Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015

So, today is my Mom's birthday.

Or, it would be.

She would be 76 today. Instead, she has been gone from us and enjoying Heaven for nearly 17 years. I really miss her. She had undiagnosed heart disease, and she died of a sudden and massive heart attack when she was just 59 years old.

As long as I live, I will remember her on her birthday...and, in my prayers, I will ask God to tell her I love her.

I don't know if things can even work that way...but whatever. Nothing is impossible with God, right?

Something just changes in you when your Mom dies.

I had a good mom...but I imagine it would be the same if I'd had a bad mom...because we are shaped by how we are raised, for the good and for the not-so-good.

My Mom linked me to the past. She linked me to my Grandmother and all of the other relatives. My Grandmother lived in such torment over the unexpected and sudden death of my Mom...her only daughter...she just couldn't recover. Every day after my Mom's death was a struggle, and every day after my Mom's death was full of questions.

Well, full of one question, mainly.

"WHY?"

Parents aren't supposed to out-live their children.

My Mom also linked me to my Dad. She was the one who led him to the Lord...she was the one who kept up with his family and all of that. She also linked me to the present. She kept our family unit together. She was the one who called us every week or two, and kept us update on everything that was going on with everyone in the family.

When my Mom died...we lost a link. A big link. And when my Grandmother died a few years after that...well, we haven't been able to put things back together. Not the way they were, anyway.

But God, He never left us...and He took our broken hearts and pieced them back together...truth be told, He is still piecing us back together.

I hope that we are letting His light shine through those broken places in our lives.

So thankful for family and friends who have stood in the gap for us...for me. I have never lived near any of my family, so my friends became my family. And Jim's parents became my family. And even tho I appreciate them and love them with all my heart...they can't replace or restore what I've lost.

Only Jesus can fill that hole in my heart, and it's still there all these years later. I just pretend that it's not.

Is this you?

If so, there is no easy way out of grief, except through it. And everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. Seek Him. I mean, that's the main thing.

I was in such a haze after she died, but I had these 4 kids and a husband and a house that needed to be maintained and kids who needed to be fed and homework that needed my help and a thousand other things. And I just...did them. Like I knew to do them. Even when I didn't feel like it.

The same needs to go for your spiritual life. Read your Bible...pray...attend a Bible Study...talk to a friend. Do what you know to do...even when you don't feel like it. Go back to the basics. Make it simple. At the beginning, your prayers might consist of "please help me." Maybe that's all you can get out, and that's okay. The Bible says that when we don't know how to pray, the Spirit of God intercedes for us.

That is so comforting to me. I hope it is for you, too.

My Mom? She knew Jesus. She believed in Him, trusted in Him, lived for Him. I will see her again one day!

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;" Romans 8:26

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Watch Me Whip

Just a quiet couple of days here in Arkansas.

Yesterday, we "hanged around the house (Joshua's words)." Holly came over after lunch, and the three of us went to Hobby Lobby to get our craft on. I had seen this really cute patriotic banner on the internet...that you make with ribbon, so naturally, we had to get supplies. I thought it would be cute hanging on my mantle...and Holly wanted to make one for her house as well.

UNFORTUNATELY, and as usual...we ended up at home with only about half the amount of ribbon we needed.

OF COURSE WE DID.

So that was frustrating.

And then, last night, I decided to make "comfort food" for dinner. Chicken strips, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls. I thought Holly and Aaron might stay, but they went home. Clark ate dinner with Faith. So it was just Jim and Joshua and I...which is FINE, but...ya know...if it's just the three of us, I'll make something else. BC JIM THE HEALTH NUT.

But he said it was all very good, and Joshua LOVED it...so, really, I guess you could call it a win.

Except those other kids are dead to me.

JUST KIDDING.

And then this morning, I got up at dark-thirty and stumbled into the kitchen to make a lunch for Joshua to take to his Therapeutic Recreation Summer Day Camp. It was actually 6 a.m., but whatever. It is summer and it was early.

After I got Joshua, Clark and Jim out the door, I decided to warm up a muffin for breakfast. I reached into one of the silverware drawers, and pulled out a butter...spoon?

I thought that, maybe in my early morning haze, I had reached into the wrong drawer.

NOPE. Apparently, when Joshua unloaded the dishwasher last night...he took it upon himself to completely rearrange everything.

This is something Joshua does periodically, but it's been a while.

One of his chores is unloading the dishwasher. I don't know if he gets BORED or what...but sometimes he will just completely rearrange things in the drawers or cabinets.  WHY I DID NOT NOTICE THIS LAST NIGHT IS BEYOND ME. I guess it's just that it never occurs to me to move things from one place to another...but this is how Joshua's mind works sometimes.

We have two silverware drawers at our house. One is only for forks, because apparently we have an overabundance of forks. And the other drawer is for spoons and knives. And they are always in a certain order...big spoons, small spoons, teaspoons, knives.

Not today!

Also, and this is completely random...I saw Silento on GMA last week, and have not been able to get his song out of my head. It's like an "ear worm." Isn't that what they call it?

I hope none of the words in it are bad. I'm notorious for singing or repeating things I've heard that sound normal to me...and my kids will all gasp and yell, "MOM...NO!"

So I hope "nae-nae" isn't bad.

Because I've been whippin' and nae-nae'in for days!

You're welcome.

"For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth...a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance."Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jim and Technology: Or, Why Run Keeper Is Out To Get Him

It's no secret that my husband loves technology. He was the first one in our family to get Facebook AND TWITTER...and we have 4 kids! And he might deny it, but he loooooooooooooves it.

It's kind of the equivalent of Mammaw Jack sitting in her "truth chairs" at the Lakehouse.

Jim's Mom has these chairs in front of her big, bay window at the Lakehouse where they live...and she sits in them most of the day and talks. She talks on the phone, or face-to-face. She talks TO people...and she talks ABOUT people.

She says it's all good, tho.

Which, she grew up with one sister, and 3 girl cousins...and I've seen the 5 of them go all Buck Wild Crazy if they even THINK someone is messing with their family.

Jim's Mom has family and friends who stop by all hours of the day and night...every.single.day. When she hears the door open, she jumps up and starts a pot of coffee. She knows that certain people like certain things. If one friend comes, they will have coffee and cheetos and those chocolate covered marshmallow cookies (Pinwheels). If another friend comes, they will have coffee and candy. One family member comes to eat breakfast left-overs.

It's constant.

And there's all the talking. It's constant, too.

When we are there, she will invite me over to the "truth chairs" or the kitchen table to "talk" with them. Even after all of these years in the family, I don't know all of the people they talk about. And, honestly...I could care less about 95% of the gossip. I try to be nice and play along...but that's just not my thing.

Now that Jim has gotten Mammaw Jack on Facebook and Instagram...well, there's just no stopping her. She has discovered the "like" button, and she is liking everything known to man. The other day, she figured out how to write a comment. She's written two comments so far.

That I know of.

All by her.own.self.

Old people and technology...funny AND scary.

Anyway, Jim has the run-keeper thing and it keeps cutting off part-way during his run...and then the full time and distance doesn't show up on his social media. It makes him so upset! I don't get it. He's not in a race or anything. He's not competing with anyone but himself. He still did the run...or the walk...or the bike-ride. He is still getting all the benefits of the exercise.

He also wants the credit. :)

So, now he's got this watch...and it is totally the boss of him. It tells him when he's been still too long and how many steps he takes in a day and how far he runs...and it keeps up with his heart-rate. It's supposed to be synced with Run-Keeper and the computer...whatever...I don't even know. I am NOT tech-savvy.

Also, on Sunday, at church...DURING THE SERMON, I heard this "beep" and it was Jim's watch. I glared at him (in the most Christian-wife way), and he leaned over to show me. On the screen of this watch were these words: "TIME TO MOVE."

I told him that I think his watch is quenching the Spirit in the service.

The latest thing that is happening is that Jim claims his Run-Keeper is "stealing" his heart rate...and it won't share it with his watch.

WHAT THE WHAT?

He said something about it hijacking his calorie count, and that he would be burning more calories IF THEY WOULD JUST SHARE.

Seriously?

I said, "you ARE burning calories, whether it's put on Facebook or not."

I will never understand men as long as I live.

This is going to be the title of my 3rd book: "Why Life Is Out To Get Me...The Life and Times of Jim." 

Because I'm sure that my first two books on marriage, "Get Off Me," and it's follow-up companion, "Don't Touch Me There," are going to be HUGE HITS on the best-seller list.

I'M KIDDING.

"...the LORD longs to be gracious to you..." Isaiah 30:18

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Great Thou Art

They told us that they would be filming our church services this morning.

We have been without a pastor now for 9-10 months. During that time, we've had fill-in ministers who are on our staff already, as well as preachers from other churches or ministries, speak on Sunday mornings. I miss the consistence of having one head pastor, but it hasn't been too bad.

My son-in-law...he grew up Methodist (as did my husband). He says, "I joined our church when Holly and I moved to Conway, and I am fully in-line and agreement with all of the beliefs. There's just one thing I don't think I will ever understand, tho, and that is why it takes 9 months to a year for a Southern Baptist church to call a pastor."

Because, growing up as a Methodist in small-town Arkansas...you got a new preacher every year or two. Sometimes they were good...sometimes they weren't. Sometimes you liked them...sometimes you didn't. But, he said, "people didn't typically LEAVE a church because they didn't like a pastor...or even if they didn't AGREE with a pastor. We all knew that it wouldn't be too long before we got a new one."

That's just the way it was done.

Anyway, our pastor search team wanted to film a "typical" Sunday morning service to show to prospective pastors...so they could get an idea of what our services are like.

So, this morning, we sang some songs that we were familiar with: This is Amazing Grace, Lead Me to the Cross, Forever...and then our choir sang a song called "Fear Not..." which, in the light of the Supreme Court rulings and all, was a perfect song for today. Here are a few of the lyrics:

"To those who think your prayers have all been worthless; to those who your chains are yours for life; to those who think you cannot leave the darkness, and bring your brokenness into the light: FEAR NOT, Our God is with us. Emmanuel, Redeeming Love has come. FEAR NOT, we have a Savior, and nothing is impossible with God."

Powerful.

And then we had our sermon...and then we had the invitation...and then we had the offertory. A lady from choir sang the special music during that time. She sang the song, "How Great Thou Art."

And girl-friend BELTED IT OUT.

And I remembered when my Mom used to sing that song...you know...back in the day. She had a beautiful voice, and if you knew her, you know I'm telling the truth. People were always wanting her to sing for one thing or another. I never got tired of hearing her. I was so proud of her.

It's been nearly 17 years since I've heard her voice. Longer than that since I've heard her sing...but, this morning? I could close my eyes and hear her singing in my head.

"O Lord, My God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: how great Thou art...how great Thou art. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: how great Thou art...how great Thou art."

If anyone needs me, I'm just here missing my Mom...and feeling thankful that she now sings this song in the presence of Jesus.

"I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise God to my last breath!" Psalm 104:33

Friday, June 26, 2015

All By Myself

You're never gonna hear me complain about my life...the things I don't get to do.

I mean, if you've read here at all, you know that I am a big fan of the "humorous." Sometimes...most times...I take the ordinary, frustrating nuances of each day, and exaggerate expound upon them...and twist them around to make them funny. That's just me. I view things through a different lens.

I choose to.

Now, not all things are happy, and not everything is funny. I get that. I've lived some of those things.

But to just complain...legitimately complain about my life? I hope I don't do that.

Because I feel immeasurably blessed, and incredibly thankful, that God chose me to be Joshua's mother.

Nevertheless, the dreams that I'd had for the first 26 years of my life...of how my life was going to be...died on the day he was born.

But God gave me new dreams. He picked up the shattered pieces of my heart, and put it back together in a new and different way. In Angie Smith's book, Mended, and I'm paraphrasing here (and probably getting it all screwed up)...she wrote that the broken places in our lives are just more openings for God's light to shine through.

I love that.

But, you know, just keeping it real here...there are times when life is hard. My days are sometimes very repetitive. I answer the same questions multiple times a day. I explain the same concepts multiple times a day.

BUT, I also talk about God and His love for us...multiple times a day.

My mind never shuts down with concern for this sweet one.

I am never alone.

Well, rarely alone.

Rarely alone...at HOME.

Which is fine...I'm just sayin'. That's why days like I had this week are such a treat for me.

Joshua's Summer Day Camp started this week. He will go 3 days a week (for about a month)...and 2 of those days I will maybe...potentially...hopefully...have time at home. ALONE.

Or time to hang out with friends.

I hope it's not wrong that I am giddy at the prospect.

This week didn't really count...because I have Holly's halfadog staying with me, and that's like having a small child. Only not as fun.

And they can't go into Kroger with you.

But you CAN put them in a crate if you need to go out, which is something you can't do with kids...so there's that.

I did get to have lunch with one of my girlfriends on Wednesday, and that was so fun!

Also, I defy anyone to surpass the level of accomplishment I had on Thursday.

The first thing I did was make Lemon Poppy Seed muffins, and Joshua wasn't even here! This was epic. I made muffins for my very.own.self! And I may or may not have eaten two of them! Okay. Three. I may or may not have eaten three. But it was two for breakfast...and then one in the afternoon for a snack. And because I drank a diet Dr. Pepper at lunch, that pretty much canceled-out all or most of the calories...according to the Mom Diet, anyway.

I spent most of the morning reading...trying to catch up on my favorite blogs. I'm about TEN DAYS behind! I did that off and on for a couple of hours...between doing loads of laundry...and it was glorious (Clearly, I have no idea what to do with unstructured time). But then I had to, you know, GET DRESSED AND STUFF. Jim and I met for lunch, and that was awesome! The rest of the afternoon is a blur, because of DOG (I am so tired), and we ended the evening by going to the Rotary banquet.

This coming week, I am having lunch with another friend one day...and I cannot wait!

Very thankful for my man-child with the dark, almond-shaped eyes...and big, big smile. I LOVE my days with him.

And I'm also very thankful for a few days to unwind and refresh.

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28