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


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


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.