Friday, October 30, 2009

Is Exhausted (When I Am Weak)

It's 2:30 AM. Horrible storms passed through last night leaving me without power, so during the middle of the storms, I loaded the kids and headed to momma and daddy's house. Patrick had left earlier yesterday to go on a mule deer hunt with his dad in southern New Mexico.

Erin and I both had twin beds to sleep on, and Pearce was on a pallet of blankets beside me in his sleeping bag. But at the first large, collapse of thunder and peal of lightning I found myself "sharing" my twin bed with Pearce. About 1:45 AM, Erin started coughing, and I gave her the medicine I brought, but apparently, it's not working because she is still coughing...hence why I am blogging at 2:33 AM in the morning. She won't be going to school tomorrow.

As I laid on my 1/3rd of the twin bed I started thinking about all the things I need to do as a single parent this weekend and wondering how in the world would I get it all done. Pick some things up from my office at church. Pick "Blue" up at church (Pearce left him Wednesday night). Get Erin's seatwork and homework for today. Go to Brookshires and get more medicine and a few groceries. Call Erin's doctor -- maybe they'll call in a prescription for me of something stronger. I was going to hang the stuff on my newly, painted walls in my church office, but that won't happen. I was also suppose to go see Mammaw today because it is her birthday.

Then I started thinking about Saturday. Pearce's buddy has a birthday party. Erin is suppose to go with a friend to their Fall Family Festival -- their costumes go together to make a heart that says "Best Friends." Then I am suppose to take the girls and Pearce to our Family Fall Festival.

Sunday, I have duties I need to take care of too.

Then I realize how tired I am from not getting enough sleep tonight and then anticipating how tired I will be from being a single parent for the next week. That's when the verse, "When I am weak, then He is strong," pops into my head. You know it doesn't specify as to the weakness -- physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. Why? Because whatever state we are in He can meet us. Not only does He meet us where we are to deal with us and our "issues," but it's when we are the most usable because we can't do it on our own strength.

So, God, I'm expecting you to do great things through me because I don't have the power, the ability on my own to do anything well.

Let me encourage you. No matter what you are going through, stay true to God. Stay obedient to His will, His word, His way, and then in your weakness and brokeness expect Him to do GREAT things. For it is in the expectation of something great or Someone Great that we have our hope.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

is humbled

"Who am I that You are mindful of me?" That is what I thought last night as I sat down at a table to eat with women from this fall's Bible study at church.

Lord, who am I? Look at all these amazing women, and yet You laid it on my heart to lead this ministry. You could have chosen anyone of these fantastic women of faith, but you chose me. You chose the one who works in a male-oriented field. You chose one who had chosen not to get too close to women because they could be so mean and hurtful. You chose one without any training. You chose someone who doesn't have the depth of knowledge that some of those women in this room have. Lord, who am I that you are mindful of me? I am but the least of these. Of all those who have been and all those who have yet to come, you chose me to serve you at this time, in this way. So while I may not understand why you would choose me, I choose to trust your decisioin, and I choose to follow you and serve.

There are women who are more elegant in their speech. There are women who are more compassionate. There are women who have steady growth. There are women have such rich knowledge of the Bible. Thank you, Lord, for surrounding me with these women. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to serve them and You.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

...wants meat (PB&J daddy style)

In my childhood when my mom would leave us unchapparoned with our daddy, well, let's just say in those few times it was not a boring day. I don't ever remember daddy laying on the sofa when momma was away. It was almost like, "Hey, kids, mom's away let's do some stuff." Stuff could be anything from an 11 year-old learning to drive a standard, Ford Fiesta to attempting gymnastical feats only seen at the circus. But it is meal time that I want to write about today.

My sister and I's favorite sandwich was peanut butter and jelly. How hard is it to make a PB&J, right? With daddy, nothing was simple or done without great fanfare...afterall, we were a captive audience. So, daddy would sit us at the table, and he would begin pulling out all the necessary ingredients plus some and all the required equipment. Sometimes he would be humming a song as he did it, but of course, it wasn't the usual humming. Every note of whatever song he was humming or making up was emphasized with a "dee," so "Jingle Bells" would go something like, "de,de,deee,de,de,,de,de,de,dee." (Now that you've done that in your head, do it again in your goofiest Donald Duck voice, and you'd have daddy.)

He would lay out the napkins. Place the bread on the napkins, and then pull something out of the cabnet that didn't fit. Most of the time he made our PB&J using a coffee cup...yes, a coffee cup. He would put a glob of peanut butter and a glob of jelly in it and would whisk it until it looked like something you wouldn't want to eat. While Lori and I would be protesting that this is not the way it is done, after all momma's way is the way it was done...nice, neat and in order, daddy would be slicing bananas and putting on one of the slices of bread. Then starting another song to which he wouldn't know all the words but would teach Lori and I the few words he knew then make up the rest he would grab something else unusual to add to his concoction in the cup...sometimes honey, sometimes chocolate chip morsels. You get the idea. After adding it to the cup, he would begin to spread this nasty-looking stuff onto the other slice of bread and then put the two slices together. Then he would cut out funny shapes that most of the time we couldn't recognize or he would make some goofy mark on top of the bread before presenting it to us for consumption. We were always hesitant to eat his creations, but most of the time they were quite tasty. Mom could never really understand why we were so pumped up with energy when she would return home. Can we say sugar high?

Life with daddy could be quite entertaining to say the least. It's amazing I'm so "normal." (Ha!)

As Christians how often do we go to church to be entertained or to see the show/service? With all the fanfare and music, the presentation of the sermon, visiting with friends...what is it that makes for a good worship or a good Sunday morning experience for you? For me, it starts with how many fights I've had to referee, how many socks and shoes couldn't I find, how many reminders I've had to issue -- the fewer I have had to deal with, the better I can worship. Ladies, are you feeling me? Have you been there? Walked in my heels? Then we get to church, and I am suppose to get something out of small group time, out of worship, out of the sermon. When in truth, the events of Sunday morning may be only the chip of the iceberg of what is going on underneath.

Please pray with me about something God has put on my heart. We are considering opening my office at the church during Sunday school time for women who need to unload, be encouraged and be prayed for. I have asked a wise and godly lady to pray about being the one who stays in there to meet with these women. Because ladies, the Bible says we are not to eat Bread alone regardless of whether or not we have PB&J on it or not. We are suppose to be growing Christians and maturing to the meat of the matter, but sometimes we need that personal connection with someone wise to help us get out of the hole or mess we are in. Sometimes that personal connection (mentor) can give guidance and encouragement we need in order for us to clear our heads, give our problems over to God, so we can enter a time of worship, so we can go for the meat of the word and not just the PB&J.

It's not up to the pastors to provide us a good show. It's not up to them to grow us in our faith. We have to be responsible. It takes more than just showing up on Sunday morning. We have to be actively seeking Him and His will and be actively in the Word searching for every morsel of truth we can glean. SO, let me encourage you this week to prepare your heart and mind before going to church Sunday. Spend some time with your Heavenly Father. He'd love to hear from you.

His Daughter,


Monday, October 19, 2009

...Will Be Set Apart (I'm not Mexican)

This past weekend my family and I went to Lake Ouchita near Hot Springs, Arkansas, along with some friends of my sister's and parents. We stayed in a cabin this time but would join the others periodically throughout the day and then at supper around the campfire. During one of my conversations, I was talking about the adoption of my children which is a very sweet and tender spot for me because I'm humbled at how God worked in my life to bring these creatures into it. Pearce was sitting in his daddy's lap across the fire when he overheard me say he was Mexican which is a beautiful thing to be in my book...OH, if only I had a little of his coloring! From across the fire Pearce yells, "I'm not Mexican!" Now, if you've ever seen my son, there is no denying his heritage. He has this head-full of jet black hair. The darkest eyes known to man framed in long, dark lashes, and he has the prettiest skin you've ever seen. And he has a Mongolian spot on his cute, tiny hiney.

We try our best to keep people in his life that are hispanic. They may not all be Mexican, but they are bilingual, hard-working people whom we love and who loves our family. There isn't a huge Hispanic population here, so we do things with our Spanish Mission Church. I want him to at least know about his culture. Most of the time he embraces it. This is only the second time he has claimed not to be Mexican.

We are proud of his nationality, his biological culture, but there are times when he doesn't want to be different, and truthfully, we don't focus on it. He's just such a good-looking kid, and that has sometimes been his saving grace which allowed him to live to the next day. (You mommas know what I'm talking about)

How often do we just want to blend in and be like everyone else? Mediocrity? And I'm not just talking about being Christian in a non-Christian environment. I'm talking about being a growing Christian versus a stagnant, close-minded Christian. I'm talking about being satisfied with just going to church once maybe twice a week and never open your Bible during the week unless you're in crisis mode. I'm talking about being luke-warm versus on fire and having a passion to serve and to love on others as Christ demands and gave us examples to be and do. What if when Jesus was washing the disciples' feet, He looked up at them and said, "That will be .25 cents"?

It's time Christians get off their big, backsides and served as our Lord served on their hands and knees, touching those who are sick, walking with the unlovely. It's time we loved on people and got beyond prideful selves because there will come a day when we all will have to answer the question, "What have you done with my Son?" And there won't be anyone standing besides our mediocre behinds to blame things on. We have to take ownership of our faith and our relationship with God. Get out of our comfort zones. Get out of our comfortable seats. I promise you, women's ministry is not my comfort zone. Teaching an all women's Bible study Sunday school class is NOT in my comfort zone -- do you know we haven't had one Sunday where one of the ladies doesn't end up needing a tissue? (Do you remember I work in a primarily male-oriented field in fraud investigations? These guys don't cry.) I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back. What I'm saying is that if I can do this following God's lead, then by the grace of God SO CAN YOU!

Don't blend in. Be dynamic. Be the original God made you to be. Be the growing, godly woman He desires you to be. PUT YO' BIG GIRL PANTIES ON! We are to be as a city set on a hill, a beacon in the night, salt of the Earth. We are to be set apart, different so that others may be drawn to the Lord Almighty. So, GET OUT THERE! SERVE!

His Daughter,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

...Does the Forrest Gump

When my husband and I were dating, we did a lot of things together that we don't do now. You all know that I have redneck coursing through my veins, but I had never been deer hunting until I was dating Patrick. He took me one day, and we sat in the deer blind. I wasn't allowed to talk. He barely allowed me to whisper from time to time, so when the deer walked into the clearing, the Forrest Gump came out in me. I stood up and yelled, "Run, deer, run." The doe bolted not knowing or realizing I had just saved her life, and without even looking back, she was gone. I sat down knowing not only was my work done, but I had also given into my impulse. (Just FYI, impulsivity is a sign of ADHD -- attention deficit hyperactive disorder.) After that Patrick would take me to shoot guns, but he never took me hunting again. It was quite peaceful out there. Listening to nature. Watching nature. It was quite wonderful. I totally get why guys like to go.

The first Thanksgiving that Patrick and I were dating, he killed two does. I met him at his parents' house where we were to have dinner, and he was running late. He wanted me, the one who has tried so hard to deny her redneck heritage, to help him gut those deer. He wanted me to climb all up in that deer and clean it out. It was then that I laid down the rule of hunting as I saw it. If he kills it, he has to clean it and cook it, and I may or may not eat it.  Now, his momma, she went out there and helped him clean both of those deer, but that was her decision and more power to her.

Now, it's that time of year again. I am a hunting widow. I look forward to the day when Pearce is old enough to go with his daddy for all these little outtings, and Erin and I can stay home, watch movies, eat Bonbons, do our nails and do facials. That is also a benefit of being a hunting widow. Before kids, I scrapbooked, and I still may get back to it, but now, my time is with my kids.

You know the first time I ever shot a gun I was probably 9 years old, and I saw my guy cousins shooting a gun. I insisted I wanted to shoot it and that I could shoot it. My daddy showed me how to place the gun to my shoulder, close my eye, aim and then...I pulled the trigger. One thing I had failed to ask and one thing they had failed to mention was the fact that the gun was an antique. It had been my grandfather's, father's gun. When I pulled the trigger, there was an explosion in my right ear that set off ringing. The kick of the gun forced me violently backwards to the point that I landed on my behind and on the way back one of my cousins grabbed the gun...see where the concern was? Actually, they were all laughing too hard to move fast enough to catch me and my tiny hiney before it hit the ground. My daddy had tears rolling down his eyes as they all examined the shiner on my shoulder where the butt of the gun had kicked it.

I know there are women who hunt. It's just not me, and to be honest, Patrick needs his time away like I need mine occasionally.

I am so thankful that God makes us all different. I'm glad God has a sense of humor and that He has given us a sense of humor if we don't take ourselves too seriously. I'm thankful for the changing of the seasons. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving and time with family. I'm thankful that my being a hunter wasn't a requirement of my husband's in order for me to date him because it is a rare man who can live with a strong-willed, ADHD woman. Thank you, God, for Patrick.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

...pleading guilty (Crooked Chiropractor)

On Tuesday of this coming week I was suppose to testify in federal court against a local chiropractor who for years billed for things he didn't have, billed for things he didn't do, billed for things a chiropractor was suppose to do but allowed his support person to do. There was an investigation by the FBI who sent in undercover agents who were "treated" by the chiropractor and who were not injured. There are recordings where you hear the undercovers falling asleep when they were suppose to be receiving treatment that you don't sleep through. Up until yesterday, the chiropractor was denying any wrong doing especially for the billing. He was blaming his support person with whom he had an affair and with whom he is now married. He didn't want to take responsibility for his sin, his greed, his lies, but fortunately on Friday, he decided to plead guilty. He will be sentenced at the end of January.

It's easy for us to say, "How can he think he was going to get away with that?" "Why didn't he just take responsibility?" It just seems obvious to us, but how obvious is it when the sin is in our own lives? The Bible says we should take the plank out of our own eye before removing the splinter in someone else's. We are so keen and observant to see what's wrong with someone else's life, but how well do we turn the magnifying glass on our own hearts, minds, actions, and beliefs?

Sometimes we have to rely on the Holy Spirit's conviction because the sin has taken root in our lives to where we don't recognize it as sin. It's at that time we have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's correction. There are times when we ignore the Spirit's warnings, and we have to learn the hard way. I did that often when I was young because I was quite obstinant, but as I've gotten older, I've seen the error in that. I'd really rather NOT learn the hard way. Listening to the Holy Spirit is the way I'd prefer to learn. The Bible says we can ask the Lord to search us to see if there is anything in us that is unholy. Are you that bold? Can you say that and then release whatever sin you are holding on to? For some that is hard to do. I have to say mine is speeding. I do it EVERY DAY. I'm working on it. I truly am, believe it or not.

He is faithful to complete the work He has started in us if we will just allow Him.

His Work in Progress,


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I know you might find this odd, but my sister and I thought we grew up "normal." It wasn't until we were in college and adulthood that we realized that indeed we were not normal. We weren't even close to normal or average for that matter.

If you've read any of my blog you know that my mom was the stability in my world, and my daddy was the color in my world and when I say color, I'm not talking about the normal green, brown, blue and red. I'm talking fuschia, turquois, neon green, etc.

I didn't know we were poor even though I had thought we might be on occasion. I thought it was normal and that everyone used the "Little People" school buses for skates, that three channels in black and white was all there was, and that having a glass full of milk and crackers after evening worship was a staple of life.

We didn't watch much television at all. As a matter of fact, during the summer as soon as we would eat breakfast mom would send us outside to play until lunch. We used our imaginations, and we were forced to play with each other because we lived our in the country and not in a subdivision.

Mine and Lori's favorite meal was fish sticks, tater tots and Ranch Style beans...I still enjoy it for nostalgia sake. We ate every meal at the table as a family. We went to church as a family. Lori and I were at church every time the doors were open whether we thought we needed it or not, and we actually had fun once we were there.

I wonder what my kids will say about their upbringing, about their parents, about life as they know it. I wonder.

Sunday, October 4, 2009 priceless

I have a coin bracelet that my Pappaw brought back from the Philippines during World War II for my Mammaw. She gave it to me when I graduated college and was moving to Dallas on my own. She knew I wanted it. I love that bracelet. I wear it often. I tried to have it appraised, so I could get it insured. I reluctantly left it with the appraiser to inspect, but she was unable to come up with a value. She said in order to find a value, we'd have to go to the Philippines and find similar jewelry and its value. Needless to say, I did not get it insured. It's priceless to me. It's a symble of my grandparents love story that resulted eventually in the birth of my mom. If anything happens to that bracelet I can NEVER replace it not only because of its value but because it's personal.

We are personal to God. As Christians, we are His, His children. We are irreplacable. Of all the people He has created, He only makes one of you. He doesn't make us because He needs us. He makes us because He wants us. He wants a relationship with us, His priceless creations. We get our value from Him.

When we focus on me, myself, and I...meaning my friends, my family, my kids, we take our focus off God. We fail to serve Him as we should. We start thinking our value comes from our friends and what other's think about us, rather than meditating on the Word, the Truth. When we take things personally, get hurt easily, we are focusing and making the issue about ourselves. What if we all lifted our hurt immediately to God and asked Him to make it work out for our good as opposed to holding onto the hurt, thinking about it, trying to hurt back...this world would be a much different place.

Max Lucado wrote a book "You Are Special." It's a story about a town of wooden toys called Wimmicks. All day the Wimmicks would give gold, star stickers to the beautiful, strong, smart Wimmicks. The untalented, ugly Wimmicks who had chipped paint or rough wood would receive gray dots. The ones with gray dots felt horrible about themselves. There was one girl who had no stickers. A gray-dotted Wimmick admired her, and she told him he needed to go see the Maker. She said she would spend the day with Him, so the little toy decides to visit the Maker. The Maker said it doesn't matter what the others think because it only matters what He thinks because the little toy was His. The Maker tells the little toy that the stickers only stick if the toy wants them to, and until the toy could understand, he was to visit the Maker every day to be reminded of how special he was and that the Maker doesn't make any mistakes.

We are personal to God. We are priceless to God. We have value because He loves us. These are the things we need to remember. We need to be spending time with our Maker, allowing Him to remove the harmful, the hurtful things in our lives, and then at some point, we mature to a depth that we realize that whatever happens to us isn't really about us, and that God is going to work it all out for our good. When we learn to trust that, when we believe that, when we live that -- that's when we'll begin to live a victorious life, an abundant life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

...wants unfulfilled longings ("Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On")

 When I was young, my family didn't have much money. We lived in a 12'*60', single-wide trailer. My mom made a lot of mine and my sister's clothes. I remember a yellow dress she made me, and I remember telling her it wasn't my favorite color. I really just wanted my clothes to look like my friends, so then  we wore a lot of hand-me-downs. I started looking for name brands in the bags that arrived at our home -- Gloria Vanderbilt, Izod, etc. Then the problem came that I was a scrawny, stringy, scrappy kid. The person who gave the clothes was obviously not built like me. My nickname was "Skelly" -- short for skeleton. (I had an extremely high metabolism.) So, then we were able to start buying clothes from the store. I hated the fact that my mom would buy my jeans in the boy's department, and then when I finally got old enough and tall enough to have to have store-bought, girl clothes, the stores didn't hardly carry size 0s, 1s, and 3s. Then when I started my career with State Farm, we wore suits. Do you know that I asked my momma to make me some of my suits? I had come back full circle.

I wanted. I wanted the next best thing. Then when I got it, I wanted the NEXT best thing. And when I got that, I wanted the NEXT best thing until I realized the best thing was what I started off with -- taylor-made-to-fit clothes. I'm afraid our society has become more and more like that, and we are facilitating that logic and feeding that desire in our children. We don't think they should go without. Our children lack for nothing. Our children work for nothing. What are we teaching our children by doing this to them? It's okay to live in excess and outside your capability to have the next best thing? We are setting them up for financial failure, as if we aren't seeing the results in this financial market of feeding our own longings.

Just for the record -- this train of thought is NOT Biblical. I'm teaching a Sunday school, Bible study on the book "Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free." One of the lies we believe is "I Should Not Have to Live with Unfulfilled Longings." It's true. If we do not have unfufilled longings, we have nothing to work for, nothing to work towards, and our children need to learn the value of working to attain. Not only that, but as Christians, all of our longings should not be filled here on Earth. We shouldn't look for all of our longings to be filled here on Earth either.

The Bible says, "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19.  "Needs" are completely different, and the way He defines "needs" is probably completely different than how we define "needs."

When we look to fill voids with things or expect a person to fill longings, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt, disappointed at best. Psalms 73:25 says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Where are your eyes focused? On what your neighbor has? On a person you want to love you? Where should you be focused? On the one who created you and me.

If our children go without, you think they might learn to rely on God more and learn that reliance at an earlier age? If we forgo the earthly stuff that can burn like hay and stubble and live within our means, you think maybe we would have a closer walk with God? Life without distraction of earthly things...hmmm. Living life without being financially yolked to the NEXT BEST THING...I want it. I want to have unfulfilled longings that can only be filled when I see my Savior face-to-face in the most beautiful place of all, heaven. I want unfulfilled longings. Please God, create that hunger in me. Create it in me.

Just something to think about this Friday morning.

Have a great day.