Thursday, December 21, 2006

The War on Error - False Security

I've run across several Christian debates in blogland over whose doctrine is most biblical. The interesting thing is how many points of view there are, and the funny thing is that these same debates have been going on for centuries. There really is nothing new under the sun. The sad thing is that, much like a political debate, each side has a tendency to misrepresent the other side's stance. I don't think they do this intentionally, though it seems that some of them have such disdain for anyone who doesn't agree with their doctrine that they resort to name-calling and other immature tactics. From the sidelines, it often appears that they are really only arguing over semantics. More on that later.

What draws me to these blogs? It's a good thing to defend the faith, and I find it helpful to read others who are more discerning than myself. I've learned quite a lot since I began blogging, and here is where I will be sharing some of those things with you.

We'll start with "Once Saved Always Saved." I was brought up believing this and had never questioned it, until a few months ago, when I read an article claiming that it's a dangerous doctrine. So I did a little more research, and found that I agree with that assessment.

I did not say that I no longer believe it. I just said I agree that it can be dangerous, in that it must be handled with care.

There are those who say it isn't even biblical, and then they go on to say "Nowhere in the Bible does it say that!" I say that's a lame argument. You won't find the word "trinity" in the Bible either, but that doesn't mean it isn't biblical. Try again.

The real danger is in using the excuse of Eternal Security as a license to sin. This is a fatal error! Consider the following statements*:

Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy.

The Bible clearly teaches that God's love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand.

You and I are not saved because we have enduring faith. We are saved because at a moment in time we expressed faith in our enduring Lord.

Yes, there are people who believe these false teachings.

I am not one of them. I don't think Heaven will be populated with unbelievers.

2 Peter 2: 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

Your thoughts?

*Quotes from a book written by a well-known pastor who has twice been elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like something

BooMama's Tour of Homes™ Christmas Edition is well under way, and I'm not ready for it. Maybe in the next day or two, or perhaps later tonight, I will have a few photos to post. That is if my cheap digital camera will work.

Unlike this family from my hometown, I'm not big on stringing lights "all over the where" as my brother used to say.

Their display grew so large (3 million lights, Barb) that neighbors started to complain. They now have 32 displays all over Arkansas, one at Graceland, and one at Disney World. Needless to say, I won't be keeping up with the Osbornes this year. Or . . . um . . . ever.

I've been known to wait until just a few days before Christmas to catch the excitement. Call me a late bloomer, a blooming idiot, or Scrooge even. I know. Bah Humbug.

I have, however, already managed to get most of my shopping done. In only 3 days. Yay me! My first actual purchase was the gift for my best friend and ex-wife-in-law. Y'all, she will be so surprised! I wish I could tell you what it is, but she reads my blog, so I'm not even going to give hints. And yesterday, my beloved helped me pick out gifts for my nieces and nephew and my brothers-in-law. Now he's cleaning the kitchen while I'm blogging about it. I love that man.

We decided not to to have a real tree this year, but the little pre-lit table-top tree I got for Lindsey's room last year will do fine. I just have to find some ornaments for it. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get busy.

Come back later, and I'll show you around.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Have Been Blessed

Last week, one of my favorite people in the blogosphere decided that I deserve an award "Just Because" I'm on her blogroll. Thank you, Grafted Branch! I am touched and honored. You are truly a blessing!

In other news. . .

Last Thursday after our handbell performance at one of our local hospitals, I had the privilege of fellowshipping with some of the other ringers (or ding-a-lings, as our worship leader affectionately calls us) at a world-renown coffee house. It was the first time I had ever been there. Now I'm not a coffee connoisseur, but one doesn't have to be to enjoy a good latte. Ahhh! The aroma! I ordered a peppermint mocha latte, and after just one sip, I knew that I would be returning to their establishment.

Saturday, Carl took me shopping for a new outfit for Sunday, and he even helped me pick it out. JC Penney was having a sale, and we got everything for less than half price. I love me some Penney's. We took the kids out for dinner afterwards, then we topped off the evening with a visit to the aforementioned coffee shop. I think I'm hooked. We may have started a new tradition.

Now here's a little tip for those of you whose husband would rather have scalding coffee spilled in his lap than accompany you to the mall: Bribe him with a trip to Starbucks!

In the works. . .

I'm pondering doing a serious discussion series on a couple of topics that have been on my mind a lot lately. Lord willing, "Doctrine Matters" and "The War on Error" will be coming soon.

Y'all have a fabulous week!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Meme

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. With or without marshmallows. My grandma (dad's mom) made the best hot cocoa ever.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? That Santa is so unpredictable. Sometimes he wraps, but usually he doesn't.

3. Colored lights or white? I prefer white, but since my beloved does the honors, we always have colored lights. We don't do lights on the house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? If we have some we do, but it isn't necessary.

5. When do you decorate for Christmas? After we buy the tree. Usually a couple of weeks before Christmas. Never ever ever before December. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert? I'm gonna say fruitcake. Since no one really likes it, it can't be considered dessert, can it? Really, it has to be chicken and dressing.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The gifts we got every year from my great grandmother. We always got the same thing, all 3 of us girls, so we would open our presents all at once, knowing we'd have to hold them up and show them. Know what they were? Big ol' honkin' granny panties! Yeah, we hated it at the time, but looking back, it was the most hilarious thing ever. We were never able to wear them.

8. When and how, did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 9 or 10. One year in June, I decided to test a theory I had that Santa wasn't always watchin'. I wrote a letter and hid it inside the piano bench. He never found it. Why June? I didn't want to ruin Christmas. DUH!

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The kids get to open at least one. Sometimes they persuade us to let them open all of them.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Haphazardly. I always start out trying to be organized, but I always let the kids help. I do a little bit of rearranging afterwards, just to give it some balance. I like to have Mannheim Steamroller playing in the background while we decorate.

11. Snow. Love it or hate it? Love the real stuff. Hate the fake stuff.

12. Can you ice skate? As a native Arkansan, I have to say that depends on your definition of skate. If you mean glide gracefully across the ice, then no. If, on the other hand, you mean flail my arms wildly while stumbling without actually falling down, then I'm your girl.

13. Do you remember your favorite Christmas gift? Sarah was born 5 days before Christmas 1991.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Remembering the Reason for the season and being with family.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Cherry cheesecake.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Gee, the only thing we've ever done consistently is wrap presents on Christmas eve. No wait. Stuffing stockings after the kids have gone to bed. That's fun. Gathering around the TV to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" is a must. The best thing, though, and this should probably be up there with favorite childhood memory, is getting up early on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought, then going to Grandmother's (mom's mom) to watch Macy's Christmas Parade.

17. What tops your tree? A bow, I think. Or a blinking star. Whichever one we can get to stay up there.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? "...remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Jesus said it, and I believe it. But even if He hadn't, I think I would rather give.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? I love them all. The Little Drummer Boy is my all time favorite. Close behind, and in no particular order are Do You Hear What I Hear, O Holy Night, and What Child Is This.

20. Candy canes. Yuck or yum? Yum. And it's fun to suck the end to a fine point then poke your sister with it. Or so I hear. :o)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Calling all Homeschoolers

Okay, I've been looking around at all the options that are available, and I'm overwhelmed. I had no idea there were so many choices!

I need recommendations for curriculum for high school students. I keep coming back to Alpha and Omega, and I'm also wondering about Abeka. Anyone tried these or know someone who has? If not, what do you use and how did you decide? Anything you can tell me will be appreciated.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Maybe It's Just Me

I've been thinking. I could be just a tad warped. I don't know where this stuff comes from, but sometimes I crack me up. Is it possible to be too easily amused?


Still, I can't help wondering if it occurred to any of the fine folks at Fisher-Price that "Tinkle Me Elmo" might be a good name for this toy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's Good to be Home

We are back home after 3 full days of family fun. And I do mean FULL. Oh my goodness, all the food! We spent Thanksgiving day visiting with my mom and dad and my sisters and their husbands and kids. What a crazy bunch of folks. I don't remember when I have laughed so hard.

On Friday, we gathered around the TV to watch the Hogs lose to the LSU Tigers, then I ventured out with my girls to do some shopping. Not my idea of a good time. I think it must be tons more fun if you're not the one having to shell out the bucks. Luckily, I got out of taking them to the mall because of all the after-game traffic. Timing is everything, you know.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Petit Jean State Park looking for photo ops. Carl was in charge of the camera.

The weather was perfect for the mile hike down the mountain to the waterfall.

We had a wonderful time, but it sure is good to be home. I'll be posting more photos later. After I've unpacked and unwound. Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Do You Smell What the Rock is Cooking?

This is pretty much a token post because it's been almost a week since my last post, and I'll be away until Sunday. Thought I'd make that little announcement in case the Ring of ThievesTM wants to pay a visit to my humble abode. Maybe whoever-you-are wouldn't mind tidying up the place a bit? I'd be ever so grateful.

Okay then, on with the randomness.

You won't believe what I've been up to. Barb, are you sitting down? Y'all, I've been cooking. That's right! Every night for the past week. Please, hold the applause. It's nothing, really. Seriously, it's not that I don't like to cook or that I can't -- I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. And our dogs LOVE it. -- it's just that I'm not real fond of cleaning up afterwards. Since it's only the two of us during the week, it's been TONS easier just to go out, but that gets expensive. So in order to save money, I've decided to get back in the habit of preparing meals myself. Nothing fancy, you know, unless you're rilly impressed with Hamburger HelperTM, but hey, it's a start. And I've figured out that I don't have to deal with leftovers because my dogs will eat anything. No kidding. I don't get the whole underwear thing, but I digress.

Well, I did cheat tonight and got heat'n'eat chicken from the Kroger deli, but only because I had to make deviled eggs for a luncheon at work tomorrow. I'm on a roll! Kinda makes me feel like a mom again.

Lindsey asked me if I would make baked mac'n'cheese and green bean casserole when I get to my mom's for Thanksgiving. I told her that someone else probably would, and she said "but I like yours better." No mention of the car though, so I'm inclined to believe she wasn't just buttering me up. We did talk about it a few days ago, and she asked me if I would bring it to her this weekend. HA! When I told her that I was thinking of letting her have it when she comes to stay, she said I was bribing her. She wouldn't feel that way if she knew I was thinking of removing the battery.

Just kidding.

It does need a lot of work, though. I'm not about to turn her loose in a car that needs new shocks and brakes and who knows what else. She'll have to wait.

By the way, she told me that she and Sarah got their phones taken away (again!) because they didn't give their dad their report cards. I don't know why Sarah didn't, but Lindsey's reason was that she didn't want him to know that she got a C. Funny that she would tell me, because that's one of the bajillion-and-one reasons I've given her for insisting that she needs to be here. So he took away their phones and quit Lindsey's job for her. I think that's an answer to prayer.

You see, I've been contemplating homeschooling. Lindsey is in 11th grade, and I'm concerned that if she stays where she is, she'll end up dropping out like her older sister did. If we homeschool, I'm sure I can motivate her to put forth the effort to graduate. It would solve a few other problems as well, such as dividing their time between both parents more equitably, and I can make sure they get regular Bible study as part of the curriculum. I mentioned it to her, and although she's not completely sold on it yet, she said she would think about it. The idea of graduating early really appeals to her. I pointed out that I've been praying that God would show us how to work all this out. The fact that her dad quit her job for her means that she can't use that as a reason not to come. And I had nothing to do with it! That excites me, because I can see God's hand in it. It was no accident that I began blogging and have met so many other moms who homeschool. I believe that He's leading us in that direction. Will you pray for us?

One last thought before I go...

I got a call today from a guy who had found Mr. X's cell phone. Apparently, he had left it in the break room where he works. The guy asked if I could tell him whose phone it was, and without hesitation, I told him. As soon as I got off the phone, I had a George Costanza moment, and thought "Man! I shoulda told him the phone was stolen and that since he found it, he could keep it if he would dispose of the SIM card." No, I didn't call back, but I did enjoy the moment. It's a good thing I didn't because Lindsey had to use it to call me.

I'm telling ya, the Lord is at work.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, y'all!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Getting Ready for Christmas

Hi! Didja miss me? I've been keeping busy (not really, but it sounds good.) I have accomplished a thing or two, though. Like cleaning the kitchen and cooking a few meals. And watching back to back episodes of Star Wars while snuggling on the sofa with my beloved. Good stuff, that. The snuggling, not Star Wars.

Now I must confess that I'm not ready for Christmas. In case you haven't noticed, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Scratch that. Every day is thanksgiving, but you know what I mean. I'm a straggler when it comes to decorating for the holidays. I never, ever put out Christmas bling before December first. I've been known to wait until the twenty-first. And we don't do lights on the outside of the house, for obvious reasons. Would YOU want to spend Good Friday taking down Christmas lights?

Ah, but Christmas lists? That's another story. No, I don't make a list, but my kids do. Lindsey called me just a few days ago to tell me what she wanted.

"Mom, I'd like to have a (some brand name) coat. Do you know what I'm talking about? Christy can tell you if you don't. Anyway, you can get me that for Christmas, okay?"

"Sure, honey, but let's talk about that when I'm not at work."

"Okay. Or you can give me your car. Loveyoubye."

Hmm. That must be some coat.

Y'all have a fantastic Friday, y'hear?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Campus News

I received this notice in my inbox this morning, and I couldn't resist passing it along.

Athens, (GA)--UGA football practice was delayed nearly two hours today after a player reportedly found an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head coach Mark Richt immediately suspended practice and called the police and federal investigators.

After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance, unknown to players, was the GOAL LINE.

Practice resumed after special agents decided that the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again this season.

How 'bout them Dawgs?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Found this article at The Sacred Sandwich. In light of yesterday's post, I just had to link it.

Browse around while you're there, and be sure to check out their photo gallery. Enjoy!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Puppy Love

Our pastor said something yesterday that sounded a bit strange to me, but I don't think it's the first time I've heard him say it. Before I tell you what he said, let me tell you about the service.

Since it was a 5th Sunday, the ministerial team decided to try something new. If it went over well, it would become a regular event. Rather than having the pastor preach a traditional sermon, we had a song sermon, in which several songs were selected to emphasize a particular theme. Between each song, the pastor provided a segue - an short speech to introduce the next song. The theme was Love, Grace, and Mercy. As part of the Ladies' ensemble who sang the first song of the sermon, I had the privilege of attending all 3 services. That's right, 3. It was enjoyable, albeit a bit redundant.

Our early service is attended mostly by older members and is traditional Methodist. A few hymns, the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the sermon. The pastor used his notes for this service. I think it went well.

The 9:40 service is more contemporary - praise songs take the place of the Apostle's Creed. The sermon is the same, as are the anecdotes. Almost word for word. It also went well.

The 11:00 service is even more contemporary - a younger, more lively crowd. This service usually runs longer than the earlier services. In the past, this was because worship was more energetic and no one was in a hurry for it to end. This seems to be a new concept for our current pastor, who tried to get us out by noon when he first came to us in June. He has since been informed, apparently, that we prefer a longer service. His tendency is to draw out the message, addding a few anecdotes or extra comments in order to fill the time. But it's still the same sermon. Almost.

So, the three services were all the same, except that in the 3rd service, the preacher man decided to ditch his segue notes, and this is when it got a little strange. He got ahead of himself and had to ad-lib his way back to the intro of the first song. He recovered pretty well, and unless you had been to the other services, you probably wouldn't have caught it. Towards the end, however, it got a little hairy. This is when, in talking about God's love, he made some vague reference to the "Hound of Heaven" and God's relentless pursuit of us. Somehow, this led to his memory of owning a kennel and the puppies that would chase and nip at his heels.

I looked at my husband and asked "Is that supposed to be an analogy?" To which my beloved replied, "Yes, God is like a puppy."

Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don't it?

Monday, October 23, 2006

How Harmless is Halloween?

Wednesday, November 1, Everyday Mommy will begin sharing some ideas for keeping Christ in Christmas. On the eve of that day, many Christians will be participating in another kind of celebration. I know that many churches provide an alternative to this pagan holiday, such as "Trunk or Treat" or "Harvest Festival", but I wonder how many of us see this not as an alternative to, but as an additional stop on, our Trick-or-Treat rounds. It's all about the candy, right?

I know that none of us take part in the "bad" rituals that have been known to occur on Halloween, but is it a good idea to promote greed, tooth decay, and perhaps even truth decay in our children? Is it really harmless fun? Where is the message of Christ in Halloween?

Lest you think that I am casting stones, I must admit that I've never really seen any harm in allowing the kids to dress up and go door-to-door collecting candy, and I buy tons of the good stuff to hand out to the superheroes, fairies, and ghosts and goblins who come to my door. But should I? Should we be so convinced that there really is no harm in it?

I ask, because I want feedback, but also because I want you to think about the state of Christ's church. Satan has long been lurking, looking for every opportunity to distract us from the cause of Christ. He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. His methods are subtle. So subtle, in fact, that we have been lulled into complacency. Even some pastors and leaders have been duped.

We are told in scripture that there will be many divisions among us. We see that in the numerous denominations that have sprung up since the first church began. We see it in committees who can't agree on what color the carpeting and pew cushions should be. I really don't think that's what "fight the good fight of faith" means. We are to contend, not with one another, but with the enemy!

While we're doing battle with one another, Satan is making advances, virtually unnoticed. Not only have we watered down the gospel to draw the world into the church, we are becoming disciples of the world. We adopt their way of thinking, their style of music, their dress code, and even their methods of worship: see this article on gnostic mysticism in the SBC.

Scary, isn't it?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Camping Ain't for Sissies

My beloved is away for the weekend on a camping trip with Andrew's Boy Scout troop. He tried to talk me into going along, but really, I'd rather do laundry. Now I do love me some camping, you know, when there's fun to be had, like the last time we went. It was an adventure for me because the only kind of camping I'd ever done was in a camper or in a designated campsite at a state park. The kind where your car is only a few feet away and restroom facilities include showers. Carl, on the other hand, prefers hiking several miles to a secluded spot alongside the river where he can fish.

His favorite spot is on the Chattooga River, where he had taken me and the kids once before to teach me the joys of fly fishing. He even taught me to tie my own flies. I'm not particularly fond of fishing, but because the bait isn't live and the river is clear, cold, and clean (unlike many lakes I've fished) I did enjoy fly fishing. Except the wading part, which I cannot do while casting my line. I don't know if you know this, but waders float. Yes they do. So what happened is the combination of rushing river, slippery rocks, floaty waders, and oversized boots swept me off my feet, and I, graceful swan that I am, discovered the waterproof properties of neoprene. Not only does it keep water out, it also keeps water in! Ha! Who knew?

After that most excellent adventure, Carl decided that I needed to experience the joy of real camping. The kind where you load up backpacks and hike until you find the perfect spot. We had decided to return to the scene of the accident, but this time I would have my-size shoes with non-slip soles. We bought a tent and several flashlights and packed our backpacks with all the essentials we could carry. What could go wrong?

We left after work on a Friday evening and arrived at the river just before dark. We began our hike in the general direction of the spot we had chosen, but as night fell, the trail became harder to follow, even with flashlights. Somewhere along the way, we missed a turn and wound up in North Carolina. We turned back and continued to follow the sound of the river. A few hours and two flashlights later, we came upon a parking lot. We kept going, and eventually Carl dropped his pack and told me to wait while he ran on up ahead. I have no idea how much time had passed, but in the dark, it seemed like quite a while until he came back with the news that he had found our spot. Finally! We quickly set up camp and crawled into our sleeping bag. The next morning, I awoke to a visit from Aunt Flo. Carl ran back to the car to retrieve my forgotten essentials, and when he returned, he was laughing. We were only 15 minutes from the car!

We did enjoy that weekend very much, and we still laugh about getting lost in the dark, but that's not even the best part. You know what is? The best part is that he still wants to take me camping.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Good News!

Lindsey seems to have changed her mind already about coming at semester. Her dad rescheduled her orthodontic appointment, on his own, and she got a job at Sonic. Some things are just too good to be true. Still praying that she'll come around.

Sarah went to church Wednesday night for the "Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames" drama production that they put on every year at this time. Following the play, several people made decisions for the Lord, including Sarah, who told me that she rededicated her life. God is answering my prayers (and yours)!

Praise the Lord!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Light at the end of the Tunnel

Most of you know about the situation with my girls and have been lifting us up in prayer, and I am ever so grateful for your caring hearts. More than that, I am thankful for God's faithfulness to His children. You may recall the word of encouragement I received a few weeks ago at my women's retreat from our speaker, who shared with me her vision of a train as she prayed over me. She felt that it meant to stay on track and keep moving forward. While I don't know for sure what to make of her method, I do know that the Lord ministered to my heart through her teaching of His Word.

A few things have happened since then. First, before the retreat was over, I was invited to join the handbell choir, and I accepted the invitation. My first performance with them is next Sunday. Also, I have discovered a need for a prayer ministry in our school district, which is where my heart is. Unfortunately, my children are not in school here, and without them, I have no access to the names of the children who are enrolled. I shared that little bit of info with my girls, to make them aware of an opportunity to be useful, you know, a purpose other than having their own needs met. Of course, it meant little to them, as they seem perfectly content to stay right where they are. That hasn't kept me from praying that God would give them a desire to be obedient to Him and to follow wherever He leads.

I have continued to encourage them to go to church, to read their Bibles, and to pray, without much response. However, I called them Saturday and told them not to make any plans that would interfere with church attendance on Sunday, and to be sure to go to church. For the sermon, not to work in the nursery. I had doubts that they would, but when I called Sunday morning, they were getting ready to go. Praise the Lord! I called again Sunday night to discuss the sermon with them, and Sarah had time only to tell me what it was about before she left to go to the store with her dad.

Lindsey called me just a little while ago, and though she couldn't remember the sermon, she did inform me that she wants to come back here at semester. To stay. Y'all, I'm about beside myself! Further inquiry revealed that she and her dad aren't getting along well, and I let her know that while I want more than anything for her to be here, I'd rather that not be the reason. She replied, "Mom, I need to be there. Dad isn't taking care of me. He wouldn't take me to my orthodontist appointment because he was mad at me. And I lied to you about him making the appointment. He didn't. I did." I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying "I told you so."

I asked her to pray about her decision, and she told me that she was pretty sure she wouldn't change her mind again. We shall see. I also spoke with Sarah, who actually said "yes" when I asked her if she would consider coming to stay. I encouraged her to pray that God would give her a willing heart. It seems that they are beginning to see the light.

I ask you now to continue praying that God will draw them to Him and return them to the care of their mother.

God is so good, and He is faithful, and I am rejoicing through tears.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Testimony

God began a good work in me during a revival service, when at age 9, I followed my parents and sisters to the altar to join the church we had been attending. We were all baptized the following Sunday. We attended church faithfully for a few years, then my dad stopped going altogether, and my mom continued to take us or to put us on the church bus when she didn't go herself.

We were well-behaved children who knew how to act in church and out of church, but our family didn't pray together, except to say the "blessing" in unison over the noon meal on Sundays. We didn't do family devotions, but my dad had bought each of us a Children's Living Bible, which he challenged us to read from front to back, just as he was reading the Living Bible. I don't remember much of what I read, except the incredibly long genealogy lists that made no sense to me. I couldn't even pronounce the names, but I slogged through it to the end, no more enlightened than I had been before I started.

When I entered junior high, I was so excited to get to move up to the youth group that my older sister was involved in. She wanted to be in church all the time, and I wanted to know what that was all about. I didn't know it at the time, but I had been following in her footsteps all along. At age 14, I was listening to a sermon in which the pastor said that if we hadn't experienced a true change in our hearts, if we were able to sin without conviction, then we were not truly saved. I did a quick review of my life and realized that nothing had changed, even though I had prayed the sinner's prayer and was baptized. I was still the same person I had always been. While I wasn't a bad person by worldly standards, I knew that I didn't have Jesus in my heart. I had been going through the motions and hadn't understood what it meant to follow Jesus. That night, I went forward at the altar call, made a profession of faith in Christ, and was baptized the following Sunday.

I loved going to church, singing hymns, and worshipping with fellow believers. I became more obedient to my parents. I only had Christian friends, and everyone at school knew that I was one of "them." I was never faced with any peer pressure to try drugs or alcohol, and I was never invited to any parties. It was cool to be a Christian, no matter how uncool I was. Life was good. What I didn't know then was that my profession of faith was just that, a profession. It would be years before I obtained possession of faith.

Towards the end of my senior year, I began to have questions that I didn't know where to find the answers to. Mostly, they were questions about doctrine. How were Southern Baptists different? How did we know we were right and everyone else was wrong? What if we're wrong? Rather than look to the Bible for answers, I struck out on my own in search for truth and got instead a big ol' dose of reality. Having been a goody-two-shoes all my life, I was convinced that I was good to go, ready for the world. Man, was I ever wrong. Temptation after temptation presented itself, and I was surprised at how easy it was to give in. I hated the things I did, hated myself for doing them, and wanted desperately to find my way back to God, but I was too ashamed. I prayed often, asking for forgiveness, but I had a hard time accepting that He would forgive me. I had rebelled against Him. I had abandoned the church. I had married an unbeliever. I had compromised my testimony. How could I make it right?

Ten years after I left the church, God provided a way for me to come back. My marriage was in trouble, and my husband had gone to visit a local pastor. After counseling with the pastor, we decided that we needed to be in church. My husband was baptized, and I "rededicated" my life to Christ when we joined another Southern Baptist church. I felt like I was home, but I had doubts about my salvation because of the life I had led for the past 10 years. I prayed for assurance. One morning, I noticed that a scar I'd had on my knee for years was gone. Completely vanished. Then I heard a voice say "You are my child." I knew then that God had been there all the time, waiting for me to turn to Him for the answers I had been seeking. He had allowed me to come face to face with my desperate need for Him. My faith had been tried, and though I had faltered, He had proven Himself faithful.

I wish I could say that I've been faithful ever since, but I can't. What I can say is that I have never again doubted my salvation. I am a child of God, bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ, and any good that is in me is from Him. After several years of struggling to make up for my wasted life, I finally realized that there is nothing I can do to earn His forgiveness. It is a free gift of grace, of which I am most unworthy, which God in His infinite mercy has bestowed upon this sinner for reasons known only to Him. Whenever I have stumbled, He has brought me to repentance, forgiven me, and drawn me closer to Him. He continues to prove Himself faithful, and I am confident that He who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.

This post is brought to you today by the Bloggy Tour of Testimonies, hosted by Lauren at Created for HIS Glory. Click here for more stories of God's amazing grace or to share your own.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

13 Things I Need to Do Before Christmas

1) Exercise - I seriously need to get up off my computer-chair-shaped behind and go walking.

2) Cook - It's been too long since I've fed my husband a home-cooked meal.

3) Clean - The bedrooms are disaster areas. My husband cleaned the kitchen and living room while I was away on retreat, and I really should tackle the rest of the house.

4) Sew - I've outgrown most of my clothes, and I've got plenty of fabric and patterns to work with. I also should get started making quilts for Christmas gifts.

5) Balance the checkbook. Yeah, it's been a while.

6) Finish reading the books I've started. I'm currently reading Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" and David Bordon's "Discover the Power in the Prayers of Paul."

7) Get in the habit of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I definitely need my beauty sleep. I'm starting to look my age!

8) Lose some weight. I've put on 20 pounds in the past 2 years. I'd love to be able to wear my clothes comfortably. I would still make new ones, and I'd have some fabric left over for quilts.

9) Declutter closets. We have way more stuff than we need.

10) Donate items to the Salvation Army.

11) Get the garage ready for conversion to a den.

12) TIRL with some of my bloggy friends, like Barb and Kelli.

13) Write letters to friends in Arkansas who aren't web-enabled.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Beginnings

Life seems to have suddenly gotten in the way of blogging. I know I'm not the only one who has had to step back and take a hard look at my priorities. For me, blogging began as a way to connect with other Christian women. It was to be a place to share experiences, good or bad, and to encourage and to be encouraged. It has done that for me, but it has also taken up a large portion of time that would be better spent tending to the needs of my husband, and my household.

Since the first of the month, I have been in a bit of a slump. After returning home from a visit with my family, my heart became heavy, and I found it difficult to do much of anything. Even praying was hard. Until a week ago, when I opened my prayer blog to receive requests. Then things began to change. Thanks to Bev for motivating me to put others' needs ahead of my own. I read those few requests and was moved to tears that I would be afforded such a privilege. Y'all, I am humbled. God is so good!

Friday evening, my ex-wife-in-law, April, and I left for the weekend on a church women's retreat. It was my first ever, and I didn't know what to expect. April was the only one I knew, even though I have been attending the church for almost a year. I had "met and gret" a few of the ladies, but hadn't ever taken an opportunity to get to know any of them. I'm not unfriendly, just really shy, and it takes me a while to open up.

So there I was in the middle of worship, kinda holding back for some reason, not really getting into it. Then our speaker began to teach on the first chapter of Jeremiah. I was so relieved to know that we would be spending time in the Word. The focus was "New Beginnings." At one point she asked if we had ever wondered if God cares where we live, and she referred us to Acts 17:26-27. That was apparently the word I needed, because I felt a huge burden lifted at that moment. She reminded us that it isn't about "me." It's about His plan and His purpose. We need to get involved His way.

After the session, I talked with Diane, our speaker. I had to tell her how her message had ministered to me. She asked if she could pray over me, and while she was praying, she said "I'm seeing a train. I don't know if that means anything to you, but it's a steam engine." She continued to pray, then she said, "It means stay on track. Keep moving forward. It's not a fast-moving train, but it is steady." That does mean something to me. I had been feeling rather discouraged, even doubting that I am living where I should be. Yes, I do recall sharing that I had been given assurance that this is where God wants me, but it had been a while since I last heard from Him.

Later, in our room, April and I were reading our Bibles, and I saw something that made me laugh aloud. The Bible I use is the NIV, and if you'll look at the bold heading just above verse 16, you'll see what I saw. See where it says "In Athens"? Y'all that's where I live! Go ahead and laugh. I realize it may seem silly, but that was just what I needed. It felt so good to lighten up.

In Saturday morning's session, Diane made yet another statement that will stick with me. "I can't do anything about what is not happening. I need to see what is happening and get involved." After the session, Jenny, a member of our church, invited us to a meeting to view a Moms In Touch International informational video. She is the leader of a group for a neighboring county, and it just so happens that there is no group for any of the schools in my county. Have you ever noticed this link in my sidebar? I've known about the organization for almost a year. When I discovered their list of "31 Ways to Pray for Our Youth," I printed it out and put it on my wall at work, gave copies to other moms, and emailed it to the moms in my family. Back in July, I linked to it in this post. I have to tell you it's starting to sink in that this just may be where God wants me to get involved.

Sunday morning's session ended with testimonies from several of the women in attendance. What an awesome weekend! I wanted to share all of this with them, but I knew I wouldn't be able to speak without breaking out into the "ugly cry," and I wasn't ready for them to see that yet. By the way, I found out that there's a new members class next Sunday, and I plan to be there.

Before we left, I made a point to speak with one of the women I hadn't had a chance to meet. She looked very familiar to me, but I didn't think I had seen her at church. She attends an earlier service. We discussed other places where we may have crossed paths, then she mentioned handbell choir. Of course, that's where I've seen her! I told her that I had played handbells in high school, and she informed me of our choir's need for more ringers. Guess who's going to practice tomorrow evening! Yes, she called me this afternoon to remind me. I'm really excited, not so much about the handbells as about finding a place to serve. The face to face meeting with other women was pretty cool, too. Praise the Lord!

What's to become of my blogging? I'm thinking that my prayer blog should be my primary focus, and this one will take a back seat. Hopefully, I'll be able to post at least once a week, and more often if time allows. I'll still be reading and lurking, commenting only if I have something to add to the conversation.

See y'all tomorrow! Many blessings!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy Weekend

Y'all enjoy your weekend! I'll be back Sunday evening.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Prayer Blog

Some of you may be aware that I have a second blog. I had planned to use it as sort of a personal prayer journal, but since I began blogging, I have encountered many people for whom I have felt a burden to lift up in prayer. You may find your name or the name of a loved one mentioned there. Some have not been mentioned for the sake of confidentiality, but I have committed to pray daily for each request that has been made known to me.

I have wanted for some time to make my prayer blog more interactive, but I wasn't real sure how to do that, and I have been a bit apprehensive about going "public" with it because I don't want it to seem as though I am seeking any recognition for myself. However, my friend Bev has inspired me to try something new. I have provided a link in my sidebar for prayer requests. Clicking on that link will take you to a page on my prayer blog where you can leave requests or pray for others. I hope you will join me in this endeavor to lift up those in need, whatever their need might be.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Help a blogger out -

Kristen over at Mama's So Called Life has reached her 125th post. She's hoping to mark the occasion by getting 125 comments. Will you help her out? Please drop by her place and leave her a comment (or two.) Thanks!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How I Met My Sweetheart

My good friend, Barb, at A Chelsea Morning asks "How Did You Meet Your Honey?" I'm a couple of days behind, but I thought I'd share, since so many of you have. I've enjoyed all the stories I've read so far.

I've mentioned before that Carl and I met online while playing trivia in a chatroom on MSN. I was separated, living in an apartment, and trying to save up enough money to file for divorce. I had moved out in July 2001 and had no social life apart from work and church. I had a few online friends, but no plans to ever meet any of them. It just wasn't my thing. John, one of the guys I played trivia with, started paying more attention to me in late February 2002, asking all kinds of questions about my pending divorce. I thought it was kinda creepy, but I accepted his invitation to play Scrabble. I also let him know that I was not in the market, nor did I have any plans to start dating. Turns out, John was seeing Sue, but it wasn't common knowledge among our trivia buddies. Carl and Sue had been friends for a few years, having met in one of the game rooms, and they played Scrabble quite often. Sue and John were in cahoots, playing matchmaker for Carl without his knowledge.

The four of us got together for a game, then the two of them left us alone to chat. We became very good friends over the course of the next few months, but dating was out of the question, for several reasons. The main reason was that I was still married, but even if I hadn't been, we lived too far apart to consider it. I had told him about John's interrogation, and he laughed that I thought it was creepy. We laughed that they thought we would even want to date. Really, only the desperate look for love online, right? We made fun of people who went online in search of dates.

He listened when I talked about my soon-to-be ex, and asked why I hadn't already filed for divorce. I explained that I was saving up for a lawyer, and hoping in the meantime that my husband would clean up his act. He advised me to hang in there and work it out if it was at all possible to save the marriage. He had been through it, hated for anyone else to have to go through it, and did not recommend it. Unfortunately, my husband chose to continue womanizing, even placing ads online and hanging out at p*rn sites, all the while accusing me of all things sordid. After a year of separation, I filed for divorce.

We discussed our failed marriages and lessons learned, and agreed that it was best to just be friends. Three months later, I found out that my friend, Nikki, from Australia was coming to the States. She would be making the rounds, visiting several of us in our trivia group. I invited her to come visit me, and she accepted. Carl had said he would like to meet her, but he didn't have a place for her to stay. We put our heads together, worked out a tentative date, and decided that the 3 of us should meet in Memphis. Two weeks after my divorce was final, Carl and I met in Memphis (he flew, I drove) for the weekend. It wasn't a date, just a couple of friends getting together to have a good time. We didn't have a good time, we had a wonderful time! We knew immediately that we would be more than just friends.

He was a gentleman and treated me with utmost respect. I've never met a more upstanding man. He had never been to Arkansas, so I offered to take him and show him around. We went to my apartment to freshen up, then we went to climb Pinnacle Mountain. He took me to dinner afterwards, and I offered to let him stay the night at my place. He agreed to go to church with me the next morning, then we went to visit my parents. We went for a walk in downtown Little Rock on Sunday evening before going back to my place for a home-cooked meal, then we settled on the sofa and laughed and talked and cuddled until we both fell asleep. I did most of the talking, which I'm sure is what put him to sleep. The next morning, we drove back to Memphis to meet Nikki's flight and hang out with her until he had to catch his flight home.

We had so much fun in Memphis, sightseeing, shopping, and goofing off. He held my hand, opened doors for me, and wouldn't let me pay for anything. In one of the music stores, he bought me two CD's - Norah Jones and John Mayer. The instant we heard "Come Away With Me", it became our song. When the time came to head to the airport, he was reluctant to go. He looked so sad. He had finally met the love of his life, and was having to leave her behind. He hugged and kissed me and promised to call as soon as he landed.

We talked daily by phone, email, instant messenger, or webcam - often all at the same time, and took turns flying to visit one another at least once a month. We dated long distance for a year and a half, and talked about getting married someday. When his mother proposed, I accepted. On March 9, 2004 my girls and I met him in Memphis for my birthday, and he presented me with a ring and an official proposal. We were married the next day in North Little Rock.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

For Discussion

Everyday Mommy has called into question the veracity of statements made in a commercial for the United Methodist Church. She writes:
In the commercial two statements were made:

"None of us is qualified to judge others."

"When you truly embrace diversity you embrace God."

Are these statements Biblically accurate?

I have not seen the commercial, so my assessment of the accuracy of these statements is made by taking each one at face value and weighing it against what the Bible tells us. All scripture references here are links to the NIV at

On judging others:

In the book of John, we are told that all judgement has been entrusted to the Son by the Father and that He reserves judgement until the last day. He did not come to judge the world, but to save it. Who is more righteous than Christ? Who then is qualified to judge anyone?
John 5:21-23, John 8:14-16, John 12:47-50

In Romans, we are told that we condemn ourselves when we pass judgement on someone else. There is no one righteous. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all will stand before God's judgement seat. So far, it seems to me that none of us is qualified to judge.
Romans 2:1-3, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 14:9-11

In 1 Corinthians, we are told to judge nothing before the appointed time. When the Lord comes He will expose the motives of men's hearts.
1 Corinthians 4:1-5

James tells us there is only one Lawgiver and Judge. How arrogant of us to think we have any right to judge our neighbor! James 4:11-12

But wait. What about 1 Corinthians 5:9-13? Doesn't it say that we are to judge those inside the church? Is the statement above rendered inaccurate by this passage? Who are the "others" in that statement? Church members or non-members?

On embracing diversity:

I have two thoughts on this concept. On the one hand, God is God of all people regardless of their color, race, height, weight, gender, education, age, etc. We are not all alike. We should not esteem ourselves higher than any other nor think ourselves more deserving of His gift of salvation by grace through faith. It is for ALL whom the Lord will call. We are to love one another. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God. When we love one another, He lives in us and His love is perfected in us.

Leviticus 19:33-34

John 17:1-3

Acts 2:38-39, Acts 3:24-26, Acts 10:27-28, Acts 10:34-35

Romans 3:29-30, Romans 5:18-19, Romans 10:11-13

Ephesians 2:11-22

1 John 4:7-12

On the other hand, diversity could refer to the exhortation to be different - not conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is not by human wisdom that we understand what God has given us, but by the Holy Spirit. We are to be set apart from the world as aliens and strangers.

Romans 12:1-3

1 Corinthians 2:11-13

1 Peter 2:10-12

Both statements, in my opinion, can be supported by scripture. However, if you assume that the statements are intended to broaden the path that leads to righteousness and to relax the standards of holiness we are to uphold, then they cannot be Biblically accurate. This was not my assumption.

Care for another opinion? Go here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

More than you wanted to know about beta

Please, before you read any further, pray for Amy.

For those of you who have had trouble leaving comments from beta blogger to blogger or vice versa, there is a solution.

At the bottom of the comment box, if the blog allows anyone to comment, you'll see "Choose an identity" - this gives you three options:

a) Google/Blogger, which is supposed to allow you to use either account. So far, it hasn't worked properly. Hopefully they'll get that fixed soon.

b) Other, which allows you to use your name and your webpage/blog url. (This is the one I use.) It's the same as leaving comments on Typepad or Wordpress blogs, except your email address is not required. I like this option, because when you mouse over someone's name, you can see their URL rather than their blog profile number.

c) Anonymous, which is, of course, anonymous. If you use this option, you'll need to remember to put your identifying information in the comment box (name, URL) with your comment, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Hope that helps! Comment away!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Of Tea and Toilet Tissue and Beta Blogger Issues

This whole Beta Blogger business is just a wee bit flusterating. I can leave comments only on blogs that allow anonymous comments. For those of you who don't, just know that I am catching up on my reading, and if your email link is provided in your profile, I will let you know that I've visited.

Alrighty then. I've been tagged by Cheryl who's wondering just how much we southern women have in common. In the interest of satisfying her curiosity and keeping my readers informed, I will now reveal my deepest, darkest secrets. . . nah, maybe I'll just answer the following questions:

1. If you make sweet tea, or your favorite style, do you use Luzianne, Lipton or _______ (whatever your brand is)? I like a day that's not cloudy and a tea that's not cloudy. If it's good enough for Burl Ives, it's good enough for me. Luzianne, sweetened with a half cup of sugar per 2-quart pitcher.

2. What brand of toilet paper do you buy, and is it the larger rolls or regular? (What is it about toilet paper?) White Cloud 9 BIG rolls or Angel Soft 12 Mega rolls

3. Which brand of bath soap do you use? Is it body wash or bar style? Safeguard beige bars, Tone body wash, and Softsoap antibacterial liquid soap

4. Which cereal do you buy for yourself? Golden Grahams and MultiGrain Cheerios

5. What brand of dishwasher detergent do you use and is it liquid or tablets? Cascade liquid

6. What is your favorite fruit to eat? strawberries, melons, grapes, oranges, bananas

7. Which brand of clothes detergent do you use? Arm & Hammer Tropical Burst liquid

8. Do you like chocolate? Only on days ending in y. Hershey's mini Special Dark is my fave.

9. Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right, but I can use my left if necessary.

10. Do you still write checks or use a debit card? Debit card mostly, but I write checks (with my right hand) for tithing, mortgage payments, water bill, and car insurance.

If you haven't been tagged for this one, then you haven't been reading BooMama. Let me know if you have, and I'll stop by and visit.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Some Good News and Some Bad News

I'm ba-ack! Thank you all for your prayers concerning our trip. And you were right - God did surprise us. Even before I saw any of your comments, I knew that we were covered in prayer. We arrived Saturday morning to find out that we were all invited to a birthday celebration for my aunt and my granddaddy that evening. We got to visit with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my cousin and his wife and kids while enjoying a seafood buffet at a restaurant on the banks of the White River in Des Arc, Arkansas. It was good to catch up with them. My aunt reads my blog, y'all!

My dad and brother-in-law stayed home to watch the Razorbacks lose to USC. We got back in time for the 4th quarter, so we all gathered in the living room to watch. I'm not a big football fan, but I gotta root for the home team. How 'bout them Hogs?

Sunday we went to the Little Rock Zoo for a behind-the-scenes tour with a keeper of the large animals. The kids got to feed and pet the giraffes, rhinos, and elephants. I can't wait to get the pictures developed.

All in all, it was an enjoyable trip, and much less painful than I expected. That's the good news.

The bad news is this message I received from blogger beta when trying to post a comment on my blogger friend's blog:
"Unfortunately, you cannot post a comment on a non-beta blog or claim a mobile blog using your Google Account. These features are coming soon." Bummer beta.

Hope your holiday is grand!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Long Weekend

I used to love 3-day weekends, but these days all my long weekends are spent on the road traveling to visit my daughters. Now I do love to travel, and I am longing to go somewhere peaceful - camping in the mountains or relaxing on the beach - anywhere but Arkansas. It's not that I don't like Arkansas, it's just that we go to the same place every time. Yes, most of my family is there, and I enjoy visiting with them; however, I don't get to visit with them when we go because I'm always playing catch-up with my kids. I have so little time with them as it is, and there isn't much parenting that can be done in a weekend.

Lindsey and I were again discussing our living arrangements a few days ago. She insisted that I should move back there because the only reason I'm here is my husband. Otherwise I would have moved long ago. She remembers hearing me and her dad talking lots of times about moving. What she doesn't remember is that I wanted to move closer to the bars he frequented so he could crawl home rather than getting another DWI. Can't very well tell her that, now, can I? He did talk about moving to Florida after he retires, but that's still a few years away.

Once again, I explained to her how I came to be here, how God has given me confirmation in so many ways that I am finally on the right path, and that NO ONE is going to dissuade me from following His lead EVER AGAIN. I have been down that dark, lonely road, and let me tell you, it ain't pretty. Her response? "Mom, that's crap." (Um, yeah, that smell? That's smoke. I do believe somebody's playing with fire.)

Seriously, I hope she's just trying to make me angry and/or hurt my feelings. I pray that she hasn't forgotten to Whom she belongs. A couple of days later, she called to ask if she could have her SIM card for her cell phone back. Right. I just paid off the $400 bill she racked up. It ain't happening.

So we'll be on our way in a few hours, and although I do want to see my girls and spend time with them, I'm not really excited about the trip. We'll be staying with my parents in their huge house on the lake, just like we always do. My dad will sit in the living room in front of the television, channel surfing, and my mom will be reading the newspaper aloud to him from the adjoining dining room. This annoys him. I'm pretty sure she knows it, but she does it anyway.

We'll join my dad in the living room, and as soon as we get interested in whatever show he selects from the plethora of satellite channels available, he'll start clicking again. Then we'll watch the polka channel. Woo Hoo! Or a Hee Haw marathon. Or both, you know, clicking back and forth between them during commercials. Oh there is never a shortage of entertainment with my folks. It's almost comical, and probably would be if it were someone else's family, like the Barones of Everybody Loves Raymond.

They do have internet access, but I won't be blogging. I may get a chance to visit some of you, without leaving comments, of course. I'll catch up with all of you when I get back.

Y'all have a safe and enjoyable weekend! You will be in my prayers.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mo' Betta Beta

I've been asked about making the switch from Blogger to Blogger beta, so in the interest of keeping my faithful readers (Diane and Barb) informed, here are a few of the differences I've noticed so far about Blogger beta:

Email notifications now indicate on which post you received a comment and include a link to that person's blog as well as a link to your own post.

Switching is easy, but it takes several minutes. Be prepared to wait. I haven't noticed anything gone missing, so we'll assume that means you don't lose anything in the process. Other than several minutes of blogging time.

I don't know if this was just a glitch from yesterday, but when I tried to post comments, I couldn't use my blogger ID. I had to click "other", and type in my URL.

The edit posts page shows how many comments each post has received.

There is a customize design option that allows you to drag and drop items in your template if you are HTML or CSS challenged. I haven't tried this yet. I redesigned mine the old fashioned way. : )

Are you using the new Beta Blogger? If so, how do you like it? Let us know!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When the Meme hits your eye like a big Pizza Pie...

I was tagged by Kelli, who was tagged by Barb for this meme adapted by Code Yellow Mom from a game she saw on a pizza box.

What was your favorite thing about being a kid?
Weekend visits to my grandparents' farm. We'd get so dirty playing outside until dark, climbing trees and pelting each other with china berries. My cousin started it.

What was your favorite subject in school?
In elementary school, I loved reading and language arts. In jr. high I loved math and choral music. In high school, I loved psychology, French, and choral music. Oh, and chemistry.

Who was your best friend when you were 10?
I don't remember having a best friend until 5th grade. Aaron who lived down the street came over to play quite often.

If you could be any animal what would you be?
I'd want to be an eagle. My most favorite Bible verse ever is Isaiah 40:31.

What would you change about your school, occupation, life right now?
If I had finished college, I'd be a Speech Pathologist, likely would not have met my first husband, would have different kids, and may not have become completely dependent on the Lord to get me through each and every day. While I do wish my kids were living with me right now, God's timing and plans are far better than my own. They are in His hands, and He knows what He's doing. Proverbs 16:9 - In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

What's your favorite color?
I have several. Deep reds like maroon, muted greens like sage, and light purples like lavendar

What's your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza?
My favorite pizza ever is Mazzio's hand-tossed California alfredo. It's topped with chicken, bacon, and tomatoes. Second choice is Stevi B's original crust spinach alfredo. Third choice is pepperoni and mushrooms. Extra cheese.

Now whom shall I tag? The hardest part of a meme for me is choosing taggees. It appears that Diane, Tammy, and Mommy Dearest have yet to do this one. Ladies, consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

What's in a Name?

Well, Barb's at it again. She does this thing that inspires me to post when I would otherwise have been uninspired. I just love her. Can't you tell? Hers is the first name in my word cloud. You were probably thinking that's just because it's alphabetical, and while that's true, it's also true that we're like twins separated at birth by a few years and biological parents. Seriously! Yeah, I'm the evil one. How'd you know?

Anyway, I love this idea of hers because I've wondered the same thing myself. Not about my own blog, silly. About yours...unless it's, like, your own name or something, of course. If you're like me, choosing the name of your blog was more challenging than you expected.

I had chosen a couple of names that were already taken, so I had to come up with something else. I actually agonized over it, because I wanted it to be just right. It had to convey the peace of resting on God's promises. I wanted it to be welcoming and comfortable, like a front porch. I ran a few ideas past my husband, and when I said "Rocking Chairs and Rainbows?" he said "I like it." So that settled it.

I hope that you get a "come sit a spell" feeling when you visit, that you'll feel comfortable sharing your joys and sorrows with me, and that when you go, it's with the calm assurance that God always keeps his promises.

I'd love to know what inspired the name of your blog. If you would, do a post on your blog, then visit Barb (the good twin) and be sure to leave your link there. I'll come visit. I promise!

My Makeover

Yes, I've done it again. I went and changed my template. I get bored too easily, which is really a shame because I'm one of the most boring people I know. Makes you wonder how I stand myself, don't it?

The porch in the photo isn't mine, but I do wish it were. I found the photo online at a free site a while back, and I've forgotten the name of the site. I will be researching that today so I can give proper credit to the photographer.

I'm not finished tinkering with it yet. I want to change the thin gray border to a sage green if I can figure out how. I had a hard time choosing between shades for the background. I don't even know what color you'd call this, but I'm calling it lavendar.

It really wasn't all that difficult, though I couldn't have done it without Boomama's instructions. I went to my test blog template and changed it to "Mr. Moto." Then I copied all my links and sidebar goodies from my main template and pasted them into my test template. Then I added the photo to the header and changed the background color. Once I got everything looking the way I wanted, with a couple of exceptions, I went to my main template and switched it to the same one I chose for my test blog. You can do that without losing any posts or comments, if you're wondering. The only thing you'll lose is stuff you've added to the sidebar, which is why you save them in your testblog. After I switched my main template, I went back to the test template and copied all the links and sidebar goodies and the other changes I'd made and pasted them into my main template.

And voila! That's French for "there it is" or "look there" - or as we say in the south, "looky there!" (It's pronounced vwah lah, which is why most people spell it wahlah, just in case you were wondering.)

So now for the really important question: Does this blog make my butt look big?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Photo Hunt - Blue


San Francisco, March 2006

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme List. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

My Word Cloud

I saw this at Robin's and at Barb's and I thought it was pretty cool. If you'd like to see yours, go here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Kids Meme

My good friend Barb has tagged me yet again. She knows I can't resist any opportunity to talk about my kids. Fortunately for you, I only get to share 3 things about each of them. This is the best photo we have of all of them together, taken several years ago, and it's one of my favorites.

1) She's 16 going on 21. She's fashion-conscious and loves to shop. I miss having her as my wardrobe consultant.

2) She was the best baby ever. Never fussed, slept all night every night from the minute she was born, and would entertain herself for hours with the toys in her crib.

3) She's smart, talented, funny, and she loves babies. She hopes to be a pediatrician someday.

1) She's 14 and very athletic. She cares more about comfort than fashion. She's fun to shop with because she's easy to please.

2) She walked early, and was always so bouncy and bubbly. She loved to sing, and her giggle was contagious.

3) She's smart, talented, funny, and loves animals. She plans to be a veterinarian.

1) Emily is 13 and very self-conscious. She doesn't like to be noticed.

2) She's extremely intelligent and very talented. She has an amazing singing voice.

3) She's got a great sense of humor and loves to pick on her little brother.

1) Andrew is 11 and is all boy. He's cute and sweet, though not terribly affectionate.

2) He likes to imagine blowing things up. He loves computer games and sci-fi movies.

3) He's extremely intelligent and very funny. He enjoys tormenting his big sister.

They're an eclectic bunch, not well-blended, but we're working on that.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Book 'Em, Danno!

I've been tagged so much lately that I'm starting to feel like Minnie Pearl. Lauren tagged me for this one a while back, and I'm just now getting to it. Sorry, Lauren! I think it's been around a few times, and I don't know who else to tag, so I'm just going to put this one out there.

1. One book that changed your life: Besides the Bible? Returning to Holiness by Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Little House in the Big Woods. We have the Little House series, and my girls loved having me read to them.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Besides the Bible? The Rescuers, of course.

4. One book that made you laugh: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.

5. One book that made you cry: What Was Good About Today by Carol Kruckeberg.

6. One book that you wish had been written: Bloggercise! Get Fit While You Sit.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.

8. One book you are currently reading: Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore and Friends.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Pawley's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank.

Consider yourself tagged if you haven't already done this one, and/or let me know if you have so I can come visit.

Be blessed!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

To Meme or Not To Meme (A Novel Idea)

Barb and Laurel Wreath both tagged me for this fun meme. I knew I shoulda done it already, then I could have tagged Barb before she got me. Ah, well, here goes:

If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be?
(Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)

Mine would be the story of a young maiden who isn't aware of her beauty. She longs to be adored, but she has been deceived into believing that she's much too plain and too scholarly to catch the eye or the heart of a man.

She loses all hope of ever finding true love, when one day she meets an evil beast disguised as a handsome, charming prince. He convinces her that he is the only one who is capable of loving her because only he can see how beautiful she is. He locks her in a room with a two-way mirror so that he can admire her beauty and only lets her out to cook and clean and to go bowling with him and his beast buddies. She realizes his deception when he flips the wrong switch, allowing her to see him without his disguise. Repulsed, she begins to formulate a plan for escape. She encourages him to take up a hobby, buys him a set of golf clubs, and he disappears for days at a time....

Whatcha think? Too predictable?

The genre would be autobiographical fiction. I don't know how interesting it would be to read, but I think it would be fun to write.

According to the rules, which can be found at Violet Voices, I gotta tag 5 (or so) people. So...
I tag Kelli, Grafted Branch, Lori, Dawn, Tammy, and Cheryl.
Hope you ladies have as much fun with it as I did!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Where Have You Been?

I was born and raised in Arkansas, and I moved to Georgia a little over two years ago. When I was a kid, our vacations were road trips. Twice, we drove west to Merced, California to visit relatives, and once, we drove north into Canada. When I was in high school, I went on a youth mission trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana. I've flown to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and vacationed several times in Pensacola, Florida. My first trip to the east coast was a weekend jaunt to St. Simon's Island a couple of years ago with my husband and our kids. On our second anniversary, we flew to San Francisco for a weekend honeymoon.

I hope one day to be able to say "I've been everywhere, man." Obviously, I've got a lot of ground to cover. How about you?
Where have you been?

If you'd like to play along or see where others have been, go here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

100 Random Things About Me

Trying to think of a hundred interesting things about me was harder than I expected. I'm sure there are tons of things no one really wants to know, so I'll just keep those to myself. I have tried not to repeat the things I've already mentioned in previous memes. To those of you who were looking forward to this, I hope you're not too disappointed. Well, let's get on with it, shall we?

1. I am abundantly blessed. Haven't counted lately, though. Have you?

2. I adore my husband. I think he's cool. I also think he's hot.

3. I love to harmonize. I'm an alto. I was a soloist in my previous church.

4. I was in choir at church and school in 7th through 12th grade. I sang 2nd soprano.

5. I'm an aunt to 24 nieces and nephews.

6. I'm the 2nd of 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy.

7. I was a middle child for 7 years.

8. I was my mom's biggest baby at 7lbs 9oz. I'm the smallest now.

9. I was bald until I was 2 years old. My hair came in curly. The curl relaxed considerably after the birth of my children.

10. I was born again when I was 14 years old.

11. I was raised Southern Baptist.

12. I do not consider myself Southern Baptist, although I'm not sure exactly which label fits.

13. I don't know why I feel a need to have a label.

14. I am not allergic to exercise. I used to be in excellent shape.

15. I'm built like an athlete. If athletes were, you know, short and dumpy.

16. I'm not very athletic.

17. I can swim, but I cannot dive. Nor can I water ski.

18. I have never tried snow skiing.

19. I was on the Bozo show in 1st grade. Clowns do not scare me.

20. I have never had a broken bone.

21. I have been to California 3 times in my life. Once when I was 7, once at 11, and again in March of this year.

22. Chocolate cheesecake is my absolute favorite dessert.

23. I am dependable.

24. I am a dork.

25. I can't dance, but I do anyway.

26. I prefer daisies to roses.

27. My favorite food is cheese enchiladas.

28. I am very easy-going. It takes a lot to get me riled.

29. I am empathetic. Other people's pain bothers me more than my own.

30. I have few close friends. I'm not good at keeping in touch.

31. I have green eyes.

32. Green is one of my favorite colors.

33. I'm not a girlie girl.

34. I do not like hard candy, except peppermints.

35. I don't like hospitals.

36. My kids don't understand my sense of humor.

37. I hate to take medicine.

38. I had my first alcoholic beverage on my 21st birthday. One is my limit. I do not drink beer.

39. I tried smoking when I was 11. I started smoking at 21.

40. I tried my first joint with my first husband.

41. He also introduced me to cocaine.

42. Until then, I had never ever put any foreign objects into my nose.

43. I have never kept a journal.

44. I can keep a secret, but I don't keep anything from my husband.

45. I did not go to kindergarten. It wasn't required back then.

46. I love to laugh.

47. I look a lot like my mom.

48. I'm late everywhere I go.

49. I do not believe in luck.

50. I can read music.

51. I took mandolin lessons in 5th grade.

52. I still have that mandolin, which is warped from years of storage.

53. My husband bought me a new mandolin, but I can't play it either. He can.

54. I have never had braces.

55. I have never had lice.

56. I have never had my nails done professionally.

57. I took piano lessons in 5th grade. I can only play with my right hand. I can pick out a melody by ear.

58. I'm quirky.

59. I am quiet.

60. I was painfully shy as a child. I'm still not terribly outgoing.

61. Red is another of my favorite colors.

62. I do not understand road rage.

63. I am very soft-spoken. I usually have to repeat myself. I SAID I usually have to repeat myself.

64. I taught myself to sew, and I have made quite a few dresses for myself and my girls.

65. I taught myself to quilt.

66. I rarely watch television. I'm the only one in the family who can walk into a room without turning on the TV.

67. When I was little, my mom dressed me and my younger sister alike. Everyone thought we were twins.

68. I prefer homemade tacos to restaurant tacos.

69. I have varicose veins.

70. I do not have stretch marks.

71. In second grade, Kitty and I painted each other's pants with watercolors. Mine were hot pink double-knit polyester high-waters. I was some kinda cool.

72. I stayed in at recess because Keith and Delbert liked me and would chase me. I didn't like boys. Mrs. Johnson was my teacher.

73. I aced all my tests in school until my senior year.

74. I was popular with the jocks because I'd let them see my answers.

75. Mr. Loibner, my 8th grade science teacher, always wrote my test score on the chalkboard. (Highest in class.)

76. I got bonus points on one of his tests because I spelled out "deoxyribonucleic acid" when everyone else just wrote "DNA". I was NOT trying to show off.

77. I got a C in Calculus.

78. I got my first F in 11th grade English when I didn't turn in my research paper.

79. I hated math until 7th grade.

80. I was in the National Junior Honor Society in 8th and 9th grades.

81. I was in the National Honor Society in 10th and 11th grades.

82. I did not graduate with honors, but I did score high enough on the ACT to merit a scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas.

83. I was going to be a Speech Pathologist, but I didn't finish college.

84. I lost my scholarship with a 3.75 grade average because I didn't have enough hours.

85. I have never taken the SAT.

86. My first husband was the first person who ever said I was beautiful.

87. That's one of the reasons I married him.

88. My sisters and I were in a family "band" when we were younger. We played (poorly) for my dad's Optimist Club meetings.

89. I'm a grandma. My ex's 28-year-old daughter has a little boy. He's 18 months old.

90. I worked at the Little Rock Post Office for 7 years.

91. I know almost every ZIP code, or at least the first 3 digits, for the state of Arkansas.

92. I was in a puppet ministry in junior high.

93. I love to be wined and dined. Burgered and fried is OK, too.

94. I have had only one speeding ticket in my life.

95. I was the financial secretary of my church for 5 years and served as church clerk for 6.

96. I taught a junior high girls Sunday school class for 3 years.

97. I taught 5th grade Sunday school for one year.

98. I fell in love for the first time in my life when my first child was born.

99. The job I have now is the first job I've ever had where I have not been subjected to sexual harrassment.

100. When I was a kid, I paired my crayons by "gender". Dark colors were male and light colors were female.

Yes, I know, it couldn't have been more random, but there it is.