Monday, August 24, 2009

An Empty Street

Today is the first day of school. Tomorrow I will get back to training for the 15k coming up in November but today I just went out for a walk. I seriously have the best conversations with God when my feet are moving and the first day of school is time for heavy conversation. I walked around the neighborhood and saw the oddest thing when I rounded the corner returning to my house. An empty street. There weren't any cars/trucks parked in front of my house. We spent the first 2 months of summer home a week, gone a week, home, gone, etc., but the last 3 weeks we've pretty much been home. And, with Josh home for the summer, someone has always been parked in the street. Then, add all the extra people that have been in and out of our home this summer and our street has been almost constantly lined with vehicles. I am not exaggerating. So, it's a little sad to see the emptiness. The house is quiet -- I thought I'd be glad for a little peace and quiet but they're gone and that makes me sad. School has them for more daylight hours for the weekdays for the next 36 weeks or so than I do.

I've posted the traditional first day of school pictures below. Our private school has cracked down on the dress code this year so Jessica and some of her friends created their own "standard attire." Men's white v-neck t-shirts. First day of Junior year:

First day of Freshman year. Yes, my baby is in HIGH SCHOOL!

This is not the first day of college but here's a picture of Josh and his girlfriend, Michelle, in front of Josh's townhouse at DBU.

Happy first of school to ya!
Serving the King,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to School (Almost)

We moved the college boy back to campus on Thursday. He's been taking a few things over gradually over the last few weeks so he didn't take much the other day. I did buy him some groceries and the ever useful George Forman grill at Target. Me and the three at Target for back-to-school shopping. I was was worn out! Thankfully, we got home and Jess and Jacob took off with Josh to the townhome but I was waiting until Johnny got home to go over with him. I really just needed a few minutes of downtime after the chaos. Josh seemed glad and asked his sister if she would help him "organize" before I got there. She organized and did a great job it's just that there's not enough time to really get that boy organized. I don't know if I really want to ever go back to the townhome. 7 guys, yes, 7 guys in one 3 bedroom unit. They have a deer head on one wall and a big, flatscreen on another. Josh has a poster of Slash on the wall to his room.

Then, we went over to his girlfriend's apartment. I feel like I should change fonts and beautiful music should begin playing in the background. In the girls' apartment they have a Bible verse on the wall. (Have you seen those vinyl letters you can put up? They are so cool!) They also have artwork and decorations and cute framed pictures of themselves and flowers and organization. Quite the contrast from my son's place.

Jessica's high school volleyball team has already been playing games for 2 weeks. They are in a tournament this weekend. We spent yesterday watching volleyball and I am heading out for more volleyball fun today. In fact, I've gotta scoot and get over to Fort Worth.

We're ready for the first day of school. Except for the haircut that's been a long time coming and today's the day for that. The other day Jess asked me if I will cry on the 1st day of school like I always do... we'll see.

Serving the King,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Guess the Cheaters are a Sign of the Times

My heading is really about those drug store reading glasses you can buy without a prescription. My eye doctor calls 'em "cheaters." I was using them before my last eye appointment so he changed my contact prescription. He also mentioned that I may get to a point where I needed the cheaters again. The point has arrived. Not only have I had to pull the stinkin' things out for reading a few times (especially when I have my pocket NT with me -- like when I know the pastor is teaching from that particular part of the Bible) but I couldn't even thread the needle on my sewing machine yesterday. Or, do hemming without them. It's the first time I've had to cheat on anything besides reading. BTW, I'm making a curtain (single panel cuz my window is extra small) for my new office. I already bought a bright red shag rug and bright red throw pillows at IKEA. My curtain fabric has bright red and brown squarish shapes on it. Yeah, it will most definitely put some more color in my otherwise dull space.

After I typed the title, however, I couldn't help thinking maybe it could have greater meaning. The Apostle Paul wrote about difficulties in the last days. People will be lovers of self & money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient...well, the list goes on and you can find it in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Down in verse 13 Paul wrote that things would go from bad to worse. Paul's admonition to Timothy was to stay focused on God's Word. I love it that Paul wrote (of course, this is the English version of it as found in the NASB) that Timothy had been taught the Sacred Writings from the time he was a boy -- and those Sacred Writings were able to give wisdom and, essentially, provide all the answers and instruction that Timothy needed.

That's what Johnny and I believe -- God's Word really is the instruction book for life. Not a book for one day a week but an absolutely vital part of the believer's life. So, with that in mind, Johnny and I are debuting a new Bible study curriculum for our church members in just a few weeks. The overall curriculum title is "Fusion" and the specific title of our study for this year is "An Invitation to Follow: A Study of the Gospel of Matthew." I've alluded to the fact that we have been working on a project a couple of times on the blog before. Here's how Fusion is gonna work at First Mansfield: there will be a weekly gathering separately for men and women. In class, the adults will hear a Bible lesson and will be able to pick up what we are calling a devotion guide. It will give Scripture to read for each day and three quick questions to ponder & answer and a prayer primer for the day. For those that desire a deeper study time there will be an indepth study guide posted on our website.

Here's the hope -- that more of our adults will commit to personal Bible study. For those that might be single, or at least participating in the study as a single, the hope is that they will learn what it means to not only be a believer in Jesus Christ, but what it looks like to really be a follower. For couples that are attending (class separately, but studying the same material) our hope is that the study will not only grow individual Christian lives but strengthen marriages and families. That some good, biblical conversations will happen in the home & between the couples.

For me, the drug store cheaters are a sign of the stage of life in which I find myself. When I put the stinkin' things on, though, I can see so clearly. My greatest desire is that there will be some that will see life so much more clearly and that God will be glorified through Fusion.

Serving the King,


Friday, August 14, 2009

Worn Slap Out

It's a Georgia saying, I guess. I never said it until I met my Georgia husband but that's what I am. This has been a fun and exhausting week. Fun because we've had teenagers in and out all week and some funny, random things have happened. Jessica asked me a question last night and I was just grinnin' and she asked, "Why you cheesin' at me like that?" "Cuz you're so cute and fun and your question makes me smile," I could've answered but didn't because I had to go to the grocery store at 9:30 at night because I had to leave the house unexpectedly yesterday afternoon and when I returned home I had a house full of teenagers with me that were hungry. Starving, one repeatedly told me. One that belongs to me, that is.

Ok, 2 of the teenagers just left for cheerleading practice. They must be worn slap out, too, because I asked a series of questions to which I got some stares and grunts. I'm thinkin' they stayed up way too late last night. Johnny and I have been sleeping with a box fan on in our bathroom that sort of's to drown out the noise from the kids.

So, we're headed to the lake today -- Johnny took the travel trailer over yesterday and we'll take the boat out today. It's our own little lake house for the day and, just between you and me, if all the kids go out in the boat I'll be happy to stay in the Wildwood and take a nap, read a book, or just do absolutely nothing. I'm sure I'll be out there with them, though, cheesin'. (whatever that means)

Serving the King,


Friday, August 7, 2009

Is This Where We're Headed?

Maybe you'll remember images like the one to the left on the news many months ago now. The monks in Burma were protesting their government. They were attacked, beaten, arrested. They want democracy. There are lots of Americans who support the monks and those like them that are treated harshly simply because they want their voice to be heard. I happen to be one of them.

I think people everywhere just want to be free. I really like the movie "Braveheart" but have to look away during the torture scene at the end of the movie. I don't look away for too long, though, because I don't want to miss Mel Gibson as William Wallace as he, weak from what he has endured, gathers all the strength he has to call out the word that people have died for -- FREEDOM! I have been to places where people are not free. I've seen the longing in people's eyes to have what they think I have when they find out I'm an American.

The current administration of our country wants to silence the voices of those in opposition to them. They want those that disagree to shutup. That's not democracy. That's not freedom of speech. That's not the way we're used to being treated. That's not what our founding fathers intended.

I'm not an activist, I'm not that political. I care about my country and I'm passionately patriotic. I see black and white -- right and wrong. (it has nothing to do with skin color) I am moral and spiritual and devoted. And, I'm fightin' mad. I don't want the government taking over my life or my health care. I don't want lawmakers telling me when to be quiet or how to spend my money.

I still believe I live in the greatest country on the face of the planet. I just want it to continue to be that. For my children and my future grandchildren. For those that just want to be free.

Serving the King and believing that He is Sovereign,


Thursday, August 6, 2009


Johnny and I had lunch with some new friends yesterday and they told us about a particularly hard time they had been through just a few years ago. We talked a little about how God teaches us through the hard times. No, I'm not going through a hard time right now. I DID have insomnia last night/this morning and could not sleep because I could not turn my brain off. There are just too many things going on in my life and one particular deadline that's aggravating the life outta me. But, that being the case, I'm reminded about how God has taught me in the past. I almost miss that closeness when I was so desperate that I literally read one particular psalm every single day. God spoke to me through those verses in a real, personal way through a very rough season. Maybe that's why I love the psalms. Even though I'm not getting any comments or any feedback on my Psalm of the Week so I don't know if anyone is out there, the psalms minister to me. It's those times of personal Bible study when God reveals Himself to me that are so precious. It's not for a study I'm writing, for a lesson I'm preparing, or a blog I'm posting. It's just for me. God speaks through His Word in times of desperation and in the times of smooth sailing. It's just different, at least it is for me. How God uses it for the benefit of others, however, is when we share our story. That's what we've gotta do so that others will know the powerful benefit of God working through their own lives.

Serving the King,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Surrender All & the Psalm of the Week

I just ran a quick errand with a friend of mine who has 2 children - a daughter who is in elementary school and a son who is a preschooler. The daughter had been at a church activity today and when I asked her about it the brother proceeded to tell me all about it. He told me quite a bit of detail about where she went, who she played with, what prizes she got. He followed that up with this, "But I don't really know what happened because I wasn't there." It was totally precious. Sometimes I'm like that -- getting all up into other people's business. Our Bible study on Sunday morning was about the time when Jesus was commissioning Peter to take care of His people and Peter asked about John. Jesus told Peter not to worry about John. Worrying about what other people are doing, comparing ourselves to others - their gifts and talents - can be such a distraction to what God wants to do in us and through us.

Sunday morning we sang the old hymn, "I Surrender All." For longtime church people, that is a familiar song -- one that can be sung without really thinking about the lyrics and what they mean. "All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Thee I freely give...All to Thee, my precious Savior, I surrender all." What does total surrender look like to you? In his sermon, my husband/our pastor asked us to think about what we would imagine it to be if God were about to do something big in our lives. At the end, he brought up that question again -- that thing that we imagined, maybe that thing that we would like God to do in our lives, would we be willing to give it up if called to do so? Would we be willing to surrender it?

That morning, before church, I wrote a few verses to memorize from the psalm I picked for the week, Psalm 103. The main points of the first 5 verses (the verses I am memorizing this week) are this:
*Bless the Lord with all that you are
*forget none of His benefits
*He pardons iniquities
*He heals diseases
*He redeems your life from the pit
*He crowns with lovingkindness and compassion
*He satisfies and renews

I've been thinking about His benefits toward me, as it affects me. How would you list and/or describe His benefits in your life? See, when I think about God doing something big in my life I don't stop to consider what I might have to give up in order for God to do in me and through me in order for it to be accomplished. I want the benefits but the surrendering part I'm not always sure about. It's made especially hard when I sometimes look around me and am distracted by other people. I'm distracted by worldly pleasures and wanting life to be easy. It's a daily struggle, I admit it. Today, though, I can sing it for real, "I surrender all..."

Serving the King,