Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jump

JUMP

Several years ago my parents and in-laws gave our boys a trampoline. A fifteen-footer with netting around the outside so kids don't end up head first in the flowers. Since then my boys and I have logged more hours on that trampoline than I could begin to count. When we first
got it, my older son, who was five at the time, discovered that if he timed his bounce with mine, he could launch higher than if he was jumping on his own.

I remember the first time he called my wife, Kristen, out into the backyard to watch him jump off of my bounce. Now mind you, up until this point he was maybe getting a foot higher because of his new technique. But this one particular time, when my wife was watching for the first time, something freakish happened in the space-time continuum. When he jumped, there was this perfect convergence of his weight and my weight and his jump and my jump, and I'm sure barometric pressure and air temperature had something to do with it too, because he went really high.

I don't mean a few feet off the mat. I mean he went over my head. Forty pounds of boy, clawing the air like a cat thrown from a second-story window, and a man making eye contact with his wife and thinking, This is not good.

She told us she didn't think our new trick was very safe and we should be careful. Which we were. Until she went inside the house.

It is on this trampoline that God has started to make more sense to me. Because when it comes to faith, everybody has it. People often tell me they could never have faith, that it is just too hard. The idea that some people have faith and others don't is a popular one. But it is not a true one. Everybody has faith. Everybody is following somebody. What often happens is that people with specific beliefs about God end up backed into a corner, defending their faith against
the calm, cool rationality of others. As if they have faith and beliefs and others don't.

But that is not true. Let's take an example: Some people believe we were made by a creator who has plans and purposes for his creation, while others believe there is no greater meaning to life, no grand design, and we exist not because of some divine intention but because of random chance. This is not a discussion between people of faith and people who don't have faith. Both perspectives are faith perspectives, built on systems of belief. The person who says we are here by chance and there is no greater meaning has just as many beliefs as the person who says there's a creator. Maybe even more.

Think about some of the words that are used in these kinds of discussions, one of the most common being the phrase "open-minded". Often the person with spiritual convictions is seen as close-minded and others are seen as open-minded. What is fascinating to me is that at the center of the Christian faith is the assumption that this life isn't all there is. That there is more to life than the material. That existence is not limited to what we can see, touch, measure, taste,
hear, and observe. One of the central assertions of the Christian worldview is that there is "more". Those who oppose this insist that this is all there is, that only what we can measure and observe and see with our eyes is real. There is nothing else. Which perspective is more "closed-minded"? Which perspective is more "open"?

An atheist is a person of tremendous faith. In our discussions about the things that matter most then, we aren't talking about faith or no faith. Belief or no belief. We are talking about faith in what? Belief in what? The real question isn't whether we have it or not, but what we have put it in.

Everybody follows somebody. All of us make decisions every day about what is important, how to treat people, and what to do with our lives. These decisions come from what we believe about every aspect of our existence. And we got our beliefs from somewhere. We have been formed,
every one of us, by this complicated mix of people and places and things. Parents and teachers and artists and scientists and mentors – we are each taking all of these influences and living our lives according to which teachings we have made our own. Some insist that they aren't influenced by any person or any religion, that they think for themselves. And that's an honorable perspective. The problem is they got that perspective from... somebody. They're following somebody even if they insist it is themselves they are following.

Everybody is following somebody. Everybody has faith in something and somebody.

We are all believers.

**

Rob Bell lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he's the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He also teaches in a short film format called NOOMA, and he's the author of "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality."

Matthew 10

Matthew 10


Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil[a] spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles:

first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
3 Philip,
Bartholomew,
Thomas,
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
Thaddaeus,[b]
4 Simon (the zealot[c]),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[d] 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

9 “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.

11 “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. 12 When you enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.

16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.[e] 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.[f] But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man[g] will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

24 “Students[h] are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons,[i] the members of my household will be called by even worse names!

26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[j] 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin[k]? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’[l]

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,[m] you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 10:1 Greek unclean.
  2. Matthew 10:3 Other manuscripts read Lebbaeus; still others read Lebbaeus who is called Thaddaeus.
  3. Matthew 10:4 Greek the Cananean, an Aramaic term for Jewish nationalists.
  4. Matthew 10:7 Or has come, or is coming soon.
  5. Matthew 10:18 Or But this will be your testimony against the rulers and other unbelievers.
  6. Matthew 10:22 Greek on account of my name.
  7. Matthew 10:23 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
  8. Matthew 10:24 Or Disciples.
  9. Matthew 10:25 Greek Beelzeboul; other manuscripts read Beezeboul; Latin version reads Beelzebub.
  10. Matthew 10:28 Greek Gehenna.
  11. Matthew 10:29 Greek one assarion [i.e., one “as,” a Roman coin equal to 1/16 of a denarius].
  12. Matthew 10:36 Mic 7:6.
  13. Matthew 10:41 Greek receive a prophet in the name of a prophet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kick in the head...

What's better a broken heart or a kick in the head?

I think at times in my life I would say a kick in the head for sure. Honesty can be so brutal and when coming from someone else ugly. My instinct is to be mad but honestly how can I be? Truth comes in so many forms and I know this one is in love no matter how much I hate it and wish I didn't have to agree. Can I go kicking and screaming into the night? Can I drag my heels resist and say NO? That wouldn't be the right answer and I care to much to do anything but quietly agree as I suck in my bottom lip and sigh...

Things will be normal before I can blink life will all go back to the way it was.

Footprints

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d08X2lN669k

Enough said?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bo said it best...

Want to go on a roller coaster ride? Join me on a day in my life. I guess I need to put this out there in order for people to pray with me and hold me. Break out your graphs. It has been since February 5th, 2005 since I accepted Christ. Some people still consider me a "baby" Christian others would battle that. I have no clue. I am on the roller coaster. As a new Christian I was higher than a kite overjoyed and learning at lightening speeds. In the past 3.5 years there have been drops when I was in waiting to "hear" God, but it was always short lived and quickly rebounded. Well.. I am currently in a "winter" of my faith.. praying for the rain. I am at the very bottom of the hill but.. looking upward waiting to hear Christ in my life once again. I am by nature an anxious person so I go searching for what could be "wrong" with me. I want to take control of this situation and get back up on top quickly.

To make me more anxious.. I am heading home to New Hampshire next Friday and will be surrounded by non-believers makes my nerves even more rattled. I went home last summer but was standing very solid on my rock. What will happen if I am unbalanced?

I know this must happen on His terms and His time but.. wish he would hurry up!!! :)

My "instinct" is to stay home and hide but I really don't think that is what God is wanting me to do. A good friend told me to stop being a control freak and Be still. I truly want too... But my anxiety is taking over. I suffer from an anxiety disorder so behaviors tend to take on a mind of their own.

PLEASE pray for me... I cannot tell you exactly what to pray for but... He does! Take it to Him and maybe He will speak through you to me.

Thanks...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Drew

Drew is our Church Worship leader and a good friend! He is a very talented musician who doesn't give himself nearly enough credit. This is rare in true musicians. God has blessed him with the ability to write, sing and play. He has moved me to tears during worship on many occasions. Just when I think "Oh I have heard this song before", God uses Drew to touch my heart in a new way. Powerful and awe inspiring.

Music is one gift I honestly do not have. I like to sing "for fun" and being silly but nothing serious. I think I sang "You are my sunshine" on stage in front of 300 people when I was 4. I was taking singing lessons and that was my "solo". It is one song I have sung my entire life and the song that got me through the longest nights in the NICU. My singing is silly and touches no one but the poor dogs in the yard.

Drew's voice is a gift...

I hope you'll take a minute and go and check out one of his bands new songs just posted on myspace. http://www.myspace.com/drewdieckmann


For those who go to church with me, that is Chelvis on Bass and Robert on the drums too!!

Drew.. you rock my free world! Thank you for making my days just a little brighter. I Love ya!

Personal Post...

My best friend Lori use to ask me on a daily basis "Where have you seen God today?" Sometimes I saw Him pulling me out of something, sometimes in to something, and sometimes He was working hard to make me just "be".

I have had an unusual week. My emotions have been high and all over the place. But, where exactly have I seen or heard God? I have seen satan knocking on my door tempting me with my greatest weakness's beckoning me to cross that line. In that, Christ has been there watching waiting to see exactly what I will do. Being supportive in silence, allowing me to stick my toe out and feel the warm sweet air waiting for me to realize it's infested with sharks. Waiting for me to stand by Him and honor Him. At times I have wanted to run and take shelter in a closet in the safety of that old Vegas saying. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". Like Vegas though, eventually you must open that closet door and leave. Sitting there waiting for you to open that door and crawl out is your Best Friend, Your Father, Your Savior. Sigh.. that water isn't as desirable anymore when you consider the consequences.

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

Thinking about it I can honestly say I have seen Christ in the some of the most minuscule ways this week. In a song, in a text, in a hug, in a e-mail, in a rant, in my quiet office, in the news, in my sons eyes, in Rick's laughter, and in my friends warm faces. I realize that maybe when you stop looking so hard he is actually right there. RIGHT there under your very own nose.

It can be as obvious as the friend who gives up her day to take care of your child or the person who arrives at the 3 way stop first yet let's you go first. It's also in the big hug a friend sends by text just because your having a depressing afternoon. I could list many many more but instead YOU go looking and let me know where YOU saw God today!!

Oil and Gas Prices SUCK!!!!

This is definitely the reason for the spike in Oil and Gas prices.

All airline CEO's have approved the venture. Please help spread the word.

Click on this URL to take action now
http://capwiz.com/sosnow/issues/alert/?alertid=11571321

$4.03 yep that's what I paid in gas today. We moved to MS in April 2004. Upon arriving we were so excited to see gas as low in some areas as $1.38. NO JOKE. Will we hit $5.00 by Labor Day?

Painful is what it is as with the gas prices everything else has gone up too as company's are taking a hit due to the high prices. I am worried for our economy. What's next?

Praying.....

One at G8

ONE has been on the ground in Hokkaido, Japan, making sure leaders of the G8 heard your voice as they gathered for their annual summit this week. The result has been mixed...

Before the summit, the Financial Times leaked that the G8 may backtrack on their 2005 Gleneagles commitments to the world's poorest. But thanks in no small part to a massive outcry from around the world—over a million people in 190 countries, including nearly 200,000 ONE members—they reaffirmed their promises.

Unfortunately, reaffirming their promises doesn’t address the fact that their commitments are not being backed up by money. Germany, the UK, and the US are doing well in delivering their part, but the other countries are lagging behind, and dragging down the group as a whole.

To learn more, check out the analysis from the G8 summit on the ONE Blog:
http://www.one.org/blog/2008/07/10/1963?id=400-3959200-ay8rHbx&t=1

We’ve helped stop the G8 from slipping back, and encouraged them to take some small steps forward. But they didn’t meet our request to deliver on their promises, nor did they set a timeline for spending $10 billion in pledged agricultural aid.

The G8 still have the chance to hit the targets they set for themselves, and we’ll have more opportunities to pressure them to do so in the coming months.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org

P.S. There is one piece of unequivocal good news today. PEPFAR, America’s aggressive five-year plan to prevent and treat global AIDS, malaria and TB, is about to take a big step forward. This bill has been held up by a handful of senators for months. But yesterday, Senator Reid responded to the calls of ONE members and our allies in Congress, by demonstrating leadership and taking action to get PEPFAR moving. Learn more on the ONE Blog: http://www.one.org/r?r=50&id=400-3959200-ay8rHbx&t=2

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lacy May.....

This is Lacy May, the newest addition to our family. She is a mutt! But a very cute mutt mind you. Lacy is a little like Gizmo from Gremlins. At times she acts like a Gremlin too. We got her from some friends because they were away too much to deal with such a high maintenance dog. Lacy is 7 months old born in November 07'. She weighs about 4 pounds and I doubt she is going to get much bigger. Lacy is petite but has the heart of a lion. Since getting her she has learned her name, to sit, to come, and to "settle". She is a little hyper at times.. lol! She is also the underwear stealer. She will drag them half way across the house regardless that they are bigger than she is. Lacy is beyond sweet and very attentive. She is 100% a lap dog and thinks she is human. She LOVES Miller our other dog who is 4. We really love Lacy and she has become a member of the Hocutt Clan!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Laundry, Laundry, and more Laundry!!

Laundry, Dirty Laundry, Clean Laundry, the mountain just grows and grows. It's a never ending battle for a Mom. But when exactly did it become a Mom's job anyway? I know I am "home" more than Rick but does that make me the do all girl?? Child raising is tough work. Now we not only have the title of stay at home Mom but also everyone's personal housekeeper and do it all chick. Moms do laundry, clean house, make sure you men have clean underwear, a clean towel to dry your naked body when you get out of the shower, and of course a clean shower to do it in.

First I have to sort the nasty dirty laundry which let's face it when you have a 5 year old laundry can get pretty nasty. Plus a husband who thinks he's superman fixing cars, doing yard work, and just plain rolling in the filth. Think pigpen! Sorting can be stressful as everyone has a different concept of "how" to sort. My theory is different... Unless an item is new it's all shirts together, all pants or shorts together, socks and underwear together. NOW if an item is new and red or some other color that might bleed it is washed alone. Nothing worse than turning my family's white's into a lovely shade of pink. eeekk... BAD!

Next it's time to carry it OUTSIDE (yeah here in the south they like to put laundry rooms outside of the house). Then load the washer, put in the soap, and wait. Now as the female of the house this also means I do all the grocery shopping. This means I also am in charge of picking out which brand of laundry detergent we use. Which fabric softener, which dryer sheet, which stain remover. Now, to a man this means waking in and grabbing anything. To a woman this means standing in front of the aisle smelling jugs, comparing price, and polling every woman they know to see what they use and like. Keep in mind that there is over 55 brands of detergents to choose from, add in the choices in each brand, powder, liquid, different scents, it's a serious brand overload. Picking the wrong brand could end in disaster and lead to itching private areas. This will of course lead to ONE grouchy family.

Back out to the laundry room to switch the loads, one to the dryer and another dirty pile into the washer. Then head back to the house to... wait! Sigh....

FINALLY, the first load is done and it's time to do the REAL PAIN!! Folding, hanging, and putting away. Depending on the load this can take as short as 5 minutes to as long as 30. There is NOTHING I can't stand more than folding socks. It's such a pain matching them and figuring out who's is who's. Hang up before everything gets full of wrinkles or then it might mean ironing too. Let's just say this wife DOES NOT IRON!! I really suck at ironing and my husband refuses to allow me to do it. Hmm.. maybe I should suck at doing laundry too??

Today, is laundry day in my house! I have folded 3 loads and have 5 more waiting anxiously for me. I can't wait till I can teach Alex to do laundry.

Yankee in the South - Part 2

5 more things I have learned in the south...

1. "Git-R-Done": Having married a man whose Father was born and raised in EBF, Berry, Alabama where the claim to fame is a Piggly Wiggly, I have actually heard this one ALOT! This basically can be sued in regards to anything. Larry The Cable Guy did NOT start the trend of this saying but rather it started long before he was born.


"Git R Done is a common phrase used mostly by the people living in the southern states. The term is used when a person is about to tackle a task are it can simply be used in any conversation for no apparent reason. Usually Git R Done is used to state how you or someone feels about something in an excited type of phrase. Most people think that only rednecks and wannabe southerners use this phrase but thats completely untrue."

2. "Y'all": I actually use this! This take the place of "You Guys" which I also use on occasion. It basically refers to more than one person although it doesn't really matter southerners use it in every form.
  • Use of the contraction y'all as the second person plural pronoun.[3] Its uncombined form — you all — is used less frequently.[4]
  • When speaking about a group, y'all is general (I know y'all) —as in that group of people is familiar to you and you know them as a whole, whereas all y'all is much more specific and means you know each and every person in that group, not as a whole, but individually ("I know all y'all.") Y'all can also be used with the standard "-s" possessive.
"I've got y'all's assignments here."
  • Y'all is distinctly separate from the singular you. The statement, "I gave y'all my payment last week," is more precise than "I gave you my payment last week." You (if interpreted as singular) could imply the payment was given directly to the person being spoken to — when that may not be the case.
  • Some people misinterpret the phrase "all y'all" as meaning that Southerners use the word y'all as singular and all y'all as plural. However, all y'all is used to specify that all of the members of the second person plural are included, that is "all y'all" as opposed to "some of y'all"
Want to read more on Southern American English just click HERE! (Drew they even talk about the diphthong). :)


3. Pecan: I will never in a THOUSAND years say p-kän like they do down here. It will be a
pkn pie that I eat every Christmas. Luckily, I have taught my son to say it like a good Yankee should despite my Father in Laws efforts. I also have to say that I had never seen a Pecan tree before moving here and was amazed at the amount of nuts it produces. Our Friends The Guerry's have a ton of tree's in their yard and pick them up to sell. We got to go over one day and pick a bunch up to help me make my Coffee Cake and Pecan Pie over the Holiday's. Pecan's are expensive.

4. Grits: is a corn-based food common in the Southern United States, consisting of coarsely ground corn. It is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta. It also has a lesser resemblance to farina, a thinner porridge.

Hominy grits is grits made from nixtamalized corn, or hominy.

Yellow speckled grits is also very popular[citation needed] in the southern states, named for the black specks in its yellow body.

Now I must admit that seeing grits for the first time was nasty. I was told over and over that I needed to try them but it took me 2 years before I finally gave in. While on a Christian Retreat they made Cheese Grits for breakfast. Rick told me to add a bunch of pepper and some salt or they would be to bland for me so I did and they were YUMMY! I have since had an incredible shrimp and grits dinner that was spicy and intense. I still have not managed to order grits for my side to my breakfast while at the Huddle House or cooked them in my own home but maybe sometime soon. This is one southern food that is just starting to grow on me.

5. Hunting: This is a sport here! People where the camouflage clothing like it is the latest trend. They even sell a pink style of camo for the female hunters. Did you know people even hunt squirrel. It's crazy! They spend tons of money prepping their "deer hunting property". Yes they buy property JUST to deer hunt for. They set up their tree stands and sit up their all day. Children as young as 4 join their Dad's on these "manly" adventures. During Deer Hunting season you can expect to see at least 1 if not 2 deers in the back of a pick up truck just about every time you leave the house! My Neighbor is 8 and has shot himself an 8 point buck last season. Crazy... and something I work hard to shield Alex from. I pray he NEVER takes this hobby up.

Well.. that's 5 more... More soon!

The Yankee Guide to the South

The Yankee Guide to the South
By: Joel Baker

1. Save all manner of bacon grease. You will be instructed later how to use it.

2. Just because you can drive on snow and ice does not mean we can. Stay home the two days of the year it snows.

3. If you do run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in the cab of a four wheel drive with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don't try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

4. Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store.

5. Do not buy food at the movie store.

6. There is nothing sillier than a Northerner imitating a southern accent, unless it is a southerner imitating a Boston accent.

7. Get used to hearing, "You ain't from around here, are you?"

8. People walk slower here.

9. Don't be worried that you don't understand anyone. They don't understand you either.

10. The first Southern expression to creep into a transplanted Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "Big ol'", as in "big ol' truck" or "big ol' boy". Eighty-five percent begin their new southern influenced dialect with this expression. One hundred percent are in denial about it.

11. The proper pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.

12. Be advised: The "He needed killin'" defense is valid here.

13. If attending a funeral in the South, remember, we stay until the last shovel of dirt is thrown on and the tent is torn down.

14. If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this!" stay out of his way. These are likely the last words he will ever say.

15. Northerners can be identified by the spit on the inside of their car's windshield that comes from yelling at other drivers.

16. The winter wardrobe you always brought out in September can wait until November.

17. If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter if you need anything from the store, it is just something you're supposed to do.

18. Tornadoes and Southerners going through a divorce have a lot in common. In either case, you know someone is going to lose a trailer.

19. Florida is not considered a southern state. There are far more Yankees than Southerners living there.

20. In southern churches you will hear the hymn, "All Glory, Laud and Honor". You will also here expressions such as, "Laud, have mercy", "Good Laud", and "Laudy, Laudy, Laudy".

21. You can ask a Southerner for directions, but unless you already know the positions of key hills, trees and rocks, you're better off trying to find it yourself.

22. If you hear music from your neighbors house, join in on the chorus.

23. If you are a woman with a flat tire, don't worry - someone will be along shortly to change it for you. This is the South and we don't let our womenfolk change flat tires.

24. Yes, we do have garbage pickup twice a week here.

25. While you didn't realize it, the National Anthem does end with "Gentlemen Start Your Engines!"

26. However you did it in the North is of no concern to those of us in the South.

27. Flannel shirts can be considered formal wear in the wintertime.

28. Those nice white buildings on the street corners, across from the convenience stores, are called churches! Pick one and attend.

29. Learn to play softball.

30. Learn to eat watermelon. Seed spitting is optional but distance is a virtue.

31. You have 10 days to get your Alabama tape, Bear Bryant Cup and learn all of verses to "I'll Fly Away" after establishing residency. Get your drivers license when you get time to do it.

32. Learn to visit the Space and Rocket Center at least one time each year.

33. Appreciate leaving the house 30 minutes before concert time and being seated 10 minutes before concert time.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Yankee in the South....

I am a born and raised "Yankee" living in the South. I grew up and lived in New Hampshire for 23 years. I lived in a middle class almost totally white town. Needless to say it was gigantic culture shock when I arrived. I WISH I had been blogging back then because it would have been such fun. Numerous times in the last several days I have said "Ooh I need to blog about that..." most of the time "that" involving some crazy Southern thing I just learned. I seriously could write a book with all I have compiled BUT sadly some other smart Yankee beat me to it! "Suddenly Southern: A Yankee's guide to living in Dixie"

When I first arrived I literally could not understand a word anyone said. Worse they couldn't understand me. Normally within 2 minutes they would ask every so sweetly "yur not from round here r ya". My response "how did you ever guess". DUH!!!

Here are just a few of my favorite Southern knowledge that I have gained since arriving...

1. Let me just say catfish are "raised". There are actual people who take on the job of being a "catfish farmer" and I KNOW them. CRAZY isn't it?? I really thought people were pulling my leg when they told me this. I am DYING to get up close and personal with a catfish farm and promise to post pictures when I do!

2. Nabs are an inexpensive small packet of crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling. And to think all this time I thought nabs is when you grab something. Like "I am going to nab you" or "The police are going to nab you". Who woulda thunk it? Here's a little proof to add on to my story!

"Many snack cracker products manufactured by Lance are commonly referred to as "Nabs". The term "Nabs" today is used to refer to any type of snack crackers, most commonly those made and manufactured by Lance, Inc. Many in the southeastern United States prefer the term Nabs to generically mean the specific Toastchee brand of Lance crackers. The term has its origins back to 1924 when the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) introduced a snack, put in a 5-cent sealed packet called "Peanut Sandwich Packet". They soon added a second, "Sorbetto Sandwich Packet". These packets allowed salesmen to sell to soda fountains, road stands, milk bars, lunch rooms, news stands etc. Sales increased and in 1928 the company adopted and started to use the name NAB, which immediately won the approval of the public. This term caught on and is still widely used today."

3. Sweet Tea is "wicked" AWESOME and the entire country just needs to get a grip and start making it!!

4. Okra is a vegetable! Down here in the south it's most often fried and served as a side option to almost any meal. I personal think it looks like green mush and tastes about the same BUT down here eating okra is like going to church you just do it! :) I am standing my ground on this and will not be eating okra EVER!!!!

5. "God love her but..." This is the Southern polite way of putting some one down. I guess they think but adding that first the insult won't hurt so much. "God love her but she is crazier then a turkey on Thanksgiving". I LOVE this saying.. it seriously cracks me up. Sometimes they will see someone doing something bad, crazy, etc and they will say "God love her..." all drawn out and with such dripping pity. It actually makes you feel bad too! Sadly, I couldn't find a good link for this one.

I Have LOTS more but today we will start with 5.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

20 Years off my life!

I have to share a story about Alex today. We were at the base pool and Alex and some other kids were all jumping off the diving board. Another Mommy and her 2 year old daughter were in the water hanging on to the side and I was standing on deck near the ladder. Alex dove in and came up, just as he wiped the water off his face another 4 yr. old little boy ran down the diving board and jumped.... knees bent... right into Alex's head. The Mommy in the water tossed her daughter on the side (she was wearing a life jacket) and headed towards Alex. The instant I saw the boy start to jump I flung my hat off my head and dove straight in after my boy knowing the pain he was going to be feeling. I got to him just as he came up crying. I snatched him up trying to calm him down as we swam to the side while I secretly searched for blood.

My heart raced from watching a 40+ pound kid jump on my sons head and from diving in to rescue him. Scared the CRAP out of me. Alex cried for several minutes and said it really scared him as he couldn't breathe. He clung to me while I tried to focus on him and remember accidents happen and the child was only 4. (My Mommy instinct was to yell at the kid, lol). Within 5 minutes Alex decided he was fine and was back up on the board jumping off again.

Several lifeguards all commented on my quick reaction and Alex's calm recovery. It could have been so much worse and we were all blessed that it wasn't.

But I SWEAR it shaved at least 20 years off my life.....................

1 Peter 3:8

We Need Each Other: To Wait and Weep With
by Rick Warren

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

*** *** *** ***

As a pastor, I see situations daily that nobody should ever have to go through alone. Nobody should ever have to wait in the hospital while a loved one is in life-or-death surgery. No woman should ever have to wait alone for the lab report on a problem pregnancy. Nobody should ever have to wait for news from a battlefield alone. Nobody should ever have to stand at the edge of an open grave alone. Nobody should ever have to spend the first night alone when their spouse has just walked out.

Life’s tough times and tragedies are inevitable – each of us will face them. But we don’t need to go through them alone. We need God’s safety net to help hold us up through these difficult times.

What is God’s safety net? It is a group of other believers – a handful of people who are really committed to you. We call this kind of group a community. Here’s God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV). Community is God’s answer to despair.

Romans 12:15 expresses a similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (NIV).

The first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s often easy to join in on the party.

But when someone is having a tough time, it can seem more difficult. But, really, it’s simple. When you’re going through a crisis, you don’t want advice; you just want somebody to be there – to sit with you, hold your hand, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you.

As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). Encouraging someone else doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement is just sitting in silence – waiting and weeping with a friend.

Do you have a safety net – a group of fellow Christians you know you can count on in life’s toughest times? If not, go out today and begin building those friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, and only a fool would go into them unprepared.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

4i's



I want to say this picture says it all but of course I have more to say. When I first put my new lenses on my eyes and brain freaked out. Everything just looked weird. I don't want to say clear but almost too bright. My brain literally hurt. I took them off to drive home in fear I might crash the car. Once home I pulled the shades shut and sat in my recliner, lenses on, trying to allow my eyes to adjust and focus. I was amazed at how bright and clear my computer screen seemed. I was also impressed that I could read the names on the videos on the shelf across the room. Whoa! I finally felt settled about an hour later but then it was time to leave and when I stood up my eyes freaked out again. I kept catching myself looking at things either above or below my glasses. Ugh.. I was warned I may have a headache off and on for a few days. I tried to wear them the rest of the evening but finally at 10pm I gave up and put them away. I am surprised how hard my brain is fighting looking at things "properly". I guess they have been trained and are stubborn. IMAGINE... my eyes are even stubborn. Ugh....

As to the way I look.. well.. since I had been in the pool today my hair is insane, plus my cold sore isn't gone, my face is swollen, I'm PMSing, and well tough crap all your getting is what you see! If you don't like it... send me a e-mail!!

Rick decided he can actually see things better using my glasses and has decided he may need to steal them. I explained maybe he TOO is getting old and needs glasses. He argued that he has 20/20 vision YET could not tell me that last time he saw an optometrist.

Alex LOVED my glasses and told me I looked HOT! LOL.. ahhh to revel in the fact my 5 year old thinks his Mama is hot. He was very excited and said "now we match" "we are so cool", "people who wear glasses are not blind they just have a little extra style". Yeah being 5 rocks!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tell the G8 to follow through on their promises!

The Financial Times ran an article yesterday with a lead that could hardly be more alarming: "Leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations are set to backtrack on their landmark pledge at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to increase development aid to Africa to $25bn a year."

It is astonishing that there is even debate within the G8 as to whether or not they should keep their promises. But the fact that there is a debate adds urgency to our call to the G8 to deliver on their commitments.

Tell the G8 to follow through on their promises, click below to sign our petition:
http://www.one.org/2008g8/o.pl?id=390-3959200-f9W2ILx&t=2

Petition text:

We call upon you to build on recent success in fighting extreme poverty by delivering your commitments on healthcare, agriculture and education and by helping citizens in developing countries in their efforts to improve governance and fight corruption.

This potential reversal comes at a time when we are seeing results from investments in development. For example, thanks to distribution of bed nets and increased access to anti-malarial drugs, in Rwanda both deaths and cases of malaria have dropped by two-thirds since mid-2006.

As malaria still kills around one million people a year, it is clear that we must replicate success stories like this. But it won’t happen if the G8 backtrack on their commitments.

Please tell the G8 leaders that aid works and is desperately needed:
http://www.one.org/2008g8/o.pl?id=390-3959200-f9W2ILx&t=3

Thank you for your voice!

One.org



Monday, June 30, 2008

You Fail....

I was handed my "in training" card for the 4 eyed geek club today. The bill was steep and the kick to the ego was hard. Yes, I failed my eye exam and am getting O-L-D. The doctor laughed pretty hard at me when I said I hadn't had my eyes checked since I was 16. Then he asked me to read the bottom line which looked like Chinese writing on crack to me. My eyes glazed over as I struggled to focus and I suddenly felt like I was sitting in Ms. Lavoie's History class praying she didn't call on me because I didn't do my homework. UGH...

The doctor was nice as he watched my ego slide out the door and down the nearest toilet. He even was polite when I asked him if he was pulling my leg and to do the test again. So yeah not only did I fail it once, I failed it twice. I don't rock.... today! :(

As we get up to leave after our discussion on choosing glasses and the fact I cannot wear contacts due to astigmatism I do the insane, I ask well how bad are they? He responds with the bitterly sobering "If you went to take a driver's test today you would fail." OUCH!!!!!!!!!!

SO.. I ordered me some extra eyes to help this old hag try and attempt to drive. I cannot promise I'll post any pictures of myself but maybe... if I have a good hair day. They are suppose to be in by Friday. OH Joy... lol

I declared today that I am now having a mid-life crisis. I got my haircut and not loving it, I got a horrible cold sore on my lip, I failed my eye exam and had to get glasses AND I am PMSing. A friend asked me what I plan to do next run out and get a Harley and I decided no safer to become a Lesbian. :)

Another Day - Another Trick!

I wish I could be 5 again. The summer before you start kindergarten before anything gets complicated. No clue about relationships except to love and to be loved. Where the hardest thing is deciding what to eat for breakfast. Man... what a life my child lives. I LOVE watching Alex grow up. At times it makes me sad cause he is my only and last baby but mostly I relish every breath he takes as if it were his last. Having seen my child sitting on death's door often gives me a different perspective than most. I try hard to enjoy even the hardest days when I want to lock myself in my bathroom for the longest Mommy time out ever. lol But then Alex does something like pray for me on how own in the ar on the way to the doctor because I have a cold and he's afraid I'll get a shot. My sweet, sweet child.....

Let's see.. I guess I have to start this story back on Friday. We were having our normal afternoon at the pool when my son decided to learn how to dive. Now for those who don't know Alex in person he is fearless. He also is extremely determined. Once he decides to do something he just does it with very little effort. At 14 months I thought he would never walk a week later he was running across the room. seriously.... Anyway, he decides he wants to dive.

So I take him over to the edge of the pool sit him down and show him a sitting dive, Boom he does it. Okay, I stand up and dive off the edge, after 5 dives he does the sweetest dive ever. So Sweet that the lifeguard leans over the stand and tells him man that was awesome! His legs were tight and straight and even his toes were pointed. It was insane.... Next I try and get him to do it off the diving board. I insist he's ready BUT because he IS my child he is also EXTREMELY stubborn and if he doesn't want to do it... it is NOT going to happen. NO WAY he says... Several lifeguards and a few older boys all try and convince him. NOPE....

Finally he gives in and I get him to sit on the end of the board and dive down. Does that like a pro so I figure NO PROBLEM.. he'll do it now. NOOOO.. he tells everyone "I'm too young maybe when I am 13". WHAT!?!? 13!?!?!?!? So we leave the pool with no standing dive... bummer...

Rick talks to him later that night but it's still a no go. Saturday evening Rick gets the chance to head to the pool with us for the first time. Rick was blown away at his swimming and jumping. Well now Daddy's here so it's time to impress. Rick shows him how to do a squatting dive. (now mind you myself and 3 other people ALL showed him the same thing the day before) BUT Daddy did it so he walks out and does a PERFECT dive. I am stunned (and honestly a little crest-fallen because he did it for Daddy and not me, and I am the swimming instructor). We cheer of course and go crazy as everyone in the pool looks on like we are the biggest dorks ever. 5 dives later he is standing straight up diving in.... ahhh such a proud Mama!!!




Sunday, June 29, 2008

...... Glasses ......

"20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.20/20 does not necessarily mean perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. There are other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision that contribute to your overall visual ability.
Some people can see well at a distance, but are unable to bring nearer objects into focus. This condition can be caused by hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of focusing ability). Others can see items that are close, but cannot see those far away. This condition may be caused by myopia (nearsightedness).
A comprehensive eye examination by a doctor of optometry can diagnose those causes, if any, that are affecting your ability to see well. In most cases, your optometrist can prescribe glasses, contact lenses or a vision therapy program that will help improve your vision. If the reduced vision is due to an eye disease, the use of ocular medication or other treatment may be used."

Ahhh Google is my friend!! It's crazy the things you can find on-line. Tomorrow I have the joy of seeing the eye doctor after what I believe to be about 17 years. HOW it can be that long I have no idea but I think the last time I had my eyes properly checked by a ophthalmologist was right before I turned 16. My Mom took me before I went to get my driver's license just to be sure I was all set. Just a little food for thought but both my parent's couldn't find their way out of a paper bag without their glasses. Seriously... Blind as a bat is putting it mildly. They also both got glasses very young around 2ish. My oldest brother Jim wears glasses and the older he gets the thicker the lenses get. Know what I mean?? Next is my brother Tim who miraculously has 20/20 vision at 35 years old. He has NEVER worn glasses or even complained about his eyes. Number 3 of course is me... I wore glasses 1 year in 6th grade because the lights in the room gave me horrible headaches. It really put a strain on my eyes and I temporarily failed the eye test. Weird I know. Sarah, child #4, well.. she is a funny little case. She got glasses as a kid but refused to wear them for fear of the "nerd" status being stapled to her back. SO she walked around clueless and seriously blind for years. How she played soccer or softball I honestly cannot imagine. I finally forced my mother to take her when we drove by a HUGE billboard sign and I asked her to read it to me and she couldn't. UHHH Houston we have a problem!!!!! Needless to say she was wearing contacts a week later. She too is umm Blind!! Sarah.. I love you.. but your blind as a bat! :)

When I brought Alex in for his appointment and I sat trying to read the letters as he was... uhh.. decided I better get mine checked too. Tomorrow at 1pm is the time set to see if I too will join the world of the 4 eyes. Pray that just because I have had 33 birthdays does not mean that my eyes have gotten old or that I am turning into my parents.






Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wanted - My Review


Today Rick and I had a "Date Day". Now this in itself is HUGE. We never get an hour alone never mind 7 hours!!! Alex went off to VBS with his friend Coleton at State Line Baptist Church.

Rick and I decided to pick an "adult" film and off we went. We decided on "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie. My Husband was a fan of hers from Gone in 60 seconds.

This movie started off like a scene out of the office. The main character "Wesley" starts off as a miserable cubicle dweller and by the end of the movie less than 120 minutes later he is a master assassin. Do NOT go in to this movie expecting to be "fed" intellectually. In fact don't even expect this movie to be believable. This movie runs along the same lines as The Matrix as Wesley is trained to "bend bullets". Blood, blood, and more blood is key. The violence and depth of gore is never ending. I found myself cringing as I watched bullets rip through skulls and knives shred guts to pieces. Wanted was quick paced with a thin story line.

Angelina was a disappointment. She was far to thin to be sexy or believable. She needed some muscles and curves to go along with her kick ass attitude. sigh....

I suggest waiting till this comes out on DVD and rent it then...

I give this movie a C+

Wall*E - My Review

My review is just that MY REVIEW! It's my personal opinion of the movie as I see it... Take it with a grain of salt or with something more. Totally up to you!!

Last night Wall*E opened in theaters. I went to see it with 2 - 3 yr olds, 1 - 4 year old, 3 - 5 year olds, plus 4 adults! We had a great crew and we very excited about this new Disney / Pixar movie.

The graphics in this movie were exceptional. Hands down Pixar just keeps getting better. However, I found the plot to be thin and over the head of most of the kids in the theater. There are very little words as 2 robots communicate through beeps. The humans are fat, lazy, and brainless. The entire human race lives on a space ship while our lives are run by computers. I felt there was a bit too much political stance in the movie. Where some may think our world is headed. Could i leave to some productive conversations between kids and adults? It's possible. Basically this movie was okay but not the 4 star other reviewers were raving about. I was not blown away. Nemo, Toy Story, and Ratatouille far accede this film! I give it a B-

NOW.. My 5 1/2 yr old would like to give a review:

"Go see this movie! I loved it. I thought the robots were cute and funny."

Go figure a mother and son don't see eye to eye....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Alaska and the great beyond...

My Sister Sarah is in the Coast Guard. Since 2000 she has been stationed in Cape Cod, MA at 2 separate bases. During the last 8 years she has bought a house, had a son, and has gotten pretty "settled". Sarah is 5 years younger than me and honestly still a "kid" in eyes. Mind you she is 28 but that is just a minor detail. Well... she got orders to Alaska. Yeah... As you can imagine she was pretty shocked. Juneau, Alaska was the VERY BOTTOM of her "wish list".

Well it gets crazier... Her husband and she decided to NOT sell their house. In Fact my brother in law and my nephew are staying in Cape Cod. wow.. that's what I said. Her tour is suppose to be for 3 years UNLESS she makes Chief. Now be prepared because there are a lot of "maybes" in here..

The Chief list came out today.. she is #10. That's GREAT.. they usually take about 25-30 for rank advancement. BUT she doesn't find out until after Christmas. IF she makes Chief she will get a new Wish List for her NEW rank... Which means by this time next year she "could" be right back in Cape Cod. As there will be a Chief position open there. Are you following?? Totally confusing right?

I agree!!! So last Saturday, my sister, nephew, and brother in law drove off the Cape and started the trek West. They made it to Seattle, WA by Wednesday evening. Amazing time if you ask me! This morning my sister had the gut wrenching task of hugging her husband and son goodbye as they boarded the plane "home". She will not see them again until the end of October, 5 months from now. As a Mom that is forever! She does have a laptop w/ a web cam. BUT physically not being able to hug your child is something I cannot even wrap my brain around. God Bless her cause I could not do it. (and here I am stressing over leaving my family for 3 weeks in Africa, shame on me)!!!

My sister is not a Christian. I say this because I "personally" think it's important and gives some understanding on things. There is no "church" family to support her or her son / husband.

Please keep my sister in your prayers. This could be an awesome adventure for her. I pray she takes the time to truly find her heart. To do things she might never do again, to explore, to dream, and find excitement.

I also hope that this time away might actually be good for us. Maybe we can reconnect.. via e-mail. Maybe she will start a blog about her adventure, her struggles, and her joys.

I'll keep you posted on her adventure....

Ecclesiastes 4:10

**** THANK YOU, to all my my close friends who watch my back. You hold me accountable for my faith. I NEED you in my life to laugh with, to cry with, and to walk through this journey together with. You know who you are... and you know I love you! ****


We Need Each Other: To Watch Out For Us
by Rick Warren

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

*** *** *** ***

Each one of us needs other people to watch out for us – to defend us, protect us, and help us stay on track. In the book of Philippians, the apostle Paul tells us that we should look out for each other’s interests, not just our own. What a counterculture verse! In America today, it’s all about me – my needs, my interests, my wants, and my ambitions. But Paul teaches us to look out for others too.

Since September 11, 2001, Americans have been much more vigilant for each other as we are on the lookout for more terrorist attacks. But did you know you have an enemy far more destructive than terrorists? You have a personal enemy who wants to defeat you. His name is Satan. He wants to bring problems into your life, to ruin your relationships, and to hurt you as badly as he can.

Why does he want to hurt you? Because he wants to hurt God, but he can’t – so he goes after God’s children. On your own, you will never win against Satan. But when you have other people to watch out for you and help you, you can be victorious.

Here’s good advice from Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (NIV).

Does anyone have your back? Is anyone defending you – watching out for your spiritual welfare? You need a community of people who are saying to you: “We’ll be with you when you’re going through the tough times. We’re not going to let you get discouraged or depressed.”

Community is God’s answer to defeat. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him” (NIV).

Remember: You can try, but you can’t live life well on your own. We all need other people – to walk with us, to work with us, and to watch out for us.

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Luke 10: 41

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." ~ Luke 10:41

A friend (let's call him Andrew) who has been praying for me regarding numerous things but especially Africa told me a story today. He was in the book store looking for a special bible for my husband. (That's another story), but during the process he was thumbing through one and opened directly up to Luke 10:41. Interesting since he was thinking of both Rick and I. Even more with everything he knows that is going on in my head regarding Africa.

Andrew is not one who runs around pointing out random things and says it's from God, BUT, when something really hits him and truly feels like it's God speaking he listens and shares if necessary.

When Andrew told me I laughed... but he said He truly believed that with all my stress over if I should go to Africa I may actually be missing something. Did he happen to know what that something IS? No.. of course not. :) But man I loved him for sharing....

I am working hard to not allow Africa to become a focus but rather allow God to show me the way. However, what I am finding is it's like trying to get pregnant. Once you actually decide and start trying you suddenly notice every maternity store, every pregnant women on the street, and every infant in a 500 mile radius.

No, I am not finding every missionary in Columbus and grilling them but I do find myself turning my head to every magazine, book, tv show, movie, or newspaper article about Africa. The more I read the more my heart breaks, the more I feel led.

Today in the car Alex asked me "Mama, how many more days till you go to Africa? (pause and before I could answer) The babies are waiting for you"

*** Side notes from Andrew who I spoke about above***
"I have some additional commentary on Africa. I think what I was trying to to say about your focus is that maybe YOU were still trying to figure out the particulars of going or not going rather than BEING STILL and waiting for God to make it clear in His time. Somehow that came out that you were missing something. I didn't mean that in a tangible sense, more that perhaps you should focus on His will and let Him work out the particulars."


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What color blue is your pool?






Today we once again headed to the base pool. It was brutally hot and humid out so we were ready. The pool there is a saline pool which is the coolest thing ever. No chlorine smell and no stinging of eyes. Kind of like swimming in the ocean minus the NASTY seaweed and jellyfish.

The base pool has 2 slides and a 5 foot diving board. Alex is a FISH with no fear. He passed the swimming test with no problem. This consisted of swimming 50 yards without stopping. Alex was doing crazy jumps off the diving board, swimming in the deep end, and going down the "big boy slide".

Enjoy the pictures! Not sure if you can tell but in one he is grinning at me as he comes off the slide. Cracked me up when I went back and looked at it. There were actually several like it. He is such a ham and just silly!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A friend sent this to me and of course it made me think. Maybe this is a sign I shouldn't go to Africa? Maybe my job is to stay here and continue to put everything I have into Alex. Will he some day be angry at me being gone for 3 weeks the summer he was 6? Will he forever hold it against me and need therapy for weeks. Ugh...... Will I continue on like this back and forth and so on for the next year??

Who Gets Your Time?


...but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
—1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

(Written by Jim Burns) One year I was speaking at the family conference of one of the most well-known youth organizations in the world. Many of the attendees and their families do work similar to what I do. On Friday night of this weekend event, I spoke to the adults and their children. Afterward, on the way back to my room, I passed two teenage girls smoking cigarettes. They looked a bit hardened and not much involved in the conference. For some reason I got to talking with them, and it surprised me to hear that their parents held high positions in the organization. I love the challenge of communicating with these kinds of kids, so we had a great time of open discussion.

The next day, I was returning to my room again and there they were–the same two girls, smoking. I stopped and we started having another good conversation. Finally, feeling I was gaining some trust, I said, "I'm in a very similar job situation as your dads, and I have three daughters. What advice would you give me for being a good dad and helping my daughters live meaningful lives?" Julie, the older of the two girls, took a long drag from her cigarette, then slowly put it on the ground and stamped it out as smoke was coming from her nose.

She looked up at me and replied, "I hope you spend more time with your kids than my dad did with me. He saved lots of kids, but he didn't save me." My eyes immediately filled up with tears. I went back to my room, got on my knees, and asked God to help me be the kind of father to my girls that would not put my vocation ahead of my relationship with them. I'm sure there is another side to Julie's story, but the fact remains that building a strong and healthy family cannot be done long-distance.1

There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that kids regard your very presence as a sign of caring and connectedness. This "power of being there" makes a difference in a child's life. It sounds so simple, but never underestimate the positive message you are giving your kids by watching those games, driving them all around the county or being with them in one of the hundreds of other ways you are present in their lives. You don't have to be present with your kids 24/7, but your presence gives them a greater sense of security than almost anything else you can offer them.

GOING DEEPER:
1. Spend some time evaluating whether you give your children adequate amounts of your time or just the scraps and leftovers of your schedule.

2. Identify a time in the next week when you will intentionally "be there" for your kids.

FURTHER READING:
1 Timothy 5:8:
"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Glasses are not for Nerds!





Tell me that's not the cutest thing you have ever seen!! Alex got his glasses today. He struggled to pass his 20/20 vision. He did but just barely. He really squinted and his left eye watered like crazy. He also had astigmatism. So we decided to go with glasses to give his eyes a little help and allow them a chance to mature and get stronger. We will see in a year how is doing. I think this is a good thing with him starting Kindergarten in August.
I am going to get my eyes checked next Monday. I have not had them checked since I turned 16. Basically 15 years. OUCH!! Plus with my headaches and the amount of time I spend on here who knows what I will do. Everyone in my family wears glasses except my brother Tim. I wore them for 1 year in 6th grade due to poor lighting in the classroom I was in.

My Review...


Yesterday, Alex, Lynn, Connor and I drove to Starkville to see Narnia Prince Caspian. I was a little disappointed as a Mom. The first Narnia (The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe) was truly focused on the children who would be watching it. They took the time to explain and give the characters depth and personality.

Also what happened to the depth of spiritual theology in this film? Did the producers forget who wrote the book and the Christian rock he stood on? There was a thin "have faith" line repeated several times. But, it was so thin it's almost not noticeable. On a moral compass there were acts of betrayal, deceit, attempted murder and plenty of politics and back-stabbing. But the kings and queens of old, as well as Caspian, fight for what is good and true. Caspian is tempted by revenge, and Peter's pride leads to disaster, but everyone sees the error of their ways in the end. For the most part, the girls are portrayed as courageously as the boys.

There was constant violence or "awesome sword fights" if you ask Alex. BUT barely a story line... There was no true "gore" but rather understood gore. Characters are pierced by arrows and swords and fall to the ground (many are injured, and some do die), little gore is shown besides the odd cut on the lip or cheek.

I give it a C. This movie just barely hung on to Alex's attention and dragged on grasping at straws to truly be called a Narnia movie. sigh....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Africa? Africa? AFRICA???

Every now and again (okay more now than then but whatever it's my blog), God has these crazy conversations with me. I mean seriously crazy and I start checking not only my sanity but His too. It started several months ago maybe around December. My Best Friend Lori was turning 40 and her husband Trent was paying her way to go on a Mission Trip to Africa with our church. I tossed around the idea of going but God quickly put me in my place that I was only thinking about it because she was going. Well.. DUH.. 3 weeks kid free with my best friend on a crazy adventure... OF COURSE that's what I was thinking. Well, God as you can imagine was NOT pleased with my thought process and rightly told me so. Sigh.. no Africa trip for me in 2008.

Well, then my son (being the future Baptist Preacher that he is) begins the nightly ritual of praying for the people in Africa but especially the children. I mean he REALLY prays for them. He wants them all to have shoes, more than just rice to eat, a warm bed and most importantly someone to hug every day. Alex began to save part of his "commission" (aka: allowance) for the children in Africa. Every time he outgrows something he tells me to bag it up for the kids in Africa.

I started wondering if God was trying to tell me something through Alex. So I really started listening and praying hard with Alex. I asked God if he had a message for me to make it clear.

Now stay with me here.... this all makes sense in my head but typed out.. well who knows!

For the past 6 months not a day has gone by that something hasn't prompted my attention and prayers for Africa. A website link, a newspaper ad, a TV show, my son in his 100 questions. The interesting part is that it is always kid related.. always.

About a month ago I was in my room folding laundry and Alex comes in, climbs up on my bed for a "chat". I can always tell when it's gonna be serious because he gets comfy and looks very serious. Here is how the conversation went:

Alex: Mama, God told me that I was going to get a "chocolate brother"

Me: umm really? a chocolate one huh?

Alex: yes from Africa

Me: Ok

Alex: no I am serious and you have to go get him!

Me: Alex, Africa is very far away and very expensive to get there. You can't just go and pick a baby put him in a suitcase and fly home with a baby.

At this point I have gone from aww he's so cute to ohh man he's going to get his heart broken.

Alex: Mama, I'm not worried God will take care of it all. You just listen okay?

Me: Umm Okay Alex but be patient okay? And know it's God's will no matter what. I Love you and you are my forever boy.

Alex: climbs down and leaves the room saying YEAH I'm getting a chocolate brother!!

(Slapping forehead)... OHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say I have told others this story with the "awe Alex said the cutest thing"... But now I wonder if it isn't something more?

I have been feeling more and more drawn to go to Africa on our teams next trip in July 09'. Every time I begin to argue with why I CANNOT GO.. God responds.... ugh.... WHY does HE always respond?? lol

Let me just lay it out here as t why I cannot go to Africa......

1. $$$$$$$ JUST to go it's $5,000 not to mention spending money etc and all the things I don't know about, hidden fees etc.

2. It's a 3 week trip.. I CANNOT leave my son and husband for that long!

3. Who in the world would take care of Alex while I am gone and Rick's at work?

4. Who would do my job (at work) for 3 weeks?

5. I would need a mess of shots $$$$$

6. I need a Visa $$$$

7. I would need Luggage?? $$$

8. I would need different clothes $$$$$

9. What if I am not spiritually ready?

10. How am I a "baby" Christian suppose to minister to others when I can barely minister to myself??

11. What if it crushes my spirit?

12. What if I actually get touched instead of me touching them?

13. What if I cannot function because of the food?

14. What if I get sick?

Okay.. I think you get the picture of my own personal battle. So, what I need from all of you is prayer. Please pray for guidance and for me to just be still and rely on God and not myself.

Is God serious??? He wants ME to go to Africa to love on the baby's???????????

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alex Rocks!


Well it's far too early since I was awake for 3 hours in the middle of the night. But That being said I thought I would re-introduce my pride and joy.. ALEX!!

So here is a recent picture of The Man, The Myth, The Legend! LOL.. This is from our 2008 T-ball season. He played for the Giants and Rick and I were assistant coaches. He had a good season with a lot less crying which was really nice. We really worked on his swing and about half way through I got him leaning back and stepping and then BAM... he started parking it. He has been hitting some gorgeous line drives into center field since then. He is still pretty weak in the catching area but I think it's because he literally can't see the ball till it smacks him in the head. lol That being said he was the youngest member of the team yet one of the better players. He was consistent. He has a great throw but gets anxious and misses his target (normal for this age) and awesome hitting. We really just needs to work on his fielding and catching but I truly believe we are on the brink with that too.

For some reason this year he has taken to wanting to pitch. He has a mean pitching wind-up too. I am not sure where that comes from since he is still in t-ball. However, I started pitching in softball at 7 and pitched for the next 10 years. Red Sox fans delight though because he is LEFT HANDED!!!! Could he be a dream come true and be a left handed pitcher??? OH BABY..... Be sure to keep his name tucked into your memory because one day you just might see him pitching for my beloved Red Sox in the world series.

Hey a Mama can dream!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Heartburn.........

Heartburn is like the devil...

I fight it everyday yet continue to eat foods that I know I shouldn't. Honestly though just about everything irritates it. This "morning" 1:31am to be exact I sit in my recliner regurgitating the black raspberry ice cream that I ate at 8pm. UGH....

Unlike most people my heartburn takes on the lovely special effect of causing my lungs to burn thus setting off my asthma. This morning I awoke to not only 2 dogs on my head one of which was licking my face off but also an asthma attack. grrreeeeaaatttttt.......... (said with much sarcasm).

I have suffered with asthma for 33 yrs now.. and only in the last 3 did they finally figure out that my asthma was partially being caused by heartburn. WHOA... Taking an pill every day for my stomach has basically put a stop to the wheezing. BUT when the stomach flairs up you can guarantee so does the asthma. sigh.....

So here I sit in my recliner at now 1:36am waiting for the drugs to kick in so I can quit burping up black raspberry ice cream with chocolate jimmies. (OR for you southern people sprinkles).

Well lookie there... you look up the definition of heartburn and look what you get the mention of asthma!!!

"Heartburn or pyrosis is a painful or burning sensation in the esophagus, just below the breastbone usually associated with regurgitation of gastric acid.[1] The pain often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. Heartburn is also identified as one of the causes of chronic cough, and may even mimic asthma. Despite its name, heartburn actually has nothing to do with the heart. It is so called because of a burning sensation of the breastbone where the heart is located although some heart problems do have a similar sensation to heartburn. Compounding the confusion is the fact that hydrochloric acid from the stomach comes back up the esophagus because of a problem with the cardiac sphincter, a valve which misleadingly contains the word "cardiac" (an adjective referring to the heart) in its name."

Notice no mention of the devil though... hmph! Go Figure.. I am sure it is a spawn of satan though. WELL THAT JUST isn't COOL!! Spell checker wants me to capitalize satan. WHAT!?!?! does satan deserve to be capitalized like we capitalize our names or Jesus?? I think not. I am just going to have to ignore those ugly red lines all over my page screaming spelling error. I would like to send mister spell checker a nasty little e-mail about his spelling of satan. ugh.. satan may be a "proper name" but excuse me it does NOT deserve to be capitalized. Not at least in my little corner of the blogging world.

In my quest of uncapitalizing (which apparently is not a word) satan I found this blog that agrees with me. Down with capitalizing satan!! Now, after just surfing this guys blog for a few minutes I am totally tickled and bookmarked him. BUT my highlight is that he totally agrees satan should not be capitalized. Maybe I can start a new trend and get others to not capitalize satan too??

Okay it's 2am and I am on a rant about capitalization... seriously! I haven't posted in almost a year and THIS is the best I can come up with???