Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Things

5 seems like a small number, but not when you choose to describe aspects of yourself.

There are 5 things that strangers and acquaintances reading this blog don't know about me:

*I have a crooked pinky on my right hand. So does my sister. Neither of us ever
broke our pinkies and we figure it is hereditary.

*I used to be a belly dancer. I haven't performed in front of an audience since
2009. (If only you could see my cool belly flutters and rolls).

*I have never broken a bone which is funny because I have issues with absorbing vitamin D and calcium.

*I have moved (if you count from city to city, state to state and apt. to house,
to dorm to house, etc.) at least 30 times in my life.

*I am a motherless mother. My mom passed away 5 years ago and didn't get to meet my children while on earth.

The 5 things I like to think I am knowledgeable about are:

1. Art, I have a BFA in scultpure.
2. ESL: I taught it for 6 years at Harris Bilingual Immersion School
3. Losses: I have experienced SO many and I am not even 40 yet. I have learned what NOT to say when people experience them.
4. Birds. I can identify A LOT and I have discovered how to attract them to my backyard.
5. Cooking: I can make different kinds of cuisines and I am famous for my Southern or Indian dishes.

I know nothing about these 5 things:

1. Astrophysics ( I don't care to anyway).
2. Lawyer stuff (other than what is on T.V. or in movies).
3. Airplanes.
4. Sailing-I am not fond of sharks, so I don't want to tempt fate.
5. Having a disability or debilitating disease. I am grateful for my health.

Last, but not necessarily least...

There are 5 things I believe strongly in:

*Washing your hands after you use the bathroom and before you put ANYTHING in
your mouth. We could avoid lots of sickness and grossness this way.

*That eating chocolate and throwing eggs is quite healing.

*Hugging and loving your family daily. Unspoken acts are just as healing and
important as those we express audibly.

*Junk in, junk out. What we see, hear, taste, and experience regularly has great
impact on who we are inside and out.

*That there is only one God, I am NOT Him and that His son, Jesus was the ultimate expression of the Lord's message to us that we matter to Him and that he loves us.

Whew! There ya have it folks...5 things unveiled.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Importance of a Light bulb

In my home this year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving was spent getting the Christmas decorations out and ready to go. We decided to put up the artificial tree we bought last year after New Years. We got a HUGE deal on that expensive item and now we get to enjoy it this Christmas.
When Hubby and I opened the box, we found three pieces of fake tree to slightly assemble. Not too hard, really. The pretend Fir comes with multicolored lights attached so no more untangling gobs of stringed bulbs. Yay!
7 ft. tree assembled, check. Limbs and branches spread out to look authentic, check. Lights lit and working, nope. Okay, I exaggerate. It was one little section. Figures.

Ya know that elation you feel right before you know you will experience joy? Only it is deflated the moment the disappointing reality occurs? Yep, that pretty much describes the feeling we got when we expected the tree to be fully lit.

Not willing to be defeated by a few light bulbs, we worked as a team to figure out if it was a fuse or one bulb causing the problem. All the while being interrupted by sweet, curious eyes or a voice coming from the other room. "I want to put on an ormant." That's Schafer's version of ornament.

When we tried both options and had failed, we felt like banishing the synthetic joy killer, but ya know what I did? I prayed.

I have always struggled with bothering the Lord over petty requests and this one might be the most pitiful, but I wanted our tree to work. I wanted my children to experience this tradition. My small prayer went like this:
Lord, you say that we can ask you anything in your name. Please help us find a solution, as I want this tree to work. Please fix our tree.

I let out a sigh and SERIOUSLY I touched one of the defective light bulbs and to my amazement, the unlit section turned on!!! Chris was like, "What, all you did was touch the red one?" I told him that I prayed.

What a loving God we have. I immediately thanked the Lord for his blessing.

We got a step stool for Schafer and he put on his first ornament for the first time. He beamed from ear to ear with pride of his accomplishment. Thank you again Lord was silently running in my head. See the finished piece below:

Did my faith (sometimes the size of a salt grain) help me receive the blessing of a fully lit, fully ornamented tree? I don't know. Maybe it had nothing to do with my faith and more to do with teaching me that I can ask the Lord for help in ALL THINGS.

God may not answer all of my requests the way I ask for them (I am sure that is a good thing), but I can still ask.

It is okay to ask.

I need to quit thinking that the Lord thinks I am ridiculous or that he is too busy to deal with my insignificant afflictions. I worry that he will look at all my begging with disdain. That he will tire of my selfish desires.

It doesn't matter how sinful or selfish I am because God doesn't tire of me.
He loves me. All of me. He cares for and about me. He isn't the kind of God who wants me to only experience suffering, disappointment and pain.

His word says,...he rescued me because he delights in me." Psalm 18:19

The Lord delights in us. Even enough to consider the importance of a light bulb.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where is Jesus?

I had to laugh when I heard my son sing his own version of Are you sleeping? Some of you know it as Frere Jacques (Brother John).
Ya know, "Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning Bells are ringing, Morning Bells are ringing.
Ding-Dong-Ding, Ding-Dong-Ding."

Well, Schafer's version is:
Where is Jesus? Where is Jesus?
In the air, in the air...

That was all he sang, but his made-up version made me realize that I am guilty of singing the first line in the tune.

Where is Jesus?

Sometimes I wonder especially when I am struggling. When I find myself going back and forth like a bell (back and forth from one emotion to the next). Ding-Dong-Ding (or just a ding-dong, ha-ha).

Where is that voice, the clarity or hope? Silence. Why silence?

Is it wrong to want to experience a "burning bush" or a Damascus moment?

Sometimes I think the people in the Bible were privileged and lucky. They saw angels and knew they were angels, they experienced the parting of the Red Sea, God spoke directly to them by calling out their name or spoke from the clouds in a clear, audible voice.

Why can't I hear God's booming voice from the clouds?

Naturally, I blame myself. I have tried hard to listen. Cleared my mind, sat in silence alone. But, it seems that God's voice is hoarse that day or He is busy.
I tell myself that my faith is just not strong enough or maybe when heaven was handing out the hearing devices to help one hear God's voice I received a defective one?

Lies, Lies, I believe.

In my desperate trials, confusion and questioning, I will often sit alone and cry out, no it is more like BEG God to talk to me. I am not saying that God has not used His word or some other person to speak to me, but what gives me grief is how little in my life I have truly heard him. I can only confidently say that I believe and know I have heard him twice. NOT booming, but a whisper.

I wonder why? Why does it seem so hard to hear God? I always feel like listening for His voice is one of the hardest aspects of my relationship with Him. And discerning His will comes in at a tie for the other difficult part of the relationship.

Christianity is NOT for wimps. What I am learning is that it is really about having faith even when I don't hear him. Believing the Lord has my back. He really is on my side. His will WILL BE done(even if I am spiritually deaf).

It comes down to trusting that He loves me enough to speak to me even if it isn't audible. Oh, that is hard to accept.

He loves ME enough. His love IS enough.

Where is Jesus? In the air? Sort of. In my life, my soul? Always.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving a little early.

Even though Thanksgiving is next Thursday, I am getting SO excited. I love this time of year. Cool, autumn air, crisp leaves and pumpkin recipes!! Plus, I know Christmas is not too far away.

I don't really care about the food (even though it is tasty) as much as the memories, so I wanted to share one memory with my boys that recently happened. We made turkey hands and the result is just too darn cute and will forever be etched in my heart and mind. Check out how Grant's turkey seems to be chasing Schafer's. Truly precious.
See picture below:

I remember one special Thanksgiving with my husband's family. We stayed in Estes Park, Colorado and I was VERY pregnant with Schafer. It was the first time I got to meet my nephew, William (who was 6 months old then) and I made him laugh by simply clicking my tongue.

I believe it was the first time I introduced my southern style of Thanksgiving food to my hubby's family and they really enjoyed it. I made Southern-Style Green Beans with bacon, and Dressing (we don't call it stuffing in the south because we don't cook it in the turkey and it is not made with only white bread). I learned all of this from my mommy. She was such a good cook and I am grateful that I received some of her recipes as well as my Mamaw's too before they left this earth.

This year I will make the Dressing and another dish I am famous for: Hominy Casserole. I am not really sure why Dressing is called Dressing. I guess because it dresses the turkey really well?

I decided to share my Mom's Dressing recipe on here if anyone would like to try it. It is actually surprisingly EASY! So I hope you enjoy it!

Deb's (DeLynn's) famous Southern Dressing recipe:

Cornbread (boxed or homemade) cooked
4-8 slices of white bread (torn into pieces)
4-8 stalks of celery
1 medium white onion
4-6 raw eggs (can use egg substitute)
Broth-Turkey or chicken
Sage and Poultry seasoning to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: One regular sized tube of sage sausage

Boil celery and onion in water and add a 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning. Cook until tender. Meanwhile, cook sausage until done. In a 9x13 aluminum or similar baking pan, crumble cornbread and mix with white bread. Add onion and celery, mix well. Add sausage, mix well. Add broth until the dressing is wet, but not soupy. You want to thin the dressing but not make it too wet or dry. Add seasonings and taste. When you can taste the seasonings and salt and pepper, stop adding them. Add eggs to hold dressing together, mix well. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Check dressing in the first 45 minutes. It will usually crack on top. Cut middle with a knife and check consistency. If it is firm like cake and comes out clean then, it is done.


There is so much to be thankful for this year and my heart almost bursts as I think about all the gifts the Lord has given me: Beautiful sons, a loving husband, great In-laws, a nice home, GOOD HEALTH, incredible views, a chance to be home with the boys, truth about who I really am,readers for my blog ;) and so much more!

From my heart to yours, I hope you have a very thankful, fun and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Trivial Pursuits

I am full of trivial trivia. I know facts and such that most people could care less about or these facts won't help with the SAT or MCAT.

Anyhoo, I thought it would still be fun to share some of what is in my head.
(if you dare to go there).


A cashew is actually NOT a nut? It is a seed grown on the cashew tree.

Peanut butter really does take the sticky out of gum so you can get it out of your hair? (Happened to me when I was about 7 or 8). Better than a hair cut gone awry.

The pilgrims did not have belts or buckles on their clothing because those items were not invented yet? They did have wild turkey though at their feast. (smile)

Many coffee companies use chemicals such as ethyl acetate to remove caffeine from coffee? And about 2-3 percent of caffeine still remains. There are non-chemical methods available so stick with organic coffee and find out what method your favorite company uses.

Clothing companies lie about pant/jean sizes? So if you are happy being a size six, then you might be closer to an eight. --Depressing and annoying, I know!

You are taxed by the government AFTER you die? That means any inheritance you leave your relatives will be taxed and have to go to the government first. So if you left 100,000 and the tax percent was 60% then your family would receive 40,000!! Ludicrous. I am helping to kill the death tax. --You can just keep your money out of a bank, but then it isn't invested to do more for you or your loved ones.

If you heat your eyelash curler with a blow dryer (be careful not to burn) you can make your eyelashes really curl and pop?

OKAY, now it is YOUR turn. Share your family-friendly tidbit, trivia or fun fact.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An end to childhood...

FROM Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop:

Write about the event that was the end of your childhood.

Bits and pieces of my childhood were stolen from me so it is hard to define one event that actually ended it. It would seem forced and cliche if I said the day I left home and went to college or when I did adult things such as getting a job, getting married or having sexual intimacy for the first time.

Childhood is defined as the range from birth to adolescence and is further broken up into stages. I think that each time something happened to end a stage is when a little of my days of youth began to vanish.

I don't know about you, but I don't remember my toddler years. Since I am a mom, I can speculate that at some point I had to give up the pacifier, the bottle and diapers. I wonder if I relinquished those items easily or if I whined, cried and had a terrible time with those losses. It meant having to grow up and move on to the preschooler phase.
A couple of months ago, my youngest son gave up the "just before" bed bottle and he didn't resist much. However, when handed over to others while I go to MOPS, he still protest a little with a slight whimper. I have to admit that this makes me not want to hand him over; I don't really want him to grow up.

I know that going to Kindergarten was the end of my preschool stage. I DID NOT want to go. I enjoyed being home with my mom. In fact, I preferred it. What is funny is that I attended Kindergarten half-time! Still, I do remember crying and even being afraid of my teacher. She had a husky voice and was huge.

This part of my story gets personal. First, my parents divorced. I was forced to accept the reality that life is full of changes and disappointments. More loss meant more loss of being a child.
Also, during this prepubescent stage, others in my life chose to be abusive towards me or they involved me in activities where I was not old enough to give consent. I didn't tell my parents at the time because I thought I would get into trouble. I believed I had done something wrong.

You would think that this end of innocence was the finale of my childhood, but my faith in the Lord helped me forgive just enough to keep my adolescence.

So what DID end my childhood?

The realization that my parents weren't perfect. When they decided to cut the apron strings before I even graduated high school. Betrayal, deceit, lies, a suicide, abandonment. When ALL the responsibility fell on me.

When I chose to become an adult.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Friday...Ready,Set, Lighthouse!!

It's Friday. It is 6 am. It's a chilly morning. I am cold (even though the house heater is on). Do I want to get out of a comfy, warm bed? Um...NO! But it is Friday...smile. I just need to do the motivator chant of Ready, Set, Lighthouse!!

Okay, before you think I have lost it for sure this time I am actually talking about my lighthouse. Yes, I own one. In the Virgin Islands or Hawaii, you ask? NOPE. I have it with me right now. (You are looking bewildered and trying to stifle a nervous giggle aren't you)?

Where did I get my lighthouse? I got it for FREE! Around high school. When it was offered to me, I asked for it confidently and sincerely. I did not have to throw a fit, pout, or whine to get it. That's good because I look terrible, foolish and wrinkly when I don't get what I want.

My lighthouse is so precious to me. Sometimes I say or do things to dim it a bit and if I am not careful, I might put it out at times. Not smart, I tell ya. Many times I have been in the middle of crashing waves where it was VERY dark and the hope of my lighthouse was about all that would keep me afloat!

I can't imagine life without it. I would be a hopeless mess.

The day I asked Jesus into my heart, to come live inside of me was the day I received my lighthouse. My soul is the place that "houses" a part of the light(Jesus).
What a privilege! I get to host the most incredible God! He actually chooses to dwell in me!!!
That just makes me want to run outside my house (in the cold mind you) and joyfully bellow, "God is my lighthouse...he lives in me...He lights my way...I am overwhelmed with gratitude...hey, neighbors (not all of them...some have lighthouses too) don't you want a lighthouse too?" --Someone would probably call the cops.
I know, I am getting carried away here, but anyone who knows me knows that's my nature. Plus, a little "safe" crazy does everyone good.

Shouldn't we WANT to tell this incredible truth? Yell it out until our voice is numb?

Ya know, real lighthouses are places many people like to tour while on vacation. That is because they are intriguing, a unique structure that guides those who need to see the dangers that lie ahead of them. They are a part of our history. They are invaluable to sailors. We can help attract that same interest to our lighthouse if we choose...
Back to getting out of bed on a chilly Friday...I have a choice on how I am going to face this day. I can acknowledge my lighthouse, turn on its' light and allow it to shine or I can ignore it and stay in the dark.

I chose to acknowledge it this morning by dancing in a very silly manner to my husband as he pulled out of the drive way. Hey, he needed a bit of humor before facing middle- schoolers! I chose it by lovingly encouraging my little boys to wake up and play.

You see, my lighthouse made me who I am. It continues to change me, making me better and it helps "light my way." It gently directs me to safety and gives me hope in dark situations. I will never regret accepting the gift of a lighthouse.

I don't want to be a dark house.

Do you have a lighthouse? Do you want a lighthouse?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One-sided perspective of self

I sat next to a new, woman friend and listened to her shocked comment, "Oh god" as another woman introduced her two-week old son. The woman looked like she didn't even have a kid. No, she was not model thin, but there was little evidence of a recent pregnancy.
My heart saddened a bit as I realized I was thinking what my friend said. Women are just guilty of comparing our looks, weight, or other outer appearance against the ladies we encounter. I wonder if we feel threatened?
Why do we do this ourselves and to others? Well, I am certainly no expert, but I will share my heart and thoughts.

I have been ridiculed from the time I left my mother's womb. I was consistently criticized as a child. Whether it was my posture, or my too sensitive nature something was always off. Or the other side was being ignored or made fun of...How can one have good self-esteem or worth when fighting those behaviors?

Maybe you didn't experience this at all or much as a child. Maybe yours has to do with men? Ya know, I don't think men realize how much we struggle to get them to notice us. Even if that is just for your hubby...we all like to feel attractive don't we? Doesn't that make us feel a bit valued? C'mon, I am being honest here. Feeling unattractive is not on most people's priority list.

So if that is not it...tell me what is? Why do we compare? Why do we all in our own way execute some sort of beauty ritual to look good?
Think diet, exercise, starving self, expensive haircuts, highlights, dyes, lots of tweezing, shaving tender spots (ouch), perfumes, make-up and manicures.

Hopefully at least a small part of ourselves does something for our bodies for hygiene and health.

I know that I exercise for energy not just weight management.

I will freely admit on here that I struggle with my appearance. I don't see myself the way others do. I have a one-sided perspective of self.

Can this part of me be changed? I am not sure that enough compliments would do the trick. Other people can never criticize me again or say I am perfect and that wouldn't stop my twisted belief of myself. I wouldn't believe them anyway. Ya know why? Because what needs to change is my heart and my thoughts in my head.

I need to take responsibility for what I say to myself and what I believe about me. So one thing I am doing is a bible study called, Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. It is helping. I am learning to replace my thoughts about me with God's thoughts. What He says about me is true. I just have to believe it. I am committed to this because I am too hard on myself.

I need a God-sided perspective of me.

Anyone else struggling with this?

Friday, November 4, 2011


Yesterday, we all got our annual flu shots. It's that time of year for mean little bugs to inflict their tortuous symptoms; they make us all feel miserable. Well, at least getting a flu vaccine will fight a few. I was proud of how my almost 4 and 2 year old boys handled it. Grant made a slight whimper, but I think our lack of panic, oh no reaction really helped, plus a bit of praise during and afterward seemed to help too.
For now, we are temporarily immunized against some of the more terrible winter sicknesses to get. Too bad we can't permanently avoid them. Yes, our world has come a long way in protecting us from the often fatal diseases of Polio and Small Pox and from the pesky Measles, Mumps, etc.
Ya know, when we ask Jesus to come live in our hearts and be our Savior in a sense we are spiritually vaccinated from the deadly consequence of separation from the Lord for eternity, but it is too bad we can't be immunized permanently from sinning. Sure, we can be delivered from sin such as addictions, but then our minds or hearts are distracted once again to some other temptation and we all too often act on it.
Does that annoy anyone else? Like constant runny noses or dry coughs? The fact that no matter how often or thoroughly we "wash our hands" from the sinful desires that plague us or how we try to avoid "exposure" to the nasty little tyrants (sins that is) we always manage at some point to fall victim to them!!
Like when I choose to lose my temper and yell at my children or Chris, my hubby. When I make a snide remark in my head (yes, thoughts count too!).

Like illnesses, sin is contagious too. Ever notice that when you are around someone who is sinning (whether intentional or not) that it is hard not to catch the bug? Maybe that particular sin doesn't affect you. Maybe your body built up an immunity to it thru being led by the spirit instead of the flesh (See Galatians 5:16-25), but somehow their sin brings on a sneeze. Meaning, you don't act like them instead you sin your way. Ugggh, again!

Yet, there is hope! The Psalmist says in 130:3-4,7-8 "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared...Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins."

Hallelujah! Hope in words! I can always use a bit of hope, can't you?
We serve an incredible, loving, merciful and graceful God and his word in our hearts, mind and ears should ring of joy, peace, and freedom.

Let's face it, we aren't going to stop sinning, but we can let the Lord do his work. We can pray for deliverance, for healing, to not do a sin, but we can't take it away. We must be led by the spirit. We have to trust God to redeem.

Yes, I am eating my own words at the moment and washing my hands of a behavior I just did before writing this blog.

However, I am free and I choose to be led by the spirit. To trust Christ to work in me and change me. What about you?
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