Sunday, September 02, 2007
You may want to update your links to Rocks Cry Out. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
There’s a voice calling me
From an old rugged tree
And He whispers draw closer to me
Leave this world far behind
There are new heights to climb
And a new place in me you will find
For whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes to be more like you
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
Take the dearest things to me
If that’s how it must be
To draw me closer to thee
Let the disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If through sorrow more like you I become
I’ll trade sunshine for rain
Comfort for pain
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
I have sung this song many times since my youth without really considering the weight of the lyrics. As I've matured, they've come to mean more to me than I could have ever imagined. Very often now, more than any other song, this one comes to mind when I'm alone with God. It has become my earnest prayer. A prayer that He has been faithful to answer.
Join me in praising Him for keeping His promises. Give thanks to Him and praise His name!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Lindsey is working two jobs and learning the art of money management. It's funny how much less stuff she needs now that she has her own money to spend.
One of our dogs has heartworms. Sarah has asked me a couple of times if we're going to get her treated, but I really don't know what to tell her. It seems that I have to choose between going to visit my daughter and going to visit the vet. Tough call.
I've been without a washer and dryer for a few weeks now, which means multiple trips to the laundromat. Thankfully, the one near my job is air-conditioned. I'm actually not minding hanging out there, as it keeps me mindful of things I've taken for granted.
I realized on one such trip that I often forget to praise God when times are tough. An old Imperials song started playing in my head, and I began to sing the chorus.
"Praise the Lord
He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you
That they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him"
I then made a mental list of things I'm thankful for, like having a roof over our head. . . and one in the yard. (I had to laugh at that thought and planned to take a picture of each one so I could post it here, but that didn't happen.) At one time, we were waiting for a sunny weekend, but now I think we're waiting for cooler weather since my husband and his brothers will be putting on the new roof.
Speaking of songs, here's one we used to sing when we were kids:
Oh you can't get to heaven (Oh you can't get to heaven)
In a rockin' chair (In a rockin' chair)
'Cause the Lord don't want ('Cause the Lord don't want)
No lazy folks there (No lazy folks there)
Oh you can't get to heaven in a rockin' chair
'cause the Lord don't want no lazy folks there.
Don't grieve my Lord no more.
I shared that with you as a segue into my next thought, which is "I'm thinking of changing my blog name." Not because I'm afraid I can't get to heaven if I don't, but because it's such a long name, and the URL is a pain to type.
The new name I'm contemplating is from a song we sang once shortly after I joined the choir at my previous church. (Click to listen to "Then Will the Very Rocks Cry Out.") They had sung it before and couldn't get through the song without laughing. It seems that several folks in the congregation had misunderstood the lyrics. They thought the choir was singing "then will the very crops dry out!"
Anyway, I want to turn the focus of this blog around. I want to spend more time praising my Savior and less time pouting because of my circumstances.
I love this passage in Luke 19, which reads:
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
40 "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
You may have noticed the name change in your bloglines. I'm trying it on for size, and unless I get a better suggestion from one of you, I'll be making the change official (changing the URL as well) in a few weeks. I'll give you a heads up before that happens.
Have a glorious day!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The child who can do no wrong in her dad's eyes doesn't understand why I don't show her the same favoritism. My insistence that they both need guidance, direction, and discipline seems unfair to her (and her dad) because she's not as "bad" as Lindsey. By worldly standards, perhaps. However, I choose to live and to parent by higher standards. I will be held accountable for what I teach them, and for what I fail to teach them. I answer to the Highest Authority, and it is HIS approval I seek.
They are more alike than they realize, these 2 sisters, more than either of them or their dad would care to admit. They are so very like their parents and their parents' parents and every other human individual who has walked the face of the earth since the beginning of time. They, like us, are sinners by nature. There is no good in any of us apart from God's grace.
The world would have us believe otherwise. I cannot tell you how often I've found myself thinking that I am somehow more (or less) deserving of God's favor because of anything I have or have not done, and I know better. It shouldn't surprise me that my child would fall into the same trap, especially since the lie is being reinforced by people she trusts.
My prayer is that my daughters, my sisters in Christ, will soon realize their desperate need for the Savior whose name they claim and that their indifference will turn to indescribable joy.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
So there I was at work without my car and cell phone because I had given it to Lindsey to use in case she needed to reach me. She called around 11 a.m. to tell me that Sarah was gone, and she read me the following note:
Dad & Robin surprised me. . . they pulled in the driveway around 8:45. I went with them. Sorry it had to happen this way (says dad). I love ya'll and I will call ya'll later. again sorry.
I haven't heard from her since. She isn't answering my calls, nor is her dad. Lindsey hasn't been able to reach them either.
I'm having a hard time putting a positive spin on this one. Anybody got any suggestions?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
If you've never spent countless hours in a car with 2 teenagers and a 7-yr-old, you don't know what you're missing. It's a lot like a regular road trip, but with triple the potty stops. And double the decibels. At least. Oh, and the bickering.
And oh, the blog fodder.
Like the time we saw a tractor trailer rig with the company logo on the side of the trailer. "Aunt Brenda, what does that say? I can't read Spanish." (It was cursive.)
Or, after several attempts to get Sarah's attention, when my niece said "Jesus told me he doesn't want you to ignore me."
Or last Saturday, on the way to meet my sister and her husband halfway to return the child to them, when she announced that she was starving. "Can we stop at McDonald's before we get there?" I reminded her that we had stopped for breakfast just a few hours earlier and that we were going to be meeting somewhere for lunch. "We're all going to eat together? Oh yaaay! Can I ride with you?"
I'll be back soon.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I'm manning the battle stations and battening down the hatches. And praying. Lord, keep me from aborting my teenager.
I tracked her down last night and called the police station this morning to find out how to go about getting her home. I was told that her dad would have to come in to the station to file a runaway report to get the ball rolling.
When I called to relay that information to him, he was receptive and gave me his word that he would do as I asked. He spoke with the Chief of Police, who assured him that she would be picked up and returned within a few hours.
In the process, he also discovered that she had beaten him to the punch and filed a report on him last night. They had sent her home with the boyfriend and told her to stay there until she heard from her dad.
The poor man can't get a break. He's retired, and he should be enjoying this time in his life, he says. Pardon my insensitivity, but we're parents. We don't get to retire until our job is done.
I'm just thankful that this life isn't all there is.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Please pray for her safety and my sanity. God help us.
Monday, June 25, 2007
I hope nobody minds if I combine the two. I'll randomly list 8 things about me and tag 7 people.
Here they are in no particular order:
3. I love chocolate (who doesn't, Barb?) but I can't stand YooHoo.
8. My shoe size is the same as my dress size.
5. I don't like hard candy, except peppermints.
1. I'm terribly unorganized.
6. I weigh as much now as I did during my 2nd pregnancy.
2. I have MIRLed twice with Dawn from My Home Sweet Home and once with Dawn from Call Me Grandma Dawn.
7. I have finally managed to start emptying my garage. I liked Bev's idea of having a garage give-away, but I think it would be more fun to anonymously donate the stuff to someone else's yard sale. At night, while they're sleeping.
4. I stay up too late nearly every night.
Okay, now I'm tagging Paulette, Dawn, Melanie, Dawn, Clemntine, Connie, and Diane. Oh, and for good measure, if you're on my blogroll and you haven't done this one, please join in and let me know.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Fortunately, we had a nice vacation. Unfortunately, a week isn't long enough. Fortunately, I did get to spend it with both my girls. Unfortunately, only one of them (Sarah) came home with me. Fortunately, Lindsey's BF broke up with her, so we don't have to worry about her running off with him. Unfortunately, she's heartbroken. Fortunately, she's in God's hands. Please pray that she will seek Him with all her heart.
Unfortunately, Sarah is not planning to stay beyond summer break. Fortunately, according to Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Unfortunately, we tend to make our own plans anyway. I am so thankful that God is in control. His plans are perfect, and He will not fail!
Fortunately, my 7-yr-old niece also came home with us for the summer. Unfortunately, Carl and Andrew are outnumbered 2 to 1. Fortunately, they don't seem to mind. Unfortunately, they still hog the remote!
Fortunately, you have reached the end of this post. Have a wonderful weekend!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Oh and, of course, stuff like this:
If things go as planned, I will be starting a blog for each of my stores where you can preview new designs and grab money-saving coupon codes.
Have a memorable Memorial Day weekend, y'all! I'll be heading to Arkansas shortly, so you know I'll have something to post when I get back.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Several weeks ago in Bible study, the pastor asked if we knew the meaning of "sacrifice of praise", and as I raised my hand to answer, it dawned on me that although I understood what it meant, I hadn't been putting it into practice.
I may have given lip-service, but I cannot honestly say that I sincerely praised God with my whole heart for allowing my children to remain separated from one another and from me. Yes, I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that He is in complete control of every aspect of our lives. Yes, I absolutely trust Him to work all things together for our good and His glory. Yet I have been complaining in my heart, begging God "please change their hearts, Lord, or change mine."
Oh, I am so human. How tempted I have been to give up. How easy for me to forget that the way I would resolve this matter is not necessarily the way He plans to resolve it.
How often He has reminded me that He's on it, and He's answering prayer, even if the answers don't look like I expect them to look. And that, my friends, is good news.
But wait! There's more.
My wonderful husband has endured all the shineola that my ex and kids have dished out for the duration of our marriage, and he's still here. Praise the Lord for his love and support.
Just when I think things couldn't get much worse, they do. Praise God that His strength is perfect and is not limited by my weakness.
Praise Him for walking with me through it all, and carrying me most of the way.
The ex and I have actually had a few civil conversations in which we have agreed on a plan of action regarding The Spiteful One. I know! Amazing. It's all God. Praise His Name!
The Spiteful One's behavior has turned most of my attention away from the absence of The Aloof One. Totally unexpected, and not at all what I had hoped for, but I know it's all under control. Praise the Lord for answering in His way rather than mine.
There really is so much more, but I'll save it for another post. Have a blessed week!
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!"
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Ah yes, in our last episode, the red-headed problem child was off visiting her boyfriend and his parents.
The story resumes as Smarty McMoutherson returns home with no major incidents to report. She had paid a visit to her dad and sister while she was there, and though they weren't exactly pleased that she hadn't made the trip for the purpose of spending time with them, they were glad to see her and treated her accordingly. It's probably not even worth mentioning that the dad didn't call her on her birthday, which is really neither here nor there, I suppose. Except that he didn't call her on her birthday!
Oh well. No animals were harmed in the making of this segment. Film at 11.
So we're back to the normal routine, which isn't really all that normal, but you take what you can get. Then suddenly, it's Spring Break, and we're making yet another trip to Arkansas. I'm thinking The Aloof One will be coming home with me for a week so we can go do stuff, and I'm all excited about having some one-on-one time with her. She, on the other hand, had other plans. Well, not really plans, as in "I've got other stuff I want to do." No, it was more like "I don't want to go to Georgia with you," bless her hateful little heart. So I drove back home all by my lonesome, only to return the following weekend to retrieve The Spiteful One.
This time, there were major incidents to report, and at least one animal was injured, but there's no film to prove it. There were teeth marks and bruising inflicted upon the father mammal by the insubordinate daughter mammal, and a few rather bold, yet unsuccessful, classic made-for-Springer attempts to get him to strike her.
I swear, y'all, the family tree does fork! Plastic utensils, of course. Somebody'd put an eye out otherwise.
The following day, on our way back home, we stopped by the dad's to discuss our concerns about her relationship with Sonic boy, and she took my car sans permission and drove to his parents' house. I called looking for her, and his step-dad said he had sent her home. When she still hadn't come back fifteen minutes later, I called again and was told that she was on her way. I said "she's not here yet", and he snapped, "I can't help that." When I asked how long ago she had left, he said "she's leaving right now."
That was the last straw. Since March, all phone privileges and contact of any kind with the dreamboat/shipwreck and his parents have been rescinded until further notice.
Alrighty, then. I think that brings us up to date. Mostly.
Coming up next: some good news.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
This one's perfect for the college grad, don't you think?
This one was inspired by Melanie, whose poem last month had me in stitches.
Y'all have a great weekend, and I'll try to catch up with all of you soon!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Also, one of my fellow shopkeepers is needing our prayers. Her husband rushed her to the emergency room this morning, and it was discovered that she had suffered a heart attack. She is now in ICU and resting, but surgery is not an option because she is diabetic. Her name is Debbie, and her husband Bill has informed me that they are Christians, but they aren't active. Prayers on their behalf are much appreciated.
That's all I have for now. May you all have a blessed week!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I can't believe it's already been a week since Dawn and I MIRLed. I picked her up from her sister-in-law's house and got to meet some of her family. Dawn greeted me with a hug, then we headed out to find a nice spot to take pictures. We decided on the Botanical Garden, thinking it would be in full bloom, but the cold snap had taken it's toll. We had a great time anyway, talking non-stop for the next two and a half hours and taking a few pictures before we had to part ways. She is as lovely in person as she seems on her blog, and I'm thrilled to the bone that I got to meet her. I still haven't had a chance to get my film developed, but I will be posting pics as soon as I can.
In other news, at hubby's insistence, I opened an online gift store, and have been trying to get that going. I've got a lot to learn, and I'm grateful for his guidance and expertise. Dear Melanie of This Ain't New York has already linked to my shop and sent me lots of visitors. Thank you Melanie!
I will eventually open another store geared more toward humor. Here's one of the designs I have in mind for the geek section. I'd like to know what you think!
(Should I spell out "protractor"? Hubster thought it would be too obscure if I did, but I'm not sure.)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Except that it already came and went, and I missed it. Darn! And I was gonna throw a party or something.
Oh well, we can still eat cake.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Today is the day! Once again, we've been afforded the unique opportunity to reach out through the blogoshpere and touch someone in need. By making a contribution of as little as $1 or as much as a commitment of faithful, fervent prayers on behalf of our beloved Heather and her family, we can make a difference! For more information about this love offering, click here.
As many of you are aware, Heather is facing some incredible challenges, medically and financially, which you can read about here. If you aren't familiar with her story, you can read about it here and here. Her complete dependence on the Lord is her greatest strength, and I am amazed and inspired by her faith. She is certainly no stranger to overwhelming obstacles, having faced many challenges in the last few years with her daughter, Emma, whom you can read about here.
I encourage you to take part in this effort to bless Heather's socks off, whether you are able to give financially or simply by committing to pray for her and her loved ones. Let us storm the gates of Heaven with our prayers and flood the coffers at PayPal with our gifts. Head on over to BooMama's now. You will be blessed by the outpouring of love, guaranteed!
Bring on the rain!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Here are a few of my thoughts:
You really don't know how much you have to be thankful for until you have to pay taxes on it.
If nobody likes Sanjaya, why are so many people voting for him? (I like him, but I don't vote.) I think he's more popular than folks like to admit.
It's foolishness to expect my children to honor and obey me willingly. Look at how many of God's children rebel against Him, and He's perfect.
Jesus didn't come to give us a better life. He came to give us eternal life.
Being a teenager is hard. Parenting a teenager is harder.
While it is true that you learn from your own mistakes, you can also learn from the mistakes of others.
It never ceases to amaze me when people who claim to know Jesus turn from Him the instant another believer disappoints them. Isn't that when we need Him most?
Speaking of need, I am praying for Heather and the fundraising effort that BooMama has organized. It is so exciting to see God working through the blogosphere to meet the needs of His people.
I'm also praying for Kelli and her family. May God grant each of them rest, peace, and strength. He's already given Kelli an amazing sense of humor. She is seriously contagious.
Yellow Mama at OneStepUpFromStupid has asked us to add her brother and her dad to our prayer lists. She also has a word of encouragement "for everyone facing physical challenges...and for everyone who is family or friends grieved by bad news or difficult news."
I'm sure there are others I haven't mentioned, and it occurs to me that if we were to pray for every single person we know, whether we know their needs or not, whether they request it or not, we'd come pretty close to praying without ceasing.
Those are my thoughts for now. Well, not all of them, but some things are best kept to ourselves.
One last thing before you go, if you're still reading. I have opened a gift shop at CafePress, which you can visit by clicking the link in my sidebar. I've still got a lot of work to do on it before I launch a big promotion, but I've already made a sale, and I can barely contain my excitement!
Friday, March 30, 2007
Well, bust my buttons! A very dear friend of mine has bestowed this award upon me for making her think. I think most of the time she's thinking "that woman ain't right." (You think that, too, don't you? It's okay. I get that a lot.) Seriously, I can't tell you what an honor this is. Thank you, Barb, for thinking of me! And just when I needed a lift. You bless me. More than you know. Really.
Only now, I'm supposed to pay it forward. This is the hard part because, like Barb, every blog I read makes me think. And I read a lot of blogs. And they're all good. But I have to narrow it down to 5. FIVE. Out of 86. I don't even know where to begin.
My understanding is that this is not a competition. We haven't been nominated as contestants to be voted in or out by majority. If that were the case, I would choose not to participate. Rather, the idea behind this meme is to spotlight blogs that offer interesting, informative content that might be helpful to those who read it. Every single one on my blogroll fits that description. If you aren't reading them, I think you should be. Since so many of my favorite bloggers have already received this award (see Barb's list, and Dawn's list, and Laurel's list . . . you get the idea) I'm going to pass it on to some that I have not yet added to my blogroll.
Having said all that, here are the rules for participating:
- If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
- Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
- Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).
Now I submit to you my list of '5 Blogs That Make Me Think.' Enjoy!
- Yellow Mama at OneStepUpFromStupid
- Leslie at Lux Venit
- Lindon at COFFEETRADER-NEWS&VIEWS
- Gordon at INCREDIBLOG!
- Thomas at Tominthebox News Network
Now I'm off to Arkansas for the end of Spring Break. Happy weekend, y'all!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Spring is an old man in Bermuda shorts
and sandals with knee-high black socks
shuffling across the deck of a Disney
cruise ship to pick up a blue-haired dame.
She watches him stagger toward her
with the youthful confidence born
of Old Spice and new socks, making her feel
young - like she was 70 again, and foolish.
The salty breeze of déja vu whispers,
and she starts to hum a song from Pinocchio,
thinking of Gepetto - before he whittled away
his time and money on that silly puppet.
He says, "Frankly, my dear, you look much too young
to be a widow." Later he will remind her of Rhett
after Tara burned, when she will remember once again
that she doesn't give a clam.
Right now she does give a clam, but she can't
remember why; there's only starched Bermuda
and grandpa with spring in his step.
~ B.D. Bryant © 2005, revised 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
However, here's a concept for a new series I think I would enjoy. Let me know what you think!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Friday, March 09, 2007
1. Amerigo Vespucci
2. Will Geer
3. Mickey Spillane
4. Raul Julia
5. Charles Gibson
7. Linda Fiorentino
8. Ford Mustang
9. Brian Bosworth
Forty-one points to everyone who guesses correctly!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
On the right, you'll notice my Daily Bible Verse, courtesy of BibleGateway.com and, ultimately, God, Who has revealed Himself to us in His Word. I can't get through one day without it, and I hope the same is true for you. My testimony can be found here.
Next is my list of shared links via Google Reader. I love this tool! In just a couple of clicks, I can spotlight great posts from other blogs without having to create a new post.
If you scroll on down a little further, you'll see some very special people who are being prayed for by lots of other special people. I encourage you to read their stories. The buttons link to their blogs.
The rest is the usual blog fare - you know, links, blog rolls, archives, and more! buttons! Feel free to browse my archives, where you will find a little levity, a little gravity, some hilarity, some solemnity, much sincerity, not much brevity, and a whole lotta faith.
Here are some of my favorites:
Fwd: Fw: Fw: When you care enough to send the very blessed.
Answers to Some of Life's Tough Questions
To Meme or Not To Meme (A Novel Idea)
Thanks for stopping by! I'll be dropping in on you soon! Many thanks to our Ultimate Blog Party hostesses, Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom. Ladies, you rock!!
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sarah is doing well in school, spending a lot of time with her friends, and going to church sporadically. That's all I know. I don't hear from her very often. I don't know how often she checks her voicemail, but I call her daily and leave a message.
Lindsey is currently visiting her boyfriend and his parents. One of the things I required of her was to tell BF's mom about her dad's behavior (and the gun) last time we were there. I do think that whole thing was for my benefit, because he didn't react that way when BF took Lindsey over there the night before. Then again, maybe he'd had time to think about it. Who knows? I want the boy's mom to be aware of any potential danger, in the event that Lindsey decides she wants to see her dad.
As we were waiting for her flight to board, I told her that I expect her to be on her best behavior. I reminded her not to do anything that she wouldn't do in front of me. Then she giggled when I said, "On second thought, don't do anything that you would do in front of me, if you know I would say something about it."
I have second-guessed myself many times on the decision to let her make the trip, but after reading Bev's post and all the comments here and then the follow-up here, I feel more confident. These two kids think they're in love. They are going to find a way to see each other, no matter what their parents think. I would rather not put my child in the position of having to lie, sneak around, or run away to be with her dreamboat. And if he turns out to be a shipwreck, I'd rather her find out sooner than later. How will she know unless she spends time with him?
Lindsey knows what is at stake here - proving to me and herself that she can be trusted. It is no small thing to her, and she has called me several times to thank me and to keep me informed.
Now, if I could just get in touch with Sarah...
Sunday, February 18, 2007
How can we be sure that the one we have led to the Lord is truly saved? The truth is, we can't be absolutely sure. Good works don't always indicate a changed heart.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
We can look for outward signs, evidence of fruit, and the like, but it is not our responsibility to judge another's heart. Just as we must not be quick to condemn, we must not take it upon ourselves to grant assurance of salvation.
We can point them to scripture, speak the Truth in love, and pray that the Holy Spirit will bring conviction or assurance. Beyond that, it's out of our hands.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Who would have thought that in this country it would be politically correct to persecute Christians? In the name of tolerance, we have exercised our right to remain silent. Shall we now face prosecution should we choose to give up that right?
It was to be expected. Jesus said so Himself.
John 15:19-21 ~ If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
We have been duly warned. In fact, it's only going to get worse.
2 Timothy 3:12-13 ~ In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
We must not be afraid to stand for Truth.
Psalm 27:1 ~ The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
It's one thing to say that I am willing to face persecution, prosecution, or even death to defend my faith, but am I prepared to do so?
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I needed to talk with his mom first to make sure that she was aware of the plans and is, in fact, willing to take responsibility for my daughter. In other words, had she been invited, or had she invited herself? She assured me that Lindsey is welcome to come and stay with her while BF (boyfriend) stays with his dad. They will not be unsupervised.
I asked her how she felt about BF driving to Memphis to meet Lindsey at the airport (I can't afford tickets to Little Rock), and she suggested that a friend accompany him. I agreed, since Lindsey had mentioned that she would be concerned about his making the drive alone. That was Thursday.
Lindsey talked with BF to find out the best time to schedule the flight, and he told her that his step-dad will be coming with him to meet her. The earlier the flight, the better, so he can get back to work. She wants to fly out on Wednesday and return on Sunday.
When I checked the flight schedules Friday morning, the Sunday flight was almost double the price of the Saturday flight. I suggested a Tuesday night flight, returning Saturday instead, but BF's step-dad had already made arrangements for Wednesday morning. When I got home Friday evening, BF wanted to talk to me. He offered to help pay for her return flight so she can stay until Sunday. I accepted.
That's when he told me that his mom is also taking off work Wednesday so they all can spend the day in Memphis. And, just like that, any doubts I had about letting her go vanished. Completely.
I'm not sure they know how much their kindness blesses my heart. But I am sure Lindsey knows that she is loved.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
We left Friday shortly after midnight and arrived at her dad's at 9:40 am Saturday. The first hour of the drive was spent passing the phone between us talking to Sarah and her dad. It wasn't pretty, although he didn't seem too upset that I was going to allow her to see the boyfriend. I guess he was too busy trying to convince Sarah that she should be afraid to get in the car with me. She went along with it, telling me that she would rather have her dad take her to Grandma's after he gets off work. Lindsey told her that she should be willing to spend 24 hours with her mom, especially since I had to drive 10 hours to get there.
I pointed out to Lindsey that she had told her dad she didn't want to see him, and she replied, "But, Mom, you aren't threatening to kill someone she cares about. She doesn't have a good reason not to spend time with you."
Sarah did change her mind about getting in the car with me, and we followed Lindsey and her beau to his mom's house. I wanted to visit with her to discuss allowing our kids to see each other only as long as there was adult supervision. She agreed, of course. I also let her know that if she felt it necessary to seek legal protection for her son, I would stand behind her decision. The dad may be bluffing, but there is no telling what he might actually do.
From there, we went to my mom's then out to dinner and back to my mom's. It was beginning to rain and the temperature had dropped below freezing, so I suggested that the boyfriend go on back home. Lindsey asked if he could stay the night, and I had to say no. She said she would sleep in the room with me, and he could sleep on the couch, but I didn't budge. So she called her dad and asked if she could stay the night with him. I took the phone and informed him that she wanted her boyfriend to bring her over. He said he didn't care how she got there. I told her to make sure it was okay with him if he came to get her for church in the morning. Again, he said he didn't care.
Sunday morning, Lindsey and her beau met me and Sarah at church. We decided to visit the little Baptist fellowship near my mom's house. The sermon was part of a series on the fruit of the Spirit. That morning, the focus was patience. The pastor talked about anger and the psychological damage that results from taking it out on your kids. I handed Lindsey a pen so that she could take notes on the outline provided, and Sarah surprised me when she took my pen so that she could fill in the blanks. I was pleased with both the timeliness of the message and my kids' behavior.
Sunday afternoon, we celebrated my sister's 40th birthday a day early, then we had to get going. Lindsey still had to get some stuff from her dad's house, and Sarah wasn't ready to come home with me, although she did promise to pray about it. Lindsey rode with her boyfriend to her dad's, and when we got there, Sarah and I went inside while the two of them said their goodbyes. The dad asked where Lindsey was, and I told him that she was in the car with her boyfriend. He said "he better not come in this house, or I'll pop a cap in him." I went back out to call Lindsey inside, and when I came back in, her dad had taken his pistol out and laid it on the bookshelf. A couple of things occurred to me. One, now this makes for an excellent illustration of today's sermon; and two, I wonder if this could be why Sarah is afraid to go with me.
Lindsey and I got back on the road, and we talked almost the entire trip, when she wasn't on the phone with her fella. They both said they liked church, and what Lindsey told me next sent my heart soaring. She said, "You know how you're always listening to the sermon and trying to see how it applies to you? Well, I did that today, Mom. That stuff the pastor said about anger made me realize that I need to work on my temper."
Sometimes they do pay attention.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I realize that I'm all out there with my stuff, maybe a little more than your average basket case, and I'll bet you've wondered "What is she thinking?"
Well, I'm about to tell you.
I'm thinking that pounding out my frustrations on my keyboard helps to keep my speech gracious and opens the door for healing and forgiveness. It's cathartic.
Yes, but why post it?
I'm thinking someone might find himself/herself in a similar situation and realize that there is hope. We care. God cares. Let us pray for you.
I'm thinking someone might recognize a destructive pattern in his/her own behavior and realize that he/she needs help. Love is kind, not cruel. Love does not endanger; it protects. Please don't abuse the ones you love, and please don't let them abuse you.
Domestic violence is not limited to physical assault. It includes any tactic used to instill fear and exert power and control over the other person in a relationship. Click here to learn more or to get help.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
By New Year's Day, Lindsey had come to me a few times to strike a bargain for their return to Arkansas. Can you meet halfway? What if dad pays for your gas? Can you talk to him? He offered to pay for the gas if I would bring them back. He can't get off work to come. I told him that I had to rent a car for the trip because we weren't sure ours would make it. He offered to pay for the rental. I asked if he could wait until the end of the week when I get my paycheck. He agreed to wait, but I was running out of time. They were going to miss three days of school.
Even after Lindsey's dad had some rather choice words for her, which I simply cannot bring myself to repeat (ugly, vile, repulsive characterizations of her womanhood) she was still considering going back to live with him. Not only did he violate her sense of worth with his vulgarity, but he also spewed it at me loudly enough for her to hear. Now it's one thing to have him say those things about me, but his own daughter? There are no words to describe what it's like to see your child ripped to pieces by the very animal who had tried in the same manner to shred your dignity. No words, only tears. The pain on her face strengthened my resolve.
I had almost given in once again, and I could not let it happen this time. What difference does it make what I believe if I don't stand my ground? What kind of mother would take her children and leave them with someone she can't trust? I explained to the girls why it would be a terrible mistake to do what they were asking me to do. I know what the Lord expects of me, and I will never again bow down to any other.
Another phone conversation with their dad had him telling me that it would destroy Sarah to make her stay here. He wants her to be happy, and she isn't happy here. And they don't like Carl. (These are lies he tells himself so that he can play the hero.) I told him that Sarah was thinking about staying. Well, obviously, I misunderstood. What she meant was she's thinking about thinking about staying. Bless her heart.
I explained (unsuccessfully) to him that what will destroy Sarah is allowing her to have her own way when it goes against what she knows is best for her. I told him that she does not need to be rescued and he will always be her hero, no matter what. If they resent anybody it'll be me, and I've got no problem with that. I know that eventually they'll get over it. If he would encourage her to stay with her mother (which he agrees would be good for her), she would realize that we both have her best interests at heart. I want her to be happy, too, but I want her to be happy making wise decisions.
But it's not fair to her, says he, if Lindsey gets to decide where they live because Sarah hasn't done anything wrong. She shouldn't be punished. Who said anything about punishment? I guess making your child brush his teeth or eat his veggies is also a form of punishment, since most kids really don't want to do those things. Let's just set her up for the rudest of awakenings, why don't we? Let us not just let her think she can do no wrong, let's tell her so. Let us feed her Satan's deception on a big ol' happy plate and see where that leads her. Oh, HELL no.
So he says to me, "How 'bout this. If it's God's will for them to stay there, then something will happen to me to prevent me from coming. Otherwise, I'll be there Saturday."
Saturday came, and Sarah started packing. Lindsey had decided that she was going with them (that girl is just too much like her mother, God help her) until their dad called and told Sarah that he had gotten a restraining order on Lindsey's boyfriend. Whoops. Another lie. Turns out it was just a threat. While he's telling her she can come back if she wants to and he wants her there, he made the decision for her. Stay in Georgia or your boyfriend might go to jail. Which would you choose? This time she chose to stay, and she doesn't want to see her dad again. I prayed aloud that God would stop the insanity and keep him from coming.
He showed up at 11 pm and called Sarah's cell phone to let her know he was at the end of the driveway. Wouldn't even come to the door to help her with her bags. I gave him a nice lecture about that. This is the kind of treatment she should expect from her hero? No man is going to disrespect my daughter on my watch. Surely he wouldn't allow her to go on a date with someone who wouldn't even come to the door for her. He came to the door, but he wouldn't come in the house. Then he asked me to send Lindsey outside. How Jerry Springer of him.
So here's the deal. He gave his word that he would have Sarah call me every day, read her Bible, and go to church. She promised she would. I promised to come get her if I don't hear from her. She'll be back. It's only a matter of time.
Please exit to the right, and watch your step.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
When I picked up the girls on Christmas day, they wanted to know when I would bring them back. I wasn't sure how to answer that because I was hoping that they would decide to stay. Lindsey demanded that I take them back on the 1st, and I reminded her that we had agreed to seek the Lord's will and do what He leads us to do. Sarah remained silent.
Everything that took place from that moment on gave me every indication that I would have to stand firm on my convictions, yet I wavered. As the year drew to a close, the pressure was mounting, and I was stalling for time.
Meanwhile, back on the roller coaster...
For reasons I ain't saying, I called the girls' dad to inform him that he needed to have a talk with the 19-yr-old boyfriend of our 16-yr-old daughter. I'm going out on a limb here and guessing that even if you aren't a parent, you were once a teenager, and you may have already drawn your own conclusion about what prompted me to make that call. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon. Nonetheless, I had to draw mister man a picture. He admitted that he'd had misgivings about allowing her to date him, but he also said that he had warned them about what would happen if they ever got caught in the act. Then he gave the boy permission to come to the house when he wasn't home. Does anyone else see a parenting award in his future? Maybe he's holding out for a grand-parenting award. Oh wait. Is there an ostrich award?
Later that same evening, he called Lindsey, and I could hear him screaming at her, but it wasn't about the boyfriend. It seems he had just seen the phone bill. I was slightly amused at first, since it wasn't the first time she had exceeded her minutes. Last time, it wasn't all that big a deal since I was paying the bill. Now that it's his bill, it's not just a big deal, it's an ordeal. So much so, in fact, that he asked her if she wanted him to blow his brains out. She hung up on him, and Sarah said "If he kills himself, it'll be your fault." Oh my word.
He called back to continue the tirade, and she handed me the phone. I asked him what he'd have done if Lindsey had said yes. I told him that he needs to stop the emotional manipulation, aka ABUSE, because now Sarah is worried that he would actually carry out his threat. He then called Sarah to reassure her that he wouldn't do anything drastic and apologized for upsetting her.
And here's what baffles me: They still want to go back. Lindsey is willing to endure all manner of degradation just to see her boyfriend. Her dad told her it's fine if she doesn't come back, and he doesn't care if her mother beats her (she doesn't, though it is tempting). Ain't love grand? Sarah doesn't realize the effects of witnessing that kind of behavior. She's learning to make excuses, to blame the victim, to bury her head in the sand and pretend that all is well.
Here's where the boyfriend redeems himself. Lindsey told him about her dad's threats to throw him jail or kill him if he came anywhere near her. He encouraged her to stay here. It appears that self-preservation may have been his motive, initially, but his concern for her well-being was very much a contributing factor. He reminded her that the braces on her teeth would not adjust themselves and that she needs to stay where she knows she'll be taken care of. He even said he would move here if he had to. She began asking me if he could stay with us until he saves up some money to get his own place. (Yes, dear, I did fall off the turnip truck just yesterday. Why do you ask?) Boy howdy.
Oh. He also apologized to me, declared his love for her, and said that he would respect the boundaries I set for her. No, he isn't moving here, but I've got no problem with allowing him to see her as long as he understands that there will be constant supervision.
At this point, Sarah still hadn't spoken up about not wanting to stay. I understood her to say that she was thinking about staying. Then their dad called me and assured me that the girls would hate me for the rest of their lives if I made them stay here, and that they would never ever want to see me again.
Here's where we all throw our hands up and scream.
This ride ain't over yet.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I made it clear that we are playing by different rules from now on, and they are going to have to learn to submit to my authority. My job is not to make them happy. My job, my obligation, is to teach them by example, by instruction, and by discipline to love the Lord and to walk by faith.
We left my mom's two days later, headed for home, and while I drove, they read various scripture passages aloud, and we followed up with discussion. Afterwards, I asked them how they felt about making it a habit and received positive feedback. Hallelujah! Half the battle has been won.
Still, Lindsey was very adamant that she was not going to stay because of her boyfriend. I had met him and his parents the day before, and they seemed to be good people. The only problem I had with him is his age and his advice to my daughter. (Wait a semester after graduation to start college? Bad advice, in my opinion, especially since it's contradictory to her parents' wishes and his own mother's advice.) I sat the two of them down to discuss my concerns about the seriousness of their relationship (He's already given her a promise ring, and they've only been dating two months.) She's 16, he's 19. As I was explaining to them the reasons for my belief that she needs to be with me, he felt compelled to point out that adolescence is all about rebellion. (Really? It's not just stuff they put in movies?) He was making a beeline for my bad side, at warp speed. I informed him that I'm fully aware of the natural human condition, but for the child of God, human nature is no excuse. THEN, when I asked him if he knows Jesus, he said he is saved, but he doesn't go to church because of all the hypocrites there. Mercy sakes alive! Who knew? I must have missed them for all the other sinners. Lord, forgive my sarcasm, and wake this young man from his slumber.
I scored a few points with Lindsey later when her dad was ranting about her attitude, right there in front of her beau. I looked at him, rolled my eyes and said "That's just adolescence." Good times.
Sarah surprised me. She was talkative and friendly, and seemed to be enjoying herself. After we got home, she wanted to go shopping. We spent a few hours at the Mall of Georgia, which wasn't enough time to hit all the stores, especially with the incredibly long lines. That place is HUGE! We will definitely go back. The following day, she asked if we could go shopping for me. Apparently, my wardrobe needed some updating. I highly recommend taking your fashion-conscious kids with you to the department store. They'll try to convince you that $50 jeans are reasonably priced, but hold out for JC Penney and head straight for the clearance racks. Grab the most garish thing you can find and act as if you'd actually consider wearing it. They'll be mortified, but you'll reach a whole new level of cool when you opt for something more tasteful. They won't even mind that it's on clearance.
There's more to this roller coaster ride. Stay tuned as the saga continues.