Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here we are, once again...


Christmas has come and gone, and another year is about to come to a close. It's weird how as we get older, the years tick by as mere blips on the radar. The end of the year causes me to be reflective, but it also makes me hopeful for another year to come.

In years past, I had the bright idea that we should have a theme going into January 1st. I believe 2003 was the first one, at least that I can remember. "Become Debt Free in 2003"! Oh please. Don't make me cuss. "Expecting More in 2004" was our next bright idea. How'd that work out for us? NOT TOO GOOD.

So, in 2005, we decided to shoot a little lower.... "Stay Alive in 2005". Praise God! It was one that we accomplished! I don't take it lightly either. It was a lesson learned. Aim low, and you leave less room for disappointment.

So for 2011, I'm wondering what my theme should be? Some things that crossed my mind are.... "Better Than '07, It's 2011" (wouldn't take much).... "New Engines are Revvin' in 2011" (I need a CAR!)... "Let's Make It 7 in 2011".... (Wait for it... Wait for it... and THAT'S A BIG FAT NO.)

I'm thinking an appropriate shot would be "Taking More to Heaven in 2011". I've been pondering a lot about lost people lately, and how I need to live a better witness. Maybe this theme can be my motivation to share with lost souls the hope that Jesus Christ brings to my life. I plan to return to West Virginia in the Summer of 2011 for a "mission trip", but in the mean time, I should be more aware of those around me. I've really fallen down on my job this year. In fact, confession time, I have spent less time in my Bible this year than in a very long time. (I hate for my Junior High girls' Sunday School class to hear that, but I'm going to do better!) Yep, I could say that I've just been busier, but that would not necessarily be true. Fact is, I've been slack. As a result I feel disconnected, almost like I'm wandering around looking for something that is lost. I mean, I can still obviously feel God working in my life, but I haven't done a very good job holding up my end of that relationship. I want to be a good example, and not one of an attempt at perfection. I want to be an example of simple humanity with a dedication and dependence on Christ. It's time that I step up to the plate.

So maybe a more appropriate theme for the upcoming year would be "More Aware of Heaven in 2011". That covers more bases really. I hope it will harken back to the great year of 2005, when we all managed to stay alive.... Come to think of it, that would be another goal for the year that I would certainly like to accomplish.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Better late than never...


It was a December morning, just a little over a week until Christmas, and I woke up to an unusual feeling. Ken had already left for work in Charlotte, and I realized my water had broken. I called him to return, and I decided it was a good idea to call Mom. Jordan needed to get to preschool, and it looked like Ken and I were heading to the hospital.
Turns out, just because your "water" had broken didn't mean a baby was coming that day. So, we settled into the hospital room. That afternoon I started a card game with my hubby, and as I sat in the rocking chair, I had an unusual pain in my back. Yep, it was labor time.
I labored into the night until my doctor decided that it was time to rest. I'm thankful for a doctor who followed my wishes to deliver a baby after having had a c-section. It wasn't easy, and it took a lot of patience on everyone's part, but on Friday morning, my baby girl was born.
She was born during Jordan's preschool Christmas program, so my parents weren't there. The most memorable thing to me is thinking that she looked like a chubby baby version of her daddy! Jordan ended up being sick and having to stay with the grandparents, so daddy and I started our bonding time with little Lauren Ashley.
(We snuggled in bed that night and watched "It's a Wonderful Life". What an appropriate end to an amazing day.)
I can't say enough about what a sweet baby Lauren was. She was joyful, happy, funny baby. She learned quickly and rarely had to be corrected. She is a sweet little sister. As she has grown, she has kept that sweet, level-headed personality. I used to worry about what was going on in the pretty little head of hers, but then I realized that my own need to blurt everything out was just a contrast to her more thoughtful, careful way of dealing with things.
She's a middle child essentially, younger to Jordan, older to her twin sisters. She's a mediator and a peace-maker. She's funny but quiet, although as she's gotten older she has learned that it's fine to tell you what she thinks. (She's quite honest!) She's stylish and beautiful, and she carries herself so well. She is dedicated to living for Christ, and I'm excited to see what He has in store for her.
She's a genuis, a golfer, a talented singer, she's a leader who can follow, and she has a heart for children. This past summer, I was able to watch her at work with the less fortunate kids of West Virginia that we ministered to, and it was a true blessing. She is still the personification of her preschool indian name, Bright Star, and she brightens our lives every day.
Thank you, Lord, for Lauren. She is such a blessing to us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year?

The hustle and the bustle tends to stress me every year, as my husband reminds me when I mention that I'm stressed out. "You are always stressed out from Thanksgiving to Christmas", says Ken. Truly, I always just let my surroundings have an impact on me, making me feel the stress of the craziness swirling around me. People become ruder, seem to be more pushed for time, and are just totally missing the entire idea of what this season is supposed to mean.

So why do I allow everyone around me to control how I feel about the season? Why do I struggle year in and year out from Thanksgiving to Christmas? I've been giving that some thought this year. I'm still losing myself in trying to make others happy. I wonder how I can avoid that? What is it about life that causes me to lose my focus this time of year?

I hear other women talking about making gifts, spending time with friends, and intricately decorating their homes. Well, I'm not terrible crafty, and who has time, I only have a few friends and they're pretty busy, and again who has time, and I can't afford to decorate my home intricately. Am I complaining? Well, not really. I just can't allow myself to get caught up in trying to do all of these things. I can't worry about everyone else's happiness. I have to just relax and enjoy my own little world, however different it may be from others'.

In a news story I heard this morning, they were discussing how to deal with family during the holidays. The entire story was how each family has so many problems, and how those are exaggerated during the holiday season. It made me start thinking of things differently....

I can honestly say that when I get together with my family, we have a blast. We don't argue, we don't bicker, we just have an amazingly great time! There is no tension, just loads of fun. Because I don't get to see my cousins very often, we just bask in the glow of our love for each other, as cheesy as that sounds, and enjoy each other's families. Anyone that would join us would be amazed at how close we are and how much love they feel among us. We are all hard-working, busy, God-fearing people that enjoy laughing and just having a great time but don't get to do it often enough.

This brings me to my wrap-up. I don't have a lot of girlfriends to just get together with and do girly things. (And the ones I do have just don't have time to get together and do girly things!) I don't have a lot of money to do extravagant things for Christmas. I do have a family that loves me no matter what, children that are already planning to adopt a child in a third world country for their Christmas present, a husband that brings joy to most any day, but most of all a Savior who constantly reminds me of what Christmas really should mean.

No hustle, no bustle... Just a baby in a manger. Just a Savior Who came to Earth in flesh and blood only to give His life for me and for you. So, even though I find myself wanting to skip Christmas every year, this year I will be still and remember the real reason for the season. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's getting a little nippy...

,
I mean, I know it's the end of November, but I am just amazed at how chilly it is today! Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas in front of us, and who really knows what is in between?
I have been very excited lately for some reason, but I'm keeping it deep inside. As a result, I've spent the past few weeks being very quiet. Several people have asked me if I'm okay, and I am, just a little introspective it seems.
I just feel like God is about to do something in my life. This happens every once in a while, and it's always an uneasy, exciting, tiring, thoughtful time. Anticipation can be exhausting. These are the times that I pray the most, just asking the Lord to bring me peace in all the thoughts churning in my head and my heart.
Those closest to me understand and have ridden along with me in this journey a few times. Good, bad, or indifferent, I'm not sure what's coming. Sometimes I wonder if it is just God's way of drawing me closer, and if it is I welcome it with open arms.
Job is going well, and it's been a fun new adventure. New people, new responsibilities, and new hours! Working nights is sure different for me, and it's not too bad. It's the nights that I'm not working and lying awake that are the toughest! I'm so thankful to have the new job though. It's a blessing in many ways. While I miss my school friends, I'm happy that God has given me a new opportunity.
Thanksgiving brought so many thoughts of what I'm thankful for. Instead of bringing me to think of all that I have, it took me to all that I need to be doing. My mind and heart are very ministry focused, but I can't figure out what direction the Lord wants me to go. For now, I lean in toward my family, my children, and I wait on what is next. If you catch me being quiet, it's because I'm listening for what the Lord may be telling me or where He may be leading. I'm being still on purpose, and I'm holding on for opportunities to experience His joy more fully and to share His love.
Give thanks with a grateful heart, and be still and know that He is God.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm a roadie at heart...

Yes, I believe Tina and I are rocker chicks at heart. We decided that we would make pretty good roadies. Friday was just an incredible start to a wonderful weekend!

I am so blessed to be a part of a church that reaches out and touches the lives of the teenagers of our community. Just as big a blessing is the fact that we held a Christian concert at a public school with so much support. The local Fellowship of Christian Athletes was the catalyst really, and in the end we had at least 350 people in attendance! More importantly, lives were rocked for Christ. I know at least one young man was saved, because I saw him wracked with tears of release, a peace in his eyes that you just can't explain to someone who doesn't have it. I know that many other lives were changed, because it would be impossible for us to attend an event like this one and not be changed.


Due to my fabulous new job, I was able to commit myself to the entire day Friday. We started at about 10 a.m. with the arrival of DecembeRadio. (Aren't they just the cutest things? A bunch of cool, handsome, Godly guys, standing with two old motherly women. haha... Sorry, Tina.) We were all overwhelmed I think at the hearts of these guys. It was just evident that God uses them as they minister through their music. When all was said and done, I can honestly say that they were one of the best bands (if not THE VERY BEST) I have EVER heard in concert. They were amazing.


Also included in our day was a band called The Museum. Yet another adorable groups of guys using their talents to glorify the Lord. It's just fun to be around guys like this, especially for the younger kids that helped us, because they are evidence that you can serve the Lord and still be who you are... unique individuals.


Later in the day, Billly Wayne, Jacob, Carmen, and Derek arrived to join us. When they come into town, it's like family has arrived. They are all so precious and loved. Their ministry and their hearts for the Lord are just so inspiring. Billy is so bold in how he deals with everyone, and there is never a question about where he stands on anything. People like him are my favorites. Jacob is just a joy, and he always makes everyone smile. Derek is just adorable, and his willingness to be a part of this ministry inspires me. There aren't many young guys out there that are as mature in their spiritual walk. You very quickly see that Carmen is the balance for them all, the steady that brings the calm in the midst of these three male tornados! (And I mean this in the very best of ways!) Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to really get to know the older couple that was with them, but I have to say that they were just the cutest little things!


I am so thankful that my kids could be a part of it all. Cassie and Kylie were only there for a small time, but they at least got to experience a bit of the excitement we were all feeling through the afternoon's festivities. Jordan spent the whole day though, and I won't steal the thunder from her blog, but suffice is to say that she had one of the most amazing days she has ever had I believe. Lauren came in later, after school, but she still was able to be a close up part of what was going on, and she was even able to step onto the tour bus. What a night for us all.


Our youth ministry just can't be beat. God has blessed so much, and I am so happy to be a small part of what He is doing. The leaders I work with are just Godly people that enjoy doing His work. We had more fun than anyone should ever be allowed to, in Jesus' name! Our youth leader Scott.... gee whiz.... what can I say.... I love him like a son, and he and his wife are just more of a blessing to more people than they every really could know. I am so proud of how they have remained faithful to what the Lord has for them, and I admire them for their perseverance. I know God is going to continue just blessing their socks off! (We at Buck Creek are honored to have them as a part of our ministry team!!!)


Yes, I was tired, because I am kind of an old lady now, but I can't imagine having not been a part of Friday. It was one of the most fabulous days of ministry I have ever been a part of. My spirit longs for more opportunities like this. I pray that God will lead me to more chances to serve. I pray that He will lead my children as they seek to do His will. I pray for Decemberadio and The Museum that they will continue to glorify God. For Billly, Jacob, Carmen, and Derek, I pray that God will continue to bless their ministry beyond measure. For the Buck Creek youth ministry and Chesnee High School FCA, I know God will continue to use us as long as we exhalt His Holy Name!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A new day is dawning...

It won't be long now until I take the plunge of working 3rd shift. I talked to one of my fellow co-workers this week and told him I am excited about going to 3rd. He said, "Oh, so you've worked nights before?" I told him no but that I thought it would be great! He laughed at me, as everyone else keeps doing, and I'm beginning to worry that they know something I don't!

My logical idea is that I will work three nights a week as scheduled, 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. If, for some reason, one of the girls has to be home from school, I'm here for her. Even if I have to sleep, at least I'm here.

The day nurses say that you get paid more at night but that the day shift works harder. I'm anxious to see what the night shift says about the day people. I bet they will have their opinions too. I've enjoyed working days and like the people there now. I've gotten used to everyone, and I've adjusted to the extreme craziness that goes along with it. I have seen days with the birth of 17 babies. Holy cow, did you ever guess there could be that many born in one day at one hospital?

Nights will be calmer I'm sure. Nights will be long I bet. Sure, I will be tired at first. Hopefully I will adjust though, and for sure I will remind myself that I am making good money for just three nights a week, and my family now has health insurance. It's funny that the only thing I'm nervous about is getting used to an entirely different group of people. Different nurses at night will bring different dynamics and different stories. I'm sure it won't take me long though to just settle right in.

Strangely enough, I will miss having the doctors hanging around. I mean, it's pretty doubtful that they will be hanging out with us at night. They seem to most times lighten the mood, although sometimes it gets crazy behind that desk with a bunch of them around, but shoot, I will miss the big lugs. I say that like they are a bunch of monstrous weirdos, but in reality they are a bunch of kids. I'm not that old, but those doctors are just cute and young and ambitious. It inspires me at times. I mean there are a few old ones like me, and you guys know who you are. I enjoy most of them though, and there is never a dull moment during the day at work.

Nights will be long, they may be a little duller, and they will be quite different than the days I have worked. I pray that my mind will stay sharp, my body will stay strong, and my spirit will stay lifted as I venture into this unknown territory known as 3rd shift.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NOOOO!!!!!

Darn you, Krispy Kreme! Who can resist the HOT AND NOW sign?

For anyone who isn't familiar with this, where in the world do you live? HOT AND NOW means the doughnuts are HOT, straight from the rack, and they are NOW ready to be eaten! I guess when I was younger, I wasn't familiar with this either, but I do remember making a midnight run to Charlotte with my newleywed husband to get a few doughnuts, just because we could. Now, I live much nearer to a Krispy Kreme, and I work even more near to it than I live.

So today, I was minding my own business, driving along up the highway, when there it was, screaming at me from a distance --- HOT AND NOW ---... NOOOO!!!! My blood sugar isn't so good these days, and I'm trying to be a good little girl, but who can resist a HOT AND NOW???

Apparently, not many people can resist them. I had a coupon in my purse, so I thought I should certainly not let it go to waste. I pulled in the parking lot to hit the drive through, and everyone and their brothers were there! How far away can one see that sign? Why does that sign induce a sense of euphoria in those that don't even care for sweets that much? It's almost like if the sign is on, you just can't pass it up. It's like seeing something on sale that you don't need right now, but that you may end up needing at some point in the future!

I'm proud to say I used my coupon, and I ended up with 2 dozen doughnuts. Don't you laugh at me. I only ate one. Thank the good Lord above that I can't, by only a few hundred yards probably, see that darn sign from my work place. If I happened to catch a glimpse of that red light in the corner of my eye, I would end up even heavier than I already am with some serious diabetic tendencies.

HOT AND NOW. The mere thought of it makes my mouth water. (And my blood sugar go up too by the way.) Don't you dare pass that sign if you see it on, but be sure to share with your friends. One of those suckers is enough to do ya' for a while.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wow,


Who has time to blog any more? Well, apparently, not me! This new job has been a piece of real work so far, but it's a really good piece of work!

I'm adusting to much longer work days and much more strenuous work. I mean, I kind of sit in a chair a lot of the day, but there is so much activity going on around me, it is crazy! I told my nurse manager yesterday that I spend most of my time at home trying to block out the noise around me, so it's hard to get used to having to hear everything that's going on around me!

My job consists of admitting patients via computer, entering orders in the computer, charging patients on the computer, transferring patients (yep, on the computer), answering the phone, faxing orders, opening the door for people (due to strict security policies which I'm very happy about), answering the phone again, and pretty much anything else someone needs done. Yep, it sounds like a lot, but that's because it is a lot! Who would have thought that there could be 17 babies born on one day at one hospital? Do these people not have hobbies? Holy cow!

I've learned to call that "job security". As long as people are popping out babies, I'm working at that desk. It's crazy exciting and sometimes just plain crazy. The doctors are so funny, and it's entertaining to experience their different personalities. The nurses are amazing, and it's fun to see their different personalities too. Man, that's a hard working bunch of people.

I have seen miracles happen each and every day. I mean, the birth of a child in itself is a miracle, but some are more miraculous than others. The rush of emotion I felt when I saw doctors running down the hall with a patient on a stretcher, knowing they were saving a life, was more than I ever could have imagined. These ladies and gentlemen are incredible. These guys are my heroes.

So, the new job is going well. I still miss my school peeps and all that went with them. I have adjusted to my new world, and I'm sure it will soon be my new comfort zone. Soon, I will start working my night shift, so that will be something very new to me. I'm anxious to get on a regular schedule to see how things are going to roll. All in all, I work for a great company. The people I work with are crazy dedicated and hard-working. My job is challenging and important, and that gives me such a sense of accomplishment. The twelve hour days are tough, but the four day weekends are worth it....

Now, excuse me while I take a nap. I'm pooped.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Choose to live!

I have the day off!! Woo-hoo!!! Can you tell I'm excited about it? It's just a preview of what my schedule will be when I begin my normal work schedule with my new job. (I will only work three days a week!) For now, my hours are just plain crazy. So far, the job is crazy busy, overwhelming, and stressful, but I do love being a part of the healthcare field!

I miss the comfort of my school job, and the familiar feeling of everything. It was my comfort zone for a long time. It takes me a little longer than the average person to get into a comfort zone, so this is going to be a process. I don't mind though, as I am so thankful for this opportunity to earn more to help my family and provide insurance benefits for us all!

So far, I have learned a great deal in my new venture. One big reminder is seeing that people are hurting and struggling. Another is that some people think they have it tough in their jobs. Others truly do have it tough in their jobs. I really don't see how nurses do it day in and day out. The level of stress they endure and the activity they have to keep up with makes my head spin just to watch.

Along with my new experiences the past several days is one that I never thought I would be able to handle. Interesting that I have always taken everything I do very seriously, but now I see the true seriousness of what I'm taking part in. If things aren't done right, lives are literallly affected and possibly lost. Some losses aren't in the control of any human, and I experienced one of those last week. I saw a tiny body of a pre-term child that never had a chance to take his first breath. If I had thought of this ahead of time, I probably would have thought that there was no way I could face it without being devastated. Instead, God used that moment to show me that each life is so precious. The perfectly formed little boy reminded me that lives are formed WAY before they enter our world. He also reminded me that life is fleeting, so fragile, and that there is some peace found in death. Such a strange experience, but one I used to reinforce my belief in choosing LIFE.

I choose to live each day and not let life get me down. Yes, I'm pooped, but I choose to live. Today, I choose to rest, even though I'm going to be running around this morning for a little while, but I will enjoy my day off and relax my spirit. I will make an extra effort to treasure those around me, as life is not guaranteed to us another day. I hope that everyone who reads this will choose to live today and every day, and that we all will be bold in reminding others how important it is TO CHOOSE LIFE.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Exciting!!

Tomorrow is the big day!!! I start my new job!!! I really am excited. I really don't know what to expect at all. I feel like the new kid, going into a class for the first time. I find myself wondering if I will know anyone, and if I will have to eat lunch by myself. So funny to be back in that situation!

I've been the new kid a few times, and I've never been one to be intimidated by new situations. I'm old and insecure now though. haha... Not really... It is a little stranger to be starting over at 41 years old though. Will I be the old lady in the room, or will I be the young one? Will it be tense or relaxed? How much will I have to learn?!

No matter what, it is a fabulous opportunity! It is a fun new start for me! I love new beginnings, and I am excited about this one!

God is so good. We had such a great day in the Lord. Our youth minister, Scott, preached his guts out today. I noticed he was extra sparkly before the service, and after it was all said and done, I believe that was the annointing of the Lord. He has grown so much, and I am so proud of him and his beautiful wife. The are such a joy to me. It is always amazing to see God work in the lives of those we care about.

Well, I better get moving so I can get ready for my big day. Lord, I pray that You will give me opportunities to be a light for you, and that I will recognize those opportunities. Thank you, Lord, for all of the blessings you have given me. Thank you for making me the new girl. I really can't wait to see what the week will hold!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some things do make me angry...


It is never, ever okay to protest anything at a funeral. There. I said it. Whether it's a military funeral or a civilian one, protests have no place there. What kind of idiots would actually think that they can bust up in the midst of a grieving family and hold signs that say horrible things about God and people? It is absolutely ridiculous!
Lately in the news, there has been talk of this... Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it within our rights to freedom of speech, or freedom of peaceable assembly? Let me go out on a limb here and say NO IT'S NOT!!! This is not a matter of law, it is a matter of sense. What if I, with my freedom of speech or peaceable assembly, went into a Jewish synagogue wearing a shirt saying, "Jesus is alive" and holding a sign saying, "Turn or burn"? I would possibly be charged with a hate crime of some type. I would probably be jailed, and that is one of the milder things that I could think of to do, taking advantage of my "rights".
Listen, people, I believe what I believe. I make that perfectly clear to those that read my blog and those who know me. Although my convictions may be different than yours, I would NEVER, EVER dream of holding signs of HATE in the wake of the death of one of our precious war heroes! Would Jesus do that? NO!!! Jesus taught us to love! These people that misconstrue what their "rights" are just make me sick! There is such a thing as class, respect, and love. I can't even believe this is an issue!
What makes it worse is that the people who are doing this "silent protesting" at the military funerals call themselves "born-again Christians". They say they are conservatives, speaking on behalf of the God they claim to serve. GIVE ME A BREAK!!! That is one screwed up way of thinking!! This is why people that aren't Christians think those of us that are are all kooky! They give us all a bad name!
At one time in my life, really until my more recent years, I would tell people quickly that I'm conservative. Now, I don't claim that title. Because conservative now seems to indicate psychosis, I could never claim that. Was Jesus conservative? Hmm... I'm not so sure about that. He hung out with everybody regardless of walk of life. He treated them all the same. He loved other people without judgement. His appearance was not like others, and He didn't judge others based on theirs. Careful, my fellow Christian friends, but that sounds a little liberal in some ways to me. (I just heard one of my "conservative" friends pass out in the floor.) I just don't want to be equated with a people-hating, military-bashing, ignorant, jerk brand of people.
Jesus taught us to love one another. He didn't go around bombing things because of the sin surrounding it, or holding up signs of hate. His spirit is a loving one, all consuming and overwhelming, and I just don't see how anyone could misunderstand it to the point of being so awful to others.
God bless America. God bless our military service men and women. God bless those that hate. They will have to answer for that one day. There. I said it. Take it for what you will.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's about that time...


Well, it's my next-to-the-last day at my school job! It's hard to believe that it's nearing the end of a job I never in a million years thought I would give up!
This school is fantastic. The staff is amazing. The administration is remarkable. I just can't say enough about the people I've worked with. They deal with things each day with class, haha..., dignity, and respect. They empathize with each student, and believe me, they deserve some empathy.
These students. Lord have mercy on them. After my first week or two of working here, I went home crying. I told my husband that I just couldn't do it. Too much pain in the lives of these kids. Too much sorrow in their eyes. Way too many struggles surrounding me every day in the classroom. After all was said and done, I figured if I could give them one hour of hope a week, I had done my job.
I don't know how good a teacher I am. I mean, I think I do alright, but I'm not sure. I do know, however, that I care. I want these kids to have one hour a week that they can come into a classroom, see a smile, hear a kind word, feel comfortable, and be successful. I want them to walk out of my classroom with a confidence booster. I want each one to know they are valuable and that there is a plan for each of their lives. I want them to see that no matter what life gives them, they can conquer it.
I hope I've done my job here. It's hard for me to let it go, but my family needs me. Man cannot live on bread alone, and this woman cannot live on assistant salary alone. (I mean, Ken has a fabulous job, but I have to do my part.) God has opened this new opportunity for me now, and I'm stepping out on faith. I know the door opened for a reason. I just hope that someone else will step in now, giving each of these kids that ray of hope. I know I can't save the lives of every kid in this place, but I always felt I could give it a good college try, one student at a time.
If I could tell them one more thing, I would boldly tell them that Jesus loves them. I would tell them that He has a plan for them because He created them. I would let them know that there is nothing that God can't handle. I want each of them to hear that they are valuable, and that they should never let anyone lead them to believe otherwise. They are our future, and some of us are not helping them be all they can be. So many parents these days are too wrapped up in their own lives to even care their child has a life. I pray that parents will wake up. I pray that there will be a revival across the schools of America.
I will continue investing in the lives of kids, but in a different way. I have to focus a lot on my own four children, and I have to include their friends. I will continue in ministry at church, reminding those teenagers that God has a plan for them as stated in Jeremiah 29:11. I will be able to boldly proclaim the gospel without the constraints of the laws of the nation telling me I can't, not that I would ever let that stop me.
I want to thank all of those that I've worked with through the years. I want to let them know that they have meant so much to me. I can't say enough about the principal I've worked for. She is amazing, well, beyond amazing. It's been a great ride, but it's time for me to hop off. Look out, Spartanburg Regional, here I come!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My favorite season...


I love Fall. The crispness of the air, the beauty of the foliage, and the excitement of the pending holiday season.
Fall has brought change to our family on many occassions. One year, it was the birth of twins. One year, it was moving to a new state. This year, a new job for me. It's funny that so many big changes have occurred in the Fall for us since we married in November. In fact, this November will be 20 years since we first said "I do"!
As I head into yet another change, I'm thankful for what it is and for what it's not. I'm glad to have a new job and new opportunity. I'm glad it isn't a job loss, because we have had those. While I love my children dearly and would gladly welcome more if we could afford it and had a place, I'm thankful that it's not the birth of any new little ones. I'm also quite glad it is not the change of moving again, because I really don't want to do that one again for a while. So, as changes go, this isn't so bad at all.
I'm not good with changes. They make me nervous. I tend to be one of those "what if" people. What if they hate me? What if the kids suffer? What if it doesn't work out? What if it has a negative affect on my family? I just don't know why in the world I tend to ask "what if". I heard one time if you're worried about something, allow your mind to think of the worst scenario for just a bit. When it comes down to it, because I have eternal hope in my life, the "what if" scenarios end up okay, each and every time.
Some "what ifs" I've run through in my mind at times:
"What if I fall?" (Okay, so you fall. If you get hurt, you get over it. If someone laughs, you laugh with them. So what? "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...")
"What if I can't do it?" (You'll learn to do it. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me...")
"What if they don't like me?" ( What's not to like? "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.")
"What if I don't like them?" (You don't really have a choice, do you? "A new command I give you, that you will love one another.")
In every single case I've ever had, God has had an answer. Not that it's ever been easy, but at least there is peace in knowing that He does have an answer. When your hope is in Him, who can we fear? In all the changes of the seasons, I rest easy in knowing....
John 14:24 - 28.... "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
Amen and amen!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's a brand new day....


No deep words of wisdom or funny stories to share today, so I thought instead that I would share with you some quotes and one-liners I have run across here and there. Enjoy!
"A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice." Bill Cosby
"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." Mae West
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." Stephen Wright
"I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific."
Lilly Tomlin
"I found there was only one way to look thin. Hang out with fat people." Rodney Dangerfield
Now just a few one-liners....
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
A closed mouth gathers no foot.
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
A day without sunshine is, like, night.
Always remember that you're unique, just like everyone else.
Anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of.
Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home.
Corduroy pillows: They're making headlines!
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
Give me ambiguity or give me something else.
How does Teflon stick to the pan?
If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.
Reality is a crutch for people who can't handle drugs.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Things are more like they are now than they ever have been before.
Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.
Hope these made you smile!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

O, what a morning...



We were running late, one not able to find socks to wear, and we went rushing out the door. We hop in the van, and it cranked, thank the Lord. It had been raining, and the windows were terribly fogged to the point that I had to roll down the windows, back up slowly, and pray that no one was coming. I didn't have time for it to clear. As I'm easing through the parking lot, I realize that my headlights won't work. I then turn on my window defroster, to no avail. It isn't working. Now, mind you, I have been driving the van without air conditioning for years now, sucking it up and suffering, but no defroster? No heat? Not good. It can't be driven without these things, not safely at least.


Between this and the water that now pours from my dash into the floorboard of my van, I have pretty much had it with this thing. I called Ken and vented, which didn't go well, because he forgets that a woman just has to cry and fuss sometimes and takes it as an attack on his lack of mechanical skills. It just broke me. My 1997 minivan kicked my butt.


I pouted all morning. I was angry that I can't afford even a minivan that won't pour water on my feet as I drive. I was aggravated that I can't even expect heat for my children or a clear windshield to drive. I then began to get angry about other things. I don't make enough money. I live in an apartment. I don't have health insurance. Wah, wah, wah... That van just pushed me over the edge, when all I really wanted to do was push it over a ledge.


I sulked around, doing my job as well as I could, and it finally reached lunch time. I walked into the teachers' work room, and while I was waiting on my lunch to heat, I glanced at a table that I had never even noticed. On this table was a small container of notecards. The card on the top read:


"Lord, help me always to look to you in any difficult situation, knowing that whatever my need, you will in some way supply it."


Wow. A word from the Lord, right there on the table. I picked up that card and turned it over, and it read on the back:


"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. Psalm 91:14"


I picked up that card and put it in my pocket, knowing that whoever put it there would want me to have it at that moment. Shame on me for being human, but what a great reminder that God knows just what we need just when we need it.


Now, if I happen to go outside in the parking lot and find that someone has stolen my van and replaced it with a slightly newer model, I will be ecstatic. In the mean time, I will remind myself that God will supply my need in some way in His time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy days and moods...


It's a rainy day and a Monday, and my thought is that every Monday might as well be rainy. I enjoy rain, but I like it most when I can curl up in my pajamas and read a book while the drops are beating on my window pane. Today, I'm listening to the downpours inside the windowless walls of a computer lab, as I test for what will be my final week of teaching.
From early on in life, I dreamed of being a teacher. I thought that it would be cool to have my own classroom, direct my own kids, and just impact the lives of young people one at a time. I started college planning to be a teacher, but I left sooner than I had my degree. Life moved me forward, and I let go of my dream.
Years later, as my children grew older, I began to substitute teach as a convenient way to earn some extra money while the kids were at school. A couple of years later, I found myself interviewing for a full-time job as a resource teacher, actually an academic assistant, working with 5th and 6th grade students.
It was such a joy to walk into an empty classroom and know that it was mine. I couldn't believe someone was going to let me fulfill my dream of teaching children. I was so excited about the prospect of seeing students make progress, or experiencing their excitement as they finally grasped how to do something that was previously out of reach. I invested every ounce of my being in making a difference, and I soon learned that meant more than teaching them the basics.
Kids are hurting. They need to be encouraged. They have to be reminded to be respectful, to have goals, and to work hard to acheive them. Some just have to be told that they can do it, because they have just never been empowered to acheive anything. They lack stability, social skills, and confidence. Many "can't" accomplish because they have been told that they "can't". I tell them that they can, and I show them to the best of my ability how they can.
Unfortunately, my job pays very little. I have other skills that I will now rely on. I do love healthcare and look forward to returning to the medical field, but I will miss those little boogers that I've worked with. I would like to say that no one can put a price on doing what you love, but tell that to my family that has suffered through enough hardship due to my choice of following my heart. When I reach a point of realization that I make the same in a month that my husband makes in a week, I have to examine my value. For what I feel I do each week, I do believe I'm worth more than I'm paid. I'm sure I'm not the only one in education that feels this way, but I have realized that I've reached a dead end. Unless I go back to school, which would involve spending money and investing many hours in an education, I will not make any more than I'm making right now. It's a harsh trade off, giving up your dream for financial stability, but at this point in my life, I have decided that I am strong enough to make my own happiness in whatever I do.
God opened the door for me to step into a fabulous opportunity. I will be paid well and have good benefits. More than that, I can feel God moving me right into it. I don't know why, but I sure have a peace in it. This week, I have mixed emotions. I step away from a bunch of kids that mean a lot to me. I wonder how they will feel when I leave? I wish I could call them all in and tell them I'm leaving, but I don't know that it would be beneficial to them. It may make me feel better, but they may not understand the reasoning to my departure anyway. I only hope that whoever comes behind me will offer them hope. I pray that they will be encouraged and loved most of all, and that they will learn in the process.
This is my farewell week. I lived a dream for a short while, and now it's off to grown-up life. Thankfully, my other dream was to wear scrubs and to work in a hospital setting, so another dream of mine is coming true. I'm not sure how to move from one dream to another, but I'm going to do the best that I can. That's one thing everyone around me can always count on.

Friday, September 24, 2010

TGIF!


Have you ever seen one of those t.v. shows where everything is very quiet, and suddenly every little sound is exaggerated to become louder and louder? I am in that show today!
I don't know if my nerves are now raw from the rest of the day behind me, or if this class is particularly bothersome. You see, as they test on the computers, I sit here and read/type/pray/sleep, just kidding, or whatever. Well, I was TRYING to read. Instead, I'm so distracted! There is a girl to my right sniffing like her brain is about to fall out of her nose. I even walked over to give her tissue, but to no avail. She continues this giant honking sniff every few seconds. There is a boy in front of me that has tapped his pencil until I want to grab it and break it in half. A girl behind me couldn't quit coughing if her life depended on it. There isn't enough water fountain in the world to help that hack. A boy to my left, he really is precious, has to read every question out loud to understand it. I love him, and he is a joy, and normally I would rather work with him than pretty much anyone, but with everyone else in the room making so much exaggerated racket, it is all driving me nuts!
You would think that a mother of four would pretty much be able to withstand a little noise. I do put up with a lot, and there are times that I have to look at my children and say, "Mommy's brain can't handle any more." I sure hope this isn't one of those nights. For one thing, we have an extra one going home with us from school. For another thing, another little girl will be joining us at 6. Yet another thing, we will all drive to Greenville in my van. Our destination? GATTILAND. It's like Chuck E. Cheese on crack. It sounds a lot like Vegas, except with little kids running around. I remember having an event there with my family, after Lauren's baptism. My sweet little Grandmother Birdie was wandering around in that gameroom, and she just looked so cute. I went to her, put my arm around her, and I said, "Grandmother, this place is kiddie heaven, isn't it?" She said, "Yes, but it's GROWN UP HELL." I laugh out loud even now just thinking of that. Oh great, now I'm the distraction.
So during 6th period, my "free" period, I think I'll go into my dark classroom and do some yoga. Maybe a few deep-breathing exercises and a little meditation will do me good. I have to shore up for a night in kiddie heaven, or as Grandmother Birdie liked to call it, .......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I like paths...

Beaten paths, pictures of paths, thoughts of paths.... just paths. I don't know what it is, but if I go into a gallery of art, I am immediately drawn to the depictions of paths. I've wondered about this for a long time. Why this obsession with paths?

Funny thing is, roads do nothing for me. It has to be a path. Winding paths, well-worn, through the woods are my very favorites. After giving it much thought, several things have come to mind....

Paths are peaceful. A road signifies myself having to hurry up and be somewhere. A path, however, tells me I can stroll along at a leisurely pace until I arrive at my destination. In fact, it tells me I don't even have to specify a destination. There is such comfort in that for me, woman who must have plans to make plans, a list of lists, and a detailed schedule of events. I really should take more time to take that beaten path. In fact, I dream of someday having a yard with woods where I can carve out my own little beaten path.

This brings to mind a funny path-following story. I had this grand idea of taking my girls to Landsford Canal State Park for a picnic and a hike along one of the paths to the beautiful water lillies that I had longed to see for many years. We had our picnic, and we hit the trail. About halfway up the mile and a half path through the woods, I noticed a large, umm..., a HUGE snake curled up on the side of the path. I suddenly realized there was a second HUGE snake beside it. I casually stopped, I gently turned to my girls, and I quietly said, "I don't want you to panic, but there are sn..." "AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! MAAAAAMMMMAAAAA!!!!!" (So much for not panicking!) They took off running, and I ran after them, laughing and crying at the same time, and I realized that there was another HUGE snake laying across our path and the girls had all managed to jump over it! It was a miracle!! After all of us had run a good 100 yards, everyone screaming and crying, we slowed to an eventual stop. "Maaammmmaaaa!!!" One of the girls said, "MAAAAMMAAAA!!!! HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK?!!!" Well, with that, we all busted out laughing. We cried some more, and, well, I still thought the lillies were well worth it. It's a good thing too since I'll probably never get to see them again. We made it back to our car without another encounter, but we were flat out exhausted!

I kind of went off the beaten path with that story, chuckle, chuckle, but I really do have a fascination with paths. Someday, when I can afford art, I want walls full of paths. I want a path in my back yard. I want a stone path to my front door. I want to explore paths in my spare time. Maybe someday I will understand my obsession with paths, but for now I will just dream about the next path I take. Here's hoping there won't be any snakes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How much is too much?


We have never been ones to hide things from our children. In fact, at times I fear that we have been brutally honest. We were just determined early on to allow our children to see that we don't live in fairytale land. It's worked out pretty well so far, because our children accept negative things as a part of life and know that they must move on, and they also don't judge others when bad things happen.
This week we were faced with a biggie. Two people that our children know and have trusted did some really bad things. Their clean-cut image was shattered, and they were hauled away to jail. My first instinct was to blab it all to them, but then my questionable mind took over. I started thinking that maybe this was just too much. I had to discuss it with my husband. We decided to share only a portion of what we knew.
Unfortunately, they had already heard the rumors. It doesn't take long for word to get around about something bad. People seem to thrive on negative things, like somehow it feeds them and makes them feel better about their own lives. The news media had a field day, giving details of a sordid story of two people that the public trusted, corrupting our local children. My own children were even kind of shocked, and it takes a lot to shock them. They ended up knowing too much in my opinion, but most of that was out of our control.
I finished our conversation feeling dirty just for talking about it. We tried to handle it in a way that was honorable, and we reminded our children that we need to pray for the families of these people. One of the children is in one of my girl's class. She said yesterday that the little girl cried all day and she could hear children whispering. That poor, sweet little innocent victim. Shame on her parent for being so irresponsible. I told my daughter that the Bible says we shouldn't gossip, and I told her to pray for her little friend. The media left too many people knowing way too much without any consideration for those sweet little victims.
My heart is broken for one of the other children of one of the criminals. I became her friend last year. She was going through a lot, and we talked regularly. She is at a different school now, and I wonder how she's doing. I dreamed about her last night. It breaks my heart to think of the pain she is going through. Is anyone comforting her? Those sweet little children.
I don't know how much we are supposed to share with our children. I know parents that keep their children in the dark about everything. These are the children that I picture growing up and falling apart the first time something negative happens in their lives. They are also the ones I believe become easily embittered, wondering "why me?" They expect too much and certainly won't get it. That is a sad state of existence. On the other hand, the ones that are told too much, well, I'm not sure if it's a bad thing in the long run. As long as we as parents mold it within our beliefs, teaching them each time something comes up. When they grow up, hopefully they will say, "Wow, this is what mom and dad were talking about." They will hit a brick wall, back up, and turn another direction. They will reach the end of a rope, and forget tying a knot.... They will just reach for another rope and keep climbing.
The world stinks. It's rough out there. Kids endure a lot. Adults make stupid choices. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. In my opinion, it is good to share with my children these facts. In the end, what they learn is that there is only One perfect, and He is Jesus. It helps them to see their need for Him and the world's need for Him. It makes them realize that joy comes from Him, and they see that joy is ever-present even in the midst of all of these horrendous circumstances for those who know Him. Teachable moments. They are God moments. How much is too much? As long as they know that nothing is too much for Him, then everything is alright with me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ugghh... I'm sick...

I keep thinking of how wonderful it would be to be in my bed right now, or at least on the sofa at home. It's a little early for me to have my annual cold, but it has hit me with a vengeance.

Could it be the sleepless night that I "conquered" this weekend? Or is it the thousands of times I am touching the computer keyboards and mice at school? Or maybe, just maybe, it's the millions of allergens in the air. My guess is that it's a combination of all three.

I've always said that I would rather have a cold for a couple of weeks than a stomach virus for a day. You can take medication for the cold, but that virus is a gripper. Nothing short of death helps with those things. You see, I am an anticipator, if that's a word. Throwing up stinks, but knowing it's coming again without your control triple stinks. The worst thing about the cold is that I had a little trouble breathing in the night. That's not cool!

I know that staying up all night Friday night may have weakened my immune system, but dangit, it was so worth it! I just get so excited when I think about our next event coming up tomorrow night, being able to see God work once again at the See You at the Pole rally. Billy Wayne will be back in town, and his posse along with him. What a thrill to know I can sit in on God working in such a huge way. It excites me because I know what a joy the Lord is to me, and without Him I'm not sure how anyone lives!

So, I could slow down a little, and sometimes I do, but when it comes to doing work for the Lord, I just want to keep going, and going, and going.... Today, however, I want to curl up with some hot tea, be an anticipator, and rest until then!

I hope you will join students at the flag pole in the morning for prayer for our nation, our leaders, and our schools. I'll be there, cold and all, proudly wearing my "Survivor" shirt proclaiming God's love and power in my life. The thing I'll miss the most about my job in fact is the opportunity to reach out to and love these students, so I better get to working overtime on that. I have one week left to make a difference. God, help me to be a light for You!

Monday, September 20, 2010

10 years ago today...

It seriously can't be 10 years since that day. A day that started out like any other, as I woke up only to have to stay down, on bedrest for the safety of my unborn twin girls. As morning turned into afternoon, my world began to spin, and there were people rushing around me. My body shook uncontrollably as I realized my babies, at not even 33 weeks gestational age, were coming into the world.

I knew when they turned me over on my side on the stretcher, away from the babies' heart monitors, that things were going downhill. I knew when the nurses started running, not walking, that things were not going smoothly. I knew when they whisked me into the operating room, not allowing Ken with me, that this could end up badly. A curly haired man leaned down to me, and I remember thinking that he looked like the guy on the movie "Life is Beautiful", and that made me feel happy for the seconds I remember seeing him.

The next thing I knew, I woke up in the recovery room in pain. It was like a bad dream. My pastor was standing in the doorway looking my direction. My head was still spinning, my mind not able to keep up with what my body had just been through. It wasn't long until they wheeled me up to my room. Where were my babies? No one would say.

When I was finally settled, Mom, Dad, Jordan, and Lauren visiting, Ken leaned in close to me and said, "Here's a picture of our babies." It was one of the most horrifying sights I'd ever seen. There were two tiny, wrinkly, helpless creatures with wires protruding from every angle. My babies were alive, but they were struggling.

They struggled for weeks. It was truly grueling. I went home without babies, and it felt like I didn't even have them at times. I went to visit every day, taking that long drive to and from Charlotte. They would take one step forward, and then two steps back. Eventually, they grew strong enough to come home with me, one at a time, in November.

The months that followed were still such a challenge. The breathing monitors were cumbersome and would alarm at crazy times, alerting us that they had stopped breathing. We got beyond that panic, as the doctor had instructed us on just what to do. Even typing this, I can't even wrap my brain around how we endured it. Well, I do actually. God was gracious, and He handled it, and He held us up and carried us so that we didn't have to do any of it on our own power.

I'm so blessed to have all four of my children. They are each a miracle from God. The twins are extra miraculous because they suffered so much hardship early on. We watched them grow stronger, and they have entertained us to no end. In fact, they provide constant entertainment to this day! 10 years old. Those tiny little preemies, with wires protruding from every angle, are 10 years old. Thank you, Lord, for the joy they bring into my life. Happy birthday to Cassie and Kylie.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's a brand new day!

Well, actually it's evening, but tomorrow is a brand new day! What a weekend I've had! I have truly seen God work all around me and in my life.

For the first time since mission trip, I attended an overnight youth event. We had a lock-in Friday night following the 5th quarter after the local football games. We saw God work in the lives of young people, and we stood by in that church parking lot and saw 16 people give their lives to Christ. Billy Wayne is such a blessing, and his ministry has had an incredible impact on so many people. You can sure tell when God is working through someone, and that is always evident in Billy Wayne.

I was actually able to stay up all night. I even amazed myself. I was so thrilled with what was going on, and I really enjoyed joining in on the fun. It just gave me a feeling of a new start. Once again, I just feel an excitement in the air, and I am really looking forward to what God has in store. He always surprises me, but I don't know why. Shouldn't I know that His presence alone is life-changing? I am so blessed to have a Savior, and I always want to live to glorify His name!

My next overnight youth event will be October 16th and 17th. We will travel to Kingsport, Tennessee to visit the Mortality Room, a powerful ministry offered by the ministry of Billy Wayne. I am truly looking forward to hanging out with those kids again. They are such an encouragement to me.

Tomorrow is an amazingly special day. My babies will be 10 years old. I have to take time to blog for sure, because while all 4 of my children are miracles, the twins are extra miraculous as far as their health is concerned.

Tomorrow is also a brand new day, and I am so glad to be in a place in my life that I can truly look forward to what is coming up next. I went through a few months that I dreaded the sunrise of a new day, because I knew it would just cause more trouble and destruction. These days, I grin as I think of what may be around the corner, because God has shown me that He always has something wonderful planned for me. It's just up to me to have faith to see it through.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A thrill is in the air...

Yes, I realize it's really supposed to be "a chill is in the air", but a chill isn't quite here yet. However, a thrill really is!

I can't explain it. I feel something in the air that just excites me! There are rapid changes happening among my family members, and they are all thrilling. (Stressful at times too, but thrilling!) Any time I see changes happening around me, it reminds me that God is working and that He has a plan for us that can sometimes seem difficult, but in the end ALWAYS turns out INCREDIBLE!

As Summer turns into Autumn, there will be many changes in the Mauney household I'm sure. One of those changes is my job. I have begun my third year in the local school district, but I have been keeping my eyes and ears open for other opportunities. One has come along that I am so excited about! I have been hired by our local hospital, and I start in just a few weeks. It's a huge change, and it will take a lot of getting used to, but it has been God and God alone at work in providing this new opportunity for me. It is thrilling for me to think of stepping back into that medical field!

My kids are growing! I mean, they are getting older, but they are growing wiser as well. It's interesting to see them come through things better people, and it makes me so thankful to be a Christian mother. Those that don't base their lives and hopes on Christ, they must truly feel lost and wandering. If we base our lives on anything wordly, at some point we will get hurt by it. However, if we base our lives on Christ and Christ alone.... Man, He will rock our worlds!

Excitement for today is being fueled by a youth event tonight called 5th quarter. One of my all-time favorite evangelists, Billy Wayne, will be speaking. The band that is playing features a bunch of kids I love so much. (Talk about watching them GROW!!) The lead singers are a young man that I just love to pieces, Tyler, and my very own daughter Jordan. They sure sound great together! Most of all, I am excited to see what God is going to do with their music, with Billy's message, and with the moving of His Spirit! There is no doubt in my mind that we will leave that event changed in some way.

I will get back to dancing now, because it is also Friday. T.G.I.F.!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Me time.

My kids are getting older, and more and more I realize how much of me I have invested in them. I don't regret a moment that I've sacrificed, and I'm thankful that the Lord has allowed me to spend as much time as I have concentrating on their needs.

My girls are not grown up by any means, but I'm thinking again about some things I'd like to do for me one day. As I watch them grow and mature, it's nice for my mind to even have the chance to venture there.

This isn't a bucket list by any means, but it's just a few things I've thought of that I would really like to do, someday when the time is right.

1. I would love to take a photography class. That would, of course, involve me acquiring a camera, so I guess this would need to be a 2 in 1 item.
2. I want to visit art museums. I'm excited to be going to an Andy Warhol exhibit in the near future, and I look forward to doing this more as I get older. I do love art!
3. More concerts!! There are so many musical artists I would love to hear live, and I plan to do so one of these days! (Elton John is near the top of my list, but U2 is at the tip-top!)
4. I want to visit a few big cities. I was hoping to get a chance to see Chicago this year, but it's not looking so good now. I will one day though, and I also want to visit New York. There are a few more American cities on my list, but those are the top two.
5. I will go on a mission trip to another country. Paraguay is a possibility, but if not there, somewhere. I'm hoping at least one of my girls will be a missionary so I can visit wherever they are!
6. I would love to sing on stage once again. I guess I should start where I am for now and let the Lord lead from there. I would love to be involved in another on-stage drama, but who knows?
7. I want to visit a spa, preferably for the weekend, with girlfriends. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
8. I love aquariums, and I would love to visit a really large one, or at least be able to take my time at the one in Atlanta. I enjoyed going there!
9. Wish I could take a pottery class. I wonder if I could make my own vase? (Vaahhhzzzzz)
10. One day, I will go horseback riding on a beach. I've only been horseback riding one time as an adult, and it was kind of stressful, but I can just imagine galloping through the surf with my blond hair blowing in the wind!

There are other things I would love to do as well, but the 10 I've mentioned are pretty simple and basic. My biggest dream as far as travel goes is to someday visit Tokyo. I didn't include it because it's so huge. I also dream of living in a small house on a wooded lot with a lake behind it. I can see that in my future, but it may take a while.

For now, I'll be content where I am and with what I have. I will also treasure every moment I have with my children. I hope to be able to spend more time with my hubby too, because it seems over the last couple of years we've become consumed with life and haven't really enjoyed time together. God has been so gracious to place people in our lives to love us and for us to love. I shall never take for granted this blessing of life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Uggh..


I prefer to forget. I prefer to not think about it at all. I prefer that it stay in the recesses of my mind, never to be brought forward again. I deal well with reality and believe in facing things head-on, but the implications of this date are far too overwhelming for me to allow them to come forth.


I don't want to remember. Why would I entertain thoughts of devestation? Why would I want to think of what that day meant to me and to our nation? Instead of blogging about my feelings today, which I really don't feel like dredging up, I would like for us to pause for a moment and thank God for the security He gives us through Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Enlarge our territory...


We were obedient in praying the prayer above, not really understanding what the implications could possibly be. After years of teaching youth Sunday School, building relationships with so many kids that we still talk to now, years later, Ken and I had a feeling that God had plans to use us in a larger way. We longed for God's blessing, and we naively felt that by enlarging our territory, God could use us to just impact the world. What really happened was an enlarging of our territory that was quite unexpected, and our lives were truly the ones that were impacted the most.
On September 10, 2001, I started the day like most others. The only difference on this day was that I was planning to meet my mom for a birthday lunch. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) Cassie and Kylie were happy-go-lucky babies who traveled easily and would enjoy sitting in a restaurant with us. Around lunch time, Ken called. He said that he had been called into the general manager's office. They had offered him a transfer, and they needed him in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We laughed about it, sifted it around, and then decided we would pray that if that was God's will that He would put the pieces together.
Well, it sure didn't take Him long. Within an hour, we received a call from our real estate agent that they had shown our house, and that we had an offer on the table. It was lower than what we were asking of course, but it was an offer. Again, we decided that we would pray that God would give us direction, and we came up with a figure that we really needed for our house. We told our real estate agent that we had decided to counter their offer and told him we had a plan, although we didn't tell him the amount. He actually joined us in praying that God would show us His way. Within hours, we were sitting at our dining room table with contract in hand, the exact price that we had mentioned in our prayer right there in bold print.
God had begun to lay out his plan. My head was spinning. The very place that I called home was at stake here. I had grown up there. The church where we were was the very one where I met Ken, where he proposed, and where we married. It was also where we had dedicated the lives of each of our 4 children to the Lord. There were teenagers there that we loved dearly and never wanted to leave. The comfort and security of that familiar place was something that I will never take for granted again.
That day, my life began to change. We were excited because we thought that maybe it was just the enlarging of our territory we had prayed for. "God must have something big for us to do" is what we thought. Again, we were so naive. We saw the world through rose-colored glasses, maybe for the last time ever in our lives.
Now, having said that, I see how God has brought us through so much and blesses us still today. I am thankful for my friends here in South Carolina. It took me about 7 years to let go of the idea of going back to Mooresville. Actually, if I'm totally honest, I still entertain the thought occassionally now. I am wiser now though, and I know that it wouldn't be the same. Too much has changed there, and too much has changed in us.
God enlarged our territory as we prayed. He has blessed us. His hand has been with us. Evil has grieved me, but He has been there to pick me up. September 10, 2001 was the beginning of an adventure I'm still trying to wrap my mind around, and at times I just decide it can't be understood. God does know His purpose though, and I know that He has placed Godly people in our lives. He has given us friends that have become like family to us. He has blessed our girls with good friends too, and he's grown them spiritually and taught them so much. He has brought us closer as a family. For all of these things, I am grateful.
As strange as September 10, 2001 was, September 11, 2001 was horribly stranger. It was the day we went to Spartanburg for the first time. It was the day our nation changed forever. It was a day when we almost turned our car around and went back home to the safety and security of what we knew. It was a turning point in our lives marked by the horrific tragedy that rocked our nation as we heard the heart-breaking news begin on the radio. We sat and wept in a silent restaurant while everyone watched wide-eyed as the horrors unfolded on the televisions on the walls. Our journey began with tragedy, and we feared that it may be a sign of things to come, but we stepped out in faith believing that God still had a plan.
It has made me leary of stepping out in faith. It has made me careful about making changes. In fact, it has made me fear change at times. When I used to think of stepping out in faith, I thought of steppin onto a puffy cloud where God would carry me gently to where I need to be. I now know that sometimes a step of faith sends you hurtling over the edge of a cliff, falling faster and faster, unable to get your breath, until God reaches His hand out and stops you just in time. Without His hand, I would have hit that rocky bottom. In fact, I wonder if I did hit that rocky bottom, and maybe He just picked me up and dusted me off. Either way, I walk a little differently, I think a lot differently, and I never take a moment of comfort for granted. Most of all, I rely on God's hand, because without it, I would be broken at the bottom of a cliff, unable to ever get up again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The calm...

Nine years ago, September 9, 2001, was like any other day in my life. I got up with my four girls, helped the oldest two get ready for school, and came back to spend the morning doing my duties as a full time mother of twin girls less than a year old. Not a thought crossed my mind that my life was about to change, and I was oblivious to what was about to happen.

I don't know if I will ever live in that same level of comfort again. While I do live in peace that God has everything under control, I will never be so naive to think that means "normalcy" each day. I now live my life on the edge a little, knowing that at any moment things can change. 9 years ago helped me never to take a day for granted again.

I had plans to take Mom out to lunch for her birthday on September 10. That's all I had planned. God had other things in the works, and we just had no idea. Things were about to happen that would rattle me to my very core and cause me to this day to become emotional when I allow it to enter my mind. In fact, many times I wonder if it has done some damage deep down inside me, because for a long time I would become physically ill during this time of year without even realizing I was thinking about it. It was THAT huge to me, and to this day it shapes the way I think about everything.

Most people remember September 11, 2001 as a day that changed history. My history began to change on September 10, 2001. My life and the lives of my family would never be the same after that day. I hope I can muster the strength tomorrow to tell you all about it without making myself physically sick.

The only thing that gets me through is knowing that God has a plan in everything that He does. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for the good of those that love God. I sure do love Him, and my faith ensures that He is working daily in my life. Even when an unexpected day comes along, even if it's a huge one, I rest in knowing that He has everything under control.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another brief note...


There is a lot of joy in my home lately, as if it is just oozing out of the walls. It seems to be contagious! Last night, I enjoyed watching my kids dance around in the floor like crazy women, and this was actually my two older girls. We laughed until we cried, literally rolling on the floor holding our stomachs. You know, there is nothing like living out loud. There is just nothing like being able to dance when you want to dance, laugh when you want to laugh, and sing when you want to sing. Even despite occassional circumstances that may make us stop for a moment, the living just gets better and better when we follow the rules above. Obviously, I know that Heaven is a long way from Earth, but if we lived like we are one step closer each day, what a wonderful world it would be.

Today, I wish you JOY! I hope you will dance, laugh, sing, and love, and don't forget to live every day as if you really mean it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Briefly venting...

I cannot, nor have I ever claimed to be able to, repair your computers! I did not study technology in college. Quite frankly, I don't have a clue how computers work at all. I simply take the time to make sure things are plugged in and turned on. Please don't have any misconceptions about me. I am good at a lot of things, but computers are not really my job.

Sincerely,
Karen