Sunday, June 29, 2008

What I'm Learning...

God has been teaching me so, so much lately. And my friends...it hurts!Wherever I go, by any means possible, it seems that He is showing me the same thing over and over.

This is not unusual. There have been countless times that He's done this..."beating" the message into my heart until it finally sinks in, and I stop fighting against it, and start learning from it. Most of the time...it's something that I don't want to hear. And like a child, I stick my fingers (MP3) in my ears and sing loudly, in hopes of drowning Him out...which, by the way, does not work. God is not loud. He doesn't keep shouting louder and louder...He whispers...softly and gently, and it pierces my heart to the core...and He does it because He loves me...He does it because that's who He is. Astounding, isn't it?

My problem He's revealed: Self. I heard a message recently on the 10 commandments. It broke them down into what they meant or stood for. The first commandment God gave was that we not hold anyone above Him(have no other gods.) And it struck me. I don't worship any other gods...or do I. Who is first in my life all the time? The answer I heard was not pretty...the answer was me.

The more I thought about this, the uglier it got. I began to realize that there is not one decision I make, no matter how big or small, that does not FIRST go through my automatic filter of how does this effect me, make me feel. Granted, I do things all the time that may be self-sacrificing, but I guarantee you that it first went through that ME filter and then I decided if it was worth it or not. Gross...and totally backwards.

You know what that filter should be FIRST?!? It should be "Does this glorify God?" I want that to be first. He put it in that order for a reason. He knew that in our humanness, the struggle for control over our lives would be the hardest to let go of. It is a battle that I will most likely fight on a daily basis...maybe minute by minute. It's idiotic if you think about it. Why on earth would I think I know more or have more control than God, who happens to be all-knowing, all powerful and in all places?!? Seriously, that makes me a special kind of stupid. Again.

I want to trust Him enough to make my first thoughts "Does this glorify God" and not "How does this affect me/make me feel." Obviously, I am not capable of this on my own (as we've seen.) It is the cry of my heart, today, for His help on this.

God does not exist for me. He does not need me. But I was created for Him, and without a doubt I need Him desperately. It's time I start living it...in that order.

There's more He's teaching me...but one thing at a time :)

What's He showing you? Do you hear Him? Are you listening or hiding? What's the cry of your heart?

Name Change

Just thought you should know that these flowers have a new name. I know, I know, you think you already know the name for them...but its changed my friends.
It. has. changed.

They are no longer some sort of Lillies, they are now called "Church Flowers" Can you guess why?!? Yep. We have them around our church, so our boys have re-named them. Wanted ya'll to know so the next time you went to the greenhouse, you could use the correct terminology and not feel all "outta the loop."

Your Welcome, my friends...no need to thank me...I know you'd do the same for me ;)

Side note: The above church flowers are not the ones from our church...they are from when we went on vacation. They live at Baker's Square...where we ate breakfast before heading home. The flowers were not the only beautiful sight at Baker's Square.
Check this out:
*sigh* I did resist the urge to cry, because I would have LOVED to have taken advantage of that sweet offer and eaten French Silk Pie until I was sick...had I only seen this sign before! Divine intervention, my friends...divine intervention.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ONE Word?!?

Mocha with Linda (I love her, by the way) tagged me for this one-word MeMe...ONE WORD!! I do not have the writing skills & vocabulary required to be witty in ONE WORD, so this will likely be boring, but hey, it's Saturday...and I say "A" for effort. :)

So here's the rules: All of the answers must be just one word.


1. Where is your cell phone? Desk


2. Your significant other? Cute


3. Your hair? Wild


4. Your mother? Thoughtful


5. Your father? Lost


6. Your favorite thing? People


7. Your dream last night? Gone



8. Your favorite drink? Pop


9. Your dream/goal? Heaven


10. The room you’re in? Office


11. Your church? Family


12. Your fear? Pain


13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Tiny-town


14. Where were you last night? Parsonage


15. What you’re not? Hopeless


16. Muffins? Doughnuts


17. One of your wish list items? Energy


18. Where you grew up? Iowa


19. The last thing you did? Coffee


20. What are you wearing? Bigger


21. Your TV? Sanity


22. Your pets? Sleeping


23. Your computer? Dell


24. Your life? Joy


25. Your mood? Good



26. Missing someone? Darcy


27. Your car? Dirty


28. Something you’re not wearing? stirrup pants


29. Favorite store? Target



30. Your summer? Unusual


31. Like(love) someone? Lots


32. Your favorite color? Red


33. Last time you laughed? Yesterday


34. Last time you cried? Yesterday


35. Who will re post this? Beth

This was SUPER hard...ONE word! If I can do this...I can do anything *wink wink*

I like to tag all of you...I'm a cheater like that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Last Day...

Started the trip wearing these:


Then, after four days of eating out EVERY meal, my jeans feel more like tight leggings ( I kid you not.) I'm ending the trip wearing this mu mu like dress.
Good Grief.


Here's some more pictures...

It's our 10 year anniversary today. Praise God that 10 years and 3 boys has not changed our dorkiness! Love him.

Ben and I and our adorable niece Maddy (lives in same city as conference.) She gets to come stay with us for several days in July while her parents take their church's teenagers to camp...we'll get to "play house" with a girl!



Another one, because seriously, how cute is she?!?

Me and my sister Lindsey (Maddy's mommy) she's 4 1/2 years younger than me (she's 26, I'll save ya the math :)

We so enjoyed our vacation, and are definitely ready to head home and see the boys and charge on with everyday life!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pretend I Have a Highlighter...

*Serious stuff first: Please pray for a little girl named Sierra, from tiny-town. She is a sweet girl that attends our Bible Club every Wednesday night. Her home had been destroyed in the flood so her family was staying with friends. There was a very bad car accident and an 11 year old (friend of family) was killed and Sierra is in very serious condition with a broken back. This is all the info I know right now. Please keep this beautiful little girl and her entire family and friends lifted up in prayer*


It is true and no big surprise that I have managed to read blogs and do posts while on vacation. I assure you that I have indeed been doing other things than sitting at the laptop (which by the way I HATE typing on! I will kiss my big ol' computer upon returning home) ...what was I saying?!? oh yeah, I really am very quick at doing posts...therefore explaining the lack of depth and proper English techniques *insert cheeky smile*


Highlights of yesterday:

  • The morning speaker at the conference: WONDERFUL...spoke on Psalms 22, which is an Old Testament picture of Jesus' crucifixion (before crucifixion even existed), which I had never noticed before (now ya'll know how scholarly I am :) Of course, I cried through most of it...with no Kleenex. I'll get into all the great stuff I learned in later posts, when I have time to put more thought into it!

  • Then, they had all the military chaplains come forward (bawled) and one young man in particular was going to be heading to Iraq as soon as the conference was over, so they had his wife come on stage and we all prayed for them. That's when the "snot all over" crying began...with no Kleenex...it was a lovely, lovely sight.

  • forgot to mention that the man we sat next to the first night told me he had a daughter named Sarah and that I looked like I was about her age...after consulting with his wife to find out his own daughters age, he said "she's 24" and I refrained from hugging him...but he is indeed my new BFF...except I don't know his name...

  • Eating out every meal is the best thing ever!!! Since leaving yesterday I have had spinach & artichoke pizza and home-made potato chips, Chicken ranch sandwich, home-made waffles, another buffalo chicken sandwich with waffle fries and onion rings, 1 large iced coffee, 1 McFlurry, and 1 Mint choc chip Frappaccino and a steak burrito...most of that I split with my hubby, but still....

  • Went to a workshop on connecting our church to the community and it was so, so good! The guy doing the presentation was so genuinely passionate that it was contagious. I loved tiny-town before this conference...and now God is expanding on it in ways I could not have foreseen! The timing of this conference and vacation is so clearly precise...knocks my socks off!

  • Went back to the mall (again), and sat in Barnes and Noble and skimmed through "Blogging for Dummies" and mostly learned that I am indeed a "dummy"

  • We ate at Champ's for lunch, and I had another episode of Blog Mouth. Our waitress had beautiful hair like my friend here. Usually, I would just comment to Ben about how fab is was and NEVER actually say anything to her!!! But of course, part way through the meal, when she brought us more fried food, I said to her..."I just have to tell you that your hair is beautiful! My friend in high school had the SAME hair and I loved it!" And seriously, the look on her face was priceless!!! She came back to the table 5 more times just beaming, and of course, talking about how she used to hate it because it was different and now she's accepted it...(whole 'nother lesson for me there) I left there knowing I had totally made her day, and it felt so, so good! Look out strangers...here I come!

  • Ben and I are having so much fun (alone) together! If I saw us on the street I'd probably think it was nauseating, HA!...so glad I don't have to see us :)

  • I am missing the boys...but in the "just want to see them for a 1/2 hour, hug and kiss" and then leave again kind of way. I've called (and called) and they are having a blast with grandma and grandpa. (also called my mom and she assures me Odie is also fine, except that he is apparently fasting in protest to our absence...which, if you've seen my over-weight wiener dog, you'd agree with me that it's probably OK :)
  • I am very, VERY bad at sitting still at the conference. Last night I had to sit for close to 3 hours and it was not pretty...the fidgeting...I kept looking around at all the people sitting so still and I thought to myself...really, maybe I do have a little ADD!! Ben informed me he thinks it may be "selective ADD"...I won't argue :)
  • Tomorrow, some pictures, I promise.

Happy Thursday Friends!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh Yes I Did...

Last week I read this post at 2nd Cup of Coffee...you should read it (if you haven't) you'll laugh your rear-end off! Plus, if you don't read it first, this post will just not be as clever. Except, please keep in minds that Linda is an actual writer, so after you read her post, please once again lower your reading standards before returning to my blog...many thanks.


OK, so I read that post and commented how I've never worn white pants...and then it got me thinking. Why?!? What's holding me back?!? Time to shake it up a little :)



So, yesterday, for our little shopping trip, I wore these:

And, I kept them clean!! And, they might be my new favorites. Thank you Linda, for inspiring me..and when I get home from vacation I will start the "white pants diet." :) Do you all wear white pants/jeans?!? Go do it...take a walk on the wild side.

  • Important, important information: White Jeans: Target...Converse brand...Streeetchy :)

  • Steve & Barry's...Ben got a pair of shorts, and I left with a red hoodie, but that was it...bummer.

  • Ben got lots of good deals at my FAVORITE store. I left with nothing. Why is it that everything I like is NOT on sale?!?

  • Conference: We just had the opening session last night...I'll wait to fill you in until I can write a full sermon about it ;) Just kidding...ya'll know it will be in bullet points.

More tomorrow...

So Good to Me...

Just a couple quick thoughts before we leave for this. I woke up this morning with a few (lots) of things to pack yet. In the back of my head I heard that little whisper...the nudging to sit down with my Bible...first. I opened to Matthew and read these two short verses...



Matthew 7:33&34 " But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


Here's what I heard as I read it: Seek Him and who He is first, and THEN I will feel that assurance that He will take care of the rest. Take one day at a time...with Him, seeking Him. He has only given me enough of His grace and mercy to handle today. I do not yet have His strength to deal with anything beyond that...when I start to head beyond, I'm doing it on my own, AND that's why it seems so overwhelming. *sigh*


It's amazing how sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing something, until I come across a verse that speaks truth to me and shows me where I'm really at.


OK...got to finish packing...and then first stop on little trip will be here :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

One More Thing...

I forgot to formally announce to ya'll that I am now on twitter. Whatever that means...because I really don't have a clue to the purpose of it, except that is sorta reminds me of the Status thingy on Facebook (which I happen to enjoy).

So, if you're on twitter, ummm let me know so I can be your twitter friend (or something like that) Really, I should learn more about stuff before I tell ya'll I'm on it :)

Lastly, I can't even say Twitter without thinking of the scene in Bambie, where Thumper tells him that all the animals that are in love are "twitterpated" ...SEE what I have to put up with in my head?!? No wonder I'm so tired!! *smiles*

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh...It's Real...

I think I am experiencing some sort of phenomenon that I am going to diagnose as "Blog mouth." What!?! You haven't heard of this?!? Hmmm....may be because I made it up...and I may be the only person that has it...but if you are experiencing three or more of the following symptoms, you should refrain from calling your doctor and instead write a blog post about it...because really, it's all about coming up with a post.


Symptoms:

  • find yourself saying to other people (kind) things that you used to just think to yourself, but now after experiencing "comment crack" you know how important it is to just say the nice words...thinking a little affirmation will make the other person feel good...or make them think you are a crazy stranger.

  • Feel like everyone out there is a possible friend, therefore strike up conversations with random people in random places.

  • Begin telling someone a story, and part way through, they say "Oh, I know...I already read it on your blog." Thus making you feel the need to start every conversation with, "Do you read my blog?"

  • Talk about blog friends so much, that even your husband knows the names of your "imaginary" blog friends.

  • Actually say "imaginary friends and comment crack"


Oh...I'm in deep with this bloggy stuff...deep deep deep. I'm off to google support groups for "blog mouth"...



Happy Monday Friends!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Little Secret...

I'm not quite sure why I even put a post out on Saturdays...because technically I think I may be one of the only people that reads blogs on a Saturday. It's also interesting that on some Saturday's when I don't do a post, I get just as many readers...hmmm.

So, for you lovely ladies who also read blogs on Saturday, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...oh alright, it's not really a secret but I'm just so stinkin excited about it that I can't wait till Monday to tell you!

Next week, Tuesday-Friday, I get to go on a little vacation, with my husband, and NO KIDS!!!! WOO HOO!! Oh, I love those little rascals, but this will be the first time that Ben and I have gotten away together (alone) for more than a night or two. It also happens that our 10 year anniversary is on Friday :) The boys get to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's on the farm, so they may not even know we're gone.

It's our church associations national conference, so our little church is sending us away for 4 days, 3 nights!! And it happens to be in my favorite city in our state, home to my favorite mall in our state, and we're staying in a super cute hotel. Oh...it gets better...it's an executive suite, which means desk and high speed access right from our room, so you, my dear bloggy friends,get to come along and see tiny-town Sarah in the big city. We are going to have some fun.

Being spiritually fed & refreshed, time alone with my guy and shopping...ahhhh...perfect.

After the past few weeks of tornadoes and floods, I'm so looking forward to taking a break, and renewing my my mind, so that we can come back to tiny-town and continue on in what God is doing!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Too Much Information...

Another update: I have a new water heater and HOT water!! I no longer am crusty...phew! Wednesday evening I could be heard exclaiming to everyone "I've got gas!!!" ...no not that kind...but the kind that lights my stove!!! Seriously, never been so excited about gas...except maybe that one time when I was in college and I got "the gift of gas" for Christmas...for my 1982 Cutlass Supreme :)Gas...endless comic opportunities. It is now blatantly obvious that I am surrounded by too many males in this family...and the testosterone has not even kicked in full force...Lord, help me!



OK, I've been tagged, by Blessedwith5, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to make you read more super, super interesting info about myself *cough*






Favorite person: I'm gonna say my husband Ben...who else could so lovingly put up with me?!?

Favorite food: French fries, Steak Burrito from Pancheros, more french fries.

Quirks about me: I like driving my mini-van...if that's not quirky, what is?

How would the person who loves you the most describe you in ten words or less? So I called Ben and asked him and he did this...*umm* *laughed* *said I love you* and then claimed he had to go...interesting...in-ter-est-ing. update: Ben called back a couple minutes later with his list, ahem...kind, compassionate, spunky, generous, intuitive, discerning, intelligent, loyal, hot, supermom. (obviously after 10 years of marriage he's learned to choose his words carefully;)

Any regrets in life? plenty...but forgiven...phew!

What can you NOT live without: My Jesus, family, friends, cute shoes & caffeine.

Favorite blog: Any on my blogroll, they each are unique.

Something you can't get enough of: French fries and coffee (but not together)

Worst job you ever had: Apartment caretaker: cleaning apt's after they moved out. Yuck.

What job would you pay not to have? Nursing home worker and Dentist. *shiver*

If you could be a fly on the wall anywhere, where would it be? The FEMA bus so I could know what's going on and relay information :)

Favorite Bible Verse: I don't have 1 all time fav, but Psalms 119:37 has been speaking to me, "Turn me away from wanting any other plan than yours. Revive my heart toward you."

Guilty pleasure: Starbucks, Aveda Salon to get my hair cut
Got any confessions: hmmm....I'm gonna say no.
If you had $1000 to spend on YOURSELF, what would you spend it on? *duh*
Shoes.
Favorite thing about your house: Mud room. Location. Coziness.


Least favorite thing: Gold carpet upstairs.


One thing you are bad at: Confrontation.

If you could change one thing about your current circumstances, what would it be? No debt. Tiny-town restored...ok, that's two things...I'm a rule breaker;)

Who would you like to meet someday? John the Baptist...the clothes and the boldness, he's gotta be fun! And Peter...I relate to Peter.


What makes you feel sexy? My husband.

Who is your real life hero? Anyone serving our country to keep it safe.


What is the hardest part of your job? The fact that it NEVER ends.

When are you most relaxed? When I'm running.

What stresses you out? Messiness.


Favorite quote: I can NEVER remember quotes.

Why do you blog? It's SO much fun! I love to share real life with others.



If you wanna play (i.e. need a post) consider yourself tagged.


Happy Friday Friends!!!

I Tried...

I tried. I really did. I tried to come up with something other than tiny-town to blog about...but I just can't. It's weighing so heavily on my heart today...


Ya'll know I love tiny town... I can't explain it, but I do.


After this post, I've been feeling really, really good about what God's gonna do. Even after some set backs, I've still found hope. And then, last night, someone mentioned that maybe FEMA would decide to declare tiny-town, "not a town." And at just the mention of it, my balloon of hope was popped.


And I realized that I was allowing the fear of man to overcome my hope and trust in what God is doing. Note to self: Quit forgetting that FEMA is NOT bigger than my God.


This morning my mom called and shared this article about tiny-town from the newspaper. I read it, and again, that sick feeling overwhelmed me...which brought me to my knees...to the only one who has any control over anything. I want His will. I want to trust Him, even when all the circumstances around me seem to go in another direction. I need His wisdom, comfort, and peace that passes all understanding. I want that unfailing faith, that even when absolutely everything indicates hopelessness, it's the faith that holds steady, unwavering.


I am still believing that He has mighty plans for tiny-town and for our little church...I feel it deep inside my spirit. But doubt so easily wants to creep in...it is a constant battle to replace the doubt with truth.


Today, again, I'm remembering where my help comes from...and praying for the opportunity to share with those in tiny-town who may not have that same hope...I so want them to know that they have a heavenly Father who wants to carry this huge burden for them, that they're not alone...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dumbness

I embarked on a series of dumb moves yesterday, regarding my blog. I got the wild idea to get a new free layout. Which is a fantastic idea, if you actually have the skills to accomplish it...I however, do not, and it ended up costing me hours of my life, just to get back my widgets (techi blog term) and same layout. In the process, I also deleted my cute header...but Shell saved the day (again)!



Since I had wasted so much time getting my old stuff back, I also decided to add some new stuff too...which I frankly have no idea how it works, but is doing a fantastic job of junkin' up my page ;) From now on, I'm leaving the blog layouts to the professionals. So, if you hear of any free blog layout giveaways, let me know...I'll totally register!

Oh yeah...this is what my 3 year old was cooking-up while his mommy was on the computer...
Gotta remember to hide that (tampon) box...it's not the first time he's opened them all up...you can bet I'm saving this one for just the right girl someday :)


My blog fiasco yesterday caused me to drink an (extra) excessive amount of caffeine. Last night I laid in bed (forever) trying to come up with some good post ideas...nothing. NOTHING?!? But I did start making a mental list of words that I overuse on my blog & comments...

  • totally
  • cute
  • LOVE
  • so
  • adorable
  • fantastic
  • great
  • ...
  • :)

I think that about covers it. I know it's bad when I start to annoy myself with those words. My vocabulary standard is very, very low...and I'm still annoyed. I need some new phrases...new words of encouragement to share. I've got nothing.

I need your help. Need some new words. Help me.

In real life...I overuse words too. I say Good Grief! all the time...for everything. I'm also notorious for the phrases "It'll be fine" "It'll work out" "Good enough."

The phrases I use with my kids should be a post of its own...the last few days is has been

  • turn the hose OFF!!!!
  • go to your bed until I tell you to come down.
  • stop touching each other...don't even look at each other.
  • no you can't have a snack, you just ATE.
  • Jake, you go get the diaper and leave Odie alone.

Can you tell we're adjusting to summer vacation!?! *smiles* OK, let me have it...what are you saying?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The One Thing...

First: I am still alive. Running last night did not kill me...felt like it was...but I am still here. You should know, that after only a 1/2 mile, my lungs felt like they were actually on fire in my chest. How is it that my body can forget that it can run, so quickly!?! It really did feel good to get back out there though.


Also: I'm trying a new blogroll thing-a-ma-jig(that's the techi word for it). I tried to get everyone that was on my old blogroll onto this new one, if for some reason (not purposely) you didn't get on there please let me know so I can fix it.

On to the good stuff...

I have learned so, so much the past few weeks, but it all boils down to one concept.

Drum roll please.... The only thing in my life that NEVER changes is God.

Everything and everyone else is always changing. Nothing is a guarantee...only Him. It's something I have known for some time...but now...I get it...I so get it. And I'm so thankful for the peace that brings me...indescribable. And...I just so happen to have a song about it...imagine that :) It's been ministering to me in a new way... Enjoy!





It happens to be in karaoke style...so I expect ya'll to grab a hairbrush-microphone and sing your hearts out :) I know my friend Shell will... *wink*












Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change..."

Psalm 136 (really ya gotta read the whole thing, but here's a start :)
v1 " Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever...


PS - Mama Belle told me what people say about ladies who wear red shoes *smiles* I was gonna post it, until my hubby got all pastoral and told me it may be inappropriate...so I'm gonna practice me some submission and just tell you if you email me *wink, wink*

I can assure you though, that what they say...so not true for me...I happen to like me some!

Ummm

It's most definitely a random updates kinda day.



  • We are at home with electricity and air conditioning, but there is still no gas in tiny-town, which for us means no stove/oven (let's face it I don't use the oven all that much anyways, except I do miss the frozen pizzas...) or warm water. Even when the gas is turned back on...I'm not sure our water heater is gonna wanna work after being submerged in 3 feet of water, but what do I know ;)

  • The church, however, has an electric water heater, so this morning, I went over and washed my hair in the sink...all the while adding it to Pastors' wives list...more on that tomorrow.

  • Basement: 1/2 dry, other half is 4 inches deep...not quite level down there :) We can't do all the fun bleach clean up until the water level goes down enough for it to stop seeping in through the walls...a fantastic bleach party is in the works though :)

  • Thankfully, due to the the dehumidifier and 20 gallons of febreeze, my house is not too smelly...wish I could say the same for tiny-town.

  • Tonight my friend Billie and I are going to start running again...we've taken a 3 week break due to tornado/flooding...I think I will die...if I do not post tomorrow, it is because I died on her gravel road from a heart attack.

  • I always thought my house would stay cleaner if we just weren't in it so much...that was wrong...it's a total disaster.

  • Better get cleaning...

  • Oh, one last thing...yesterday, Noah was reading a Father's day card (he's just learning to read) anyways, he got to the word "FATHER" and sounded it out FAT-HER...that amused me for hours :)

Happy Monday Bloggy Friends!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Mean It...

I could go on and on about him...but ya'll, some of that stuff is private :) so I'm gonna sum it up in one statement:


I want our boys to grow up to be just like him.


He is one of the greatest blessings God has given me.


Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Little Bit Crusty







I use the term "crusty" to describe myself when I've not showered or gotten ready for the day(s). Do ya'll use this word like that or is just me?!?






I turned 30 in December. No big deal, I was totally fine with it. Until today, that is. I walked by a picture that sits on a shelf in our living room and actually stopped to look at it.



It's a pic from the 4th of July...so I started to reminisce about that day the pic was taken...two years ago. All the while thinking to myself how YOUNG I looked...then it hit me! That pic is not from two years ago, it is from LAST 4th of July!!! What the heck happened to me this year?!?




OK, so I know what happened...but out of all the natural disasters, I'm gonna blame it on the fact that since I turned 30, I've probably washed my make-up off before bed, like 10 times. *gasp* (by the way, this is just between you and me...do NOT tell my Arbonne friend)

So bloggy friends, I'm off to wash my make-up off...wait...I didn't put any on today because it just doesn't go with the crustiness of my tiny-town right now...but I'll wash and moisturize anyways! And, if you happen to have a miracle in a bottle that is also inexpensive, I'm all ears!



Side note: My short hair this year...WAY BETTER...I'm not a long hair girl, doesn't fit my personality...at least that's my theory for now.

It's a Trend...

First things first: Black rubber boots are now the staple fashion accessory in

tiny-town...and most of the rest of my state, for that matter. This is me and my little bro totally making the boots work for us before heading out to clean up sludgy stuff. Be glad that my vocabulary is so small, because I can't come up with words to describe to you the smell...give me time, it will come :)





The last time I drove into tiny-town I had a slight melt-down in my van. You know the kind...it involves hiccup-like stuff and lots of snot. (no need to thank me for the visual) BUT, tonight as I drove back in, I heard God speak to my heart.

It was clear.

He whispered, "I know it will never be how it was...watch me make it even better! I am the creator of everything, do you think restoring tiny-town to 1000 times greater is not within my power?!?"

And then I sobbed for a new reason...I heard Him. And I believe Him. He reminded me where my help comes from...and it's not FEMA...it's the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Period.

I knew, three years ago, when we began to hear His whisper directing us to tiny-town, that He had big stuff in store. Today, I can see some of it, and I am still looking with eager anticipation for what He has next.

I wanna Praise Him in this storm because He is with us. Someone left me the words to this song in my comments, and my friend Beth reminded me of it here. Go listen... and whatever your storm happens to be, run to Him.









Friday, June 13, 2008

Catching Up...

Yesterday when we decided it was time to pack-up and move back home (even if it meant no hot water for awhile) the boys sobbed. Apparently, staying at Grandma and Grandpa's was a little too much fun :) I don't blame them. I can't compete with the endless supply of junk food grandma provided, the 4 wheeler rides, cousins, whirlpool bath-tub, and the farming.


The one thing G&G don't have...a computer or Internet. Turns out, I have a teeny tiny dependence on the Internet. (I know you're all just gasped with shock) Guess what they're getting for Christmas!?! When I finally logged on this morning, I found I have 388 posts to read...from just 4 days of no computer. But, I couldn't be happier as I sit here in my bathrobe and 4th mug of coffee...feels a little bit like "normal"...as long as I avoid the basement, news and the rest of my tiny-town :)

Enough Already...

I've been muttering Enough Already to my Jesus, all week long. But life around me reminds me that He alone decides what enough is. My understanding is small. My heart is hurting for my tiny-town and surrounding communities...so much so, that at times it feels debilitating. I find myself fighting against what is...and longing for what was. My emotions are literally all over the place. One minute I'm laughing, the next I'm sobbing, then I'm encouraged and ready accept the changes, and the next I'm grieving over what was, longing to just turn back time...I know that's part of the whole process...but it is exhausting!


I had big plans for this summer. I spent the long, freezing winter planning and dreaming of summer. The summer I dreamed of did not look like this...life changing forever was not in the plans. The thing that is bringing me the most peace right now, is worship music. It brings perspective back.

We're back at home now...we have electricity and the air conditioning works (YAY) but no gas...so no stove and no water heater = no hot water...but we can deal...I am so grateful to have a home to live in...many, many around me do not.


So...that's the update. Now, I should get on to the really, truly important stuff ;)



Here I mentioned the hair. Turns out, I threw caution to the wind and told her to chop it so it would be curly this summer. My stylist assures me that my the time fall comes around, I'll be able use my beloved hair straightener again. It has given me a bit of an identity crisis, knowing that I can't straighten it...it has to be curly for the next 3 months...I am embracing the curl...sort of.



My basement. Do not feel bad for me...I may have been a little giddy carrying all that junk out to the curb.


Ok, just one more...



Oh, but wait! In the midst of the flood...look what has poked its little head through....

No...the weed is from before...look at that little stemmy thingy...its the elephant's ear! Ben wanted to know if I wanted him to pull the weed before I took the picture...I told him definitely NOT, that my dear bloggy friends needed it as a point of reference :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Back! Sort Of....

Oh My WORD!!! What day is it?!? That's the sort of week I've had :)

We were evacuated from our home Sunday afternoon because of the rising water. We've been staying with Ben's parents with NO COMPUTER AND NO INTERNET. And yes, I know you're wondering how I have survived without blogging...the answer is sugar and carbohydrates and NO running...I have 10 extra pounds to prove it...no worrie, I show ya pics later, HA! :)

My tiny-town is more than devastated...I can't even go into it yet. I thought the tornado was bad...but now the entire town has flooded and I have no words...just a sick feeling in my stomach. Please pray the amazing people here.

We just had a few feet of water in our basement, which considering what so many others are going through, is simply not a big deal.

I have pics I'll post later...

I have missed you ALL!!! And thank you for the emails...how nice to be loved :) Can I call you my fan club?!? You're all amazing.

Couple last things....AB - totally praying for you girlie :) Jamie - that blog idea sounds fantastic, you'll have to fill me in more :)

Love,

me

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Life Today...

Remember this post? Notice the date...since then we've had a EF5 tornado, and now the rain will not stop, meaning another flood. In that picture, the flood stage crested at 13.1 feet...today, they've announced that they expect it to crest at 14.5 feet by tomorrow afternoon...yikes. Rain is in the forecast all week long.


Are ya'll wondering why any of us live in tiny-town?!? *smiles* I have the reason...but I'm afraid it's a secret just shared amongst tiny-town citizens...if it gets out, then every ones gonna wanna come, and then I wouldn't be able to call it tiny-town anymore...and then everything would just be....ruined :) No worries tiny-town, your secret is safe with me ;)


Because of the flooding, most people were not able to make it into town for church, including two of our Sunday school teachers. As Pastor's wife, I'm a perfect fill-in...just give me a devotional book, old VBS coloring sheets, and pipe cleaners and I'm totally good to go.


As the kids were creating masterpieces with their pipe cleaners, I asked my son Eli, what he was making.


Here's our very spiritual conversation:


Me: "Hey Eli, whatcha making?


Eli: "A gun."


Me: "I'd rather you not make a gun in Sunday school"


Eli: "A gun for God?" Pause..."to fight Satan?"


Me: I figure that if he's witty enough to come up with THAT...then by all means, fire away my dear boy, fire away :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Number Three

My baby is three years old today...surprisingly enough, I have not cried yet (granted, it is only 8:30 am :) I think part of it is, he's just so much fun right now, that I really am just enjoying him.

Seriously, the stuff he comes up with...yesterday I walked out my back door to find this...

Umm...there used to be lovely white daisies attached to this plant...and after this post, ya'll know I have some trouble with foliage. Where were the lovely flowers?!? Here...in the grass.I knew who the culprit was...when I asked him, he had an excellent explanation...

"But I SAW-WEE!"

The butchering of the word sorry, gets me every time. I love you, little man.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jakob!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Gonna Do Better...

Yesterday was madness in the parsonage... I should have received the
Mommy Loser Award...if there is such a thing. Although, if you would have asked me yesterday, I would have totally blamed it on how wild and outta control my children were being. (In fact, if you talked to me in person yesterday...I did...sorry:)


I have read blog after blog from wonderful moms preparing themselves for summer...just jumping at the chance to have their kids home and spend time with them. Then there's me. I love summer...but I cringe a little bit at the chaos that comes from being with three little boys all the time :) I love them more than life...but it doesn't mean that they don't drive me a little bit crazy now and then ;) Yesterday is proof.


By last night I was already starting to feel the Holy Spirit's conviction about, well, basically my overall behavior yesterday. I realized that I need to switch to summer mode. I need to make a new routine with my children. I need to enjoy them. ENJOY them.


This morning I was reading one of my favorite, FAVORITE blogs. Stephanie is a mom to boys, and one beautiful little girl, and she's a few steps ahead of me in the mommy journey. I am learning so much through her sharing her journey...which is really what blogging is sort of about. I read several of her posts that she had written to her children and each one encouraged me to be a better mommy...starting now. Go give her some blog-love, you'll be a better mom for it. Oh, and take some Kleenex (unless you're unlike me and do not cry at everything :)

Today is Noah's last day of school...let the summer fun and chaos begin. I'm praying for God's guidance in figuring out our new summer groove :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'll Eventually Get It...

Forgiveness. *sigh*...So much meaning is one little word. The concept is something that I think maybe I've always struggled with.


The dictionary definitions says..."To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon. To renounce anger or resentment against."


I get the definition....it's the putting it into practice deal that I get stuck on, sometimes.


In my head forgiveness looks like this:

  1. Someone causes an offense: I get hurt, angry, resentful etc.

  2. When they realize the offense (without me saying anything, of course) they immediately come to me, apologize and beg for mercy.

  3. I, of course, forgive, and completely let it go

  4. Restoration.

Why it looks like that in my head, I do not know. What I do know, is that 99% of the time that is not what forgiveness looks like. Forgiveness is messy, and hard. It does not fit neatly into 4 steps.

Most of the time, people will not even know they have hurt us. Most of the time, even if they know it, they will not make the first move or even admit wrong. Most of the time, I say I've forgiven, but I have not really let it go. And sometimes, forgiveness does not mean restoration. Hard stuff.

Here's what God is teaching me (over and over and over...eventually I'm bound to get it :)...

  • I need to forgive, regardless of the other persons actions. Jesus didn't wait for me to get my act together before He offered me forgiveness.

  • withdrawing my love and giving the silent treatment is not a healthy way to react and will definitely not help in forgiving or bringing restoration to a relationship. It will lead to bitterness.

  • No amount of hurt someone causes me, personally, compares to my sin against God...yet He gave up His only son...for me.

OK, so now you get my freshest real life example...


I spent the last week being ticked at my little brother (whom I happen to adore.) He hurt me (unintentionally) and, being the mature grown-up that I am, I reacted by leaving him some sarcastic comments on Facebook and then withdrew. I know, try not to be too impressed by my high standard of maturity.

My hubby's sermon Sunday night was on forgiveness. Yeah. I heard God speaking to me LOUD and clear. It was time to do things differently.

This time, I knew I needed to share with him why I was hurt, and then let him know that I was going to forgive...let it go...for both of us. Can I tell you how much better that is than holding it in?!?

His response...unbelievable for a 19 year old. He left me a note on my wall of Facebook (which means everyone can see) apologizing. I, being me, bawled! Restoration...the way God designed it.

I pray that when the table is flipped, and I'm the one that needs to apologize, I can be the grown-up like him.

Man, God has His hands full with me...glad He is so, SO BIG! :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brace Yourself...

I have lost my posting groove...if there is such a thing. I used to have a routine. Get the post out in the morning of the actual day. Now, I'm posting at the end of the day, and it's messing me all up. So, even though I just posted late last night...I'm gonna post again. HA! Lucky, lucky you.

Random point of interest *cough*

  • My neighbor-friend called this morning and shared that she had washed her hubby's cell phone in the washer. I could sympathize...I have washed my own cell phone. (bad idea) After I hung up the phone with her I went to switch clothes from the washer to the dryer and found that I had, indeed, washed a dirty diaper along with the light colored clothing. Nice. I did what any perfect housekeeper would do....I took the dirty diaper out, and ran it again :) Isn't that why we paid all that money for that washing machine!?! To magically fix problems like that!?!

  • You need a visual...

Yes...that is the washed-dirty diaper still on top...it was only #1 dirty...PHEW!

  • I get my hair cut today. LOVE hair cut day. I contemplated getting it cut even shorter for summer, and letting it go curly...kinda like little orphan annie...well, sorta like that :)

But, considering I've been a little spacey since the tornado, I'm thinking it's best not to do anything too drastic right now. Just a trim. I'll have to think on the "Annie do." Which leads me to my 3rd random point....

  • When I get to heaven and receive my perfect body...I've put in a request to have darker skin and a real Afro...just so you know, so you can recognize me :) (My husband is going to have a field day correcting all that theology there...I feel it's my God-given responsibility to keep him on his toes :)

    Carry on, bloggy friends, carry on...

(Annie Pic courtesy of google images)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tell Me I'm Not the Only One...

Good Grief. That's what I mutter to myself every time I walk past this.



It never goes away. As soon as I finally carry all the junk upstairs, a new collection has already begun to form again downstairs. Our piles of junk reproduce like bunnies around here. I have no idea how to stop it.



I need your help. Advice. Tips. Something.



And, do not suggest that maybe my stuff could grow legs of its own and put itself away...I already thought of that...not likely to happen. Also, you should not suggest that members of my family *cough* actually put their own stuff away...the junk growing legs is far more likely to happen than that.



*OK, so some of the stuff on the stairs is mine...but in my defense, I am the one putting it away... *smiles*



Happy Day, Friends!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Friend-Making Machine

I feel the need to tell you all that I have been making A LOT of friends lately.

I kid you not.

New bloggy friends that I will probably never meet in real life, new friends in tiny-town (because of tornado) and new people (thru blogging) that although I've never met in real life, I've met through blogging or Facebook and because they live in close proximity to me (because they are already friends with my real friends), I will actually probably meet in real life...soon. If you just followed that sentence...congratulations, you officially have been reading this blog too long and can now follow my sentences that do not make sense. Phew.

I've never been really great at making friends. I've always had friends, I was just never the one to introduce myself and pursue a friendship...if the other person did, well then, we were of course BFF's.

When I moved to tiny-town, God said to me..."Umm, sorry, but that is not gonna fly anymore...get off your butt, and go make some friends, stop making them come to you, YOU go to them" (I'm paraphrasing here) And I did...and it was so out of my comfort zone (still is) ..but, God has given and is still giving (in abundance) wonderful women friends. More wonderful that I could have imagined. That's like Him though...He never fails to go SO FAR above what I think He will do. Doesn't matter what it was or is, He ALWAYS outdoes Himself (if God can, in fact, out-do Himself...but you know what I mean :)

It makes me excited for today, and for the future. What's He gonna do next?!?