Girly Girl Blessings

wow. this weekend has been so refreshing.

yesterday, a long anticipated shopping date with a friend for her birthday...somewhat overshadowed by the fact that i didn't know-remember her birthdate! But she is so forgiving. we had a wonderful time...she invited me to go spend her birthday money with her anyway...clothes shopping/jewelry shoppin...great sales...great company....great food.

Both daughters having fun playing with cell phone tones pretending to call each other, both sitting in the shopping cart, playing in dressing rooms.

another day of pure delight. I don't deserve it, but thank God for it. O-Charlies belting out Happy Birthday! with the coolest big Af. Amer. announcer guy...he was awesome! Really got into it. Not this pitiful little "I hate doing this" chorus...no way!

The store chain "Goodies" had such great sales-- it was awesome! I'd been hearing about them for weeks and didn't belive it myself until I went yesterday.

I have a hidden appreciation and admiration for sweater sets, but usually don't buy them unless on clearance they get so expensive for two peices. Yesterday, I got this pink, brown, and white cotton sweater-marked down from $47 to $11. Go me!

If that wasn't enough, if you bought two clearance items already marked down to $4-$7, you got the third one free! (Even if you didn't buy a third, they gave 20% off lowest clearance prices.)

I bought some tanks to try to layer, if I can figure that trend out. It helps hold them all in place and keeps everything covered that is supposed to be covered unlike many tanks. So, I'm into that. I've seen some so tight you may as well forget the modestybenefit altogether, but that's another blog.

I also bought a groovy pair of flip flops all embrodered and brown for $15.00 I can't wait to wear. I LOVE flip flops. Totally. I HATE SOCKS!

My friend and I even shopped at a jewelry store for matching jewelry! I got a lot of compliments today, and it was fun. The necklace was only $6.00, but I think I can wear it with a lot of things this summer. We both got the same necklace, which makes it even more fun.

Every now and then, you just need have a need to be girly! Even painted my nails this morning for the occassion.

Okay, so I've been talking about the need for higher level worship, and today was Sunday, but I have to confess
I was so excited to wear a new outfit today! Usually I throw together just whatever I have appropriate for the climate. My worship goals were a bit tainted I suppose! I just wanted to play dress up today! The coolest thing was, it was the most energized and well spoken invigorating worship today also! I got both! I don't know what happened, but my husband and I were just really into it and it was fun and hyper paced and well led. the leadership just seemed in sync and "all there". It was just the coolest day.

You know, I think sometimes, you just need to gear down and have fun and celebrate simple pleasures. Sometimes, you need to stop thinking and just have a good time for a while doing what comes naturally. This has been on of those weekends. Even if I don't get to go out and play, I try to trust the Lord, and I know He'll fix it all...but you know...I think He must have known I needed some "uppers"...so many weighty situations lately I can't do anything about that my smile was gone. Now, I'm smiling again. He cheers me so much! I just love him to death...he is "the fairest of ten thousand to my soul!"

I mean, you know where I've been lately I suppose, maybe not...I can't remember what I've blogged and what I've frustratedly deleted. Anyway, a lot of soul muck it seems, or fatigue, or something. Anyway...a friend even stopped by and brought me flowers Thursday with a personal concern of her own. She ended up ministering to me beyond what she probably even realized. Another friend called the same morning to chat and share and plan a visit.

Sometimes, God calls you to walk alone for a while...and it's so refreshing when He sends people back in to comfort you and share life with you...dust you off, stand you up again. We can really get dusty sitting around by ourselves too long for sure.

I praise my precious Lord today...for knowing my heart and strengthening me in the most unusual, unplanned, unpredictable ways.

I never could have planned a weekend like I got. The word says he blesses us beyond our ability to even ask, and that is so true.

Do you need some refreshing? I have a lot of friends right now who do. I am praying for Him to shower you with blessings in His perfect time for you, too. He will. Trust Him.

This morning our Sunday School devotion was on the beatitudes...for the first time, I read them in The Message, and it spoke to me for many of you. I love having faithful friends I can use as living examples of what the beatitudes mean in our world today. I'm going to copy that text here just for you to read and be encouraged by dear ones.

Matthew 5: The Beatitudes
"You're Blessed"

1When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down 2and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

3"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being "care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
8"You're blessed when you get your inside world--your mind and heart--put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
11"Not only that--count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. 12You can be glad when that happens--give a cheer, even!-for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.


Breathing In

I'm not sure words can describe today. A gift.

A sensory delight of smell, light, color, flowers, friends, daughter, food, food, sugar, fun, adventure, mishaps, and extravagance.

Pleasure. Indulgence. Craft. Hobby.

When you've been pushing hard...it feels so good to get away and just indulge. Today was one of those very rare days that just happened. A date with my daughter and a friend doing something just non obligatory.

None of us really thought it was going to work out, but a conference we had hoped we could fit in somehow.

The Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Convention in Nashville. All I can say is, "Wow!" How can paper do that much for a person? Letter? Pens? Textures?

Art waiting to happen with my family written all over it! I can hardly wait to dive in. Celebrate. Remember. Commemorate the chaos and make it meaningful...to myself. Memorable. I forget!

Opryland Hotel is a mecca of wonder and water and fish and light and green flora. Walking through the open atriums, I thought I'd not breathed so deeply in months. You couldn't just walk and look and appreciate the gardens...you took them in...breathed them in.

I've been there in the winter at Christmas, but nothing like this. COLOR!


All the STUFF!

Goldilock's Fav At Opry Hotel

By the Waterfall

11AM My New "Spot"

Fri 6PM: Goldilock's First Lock-In


Entertainment Weary

I am so hungry for contemplative Chrisitianity. Not a boring Christianity. Not one that over-thinks and over analyzes...but a thoughtful one.

Thoughtful lives given toward considerations of obedience. Living the word. Trusting the principles and the promises.

That's really all I have on my mind today. Not sure why. I think it's because I realize how shallow we've all become. As long as we look good and entertaining and keep people happy...we draw people?

Do we risk becoming like prime time shows, constantly looking for the new thing, the shock factor, the coolest, neatest thing that sets us apart? What about the presence and power of everyday discipleship?

I have a friend right now undergoing a lot of life suffering...to be honest, the faithfulness of her life speaks far more to me than anything I've seen and heard in the last six months. Continuing to walk the walk when she keeps praying and things don't get better, the situation the same, the trial extended. She is blessed compared to many, but her walk with the Lord is being very tried. Can she trust him?

This is a great mystery. One that compels me. People's stories. Their real lives. Hearing from real people with real problems just like mine. Reminds me that the fun, the blessings, the problems, the pain, the stress ARE all mixed in together...and somehow, I'm supposed to be able to find a way to walk on water on top of it all. Abiding Joy...real reason to smile.

And, I am not satisfied until I find that. I am so stubborn, bent on finding a place where people are perfect and the system works great and no one is put out. But, our God is a God to showcase grace. That grace cannot be demonstrated in a perfect system.

That gives me great reason to smile. That we so blow it...and he "so shows up" anyway, making us one great working demonstration of his grace as we all work together, bent on honoring him above all else.

Do you understand what I'm talking about as to the feel of "entertainment" of Christianity as opposed to real discipleship? What's your take? I sure want to have fun...don't get me wrong...but, not at the expense of discipleship. How do you balance that mentality?


Day 4--Clear Air (Missing You)

Today feels good. I am actually starting to miss people. A good thing.

Last week, my waking thought and my living thought was, "I'm tired."

I don't know that it had to do with physical fatigue as much as just the level of output was more than I'm used to. I see people learn to live with greater and greater levels of productivity without tiring as easily as they used to...without getting rattled. I think that is what the OT scripture means when it talks about God "enlarging us".

Last week in my climb time, the only things I knew for sure was that I was supposed to simplify as much as possible and I was to rest. And I was to stay very basic...the utmost, until I was rested. Cut everything possible to make sure I had some quality time with the Lord.

After you've learned to live a life of servanthood...it's almost impossible to make yourself let go and stop serving for a few days. Every priority relates around your identity as a servant. For the Master to say, "stop serving" leaves you aimless. Lost. Needing...something.

I needed to be served. I needed to hear truth. To shut down. Shut out distraction. Read. Forgive. Be strengthened. Heal. My friend called it an Elijah moment. Maybe so. I don't like to think of myself that weak, but I likely was.

After I got that time with the Lord yesterday, I was so blessed that my husband brought a lot of dinner home I'd planned to bless him with...just a fluke, but God knew my heart. And, without my asking or suggesting...my daughter set the table special. I even told her to just leave the plates on the bar...we'd have to microwave anyway.

No...that would not do! She wanted to serve and bless us. I was served...by my six year old daughter. My family cleared the table.

The mundane is not a big deal...until you've overserved. And it's still not a big deal, until someone does it for you for a change. They do YOUR work. Your job. For you.

I don't know what that blesses so much, just for another to relieve one of your normal chores for a day, but it does. For someone to notice and be willing to serve. Not to say they are doing it better or are tired waiting on you...they just want to try to bless you.


Today, I scrapbooked one layout for Easter for my daughter's scrapbook early this morning. I've not done one in forever...it felt good to celebrate and concentrate on the intricate details of that wonderful day. To remember the highlights... and celebrate those!

Now...I feel lonely. I miss my dear friend who is hurting, too far away. I miss close friends who have their own mountain time they need, and I pray for them. I miss my husband at work who I just called over a death announcement I needed to share. I miss my kids who got ready for school in a more civil manner than usual this morning. I miss my mom who had a car wreck yesterday. I miss my cousin who died a few years ago...her baby daughter will be five next week. I miss close friends I don't get to talk to enough.

After being burned out...missing people just feels good.



Goldilocks Serves

Goldilocks surprised me for setting the whole table, including taking drink orders and filling them...a first EVER. I REALLY like it!

Serving Fiddles

Awesome Outside Spring Meal

Day 3

Time alone today.

Red begged to see Grandma. So, I let him go. Time alone sounds very good.

I thought I'd loosen up today: just play a bit...that was my plan. But, something inside me told me I needed LIFE. Not fluff. I needed the word, which is LIFE.

If you can't get the glory of God to pass by you on the mountain...you always have the word! So...a bit more effort on my part than I was in a mood to put forth. I took a nap on the couch, uninterrupted by phone, tv, or any thing. Then, I dove into today's study...again, not one interruption, laying there under an afghan, pages ruffling, reading more than required, finding a lot I needed. Making myself confess who God is, out loud, and worship him. Trust me, if you've been nursing a grudge, this is hard to do without tearing up. But, good for you.

My study today ironicallycentered on Moses's journey with God on his mountain...how inadequate he felt. How unworthy. Ill-equipped. Fallible.

God got a bit "put out" with him for suggesting he could not make him anything he wanted him to be for service. Angry with Moses, in fact! Yet...to give Moses confidence, God suggested Joshua, a skilled speaker, to speak for him. A parent who keeps solving problems, even when they are angry? I'm so glad that even if God is angry with me...he still works for my good, and helps me. Wow. What a God! THE God!

You know, as it turns out...I don't remember Joshua having to say a lot for Moses when it came down to it...do you? It was Moses's face who was radiant with the presence of God...and the people needed to see that...not hear flowery words. He had the very words of God. Moses needed no speech writer.

Let to go back to basics today if self care.

Also, to re-evaluate my spiritual armor in light of yesterday. My pants fell off again. Yup...got to have that Belt of Truth...only viewing yourself through it at all times.

Anyway, a good day to get caught up with myself a bit. I feel good.

Was reminded that God doesn't always choose to reveal himself to us as we want...but, he always promises to give us what we need.

"Seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart".
"Seek me and I will be found by you."
"Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."

I don't know the references for those, but, like Ragu...it's in there. If you need references, look them up on a net Bible link in NIV. I don't have time add them today. Good verses to ingrain in your mind.



Day 2

Day 2.

See God moving. A bread trail. Just enough to keep me moving, for which I'm thankful, but not enough to keep me from feeling very frustrated. Shared with a friend. Getting emotional about everything. A great cry today: washes the soul (sometimes).

Family sonic picnic and frisbee, rented a movie. Fun!

I think I'll go rest for a while.

Not sure what I need...but God knows. I trust Him.

If I can only wait...and keep climbing.

And trust more.


Day 1

Day 1.

More peace. Still seeking the word from God my soul needs.

Served a meal yesterday. Got away with a dear friend, which I needed. Was blessed by her company and words.

Today: soccer. Soccer. More soccer. Park with the Kids. DQ. Painted the back door (wrong paint).

Tonight: dinner with friends. A special service. And more seeking.

Tomorrow: Praise Band. A light week for me--coasting it out a bit this week.

gotta run,


Mountain Air

words to
Margaret Becker's "Find Me"

I'm gonna move on down to Elliston
Let my hair grow wild and free
Rent a second story studio
Find the other side of me
I'm gonna sit out on the edge of the fire escape
Feel a little destitute
Search for feelings that will help me remember
The love that I had for You

Find me, find me
I'll wait for You
Find me, find me
I'll wait for You

I'm gonna give away my stereo
Give away my T.V.
I'm going back to essentials,
a chair and a lamp
And the Book that You wrote to me
You see, I'm looking for the You that used to speak so clear
I'm looking for the me that had a heart to hear
And I'm looking for the passion that held me here
On the edge

Find me,
find me
I'll wait for You

You see, I'm looking for the me that I used to know
I'm looking for the love that was out of control
'Cause I feel a little cold here in the afterglow

Find me,
find me
I'll wait...
for you!

I've had this song on my heart all week...couldn't remember all the words, but the intent of "forced simplicity" to find God again impresses itself on me. I've started another powerful Bible study coming right out of MasterLife to keep up the disciple of study and prayer and journaling and it's awesome. It's been life changing already for me. Life altering anyway. Reigning me in where I need it. Bending me. Yet...ever need God to teach you Himself? Need to hear from him? Be led by Him? Not a "man"? I feel that way this week a bit.

A friend summarized my thoughts today when she said, "I'll been so focused on something important and urgent for so long...now that it's over, I feel completely lost and out of focus, in a funk, agitated."

It described me. I'm trying to keep in balance, and am doing well...but miss just the raw, spirit-led worship of alone time with God. I need that. I can't seem to fit it into all the "balance" of everything going on. I can't.

Anyway, this song was one of the "deeper" Christian artists on the scene when I was a teen (eons ago) and has echoed in my heart since in various seasons of my walk when I'm getting just too busy to hear. This is one of those weeks I can't get it to shut off. I just went to the piano bench a minute ago, remembering I had it on sheet music. I played and sang it through softly as the kids went to sleep upstairs.

Tears broke through immediately that needed to cry. A need to let go of everything--as long as it takes to hear his tender compassion and gentle leading and presence again. No point. No direction. No service. No people to lead anywhere. Just Him. The waiting...I think the slowness and determination of the waiting. I think that was a title of one of MaggieB's albums as well if I'm not mistaken. "The Waiting". Someone once gave me a word from God, "Though it lingers, wait for it." They said God told them I would know what it meant. I still don't know to this day. But, I know there is value in the waiting...for Him.

For what? For me...right now? To see Him. Not just email him or blog or write a ljournal entry prayer or "talk on the phone" kind of visit. No, the kind that just says, "I just need to see you face to face. I don't care what we do. It's been too long. Let's get together. Please, as soon as we can. I need time with you."

With that, I'm suspending writing on the blog...hopefully not until my "hair grows wild and free!" (though that sounds fun, and I'm on my way!)

The blog I recommend in the next entry has all the content I've been trying to say since last September in one way or another anyway, only better, with the community and thoughtful response I Do me a favor and hang out there for a while this week. I meant...see what people think about issues like, "Christians and language in her authenticity section". See how they respond. We are so sheltered in our realization of why some Christians do what they do. And we need to be prepared as to how to respond in a godly way, as Anne has the goal of doing.

Do we know God's heart well enough to respond in love? Can we teach, not just fad or culture, or legalism...but Godliness, God's heart on relevant matters? Do people really know what being Christ-like looks like? Or are they, like one commentor on Anne's speech post, afraid of losing their individuality-- having a bunch of "boring Christ clones"? Wow. We've lost something, church, if being Christ-like is perceived as boring and cookie cutter, or people fear losing themselves in it. Something about the sincerity of that comment scares me.
We need more. Of what, I'm not sure. But, I want it.

Anyway, I'll see you when I return from the mountain. All I know is, I need to worship. I don't know how long it will be. I don't know if I need the fire or the wind, or the calm. I just need to worship again. Really worship until I know I have. Not to lead, not to play an instrument, not to do it well. Just to worship.

I don't mean to sound dramatic...but perhaps I need the drama to make sure I do it. Perhaps you can identify with times when you sense your spirit is crying here and there...something...and all that can help is the touch of the Master. His voice. His help. His eyes. His vision for you. His knowing.

I've said enough to not have much to say.

I'll miss you while I'm gone! I'll pray for you to find what you need to keep you going strong as you find your mountain also.

Press on! Keep me updated with YOU! I'm tired of "me"! No lack of self worth there...just the honest truth! More of Him.


Great New Blog

Today I took a break from blogging and read some links others have found of blogs they value. I ran across one from a lady named Anne at http://www.flowerdust.net/ . Not many blogs WOW me, but hers did...her honesty, her candor, her willingness to risk all to save some. As I told her...she makes me want to start over blogging.

I spoke to her by email today. She just finished an article for Relevant magazine. Wow. I discovered a rising star! I'm good. It will be based on her very "real" blog on the effects of porn on women. On HER.

I'm so proud of her efforts. The article will be based on her Part II article you'll find in her "sex" category on her blog. What she writes is right on target for where things are for women as well as men in terms of effect of and the draw to pornography.

She is honest, real, and thought provoking. I won't share all that she did, but consider carefully the thoughts and questions that took her to addiction. Yes, I said, "addiction". And, no, she's not gay. Questions like:

"What's it all about?" "Why's it so intriguing?" "Does my man desire more from me?" "What's he see in that? Am I missing something? I guess I need to know what he really wants. What can I do better? Is this his dream?" OR "I can't believe this is out there. Right here! Can you BELIEVE this?" OR "Gee, you know, just looking at this, I FEEL SEXY LIKE HER, desirable, without doing anything wrong myself. Looking at this...I feel the power of attraction! I am woman. Like her." And Anne was addicted. The sharing of her story amazed me.

She became trapped by the intimacy, forbiddeness, and "research" of it (just they way many church staff members do, exusing it in that way until they realize...it's researching them.) They begin to feel human again...something staff members, and a too busy generation forget to take time to do with their spouses--be human.

It's very easy for most marriages to go through strained seasons while growing families. I've had to take the classes for my degree programs. While I'm here, let me tell you something, especially you young moms and dads...statistics may tell you what "norms" and "averages" are for a normal and healthy sex life, but if you have kids and a schedule, be careful. Marriage and family life has heavy time demands and responsibilities...ones we have to submit to...and ones we have to try to tame. But, don't let any book or statistic make you feel inadequate. Get real help if you need it, there are great Christian books out there to inspire you to be your best. But you are likely more normal than you think with the schedule. Life is crazy. Just live it out together and make the choices to stay "one".

Thanks Anne, for correcting a mal-assumption that it is only a draw for men. Women are just as drawn by beauty, jealousy, seeming power, and seeming intimacy. Women are meant to be beautiful. To serve. Refresh. Be a helpmate--to one man. Our culture is so bent on the woman who is "hot" and "has it all going on" that we no longer value or uphold the prudent, then wonder why our young girls dress as they do, seeming to use no good judgment. Hello!?

I'm interested in your response or questions if you have them. If you aren't comfortable commenting, email me.

I have a follow up post to this, but I think I'll save it. I want you to read her post, especially the ladies. She has a great blog as a whole. Absolutely terrific.



Wearing Grunge-Rewrite

The worship celebration was an awesome experience...but it gave me a lot to think about. For one thing, I'm tired. Everything I say and think is in the context of a month of fatigue and total focus that needs taming, okay?

Afterward, I sort of want to cry. I'm not sure why. I'm doing all the right stuff. Part of it letdown from adrenaline. Part of it healthy evaluation. Part of it dealing with the "junk" that goes on. Most of us need a bath after performance time...and not just because we physically are drenched in sweat.

My junk: I know that my spirit's commitment is to stay FAT as a disciple (Campus Crusade for Christ principle taught): Faithful, Available, and Teachable. Yet, my flesh fights the urge to try to become more talented--so I can be less faithful.

I know that's not right.

The temptation is just do whatever it takes to learn to shine yourself, and forget teaching everyone else, or training them up, or seeking that group "body-life" synergy and power that comes from working together. Just show up whenever, do your thing well, and everybody claps for you. Stay in your spot. Be revered for your thing. Stay out of everybody else's space.

And, there's a place for that.

But, is that really our goal?

A body stretches you, works together, compensates...teaches. I push you...you pull me. It cries and shakes, rattles, and rolls...but we are together...better for it. One. We encourage and cheer and make demands. Appreciating the process. Not denying it. Giving it time. Being there. Being ready. Each preparing...doing it's part. Encouraging. Being "all there".

When one part is not ready, we find out why...encourage it, raise people up. Teach. Ask. Compensate, if needed.

We started a Bible study last week that talked about how Moses was considered the most humble man on the face of the earth. God spoke to other prophets in visions and dreams, but to Moses, he spoke as a man--face to face. Clearly. How awesome is that! What I want! To hear and obey.

Even still, Moses was criticized by those closest to him. Still, in humility, he kept doing the task God gave him to do in the face of criticism.

As a musicians, we are often tempted to shut down just because somebody got in our face. They feel their turf is invaded...spout, pout, or spurt. Sometimes, we need our turf invaded. We challenge each other. I need it. It hurts, and I spout, but I need it. I may be defensive at first, and I may be cranky, but I need it. And I hear it later...again...in my quiet time alone...and I know I need to kick it up a notch.

But...when someone gets in our face...what do we do? I can tell you from experience that we are most tempted to shut down, say, "Let 'em fail. I don't care anymore. I'm just doing my job. You are free to fail." That sounds good...it sounds spiritual and helpful. We're just "giving them space they seem to want". But, sometimes we use it as an excuse to stop doing the job and gifts God gave us.

Sometimes the humble response is the one Moses gave: "We've all still got a lot to learn (Miriam needed to learn to do her thing and shut up. God punished her. She slowed down the group from their travels by days.) Lord...if you give me opportunity to keep smiling and keep trying and keep teaching and keep going, if you'll soften our hearts and let us talk, I'll keep trying and not let them fail. If they don't want to hear...then, yes, they are free to fail. In any case, help me keep serving fully in my spot, doing my thing with as much joy and zeal as you can give me. I will give it. I will not withhold. I will not choose to sulk and stay mad. I still have much to learn myself. I will do what you asked me to do. I'll help others. I'll focus."

I rewrote this blog because it was unclear what was on my heart. Preparation. Each doing his part so that others function better. Humility. Disciple-making. The process. The battle to "keep on". The battle we all face working with human people.

The battle of fatigue, humility, body-life as a priority above self glory...carrying other's weight, wanting them to carry their own weight, accepting help with yours.

I hope that clears up any confusion. It helped clear it for me anyway.

Chillin' with God

Well, three days past Easter and I've not posted. I think that's a record.

I've been chillin' with God.

I just wanted to hang out with Him for a while not dragging him along with my schedule.

Oh, it's all His or I couldn't/wouldn't do it at all...but you know the feeling. We just needed some R & R together.

Tuesday, turns out we were both hungry for Cinnabon rolls, so we kneeded dough and watched it "Rise Again". I loved the play on words when I thought of that. I took rolls to a few people who needed them and that was fun.

Praise band practice, soccer practice, wrote the Upward devotional. Today: kids to school, Wal*Mart, nearly got sideswiped by a lady on the four lane, then took the devotion for proof and printing and delivered a few more rolls.

The schedule of my life literally shocks me every day right now. I can't seem to keep up. You'd think I'd be used to it, but I'm not. The time frames, demands, and schedule constantly change about the time I've got it all figured out. Guess that's true for us all. It just surprises me.

How in the world we tame all the running, I've yet to figure out. New PDA pocket planner in my pocket, yet still forgetting commitments. I was supposed to take snacks to my son's soccer practice last night -- somewhere in between swapping kids at the gas station to get them all where they needed to go on time...I forgot.

Oh, well, we all miss a few, right?


Easter Duck

Easter Duck
Someone brought this duck to the church's Easter Egg Hunt.
Red loved it. It sure was squirmy! He laughed so hard when
it dove out of his hands!

Easter at Mom's

Easter At My Mom's

We don't get to see my neices and nephews all that often. Two out of three were there. We celebrated my neice's first birthday and had the world's best Easter Egg hunt! Aunt Kelly brought HUGE goody bags with chocolate. "DOVE" eggs? Mmmm. I'm in hog heaven.


Easter "B"

Easter 2006 "B"

We took both of our family pics in a hurry...the one below just before running out the door to church. The cam was off balance, but we did it in one shot. We tried again when we got home...the boys had already started ripping clothes off when I said I wanted to try to get one "outdoors". I stacked two stools on top each others, balanced the camera to cut out the pool cover, and ran all the way around the pool as they were all yelling, "It's blinking, hurry mom!"

Goldilocks was not smiling at all in the first...the second I was placed poorly... so I cropped her face out of the second picture and inserted it into the first. Aaaah--the beauty of digi!

Easter 2006 Fam

Journaling Reads:

The morning of Easter is always rushed trying to get everyone's special clothes on. This year the boys looked sharp in their ties; Carmen her first little heels and a "Cinderella" dress her Dad and I got on sale after Christmas at Dillard's. We were so excited to give it to her. Dad also looked handsome in his new black suit he bought especially because Mommy liked it.
No...it's not just about the clothes. We celebrate Jesus-- the sacrifice he made for us, giving his very best. One way our family celebrates is by dressing in the best we have on Easter Sunday.

My first Easter wearing BLACK! I had to wear black and khakis for the Easter celebration. (Compare to the B&W Easter Pic in the margin...wow! the kids are growing!)



Okay, so it's Easter Eve. I should be thinking of certain scriptures and stories.

All I can think of is the immediate, certain, and sure demise of a certain visitor to my kitchen which I just heard scamper across the floor.

I made my husband watch guard while I cooked for the Sunday meal tomorrow. He marched back and forth behind me with quite the dramatic flare.

We'd like to think it looks all Easter cute like the above picture. Actually, it is the reality of the below.

How untimely a critter to interrupt my thoughts this Easter Eve!

All that is in my heart is...murder.

Okay, for me, it's a frightful mouse. But, still. Disconcerting. I want that sucker dead!

I think the spring rains occassionally invite them in from the fields nearby. Aaaaah! It just ran under my chair! I'm seriously not kidding! My husband is on the attack...with his weapon of choice, a broom.

He's going to sweep it to death?

First Night

Night one. Finished. The first comment I heard was: "Wow. The Spirit of God fell down out there. It was powerful."

All I need to know. Where there mistakes.


But, I went in with 4-5 promp questions on my mind answered and dealt with, the score ready, and secondary percussion where we had holes.

It was fun.

One more time.

Amazing to work five weeks so hard on a peice and play it twice, but get to play it well. In the fast paced world of Sunday morning praise and worship week after week in a whirlwind, we just don't get to plan to do a worship event this well.

It's been so refreshing to have saxes and horns and penny whistles and tubular chimes and an astounding picked guitar peice.

I'm in awe that our hodge podge can learn something so intricate and beautiful and give it back to the Lord in worship...that the testimonies of people coming from such "low" circumstances have turned around to bless our body with such strong people.

One beautiful lady from a broken family background jaded by weight issues and anorexia and self esteem problems...now getting all her family into church, meeting Jesus saved. People from her family being drawn back here from all over the country because of her light, joy, and faithfulness. Brothers, sisters, mother, father...all coming to an intimate walk with Christ.

Then, a man ravaged by increasing depths of substance abuse and drug problems all his life...since he was in his mid teen years. All through life, killing his body. His family torn, ripped apart, broken. Now, his young son and their young family shares the life of a saving Christ with him over and over until he cannot deny any longer the thing he needs is not in anything external...not even his family. It's only in Christ. Only in Christ can he be set free, healed, whole, fulfilled, and delivered. He still struggles with life, but he is free.

Then to join back in and worship to "Blessed Be Your Name", or "In Christ Alone" with full orchestra sounds going on. It's just chilling. People were out of their seats. I believe God brought those who needed to hear and will continue to touch people tomorrow.



Performance Day Tomorrow

Last practice.

I'll fill bass. Just one song I need to work on for strings now. Three soccer games AM/egg hunt PM/. Whew. Tomorrow is sure full. Shoot...so is Sunday.

The strings just start grinding on my nerves head synth-ed through the monitor with no voices to tone them down for me. By that song at the end, I'm tired, my ears are tired, and I'm not wanting to play in the key of E with 4 sharps ANY MORE in a complicated score! D#?! Ughhhhh! STRIKE! Bang my head against a wall!

Maybe I can find a sound that doesn't give me a headache in the upper octave. That would help.

For now, Wal* Mart for panty hose for my daughter for Easter morning and a vaccuum cleaner--killed mine on the patio last night with an unsuspecting penny...worse grinding rip noise I think I've ever heard!

Blogger: CCMs Latest Hits List

I don't have time to get you guys the iTunes link list for these songs this month. If you want 'em, you'll have to dig in iTunes.

But...here's a gold list of new Christian releases out there to explore. It's put together by a former DJ who loves to stay ahead of the release lists and tries to beat it. Usually hits a great percentage of winners up and coming. He usually hits 98% of the year's WOW list in his lists as well.

Click for:
Blogger: CCMs Latest Hits List
You can either cut and paste into iTunes search bar, or print it off for a reference as you dig and create your new Spring jammin' CD for your window down, bass up loud, cruisin' car time.


The "Hipster P.D.A."

This Guy Falls Down: D*I*Y Planner had a post last year I've thought about a few times since helping you simply organize your life better. I run off of lists, so this appealed to me. I already have an infatuation with index cards, so I think the pair may work well.

Monday, I ran across some already color coded index cards at Wal*Mart, so the idea must have caught on. (I also saw a similar concept at Target in Evansville over the weekend, but in book form with color tabs--too big to fit in my pocket as I wish).

There is a move back to paper planning as computerized planning, which has never worked well for me. Stiff cards in my pocket reminds me I have something I was supposed to do today.

As a Mom, there is always an interesting collection of marbles, rocks, and buttons to be moved from my pocket to the right room and location, so as I walk from room to room, I've already gotten in the habit of checking my pockets. I think this system will be fun to try. I'll see how it goes.

I started an hour ago and have five cards filled already. Time to review how the "system" is supposed to work effectively beyond that. I went back to Third Day's blog to try to find the link. It's posted at the top. As I recall, you review the cards everyday, discard ones completed, add the color back in you discarded, and keep ones in the stack which will continue to the next day.

Click the link above for the how-to (and more an amanzing conglomeration of organizationally inclined folks than I can even fathom).

Shoe Shopping with a Four Year Old


My back is in a wad. Numb nerve pain down my right arm and hand. I really hate it when things get stressful and that happens. Muscle relaxers started today...I can't have my hand numb and play keyboard, now can I?

Took the morning "off". Ran to another town to get cupcakes for an Easter party I didn't know my daughters class was having, made a hospital visit, and shopped with Red. I bought him a couple fun toys just for the joy of seeing him elated. He wore his snorkel and goggles shoe shopping...we had to buy shoes. He didn't wear any today and we had to go to the hospital. He wore his goggles into the hospital and gave our elderly friend a daisy he'd picked wearing them. What a hoot.

We ate Oatmeal Cream Pies and Fruit Cocktail for lunch.

I'm planning on working on some wreaths and on cleaning my house this afternoon before evening mania hits for supper time.

Days just don't get more beautiful than this. It's perfect. I'll have to go just sit outside for a few minutes somewhere.




First, a praise: They upgraded my friend's chance of keeping his eyeball from 5% to 30% today. The chap plans on playing in the freakin' Easter celebration...with his eyes closed. Yeah, he's that good. Wow. Talk about dedication and a person who won't let go of what they love doing until the grave. Praise God! What an inspiration.

I wish I felt inspired tonight. I have a freakin' knot in my back about to kill me. Relaxing even sounds stressful. I'd take a long hot bath, but that seems to waste time. I have the time, but that's not the point. Time is not to be wasted in a week like this! Be prepared!

Geez. I'm a freak. A freakin' freak. And I've been around my little Navy brother too long because everything's freakin' somethin'. Which is better than what he could say, but it's freakin' annoying to be so freakin' freaky.

Did I mention the air conditioning is out at the church. Man! Turbo lights and no air. I was freakin' pourin'. Some youth girl came and saw me wrestling with my shoulder length hair trying to cram a mechanical pencil in it to get the stuff off my neck and said, "Here's this if you need it." I'm like..."What the...? What? What did you need need? What is..." Oh my gosh...a hair rubber bandy thingy. I worship you, my child. You are my handmaiden, my servant...God sent you here for me. I just know it.

Yeah...things get freakin' melodramatic on week's like this.

Guitarist Update

Our guitarist was sent to Vande for a second opinion late last night. They are hopeful he may have preserved or may gain some eyesight in time or with surgery. No one knows for sure. Scar tissue will be a problem. He is home now and has to go for treatments every day for his eye for a while.

It is evident to me today how fast life can change for any of us--mind numbingly so.


Prayer for Wednesday

Today I'm reminded...

That I can't do everything--
and it frustrates me.
And I can't be everything--
and it frustrates me.
And I can't be everywhere--
and it frustrates me.
And I can't help everyone--
and it frustrates me.

But I know that I can still do something
And I can be something
And I can be somewhere
And I can help someone

Lord, today...let me
allow you to be you,
and me to be me.
I am not you
I don't have to be.

You can do everything
Be everything
Be everywhere
Help everyone
And you do
I pray you do
And you hear me
And you are there.

Use me. Fill Me.
Keep me where I need to be.
In your rest. Your joy. Your peace.
In the center of my purpose,
my destiny, my place...

Pleasing to you,
Fulfilled in that.
Satisfied with that
Enough in that.
Trusting you with the rest.
For you are good...
and you can work everything for good.



Bad News

We went to my first Seder meal tonight...a Jewish celebration Passover meal. It was awesome. But, first, we got bad news.

Our electric guitar, bass player, banjo player (one of the most brilliant and talented people I know-- works in upper management at a chemical plant) was helping a plant worker repair a machine today and was sprayed in the eye when chemical sprayed out of the machine. His eye was burned seven layers through. He will likely lose vision in that eye and will probably be lucky to save the eyeball at all. Two young children and a beautiful wife at home. Fortunately, he is also one of the most optimistic people I know. His sense of humor will still be as witty and beautiful even with an eye patch if necessary. We all pray for healing and for God to move miraculously...but the outlook is not good.

Pray for the safety of all those participating in your Easter services. I am led just now to pray for you, your families, and your "crews" right this moment.
Sadness. Trying to find thankfulness-- that it was not loss of hands?

Lord Jesus...be with my friend and brother, and my sister, a joy to my heart...be there in a manifest way. Bring yourself. Pour it on. Ease the incredible pain. Be there. Be gentle. Be loving. Be mighty. Bring rememberance of hope and your word and your awesome love.

Raised to a a New Life

Last night I had the most delicious dream. I would not often describe my dreams that way.

I woke this morning dreaming I was being rebaptized-- by choice. We had baptisms Sunday, as we often do, but I've never dreamed about being rebaptized. I do not "need" to be rebaptized for any reason. My first baptism was solid. I was obedient following Jesus' example. I knew what I was doing, and delighted in the experience.

In my dream, explaining to others why I was being baptized again...Jesus's words were speaking to me own heart. "Die to everything, and be raised to a new life in Christ."

A nurse-angel-like handmaiden came as I was getting my items ready to go to the church to be baptized (my husband was being baptized that day as well) and insisted that everyone who was to be baptized was to be bathed first. She began drawing the water and getting the soap and wash cloth and towel out for me. It reminded me of when Jesus insisted the disciples must have their feet washed by him. We were to be clean before we were to get wet. A funny paradox, I thought...but true in spiritual terms. We must be saved before we are baptized.

The words echoed over and over in me as the alarm was going off: "Buried with Christ, and raised to a new life in Him". And I heard the words I've heard many times before by one of our minsters who always uses those same words, I understood that I have confined God to the size of being in MY life...MY heart and MY mind, and MY body--focusing on giving MY all to him, and letting him fill every part. Which is good. But he showed me that I am too small for him. I must learn to learn "IN CHRIST". In Him. Yes, it is "Christ IN ME, the hope of glory", but I am finite. He is infinite. I am small. He is large. I can only handle a certain amount of Him without short circuiting my brain and entire life...yet living IN HIM...He can handle it all. He is not too big for Himself. I don't know if you've ever come to the end of your ability to process all He's doing in and and around you...but I have. To the point of asking Him to draw back and let me live and serve my family sanely. It is my job. He chose it for me.

An interesting shift I'm not sure I am explaining well, or understanding all of just yet, but it seems significant enough to remember that I need to learn to live in Him more as He teaches me how.

Anyway...so nice to actually be refreshed and served in Christ and taught while you sleep--from the inside out. After weeks and weeks and weeks with colds and frustrating sleep, I've woken so tired and weak and uncomfortable. So weary. As a friend says, I was getting so "deep down tired".

Well, after a day away yesterday, I am quite behind. So, on to a house that needs attention, luggage that needs unpacking and washing, art lessons, soccer practice, meetings...and a day to enjoy BEING RAISED TO A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.


Us..Spring Break at the Park

Spring Break 2006 Family Pic

Why It Is...

Today I went to Wal*Mart, bought grocery stock for the month, talked with my special checker lady who makes my life gold, cooked lunch for two aunts out of town, came home, and crashed by 3:00. Went and got the kids from school. Now, I'm doing snacks for kids who are never satisfied!

Today I decided to eat better, make better choices, exercise, and serve. This is sure to improve any life...and I am proud of those choices and hope they sustain. I've gotten lazy in some things. This does make life fulfilling and moves up the curve, however, my life has slowly disentegrated into one never ending cold. I think I'm developing a sinus infection...again.

Time for the big guns. I've fought it another two weeks...time for antibiotics and hopefully some energy and wellness.

This is definately a mundane and daily blog entry...but, real, athentic, and a good reminder as to why this Monday is the way it is!


Home Again

Thankfully we decided to go North 1 1/2 hrs. instead of South 1 1/2 hours for our Spring Break outting. We are home. We are safe. Only one intense storm cell and hail to reckon with where we were. We had a wonderful trip. Weather was better than we thought it would be.

We hiked, girls in sandles for over a mile in Audobon National Park (unprepared for good weather). It was one of my favorite family experiences. We can finally all HIKE together!!!! What JOY! A couple treat we've given up since motherhood for the most part. We had kids on shoulders part of the time, but that added to the joy (and challenge...sandles, with 40 pounds on my shoulders, going downhill). Great hiking there. We'll definately do it again. The kids said it was there favorite part of the trip...even above Chuck E. Cheese! We did the museum there at the park. Amazing to see the struggle of an artist. He's more legendary now than ever in his own life. So much of our own legacy will be that way. More cherished and examined after we are gone than ever when we are alive.

Circumstances of the Civil War caused his art originals to be sold for pennies on the dollar so that his family could survive. His son tried to finish his works prior to that to support his family and died from the stress of not being about to do so successfully.

A huge spiral staircase up to a castle-like tower thrilled the kids. We bought a bird watching guide to identify local birds in the back yard this summer.

Today, the mall. I still feel bad from this cold. I'm flat as a flitter. Nap time!

Today we found some spring and summer clothes and shoes on sale we all needed and used a lot of restraint to keep from buying the cutest trendiest things my eyes fell in love with...so, a success. My husband gave me THREE HOURS to shop in a mall, then took me to a drivethrough for quick food, and drove me home. Never has there been a greater gift. I was so tired from the mall. I tried on the first swimsuit I liked, it fit, I bought it...it was surpisingly on sale 1/3 off. That's enough greatness for a long time. Any woman who'se ever had a favorite suit and wanted another one like it when it wears out understands the high luck of this 1-1. Amazing. To find a swimsuit suitable for being out with your kids in all kinds of Mommy work and yet not look like a grandma--hard work.

I only bought one scrapbooking item on the trip. A magnetic stamp set of conversation words all stored in a metal box on sale at Target. Again...much restraint. Then again, I didn't much feel up to shopping.

We ate at Golden Corral--kid's choice. Great food and buffet, great for a family, and at Outback, which serves our family well every time it seems.

Drury Inn was the hotel of choice. They have the best provided breakfast in town, great service, great rooms. They get my vote.

Well, that's all the minutia I can think of.


Da Tree

The tree blown over by the huge storm. The kids found a fort...they were so upset to have Dad chopping on it. I remember. All three are in the pic...you just have to look VERY close! (Secret rooms!)

Hardly anyone showed up for band practice last night. Missing three critical people was annoying....miscommunication. But, we got some things wrinkled out I personally needed some answers to as far as order and keyboard part...and the choir worked on some voicings. But then, we had to break everything down for a wedding this weekend. Will make for a very early Sunday morning. When God's tests your joy and servant's heart on night's like that. I could have been heading out of town with the fam for another night of vacation. But, I chose to have fun.

Late last night worked on the Upward soccer devotion for next week. Hopefully we won't get rained out again. It feels good to be leaving town with no big jobs undone and no huge surprises waiting when I get back (at least an attempt to minimize and get ahead).

Getting some games together for us to play as a family. It's supposed to rain every day we are gone...rain now, true to form! As long as we hit Chuck E. Cheese and the hotel pool, I think it will rate as a success with the kids anyway!

I need shoes for everyone for Spring-Easter. Have shoes, it will be a success for me!

On to meet husband's departure deadline! I hope the kids argue less on the trip than they have been this morning. I think they were all up at 5!




I think too many days of Spring cleaning is not good for the soul.
And I'm no where close to being done. Oh well. I've got all summer.

Last night was our last night of MasterLife. Twenty four weeks with a group and study. Bittersweet. So much I wish I had internalized by now...but at least I know are places I can work next. Last night we had to do another spiritual gifts inventory. I hate doing those things. It's hard to put into words why. I think because I know where my calling is in life right now irregardless of where I'm gifted. Sort of frustrating to think toward the spiritual gifting side when life just feels so daily most of the time. Survival. So many of the things that show up as "gifts" are just areas where I've grown more obedient or been discipled in...so I'm not sure.

I understand what scripture says about spiritual gifts, but God doesn't seem to called the equips, but He equips the called. He'll endow you, one way or another to cause you to be able to do what he wants you to do. If I only focused on building on my strengths, I'd never learn to trust him to work in my weakness and let himself be glorified in doing it for me...even in spiritual things. I don't know about you, but He tends to push me in my weakness much more than He capitalizes on my strengths. That way, I am dependant on Him. So, I don't get that. Why find out?

Obviously it's good to learn to work where we already have passion, zeal, excitment, and personal tendancy to do well. It inspires others when we are who we are and don't try to be everybody else. Give others room to move and not try to be God...being everything, doing everything...ourselves.
Well, today praise band practice morning, packing afternoon, fix supper, cut down the tree, Easter Choral Celebration rehearsal tonight.

I'll sleep good tonight.
My soul feels tired. I'm really ready to be over this cold. Spring break entails more work for moms than the standard week... try to get caught up on everything I can't easily get done on a normal week running everybody everywhere.

Yesterday in being the good wife getting caught up on these dreaded jobs, I manages to reward myself by spilling orange V8 Splash on my carpet. I've got to get the carpet cleaned today also.
I was going to clean the carpet anyway, but being forced makes is a real downer.

The sun is pretty today. Chocolate cake for breakfast. Decided to slow down this morning, reflect, watch Sponge Bob with Red.

Breathe in and breathe out.

Soon time to get the kids ready to take to grandmas and start "the schedule".




Enough for My Nerves

My nerves are freakin' shot!

So, tonight's the first night of rehearsal with no CD backup with the choir. We took like an hour to move instruments and wires and get a sound person there (small detail somebody forgot...oops!) We were all shocked to get through the first two songs with remote success. We were astounded we stayed together at all and it worked. Voices are strong, trumpets are blasting, Jesus is about to return to the sound of great Jubiliee from well rehearsed voices.

Then sirens in town start wailing, cell phones start ringing, there's a tornado spotted 20 minutes away in a storm moving 70 miles an hour. No prob. I'll just stay here with the crowd.

And, wait, my man's on the road...in the storm, in it's path. And wait, my kids are...oh my gosh! At McDonalds, glassed-in all around with their 75 year old grandparents. Cell phone systems...down. Can't get the restaurant or my friend who manages there.

And...for Praise, Granddad kept his cell on! They are "staying away from windows" (good...good. but how is that possible, the thing is encircled. They will stay there.)

So, calls, husband is coming home, in front of the storm, outrunning it, his plan is to go (kids, or home, or church where I am? He thinks he'll....phone cuts out.)

Time for group prayer.

My cell phone rings.

My son says they are locking the restaurant, so they are leaving, two minutes left in the warning, with another tornado spotted 10 minutes away.

Group is quiet, circled up, deadly quiet in prayer mode already, waiting on my call to finish.

"No. No! Son. Do not leave. Do not leave. Go downstairs with the everybody else, okay? (he repeats to grandparents my request). Grandma can get behind the counter if she doesn't want to do the stairs. Stay there. All of you stay together. Stay with somebody you know. Be good. Stay together. I love you!"

"Okay mom. (Mom says to stay). Okay. Bye."

Message relayed. They are safe. Safe. Whew.

Husband makes it there. Everyone safe. Storm passes.

I am home, they, on their way.

Now...Doorbell? Family home? Why the FRONT door? Why not the garage?

I missed the HUGE bradford pear that is now no more in the front yard. No structural damage. My favorite tree on this place...but, given all, I can handle the loss of a tree.

Whew. Now, for more local weather and more storms to wash through tonight.


BellSouth - NEWS

As Porn Moves to "Mainstream" , what is our position? Is it harmful, or helpful? That is the question in the article linked here. Hard for me to comprehend that there is even a theory that it is helpful for more than it hurts. But, I think it's one Americans must believe for the industry to be booming the way it is.

One anti-porn contributor stressed the need for individual willpower, but also "faulted the porn industry for employing aggressive online technoligies that 'beseige you.' Somethimes it's not a matter of free will, it's a matter of invasion".

Are you being "beseiged"? You better believe it. What is our response to "invasion"? What should it be? Do we prepare for invasions?

We have not as people, or as a society, decided whether there's really anything wrong with porn. Is it okay? Does it REALLY hurt anybody if both people are willing parties? Does this detract from or enhance the marriage relationship?

It's time to come up with God's opinion on the matter. If we do not decide, it is, like most matters, decided for us by cultural default. So, for starters, God's word teaches us to love, admire, respect, esteem, prefer, regard, enjoy, and venerate our spouses. I'm not sure what "venerate" is, as the Amplified version states in a similar list...but it must mean to really like and uphold someone as "it". "More than enough." "The thing for us."

Is it possible to communiate preference while indulging in others, if only in the mind? Is it possible to stay focused enough on building and protecting our own marriages while allowing others into our affections and attention, if only for moments? I think of women's romance books as much as with men and pornography...I think the attraction is similar for both for similar reasons. In addition, this article also brings up not just pornography, but internet addiction in general, notably tearing us away from needed time with our spouses.

The question this article leaves us with, irregardless of our convictions is: who or what is getting our best time and attention? Who should be getting it?

Worthwhile thoughts...