Archive for Deep Thoughts

Women’s Weekend

I am not one to go off by myself.  In fact, I NEVER do.  NEVER.  BUT, last weekend, on very short notice, I got the opportunity to go to Middle TN to hear Priscilla Shirer.  PRISCILLA SHIRER, people.  If you do not know who she is, she is the daughter of evangelist Tony Evans, who is himself, amazing!  Anyway, I have done two of her Bible Studies and absolutely love her.  She is right up there with Beth Moore.  In fact, don’t tell anyone, but I might even like her a little bit better…and I LOVE me some Beth Moore!

Anywhoo, to make a long story longer, I searched and searched for someone to go with me but could not find anyone who could.  I had about decided not to go, but Tigerfan talked me into it and I decided to do something totally out of character and go with a bunch of women I had never met.  In fact, the lady who offered me the chance was someone I had only met once about two weeks before.  I decided the opportunity was just too good and I would be a big girl.  As it turned out, about three days before we were set to go, one of my friends worked things out and was able to go with me.  So, I did go out on a limb and made myself willing, but my Precious Heavenly Father chose to bless me by sending me a little lifeline!  Praise Him!

I went nuts trying to get things in order before leaving.  Poor Tigerfan even had to leave work early to take us to the meeting place and then keep the kids all afternoon.  He was so gracious (he really is a good egg!).  We had a fun little trip on the church van and ate an early lunch before the evening session.

And then…we worshipped.  Girls, I am telling you, we worshipped!  The singing was amazing, the message was amazing.  She talked (Friday night) about the children of Israel leaving Egypt and how we are freed by Christ when we receive him but that so many times we remain in captivity on our own.  Just like the Israelites begged to be returned to Egypt rather than wandering in the wilderness–often we go back to what is comfortable even though it keeps us captive!  That is so me!  She also talked about how important it was to expect to hear from God and we spent time just praying silently getting prepared to hear from Him.  It was really amazing!

Afterward 23 of us went to Shoney’s for a little treat.  My friend and I had decided just to visit and withstand the temptation of sugar at 10:00 at night, however, the waitress accidentally brought out four too many hot fudge cakes and we felt it our duty to help her out and eat one.  But we shared.  And we did not eat it all.  Really!  We had another surprise when we returned to the room to find our roommates had checked out.  It seems they did not want to share a room.  So, we even got our own beds to sleep in  aaaaaaagh!

We got up bright and early on Saturday for the second session.  More great music and then teaching on how to have a more meaningful Bible study time.  She gave a great plan for studying on your own without a “published” aid and let us practice with a few verses.  What an amazing thing–this has been something I have always struggled with.  I do great as long as I am doing a structured Study but when I am in between books, I flounder.  I have been using this method for a few days and while  I am still getting used to it, I can see where it can be really great and life changing.  After a short break (outside where we could thaw out because surely that church was only about 30 degrees), we met back for the final session where she talked about the Children of Israel finally making it into the promised land and being obedient.  She also stressed that that obedience was IMMEDIATE.  Wow, how hard is that?  And yet, our God is so faithful.  I tend to really question, wonder, pray, make sure that HE really means what He says and THEN obey.   So, I was really challenged to just obey (like I always tell my own children to do) and not question.

When we finally made it home, Tigerfan had vacuumed the whole house, done the laundry, cleaned the laundry room and bathed all the children.  Why is it that he can accomplish in two days what I cannot do in two months?  He even made a welcome home card/banner type thing including a “picture” of me with very ample “girls” and a nice tight, flat tummy complete with belly button ring.  Don’t you just love a good photo shop session!

Anyway, I do not for one moment regret going off with a bunch of strangers.  I would do it again in an instant even if my surprise friend didn’t get to join in at the last minute.  In fact, I think perhaps I saw God’s hand a little more and felt less pressure to “perform” because of the situation.  I am really going to try to implement the things I learned this weekend and really be prepared to hear from God and allow Him to work in me.  It really was a great weekend and I am so thankful to Tigerfan for letting me go.

I’ll be back later this week and get back to my normal, meaningless posting, but thanks for letting me share a little about the weekend!  I love all my sweet internet friends!!!

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Brace yourselves, Deep Thoughts Follow

I have always been a quiet person, an introvert, I guess.  I was sandwiched between two very outgoing and fun sisters.  I was the “nerdy” bookworm.  They were fun with loads of friends.  I was smart with a few friends that I was extremely loyal to.

I was fashion challenged from the start although I didn’t know it.  Oh, how I wish I could figure out how to post pictures because I have a great picture of my favorite outfit from sixth grade.  It was a red and blue knicker jumpsuit complete with red and blue argyle socks.  I even donned the feathered locks!  In elementary school, I was blissfully unaware of my…fashion shortcomings.  In Junior high, I was too naive.  I can remember a few kids making fun, but I laughed along with them thinking how fun it was to joke with “friends”.  In high school, I clued in a little and when I began working spent more time trying to fit in to the styles, etc.  In fact, I probably thought I was quite “dapper!”

I never really felt great about myself, though.  I never measured up to my own standards.  I can remember crying with my mom because I wasn’t cool and popular like my sisters.  I never had a boyfriend, never became a leader at school, etc.  I knew my place in the high school hierarchy.  I wasn’t ultra nerdy, I wasn’t popular.  I was the one that 10 years later, people probably didn’t even realize was missing from the reunion.

I thrived more in college and gained some confidence, but I was a western girl in a southern school.  I still didn’t fit the mold.  I then married a man with some serious OCD tendencies.  He is GREAT, but some things I do will never measure up.  I can remember one day, early in our marriage, cleaning house.  When he came home, he mentioned his parents might come for the weekend so we really needed to clean up the place.  I was devastated…I just wasn’t enough.

I know I am not alone when I say, these feelings didn’t get better with motherhood.  I question every decision and when my children disobey or make bad choices…it somehow becomes about my lack of ability as a parent.

I have been through Bible Studies, read books, listened to Bible teachers, etc. all of which tell me I am made in God’s image, I am His perfect product, I am not a mistake.  All of that is in my head, but it is sooo hard to move that knowledge to my heart.  I guess that is one reason I love blogging.  There are no expectations, I can sit at the computer without makeup and 30 pounds overweight and people judge me not for my looks or fashion sense but for my words.  Although I sometimes wonder what my blogging friends look like, I do not choose them based on clothes or weight or looks or finances.  I am drawn to people with my values, my faith, people in a similar place in life, people I can relate to on the inside.

This is not to say I do not struggle with the same feelings of acceptance.  I will never be a Boomama or a Bigmama.  I will probably never be asked to be a guest/featured writer somewhere else.  Heavens, I can go days without a single comment and have had days in the not so recent past when 10 readers got me excited.  The funny thing is, that is not why I started blogging–it just seems to be human nature, or perhaps my nature, to want that acceptance, to want to excel, be known for SOMETHING (I mean other that being the crazy lady with 4 kids and that disheveled look on her face!).

Anyway, I say ALL that to say this.  I was walking on the treadmill yesterday and listening to a very old radio program about how women struggle with self image.  Beautiful women, popular women, successful women.  And somehow, the message FINALLY got through to my heart.  The way I see me and even the ways others see me is NOT how my God sees me.  He sees me not with all my flaws but clothed in garments of righteousness because I am His.  He purchased me with the highest price.  When I dread going to church because I am afraid of how people will see me–he sees beauty.  When I look in the mirror in disgust at a body that doesn’t seem to want to go back to its original shape, He sees not the fat but the heart.  The fact is–all those people whose opinions I am so worried about probably aren’t really paying attention anyway.  But I am never out of the Father’s thoughts!  Should I try to take care of myself–of course.  Should I strive to be healthy and a healthy weight–definitely.  But I need to stop wasting time worrying about how the world sees me and spend more time just bringing glory to the Father.  I will never be a beauty queen.  I will never win blogger of the year.  I sure won’t win mother of the year but I hope that when I start getting in the dregs of those old feelings that I am not enough, I remember that, no, I am not enough.  But my God is!

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Pride Cometh Before a Fall

Several years ago I worked at a Mother’s Day Out.  I helped in the Pre-K room and each day we would take our class and go out to the playground with the other Pre-K class.  The children would run around and play while the teachers watched them, sat on a bench and chatted.  I remember many days when the other teachers would make comments like, “I left my house in a wreck this morning!” or “We didn’t have time to make a single bed today.”  I must admit that, while I never spoke up, I listened with pride KNOWING that I would NEVER let my house get that way.  After all, I had two children.  Those ladies only had one more than me.  They just needed to be more organized, plan a little better, have the kids help out.  There is no reason they can’t leave their house neat and orderly.

I am sure you can see where this is going!

Fast Forward a few years and two kids.  A lot has changed since those days.  I now homeschool.  I teach at a tutorial that requires planning and grading.  I have more children who are into more activities and make bigger messes.  They have friends who come to play and places/things to go and do.  My house–it is a WRECK!  I know it is a wreck.  I do not like it, but I am powerless against the forces of clutter that have taken over!  Every time I walk in my kitchen I swear this is the day I will tame the chaos.  Every night when I fall exhausted in to bed, I promise myself tomorrow I will get to it!  I have been reading a book and have felt quite convicted about my house, and frankly myself.  The book talks about how visual men are and how they really want to come home to a neat house and a put together wife.  SO, today, I was determined–I was going to get it done–Today was the day!  I got started early and got the kids involved. They did their “morning musts” and began summer math review and reading.  I got the laundry started and while the baby napped and the boys read, I got started on lunch.  We were doing a big lunch today because Tigerfan has a class to teach at the University tonight and wouldn’t be home for supper.  I made dessert, I cleaned up the dishes, unloaded the dishwasher, swapped laundry….the kids finished reading and quietly began playing together in the living room (they knew to play quietly so as not to draw attention to themselves thereby getting drawn into more housework).  I started the chicken, made a salad, prepared garlic toast, etc.  I washed ALL the dishes as I worked and even shined my sink (FLYlady would be so proud).  I must admit that old prideful feeling was coming back!  Baby started fussing and I jumped up to get him thinking that I could feed him and have everything ready as soon as Tigerfan got home.  I ran up the stairs, got the baby, took him to the kitchen, fed him, washed him up, and grabbed his bottle.

It was at this point my pride took a beating.  I literally could not walk from the kitchen, through the computer room to the living room and if I had, I could not have made it to the couch.  My beautiful children, who had been playing so well together had basically taken every toy we own, brought it down to those rooms and set up housekeeping!  I hadn’t even gotten one room cleaned, just maintained its current state, and two rooms were impassible.

Now, the good news I didn’t yell.  The bad news.  I just can’t figure it out.  What am I doing wrong?  (That is besides blogging instead of cleaning).  How do you balance a pleasing, neat home AND children who require time, attention and love?  I cannot find a balance.  Well, the living room is now straightened, but the kitchen is not and I would love to clean it up…but right now I have an appointment with the 8 and 5 year old “Ten Years Younger” team. 

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I discovered a show on TLC recently that I love.  It is called Home Made Simple.  The premise of the show is that these home “experts” (angels if you ask me) come into the home of some pitiful person and help them with whatever they may need:  organizing, event planning, etc.  I have only seen this show a couple of times but I usually salivate while watching.  I need those people!  I need someone to come into my house organize me and teach me how to manage my time etc.

Interestingly, I was watching today and as they went to a commercial a “Fast Fact” popped up on the screen.  Would you like to know what it said?  I thought you would never ask:  Multitasking does not save time, you get more accomplished by focusing on one project at a time!  I am ahead of my time, I really believe that!  🙂

Anyway, there are a couple of shows like that on T.V. right now.  Another one is Deserving Design where the ever popular Vern Yip comes in and redesigns the room of a deserving person.  I always tell Tigerfan I am deserving, he should come to me!  I joke about this frequently but do not really expect the design mavens or Vern to show up at my door anytime soon.  Especially since no matter how hard I try to convince him, Football boy just will not get on the websites and nominate me!  How,ever, I do sometimes long for that elusive thing that will get me together and find myself having a little pity party thinking “I deserve it!”  I was thinking along those lines recently and remembered a lesson I had learned while doing the Daniel Bible Study by Beth Moore.  I really do not remember the whole lesson but what I do remember is that all I really deserve is death and Hell.  I am a sinner and so often this world tries to convince us that we deserve the best, deserve rewards, etc.  but the truth is I deserve nothing good.  Everything good that I have comes as a blessing from a loving heavenly Father.  So, today I am going to try to just be thankful for the many blessings I have instead of resentful about the work that goes into taking care of them!  I am so grateful for the roof over our heads despite the dirt covered floor under it.  I am thankful for my beautiful husband and children even though they come packaged up with 10-15 loads of laundry a week.  I am thankful for the precious friends, church, etc we have been given despite the fact that it takes work to keep up those relationships!  And, today…I am thankful for the gift certificates we have been given making it possible for Tigerfan and I to go on a date tonight!  Have a great evening, I know I will!

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It’s a Conspiracy

I need to lose weight!  I would like to say it is just a few lingering baby pounds but the truth is they are lingering from baby number 3, not baby number 4.  You will find me very romantic to know that I gave Tigerfan a set of scales for Valentine’s Day–can’t you feel the love?  Truly, though, we both could stand to lose a few pounds (okay, I could stand to lose about 30 pounds, DON’T JUDGE ME!) so we have been talking about dieting a lot lately.  That is all we have been doing.  Talking.  Usually at 9:00 at night while drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies.  But the idea is there!  At first I had the excuse that I was recovering from pregnancy and I did get on the treadmill.  Once.  I have also done crunches.  Twice.  I really can no longer use the pregnancy excuse.  Baby is 7 weeks old so it is time to get busy!  However, I have concluded that Hershey’s, M&M’s/Mars, and probably a few other large companies along with their retail counterparts do not want me to lose this weight!  It all began with Christmas goodies.  Red and Green chocolates, bell shaped candy, etc.  I buy them for the candy dish, for stockings, to bake with and the house is full of chocolate deliciousness.  And then Christmas is over and the candy goes on sale.  Who can resist chocolate for 50-75% off?  We then begin birthday season beginning Jan. 1 with Papaw then Dancer, Tigerfan, and Nana all during the month of January which of course requires cakes, desserts at restaurants and treats in treat bags.  All this ends just in time for Valentines Day where I again must run out and purchase Holiday themed chocolates to show my undying love to my precious children who will completely ignore the candy after a couple of days while I eat a piece (or ten) each time I walk by.  I again resolve to lose weight and resist the lure of chocolate only to walk into any retail establishment to find them offering the lovely sweetness at bargain prices.  Why?  Because they are clearing their shelves to make room for EASTER CANDY!  Is it any wonder that I, a woman of little to no will power cannot seem to even begin a diet?  I think Weight Watchers must own stock in Hershey’s.  It is just wrong, people, it is wrong!

On the subject of weight loss.  I have begun reading a book by Liz Curtis Higgs called “One Size Fits All and other Fables”.  It talks about the futility of dieting and that while we should try to take care of our bodies and be healthy we should also just learn to accept our bodies (and others’) the way they are and live a happy life no matter what our size.  This is so much easier said than done.  It is so hard not to compare yourself with everyone else in a room or look at yourself in a mirror and wish you could just fix….  Well, I have read several chapters of the book today and wondered how to get to that point of acceptance.  Knowing God created me in a “fearful and wonderful way” and loving myself instead of trying to convince God he must have made a mistake is soooo hard.  So, we were playing hooky from church tonight (still trying to keep the baby away from too many people–flu season, you know) and decided to watch Extreme Home Makeover together.  This is one of the few shows on T.V. anymore that just makes you feel good to watch.  They were redoing a house for a family where the oldest child, Patrick Henry, was born without eyes and without the ability to straighten his limbs.  As a result, he is, of course, blind and unable to walk.  When the family came out of the house, this 19 year old young man smiled from ear to ear and just endeared himself to everyone.  One of the team members asked how he could be so outgoing and happy with his disabilities and he responded that he didn’t think of himself as disabled.  He thinks sighted people have the disability because we tend to judge people the moment we see them, but he can only judge the inside, because he cannot see the outside.  I found that so profound.  I judge not only others by what I see, but myself, I am constantly comparing myself to others around me.  Am I the fattest, the worst dressed, the loudest (the comparisons are never positive) and automatically assume that those people see me the way I imagine myself.  What a blessing to not ever have to worry or judge based on sight.  How amazingly blessed that young man is to see his situation as a blessing and make the best of it.  He is not paralyzed by his disabilities, rather he is an inspiration.  I will definitely be trying to implement his ability to accept people for who they are inside and not judge by the outside appearance.

In other random thoughts, as you can see, I am still finding it incredibly difficult to sit down and blog.  I enjoy the times I do and the closeness to friends and family but feel frustrated at my failure to be consistent.  Bear with me,  I am trying.  Anyway, in the last week and a half since I last posted we have hung curtains in our bedroom!  Not life changing, I know, but for the first time in 12 1/2 years of marriage, I have curtains in my room!  How exciting.  AND, they look great if I do say so myself.  We have also purchased a new (used) car.  We have moved up to a small bus ( a Yukon XL) in order to accommodate our ever growing family and have room to go to LA with Nana and Papaw or pick up Nana Croc and Pops from the airport.  I have now driven my busvehicle twice and have not hit anything or run over any small children yet, so,  Yeah me!  I have purchased material and cut out the pattern for a spring outfit for Dancer and am looking for fabric for an Easter basket and skort.  However, at the rate I am going those will have to be for next Easter!  🙂  Aimee, from Sewsensible has a new website with the patterns and some night when Tigerfan can help me, I am going to include a little link thing (do I startle you with my technical knowledge?) to it. Science Fair has ended and we all survived and all that is left is for me to take my winners to our regional Fair.  Until next year.  When we do it all again.  Why do we torture ourselves?  I guess that is about all the news from our home-front.  I will post again.  Sometime.  Until then remember you ARE “fearfully and wonderfully made”. 

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Quality Time

Nothing thought provoking or really very interesting tonight, but the other day I was reading a blog from dcrmom about quality time versus quality time and it got me thinking about how I spend all day everyday with my kids but do not really spend a lot of quality time with them.  You know, when baseball boy begins the 10 minute retelling of the two minute commercial he saw on T.V. for the  100th time and all of the sudden he is done talking and I realize I have uh-huhed and ooohhhed my way through what may have been my agreeing to let him get a tattoo (which by the way will not happen because all of my children are convinced you can go to jail for doing that–I did not tell them that but hey, if they want to believe it, who am I to spoil their knowledge?).Anyway, today has been a day of quality time and it has been really fun(nish).  I had a hair appointment this morning so we started school early hoping to get a little out of the way.  We then had to go to the library and it had been so long since we had been there that they had a ball–at the library!  Of course, to my horror, my sweet Tigerfan called while we were there and I had forgotten to turn off my phone so it rang. loudly. in the library. which, my friends, is not good at our library!  However, he redeemed himself when he said he was calling to see if we wanted to come meet he and his parents for lunch at Burger King.  So we rushed home, got in a few more minutes of school and ran back into town.  We had a great lunch, just a nice surprise, and went home to finish school.  Ordinarily that many delays and interruptions would make for a really rough afternoon, but the boys had a great attitude and although school ran late, they were very sweet.I had already planned on making eggrolls for supper tonight (one of Tigerfans favorites) so we had a great supper and then the children spent the rest of the evening performing circus acts for us.  I must admit, the entertainment value for us was, well, lacking BUT the point is, the children had a ball performing and being the center of attention all night!  They didn’t even fuss when at 8:00 we were rushing them to bed (because, really you can only watch Circus for so long) and bribing them with reading for a little while when ordinarily they would fuss to watch a movie.And now, because the theme of the evening is quality time, my sweet Tigerfan just got back from getting a half gallon of Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream from Baskin Robbins and we are going to enjoy some time with one another and a high calorie dairy product!  It just doesn’t get any better than that!

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Deeper Still

Well, I had a great couple of days in Nashville.  I was so blessed to be able to go to the Deeper Still Conference with Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kay Arthur.  It was absolutely fabulous!

Tigerfan gave me the ticket for Christmas last year which was soooo sweet, but it was also a little scary for me because normally if I didn’t have a “buddy” to go with, I wouldn’t go.  In this instance, I had to go–it was a gift so I stepped out of my comfort zone and signed up to go with my church group.  I even roomed with a girl I had never met, very unlike me.  I am so glad that I did because the weekend was a blessing.  Let me just share the highlights.

1. Mandisa was there and sang “Shackles”–enough said!

2.Priscilla Shirer was and is incredible!  She is the daughter of Tony Evans and is just as inspired!  Her message was incredible!  The one thing that stuck with me the most was this thought:  How would my actions/attitude change if I had an awareness that God is here!  Wow!  that is still a very deep thought!

3.  Beth Moore is not only adorable and funny but absolutely profound!  I want to be her when I grow up!  I loved this idea in her message:  A good decision may not be a God decision.  She was talking about David in 2 Samuel 7.  He wanted to build a house for God but God had no need of a house, instead He would build a house for David.  He wants to do that for us–He wants so much more for us than we even imagine for ourselves.  It is really unfathomable!

4.  Kay Arthur is not only brilliant, she is probably the spriest 70 something year old I have ever seen.  After being Beth Moore for awhile, I want to be Kay Arthur in my older years!  She was inspiring not only because she is sooooo knowledgeable about the Bible (she can truly give you a scripture for just about anything) but very, very honest.  She talked about being at Crossroads in life and avoiding sin but also about the hope and redemption we have because of God’s grace.  I love what she said about our past–just stop moaning and groaning about it.  We can’t change it so let God use it!  Amazing.

5.  At the last break, I really should have used the bathroom.  However, the line was extraordinarily long and my reasoning was I really did not think I could stand up and hold it, so I would go sit down and when the last session started, I would be the annoying person who had to excuse herself over a row full of people to use the facilities.  I did not realize that the question and answer forum would be so highly entertaining, though and I just couldn’t tear myself away.  I do not know if I have ever laughed so hard or come so close to soiling my own britches in all my life!

This, of course, is only a small drop of all I was blessed to experience this weekend but I must tear myself away.  If you get a chance, you must try to go see any of these women but if a Deeper Still event comes close to you-you MUST try to go-you will not regret it.

Have a great day!

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