Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sophie

Every once in a while, I come across something that impacts me greatly. A book, a song, encouraging words, a blog post, a link someone sends me.

This happened yesterday. Someone sent me the link to Sophie Hudson's talk at the ALLUME conference. I watched the entire thing with tears streaming down my face. I would stop and rewind and watch parts over and over again, saying, "yes, Lord...yes."

It's THAT good.

She talked about our responsibility as bloggers and friends and Christians. She quoted from a Matt Chandler sermon: as Believers, "we are called to love each other with brotherly affection, and to out-do one another in honor." This was taken right out of Romans 12:10. She based most of her talk on the truths in this passage, and how it relates to blogging and ministry and taking care of each other.

I could go on and on, but just listen to it...if you have time. It's a little over 45 minutes long, but well worth it.

This video...scroll down to where it says Sophie Hudson.

The next thing that happened is that I bought Chris Tomlin's, "Love Ran Red" CD and I love it. LOVE IT.

And then I got some words of encouragement from two different people...all in one day.

Our words matter.

I'm just gonna leave it at that for today.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deer Camp #2: "There's A Rat In The Oven And I'm Cooking Biscuits"

Continuing from the first post:

After dinner and after the fire talk, everyone came inside. They started cleaning up all the dishes and that's when someone noticed the critter. There is a small difference of opinion on what exactly it was...Joshua said it was a RAT. Jim, trying to play it down, said it was a mouse.

Rat...mouse...WHATEVER.

You can just imagine the panic hilarity and complete and total fear confusion as they tried to catch or kill the rat. Everyone was hollerin' and shoutin'. Joshua said Jim was trying to hit it with a pan. They even brought in two kittens...thinking they would sniff out the cat and, at the very least, chase it out of the house. There was just one problem: KITTENS. They promptly curled up on the ratty (NO PUN INTENDED) sofa and went to sleep.

I think it goes without saying that if I had seen The Rat, I would've had to burn the house down.

All the way down.

To the ground.

Because there is no way I'm going to go to sleep when I know there's a RAT running all over the house.

And, grown men...do what you want, you crazies. But my Joshua, along with my 9 year old nephew, were both in that rat infested family house.

No thanky on the rat thing.

Apparently, the guys weren't too concerned about it because they all went to sleep, and slept GREAT until Jim's Dad got up at 3 a.m. and started cooking breakfast.

COOKING BREAKFAST AT THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Everyone went nuts, because he turned on the light and started crashing around in the kitchen.

They put their pillows over their heads to block the light, and tried to go back to sleep. But that wasn't happenin. Because, all of a sudden, a smell...a putrid, rotten smell...began to permeate the entire house.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

Yep. It was The Rat. Some how it had crawled into the oven. And now it was being cooked.

Jim's Dad said, "I shore hope them biscuits don't absorb the smell of That Rat."

Again, NO WAY would I have eaten those biscuits. That's why God made Pop-Tarts. Can I get an AMEN?

When Jim's Dad took the biscuits out, Jim told him to turn the oven off and he would try to get "it" out. He said that when he touched "it" with the spatula...it disintegrated. Poofed into ash.

Essentially, The Rat had been cremated.

Well, except for one leg and the tail that Jim's brother found stuck to one of the burners.

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

I still have chills.

After an EARLY breakfast and a quick hunt, Jim and Joshua packed up the car and got ready to leave. Except that they had a little car problem. According to Joshua, Jim left the back hatch of the Suburban up too long, resulting in a dead battery.

Joshua said, "I'm not blaming Dad...but he did it."

"...His steadfast love endures forever..." Psalm 100:5

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer Camp #1: Can I Get A Witness?

I promised the deer camp post, but it got so long...I split it into two different posts.

So, late last week, Jim picked up Joshua from Therapeutic Recreation...and they headed down to The Lakehouse. That's where my in-laws live. They spent the night, and got up early the next day...and headed down to Loooooooozana. That's the Motherland for Jim's family.

Every fall, the men from Jim's family get together down at the old home place in Louisiana for a deer hunt. They have several hundred acres to hunt on and one small house where they all stay.

Can I just take a moment right here and say that I am SO thankful not to be involved in this trip.

The house sits abandoned most of the year, and it's just gross. NO hot water. Nasty furniture. But oh, how they love the memories.

There is minimal hunting that goes on. But there's LOTS of eatin'...talkin'...4-wheeler ridin' and exaggeratin' that goes on!

They had a big fish fry the first night, and that's always a hit. They always make a big fire outside, and sit around and "talk shoot." One year, Joshua took a picture of the fire with his phone, and sent it to me with this text: "You can see this fire from Heaven."

The thing about family...and extended family...is that not everyone is like you. Not everyone thinks like you, talks like you, acts like you...but they're FAMILY and you love them, even when you don't agree with their lifestyle.

So in the middle of all of THAT, one of Jim's great-uncles stood up at the campfire and said, "You know, we've been blessed with a good family, and I love coming here each year. But you know what? There's coming a day when we won't all be together...because ALL of us are getting older, and NONE of us are guaranteed tomorrow. The only way we will all get to be together forever is if we each know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. If we acknowledge our sin and pray for His forgiveness and ask Him to come and live in our lives. Then, we will all be together forever with the Lord AND each other in Heaven."

Not gonna lie, I was so impressed with him, because isn't it easier to witness to a complete stranger than someone in your own family? Why is that? I think maybe it's because our family knows us. Like, KNOWS us. They've seen our bad days and our bad choices and the mistakes we've made. They see how we act at church and how we act at home. They know the reputation we have where we work...and they know the reputation we have at the ball field...or at the city counsel meetings...or at the deacons' meetings.

They KNOW.

And we know that they know. And we don't want them to think we are all fake...or that we are superior to them in any way...or that we are trying to tell them what to do or how to live when our own lives are less than perfect.

God bless this Uncle for having the gumption to stand up in front of everyone who knows him inside and out...and just lay it all out.

Walking the walk"...by the way..."

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:7

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekend Updates and Links 10.26.14 Edition

We've had a nice weekend. The HOGS won a game...YAY! Clark took the ACT (again) (come ON 32!). And, Jim and Joshua went on a hunting trip with Jim's side of the family. I can't WAIT to share about that, but it's gonna take me a minute to get ALL THE WORDS in order. I'll post it tomorrow.

For now, hope everyone has had a great Sunday! We had a guest pastor in our church today. I am SO glad we were there. This Sunday, the college group led the worship service, and you know PEOPLE OF A CERTAIN AGE [JIM] get all nervous any time there is change. To that point, Jim's comment as we walked into church was "here we go!" And my comment was, "they have worked and practiced hard...so you better put on your big boy pants!" And it was great! And the gues pastor was a guy that we have known since COLLEGE but haven't seen in years...so BONUS! It was so fun visiting with him and his wife after the service.

Here are a few links, from the past week or two, that have made me laugh, cry...and THINK:

On being brave...Jesus is another word for brave.

What it means to be chosen...would we live each day differently if we really believed that we were CHOSEN BY GOD?

When you wonder if your ministry is too small to matter (SPOILER ALERT: it's not!), this by Lisa-Jo Baker.

Why you don't need a ton of friends...just a few you can count on...this from Kristen Strong.

Thought provoking post for when you feel like your church isn't meeting your needs...

"For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure." 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I've "Got It Made"

A few years ago, someone told me, "Marty, you have it MADE."

I'm pretty sure they meant it as a "dig," and it made me kind of mad at the time...because, to quote the great philosopher, Beyonce, "you must not know 'bout me."

And, truthfully, I don't know about you. None of us knows what goes on with anyone else...really.

That comment made me mad, because life may be hard at times...but I CHOOSE joy.

Or I try to. Every day.

Even still, you don't want my life.

And that's okay...I don't want yours, either.

Because, I mainly write about the funny stuff, y'all know that, right?

And I mainly share about the good days...because there are a lot of them. And because I'm just a fairly positive person.

But there's just a lot that weighs heavy on my mind...all the time...every day. How could it be any other way? I have an adult child who is, and will always be, dependent on the care and concern of others. My thoughts are constantly on him and his well-being. I pray a LOT for God's protection over him with regard to his health.

I also pray a LOT for God's protection over him with regard to his safety. I am reeeeeaaaalllly watchful with who is around Joshua. He is just so innocent...trusting and sweet.

I pray for the best way for Jim and I to parent and care for him...the best way to enhance his life. Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, we are constantly evaluating what is best for Joshua.

I do not expect the same out of him as I do our other kids. I used to. Now I don't.

I don't want him to feel the same pressures that my other kids feel. I never want him to feel scared or unsafe. I never want him to feel pain of any kind. I never want him to feel lost, neglected or abandoned. I just want Joshua to have the best life...whatever that involves.

(For the record, we want the same thing for our other 3 children. We just expect more out of them, as far as their education and work. We know they have, and will again, feel pressure and pain and fear and love and loss and all of the negative things that naturally happen in the course of a life. We just pray and trust that they will have the skills needed to work through these emotions...whereas Joshua does not understand any of it...and just like you would watch over your young child as much as you can, that's how we watch over Joshua. We DO expect the same out of him with regard to obedience and respect and things like that...don't worry)

God has been so good to our family...so faithful. What we thought in the beginning would be our biggest struggle...and there have been some of those  days...has been one of our biggest blessings.

Joshua's birth changed our mission...it changed our family. It changed the way we parent. It changed the way we pray...how we minister to others...where we go...what we do. Because, at the end of every day, we not only have to be accountable to God for the choices we've made that day...the good, the bad, the ugly, the mistakes...we also have two beautiful brown eyes staring at us...willing us to be and do our best for him.

I thought more about the one who said I "had it made." They couldn't be more right. I have experienced loss, but I have a wonderful family and the sweetest friends who walk through life with us...and who have held us up during the hard times. In a world where many lack even the basic necessities for life, I have food, shelter and clothing. I have the opportunity to read and learn. I live in a free country where I can vote and choose and worship. And, even tho I am the most unworthy, I have a Savior Who died for me. He died for you, too! And HE gives me everything I need for each day.

Yep. Guess I really do have it made.

"For Thou, O LORD, are a shield for me...my glory and the lifter of my head." Psalm 3:3