Monday, November 30, 2015

What I Learned in November

Y'all.  It's been the longest and shortest month of the year and how on earth is it already December of 2015???

I've not been quite as faithful as I would like on this blog and that's ok. I'm learning to give myself some grace.

Seeing as it is coming to the close of the year, though, I've been thinking a lot about what I want out of 2016, and I am going to be more consistent with this blog.

I am.

Even though I have told Caleb several times to not make big plans, because Jesus could come back tomorrow. Or today.

And even though I am usually advising him against buying something online that he doesn't really need, the truth is that I truly believe Jesus could come back anytime.

I'm not sure how I got on that track... but that's one thing I've learned in November.  To let myself go where my thoughts lead me and not get so hung up on how I get there.

Ok, I totally made that up... but here's what I have learned in November:

1. I've learned a lot about Steelers football. I recently finished Dan Rooney's book about his 75 years of being a Steeler (which, by the way, was written just after Mike Tomlin was hired, in 2007... and in my own humble personal opinion, that has been 7 seasons too long for him coaching... but who I am? And Rooney saw something good in him... so that's saying something. I guess. I just don't understand certain play calls. ) Some of the interesting things I learned about Steeler football: Johnny Unitas was drafted by the Steelers and they let him go. Yes.  LET HIM GO.  Also, Tony Dungy played for the Steelers and coached for the Steelers as well.

I knew the man was a great man of wisdom. It had to be because he started out in black and yellow.

2. I am not a coach.  (I already knew this, but feel the need to remind myself at the end of this dismal football weekend when both of my teams gave up leads in the second half to lose).  I am also not a referee, but I can sure have fun trying.

3. GPS is not always exactly right. Ok... I knew this one, too... but was reminded of it just this morning as I drove around downtown Versailles in a circle for 15 minutes trying to find system office. Finally I glanced over and saw it on my right. As I pulled in the parking lot, the GPS proudly announced, "Prepare to arrive at your destination."

Sorry, cupcake. I had already arrived and you didn't do anything to help me do so.

4. Motivation is so much easier if you have a group of people behind you. Y'all that have been reading this blog for any length of time know how I struggle with self-discipline. For the month of October and early November, I participated in a 5 week challenge online for exercise and scripture memorization where we'd log onto facebook and post what we had done to exercise that day. I did more because I knew that I'd be posting it. (I know... I should be above external motivation... but shame can do a lot for a person). I started slacking after the challenge was over... so I stepped out on a limb and asked for some accountability partners on facebook. I've been texting them every day and it has helped me... I'm hoping it's encouraging to them as well.

5. I'm learning a lot about myself. I've been participating in this leadership Academy at work, and it has been very beneficial. We've done some personality profiles, and while I knew that I was an introvert that tended to shy away from active leadership and want to fly low on the radar... it's been good to see that those qualities can in fact be strengths.

And I've had to force myself to make conversation with people that I really don't know during business lunches.

Which explains why it is 10 PM at night and I've been in my pajamas in bed in this hotel room for over two hours.

I may have also learned that I was a tad lazy...

Nope. Already knew that, too.

Night, y'all!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Who I Am

I've been thinking a lot about who I am lately.

I really started pondering this after my three days at the Leadership Academy last month.  Every speaker talked about having a vision, knowing who you are, and being true to yourself.

I've struggled with that sometimes.

I may or may not have been in a panic because I had to describe myself in five words or less.

I can tell you a lot about what I do.  I'm a mom, a coach's wife, a teacher, a nurse, a student, a reader.

I can tell you a lot about what I'm not. Not brave. Not secure. Not sure of myself.

But to describe who I am, and a vision for myself?

I'm still pondering.

The last week or so on Facebook a quiz has been circulating... not really a quiz, but you give them access to your profile and they tell you what words you used the most in 2015.

I thought I could nail it.  I know what I've posted, for crying out loud.  I don't post negative things and try to keep the glass half full.  I try to be encouraging to others. I try to offer love and support.

I use my posts to point others to God and also to show how I'm just a mess.  I'm learning to be authentic, and a  lot of the time that means making sure others know that I'm a mess of a mama, a wife, but that even in the chaos, I'm a masterpiece in God's eyes- and if I am, they are, too!!! Throw in a little of basketball, a little of volleyball, a little of football, and a lot about reading, and that sums up my life... and my facebook posts. 


I took the quiz.

And I refused to share the results... because while all of my friends results had God or love or Jesus or family in the center... well, I didn't like mine.

Right there in the center.  I'm.  Me.  Really???

So I did it again.

There it is, again.  I'm, right in the center.  Which means that most of my posts are about myself.  Not a God or Jesus anywhere in the mix.

I was ashamed, y'all. 

And even though it's just a stupid quiz, it really is a true reflection of my person. There's Caleb, and read, and game, and today (I've been thinking a lot about living in the moment and appreciating today).

But here's what I've concluded.

I do write about me, because it's my facebook page. To often in social media, we paint the most rosy picture and show our highlight reels...

but I try not to do that. Again, I try not to post anything negative... but that doesn't mean I want y'all to think I'm perfect. And if you know me very well at all, you know I'm not perfect.

I'm a shy introvert who struggles socially, which is a challenge when you're married to an extrovert that can talk to a wall and make it talk back. I'm an insecure individual who isn't always comfortable in her own skin, but am trying to learn how to be...

And I'm trying to encourage others to do the same. We're all in the same boat.

And even though my most common word in that diagram is "I'm"... it's right below love.  Which is what I want my name to be synonymous with, anyway.  I especially like the middle one... Love, really, I'm.

Because without love, I'm not really me.

And even though His name isn't on there much, He's in me. 

And He's still working.

Thank You, Jesus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eternal Light

I'm a self-professed winter hater.

Oh, I love Christmas time, and I love snow days, for the most part, if it means I can hang out on my couch all day long in my flannels and read mindless books.

And I love basketball.

I don't like it being dark at 5 PM or cold temperatures.

Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing and even though it is outside my scope of practice as a nurse to diagnose, I'm pretty sure that I have it. 

I can mark my moods by the time change. Added to all of that is the overall gloominess of this world.

Maybe we need a World Affective Disorder... because life can just plain stink and can overwhelm us and leave us gasping for air.

I am one of those "ostriches" who like to bury their heads in the sand, but you can't dodge it nowadays.  Every time you turn on the TV or the radio it's something else. Bombings.  Bomb threats.  Job loss. Debate about some issue or another. Refugees and homeless and hopeless people.

And those things aren't just on the other side of the world.  No, sir.  Last week I seriously held my breath as Wallace talked to Caleb about what to do in the case of an active shooter.  Y'all.  I've had trainings and have thought of plans at work but you never really think it could happen until you're trying to explain the fear away from your baby.

And this morning as I was reading in Mark 13, where the disciples ask Jesus to tell them the signs of the times, my heart was heavy again.

Because even though I have the hope of glory, we can't deny what's happening. Wars. Rumors of wars. Nations rising up against nation. Immorality. The persecution of Christians.

Our hearts are being hardened or they are failing us for fear.

But I don't want to live like that. I don't want to be afraid, because fear cancels out faith. I don't want to live with a hardened heart, because we're taught to love, and love always, always, always means vulnerability.

Love our neighbors.... all of them. Even if you don't know what threats they pose.

And we're told that we'll be known by our fruit.... fruit that includes joy and peace. Putting up with one another. Gentleness and kindness.

How do we balance these things out when we want to just stay in our cocoon?  And how do I do it when I want to just bury my head underneath the covers because I am depressed because it's dark outside?

This morning I prayed. I claimed the verse from Nehemiah about the joy of the Lord being my strength.  I don't feel joyful; but His joy is a supernatural joy greater than our circumstances. I'm praying it for myself and praying it for all who read this blog and for all of my friends and even for my enemies.  I'm praying for the peace that passes understanding and for love that is greater than fear.

May we live it out... until that hope of glory becomes fulfilled. And there'll be no seasonal affective disorder because the Son will be the eternal light.

Hallelujah and amen.

Monday, November 16, 2015


So yesterday I write about self-discipline and this morning I step on the scales and I've gained 3 pounds since last Friday.

Granted, I did eat red velvet cake and have been indulging on a chocolate orange.

And let's not forget the peppermint bark and the Hershey kisses with almonds.

But I did only eat part of the blondie at Kelsey's last Wednesday night.

So, basically, I've been eating junk.

I've never proclaimed to be on a diet because
1. I'm a picky eater and a diet never lasts. All it does is make me focus on my food, which makes me want to eat more and makes me want to eat things that I wouldn't even want to eat if I didn't think I couldn't have it.
2. I want this to be a life change. Something I'm able to maintain. No meds or fancy crash diets or starving myself.

Not that there is anything wrong with meds or fancy crash diets.  I'm not judging anyone, and if they work for you, that's great...

It's just that I don't do well starving myself.

I get hangry. 

Really hangry.

So, today I felt a little discouraged to say the least. Even though I had eaten that junk, I hadn't eaten much of it, just a little bite here and a little bite there.

And I've been exercising.

Really hard.

Ok, mostly hard.

Most days.

I drug home from work in the gloom and then headed to Bible study. It's amazing how a little bit of God's Word and a whole lot of Jesus loving sisters can lift your spirits.

And then I faced the dreaded treadmill for 2 miles. Did a little bit of jogging and a little bit of walking on an incline and a whole lot of watching Monday Night football.

Tomorrow I'll get up and face the scale again. And I'll face the treadmill again. And I'll try to drink a little more water and avoid chocolate a little more than I have been.

And I'll keep you posted, not because I'm so good at this thing, but because writing about it keeps me humble and keeps me accountable.

But regardless of what that scale says, His grace is sufficient.

And tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

46 days

Today is November 15th, the halfway point of November.

I only have about 3 weeks of the fall semester left.

People are posting pictures of Christmas trees and Christmas decorations.

The air definitely has more of a chill in it.

And I still have yet to finish a book this month.

Oh, I'm reading books. 

14 of them, to be exact.

And the stack by my bed just keeps getting taller.  There are too many books and not enough time to read them.

Namely because I'm addicted to social media.

There, I said it. I find myself spending hours on the computer wasting time and scrolling down a page that never really changes.

As an introvert by nature, social media can exhaust me...

but it also serves as a connection. I find myself feeling affirmed by those likes and comments.

Social media is a wonderful tool, but sometimes we're too connected to a screen to connect to those around us.

I can become so absorbed in what others are doing that I lose track of what I should be doing myself.

If you've read my blog at all, you know I stink at self-discipline. It's one of the reasons why I struggle with exercise at times and why I'm a procrastinator and why my laundry stays piled to the ceiling.

However, I'm doing better with exercise.

And I want to do better with self-discipline.

I found myself the other day looking at planners for 2016.  I always love the new year because it holds such promise. There's something about a blank space on a calendar that makes me be hopeful.

I usually don't last through the first week... but I am hopeful that I will.

And as I was looking at those planners, I thought about all I hope to accomplish next year; how it's going to be great...

And realized that I don't even have my next breath promised to me.

We don't have to wait for a new year, a new month, a new day to start over.

We can make each day the best; each minute is a new opportunity.

Every breath we take can make us better than we were.

So.... the way I look at it, I have 46 days left in 2015. That's 46 days that I can make a difference in someone's life.  46 days for me to exercise. 46 days for me to lose those extra 15 or 20 pounds that I'd like to lose. 46 days to read His Word.

46 days to close my computer down and laugh with Caleb, to listen to Wallace, to chase Will, to snuggle with Melody.

46 days to use this white space to bring glory to God.

What are you going to do for these 46 days?

For that matter, what are you going to do today? 

Lord, help me embrace each moment as a gift from You and use them to accomplish Your Will. Thank You, Father.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bobcat Family

I love reliving the glory days.

I can tell you how it felt the entire 1995 football season, and the entire 1996 football season.

Cheering on the sideline.  Hot sun beating down during cheer practice and our run through the sprinklers on a Sunday when Coach magically appeared and yelled for us to "Get off that field." Being forgotten after the  Montgomery County bowl and getting pizza the next Monday because Coach knew that to make his cheerleading coach mad meant trouble.

Wins.  Lots of wins.  Every week a win. 

And community support.  Signs.  Packed stands.  Loud clapping.

It was wonderful...

but I also remember the lowest point of Breathitt County football since it got its feet on the ground.

It rained every single week, and every single week we'd track through mud on fields. Mud so thick you'd lose your shoes. I was a spectator back then, and got to smell those stinky pads the whole way home.

It was miserable.  We lost every single game that season, except against Knott County. And we only won that one in overtime.

There were no packed stands. There was little clapping. There were signs, but it was because my Mom made them.

Every year, at the end of the season, I'm sad.  I'm sad because I don't like endings. I'm sad because there are a group of seniors that I've grown to know and love... if not off the field, on.

Last night, I was especially sad.  I wasn't sad because we lost necessarily.  And I wasn't sad because we didn't execute well... even though at times I wish I could have gone out there and gave Cam a big hug or fired up our line a little bit.

And here's the thing.  When Josh Adams jumps off sides, I feel like I have the right to quarrel at him a little bit in the stands... because I'm one of his biggest fans. I brag on him.  And when Randy Melton gets a penalty, again, I feel like I have the right to quarrel, because I'm not just quarreling about the negative.

What made me sad last night?

Arriving at the game as the National Anthem was being played, Mom and I expected to have to park up town.  Surprisingly, we walked right in. There was no traffic. There were no packed stands.

It didn't feel like a football playoff game.

And it wasn't even cold.

I'd like to think that if we were winning and heading to the state championship, it'd be different...

but then I think about the last time that Breathitt's girls went to Bowling Green.

Administration didn't even call off school so that they could go to the boys state tournament the next week... and Breathitt's boys weren't even in the state tournament.

What saddens me about last night, and so many nights, is the complete apathy that we as a county demonstrate. As a whole, many do not care about community. 

I wish I knew the answers.  Our problems go far beyond an upacked football stadium, and I'll be the first to admit it.

But maybe we could start by coming together to support our local kids.

In the 1995 year, it was great.  We were winning.

But we were a family... and that was what meant so much more.

Our kids deserve that. For some of them, it may be the only family they ever know.

Today, and everyday, I'm so thankful to be a part of the Bobcat family. Nobody knows how much time our kids and coaching staff put into the game. For many out there on the football field last night, they played no organized football in grade school or middle school. That means we're learning fundamentals at the high school level, folks.  Breathitt didn't become a powerhouse in a day. It won't get back there in a day. And before you start pointing fingers at the state department, the decision to halt grade school football was made by the same administration that decided to go to the boys state tournament instead of cheering our girls on in Bowling Green. The only way we will have a powerhouse football program again is by community buy-in and support. So, if you see those boys at Walmart, pat them on the back. They don't need to hear they did a bad job... they know when they make a mistake. You'll see it in the way they hang their head. They do need to know that you care. There's always room for more people in the Bobcat football family... in the Bobcat family as a whole, for that matter. You just have to yell loud and be passionate about something.

And maybe, that passion... just may make a difference in our community as a whole.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Football Grace

I feel a little sick this evening.

I'm watching Thursday night football, if that explains anything.

And if it doesn't, let me elaborate to say that it is the Bengals vs. the Browns and the Bengals have had over 200 yards in the 2nd half to the Browns 7 yards.

And I'm brain dead because I spent 9 hours or so in a conference room with 16 people who are near strangers having to have a discussion about things like strengths and weaknesses and what it means to lead and have a vision and knowing yourself.

Which I have on my to do list...

As in, "Figure yourself out."

You'd think I'd know in 36 years, but I have significant trouble trying to describe myself in 3 words or so...

You try it. It's not as easy as it may seem.

Also on my to do list is to write Mike Tomlin a letter, because I'm pretty sure he needs my coaching advice.  After all, I am reading Dan Rooney's autobiography so I feel like I  know the Steelers organization pretty well.

We're a resilient organization, this Steelers nation, and I have no doubt that we'll recover even though Bell isn't ringing much lately.

"To thine own self be true" means that tonight, even though the Bengals are looking like they are having fun playing and I really appreciate that in a team, and even though Andy Dalton looks like the boy next door whose cheeks you just want to pinch, and even though AJ Green is on my Fantasy Football team...

I'll say that they may be the real deal. But I'll also follow that concession with a reminder that there are such anomalies as 100 year floods and perhaps this is the year for the Bengals...

But it's not playoffs yet.

Thankful tonight for football and shopping with Mom and Kami's fashion advice and texts from my boy and the beautiful soul that is my sister Holly.

And the fact that the Steelers still have 6 championship rings and the legacy of Mean Joe Green and the fact that we came back even after choosing to let Johnny Unitas go.

And that His grace is sufficient, even in tough football times.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You Got to Know Your Destination

I consider myself fairly well traveled. I've been to several states and have flown a few times. I can pack like a pro thanks to Wallace Bates's guidelines to keep the outfits to a minimum...

But today I think I met my match.

I was privileged to be selected to be a part of the McCall Leadership Academy at KCTCS.  Each college gets a representative, and I'm honored that I get to represent my colleagues at HCTC.

Today was our first in-person meeting, in downtown Louisville. Y'all who know me well know I hate driving, and I wasn't about to brave driving downtown... so my wonderful Mom came along. 

I'm not the greatest in technology, but I figured between my phone, my Mom's garmin, and the navigation system in my car we'd be ok to make it to the hotel. We left in plenty of time and everything went great until I tried to program the Garmin.

I couldn't figure out how to change the destination.

I know... I'm obviously leader material based on that one statement.

Because isn't that what a leader does? Change the destination? Or at least get the people he or she is following to discover what the destination is?

So... I gave up on the Garmin and pulled out my cell phone.

I'm much more adept at programming it and had our destination mapped out quicker than you can turn it on.

And then it started talking to me... telling us to turn at every stinkin' exit we passed.

Well... I'm so adept at using my cell phone that I was convinced that I had somehow programmed two destinations in.  The last time I had used the map feature was when we went to see Melody in the hospital two months ago, and it must have saved that destination.

Except when I turned the voice off in the settings it kept on talking to me.

So I did the next to logical thing... turned my cell phone off... because why wouldn't it still be talking even after that feature had been turned off???

And then it kept talking.

So I got a little worried... until I realized that it was the Garmin talking.  I had left the stinking thing on and even though I had no idea where the destination it was trying to send us was, it sure knew.

We finally got to the hotel and Mom dropped me off... but I forgot my wallet in the car because I'm so responsible...

which meant that Mom had to prove her love by driving around downtown Louisville amidst the one-way streets to try to get back to point A.

I had a good day of meetings where I learned about honesty and integrity and transparency and vulnerability and taking risks and being courageous and having a vision and a purpose.

Lots of food for thought...

And I was feeling pretty good about myself because introverted Lauren managed to make small talk with the people she sat with and even ate part of a salad at lunch so that no one would think she was strange for being a picky eater.

And then I took the stairs down and almost couldn't find my way out because the doors to the first floor were an emergency exit only and the door to the second floor opened in an unfinished parking garage.

But I finally made it back out of the stairwell without calling 911, which I'm taking as a pretty good sign of my critical thinking abilities.

I love to travel, but sometimes small town living is enough for me.

Tonight I'm thankful for my Mama and all she does for me and everyone else. I love her and can't put it into words... and I know she loves me because she drove through rush hour traffic tonight to prove it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thankful for the Small Things

So this morning I was running late, which isn't really that unusual for me.

At least once a week I tell myself I have to get my act together. (Coincidentally, I first heard this phrase from a 3rd grader a few years ago, as we pulled in late to school... again... as in, "Mom, you really need to get your act together.")


I had clinical and we had an early start and I get in my car and the car is almost on empty.  I debated heading on to Campton and taking my chances but was afraid it'd look worse if I had to call my students from the side of the road to come get me, so I stopped and got $10 worth of gas.

I pulled out onto 15 from the old road and it was so foggy you could barely see the end of the car... but then the a beautiful sunbeam broke up the fog and the trees looked glorious just like yesterday and I thought that maybe my day wouldn't be so bad.

I was driving down 15 trying to follow the speed limit and then had to worry about passing the slooooww truck that just had to pull out in front of me even though there was nothing behind me for five miles...

and I started thinking about how if we are in a rush, we fail to appreciate the small things.

And the small things are all too often the big things.

I'm not sure why we feel like we have to live life in a rush, but I started the day running late and felt like I was running late all day long...

even though I wasn't. And even though I had nothing pressing to do.

I think it's a deliberate tool from our enemy to attack our peace... to attack our well-being... to attack our schedule.

And to make us think we have to rush when we don't.

Nothing makes us feel overwhelmed like having too many things to do in a short amount of time.

I'm learning to do better. I'm still not great at saying no, and I'm recognizing that sometimes it's not really God's will for me to say no. I can't avoid doing things just because I want free time to myself.

And I can't avoid people just because I'd like to sit on the couch and read a book.

So, tonight I'm thankful for people who take time to pause and help me when I need help... people like Shannon and Kena in Academic Affairs and Leanna and Leanne in the business office and Brad who is our tech guru (making sure my Blackboard does what it needs to do and that I have a computer lab to work in) and the M & O crew that unlocks my office door when I lock my keys up because I'm in such a rush that I forget them.

And I'm thankful for my friends in the Jackson Woman's Club.  It's not always my cup of tea to make small talk, but tonight I sat with some lovely ladies and did just that.

And I'm thankful that our county has a historian like Stephen Bowling, who shared information about the 1939 flood to our group tonight. I love my Breathitt county heritage.

And I'm thankful for a support group on facebook to help me with weight loss accountability and for treadmill time even though I didn't want to do it.

And I'm thankful for bedtime.

Because even though His grace is sufficient to keep me as I rush through my day, it's also sufficient to renew me as I rest.

Monday, November 2, 2015

God's Hidden Promises

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies display His craftsmanship." Psalm 19:1

There's nothing much more beautiful than Eastern Kentucky in the fall.  The hills are golden and auburn and flaming red, with just enough dark green interspersed. This is especially true on a gloomy day, when the sun doesn't come out and the sky is steel gray, and then, out of nowhere, there's a ray of sun that highlights just the top of the hills so they seem like they are glowing... on fire, full of glorious light.

And then, out of nowhere, starting small and growing more brilliant, it's there.

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet...

The rainbow, hovering over the hills as the sunlight from no visible sun shines on those glorious colors.

The sun's there, it's just hidden behind the clouds.

Just a few raindrops, and there's that brilliant stretch of color reminding me of God's promises. They're true and they are yes and Amen.

Even when you can't see the makings of God's promises... even when you can't figure out how they're going to come true...

They are there.

And He knows.

(The picture doesn't do it justice!!!)

And what a sunset came after this... but I was drying dishes with my Mom at my Papaw's house and didn't get a pic.

So, today, November 2, I'm thankful for hidden promises and visible rainbows and glorious fall foliage, for my Papaw and for Bible study (finally made it on a Monday!!!) with the girls from PPC, for my inheritance and His presence. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow...

For His grace is always sufficient.

This month I'm being intentional about being grateful and sharing my thankfulness here in this blog and on Facebook and Instagram.  I also came across a 30 day Scripture challenge, and I'd love to invite you to join me in it... Click the link to see 30 days worth of scripture on thankfulness.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Some Kind of Way

So every now and again I get this big idea that maybe I have something in my head worth sharing, and the blankness of this white page calls my name.

I vow that I'll be consistent...

Until something happens that takes my time.

Or my focus.

Or knocks the wind out of my sails.

And I'm silent for a while... but then it beckons.

Today I started day 1 of November thankfuls, and I was reminded again that I had the perfect platform, right here on this blog, to share what I'm thankful for...

and maybe it will help me become consistent again.

Today I am thankful for King Jesus... for His Word... and for His love that caused Him to choose to save me when I was lost in sin.

But I'm thankful for so much more. 

I'm thankful for a good game on TV today between the Steelers and the Bengals; even though we lost it inspired me to tackle my mountain of laundry.

I'm thankful for a 4 pound weight loss in the month of October and a reminder that even though I have good days and bad days, it's a mindset and a lifestyle change and I am happier with my self at this moment in time than I have been for a long time.

I'm thankful that even in the middle of Halloween, which can make an uncrafty Mom feel useless as I scroll through social media, seeing the cute costumes that look Pinterest perfect, and the whole families dressed up that I'm realizing that loving Caleb makes me a good Mom, even if I never did dress up when I took him trick or treating.

And that being glad that he decided this year to not dress up does not make me a bad Mom.

Even if he did say that he wished he had found time in his life to put together a costume, because "We never know what next year will hold."

Which made me think, again, that this time next week I will officially have a teenager on my hands, which makes me feel all kinds of way.

As in, wanting to throw up way, and wanting to cry way, and wanting to pat myself on the back because we've made it this far and just yesterday somebody told me what a good boy I have way.

And I wonder if God ever feels that way about me, as He watches my attitude that is less than perfect and my anger that boils over for no reason... as He sees me struggle to reign in my emotions, as He sees me love imperfectly but choose to love.

And so above all, I'm thankful that He loves me through all of those emotions...

Because He is too good.