Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Only every four years will I be able to post about this, so I figured why not?  2012 is one of those years where we gain an "extra" day.  We're forced to mess up our mind and write 2-29-12.  One of the blogs I subscribe to talked about this being an "extra" day, and I am happy to say that I took full advantage.

Since I do a 12 hour clinical day on Tuesday, I usually take Wednesday off to recoup and work from home.  Today, I slept late, and then spent about 2 hours catching up on my Bible reading and devotions and cleaning out my email (I still have 240 unread emails, so guess I didn't do such a great job).  I read some, graded clinical paperwork (still haven't got caught up) and then read some more.  I didn't worry about running here and there, jsut concentrated on the tasks at hand and recognized that since it was an "extra" day, I could use it as a day to "catch-up".  I took a nap and went to church.  Great lesson about James 4- Submit yourself and resist the devil, and compromise and how we weren't born to compromise, but that the devil likes to make us think that we were. 

On this extra day, I didn't compromise... but how often do I?  How often do I skirt around things that need to be done?  How often do I neglect my rest, or my exercise (which I did even today... but I wasn't getting on the treadmill with it lightning the way it was today).  We're full of rationalizations, when really we should be filled with His reasoning.  Help me not to compromise, Lord.  Help me to submit myself to you, and resist, because this is so hard.  And thank You for catch-up days, so that tomorrow morning, I'm not as far behind as I thought I was...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Troubling Times

Tonight I'm praying for a high school in Ohio that I don't even know where it is.  All I know is that we are living in scary times, and we never know what tomorrow holds. I'm sure that those students sitting in the cafeteria yesterday morning never expected to be the victims of a school shooting.  I can imagine them sitting there at the tables, texting on their cell phones and blowing bubbles and playing Temple Run, tweeting to friends and posting pictures with their tongues stuck out onto Facebook.  Regardless of where they live, what part of the country, teenagers are pretty much the same.  Same worries, same hopes.  Same problems...

It's hard to understand what would motivate a shooter to open fire on a group of peers.  I've not even watched the news enough to know the details of the shooting; I do know that being a teenager is hard.  They say this wasn't about bullying or drugs.  Nooone really understands...  A life cut short... a life unlived.  But we are only promised today... that's why we must live each moment to the fullest.  Our life is a vapor... here today, gone tomorrow.  Appreciate your loved ones.  Be grateful.  Try not to complain.

And parents, love your kids.  Love other people's kids.  Love kids that you don't know, that you'll never speak to.  Smile.  Pat them on the back.  Encourage them.... your words may be the only kind words they hear.  Treat others as you'd want to be treated.  And pray.  There's a devil out there, folks... a roaring lion. Seeking.  Looking to eat us up. Be sober.  Be vigilant.  We have the victory...

Prayers for all those involved in the Chadron shooting.  Prayers for the family of the victims, for all those kids in the cafeteria Monday morning, and for the shooting suspect.  May comfort and peace be given in these difficult days ahead.  And Lord, please look out for America.  There are still some of us seeking You...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Know it... Live it... Love it.

Know this well, then. Take it to heart right now: God is in Heaven above; God is on Earth below. He's the only God there is. Obediently live by his rules and commands which I'm giving you today so that you'll live well and your children after you—oh, you'll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. Deuteronomy 4:39-40

As I was reading my Chronological Bible (I'm behind, of course, but sometimes I'm stuck by how God is right on time) I read this verse and I really liked it. I love to look up verses in different translations, and the verse I've quoted here is from The Message. These verses some up our relationship with God...

Know this well- know it. Claim it. Believe it. Have faith in it.

Take heart right now- Stop rationalizing away your faith, and put your belief into action. Take heart... Own it in your marrow, in your bones. Feel it. Right now. Today. This very hour.

God is in Heaven and on Earth- GOD the Creator. Look up tonight at the stars. He's numbered them. The trees in our hills... he knows where their seeds came from. The sand on our beautiful beaches, the waves that crash into them... He's orchestrated it all. From the wonders of outer space to the depths of our Earth, He is in control.

He's the only God there is- There may be other gods. They have no power. They don't have the ability to stop you in your tracks, to heal you of disease, to comfort you when you are brokenhearted. There is only one God, and He is sitting on His throne right now.

Obediently live by His rules- This is where we tend to get hung up. If you read the Old Testament, there were many laws they had to live by. We were freed from the law when Christ Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. We have two basic commandments- love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, strength,and being, and love our neighbors as we love ourself. If we can follow this, loving God and each other, it helps us keep other commandments, such as do not kill, do not steal, do not covet, and do not lie.

So that you might live well, and your children- Rules aren't made to be broken. They are made to help us, to protect us, to keep us. When we love God, and love each other, we are full of His Spirit, and we do live well. In turn, our children will see us fulfilling this and they, too, will live well. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

You'll live a long time in that land that God is giving you- Here he's talking about Canaan, the Promised Land. But we have a Promised Land, where we will live eternally. No death. No sickness. No orphans. No crying or sadness or fear or pain. A land that is beautiful, where we will forever be with the One who gave it all for us.

Live well. Love Him. Know this. He's real, and He loves you in a way you can never imagine.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spring Yet?

Today Caleb got his golf cart out.  I went for a ride with him, and watched him swing on the swing at Fort Caleb.  The sky was the most beautiful blue, and the sun was radiant through the tree branches.  Spring time is here, it would appear... until the wind blew.  It was brisk enough to cause goosebumps to pop up on my arms, even in a sweatshirt. 

I then walked for about an hour up the gravel road by the house, back and forth, talking with Helen and listening to the gravel crunch beneath our feet.  By this time, the sun was beginning to set and our shadows were longer in front of us.  The wind had picked up, and by the time we got finished and came in the house, my fingers were numb.  A warm bubble bath helped warm me back up. 

Spring time is not here yet, but it is not winter anymore, either.  Our lives are sometimes like that.  We go through a dark period of winter when it seems as though the sun will never shine.  Dead trees and brown grass dot our landscape, and hope is a far off presence.  Then, slowly, the sun begins to peek out of the clouds.  A blue sky reminds us that there is hope, and the wind, though cold and brisk, lets us know that His Spirit is always near.  We must travel through these periods of winter to appreciate the glorious springs and summer.  Each time has its purpose... winter, though appearing dead, allows us to rest and brings about a rebirth.  Sometimes the most beautiful flowers are those that appear through the hard earth as the snow melts. 

There are many in my community struggling right now... death of loved ones, illnesses.  We live in an uncertain time.  May you hold tight to God as you fight through your winter.  Spring time is coming, and with it is new life and hope and the promise that all will once again be right with the world.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wedding Bells

There's just something about a bride that makes people happy.  That radiant glow, that lovestruck look, it just makes a girl all warm and fuzzy inside.  Today, I went wedding dress shopping with Holly.  First of all, let me say that I was overwhelmed with the selection at David's Bridal.  It was a madhouse, and Holly was super nervous about finding the perfect dress.  Mom tried to tell her that it took me about six shops to find my dress, and that we didn't have to find one today, but Holly was a girl on a mission.  She knew what she wanted, and we were just along for the ride.

She tried on three dresses, all beautiful.  A couple of them had sequins and when she tried on the veil we ooh-ed and ah-ed.  As she was changing, Kami and I checked out the other bride-to-bes, and there dresses.  Always the typical princess, Kami pointed out dresses that she'd like to try on (there was one that she really liked that she said she wished she would have seen for the prom... Mom told her she was sure it was out of their price range).  There's just something about that wedding dress that makes a girl beautiful.  Lace, sequins, tulle, you name it, there was a dress in it.  And when it was THE dress, the bride to be would ring a bell and everyone would cheer, whether you were with that girl or not, because nothing makes the perfect wedding day like the perfect dress.

Holly had hoped for a lace dress, but they didn't have one in her size.  However, that's the wonder of a bridal shop.  You can try on a dress that may not fit and they can help you see how you'd look in it.  So Holly got to try on a lace dress... and when she came out of the dressing room, we knew.  She knew.  It was beautiful. Elegant, but understated.  I got teary-eyed.  Kami squealed.  So she said yes to the dress, and we left David's Bridal happy.

One more thing checked off the list of things to do.  Weddings are so overwhelming, but I hope Holly is enjoying every minute of this.  I know I'm enjoying living vicariously through her.  And her happiness couldn't happen to a better person.  Now I'm just going to have to buy some water-proof mascara before August 4th...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day of Work

I was sick last week.  I missed a 12 hour clinical day, and then the next day still just sat around.  Thursday I had lab, and Friday all day meetings, so here I am, a week later, a week behind.  Today I went into the office and worked, and still didn't get caught up.  I need to work on lecture notes to post for next week, and have to post an assignment, too, but today I felt like I was digging myself out of papers.  I did clean out my email some (I only have 250 unread messages now).  I hate feeling behind...

and then I read a devotion today that I really liked.  It talked about making time for people rather than tasks, and I realized that maybe I'm not as behind as I thought.  Because today I chatted with students online about questions, took time to talk to  M&O guys while they checked my computer and other electronic equipment, and made a point to type some recommendation letters.  All people, not just things to do.  Our lives are about relationships, and sometimes I forget that.  I get so stressed out in what I need to do, and forget to focus on who is important. 

So after work I met Wallace and Caleb and had a leisurely dinner at Alberto's. We talked and laughed.  I then visited with my in-laws, discussing the exciting news of the day (congrats, Greg and Regina... I'm going to make a wonderful aunt).  I finished my busy, digging myself out from being behind day watching TV with Wallace. 

I'm a professional procrastinator... but that work will be there tomorrow... for when I get back from wedding dress shopping with Holly, Mom, and Kami.  And maybe my mind will be a little clearer, and I'll be more productive.  One can dream, anyway...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Daddy's Boy...and maybe a Mama's, too

My Caleb doesn't care much for sports.  I think it is because Wallace and I are such big sports fans.  He would rather sit at home and watch TV than go to a gym.  Sometimes I shake my head at him, but then at other times, he surprises me.  Like tonight.

Tonight was 55th District Championships at Breathitt.  We played Breathitt, a huge favorite.  Caleb was fired up and ready to go to the game.  I'm sure he knew that a lot of his friends would be there, but I also think it was because he knew it was a championship.  Caleb's always been about cutting down nets and firetrucks and being in the center of the winner's circle. 

First stop on the way home from school was Mamaw Karen's.  Kami was making some last minute signs.  Caleb decided that he needed to make some signs, too.  The first one Mamaw Karen wrote out for him so he could trace it.  She told us that in all her years of sign-making (and that's a lot...), she had never made one that said Beat BHS.  Somehow, that's what Caleb's ended up saying.  He then decided that he needed to make a sign for his Daddy.  It says, "Go  Coach Bates" and had something on there about jumping (one of his Daddy's favorite sayings during a game).  He wrote this one out himself and traced the letters in purple and gold. Then, he made one for Brittany Curtis, the only senior on team. 

We headed out to the game, signs intact and ready to cheer.  When we got there, Caleb sat down by the rail with some of his best buds.  Jackson fell behind quick.  Wallace yelled and rubbed his head and jumped a few times and there might have been a clipboard broken (we won't say how many of those have been split in  two this season).  This is when Caleb surprised me. 

Midway through the 3rd quarter, Jackson was down by about 30.  Caleb came up and got his Ipad.  He said, "I am going to figure out a way for us to win this game."  I said, "Caleb, baby, I don't think we can win."  He then gave me a lecture about how I was just someone who didn't believe and that His Daddy was a good coach and we could win, too.  He was furious... and it was just like me looking in a mirror.  I can remember a game at Knott County when Breathitt was playing when I was about his age, and how it hurt so bad because we were losing.  I was so mad... I hated Knott County.  So yes, maybe he does act a little like his Mommy.  He then went on to get his signs that he had made and hold them up.  He said he was going to scream until he didn't have a voice.  And he did scream a lot.  He cheered his heart out, and then at the end of the game, went over and gave his Daddy a great big bear hug. 

So what I learned tonight from Caleb: 1. A Daddy is still a little man's hero even when they don't see eye to eye.  2.  It's okay to believe, even when it looks like things are impossible.  3.  Cheering until you lose your voice may not make your team win, but it makes a Daddy get tears in his eyes when he finds out just how much his little boy wanted him to. 4.  Be careful how you act when you are small... your kids turn out a lot like you.  Grin...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Working Blues

I love my job.  Really, I do.  I get the best of both worlds; get to educate the next generation of great nurses while at the same time getting my summers off to spend with my boys.  I get to spend time with patients, getting to know them and their families, and help make a difference.  I get to hang antibiotics and start IVs and chart and do more charting, and at the end of the day I go home, bone tired but feeling like I've accomplished something.  But then there are nights like tonight, when Jackson City almost came back to beat Wolfe County, and I would have really liked to have been at that game cheering them on.  When I didn't get to see Caleb because he was asleep by the time I got home.  But enough whining... because I have a job.  I have a healthy son who has grandparents to go pick him up from school, feed him, help him with his homework, and make sure he gets a shower before bedtime.  I have a husband who works hard so that I could take a job with a paycut so I could be off during the summer and on weekends.  Being an adult isn't hard, but I've not got it bad, either.  So thank You, Lord, for taking care of me and mine. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Wintertime... not my favorite time of the year.  I am so much more about sunshine and happiness, lying by the pool with my suntan lotion on (even though I know I shouldn't be using it), my sunglasses on and a good book in my hand.  Much, much better than freezing to death...

Except for days like today.  The snow started off as sleet, but before I knew it, Twin Cedar was a winter wonderland with big, fluffy snowflakes twirling to the ground.  A good day for a nap on the couch.  Outside now, everything is a magical white and all is right with the world.  At least until tomorrow, when everyone starts getting out and driving in it and the white becomes a murky brown and it becomes more slush. 

The beauty of God is like that... we make it messy when it is just simple.  Like snow, God's blessings waft down from the sky and land on us, undeserving.  And then, before you know it, we start muddying it up.  Tonight, though, as I think about that pure, unadulterated beauty covering the world as I know it outside, I thank God for beauty in a mess.  For His love that washes away our sins and makes us as white as snow... perfect.  Blemish free. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Prayers for Rosa

There are some downsides to living in a small town.  Everyone knows your family, and everyone knows your business.  Sometimes even before you know your business.  Or they know more about your business than you do.   However, in a small town, we tend to pull together for our own.  When tragedy affects someone, you can't just ignore it, because it's your neighbor.  It makes you realize that it could have been you.

This week, I have been saddened by the tragic accident of a fellow Jacksonian.  To all who know her, Rosa is quick with a smile and a friendly word.  Her fight with breast cancer at a young age has truly defined "survivor".  I've laughed with her at Relay committee meetings and cried as she gave the Survivor speech.  Rosa lives life to the fullest, as a Mom to her three kids and as a breast cancer survivor offering support to others who have been diagnosed with the disease.  She never let the disease define her, choosing instead to embrace life and enjoy it no matter what. 

On Monday, a tragic car accident left Rosa with a severe closed head injury.  It's hard to imagine her teenage kids going through what they must be going through.  I'm sure this week has dragged by as they have watched doctors and nurses work with Rosa. Uncertainty is still the word (this according to the grapevine, which is usually a bad thing but when it comes to knowing how to pray I guess it's better than nothing).  No matter what the prognosis, though, or what Rosa has ahead of her, I know that she is a fighter.  God is still a healer, and faith can still move mountains.  On this Friday evening, if you'd take a few minutes to send up a prayer for Rosa, for Tyler, Justin, and Lexie, for all of her family and friends who are at her bedside or are here praying, I'd appreciate it.  Living in a small town means we're family, and family takes care of each other.  Rosa, you've got all of us behind you.  Love and prayers!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Team Players

Ball season is almost over.  Next week is the District Tournament.  Tonight I watched two Seniors that I love dearly, on two different courts in two different gyms, walk out with their parents to be recognized.  Surprisingly, I didn't cry when Kami walked out.  I guess maybe I'll do that on Saturday, at State, or next week at District, or the next week at Regions.  She didn't seem too upset... I think we got most of our sadness out after football season.  With Brittany, though, the slide show got me.  It does everytime.  I did really good through most of the pictures, until one of her and Kendall Marie came up on the screen.  I've known those girls since they were babies, and they've been best friends for at least that long.  How can they be graduating?  I know they don't  feel nearly as upset about it as I do...  but anyway.

Tonight, at Jackson, they bought the other team's Seniors flowers.  I had never seen that done before and I thought it was really neat.  I also watched as a fourth grader scored over 10 points and our team patted her on the back.  Our team missed rebounds so she could get the ball and for once the coach who believes in pressing to the death (armageddon) told his group to part the waters and let her drive to the basket.  To me, that's what ball is about.  Not just the wins and the losses, but a love for the game, regardless of whose jersey the player has on.  A mutual respect, some healthy competition, but a handshake after the game. 

I know not everyone feels this way.  Seems like these days, it's all about how many points a player can score.  Parents upset about playing time and kids jealous of each other.  I guess it's always been that way... but it shouldn't be.  As we get ready for District tournament, let's all remember it's just a game.  Be happy for others, and leave the court as good as you were when you walked on.  Best of luck! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Today, out of my Bible lesson on Hebrews, and a tie-in to Exodus, I got another reminder about being thankful.  I also realized that we must remember, but it is important to remember the right things.  The Israelites remembered Egypt instead of crossing the Red Sea.  They remembered leeks and onions and other foods instead of manna sent straight from Heaven.  As we practice gratitude, we are able to look back on our lives and remember when God saw us through. These events can be small or large. Tonight, I'm reflecting and remembering:

A little girl who at age 4 drove a car off of a cliff, the driver's door open.  One little pumpknot and a broken pair of glasses, and a Mommy who looked worse for the wear from chasing the car down the hill.  Same little girl a week later, spilling all of the flowers from her flower basket and stopping to pick them up, scolded by her older cousin to just go on down the aisle.

I'm remembering a Daddy who paused at his calculator to pull up a chair and listen to a little girl ramble, telling stories and singing.  A Daddy who sometimes thinks he didn't make enough time for that little girl, but the time that he did make, of laughing and hugs and field trips to Lousiville where he sang Guns n Roses to the delight of the little girls' classmates.  A Daddy who was at times impatient, but recognized it and used it as a lesson to tell the little girl the importance of patience and temperance.  A Daddy who cries sometimes at the drop of the hat, who loves others with his whole heart. 

I'm remembering sleepovers at Grandma's house during basketball season, the feel of her heavy comforter as I snuggled in for another bedtime story, of the coolness of linoleum floors as I padded to the bathroom, of homemade cornbread soaking in big glasses of milk and of a grandma who was magical because she told the best stories and could draw so well.

I'm remembering nights full of fireflies at the pond, the sound of frogs and fish jumping, smoke from the campfire drifting up to the sky, stars bright as I wasn't worried about snakes (you'll not catch me up there now after dark.  And I wonder what happened to that brave little girl...)

I remember Papaw hitting the bucket and catfish jumping.   Of climbing the tree in Grandma Na's front yard, and of watching Glenn be brave and climb on the roof.  I never made it over quite that far. (Guess I wasn't that brave).   I remember the whole family gathering for biscuits and gravy, until the three at one bundle arrived and there wasn't anymore room.  I remember hiding in closets and dressing in Grandma's boots (very fashionable, if I must say so myself).

I remember Papaw Jr., so quiet and humble, hugging me at the funeral home when his Mom died.  It is the first time I can remember him telling me he loved me, yet I somehow knew anyway.  I remember times spent with Mamaw Carrie, of ice cream melting as Jen and I walked  back to her house from the Dime Store, of Days of Our Lives on the TV and a path beat down from generations of kids running behind the house.  Of Papaw Barlow and wrestling and him turning his hearing aid down so we wouldn't bother him.

I remember times in the gym.  Those were some of my favorite times.  I remember bad times, too, times when I wish I could go back and shake my 14 year old self, but those years of the bad attitude helped me figure out who I wasn't, so I guess they are worth something.  As I wrote a couple of days ago, God works everything to the good. 

We are a culmination of our life experiences.  If we look back on them, we will see how God has used them to our good.  Learning experiences that help shape us, and mold us into who we are.  By remembering them, we open our eyes to His goodness.  And it is our job to then tell it to future generations.  Caleb loves to hear about when his Nana was little.  I'm not so good with the stories, but I'm realizing that I need to take time to do this.  He never knew his great-great grandparents, but I think they would have gotten a kick out of him.  By sharing these stories with him, and with you, I am helping to spread our family legacy, one that I am proud to say is firmly rooted in Christ Jesus and His everlasting love. 

 “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.[a] 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. " Deuteronomy 6:4-9...

Love the Lord.  and Remember. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Greatest of These...

Valentine's Day... a day for lovers everywhere.  As I've looked on Facebook, pictures of roses and stuffed animals and jewelry and candy abound.  I've had a good Valentine's Day, as good of one that you can have sick in  the bed.  I did get some chocolates and a card, hand-signed, which is a big deal from Wallace Bates.  As I've sat and pondered Valentine's Day, though, I'd like to comment just a little on what TRUE love is.  This is the kind of love we should strive for, and a kind that I'm still not really good at. 

Our greatest commandment is to love one another.  God's perfect biblical love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. I challenge you on this Valentine's Day to consider this:

 Love is patient and kind. (Love is patient.  It does not get mad when your husband leaves a million pop cans laying around the house, or when your husband forgets to bring home something from the grocery store.  It doesn't mind explaining something over and over.  It is kind in that it desires the best for your loved one.  It never wants to see the other person hurt.)

Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. (Love does not get upset when your extrovert of a husband talks to a million people instead of talking to you.  You know that eventually he will get around to the one person who really is the center of his universe, even though his cell phone is permanently attached to his hand.  Love wants the best for the other person, instead of yourself.  Love isn't rude, or smart-mouthed, or snide in comments, even when a comeback would do the other person some good in bringing them back to reality.)

It does not demand its own way. (Love does not demand its own way.  Instead, it agrees to go to the Asian Buffet and sit there and sip a pop just because you know it makes your husband happy.  It's this part of love that makes a hubby sleep through a chick flick.  It's this kind of love that makes me happy to just sit next to Wallace scouting games... ok, and at least I do like sports).

It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 (Love is not irritable.  It is not grouchy.  It has a smile on its face at all times.  I told you that I wasn't really good at this type of love.  It doesn't hold grudges, or bring up arguments from 10 years ago, even if it really does help prove a point.  Love doesn't worry about proving points.)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  (Love never gives up.  It hangs on when the going gets tough.  It is always looking for the best.  It sees things that may not be there to give it hope.  It takes every small word and uses these to help it through the bad times.  It endures.  It holds on. It struggles.  It fights to stay on good ground. It clings to the belief that true love is worth fighting for, that true love is more than just flowers and candy. True love is having a shared history, of being there for each other through difficult times, of being able to finish each other's sentences and knowing what the other person is thinking.  True love never gives up, because it believes the best.)

Our example of true love is that God first loved us.  He loved us so much He sent His son to die a criminal death so that we can be with Him forever.  In the meantime, this life down here is hard.  We can't go through it alone.  That's why He's given us a helpmate.  You may not have yours yet.  I'm so very thankful that I've got mine. So hopefully you got everything you wanted for Valentine's Day.  If not, know that there is a God that is crazy about you. 

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13. If we've got love, we can make it through whatever else....

Monday, February 13, 2012

"His"tory her story = Love story

Right now I'm watching Pawn Stars.  It's one of my favorite shows to watch with Wallace.  I also enjoy  American Pickers.  It's amazing to me how much money people will pay for other people's "junk".  If they were to visit my Papaw Paul's basement, they'd really know about hitting the jackpot.  Papaw believes in the old adage of waste not, want not.

I can remember climbing down those concrete steps as a little girl. He had his wood working stuff down there, so it always smelled of sawdust.  There were always big piles of saw dust everywhere.  Papaw would pay me to sweep them up (he was always looking for "jobs" for me to do).  The basement was always damp, and in the back just a little creepy.  A wood burning stove was situated down there, used heat the whole house.  Coffee cans of nails and buttons and screws and twine took up all the shelf space.  Old newspapers and magazines were stacked up in the corner.  A bunch of junk to a small girl... but to Papaw, one of the smartest men I've ever known, it was all useful.  He could create something out of nothing, and his coffee cans were his material.  He always cautioned me not to be wasteful. You see, his story was about making a use for everything.  When he was a little boy, it wasn't as easy as it was for me, just to drive to the store and buy what you needed.  His story was one of walking to school in the snow, of younger brothers and sisters looking up to him, of working hard so future generations would reap the benefit.  It also includes marrying the love of his life 60 years ago last Saturday.  They two can bicker, but they love each other so much... and I'm so blessed to have their example.  In honor of Valentine's day, I'd like to point out that true love really does exist... not just in fairy tales, but in true life. 

And it's no wonder his basement is so junky.  The upstairs is full of owls... thousands of owls, and a man who never throws anything away accumulates a lot of stuff in 60 years.  =)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All Things Work Together

If you've read my blog much at all, you know I love to read... all kinds of books.  I'm currently reading a book by Karen Kingsbury, a Christian contemporary romance author.  She writes with a simplicity that makes her novels easy to fall into.  She also talks about what she knows, her life in fictitious interpretations, which to me is always good because it is believable.  Her husband is a high school coach, so a lot of her novels deal with that somehow, which is fun for me to read... as does the series I'm reading right now.  In this series, a Broadway actress and a high school football coach were in love... are still in love... but have gone their separate directions. I won't say anything else in case you want to go out and read the book, but I do want to highlight one of the key verses I read from the book tonight. 

"All Things Work together for them who love the Lord."- Romans 8:28 (my paraphrase).  In the book, the characters were using this verse to help them understand their circumstances.  And there  will always be circumstances we don't understand.  Death. Childhood cancer.  Abuse.  Neglect.  Crime and violence.  Drug abuse, and how it runs rampant.  Good people suffering, people who truly love God.  In my lifetime, I can remember a couple of instances where I looked at people who had died, and thought, "Why now, God?" People with small kids and family who loved them and who truly loved Christ, loved by example.  Now, as I've gotten older, I've read Isaiah 55- "My ways are not your ways".  And I know that God has a plan... He's promised us that in Jeremiah 29:11.  Those plans are the fulfillment of all things working together... for good... to them who love God.  To love God, we must seek Him.  We must follow His commandments- love one another and forgive.  We must humble ourselves and take up our cross daily... big steps for a fleshly girl who is proud, not humble.  As we love Him, though, and seek Him, we'll find him (Jeremiah 29:13).  We'll see that He truly does love us with an everlasting love.  A love that can't be taken away from us, even in times we don't understand.  A love that works everything for our good. 

If you keep reading Romans 8, there's a lot of promise there.  A promise that NOTHING can harm us, because God is for us (working for our good). A promise that there is no condemnation (thank You, Jesus, for justification... no condemnation because HE is our good).  A promise that NOTHING can separate us, not even those things we don't understand.  And in that working for good, we are MORE than conquerors (don't you just love that?). 
 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."- Romans 8;37-39
And that, my friend... is Him working all things for good.  God is good... all the time.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Weekends are Made for...

Normally I would say ballgames.  or traveling.  Time with family.  Eating out and movies and ballgames.  This weekend, though, has been made for resting. 

Poor Caleb has had a rough couple of days.  His temperature is still spiking (as of this morning) and he still "sounds funny", as he told me tonight.  I am so thankful that my in-laws are such wonderful people, because today I was exhausted.  Add in a migraine (I'm refusing to believe it was anything but, I've kept a close eye on my temp and I am finally feeling better) and all I wanted to do was sleep.  So that's what I did.  Starting about 12 noon, I have been in the bed.  I did get up and take a nice warm bath, but then back to bed it was.  And rest is wonderful. 

In our hurried lives of running and working and grading papers and updating facebook statuses, I too often forget to rest.  I collapse on my pillow at the end of the day, dreading going to sleep because I know the next day is just going to be more of the same running.  So today, I didn't even read.  I closed my eyes and slept, and just soaked in sweet rest.  My headache is now gone.  I'm not sick to my stomach anymore.  And I'll probably be up the rest of the night... but I think I'm ready for whatever tomorrow brings... and the upcoming week, as basketball season draws to a close. 

Thank You, Lord, for rest.  A nd for a Kindle to read now that I'm not sleepy anymore ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2012


I'm full of excuses.  I haven't been on my treadmill in a couple of weeks, have fallen behind on my Bible reading, and have gained back a couple of pounds.  Sickness has pervaded my house and I'm feeling it... the winter  blues even in a winter that hasn't been typical.  I've been too busy, too tired, have had too much on my to do list... the list of excuses go on and on.

But they are all crap, pardon my language.  An excuse is just a reason not to try.  Everything that is worth anything is worth effort.  I KNOW this, but I've not got my heart convinced of it yet.  I'm praying that God can help me get back on the road to where I need to be... but I do know that even in my weakness, especially in my weakness, I am not alone.  So while I have struggled, I have not quit.  And while I may not be where I want to be, I'm still semi-traveling, instead of lying in a stagnant heap. 

Tomorrow is another day.  It's the first day of the rest of my life.  Hopefully, Caleb will feel better and this headache will go away and I will not have come down with whatever viral ailment I am afraid I am catching.  I will climb on my treadmill, not eat any donuts (I have none in the house to eat), and start over on my journey to perfection... which I will NEVER be, until God deems me complete.  You see, even as I struggle, He's working, too.  And His work is so much better than mine can ever be.  Before, when I struggled, I'd get down on myself.  For so many years, I knew of His love, but I didn't know His love.  Now I know that He is there, with a plan, with a shovel to dig me out of the pit I've created, with a spotlight to help open my eyes in the absolute darkness.  He's got the roadmap, He's the navigator, and I just need to stop being a backseat driver and go along for the ride.  So I'm gonna buckle my seatbelt... here I go ;-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Being Sick Stinks

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to Caleb breathe.  He's lying on the couch, sound asleep, which in the middle of the day is a big deal for him.  I always joke that I know when Caleb is feeling bad when he lays down and when he doesn't want chicken nuggets.  We're two for two today, and a shot of Penicillin was just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Bates.  He took that shot like a champ, knowing an Itunes card would shortly follow (ok, I'm not above bribery!)  Motrin for his throat, and lots of rest.  So we've sat around all day, me working on stuff, him watching TV and sleeping. It's been a good day, even if he is sick.  And I realize just how blessed I am...

Thank You, Lord, for a healthy boy. For a boy who has more energy than I can stand sometimes, a boy whose curiosity is contagious and whose intelligence has gotten him into trouble more times that I can count.  A boy who doesn't have to struggle to breathe or walk or talk, who doesn't have to take medicine or go to countless doctors.  Lord, as I write this, thanking You for your many blessings, I also ask that You will be with those Mommies who do have to go through illness with their baby.  Help them cling to You for comfort and guidance. 

Being sick stinks.  Caleb has whined around most of the day.  He is hurting, his throat hurts, he just doesn't feel good.  "Strep is a bad bug, Caleb." "Yes, Mom, it is, and I got bit bad." Yet even in his feeling bad, he still knows how to touch this Mommy and put a smile on my face... "Caleb, do you know how much I love you?" "Mom, I know how much I love you... and it's lots."  Thanks, God, for this amazing gift You've given me.  And if You would, make those strep bugs disappear =)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weddings and such...

Holly is getting married. Is it wrong to say that I'm super excited? I'm loving the wedding planning.  I'm checking out Pinterest and looking at pictures of dresses and bouquets and table decorations and cakes.  I'm thinking of music and wedding vows and all things sparkly, even though I don't think Holly will have much sparkly at her wedding because she's more a traditional kind of gal.  Love is in the air, and I've been swept away. 

Tonight, we rode home with Dad from church and he had a meeting so we ended up staying late.  We sat and talked wedding plans and didn't even realize we had been sitting there as long as we had.  August will be here before we know it...

I guess what makes me so happy is to see Holly so happy.  She's my first sister, and to say that I resented her coming along would be putting it mildly.  I was a royal brat, and she's always been nothing but sweet.  She is humble, tenderhearted, and loves to laugh.  She deserves all the happiness in the world, a true princess with a fairytale ending... and I'm so excited to be a part of it!!! 

Crazy about Caleb

I'm crazy about Caleb. And sometimes he just plain drives me crazy, but I guess that's how any kid is. First off, he's this unique bundle of energy that acts a lot like his Daddy. I don't get to see him near enough because I'm teaching evenings. I'm not complaining, though, because I know that in the summer, I'll get to be off with him, and that will be totally worth it. Today, though, I got to go pick him up from school; I parked at Lees and just walked up because traffic at pickup time at Jackson City is no fun. We walked down the hill to the car. Caleb talked. We got in the car and drove through town. Caleb talked.And talked.And talked some more.

We drove to Owsley County for a game. Caleb served as DJ, using his IPad and an auxillary cord that he "stole" out of his Dad's truck. He promised he'd remember to put it back. As I'm sitting here typing this, I'm also thinking, "Put auxillary cord back in Wallace's truck", since Caleb obviously forgot. We sang together, never more than half a song, We laughed and talked about what made the best songs. Caleb likes fast stuff.  He likes to dance and sing. He is very dramatic... I don't know who he gets that from (says the girl whose Papaw made her at least 50 microphone stands, and who held impromptu concerts in front of the fireplace at Christmas time, and who once got a tip from a waitress in Florida for her lovely rendition of some song that I can't remember at this time...)

At the game, Caleb went up and down and up and down the bleachers. Sometimes he about drove me crazy. He never sees a stranger.He sits with anyone who will talk to him, and never hesitates to initiate a conversation.He comes and stands right in front of me while I'm trying to watch the game... which makes me mad.I get nervous.

Other people find him amusing.He gets in popcorn fights with the ballgirls.He gets tired, and we head home. On the way out of the gym, "Mom, I was very well behaved, wasn't I?" Hmmm... my response, "Caleb, you are growing up. And yes, you were well behaved. You are acting so much older."Caleb, "Mom, sometimes you talk to me like I'm 5 years old, and I like that, because I'll always be your little boy."

Well... he never ceases to amaze me.  So more singing, laughing, and talking on the ride home. My little guy is growing up.He is turning into a little man.  One that still has the capability to grate on my nerves... but also one who tugs on my heart strings.  So tomorrow, I'm going to sing a little louder. I'm going to hold onto that hand as long as he'll let me, and tell him just how much I love him.   And I'm going to learn (hopefully, but this one is tough...) that a game is just a game and I need to quit taking everything so serious.

So thanks, Caleb... Momma loves you more than mint chocolate chip ice cream!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012


I am a worrier.  I worry about things that have happened.  I worry about things that didn't happen.  I worry about things that could happen.  I find myself running scenarios over and over in my mind, until I'm convinced that it is already the gospel about what is going to happen. 
In my Jesus Calling Devotion yesterday (which I read today, because of my fun and exciting weekend), there was a line that I absolutely loved.  It said, "You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what."  No matter how worried I am about what I did, or didn't, or couldn't do.  No matter how scared I am that I am inadequate, or that I will never get done with all that I need to do.  No matter that at times it feels like the whole world is crashing down on me.  No matter what, He's there.  He's waiting. Quietly.  He's not pushy or aggressive.  He just waits... no matter what. 

We can always come up with the negative.  Our adversary the devil is out there seeking, and decieving us using our thoughts (spouting back to us what we come up with all on our own), is one of his favorite tricks.  It's easy to tell ourselves that we'll never be good enough. That we'll never have it under the control.  That we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing.  But He says we are good enough. He's in control, and He's going to work it out. He has a plan and a purpose, and works all things for good to those who love Christ. 

"Greater is He that is in me than He who is in the world." 1 John 4:4.  Thank God.  =)
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble for its own." Matthew 6:34

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Addiction

I am addicted to books. All kinds of books. Paperbacks. Hardbacks. I thought maybe my addiction might be cured by the Kindle, but it has only made it worse, because I have easy access... they are just a click away, and there are so many free ones out there!

While I enjoy my Kindle, and absolutely LOVE my Kindle fire, there's just something about an actual book that makes me warm inside. Today, I spent two hours in a bookstore, and I probably could have spent longer except I got afraid they would think I was a stalker or criminial or something. I love to walk down the aisles, gazing sideways at the book titles. I've got my favorite authors, and I'll usually look for their books first. Then, I just like to look... I look at the cover art. I'll pull the book out and thumb through the pages. I'll read the back, and maybe a line or two of the book itself. I usually end up packing around more books than I'll buy, and then make a final selection before I check out. I browse the fiction section, then the biographies, the history section, the inspirational/Christian section, and the sports section. I thumb through the bargain section and usually find at least a book or two there that I want to read. And the best part about bookstores now is that they WANT you to read... there's all those comfy chairs sitting around.  Today I pulled up a seat and spent at least 30 minutes just reading. 

I have bookshelves that spill over yet I keep buying. I read multiple books at a time, too... right now I have four paperbacks I'm reading (two in the living room, one of which I just bought today; one in the bathroom, one in the car) and three on my Kindle that I am reading. And then there's the greatest book of all... The Bible.

Like anything, reading takes time. It can take too much of my time, if I'm not careful. So I try to reward myself, and only read AFTER I get stuff crossed off the to do list. Or when I'm taking a bath. Or sitting in a drive-thru. Or at half-time of a ballgame. And always before I go to sleep, which may be one reason why I'm not getting as much sleep as I resolved at the beginning of the year that I would get, because usually when I start reading I just keep on, and keep on.

My books are my friends.  I have some that I've read in childhood that I love, and have on a list that I want to re-read.  There are some, like Gone with the Wind, that are my absolute favorites, and I've read numerous times.  And then there are books that bring back memories. Nancy Drew books.  Little House on the Prairie books.  R. L. Stine's Fear Street books.  And if I had to define my teenage years with a series of books, it would have to be Sweet Valley High!  I got a box of them from one of my older cousins, devoured them, and became an official collector of a book series.  I have no idea where those books went to, but I read and re-read them as I took breaks from reading classics such as Les Miserables, A Separate Peace, To Kill A Mockingbird,  and Dante's Inferno (some for school, some for pleasure...) So imagine my pleasure when I find a Sweet Valley Confidential book at Books a Million today.  I immediately picked it up, started reading, and felt like I was a teenager holed up in my bedroom. 

Addiction? Yes... Is it one I want to get rid of?  Um, no... so guess I'll just keep TRYING  to maintain control.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a book calling my name right now... it's called Lewis' Medical-Surgical Nursing, and I really have to make some notes so I can get back to my Sweet Valley Confidential.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Today has been a good day. Meetings, and lunch with some of the best friends a girl could ask for. A win for the Tigers and Lady Tigers, and time with my best boy. Even after good days, though, sometimes we need a break. I'm glad its the weekend. Got a lot of work that needs to be done, a game tomorrow night, and Super Bowl Sunday. But also the chance for rest. Sleep, and just rest for my mind. "Come to me all who are weary, and I'll. Give you rest." Sorry I'm so brief tonight, but I'm gonna turn this Kindle off and get some rest. Refreshment... peace. Night, all.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vacation Memories

I've been wanting to figure out how to put pictures in this blog. I'm not a techie by any means, but I'm hoping that it won't be hard to do. There's a little image up at the top that looks like it would add a picture, so I thought I'd write about something just to share the picture. Ideally, I'd write about my picture for the day. However, I haven't really been keeping up with that resolution (although I do have as many pictures as there have been days in 2012 thus far, so I'm guessing I'm okay.) Anyway, I've also been thinking about how great it would be to be at the beach... even though our weather hasn't been that bad. This pic isn't your usual beach pic, but it's one of my favorite all time beach memories. Hope you enjoy... if you enjoy Caleb, you'll like it... just because he's an enjoyable type kid.
When Caleb was about three or four (time runs by so quickly now) the Griffith bunch headed off for his first trip to the beach. He loved the ocean (well, loved running away from it). He'd go down to the very edge of the water, just enough for his feet to get wet, and then come running back up to us as fast as his little legs would take him, arms pumping and giggling all the way. He had a green John Deere tractor that he somehow managed to lose, but he spent hours on that beach building mountains to drive his "crucks" (trucks) up and down. He loved the Nascar Cafe because it looked like "Papaw Jr's garage" so much that we ate their two days in a row. But his favorite part had nothing to do with the beach at all. Anytime us girls go on a trip together it always has to include shopping. Broadway at the Beach, with its eclectic, unique stores, is one of my favorite parts of Myrtle Beach. So one evening we headed off, us to shop, and Wallace and Dad loaded down with quarters to the "ride" section. It's expanded now, but back then there were mostly just a few of those little rides where you fed your quarters. Most kids want to try them all. Not Caleb. He fell in love with the ice cream truck and wouldn't get off. He rode that thing for hours. At one point, Wallace and Dad told him it was time to go and he said, "Now I don't know about you boys, but I'm going to stay here and ride this ice cream cruck." The next day, we went back... said ice cream truck was out of commission. I guess Caleb had rode it until it was broke. Now, when we visit Broadway at the Beach Caleb is all about shopping, visiting the Magic Shoppe and doing the trampoline jumping and the Imax theatre. However, as we pull out, we drive by that little section of the park, and we all (whoever it might be, as even those in the family who weren't present that day know about the ice cream cruck) have a good laugh. Thinking about a little boy who has grown up so much in so little time. Pretty soon, he'll be driving at Broadway at the Beach. Right now, though, I'm just going to enjoy these little things. Hope you've enjoyed it, too!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Tale that is Told

Today I sat through the funeral of a sweet Mama, grandmother, and friend. Though I didn't know her personally, I have known her daughters, son, and grandchildren for a long time. Words of kindness described her. The funeral home was packed out, which is a true testament to her spirit.

One verse that was quoted in the service really caught my attention. In fact, just yesterday, as I was doing my devotion, I thought, "That verse would make a good blog." I'm not sure I can do it justice, but the verse I'm referring to is Psalm 90:9-10: "...we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."

"A tale to be told... and we fly away." Pastor Gary talked today about chapters of life. A tale, a story of our lives. What would your chapters be? Birth? Childhood... school, play, friendships made, enemies made? Struggles in life... some serious, some not so serious, but all of them put together to make you who you are. Weddings? Funerals? What would your chapters be titled? Would your story be a story worth reading?

I shake my head as I think this. I've always believed that I've been run of the mill. Normal. Average. Boring. Born to two parents who worked to give me and my siblings things that we needed, and dragged us to church so that when we were old enough we would drag our own kids to church. Those same parents live it out, though. Their stories, and their parents, tell of faith. Of loving their neighbors. Of turning the other cheek. Of helping others out in need. Their stories, woven into mine, before mine even came into existence. A type of prequel that totally affects how my story is going to turn out. And my story, which will affect Caleb's. This huge anthology of our stories, each one interconnected. Some days suspenseful- will the hero/heroine make it through the day with his/her sanity? Some days sad- heartbreaks, tears cried, lessons learned. Some days joyful, making the reader want to clap their hands. But always one constant... God, coming through, the author and finisher of our faith, the One who knows the plans and the story before it was even written.

I've been accused of believing in fairy tales. One of Wallace's favorite sayings to me is, "Life is not a fairy tale." He's not your typical Prince Charming, either... but he'll do. And I do have a Prince Charming, who will come into my story at the end and make it an eternal one. And I'll fly away, to be forever in Heaven, a true fairybook ending.

My job is to make my story readable now. Today. Every day. Even on days when I feel yucky or when I'm grouchy or when I just feel like being bad (please tell me I'm not the only one who feels like this sometimes...)

The Message translation for this section says, "We live for seventy years or so (with luck we might make it to eighty), And what do we have to show for it? Trouble. Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard." This world is full of trouble, yes. And if Jesus doesn't return, eventually I'll be just a marker in a graveyard. But hopefully I'll have something else to show for it. A loving son. Grandchildren?? A generation of nurses that I've taught to care. People who I've smiled at and talked to that maybe I'll never know how much they needed just that little encouragement. People who remember me, but above all came to see Christ THROUGH me. I think that Mrs. Tincher had more to show for her 80 years on earth than just a marker. That should be our goal, too... to have a story that is worth reading... and one that is worth retelling for generations to come.

Tincher family, I'm praying for you. Love you all!!!