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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just follow the bouncing ball: One woman's solution to fear

Once in a while you’re blessed with a relationship like mine with my good friend Stephanie. She’s one of those girls who, before you really get to know her, you think “That woman cannot possibly be that nice.” I mean, she’s just so sweet and seems to be incredibly perfect. Then you finally get to know the real her, and you learn that she is in fact that nice. She’s not, however, so incredibly perfect. Quite honestly, she is rather imperfect and knows for herself just how imperfect that she truly is. That’s the beauty of a friend like Stephanie. She’s unafraid to be herself, and she makes it very comfortable for others to be so “real.”

Before Stephanie and I tell each other something really personal and potentially embarrassing, we sometimes preface by saying, “I’m about to be really open and honest…” and that’s our signal for If you repeat this to anyone, I’ll just die! So, dear reader, I’m about to be really open and honest when I tell you this….

For the last six months, I have been going to a Pilates exercise class. Most of the exercises are performed on the floor doing sit-ups and crunches, etc. On the first night of the class, I was a little anxious and fearful, wondering if I could do the workout or if it would be too difficult. Am I too out of shape? What if the girls in the class are skinny little college girls wearing skimpy outfits?

I managed to push those fears aside, said a little prayer, held my head up high and waltzed myself right into that class. After a few weeks, I was feeling fairly good about myself. My clothes were fitting better, I had more energy, I found that all the ladies in the class were so nice, and I found that I was really beginning to enjoy the Pilates class.

Then, probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life happened. I B-bopped into Pilates one night and noticed, to my horror, the instructor had brought in a bunch of huge plastic exercise balls. Now, I had seen those balls advertised on TV. I knew we would not be tossing the balls, but that we would be sitting on them, balancing on them, or lying on them. A wave of fear swept over me. I said to myself, “I am not getting on that ball.” I just knew that I would fall off and break my neck! Something told me “Run! Go home before this class gets started! Run fast!”

Fear.

I was on to it. I’ve wrestled with Fear for a long time, and I am to the place in life where I can spot it a mile away.

Fear.


So, I rose up against Fear and expressed a sassy “NO!” I chose a big, bright blue, shiny ball for myself, held my head up high, said a little prayer, and waltzed myself right up to the front row.

The class began. We balanced and we bounced. I believe everyone in the class had at least one close call with falling off the ball, but by the time we were halfway through the class there were no casualties. No one, including myself, had fallen off the ball.


There I was, sitting on the ball, just starting to walk my feet out like the instructor instructed us to do so that my back was stretched over the ball. Then it happened. Time began to stand still as I heard a very loud POP, and I knew there must have been a drive-by shooting in the studio. As my rear-end hit the floor, I just knew that the victim of the drive-by shooting was ME! To my horror, I realized there was no drive by shooting! The truth was that my big, bright blue, shiny ball had popped like a balloon right out from under me!

The great thing is that I lived to tell about it! I did not die of embarrassment. In fact, we all had a hearty laugh, and the other ladies were amazed by the elegance and grace with which I hit the floor! They all scored me a Perfect 10 on the stunt, and then we finished the class. The very thing that I was so afraid of brought a great moment of pleasure to my life!


Fear. Some people are paralyzed by Fear. Some people defeat Fear when they turn 30. Some conquer fear when they turn 40. Others battle Fear until they are 50 or 60. Sadly, more than a few take Fear with them to the grave. You, dear Christian, are not destined to live with Fear.
I dare you to live, truly live, with the direct opposite of Fear. Live not simply with courage, but with absolute Trust. Trust is the antagonist and utter conqueror of Fear. To live in complete freedom from fear can be a reality for you.

We know that God’s perfect love casts out all fear. When you trust in His love for you, you will not be paralyzed by fear even in the bleakest of situations. Trust God’s love for you. Trust that He is working to help you be all He created you to be. Trust that God can do more that you can ask or imagine. Trust that He is concerned with your life day-in and day-out!


If you have a dream worth achieving but are afraid to try, please just Go For It! Do It! Now obviously, don’t disobey the law, don’t ignore the things that Scripture overtly prohibits or commands us to do, and don’t do things that can hurt you or other people. But do fun things! Travel! Meet all kinds of people and have all kinds of friends! Take educated, prayerful risks!
Sometimes you might find yourself landing flat on your rear end, but you’ll survive. In fact, you will do more than survive: you will literally thrive as a Christian because you came face-to-face with fear by canceling it out with absolute trust.

What ever happened to my gal Stephanie, you ask? She’s moved to another state now, so we don’t see each other as often as I wish that we could. The last time I spoke with her she was really open and honest about the goings-on in her life, so perhaps it’s best if I just leave it at that. I can assure you, though, that she’s Trusting God, unafraid and with all her might, and I’m anxiously waiting to see just where she lands!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Prescription....



I think every Christian will at some time in his life have to make a choice….

Is this Christian life working for me or not? Am I seriously walking this road, or is it all talk? Is my relationship with Christ affecting my actions day-to-day or will I settle for a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ on Sundays only spiritual life.

For me personally, I answered the question years ago that yes, it is working for me.

I want to walk this road, and I don’t want to be just talk.

I like to think that my faith dictates my behavior every day, and not just Sundays.

But sometime, it doesn’t. Not cool.

The feeling is almost like a spiritual schizophrenia of sorts, to know to do and to want to do the right thing, then not do so. There’s a word for that: sin. “For the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin,” according to James 4:17.

Then there are the days when I actually do do good. But guess what! Surprise! That spiritual schizophrenia still rears its ugly head yet again. Well, maybe it’s not some spiritual schizophrenia here, I suspect a more accurate source of that uncomfortable feeling in my heart would be the Holy Spirit reminding me to check my motives.

Did I help that girl today because I love her or because it’s my job?
Did I discipline her today because I love her or because I was angry?
Did I compliment her today because I love her or because I want her to love me?

Did Christ recognize my deeds as loving worship of Him, or did he only hear a clanging cymbal?

Take heart, scripture has the perfect prescription for us spiritual schizos! “For I do not do the good I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do….who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord….” Romans 7. See, Jesus knows all about our battle, and He promises to rescue us!

And what about that “sin-part”. Well, He says if we confess it, He is faithful to forgive.

Keep pressing on….even when it's hard...

Cool.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baby Amy is Growing Up!

video

Baby Amy is growing up! She is almost 8 weeks old! What a big, bright-eyed girl she is! She has a really rockin' hair-do and looks good in just about anything! Plus....Amy is really smart! In fact, if you listen closely, she says "hi" twice in this video! Having a speech therapist as a house-mom does have it's advantages!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Diet Bread

I suppose there's a reason this diet bread tastes like air...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

At the pump...

The gas situation in our country scared me today for the first time. I wish that I would have had my camera so I could just show you a picture!

My gas light was on, and I could not find a station with gas. I passed one station after another..out of gas, empty, out.

Finally, I found one. I mean one pump, literally. One station with one pump. And what was the scary part... a sign on the pump that read "Limit 10 Gallons". I didn't quite know what to think about that, but I knew I did not want to climb Lookout Mountain on foot, towing a 7-week old baby.

I pumped 10 gallons.

Shortly thereafter, I saw a man walking toward his truck parked on the side of the road. He was carrying a gas can in his right hand. I suppose this poor fellow's gas light had been on too, but he didn't find the one soon enough.

I've heard of gas rationing with WWII and in the 1970's, but I just don't get it...

And the crisis in the American economy... It's a big, tangled, complicated mess that my simple brain cannot comprehend.

Just thinking on it makes my heart pound.

I will choose to not dwell on these things. I suppose I will render unto Uncle Sam what belongs to him and will render unto God what belongs to Him. He owns Uncle Sam, anyway.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rejected...But I Don't Have No In My Heart!

I've been rejected lately. Twice, in fact. First of all, I submitted an essay to an webzine for publication. So far, I haven't heard from them (it's been a couple of weeks now), so I'm thinking it's a NO. Next, I entered two photographs in the county fair yesterday, and I found out today neither received ribbons. Disappointed, but in the big scope of life, it's not a big deal. Rejected, but I'm okay.

Everything will be okay if you "Don't have no in your heart". At least that's the gospel according to Joe Dirt.

Have you ever watched that movie, "Joe Dirt"? You should rent it sometime. When you first watch it, it may seem to be nothing but crude and mindless humor, and for the most part that's true, But if you pay close attention, there are some positive life lessons to be learned! Joe Dirt suffers one hard knock after another, but he makes it through by keeping focused on the positive..."You can't have no in your heart" "Is this where you want to be when Jesus comes back?" and "Life's a garden- dig it!" He was rejected time and time again, but he always got back up on his feet somehow!

I think it's Joe's positive mental attitude that gets him through. I'm not talking about Oprah's "Secret" of speaking positive energy into the universe causing prosperity to return to you...that's hogwash. I'm not even referring to denying the truth and reality of difficulties, injustices, and tragedies around you (sweeping the negative under the rug to pretend it doesn't exist)...that's dangerous. I'm alluding to counting your blessings, believing The Truth, and controlling where you allow your mind to wander and set up camp.

"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phillipians 4:8)

Interesting to me that immediately following the instructions to think on these things comes instructions regarding contentment in every circumstance...whether abased or abound, hungry or full, suffering or health. Christ promises to strengthen us during all times, but just maybe He does so, at least in part, by giving us the command to focus our thinking on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely.... And isn't He True, Honest, Just, Pure, Lovely....

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee" Isaiah 26:3.

Perfect peace. Contentment in every situation. A mind that is stayed on Him.

When we do these things, we can't possibly have no in our hearts.

Dig it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

"The Women": 4 Stars from Me


Linda and I had a fun girls night out. We started with a quiet and satisfying early dinner at Carliles in Scottsboro. I had the Hawaiian Chicken which was good. Carliles has good food, good price, good service, and adecent atmosphere, but it feels a little 80's in there...they need a facelift. It's just a locally-owned little place in Scottsboro, nothing fancy, but it's good.

Then we went to Sally's. I needed some mousse and conditioner, and found it to be my lucky day! My favorite mousse and conditioner was not only on sale, but if you bought 2 items from this particular line of products, you received a FREE bottle of Finger Paints nail polish...also my favorite brand! I love nail polish! Then...more good luck! Linda also bought 2 products from the line and she let me have her free polish! Understand...I didn't have to take whatever colors they gave us for the free polish, and the bottles weren't tiny, gimmick-size bottles. I actually got to go to the Finger Paints shelf and pick out 2 colors and take them home for free! Could life be any better than this?

Next we made it over to the theatre in Scottsboro and watched the newly released movie "The Women", It's full of some of my favorite actresses including Meg Ryan, Annette Benning, the lady that played Murphy Brown and is now on Boston Legal, Will Smith's wife, the girl from Will and Grace (Deb Messing), the Wind Beneath My Wings singer on Beaches, and some more ladies I can't think of.

The Women is interestingly a remake of a movie from the 1930's, trailer above. I came home and checked it out on youtube and found some details to be very similar to the original film. The first movie was based on a play called The Women but I don't recall the playwright.

I give the movie 4 out of 5 stars. The story was good and held my attention. Language was decent although there were a few curse words scattered throughout, but didn't notice extreme profanities. There is one scene of two ladies smoking pot which was unnecessary. The movie leaned a bit toward the feminist side for me, but not real heavy. No real man-bashing, just more "girl power". In general, I did take away some socially redeeming values that will cause me to think and ponder. I would definitely watch the movie again if the opportunity presents itself. I might would consider buying the DVD.

The night with us dropping in for a Jr. Banana Split for $.99 at Sonic. Perhaps my conscious is bothering me about that part...I feel the need to confess since I have previously whined about SlimFast and exercise this week! A jr. banana split is using moderation, right? Right????

Planning to travel to Ohatchee tomorrow to see the Alexandria Valley Cubs kick some serious booty! Looking forward to that!

Tomorrow is Auburn and LSU. That could be U-G-L-Y, folks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes when I'm down...

Sometimes when I'm down, I find this youtube video. It just makes me laugh out loud no matter how many times I watch!

Psalm 100

Wow! This kid should get an extra cookie in Sunday school for his memory verse!

I know how you feel, honey!

We have a running joke in among staff and residents at The Way Home. If someone makes a statement that is confusing or non-sensible, we chastise her ramblings with a sarcastic "Such as...the Iraq...and children maps so......" quoting Miss South Carolina in the 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant. Bless her heart.

But we've all been there, haven't we? It's like the time when Mr. Jolley called on me during math class way back in the fifth grade, "What is 6 X 6?" he asked. I froze. Just looked at him with my mouth open. He just went on to the next person. I knew that! Good grief, what's wrong with me?

Or it's like the time when my good friend Gequetta had a bad car crash in highschool. She was injured severely, but with time and physical therapy, she recovered. Eventually she was at a basketball game, still on crutches, when she ran into a certain fellow who happened to be her secret crush. She ran into him in line at the concession stand, and he initiated a conversation with her...perhaps he started with a casual "Close game, huh?" or a friendly "Hey Gequetta!" Quetta looked at him and like a simpleton said "I had a wreck." Super-Crush looked sympathetically confused and walked away. Quetta stood and watched him go, repeating I had a wreck??? What the- in her mind, over and over and over again. Where did that come from?

I had one of those moments today. A production company came to The Way Home today to begin videoing interviews for a promotional video for our ministry. I watched our calm and articulate social worker answer questions for her interview. Her answers were just beautiful. I literally teared up just listening to her speak about the girls here and all the reasons she works for The Way Home.

Then it was my turn. I sat in front of a camera facing the interviewer. Bright lights in front of me, bright lights over my head. Okay, I can do this, I thought secretly to myself with a Bridgette Jones sort of confidence. Big mistake. Huge.

I don't know what happened to my brain. I could not comprehend the interviewer's questions. I could not speak in complete sentences. I honestly don't think I could tell him my name if he asked me. Did I really go to college?...you could not prove it by my vocabulary or grammar during my interview. Ugh.

Thinking back on the situation, I can think of plenty of true and intelligent answers to his questions. Ugh again. Too late now! I hate when I do that!

So, let's all give a break to our Miss South Carolina sweetheart. I'm giving her a pass, bless her heart. I know how you feel, honey. It'll be alright!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whistling While I Work...


I found myself in an unusual situation today.

We only have one girl at the home right now, and she just started a full-time job yesterday. Baby Amy is in daycare. What to do with myself from 7 'til 4? It's been a nice, busy, stay-at-home day. I walked this morning, came home to enjoy a banana-cream yogurt snack, and have been spring cleaning in September ever since. I've taken out 5 large garbage bags, organized the pantry, and "Lysol'd" every spot in the kitchen.

Just getting ready for more girls...we don't have any for-sure applicants at the moment, but you just never know.... I will enjoy the quiet days now because the hectic ones will surely come again soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Lauren...

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My niece Lauren gets a post just because she wants one. Thus, her nickname "Queen."
One of my favorite memories of Lauren is of once when she was about 5 years old, maybe a little younger. She was up at Mom's house, and I think I was home on break from college. It was in the early spring and the weather was still a little cool outside. Mom, Lauren, and I were outside piddling around in the yard when Lauren commented on all the birds singing. I asked little "WaWa" (another favorite nickname courtesy of Lauren's little sister) what song the birds were singing. Lauren perked up, looked me in the eye, and confidently announced "Hallelujah!" It was just precious!
Lauren, may you always see God in the small things in life!
Love, Theia

SlimFast Update....

Well, it's been about 2 weeks since I started the SlimFast diet. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I am at a 7..... 7lbs that is. Yes, I'm down 7 lbs. I suppose I'm pleased with that. I've been walking for exercise and do I hate it! I don't know what the problem is, but it's the truth! Can't I just whine for a minute.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Bear


I'm sorry to disappoint my Bama friends, but this post entitled "The Bear" makes no references to Toll Tide, Tuscaloosa, Big AL, Nick Saban, or THE Bear.

I found this website called "The Living Room Candidate" where you can watch presidential political campaign ads from as far back as 1952, It is really interesting. I thought this campaign ad was quite beautiful, yet chilling. Much different than the ads of today, don't you think? Evidently, the Bear represents the Cold War and the lone hunter symbolizes the US.

The earliest memory I have of a president is of Reagan. In fact, most of my childhood was under his leadership. I was 6 when he was elected and 14 when George Bush Sr. was elected.

Funny... a vivid memory just came to mind of mom and dad watching something on TV related to the Carter/Reagan transition. I can just hear mom saying about Nancy Reagan "She getting ready to redecorate the White House." I didn't have a clue then, but I get it now!

Other memories of the Reagan years from a childlike perspective: being terrified of the Soviet Union, mushroom clouds, and all that talk of the "Cold War". What would we do if a bomb hit while we were at school? I believed The President would always take care of us. Why are those people tearing down that wall anyway?

I loved President Reagan.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Savannah!


Superstition has it that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. I beg to differ. Twelve years ago on Friday, September the 13th, and my sweet niece Savannah was born into our family. She came so fast that her mom didn't make it to the hospital. Our little "Nana" was born in an ambulance somewhere on the interstate near Birmingham. She will always be our little Firetruck Baby because the ambulance was accompanied by a police and firetruck escort. She came into this world in all her glory, and continues to leave an impression everywhere she goes. Happy Birthday, Savannah!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering


I took this picture at the World War II monument in Washington D.C. I believe it rings true today. May God bless every family who still misses a loved one seven years later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Calm in the Storm

Earlier this week Aunt Kathy left a message on my cell phone for me to check out the CBS morning show. There was to appear a story about a man and his young son who were separated in the ocean by the rip current, both surviving after treading water all night long and being rescued by the Coast Guard helicopter the next day.

"You need to watch it so next time we will know what to do," Aunt Kathy said in her message, referring to the time last summer when we had a very close and terrifying call with the undertow at the beach. Unfortunately, I did not get the message in time to catch the story, but tonight I read a touching article about the event. (Check out the full story http://news.aol.com/article/dad-credits-boys-illness-for-sea/169626?icid=100214839x1209456653x1200503775)

According to the article, the boy, who has severe communication difficulties related to autism, and his father quoted lines from his favorite movies in order to continuously hear each other's voices. "To Infinity..." the father would say, then "And Beyond" the boy would reply. This routine continued until eventually they were so far separated that they could no longer hear the other's voice.

I can't help but wonder if the little boy did not rely upon the memory of his father's voice and their much rehearsed routines to help him survive the raging sea. All night long surely the child rehearsed the words that he always heard his father say. Surely his focus wasn't on the rough waters or the possible "marine life" which could have been encircling him.

"The boy lacks a fear of death because of the autism and finds comfort in the water," the article quoted the dad. Perhaps that's true that the child lacks a fear of death, but I can't help but wonder if his calm disposition didn't come strictly from this ocean water, but from previous hours spent with his father not only in water, but also in rehearsing their "lines" together.

Wow, to be so spiritually prepared when the rough currents of life try to sweep us away as this child was prepared for his long ordeal. Are we spending so much time with our Father that in the most bleak circumstances we can hear His voice? Would it keep us going? Do we have such a routine with Him that in good and bad times we can keep our head above the water?

Is that what it means to hide His Word in my heart? Psalm 119:11

Is this how He fulfills His promise to keep up in perfect peace, when we have our mind stayed on Him? Isaiah 26:3

Is this the secret to being content in all circumstances? Phil 4:11

Is this how He promises to be with us when we pass through deep waters? Isaiah 43:2

As much as is within my power, I plan never to be caught by a rip current again. However, I've lived long enough to know that the currents in life can be even more overwhelming. When those times come, and they will as sure at the ocean tide rises and falls, I'm thankful that we have a Hope and an Anchor to sustain us when the water rises. Be prepared for the storms by hiding His Word in your heart and keep your mind focused on Him. Remember to look for Him when you must pass through the deep waters.

Finally, when He sends the coast guard with a helicopter and a rope, and He will one way or another, grab on and hold tight!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

To Jason & Miriam with Love!

Dear Jason,

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jay-Jay! It was about 10 years ago that our paths first crossed "way up there in Tennessee" when we were working at Rivermont Care and Rehabilitation Center. You were one of the friendliest people I met on my first day of work there, but at time I was clueless to the depth of friendship we would eventually develop during our tenure there.

As I pondered what to say for your special day, a plethora of memories flooded my mind, so I will choose to list some of the most vivid, in no particular order, of course! Hope it brings a smile to your face!
  • Granny-Cat-Fights breaking out at your and Shelli's baby shower

  • Knock-Knock, Lanelle! Why can't I come in?

  • Would everybody stop stealing my pen?

  • All hands in the dining room! All hands!

  • Orval smiling.

  • Please move your car!

  • Dr. Justo, I hate to tell you this, but....maggots....

  • I've been a preacher, I've been a teacher, I've been a doctor....!!!

  • Salad with no salad dressing (are you still weird?)

  • Bill wrote me up, 2 days in a row!

  • data points = brain washing

  • JayJay rescues a choking nurse!

  • Hey Jason, we need a wheel chair...can you please find one for us?

  • Hector shooting birds.

  • Amy knew how to play the game.

Jason, those were some fun times, but I'm thankful we've both moved on! You and your family will always have a special place in my heart! Hope today is the beginning of a great year! Theia


Miriam,
Happy Birthday, dahling!


Wow! We've had some moments over the years, too, huh? Most were good, some were really, really great! What I appreciate most about you is that in the most difficult months of my life, you always knew what to say at the right time, drawing from your personal experience. I don't know if I ever told you how much you helped me!


I love you and am thankful for your friendship!


Theia



On One Woman's Rite of Passage

I initially began writing this piece shortly after the death of my sweet and Godly grandmother, Wilma Bishop Chaffin who passed away in March, 2006. I finally was able to complete it this year. It is true from the most secret places in my soul and I hope and pray my Savior is glorified in these words....

On one woman’s rite of passage

Adulthood. Womanhood, more specifically. How do you know when you are there? Really there. Does it occur at puberty? At your sweet sixteen party? First date? First kiss? Perhaps you make the transition from girl to woman at high school graduation, definitely by college graduation, right?

I had done those things. I had purchased a brand new car. I had bought a house. I had a career. I earned a great salary. But I still felt like a girl, or at least like a “young lady”, never really considering myself to be a woman, even at thirty-two years of age.

I thought it was because I was single. I thought it was because I had never delivered a baby that I wasn’t really a woman. It’s not that I didn’t desire these things, because from childhood I imagined my “grown-up life” with the husband, children, and home with the white picket fence. For some unknown reason, God was not creating that life for me.

Then it happened. My rite of passage. This is the story of my passage into womanhood.

Early one Friday morning in March, I had a hysterectomy. Cancer.

I had settled it in my mind…this surgery made me no less feminine than the next gal. I had perfect peace that God was so big that if He desired for me to be a mother, then He would make that happen whether I possessed a reproductive system or not. Still I pondered if this surgery was God’s way of telling me that I am not to be a mother, not a real woman, but just a girl.

The following Wednesday, my grandmother had a massive stroke. This stroke was bad. On Wednesday evening when I arrived at her home, the house was filled with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Some were sitting at her bedside; others were congregating in the kitchen. There was a deep sadness in the air, yet there was also a sense of relief that soon there would be an end to the suffering that she had experienced over the past few months.

As I stood by her bed, holding her hand, I called to her by name. Very weakly, she opened her eyes and looked me directly in the eyes. Her mouth moved just a little bit, and then she closed her eyes again, exhausted. I sat with her for a while, reminiscing silently over all the ways this incredible woman had blessed me. I whispered my “see you later, love you!” in her ear, kissed her forehead, and prayed silently at her bedside for God to take her quickly, knowing that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.

Over the following two days, I saw other family members go to her bedside one-by-one, in their own ways saying goodbye to our “MawMaw” and praying for an end to her suffering. Grown men and women, teenagers, and children, some with mournful sobs, others with quiet tears, some with numb silence, all touched, grieved, keeping vigil, and longing for relief.

On Friday afternoon, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, MawMaw took her last breath on this earth, leaving us with a beautiful smile on her face, a miraculous shadow of what she must have been experiencing in Heaven.

After a while, my aunts and I bathed the body and dressed it in a lovely nightgown. It was such a quiet, peaceful, beautiful time. My aunts demonstrated womanhood. Family caring for family, even when it’s hard and it hurts. It was the last thing we could do for our MawMaw. It was what real women did, and it was an honor and a joy.

I left my MawMaw’s house a woman that day.

I was clueless that God had escorted me through my rite of passage right in time. Or was it right on time? It matters not. Only three months later, almost to the day, I had to draw from my new, God-given womanhood.

My beautiful, young, strong, creative, powerful, smart, womanly mother suddenly took her last breath on this earth and went to be with my MawMaw. I wasn’t there to see that last breath, but I’m certain that her last breath on this earth was a deep one for the shocking news of her death deeply took my own breath away.

I found myself stepping up to care for my mom at a time when she could not care for herself, choosing her prettiest bra and panties, buying a beautiful, flowing white peasant blouse and long straight black skirt, selecting her signature black high heels, taking her own make-up to the funeral home so they could match her colors exactly, giving instructions for her hair… “Please don’t comb her hair out straight after you wash it. Just gently use a pick, and then scrunch the curls and let them air dry. I’ll be back to style her hair early in the morning.” I did go back, and Mom’s sisters went with me. It was hard, and it hurt, but it was the last thing I could do for my own mother, who had given so much to me. And it was an honor.

The girl that had existed in me only three months earlier was not ready for this task, but the woman in me did what she had to do. I think Mom would have been most pleased with the decisions I made on her behalf. As strange as it may sound, she was breathtakingly beautiful, even in a casket, and that made me happy.

Womanhood. Doing what you have to do, even when it’s hard and even when it hurts. Family caring for family.

Remember the scripture that reads: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11)? I don’t always behave like a woman. Sometimes I find myself reverting back to a little girl with childish ways, sometimes a rebellious and unteachable adolescent. But I’m making progress, for I see less and less of the little girl I used to be and increasingly more of the faithful God who created me, working in me. I have discovered a new richness in life, a sense of fullness, and a deep security by unleashing the grasp on the childish things and accepting His plan for me.

Womanhood. Doing what you have to do, even when it’s hard and even when it hurts. Not understanding as a child but as a woman, letting go of childish things, and seeking the wisdom and mind of Christ.

My goal is to consistently live that kind of womanhood. If you have achieved that kind of womanhood, you can achieve anything. Thanks be to God!

March 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Palin's "Big Girl Panties"







"Put on your Big Girl panties and deal with it!"


Have you ever heard that phrase? It appears that someone has cashed in on that concept by campaigning for America's "Big Girl" in an unmentionable sort of way! I ran across a whole selection of Palin Panties on the AOL mail page just now. Totally cracked me up! I. LOVE. IT.!!!


I clicked on the link for Obama's line of undies, fully expecting something with pink ruffles on the bottom or vintage "Underoos", but I found only a rainbow variety of plain "boy shorts". Wait a minute.... boy shorts... How appropriate! Somehow something truly masculine, say regular boxers or the boxer-briefs made so wildly popular by the Calvin Klein ads, just don't fit the Obama image.



Okay, that's enough. I never intended my blogspot to become my personal platform to post political rants, definitely not to describe styles of underwear which most appropriately fit our politicians.



But...I have to add one last thought! It matters not to me who is the next to hold the keys to the Oval Office, I shall never wear a pair of thong-underwear. I have my own big-girl panties!





Saturday, September 6, 2008

God created me to play football!


Left: Jaxson is a very hard hitter!


"Dad, God created me to play football!" That's what my nephew Grayson (3rd grade) said to my brother not too long ago. I just love it! And for now, I believe that our Boo Bear has answered his calling!

I spent the day with my brother's family today. Both Jaxson (4th grade) and Grayson had games today. They play pee-wee football for the Alexandria Valley Cubs. I'm happy to report that we won both games. Grayson's team played first, and he scored 3 TDs! Way to go, Grayson! Then Jaxson's team had a victory thanks in large part to his hard hitting, big tackles, and 3 QB sacks!

Watching the boys' games was rather bittersweet for me, I must admit because I remember how proud Mom always was of all her grandchildren! I feel like those kids are missing out on so very much because she's gone. It's been a little more than two years now and it sometimes, like today, seems so raw and consuming.

I pray that I can find a way to somehow help them know just how much Grandmother loved them. Most especially, I pray that Lauren, Savannah, Jaxson, and Grayson will all know exactly what it is that God created them uniquely to do and that they will find the courage to do it wholeheartedly! I love that they are young and having a great childhood, but I can hardly wait to see the good things in store for their future!


video

TOUCHDOWN, GRAYSON!!!!! WAY TO GO!!!!!







Jaxson (center orange) getting ready to sack that QB!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rick & Bubba Rick & Bubba!






Rick and Bubba Rick and Bubba! Pass the gravy please!


The Way Home gang took a little field trip yesterday to see the Rick and Bubba Show. Had a blast! The whole R&B staff were most hospitable!

"Chitwood" babies and Mini-Vans

Who are these thirty-somethings and their shiny white grocery-getters?
Hi Everybody!

Sam the Charmer


Reese says "Nobody's taking my picture!"



Baby Reese Kathryn

Some time ago, I wrote a post about Jennifer (Chitwood) McCurdy, who I still call "Chitwood" after all these years, coming to visit me. Unfortunately at that time the batteries were dead for my camera so had no pics to show of the babies. Well, consider it your lucky day! I briefly met up with Chitwood today and just happened to have my camera. After a quick photo shoot with the babies, she and I got a good laugh at ourselves both driving white mini-vans. I suppose we have finally arrived!











Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chivalry isn't dead, is it?


It's awkward sometimes, being a single lady in a family and couples-oriented community. When I was younger it bothered me, but now I've learned to appreciate and love my single life.
In some ways, the single life affords me a great deal of guilt-free selfishness...I can generally come and go as I please, squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or the middle (whichever way the mood strikes me) and always feel assured that my toilet seat is down. I can have as many bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shower gel, and bubble bath in my shower as desire.
In other ways, the single life gives me tremendous opportunities for generosity. I can drop everything to help a friend in need. I can give money to others without feeling that I am neglecting the needs of my own children. Even scripture reminds us that it is good to remain single as a married person must concern herself with the affairs of her husband while a single person can devote herself to the service of the Lord.
In general, I am quite content with thirty-something-never-been-married life....until....
"Are you one of these independent women?" a guy asked one of my single-and-approaching-thirty girlfriends. What is she supposed to be? Seriously, not sarcastically, what is someone in her place or in my place supposed to be but "independent". Would it really be appropriate for me to, at age thirty-something, to be living with my parents? Is it wrong we try to be financially responsible and savvy?
Of course I would love to have a gentleman in my life to handle the "traditionally male" duties....maintaining the car, carrying heavy boxes, killing snakes and bears, and checking out those noises that "go bump in the night." NEWSFLASH: HE AIN'T HERE YET! I have no choice but to take my own car to the mechanic, carry my own heavy boxes, check out strange noises (okay, I've never killed a snake or a bear!).
"Women like you can't let people help you," the guy said. Okay, I can understand where he's coming from. So I've been making a conscious effort to ask for help and accept help. Sometimes I just forget to ask for help because I'm so used to doing things myself. It's not that I'm insulted if a gentleman offers to carry a heavy object for me, on the contrary, I would likely be flattered. It's just that it never crosses my mind to give him the chance to help; I do it myself because I'm just used to it.
Tonight I attended an outdoor community event with a friend and her 4 week old infant. Seating was limited, so many people simply stood or sat on the ground. To my surprise and bafflement, I observed three men sitting on a bench located less than 3 feet from my friend who was holding the infant. None of them offered their seat on the bench to the young woman. Finally, my friend just sat down on the ground, right in front of the men resting comfortably on their bench, still holding the infant. Then men continued with their bench-warming duties while the mommy and baby sat on the hard ground.
I didn't want to embarrass my friend by asking the men to offer her a seat. I asked her permission to gently confront the men, but she preferred that I didn't do so. My friend really didn't think too much about sitting on the ground while the men sat comfortably on a bench...she was just used to it. Sound familiar?
Perhaps that bench-warming scenario is the reason why so many of us "independent women" are so independent. What choice do we have when so many knights have allowed their armour to become rusty?
The good thing is, I can think of many guys in my life, both married and single, who would have fallen all over themselves to offer a seat on the bench to the mommy and her baby. I know chivalry still exists, but for some gentlemen, it's circling the drain fast.
Here's my hope: I don't have to be independent. I have a groom named Christ and I am completely dependent upon Him. He is my beautiful Prince of Peace who comes to my rescue daily. He's mighty enough to carry my every burden. He's the Warrior who fights for me. He's rich in every heavenly resource and more than able to meet every need. He has given me many spiritual children in the girls and babies that I care for daily.
Yes, I still am looking for that gentleman to kill the snakes and bears for me, but until he arrives, I'll just be busy living life. If you know any chivalrous snake or bear killers, I'm open!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Shoes, Sarah!

Okay. I haven't developed this blog to discuss politics. Although I have relatively strong political views, I hesitate to get on any one leader's boat wholeheartedly as people definitely have the potential to disappoint. But I've been watching Alaskan Governor Palin the past few days, and I have to admit that gal just makes me smile. In the wake the the media's announcement of the unwed pregnancy of Palin's teen daughter, I can't stay silent another moment.

A few random thoughts in no particular order....some may be rather shallow, but so what...I am shallow most of the time!

1. Good hair. When I first heard of Palin, I was in the car on the way home from the beach and was unable to see her, only hear details of her on the radio. To be honest, I had pictured in my mind a more robust, not-so-feminine Alaskan moose-hunter who resembled a young Ms. Doubtfire. What a positive surprise to see long, yet conservative hair. I've been trying to grow my hair out for sometime and my goal is to be able to pull it up in a loose ponytail like that. I love it. I hope she keeps her hairstyle. Remember when Hillary first came on the scene with Bill...her bland hair with those stupid headbands. She's improved over the years in the hair department, but Palin's is better in my opinion.

2. Good shoes. Please don't get me wrong, I've been listening to what's coming out of her mouth as well as both the Left and Right-wing commentators as I know the investigative reporters will dig up any- and everything they can, but I can't help but check out her wardrobe. She always has on great shoes. She may wear a good-fitting, conservative black business suit, but she will polish it off with a pair of "don't-start-with-me-or-I'll-kick-your-end" red high heels. I just love it.

3. Okay. So she promotes abstinence and now she has a pregnant 17-year old daughter. So what. She believes the truth, she teaches the truth, and her daughter chose a different route. She's not the first and certainly will not be the last. Let it go people! The statement she and her husband made to the press regarding the pregnancy was most graceful. I particularly liked that she said that she was proud that her daughter decided to have the baby, but that her daughter's news meant that she would have to grow up faster than her parents had ever planned. Well said, Governor! My life currently revolves around pregnant teenagers and that's what it boils down to: They've made the right decision to give life to their baby, but with that decision comes a fast track to adulthood, and that's hard.

4. Then there's the question of her being able to balance motherhood and VP duties. Even more, what if the presidency torch is passed to her? I think it will be incredibly difficult, but it can be done. Her children are likely exceptional much like their mom. I can't help but think that being in the White House would afford great educational benefits to her baby with Down Syndrome and increase awareness of the condition for Down children all over the world.

5. What in the world are you thinking, Gov. Palin in that office shot above? That bear on your couch and the crab on your coffee table? Scary. Whatever floats your boat, sister! You're America's first Woman VP (I hope!) so I guess you can put whatever you want to in your office! Notice once again, red shoes!

6. As much as I love her hair and her red shoes, and her little baby she chose life for, I just love that she stands for the things I stand for.

7. Churches everywhere pray for our country and our leaders....why do we never look expectantly for God to provide government leaders who are salt and light? I hope Palin is one of many that God would use bring restoration to American government!

THE END. period.

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Fast" as in quick or "Fast" as in the Bible?


Maggie and I started a diet together today. (For any of you who don't know Maggie, she had a baby 4 weeks ago. It's 4 weeks ago today, to be exact.) We decided before the baby was born that we would start together after the baby was born.


So I went on vacation and she went home to south Alabama for a visit. Now we are back and are ready to get serious. Maggie came back with a can of Slim-fast. So, I thought, what the hay, I'll do Slim-Fast too.
...sigh...

She's so pumped and excited but I just can't seem to get there.
Unfortunately, I've been in somewhat of a spiritual slump of late and just can't quite seem to get out of it.
Slim-Fast. Let's dissect this.
Slim...that's good. Got it. I like the thought of Slim. There's a "Slim Jim" that I've used to unlock my car before. There are "Slim sizes" in jeans...never been there, I'm more of a "Husky" kid, myself! I had a cell phone once that was "slim design". Slim is good. We want to be slim and trim.
Fast. Hum.....
Now, is that "fast" as in quick or speedy? Or is that "fast" like in the Bible? I hope it's quick and speedy, but I suspect for my life, it's as in the Bible.
I have fasted, Biblically speaking, before. Last year when I was honored to be on the "Pastor Search Committee" at church, the committee committed to one day of prayer and fasting per week. It was an amazing experience. I found that I could have a new spiritual clarity when I answered His call to fasting. It wasn't like I skipped work or walked around in a ghostly trance all day....it was simply between the Lord and me. It was special, but I can't quite articulate why. I do feel that God honored our committee's days of prayer and fasting as He soon (quickly, speedily) gave us clear direction in who to call as Pastor.
I fasted another time (along with many other people) when my good friend's husband was in rehab for alcohol addiction. That fast was for intercession. Asking God to hear our prayer on another person's behalf.
I once felt burdened to fast for the ministry here at The Way Home. I tried 1 day a week for several weeks, but never even made it through lunch. I don't know what that was about, but I think maybe there was warfare in the Heavenlies that I knew nothing about.
I don't fully understand Biblical fasting, but I know there's something to it. I've experienced it.
Jesus did it.
The Bible tells us that some strongholds of the enemy are defeated only through prayer and fasting.
I'm interested to know your thoughts on fasting. What do you understand the Scriptures to say about fasting?
I'm interested to hear your comments weight loss or healthy living for that matter. As much as I appreciate it, dear friends, I'm not feeling up to "you're beautiful on the inside and the outside" comments. I need to know your ways of staying on track in eating with moderation, exercising even when you hate it, and steering clear of sugar, carbs, and fast food.
Thanks friends.
Oh, and one more thing.... I'm interested in your prayers, too! I love you all!

Welcome to my blog, Aunt Kathy!


















You did figure it out, didn't you!!!


For everybody else, this is my Aunt Kathy. She's the best. After growing up with an Aunt Kathy, it makes me sad that my nieces and nephews don't know what it's like to have an aunt like that. I'm working on being a better aunt, but I'm not quite at an Aunt Kathy level.

Top Ten Memories of Aunt Kathy....(in no particular order)
1. She was always (and still does) taking pictures
2. She knew the words (and sang along with) every song on the radio.
3. She always let us (me and/or my cousins) spend the night with her anytime we wanted to.
4. She always came to my ballgames and band concerts
5. She NEVER, EVER missed my birthday (and still doesn't)
6. She always had a cat or kittens. The most memorable cat was a black and white cat that roamed her neighborhood named "Oreo".
7. She let us (me and/or my cousins) listen to her stereo/albums, full volume, and dance like crazy in her living room. We probably owe a little thanks (or perhaps apology) to Uncle Russell on that one.
8. She "tickled" our backs
9. She took us places (movies, Point Mallard, Six Flags)
10. She didn't forget about her nieces and nephews after she had that dumb ole baby Tiffany. (Just teasing Tiff...we all loved you and never called you a dumb ole baby!)

Everybody needs an Aunt Kathy! I'm one of the lucky ones!