Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


WWW As My World Turns

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh, Friday, Friday...

So I have one child with viral tonsillitis...because that's ALWAYS so much fun! Which child is it? My poor little man! :-( My mom was able to get him from school yesterday when they called me and he was running a 101 fever. She was able to watch him up until about 3 yesterday and thankfully she's able to watch him today as well. She took him to the doctor yesterday just in case it was ANOTHER ear infection – it would be his 10th one of the year. SIGH! Thankfully, while he has fluid in both of his ears it is not an ear infection...yet(those tubes on the 23rd can't come too soon!). Alas, he really is following in the family hereditary steps with both his ears and tonsils.

Both Em and I had major tonsil issues before we had our tonsils taken out and the tonsils seem to be tied to the ear infections. From infant through pre-teen I had literally DOZENS of ear infections and 8 sets of tubes between the ages of 18mo - 10 years. That's almost one set every year. I know that when Em and I had our tonsils taken out we both pretty much stopped having ear infections altogether. Since getting the tonsils taken out, I've had 2 ear infections since then the late 80's and Em's had zero in the last 3 years.

Nate will have his tonsils taken out between the ages of 2-4. I know that both Em's and my tonsils would swell to the point of touching and create pressure in the tubes and against the ear drums, which creates even more pain than just a normal ear infection.

As far as Nate's ears go, with the amount of fluid from the drainage in his ears due to his allergies, both the pediatrician and ENT said that he is hearing normal speech patterns in a distorted manner b/c of the fluid so if he doesn't get the fluid out of his ears, he will talk the way he hears the speech patterns and noises - in other words, he will end up sounding like how deaf people who can talk sound. IDK if you've ever heard someone who lost their hearing as a child and are now partially or totally hearing impaired, but that is most likely what he would end up talking like as a child and would have to go into speech therapy to correct.

On another note, I'm SO EXCITED because Em and I get to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader after work/school today! The Chronicles of Narnia are the first books I can remember reading to myself at age 3. They are my favorite books of all, even to this day! I re-read the entire series every year. They're magical books to me and really grew my love of the written word as a child.

Em and I have seen the last two on opening day right after picking her up from school, so we're continuing the tradition with this one!

I loved Voyage of the Dawn Treader because sooooo much happens in it and it's also the last time where Lucy and Edmund appear in Narnia until the end of The Last Battle (not counting "The Horse and His Boy" where ALL the Pevensies are there during their reign as kings and queens). The Dawn Treader is kind of epic! And it's also where Reep goes to Aslan's Country at the end of the book. I'm getting shivers just thinking about it! LOL!

I know that there are rumblings and grumblings about the "plot changes" but I've researched those plot changes and they all sound pretty minor, relatively speaking. Almost everyone who has seen this movie so far says that it's really great! I'm looking forward to it even more after reading the reviews!!! I just LOVE C.S. Lewis!

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, here we come!!!!! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Other Words for November 30

This week's quote:
"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way”.
~ C.S. Lewis

Which one are you?

Honestly, I've been both. I've struggled to be the person who says "Thy will be done". I WANT to be that person. I yearn to be able to just turn everything over to God without hesitation or reservation, without conditions or stipulations.

In reality I find myself saying, "Ok, God, but only if..." or "Thy will be done, Lord, as long as it's..." and I've clung so tightly to the problem I've been trying to hand over to God, like a kid with a piece of candy that's fallen in the dirt, but they still don't want to give it up. How pleasing is that to God? It's like I'm telling Him, "Ok, God, I'm going to let You have this...welllll, maybe not...ummmm, I know I can't handle this on my own and I need Your help, but I don't trust You to do what's best for me – or at least what I think is best for me."

I have to laugh at that! Not trusting God to give us what WE think is best for us...how arrogant and ungrateful is that? God wants nothing more than to give us THE best – HIS best, but we so often spit in His eye and turn our backs like a petulant little child, so He often gives us what we want at that moment in order to teach us a lesson.

We find out sooner or later that what we thought we wanted is the worst thing for us. It turns out to be like a child getting a bad stomach ache after eating too much candy. We wail and moan and cry out in agony, "WHY did You let this happen, God?" and then we're reminded that it's because it's what WE wanted, and suddenly what WE wanted isn't so sweet any more. Often times, God gives us what we WANT in order to see that it's nowhere near what we need.

God teaches us through our hubris and folly and selfish desires that what WE want is not always what is best for us, especially if it falls outside of the realm of God's blessings and the path that God has set before us. Stray just a little and get caught in the powerful snares, brambles and sticker patches of the not so pleasant aspects of the world. You think that you can find something else outside of God to fulfill you and that just isn't the case. It's far from the case, in fact. You usually end up hollow, empty, looking for purpose and meaning and wondering where the life is that you wanted and how you can feel successful, be successful, have everything you thought you wanted and still end up being the most unfulfilled you have ever been.

I've been on the receiving end of "All right, then, have it your way" far too often and I found out that I don't like to be there. It's never what I thought it would be, kind of a letdown really. A major letdown.

So why go looking for a "letdown" when you can have everything amazing that God wants to give to you?

All you have to do is just say "Thy will be done" to God and MEAN it! No half measures. No "ifs, ands or buts" when it comes to God. Just let go...and let God take care of it all.

Thy will be done, Lord...

I'm trying...

I still have a ways to go, but I'm working hard to get there.

THY will, Lord...NOT my will...

To view other perspectives on this In Other Words quote, please visit our hostess this week Esthermay @ The Heart of a Pastor's Wife.

There is no ME in Christmas

Many, many years ago, back when I was young, single and, I admit it, a little full of myself, I remember my mom asking me to go to the grocery store to get some last minute food items on Christmas Eve, before we left to go to our church's candlelight service and before the store closed. Since the store was just a few blocks away, I said, "Sure, I'd be happy to".

When I was in the store, I saw a sign that said "Full Whole Chicken Meal: Whole roasted chicken, choice of 3 quart sides & a package of rolls - $4.99!" Wow! What a deal. Too bad, I didn't know anyone or have the need myself for that because that store had some really yummy stuff in their deli section. No, best just get that stuff mom wanted and go back to her house.

Well I stopped at the stop light and wouldn't you know it, right there on the median, next to the grocery store, was a very popular place for panhandlers. You know, the people we all tend to avoid for the most part. Standing there that late afternoon were two men in worn winter wear, grubby, unshaven, kind of standing together to keep warm against the wind. In Central Texas it doesn't often get COLD-cold, but I remember that this Christmas Eve it was nippy and the wind had a strong bite to it, as well as being quite strong and gusty. There were absolutely zero other cars around that particular afternoon. I had also been the only person in the grocery store – aside from the workers. It was just me and those panhandlers there at the light.

I can still remember the face of the man who caught my eye and he offered me a genuine, if somewhat shamed, smile. His dirty blonde hair ruffled in the breeze under a well worn knit cap. His fingers looked stiff and cold as he held a small sign against the battering of the wind.

The light turned green and I drove off, on my way to drop the requested food off at my mom's. For some reason I just couldn't get those two men off my mind. I looked at the clock at my mom's and only a few minutes had passed, a few minutes closer to when the grocery store closed and when we had to leave to go to the candlelight service. I had an ever increasing NEED to go back to the store and get them that meal. Really, cost of the meal and a couple of drinks to go with it were negligible compared to the urgency I had burning inside of me to provide a meal for those men.

I told my mom what I felt I needed to do and with her blessing to go ahead, I rushed back those few blocks to the store. The men were still there when I drove by. I hurried to the deli area and said, "I'll take one of the Chicken Meals, please". I got the meal with the sides, plus a couple of bottled cokes for them to drink.

I walked out of the store, feeling so full of warmth and happiness to be doing this – a first for sure – that I felt like I might burst from the inside out. As I drove up to that street corner, that bubble of good feelings deflated. They were no longer there. In the few minutes I was in the store, they had left. It was now 5:55.

I wanted to cry. The feeling of utter sadness and disappointment washed over me and I sat there through a green light, still the only car on the road, wondering what to do now. I had to get back to my mom's but I HAD to find those men!

So I slowly canvassed the cross roads and after a few minutes of increasing sadness from failing to find those men, I came upon a partially sheltered bus stop, just about 100 feet from the original median spot where the men had been standing. There were two men sitting there, huddled against the increased gusts of chilly wind.

I stopped right there in the middle of the street and rolled down my passenger window and asked them if they were the men that had been standing there at the median. The blonde man walked over and said, "Yes, ma'am, we were standing there". I breathed a huge sigh of relief and said, "I have been looking all over for y'all!" and handed over the bag with the food and drinks.

"Here, these are for y'all. I just really felt a need to get this for y'all...oh shoot! I'm so sorry, I forgot forks and stuff for y'all to eat with!" I started tearing up and the man smiled and said, "Well, that's ok, ma'am, we're used to not having things like that to eat with. We really thank you for thinking of us and giving this to us. Really, thank you, ma'am."

He and the smaller, brunette man attacked the chicken with gusto and then, mid bite, the smaller man looked up at me and nodded his head and offered a shy smile. I told them that I hoped that they did have a Merry Christmas and the blonde man paused and said, "Ma'am, this is the only Christmas we're getting this year, thanks to you. This is our Christmas."

I nodded and smiled and drove away before the tears spilled over and down my face. I couldn't contain them as I cried in my car back to my mom's and sat in the driveway, trying to compose myself before going inside.

Here was I, a bit spoiled for a middle class young adult, truly realizing with crystal clarity that there was MORE to life out there than what I want and what's important in MY world. Oh, I wasn't a selfish person, just one who was more secure in making sure my own needs and wants were fulfilled, and I had been brought to my proverbial knees with emotion over helping someone less fortunate than me. I felt so small and insignificant in light of the magnitude of doing for others and giving these men the only Christmas they were going to have that year.

I never saw them again at that corner, but every single Christmas they are at the forefront of my memory of the heaviness and sadness at realizing the hardship of the life of others and the fullness and joy of how it felt to think of others before myself and provide for them and I have tried to live that giving experience ever since.

That truly was the most moving Christmas experience I've ever had, all thanks to two homeless men on a median in the middle of the street on Christmas Eve.

After all, it really isn't about me, especially at Christmas time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The birthday of a miraculous angel baby...

I never imagined I would be a mother again. It was always my dream to have a house full of children and I was going to be the "perfect" mother. My life as a mother was going to be like a Disney movie! Everyone happy, birds singing, daily activities, etc. were going to be scheduled perfectly and life was going to be just GRAND!

Oh, how vastly different life actually is!

After my beautiful Emily was born 9 years ago, I was told that the chances of me getting pregnant again would be the equivalent of lightening striking twice or winning the lottery. I was told that she was a miracle child who I shouldn't have been able to get pregnant with in the first place. So I lived for 8 years with the knowledge that she would be the only child of mine grown in and born from my body.

Imagine my surprise when, March 27 of 2009, I took a test and H-E-L-L-O-O-O-O-O pregnancy! I never could have imagined that at the age of 35 I would have gotten pregnant again. Nathaniel's pregnancy was rough as far as my health was concerned. Diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension and, shockingly enough, a previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes that I had to take insulin for during the pregnancy...not to mention there was a real chance of miscarriage those first 3 months b/c I didn't have enough progesterone to sustain the pregnancy and had to go on progesterone supplements and experienced several bouts of spotting and bleeding during those first touch and go months. But through it all, we prayed for that little, yet to be born baby. We prayed for that miracle and loved that tiny little life growing inside of me with all of our hearts.

Nate was born about 3½ weeks "early" at 8 pounds, 10 oz and 20" long at 12:11 in the morning on November 19. His birth was no less traumatic than my pregnancy.

When one is pregnant there are so many hopes and dreams and visions of the future that enters into your mind for that child. I had longed for a son and now we were going to have one. I went into labor early and after two days of labor they went ahead and put me in the hospital due to high blood pressure, he hadn't turned the direction they neeed him to yet (from front to back or back to front, I can't remember) and he wasn't descending with the contractions like he was supposed to so the option of a c-section was still on the table, which I did NOT want. Finally close to the end of the third day of labor he turned and they gave me the lovely epidural then they broke my water. Six hours later, starting my fourth day of labor, I was at 10cm and then he came fast. Thank God he did with what happened next.

My contractions had slowed to 2-3 minutes apart once he started to come down and I only pushed a total of about 15 or so times. About 3 different "sets" of pushing. After only 10 minutes of pushing he was "right there" but not out and the last contraction just wouldn't stop coming. My OB told me that with a small snip he would be here on the next push so I said ok.

Through the noise I heard something about the cord being wrapped around his neck and they couldn't get him all the way out without cutting it first. He was only out about to his chest at this time. After cutting the cord, they got him out and I looked up and he was bluisn-purple. Limp. Ragdoll-like. Not breathing. Not moving. Nothing they tried could revive him. Not chest rubs. Not oxygen. Not anything. My heart skipped a beat. Then another. It was like time had stopped and with it, my world.

And all I could think of was seeing him flop around. That horrible, ugly color of death and completely unresponsive. All I could do was mentally stutter out a half formed prayer of "Please, God, please". To have come so far and through so much with this child, it just wasn't fair to have it end this way. The room was crowded with my OB, the nurses and several people from NICU. Oscar couldn't handle it and had to go out into the anteroom of my hospital room because he couldn't bear to see Nate like that and he was only getting in the NICU team's way.

It seemed like forever, but in reality maybe only about 4-5 minutes and then I heard the precious sound of Nathaniel's weak cry which grew to a steady howl and I could breathe again. The pain and pressure in my chest lifted and the panic went away and peace came in. Such a flood of love and joy and relief as I held my son and heard his breathing. I thought of what could have happened had I opted to wait until the next set of contractions to try and get him out. How much longer he would have been without breathing. How incredibly thankful I am that my OB suggested the episiotomy that got him out in one last push - and that I completely trusted her judgment to do that.

I think it's why those first couple of weeks I couldn't put him down or be away from him for more than just a couple of minutes. I think that it made me realize just in the span of a heartbeat it could have all gone so much differently. I could have had empty arms instead of arms that were holding my second miracle child. I couldn't stop crying the afternoon the 3rd day after Nathaniel's birth as a wave of panic swept over me. Traditionally the 3rd day after death is the burial day after someone dies. Holding Nathaniel instead of standing at a tiny graveside made me realize how very blessed and lucky I was, how much God had graced me with Nate's life. How much I owe that I can't repay. I can never ever take his precious life for granted b/c I almost didn't have him to begin with.

Sadly, a few months later, I did miscarry a third child – on Mother's Day. It made me that much more appreciative and thankful for the life of my son, my little angel baby. The second life I wasn't supposed to have been able to get pregnant with. The infinitely precious life that I thank God every day for and who is a miraculous ONE YEAR OLD today!

Nathaniel, my precious and much loved child...your name was chosen by us because you ARE a gift from God. You make our lives richer and better and more blessed by being in them. My prayer for you as you grow from a toddler to adulthood is that you grow in the grace and admonition of the Lord, the one who knitted and formed you in my body; that you grow to love Him completely and follow the path He has laid out for your life and that you look to Him to help you with your problems instead of the world...for GREATER is HE that is in YOU than he that is in the world. I pray that you come to know him as your Savior at an early age and that you have the characteristics of wisdom, compassion, understanding, self-control, respect for yourself and for others, a peaceful spirit, a generous and loving heart and the strength to stand up for what is right to protect the innocent and those weaker than you and to always have a kind word and a smile for others.

Nate, you are my angel baby. Delivered from death into the loving arms of your mommy, daddy and family by a compassionate and loving God. I thank God every day for you. You were created for great and wonderful things...beautiful things...things of God.

Mommy loves you, little man. May you always feel the love we have for you and know that you are blessed as much as you are a blessing.

Happy First Birthday!

With all the love in my heart,


Nathaniel Lawrence Kelso
November 19, 2009

Your birth:

One Year Later:

Nathaniel Lawrence Kelso
November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

When the blessings are stressing me out...

Have you ever had one of "those" days? I mean one of THOSE days where it seems almost everything is going wrong. Where all the drivers out there are being jerks and you barely avoid multiple accidents. Where you're really feeling under the weather but know that you're not sick enough to go home, and besides there's tons of stuff to do at work. Where you're the one doing everything around the house AND dealing with sick and/or cranky kids AND dealing with not having enough money to pay the bills b/c you're operating on one paycheck for several weeks or months instead of two AND dealing with not having a few spare moments to yourself, unless it's right before bed it seems, AND dealing with feeling like you're on the verge of an emotional and/or mental breakdown b/c you're overly stressed with seeing no end in sight to the messes that keep piling up from everyone else not picking up their stuff and you just want to throw in the towel and say, "I QUIT!" (At least for the night)

I'm right there with ya. There are days I feel too stressed to feel blessed. That's my own little rendition of the cutesy little quote "Too blessed to be stressed". 'Cause I tell ya, that's so not the truth. There are days when you are too stressed to feel the blessings in your life and it's ok. You are, after all, "only human". As much as you try and be "SuperMom" and "SuperSpouse", there are days when you just feel like a super grump. It happens. More often than we'd like to admit. Especially to those moms/wives, like me, who work a full time job and then come home to another full time job.

There are times where I want to know where my "Easy Button" is!!! Chianti? Calgon? Margarita? Massage? Anything? Somebody? Hello? Hello-o-o-o-o?

In search of:

It's tough some days. Often, a lot tougher than we want it to be. As stressed as I get and some days as much as I am unable to FEEL the blessings God has graced me with, I still know they are there and I am thankful b/c I know it could be so much worse.

My family is alive and well, relatively speaking. I don't know what I would do if Emily or Nate were taken from me and I could no longer hold them and love on them. They are my life! I don't know what I would do if Oscar were not there to give me the peace and comfort I receive from just being next to him. I don't know what I would do if my mom were not there to be such a bastion of support for me. I don't know what I would do were I not sure of where I am going when I die.

All of those, except the last one, are also huge stressors for me, but as much as they can stress me, they also bless me.

For as much as Emily can stress me with her 9 going on 16 attitude lately, for as much as Nate exhibiting a pretty strong temper and independence already, for as much as Oscar doesn't pick up his stuff and leaves trash just laying there instead of throwing it away, for as much as my mom and I can disagree about something to the point we're almost yelling at each other...the blessings I receive from them far outweigh the stresses.

Emily has such a desire to help and such a tender heart and still is very much a cuddle bug. I crave her sweetness, her hugs and her desire to just spend time with me. Whether it's watching a movie, or reading or knitting, that time spent together is so precious to me.

Nate is learning so much, so quickly, and yet he gives the sweetest smiles and kisses and has such an enthusiastic desire to get a "Yayyyyy, Nate!" It makes my heart swell when he looks at me in a room full of people and practically yells out "MY ma-ma!" and crawls over to me as fast as he can and then stretches his arms up to me to be picked up and then lays his little head on my shoulder and pats me with his hands and says, "I you" (I love you).

Oscar loves me and puts up with my little quirks and stress outlets and that means so much.

My mom, well, I don't know what I would do without my mom in my life. She is my voice of reason, my anchor, the first person I tell a lot of stuff to in order to get a better perspective on what's going on. She IS among my biggest blessings b/c she is also one of my very best friends. She sees me for who I am and loves me anyway. LOL! Many is the time she has "talked me down" from the ledge.

So even though some of my biggest stressors in my life are my family, they are also my biggest blessings and I wouldn't trade them for all of the stress-free moments in the world.

Though I still would like access to an "Easy Button" for the messes in the house. Can anyone help a sister out? Anyone? Hello? Hello-o-o-o-o?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Thank You!

This Veteran's Day, we honor those who have so bravely served this country.

America is founded on the principle of freedom, justice, and liberty for all. Our nation's soldiers serve every day to protect our country and its ideals.

On Veteran's Day, take a sacred moment to remember the those who sacrifice their lives ev...ery moment to achieve peace and democracy. Let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.

"America's veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world." - John Doolittle

Simply put...thank you... ♥

Monday, November 01, 2010


Well, October went out with a bang and November flew in with a "BUSY!"

I'm not a fan of trick or treating. I never really have been, though there were a couple years in my mid-20's that I got into it, but nothing really before or after that. I'm NOT a fan of being scared and I have a hard time celebrating something that I don't believe in celebrating. Emily got to trick or treat at school on Thursday, both the girls got to go to Em's school carnival on Friday and then there was the really cool church Fall Festival on Saturday – complete with bounce houses/moonwalks, games, pony rides and hay rides around the massive parking lot on a John Deere tractor!

I was relieved when Emily approached me after school on Friday and begged me to do a family movie night instead of trick or treating on Halloween and I jumped on that opportunity. So, I got a mixed bag of candy that everyone liked (not just mommy – LOL!), just in case they were going through candy withdrawals (I should have known better b/c it was barely touched) and on Sunday I made my totally yummy and easy homemade caramel dip with toffee nut topping and sliced Honeycrisp apples thin and we got in our PJ's and cuddled up on the couches to watch Beetlejuice, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Hocus Pocus and eat those apples with the dip and topping and drink hot chocolate.

The kids enjoyed Beetlejuice, laughed like crazy at Charlie Brown and Em's favorite line is now "Amok, amok, amok, amok...uhhhhh" from Hocus Pocus. Hahahaha! Several times both Patty and Em commented how much better this was than trick or treating and Em remarked at one point, "This is way better than walking around, going house to house and doing the whole, 'ding dong, trick or treat, next house...ding dong, trick or treat, next house...ding dong, trick or treat, next house...'" I've always thought that trick or treating is a lot like being a door to door salesman or Jehovah's Witness or something like that. LOL! Both of the girls said that they wanted to do the same thing next year with the family instead of trick or treating. I could definitely do that!

So, here are some pictures of my kids all dressed up for Friday and Saturday. Despite the lack of smile in the first picture (she didn't put on her wings for it), Patty liked her costume but admitted afterward that she was too cold in it, even with a sweater over it, and getting a picture of a non-blurry Nate was difficult b/c that little bugger moves EVERYWHERE! Thankfully I got lucky on a couple of them. I just need to find my regular camera instead of relying on my phone camera – which has vastly reduced reaction/capture times, even though it's an 8MP camera.

Patty as an Autumn fairy (without the wings):

Em and Nate as a UT cheerleader and Astronaut Commander Nathaniel Kelso (too cute!!!):

Nate being adorable:

Emily and Patty diving for gummy worms in plates full of whipped cream:

Nate started a new classroom today. He's with the "big kids" now (12-18 months) and is a total little social butterfly. Imagine that! LOL! Patty started off her day in the office b/c they needed updated immunization records before she could go to class and Em took her starter earrings out for the first time (which was a little traumatic b/c of the tightness of the earring back on the earring and the deep groove in the earring post) and switched them out for normal earrings. Everyone made it to where they needed to be on time though – including me! I was actually even a couple minutes early to work. PHEW!

Nate turns ONE YEAR OLD in just a short 18 days! I can't believe how fast time has gone by since he was born! Life certainly has changed with him in it! He is such a precious, rambunctious little one and he is ALL BOY! My little man is in to EVERYTHING! So different from Emily when she was a baby! Nate is all about open and close, crawl here, pull up there, scream with happiness and cry with anything that comes near his nose or medicine and he loves to hug when he's tired and gives GREAT BIG KISSES on shoulders. Four or five in a row sometimes. He'll press his little open mouth to your shirt and then go "WAH!" as he's giving the "kiss" and then lift his head up and then do it all over again. It really is the cutest thing! And he "sings" with me when I sing him to sleep.

Nate has a rather extensive vocabulary now for his age. He says:

• Hey
• Boo
• MY ma-ma
when he sees me and crawls to me to be picked up (along with ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, which I'm sure is the precursor to "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy... ")
MY beh-puh and crawls to her (What we call my mom instead of grandma: Beppe)
Da-da (Oscar got that one finally the day after his birthday – LOL!)
"Nigh-Nigh" and "I nigh-nigh" (Night-night) and he'll point to the light when it's bed time or when he's tired and rubbing his eyes. Just the cutest thing! He KNOWS what it means. My baby is so smart!
Nay-Nay (we THINK he's saying Nate-Nate)
• We have gotten "I wa" when he wants something and will reach for it so we figure that's "I want", especially when he is demanding about it. LOL!
• And we have gotten "I you" with a hug a couple of times so we think he's trying to say, "I love you" but it comes out as "I you".

My two precious miracle babies!

I was never supposed to be able to get pregnant with either one, so they're just such immense and amazing blessings, words can't even describe!

So, we're looking forward to heading to Midland for Thanksgiving! I love my in-laws! I've said it before and I'll say it again, they are just the best in-laws to have! Oscar's dad and step-mom and mom and step-dad are all so great and wonderful and I am looking forward to going to see them. I wish we were able to live closer to them, but as much as I love them, I do not want to live in Midland or Odessa. LOL!

I'm so glad that October is over and November is here! It's getting closer to the BEST part of the year where family and friends get together and there's much good food and good laughter to be had. This year, instead of buying tons of gifts for the kids that they barely even play with – seriously, ¾ of the "stuff" we got them last year that they "wanted" are just sitting there, we will be buying 3 gifts each for the girls, representing the 3 gifts of the Magi – one of my friends suggested that (Emily is getting an acoustic guitar as one of the gifts) and some learning toys for Nate and then pooling our money for a BIG family gift that we can all enjoy. I'd say a higher end karaoke machine, but Oscar would veto that so fast that I wouldn't even get the word out of my mouth. LOL! So, I'm thinking something for outside like a huge outdoor fire pit, outdoor beverage cooler and seating for around the pit that we could use year round – seeing as how we barely get a winter here. I think that would be fun! I don't know though. We'll have to discuss it.

I just think that Thanksgiving and Christmas has become so commercial. I think we will also end up volunteering, maybe at a homeless shelter or something, to teach the lesson that life is about what we do for others, not what we do for ourselves or what others do for us. Definitely also have family nights where we make ornaments for the tree and bake goodies and watch classic Christmas movies (A Christmas Story(!), It's a Wonderful Life, Frosty, Rudolph, Miracle on 34th Street, etc.), listen to Christmas music and focus on what this season of the year is REALLY about. HINT: Jesus is the REASON for the season. Just times where we grow together as a family instead of letting the stresses of the commercial aspect of this time of year get to us; talking and slowing down and enjoying being a family instead of running around in the rat maze of shopping and "BUY THIS...GET THAT...ONLY 40/30/12/5 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS...SALE, SALE, SALE!!!...STUFF WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER". Ugh! Just reading that makes my blood pressure start to go up!

Like the song "Luckenbach" says, "Maybe it's time we got back to the basics of life..."

What are the basics in your life that you need to get back to?

P.S. Your prayers are requested as Oscar is having a procedure on his back tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Central Time to where they are going to put him under general anesthesia and give him a spinal block and then stick needles into his back to shoot radio waves toward the nerves they think are causing him the problems he's been dealing with. After 2 inconclusive MRI's and extensive doctor's visits, they think they've figured out that certain nerves have gotten "caught" in the joints between the vertebrae in his lower spine and they're getting pinched whenever he moves a certain way, causing him the pain that can literally drop him to his knees at times. They're hoping to "kill" those nerves with the radio waves and they also might be moving the nerves out from those joints with some really long needles they slide into his spinal area. They are hoping that this causes the problems with his back to be completely over and done with so that he can go back to work and go back to living a normal life without excruciating pain.

One thing is for sure, this has certainly taught us to trust in God and His provisions for our lives. Without the faith that we share, neither one of us would be able to get through this past year plus of everything we've been though without feeling hopeless and desperate and just unable to see anything positive about this. But God uses ALL things for good for those who love Him and it has only served to increase our faith in God and learn that God knows what is best for us, even when we can't see it. There is a good measure of peace in the middle of this stress and it's a peace that truly does pass all understanding.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I can't remember where I found this from, just that it was important enough for me to copy and paste it into a draft that I never got around to posting. I went back and read it today and realized how important this is for everyone to read and understand.


Past, present, and future.

We each have all three. When it comes to our past, we may enjoy looking back to savor its wonderful memories (something that becomes an increasing focus as we enter life’s later years). Or, all too often, we look back and dwell on our past mistakes, pains and sufferings, disappointments, and regrets. If, in the present, we spend too much time trying to live in the past—rehearsing what we should have done differently and obsessing over what actually did happen—we will make ourselves miserable.

When it comes to our future, we may enjoy planning for it, or to looking forward to accomplishments and milestones and happy experiences. But if, in the present, we spend too much time trying to live in the future—worrying about the awful things that may be headed our way, about possible threats to our pocketbooks, livelihoods, relationships, health, or even our continued existence—we will make ourselves miserable.

We can’t control or change the past.

We can’t control or change the future.

We can learn from the past; we can plan for the future. But we can’t live in either place.

All we have is the present. Our lives move through time so that all we can inhabit is a single moment. The present. NOW.

We are not what we WERE. We are not what we WILL BE. We are who we ARE.

No one has ever said it better for me than Helen Mallicoat:

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly, my Lord was speaking!
“My name is I AM”...He paused...I waited...He continued.
“When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.”
“When you live in the future with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.”
“When you live in THIS moment
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.”


Though not exactly the same as the wonderful words above that I found, the "I Am" caught my attention and it reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs by Nichole Nordeman called simply "I Am".

The song takes you through this woman's life, past, present and future and all the things that she needs and asks God to be for her and He responds very simply..."I Am".

God is everything we NEED Him to be for us. Shoulder to cry on. Person to rage at. Savior. Comforter. Healer. Father. Sounding board. Advice giver. Best Friend. He is BIG enough to be ALL for us and never leave us. Even when we can't raise our heads. When we are so weak or sick or spent or discouraged or grieved. When we have secrets that we don't think we can tell anyone else. When we don't think anyone understands. He is there. He IS...as He says..."I Am".

Pencil marks on a wall
I wasn't always this tall,
You scattered some monsters from beneath my bed,
You watched my team win,
You watched my team lose,
You watched when my bicycle went down again,

And when I was weak unable to speak,
still I could call You by name,
and I said “Elbow healer, Superhero,
come if You can,” and You said “I am”

Only 16, life is so mean, what kind of curfew is at ten PM
You saw my mistakes, You watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I’d never love again

When I was weak, unable to speak,
still I could call You by name,
and I said “Heart-ache Healer, Secret-keeper,
be my Best Friend” and You said “I am”

You saw me wear white, by pale candlelight,
I said forever to what lies ahead
two kids and a dream, with kids that can scream
too much it might seem when it’s two AM

when I am weak, unable to speak,
still I will call You by name.
“Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker,
hold on to my hand,” and You say “I am.”

The winds of change,
And circumstance blow in and all around
us so we find a foothold that’s familiar,
And bless the moments that we feel You nearer

Life had begun, I was woven and spun,
You let the angels dance around the throne, who can say when,
But they’ll dance again, when I am free and finally headed home

I will be weak, unable to speak,
still I will call You by name
“Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,
Lord and King, Beginning and
the End, I am, yes, I am.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jeremy Koffel: 3/9/86-10/18/10

He was only 24 with his whole life ahead of him. If you saw him or looked at his pictures, he was always smiling, always in the middle of the crowd. He was an incredibly handsome kid. Beautiful smile. Sweet spirit. Generous heart. He loved just being out with friends and living life and enjoying it so this just...something like this hits hard.

Oscar and I got word earlier today that a very sweet young friend of ours was found dead on Monday after he hadn't showed up for work. We are in shock! I don't know. It hurts. It's perplexing. It makes me angry! It makes me sad. I just don't understand, you know?

I knew Jeremy for over 2 years, Oscar knew him for longer. They used to work together, go out together, have fun together. I met Jeremy when Oscar and I first started dating in 2008 and what struck me most was how much he loved to smile and how he always flirted with the PYT's (Pretty Young Things for those of you unacquainted with the Michael Jackson era songs) and enjoyed making others smile.

There's a couple of stories floating around out there, but we're not sure which one is true right now. What I DO know is that he had broken up with his girlfriend last week and apparently it hit him harder than anyone realized. The story floating around most is that he OD'd. Nobody had any idea he was doing drugs. He didn't talk about it, he didn't do them around anyone, the company he worked for has a very strict zero tolerance drug policy and did frequent random drug tests so, if that is the case, this is a real shock to everyone. And...if that IS the case we don't know if it was an accidental or on purpose OD.

Another story is that there was a GSW to the head, which would be a deliberate act and prone to almost 100% probability that it was not an accident.

Both are from sources within the company. It was co-workers who found his body. The last time anyone saw him, that we're aware of, was on Friday on the job, driving away to deliver some pipes.

I know in 2008 I was around a couple of times when he had had a little too much to drink and would literally cry into my shoulder for no more than a minute or two while I held him. I was one of those people he apparently felt comfortable enough around to let his guard down. I do know that he had some real demons in his past life that were chasing him, but he didn't like to talk about them and that was ok. Or so we/I thought.

We never, ever in a million years dreamed that something like this would happen. He'd broken up with other girls in the past and moved on.

I just can't get the chorus to the song out of my head that Blaine Larsen did a few years ago:

How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad
To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all
Is better than the life that you had
How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go
How do you get that lonely... and nobody know

How does a young man, a young woman, a teen...a child...an adult...get so lonely, feel so isolated and hopeless and helpless that they don't think there is anything left for them? Think nobody cares what happens to them? That the pain inside of them hurts just so damn bad that they're suffocating from it and can't think of any other way to stop it? How does it get that bad and nobody notice?

I have hurt that bad over one specific relationship and EVERYONE noticed. I felt like I would die from the pain and the grief, but I never wanted to actually die. It's hard for me to understand the suffering that one goes through that is so bad that they feel the only option is to just end it all. Death, unlike what some people like to believe, is NOT the end. When you die, that is the beginning of eternity. An eternity of living with your decisions. An eternity of either heaven or hell. An eternity of either no more sorrow or tears or pain, or an eternity of torment. Choose wisely what you will do today.

Oh, Jeremy, if only you knew how many people out there cared about you, liked you, loved you...would you have still done it? If you could see now, the grief that has spilled over in the wake of your decision, would that have changed your mind?

I read the comments those who love you have left on your FB wall. Dozens of them. Angry ones. Sad ones. Comments of disbelief. Comments of love. Of friendship. Of prayers and pleadings.

Jeremy...if you could see the pain your decision has caused to so many, would you have made the same one? Or would you have called and asked to come over, had a few drinks and cried it out on my shoulder like you used to?

We'll never have the chance to know now.

Days like today are exactly what the post below with the Prayer of Release are all about...

Jeremy Koffel
Sweet Friend
You Will Be Missed

WFW for October 20: I know the One in Whom I trust

One of my friends posted this beautiful prayer in a forum for someone who has been not only a cherished friend but also a spiritual mentor of mine for a long time and who is currently undergoing some major health issues that could possibly be very serious.

I felt like this painting perfectly illustrates the point of the prayer that she posted of just letting go. Of reaching the end of yourself and entrusting yourself to God and to His will for your life.

It especially spoke to me in light of all of Oscar's back problems that the doctor's can't find the cause of, even after 3 MRI's, epidural steroid injections, etc. He's finally scheduled for a CAT scan on November 2 – election day. Appropriate. In the meantime he works as he is able to and we pray for God's provisions for us and are very thankful for His grace and mercies toward us.

We, as a people, worry about so much in our lives because we take on the burdens of life that we were never meant to carry. We often forget, in our busy days, that God is to be the sole sustainer of us. We are to be completely dependent on Him and often times when we get to where we completely forget that and try to do it on our own, He will put us in a place where we have no choice BUT to depend on Him for ... everything.

Prayer of Release

I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT

Heavenly Father, I release to you the burdens that I have been carrying, burdens that You never intended for me to carry. I cast all my cares upon You—all my worries, all my fears. You have told me not be anxious about anything, but rather to bring everything to You in prayer with thankfulness.

Father, calm my restless spirit, quiet my anxious heart, still my troubling thoughts with the assurance that You are in control. I let go of my grip upon the things I have been hanging onto, with opened hands I come to You. I release to Your will all that I am trying to manipulate; I release to Your authority all that I am trying to control; I release to Your timing all that I have been striving to make happen.

I thank You for Your promise to sustain me, preserve me, and guard all that I have entrusted to Your keeping. Protect my heart and mind with Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Father, may Your will be done in my life, in Your time, and in Your way.

Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.
1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Matthew 6:25-34: 25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the Gentiles run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Isaiah 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Luke 11:2: So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Thy will, oh Lord, NOT mine, be done...

For other Word Filled Wednesdays please visit the Internet Café Devotions or drop by “The WFW portion of the Internet Cafe” to find out more about how to participate in Word Filled Wednesdays.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marriage Monday for October 11

The unexpected reaction...

Several weeks ago Oscar and I had a discussion in which he mentioned he'd never had a Bible of his own. He had one as a child, but it was a child's Bible. He has never had an "adult" Bible. So, for his birthday this past weekend I decided that my gift to him would be the Life Application Study Bible, so I got it in the NIV version (the version we use at church and the easiest one to read without all the "thee's" and "thou's", etc. that doesn't change the context of what is being said, plus it seems like it would be easier for someone with the severe dyslexia like he has to understand). I got it in a nice, soft, Italian leather with his name imprinted on the front in gold. I figured that would be nice for him to see his name on it and know that was HIS Bible, and looking inside the Bible I knew that the Life Application part of it was really going to be key for him.

So, we all went to dinner on Friday night before Emily had to go to her dad's for the weekend and I gave it to him there at the restaurant. I was completely unprepared for his reaction though. I was a little uncertain about giving it to him b/c my ex would have scoffed at and ridiculed a gift like that. With a little apprehension I watched as he opened it and immediately said, "Oh WOW!" with such excitement that one would think he'd been given a priceless heirloom. After that, he had to compose himself and he was speechless for a good while. He was fighting back tears and when he could finally talk he looked at me and put his hand over his heart and said, "You have absolutely...no idea what this means to me. Thank you!" He was excited to be able to use it for the first time yesterday in church and is so proud of it that he has told his family about it, told our pastor about it and showed it to him and he prefaced it by saying, "My wife loves me so much, she gave me my first Bible for my birthday!" That's how much such a simple gift, in my point of view, meant to him

I will never take such a thing as having had my own Bible(s) for years for granted again when faced with the reaction of Oscar to his first "real" Bible. He has had his nose in that Bible several times since Friday just looking at things and figuring out how it works with the Life Application part and you can tell that to him it is like water to a man on the verge of dying of thirst.

I have challenged my husband to read the Bible through, cover to cover, and I promised him that I would be doing the same thing, especially since, sadly I have never done the same myself. It is my prayer that as Oscar treasures the Bible he has been given, that our already awesome marriage will continue to grow and be strengthened in the Lord as we individually grow and are strengthened in our walks with Him. I am encouraged so far that we are on the right track.

You can find the Mr. Linky to other Marriage Mondays at Come Have a Peace.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

How much do you have to hate someone...?

I think this is an extremely important video to watch. This is Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame. He is an avowed atheist, yet this one encounter with a Christian man, who was genuine in his compassion and belief, really, deeply touched him and you can tell that he is still wrestling with the experience. He asks a very pointed, very simple, very profound, very IMPORTANT question...

"How much do you have to hate someone to believe that Everlasting Life is possible and not tell them?"

Mr. Jillette was truly in the presence of the Holy Spirit, I believe, during this encounter with this man and it did not leave him unaffected. You can tell from his physical actions. And the fact that he openly shares this is an eye opener too! It's a great way for us to see how we do have an impact and what we do and what we say does matter to those who are watching us. He was deeply touched and it's just hard not to wonder, how many nights does he go over that incident and no doubt, maybe kept the Bible and just thinking and debating? It's not about instant acceptance, it's about this...planting a seed and giving it to God and letting Him do the rest...that's the impact...not us...but God.

Praying that God really will grow that seed that was planted and allow him to come to a saving knowledge in Christ...the same as for Glenn Beck who is NOT an atheist, but still believes in a different God and Jesus (at the heart of his Mormon religion) than what we do. God changing powerful people can change the world, just through the actions of one person planting that seed.

It's convicting too because it makes one stop and really think: WHY are we afraid to share what we believe? Are we more worried about offending men than we are of offending our Father? Galatians 1:10 asks those very questions: "10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

I hope you are as affected by this video as I was.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Because, God knows I don't have any of my own right now! This weekend was miserable and nuts and hot and sticky and sweaty and just...YUCK!

We moved. In learning what I did about this move, I have realized we have too much "stuff". We have a 10x10 storage unit which is almost full. I think we filled a total of something like 30 boxes that currently are mostly parked on the patio in the back yard. We'll be moving in mostly this week. Need to clean up areas in the garage to put the boxes so they're out of the elements and away from birds and squirrels. Oscar and I are so exhausted! I think Thursday-Saturday night I got about 11-12 hours of sleep combined.

Poor Oscar had to work Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and got off around 1 and then had to work moving out of the apartment. I was up around 6 to continue packing/start moving and both Oscar and I didn't get to bed until around 2:00 the next morning. Thank God for such wonderful friends like our friends Steve, Rob, Hans, Leigh, Colleen and Shelby! They really made such a huge difference! They're the best kind of friends – the ones able to help out and help hard, even when there's really nothing in it for them. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful they all are for being willing to help.  I [we] am blessed by the gift of their friendship.

This is the time when we will be going through everything and figuring out what we need to keep and what we can do without. That's going to be mighty hard! But neither one of us wants to move that much stuff on our next (and hopefully final) move.

So, you've already read about Nate pulling himself up in the crib. EEP! It gets even better! He was following me around my mom's house Friday morning by crawling after me and focusing on my feet. Really was just sooooo cute! When I stopped he'd grab for my big toe and hold on to it. I guess the polish color caught his eye. LOL! Burnt Orange - GOOOOOO HORNS!

On top of him learning to crawl this week, he now has 6 teeth in. 4 on top and two on the bottom. And the final bit...Nate was standing just holding my fingers and took about 6 steps forward when I took a couple small steps backward while holding onto his hands. Now, when you hold onto his hands and he's standing he does NOT want to sit, he wants to try and walk.

Oh, and, at his school (I'm sure this is b/c we read to him almost every night) he has gotten to where he will surround himself with books and "read" them. He'll turn the pages, "read", go through all the pages and then put it down and reach for the next one. LOL! I believe the comment his teacher said was "ridiculously cute!" LOL! You know how most babies are with reading. They look at it, teeth it, slobber all over it and then toss it. Not Nate. LOL!

So...in one week we've gotten:

1. His 4 top teeth in
2. Him crawling everywhere now
3. Him pulling up on everything
4. Him taking his first tottering supported steps.

He's growing so big and too fast. It seems like just yesterday he was all cuddly and snuggly and now he's really becoming Mr. Independent already. Makes me alternately happy and sad.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics taken last week for your viewing enjoyment

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails – as well as sugar and spice and everything nice!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

They grow up so fast!

Just a real quick note before I go to bed (SO MUCH on my mind...the move - will we be completely ready on time, I think not b/c it's so hard to pack with an active baby who is dealing with separation anxiety (I can't put him in a room by himself but I can't put him down in the apartment b/c we have stuff/boxes, etc. everywhere) - and now the story below so I will most likely have to take at least part of Friday off, if not the whole day in order to be ready on Saturday...oy, I digress!) Anyway, I just had to share the following...

Soooo, I put Nate to bed earlier and then kept packing for this weekend's move and I hear noises coming from Nate after about 15 minutes so I walked in to see what His Little Highness was up to and WOWOWOWOWOW...he'd pulled himself up and was STANDING in the crib, leaning over the railing and looking out the door to see who was going to come through the door. Scared the "you-know-what" out of me because he was leaning over so far he almost fell out. He was sooooo proud of himself and I was proud of him. It is now time to lower the bed in his crib, but we have to take it partially apart to lower it b/c it is a very sturdy crib. HE'S GROWING FAR TOO FAST! This PLUS the 4 teeth this week that have come in within two days of each other... He just turned 8 months old LAST Monday! He is seriously growing too fast. He hasn't even completely started crawling yet. He's sorta got it. He needs to crawl before he walks! It's all about how the brain wires itself and kids who walk before crawling have a hard time reading.

I SOOOO have my hands full with his little active self and my wonderful 8 year old Emily who is needing more mommy time right now and the move.

Ok, maybe once the move is done, my insomnia will go away and I can sleep adequately again. SIGH!

'Night all...or, actually morning...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miracle Monday for July 26

God is good ALL the time!

I just have to write a quick note about how God has blessed us today.

We are moving essentially two households this weekend. Moving stuff out of and around in my mom's house to make room for our stuff. Yesterday two good friends contacted us out of the blue to ask if we needed help moving this weekend. At that point it was going to have been Oscar, my mom and myself moving. THEN, one of my best friends shot me a message this morning that she, her kids, her sister and a mutual friend were available to help around 1:30-2ish. Talk about a real blessing they all are!

We needed to have a moving truck from Thursday to Sunday and, wouldn't you know it? ALL the trucks are sold out for anything longer than a 6-8 hours period, unless we wanted to pay upwards of $60/day after all is said and done for a truck from a different company. Something about this being the busiest weekend of the year for moving, blah, blah, blah. I guess it has something to do with the college kids, since Austin is SUCH a college town. It was a definite Kevin Fowler "# (Pound) Sign" song kind of moment – for those of you who don't know the song, the main point of it is this:

Just in case there might be
Little ears around
I won't say it
I'll just spell it out

I feel like pound-sign, question mark
Star, exclamation point
Don't give a blank
And a whole lot of other

Choice words I can't say
Today I feel like
Pound-sign, question mark
Star, exclamation point

So I posted a little vent about it on my FB status and within 10 minutes the wife of Oscar's very first foreman emailed me to say that they had a horse trailer that we were welcome to use! BONUS! So, now we have one horse trailer and 6 trucks to move and do storage in on Saturday, plus the help of 7 other people aside from me, my mom and Oscar.

God works in mysterious ways, so we're using the money we saved in not renting a moving truck to buy BBQ and drinks for all of those who are helping us, including the friends who gave us use of the trailer

A true miracle that we needed! My friends are the absolute best ever and I am thankful every day they are in my life! ♥

God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He's so good to me!

An Illustration of Buyer's Remorse by Meat Loaf WRT Dave Ramsey

I was listening to some "classic" music last night and was enjoying Meat Loaf's first album, "Bat out of Hell". I got to the song, "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" and I was kind of belting it out b/c, hey, it's a classic. I got to the fun part, "STOP right there!"... and she goes into this whole spiel about

"Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?"

And she goes on and on and ON about it, almost ad nauseum, kind of like a high pressure sales pitch from a salesman who knows they have you right where they want you. So Meat Loaf, comes back with the appropriate response:

"Let me sleep on it
Baby, baby let me sleep on it
Let me sleep on it
And I'll give you my answer in the morning"

At that point, Oscar blurted out in laughter, "Sounds like he's been listening to Dave Ramsey". It had me ROLLING(!) I tell you! LOL! You see, in one of Dave Ramsey's classes in FPU (#6 "Buyer Beware") he talks about the importance of waiting to buy b/c of impulse. How over 60% of people have buyer's remorse over buying something on impulse the day before so they need to sleep on the decision and take time to thing on if this is the best usage of your money, you need to window shop, compare prices, and you need to figure out if it will be worth it in the long run.

Well, poor Meat Loaf does rather well, until the pressure starts to get to him and he just can't take it anymore and succumbs to the impulse purchase and regrets it almost immediately afterward.

"I couldn't take it any longer
Lord I was crazed
And when the feeling came upon me
Like a tidal wave
I started swearing to my God and on my mother's grave
That I would love you to the end of time
I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive
I'll never break my promise or forget my vow
But God only knows what I can do right now
I'm praying for the end of time
It's all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you!!!"

That's kind of like the finance deal (of your life) that you can't wait to get out of! The impulse buy is the irrational rush of "I HAVE TO HAVE IT NOWWWWW!!!" and then the next couple of hours or day or week you start realizing that it was definitely NOT the deal of a lifetime, so you're just praying for it to end so you can be free of the unintended consequences of giving in to your inner child.

Meat Loaf really should have slept on it before making that "ultimate purchase" he can't get out of and is wholly miserable in. One moment of fun, pleasure and/or impulse can mess with the rest of your life. I can guarantee if he would have slept on it, he would have walked away and said, "Nah! I don't want to be stuck in a deal I can't get out of", b/c you can never see 20/20 when you're in heat of the moment and that inner child is putting its fingers in your ears and repeating the mantra, "I WANT, I WANT, I WANT...!" in order to distract you into forgetting your resolve.

"Paradise By the Dashboard Light" is the perfect illustration of buyer's remorse from an impulsive inner child. LOL!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Biblical Motherhood: Week Four/Day Two Have I Missed God’s Plan?

(You can read the introduction to this 8 week study here. You can also click the tag at the bottom of this post and all of the Biblical Motherhood posts will be shown to you.)

Have I Missed God’s Plan?

As you ask the Lord to bless this study today, consider thanking Him for being Who He is. There is no one like our God, Who becomes for us all that He requires. Come with an open heart and a ready mind, and expect to hear from Him!
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope," Jeremiah 29:11.

Please allow me to define guilt using Webster's 1828 dictionary:

Guilt: "...To constitute guilt there must be a moral agent enjoying freedom of will, and capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and a willful or intentional violation of a known law, or rule of duty. The guilt of a person exists, as soon as the crime is committed... Guilt renders a person a debtor to the law, as it binds him to pay a penalty in money or suffering. Guilt therefore implies both criminality and liableness to punishment. Guilt may proceed either from a positive act or breach of law, or from voluntary neglect of known duty."

Have you missed God's plan for your life? Have you messed things up so badly that all is lost? You know that it won't be what it would have been if you had had God's best for you, and there is no going back. You can't undo what was done to you, no matter how many times you relive it or block it out of your mind. You can't make the choice again, or you would; you would do it differently. You can't do what you should have done, or not do what you shouldn't have; it's too late and there's no going back. Life keeps going, but you struggle with having missed God's perfect will for your life. How can you live with confidence and make decisions from here with this wound that never will heal? You look at your children and you know that this is not the inheritance you want to give them. Have you passed the point of hope? Does Jesus – can He  – give you hope in this mess? How does God see you? Will He hear you, and if He could heal you, would He?

Let's consider titles for these conditions of life: Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A is learning what is right and having no trouble accepting it and following through on it. It is focused on the Lord in thought, word, and deed, and being totally given over and obedient to the Lord. It looks good – because it is good. To trust in the Lord with the whole heart, believing Him to be fully the God who loves, and to love others at one's own expense, and to do it right the first time; that is Plan A.

How about Plan B? This is for those who have failed. Plan B is all about falling down and needing mercy to even look up. It is far short of good; it is helpless hopelessness. This is the way of someone who has blown it so much that they aren't even sure that God can use them again. Or if He'd even want to. Weakness, failure, and selfishness exposed, it has an awareness of such unrighteousness, yet an area of numbness that doesn't want to admit it has failed that badly. That is Plan B. It will never be Plan A. How does God see this?

Plan A carries God's heart of love. It is greatness like we have never fully seen, and He loves Plan A. But because of our lack of love, He will wait for heaven to work out His Plan A. His sights are still on it. It is still His intention, but He will wait.

In our human nature, we have a desire for continuing in Plan A by refusing to acknowledge that it has been made unreachable by our own fault. So when we attempt to achieve it, we must do so using force, anger, and manipulation. We have actually set up ourselves as the measurement of what is good in this; an attempt to be our own god. This results in a system which looks good on the outside, but is dry and empty on the inside.

To enter the failure of mankind is to enter the steadfast love and self-sacrificing nature of our Mighty God. We need to know that we have God's attention. This Plan B, the place of missing God's perfect will, is where He showed us His greatest demonstration of commitment and fervent love as He took nails in His hands, in His feet. This is where He meets us where we are with eternal words of promise to give us hope and a future. It is Plan B where He promises us great things that He will fulfill unfailingly by His power. This is where we learn by personal experience the faithfulness and the love of God! This is where our own faith in Him is made authentic. Yes, you are in Plan B. And God is fully committed to Plan B!

Yet in any ground we gain, any area of life we give to Him here in Plan B, we can have a taste of Plan A; a foretaste of heaven! We'll have the full Plan A when we get to heaven, and there we will walk in it perfectly, but we can experience something of the character and the mercy of our God now, and experience Him, incredibly, because of Plan B.

Please make note of how God feels about you, and His promises to you.

Psalm 3:3 (Is God the author of shame?)

Psalm 18:19

Psalm 18:35,36

Psalm 37:23,24

Psalm 37:37 (Remember, if you are in Christ, He has transferred His blameless and upright character to your new identity.)

Psalm 37:39,40

Right in the place where you have failed – maybe you are afraid you married the wrong man, or are in the wrong place, maybe you've gossiped and ruined a friend's trust, acted unfaithfully, had an abortion, been violated in body or soul, or have treated your children harshly – in every kind of failure you have experienced, God has gone ahead of you, and in fact, He has a plan to use that very failure.

Please turn to the book of Joshua. Chapter 6 recounts the victory at Jericho, the first city that the children of Israel defeated. The Lord gave explicit instructions they were to follow, and with their obedience, they saw the arm of God move on their behalf. The city was taken in the Lord's name, and a place was gained for them to inhabit in the Promised Land.

A city here may picture a place in your life which has been inhabited by the enemy. The people of the city are temptations and they keep the stronghold of the city from the reign of Jesus in your life. You have God's authority as a child of His to take it under His control and, as with Jericho, maybe you have experienced God's power in your life and are longing to see Him move again. Only by your obedience will you see Him work on your behalf! Without Him, you can't; without you, He won't!

Chapter 7: A nearby city was Ai, a small town, and Joshua sent spies over to it. They knew the Lord was fighting for them, and decided to let most of the men rest, sending over 2-3,000 men to easily gain ground. But what they didn't know was that one of their own men had disobeyed the Lord and had taken some of the treasures of Jericho and hidden them for himself. Because of this sin, when the army went to fight, they were chased away and ran from Ai, confused and confounded in terror.

Joshua sought the Lord: what had gone wrong? God revealed to Joshua where there was unrepented sin (v. 11-26) and what to do about it. Only after they had cleansed the nation from sin could they proceed. It needed to be confessed and forsaken!

Here we are, in chapter 8. Now the children of Israel are sent back to Ai, and God gives them the battle plan. It will only be the same as that at Jericho in that all of the warriors were to be involved. From here the strategy is a whole new plan. They are to divide in groups and set an ambush on two sides behind Ai by night. Joshua and his men were to gather in the valley in front of the city, in plain view. When the king of Ai and his men saw the Israelites in the valley, they got themselves ready quickly and ran out to meet them in battle. The Children of Israel were to run for their lives! They fled – and when the Lord nudged Joshua that it was time, he turned and held up his spear into the air. At that signal, the men hiding in ambush rose up and came from behind, lighting the city on fire and sandwiching the men of Ai and Bethel in the middle of the armies of Israel.

They fought until every enemy soldier had been killed, and then turned to the open gates of the city. Only the livestock was to be kept as booty. Please record here (either word-for-word or in your own words) what took place in the first attack from Joshua 7:4.

Now turn to Joshua 8:5. How was this second attack to go?

This tells us something incredible about our God! He is so sovereign, and so flexible and full of grace that He will actually use our failed attempts at life as part of the strategy for coming victory. How powerful the work He did on the cross, how complete and beyond our desire to hope. He not only redeems us from the pit, but sets our feet upon a rock and enables us to be established in our walk!

See Psalm 40:1-3. In what horrible pit, miry clay, have you found yourself hopelessly stuck?

What should you do?

What are God's promises to you in verse 2?

In verse 3, what are His promises to you?

Please hold your place in Psalm 40 and also find Psalm 18:31-34. From Psalm 40:2 and Psalm 18:31, what guarantees that the place God sets you on is steady?

Psalm 18:33 says that God makes our feet like a deer, able to scale the heights, to go places without fear and with confidence. Verse 36 tells us how. How does this increase your confidence in and love for Jesus?

When He makes our way 'perfect'(verse 32), it means that from this point, after we have come to Him with our failure, we can rest in confidence in Him. The consequences of our sin He will use as His servant, as our servant. The time spent He will not deem as wasted or useless. The longer I know Jesus, the more grateful I am for Him showing me such mercy.

And the longer I know Jesus, the more I don't want to find myself in a pit or in clay! He teaches us how to avoid the pitfalls of the enemy, and we become more skilled in standing on the Word of His truth as we continue in daily study with Him. But when we do find ourselves bogged down, He will always reach us in mercy. Praise His name!!

Will you come before the Lord with me?

Our Father, You are my Redeemer. You made me, and You've bought me back again. There is no one like You, Who uses even the ashes of my life so that I can walk in Your victory. You don't treat me as my sins deserve, but You use it all to serve Your purpose: to redeem that which was lost. I worship You, Lord! By Your Spirit, I believe You that You forgive me, and that You are not ashamed of me! I believe You have a plan for my life and have already worked my failure into it by Your grace. By Your Spirit, I am not ashamed, but am trusting Your sovereign power and love! In Jesus' name, A-men!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Biblical Motherhood: Week Four/Day One Mother, the Restful

(You can read the introduction to this 8 week study here. You can also click the tag at the bottom of this post and all of the Biblical Motherhood posts will be shown to you.)

Mother, the Restful

As you come to a quiet place with the Lord today, ask Him to reveal places where your unrest comes from not realizing all He is for you, and ask Him to help you to put your trust in Him right there.
"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls," Jeremiah 6:16

We have discovered that the only meaningful study that will last beyond this life is the study of God Himself. Learning of Him must become the meditation of Mother as she learns to teach her children to know Him. Not only do we know Who He is, but we have a relationship with Him, based on what He has done for us and our receiving of His sacrifice. There must be a personal decision involved.

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name," John 1:12.

To receive Him is to have a heart of agreement toward Him, and to ask Him in by prayer; as simple as that. We want to be in the family of God and to lead our children to that relationship as well. While they are young, they will follow because they love and trust you, and when rebellion begins to crowd in, you

have the Word of God to lead you to tell them, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," Joshua 24:15.

Walking together, and sometimes with you leading the way, you will be fulfilling the heart of God for your family. If you prod from behind, "Don't do it like that! Do this! Get over there! Move it!" you are blinded to the precious value of your children to the God who formed them. He longs to help you to see that He loves you without your earning Him at all, He cherishes you just as you are, and your children, too.

When you see this great acceptance He offers you, no strings attached, you begin to see your lack of accepting others. Often we expect others to behave a certain way before we will love them, but that is not in the character of our God and King, Jesus. We begin to long for His kindness and tenderness to be within us!

This is the meaning of Isaiah 29: 23,24, "When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction." It is believing that our children are valued by God and loved by Him, and seeing our own lack of love that brings us facedown before God, crying out for His mercy upon us. There is a time to grieve and mourn over our sin.

And after we have, we must place our trust in God, that He took our eternal punishment for us, and go to His Word for hope and life. We live now by His promises.

And we teach our children! As we learn, we teach them, just as a mother bird feeds her young from her beak to theirs. Our study is of the Word of God; we speak to them of Him during our waking hours. And we speak to Him of them!

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates," Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

What is the difference between the way we live and the way of the unsaved?

Several years ago I awoke with three verses in my mind and the difference clear, as though spoken to me. I don't think I've ever had an experience quite like it before or since. But I want to share with you what the Lord showed me:

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways."
Psalm 139:1-3.

If you look at these two passages (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Psalm 139:1-3) together, you will see the same actions:

Deut. 6, " when you sit at home"
Ps. 139, "You know when I sit"

Deut.6, "and when you walk along the road"
Ps. 139, "You discern my going out"

Deut.6, "when you lie down"
Ps. 139, "and my lying down"

Deut.6, "and when you get up"
Ps. 139, "and when I rise"

These are written of God and His people. Now let's see another passage that reveals the actions of the unsaved:

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Psalm 1:1

Here we see only three actions:

"walk in the counsel"
"stand in the way"
"sit in the seat"

What is missing?

The lying down. Rest, which pictures spiritual rest: trust, surrender.

What a privilege we have in trusting God. Believing Him is rest for us, and it is exactly what the unbeliever never has.

"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
"In returning and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength,"
Isaiah 30:15.

"But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked,"
Isaiah 57:20,21.

This is the result of reading the Word of God, but not trusting in the Word made flesh. It is placing emphasis on ritual and performance of virtue, but leaving off the cross, in order to have a kingdom on this earth, a reward here and now. This is why the cross is so offensive. It boldly says: "You cannot measure up to God. You have nothing, and this is your due reward." Judgment is sure for anyone who has sinned, and only those who leave their performance as filthy rags and wholly lean on Jesus find their penalty paid by Him, and thus, find rest. It is not just a first time repentance, though this is crucial since it is the point of the Holy Spirit's entrance into the human body and soul (Ephesians 1:13)! Now it is also a walk of repentance and trust, repentance and trust. And in the trust is where the life is lived in resurrected power. All the living is built on this foundation, and the walls are raised by actions now done in trust in the King, and growing love for Him.

Think of the order of things:

God told the Jews to celebrate the beginning of each month, which was marked by a new moon (Numbers 10:10, 1 Chronicles 23:31). You cannot see a new moon; it is dark, resting.

The Sabbath day is a picture of our rest in Jesus (Heb. 4:3). God rested on the seventh day (Heb.4:4), and after the resurrection of Christ, we call the day of rest Sunday, the first day of the week.

In the same way, God, who created the day, began it in the evening. Genesis 1:5, "...And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day."

We see that all of these point to a rest before work. So do we resist any work until we are completely trusting in God? No, we do what is right, and God will take care of our motives as we go. For work that will go ahead of us into heaven, it must begin with trust in the Lord. That's what He is working in us all the time. We are all in the process, and we are perfect in His sight as we trust in the Perfect One! Born again, and learning to walk. Growing up to maturity with the ability to reproduce spiritually. It's a process.

Will you join me to pray?

My Father,

You are so different from my inclinations to panic and press and make things happen. You tell Your children to rest, to trust in You, and You will see to it that our work is good. By myself I don't know how to rest and take confidence in You, so I will trust that You will work that in my life. You are so good, Father. You are trustworthy, and I worship You. I want to authentically trust in You. Thank You for telling me the truth, that not only is this the way I am saved, but the way I will live my life of faith. You will enable me! In Jesus' name, A-men.

Friday, July 09, 2010

FFT for July 9, 2010

This Friday Field Trip I think has affected everyone at some point...

Ah, the Mondegreen, those delightful little lyrics that are "misheard". The term 'Mondegreen' is generally attributed to one Ms. Sylvia Wright, who is credited with coining the neologism in a 1954 Harper's column. Ms. Wright was chagrined to discover that for many years she had misunderstood the last line of the first stanza in the Scottish folk ballad "The Bonny Earl of Murray," which reads:

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh! Where ha'e ye been:
They ha'e slain the Earl of Murray,
And they laid him on the Green.

Ms. Wright misheard this stanza as:

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh! Where ha'e ye been:
They ha'e slain the Earl of Murray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

From the disappearance of Sylvia Wright's tragic heroine, Lady Mondegreen, came the term for describing unconventional interpretations or understandings of oral repetition, usually in the form of song lyrics.

Perhaps the most popular Mondegreen is from Jimi Hendrix's song Purple Haze. Many heard the lyric "'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy" instead of "'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky"

Mr. Hendrix was himself aware that he had been Mondegreened, and would occasionally, in performance, actually kiss a guy after saying that line.

Two great sites for you to visit to see if YOU have the correct lyrics of one of your favorite songs over the past years are:

Am I Right?
Kiss This Guy

After all, while a "Fire Engine Guy" might be a heck of a lot more fun than a "Fire In The Sky", nobody wants to be laughed at for the (sometimes REALLY) incorrect words. LOL!

I admit, I did have one back in the 90's. It was U2's "With or Without You". While the lyrics actually were:
See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I'll wait for you
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

What I heard was:

See the storm set in your thighs,
See the phone twist and your sigh
I wait for you.
Sleight of hand and twist of fate,
On a bed of meals she makes me wait
And I wait without you

Yeah, so glad I never sang those lyrics in front of anyone! LOL!

Friday Fill-Ins for July 9

And...here we go! The Friday Fill Ins, courtesy of the wonderful Janet!

1. Layers of tulle.

2. Spiritual insight.

3. I'd be willing to bet money that Obama's trying to create martial law through all of these "crises" (after all Rahm Emmanuel said "never let a crisis go to waste") by reating panic in the American citizens (just look for the magic word "evacuate") in order to suspend the November elections. After all, he's acting as if they don't even matter.

4. Scolding scares the dog.

5. I'm fond of cherry pie!

6. I think I worry about money and the bills too much! Bur really, if I didn't, then who would?

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting my new Skechers Shape Ups - non-skid shoe with some of the money my in-laws gave me for my birthday (THANK YOU!), tomorrow my plans include probably manning a garage sale with my mom - UGH! and Sunday, I want to GO SEE "DESPICABLE ME"(!) with my GJ - that is if we don't have to drive 1/2 way to Midland to get Emily. SIGH!!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Truthful Tuesday for July 6, 2010

So it's been a while since I've done one of these, but I really have something on my mind.

How does one deal with someone who inexplicably treats them like they're a non-entity? Especially when this person is selective as far as who they "deign" to treat like gold – in front of those they have chosen to give the brush off to?

To me it reeks of manipulation and I do not tolerate that kind of treatment! For me and my daughter to be treated like we're nuisances to someone and can't even be bothered with, but yet Nate and Oscar and others in the same group are treated like they're on pedestals and fawned over...tsk, tsk, tsk.

I do understand that this person is going through a rough time. But, let me caveat this: I. Don't. Care. what goes on in a person's life, there are no excuses to be made for that kind of hurtful, awful attitude towards others. I can sympathize and I feel for them, but for them to select WHO they are going to treat with courtesy and decency in a small gathering and do so in front of those they choose to pretty much give a cold shoulder to is very rude. And then to try and circumvent rules and behavioral guidelines that have been placed in OUR household and to do so in front of me with pointed intention... Oh, no ma'am! For shame!

I have always been taught that you CHOOSE your attitude. You don't let it choose you and for heaven's sake you DON'T play selective favorites and shun others in the same group. It's common courtesy and just plain within the bounds of decency.

IDK why this has upset me so, other than it's egregious and horribly manipulative behavior to not only me but my daughter as well who is the sweetest, most tender hearted child you will ever meet who has a real heart for God and feels things very deeply, though she will hold them in if she's hurt. I love the person who is acting this way and they'll be in my prayers for an attitude adjustment, but if it happens again, I cannot keep my mouth shut about it, but I need to know how to do it the right way!

Either tell me the problem you have with me and my daughter (or are you treating my daughter that way as an extension of the unknown or imaginary "issue" you have with me) or put your big kid britches on and get over it! No excuses!

This hasn't happened to just me either, but also from time to time to someone else that I hold very near and dear to my heart. It's just plain WRONG! It's no better than a slap in the face and there's no reason behind it, but then people make excuses for the behavior, which allows it to continue, and I don't understand WHY! I abhor manipulation in any form so even though I love this person, it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and I don't want to have that in any form toward this person, which is why this is so difficult for me to feel this way about them!

So, my lovely, Godly blogfriends. I'd like to know how you would handle it b/c the next time it happens I'm afraid my words might not be seasoned with much Grace. I don't want to cause a rift, but I am not going to allow myself and especially my daughter to continue to be treated this way!

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I have to say that I love going to see Oscar's family in Midland. I'm just very, very sorry we didn't get to see his dad and step-mom this time b/c they are just such wonderful people who are so full of life and laughter!

We had a blast up there for the 4th and my birthday though at his mom and step-dad's. I do not feel 37 at all! I love the peaceful feel there. His mom always has such huge enveloping hugs that make you feel warm and fuzzy and his step-dad is just the sweetest, most unassuming guy there is and seems genuinely surprised when he's thanked for something or told that something he's done is appreciated.

I love being a part of their family and I love that they are part of mine! Just being with them is a blessing and a gift enough.

Emily is up there this week to do golf camp and swimming. First time other than with my mom or her dad that she will have been away from me for such a "long" time. I hope she really enjoys it. I think she would do great if she gives it a chance. I'm not a fan of golf, but, hey, I'm great at driving the cart and doing QA for the drinks. LOL!

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I'm looking forward to hearing your advice on the above matter. I really could use it.