Storming Ahead

August 16th, 2016

Picture it: Cooking a crazy delicious dinner and the tornado sirens begin blaring.

Do you (A) Throw down your apron and run for cover?
or (B) Keep on cooking and sit down to eat with your family?

Well, I’ll tell you what my people did last evening. We kept going and watched like hawks every cloud and gust of wind that whistled by.

WE WERE HUNGRY!!!

No need to rub our blessing of remaining safe and sound in anyone’s face. God protected us and I’m not joking when I say we were literally passed right by – by a mean little tornado.

wf torn

This is my neighborhood.

torn a do

Several neighbors posted video of the action and it was so very close to us that when we finally went outside (after we finished dinner) debris was falling into our yards and street. We felt incredibly grateful!

My yard took a little pounding from all the rain and wind, but for the most part….still looks good.

sun flo droop

down flow

my fron yard

fro po

Sunflowers, down! Beaten to the ground. 🙁 Loved those guys!

my boooooook

This? Oh, this! Yea, that’s my very first crime novel short story posted over yonder on AMAZON KINDLE!!!!

YES, I am a published author! Kiss it, baby!! Or buy it! Whichever. Oh okay, I’ll kiss ya if you buy it! Haha!

Don’t worry. It won’t knock anyone off of the number #1 spot of Best Seller’s. But, it’s mine and I’m so danged excited to send it out into the world. It’s a little weird, so be warned. Who knew? Sitting down to write out some words would feel so good?

Yeehaw!!!

Find it HERE

dy in to gra

Olympic Exhaustion

August 12th, 2016

The Olympics are going to kill me.  I know, I’m being dramatic but how many more nights can I stay up watching into the early morning hours and not kill over from sleep deprivation? Come on, NBC. Give us a break!

Oh…him  yea, well so the guy is some sort of super human water machine.  

It looked to me like he was pretty much all alone in that race for gold last night.

Michael Michael Michael!  How do you do it?  While I’m over here complaining about staying up so late.  Humph!

Any who.  The gymnastics are my jam!  But, dang!!  So. Late.

Can’t we run these events earlier?  How are school-aged kids tuning in?

Even the Baltimore Ravens stopped their NFL ballgame last night to watch Phelps smoke another GOLD medal!

This is a time for dreaming!!

I remember…..Nadia!  I was glued, obsessed and driven to be her.  I flipped my way into every room in my house.

Gymnastics filled my every afternoon and Saturday’s too.  I competed on a team all through elementary grades and never once wanted to skip practice or events.

I wanted to be her!

Sadly, every single item from my gymnastic days is long gone.  My house burned down taking every pic, trophy and leotard with it. 

The only thing I still have….are my gymnast legs!

lay gs

Yea, I know. I’m getting ready to do something. Just wait.

laygs

Oh, ok…so that’s not so hard. Whatevs man.

la gy

At least I can still do this …

legsy

(Cue the music: I believe I can fly!!)

And they are 2 months from turning 5 0

    so, don’t ask me to do a round-off into the living room! I might hurt myself!

    Go USA!!!

    Happy Friyay friends!

Throwing Me Back

August 11th, 2016

I’m on my way to the dentist….spent the afternoon with the gyno yesterday and writhed in pain all night last night with my left hand (affectionately known to me now as CURLY because it’s gnarled up and won’t open at all).

So, yea…..had to have help putting on my bra and I’m not even bothering with brushing my hair. But, I’m still smiling. Sort of, anyway. Wait til all the shots get me like YEOWCH at 12 today. 🙂

Here’s something to blow your dang mind on this Thursday baby!

Look back to the 80’s with a few senior pics! Good times. No janked up cavities to be refilled, no gnarly curled up hands and zero responsibilities. Woo to the Hoo, y’all.

I may be “older” but I’m still kickin!

tb mama

And for my final share…… serious attitude face. Fierce! Before fierce was a thing. hehe

tb tb

What a little bitty, huh? Geez, it’s as if …. she knows how this 2 hour dental appointment is about to go. AM I RIGHT?

Oh young me!! You make me laugh. Grow up!

PS.  As I was pulling out of my garage to trek to the dentist and because God has the greatest sense of humor….my very thoughtful Gynecologist called me, personally to inform me that I am indeed in the midst of menopause!  Well, it was a good life.  Goodbye now, I’m on the way to glory!!  Thank you very much!

Goodbye Worst Summer Ever

August 9th, 2016

esca pe

Summer 2016 has officially come to an end. My precious summer gone! The days of sleeping in and hanging out around the pool, going without makeup for days…..over. I’ll miss you, summer!

I can’t help but grovel about what a lousy ending it closed out with this year. I mean, who can call summer awesome when your hubby loses his job? The job that sustains all your well-being? I don’t think there’s a person alive that would say, “Yea, best summer ever!”.

Suck it, summer 2016!

Never one to just sit around and sulk, I’m getting busy. I have a life to live and I have things I want to do. Even if the most needed part of my life is topsy turvy.

If you’ve ever wondered where your next paycheck was going to come from, then you understand topsy turvy. Thanks to this maddening situation, my entire family is feeling upside down. Who can blame them? Imagine being 2 months from turning 50 and losing your job!

Who wants to hire the guy that’s been around the block? He costs more than say, young dude out of college. Jobs are not a hot commodity these days.

So, I’m really feeling ticked!

I’m angry that my precious summer was wrecked by such a thoughtless and cowardly “business” move. I’m mad! I have every right to be mad too. My hubby left another job, I left my job & friends & kids behind to follow this little pipe dream of a job offer. And this is how it ends?

Disgusting.

I’m learning, even at almost 50 years old that people will use you and throw you away when they’re finished with you. And the hardest part? Is that they’ll never even give it a second thought. It’s like being in a flavor of the month club. You’re special or important until they decide they don’t need you anymore.

I don’t want to hear one more pathetic word about THIS IS JUST BUSINESS! That’s crap! Smart business people don’t wreck people and then just get away with it. I’m learning, that…yes, they do.

As a believer, I don’t think powerful decision makers get a free run over the little people under them. God is still King. He is still reigning over His children. He judges the heart and the intentions. He sees the injustice and He rights the wrongs.

Because of that…..it’s my only hope of surviving the stress of my hubby losing his job. God will bless. He also will hold accountable those who misuse their power. My prayer is that He will close out this summer with all the HOPE I can carry and that my worries will fade just as quickly as the summer has.

Goodbye worst summer ever.

god time

God,
I know You have my future in Your Hands. Help me focus on Your goodness and Your mercy. My life is but a vapor. Let it be worthy in Your eyes.
Amen.

Authenticity

August 3rd, 2016

I’m about to get personal.

I know, I always do. It’s my nature to let it all hang out and this post has been rattling around in my heart for years. Like, seriously. A long time.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you….I’m deeply indebted to so many people that have walked alongside me in my faith path. I’m not where I should be, but I am certainly trying to get where God wants me to be. Every day.

In my teen years when my heart was pliable and mold-able, some really dedicated leaders loved on me and helped plant the Love of Jesus in my heart. It worked. I fell hard and in my own foolish ignorance, bumbled around trying to figure out just how to do this Christian believer lifestyle. I lived in a house of unsaved people. Following Jesus was going to be really tricky. Plus, I was a brand new Christian. I didn’t know how to be Christ-like. So, I joined the ranks of other followers and did what they did. Talked like they talked. Acted like they acted.

DANGEROUS. SHEEP-LIKE. NORMAL.

Fast-forward many years. I met a guy, he loved Jesus and we fell in love. We walked the aisle, said, “I do!” and started our happily ever after. Kids came along and we thought we were doing all that God required of us to live a happy and blessed life.

Then, we got restless. We started to wander. Life as we knew it didn’t feel complete. Something needed to happen. So, we hooked our wagon to seminary and took off for the ministry.

My first few weeks at Bible college were filled with anxious thoughts. Not thoughts of – did we make a mistake? But, thoughts of – What am I doing here? I’m a tiny little baby Christian and I don’t know anything about this great big God. I’m weak. I’m naive. I’m simple. I’m not Bible savvy. I’m just a normal gal.

It seemed like every person I met had a super power of Bible knowledge and I was way behind the curve. I prayed for God to help me not feel so insecure. I knew what I needed to do to change that was study God’s Word. So, I did that with a house full of babes. I read my Bible and I studied every lesson I could find. God provided other women for me to lean on and grow alongside while I was there. Those friendships are still solid and longstanding because they were genuine and linked to a common desire – to know and love God more.

They were authentic.

We left seminary because that’s what happens. God sends you out to do THE WORK of ministry. We were warned. We were cautioned as to what REAL LIFE could and would do to our fragile egos and ministry muscles. Like an obstacle course of Jesus Ninja Warrior, the real ministry trenches challenge you. Just when you think you’ve made it to the buzzer goal, you slip and fall. Ministry life bruises you and knocks you around. It leaves marks on your heart and mind that take a long time to heal. It feels like it’s going to kill you some days. It’s also amazing.

And that’s just what ministry is like in the American church. Don’t even get me started about crossing an international line of safety. That’s hard work. That’s hard living. That’s struggle. My life, not even worth comparing to the missionaries of this world. God, love them hard.

We didn’t stay long. We slipped out, quietly around year 10. Something we were warned would happen. Ministers leave the church and its people at record numbers. Churches are unhealthy and so are some in ministry. We’ve seen both. Sadly, we’ve experienced hurting churches and deeply hurting leaders. Satan has tricked and trampled many and continues to wreak havoc on those trying to live for Christ. We weren’t any better.

It’s been about 8 years since my hubby was called Pastor and our kids PK’s. We’ve missed it and then we’ve boasted at how we made it out alive (barely). I have no clue if we’ll ever go back or why we ever would (except, Jesus). I just know, that the past I’ve lived has jaded me.

I long for authenticity.

No matter where we’ve lived or what jobs we’ve worked, I have searched for those that are genuinely sold out for Christ. Oh, there are plenty who call themselves followers or Christians. But the ones who are truly authentic have been rare. Why? I don’t know. I used to think that I was just from another planet. Not literally, but culturally. The south is known as the Bible Belt and just about everyone I know…loves Jesus. Moving north felt a little like I was leaving behind the open trust of living out loud for the Lord.

Honestly, it felt like most people were ashamed of loving Jesus. Like, it was something to keep a secret. Or to yourself.

So, I fell into that hush hush society behavior too. And I felt miserable.

Christians do a great job of being so-so. Me included.

I love God. I am totally His. I don’t have anything to lose for loving Him and yet…..I live like I don’t even know Him some days. I’m ashamed.

He is never ashamed of me, ever.

auth

This topic is heavy, I know. Who wants to fess up to being a lukewarm Christian? I’ve been one and I’ve let my faith sit stagnant on a back burner for too long. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t offer rest to His children who wander aimlessly. He lovingly allows discomfort and even misery to keep us linked to Him and our true calling in this janked up world. (Welcome, Holy Spirit)

Thank you, Lord.

Here’s what I want you to know – I am just like you. I’m selfish, greedy, foolish, quick to judge, easily angered, wishy-washy, broken, needy and full of myself. I brag about my guaranteed spot in the Kingdom and still I fall flat on my face when it comes to sharing the Gospel. I live with all the blessings God has to offer and I miss out on a million chances to be the face of Jesus to a hurting world. I do a great job of living FOR WANDA!!

And when life gets rocky….. I cry out for help, from G O D !

I’m pathetic. I’m exactly the opposite of what I want in others around me, AUTHENTIC! I want real and I want to be real, to myself….to God and to those around me.

The reality? I can’t do that on my own. I will more than likely fall short. I’ll mess up. I’ll break in two and that’s okay. The Christian faith is a journey.

I’m dedicated to being authentic. Please be patient with me while God works and continues to mold me into the person He wants me to be.

be God

Does God Really Have a Plan For Me?

August 2nd, 2016

pain lord

I’ve had the nerve to question God a time or two during this uncertain time in our lives. I know, right? I catch myself feeling all sorry and down (maybe it’s because the stress of not finding a replacement job is looming overhead, I don’t know) and when I get in that low kind of thinking – I cry out to Him with “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GOD?” questions.

As if it’s any of my business.

I know I can trust Him. I know I can hold fast to His promise. I know He can make beauty from ashes. I know He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. I know He will never forsake me. I know He doesn’t cause pain. I know He uses the broken. I know He can use what someone meant for evil as good. I know He cares about my future. I know He loves me. I know He sees what is happening. I know He has a plan.

I know it all. Yet, here I am walking around bleary-eyed from another up & down sleepless night. My mind racing with thoughts of how quickly the time is passing without a single word of a new job prospect. We could lose our house and more if my hubby doesn’t find a job.

So, knowing all that I know about real life….I can’t help but feel apprehensive about our future.

This morning, God reminded me AGAIN just how mighty He is and that He is mindful of ME in the midst of my worrying. For the last few weeks, the story of Joseph has been pounded into my brain and I don’t believe it’s by accident. While Joseph’s life and mine are not the same (no one’s throwing me down a well to die to get rid of me) much of what we’re going through feels as though we’ve been tossed away and just forgotten. Like, we never mattered.

Joseph endured some rough years all because of what his brothers’ did to him. They meant him harm. Jealousy, dirty-hearted unkindness and sin in their hearts drove them to leave him there to die. I wonder if they ever even thought of him again after they walked away that day.

I’ve felt that about my own situation too. Is anyone even concerned that we may lose our whole world? Has anyone thought about us? Our bills? Our medical needs? Our college kid? Anything? Hello? Anybody?

Are we just done here? Goodbye?

Then God brings me back to Joseph. For years he lived in uncertainty. He was taken to Egypt, bought by Potiphar, given the job of overseer of his house, too good-looking not to catch the eye of an unhappy wife, accused of rape, thrown in jail and there he sat until he was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dream….where he finally gets his feet underneath him and proves he can be trusted. The road to success was bumpy, wouldn’t you say? Matter of fact, it was awful. Dreadful.

born for us

My situation feels awful, it seems dreadful. I fear I won’t last 13 years (that’s about how long Joseph was tossed here & there). I need rescuing soon, Lord (picture me, crying out again).

Then, the famine. Guess who comes to see Joseph for help? The brothers who meant him harm. They didn’t have a thought in the world that they’d be bowing down to their own flesh and blood for help. Never in their wildest dreams because they had left all concern for Joseph down in that well years before. He was gone from their lives or so they thought.

If you’ve ever wondered….Does God use what someone means as evil to fulfill His glory? YES, YES HE DOES. Remember Babylon? In the book of Habakkuk, God used the Babylonians (an evil people) to accomplish His will. His purpose was to bring judgement on Judah for their idolatry. Babylon, was His instrument. Joseph’s brothers? His instrument as well. What they did out of the meanness of their hearts, God used to fulfill His divine plan.

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20

I know I can hold fast to God’s ultimate plan for my future. I believe He is going to bless my family in spite of what feels like turmoil and unease. I know good can come from what seems like disaster. And I know, HE WILL USE WHOMEVER AND WHATEVER TO FULFILL HIS MISSION in my life.

tru st g o d

God,
You work in mysterious ways. Sometimes it’s right out in front for everyone to see and other times it’s hidden from all eyes. I know, You have a plan for me and my life. Help me to rest in that promise.
Amen.