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.