Wednesday, April 30, 2008

S'up, Y'all?

Soooo . . . do you hate me for not posting in nearly two weeks? Yeah. I don't blame you. I know what few readers I have are faithful and I truly appreciate that. There's just been so much going on around here. I am beginning to think that cloning ain't such a terrible idea. But . . . I don't want no other woman sharing a bed with my husband. Even if it is me. Wait. Did that make sense? Probably not, but that's just the way my brain's been working lately. Anyhooo . . . here is a peak at my life for the last two weeks:
  • Thursday afternoon, April 17th: Ortho visit for my youngest. She had to have her braces put back on a few weeks ago because her retainer wasn't doing it's job. We fired the retainer . . . er, we got rid of the retainer and opted for braces on the bottom again. So, it was just a routine check-up. Afterwards I took Little Mama, my middle daughter, to her job at art at 4:00. By 4:15 I was at the fair grounds picking up the Chick Magnets from their stint at Mantracker, which you can read all about here. They were actually asked numerous times what agency they were with. Of course, they thought that was something else. Anyway, when I picked them up, we were off to shotgun practice.

Can I just say that we are single-handedly keeping the oil companies in business?

  • By 5:00'ish, we were back at the fair grounds to watch an explosives demo. Whoa. Don't mess with the bomb squad! Holy cow! Check out the picture below of the car they blew up. Pretty awesome!

  • After that, I met my mom downtown for a Main Street event called "Taste Of . . . ", where different restaurants and catering businesses in the area set up booths so that you can sample their menu items. It was hot and crowded so we did not stay long. But The Circus was there! No, no! Not the circus, but the circus! Here, I snapped a few pics of them for you. No funny stuff today. Just a good time with some sweet babies:

  • Next, it was on to pick up the boys at the fair grounds. Little did I know the fun they had in store for me, er, Bertha Mae. Check it out:

  • My, my, my! Here she is on her very first ride on a four-wheeler. And not only is she riding it, she is being instructed by one of the boys on how to drive it! So actually, her first ride is a first drive. Mercy me! How the redneck in her came out that night! Bertha Mae feels real blessed 'cause she learned to use a shotgun AND drive a four-wheeler all in the same month! Here's a picture of one of the boys driving grandma around:

  • After leaving the fair grounds, we all went to Dairy Queen for a treat. Except, my tummy hurt, so I didn't eat anything.
  • Friday, April 18th: Today I had an appointment with my physician for some general blood work and stuff. My cholesterol and triglycerides are up a little, but I am to continue with my diet and exercise routine. Thankfully the doc didn't immediately put me on any medication to bring that down. He knows I'm trying to lose some more weight so we'll check that again in a six months. My thyroid and sugar levels are fine as well, and my blood pressure is down even from my last visit. Aerobic exercise is really, really good for you. After my appointment, we went to the home of a missionary who attends our church to help his wife and daughters with yard work. Yeah, wanna know how you get rewarded for doing a good deed? A snake wraps itself around your leg! Ick! Thankfully it was one of the boys that happened to and not me or the girls. We won't discuss the fate of that poor snake. Let's just say that with a house full of women, he was not a welcome visitor.
  • Saturday, April 19th: Happy birthday to the boys! Except. They had a shotgun match that day about an hour away and had to leave at 6:00 a.m. But that's okay 'cause the girls and I attended a ladies' cookout for our church at the home of one of our members. Whoa. Awesome. The best part was puttering around the property in golf carts. There was even some mud slingin' going on . . . though I don't have any pictures of that. And I later learned, after leisurely surveying their property from the golf cart by myself, that there are wild hogs living on the premises. Scary. Several of the women and girls went fishing, though I didn't catch anything. Here's Baby Girl. She ain't skeered! She'll bait her own hook any day!

  • Afterward the shotgun match, my husband took the boys shopping for tuxes for the prom. He asked if I wanted to come shopping with them, but I declined. I thought that this would be good father/son bonding time. Yeah. They bonded alright. Until 8:30 that night! We ended up eating supper at Taco Mac after they got home.
  • Sunday, April 20th: Today was Super Sunday at church. Several missionaries visited us that day, including my sweet, sweet friend Susan. She has a blog over here. I have a picture, but it's on Mister's computer. Drat. It had been about four years since we had last seen them, so it was good to catch up. She and I are in the same boat, what with children leaving for college and such. We said we'd cry on one another's shoulders that day, but we didn't. It's nice to know that others are going throught he same experiences as you.
  • Monday, April 21st: Well, today I had hoped to stay home. Right. I ended up having to run out on a few errands, though I didn't accomplish everything I had wanted to. However, I was able to find a couple of skirts at Belk that were on sale . . . and I had a coupon for an additional 20% off. What's so cool is that I had been wanting a few skirts for summer that fall somewhere between my knee and my ankle. I'm not entirely comfortable wearing knee-length skirts, and ankle-length skirts are so hot in summer. I had stopped at Wal-Mart for a refund and then decided to walk next door to Belk, just in case maybe they had something new in. God is so good to me! I was able to purchase both a khaki and a faded denim skirt for less than what one of them normally costs.
  • Later that afternoon, I took the boys to their Explorer meeting, met my mom to do a little shopping at Belk (she wanted new skirts as well and bought the ankle-length denim and khaki), and then it was back to the Explorer meeting to have cake for the boys' birthday.

  • Tuesday, April 22nd: Today was our regular home school co-op day. It's usually a very long day, and today was no exception, especially considering that we came home and did lots of yard work. But it looks lots better around here. It's good to clean away the last traces of a long, cold winter. There is nothing like the reward of hard work!
  • Wednesday, April 23rd: Things were pretty low-key today. After having lunch with the in-laws, we headed for a 4-H meeting for the annual awards banquet. Since we had a little time left, we went to grandma's so that I could fix Little Miss Independent's prom dress. The alumni was invited to attend this year and she's excited to be going.
  • Thursday, April 24th: Hmmmm . . . not much today. The boys had their journalism class, then I took Little Mama to art, the boys went to shotgun practice, and I went to hang with my mom and sister for a bit. Afterwards, much to my dear husband's delight, I actually cooked supper instead of asking to eat out or for him to bring pizza home. And we dined on the patio by the soft glow of candle light. It was one of those weird times when it was just Mister, Baby Girl, and me.
  • Friday, April 24th: Prom! So, I spent $12.00 on nail polish, cuticle cream, sheer pantyhose, and orange sticks for my cuticles, but I got a steal on my prom dress! It had been $180.00 at Dillard's, but I paid only $45.00 for it! Huh? What? Oh! Yes! I had a prom dress because, in our house, prom is a family affair! This is the third year that we've been a part of the local home school co-op's prom. The first year we signed up too late to be chaperons, though I was able to chauffeur my daughter and her friends to and from the prom. The last two years my husband and I were able to chaperon and it's been great fun. This year we chauffeured six kids around. It was great! The evening included a formal, sit-down meal at the Country Club, awesome party favors such as commemorative etched glasses, a toast to the graduating seniors, and lots of fun with friends. Here are a few pictures of everybody in their finery:

  • Saturday, April 26th: Today was crazy. I got up late, with a headache to boot, and ended up not being able to attend the mother/daughter breakfast for my sister's church. I did make it to the graduation party for my husband's niece at our church. While we were there, my guys came out to hook up the new sound system in our new sound booth at church. After the party, I helped fix up the secretary's office at church. However, it was many hours of hard work getting the sound booth ready. I left, a little angry, at 11:30 p.m., having been at the church since 11:15 a.m. Ugh! What a day! What a week!

And so has been my life for the last two weeks. This week I have been able to stick close to home for the most part. Sunday was spent at church, lunching with the in-laws, and shopping for a new purse. Monday I did stay home . . . and actually cooked a nice supper. It was great. Yesterday was spent at co-op, trying to work out the details of keeping our daughter on our health insurance until she leaves for university this fall, and finishing up some yard work. Oh, and I cooked again and shopped for mulch and annuals for the back garden. Today was lunch with the in-laws and updating my blog. It has taken me three hours to write about what I've done for the last two weeks and post the pictures. I'm tired! I'm worn out just writing about what I've already done! LOL . . .

This weekend we are going to a youth revival meeting. It's going to be a whirlwind trip. I hope that it is worth it. I am really praying for God to do a work in the hearts of our teens and young people, especially my own children.

Well, just thought I'd let you all in on why I've not been around much. I really miss writing and hope to get back to the normal . . . uh, abnormal (?) . . . blog stuff.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Last Tuesday, our oldest daughter turned nineteen. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Not too long ago she moved in with my mom because I think my mom needed some companionship. And we're squished up like sardines in this little house. And just like sardines, sometimes life with a big family in a little house stinks. When you're independent, you just need your own space for a while.

It's been really hard not having her here. I really, really miss her. The past year or so we've gotten along better than before. I think we've both matured a great deal. Yeah, it took me until I turned 40 to mature. Go figure. Life with kids keeps you young. Really young.

I didn't know anything about raising a teenager, and she didn't know how to be a teenager or how to grow into a young adult. Now we both know. Poor thing. She's always been my experiment on raising kids. I've made so many mistakes with her. But she is a humble girl and very forgiving. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

Just a few days ago God really, really got on my case and showed me that by not trusting Him with her life and her safety, I was hindering His ability to work His will in her life. Well. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. I won't get over that one for a while. I'm a control freak. Some days, I think I'm just a freak. But that's a post for another day.

She has grown into a fine young woman, and I am excited to see what God will do with her life and through her life. Right now, however, she's a little concerned that she will never get married. Her daddy isn't so concerned, however. But to a nineteen-year-old girl who has never had a date (on purpose!) and has never been kissed (on purpose), and who is waiting on God to send her The One, well, sometimes it's hard to be patient. I just tell her that I've prayed so hard for God to protect her for her special someone that it might be working a little too good. She doesn't like that answer much.

But, alas. My tender heart will soon be torn from my body again.

This Saturday our boys will turn the rip old age of seventeen. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

This means only one more year until they are eighteen (see? I can count!). I am not so sure where all of the last 17 years have gone. It seems as if only yesterday that we were rushing to the hospital to see if my water had broken. Unfortunately, it had not. However, since I went to my exact due date with no signs of labor anywhere in the near future, the doctor decided to keep me. Good choice. You have to know that my body never works the way it is supposed to. No preterm labor or going into labor a few weeks early for me. No sir. My babies came into this world full term, weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces and 8 pounds, 1 ounce. That's 14 1/2 pounds of baby. Yeah, that would explain why I looked like a beach ball was stuffed inside my clothing. It felt like every organ in my lower body had been ripped out and shoved back in.

Their birth is a post in itself. Just suffice it to say that I experienced both normal delivery and a c-section that day. I never even dreamed something like that could happen. Having both a normal birth and a c-section on the same day felt as if every organ in my lower body had been ripped out and shoved back in. However, as my boys have grown closer to adulthood, it's as if somebody has ripped my heart right out of my body. Here's what I talkin' about.

Turning seventeen means that they'll be making choices about their lives or carrying out the choices they've already made. But first, they'll be getting their license to drive. Lord help. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. One child on the road is stressful enough, but three . . . well . . . good thing I ain't a drinkin' woman.

Speaking of life choices. Here they are decked out in their police gear for their Explorer group. They are in this group because they plan to one day become police officers, snipers, FBI agents, Secret Service guys. It's funny. When my dad died, they were both pallbearers. My mother-in-law bought them new suits to wear. Black suits and white shirts. It was a hot, hot summer's day. Since my dad was in the Air Force, he received an honor guard (I guess that's what you call it). As the fellow was playing Taps, I looked up to see one of the boys standing outside the tent, hands clasped in front of him, standing with his legs slightly apart, with dark sunglasses on. He really, really looked like Secret Service. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

I don't know what field they will end up being in. Which ever career is the most hands-on with guns, search-and-rescue, they're sure to be there. Anyway, the Explorer group is sorta like on-the-job training. That starts at age 14. And at age 14 they were there. And have been for nearly every meeting for the last three years. They practice real-life senarios at their meetings with a duty belt, real handcuffs, and something called a blue gun. A blue gun is a replica of a Glock. It weighs the same and is the exact same size. Only. It is one solid piece of rubber. No bullets for this gun. Thank you, Jesus. My heart can remain in its rightful place for the time being.

Now, what I want to know is watch'cha gonna do when these two come for you? Best just stay out of trouble. Just sayin'. They are strong, strong young men. I'd post a picture, but I don't want to be accused of causing any heart attacks amongst my readers. Trust me when I say I do not allow them to be outside without a shirt on. We have enough trouble keeping the girls at bay.

Their plan is to go to college, then apply at the police academy. One of them is thinking military but says he won't do it if I don't want him to. It's just such a scary thing for me. I think I wouldn't mind so much if he waits for a few years after completing high school or goes to college. I would like him to be a bit more mature before enlisting. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

This interest in law enforcement goes back as far as I can remember. It might have something to do with their life-long interest in guns. Or the fact that they are very concerned about people doing the right thing. Anyway, when they were in 5th grade, their first year being homeschooled, we signed them up to be on the 4-H BB team. They were naturals. And we've got the trophies, both team and individual, to prove it. I was always so proud when their names would be called out of hundreds of participants. Only. It was really hard when one of the boys would do well but not the other. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you.

It was a hard lesson for this mama to learn. Life isn't always fair and equal to the children in the same family.

Now they are members of the 4-H shotgun team. They shoot skeet. My boys had never shot skeet before. They hit 22 out of 25 clay pigeons at their first practice two weeks ago. That's scary. They talked their mama into shooting last Thursday. Mama had never shot skeet before either. Mama hit 14 out of 20 clay pigeons. Hmmm . . . Bertha May was happy. She finally got to shoot something. Only. Bertha didn't get a trophy. Bertha got a bruise on her right shoulder. But she was happy.

Here they are being wallflowers at a 4-H dance last year. Occasionally they will join in a group dance like 'Cha Cha Slide', but that's about it. There will be no dancing on their part that involves a girl. We've really tried to raise them to be gentlemen, and mostly they do a great job. The day they bring home "the" girl . . . well, Lord, just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. But please put it back in with enough love for her too.

Just allow me to say this: any girl who breaks either of their hearts, well, they just better remember that mama once shot 14 out of 20 clay pigeons. And she won a coaches' match one time at a BB match. Mama don't play. You better not either when it comes to my boys.

Raising twins has been an amazing experience for me. The hardest thing has been knowing that, one day, when they're all grown up, they will both be leaving me at the same time. It just ain't fair! My only sons will be venturing out into life simultaneously. Just rip my heart right out of my body. Thank you. Do you think I'll get it back when they are married and have me some grandbabies?

Here is a little quote that I found today that describes pretty much how we've tried to raise our boys:

Bring up your boys with both love and wisdom; and turn them out as men, strong limbered, clear eyed, stout hearted, clean minded, able to hold their own in this great world of work and strife and ceaseless effort. ~ Mary Lowe Dickinson

God has been so good to me. Although I wanted nothing more as a young girl than to grow up, get married, and have babies, I never could have dreamed how much He would give me. But it does come with a price. The Bible says in Luke 12 . . .For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. Living the life I've been blessed with certainly is no picnic. It is hard, hard work. Many days I find myself wanting to lay it down and quit. But I cannot. This is the cross God has given me to bear and bear it I will, with His help, strength, and might. Being a mom requires long, hard days, and many, many heartaches. But the rewards are immeasurable and innumerable. Life with kids is the greatest, hardest, most rewarding, most heartbreaking, scary, fun, amazing, frightening thing I will ever do in my life. At least for now. When they're all grown, who knows what the Lord may have in store for me. But I hope it will have to do with kids, even if they are someone else's.

I hope that one day, when I stand before God to give an account of my life, I will be found to have born much fruit for Him through my children. Every material possession that I own may one day burn up in smoke or be destroyed in a tornado. But that will not matter. What matters most is if my children are saved and serving God.

Y'all have a beautiful day. And thanks for reading.



Don't miss the contest!

Hey all you great people! Don't forget about about my 'give this photo a name' contest!

You have until Sunday evening to get your entries in! I'm excited to see what you'll send me!

Have a beautiful day!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A note about photos on this blog

I just wanted to post a quick note concerning photos on this site. First of all, I love taking pictures and always have. I've got boxes and photo albums full of photos I've taken over the years. My first camera was a 35mm from Sears, and it came with a telephoto lense. To say that I was intimidated by the whole outfit is an understatement. Thing is, I had sent my husband to the store that day to buy me something easy to use. And he comes back with . . . THAT! I was so mad at him. Didn't he understand how challenged I was at complicated machinery? I guess not, considering we'd only been married about six months.

And it seems he still does not get the picture. Every time I finally get used to something, be it a cell phone, computer, tv, dvd player or whatever, he gets a new one! UGH! I like my 'old' stuff for Pete's sake! Of course, when he bought our first camera, there was not 'old' one. Eventually, I did firgure out how to use the thing and then I was unstoppable. People would ask us to bring our camera to every function imaginable because the pictures were awesome! But . . . it wasn't necessarily the user. It was that the equippment made really great pictures. Although I must confess that eventually I a little learned about lighting and composition and all the great stuff that makes for a great photograph.

Alas, that relationship too soon came to an end almost 15 years later when my wonderfully composed pictures came back from the processor with white and/or orange streaks running slap through them. What was going on? I found out from a professional photographer that I could have a bad seal of some sort around the lense that let too much light in. Great. I didn't, and still don't, know a good camera repair shop in the area. So, off to buy a new one.

Well, this was about the time that digital cameras were becoming popular, and my husband had one. But I could not part with my paper pictures. I told you. I like my 'old' stuff. I do not accept change so easily. So hubby buys me a great little 35mm automatic camera off the bargain shelf at Sears. I don't know how long I used it, but I liked it and it made wonderful pictures. I could even get my pictures on a CD so that I could email photos to family. However, in 2006 we found a neat little Kodak digital camera at Office Depot for $150.00 that was marked down from $350.00. Something inside of me gave in, and I asked for it as a Christmas gift.

Though I was a little scared of it at first, it's been a great little camera. It makes really great pictures outside, especially of flowers and children, which are what I grow anyway, right? And Lord knows I've got plenty of pictures of flowers and kids. I try to post only the good pictures I have taken, and I could post more if I had the right photo-altering software. Of course, even if I did have it, I would have the worst time figuring out how to work it. I just don't have enough functioning brain cells right now, what with homeschooling 3 highschoolers and a middleschooler.

So, all that blah blah blah to say this: I may post some pics that are not that great. Please don't hate me for it. I really love you guys for reading my blog. Please have pity on me as a brain-fried, computer challenged, busy mother of five. Hey, sometimes I might even post stuff that won't even have pictures because, dude, I took them but my husband wasn't home to download them to the computer for me. And I just don't have a clue.

I know. My husband could probably learn me how (ha ha!) to do it, but that would just be more stuff in this already over-crowded skull. I'm not sure how much room is left up there, but it feels like it's getting pretty tight as it is. Gee! I've already got to remember everybody's birthday, schedule for the week, and underwear size! And that's a lot of underwear! What else is gonna fit? Not much!

So, thanks for reading my blog and for understanding that, even if I include photos, they prolly won't be award-winning or anything of the like. Although . . . I did enter a photo in the fair this year and it won 2nd prize in the adult division! Yee-haw! I got all of $4.00 and a ribbon to prove it. Although . . . I'm not sure what I spent the money on. Ink to print the picture, maybe? Ha!

Here it is:

Y'all take care!

Love you like bees love honey!


I've missed you guys!! Plus, a 'name that photo' contest

These are pictures of my nephew and our pastor's son. It was taken last summer at a 4th of July cookout at my mother's house. Don't they look so happy and excited to be watching the fireworks? These two are trouble together, I tell you. Actually, alone, they are trouble. Together, they're they'll terrify even the bravest soul. And they are both pastors' sons. Lord help us all.

Okay, so they're not really that bad, but you know . . . the thing is, you wouldn't believe the things they have in common: both of their first names begin the letter D, they are both pastors' sons (did I alread say, "Lord help us all!"?), and you never, ever know what will come out of their mouths! It's really quite scary. For instance, I am going to call my pastor's son 'Frank' in my blog, not only to protect his identity but because one day I was in the nursery and I called him by his full name and was promptly informed that this wasn't his name any longer. His daddy had changed his name. To 'Frank'. **Blink**. Okay. At five years of age, he is the world's youngest pastor, as he told us not too long ago that he now has his own church. **Blink**. Okay. He's preached to me many a'time, though mostly all I've understood was "promised land", "Moses", and "Jesus".

His wife is his cousin, and their children are her younger siblings. Uh-huh. Frank is also an army guy and brings a bayonette to church. Every Sunday. Yeah. Actually, tonight he had a handgun with him. And he pointed it at me when I dared look at him. He's keeping things in order around there. You better make darn sure you give your tithes and contribute to missions. Frank'll make sure you stay on the straight and narrow.

So, anyway, the pictures really need a title, and I can't think of one because my brain hasn't been working right lately. See, for the past two weeks I have had this nasty little virus. We're talkin' baaaadd! Here's how it went down (or should I say, here's how I went down?).

Last week was spring break and hubby had the week off. I usually look forward to spring break with great anticipation, but not this time. I basically didn't give a care. For most of the week leading up to spring break and for every day during spring break, I felt like . . . like . . . I don't know what I felt like! Aches, pains, fatigue, foggy head, no interest in things that usually give me great pleasure. It was pretty bad. Though we went somewhere most every day and even had a little birthday party for Little Miss Independent, I just did not enjoy much of my week. It was Saturday afternoon before I felt normal once again. And, boy, was I thankful!

Anyway, that's pretty much why I've been silent around here. And I hated it! So, to get back into the swing of things, I thought I'd have this little bitty contest where you give a title and/or caption for the two photos above. The prize will be one of my altered composition notebooks. I am addicted to making these things! It's awesome!

Here are the rules:
  1. Only one entry per person, please. You may enter a title and/or caption for one or both photos. I reserve the right to award a prize for both the winning title and the winning caption.
  2. Contest will be open until Sunday, April 20th @ 10:00 p.m.
  3. Keep it clean, people! Remember, this is my pastor's son! I would hate to be kicked out of my church! :-)
  4. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 21st by noon.
  5. Prize will be mailed after I receive your name and snail mail. If you are the winner, you may email it to me.

So, now that I'm feeling better (although I've relapsed a day or two this week), I hope to have a couple of good posts here shortly. I'm thinking on writing about my experience shopping for a bra at Victoria's Secret, though I'm not really sure what her secret is . . . or was ever supposed to be!

Y'all take care and send me some love!

Love y'all to pieces!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Not Ashamed

As a Christian, it is wise to know what you believe and why you believe it. It is not a good idea to say you believe something because "my mama said so" or "the preacher said it's true". Though you trust these people in your life, it is imperative that you study to "shew thyself approved". Sitting through a sermon or Sunday school lesson is not studying; reading the Bible and seeking God's help for understanding what you are reading is studying. Studying is something that is done on one's own, though you may seek out counsel from others who are familiar with the subject. However, most often you learn the most when you spend time alone with your study tools. In the case, the Bible is your main tool.

I was first introduced to the internet about 1996. At that time, I had only been born-again for about 6 years. Though I had grown as a Christian, there was considerable growth on my part after my husband introduced me to the intetnet and newsgroups. What an eye-opener for a young Christian. I knew there were people who did not believe in God at all, or who believed but held to different doctrines that I did. I just had never really come face-to-face with them.

In order to have an intelligent conversation about what I believed and why, this forced me to study on my own. A lot. It did not take long for me to come to grips with my own personal beliefs and those of the independent, fundamental Baptist church I belong to. What was harder for me and what really continued to be a source of frustration for me up until recently, was listening to those who are unbelievers (athiests/agnostics, etc) talk about blind faith, the Bible being a fairy tale, how Christians can't/don't think for themselves, how intolerant Christians are, and other such potentially offensive diatribe. It just really made me angry reading statements and falsehoods like this. I just didn't deal with it well.

Then came the day when I just couldn't argue about whether God was real or not anymore. I realized that arguing really wasn't getting me, or the person I was arguing with, anywhere. I wasn't going to change their minds, and they weren't going to change mine. Period. I could share/state what my particiular beliefs are, and why I believe like I do, but I couldn't force anyone to accept them. And, really, that's not what God has called believers to do. His calling was to preach the gospel, teach all nations, and be a witness of His grace, mercy, long-suffering, and love.

I bring up this subject because yesterday I came across the blog of a woman who was raised Catholic but later, after doing some studying on her own, decided that God isn't real and has rejected everything about Him.

Lots of that old frustration from my early years on the internet came flooding back. I can't even really convey exactly all of the feelings I was having as I read the different entries on her blog from the past few weeks. I just knew that I was upset.

Then I realized that every time she reads a blog like mine, a Christian blog that talks about how God is alive and at work in our lives, she probably gets upset too. In fact, she was quite upset in one of her posts about something to do with creation vs. evolution.

It's all probably just a natural human response: get defensive when some expresses a belief that opposes our own. Especially when that person has a tendency to express their views in a derogatory way or makes it seem as if you are a mindless idiot for believing what you do.

And maybe this is one of the reasons that I have gotten angry and defensive when faced with accusations such as being a mindless idiot, not thinking for myself, for accepting God on blind faith, and not being able to prove God with science. I know that God is real! I have experienced that reality every day of my life. When falsehoods fly my way because I am a believer, I cannot allow them to influence me in a way that makes me ashamed of my faith in what Christ did for me at Calvary. While nobody enjoys being the minority, that's just the way it is in the Christian life, and I refuse to feel ashamed of my beliefs any longer.

Even more, I believe that God has given us all the choice to believe in Him or not. Of course, with that right also comes the fact that there are consequences for whatever choice we make, though I'm sure that the unbelievers out there will disagree with that latter part. Well, actually, they will likely disagree with me on both accounts.

Another thing I have come to realize is that the Founding Fathers and writers of the Constitution and First Amendment gave us the right to practice either our faith or unbelief as citizens of the United States of America. The government cannot force even one of its citizens to attend a certain church or accept that God is real, nor can it keep any from practicing his faith. Neither does God force unbelievers to accept Him in this life. If any were forced to accept God, wouldn't that be a meaningless relationship! Regardless, this life on Earth

Somethig I often think about is the fact that if, and that is a huge if, I am wrong, what do I have to lose? Nothing, according to what a lot of unbelievers hold to. If there is nothing after this life, what's the big deal about believing in God and that Christ died for my sins?

However, if I am right, then I have an eternity in Heaven waiting for me one day. I have lost nothing but gained everything. If the athiest/agnostic/unbeliever are wrong, then they have lost absolutely everything. Forever. That is a frightening thought to me. To know that you were given an opportunity to have it all, but you made the wrong choice.

So, what's the point in this whole thing? It's this: we all have the right to make a choice in what we believe, and we all have to right to write about it and discuss it on the internet. You may be offended about what others believe . . . or don't believe. You might even get defensive. But Christians, always remember this:

Never be ashamed about what you believe no matter what they say about you. Stand in boldness.

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

1 Peter 4: 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

Full of hope and no more ashamed.



Thursday, April 3, 2008

Can I borrow your Calgon?

Send me some love, People. Seriously. I'm runnin' on empty here. Some people blog about keeping it real, so here's keeping it real.

I have been a weepy mess this week, and I don't know why! And it's driving me crazy! Oh, wait. I was already that way. Is there anything worse than crazy? If so, I don't know what you'd call it except insane, maybe?

Everything is making me cry . . . and I seriously mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! Good things, bad things, in-between things. Aside from my post of "Why I Blog", I can't seem to put two words together. I've got lots of things I'd like to blog about, but when I sit down to type, it all looks like this to me: jadkfjal;kjf ;adkf dsjnfladskfj;jkadsf kladsjfkldsjfklasjfl;k. Let me just translate that for you: zxnvoieutuhewoijrioewjfkjdbvmzcnv;khsdfeiruhakldjsf. Yeah. Did you understand that? That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? If it doesn't, does that make me a senseless woman? Probably. But my husband and kids already knew that. Now you know it too, though you might've sensed it before.

I think I'm feeling all mixed up and confused. Mostly I'm confused because I'm feeling so mixed up! Or, maybe I'm mixed up because I'm confused?? I don't know. The only thing I know is that I'm 40 years old and I'm not supposed to feel mixed up and/or confused! I have waayyy too many responsibilities for my functionality to freeze up. Being confused and mixed up is for my 19-year-old! Or maybe the 13-year-old! Not for their 40-year-old mother!

Is there anything stronger than Calgon in the beauty aisle cause I'm thinkin' it's going to take way more than that to help me.

Hopin' I made you feel better about your day.

Love ya',


P.S. Don't forget to send the love. It'll be put to good use.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Why I Blog

Those who have finished by making all others think with them, have usually been those who began by daring to think with themselves. - Colton

Words are things; and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. - Byron

Sometimes I ask myself why in the world I blog, considering how packed my life is with stuff I already have to do. Why do I need something else on my ‘to do’ list? If you think about it hard enough, or over-think it as I tend to do, you’ll realize that blogging is a lot like housekeeping: you should really take care of it most every day! Of course, this does bring up an interesting thought: if I don’t keep up my blog every day, is this a reflection on the way I keep house? If you are a member of my immediate or extended family, or if you are a family friend who has been to my house any time recently, please do not answer that question. If you feel you must, please defer all answers to Bertha Mae.

Aside from the fact that I must invest time in keeping a blog, there is also the fact that there are a gazillion-million blogs out there. What difference will mine make in the world of blogging? Do people even care? Again, I’d prefer not to know the answer to this question. Just let me be happy thinking that the answer is yes.

The truth to these questions lies in a few true facts:
1. My brain is constantly in a state of thinking, thinking, thinking, and there are no sign of this phenomenon slowing down. If I do not get some of this stuff out of there, it’s going to explode! Okay, well, that is being a little extreme. How about if I say that stuff will start oozing from my ears? That sounds better. However, I do not want to be worrying about having to clean that up every day. Icky. So, I have to do something to get keep things from getting too crowded up there and running out all over creation. I figure a blog is a better option. However, please be thankful that I do not post about everything lodging in my brain. It’s crazy up there, and I do not know where half of it comes from. Lots of randomness going on.

2. I am in a pretty stressful season in life. For example, if you’ve read any other of my posts, you know that my dad died from lung cancer the day my oldest child graduated from high school. Other things going on include the fact that, last August, the youngest of my five children turned thirteen. I am now the mother not just of five children, but five teenagers. Please say that I have your sympathy. And prayers. Also, send money while you’re at it. It is expensive raising kids. Ha! Just kidding. Anyway, let’s not even discuss what it’s like having five children ages 19 down to 13. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what it’s like. Okay, well, since I tend to be Miss Chatty Kathy, I probably could, but that’ll be a post for another day. Or maybe five posts. Who knows how long I could talk about that. Anyway, sorry for the rabbit trail there. My point is that writing is very cleansing and therapeutic for me, and it really helps me sort through both the many of the thoughts I talked about in #1 and the changes going on in my life. Truth be told, my brain isn’t the only thing that is in danger of exploding. Sometimes my emotions and feelings really take a beating. Writing and sharing about my life really helps calm me down and helps me put things in perspective. Albeit a fuzzy, cross-eyed one.

3. Honestly, I just enjoy sharing my life with others because I enjoy reading blogs about the lives of others. I have many blogs bookmarked that touch some part of me or that are about subjects that are of interest to me. Even if I touch just one life, even if I make a difference to just one person, like those blogs I visit regularly, it will be worth all of the time I have invested in learning the workings of a blog, the time I spend typing, and all that good stuff. I love people. Period. The best thing in the world to me is making a new friend and learning all about who they are. And, of course, sharing about myself.

4. I love humor, and, thankfully, there are many humorous things about my life. You’ve read about a few of them: my sister’s kids, the ‘other’ me, and how I’m a bonehead Christian. Making people laugh and getting their mind off of life’s difficulties is really important to me. Sarcasm? Not so much, but occasionally I’ll throw that in there as well. Even though I’ve had several humorous posts, if you continue to read my blog for any length of time, you’ll learn that sometimes I’ve just got to be serious too. I might even make you cry. I will apologize for that in advance. But tears can be . . . and almost always are . . . more cleansing than laughter. It’s like a bath for your heart. And Lord knows that my heart gets stinky sometimes and really needs a bath. You probably realize that from reading my post on being a bonehead Christian.

5. Last of all, I want to challenge people to think . . . about life and blessings, about how fortunate they are to have a family, about whatever happens to be on my heart that day. If you read those quotes at the beginning of this post, that is, to me, the most important thing about blogging. What do you think Byron and writers like him would think about the internet? That quote came from a book I have that was published in 1897. That’s 111 years ago. The world of publishing has changed so much in the last century. How amazing that we can reach people all over the world with just a touch of a button!

Everything in life should have a purpose, even a blog. Especially a blog! If you are going to invest time in something, make it worthwhile. Whether you touch one life or a million lives, whether you bring a little laughter to somebody’s day with stories of your crazy life or a few tears to cleanse the heart, or whether you challenge people to think, blog with a purpose!

So, that’s just what was on my heart today. If you read my blog on a regular basis, would you mind leaving a little comment just to let me know if you like it, if I’ve touched you in some way or maybe made your day with stories of my insane life? I would even accept suggestions on topics or how to improve things around here. Critics will be deferred to Bertha Mae.

Your sister/friend/mother/wife/daughter (depending on who I am to you),