Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Learned in September

1. The custom of a bride wearing a veil at her wedding has a Biblical origin.  There is nothing as beautiful as a bride in all of her finery.  In my study of the Patriarchs this month, I was led to Genesis 24: 65, where Rebekah covered herself with a veil when she first saw Isaac.

2. Harry Houdini died from peritonitis when a strong man punched him in the stomach.... not trapped in a trunk under water chained and  handcuffed, as I always imagined him to be.  It was thought that he already had a ruptured appendix, and that the blow to his stomach was too much for his body and caused him to go into shock.  Apparently he would allow people to randomly punch him to show that he was tough?

3. Happy Birthday, Star Spangled Banner!  Our national anthem turned 200 years old this month. Composed by lawyer Francis Scott Key as he observed Fort McHenry after a battle, the song is inspired by the flag that hung over the fort. That flag is on display at the Museum of American History, a museum in the Smithsonian. I was reminded of the poignancy of the National Anthem as I walked the kickoff to the 2014 season of the NFL.  While I was on the treadmill, the thought went through my mind that there is nothing like hearing the National Anthem while standing amongst a crowd full of people like a professional football game, or the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament.  So touching...and it makes me want to break out in the "U-S-A" chant.  Long live the Star Spangled Banner, and God bless the USA.

4. NPH insulin stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn.  In all my years of nursing/teaching, I  had never thought of what NPH stood for.... but trust a student to ask a question that you don't know the answer for.  Now I do...

5. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town's title is excessively long...  purposefully so.  Apparently Eddie Vedder was tired of how short the titles of their songs were, so here you go... and I don't know that it ever talks about an elderly woman behind a counter... but it's one of my favorite songs ever.

6. You don't have to hit a volleyball with your hands to put it into play.  You can hit it with your foot, your face... anything is fair game as long as it doesn't hit the floor. I've saw some pretty awesome volleyball playing this month.

7. Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie and Sara Gilbert from Roseanne are sisters. 

8. Micki Demoss, former UT assistant, UK head coach, and current assistant coach at the University of Texas was a Showcase Showdown winner on the Price is Right. She won a trip, a bedroom suite, and a variety of other prizes during a trip to California with the University of Tennessee women's basketball team.

Linking up with the monthly post at www.chattingatthesky.com.  Love doing this every month!

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I'm Reading in October- The Early Edition

It's no secret that this is my favorite post to write during the month, and I often try to wait a week or so to make sure that I've finished any books left over from the previous month that I might finish... and also to savor thinking of what I plan to read over the next couple of weeks.

This month, though, I'm planning on participating in the 31 days project sponsored by The Nester, where you choose one topic to write on, every day, for a month.  I've still not decided what topic I'm going to write about... but tonight?

It's books.

First, I'm finishing up Karen Kingsbury's newest title, Angels Walking.  I love Kingsbury. I love this book.  It's about a baseball player who throws his shoulder out and becomes addicted to pain killers.  It's about his high school girlfriend and how she comes to terms with their breakup.  There are two angels that come to earth to help orchestrate fate... and even though I'm 60% into this book, I'm not really sure how it's going to turn out.... which is good.

I'm also reading Pat Summit's autobiography, Sum It Up.  Man, that lady is a legend.  I've laughed. I've cried.  I've grown to respect women's basketball even more.  What a great lady.  So glad she shares herself with us... just wish that Alzheimer's wasn't a reality. 

Continuing with The Best Yes with my Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study group.  This week we're reading chapters 4-6.  I'm loving it.  I love Lysa Terkeurst.  She makes me laugh and makes me feel sane, even in my near insanity. She gets it... and makes you think she's your best friend just through her book.  Love it.  Love it.

For another book club, I'm reading Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore.  I had started this one a couple of years ago but had never finished it yet.  The key verse is from Psalm 40, which I love.  Awesome book. Beth is awesome.  I'd love to sit down and chat with her over Diet Coke and nachos.

I'm reading 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp with my Hello mornings group, and the second time around it is just as good. I can't express how much I love Voskamp; her honesty.  Her simplicity.  Her love for God and all things good... and her ability to take the bad and make it good by looking at it through Christ.  Thank You, God, for Ann. She is a gift.

I'm on Week 5 of Beth Moore's The Patriarch study. I'm just now starting in on Jacob (we've got through Abraham and Isaac).  Such a treasure in these three lives.

I'm almost done with God's Story, Your Story.  I finished some of the questions this weekend to get me to a section of just reading.  Max Lucado is such a great writer.

Seeing the Elephants... I'm not much farther along than I was when I wrote last.  I'm struggling.  I read this story about a lady moving west when I get some downtime in my day. It's on my phone, so I'm not reading it much.

I just started The Scarlett Letter.  I haven't read it since high school, but I enjoyed it then.  Every now and then I like to revisit the classics.

I also just started The Story of Beautiful Girl, about a baby left at a widow's house by a mentally delayed woman and a deaf man.  I'm literally on page 4, so I can't really tell you more than that, except that the cover of the book is beautiful. 

 My drive-thru read is Thank You For All Things, which I wrote about in last month's post.  It's a good read.. just haven't spent much time on it this last month.

Now... for the rest of the month.

These are the books on my bedside table.  I must read Gone Girl soon because the movie is coming out. Love Does has been highly recommended, as has Outlander.  Clear Springs is by a Kentucky author, and Dixieland Delight is an older book that covers SEC football (as in, there is none better). 

There are several books on my kindle that I have loaded and ready to go.  The Testing, The Ladies Room, and Number the Stars have to be read by October 22 because I downloaded them during a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and they'll disappear by this date.  (Kindle Unlimited seems like it would be great... but I have so many books to read that I've bought or downloaded over the last couple of years that it seemed like a waste of money at the time... but if I ever get caught up I will definitely invest.)

Also downloaded: Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus (LOVE Joyce Magnin... great books, funny characters, and usually cheap on Amazon).  Where She Went, the follow-up to If I Stay. 

And then, there's this shelf...

And, yes, there are books in the shelf behind those stacked up. 

Happy reading, y'all!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Walking the Walk

This morning I was privileged to participate in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Lexington in memory of Joe Henson.  While my Mom only had three biological children, she's had innumerable cheerleaders, ballplayers, and students who she'd gladly claim as her own.  Joe was one of those, as was Missy, and this cause is one she holds dear to her heart because she saw the impact Joe made on others.  She benefited from him as a physical therapist, as did many in our community. She's had Micah on Wednesday nights at church and has known the family for years.

So it was a given that she'd want to go to the walk... so Caleb and I went with her.

This year, I was struck by what a privilege it was to walk... because there are always those who can't.  Most of the participants are there because a loved one has faced ALS, and some of those currently facing the disease are present. They're easy to pick out, because ALS isn't a disease that strikes quietly.  Instead, it rages through the neurons and depletes what control the patient has.  As the disease takes over, they lose their ability to speak, and instead use machines, computers, or smartboards to communicate for them. They lose their ability to walk and depend on motorized wheelchairs.  They lose their ability to breathe easily on their own, often developing respiratory difficulties.

But they retain their essence... they are fully aware. You see it in their eyes.  You see it in their determination. You see it in ways they show their love for their families.

I got teary-eyed a couple of times, because life just doesn't seem fair...

And it's not. 

It's not up to me, though, to make those decisions, and if we believe anything at all, we must cling to Romans 8:28. 

There is good in all things...

He has a plan, and it is much higher than ours.

He gives us this moment.  We have just this fleeting time to make a difference. 

That seems to be a recurring theme of mine here lately.

As I think about figuring out His purpose (do I even need to? Maybe I need to quit trying to figure out and just be... just let Him do the directing)...

As I think about what my best yes is... How I can put this moment to the best use... Because, after all... there is only one September 27, 2014...

This morning, my best yes was getting up and going to Lexington with Mom.  It was in the small donation that I made.  It was in supporting Missy and her family as they remembered Joe.  Most of all, it was in walking that walk.

4 short laps around Rupp Arena... not much, really...

4 laps around makes a mile.

On a good day, I walk 5 miles at a time. 

Today, though, it wasn't about distance... not in that way, anyway.

My best yes was in showing up, and walking behind those who couldn't.  Being a presence to show them and their families that in whatever way, they are supported... that people still care.

And appreciating the everyday gift of putting one foot in front of the other.

So very blessed... and such an honor.  Praying for a cure...

(Money raised at this event go to support patient and family support services.

Donations are still being accepted at http://web.alsa.org/site/TR?fr_id=10235&pg=entry#.VCdC-NgtDIV)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Confession- And Being Intentional

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I lie. 

I don't mean to... really, I don't.  But I find myself busy and just forget...

To pray.

Yep, I just said it.

If we are being honest, prayer is sometimes one of the most difficult things in our life... at least in mine. It shouldn't be.  I have no problem talking to Wallace.  Or Caleb.  Or my friends.  Or my students.

Even as an introvert, I can usually find something to converse about. The weather.  Football.  What I'm reading. 

And isn't prayer just simple conversation with God?

Yes... but sometimes there isn't anything simple about it.

This really hit me last night.  I had posted about loving and praying for my enemies.  I don't know that this response will ever be natural for me... but that is the beauty in it.  Jesus gives us the commandment to love others as we love ourselves (meaning that we should love ourselves, which is difficult in its own right).  We are then instructed to love our enemies. Pray for them.  Bless them.

Oh, I bless them alright.  "Bless her  heart."

Which in Southern terms is as good as an eyeroll.

So, there's my first problem with prayer.  I don't want to actually see them blessed, if I'm honest.  Like Jonah, I get mad when I see God being gracious and merciful, even though the plank in my eye is often so big that I can't even see their blessing.

But the beauty of it is He knows we can't do it naturally... it has to be through Him, through the supernatural. Loving your enemies and praying for their blessing has to come from a love for Him.

And then there is the matter of me not wanting to seem too needy.  I know that God is not Santa Claus, but sometimes when I do decide to pray, it seems like I'm just offering my wishes up to Him on a platter, and I know he kind of has to get sick of that, right?  I mean, He is not the Genie in the lamp.  I hear myself asking for blessings for my family and healing for loved ones and comfort for those who are grieving and on and on and on until I fall asleep. 

Yes, I've fallen asleep praying.  Multiple times... it's a good thing we're told in the Bible that He never slumbers, because I'm pretty sure my monotone pleas would definitely put Him in La-La land.

But the biggest reason I lie about praying?

I get too busy. That's right. 

I start my day hitting the snooze button and rush until my head hits the pillow, even though the words from Ann Voskamp are imprinted on my soul; "Life is not an emergency."

The words on my office wall, "Go slow. Be God-struck."

Yet I still go full steam ahead.

I read posts on facebook, and think, "They really need my prayer."... but keep scrolling.

Or whisper up a "God help them" and never give it another thought.

Last night I was convicted, y'all.

Clear to my gut.

I am His Child.  Just like my Daddy still likes to take care of His girls, God likes to take care of us.

It's kind of His job.  He created us, for crying out loud, and wants fellowship with us.  And because He knows our tendencies, He knows that sometimes we will whine. Sometimes we will snub up and pray for curses (have you read Psalms?  David prayed for affliction to come to his enemies all the time. I'm not saying he's the best example, but we still sing many of his psalms and he was a man after God's own heart... so obviously he had something going for him.)

And sometimes we will allow ourselves to get rushed... but that conviction came as I thought about what a privilege it is to be able to pray for someone... especially  if they ask me to do so. 

I can open my mouth right now and speak to Him, and He hears me. He knows what I'm saying before I say it.

And He speaks Southern.  Or Northern.  Or whatever language you speak.  You don't have to use fancy words... because He wants to hear from you just where you are.

I'm preaching to myself (because not many people may even read this blog... and that's ok.  I'm writing for an audience of one).  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me... continually... that my contribution to the betterment of this world doesn't have to be on some far away soil.

I can make a difference right here, sitting in this office chair, overlooking my work campus... if I'll just ask You to use me. 

Friend, if you are reading this, I'm making a commitment to praying for you.  For your loved ones.  For your family. For all who I may come in contact with. For our nation. 

I'm promising to be more intentional. To pause when I read those prayer requests and really think about them. 

So when I tell you I'm praying for you... I am.

Will you join me? 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Larger than Life... A Tale that Is Told

I hesitate to write this because some legends can not be improved upon, and often second hand knowledge can't capture what is known first-hand. 

However, I can't help but try, because death is hard and even when it is not personal, when it comes to those you love, it is.

I've been thinking about the theory of six degrees of separation... you know, how in life, everyone or everything is only six steps away from being connected.

In a small town, it may be even less so, because everyone knows your story... or thinks they do. Even though I have known Larry Turner's family all my life, and have heard Wallace talk about him, I never really knew him... I didn't know that he and Linda have been together since 6th grade.  I never experienced him in the classroom.  I know he loved Lisa and Tammy, and then Bryson, with every breath in him... but all of that was second hand.

And this post is second hand... but I am the better for knowing the little that I know. 

Larry was Wallace's favorite teacher... but he was so much more.

My Wallace has some negative qualities. He has a bad temper. He is impatient.  He is stubborn.

But he is also a hard worker, and a provider for his family.

I partially have Larry Turner to thank for that.

Wallace spoke today about how LT told him he had to become a man, and part of becoming a man was in providing for your family.  He talked about how LT never accepted anything less than the best, and when Wallace told him that he didn't think he was college material, LT was personally offended and escorted him into the hallway for a little chat, where Wallace was quickly reminded just who the man was in that classroom.  Despite failing himself and having to repeat Junior English, Wallace went on to college.  Larry proofed his papers.

He didn't have to do that. 

Most teachers would have thought, "I've got rid of this punk."

But not Larry... because he was a true teacher.  The lessons he taught went beyond the classroom, beyond paper writing and reading books.  And while Wallace may not have completely mastered writing papers, what he learned in those four years of English (with an extra class thrown in his Senior year) has served him well.

You man up.  You provide for your family.  You take responsibility.  You try your hardest... and then you keep trying.

Today, sitting in his funeral, watching Wallace sit with his head down on the platform, I thought about how those lessons weren't just passed down to Wallace.

I'm no good at math, but I think the six degrees of separation rule can be expanded here.  LT taught for 20+ years.  Let's say there were 30 students in a grade, and he had each of those students at some time during their high school career (and again, this is just an estimate). 

That's 600 students.  If only half of those students went on to college, that's 300 (and I'm pretty sure that more than half did so). That's 300 doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, engineers, journalists...

Wallace has at least 20 kids six periods a day.  That's 120 kids that may not really know who Larry Turner was... but 120 kids who are impacted by him on a daily basis.  And that's just in a year.  Think about if Wallace teaches another 10 years... that's 2,000 kids.  Those 2,000 kids will then impact others through their life work.

If one of those graduates Larry had was a nurse...  (and I know a couple off the top of my head...) and that nurse cared for six patients a day, three days a week, for 10 years... that's almost 10,000 lives that LT has somehow impacted, because of the caring that he showed for former students and a sense of pride in their work.

You can't tell me that what you're doing doesn't make a difference. 

You can't tell me that we live in a bubble...

because every day we are living a life of opportunity.  The chance to make a difference.

I'm pretty sure that Larry knew what a difference he made to his family.  I'm pretty sure he knew what a difference he made in Wallace's life, because he kept on pushing him.  He kept him out of trouble and gave him the benefit of the doubt too many times to count. 

I'm not so sure, though, that he ever considered how far reaching his impact was.

As I sat in the back and watched others file forward to pay their respects, I couldn't help thinking again of how brief life is.  How we have one shot to get it right... one shot to make a difference.

But that difference doesn't necessarily have to be that big, grand plan that we think.

The differences we make are in the daily mundane... the everyday grind.

I'll close using the scripture Brother Gary quoted at the gravesite, from Psalm 90.  "We live our lives as a tale that is told... and then we fly away."

Larry's life is one that will continue to be told.... through his family, his former students, his former colleagues... and all those that are impacted through their life work. The best part about our lives, though, and what we can all find hope in through death, is that Larry's story does not have "The End."  On Thursday, his story became "To Be Continued..."

In a land that is forever.

 Thanks, LT, for making Wallace man up.  I'm pretty sure that the best advice you ever gave him was to find him a smart girl who could write papers.  I'm so glad he listened.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I'm Reading in September

The middle of the month is fast approaching and my bedside table is still piled high with books.  Between the rush of work, volleyball, church, exercising, trips to Lexington, the Honey Festival, and taking naps, I haven't made reading a priority.  I am reading several books that I am really enjoying, though, so it may just be that I am savoring what I am reading.

I'm reading Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.  Gifffin is one of my favorite authors, and this book is no different.  The story revolves around an 18  year old who was adopted, and her journey to meet her birth parents, and in turn find herself.  Some language issues, and a little of the content is racy, but the storyline is great and I love the main character.

And The Mountains Echo by Khaled Hosseini is set in Afghanistan and follows a boy and his sister.  I've just started this one so I'm not really sure of the direction it is going, but I loved the last book I read by this author and have heard that this one will not be a disappointment.

Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Enough Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough is written by a couple in ministry who admits that their marriage hit a slump and they just weren't sure they were cut out for married life anymore.  I love Wallace, and our marriage is not in a slump (at least not to me... he may have something different to say)... but several of my online friends said this was a great read to help you think about improving yourself to make your marriage better... and I think we can all make some improvements.  The authors are honest and the information is scripture-based, so thus far a good read.

The Color of Heaven was a free read on Kindle and I am really enjoying it.  The main character lost a daughter to leukemia, then had a near death experience herself, and has returned to her hometown to repair the relationship with her mother.  It is written in language that is easy to read and understand and the story line flows well. It's the first of a series, so I've added some books to my wish list.

Get out of that Pit by Beth Moore is a book I'm reading for an online book club.  I just started... again.  I had read part of this book a few years ago, and honestly can't remember if I finished it for whatever reason.  The main scripture is based out of Psalm 40.  I love anything I read by Beth Moore, so I'm looking forward to creating some time this weekend to really dig into this one.

God's Story, Your Story by Max Lucado is one I've been reading for awhile.  I tend to read a chapter and then lose focus before answering the discussion questions, but I've found that often when I return to reading, it is just what God thought I needed to hear.  Lucado is an awesome writer.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp... I can't say enough about this book.  It was life-changing when I first read it.  Becoming thankful in all things... looking for the good... counting gifts... but sometimes we just need a reminder, so when my Hello Mornings group started talking about reading this and counting gifts, I pulled it back out.  I'm drawn to Voskamp's poetic language that really makes me think about how the mundane is marvelous.  I have several quotes of Voskamp's that I love... my favorite right now is "Life is not an emergency." I highly recommend this book.  I've been counting gifts for three years now.  I'm not the most consistent, but I try to sit down at least a couple of times a week and jot down my thankfuls, and it really does change my attitude... even though it could still use some work.

The Patriarchs Bible study by Beth Moore is another book I've started and stopped during the last couple of months. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been consistent in my quiet times, and as always can tell a difference.  This study is wonderful, though, and I hope to use some more time this weekend to watch the next video session and move on to the next week. 

Seeing the Elephant by Leah Banicki was another free Kindle read, and I am glad it was free.  I'm fighting my way through it because I hate quitting a book I've started. It has a good story line.  A girl from Kentucky is traveling west in a wagon train to meet her father.  However, there are major issues with grammar, tenses, and narrative voice and I'm struggling.  I mean, I recognize that my blogs tend to go on and on and on and contain numerous run-on sentences, but in some places the tense changes are so distracting that I have to stop and reread the section.  Still debating if I'll finish this one or not.

Thank You for All Things by Sandra Kring is about a girl and her genius twin brother. Their grandfather, who they have never met, is dying, and they go to visit him. Some family members want them to stay permanently, but I'm not far enough in the book to know if they stay or if they go. The little girl is a loveable character, though, and I'm cheering for them to stay so she can bond with her grandpa. This book is my "drive-thru" book so I'm reading it in small increments.

The Wedding Dress by Rachael Hauck... I love this book.  Narrated by both a modern-day wedding dress owner and a young girl in the early 1900s who is engaged to be married, I still haven't figured out the connection, but the book is well-written and I am loving the main character.  She just broke up with her fiancĂ© and I am hoping that in the end they get back together.  A hopeless romantic, maybe?

On my to read list... Starting The Best Yes with P31 OBS and my small group on facebook September 22 (and it's not too late for you to register at www.proverbs31.org).  Where She Went, the follow-up to If I Stay.  Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury.  Son, the last book of the Giver series by Lois Lowry.  Sum it Up by Pat Summit.  And the stack on my bedside table and the bookshelf overflowing...

Happy reading!  I'd love to hear what's on your reading/to read list. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Uphill Climb

I'm tired, and it is only Tuesday.

I woke up cranky and have been fighting it all day.

That nudge somewhere deep down that no matter what I do, I'm fighting an uphill battle.

Between data packages and fighting over over-priced notebooks and me realizing full well two years early what raising a teenager just might involve, I went to bed last night just not knowing.

Somehow, life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I find myself thinking back to high school and my early days of college, where the biggest decision to make was what I was going to wear and if I really wanted to eat that frosty from Wendy's after expending all that energy running up and down the hill by the Board of Education building during cheerleading practice. 

The answer then was always yes.

But teenage angst really isn't that different from grown-up angst... That not feeling good enough feeling sometimes seems to burrow deep and cause the pit in the stomach to drop a little farther down.

Life goes from being all about me to how can I make this all about me while seeming to make it about other people...

Because I am a recovering narcissist... aren't we all?

Eve took the nibble from the apple because she really didn't think she was good enough not knowing good from evil... and every woman since then has struggled with that thought.

Yes, life isn't all it's cracked up to be...

But it is kisses on the cheek when someone feels repentant and that feel-good feeling when someone decides that maybe he really isn't too old for his Mama.  It's laughter in the car and the radio turned up with the sunroof open.  It's blue skies and sunshine, and appreciating them even more when it is pouring the rain.

I don't know where I'm going with this post.  I know that sometimes my heart is heavy, full of sadness for those I see less fortunate than me... struggling with illness and death and poverty and hopelessness.

And sometimes my heart is heavy just because I choose to allow it to be.  This wallowing keeps me looking down and keeps me fighting for air, keeping me questioning.

There is one thing I know for sure, though.

I am not good enough.  I will never be good enough.

It's biblical... I'm not good enough, but He is all-sufficient.

And if the best lesson that I can teach my pre-teen is my need for grace, then I've done my job as a Mom.

Sometimes, I teach it through demonstrating grace to others. Sometimes, I teach it by demonstrating grace to him.

But mostly, I demonstrate it by asking for grace, from him, because this Mama doesn't know what she's doing. The struggle is real, and a lot of the days I feel like I'm grasping at straws.  Math homework.  Communication.  Not getting angry.  Being impatient.  All of these are my downfalls.

Yet grace covers those.  Grace that stems from that deep, maddening love that sometimes takes my breath away. 

Tonight, I'll roll out dough for fried apple pies for the first time since my Grandma died.  I'll fill them with apples and mark the edges with a fork, sealing in that goodness before it hits the fryer.  I'll laugh with my aunts and remember.

There will be pies that I'll fill too full, and the edges will bust open and the apples will spill out.

When we would fry for fundraisers, those were the ones we would eat.

The leftover, not perfect ones.

God takes our leftovers.  He covers them with grace, making our feeble offerings perfection in His eyes.  He guides our paths and makes our way straight, pushing us uphill and breathing life into us as we huff and puff and feel as though we are smothering.

Even on those days when we just don't know...

He does.  His grace is sufficient... and even as I climb uphill, if I pause to take a look around, I can see it. The view from the top is marvelous, so I have to keep on trekking... but the view on the way up isn't that bad, either.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

There's Something about that Name

The rain poured down.  My wipers were going as fast as they could go and I could still barely see in front of me.

Caleb is singing, loudly, and snapping selfies.

His conversation runs about as hard as the rain down my windshield.

Jesus.  Jesus.  Please Jesus.

I grip the steering wheel.  I'm not a great driver, by any means.  I wrecked my first car at the age of 4 (I'll have to do a post about that.  It truly is a miracle story... to me, anyway.  And also to my Mom. And my Aunt... I'm pretty sure her wedding would not have been as great had she had one less flower girl.)

Anyway, that was not my last wreck.  And I hate the rain.  And the wind.  And lightning. It makes me afraid that I will lose control.

So Caleb sang and I just said Please Jesus over and over and over.

There's something about that name.

And the rain kept coming and Caleb kept singing and I just kept saying Jesus.

We finally arrived in town and the rain slacked off, only to find a downed power line. Traffic was diverted through the parking lots of Pizza Hut and Citizens Bank.  No electricity at the high school meant no volleyball game, meaning we got home much earlier than we were planning. Our drive home was much calmer... well, if you consider me singing Zippy-Do-Da while being accompanied by Caleb on the coach's whistle that somehow got left in my vehicle (Thanks, Wallace) calmer.  Our electricity was on so I hit the treadmill and lost my breath.

And I'm still thinking of that ride home.  Of how my vision was limited, but I knew He could see.

Of how I knew the road was there, and could barely see the tail lights of the car in front of me, but fear made my heart race.

And how He can calm the storm. Sometimes He calms the wind and the rain... and sometimes He calms us.

I read Psalm 103 this morning. At the wedding on Sunday, it was listed to be read, but wasn't, so I was curious.  I knew that the number was one that I would probably recognize. Then, Pastor Gary Bellamy had commented and listed it on Facebook, so as I sat at the park before my walk I turned to it.

"Bless the Lord, O my  O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Tonight, I bless the Lord... because He is good.  He calms the storm.  He renews me.  He protects me.

And He makes me sing... even if a coach's whistle blown by a rowdy little boy is the best accompaniment I can get.  And somehow, I think that joyful noise was probably music to His ears.

Ah... Jesus. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

What I Learned in August

1. Lees used to have a football team?

So,  y'all know that I love college football. And high school  football.  And basically football of any type.   The other day I was flipping through a book about the history of Lees College, and saw a picture of their football team.  In 1927, Lees College made national history as they started their inaugural season... because they got beat by over 100 points. 
132 divided by 6 is 22 touchdowns.  Not that I'm sure that a touchdown was worth six points then.  Or that there were no extra points or field goals.  But 132 points is a high score for a basketball game... much less a football game.  Go figure. 

2. Running can be fun... even though I'm not there yet.
On August 2, I participated in the Midsummer Night's Run in Lexington with Wallace and a few friends.  I walked the course and finished last out of our group, but it was still an awesome experience.  I've even started jogging on the treadmill and have managed to cut my time some in the last few weeks.  I'm not ready to run a 5K... but I'm betting that my time would be quicker if I were to complete it now.  Keep on keepin' on...

3. Having competition also makes exercise more fun.  I've had a Fitbit since January, but never added friends until recently.  It was a great idea.  I find myself watching how I compare to them, and it makes me work even harder.  Most days in August, I've walked at least 10,000 steps, and if I've seen at the end of my day that I haven't reached that goal, I go hit the treadmill for a few minutes, because I know people will be checking out my steps, too.

4. There are armadillos in Kentucky- really????
Yes.  One of Wallace's favorite shows to watch involves Kentucky outdoors life.  I'll admit that I generally watch these shows without paying any attention, but this particular piece of information caught my attention.  I had always imagined armadillos in the desert... but apparently we have some in Kentucky.  And apparently they were from the deep south and have made their way up to the bluegrass.

5. One article described an armadillo as being a cross between an opossum and a groundhog in their activities.  I know all about possums... like they fake being asleep.  I also learned in August that they growl like a cat when cornered, and they are really ugly creatures at 5 AM when your dogs have them cornered.

6. I love volleyball.  I knew this, but being back in the gym has been great. 

August has been a busy month. Once school started back, it seems that the month just flew by.  Before I know it, I'll be posting a "What I learned in 2014" post.  It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun!