my Bible through.  I'm reading in Leviticus... which I struggle with.  I've been taking notes and journaling, which makes it a little slow, but I'm really trying to do at least 15 minutes a day.  It's amazing to me how God can show you new things from a familiar passage.  Like today, I was reading about the trespass offering.  It essentially says atonement for ignorance... for sinning when they didn't even realize they were doing it.  I can definitely relate to that.  I'm so thankful I live under a new covenant, have been redeemed, and can access heaven myself to ask for forgiveness! Thank You, Jesus!

I'm memorizing Matthew 5, 6, & 7 this year.  Pretty lofty goal, but I'm on verse 11 and I've done pretty good. I've also memorized two verses for Beth Moore's SSMT, and am working on 2 Corinthians 8:9. These verses focus on grace.

I've not taken a pic every day, but I've been pretty close. And some days I've taken more than one, so it has evened out =) I've blogged almost every day.... I think I've missed one. 

I'm working through Lisa Harper's Malachi and hope to start Beth Moore's Daniel (again) with a group of friends on Facebook (goal of 4 in depth Bible studies).  I'm also starting Let. It. Go. tomorrow. 

I read 10 out of my 80 books in January.  70 to go. This is probably my favorite goal because I enjoy it so much!

Participating in the Joy Dare and counting 1000 gifts... counted 216 in January alone.  He is so good!

Getting more sleep... not 8 hours a night, but going to bed at a decent hour most nights, and feeling more rested in the morning.

I think I've been laughing, and living, and positive.  I'm trying to make every moment count.  Been trying to connect with others and get out of my shell. 

January was pretty good.  I think a lot of it is in your perspective, and mine's changing... because His grace is sufficient.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Laughter is the best medicine.  It's also a really good stress reliever, too...

The start of the semester is always hectic. Add my own classes on top of that, and the fact that it's ball season, and things get really stressful at the Bates house.

So it was good to get away for an evening, and laugh. Hard. Until tears ran down my face and I lost my breath (which wasn't really hard, because I think I have bronchitis and have been coughing my head off.)

We're working, but we're having fun doing it.  And we'll make up for our silliness more than enough tomorrow when we sit all day in class.

Tonight, though, I'm just going to enjoy. 

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I'm going to rejoice and be glad in it.  And pray I come home to a clean house.... laughter, anyone? =)