Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome Baby Will!

There are many definitions of family.  Some are large, some are small.  Some people don't think much of their family by blood, and instead choose to call those close friends family. Some think of their church family, their volleyball/basketball/football team family, their cheerleading squad family, etc...

Families in the traditional sense start off with a guy and a girl.  Two people who join together to become one, marrying their likes and dislikes and their flaws and their talents.  They somehow take their own eccentricies (I don't know if that is a word?) and make them work. 

Sometimes they have kids, and that's the family.  And sometimes they bring along their crazy in-laws and out-laws, and it still somehow works. Welcome to Twin Cedar Road, folks...

My Mom and Dad were here first.  Actually, my Dad... and then they bought that old log cabin where his Mom's parents lived.  I was six.  I can remember the wooden floors... ok, maybe I can't, just from pictures.  I can remember how cold it is sometimes, and how fun it always was to put the blanket over the door to camp out when we'd lose electricity.  Snowmen and Christmas lights.  Mom making breakfast on the weekend.  Sitting at my Dad's desk while he worked on taxes.  Curling up with a good book on the other end of the couch from Mom, Grandma's homemade afghan draped over us, freezing each other with our bare feet.  Lots of memories in that house...

So many good memories that when I got married I didn't want to go too far from home. Wallace must love me or something, because he obliged.  We started out small, in a singlewide.  I've threatened to go home to Mom and Dad more than once.  I learned my lesson once when he locked the door on me.  We moved to a doublewide, then built the house when we learned our two would be three.  Enter the next family on Twin Cedar...

Papaw William and Nana Helen fell in love with Caleb Bates from the minute they knew he was coming... and that was pretty early on, since Nana ran my pregnancy test!  They moved out to the country so they could be close to him.  Next came Greg and Regina... and now Baby Will is on the way. 

I can't leave out Aunt Lisa E. and Greg, who round out Twin Cedar.  I think they were actually the third family on Twin Cedar Road...

Anyway, as I go on and on what I'm trying to point out is that here we are, two sets of in-laws, and it works.  We love each other.  We like each other.  The two Papaws and the two Mamaws save my life all the time... I seriously don't know what I'd do without them.  Caleb is surrounded by so much love it isn't even funny... and I know that Baby Will is going to be, too. 

Today, we threw Regina a baby shower.  I'm not a party person... I'm an introvert and I have no clue about decorating or cooking or doing anything like that.  My Mom does.  And she does wonderfully.  My aunts brought food.  My Grandma Bert came and looked lovely; you'd never guess she'd been sick a couple of weeks ago.  And as I stood there, I realize.  I'm blessed.  Not just because I have a wonderful family who cheers loud at football or soccer games, and binds together.  But because I married into a family that is wonderful, too.  Nana Helen and Papaw William and Mamaw Mary...

Wallace and I tell each other every day that we love each other.  When the going was tough, we didn't, but we're making it a point to, now.  And Caleb hears it from all sides. I may not tell my Mom or Dad, or Nana and Papaw, or my aunts how much I love them... but they tell me all the time.  Not necessarily in words, but in actions.  By putting his arm around me at Wed. night Bible study, by asking how my week is going.  By chipping in and making whatever I need her to make, whenever I need her to make it, no matter how busy her schedule is.  By loving Caleb and loving me and taking my side... as if I could ever be wrong. 

I'm blessed... and I can't wait to squeeze Baby Will and welcome him to this crazy family. The new Vice-Mayor of Twin Cedar Road... oh, Lord, baby. Don't follow in your cousin Caleb's footsteps... well, maybe not all of them.  He's actually a pretty cool kid.  Of course, I'm a little biased... and above all, I'm blessed to be Caleb's Mama. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Polishing Shoes

Today I went with my Grandma to the cardiologist.  Actually, Mom and I had planned to go to Lexington to pick up my glasses and she just happened to have an appointment, so we killed two birds with one stone.  Then we picked up stuff for Regina's baby shower... and picked up Kami to hang out for a little while.  Anyway, I digress...

As I was sitting in the doctor's office waiting for Grandma and Mom to come out, I couldn't help but notice a couple sitting in the waiting room.  They looked to be in their early 70s.  What caught my eye, or my ear, actually, was when the lady told the man, "I polished your shoes for 40 years.  I think it's your turn."  Then she grinned...

In a couple of minutes, the nurse called her back.  He got up and offered his arm, and she leaned heavily on it as she walked in.  40 years of polishing shoes... and who knows what else.  I imagine she's leaned a lot on him in those 40 years, maybe not physically... and he's probably leaned on her a lot, too.

Then, later on, we stopped at Shell to get something to drink before we headed out.  In the parking lot, a couple that looked to be in their late 60s were working together to get the top off their convertible.  It looked to be difficult, but they were working together.  And it hit me.  That's what marriage, relationships, is all about.  Teamwork. Leaning on each other through good and bad.  Keeping the scorebook during the volleyball game when all you really want to do is read a good book in the bleachers.  Saying you're sorry and accepting apologies.  And knowing that no matter what... that other person will be there for you. 

Even when you don't feel like polishing shoes anymore =)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sick Day

Today I took a sick day.  I've been feeling really crappy.  Had a headache, fever, and chills last night.  I know it is just that time of year, fall in Kentucky, and I also know it will clear up soon.  I'm not really the take a lot of medicine kind of girl.  I'd much rather just suffer until things go away on their own... or until it gets so bad I feel like I can barely make it.

Which leads to why I took the sick day today.  We didn't have class scheduled, so it would have been a good day of working in my office.  However, when I got up and realized I was dizzy and wasn't thinking clearly, I made the decision to suffer it out on my couch... which I did.  I read my Bible and napped, read my Kindle and napped, and then napped some more.  I'm feeling much better this evening.  I even felt good enough to go to church...

Rest is essential to the human body.  I don't get nearly enough.  I have been going to bed much earlier than I usually do; I make it my goal to have my light out by midnight, and usually lights out are closer to 1130.  However, during the time I'm up, I'm running, running, running.  We haven't had a Saturday where there hasn't been something to do since school started, or at least I can't remember one.  And that's ok, because it is all stuff I enjoy.  I'm just tired.  That's evident in that I went to bed last night at 930, slept until 8 this morning, and then was still drifting off to sleep on the couch today.

It'd be nice if we didn't need rest, but we do. I'm hoping that my lazy day today (even though I also chatted with students, texted with students, and met with an adjunct clinical faculty this evening means I didn't have an entirely lazy day...) means that I've nipped this sinus deal in the bud.  We'll see tomorrow... now, I'm headed to bed =)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Creator

"For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him."- Colossians 1:16

On this first Monday of fall, it was a beautiful day.  I didn't get to enjoy it much, because I had clinical, but the sky was blue and the grass is still kind of green.  The sun was bright and the wind was just barely blowing. 

Creation sings His glory.  Everything has a unique song that it sings.  Why should we be any different?  He created us, for Him... to be in companionship with Him, to bring Him glory through our actions.  Through our love.  Our song to sing is one of love, for Him, for others.  We were created as God's masterpiece.  We are marvelous, even in our mess, because we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  No matter where you are, God made you just for this moment.  He's working on us, continually.  And no matter what we think, even when it appears that He's nowhere around, He's in control.  He created all authority, all power, and all dominions... even those who appear to be in chaos.  Thank You, Lord, for Your Sovereignity.  We desperately need it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hard is not Impossible

How is it that another weekend has come and gone?  I'm so not ready for Monday morning, but it will come regardless...

I'm starting Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.  Today I read the first two chapters and took notes.  One quote that really resonated with me was, "Hard doesn't mean impossible."  In Lysa's context, she is talking about controlling our emotions and how they lead us to react.  This is nearly impossible for me.  Lysa describes different reactor types (I've not gotten to them yet), and depending on the situation, I react differently, but it is hard for me to differentiate between my feelings and the truth.  I feel like a failure, God tells me I'm chosen.  I feel stupid, God tells me that if I call on Him He'll show me great things and that if I lack wisdom I should ask and it be given to me.  I feel unloved at times, God says He's loved me with an everlasting love.  So even though it is hard for me to seperate feelings from truth, I  know that nothing is impossible for God and that His Spirit is working within me.

Needless to say, we'll still come Unglued.  Case in point?  I logged onto SPSS tonight and set out to do my first homework assignment.  Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Biostats, all I can tell you is that I would probably do just as good taking a boat to Africa, going into the deepest jungle, and trying to speak the native language.  Ok, maybe it's not that bad.  Sadly, though, I'm just not a numbers girl... never have been, never will.  I got a headache.  My heart started pounding.  I worked on the assignment and just when I thought I had it figured out, I realized I didn't.  So I started over.  It still wasn't right.  Wallace, calm as he is, was answering my questions, and I had my two books out.  The tutorial video wouldn't work.  Did I mention that I had a headache?  ADHD Wallace decided that at that moment, it would be a good time to move the old couch out of the office so that he could move the treadmill in.  So he proceeds to pick the couch up.  It won't fit through the door.  He pushes and pushes and shakes the computer desk.  The whole time I'm sitting there staring at all these numbers and getting more depressed by the minute.  More Unglued...

I didn't scream.  I didn't even quarrel.  I just decided that I'd done all of it I could.  Tomorrow will be a new day. (For a procrastinator like me, that's an awesome plan. Scarlett was my hero).  I saved my work and emailed it to myself so I could try to watch the tutorial tomorrow evening sometime.  I even calmly expressed myself to Wallace.  He had no clue he had upset me. 

Yes, this class is hard.  It's not impossible.  I just need a new perspective.  A good night's sleep, and it will seem better.  And even if it doesn't, I'll make it through.  All things work together, and God's got a plan =)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Welcome, Fall

Fall means football and nippy weather and hoodies and Ugg boots.  It means the end of volleyball season and open gym for basketball and preparation for Christmas shopping. It means birthday shopping for October babies and presents for my November baby.  It means Thanksgiving with no room at my Mom's and touch football that sometimes turns into tackle with brothers fighting.  Lots of fun things about fall...

Even though summer is my favorite just because I have time to read and there are trips to the beach and the swimming pool to relax, sleeping in and lazing around, I really like fall.  I don't necessarily like the cold weather, but I do enjoy watching the leaves change color... and have I mentioned how much I like football?  High school, college, professional... that pretty much takes up my weekend.  It's during this busy time between volleyball games and practices that Wallace and I get to hang out.  We always grow closer during football season...

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall.  While I hate to see summer go, and warm weather go by the wayside, I'm embracing football season and fall. Here's to Halloween and touchdowns and laughing with TO's fan club, with snuggling in my hoodie and my Bobcat blue Uggs, to cheering so loud that I lose my voice... to leaves changing and being surrounded by orange, yellow, and red... Happy Fall, Y'all =)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Live Like That

My Caleb is something else.  He's funny and smart.  I am amazed by him every day of my life. Sometimes it's a good amazement... sometimes, not so much.  Tonight, it was the good kind.

There are days when we fight like cats and dogs.  Caleb is stubborn and can be very sassy.  He likes to call me "Woman" and sometimes he means it in a not so nice way.  He doesn't like to do homework and he likes to stay at home and watch TV, which totally contradicts my lifestyle of run, run, run...  He gets mad at me and I get mad at him and we tend to explode.  I'm trying to work on this.  I know he gets a bad temper from both me and his Dad and I can't get mad at him when it's my fault, right?  Especially when you consider that he's seeing me model some of the very same behaviors that I'm quarreling at him about. 

Even with his temper and his sassiness, he's still a great kid.  He is compassionate and caring most of the time, and he is just too funny.  He looks at life in his own unique way.  He's a whiz at technology... any kind.  Yesterday, he got a notecard from his teacher talking about how fun it was to have him in the classroom and how caring he is.  He got the biggest smile on his face, and my heart stretched just a little bit to think that I might have had just a little bit to do with that... let's face it, it takes a village, and Caleb has a very supportive village: Grandparents and great-grandparents and aunts and uncles and great-aunts, and all of these girls he calls his sisters...

Anyway, back to today... we had a really good evening together.  He went and hung out with my Grandma Na while I went to a parent meeting for the academic team.  I'm always flabbergasted by how mellow Mamaw is with Caleb (and Dylan and Mason and Landry...) If we had done some of the stuff they do when we were little, Jen, Glenn and I would be cutting our own switch, or at the very least sitting on opposite ends of the couch (which is hard when there's three of you.  Which is why we would usually catch Mamaw with her back turned and high-tail it down to Jen's, leaving Glenn to face her wrath... we really were mean cousins sometimes...) After I got finished, we went to McDonalds and just had a good conversation.  After church, Caleb cranked up his Ipod in the car.  He is like me and has an eclectic taste in music... but tonight it was all about Francesca Battestelli and the Sidewalk Prophets, who are going to be in town tomorrow night. He likes to tease me about "This is the Stuff", which really could have been written for me, dealing with lost car keys and lost phones and running late.  We sang it at the top of our lungs, and then he selected one by the Sidewalk Prophets.  "This is my favorite one, Mom.  Let's sing it, he said." 

Tears came to my eyes (and are right now as I'm typing this) as I listened to my little boy, who will quickly become a man belt out these words.  I know he doesn't know exactly what they mean, but then again, maybe he does.  Maybe that's why sometimes he will give up money so someone else can have something or why he prays so fervently for people he knows that are in trouble.  Maybe that's why he wanted to give the little girl the skateboard at Christmas time when Mission of Hope came last year.  Sure, he can be selfish, but I'm thinking maybe he gets it a little... "I want to live like that
And give it all I have So that everything I say and do Points to You If love is who I am Then this is where I'll stand Recklessly abandoned Never holding back."

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he gets old he won't depart from it... (my paraphrase).  When he gets old, he'll live like that... Lord, this is my prayer. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jesus Freak

Tonight I really didn't want to walk on my treadmill.  I'm tired, and it's been a long, rainy day.  All I really wanted to do was get in the bed and pull the covers over my head, but I needed to walk since I chose to drink half of a peanut butter milkshake...

So walk I did.  I put my Ipod on shuffle and flipped through until I got a song that I "felt" (anybody else guilty of doing that?  Leaving it all up to chance and then making the decision anyway? Sounds a lot like me in life...) I listened to "Revelation Song" by Jesus Culture and got my praise on.  How can you not, "Jesus Your name is power, Breath and Living Water"... How worthy is He?  Then "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman, "Bless the Lord, oh my Soul, Worship His Holy Name".  Toby Mac "Me Without You"... and then "Lose My Soul", one of my favorites.  "May Your Kingdom be what wakes us up, and lays us down". 

And then, as I closed out my walk, DC Talk... Old School.  "Jesus Freak".  "What will people do when they find out I'm a Jesus Freak?  There ain't no disguising the truth"

That's how it should be.  No disguising the truth.  No question about it.  Jesus living through me, in me, working through my actions.  The Bible says that they will know us by the fruit that we bear, and His fruit is patience, love, kindness...

My job is to let Him work through me, demonstrating these fruits, so there will be no disguising that I am His.  He's Worth it. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


It is the middle of September, and I just read my first book yesterday.  There is something wrong with that.  Granted, I'm reading about seven books right now, but to just finish one book in 15 days? 
Sadly, I'm not seeing any reading time in my near future, either, unless you count a Biostatistics book and an SPSS manual. 

Sometimes, you have to sacrifice to get what you want.  I'm telling myself this tonight... nobody signed me up for this doctoral program.  I filled out the application myself. And I do want this... but how much? 

I won't be finished until 2015.  That's a long time.  Caleb will be a teenager (oh, my... that in itself just might be more than I can take).  I'm reminded, though, that with hard work comes results and God has a plan and a purpose for everything. With that being said, I've been having some Unglued moments.  (Plug for Lysa Terkeurst's new book.  Can't wait to start reading!)Been smothering pretty bad.  Woke up the other morning with heart palpitations because I had so much going on.  So much to do... so little time to do it.  I'm sure you've been there and done that.  Everyone can relate to being overwhelmed, and if you can't, you should probably write a book and make lots of money from the rest of us. 

I'm a procrastinator, which makes this worse. I'm also one of those people who can't say "No".  So this means that my plate is more than full.  I have really been prioritizing lately, and I'm happy to say that even in my craziness, I think I'm starting to get it right. 

God first.  That means getting up in the morning and opening my Bible.  I'm reading in 1 Peter and in Colossians with a couple of online study groups, and just finished Esther in my Chronological Bible.  I haven't taken a Sabbath day the last few weeks, but I'm changing that this weekend.  Well, except for a couple of hours of Biostats.  (And just to be funny, I do pray while I'm doing biostats.  I need all the prayers I can get).

Family second. Hence the going to volleyball practice and elementary basketball games with Wallace.  Just hanging out.  Fighting with Caleb over homework.  These two guys are the most important people in my life, followed by my Mom and Dad and sisters.  I've got to keep showing it.

Then, work... and school.  One day at a time. Which is why I am so often typing lecture notes the night before class. 

I read on Facebook a status that I really liked, which kind of spoke of this. I hope Stephanie doesn't mind me stealing it...

"Isaac laid the foundation on the order of how we should treat aspects in our life. “And [Isaac] builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.” (Gen. 26:25.)
God is the highest most being and should be exalted first. We should not confuse God as ...
church and church as God. Instead we should include an alter in all areas of which we live. Everywhere we go God should be first and foremost. The tent is our family. The man is the head of the home whereas the woman is the heart of the home. With the two intertwined, our children can grow in a loving, safe environment. Finally, the dug well represents our work whether it is within a church or our careers. If we follow Isaac’s foundation, we will find more stability in our faith, home, and work."
So, in all of my ramblings, there it is. Balance and stability... and maybe even some time somewhere another to read a good book.  God bless, and good night. I'm going to take advantage of God's lullaby- the rain on my tin roof =)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I Learned this Weekend

As I sit here tonight, I know what I want to write but I don't know how to get it out of my head.  Life is like that sometimes... all these thoughts whirl around and around and leave us feeling dizzy, and noone knows it but us.  We spend our lives in a blur, going from here to there to yonder, barely resting long enough to lay our heads on our pillows and fall into a dreamless sleep, only to awaken the next morning feeling as though our bodies never stopped.

I can't believe it is already halfway through September.  This year has truly flown by, and this weekend was no exception.  The saying goes time flies when you are having fun, and this weekend was no exception.  Here's some of the things I've learned this weekend...

1. Motivation comes from the heart, and we come alive when something pulls on our heartstrings.  Friday night, I watched my boys in blue get demolished in the first half against Somerset.  They just weren't in the game.  They were slugglish and never could get into rhythm.  They left the field looking rejected, and let's be honest, it's no fun to watch a game like that.  Then, at halftime, I'm not sure what happened.  All I know is that these boys have a guardian angel watching over them.  I think Zach kicked their butts into gear, because when they came back out they were on fire.  High school football is heart at its finest... leaving it all on the gridiron. I'm just happy that I get to go along for the ride in the bleachers.

2. We always need to be thankful for the little things. Saturday morning I went with Mom, Kami, and Caleb to the Walk to Defeat ALS at Rupp Arena.  We walked in memory of Joe Henson,  a local physical therapist who passed away from ALS a couple of years ago.  I didn't really know Joe well, but my Mom did. Joe was one of her boys.  As a teacher and cheerleading coach, Mom has given her heart to more boys and girls than I could count. She's celebrated as they went on to get married and had babies, worked with some of those babies, and she's also mourned and grieved with them and for them. As we walked the laps around Rupp, Caleb saw a couple of patients in wheelchairs, which led to conversation about how blessed we are to be able to walk.  I don't enjoy exercise all of the time, but it is a privilege.  As is breathing without effort, and laughing at a good joke, and hugging my family.  We take for granted the small things...

3. It's great to be a Jackson Tiger... As a Breathitt grad, I bleed blue and white.  I've been raised that way.  In the last couple of years, Itty Bitty Jackson City has gotten into my blood as well.  I guess you can say that I'm just confused, because I cheer for so many different teams.  Kids are kids no matter what, and we should support them.  So Wallace, Mom, and I drove to Frankfort and cheered on those Jackson Tigers in the State All A Soccer Cup.  Our kids at Jackson are great.  The soccer team performed well, and the 4-0 score did not reflect the effort left on the field.  Our pep section rocked (my opinion might be biased, as my favorite volleyball girls made up a large part of the student section)... Jackson made its presence known.  I'd love to see the same in basketball...

4. I am madly in love with my husband.  Really and truly.  Wallace and I have had some rough times.  I've not  been shy about putting it all out there.  For a while, I really thought we had totally lost our way, but things happen for a reason.  This weekend, we spent a lot of time in the car together, which has always been some of our best times.  And the last few weeks we've really been making an effort to hang out and talk.  Relationships need time invested, and with our busy schedules, we had kind of let that slide by the wayside.  One way I've been doing this is going to volleyball practice with him.  I take my papers to grade or my homework to work on or a book to read.... and tonight, as I was making notes on leadership, I looked up and saw it.  His whistle was around his neck and he was teaching those girls about some play, and they were listening, and all was right with the world.  Now sometimes they roll their eyes at him, and mutter under their breath, but this practice there was none of that.  I just felt my heart swell.  I've always loved him... but I'm beginning to like him again.  And I think he's beginning to like me again, too.  Someone once said that the secret to marriage is falling in love with that person over and over again. So today was a good day.

5. I am a true procrastinator.  I have lecture notes to write... for Tuesday.  I just laid my book down in the floor.  I'll do it tomorrow... tonight, I'm headed to bed.  This blog may not have made any sense at all... and if it doesn't that's probably good.  If it does, hold on.  Stay motivated.  Cheer for the underdogs.  Love with all your heart, even if there is a chance that it may get broken.  And get a good night's sleep, because everything looks better in the morning.  =)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gifts of the Word

It's been a while since I've written about my Joy Dare, encouraged by Ann Voskamp, writer of 1000 Gifts.  I've been keeping track and am well over 700 now.  It's really opened my eyes about being thankful... today, on the way to work I heard the song "Should've Been" by Citizen Way and a line really hit me where it hurt... The song is talking about his wife, his kids, his family, his life, and he says, "If I'm so thankful, why do I easily forget that you died for all of this?"  How true is this...

We have so much to be thankful for, yet in the hustle and bustle of everyday life it's easy to get sidetracked.  It's easy to focus on what you don't have and forget what you do.  Easy to take for granted the person you love the most in the world, easy to think that you'll always have that moment, easy to get disgusted over all of the laundry you've got to do and forget that it's a blessing that at least you have clothes.

Today's dare was to find three gifts in the Word.  The more I read the Bible, the more I love  it, and I'm not just saying that.  I've always loved reading, but have never read the Bible through.  This year, I've soaked it up. I know it won't always be like that, and there are days that it is harder than others.  Like today... I'm reading in 1 Chronicles, and it's basically the genealogy of the Israelites as they are preparing to travel back to Jerusalem from Babylon... so it's so and so begot so and so and the names all run together.  The beauty of this, though, is that they are people.  They lived a story, which shows that life is a gift and that God is writing our story just as He wrote theirs. (And no, I didn't list it as one of my gifts of the Word.  I didn't get that much out of it... grin).

My first was a verse from 1 Peter, 1:8... You love Him even though you don't see Him.  How beautiful is that?  I love Wallace... really love him, and am just realizing how much.  I love him because I see him every day... because we talk and communicate and share things. This love can't compare to my love for Christ... and I've never laid eyes on Him.  Can't even imagine how I'll feel when I do.  He is the culmination of our faith, that we can believe that we live because of Him even though how we do so is a mystery even the angels wonder about...

My second was a verse from Psalm 111- I heard a sermon preached on it this weekend.  The wondrous works of God, and His abundant love and mercy... may I never forget it.  May I never take it for granted.  May I never stop being overcome by it.

And then, for my third verse, I played that whole open the Bible and see where it falls trick... and it opened to Luke 24. The greatest gift in the Word. the Word made flesh, risen and Alive... How fitting is that?

And tonight I went to Bible Study and listened as Brother Gary talked about the Word, and how faith is hearing the Word,and how having knowledge of the Word will keep us from being deceived.  Knowledge of this gift... may we always be thankful...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just Another Day

It was a day about like this one.   The sky was a robin egg's blue, the sun shining... not that I would know.  I was in the bed, after working a 7 Pm shift at the nursing home.  I had come home and snuggled under the covers, oblivious to the chaos that was ensuing. 

Helen called and woke me up.  "You want to watch this."  And I didn't WANT to watch it, yet Isat there, eyes glued to the TV screen.  Smoke billowing from the towers, emergency vehicles rushing to the scene, newscasters giving their opinions.  A terrorist attack on our own soil?  Oh, sure I knew about the earlier attack a few years prior, remembered footage from Oklahoma City.  But something of this magnitude?

I drove up to my Mamaw Bert's house.  I didn't want to be alone.  I sat there, transfixed, watching the images of the towers collapsing over and over, of the dust and the people running.  Those planes flying straight and the smoke and the fires.  Of people falling from buildings like rubble and of people hugging and crying. 

The next morning my Mom and I went to Bybee Pottery.  We had planned it for a while, for my  birthday.  We went on to Lexingotn and it was eerie how empty the streets were.  The  world hadn't stopped turning, but America stood still for a moment. 

And our Congressmen joined hands on Capital Hill and sang God Bless America.  How far we've come in 11 years...

May we never forget... those innocent men and women who gave their lives that day.  Just another day of going to work, of fighting fires, of saving lives.  Of crunching numbers and sending emails and living... just another day that women kissed their husbands goodbye and sent them to their death over a Pennsylvania field.  "Let's Roll..." Just like any other day.

And today, we're still living and we're still saying goodbye, Men and women in their high rises and our military men and women sacrificing... we're still flying, though with more precautions.  Making it in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Thank you to those firefighters, EMTS, doctors, nurses, police officers... to those in uniform, kids like Zach and Jay and Cory, and their wives at home, Kalah and Lyndzee who as newlyweds kissed their Marines goodbye.  Thanks to families like my friends Bobbi and Angie, to my cousin Susan and all of their kids, who sacrifice daily.  Thanks to my Wallace and all his Reserve buddies, and to all who make America great.  And may we never forget... may we never forget 9-11... and may we never forget Who blesses America. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


I'm participating in a Bible study through a Hello Morning group focusing on 1 Peter.  Today, we read in 1 Peter 1:3-12.  Each day, we have to choose a word to meditate on.  This morning, the word that stood out to me was rejoice.

I've had a rough couple of weeks. Some things have happened and come to my attention that I've not really been too happy about, and I'm the type that keeps dwelling on the bad even though I tell myself not to.  Add that in with the Biostats class I had Saturday, and I was just a negative Nancy this morning.  As I read those verses, though, speaking of rejoicing in our trials because they allowed us to be refined, I started thinking of how trials shape us.  We become stronger through the fire, and see how God brings himself glory.

We rejoice in how God protects us, shaping our faith through receiving the gift of salvation.  We rejoice in Him that we love yet have not seen, because it is through that great love that we receive the promise of eternal life.  We rejoice because Christ's sufferings enabled us to be free, free from guilt and shame and sin.

So tonight, I'm rejoicing... though it may be quiet.  And that's ok.  I'm rejoicing for high school love that somehow changes as we get older, to something a little more sweet than we could have imagined... but only through troubles.  I'm rejoicing in volleyball  losses because there are lessons learned in losing.  I'm rejoicing in Caleb... because let's face it, he's a true gift.  Even in his meanness... he is mine. 

Today was another rough day... felt like I was pulled in so many directions.  Work, work, work, run, run, run, grading and hitting the treadmill and helping Caleb study and ironing and just the day to day work... and I didn't rejoice all day.  In fact, I got pretty crabby and hateful.  Then, as I sat down to write, I realized how I had failed... but there is something to rejoice in that, too.  It's only through my weakness, my failure, that He can be strong in me, only when I acknowledge my mistakes and messes that He can fix them, and fix me.  So thank you, Lord... for giving me joy in the darkness and for using all things for Your glory.  I'm so not worth it...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Over My Head

Yesterday was one of the longest days of my life.  It started out bad... rain, a torrential downpour, and I didn't have an umbrella.  Luckily, I have a great friend who let me borrow hers, but we still looked like two drowned rats by the time we made it into the classroom (Jenna was kind enough to actually let me use the umbrella, so she got a tad more wet than me.  That is the definition of a true friend).  We couldn't find the door to get into the building, which only complicated things. 

Lecture on leadership wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be, especially considering it was at 8 AM on a Saturday morning in the rain.  The speaker was actually pretty interesting, and it really made me think of my own views on leadership.  I don't consider myself a "leader" per se, but as an educator, I've placed myself in that position, and I take it seriously.  I guess I see my role more as an encourager... and really, we all have to be leaders at something.  Some of us just do it better than others. 

Jenna and I called in Cheddars and got Gigi's Cupcakes to motivate us...and we needed them.  Biostats... oh, my!  First of all, let me say hats off to Wallace, who deals with those numbers frequently in his job at UK.  I'm thinking this is definitely going to go down as one of my hardest classes EVER... and my nursing friends know I'm not saying that lightly.  The longer Dr. White talked, the more of a headache I got.  And the more I wanted to cry.  And go home and cover my head underneath the blanket...

Cause it really is that bad.  It's like a foreign language, even after two statistics class.  Advanced is...advanced.  And to say I'm a little scared may not be strong enough.  But I'm no quitter. So today, after I posted my discussion board over my problem statement for another class (only about 8 hours before the due date.  Yep, I'm getting better at procrastinating... grin), I sat down and planned my attack.  Organized my due dates.  Starting tomorrow, I'm going to bust that biostatistics class wide open.  I'm not dummy... and I'm definitely not going to let Wallace be a pro at something and me not be able to do it.  Although it is nice to have someone who can tutor me, because I'm definitely in over my head here!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life's a Journey... Go Along for the Ride

Tonight I rode on a bus to what seems like the middle of nowhere.  Now don't be offended if you live in Oneida, but after driving 1 hour or so on Hwy 30 on a school bus, I was remembering why I would "accidentally" miss the bus when Mom was pregnant with Kami.  The trip home left me a little green at the gills.

The plus side was that we won... big... and our girls had a good time.  And they are a great group of girls. The ride home was full of laughter, singing, and just a little shrieking.  Oh, the joy and angst of being a teenager.  I so remember bus rides with the radio up as loud as you could get it, blowing bubbles and gossiping about anything and everything.  Of curling up on a seat and trying to get some sleep but not being able to because whoever was behind you was singing too loud. 

Sometimes we grow up too fast... tomorrow I'll be 33 and I'm feeling slightly melancholy.  I've had a less than desirable week and sometimes life makes you just wish you were back to being a teenager again.  If only we knew...

but then I wouldn't have Caleb.  And I know God's got me right where He wants me at this time in my life, and that He's got a plan for me no matter what.  Sometimes we aren't sure where the road is headed, but we just have to trust Him to lead us in the right direction.  Sometimes life is a pull out your map and try to figure it out, but then there is always the belief that our navigator knows what is going on.  Tonight, as I head into my 33rd year, I'm thinking that it's going to be one of those years where I just close my eyes and hang on for the ride.  In life, there will be ups and downs... but in the end, even if we get a little queasy stomached, the destination will be worth it. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Do It Anyway

Yesterday I posted one of my favorite quotes on facebok.  It's truly something that I believe we all need to live by.
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa

Forgive them anyway... In the Bible it says we are to forgive 70 x 7.  It also says that if we can't forgive, how can we expect God the Father to forgive us?  There is a story of a parable involving a servant who owed his master money. The master forgave him his debt. The servant then met a man who owed him a far less amount than he had owed.  The servant became furious when he found out and had him thrown in jail until he could pay the debt.  When the master found out how the servant behaved, he then threw the servant in jail. The point is, we can never repay the debt that we owe... the debt that resulted in Jesus's death on the cross.  Nothing that anyone can do to us could ever equal that debt.  People are unreasonable... including me and you. And we are self-centered.  We hurt each other without thinking.... we make decisions in a split second that can impact relationships... we choose hurt and hate instead of love.  God's answer to this is forgiveness... and loving our neighbors.  Loving even when the other person doesn't deserve it. Every action has a precursing action, every reaction has a rationale behind it.  Yes, our feelings may be hurt, we may have a broken heart or just not understand, but the only person unforgiveness hurts is ourself.

Be kind anyway... people are highly suspicious of kindness.  We cry ulterior motives... people can't be kind just because they want to. And in many cases, this is true.  We are kind because we want something.  We "use" people to get what we want... but those same people are using us.  And we can't be kind just because we want to. It is only through God's Spirit in us that we can be unselfishly kind.

Be honest, anyway... honesty leaves us open to pain.  When we are honest, we are revealing our soul to others. We're living a wide-open book so that anyone can read us, and that means that we open ourselves up to attack.  Being honest means standing up for what we believe to be right, no matter what.

Be happy anyway... Mother Teresa states that if we are happy, people are jealous.  Misery loves company.  Be happy anyway... don't let others drag you down.  Laugh.  Smile.  Encourage happiness in others.  Never lose your sense of love.  When you start becoming unhappy, figure out why.  Address those things.  NEVER let anything steal your joy, because it is too hard to fight to get it back.  And even if you aren't happy, work toward becoming happy. This is especially true in relationships.  It's too easy to allow the day to day cares of the world to make you fall out of love.  Love is patient, though, and endures all things.  True love is happiness... even when things or circumstances are going on that can make you unhappy.

Do good anyway... It's not about recognition or a pat on the back. Doing good is about service, about being the hands and feet of Jesus.  It's about feeling good about yourself and how you've helped encourage or pull someone up.  If you're doing something so that you can be remembered, you might consider what was just said about ulterior motives. 

Give your best anyway... because sometimes our best isn't good enough. Some people can never be satisfied.  It's our job to do our best and leave the rest of the mess to Jesus. 

In the end, it's about you and God.  It was never about you and them anyway... that's right.  What people think of you, what people say to you or about you, doesn't matter.  At the end of the world, and it is coming, the only thing that is going to matter is where you stand with God.  And forgiveness, and doing your best, and being happy and kind, and doing good... all of those things are going to impact where you stand. What hurtful things people say about you aren't going to matter to you.  All the times people have been jealous and tried to knock you don't won't count.  Those people who refused to accept your kindness and intentionally hurt you just aren't going to matter. It's just going to be you and Him... and HIs light will surround you and all of the darkness of the previous world is going to be in the past forever.

Sorry this has been such a long post.  I've just had a lot on my mind.  I'm signing my name to this one. No matter what anyone says or does, God is the victor, and His people are victorious.  Kind of like what they say at weddings, "What God has put together, let no man put asunder." And that's my stand... and I'm going to endure til the end. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Skies and the Heavens

Psalm 19:1, "For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."

The heavens declare... the skies proclaim. Why should we be any different?

Here's praying your skies are blue and full of sunshine and you cling to every piece and parcel of joy that comes your way on this long Labor Day Weekend.  Embrace His goodness and turn over anything bad to Him. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Redeemer LIves

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."- Job 19:25

The world can turn upside down in a moment.  We can be driving around, dodging all obstacles, thinking life is perfect, when suddenly we hit an unseen pothole and careen recklessly into thin air, pitching over the side of the hill.  (I once drove a car over a hill.  Even though it was over 28 years ago, I can still remember that it was no fun.  Especially for my Mom, who chased me down the hill in her high heels and pantyholes... )

So unexpected obstacles can be difficult, especially for this girl who had her life planned out at the age of 18.  My best bet is, you've had life throw you curve balls, too.  One good example of this is Job in the Bible.  Job lost his livestock and all of his kids on the same day. He was just sitting at home, minding his own business, when his servants began to arrive one after another.  Each one was bearing a little  bit more bad news. Then there was his Negativity Nancy wife, who told him to "curse God and die".  And then came his friends... if they were his friends, I'd hate to see his enemies.  They basically told him that he must have done something wrong to deserve all the trouble that was coming his way.  Trouble and hard times was seen as punishment for sin, and even though Job was righteous, they couldn't see how if he was so good how all of these bad things could be happening.  They delivered lengthy oratories declaring his so-called " badness".  Then, Job spoke up against all they were saying.  And even though as you read his words you get a sense of desperation, a sense that at the moment he couldn't really feel God's presence and wasn't really sure how God was working in his life, he attested to one belief. 

His Redeemer lives.  According to, a redeemer is someone who "recovers" or "frees", who "regains" or "fulfills" or "makes amends for".  We needed a redeemer to make amends for sin we would commit, and continue to commit.  I need a redeemer daily.  What Job spoke of, though, came true... as soon as Satan got finished testing Job, and saw he would continue to be faithful, Job's wealth was "recovered".. he was given all he had and then some. 

And I think that's how our Redeemer works, too.  When we accept his sovereignity in our lives, He begins to multiply.  Any trial we go through ends in something bigger than we could have ever imagined.  Financial hardships lead to us being better off than we were to begin.  Having to work hard to obtain something leads to us appreciating where we came from. Troubles in relationships lead to sweeter togetherness after you work through issues. Because He is a recoverer.  He is one who fulfills our needs. He is a sustainer. 

So maybe you've had a rough week.. a rough year.  Maybe you feel like you'll never be good enough. Maybe you don't know why you keep trying. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks and someone ran over your dog.  Maybe you aren't sure why you're blue, but you are. Know this.  Your Redeemer, my Redeemer, lives.  He suffered on Calvary so that we can understand suffering here on Earth, so that He can empathize with us in our difficulties and intercede on our behalf to our Father, His Father.  He was nailed on the tree and went to a criminal death so that we could be pardoned. He descended into Hell and freed the captives and He is returning to free us from our misery here.  He has Redeemed us... and Our Redeemer lives.  And at the end, He will return in Beautiful glory and every knee will bow, every eye look upon Him and know that He is Lord.  Rocks will cry out and the mountains will rejoice and all of creation will sing of His glory.  We will live forever with Him, the Prince Charming that will never disappoint... Oh, the Hope of Glory... our Redeemer, can get us through whatever trials we go through down here.  It's so going to be worth it.