......revelations of one woman's reality of life, love, and all things hopeful...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ME? A liar? Pleeeeze!

That Linda. She gets on my nerves. Bad.

A few nights ago she was telling me about this Christian book/video series she's been working on all summer called "Boundaries." Maybe you are familiar with it; I've heard of it. She says to me, "I'm going to risk hurting your feelings when I tell you this, but when I saw it on this video, I thought about you."

OK, what is it?

"They were talking about this lady who came in for counseling who wanted to lose weight, had tried most everything, but just could not lose the weight. The counselor, who had actually known the lady as a friend for evidently a long time, told the lady that food was not her issue. Her issue was this: she was a liar. According to the counselor, the lady had lived her life not saying no when she really wanted to say no, not expressing her true issues and concerns in order to keep the peace, and not doing the things that she honestly, in her heart, wanted to do," Linda said.

The you're a liar phrase caught me so off guard that I really didn't catch the specifics of how the counselor related that lying-problem to food and the lady's weight-problem. I'm sure it had something to do with setting boundaries, an unhealthy desire to please people, stuffing down your emotions with food, blah blah blah...

Oh, shut up, Linda. Why do you always have to make my weight your business? You've got enough issues to work on yourself! I thought to myself.

I sweetly replied, "Oh, what's so offensive about that, Linda?" (CHA-CHING!....What was it she said about lying and not expressing your true thoughts in order to keep the peace?)

So I've been thinking on this. Am I a liar? Me? Really?

No. Surely not.

Tonight at church after Bible study class was finished, a lady told me that there was a box for me upstairs in the sanctuary. I went up to the sanctuary to get the box to whom we will now refer to as "Big Box."

There were a couple of the band members on the stage getting ready for band practice. After we exchanged our quick "Hey, how are you" greetings, I picked up Big Box and headed toward the door, dreading the trip back downstairs. Band member Brandon, who is, by the way, one of the sweetest guys I know, says to me "You need some help?"

"Oh, no thanks, I'm good," I said.

CHA-CHING! Liar, liar, pants on.....

Well, you know the rest....

So what was that all about? Brandon offered to carry Big Box. Yes, I wanted help transporting Big Box. Why could I not say so?

Big Box and I finally made it downstairs to the first floor via the elevator. Soon I was approached by Tyler, equally as sweet, who offered to carry Big Box to my car. This time I let him.

Now what was so hard about that?

This issue of verbalizing what I feel or think is hard for me. In my mind, the line is blurry between being true to myself and being self-absorbed. We don't always need to say what we are thinking, right? We do need to run our words through some sort of mental filtering system before we speak, no? What's so wrong with keeping my true thoughts and feelings to myself in order to keep the peace? What's so bad about just performing a task myself, no matter if the task is difficult, in order to not interrupt another person?

Because it's really frustrating. Wow, it truly is emotionally frustrating. And I've been doing it my whole life, as long as I can remember. It's like trying live my life with a perpetual Big Box in my arms.

I wonder what God's Word says about that? I have some good ideas about, but I can't say them...yet. I suppose we'll need to study on that subject a little more.

That Linda... I wonder how she'll feel about this subject? I guess I'll never know the real truth about what she's thinking! She's such a liar!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whew-wee, I'm tared!

Whew-wee, I'm tared. That's what my MawMaw used to say. I don't even know how to spell that word "tared," but that's country-talk for "tired". Somehow "tired" just doesn't convey how I'm feeling, but "tared" does.

I really don't know why I'm tired. I'm healthy. I've had help with things at The Way Home lately. For instance, my good friend Jessie came yesterday and mowed the yard (and for those of you who have visited with us, you know we have a large yard here). We do have a new baby in the house, but her Mommy is doing a great job and she's requiring little energy from me.

Maybe I'm "tared" because I stay awake at night writing my thoughts down for the whole world to read. Hummm...

Anyway, I ran across this cartoon recently which describes how I'm feeling. I'm sure many of you ladies can relate...

I think I'll go to bed now.
"Night-night! Sleep tight! Don't let the bed bugs bite!" as MawMaw used to say!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Visit to High Falls State Park

Last Saturday I visited High Falls State Park, a little-known creation in nature that exits right in our back door. It is located no more than 10 miles from the intersection in Geraldine.
I arrived at the park at about 5:30 p.m., about the same time as a grumpy little old man in a Sheriff's car. He quickly informed me that he would be locking the gate at 6 p.m. sharp. I asked him how far the falls were from the parking area and he pointed toward a gravel drive and said "about 150 yards that way". I thought surely I can make it 150 yards, get some good pictures, and get out of this park within 30 minutes.
What he failed to mention was that the trail was 150 yards straight down hill! I got down the hill in about 3 minutes, took just a few pictures, then headed back to my car. I knew it might take me 20 minutes to get to the top of Mt. Fuji! Thank Heavens, I made it just fine and didn't have to sleep in my car until Sheriff Grumpy unlocked the gates the next morning.
High Falls State Park was a good place to visit for the afternoon. You should drive out there sometime, but I suggest you start an intense cardio-fitness routine now to train for that trek back up the hill. It's a doosey, Roger!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ooo, Ooo, Ooo Looking Out My Backdoor!

I caught the last moments of sunset tonight. The view was just breathtaking in my own back yard. What a great "God Moment" to happen upon. Times like these bring me out of the chaos that is often in my mind, reminding me that there is a bigger, eternal purpose. His name is Jesus Christ.

Honey! We're home!

We finally brought little baby Za'Marea home from the hospital about 3 p.m. today. Everyone in the house, including me, is rather grouchy and tired this evening. I fed 'lil Lulu (her mommy hates when I call her that) her first bottle at home, so that put me in a better mood. I thought that it was going to be me who changed her first at-home poo-poo diaper, but luckily it was a false alarm! I will reserve that honor for Mommy!

Here is a sweet little video clip of 'lil Lulu...she's already in love with her passy. Be patient at first when you watch it...I'm still learning to use this camera so the focus-factor might make you a tad woozie. In the end of the clip you will get a glimpse of her love affair with her green passy. You can hear her smacking from a mile away!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Union Park in Fort Payne

For some of you who perhaps haven't been through Fort Payne in a while, you might be interested to hear of the renovations of Union Park downtown. I believe that much of the improvements have been spearheaded by the Alabama band. There are new sidewalks, landscaping, picnic tables, a nice pavilion, new playground equipment, and a beautiful fountain. There is also a "memorial" for a lack of better terms to honor the Alabama boys. The statues are interesting....some are rather lifelike and others not-so-lifelike. The statue of Randy Owen, although my favorite member of the band, looks more like Mr. Miagi from Karate Kid the movie than of the legendary country music artist.

Baby Za'Marea

Little Baby Za'Marea Peacock was born on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 11:06 a.m. She is a tiny little gal weighing in at 5lb and 15oz. She is 18 1/2 inches long. She is doing just fine and so is her mommy, LeeAnn.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Aretha, could you say a little prayer for me too?

In my mind I am young. I worked in nursing homes for 10 years, for Heaven's sake, so I know old when I see old.

I am young. I'm still cool.

At least I believed that I was young until last night. In the van, the girls began singing their favorite music. I used to know all the top songs, but obviously I don't any more. I found myself thinking to myself What the crap are they singing? as the girls rattled off one set of lyrics after another.

"Miss Theia, do you know.....(such and such song)...?"


"Uh...Gaaaahhh, Miss Theia. Then do you know....."


And so on and so on.

I remember once when I was growing up, back in the day when we had 3 channels to choose from on the tv, one of the music awards shows was on television. I remember Madonna performing. My brother and I watched while my Dad glared at the tv, brows furrowed, eyes squinted, and mouth open. "Who is that?" he said. He doesn't know anybody. Who doesn't know Madonna? I remember thinking.

I have become my Dad.

So tonight, we are sitting at the dinner table. My good friend Sonia had come to visit and joined us for supper. The girls began to ask Sonia what her duties will be as an LPN as she will be graduating from nursing school August 5. "...giving medications, dressing incisions, inserting catheters..." she said.

Catheters, now that's a conversation piece for teenage girls.Talk breaks out about human anatomy and what do you call the tube that goes from your bladder to the outside of your body and they put a tube in it to drain the pee-pee when you have to have a catheter?

"Urethra." I said. "The tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is called the u-RE-thra."

Then my sweet little brunette-with-blonde-roots-Gal looked at me. Wide-eyed. Serious as can be. Proud to be so well-rounded in her taste of music and knowledge of human anatomy, she says "Oh, you mean like Urethra Franklin, right?"

I lost it. Just completely craked up!

But hey, at least she's heard of dear ole Urethra! That's why she's cool and I'm not!

True that!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fried Okra and a Good Friend

Didn't go to church today. One of the girls was very sick. In fact, I thought we might need to go to the hospital. We called the doctor, however, and he called in a prescription for her. She's feeling some better now, so maybe we can make it until her next appointment which is this Tuesday.

I cooked a good lunch for the girls today. It was yummy if I do say so myself. I, like my Mom, do not consider myself to be a good cook. Fair at best. But today I fixed a roast which was very close to how Mom used to do it...and it was probaby her best entree. I also, for the first time ever, tried my hand at fried okra (I couldn't let Aunt Marie's garden vegetables go to waste!). Did good on the okra, too. Maggie told me it was a little burnt, but that girl lives at the beach, what does she know?

I had a special friend come to visit tonight...Stephanie McFall. She's in town for a few days with her little boys while Steve and the girls are on a mission trip. She was beautiful as always. I was so happy to have her here for a while!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Shay!!!

Today is LaShay's birthday. Shay Burch, that is!

We first became friends way back in 2nd grade.

I understand she is a big-wig educator in Florida now, but I have some of my most favorite memories of her from back in the day....
  • She was always my shortest friend and cute as pie.
  • Her mom made the best pancakes for breakfast.
  • She was very difficult to wake from a deep sleep on Saturday mornings which was most frustrating for a weird kid like me who woke up early
  • Her prom dress didn't come in until the last minute...in 11th grade, I think.
  • She always talked about "my cousin Sherry" who was a mystery-cousin back then, but I know Sherry now and she really is wonderful!
  • She knew every word to every song on the radio
  • NKOTB, baby!
  • She performed Whitney Houston in the "Shower of Stars" with a big gold bow in her hair
  • She, Adrian, and Rainer performed "Love Shack" at our senior night

I'm really proud of you Shay and I hope you have many more Happy Days!

Family Fish Fry

Neal, Carl Lee, & Jack. Telling Fish Tales? How big was that fish?

Anna, Lexie, Ella, & Lauren.
Today I went to my Uncle Jack and Aunt Pat's house for a family fish fry. The weather was beautiful, a little warm but not unbearable for July in the South. The fish were caught from his pond this morning then fried in the backyard. I really don't like fish, but this fish was really delicious! Way to go Uncle Jack.

I really had an enjoyable time seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It's so interesting to just sit and watch all the people, remembering the past and admiring the present.

My "little cousins" who I used to babysit and tote around on my hip are now grown-ladies with husbands, babies, and careers. This family still produces lots of blonde-headed little girls!

Aunt Marie sent us home with "a whole mess" of tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, and potatoes from her garden. Yum. Maybe I'll try to fry us some okra tomorrow.

I noticed that Aunt Myrna has MawMaw's eyes. I wonder if she sees it too when she looks in the mirror....

I noticed 3 cancer survivors who are alive and well.

Dad's brothers and sisters really enjoy each other. Dad is working in New Mexico, so he wasn't at the fish fry, but his brothers insured that he knew just what he was missing as they called him on speaker phone to harass.

Nice day with my family. Can't get much better.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Must I Practice What I Preach?

Ok, Bethy. Here's a good story for you. Hopefully no tears at the end. It would be my dream come true, however, if you did laugh until you cried. There's no socially redeeming value to this tale, but it's completely true, and so completely typical of my life. Enjoy.

"Adults who obey the law generally are not in danger of going to jail or losing custody of their children. Always avoid even the appearance of breaking the law and you will be okay." That's what I tell the girls here. There's this underlying fear that they have sometimes that they will lose custody of their babies and be helpless in regaining custody. I know we've all heard terrible stories of innocent people serving years in prison to eventually be found innocent through DNA testing or new evidence. These examples, though horrifying to imagine that can happen in the US, are likely rare exceptions. Generally speaking, responsible, law-abiding citizens are not in danger of going to prison or losing custody of their children.

That's why following the rules is really a big deal in this house. It's not so much about taking the trash out if it's your day to do so, it's about being responsible and following the rules. It's about being considerate of others. It's about being classy ladies rather than rebellious, trashy brats.

Recently a problem developed in the house, so I declared a new rule that would hopefully eliminate the problem: No passing gas in the kitchen. Period. Anyone observed passing gas in the kitchen would be punished to the full extent of the law by cleaning every toilet in the house. Period. End of story. I'm serious. It's a house rule now.

Surprisingly, it worked. Our chief offender also happens to be the most repulsed by household chores, so she wanted no part of extra toilet-cleaning duty. There has been no more passing gas in the kitchen.

So Tuesday evening, I am sitting at the table in the kitchen (which is positioned between the t.v. room and the formal living room) talking to my friend Linda on the telephone. Maggie is sitting on the couch watching a movie in the t.v. room and LeeAnn is stretched out on the couch napping in the living room. While chatting with Linda I have full view of both girls.

I'm sitting there talking on the phone when suddenly a monster or demon or invisible elephant or something runs under my chair and lets out the loudest, although quick and harmless, poot. I looked and looked for the monster, demon, or elephant but could not find it. It must have been me who pooted. It just popped out there while I was talking on the phone before I ever knew what happened!

Linda was rattling on and on about something important, I'm sure, but it felt to me like time came to a screeching halt! All I could think of was cleaning toilets if the girls noticed me breaking the law. LeeAnn raised up off the couch out of her deep sleep, annoyed, and looked at me with squinted eyes. Maggie perked up and looked at me with her mouth open. Maggie got up and waddled her pregnant belly across the kitchen, walked right past me into the living room, and looked over the couch at LeeAnn who had already resumed her nap.

Maggie, smiling, pointed to LeeAnn and mouthed to me the words "Was that her?"

Then I sinned.

I shook my head affirmatively.

Maggie just snickered and snickered! "She's dead to the world asleep!"

I got so tickled! By that time, Linda was completely frustrated for I had not heard a word she was saying. I could not even talk to Linda for laughing. It was that deep, hard laugh. The one where your face is red and your mouth is open but no sound is coming out kind-of-laugh. The kind of laugh that's most annoying to others if they don't know what's so funny. Linda didn't know what was so funny, so she just hung up.

Sorry, Linda. Guess you had to be there.

Neither LeeAnn nor Maggie ever mentioned the incident again, thank Heavens!

Everyone will be cleaning their own toilets this week.

Madea, where have you been all my life?

I guess I'm a little behind (no, I didn't say I have a little behind!), but I have just discovered the Tyler Perry plays and movies. How great are they???

My favorite so far is "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". How can a single film evoke so strongly such a broad plethora of emotion? Anger. Silly humor. Embarrassment. Anxiety. Nausea. Sadness. Joy. How can one film demonstrate such a balance between justice and grace, revenge and forgiveness, drama and comic relief?

And what about that Madea. She is a killer! Oh my, she's funny!

I've searched all of Fort Payne and Rainsville trying to purchase my own copy of Diary, but no luck. I guess I'll just break down and order it off the evil internet.

It's really good. You should rent it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Girls! Girls! Girls!

Count 'em.....1...2...3!

Jessica had her ultrasound yesterday...you guessed it, it's a girl! We have three girls in the house and all are expecting girls!

Za'Marea is predicted to arrive August 14 and Amy is scheduled to deliver two days later on the 17th. Caileigh's expected birth date is a little later, December 1.

We're all pretty excited, and I'm a little anxious about having 2 infants in the house!

Cast all your anxiety on Him for he cares for you.

I know He does care for me....He has blessed me with a job I love, and He meets all my needs. I'm not feeling very qualified to teach girls to care for newborns, but without a doubt, He put me here. I supposed the One who created the sweet little ones will help me to care for them!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Top Mission Trip Memories

Around 60 people from my church left Saturday morning for a mission trip to New Orleans. I feel a little left out because I usually go on the mission trips. It just wasn't possible for me to go this year. Maybe next year.

I remember the first one about 8 or 9 years ago. It was in New Orleans. It seems like there were about 15 of us who went on that trip. We did a Bible School and a Hoops Camp at His Sanctuary Ministries church. I'm not positive, but I believe that community was destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Here are some of my favorite memories of previous trips, in no particular order. Some descriptions may only be recognizable by those parties directly involved....you know who you are!!!!

1. All the little kids who were bussed in from the daycare that first year in New Orleans. They were so sweet, but we could not understand a word they said to us...especially their names! African-American/Cajun accents are very different from Sand Mountain accents! We could definitely communicate with each other about Grandma's Cookies and Capri Suns!

2. During the same trip to New Orleans, I came within a split second of death or at least traumatic brain injury when a basketball goal nearly fell on my head!

3. Charleston #2: I loved being on the Swim Team. That whole week I basically played in the pool with a little girl with Down syndrome. She was sweet. I remember that seemed to be a blessing to her Mom, giving her a break and allowing her to connect with the church.

4. Charleston #2: Stephanie McFall shines in the Sin Box.

5. I think it was during Charleston #1 that Holly and I had some noisy neighbors.

6. New York #1: "I Bless Your Name" at the Tuesday night prayer meeting at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

7. New York #1: Ralph, Linda, Jessie, Jeff, and maybe Kelly on the Late Show with David Letterman.

8. New York #1: AHHHHHHHH Shreek Out!!!!

9. New York #3: I saw the Shreek with my own two eyes!

10. Trips to the laundry with Ace in New York.

11. Are you asleep? Are you kidding?

12. I'm cold. Where's my jacket? Well, Rainbow Bright!

13. The Legend of Willie Crane, New Orleans #2 with Tim Richie.

The best part of our mission trips is that you go to help other people and return home changed for the better. Faith grows. Love for the church family grows.

I pray for the safety of those who left for New Orleans on Saturday. I pray that seeds will be sown in faith daily so that Our Father will be glorified. I pray they all return home changed for the better with a bigger, deeper faith in Christ and love for one another. Can't wait to hear all about the trip!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wagons and Passies

Zay left us yesterday. He's going to stay with his grandparents until his mommy delivers his baby sister. I've been rather sad about his leaving, but I've been trying to think on the positive things, namely the fact that we will have two newborns in the house very soon!

Sonia and I went to dinner tonight for her birthday. Afterwards we watched the fireworks at Fort Payne then rented a movie. When I came home a little while ago, I noticed Zay's little green wagon on the back doorstep. I could only smile at that little wagon. I'm ashamed to say that I'm glad his grandparents forgot to take it back with him because now I can see it when I go in and out the door and remember sweet Zay. I don't suppose I will be moving the wagon anytime soon. Just maybe, if the Lord answers my prayer with a "yes", Zay will be back with us soon.....he'll be needing that wagon!

Seeing the wagon brought the most surreal memory of my Mother to mind. I remember once after Grayson and Jaxon had been to the house to visit, one of the boys (they could not have been more than four and five at the time) had left a pair of his little underwear on the bathroom floor in the guest bathroom. For days, maybe even weeks, Mom did not move those tiny little "drawers" just because they looked so sweet and reminded her of the sweet little one who had been wearing them.

Funny....in that same bathroom, even now, two years after Mom's death, there is still a passy in the medicine cabinet. Those kids gave up their passies years ago, but Mom just liked to open that medicine cabinet and see a sweet reminder. I can't move it either. Seeing the passy doesn't make me think of the kids when they were babies anymore, now it reminds me of my Mom. She adored those kids.

So sweet. I miss my Mom.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sonia!!!!

Today I would like to send a great big Feliz Cumpleanos to my friend and hero, Sonia Morales! She will be graduating from nursing school at Northeast on August 5. Sonia has overcome some tremendous obstacles in her life, so nursing school is just the latest of her accomplishments!

I love you, Sonia, and I am so very proud of you!

Please remember to never, ever, ever give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oops! He did it again!!!

We've had a few unexpected expenses at the house within the last two weeks. First, there was a problem with the air conditioner on the van, about $200. Then we had to get a new battery, about 70 bucks. Next, the transmission on the van died, I believe about $1500. Saturday morning, the air conditioning went out on the upstairs unit, $60 service call to have it checked. Apparently the air compressor was bad on the AC unit, estimated $2100 repair, whoa, the straw that broke the camel's back. How much more can this ministry take?

I know several people prayed for an intervention. Please, Lord, help us financially. Move somehow, someway.

Today, our board president came to the house with another AC man. He was able to fix the problem with the air conditioning unit, at least temporarily, for $120! He told us the part he used may solve the problem for 2 months or 2 years, we'll just have to wait and see!

Prayers answered. He did it again. Isn't that just like God?

I've been pondering 2 Corintians 8:9 .... "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich." Today, I did a little word study on this word "rich" using a Greek dictionary and discovered something interesting.

The first "rich" mentioned in the verse is an adjective that referred to being materially wealthy and abounding in Christian virtues and eternal possessions. The second "rich" mentioned was a verb that referred to us having obtained riches, being supplied abundantly, so that we could share the blessings of salvation to all people.

The "verb" part really struck me as significant......how do we actively (like a verb) express this kind of rich. Could it be to use Christ's resourses that he abundantly supplied through his life, death, and resurrection in order to share His grace with others? Maybe so. I'll keep studying on this....

I make sense of 2 Corintians in my mind this way, and I pray that I am on track......... "You know how Jesus Christ demonstrated His grace: Although he is rich, owning all earthly and eternal possesions and perfect in all morality and virtue, He became poor so that we could abundantly possess every resource we need as we share the blessing of salvation with others."

I'm comforted to know that the Word promises that we are already abundantly supplied with everything we need in this ministry called The Way Home. I'm reminded that His resources are stored eternally and that He may not choose to reveal the resources until what seems to me to be the very last moment. God will supply the resources to meet our needs so that every girl at The Way Home can know the blessing of salvation.

I can hardly wait until He does it again.