Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Drama Queen

Tomorrow is the last day of October and I honestly can't believe how fast this year has gone by.  Before we know it, it will be Christmas and then the New Year and it will be time to look at 2012 and see how good of a year it was.  I'm learning that day by day, we make decisions and have good days and bad days.  We take on step forward and three or four steps back, and that's ok, as long as we are making imperfect progress. 

I'm trying day by day and at this point, 2012 has been a success.  I've not lost weight like I wanted, and not consistently exercised, but I've learned a lot about myself and about life in general.  And perhaps the biggest lesson life is teaching all of us has come on the brink of a Frankenstorm.

At this time, New York and New Jersey are flooded, as are several other states up and down the Eastern Seaboard.  Parts of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are under at least 6 inches of snow.  Several hundred thousand are without power and heat and there have been over 30 deaths.  Millions are trying to recover. 

Yes, life isn't fair.  As I completed my Esther DVD session this morning, Beth Moore reminded me of this.  Life wasn't fair for Esther's generation, and it isn't fair now.  Beth reminds us, though, that there is, "Purpose in  crisis."  God has a purpose for everything... I'm not saying that God causes things to happen.  He can take things that happen, though, and use them for good.  And then I loved what she went on to say.  In a rough paraphrase, she says, "And Lord, You know You're dealing with a bunch of drama queens."  Oh, Lord.  In light of all of the trouble in the world, I am a drama queen.  But even in the midst of my drama, You're working good.

Prayers tonight for all of those who really are undergoing drama.  Protect them and comfort them.  Give them peace and reassurance.  And for all of us drama queens, help us learn to trust in You. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Remember what God has done

Last night I read in my Esther Bible study about Haman's decree that Mordecai and all of the Jews should be killed.  All of the Jews... annhilation of an entire nation.  Now if you know anything about the Bible, you know that the Jews are also God's chosen people, and He had a covenant with them for protection. Even though they were always going the wrong way or turning to false gods or just getting into trouble, God protected them.  Even when they had assimilated in the Persian culture of the time, God had a plan...

What amazes me about Beth Moore's studies are that she makes you feel like you are right there.  She pulls things from the Word that I could never think about on my own.  She has a God-given gift for sure.  If you've never done one of her studies, I highly recommend them...

Anyway, back to Haman and Mordecai. Beth pointed out that the timing of the decree was amazing, because the decree was sent to all of the provinces on the very night of Passover.  Passover was the night the Egyptian first-born were killed, as the Israelites prepared to flee Egypt and bondage.  Passover was proof of the covenant God had with them. During Passover, the entire family gathers together and talks about what God has done... for them, for their families, for their nation.

While I may not be Jewish and may not celebrate Passover, I can still remember what God has done for me.  At the age of 4, I drove a car over a hill, only to crawl out the broken back windshield with a tiny pumpknot on my head.  God saved me.  I know His angels were around me that day, and they've stayed with me.  Through multiple car accidents, and a life not always for His glory.  God got me through nursing school.  He's blessed me with all four of my grandparents, and memories of some of my great-grandparents, too.  I've been blessed with parents who love me, two sisters who are the best, and a close knit, crazy family on both sides.  God has kept my marriage together for thirteen years and has blessed us with one unique almost 10 year old.  He blesses me daily.  I'm healthy, happy for the most part.  I can walk on the treadmill, even though I don't like it.  I can see to read books and hear Caleb's laughter echoing off of the walls. 

He saved Wallace from sure death in a car accident.  He brought my Grandma back from acute renal failure.  Time after time, His blessings have been evident.  He never gave up on me... ever.  Even now, as I struggle at times, I know He's there.

We must remember. Remermbering not only gives us reassurance, it gives us peace. He's the same yesterday, today,and forever... and His timing is perfect. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Better Wardrobe

What a lazy Sunday... the rain is drip, drip, dripping, and it just looks cold outside the window.  What a difference a few days can make!  As the weather forecasters map out Hurricane Sandy, they are saying we could have snow in a couple of days.  Snow!  I'm so not ready for this kind of weather...

Ready or not, though, it will be here. Today I am finishing a leadership paper for class, and hope to get started on a presentation for another class.  I got up kind of early, though, and read some in my Bible, my Esther study, and the Unglued book.  I also read in Colossians.  The verses I read were food for my soul, and maybe you could use them, too.

"Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your[e] Creator. 11 In Christ[f] there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian,[g] slave and free; but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful."- Colossians 3:9-15

Okay, I only read verses 9-14 this morning, but it's kind of one big long passage that doesn't make sense without the rest of it.  It's a comparison of righteous vs. unrighteous living.  In Christ, we have been made new... brand spankin' new. So why don't we act like it?  Our fleshly tendencies still creep out from time to time.  We aren't to lie (and sometimes lies of omission, where we just don't say anything, are just as bad).   We've put off the old practices... but it is so hard to do sometimes.  As I was reading Unglued this morning, a quote really stuck out to me.  "Comfort zones aren't always comfortable... they are just familiar." And who doesn't like the familiar? I know I for one don't like change...even sometimes when it is for the good, because I don't know what to expect. 

Here's the part I really liked, though.  We can be renewed... and it's fairly easy. In this verse, it says renewal comes through the knowledge of Christ.  How do we get that knowledge? In His Word... "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God."... Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  His Word is readily available. We just have to be willing to make it a priority.  And shouldn't daily renewal be a priority in this world, when we are rushed and hurried and just plain tired? Amen and amen!

The verses then go on to say that there is no difference in us as humans... because Christ is all and is in all.  He is our all in all, our everything, our enough, regardless of the situation, and He is for everyone.  It is our choice to make.

Then, the new wardrobe we are to put on... of kindness and meekness and humbleness, of  patience and compassion.  Who doesn't want to be seen as all of these things?  But oh, isn't it hard to dress that way?  Sometimes don't you just have your mean girl outfit on? I know I do... complete with barbed wire and barbed tongue.  The key to obtaining this heavenly wardrobe is to put on love. Wear love.  Radiate love... always.  Love others, because we were loved. Forgive others, because we were forgave. And then, as I've been preached to all week, be thankful. 

Thanking God for each other.  Thanking God for the nasty weather.  Thanking God that papers will get submitted and presentations will get done and I will be able to rest... if only for a minute.  Thank you, God. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

He is Good

Today I watched a sneak peek on You tube of the first video of Ann Voskamp's Bible study on 1000 gifts.  I've read the book, and this year I've been counting my gifts along with her Joy Dare.  I can't describe how Ann's quiet and calm spirit settle me... I could sit and listen to her talk all day long. 

She talks mainly about gratitude and looking for the gifts in the hard times.  Today, in the session, she talked about King Jehosophat and how his winning battle plan was one of praise (is anyone seeing a theme here?  Seems like I have something to learn from old King Jehosophat.). She quoted the verse that I have loved... which I knew was in Psalms, but I had forgotten was in 2 Chronicles 20.  "Give thanks to the Lord.  His love endures forever."  And to add the verses from Psalms, "Give thanks the the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever."

Oh, He is good.  He's good because tonight I sat next to my 82 year old grandpa and cheered on TO.  I got a couple of smiles when I knew why the ref threw the flag.  I think he was kind of impressed.  I saw him pat my Mom's back a couple of times and he clapped as we scored a touchdown.  Surrounded by family, my heart overflows...

and He is good as I soak in a bubble bath, reading a mindless novel even though my to do list is a mile long.  He is good because there is rest for the weary. He is good because of peace in times of chaos. 

He is good as I sit and listen to Kami tell a story, and she's excited and her smile is big and she is just so beautiful.  He is good because she's at UK and she's thriving and kids grow up and they do well... because He is good.

He is good as Caleb holds a newborn baby, as he loves him and is surrounded by love.  He is good because He loves us as a Heavenly father... as much as I love Caleb, He loves him so much more.

He is good because I have a car to drive and a bed to lay in at night and a house with a warm heater...

But even if I didn't have all of these things, He'd still be good.  Because He is... the great I Am.  He's enough, El Shaddai.  He's my strong tower, my shield, my strength, my song... He is.  Even when I am not... especially when I am not. 

1000 gifts... I'm in the 800s, doing 3 a day.  Next year, good Lord's willing, I'm going to see how fast I can break 1000.  I'm betting it won't take me long.  And if I lose my perception of gratitude, as I did earlier today, may He open my eyes... because He.  Is.  Good. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Unglued? Who, Me???

It's a lovely fall day outside my window.  The sun is shining and the orange trees are simply glorious. I walked out to take a breath of fresh air, because let's face it, I'm not breathing too well at the moment.  My sinuses have been acting up for the last few weeks, I've been coughing my head off at night, slightly wheezing.  I have a stack of care plans to grade and not one but two papers due a week from yesterday.  That I haven't started on.  And, I have the beginning of the worlds largest fever blister on my lip.  Can anyone relate?

In the midst of all, this, though, I know God is good.  There are days when I feel this to my marrow... and then there are days when I really struggle.  I'm so glad God is able to look past my hangups.  If I had been the one chosen to die for the sins of the world, well, it'd be a hopeless cause, yet He gave it all up, suffered so that I could be pardoned for all of this mess I make of everything.  Whew... does anyone else feel the beads of sweat popping up on your forehead from that one?  The mess I... only me... not my kids or my husband or my coworkers or the log truck I'm behind as I rush to work, late again... me, myself, and I.  I am responsible...

Yet today, as I read Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst, I read something that made me breathe a little more easier.  "Our job is to be obedient.  God's job is results." So maybe I'm not responsible.  Maybe if I were to just breathe a little easier, to sit down on the job just a little, to stop beating myself up when I'm not perfect (hello... is there ever a time when I am???)... well, maybe the world would just keep turning. He's got this.  Under complete and total control, even when I'm not. 

Lysa talks about having a procedure, a pre-planned attack mode to lean on in times of crisis, when all I want to do is pull the cover over my head and eat a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream, while sobbing helplessly and watching a chick flick movie.  I'm having more and more of those moments here lately.  I know it's because I've got too much on my plate, but what's a girl to do?  There's only so many hours in a day...

She then reviews Jehosophat's story in 2 Chronicles.  He was resolved to remember whose he was, he called on the name of the Lord, he praised God in spite of the difficulties... he knew what he needed to do.  As opposed to my attack mode described in previous paragraph. Yeah, I think we know who has it covered here... and it's not the mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

So, this has gotten me thinking.  If God is the one responsible for results, and all I'm responsible for is obedience, then my attack mode needs to be something like this.  Stop.  Be still and open my ears (be still and know I am God).  Be willing... (yes, this means adapt my plan to His.  Even when I might not understand it).  Pray... really pray.  Not the "Lord, you know how bad I want this so why aren't you working with me here?" prayer I'm tempted to pray... but the "Lord, you've got a good plan for my life, a purpose, nothing harmful, and You promised You'd never leave me and I'm counting on that, so I'm claiming the promise that if I let You direct my path You'll lead me in the right way."  And then praise Him in advance.  That's right... be thankful.  Even when I can't see the sunshine... because I know it's still there.

Lord, I know I've got a lot of improving to do.  You know that, too... but today I'm resting in the assurance that You've got the whole world in Your hands, so my little corner can't be too hard to deal with.  I'm clinging to Your promises, because they are good.  You are good.  Help me not focus on my moods or my feelings, but rather focus on You.  Thank You, Father... for Your grace is sufficient.  Even for those unglued moments.  Says the rushed Mom as she hurries out the door to pick up her little one... late.  Again.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus... =)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Random Thoughts

Not got a lot to make a cohesive blog, or actually maybe I have too much on my mind.  So here's just a sampling:

1. I am not a crafty Mom, but that's okay.  I was raised by a Mom that makes  Martha Stewart look like a kindergarten kid making a scrapbook, but somehow that gene wasn't passed onto me. I can't cut a straight line.  I don't  know what colors look good together.  I can't visualize... but tonight, Caleb did a science project by himself, with only minimal help by me cutting, and it turned out fine.  We laughed at my inability, and had a good time... and that's what matters. (Although he did have to take it down to Mamaw Karen to get final approval.)

2. I am overwhelmed, and sometimes the best thing to do is just live in denial.  No, not really... but tonight I am.  I made a to do list today and just now marked off the first item.  Granted, it was put together an entire test, and I had to type, revise, write rationales, map to the test plan, etc. etc. etc.  I've got clinical paperwork to grade... too much to do to list here, but my head is above water.  And I know God's got a plan, so I'm going with that belief.

3. I am not into politics, but I'm enjoying watching these debates.  I don't even know a lot about foreign policy or trade or much about what they are going on about... but I do know one thing.  Romney talked about the instability of the Middle East, and all I can say is that it doesn't matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, it's going to continue to get worse.  Read. The.  Bible.  Hello?

4. I am ready for basketball season.  I went to practice today and am so excited about this group of girls.

5. God is good, even when I don't feel Him.  He's right on time.  He knows what I need, even when I don't. Thank you, Jesus. 

That's all I've got.  Well, not really... but it's all I'm giving. Night =)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Tough Mudder Experience

I'm not a people person.  I don't like crowds.  I don't like cold weather, and I don't particularly like being outside unless it is radiantly sunshiney out.  I'm not a real big talker, so in social situations I often let Wallace take the lead (which, let's face it, could be disastrous.  But at least he talks.)  This are just a few of the reasons that yesterday was completely out of my element... but it was totally up his alley.  And let's face it, sometimes as a couple you've got to take one for the team.

Wallace and a group of guys have been training for a year for Tough Mudder.  As I've mentioned before, I'm not really physical... ok, I'm not physical at all.  At times, this whole training thing has flat gotten on my nerves.  I got so tired of hearing how many miles it was from place to place here in Breathitt County, and how quick he could run it in, and did I think he should run this today or another day (as if I cared...) If you've read this blog at all, you also know that Wallace and I have had some difficult times in the past few months.  Sometimes, I think all of the running was actually running from me.  I never really felt involved in any of it, probably because I put up a big wall and didn't pretend to care... and also because there was just a lot of other stuff going on.  Stuff that I'm thinking we've waded through... but that's a whole other story.

Anyway, back to Tough Mudder.  Over twelve miles, 21 obstacles, in the mud and cold and ice and even some electric shocking.  (I didn't say he was smart).  Also, a large crowd of boisterous, loud, physically active people.  Now do you see why I was so out of my comfort zone? Wallace had to sign a death waiver... I had to sign a spectator waiver... and we were paying to do this?  Let me point out.  I.  DID.  NOT.  GRIPE.  Oh, I might have said that I didn't know if I REALLY wanted to go, but when push came to shove, I was up at 530 Saturday morning.  (Yet another take one for the team moment.  Pat yourself on the back, Lauren). 

Our guys finished strong.  They NEVER stopped running.  There were six of us ladies that followed them around, obstacle to obstacle.  We didn't get to see all of them, so there was a period of about two hours between obstacle 2 and obstacle 11 (the next one we were allowed to watch).  As we walked up and down hills to get to that obstacle, we saw medics with a guy on a backboard and one guy with a head wound and various others being carted off the course, which does not sit well with a nurse who is already worried about her guy's safety.  Needless to say, the longer we sat there waiting, the more worried I got.  And it was cold.  And we had to stand.  And it might have rained just a little.  And it was cold...

But when we saw those yellow shirts coming up the hill, well, I can't describe how I felt.  And then... Wallace looked for me.  Now that might not seem like such a big deal. After all, we've been married for 13 years.  And dating for a few before that... but it was the first time in a long time that it's happened.  And when you've been to the brink of I don't know where this is going and we are dangling on falling off, well, that one look meant the world. And it continued.  At every obstacle, my eyes found his.  He was tired, and sore... but I knew he could do it.  And I'd like to think that because he knew I knew that, he pushed on just a little more (Hey, I have to get some credit somewhere...)

I am SO proud of him... and all of our guys.  There were obstacles they had to do together, and they did.  They even helped other teams.  At the end, there were some who weren't as fast on their team, but they stood and waited and crossed the finish line together.  A year of hard work culminated in camaraderie... and a few lessons on the importance of friendship.  Of helping others.  Of encouragement and pulling each other up out of the mud.

Kind of like relationships...

So while I may not be a tough mudder, and have no desire to do so (hats off to all of the ladies who have that desire....) I'm married to one.  And that's just as good.  =)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Following the Leader

I'm taking a Leadership course in my DNP program.  We recently got back a profile that we took on the first day of class describing our leadership style.  Mine was titled Passive Avoidant, which is no surpise to me.  Number one, I don't consider myself a leader.  I've always been more of a follower, and I'm okay with that.  Number two, I am totally passive aggressive, which transposes to passive avoidant. I don't like conflict.  At all.  Oh, I have a temper, but I usually internalize my feelings.  I hide them underneath the surface, and let them simmer.  Simmer.  Until I reach the boiling point. And then when I explode it's usually not even to the person that deserves it, because then they would think less of me. It's all about what others think, don't you know?

This class has actually been interesting as I think of those around me and their leadership capabilities.  What does it take to get someone to follow you, to listen to you and respect you and have faith in what you say?  To really believe what you are telling them, not just to believe it but to believe  IN it?

Researchers have debated for years whether leaders are born or made.  I have to think there is evidence for both.  A true leader, though, is one that those underneath them respect.  A true leader cares, and makes decisions not just for self, but for the benefit of everyone.  A true leader is a listener, open to suggestions and criticism and able to recognize their weaknesses and work on them.  A true leader is adaptable.

Even though I don't consider myself a leader, I do think I have some traits necessary.  Truth is, I'm okay being a follower.  Doesn't bother me one bit, as long as I have a leader I can trust =) We'll see if the rest of the semester can change my style any... and if I can survive.  Only two papers and a discussion board to go.  And a leadership interview... any volunteers?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

He's here

Just when I think I've got it all figured out, I don't.  It's too early for seasonal affective disorder, but this week has left me feeling drained... out of it.  Grouchy and grumpy and any other word that you can think of.  I have all kinds of blessings to be thankful for... family, a new nephew... but I still feel so blah. 

Ambivalent... yet somehow apathetic.  I'm behind in school and overwhelmed at home and at this point, I really don't care.  Which makes me realize there is a problem.  I feel like I'm in a standstill and really don't know what to do.  This, in turn, reflects in my overall attitude.  Oh, to strangers I'm nice.  To my students I'm somewhat nice.  But at home, I'm not.  I'm impatient and short and hateful as all get out.

I don't know what I want to write here.  Usually if I type something out it gets it off my chest but I'm just not feeling it tonight.  I guess that's ok.  I've been doing a Beth Moore study on Esther.  Ok, I've not been reading like I should... I'm just on Week 3 and I started a month ago.  It's good stuff, though.  It's tough being a woman.  It's tough being a woman when you feel like you're not worth anything.  It's tough being a woman when you feel overwhelmed.  It's tough being a woman because let's face it, beauty is all about the outside and being overweight makes you lazy.  It doesn't help having a fitness freak for a husband.  Sometimes I really wish he'd just trip on the treadmill.  That's not too much to ask, right? And get a big case of carpet burn on his forehead? But I guess I'm just jealous because I don't have motivation.  Again, something I feel ambivalent about.  I know it's my fault, but at this point, I don't care.  OR maybe I do, because it's such an issue.  That's a topic for another blog.

Anyway, the Bible study talks about how the entire book of Esther never mentions God... yet He's there.  He was there when Esther became an orphan and her cousin took her in.  He was there when Xerxes got stark raving drunk and threw a party, and banished his queen because she wouldn't cater to his whims.  He was there when Esther went into the King's chamber.  He was there... even when we may not think it.  And He's with us, too.  Even in our self-pity and self-doubt and questioning.  In our ambivalence and apathy and misery.  He's here, right by our side.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you." Jeremiah 31:3, HCSB. 
"...Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you."- Hebrews 13:5
Help me, Lord, be satisfied.  Satisfied in You alone.  Your grace is sufficient.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thumbs Up...

Tonight I sat in a hospital room and gazed at this little bitty thing, swaddled in a blanket.  Perfect color, perfect size, precious in every way.  I watched this little miracle open his eyes when Caleb talked to him... I swear I think he knew Caleb.  My little boy, who I can't remember being that little, got tears in his eyes as he gazed at his new cousin.  I'm sure they will be close, I hope, anyway... as close as my cousins.  Family is important, lets you know where you come from.  It also makes sure that while you may not know where you're going, you know you won't be alone.

As I've scrolled down Facebook today, my heart goes out to a family on the other end of that spectrum, a family that I don't know.  Lane Goodwin's family courageously shared their story through a Facebook page, a story of struggling and pain.  A story of family and love and fighting the good fight.  One little boy, 13 years old, who has touched an entire state, and probably many from around the world.  Social media can be bad... but it's groups like this that make it oh so good, too. 

Today, Lane went to be with Jesus.  My heart breaks for the family, but I'm sure there is also rejoicing in heaven.  Can't you imagine what it is going to be like?  Where cancer never occurs and no Mama ever has to say goodbye to their baby? 

Prayers for this family, for comfort and strength... and Thumbs up for Lane. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Been a few days since I've written.  Seems like everything has been pushed to the back burner as I've been catching up on homework. Today, I spent an hour in my office just sorting through the stuff I've been packing around the last two weeks, trying to figure out what I need to do first.  I feel like my life is in a tailspin.

I'm sure some of you can relate.  I don't know if it is just me, but life gets busier and busier.  I'm sure it's not just me, because everywhere you look you see stuff to help us get organized... but we still aren't.  We have self help books on getting ourselves under control, self help books on being happy, on how to live, on making relationships work, yet we still find ourselves unsatisfied.

I'm feeling that way tonight.  Have been for a few days.  I think it's probably because I've been so overwhelmed the last few days... I'm the kind that when I get overwhelmed, I like to act like an ostrich and bury my head in the sand.  Or under the cover of my bed.  I've not actually been able to do that, but imagining that I can is a good coping mechanism.  Or sitting and spending mindless hours on the internet in avoidance...

The problem with those strategies is that they never really get me anywhere.  And when I come to my senses and realize the sheer panic, I have to about kill myself to get it finished.  Then, I swear I'll never do it again, never procrastinate... yet I do.  Again and again.

And I'm starting to think maybe that's ok.  We were made to live.  I definitely live.  These last few months I've really been thinking about priorities.  No, I don't get it right all the time, but tonight I rather enjoyed sitting on those freezing cold bleachers under a blanket with my Mom watching a game we know nothing about.  Tomorrow, I'll enjoy watching Caleb hike the ball and watching Wallace pace on the sideline.  I'll probably have to sit up late grading, but that's ok, too. 

Life is short.  Landry won't be playing soccer forever.  Mom won't be climbing bleachers forever (though I'm willing to bet we will push her up in a wheelchair).  Caleb will soon grow up, and Wallace won't be stomping (ok, he'll probably be one of those who die on the sideline...)

Every day is a gift.  Even if I don't get it right... I'm getting it.  And I'm going to enjoy what I've got.  Now, I better go work on lecture notes for tomorrow.  And grade some care plans... and work on a leadership paper. Or act like an ostrich...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Forgiveness is for you

I'm sitting here on my couch surrounded by papers and file folders and pretty much being buried alive, or feeling like it, anyway.  I've had a rough week, and am not looking forward to the weekend.  However, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about life in general because when I look around so many people have lives that just plain stink, and I'm fortunate.  On that note, though, life is hard no matter how you look at it.  We have good days and we have bad days and we have days that are just so-so.  This has been a bad week.  Not for any one reason, but I've just been really overwhelmed and emotional and feeling out of sorts.  So of course I'd have a mini mental breakdown last night at 3 AM...

I'm a worrier, and once I get something on my mind I dwell on it.  We laugh about my Dad doing this very thing... when Kami was getting ready to go to UK he made list after list and would question her endlessly about things.  And my Mom and I just laughed about my Grandma, her Mom, being worried over medication.  "When she gets her mind on something, " We'll say.... Well, it must run in the family, because my mind was on overload last night.

I got up and I thought and I thought.  I always imagine the worst in situations, and that's what I did last night.  I worked myself up in a state over something that has already happened and can't be changed.  So this morning, I made myself crawl out of bed a few minutes early and read my Bible, which I had neglected for the beginning of the week.  Kind of explains where my funk started at, right?  You'd think I'd realize...

So anyway, I read out of 1 Peter 3... the chapter that talks about wives submitting to your husbands.  Not what I wanted to read... but there was a verse that struck me.  You see, I'm having major trust issues right now, with everybody and everything. It comes from being insecure and overwhelmed and situational anxiety and blah, blah, blah... but I'm really lacking in that area.  It all goes back to imagining the worst in situations and in people.  So as I read this chapter, asking God what He could really be telling me, because all I need right now in the midst of my overwhelming anxiety, chaos, and confusion, is to submit to the crazy man I'm married to... "For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and are not frightened by anything alarming."-  1 Peter 3:5-6. 

Ok, Sarah called Abraham lord.  Now I don't see me calling Wallace lord, but I do respect him.  He's a hard worker and a provider.  What really stuck out to me, though, was the part about "Holy women who put their hope in God also beautified themselves in this way."  This is talking about having a meek and quiet spirit, being beautiful on the inside rather than on the outside.  These women could possess that spirit because their hope was in God.  In the King James Version, it talks about trusting God... when we trust God, we can trust others, even if we know they are human. 

Trust means forgiving others and letting bygones be bygones.  When you're mad at someone, or harboring discontentment against them, it just builds up and situations become worse and worse.  A lot of times, the other person doesn't even know you're mad, or doesn't care.  So forgiveness, really, is about clearing your heart of the garbage.  It's about you...not about them.  Even if it seems like it is something that is unforgiveable, we are to forgive.  Even if it is hard.  Maybe even especially in those situations.

When we forgive, we're supposed to forget.  Isn't it hard, though?  We think back to that thing and it haunts us... we grieve and it builds up and we can't let go.  And that means we aren't trusting God.  When we trust Him, we give it up to Him and He removes it from our radar.  It doesn't matter anymore...

Lord, I need You to help me forget.  I've forgiven, but my heart still hurts.  My feelings still feel wronged.  I trust in You, though, because in the end, You're all that I've got.  And Your Grace is Sufficient.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Win and Lose

The gym feels like home to me.  I've been in a gym most years of my life in some form or another.  From crawling on the bleachers to playing Barbies, lying down and reading a good book, even sleeping on the bleachers, I've spent my fair time in a gym. 

I'm pretty comfortable there, too.  Done a lot of cheering and clapping and yelling and crying in a gym.  Pacing on the sidelines.  Hanging signs.  Yep, you might call me a gym rat.

Tonight, I sat in a gym and tried to contain myself.  I've never really liked close games.  When I cheered, close games usually found me with my back turned or my fingers crossed or me running down the sideline as the football player ran down the field... yeah, I was that cheerleader.  It's even harder for me to stay calm now.  My blood pressure goes up and I can feel my heart racing.  I get sick to my stomach. I know it's crazy, but I have this visceral reaction when the game gets good...

So tonight, there I sat.  There's not much more exciting than a good volleyball game.  Especially when you have two teams who really want to win and a crazy coach that jumps clear off the ground, then turns around to me with a little smile in his eyes as he rubs his head.  That serve goes over the net, and then they volley, and volley, and volley some more.  The crowd is going wild, these kids above me that I cheer for on Friday nights cheering... and we are on opposite sides of the fence on  this one. 

The joys of living in a small town. Everyone knows everybody. And those girls on one side of the net, in the blue and white, those are people I know... sweet girls who serve Caleb his chicken nuggets at McDonalds and make sure his order is right.  Girls who have come back from injuries to leave it all on the court. Girls I don't know but I admire...

But then, on the other side of the net, are my girls.  Sweet and sassy, Caleb's "sisters". I've watched them roll their eyes at Wallace and yell at Caleb to "Stop" just like they would their own brothers.  I've watched them grow and improve and come together as a team.  I saw the hunger in their eyes and know how bad they want it... and let's be honest, how bad that crazy Coach wants it, too.  And I want it... a win for them. 

And so they volley some more. Dig in and dive for the ball.  Hit it back inbounds even when it looks like it's going to go out.  And the coach yells and jumps, and my heart pounds and I really feel like I'm going to throw up. 

And in the end, my girls pull it off. That crazy coach pumps his fist, and the crowd is cheering.  We go through town in a parade...

and I'm drawn back to when I was in high school and cheering and how wonderful it is to be young.  My boy is on the bus, I'm sure with his head  hanging out a window, and the sirens are going and the lights and the girls are yelling.  We drive down Hwy 15, and then past the funeral home...

I'm faced with the realization of how life is, from celebration and life to sorrow and death.  I say a silent prayer for Jami and Jenn as we drive by, a sudden heaviness in my heart.  Life's like that... one moment you're up on a mountain and the next you don't know which direction you're even supposed to go.

And the moment passes, and the bus continues, and before I know it I'm at home with my boys.  Reliving the night and bragging about my girls... but always remembering that undercurrent.  May we always appreciate the moment, the little moments that make life worth living.

To my volleyball girls, I love you.  You're my girls, whether you know it or not... we're family.  I'm so proud of how far you've come and I know there are great things in store for the future.  Keep that dream alive... dream big and act on it, work hard and realize it.

and to Jami and Jenn, and all of Debbie's family.  I love you.  I know how you watched your Mom struggle.  It seems callous to compare a game to life and death but that's really how it is.  We win a few volleys and then someone spikes it down our throat.  Your Mom fought a good fight.  She's ran her race.  These words aren't adequate, but I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm thinking of you. 

To everyone else, cherish the moment.  Life is too short not to.  Enjoy every sweet victory, because we usually end up with more losses than wins.  And remember that even if we don't know the game plan, there's a Heavenly Coach that does.  I'm glad He's got more figured out than my favorite Coach on earth =)

Sunday, October 7, 2012


How is it possible that four days can fly by and I've got next to nothing done?  Let me apologize for the whine session that is getting ready to happen, but I'm just really, really dreading the next week.

Monday brings a test, flag football practice for Caleb, and the District Volleyball Championship for my Lady Tigers.  Tuesday is another test, flag football game for Caleb, and statistics homework that I really must get done. Wednesday is clinical  and church. Thursday is lecture, and more homework.  Friday I've got a faculty council meeting at noon and then I get to drive to Bowling Green for class.  Class on Saturday.  And somewhere in between now and then I've got 9 packets of clinical paperwork to grade before I get 9 more handed to me on Wednesday, lecture notes to type, an article review to write, 2 quizzes for Biostats, three homework assignments for Biostats, and a 15 minute presentation on Democratic  Leadership...

And I really did work on my fall break!  Well, some of it...

But I also read.  Went to a volleyball game and volleyball practice.  Cleaned house (even though you can't tell it now).  Watched some college football with Wallace.  Went to Applebee's with Wallace and Caleb.  Read some more. Slept in...

Probably not the most useful time management.  I was in panic mode a couple of nights ago.  I told Wallace, "Tell me I can get all of this done." To which he replied, with a completely straight face, "You are a professional procrastinator.  One of the best.  I've never seen anyone work like you under pressure."

I'm counting on it this week... so if I don't blog, you'll understand why.  But I probably will.  Because the beauty of being a procrastinator like me is that I always find something I'd rather be doing than what I should...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What I'm Reading

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I hadn't gotten to read much in September.  I was able to finish four books, though... and right now, even though I should be worried about classwork, I can't stop myself from reading.  Some of the books I'm checking out right now...

The Girl Who Played with Fire, the follow-up book to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I'm just about 80 pages into it.  I know it probably has some sensitive content, but thus far it's a good read and I'm enjoying it.

Summer People by Elin Hildebrand.  I read The Island just before school started and really liked it.  I generally like beach novels set in the Low Country, because I've actually been there.  Hildebrand's books are set in Nantucket, where I've never been, and so far I've had no problem imagining myself sitting on the beach.

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio.  This is a recommendation from shereads.org, a book club ran by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Each month, they choose a book to read and discuss.  I don't get into the discussions much, but every book I've read that has been recommended by their page has been worth recommending, and this one is no different.  This novel is about a little boy who was lost in a snowstorm, and a present day reporter who is searching the story out over fifty years after it happened.

Song of Renewal.  This book is on my Kindle and was a free read.  So far, it's been pretty good.

Twelve Sharp, by Janet Evanovich.  I'm slowly making my way through the series.  She makes me laugh out loud... definitely a mindless read when you want to escape it all.

Unglued by Lysa Terkeurt.  I'm on Chapter 4.  I need it.  Desperately bad.

And I'm still reading War and Peace.  I'm still only about 25% into it.  I know, I know... But I will get it finished.  Maybe by this time next year...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Biggest Blessing

His hands hold his pencil tight as he concentrates, eyes slighlty squinted and chewing on his bottom lip.  He traces the head on the posterboard, then takes his scissors and starts to cut.  "Mom, we should be using safety scissors.  Are you sure you don't want to help me?" He laughs... and I do, too.  Me, the person who could never cut a straight line...

He already knows what he wants to draw, so I leave him in the room as I go pack up my office for fall break. So much to do over break, the realization that time will once again fly and I'll be back at the computer entering grades and sorting through my messy life... and he draws at the table as I gaze through the doorway at him.

His hair is spiked up in front, but it's cut close to his ears, and I realize how old he looks.  He's wearing a black shirt covered up with a blue "vest", a tee-shirt he cut the front out of.  The weekend before we had laughed at the table... "What are you wearing?" Kami had exclaimed.  "A vest." He replied matter of factly. "Um, no..." said the fashion police.  "That's just a cut up tee-shirt."  But it's not.  It's what he made of it...

He's drawing the symbols now, a heart for kindness and a smiley face for happiness and a spear... "Maybe I should draw a wolf to show independence..." A wolf, who travels in a pack.  "Dad, stop singing," he said when he was three. "I'm like a wolf.  I walk alone." 

So independent and unique and... mine.  I'm amazed by him daily.  Today, he gave a presentation on his Ramo drawing, an open-minded portrait that he did all by himself.  He's growing up, I'm realizing, and it won't be too long until he's at college giving presentations and writing papers and making new friends and just being Caleb...

Thank you, God, for my biggest blessing.  I'm so grateful you chose me to be his Mama.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

True Living

Today was one of those good days.  The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun was shining on the changing leaves, making the yellows and golds and oranges especially bright, almost translucent.  The breeze was perfect... and as I walked out of my office at 5 PM, I realized that I am truly happy.  Now tomorrow may be a different story, but tonight I am content... thanking God for:

a visit from a friend at work, the chance to clean my house on Thursday, a trip to Walmart with Caleb, him willingly sitting down and doing homework, statistics tutoring with Wallace, warm bubble baths, visiting with my Relay buddies, the realization that not everything in the world is a big deal... Esther and realizing that beauty isn't just skin deep, and that maybe we need to stop looking so much at the outward appearance.  Leaves blowing in the wind.  The feel  of the sun on my face.  "Moooomm... I love you." as we sing Sidewalk Prophets together. 

The realization that maybe I'm perfect just the way that I am, all my imperfections and flaws.  Knowing God's love to my marrow.  Christ's example for suffering and reacting.  His endless love and compassion.  New mercies every day.  Forgiveness for wrongs.

Seeing my man leaned up against his truck, ready to bike, and feeling as if my heart might explode.  Walking Mom's dog this morning, feeling the rain drops come down and knowing that I am alive. 

Accepting others where they are.  Learning to love.  The gift of feelings, because they mean I'm truly living. A thankful heart... Gratitude.

That's what living is about.  Thanks, Lord, for epiphanies in mundane days.  You're too good.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Imperfect Progress

Week 2 of reading Lysa Terkeurst's book and she couldn't be describing my life anymore if she was sitting right in my living room.  As I'm working through the Participant's guide, I'm looking at ways that I become Unglued.  I become unglued on a daily basis.  Take today, for instance.

I had clinical, and that went relatively well.  Basically, I have 9 students who each have a patient each and I run around like a chicken with my head cut off to take care of those 9 patients.  At the end of the day, they've all done their assessments, some of them have gotten to give medication, and we've discussed their patients and what clinical homework they'll be doing.  It's hands on learning, which most students learn.  It's also emotionally exhausting for me, sometimes.  Most of the time I love getting to interact with the patients, and seeing that lightbulb moment for the students makes it all worth it, but when I get home from clinical, I'm usually ready to kick my shoes off and relax.

Pouring rain today, meaning I get to slosh up the hill to Jackson City to get Caleb.  We have to make some copies at the college, and it takes 15 minutes to get him out of Kena's office.  (He loves them.  They love him...but he does make work counter-productive).  Stop at McDonalds, where you can NEVER get back out onto Hwy 15 (seriously, why do we not have a light here?)  Stop at Aunt Lisa G.'s house to drop some stuff off.  We end up getting home 5 minutes before Wallace, who has had volleyball practice.  When life is all about run, run, run, there are bound to be some Unglued moments...

Caleb is eating my french fries. If you know anything about the Bates family, you know that one of mine and Wallace's worst fights when we got married were over salty Mcdonalds french fries.  Can't you just taste them? Let me just say that in that one, I was wrong.  I'll not admit it to him...

Anyway, as Caleb is eating my french fries and I am saddled down with his bookbag weighing 500 lbs, my purse, my clinical bag, my laptop in a case, and another bag, he is trying to get the keys out of the door.  He's pulling and tugging and twisting and comes pert near pulling the doorknob off the door.  Unglued moment #1-  "Caleb, why are you doing that?  Don't you know that you can tear up the door? Geez" in a much louder voice (maybe I should be typing in all caps).

So we sit down to eat.  Work through some homework. Then comes the dreaded math. Can I just say that I don't like math?  I don't know how to teach it, I get impatient, and it gives me a headache.  Nor does Caleb like it.  So our conversation goes something like this. "Fine, just quit.  I'm tired of fighting with you.  You should have been done with this twenty minutes ago." says the Mom in the dictatorship voice. "Really?  I can just quit?" "NO!  Now why are you still complaining?" And so on and so on... to protect the Mom who suddenly turned into the wicked witch of the west, I'll not go into anymore of the conversation.  Let's just say that 1 hour and 35 minutes and a few tears later, I was ready for bed and Caleb was ready to kill me. 

And then I remembered Unglued.  Caleb said something like, "Shut up, Mom", though he really didn't mean it rudely (by this time I had almost gotten myself stuck in a school desk and we had had some good laughs to get the evilness out of our system).  It reminded me of a story Lysa tells in the video about her daughter honking her car horn at her, and how you "Never,ever honk at your Mama."  So I pulled up the video and me and Caleb watched it together, again.  And I apologized for the big ol' mess his Mama is sometimes. 

First, he said I definitely needed to read the book.  Then, he told his Daddy that you could never, ever honk at your Mama.  Then he wrapped his arms around my neck and gave me a big ol' hug. 

I may not be perfect, but I'm making imperfect progress.  What I hope Caleb gains from this is the realization that no human is perfect, especially his Mama.  There is a great big God that is, though, and He's working in us and through us every day.  Even when we come Unglued... especially when we come unglued.  He's not finished with us, yet, and he can make the broken beautiful. 

"I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."- Philippians 1:3-6

Oh, baby boy, God's not finished working on your Mama yet. And He's got big plans for you. Love you way big!