Monthly Archives: January 2014

Matching Socks and Waves

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Picture me standing on my rooftop (which I’d never really do because heights are gross!) screaming at the top of lungs (which I can finally do since I have my voice back!)…..tears rolling down my face, tearing at my clothes, kicking up roof tiles, madder than an old wet hen on a snowy winter’s day. That would’ve been me yesterday… if I’d had the nerve to climb on my roof. Well, and tear at my clothes that I spent good money on and kick up roof tiles that I don’t have the money to replace! No, I’d never really do this. But I was pretty stinking mad yesterday………

I’d love for all the little stories that make up the testimony of my life to involve butterflies and rainbows and cuteness and all things lovely, true and pure but I live in the real world just like you do. So ,many times, the stories of my life are going to involve the opposite of the things listed above!

Finding beauty in sticky situations. The tag line of my blog and what I really wanted to focus on in my writing here. I truly believe that through every rough spot we face in life, God provides us with something beautiful in the end…..

In spite of the ick.

In spite of the trial.

Beauty from ashes.

Always…because He is faithful.

I also believe that God does sometimes give us more than we can handle. But in those times, He gives us the means to handle whatever we’re facing as we reach out and up to Him to pull us through. He gives us more than we can handle so we can learn to trust Him more, rely on Him more, turn to Him more. I’m living in the middle of one of those times right now. Humor me for a minute while I recount the last several weeks.

In the last 2 months,we’ve faced many trials. I got the flu… or maybe it’s evil twin… on Thanksgiving Day. And it liked spending time with me so much that it hung around for weeks. Like until just days before Christmas. I can’t remember the last time a seemingly “simple” illness hung around with such tenacity. I had a horrible cough for weeks and completely lost my voice for the good part of a month. I still couldn’t sing a note by Christmas Eve….which was quite tortuous for this girl who loves nothing better than to “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!” I’m still not sure why I chose to go to the mostly song-filled worship service on Christmas Eve since all I could do was my best Milli Vanilli impression . Remember them? Then 10 days before Christmas, while I’m STILL trying to recoup from the flu, I get a call from my son’s school that they’ve called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital of our choice. He’s severely broken his arm. They weren’t kidding. I’d post a picture of Noah’s arm for your viewing pleasure but you’d probably never come back and read this silly old blog again. It was hideous! He had surgery and spent 3 nights in the hospital. Shortly after this, we get a call that my husband’s dad had taken a fall and broke many ribs and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital awaiting surgery….one he might not recover from. Sadly, he didn’t. Two days after Christmas my father in law was finally breathing freely in the presence of Jesus.

This was just December. I won’t bore you with tales of job losses, extremely reduced income and other stresses that plagued us January through November!

Oh sweet 2014 please be kinder………

…sigh…

January 7th ……freeze….broken pipe….flood……(see previous post for that lovely story)

17 days later ( or yesterday) …..It’s like a bad episode of “Groundhog Day”, that crazy movie where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over until he gets it right. I hear Josh from the back of the house…”Mom come here QUICK!!! There’s water in my room”…..Dagnabit……same song, second verse……

Yep……enter the opening rooftop story here. Mad….mad….mad! I seriously could not believe I was once again standing in large puddles of water in the back of my house…..in soaking wet MATCHING socks. Yes, I said matching! Such a hard thing to accomplish in this house with a dryer that enjoys eating one sock from most pairs we own!

I closed my eyes , took a deep breath and made the calls I knew were next after a flood. Then I was mad again. Still in disbelief…..I’m pretty sure I went to bed last night wondering what in the world was going on. Why were we continuously being plagued with one challenge after another?

In my mind, I deserved a big huge pity party. Who wouldn’t after going through all we’d been through? I’d invite friends over to cry with me. We’d have cold pizza and hot diet coke. It would be a blast.

But then I got that gentle reminder to really look around. To really see what was going on. Nothing had really dramatically changed from Flood One . Flood Two happened on concrete floors, a stripped down bathroom. The floor was mostly empty of all the clothes, books, computers that were ruined the first time. We had a roof over our heads. We had heat, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry. And the livable portion of our house was still livable.

Just like that I was reminded of a few things…

 1…Blessings abound , even in the midst of turmoil. The faster I start looking for the blessings, the more quickly I’ll find them. The quicker I remember how greatly blessed I am….well, wet matching socks just seem so insignificant.

2…The faster I turn to God with my troubles, the faster I feel better. I like to feel better. Who doesn’t?? Why do we hang on to anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. etc. sooooo long?

3…I don’t have it near as bad as I think I do. Somebody slept in the cold last night. Somebody is begging for food. Somebody doesn’t have a penny to his name and only has what he can carry around in a bag on his back. Why is it so easy for me to fall into a pit of pity for myself when I have it better than a good majority of the world……misplaced water, concrete floors, ripped out walls, kids sleeping on the couch or not?

And these things are my BEAUTY…..even in this most current “sticky situation.

As I stood in my son’s room on a patch of dry ground, I looked into the bathroom where water was still dripping out of the pipe into the house. There were already fans blowing attempting to dry things up as quickly as possible but the breeze from the fan was having a rippling effect on the standing water in the floor. There were waves on my bathroom floor. As I think back on that, this song came to mind. So I’ll close this lengthier than normal post with the lyrics to one of my new favorite songs and pray that you too can allow your soul to rest in the embrace of the One who puts up with every pity party we indulge ourselves in and still calls us His own.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine”……”Oceans” by Hillsong United (chorus)

Oh , Bother!!

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I had a friend back in the 80’s who called me about once a year after she moved away. And only once a year. We weren’t that close but she felt the need to stay connected in those days way before Mark Zuckerberg came up with the brilliant idea of Facebook. Because her call was a once a year event,we would keep that phone stuck to the side of our heads for hours as we shared all the great happenings of the past year. This was a friendship that also happened before the day of cell phones…..or cordless phones for that matter. So our catch up sessions would require us to stay put, as close to the wall where our phone was mounted as possible. These phones were fabulous in the 80’s but they did not take into account whatsoever that sometimes a momma could get a phone call while her precious 2 year old was wide awake and ready for action!

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Momma’s should know better, right?

When my phone rang that day , sweet Megan was wide awake and ready to play. I could see the mischief in her eyes. I knew better. I truly did. But have you ever had that friend you just could not get to be quiet long enough for you to say, “Hey, I really need to go. My daughter wants me to play.”

It went on for about an hour. Megan would pull on my pants trying to get me away from the phone and interested in her See ‘n Say or her dolls or a game of Hide and Seek and I would give her that look that said “Not now Honey. What I’m doing is more important ” and I’d basically shoo her away, trying really hard not to show my frustration with her constant interruptions. I mean come on. This was a friend I worked with for about 5 minutes and never did anything social with  beyond a 1 year old birthday party. That party must’ve been the clincher that made us BFF’s. So I was justified in putting my beloved first born way down the priority list when my “5 minute friend” needed me. Right? No need to answer that question!

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(Megan was very grateful to have her cousin over to play….especially when Mommy wouldn’t stop talking on that weird phone!)

Into the second hour of this once a year call, Megan got really quiet . I figured she had gone into my bedroom and had fallen asleep waiting on me to finally be ready to give her my undivided attention.

I should’ve known better.

My friend and I finally said our good byes. I held my breath and opened my bedroom door. Part of me wanted to believe the quiet from the room was truly a nap going down. Megan was surely exhausted from all the work she had done interrupting my phone call! But my daughter was 2. What greeted me in my bedroom was the result of a very bored 2 year old who had unsupervised access to an open jar of Vaseline, a brand new box of band aids, some loose potpourri and a sucker! On my TV…..on my dresser…..on my bathroom mirror….on my bedside tables….on my brand new comforter. My sweet Megan had left her mark in my space with her very sticky , suckered up, Vaseline covered potpourri fingers. She left very distinct evidence of her presence in my room…..and a very real mark on this neglectful Mommy’s heart.

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(Look at that face!   Megan on her 2nd birthday…..with a sucker.  But she was having dreamy  thoughts of all the fun she could have with  bandaids and that bag of smelly good stuff in Mom’s room!)

Life goes on around us whether we’re paying attention or not. And every now and then, something attempts to interrupt us so we can notice that life.

Oh my! I don’t like interruptions. I get a groove going. I get honed in. I’m finally traveling down the right road. Things are going my way. Then……

BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The dreaded interruption…..

It can be as simple as writing a blog post then the phone rings and it’s a kid needing something brought to him at school right now. Or as big as losing a job right when you’re finally starting to make some headway on that mound of debt.

What if these annoyances in our life were really God trying to get our attention….trying to change our path…trying to help us see things with new eyes? Would He do something like that? Are we really a big enough spec on the radar of the Creator of the Universe that He would take time to yank on us and say “Hey, look over here. I need your attention.”

You bet your sweet patooties! GOD INTERRUPTS US!!! And how do we respond? Do we turn our attention away from what we’re doing, roll our eyes at Him, and then shoo Him away? Or do we drop everything and start paying attention to what He’s trying to tell us?

Chances are good that the more often we ignore that Divine Tug, the bigger the mess we’re gonna encounter when it’s all said and done If I had excused myself from that truly unimportant phone call that day and given my attention to Megan, I would not have had that mess of sticky, nastiness to clean up in  my bedroom. Chances are, if I had hung up the phone, Megan and I would’ve had a fun afternoon playing with dolls, going to the park and playing hide and seek.

What good things are we missing when we shoo God away?

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity”…Jeremiah 29:11-14a

Thank You Lord that You can take our interruptions and not be annoyed by them. Thank You that anytime we call upon You, You answer….anytime we seek You, You make Yourself easy to find. Help us Lord to handle the interruptions in our life, those Divine Tugs, with the grace that only You can give us. Give us eyes to see the interruptions as opportunities and help us to never ever ever make anyone feel less than who they are by our response, especially You ….In Jesus Name….

All Things New

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Me: “Your room is a catastrophe! Get in here and clean it up right now!”

Any of my three sons: “Oh mom, my room is FINE! Do I really need to clean it? It’s not even that messy! Just shut the door and you can’t see it. ”

Me: “Until you get a job and pay the mortgage, your room is MINE and if I say it needs to be cleaned up, it needs to be cleaned up! Now get in here now and clean this catastrophe of a room before I have it condemned!!”

Any of my three sons: “ UGH!! FINE!!”

This is followed by an appropriate amount of eye rolling, huffing, and door slamming. I’m not sure what THEY do once they’re behind closed doors, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to count to a gazillion just to calm down after a “get in here and clean your room” encounter!

And so it goes, day after day, week after week, month after month. The battle of the clean bedroom. The battle of trying to enforce the use of hangers and closets and drawers. The battle to get stuff up off the floor and into a proper space.

The battle of their will against mine.

I had totally planned on making this post about something completely different….a story from my past. But as I said in my introduction, I’ll write what God prompts me to write when He prompts me to write it. He’s had a change of plans! Five days ago, my neck of the woods had the coldest temps in recent Georgia history. We’re talking wind chills below zero. Real temps as low as 2.

T W O!!!

Two is my favorite age when it comes to kids. Two is nowhere near my favorite number when it comes to the temperature outside. As it turns out 2 is also not a very popular temperature for those pipes hidden inside the walls of my house. One of them just couldn’t take a joke and it froze….then burst….then had the nerve to spill water through the walls into my house. In just a few short hours, this tiny little pipe had spilled enough water…unnoticed of course… into Josh’s room, Noah’s room, their bathroom, down the hallway and into the dining room. So rude!!!

Here’s that overly sensitive, rude pipe…

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One third of our house was under water. We weren’t doing the backstroke into the garage or anything but it was about ankle deep in some spots. Ankle deep water in your house is just as shocking as finding knee deep water. It’s not suppose to be there. Socks, shoes and all sorts of clothing were soaked on those floors. Bookbags, binders, paper, pencils…..all drenched. Everything that so wrongly lived on the floors of those two bedrooms was ruined.

My home , according to the our great insurance company, is now considered a “catastrophe zone”. After years of claiming my childrens’ rooms to be catastrophes because of too much junk scattered around and out of place, I now truly know with first hand experience what a catastrophe really looks like….and I’m not a fan!!

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Not a fan….

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Still not a fan…..(though this is actually a picture OF a fan…LOL)

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NOT….A….FAN!!!!

OK….so is anyone but me struck by the fact that the words “flood” and “Noah” have come together in this little story. I’ve so got to go there so bear with me !!

I am going to bring flood waters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you …..” These, of course, are God’s words to Noah found in Genesis 6: 17-18a

God used those flood waters to get rid of the bad and keep the good. He used that mess of water to RENEW the face of the earth….to start the population over with animals and people He saw as righteous.

In my own little world, this flood caused by that silly weak pipe has created chaos in my home. It’s destroyed several square feet of living space , ironically the messiest square footage in my home! Everything in the path of that small torrent of water is misplaced or gone forever.

As the carpet, padding and baseboards were ripped out of my home…..as the bathroom was gutted and sheet rock cut into, it hit me that this is all part of the process of renewal. When this nightmare is over, my home will have brand new carpet and tile. I’ll have new baseboards, freshly painted walls. The sink and cabinets in the bathroom will sparkle with newness. The BOYS ROOMS WILL BE CLEAN!!! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Let revival begin!!

When I think back on my life and all the minor “catastrophes” I have endured and lived to tell about (this is the only flood I’ve experienced) , on the other side of each one was something better. Something new. Something perfectly sent by my God who hears my cry for help and comes racing to my rescue.  I’ll write about some of these times in my life a bit later.  But for now I leave you with this truth…..

He makes all things new and beautiful in His time!   Hold on….hang tight. It might be a tough ride, an uncomfortable one but he will make something beautiful out of your mess!

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Hey Y’all!

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Welcome to my blog y’all.

Let me be frank with y’all…..where did that saying come from anyway? Was some guy named Frank just glaringly , annoyingly honest to the point that he drove his friends to use his name in this way?? I don’t get it!

So , just to be glaringly honest with y’all, I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope it doesn’t show too much. I’m very grateful for friends who know their way around the technology part of the blog world and generously offer their help!  But I’m trying to be obedient here, not just to the urging of my friends and family . But I’ve felt for a long time that I needed to find a way to share my stories with a wider audience because for some reason, every now and then God chooses to use for HIS glory those little old stories that make up my life. I thought I could do this by leading a small group and being as transparent as possible. Oh I do that. My faithful group of ladies has heard countless stories from me. I hope they haven’t minded! But I continued to feel that nudge that I needed to do more. So I started being way more transparent….and long winded… in my Facebook posts. This has been a successful way for me to show and tell stories of how God has worked through situations in my life, grown my faith and left His fingerprints all over my me. It was actually through many Facebook posts that people began to urge me to try this blog thing. They probably just needed more room on their newsfeeds for posts other than mine! Blogging may or may not help me cut down on long winded Facebook posts, by the way!

This next part feels a bit weird to me…..the part where I talk about myself and why and what I’m going to blog about. Maybe because this is the part where I could lose you. It’s also the part where you could sit back and say, “Hey, she’s OK. I think I’ll read more!” Honestly, whether or not anyone reads what I have to say is not up to me at all. I’ll just write what I feel God needs me to say at any particular time and leave the rest to Him. I have found that things usually work out best that way….when I leave the outcome up to Him!

So I’m just a simple girl transplanted from Texas to Georgia. It’s true what they say. You may be able to take the girl out of Texas, but you’ll never take Texas out of the girl. Maybe I made that up to make my Texas family feel better about the fact that I was 1000 miles away. And it’s possible you could substitute any state name for Texas and have the same sentiment. At any rate, I have one husband. We met in Georgia….we were both born in Texas. We have five children. Two Texas born daughters and three Georgia born sons. My husband and I have discussed what , if anything we should do to make the boys’ birth certificates say they were born in Texas just so we can all say we’re Texans…..but I digress.  Here they  are.   Once your children have the audacity to become adults and move out on their own, it becomes SO hard to get a picture of everyone  together.  This is the most recent picture I could find…..it’s two years old!  Josh is now about 2 inches taller than Alex and Noah is taller than both girls, so just try to picture that and you’ll have a current picture of my kidlets!

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About 23 years ago, I was a 27 year old mother (I think I just divulged my age!!) with 2 small children. In the midst of a rather difficult time ( a sticky situation perhaps?) I heard very distinctly in my soul that I should hightail it out of Texas and move to Georgia. I was certain God had called up the wrong number and gotten the wrong girl, but alas, I packed the three of us up and hightailed it to Georgia. This was the very beginning of a journey that would draw me closer to my very favorite Person in the whole of eternity. And it’s there I’ll likely begin and intertwine this little “diary” of mine…..Stories from my past. Stories from my present But my hope is that through these very real stories, you’ll be able to find a piece of your own story and find yourself drawing closer to the One who loves you more than I can ever say in one little blog post!

So sit back and relax. I hope you’ll enjoy at least a little bit of what you’ll read here. I hope you’ll leave comments so we can continue the stories with great conversations. I’m really excited to share my stories….my faith stories. Because I know once I hit “publish”, it’s out of my hands and into His as to who He will impact, who He will leave His Fingerprints on . That part is what excites me! Oh Lord, use me, for it’s all to Your Glory…forever!!