Thursday, September 23, 2010

What today

Nice morning, Thank You Lord.
I don't feel like doing anything today, just laying around, maybe eat then shower at some point. I am not depressed or anything,I just feel like being lazy.
But I won't be, not today.
Today is library day, meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy day and it is always time to clean the house and do the laundry day.And a school day. Apparently it is also the day of my toddler getting up way too early and not leave me alone day. Later on, it will turn into going on a date 1 and 1/2 hours to meet a guy from Norway that my man hasn't seen since high school(30 years ago)day. Oh yeah, the toddler will be attending.
Lord, help me rest in Your Presence today, no matter where I am or what I have to do.
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, September 20, 2010


My faith is in God
where else can it rest?
Monday morning can bring the D word(disappointment)which actually tries to start creeping in sometime over the weekend when I realize that the weekend is going by and I still haven't done what I wanted to do,
my problem?
An unrealistic standard set about how much one can do in a day.
Our Church just started a new series about stewardship and we each received a book(full of blanks!) with a pen(to fill them in!).
We are to track our spending for the next 6 weeks and see how we are spending our money and then work towards a budget. There are several real life steps we are invited to take.
You know what scares me about all this?
I am so forgetful about what I thought was important yesterday. Today, I am onto something new, which is most likely something old. I tend to rotate my solutions and blow them up regularly.
It is hard for me to stay on the straight and narrow. I can't do it as a matter of fact.
SO, as I get the nifty little book of blanks, this time-I check my spirit. Back to Jesus. I can participate, I can do my best but I can not force my husband to do it to my standard of excellence and truth be told, I am not even going to be able to reach that standard myself. GRACE
That's what I am talking about, I have to trust in the Lord and swim, maybe even backstroke in His Grace every moment of everyday. This is all going to work out for the best, and if we could get there on our own...why would we need Jesus?
Lord, please help me to keep my eyes, my heart my faith, rooted in and set on you. You are able. You make straight the crooked path and use the simple to confound the wise. You are a lamp to my feet and a light that leads the way. You speak to me and tell me which way to go. I am leaning not on my own comprehension, You are so not me.
You are a different being all together. Help me to never forget that.
You do the impossible everyday. You love me to the moon and back and I can never repay what you have done.
Open my eyes, my ears to hear-my heart to receive and my mind to grasp the depth and height, the strength of Your Love.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I called my mom on the way home from church this morning. After not knowing her for 27 years then reconnecting when I was 30-8 years now- one thing I have learned is that if I don't call her, she doesn't call me. It makes me mad sometimes but I have resigned to acceptance, so I just call her often. Lately, she has a new job and I have a terrible time reaching her. Today, she answered even though she was at work.
She told me that her Mom died 2 days ago(yes, my grandma that I never knew) Phyllis had spent the last 40 years in mental health facilities and finally assisted living.She developed some serious mental issues as a young woman, and even 6 kids didn't keep her from it. My mom has told me over and over again that the woman that has been living like that is not her Mom. That it is way too painful for her to visit. That her mom doesn't even know who she is,so she has not had a relationship with her for many years.
Even though I have only talked to her once on the phone myself, she did praise God and know who I was-I felt incredibly sad as my mom justified her reason for not attending the funeral which would be today. She had to work. And, she didn't want to see her Mom as she became but to remember her as she was.
Sad. I am sad and ashamed that this is my mom. How selfish and un-compassionate and ignorant of doing what is right versus what feels good, can one be?
And then I know that I am being un compassionate to my mom who is obviously full of hurt and needs completion.
Her biggest concern about her mom was whether or not her Mom was going to make it through the pearly gates or be cast into the burning lake. She voiced that concern to a regular customer whom she knows is a Believer and he responded by giving her 2 books, one by Max Lucado and one by Franklin Graham. Thank you stranger and brother!
I have nothing to say to her, I am often in this state when we "talk"
Lord forgive me for my lack of compassion and my refusal to reach out to know Phyllis when she lived. I pray she rests with You now.
I pray that my Mom's heart will be pricked and healed as she reads about You. I pray she would put You first.
Help me to forgive as I have been forgiven.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

learning curve

Thank you God, for grading me on a great big curve
For being so patient with my obstinance and big ideas of how to be better.
So the question I feel that I need to ask myself each and everyday is;
What if nothing ever changed?
What if I never wear a single digit size of pants ever again(this side of eternity)
What if we are always just barely getting by on our income
What if I never change for the better
What if I forget to pray
What if I ask for the wrong things
What if someone I know lives in sin
What if I live in sin
What if everything gets worse
What if I can't do anything to stop the worse from happening
What if Church is always somehow not right
What if I forget to be good
What if we always sleep in
What if we eat the wrong food
What if nobody likes me
What if nobody likes us
What if nobody cares
What if I say the wrong thing
What if God isn't who I think He is
What if, what if? What if....
Matthew 12;22-48
As I have really thought and prayed a lot lately about my long list of shortcomings and failures, it all really came full force when I read a blog about striving.
Why do I embrace striving?
Again, there is a balance-to not strive does not mean to not try, it means to not try harder.
in other words,"enough is enough already"
I get so caught up in what I want and what I think, I don't give God any room to move in me, or rather I resist His movement in me. The path becomes blocked with sticks and stones and stumps and trash. Disappointment, un-forgiveness, bitterness, anger, control.
The only way to clear this path?
Sit down, shut up and listen- "STOP!"
Wait on the Lord.
I get so caught up in trying to pick my way through the junk and clear my own path that I fail to notice that I am exhausted and I am not getting anywhere. Then, the LORD in His mercy, grabs me up and sets me down, again.
I am listening now, LORD.
So He says,"Remember who I am, what I can do, my capabilities, I am fierce and mighty, Holy and not like you, I am the Only One who can do what I do and oh yeah, I love you. Just like you are...still. So be still and know that I am God. Live like you believe Me. It is not me who is impatient, I have plans and I will see them through. I don't need your help, you get to help-Strive not to please even yourself, let go and let life happen. Deny yourself daily,take up your cross daily and follow me daily. I've got the whole world in My Hand. That includes you, I created you and I chose you for such a time as this. I will not fail.I love you."


I felt it in my bones, why? I am not sure-why...all I want to do is create and craft and play in paint. I have been gathering my thoughts and they have been plentiful, I am resisting the urge to buy more stuff and be resourceful-that always leads to the best art in my opinion anyways.
I have been knitting, coloring, sewing and cooking-
I have a bunch of ideas of what is next, paintings that need to happen, beads to make, cards to create, letters to write, BUT FIRST;
I had to color my hair!
Very, very red. My hair is to the small of my back now with shorter layers around the front and long side bangs, so coloring it is quite the process. Good thing I am a professional! So after 2 lovely long hours at the beach enjoying drinking in every single moment, I stopped off at the beauty supply and made my buy. Reddest copper red and red brown with a little red orange. and by 6:00 o clock Friday night, my hair was hot.
I am really enjoying the change. It won't be permanent, I love to rotate between brown, almost black and red-I just can't seem to leave it alone.
Thank God this is an option for me.
Right now, I am shirking housework-my toddler is still in a t-shirt and a diaper, we have already partaken of the birthday monkey bread(thanks Paula Dean)and too much coffee. This is Maury's birthday weekend- I will be making a cake and chili today too. Teenage son is away at a weekend retreat. There are so many things I want to do with this time. Mainly, I want to savor and enjoy every moment of it.
I am going to write another blog right now about what I think I have learned from God this week-it just wouldn't go well with this casual account of my desire to create.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Well, He has done it again...God has relieved me of my job as the one who thinks she knows everything and can do it all if she just tries harder.
I am now accepting Grace, thank you Jesus.
Why do I forget?
Why does everyone else have a cross to bear that looks so much smaller and prettier than mine?
What do I want?
The joy of the LORD to be my strength.
and like a grape as hard as a marble, I shoot out across the horizon and try to avoid being pressed down and squeezed.
I recant-
a few blogs ago and i think that I may have deleted it later, I went on a rant about how much I hated the first woman's ministry event that our church put on. Because it was about acceptance and love and being a bride, blah, blah, blah--also insert beautiful artsy girl(not me)reading awesome poetry and I sat there jealous, because I can be beautiful, artsy and poetic, right?
I sat there and thought to myself,"I hope that someone else is getting this, because I don't need it." I was so blind to my own need for acceptance, which I am now accepting.
God is so gentle and thorough in His discipline process. Like a loving Father.
I am resting in His Grace, I am willing to be pressed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I am not okay, so don't ask. OK?
Why is it easier to read about other people suffering in silence through Nazi concentration camp and be inspired and even believe that they did, that God Blessed them abundantly for it and that somehow I may even be able to do the same, then for me to suffer my self inflicted sorrows for a day?
We are on the verge of foreclosing on our home, serious surgery for our almost 12 year old and a whole slew of daily inconveniences. Can I find a way to shut up and suffer? Can I please trade in my long list of disappointments(that grow by the h
I am looking for you Lord- I am in my private place of wilderness. Please hear my prayers, I am repenting of unforgiveness, unclean thoughts and cruel words.

My last dream before waking was me going from here to there with varying groups of people in different environments and asking everyone,"Where's Gerard?"
Gerard who? Butler of course.
How dumb! I don't know him, but I have fallen for his image of a fierce protector(SPARTA!!)hopeless Scottish romantic husband that dies young(P.S.I love you) and sexy bounty hunting ex husband who screws up a lot(The Bounty Hunter)
In my dream, I felt dumb for asking because I knew that he was coming, so I would laugh nervously every time I would ask where he was. I just couldn't wait.
maybe "Gerard" is my subconscious name for the Lord! Sorry if I have offended you Lord.
Save me Lord and I will be saved.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


been feeling down. I keep hoping that I will get enough sleep and wake up feeling like doing life again. It has been almost 2 weeks since I quit all sugar and sweetners(except for stevia)and all grain products. Though I did splurge on Blue Corn chip nachos and a few carob covered almonds and a few chocolate covered espresso beans when we were in the mountains. If you know me than you know that it is a breakthrough for me not to have more than a few of anything sweet! I really felt the detox of it on the 3rd and 4th days and then I felt great, now I am breaking out and exhausted again. And I have been such a _______!
There is that little voice that reminds me that my expectations are a bit high after all. I tend to run full throttle until I hit the wall, that is just me. I am reading George Mueller's autobiography again and can see that he is the same, with an illness that comes on every so often and puts him in a literal place of submission and provides a way for him to write. I know I am not the only one who requires this kind of boundary.
I am bummed out about Church again. Feeling out of place and wondering where to go. I have been serving on Sunday's in our preschool department for a few monthes now, I like to do it a lot. I have been missing the services though, because they never did that much for me anyway, and we are having a hard time figuring out when to go. It just doesn't seem like a day of rest when we have to run around from here to there and get home way too late.
My kids started Awanas at a very large, very established Southern Baptist Church up the road. Last night was their second time. They love it. There is even a class for Ramone, he is a Puggle and has a cute little t shirt and tiny backpack. On our first night I mentioned to the lady at the sign in table that he would probably not do so well by himself. She invited me to stay and asked if I wanted to volunteer for that class. I had said as much on our registration sheet yet had no reply,so I was excited to be invited and said,"Yes!"
I did not say yes out of obligation or guilt or because I can't say no. Though maybe that is why I have said yes in the early years of attending church and I ended up burnt out fast! I learned my lesson. It took 10 years.
I was given a t shirt and welcomed into the room, well-sort of. The other ladies there to serve didn't seem impressed or excited to see me. They have yet to ask me anything about myself or talk to me much at all. I look directly at their faces and I smile, I get a,"What?!" look back. The only thing that they did say to me the first week was that it would be different next time, there would be order and more of a plan because all we did was put out toddler fires and try to keep the peace while holding 2 or 3 kids that cried for 2 hours. It was no different this week.
I didn't feel like going yesterday, I was tired and sick feeling, but my kids were excited. Ramone, after he was shirted and backpacked up, insisted that I put on my shirt so we could go. I did and we went. After dropping off the older ones, I went with Ramone to our class. I was the first one there and was met with the head lady saying,"Oh here's Juliet, can you take Tatum?" Then I was handed the "la petite crier" and thus began another 2 hours of winging it that ended with a,"Thanks, see you next week."
I am wondering if this is some kind of initiation,like hell night at the Citadel or the 6 weeks that they make the freshman go without food for their stomachs, just torture and mean words to feast on.
I will go back, I will be praying much more and I will be looking for the Lord in all this.
I am currently reading a book about orphans while following a blog about people visiting and caring for poor children in Guatemala and I am trying to figure out how to see Jesus in an American child who looks adorable in her "matchy, matched homemade clothes, with headband to boot who is screaming in my face non stop" or the littlest girl there who wouldn't stop hitting other kids over the head and shoving them down, or the other volunteers who look so burnt out I can almost smell the smoke rising from the ashes. Jesus, are you there?
I like the traditional Church though, which is funny since the one we go to is deliberately non-traditional, which is probably why I long for tradition. I was telling my husband that I just want to hear more Scripture and Biblical History, not so much personal stories in sermons or underhanded recommendations and insinuations about our lives and the choices we make that would indicate to the pastor within 5 minutes who we are and what we need,(so they think)
I am studying up a lot on the Jewish Religion and teaching our kids about the Holidays and looking for Jesus in all that. There is a local messianic Jewish congregation and we also know some people who observe the Sabbath and the Holy Days, so we may get to learn some of this stuff first hand. Though I am fearful of becoming weird and religious, but I am so hungry for more. Church just feels...irreverent?
We watched the movie Date Night and though it was a silly comedy with an unrealistic plot it did speak some truth about what happens in our over busy lives in marriage. We become"excellent roommates" Not exactly what we think will happen, but it do.
I am wondering what we can do to avoid that rut or to get out of the one we are in.
Being on the verge of financial ruin and preparing for your almost 12 year old to have brain surgery next month while dealing with an unhappy 16 year old who blames you for his unhappiness and a almost 3 year old who goes non stop am to pm, does not make this any easier. We have our hurtles.
Lord,we are dealing with some stuff-Please help!
When I read the final line of Psalm 139 this morning that says,
"see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting"
I want to laugh and cry. I only feel offensive-as Tina Fey's character in Date Night said at one point,"Do you think that I can't hear myself? I don't like being such a _____!"
I know that my way is offensive in me. No testing required, my faith is small and my desire is big.
Lord, lead me in the way everlasting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

make love and stay in bed all day...

well that is what I would like to do today.
I just arrived home last night around 8 pm with a car load of road weary, hungry children and two dogs, to a locked,dark and empty house. After breaking in, through the front bedroom window with across the street neighbors watching avidly(sure they loved that, i know that i did)I proceeded to unload the car with lots of arguing and accusations, mostly of which were in my head.
I was so mad because my man wasn't home to greet me with a meal, flowers and praise for my awesomeness. He has been working like a dog for the past two weeks mostly out of town, until he returned on Friday and I had already been gone a day at that point. Every time I would start to mentally attack him for his inconsideration because I had to come home to a dark, empty house with no food, not even milk, I was immediately convicted that I had no right to such complaint since he cam home to the same thing a few days prior. But my mind couldn't let go. I lugged in the stuff, I cleaned up a bit and unpacked a little, saw my oldest son as he returned from a long day, grabbed my keys and headed out to the savior of cheap and easy dinners, Little Caesar's. I fielded a phone call(finally)from my man who was cheerful because he was done with work and we would see each other soon. I spoke coldly and hung up a little too quickly, hoping he'd notice my frustration. At the pizza drive thru I got my final revenge...I ordered 2 peps and 1 cheese, no 3 meat treat! My man hates the cheese only and loves the 3 meat treat. I justified it because it is cheaper, but I knew what I was doing.(Forgive me Lord)
On the way home from the drive thru, my Ramone wanted to hear one of my favorite songs, on the way there I made everyone listen to the wind blow through the sun roof as I burned with rejection and somehow now seemed like a good time for a song.
I conceded to listen to one song, one time(not easy for a 3 year old)and found myself being ministered to in the night air as Marvin Gaye and Tammy (someone) sang "Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no river wide enough baby, if you need me call me, no matter where you are,no matter how far..."
This has taken on a new dimension as I just returned from the mountains and not too long ago(after my man had been away working for 2 weeks out of state)I had blasted this song and sung it to him with hand motions while driving. I was listening to it, and finding my heart tendered-my longing to be loved awakened, when what should I realize but that the big white pick up in front of me was being driven by my lover and friend. I cheerfully tailgated him all the way home, and we kept the windows down while blasting the next request, Justin Bieber"Shawty is an einy meeny mynee mo lover"
That's me all right, "Shawt" and constantly having to chose between loving myself first or choosing to love my man-
If it wasn't for Jesus, this wayward heart would have no hope,
Today, all I wanted to do was make love and stay in bed all day...but with a toddler, a band rehearsal, laundry, dishes and thin walls in cramped house with close neighbors(inside and out)...well, it's just not happening. I never thought that abstinence would be our best birth control method, we haven't chosen it willfully, that is fo'sure.
Maybe tonight's the night? Or tomorrow perhaps? Then there is always the next day...

Friday, September 3, 2010

A mountain day;

We came to the mountains 2 days ago.(I started this blog last night, so the date is messed up, I only had time to type 2 sentences before bed! I am blessed to have a sleeping toddler this morning-Praise Jesus!) It only took 7.5 hours. I have the Dvd player in my van, so I have the pleasure of having 4 of the 6 children with me. We arrived late, 9:30 pm which made it all the more magical when we got up and left the house this morning. Oh what majesty!!!
I am so amazed by the glorious craftsmanship that surrounds me. I can't look anywhere without seeing blankets of trees with an occasional abode peeking through. Driving up and down over the swelling roads and 1 mile seems so much longer than usual. My instinct is to move here, to flee from the shore and dive into the hills instead. And I wonder if I would get used to it and then the beach would become my amazement again.
The only thing that is not amazing or inspiring are the man made strip malls, run down hotels and same old stores that pop up everywhere. At least in the mountains, there is no way that they are going to block our view- the mountains will not submit to complete re fabrication like the lowcountry. I know that it wasn't always this way for the salt marshes were too difficult to travel and so much of the coast was left undeveloped. But with many advances there has come to be lots of roads and lots of stuff to stand in the way so that you can't see our beach unless you park and walk down onto it.
I guess it is because the mountains are, well,"up"-so nothing prevents them from being seen. I love the country-and I find myself knowing that more and more my dream life doesn't consist of concrete and close neighbors. I am soothed by trees and sunsets, fields, seashores and sand dunes, the Lord speaks to me in the whispering wind through the leaves and the chorus of insects(that wouldn't let me sleep!)through the night. So, wherever I live in my dream, it will not be in a crowded lot, but with lots of nature in my face all the time.
Yesterday, we took the kids hiking up to the top of lookout mountain in Montreat. It is a 1 mile hike to the top. I was usually the last one with Ramone, my friend April in front of me with Buckley. Ramone is almost 3 and Buckley is about 6 months older than him. They walked so much more than I expected. As a matter of fact, Ramone and Dylan, my now 16 year old are similar in many ways, one of which is that from the age of 2-5 they run everywhere. Ramone learned that when you do that on a mountain trail, with roots and rocks and dry dusty dirt, you will fall. He fell about 10 times. He tripped and skidded, he tumbled and tripped-he took on extra dirt on his face...he worked my nerves. But, praise the Lord-he never fell onto a rock or off the side of the mountain!
Something I know about myself and my prayers is that surely God must laugh at my fear. I prayed going up for safety and protection never thinking that would mean as my toddler ran and refused to learn from his stumbling to walk with slow carefulness. God answered my prayer and protected us even though we all have our issues. In my eyes, this would be easier if we all didn't have strong personalities that like to run instead of walk. I am ashamed of my fear. He is always so gentle to reveal my lack of trust.
Thank you Lord for protecting us from ourselves! And for fashioning us all in unique troublesome ways, with desires to do the impossible and short memories that lead us to depend more on you than history. Forgive me for my fears and desire to control, help me to find my safe place in you and say no to the worry that whispers to me in the night and day.