Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Random Thoughts and I Bought A Car

Welcome to my brain, where I produce random thoughts, all jumbled up with to-do lists, project deadlines, goals, destinations and other random things that cause me to have stress. 

And, since it feels better when others share your burdens.......

**In other random news, the grass needs mowing, but it's in the 40's today.   That's the strange thing that happens when you live on the Gulf Coast.   It's freezing in April!

**Yesterday I went out to exchange my 3rd or 4th Keurig coffee maker.   Brought it home and it's malfunctioning already.   The 12 oz cup setting only makes 10 oz and yes, this is a big deal.   I finally called the company and told them I didn't have the guts nor the heart to walk in to Bed, Bath and Beyond ONE MORE TIME and exchange a broken machine.    Thankfully, they are an honorable company and are sending me out a whole new machine and I have now been spared the embarrassment of carrying, yet another coffee machine, through the parking lot and into the store.
(For the record - we are not breaking them!  The corporate office said they have most likely been returned and used and put back on the shelf.    ewww!)

**I drug Collin out to a car lot yesterday.   I was determined to find Ted a new car, since he's been driving an old truck (over 200,000 miles on it) that gets about 12 miles to the gallon and he's literally spending all his money on gas. 

I didn't even tell Ted we were out looking.  He really thought he would be driving that truck indefinitely.

I described what I wanted to the sales guy and he gave me several models to consider.   It took me about 10 minutes to decide and voila' - I bought a car! (Well, it took a little longer to do the paperwork, as you know.)

David was there to approve and sign and then we took it on the road to find Ted and surprise him.

It was pouring down rain and COLD, but we presented it to him and he was totally shocked and grateful!

(It feels good to bless your kids!)

**I have fed my family beef more times than I care to count this week.

**I've let the laundry get dangerously out of control lately.    I was thinking of stopping by Walmart on the way home and just buying all new clothes.

** Collin's bed has been missing a bottom sheet for a week.  

** I bought carrots and cucumbers last week and I've been too busy and lazy to peel them.   It's looking good for the rabbit though.

**I actually bought a "home organization" book at a used book sale today, which is ironic that I think I will actually have time to read it, considering I'm....well.....not organized enough right now to schedule that in to my day.

**Easter is 5 days from now, heaven help me.  The meal is at my house. 

**I need to make a photo album online before the 40% off sale is over........which happens to be TODAY!

**I now know why Calgon made that commercial.   A hot bath sounds really good right now!  It certainly beats all of this random thinking going on!

Calgon!  Take me away!

Monday, April 14, 2014

God Uses Messy People

I finally finished Holley's book!   It's amazing how I can turn a 40-day devotional into 3 1/2 months!

I loved this book!  Talk about big inspiration in a little package!  This is it.   40 days of inspiration and every page points you straight back to God.

There is no dream worth pursuing if it doesn't draw you closer to the one that holds the dreams in his hands.    

Being that God created you and me, we have to acknowledge that He is the one who placed those desires, talents and gifts inside of us.    They were placed there with purpose and our lives are spent pursuing that purpose and daily walking with and toward the One who put them there. 

When I got to the last devotion today, I was so thrilled that it was about how God uses messy people, because I can be messy.

Yep, it's true.

I can be moody (usually when things are chaotic or I need food or sleep).

I can say things I shouldn't (when other people do dumb things.  Hey, just keeping it real!)

I can be sensitive.  (God made me this way.)

I'm not perfect and that's not why God uses me, for sure!

God plucked me out of 23 years of lost-ness and saved me from my own flesh and idiot-ness (made up words).    

He had to prune me, refine me, change me, groom me, redefine me, and He did all of that by saving me and opening my eyes to Jesus. 

Messy person meets Jesus = changed for life!    Praise God!

So, yeah, when I got to today's devotion and was reminded that God uses messy people, I couldn't have agreed more!

You don't have to have your act together, in order for God to use you or work in your life and dreams.   You have to be willing to change, willing to hear, willing to lay down your selfishness and hand it all over to him.     You have to acknowledge that you were created for more than fleshly desires and stupidity.   

You were created to pursue God.

And, when you finally get that, your world will open and you will find yourself being used in ways you never dreamed possible.

And, not because you were perfect.

But, because when God uses messy people, He gets the glory and that's what it's all about.

Go pursue your dreams and the One who made them!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Ted!

 Well, it finally happened......Ted turned 21

I say "finally" because he was born old.  Now it just feels like his official age has finally caught up with him.

So, to celebrate big, we headed to Houston to eat with friends and experience something different.

Here we are on the way..........

 How's this for skills?  Well, at least I got the birthday boy and the love of his life, Alex.

We met up with our friends, Todd and Cyndy (and baby Duke)..........

 Todd and Cyndy are like 2nd parents to Ted.   They are also his pastors, mentors, and friends.   I am so thankful to have them in our life and to see them care for Ted like one of their own.    It truly blesses me.

And Shelly and Peyden (baby Duke's parents).........

I love seeing my kids with genuine friends.   They love Ted and respect and believe in him.   You can't ask for much more than that.    Their baby, Duke, is two months old and just adorable and so are they.

Then, there's Alex.......

 Alex is beautiful and sweet and has put that smile in Ted's heart.     

And then.....there's us.......

Ted's crazy parents.    Actually, only one of us is crazy and it's not me :)

And, Ted's grandmother - Carolyn (or Mimi) - who says Ted lights up her life :)

And, last but not least.......

Ted's baby brother, Collin.   (He's got the crazy gene too.)

The restaurant was FOGO DE CHAO  - a Brazilian Steakhouse - and the dining experience was amazing!

They serve the meat right at your table, as you can see, and you can have a piece of every type they serve, which is around 15 or so.   Everything from leg of lamb, ribeye, bacon wrapped chicken breast to garlic steak and many more.   Mashed potatoes, fried bananas and other side dishes are served at your table and there is also a huge salad/veggie bar complete with bread, cheese, fresh veggies, and fish.   

It's basically a feast!

Then, when you're done, you have to top it off with a delicious dessert, so you can officially feel as if you'll never eat again.     Well worth every bite!

 Peyden made sure to get Ted a card.    Who doesn't love Precious Moments?   Hahaha!!

The card goes along perfectly with the camo overnight bag, don't you think?

We had so much fun and even topped off the evening with a not-too-bad rendition of the Happy Birthday song.

We all ate so much that we basically wanted to lay down right at the table and sleep for a few hours, but unfortunately we had a 2 hour drive home, so that didn't happen.

I can't believe my first born son is 21 years old!

It doesn't seem like that long ago that David and I were heading to the hospital, scared to death, knowing that our lives would be changed forever.

The moment we laid eyes on Ted, we both agreed that you can't look into the face of a baby and not know that God is real.   No one but the Creator of this world, could create something so perfectly put together.   NO ONE!

And, our lives have never been the same!

A baby changes your life.    A baby makes the world LESS ABOUT YOU and more about the love of someone else. 

Ted has brought us so much joy over his lifetime.    We actually could not ask for a better son. 

He's loving and kind, smart and talented, sensitive and yet strong, genuine and so giving and his love for the Lord is HUGE, which is what makes him who he is.  

We are looking forward to this next season in Ted's life.   We have no doubt that God has great plans for him!


We love you A MILLION SKIES!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Simple Day

Yesterday was one of my favorite kind of days.

The weather was perfectly warm, with an amazing breeze blowing.    Perfect weather to open the doors and let the breeze blow through the screens and into the house.

It was the first day in a week, that Collin and I didn't have to go anywhere. 

We enjoyed having conversation over one of his school books, which led to a deeper look into my child's heart and the rest of the day was spent catching up on Math and rehearsing lines for his upcoming drama at co-op.

Ted was home for part of the day and David came home for lunch and overall, it was just a great day.

It was the kind of day that brings back memories.    The kind of day that "smells" or feels like a day from the past. 

The warm weather and the simplicity of the day, took me back to a time when my boys were young and we had simple things to do - play outside, go to the park, read books, swim in the baby pool in the back yard and enjoy the day.

And, it made me think of what a contrast our days are now.  

I know I often write about my desire to go back to a simpler way of life, but it's because I sometimes feel like life now is a rat race.

I get tired of being on the go all the time.    I get tired of Facebook and appointments and dealing with companies and having to stay on the phone researching prices and insurance and various other things that make me feel like I need a secretary. 

I want to sit and read the stack of magazines that have come in the mail.

I want to go back to a simpler way of daily living, where the biggest quest of the day was making sure I took the meat out of the freezer in time for dinner.

I loved those days.

I'm afraid that season has passed and I'm now knee deep in the season of the teen years - running and going and doing and all things social! 

I'm not complaining completely.   I'm thankful for the opportunities that Collin has and I'm absolutely so grateful that I'm able to stay home and cater to his social life, church life, co-op life, etc.

But it doesn't hurt to dream.

And, it doesn't hurt to remember a simpler time and long for those days again.

And come they will.......but they won't be the same.

So for now, I'll treasure them when they come along and yet, rejoice for new opportunities.

God is at work, either way, and He gives us what we need, when we need it. 

For a look into a simpler life, read Joey and Rory's experience with stepping back and simplifying.  It might inspire you to change something.    It has definitely given me something to think about.

Have a great day and may God richly bless you along the way!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What You Are Doing Matters to the Next Generation

Did you know that what you pass on to your children has eternal significance?  

Whether it's a talent, a skill, a passion or lack thereof, you are influencing someone for the next generation.   

Nothing like a little pressure, huh?

Until today, I had not thought about where my love for music came from or my love for writing, for that matter.    Although I've loved both since I was a little girl, I had no idea that my passions may have come from the generations before me.

But, now that I think back,  I can certainly attribute my love of music from my grandmother, who played the piano and sang.   I would sit on the bench next to her and watch her hands and listen to her voice and feel a passion well up inside me for the music. 

My love of writing could certainly be traced back to my mom, who taught me the great passion of reading.    Oh, I'm so thankful for that!  I can't imagine my life without the love of books!   My mom was a passionate reader; always moving from one story to the next and never without a book stuck in her purse.  

When you have stories flowing in and out of your days, you are always thinking of words and putting them into thoughts and stories of your own.   

I really don't know if you can truly be a good writer without the love of stories.

 When you share the passions of your heart, those that come after you will benefit from those passions and may even develop a love for them too.

 Such is the passing on of love......

The best way to pass on the importance of love, marriage, faithfulness and loyalty, is to demonstrate those things in your everyday life.

Your kids are watching and they are taking notes.

Everything you say, the way you treat one another, the respect, the love, the care.......it all makes an impact on your children and maybe even those around you who you aren't aware are watching.

  The love you have for home and family..........

 The gift you have of manual labor.........

And, most importantly, above all else...........

 The time and importance you give to faith.

Nothing impacts the future generation like a love for God.

If you have nothing else to pass on, at least pass on a passion for the living God!   That love will have the most influence on how your children handle life, loss, hardships and even impact the decisions they make in their everyday lives.

Without a passion for their creator, they will feel a void that will cause them to fill that hole with various worldly things that don't matter.     They will never feel whole without knowing the one who created them.

So, take time to think about what you are passing on.

It will have an eternal impact on future generations and it matters.

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, 
the purposes of his heart through all generations."
Psalm 33:11

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Don't Let Fear Keep You From the Ones You Love

Me, Jeff, my mom, my aunt

Sometimes you fear doing something and it turns out to be just the opposite of what you had in mind.

For the past four months I have feared seeing my brother, Jeff, who is suffering with his second round of cancer.

In November he went into the hospital and we truly thought those would be the last few days of his life.   But, stubbornness and strength go hand and hand, and he came home on hospice in December and has managed to find strength from some deep place we know nothing about. 

Living with cancer is a roller coaster.   Jeff literally has days when he can't even sit up in bed and other days when he finds the strength to drive an hour and 10 minutes down the road, to see his family.    He is superman.

As horrible as it sounds, I was afraid to see Jeff again because it breaks my heart.  

Just two years ago I watched my dad decline to a physical state which no one should ever have to reach.    I couldn't bear to see my brother in that same state.

I get weekly reports about him from my mom and we text and talk every now and then, but I had given up visiting him in person, because you just never knew what kind of day he would be having.  And, because we live 4 hours apart.   And, because I was scared to see him suffer.

So last week, when my mom and aunt asked if we could come for a family get-together, I was dreading it.   But, I knew I couldn't say no.

My mom and aunt's only cousin was in from Pennsylvania and if we could manage to all be together, it would be a great blessing for them.

 My aunt Susie, cousin Terry, and mom Nancy

So we rearranged our week, David took a few days off from work, and we drove to San Antonio to have our family get-together.

And, I was praying the whole time.

I also asked a few other people to pray for me.

The day after we arrived, Jeff was feeling up to driving over, which was an hour and ten minutes, one way.    The fact that he can drive, is miraculous to me, for so many reasons. 

He arrived in good time and we ended up having a wonderful day together.

At one point in the day, I remember feeling such a peace about how the day was going and it hit me.....people had to be praying.    You truly can feel the peace of God when people pray for you and I know that's what we were all experiencing that day.

We watched the NASCAR race with Jeff (which he LOVES), had hours of conversation, took family photos and even got to share a meal with him, which is something you never know about, because he literally can go days without feeling up to eating.    

We entertained him with some music.....

Steve, Collin, David

We ended the evening with lots of hugs, more family photos, and all the men oohing and ahhing over the engine in Jeff's truck.

Then we had to say good-bye and it was hard.

When you leave someone who is terminally ill, you just never know if it will be the last time or not. 

So, you have to be thankful for the day God has given.

And, you have to be thankful, that even though you were scared, you pushed through and survived what turned out to be a hundred times less scary than you expected.

I wouldn't have missed this trip for anything.

God is good.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It's All About the Push and Pull

I'm coming to the conclusion that for every positive there is a negative and vice versa.

To put it simply, for every red candy in the jar, you have to eat a few green ones (yuck).

For every push - there is a pull.  

For every gift - there is a sacrifice. 

For every growth - there is pruning.

Basically,  for anything worthwhile - there is work to do.

As a wife, you have to put aside your own agenda, in order to bless your husband.

As a mom, you have to feel the tug of heart, as you push your kids into adulthood.

As a Christian you must quit worshiping SELF,  in order to worship the one who created you.

As a friend you must overlook someone's faults, in order to have a relationship.

Life is about give and take.

If you want to succeed at something, you must first work at something.

If you want to learn something, you must first admit that you don't know something.

If anything is worth anything, it must be worth the give and take, the push and pull.

Love is worth it.

People are worth it.

Growth is worth it.

God is worth it.

What's in your life today that is worth the push and pull, the give and take?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Great Weekend - Sunday

So......if Friday and Saturday weren't enough, Sunday was just as good, but in a different way.

Sunday, David and I got to watch Collin and Gabbi sing "It Is Well" in two services at Gabbi's church.

Needless to say, we were so proud!

Here's the video of them on Sunday morning:

(excuse all the sniffing and noise)

Gabbi and Collin could not have two more different styles of musicality.  

Gabbi is a serious young lady who loves musicals, the symphony, and much more sophisticated styles of music.   She just went to competition and performed in Italian, for goodness sakes!  

Collin is a self-taught country boy, who plays everything from classic rock to country and adds his own flare to every song he does. 

They could not be more apart on the style spectrum, but when you put them together, they compliment each other and they make an amazing team!

Recently, Gabbi's grandfather gifted her with some time in a recording studio and she asked Collin to accompany her on one song.   Once they started practicing that one song, they realized the great sound they were creating and Gabbi invited Collin to join her on two more songs.

They traveled a few hours up the road with Gabbi's mom, Melanie, and spent an entire day at the studio.   Needless to say, they had a blast and came out with an entire CD!

And, the results were amazing!   In fact, so amazing that Gabbi's grandfather has asked them to do another CD!  So, they are currently coming up with songs that they agree on; some featuring Collin and some featuring Gabbi.

I love the way they have learned to work together and compromise with one another over what songs to choose. It's a true team effort and a great friendship.

To watch your child, who was once so painfully shy, stand up in front of a congregation or a thousand people at the Civic Center (with The Altus Brothers) and play guitar or mandolin and sing, is just a great feeling.  

It's not just about the talent, it's about the growth.

I see my baby growing into a young man and I couldn't be more proud.

To listen to a few of my favorite songs from the first CD,

go HERE 

(I can't post the videos here for some reason).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Great Weekend - Saturday

Well, I promised I would write about last weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - so I'm sticking to that, even though this week is moving right along and it's already Wednesday!

But, it's too good not to write about, so here goes....

Saturday was amazing!

It was finally the day of our first rehearsal for Listen To Your Mother.   This was the day we would meet our fellow cast members and hear each one's story and get to share our own. 

I was pretty excited (and a little nervous)!

We met at a local business office and started off with lunch and time to get to know one another.  The atmosphere was very casual and comfortable and everyone seemed to be very nice and happy to be there.

After eating, we went outside for some pictures, which brought laughter, silly poses, and just more time to get comfortable with one another, which was great, considering we were about to go inside and share some intimate stories with each other.

Which is what we did, right after pictures.

Sitting around a conference table, we each took turns reading our stories, the ones that brought us through auditions and to this point in time, and an instant bonding took place.

One of the most intimate aspects of getting to know someone is hearing something that moves their heart.

Moving beyond the surface.

It's hard to do these days because everyone is in a hurry.

But, sitting there, listening to total strangers tell stories that are very personal - whether humorous or heartbreaking - gives you an instant look inside someone's heart. 

It's a vulnerable place to go - that letting someone in, that you barely know - and yet, sitting there that day, it felt very comfortable.

There were many laughs, but there were many tears too.

I think a special bonding took place that day. 

Human beings allowing total strangers to hear their hearts and step into their lives, takes guts.   At least for me it does.

After reading our stories and discussing the logistics of "show day", we were all dismissed to go our separate ways, but I'm pretty sure we all left a little different than when we got there.

I'm pretty sure we all went home feeling like we had a whole new group of friends. 

We will meet again in another month and then it will be time for the show.

I have a feeling that we will be changed when this is all over.

Braver.   A little more open.  A few more friends.   And, a special bond within a group of people who all took the same risk, when we auditioned and shared a part of our hearts with total strangers.

We are the cast of Listen To Your Mother - Southeast Texas!

for this amazing picture collage!


Monday, March 31, 2014

A Wonderful Weekend - Friday

 Wow!  What a weekend!   It's been fun, a little scary, and downright enjoyable, all in one!

David took Friday off  (for sanity's sake), so we decided to take a little time for ourselves and spend the day shopping for a gate for our front yard. 

Sounds like a boring thing to do on your day off, but it wasn't any ordinary gate; it was a specific kind of garden gate and my guess was that we would find it at a junk store or an antique place, so off we went.

We had several places in mind, but first I wanted to stop by this place, because I've always been fascinated by the artistic look of their junk display. 

 See what I mean?

If any place had a gate fit for my yard (old, rustic), it would be this place!

However, when we got there, we discovered that there is no way in and it's not actually a place to shop, but only a display.    There is a building, but the door is hidden inside the fenced in area, that displays all the junk.   So boo!


 Oh, well! 

We hit up a few more junk places along the way, but had to stop for our customary Mexican Food fix before moving on to the rest of the shops and our quest for the perfect gate.

We got to our favorite restaurant, where we have perfected the art of sharing Fajitas for One and walking out for less than fifteen dollars - total!    It's the only place we share anything, because it's basically the only time we actually agree on what to eat.    Otherwise, it's steak for him, salad or soup for me, and never the two shall meet!

 While in the restaurant, David found this.......

 Which included this........

 A write-up on our upcoming event - Listen To Your Mother! 

I was so excited to see my name in print!     I still can't believe I get to be a part of this amazing show, but we'll talk more about that later.

To sum up the rest of our day, we hit about 4 or 5 more stores, looking for a gate (never actually went to a "gate" store, mind you),  but never found even one, which is murphy's law of shopping.   If I were looking for a table or a quilt, I would have found 10 gates instead!

So, as you guessed.....

I came home with no gate, but a table and a quilt.

 The quilt

The table

No gate.

But, we had a great day together and came home with a few fun things and a sense of appreciation for spending a couple of hours alone - with (almost) no calls from work, no chatter from kids, and nothing pending for the rest of the day, but a cup of coffee on the couch and our favorite shows to watch.  

Ahhhh, we needed that!

The rest of the weekend was just as great - so great, in fact, that I've decided to dedicate a separate post for each day.      

So, you'll have to come back to see how Saturday and Sunday unfolded.

Stay tuned......