Friday, September 25, 2009

...Loves Winnie the Pooh and the Sweet Spot

Who doesn't love Winnie the Pooh? He has a sweet voice. He's kind to his friends, and he loves honey.

Right now, I'm sitting and enjoying a honey spot. You know, occasionally we are blessed to spend a moment or two in a really sweet spot. My kids are doing great in school. We are playing soccer and loving our coaches and the time we get to spend together exercising. My marriage is in a sweet place, and life is going well with only minor bumps along the way this week. I am so thankful when God chooses to bless me with times like these. I don't want to take them for granted. I want to sit and savor. I want to enjoy each moment in the sweet times because I know they don't last just like the other times don't last.

When I picked Pearce up from Awanas this week the ladies told me they had a discussion as to the nutritioinal merit of about nothing but sweetness. One of the ladies thought they would classify marshmellows as a protein. Pearce, listening to their conversation, chose this time to correct his teacher. He told her that marshmellows were definitely not a protein. She took the bag and sure enough it wasn't. Surprised by his knowledge in this area, she asked me how he knew that. You see, Erin has been studying nutrition in school, and Pearce is a sponge. When I quiz Erin at home about nutrition he's there. He's listening and learning third grade nutrition and history, and he chose to pass along his knowledge to his teacher. Marshmellows are definitely not proteins. They are all sugar.

Have you noticed that sweet things have their own sweet smell? Cakes, cookies, fresh-baked bread. YUM! You know when someone has been baking as soon as you step into their home. Just like Erin's learning of nutrition spilled over to Pearce and Pearce to his teacher, so should our sweetness. When I'm in a sweet spot, when you are in a sweet spot, we shouldn't hord it and keep it all to ourselves. We should let it overflow to those around us. We should allow the sweetness of God permeate the air around because He is sweet, and He's sweet on you. II Corinthians 2:14 -- 15 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

The aroma of Christ...go and be the aroma of Christ today.

His Daughter,


Monday, September 21, 2009 excited

I am excited. It's hard not to be when you see God working in the lives of those around you. Yesterday in Sunday school we had 19 in the all-women's class, and it was an awesome time of sharing. I love it when one shares her heart and her concern, and another speaks up and says, "I've been there. Let me tell you what happened." That to me is AWESOME! I love it! The class has women from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, a couple who have fought cancer, a couple going through divorce, a few young ladies just starting careers, and an older lady here and there. I LOVE the diversity. God is so creative -- why would I want to be around people just like myself when there are so many women out there, each with their own story to tell. And I just love stories...even ones that aren't redneck ones.

This coming Sunday is the kick-off for women's ministry, and I am to address the women of my church. I'm not nervous about speaking in front of that many women. I just want to speak in confidence that the words given to me are from the Lord, and that is my prayer as I work on the power point.

I can't wait to see what God has in store. He is so faithful for which I am very grateful.

His Daughter,


Saturday, September 19, 2009 humbled.

Have you ever been to a conference that has been overwhelming, volumous, uplifting, encouraging, affirming and confirming? Do you walk away from it exhausted? I am slap worn out after being in a wonderful women's conference today from 9 AM to 3 PM. Of course, I still had to come home, change the sheets, get the kids to clean their rooms, straighten the den, do laundry, etc., etc., etc., because when I'm not there it doesn't get done unless it's Georgina's week to come and clean the house. Thank you, God, for creating a wonderful woman named Georgina who prays while she cleans and does a good job to your glory.

I know I am suppose to be doing this without a doubt, and I know what God has given me is from Him because He confirms it every chance He gets, but it is still a scary thing to step into not only leadership, but the leadership of a ministry. There will be a lot that I will be held accountable for in the days and years to come, and a lot I will have to answer to the Lord for, so I want to make sure that when I speak, it is He who is speaking through me. When I move forward towards a plan or a purpose, that it is He who has put that plan or purpose in my heart. I want to be led. Is that odd for a leader to say? Especially a natural born leader as I was described today by someone who didn't even know me. Maybe, but that has to be a God-thing too.

I know He has been preparing me. I see it in what He has me studying. I see it in whom He has exposed me to. I see it in the limited training I've received and the books I've read. He has blessed me already in the women He has chosen as the Women in Ministry team. He has blessed me with a sense of humor and the ability to see His hand working. He has blessed me with knowledge and wisdom that can only have come from Him because apart from Him I am nothing. If I open my mouth and say anything of value, it is Him. Otherwise I am as a tinkling symble like Paul wrote. If I have understanding and guidance it is because He gave it to me. Apart from Him, I would fall on my face as well as this ministry. And with Him, I fall on my face but not in failure, but in awe reverence and appreciation for His willingness to use someone like me. Make me an instrument, O Lord. Make me a conduit. You are the Potter. I am the clay. Clay isn't rigid. It's moldable and flexible to the Master's hands and plans.

I love you, Lord.

Your Daughter,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

...Is in a Funk

You know, I don't know where today got off track. Was it an e-mail I received that rubbed me the wrong way? Was it God adding more responsibility to my ministry? Was it my son who got an A in school for conduct but an F at home? Or was it the drama from my little princess?

Did I intend for my attitude to tank? NO.
Did I intend on going from thriving to surviving -- with that in question too? NO
Did I want to have to exert so much energy on discipline? No, why can't we all just get along.

Regardless of why or when it happened, it happened. My home is in a constant state of remodeling. There's loads of laundry after loads. And you know, I just didn't get loved on much today

Do you ever have days like that? It's like static...just annoying. So what do I do? Do I just sit and stew in it? What do you do?

I have to admit sometimes I like to eat my comfort food -- bacon cheeseburger from Sonic, tater tots and a LARGE Coke, or any kind of chocolate ice cream. But I've noticed a bulge around my middle so that's out. I'm in a serious funk and need to snap out of it.

Then I open the Word of God to the verse me and my ladies are learning this week. Philippians 4:8, "...Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

I hate it when something I teach kicks me in the rear-end, but there is no denying this verse. "Fix" -- three letters, small word, big action. Don't take my mind off of the good things. When I want to head South, direct my thoughts back and keep doing it until I'm able to keep my ADHD mind on it. Pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise -- The silence at the end of this day is lovely. The men who cut my lawn -- admirable hard workers. My husband who is still working to provide for his family -- worthy of praise. The last hug and kiss of the night from a little boy who just got out of bed -- lovely.

I am blessed, and tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

...Is Thankful that God is God (Red-neck snow skiing)

My kids love it when my husband and I tell them stories...stories about us during our growing up years (obviously those are hand-selected and words carefully chosen so as to not give any ideas), stories about each of them (especially their adoption stories), and stories we make-up. Tonight's story featured a little of my redneck past. It goes something a little like this...

During the winter of one of my junior high years, we actually got some snow and a lot of ice. At that time, my daddy drove a Ford Festiva...aka Sardine Can. Unbeknownst to us, he had thrown in two sets of rubber boots, two sets of work gloves and a rope. He told my mom he was going to take us for a ride to see all the snow and ice...he obviously hadn't told her his plans either.

Lori and I bundled up and jumped in the car. Daddy drove us further into our hilly and curvey subdivision and told us to get out of the car. We were giggling because we just never knew what creative and fun thing daddy would come up the way, this was before the trip to North Carolina in the bed of a pickup truck (see prior blog).

Daddy had Lori and I put on the boots and the gloves. Then he wrapped the rope around the back bumper, and he said he was going to teach us how to snow ski (obviously redneck style). So, Lori held onto one end of the rope as I held on the other. For a while we were happy going up and down the hills. We laughed while our noses froze, eyes watered from the cold, and fingers and toes became numb. Then without any warning, daddy makes a sharp right turn. Did I mention that Lori and I were wearing men's, large, rubber boots, squatting behind a Ford Festiva, holding onto a rope, "skiing" red-neck style?

Daddy in the Ford Festiva made a quick whip to the right, and Lori and I went flying off toward the left and landed in the ditch. At this point, daddy is laughing hysterically. Lori and I are stunned and are trying to climb out of the ditch that is coated with snow and ice, but shortly realize the humor in it and the fun in it.

You've no doubt heard the phrase, "hit the ditch," but I bet you didn't know it originated during the red-neck, snow skiing competition in the Red-Neck Olympics. Daddy slungs us around every curve and every corner in the neighborhood. If there was a ditch we missed, I would be surprised.

We spent the rest of the time being flung from one ditch to the other. Then one of our neighbor friends saw and wanted to join in on the fun. It's really amazing we didn't kill each other or get seriously mamed.

I'm not really sure when we told momma about that adventure...if it was that evening when we were so sore we could barely walk or if it was when we were in our 20s.  You see, when we were with daddy if he told us our switch was off it meant we were not to breathe a word of what took place, so there were things momma didn't find out until we were in our 20s. I told daddy that he has to teach my kids about the switch. I survived daddy's crazy ideas and antics, and I figure they will too, but I'd like to live without knowing all the details.

I'm teaching a lady's Sunday school class, and we're going through the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Demoss. In it one of the lies we believe about God is that God is just like our earthly fathers.

In case you haven't noticed, I am a daddy's girl, but not everyone has a good daddy, so comparing God to the likes of our earthly father is devastating to them. We also have to realize that by putting God in the box with our earthly fathers, we are restricting and confining and limiting His ability to work in and through us.

There is a book called The Shack by William Young, and some people wouldn't read it because He put God outside of the box. He allowed God to become what the main character needed in order to meet the character where he was in his life. It really made me think. We apply our limited, finite knowledge based on our human exposure and experience to a God with whom we can barely wrap our mind around. A God who is omniscient, omnipresent,  who has no beginning or end, who is the Alpha and Omega, who is so many things and has so many unknown attributes that He can't possibly fit in a box. I think we need to destroy the box and allow God the freedom to communicate to us the way He chooses, to love on us the best way which His way alone, to fix and heal us as He wills.

My prayer is that God will remove the scales from our eyes, our hearts and our minds and that we will start looking to see how God is moving in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I pray that we choose to open our eyes, ears, heart, and mind expecting God to show up, expecting to hear a word from Him, expecting to see Him working in everything. Everything including when we screw things up because He's that good -- He can take whatever I mess up and work it out for my good. Is that not an awesome God we serve?

I love my daddy, but I'm glad my Heavenly Father is not like my daddy because I already have a daddy. What I need is my God.

His Daughter,


Friday, September 11, 2009

...Celebrates Life (Big Girl Panties Are NOT Optional -- They are a must)

I was at TJ Max today killing time until the christian bookstore opened when I found the perfect craft table to put into my new craft room. It came up to my bellybutton and was about three feet square. There was a three feet square of metal beneath that set about one foot off the ground, and on top of the table was a small shelf like area. It was absolutely perfect...wooden top, metal legs, too cute. AND there were two of them, but there wasn't a price tag on either. I really hate shopping and not finding price tags on items...a personal pet peeve, so I hunted down an assistant. I was so excited about my find I walked six feet ahead of her pointing the direction. When we arrived at said craft tables, she paused and looked at me and said, "Ma'am, those are not craft tables. They don't have price tags because they are the display tables." Well, that just made me want it more because I knew noone else would have it! It was and is the perfect craft table...did I mention that?

I don't know about you, but I can so easily get distracted by the most bizzare things, irrelevant things, superficial things at times. I do know people though who are so tightly wound that their "drawers get in a wad" when these small things don't go the way they planned or the way they thought it should go. To these people I say, "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. Life is too short." I'm also reminded of this today being 9/11 for a couple of reasons. One is for the obvious, and the other is because of what happened on 9/11/2001. (The obvious is that it's my birthday -- HELLO!)

I bet somewhere in the world there is a woman who wished her husband had come home, a child wishing she could know her mom, someone still mourning the loss of their best friend, and then there is the person so wrapped up in their own lives that the smallest things causes them to go into a tailspin.

After 2001, when people use to hear it was my birthday, they would tilt their heads and nod. You know the look, and it use to annoy me. But over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to celebrate life on my birthday...after all today is my BIRTHday. I use this opportunity to tell those who wish me well and to wish me a Happy Birthday how much I love them and appreciate them because what I learned in 2001 is that they can be gone in the blink of an eye. I don't get to tell everyone who wishes me well that, but I make my rounds. On September 11, 2001, we learned the meaning of life. It should be celebrated and cherished.

Love on those who mean something to you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

...Needs to Know that when I Land on My Face, He Will Be There (Ziplines are optional)

Have you ever seen someone fall on their face? Not figuratively, but literally?

Tonight, we were at my in-laws home, and the kids were playing in the backyard. Pearce was about to attempt the zipline. I talked him through sitting on the edge of the platform that was well above my head and holding onto the bar. I began pulling the dropline, and he leaned forward and held on for dear life as he zipped across the spacial yard to the connecting tree. He was still a good three feet off the ground, so I put my arms around his waist and lowered him to the ground. His adrenalyn was pumping. He was ready to do it again.

Erin was now on the platform, and she has done this several times with her male cousins, but tonight she was hesitant. So, I talked her through the same steps as I did with Pearce. She sat on the edge of the platform, held onto the bar above her head, stood on the steps and leaned forward. She glided all of two feet when the line bounced because it had felt the weight of her body. When the line bounced, Erin's hands slipped.

Everything moved in slow motion. I was standing a foot away, and I could see her falling, but I was still thinking she would land on her feet and then roll. And in a split second I realized Erin was NOT going to land on her feet because she was falling with her body parallel to the ground. How in the world she managed that I do not know, but she landed flat on her face and stomach, legs extended. I got her up and held her to me unsure of what if any damage had been done. It was really hard to say because she was crying so loudly. I think it scared her more than it hurt her.

I ordered her daddy to go get a wet washcloth because he was standing on the back patio watching everything. I raised her face up, so I could see if I needed to be moving her towards a vehicle to go to the emergency room. The gums around her upper teeth were bleeding a little, but I didn't see any further damage. An emergency room visit had been averted.

How do you fall flat on your face? How does one fall parallel to the ground? Only me or my daughter...I wasn't named Grace for a reason because if there is a way, I could do it without trying just like Erin did tonight.

How often do we try something expecting God to catch us only to find He not only didn't catch us, He didn't even have a safety net under us? Sometimes it's not us trying something. Sometimes it's just life. Sometimes life happens, and we are get knocked down. Have you ever wondered where God is? Why didn't He catch me? Why did He let this happen? How can He say He's a good God when He's not protecting me or answering my prayers? Why did He allow me to get hurt?

Am I alone? I am not of the school that believes you shouldn't ask God questions or His reasoning. He created me. He KNOWS I'm going to ask questions. He knows that if I'm hurt I've got questions. He knows that if I'm not hearing His voice, I'm going to ask, "Where are you, and why aren't you talking to me?"

As a matter of fact in August of 2000, my husband and I had gone through failed fertility treatments and failed privated adoption, and I just didn't feel like God was hearing me. The company I worked for moved me back to Dallas for three or four months to do some training. I would be there during the week without my husband and my friends and my church family. I had already gotten angry with God, so I didn't even pack my Bible.

One night while I was living in the extended stay hotel, I called my mom sobbing because I felt like I was in a pitch black pit standing on the end of a post and being told to move forward. There was no echo, and when I tried to feel for my next step there was nothing there. God was wanting me to move without any guidance as to where to place my foot. He kept reassuring me that when I would put  my foot down, He would have the next step there for my sure footing. It was impressed on my if I didn't move forward the post I was standing on would eventually give way and just drop out from beneath me. I had prayed and prayed and told God I would go wherever He wanted me to go, do whatever He wanted me to do in order to find the child He had created for me to adopt. But all I got was silence (or so I thought). No crickets chirping or anything. It was then I called my mom.

I was in the pit of dispair and depression, overwhelming depression that I thought I would suffocate me by its weight. I told my mom how angry I was with God, and she allowed me to rant and rave and get it out of my system. Then, as usual, she calmly said, "Kristy, how's that working for you?"

She really knows how to take the steam out of a situation. She asked, "Kristy, when was the last time you had a quiet time?"

"Didn't you hear me? I'm not talking to God. What kind of God wants me to call Him Father when He won't even speak to me? What kind of Father just lets His daughter feel like this? I'm not talking to God."

"Kristy, a quiet time is when God talks to you." She said, "In the morning, I want you to get up and read your Bible and have a quiet time."

With a smirk I said, "I didn't bring my Bible."

"I'm sure the good Gideon's left a Bible in the drawer by your bed. So in the morning, you're going to get up and read and have a quiet time. You're going to eat a healthy breakfast, take a vitamin, go to work, eat a healthy lunch and after work, you're going to go to the gym and work out. Then the day after that, you're going to get up and do the same. And the day after that. And the day after that."

I agreed because she was my momma, and she told me to do something. I was taught to obey and respect my parents and this has carried over into adulthood. I remember it very clearly. I woke up, broke out the Gideon Bible, and began reading the Proverbs of the day, and I started to laugh.

"That's subtle, God, real subtle." The date was August 29th, and the first verse of Proverbs 29 talks about the stiff-necked fool. It was as if He was saying, "Here's your sign."

Was I still angry? Was I still upset with God? Yes, but day after day, my depression left me as did the anger. You see, I had made it all be about me. My desire to have a baby. My desire to be a mom. My desire to be in God's will. My, my, my... Were they wrong? No, but when we sit in the "my" seat for too long we become consumed, and our focus shifts to ourselves. When we make things be about ourselves the world becomes VERY small.

You see, God hadn't forgotten about me. He was still directing my paths even though I couldn't see Him working or feel Him present. He was still in control. None of that had changed. It's just He was having to work things out for the good of all who love Him. He was having to work in the lives of my daughter's birth parents. He was working things out with the adoption agency we were to use. He was working it out.

I don't know what you are going through. I don't know where you've been or where you are headed, but He does. He's not responsible for giving you a life that you understand or a life without pain. Sometimes we inflict the pain on ourselves by foolish decisions, but even then, God doesn't waste the opportunity to work things out for our good. God is not our safety net. He is there with us on the ziplines of life, and when we fall flat on our face, He's with us. He's there to pick you up, hold you close and then to examine you to work it to your good.

He is a good God. He is. It's just sometimes when we're in the midst of fighting for our existence we can't see Him, feel Him, and we wonder if He's abandoned us. Let me assure you, He hasn't. He has said He will never leave us nor forsake us. You just have to hold on. Hold on and trust. Trust that everything will work out to His glory if you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus into your heart.

There's a song that says, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." Meaning when you can't see Him working in your life, when you can't feel Him next to you, you have to trust His heart. His heart loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. He loves you so much that He knew before you were created that you were going to screw things up and were going to need redeeming, and yet, He still created you anyway! Thank you, God, for that kind of love.

So the next time you fall on your face or your life is full of pain, remember, He is a good God. He's going to be there even if you get angry with Him, stop talking to Him, or just give up. He is still there working it out, and then if you haven't returned to Him, He'll work that out too because He loves you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

...Needs To Be Aware of Lies (And a trip to N.C. in the bed of a pickup!)

It's amazing the things we can be talked into especially when we are young. My daddy convinced my sister and I that it would be a blast to go to North Carolina in his truck. He and momma would ride in the cab, and he would put the campershell on the back. He said he would make us a bed, give us an ice chest and some chairs. We could have ourselves a nice little mobile home -- every little redneck girl's dream. He talked about how fun it would be to wave at the people as they passed by, and what crazy antics we could do on the trip up to North Carolina. We foolishly agreed that it would be a riot and a bit like the Clampitts which Lori (my sister) and I thought were hilarious at the time. (Did I mention we were young?)

Did I also mention we live in Shreveport, Louisiana?

By the time we arrived in North Carolina, our wind-whipped hair, sweatty bodies and sour dispositions had over-taken us. To add insult to injury, the dog got to ride in the airconditioned cab of the truck. THE DOG! She thought the ride was great.

We did end up having a good time on the trip, and we have laughed and shared precious memories from the events even to this day. But it got me to thinking this week as I prepare to teach Sunday's lesson that sin is a lot like that sells job daddy did...not that I'm comparing daddy to Satan by any stretch of the imagination.

Stay with me and see if you can follow my logic. Satan can make the most malignant things look benign. He can make the simplest sin look like more fun than a barrel of monkeys (Although I've never seen a barrel of monkeys before).

Sometimes he approaches us in our weakest area. Often times we are alone facing our weakness. Sometimes he exaggerates things which is a lie. Sometimes he tells "1/2 truths" or "white lies" which are, by the way, lies. A lie is anything that isn't 100% the truth, and the truth is NOT RELATIVE.

Sometimes we become complacent, and he smiles because he doesn't have to do anything. Sometimes we just get lazy, and he doesn't have to lift a finger.

Before you know it, whipped, beaten down, and defeated you realize almost any other dog is being treated better than yourself. It kind of reminds me of the parable of the Prodigle son. He bought into the lie that the world had more to offer than being under the protection of his father. The son realized once it was too late his trip had taken him to a place where the pigs were treated better than he was. THE PIGS! The son humbles himself and returns home to find his father running to him, putting the ring back on his finger and a coat on his back rejoicing at his return. Oh, how our heavenly Father wants us to return to Him once we realize the error of our ways. Forgiveness -- all we have to do is ask for it. 

Hmm, I had no clue where this blog was going, but forgiveness is a great note to end on, don't you think? He wipes the slate clean. He remembers our sin no longer. It's as far as the East is from the West. That is love. That is love.