Monday, August 31, 2009

...Needs to Know What to do with Expectations ("Pizza man is here!")

I sometimes have to travel for work, and when Erin was two-years old, I had to travel for two weeks. This left Patrick as the "PIC" -- Parent in Charge. The daycare workers could tell when I was out of town because Erin's hair would be wild when he brought her in. You see, Erin had barometer hair. When she had her baby hair I could tell how humid it was outside by how high and how wild her hair looked. There were days when I would go to get her out of the baby bed and she would favor Don King or Phyllis Diller. Fortunately, my sister took her little girl to the same daycare and would fix Erin's hair before leaving for work.

The Saturday after returning from my two week trip, Patrick was out of the house, and Erin and I were enjoying a relaxing and quiet day at home.

About 2 PM, the doorbell rang. Erin bolts out of her room running down the hall as fast as a round, little two-year old could making a b-line to the front door yelling in excitement, "Pizza's here! Pizza's here!" I still grin when I think about it.

I tried to explain to Erin I hadn't ordered a pizza, but she was expecting the pizza man anyway. I didn't have any expectation because I didn't know who was at the door. I opened the door to find the mailman with a box to deliver. Erin asked, "Where's the pizza?" I told Erin I hadn't called and ordered one, and asked if she had. She said she hadn't, and she turned away from the door and walked away disappointed.

Erin's reaction to the doorbell had made me curious. When I had returned home from my trip, the house was immaculate. I was greatly surprised because I hadn't expected it. This was not the norm, so I was sure to praise Patrick for his effort. I decided to investigate a little further because there were no signs of pizza consumption anywhere. I looked in the trash can, and it was emptied with a fresh bag in it -- a miracle in and of itself and a sign that I was on to something. I went outside to the large cans that would have to be rolled to the curb in the morning, and discovered four or five large pizza boxes. Patrick's idea of a healthy meal -- "It had vegetables on it!"

In two weeks, Erin's expectations had been set that when the doorbell rang, they were going to have pizza for supper. I didn't have that same expectation because I knew I hadn't ordered a pizza, but I also didn't know who was behind that door. Erin's expectations were based on her past experience, but also on what she heard -- the doorbell. Almost like Pavlov's dogs that salivated at the signal, Erin's excitement and expectation were initiated with the sound of the doorbell.

My expectation of what my home would look like after two weeks without my cleaning it had also been set by past experience, and it was wrong. Granted, Patrick was trying to hide something...i.e. the pizza consumption, but I was still wrong in my expectation.

How often do we go to church wanting to experience an awesome worship experience, but we haven't even prepared our hearts for it? How often do we go to church expecting the pastor to deliver a powerful message when we haven't been feeding ourselves the Bread of Life during the week? But what if those things don't happen on a Sunday? What if you go to church and your expectations aren't filled? Do you go away upset, disgruntled, disappointed? What if God had one thing He wanted to give you like a specific verse in the sermon given that day? Your expectations are different than what God had planned for you. Different doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It's just different.

The Bible says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens, the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me," Revelations 3:20. We opened the door to the mailman, and Erin turned away disappointed. Will you open the door to God and what He wants to tell you in His way, or will you walk away disappointed because His communication didn't come in a thunderous sermon, awe-inspiring worship, or in any way YOU expected Him too?

As women hear that I am going to be leading the new women's ministry in our church, several have come to me and been quite honest in saying that they have been burned or hurt by past women's ministry. I appreciate honesty greatly, and I understand that hurt because someone I love dearly was hurt in a women's ministry. Their expectations have been set by past experiences. My prayer is they will keep their heart and minds open as we forge a new ministry.

You see, the prior women's ministry were things like WMU that focused on missions and another version of their women's ministry was more like an event planning group. These were all in their season, and I wouldn't dare take away from them the things these women accomplished because hopefully those ministries met the needs at that time. What has been laid on my heart is Women IN Ministry. The focus will be on ministering to the needs of women.

God has put a team together with diverse histories, experiences, backgrounds, gifts, talents, and hearts. There is a lady with a heart for women in crisis. There is another lady with a heart for young widows. There are several ladies who have a heart for mentoring. Some have hearts to encourage women. Some have hearts that want to pray for and with women, but no matter what the background, talents, gifts, ministries, or hearts, we all want to minister to women. God has put some real powerhouses of faith on this team. I am honored to work with them, and I am excited to see how God is going to use this ministry.

Currently, we are praying for God to give us direction over where to plug in about 20 women, and at the end of the month, we will be offering all the women in the church to sign up to help with women's ministry. It is going to be an exciting time. I can't wait to see how He chooses to use each woman in His ministry.

My expectation? I expect God to show up. I expect God to lead. I am excited about the things that are to come, but those are my expectations. Your expectations are YOURS. Have you a negative expectation because of past experiences? Are you going to allow it to color and possibly close off opportunities God has planned for you? Because if you close them off, God WIL USE SOMEONE ELSE, and you will miss out on a blessing. I don't want that for anyone.

My suggestion is if your expectations are tainted by a bad prior experience, please keep and open mind and heart and observe. Pray for guidance. I would have for anyone to miss out on a good thing or walk away disappointed because things don't turn out the way you thought they would or because the pizza man didn't deliver.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Opportunity knocks. Will you open the door? Will you invite God in and spend some time feasting on the Bread of Life? Give your expectations to Him to do with as He sees fit. He won't disappoint.

His Daughter,


Friday, August 28, 2009

...Learns a Lesson on Mercy on Pearce's 2nd Day of Pre-K 4.

"Mrs. Mullins, I have Pearce in my office. He didn't want to clean up when Mrs. Linda told him too, and then he began kicking her desk and taking things off of it." This was the call I received on the second day of Pre-K 4 at 8:45 AM in the morning. School had only started at 8 AM.

I got in my car and headed to the school to deal with the boy. As I walked with a purpose through the foyer shaking my head the receptionist for the church and the principal for the school saw me. They knew who I was there to see. This was not my first rodeo with the boy.

I entered the office of the daycare director, extended my hand, and Pearce clasped it, and we walked to the restroom in the foyer because it was the least used, and it had a chair. I didn't say a word until we were there, and I was seated looking him straight in the face.

"Pearce, what in the world were you thinking?"

"I didn't kick her." He thought this was a step up, and for him it was. Last year, he kicked a teacher in his temper tantrum while wearing his favorite, John Deere cowboy boots. As a result of that one, I made him take off his boots, leave them in the director's office and walk barefooted the rest of the day. In addition, he was not allowed to wear ANY boots to school the rest of the year.

"Pearce, that isn't the point." Normally, I keep a wooden spoon in my car, but it was in the shop for warranty work, so I was in a rental. I decided instead to approach this situation from a different angle and see if Pearce was old enough to appreciate it.

"Pearce, a privilege is something that can be earned and is something that can be taken away. Your going to Awana's on Wednesday night is a privilege. From now on, if you have bad behavior that privilege can be taken away. Being allowed to bring cupcakes to your class on Thursday for your birthday is a privilege, and Mrs. Linda or myself can take that away."

"But I want cupcakes." I was starting to get his attention.

"You are going to be starting soccer soon. It's on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If you don't have good behavior, that privilege can be taken away. Your birthday party on Saturday is a privilege Pearce. It can be taken away too."

"I want my party."

"Pearce, I am not required as your mom to give you a birthday party, take you to soccer practice, take cupcakes to your class, or take you to Awanas. Those are privileges. In Mrs. Linda's class, she awards privileges based on your behavior like mommy does. Your responsibility is to listen and obey the first time she tells you to do something AND to do your best work. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Really the only right you have in Pre-K 4 is the right to breathe." Part of me wanted to pull a Bill Huxtable and say, "And I can take that away too," but he's too young to appreciate it.

"Pearce, you are one of the oldest kids in your class, and I expect you to be a good example. I expect your best work. I know you can listen and obey when you choose to. I expect to get a good report when I pick you up this afternoon, or I will start removing privileges. You've already lost your TV and music for the week."

Our society has become driven about their own rights without stepping up and fulfilling their responsibilities, their duties.

When God created man, what rights did He give them? What privileges did they have? What responsibilities did they have?

He gave them the right to eat of any tree except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the center of the garden. The privilege is they had the most intimate relationship with God than anyone has ever experienced since creation. A relationship without barriers, without sin. Their responsibility was to maintain the Garden of Eden. How wonderful it must have been.

So, what are our privileges, rights and responsibilities now? Do we have the right to expect an easy life? No, the Bible says in this world we will have troubles. Do we have the privilege of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Absolutely. It's a choice and a privilege. What is our responsibility? Tell others, encourage others. allow others to see Jesus through us. There are so many places I could go with this...I just think we as Christians take a lot of things for granted and assume a lot.

I pray that God shows us all mercy like Pearce experienced the second day of Pre-K 4.

Sorry if this ending is a little abrupt and doesn't flow as easily as I would like, but my husband and children have been violently ill over the past 24 hours resulting in my getting only two hours of sleep last night and a two hour nap today.

Good night, all.

...Wants to Tell a Story of Adoption

Five years ago today, I was doing the best job of holding down the sofa in my house. I was depressed. Earlier in August of 2004, we had met with a birth mother who had chosen us to adopt her unborn baby, but the match did not hold. Then later in the month a young mom was talking to us about adopting her 1 month old child. She had realized she couldn't mother a child and go to high school and college, and she wanted more for her baby than she could provide. It was on Friday, August 27th that we found out she had chosen another family to adopt her baby, and that was the final straw for me. I wept, and I sobbed broken-hearted, and I grieved again for the baby I wouldn't hold in my arms.

Being an infertile couple has its own set of problems and issues as you can imagine. I never knew one could grieve so deeply for someone I never even knew, someone I never even saw, but every failed adoption, every failed match I grieved for the loss of that baby, for the hope of being a mom again -- something I knew God had promised me.

It's funny. When God laid it on my heart that we were to adopt again in January of 2002, I told Him I didn't need another that I was thankful for the child He had blessed me with, and I was having a blast being her mommy. She only a year old at that time. But while I was sitting in the funeral of a 40 year-old friend of mine who died from complications of pneumonia they kept quoting her life verse. It was on the program. It was quoted by everyone who spoke, and every time the Holy Spirit would impress on me, "This is the verse for your next child." I thought it was an odd verse for a funeral, but a great verse for an adopted child, or any child for that matter. But still, I told God I was good the way I was.

In the months that followed, I would occasionally check out websites for different adoption agencies or talk to Patrick about adopting again because he adjusts VERY slowly to change. Every time I would make the effort to move forward with the adoption, someone would quote the verse to me in Sunday school, in a sermon, in a conversation or in a letter in the mail. I don't believe in consequences. I know God too well to believe in consequences.

In July of 2003, my Pappaw had an aneurysm on his aorta above his heart. No one in Louisiana would operate on him, so he was taken by ambulance to Houston. He survived the surgery but never awoke. In August, he was transported back to Shreveport to a hospital here where I would go before work and at lunch every day to exercise his arms and legs, talk to him about what was going on, clean him up, and just love on him. When I saw that the end was near, I would tell my Pappaw that I knew he was going to be going to see Jesus soon and when he saw Him to tell Jesus to send me a baby boy..."Maybe you should ask Jesus to send me a baby boy."
There are many things that happened between the death of my Pappaw and the summer of 2004, but in the summer of 2004 I prepared a baby book for a boy. I just knew God was going to send me a boy this go around. We had gone through the orientation at our adoption agency in May; we had completed our home study; and we were talking to birth parents to have another open adoption. And on August 27, 2004, I was tired of the pain. I was tired of the ache in my heart, the emptiness in my arms, and I was ready to stop. So that is when I took to holding down my couch for that whole weekend.

On Monday, August 30th, the agency called again wanting me to talk to another birth mother, and I did even though my heart wasn't in it. Then late on Wednesday, we got the call they had a baby boy for us. We loaded the Tahoe to the brim and headed to San Antonio, but not before my daddy. My mom had just had back surgery and couldn't make the trip, but my daddy (AKA Poppar) was not going to miss his only grandson.

For those reading this, you need to know that while I was weeping and sobbing on Friday, August 27th because my heart was breaking and my arms were empty, my son was being born to a woman who would be weeping and sobbing because her heart was breaking and the baby she then held in her arms would leave her with empty arms. My sadness was nothing compared to hers. My grief was cut short while hers had just begun. She will never forget Pearce because he was born on her birthday, and he was also born on my parents' anniversary. This is by no coincidence.

We had to stay in Texas for several more days until the paperwork between the two states had been completed, and someone was able to bring my Mammaw to my aunt's house in Waco at that time. One year from the date of my Pappaw's funeral, I put Pearce in my Mammaw's arms for the first time. He was all nose, skin and bones, but he was mine.

Every child has a story. You have a story. You may not know all of it, but one day He will reveal it to you. He has a plan for you. Pearce's life verse that I was given is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to give you a hope and a future. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you."

If you are adopted, you have a story just as precious and special as Pearce's, but you may not get to know it all until we meet God face-to-face. For those of us who have repented and asked Jesus into our hearts, we have been adopted into the family of God. We are an heir. He finds us precious and wonderful and loves us immensely, and when we hurt, He isn't without sympathy.

If you haven't repented and asked Jesus into your heart, my prayer is that you will, and for those who have become children of God, my prayer is that you claim your role as an heir and cultivate your relationship with your Heavenly Father who knew you before you were created and who has ordained your steps. God bless.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

...Needs to Know She's Worth It (AKA Love without Fear)

Warning: Some of my blogs are light-hearted, but this one is from my heart and what God has placed there. This is a burden too many women are carrying around when they don't have to.

Born and raised in the conservative, Southern Baptist home and school, I heard a lot regarding hell, fire and brimstone. People were often scared into their salvation. "Fear is the beginning of knowledge," the Bible says, but it also says a whole lot about God's love, and I'm seeing more and more women having difficulty realizing, accepting and living in their role as a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Women living in fear of making the wrong decision and God's retribution. Women living in fear that they aren't as godly as they should be. Women living in fear, living in fear.

I would like to point out a few things...well, maybe more than a few. It is true that fear is the beginning of wisdom. Those who do not know God should fear Him because there will be a day of judgment for not only our actions but our thoughts, but those who have repented and asked Jesus to forgive them and come into their hearts have a new role. Ladies, we are no longer convicts strapped to the sentence of death. No, we are the Redeemed, the Daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I John 4:16 -21 lays it out for us that God is love, and there is no fear in perfect love. Fear has to do with punishment. Ladies, once we have been redeemed our debt has been paid, our punishment was nailed to the cross allowing God to adopt us as heirs. Does any of this ring a bell to you? Now, let me say this before anyone runs amuck. There are natural consequences to when we step outside of God's will. He deals with us as a perfect Father would out of love...NOT LIKE THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.

Not only that, but some women are so afraid of being outside of God's will that they are afraid of making a decision in fear that it is a wrong decision and God will get us. Christian ladies, the Bible says God knows the intent of your heart. Since God knows the intent of your heart and if you are earnestly seeking His will, why would He strike you down if you went the wrong way? Don't you think He would lovingly bring you back on track? He wouldn't. He's not that kind of God.

One other question, how can we bring our problems to a God we fear? Aren't you afraid that He will find your wants and needs ridiculous? But we are taught that we are to take everything to Him. We are to approach the throne of our Heavenly Father as His daughter. Claim your title. Claim His love for you.

You are precious and special to Him. You are like no one else He has created. He created you. The Bible said He knitted you. He knitted. Do you knit with your mouth or your feet? NO! You knit with your hands. He hand-made you an original. He knew you when you weren't even known to your parents. He knows the numbers of hair on your head. He knows the number of your days. He has preordained your footsteps. Does that sound like someone who wants to make His daughter fear Him? Those are verses from a loving God. The same God who loved you so much, knew you were going to screw things up (me especially) and created you ANYWAY! He thinks YOU ARE WORTH IT! YOU ARE WORTH HIS COST! YOU ARE WORTH HIS SACRIFICING HIS ONLY SON FOR! YOU ARE WORTH IT!

You may have not had a loving father, and you may not have a loving husband, so the idea of having someone love you this much may be uncomfortable, but you need to get use to it. You see, God's love for you NEVER changes. It is the same as when you were conceived to the day you go to be with Him. He wants to heal you in those secret broken places. He wants to touch those scars built up around your heart. He wants to draw you in so close you can hear His heart beat.

My prayer for you today is that you will not only KNOW that God loves you, but you will feel His love for you, feel His arms around you, feel His hands holding your broken heart. He will not hurt you like humans can and do because He is GOD.

I also pray that you release your grasp on your fear and throw your hands up like a small child who want to be picked up by a loving parent and hold on to the never-ending, never changing love of your Heavenly Father who thinks you are just precious. Can you see Him nudging an angel, pointing you out, and saying, "Look at her. Isn't she wonderful? I love her so much. I can't imagine this world without her."

I pray too that this blog will bring healing in His name to whoever may read it. Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

...has some questions to ask

The boy is standing on my last white nerve. My fuse is beyond short. It is below the quick, and yet he is relentless in his aggravating and irritating ways. I am ready to jump out of my skin, wig out, loose what little mind I have left -- you get the picture. Ever get tired of repeating yourself, being a referee instead of a mom, being asked to do something before the little dahlin' has even tried for herself or himself? Of course this is the time when Pearce will choose to remember verbatim what I have said and will recite it as if it were his own words at a later date.

Questions, questions, questions -- When is supper? What's for supper? Where are we going after school tomorrow? What's for supper tomorrow night? When will daddy get home? Why? Will you help me with my homework? What does this mean? All perfectly normal questions, and under most circumstances pretty benign, but right now, my nerves are frayed, and I haven't even spent the whole day with them! (Thank you, Jesus, for Mrs. Braud and Mrs. Linda.)

The questions remind me of the questions we were taught yesterday by Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Todd Friel and EZ. I'd like to pose these questions to you:

  1. Do you think there is life after death?
  2. Are you a good person?
  3. How many lies have you told in your life?
  4. If you tell lies that makes you a ____________. (Liar)
  5. Have you ever stolen anything?
  6. Then that makes you a ___________ (Thief)
  7. Have you ever looked at someone with lust in your heart?
  8. Then that makes you an adulterer because Jesus said if we lust after another then we have committed adultery in our hearts.
  9. Have you ever used God's name in vain?
  10. That's blasphemy to use His name as a curse word.

So according to God's law, the Commandments, you are a lying, thief, adulterer and blasphemer. Do you still consider yourself good?

If someone raped and murdered your mother, and the case is brought before a judge, should the judge let the convicted go free without punishment? Of course not. He/She wouldn't be a good judge then. God is a good and fair judge, and one day He will judge us not only for our actions but for our thoughts.

God is the ultimate judge, and everyone will have to stand before Him one day and be held accountable for what we have done. Would He find you innocent or guilty?


Sin is punishable by death, but the Bible says that Jesus paid our fine in God's court. Jesus paid it with His life's blood. He died on a cross, so we wouldn't have to go to hell.

Then we are to ask, "Does it bother you if you go away from this place and are killed, you will go to hell?" We definitely don't want that. Then we ask, "Do you want to pray and talk to Jesus and settle it for sure right now?"

Questions. Why is it some questions can get on my nerves and yet other questions are so necessary? These questions are so necessary. Our world is not headed on a good track. It's not. People are dying every day busting hell wide open all because they thought they were good and that God would forgive them. What a tragic thought, isn't it? So, will I risk getting on some one's last white nerve to ask them the question, "Do you believe their is an after-life?" or "Do you think you are a good person?" Yes, yes I will.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

...desires the "Wait for It Moments"

"This is the 'Wait for It Moment'." I love seeing my children using their imagination.

"Ladies and gemtleman," he cried, "boys and girls." "Heeere's Erin!" Erin comes strolling into the room donning a blanket held around her neck by her hand. This is obviously a magical cape. Anyone can tell that.

I'm sitting there grinning at their conjoined effort to put on a magic show when Pearce admonishes me and instructs me to clap. I do my best golfer clap which is dwarfed immensely by Pearce's hardy applause.

Erin has placed one of my white laundry baskets on the bench with a blanket inside of it. She tells about each toy she puts into the basket. Then she covers it with another blanket and adds a few light books on top and then another blanket. (I'm going to have a load of laundry to do after this is, but if that is the fare for the show, it is worth it!) Erin loudly says her magic words which by the way, are not "hocus pocus." (I was corrected.) And without removing the top layers to show that the toys were missing beneath Erin said, "And the toys have disappeared." Pearce claps wildly giving me the look like, "Clap or I'll call the bouncer." So I clap and laugh. "Now to make it reappear." She swings her magical cape all around the laundry basket two or three times and says her magical words and begins removing the blankets and toys to reveal their appearance. To which I applaud.

Removing the basket, Erin says, "Do you see this blanket on the bench?" I nod still grinning. "I and my magic cape will make it disappear." Erin makes the grand gesture of sitting on the draped blanket. Looking at her audience, me, "This is the 'Wait For It Moment'." I am grinning bigger now almost chuckling. She slightly elevates off the bench trying to be ever so craft to slip the blanket off the bench towards the back. Then in one swoop, she and her magic cape swirl off the bench and to the side where she bows. Of course, I clap with enthusiasm trying not to eye the blanket on the floor.
I have to say when Erin told me, "This is the 'Wait for It Moment'," I truly was anticipating her next move to see how she was going to work out her magic. You know, anticipation is not a bad thing. It's not a bad thing at all. Too often we want things immediately and will do anything to have it immediately including throwing adult-sized temper tantrum for everyone to see. But what's wrong with waiting for it?
As Christians this life is completely our "Wait for It Moment." Our life here is temporary. This world is temporary. I am eagerly anticipating Jesus Christ's return. I am excited and am waiting for that moment while I live my daily life.

Are you eagerly awaiting the moment? I hope you are looking forward to it and are as excited as I am about His returning one day.

May your day and night be blessed with the "Wait For It Moments" and may you be thankful for them!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wants To Hear, "You are a good mom." "Mommy Buddies" are a blessing.

Erin is in the shower singing a praise and worship song, and Pearce is in the bathtub using his imagination and making sound effects. This is when I enjoy being a mom, but let's face it, it's not this relaxed at my house on a regular basis. After all, I'm raising two children who can be quite opposite, and one who has the propensity for pushing every button under the sun to keep his sister at her all-time drama high.

There are days when I am pushed to my wits end -- which can be a short trip. I feel more like a referee than a mom. I'm quoting my mother now, "If there is going to be bloodshed, take it outside." That always seemed to thwart mine and Lori's argument.

Have you ever been so exhausted or reached the point where it feels like every neuron in your body is firing at the same time just to have them start jumping on the last remaining frayed nerve? I have snapped. Sent them to bed without supper. Sent them to their rooms to stay the remainder of the day. And then, I've just plum lost my mind at times.

It's after these times that my sister and I call each other. We allow each other to vent, rant, rave, cry knowing that the other is still going to love our kids despite what we've said. And then once we're done letting it all out and feel like a shell, the other one says, "You're a good mom. You love your kids. You keep them healthy. You are teaching them about God and to love God." And we say other reaffirming but true statements. If you don't have someone who will reaffirm you, encourage you, love you when you feel like you are the biggest disappointment of a parent, I encourage you to find a "Mommy Buddy" who will speak truth into your life with love when you need it the most. You shouldn't swim without a buddy. You shouldn't go hiking in an unknown area without a buddy. You shouldn't hunt without a buddy, and you shouldn't parent without a buddy -- in the form of a woman who is in the trenches with you and fighting her own battles.

I can't tell you how helpful and healing and encouraging it is to hear, "You are a good mom." Because it doesn't matter what I do at work or where I volunteer at church. Because my primary ministry is in my home.

Ladies, God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He knew we weren't going to be perfect before He made us, and yet, He made us anyway. Just do the best with what you have and what you know. I have such a greater appreciation for God as the Father since becoming a parent and my children having reached the age of having their own opinions on things (BTW, I'm sure that is a genetic trait! :>).

Thankfully, our God is a forgiving and loving God. He gives us the tools we need to be the women He wants us to be, so just do your best and rely on Him for the rest whether it is with kids or with life in general. God bless.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shouldn't Rock a Baby If It Isn't Your Baby to Rock

Who can resist a cute, round, cherub of a baby? You just want to pick that little dahlin' up, kiss those cheeks, look into those eyes, and just love on that baby. My Erin came into this world with very round cheeks, and my husband called her "Squirrel" from early on. Pearce, on the other hand, was only skin, bones and nose, but he quickly fattened up and looked like a sumo wrestler. I love round babies...they just look healthy! I love bald babies and those toothless grins they give. I could just eat them up.

But my title is NOT referring to those kind of babies. One of my favorite sayings is "If it isn't your baby to rock, don't rock it." Meaning, if the problem isn't your problem, if the situation isn't yours then DO NOT CLAIM IT. DO NOT PICK IT UP. Because in this instance, if you pick up someone else's problems they are just likely to let you handle it to fruition. You'll be paying for that baby till it graduates college. Do you need another thing on your plate? NO! So, the next time you find yourself trying to butt into someone else's situation, just back yo' tiny hiney right on out of it. Put your nose on your own face and in your own business.

As women we take on so many things that can be avoided. Sometimes we take it on because we think, "If it is going to be done right, I'd better do it myself." As if there is only one right way to do a thing. If you think your way is the only way to do it right, sista, let me tell you it's this big baby called VANITY -- let it go. Let God handle it.

Sometimes we take on something because we think we can handle it because we are strong. After all, you've heard the saying, "I am woman hear me roar." Here's the reality, when we take on too many things you can only keep those plates spinning for so long before one, then another and another will fall and break. Will it be your family you sacrifice? Your health? Something will give. I assure you. It always does. Sista, this baby is called SELF-RELIANCE, and it is not Biblical. Does the Bible say when we are strong then He is strong? NO! God tells us when we are WEAK then HE can become STRONG. His strength is perfected in our weakness. Do you really want to rely on yourself or cast your burdens on Christ?

Sometimes we pick up babies (aka problems) because we feel guilty for saying the enormous word NO. Why is it so hard for women to say "no"? We don't want to disappoint. We don't want to let someone think less of us or that we are weak. COME ON! Who cares what THEY think!? We are here to serve the One. Practice saying the word "no" out loud. Say it over and over again till you get use to saying it, that way when you hear yourself saying it out loud in a conversation you won't be surprised. Practice different ways of saying "no." "No thank you." "No, I can't be on that committee." (Do you need to give them a reason -- NO) "No, I cannot help you with organizing a bake sell." "No, I cannot keep your children." DO NOT say, "I'd like to, but..." It is okay to say "no," and then walk away. There are times when you may say, "I'm already committed elsewhere, and my primary ministry is in my home."

One more thing about the word "no." It's okay to tell your children "no." It will not kill them. It will actually prepare them for the real world.

So, ladies, if you have picked up something that isn't your baby to rock, PUT IT DOWN and RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION! It is for the health of your family and for yourself. Aren't they worth it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

...Needs a Wife

A "Kristyism" is a phrase or word either I create, mess up or use. For example, "Every woman needs a wife." Now do we really NEED a wife? NO, but wouldn't it be nice? Wouldn't it be nice at the end of a day of work and picking up the kids and taking them to their events that you arrived home and the house was clean, the laundry was done, and an excellent meal was there for your family to consume? OH MY GOODNESS! I would think I had died and gone to heaven. Do you think we could put in our request for a mansion in heaven to have our own wives? That would be a little piece of heaven on Earth for me.

You know what else? She would be the one to go to the grocery store and buy supplies. She would be the one who would put away the laundry. I don't mind washing and drying them, and I fold them when I get to watch a little TV, but the putting away is such a drag! OH, and she would clean out the refrigerator when it needed it. This is awesome. I'm loving it. What else could we think up for her to do? Change dirty diapers for young moms. Take out the garbage since my husband can't seem to get his one job done (actually, he does, but not when and how I'd like it -- that's a blog for another day). Cleans up after dinner, so we can spend time with our family. Knows how to massage and gives me one once a week right before I go to bed. Okay, so I'm going out there a bit. The point is wouldn't it be nice to have someone to share your many roles, responsibilities, and commitments? And couldn't we justify so many of those.

If she did this, then I could _______________...(spend more time with my kids, finish remodeling the house, work on my scrapbooking, volunteer more, have more time for Bible study and my walk with God, work on my marriage).

I love the saying, "Women need a wife." It is something that most women would agree upon instantly creating unity, but if we look at it a little deeper, we may it's not as perfect as it seems. God's design for marriage and the home is perfect. The result of Eve's sin and the fall is that we are responsible. We are responsible for creating a loving environment in our homes. We are responsible for loving our spouses and children. We are responsible for the well-being of the little dahlins' God has entrusted to us. So what, the house isn't from "Better Homes and Gardens" and you can't eat off the kitchen floor. So what, your strong-willed child is wearing clothes that don't match. So what!

Our goals and priorities laid-out in the Bible and under the umbrella of protection of God's will and our husband's leadership should be our focus, and everything else will work itself out. We also have a powerful little word that is not used often enough, "no." Will you volunteer and do this? No, I can't but thanks for thinking of me. Would you pick up my kids and keep them after school this year? No, I don't think so. Would you make a casserole for this sick family in our class? Since we've turned down things that are not in our priorities and goals laid-out in the Bible or under the protection of God's will or husband's leadership, we have time to say "yes" to service, to help, to nurture. Saying "no" allows you to say "yes."

And did you know that telling your children "no" actually prepares them for the real world and it won't kill them?! (That's a blog for another day though)

Let's be wise women for God. And it doesn't hurt to have the dream of having a wife, does it? (Practice it. Say it.) NO.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Desires Blood

Yesterday at about 4:30 PM, I hear a thud, thud and then a loud cry come from the den. I had been in my bedroom trying to have a moments peace before fixing supper when the sound violently assaulted my tranquillity. I ran into the den to see Pearce holding his hand to his head and blood running down his little arm...never a good sign! I tried to find out what had happened as I scooped him up, but that was not going to happen. I ran him to the master bathroom because due to a flood (thanks to a hot water line to the kids bathtub rupturing on February 21st) I had concrete flooring and blood couldn't hurt it. I put him down not knowing if his arm, hand or head was injured. When I lowered his hand to clean it, blood started literally squirting from the top of his head up and into the sink! I put a damp rag on it thinking, "Well that can't be good." Come to find out all the blood was from a one inch gash at the crown of his head. I called my husband for him to call his brother who is a nurse to get his read on the situation while I called the doctor's office that was just about to close.

Erin said she saw the whole thing. She said Pearce had gotten down from the couch and started running when he hit a pillow on the floor and slipped and fell directly on his head. The decision was made to give Pearce some Tylenol and monitor his pupils if anything looked the least bit off we would go to the E.R. where they would run a CAT scan. I will do a lot of things to avoid the E.R. with Pearce. He has had to be in the hospital one time since he was born and trying to keep him contained is like trying to herd cats. He was everywhere. I couldn't imagine trying to get him still enough to do the scan! Within 30 minutes of the Tylenol Pearce was back to running. He has two speeds -- off and full throttle running! (Sometimes I have to wait for him to make the loop, so I can catch him.)

Patrick got nauseated just thinking about what had happened at the house while he was gone. This is the man who can gut and crawl up in a deer, but passes out at the sight of his own blood. When he cut his hand with the table saw about a month ago, I had to wheel him into the E.R. in a chair. The nurse wanted to know why since it was his hand that was cut. When I explained, all the nurse said was, "Oh, he's one of those."

All of this blood got me to thinking. "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus." We don't sing the hymns like we use to. I love some of those hymns.

Jesus Christ was willing to allow Himself to stay on the cross, spill His blood, drain Himself as He took on my sins all to redeem me, a wretched sinner who has been saved by grace. So, when I ask myself why did God allow something to happen, or when is God going to do this or that, I stop myself and remind myself that if He went through such an excruciating death for the likes of me before I was even born He isn't going to do something now that is to my detriment. My God is too good and too wise. So, I choose to trust Him knowing that I may not understand His ways because they are higher than my own, and I choose to trust He has my best interest at heart. He already proved that at the cross.

I don't know how many lives my son will have or how much blood he will shed in his lifetime, but I am thankful for the one Son who shed His blood for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can Appreciate the Difference Between Men and Women AND maintains relationships with her girlfriends

In college, I took at sociology class where they taught me if you treat a baby the same as the next regardless of gender the result would be children who were more uniform in behavior...or some sort of nonsense. You have to treat them differently from the time they are born. Think about it...when you change a baby boy's diaper, you are more likely to get sprayed than you would if you were changing a baby girl (and that is just the physical nature). During a diaper change, my son FOUND himself at 6 months of age! When Pearce was about 1 1/2 years old, he grabbed two of Erin's baby dolls and started slamming them together making car noises. Did I teach him that? Heavens NO! At age 2 1/2, my son started sporting a mustache that would make most teenagers jealous. I had to stop buying little jon-jons and the cute little baby boy clothes because they just looked ridiculous on him with his mustache. His mustache is the barometer I check for his behavior. When it is dark, I can expect a phone call from day care. When his mustache is missing, I expect a visit to the doctor's office because he is ill. So, I'm pretty happy with somewhere in between. Boys, especially mine, fascinate me. I can sometimes see the wheels in his mind rolling and connecting the dots to the next mischievous event or adventure.

I'm not so mesmerized by girls because I am one and I grew up with a sister. I just finished reading a book that I bought at the She Speaks conference this year titled Shepherding a Woman's Heart by Beverly White Hislop. She identifies the difference between very succinctly. Women are relationship-based, and men are task-oriented. When men try to "fix" a problem a woman has and goes about it the way he would another man, it's going to get screwed up. I don't want Patrick to "fix" my problems. I want him to listen to me. I want him to empathize with me, but sometimes he just can't for whatever reasons. This is why girlfriends are so crucial, so critical to the mental well-being of women. And when I say "girlfriends," I mean the kind of girlfriends you can call in a crisis or when something wonderful happens. A girlfriend who has seen you without your make-up in the morning or during a physical labor day. A girlfriend who will sit with you and let you blubber like a baby when the pain feels like it will swallow you up. A girlfriend who can make you laugh so hard that coke comes out your nose or make you almost pee in your pants. A girlfriend who is not threatened by you in any way in any area, and you aren't threatened by her in any area or any way. A girlfriend who is genuine and transparent, whose friendship lasts decades.

Women need women and that is okay. Women need to love on women. Women need to realize it is great being a woman and stop trying so hard to fight like a man, be in the business world like a man, and to be in the professional world like a man. Women like Condoleeza Rice who embraced femininity and was still able to earn the respect of her peers which were primarily MEN. I work in a field that when I started was primarily men, and I loved it. I had an edge where they did not. Celebrate being the woman God created you to be. You are a daughter of the King if you've asked Jesus into your heart, so act like it. Your value comes from Him who made you fearfully and wonderfully. We are women, and it is good!

Friday, August 7, 2009

...Need to See Grace

When I was in junior high and high school, I was a cheerleader, a very skinny cheerleader. It didn't matter what I ate or how much I ate, I burned it off (Oh how I miss that aspect of puberty!). For a cheerleader that meant one thing, I was a flyer. For those who are unschooled in cheerleading, it means I was thrown on top of the mounds and stunts. When we would practice the mounds, I would practice with my shoes off (red-neck style) because I could use my toes to latch onto the collar bone of my base to maintain balance until I was comfortable with the stunt. I had no problem sticking to a mound. It's when I was required to walk on my own two feet that issues arose. I never played basketball for the simple fact that it required me to not only walk but run AND dribble at the same time. That was just a calamity waiting to happen. In a time of life where the extremities grow at an alarming rate to the point the body has trouble compensating for their awkwardness, grace IS NOT something exercised. Do you remember just trying to look normal? Being graceful was way down the list, and truth be known there are days I still have issues of grace.

But the grace I was referring to in my title is not that of physical aptitude; it's a spiritual one. I recently had an opportunity to witness it in my home between my son and husband. It afforded a wonderful opportunity to teach Pearce the definition of grace.

Pearce is four years old and attends the daycare at our church and school. He will be starting Pre-K 4 this fall, and his teacher has been elevated higher on my prayer list. To give you a little background on my little man, you need to know first of all he is precious and he is beautiful and good lookin'. He also happens to be adopted, so if you see the picture of my family and wonder how in the world this child got his beautiful coloring, it's not because I blessed him with it. One other bit of information, he is the answer to my mother's prayers. I thought by adopting I would circumvent her prayer because I was not swimming in my own gene pool to have children. God DOES HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR! Pearce is the answer to my mother's prayers. He is strong-willed and determined (knows what he wants in this world and knows how he is going to get and whoa be to the person who stands in his way -- which is typically me!). He is full of movement and life and when he smiles his whole face lights up, and his laughter is contagious. But Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, he was not laughing at daycare.

Pearce had become frustrated about having to go to daycare knowing his sister was at home with a babysitter who is also keeping my niece. I had contemplated allowing her to keep Pearce as he is her favorite, but Pearce adds a different element to things when he is with Erin and my niece. So, we opted to keep him in daycare. As time progressed the frustration turned to anger and told me on more than one occasion he wanted to be with me.

On Tuesday, I received a call from Mrs. Sharon at daycare saying that Pearce had been disruptive and had hit his teacher when it was time to come inside from playing. She asked if I would like to talk to Pearce (translated: Talk to the boy!) I told him how disappointed I was, and we talked about what I expected to hear from his teacher when I picked him up that afternoon. I also told him if the daycare called me about him hitting someone, I would be bringing my wooden spoon up to the daycare to take the necessary steps to get his attention. I did not get any calls that afternoon.

Wednesday morning, however, before 9:30 AM, Mrs. Kathy from the daycare called saying Pearce had hit a child. I told her I was on my way. I think she was a bit surprised by that. So, I arrived at the daycare with my wooden spoon in hand and retrieved Pearce from Mrs. Kathy's office. We went to a restroom that was completely unoccupied to take care of the matter. (My sister and I subscribe to the Rapture and Transformation form of discipline -- you rapture the little dahlin' to another room to transform their behavior.) I sat down on the chair, and I looked him in the face and told him I loved him. He said he knew. And I asked him the reason why I had been called. He was completely honest. I reminded him of what the consequences were and about our conversations. Then I reminded him about another part of our conversation. He was suppose to leave on Friday to go see his "G" in Mississippi and stay for a week. I told him she was going to have 6 kids there in all, and I was not going to send him if he continued to show me this ugly behavior. When I reminded him of that caveat of our conversation, huge tears flowed down his face, "But I want to go." He then bent over my lap, and I spanked him. He cried more over not going to Mississippi than over the spanking. I let him stand in his correction for a moment, and then I loved on him telling him I loved him and I knew he could do better. Reluctantly, he went back to his class, and I went back to work.

The other person involved in this story is my husband. He has been struggling with a particular area in his life, and it has affected every area of his life including his family. Thankfully, my husband is a teachable man -- Praise the Lord. He listens to wise counsel -- Thank you, Jesus. When I told him about the events of the day, he asked if I would be willing to reconsider if he talked to Pearce. He said he felt some of Pearce's behavior was a reflection of what he was struggling with personally, and when Patrick steps up to take a leadership role that I've been praying for him to do, I choose to submit.

When we were all at home, the three of us sat down in the den to talk. Patrick confessed his struggle to Pearce in terms he could understand, and they talked about the consequences of his own actions and behaviors and the consequences of Pearce's. Then he asked Pearce if he knew what "grace" was. I explained that grace is getting something better than we deserve. For example, his bad behavior deserved him not to go to Mississippi, but we were going to exercise grace and allow him to go. We were giving him something he hadn't earned or deserved. Oh, the joy on Pearce's face! How could you not love that face? I asked him what grace meant, and he understood in his own terms.

There are times when we have to stick to our grounds, but there are times when we need to exercise grace. When we practice grace, it is a huge opportunity to explain to our children the eternal benefits of practicing grace and extending it to others. This just sets up perfectly the conversation to come about how Jesus showed the most excellent form of grace towards us while we were still sinners in dying for us. There is no greater love than that.

I was so touched by watching grace unfold in my home at the heart and knee of my husband to the heart and face of my son.

May you receive grace today in a special way and may you extend grace to those around you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Need to Know that Other Women Get It

There is something so sweet about the fellowship of women -- the sound of laughter, the sound of their voices blending in song and worship, the feel of being embraced by a sister in Christ, the feeling of compassion from another when our heart is breaking. I just love women who love Jesus and have a heart for women.

Women need other women. We are communal in nature. It is how we were designed to be...that's not to say we don't like our quiet, alone times though (I refer to those moments as my Mental Health Moments).

How comforting is it to have a woman come up alongside when we are struggling in our lives, and they understand where we are? Especially when they don't try to fix us. How blessed are we when we have a girlfriend who allows us to vent, rant and rave and act like a lunatic just so we can get it out of our system in order to handle and live with our family? How sweet is it to get an encouraging e-mail, phone call, text or card from another sister saying, "God loves you and so do I"? The warmth of this kind of friendship is like a soft blanket out of the dryer on a cool day. You just want to snuggle down in it and stay for a while.

What kind of friend are you? Are you the kind of friend that you look for in others? Just curious.

Last night, we had a women's ministry meeting at my church, and I was blessed to be in the company of other women who get it. The common thread that coursed through us was the love of our Heavenly Father. It was bonding. You know, it's hard to have a disagreement or hear negative, snide remarks when we are limited to saying things in a positive manner and praising God. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit made His presence known. What a sweet time of fellowship and worship! Thank you, Jesus.

Of course there was food -- it wouldn't be a Baptist event if there wasn't food. There was laughter. I introduced the women on the team by the movie star who would play them in a movie. Jean Davis' movie star was a hit -- Mae West! And as we had the women move from table to table based on different categories like month of their birth and so forth, the questions went from light-hearted with women laughing to the simple question of "Tell Me Three Things You Struggle With." I participated some, but when I started feeling the Holy Spirit moving, I got up and went and sat alone to watch His work unfold. I saw women exposing their hearts; other women grabbing their hands and encouraging them with scripture; I saw women laying hands on another praying for her. To say it was an awesome experience would be an understatement.

Then we went into a time of prayer -- corporate prayer. Corporate prayer incorporates quiet time to listen and feel the Spirit lead you in a word or sentence prayer as led by the leader. It was POWERFUL! Thank you, Jesus!

Women are hungry to know that what they are going through is not unique to them. To hear that what they are experiencing and what they are feeling are normal and that they will make it through to the other side.

Women are hungry to connect to their Savior and to other women, and I was blessed to see women connect to both this past Tuesday night.

I had been praying for this meeting for some time and started praying for the women by name who were invited to attend. There is something very personal when you pray for someone by name. And what is awesome to know is it doesn't just happen in one particular denomination. It is a direct result of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I attended Proverbs 31 Ministries -- She Speaks Conference in North Carolina this year and met some wonderful new friends through an old friend. I went to classes where I didn't know a soul, but the women there were after one minister to women and love women as God would lead them.

Isn't it nice to know that another woman gets it? She gets where your heart is. She gets what it means to have an active relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for those women in my life...and you know who I'm talkin' about girlfriends! I love ya.

Needs Surprise and I Found It in My Front Yard

I live right outside the city limits of Shreveport on approximately three acres of land. We enjoy the quiet out here, but things aren't always as tranquil as I'd like.

We were having an unusual summer storm with driving rain, thunder and lightning when "Biscuit" and my husband arrived home. "Biscuit" is the nickname of one of my husband's subcontractors and is a country boy if there ever was one. My children ran out onto the front porch to greet their daddy when they all heard a loud thud. Not the boom of thunder or a crack from lightning touching its mark but a thud. Much to every one's surprise a large raccoon fell out of the tree and hit the ground.

Now, I need to explain that when you live in the country people have a habit of dropping off animals they don't want. A few months prior to this stormy Monday someone so lovingly dropped off an old, red pit bull dog. I will confess. I am not a fan of pit bulls especially of ones that I don't know their background or how the were raised or treated, but this dog didn't go anywhere. It didn't help that my husband kept feeding it, and Pearce kept loving on it. Pearce loves dogs. He told everyone that "Big Red" was a bull-headed dog, and I'd have to correct him, "Pearce, you are the bull-headed one. Big Red is a pit bull." As a general rule Big Red was a very lazy dog, but when that raccoon fell out of the tree something awoke inside of him. I had never seen him react so quickly. He pounced on that poor raccoon.

It happened so quickly. The first thing I heard was Erin, my eight, year-old daughter and known drama queen, begin to wail, "Don't kill the raccoon! Don't let him kill the raccoon!" I sprinted to the door to see Big Red flailing the poor raccoon back and forth, back and forth, and large tears rolling down Erin's face. Pushing the kids inside the house, Erin went to her room, and Pearce made a b-line to the office window to see what happened next. After all, for a little boy this is Wild Kingdom in his own front yard. How much more exciting could it possibly get?

Biscuit approached Big Red to retrieve the raccoon (Could this sound anymore redneck?). Big Red released the coon, and Biscuit realized the coon was gravely wounded but not completely dead. Now remember, it is pouring down rain, thundering and lightning. Suffice it to say he had to end the coon of his suffering by slinging it against the tree, and to make sure the dogs didn't get at the carcass, he threw it on top of MY HOUSE!!!! (I tried not to think about it being up there.)

Later that night, Pearce was playing in the bathtub while I was taking off my makeup when he paused and looked up at me, "You know, that coon could come through the ceiling." Being all too aware of how Pearce's mind works, I knew it wouldn't be long before he realized that Biscuit had thrown that poor coon close to Erin, our little tree-hugger's, room, and he would use this to torment his sister. "Pearce, the raccoon doesn't weigh enough to come through the ceiling. Let's drop the discussion."

Foolishly I thought we were through with it, and I had forgotten about it until the next morning when I opened the double doors to the nursery where Pearce began talking about how Biscuit had slung that coon against the tree to kill it because...

Can I just say, I was mortified. As quickly as I could, I snatched him over to the side to nip his regaling the whole story. I explained that there were some things women didn't necessarily want to hear, especially little girls. I told him if he felt he needed to tell some one he could tell his friends who were boys, and that seemed to satisfy him.

This past weekend I went to Proverbs 31 -- She Speaks Conference in North Carolina, and as I told these stories, I was encouraged to write them down, to start blogging more regularly. My stories come from things that happen in my life or things I observe with my own warped twisted sense of humor. I believe God has a sense of humor; otherwise, He wouldn't have established puberty. He wouldn't have allowed my adopted children to answer the prayers of my mother-n-law and know the one, "I hope you have at least one child just like you." And He wouldn't have given us the gift of laughter.
So I hope you laugh. I pray that you at least smile, and if you like, leave a comment.

Needs Laughter and Found It in Duct Tape

Many have heard of Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck," but within the past few months my life has been one redneck story duct taped to another.

One Saturday morning I took a stab at being an exceptionally kind wife. I was going to let my husband sleep in, so I loaded up my two children and a little girlfriend of my daughter's and took them to Southern Maid Donuts -- YUMMY! I got them in the car, made sure everyone was buckled up, turned my rear-view mirror down, so I could see their happy, little faces and so I could referee any upcoming arguments. With everyone in place, I put my car in reverse and began backing up.

Now let me preface this by saying, my husband rarely if ever parks behind me. Did I see his vehicle parked behind me as I exited the house? Of course I did, but did I mention I had three little people with me? The night before Patrick parked about eight to ten feet behind me which means I had so momentum when I plowed into the front of my husband's Tahoe. To say we were stunned by the impact would be a mild understatement. I pulled forward and got out to inspect the damage. Now my momma always says, "If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability." I did not let her down. My trunk was so crinkled it made me cringe. I lost a taillight and the back quarter panel was pushed forward but not into the tire. Then I looked at Patrick's chrome bumper -- NOT A SCRATCH!

I decided to go ahead and take the kids to Southern Maid because truthfully I need to craft how my conversation with my husband would go in my head. The kids enjoyed their sugar-high treat, and when we returned home, Pearce said, "I'm going to go see daddy." Translated, "I can't wait to tell daddy about what you did to the car!" I told him that I would speak with daddy first. I grabbed the bear claw donut and cup of coffee I had purchased to wake my husband in a good mood and headed in to face the firing squad.

It's strange, the conversation I crafted in my head went nothing what actually transpired. Proverbs 21:14 says, "A gift given in secret soothes anger, and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath," so as I claimed this verse I handed Patrick his coffee and donut. He was quite pleased to be awakened at 9:15 AM in such a generous way. Then I told him I had bad news. I told him I had backed into his truck and had done a good number on my trunk. For a brief moment there was excitement in his eyes. "Did you total the truck?" "No," I answered. The look of hope faded. As I told him my story making sure I kicked myself for my carelessness, he listened. When I finished, he said, "That's not all that bad. I just wished you would have totaled my truck. This is why we have insurance."

Patrick enjoyed his donut and coffee and got dressed. As he and Pearce went outside to inspect the damage I heard Pearce tell his daddy, "It was awesome!"

You must be wondering by now about the duct tape. Hang with me; it's coming.

My husband was taking the kids to a birthday party with a water slide and wanted to take a chair to sit in. Yes, the chairs were in the trunk of my car where I also kept an ice chest. Doesn't every mom who has kids in sports have chairs and ice chest among other things in their trunk? He told me he was going to go and get them out. I told him not to because the trunk wouldn't close again, and he said sure it would, and opened it against my wish.

Did it close? NOOOOOO! He was running late, so he told me he would take care of it. You see, I was headed to the hospital to visit a dear, elderly lady. I had gotten dressed in a linen, summer dress, cute matching shoes, pearl necklace and had a sweater to take because hospitals can get quite cool. Patrick had left with the kids when I walked out to find he had DUCT TAPE the trunk of my car shut. There was an asterisk on either side of my trunk connecting it to the quarter panel and two strips connecting the rear of the deck lid to the bumper. IT WAS NO ORDINARY DUCT TAPE. IT WAS CAMO DUCT TAPE!!!!!! Like many of you, I had no clue they made camo duct tape, but it makes perfect sense since duct tape is the tool of choice for many rednecks (I know this from experience...a lot of experience). I had just never seen it in camouflage.

So, I began my trek to the hospital, and as I was driving on the four-laned road to the hospital something caught my eye in the rear-view mirror that was now in it's proper position. The duct tape had released and every time I hit a bump (which on Louisiana roads are frequent) the trunk would bob up duct tape in tact. At the next red light, I got out in my cute, summer, linen dress, pearls, cute matching shoes and ran to the back of my car to lower the trunk and press down the duct tape. The light turned green and I proceeded realizing the trunk was free to bob on every bump, so at the next light I got out in my cute, summer, linen dress, pearls, cute matching shoes and ran to the rear of my car to press down the camouflage duct tape. THERE ARE 18 LIGHTS BETWEEN MY HOUSE AND THE HOSPITAL. I know this because I counted. After about the fifth light, I was sweaty and not appreciating the humor of the situation at all, so I just decided to let the trunk bob and if stuff fell out, it fell out. I was determined to go visit my 96 year-old friend in the hospital.
While I visited my friend, I regaled my story of my drive in knowing she would appreciate the humor in it. As I sat there, I thought, "I bet that tape has released again exposing the contents of my trunk. I bet someone steals my stuff." Then I thought, "If someone steals the stuff out of my trunk, they are having a worse time than I am, and they can have it."

That night I posted my mishap and pursuing comedy on Facebook because I figured there were other people in the world who could use a laugh, and in my family, if you can't laugh at yourself, you better learn.

On Sunday morning at our pancake breakfast, a support staff at our church came up to me and told me she laughed so hard that her husband wanted to know what she was laughing at. She said he laughed too. Then she turned and called her husband from across the cafeteria, "Hey, Honey, this is the girl that has the camo duct tape on her car."

Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Sometimes it's a choice to have a cheerful heart. There are times when it is easy to find something to laugh at, and other times it is more difficult. May you find joy today in your life. May you find something to be thankful for. May you find something to smile about. May you find something to be thankful for.

My car is repaired now, but the story has given quite a few a good chuckle, and I hope you have enjoyed it too.