Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank God...I Made It Through the Day!

It would have been so great if I had written an inspiring post about new beginnings and goals for the next year.  But I didn't.  I spent the entire last day of 2008 in my bathroom thanking God for my vast supply of Charmin and asking sweet baby Jesus to just take me on home to glory.  I realize that this is highly personal information but I have always been just a shade too transparent so I figure why stop now??  Needless to say I didn't get a post up for today until it was almost tomorrow.  Chances are I will be lucky to get my Friday Jumbles posted on time.  Perhaps by then I will be feeling all inspirational...we'll see.  But do have a lovely New Years Day tomorrow and enjoy some blackeyed peas, which has always been a strange tradition in my opinion.  I will be ringing in the new year eating plain toast and gingerale.  Happy New Year, dear bloggy friends!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dude, You Threw Off My Groove!

I don't know what is going on, but something has definitely thrown off my groove.  You know that feeling you get when you can't quite find normal you and some other foreign, grumpy, out-of-sorts you has taken up residence in your body?  I know, I know...I am weird.  But I am okay with my weirdness.  Part of it is all of the change that has been taking place in my own life and that will just take time to sort itself out.  The great thing about emotions is that they are much like clouds and they just don't hang around for very long.  What do you usually do when you don't feel quite right?

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Love It, Love It, Love It!!

Well, I do hope you people had a great Christmas.  Ours was wonderful!  Christmas Eve was spent in Waycross with all of the inlaws and, my goodness, there are bunches of us now.  We packed in one house and ate a buffet of smoked, grilled or fried meat with all of the trimmings and a table absolutely full of sinful desserts.  We did our gift exchange which has come to look something like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as we conduct our "Dirty Santa".  Then we headed back to Columbus, arriving home around 12:30 AM.  We spent the entire day on Christmas in our pajamas, napping, eating recreationally (nutrition had nothing to do with it) and playing with our boys.  Our boys saved their money and secretly bought Eddie and me the second season of Psych (best show ever!) which they taped to the bottom of a giant RC truck of theirs and wrapped in an unrecognizable mass of Christmas paper to throw us off.  Awesome!  For the last three years they have been using their money to get us a surprise gift and it gives us such a kick to see them get so excited over giving. I know I have said it before...I love Christmas!  

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am taking the rest of this week to spend time with the family.  I will be back here next week so I will  see you on Monday.  Have a Cool Yule!  

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chocolate, Rudolph and Memories of Yesterday


I spent last night making Oreo truffles (cream cheesy goodness wrapped in dark chocolate...pure heaven!) and then I sat by the fire with my little boy in my lap watching Rudolph.  I have always had a love affair with all things Christmas and I cannot help but feel a bit nostalgic watching the same Christmas specials with my kids that I used to watch as a little girl.  I also find that at this time of year I miss my mother so much I can hardly breathe at times.  And now that she is gone, I no longer have that link to my grandmother who was my anchor growing up, helping me to find my way when everything around me was chaos.  But no matter how messy life was in my family, they always put aside what didn't matter to focus on what did at Christmas and I loved every day leading up to the moment when we could rush into the living room and see what Santa left by the fireplace for us.  And we all laughed and gave and ate and we had peace on earth even if only for a season.   Now that I am grown, peace is a way of life for my own little family and the moments of chaos are few and far between.  But still I love every moment leading up to Christmas day and I try to savor every moment with my children during these times that will all too soon be warm memories.  I pray that your time this week in celebration of the birth of our Savior will be filled with warmth and peace and nostalgia and great joy.  Merry Christmas to you all!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deep, Dark Secrets

We harbor in our family a deep, dark secret. Only one person outside of our family knows it. Until now. If any of you have ever wondered why our family has never given you Christmas cookies, I submit the following picture as evidence. Not one of the five of us can make a pretty Christmas cookie. As you can see below, it us not just the decorating skills that we all lack. We are not even good at cutting out the bloomin' things. In the earlier years, when our boys were very small, we would make the dough from scratch and spend hours icing them and still they looked like what you see below. I then began buying sugar cookie dough in rolls because, really, once three boys cover them in two inches of cream cheese frosting and an inch of colored sugar, they all taste the same. We soon learned that the word "nonpareils" is french for "are you crazy thinking that vacuum is going to suck all those up??" And truthfully, we all stand around the counter like starving buzzards on road kill, slathering the first few in frosting and shoving them down our throats before we even begin the "decorating" process. Our latest challenge has been explaining why it is in bad taste to use the frosting to make the Christmas angels anatomically correct. Well, it is out now. It feels good to confess. Feels even better to eat those Christmas cookies...no matter how ugly they are!




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Monday, December 22, 2008

Twenty-Four Hours In The Pit of Despair


Have you ever allowed yourself to mentally descend to the lowest place possible?  Have you ever given in to despairing thoughts and let all of the hope that usually wraps up your every day just go right down the toilet?  The past twenty-four hours have been that for me.  I don't even understand quite how it happens and so yesterday afternoon, when I found myself alone for a few hours, I gave myself a good talking to and reminded my heart that God WILL do what He said He would do. Regardless of how circumstances appear, He hasn't brought me to this place in my life to leave me and forsake me or the dreams that He has promised would come to pass.  If you are struggling with hopelessness or despair, I pray that you would find courage and hope in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and  hope."  I send this encouragement out to you, not from a high and lofty place of having it all together, but rather from the dusty road of pain and doubt and learning to live in the moment.  I am really glad that I am not all alone on this journey....love you, my bloggy friends!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Well, bloggy friends, my jumbled thoughts this week are coming to you all from another state...the great state of Georgia. This could mean that they will be 76% more southern or 53% more backward. Either way you still have to love me!


--I met one of my new neighbors this week. She is 95 years old and comes from the state of Nebraska. Apparently she has found that southerners do not live up to the friendly reputation that they have somehow garnered over the years. I helped change her mindset when my dog helped himself to a sniff of her dog and I struck up a convo with her. She was great. I love older people!!

--I have a good friend who tells me that people I meet in public places would not tell me their whole life story while checking my groceries if I would just not make eye contact with them. I wondered if this might be true as I stood at the checkout counter at PetSmart this week and learned all about the clerks mother and her Yorkies "that she got for free because no one wanted them and how could anyone ever not want a Yorkie and wouldn't everyone want to have one if they didn't have to pay so gosh-awful much for them!"

-- I have decided that eye contact is my gift to mankind as some people seldom get to experience that type of engagement with another human being. I am just going to have to start allowing for more time when I run errands. It's either that or I start wearing dark glasses and pretend to have a disturbing tic.

--I went to see Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens this week and for my eyes it was magical. For my butt it was less than magical as I was seated in the back of a pickup with my sons and my sister-in-law. If you get the chance, go see it, but I highly recommend riding in a car.

--Confession: I got a speeding ticket on the way to Columbus the day we were moving. In my defense, I was trying to catch up to the moving truck that Eddie was driving which was way ahead of me as I had to go back to Lake City to get something important that we left. Funny, the state trooper that pulled me over did not seem one bit enchanted by me and he did not even try to tell me his life story. Bet I get coal in my stocking next week as I have been so very naughty!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Router Shmouter!

Well, bloggy friends, it seems that our wireless router has breathed its last and so we are all sharing one computer that is connected to the web as of today at our house.  Please remember that I have two teenagers, so this means I take a number and get in line. The Knology guys showed up yesterday to connect us to the lovely web and you could hear Taps playing in the background as the news came forth from the lips of the service dude.  I hope to be back on schedule with my ground-breaking, life-changing blog posts tomorrow.  Do come back here again and have a lovely Thursday!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Got Nothing

I tried three times to write this post, saying things that mean pretty much nothing to me. I got nothing. Nothing at all in me right now. I am utterly and totally exhausted, but every stinkin’ box in this house is unpacked and there is a very pretty Christmas tree twinkling in my living room. I may be wiped out but I am awfully happy to be where I am. Hope you are happy to be where you are. Have a lovely week!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

What Does Your Headline Say??

Seth Godin had a wonderful blog on Friday about headlines. (I know, when did I have time to read a blog on Friday?  I squeezed in a few important ones.)  And it made me think about what my own "headline" reads.  What message do I advertise to others when they encounter me, especially those who do not already know me.  What one sentence does my life scream to others as representative of me?  I don't mean this to sound narcissistic, but we do make a lasting first impression on those around us and it is worth a few moments of my time to consider what headline screams at others from the front page of my life.  Does it say something positive that would make others want to read further?  Is there depth and substance and something other than self?  Is the fragrance of God wafting from the front pages of my life enough that the casual passer-by is compelled to take a closer look?  Just some questions to consider.  Have a lovely Monday!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Today is the last day I will live in Lake City. What a great 4 1/2 years this has been. I heart all of my special friends here. (sigh)


--In case you think you have "heard everything", have I got a tidbit for you! I read a news article this week about a girl in China who lost her hearing after her boyfriend kissed her "passionately", evidently reducing the pressure in her mouth. I am just sorry, but this doesn't belong in the American Journal of Medicine...it belongs in a Hoover owners manual. This man obviously does not know how to kiss and she should break up with him immediately.

--I ate a chicken dinner from KFC the other night since all of the pots and pans were encased in cardboard. I was reminded three hours later why I don't eat at KFC.

--Fav quote of the week: "Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time." Dave Barry

--The depth of wisdom that flows from the pen of Dave Barry cannot be overstated. If you need a pick-me-up, read one of his books and laugh yourself happy.

--It is always a good idea to pay off your debts in one place before moving on to the next. Yesterday I went to the library and paid my debt of $1.20 for my overdue books and I left there feeling both cleansed and oddly liberated.

--And finally, just to make you feel better about yourself, I thought I would tell everyone that I washed five loads of clothes with fabric softener this week. The large jug of Gain detergent I had just bought turned out to be a large jug of Gain fabric softener. I cannot believe it took me FIVE loads to realize that there was no "suds action" in the washer. So, while our clothes were not clean, they were exceptionally soft because, of course, I put different fabric softener in the fabric softener dispenser thingy. I am truly a wonder to behold.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good to Great-Gretzky Style

It is my sincere desire to be a woman upon whom God can depend to be "tuned in" to what He is saying and where He is heading.  In Genesis 41, Joseph was listening to God and perceiving what He was saying to His people at that time.  His keen perception of God's plan for upcoming events informed the leadership of a nation and people were spared from starvation.  

Jesus was the greatest perceiver of the heart of God (since He was pretty tight in the Trinity) and in John chapter 6  He "perceives that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king so He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."   His actions were determined by the way in which God led Him, knowing, at least in part, what was just up ahead.  

It is those times in my life when I feel hopelessly out of step with where He is headed that I feel the most frustration.  I know the Word says that we see in part and know in part (1 Cor 13) but there are clear Biblical examples of those who were great players because they were playing where the puck was going to be.  I want to live as Joseph lived- listening, believing and speaking boldly, anticipating where God is going to be and thus making a difference to a generation.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beat the Clock


So, my inbox has over 250 emails in it, most of them unread, my fingernails and toenails are hideously neglected, my eyebrows look like azaleas, I don't remember when I last read a page in the book beside my bed and I even posted a video of a dancing dog on my blog yesterday since 

I have precious little time to write this week.  This is major.  Yes, I am in the throws of packing my entire home in a week as we prepare for our upcoming move and I have to say that I do not really enjoy this part of "the big adventure."  I am not one for playing the whole beat the clock thing...I like to have time to work my plan and preferably not at Christmas when I usually have my tree up the day after Thanksgiving. But all things considered, life is really good and His blessings overwhelm me.  So maybe, just maybe before I ring in the New Year, I will be able to properly groom myself, read a few pages in a book and see lights twinkling on my Christmas tree.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And I Was Proud That My Dog Can Poop Outside and Sit On Command...

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Savor Every Moment


My oldest son turned sixteen yesterday and, for some reason, I find it hard.  It is a wonder to watch him grow up and become a man, but I just wish that could happen and I could still keep my little boy who used to dress up in funny costumes and wallpaper my everyday life with his wild imagination.  I can remember lifting him out of the tub and wrapping him in a hooded towel and then watching as he would tear down the hallway, laughing wildly as I would chase him to his room and dress him in his footed pajamas.  He always smelled so good at night all curled up next to me on the couch and I would pray that those days would never end.  This week I get to take him to get his driver's license and then watch him as he tears down our street, laughing wildly at all that life has to offer, but this time I don't get to run after him.  You don't think about such things when you are changing diapers and wiping spit-up off of your shoes.  It is always a good idea to savor every moment...to remember the smell of their hair after a bath and their breath after they have eaten Play Doh.   My baby is nine and he still likes to cuddle on the couch with me at night after his bath and so I am still soaking it up.  If you have the chance, I hope you are, too.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--I had my sister cut my hair in some cute, fringey bangs this past week. I also bought some new rather large, roundish sunglasses (snapped my old ones right in half) and my oldest son was good enough to tell me that I look like Willy Wonka. As in Johnny Depp. This earned him a dirty look and he so deserved it.

--Rental property (which is temporary) = large cockroaches (which are eternal). We did find the exception, but I will still be calling an exterminator. The exterminator is my friend.

--Did you know that if you add coffee to your ginormous cup of hot chocolate at 10:30 at night, you will get LOTS of reading done after midnight?

--My oldest son turns sixteen this weekend. I told him yesterday at lunch that it seems like just last week that he was dancing around in a onesie while watching Barney. I told him I would give him ten bucks if he would do it again. He said no....something about me needing therapy. I don't know what he meant by that. Sheesh.

--I helped my sister-in-law put up her retro, shiny, silver Christmas tree the other night. We found these great silver ornaments that looked liked mini disco balls and when the lights hit it with all those little disco orbs, it looks like Santa Claus meets Caesars Palace. So fun!

--Fav quote of the week: "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world." George Washington Carver

--And finally, a confession. I was in bed one evening this week seriously pondering the idea of plugging up my leaf blower really late one night and blowing all of our leaves into my neighbors' yards while they sleep. Is that wrong?

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Contagious Generosity

Tim Sanders blog yesterday on giving was inspiring.  I have always enjoyed his teaching on the abundance mentality versus the scarcity mentality.  You can read more about this in his book, Love Is the Killer App...a truly worthwhile read on business but its lessons go far beyond the business world.


Anyway, my husband and I have always enjoyed giving to others, most especially secret giving.  I really should have been Santa Claus for the big kick I get out of giving.  We heard a teaching on giving many years ago that taught us to sow into fields where we ourselves have need.  When we were striving to pay off student loans and our little amount was not enough, we would sow what we had into someone else who was struggling to do the same.  "If it's not enough to meet the need, consider it seed."  Great axiom to live by.

As I talked yesterday about running from the "doom and gloom" discouragement that is all around us, I can think of no better way to dispel such a cloud than by contagious generosity.  Give money to someone who needs it, speak life to someone who is down to their last hope, offer practical service to a person who has nowhere to turn for the meeting of a need.  Contagious generosity.  It works.  And the residue of hope it leaves in your own life is beautiful indeed.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crash & Burn? I Don't Think So!!


I have taken a leave of absence from my favorite news channel.  Or any news channel for that matter.  I have had it with all of the doom and gloom.  I have never been a "stick your head in the sand" kind of girl.  I want to know what is going on and stay informed about what is happening in the world around me, but as of late I am on sabbatical from negative hype and this whole "crash and burn" mentality that is the national media.  


I am in the middle of major life changes...career, church, home...heck we are even changing states. We have chosen the seemingly worst time to change careers, try several new ventures, sell a home and move to a new place.  The media would love us to believe that we should all hunker down and freeze everything.  Just hang on until the better times come.  Bull stuff!!  The people that are succeeding in their businesses right now are the ones who are approaching their clients with a positive attitude, encouraging them in their ventures and helping them believe that all is not bleak.  The economy is a cycle and this is just part of it.  The ups and downs, the ebb and flow...these are systems that are not new and what is currently down WILL go back up.  We have to choose to live, grow, take chances and explore new territory regardless of what we see around us.  Walt Disney created a whole magical world by believing in what he couldn't see with his eyes.  And we can do the same if we will dare to be positive and choose to believe.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Should It Stay Or Should It Go???

I am moving soon.  To a much smaller abode.  As we await the sale of our spacious home in Florida we will be living in a cozy (and by cozy I mean really small) rental in Georgia and so now comes the task of deciding what to take and what to leave.  The thing about stuff is that we get so attached to some stuff and other stuff we don't even realize we have until we open a cabinet or move something out of the way and discover some useless pile of junk that we have had for who knows how long.  "Whose idea was it to buy this??" "What possessed me to keep that??"  "What IS this thing, anyway?"


I am considering throwing out much of what we don't find necessary to take with us.  But some things that I will leave here for now, like my grandmother's jello molds and my mother's high school annuals, well, those are keepers.  Call me sentimental...I totally am.  Those jello molds and annuals and old black and white photos, even the big jar of buttons from so many outfits my grandmother wore, are my connection to something that has become intangible.  They help me to touch what no longer is and therefore feed my soul.  The broken food processor, the now-out-of- style Birkenstocks and the snaggle-toothed rake?  Yardsale fodder.  But all those yesterdays wrapped up in the playing cards that my grandmother used for her "Wednesday Afternoon Bridge Club that met on Fridays" and that still smell like her?  Yeah, I will be keeping those. 


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Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Reflections (or Why Family Holidays Should Only Happen Twice Yearly)

I have decided that, since my sister insists on being too busy to read my blog, I am going to do a little tell-all about my Thanksgiving experience.  It doesn't pay to be nonsupportive in my family (insert evil, maniacal laughter here). 


Upon arrival at my sister's home, we were greeted in the driveway by my sister who SWORE that whatever my oldest nephew had was NOT contagious although the doctor at the Acme Medical Clinic could not exactly say what the mysterious illness was nor could he explain why he had been sick for two weeks running.  This announcement was intended to be comforting.  FAIL!!

I awakened the first morning at my sister's house to the sound of my ten-year-old nephew catching what I understand to be "mole crickets" in the den where my husband and I were sleeping on air mattresses.  While these crickets are the size of moles, they actually resemble frogs with spider legs.  If you know me even a little, you understand how DEEPLY disturbing I found this.  I do NOT do critters of any kind, especially those that can HOP onto me while I sleep.  Fortunately he flushed the offenders down the toilet and I chose to believe that they were sojourners who had no kin in the nearby area.

I discovered while helping to prepare the Thanksgiving feast that, if you do NOT place the huge mixing bowl full of sweet potatoes and other gooey ingredients completely on the counter rather than partially on the counter, when you mix the said potato concoction, it will spill down the front of your shirt, your pants, and penetrate the tiny holes in the mesh of your running shoes.  It is also a difficult substance to clean off of the newly painted kitchen cabinets and the din of laughter from every member of your family does not help this process.  It's okay though, because I laughed until I nearly wet my already potatoey pants.

To further leave my mark on my extended family, I accidentally dropped my sister's blender on the floor which caused the pantry door to snap backwards and knock a picture off of the wall which then landed on top of my brother-in-law's head.  I found it fortunate that stitches were not required and that he didn't hate me for the fits of my laughter that inevitably follow any of my "unfortunate accidents", as they have come to be called.

Our visit was capped off by a knee-slapping funny display from my nephew with the strange and dreaded disease who was taking certain behavior-altering medications.  Apparently he recently entered the front office of his high school (where my sister also works) and renamed the school secretary Fonda Peters.  This was shared with a house full of Thanksgiving guests and then followed up with drunken hugs for everyone at which time he discovered that his tongue felt strange.Thankfully my sister told him to pull his shirt down and go back to bed.  I plan to find out what medication he was taking and never give it to my own children.

I really do love my extended family and I was deeply grateful that our messy celebration took place in her house this year.  Next year I will wear a rubber suit while preparing the sweet potato souffle` and I will make sure we are all properly innoculated before going to her house.  Hope your Turkey Day was just as memorable!!


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Think I Need A Little Break!

I must confess that I am not feeling well and so being informative, encouraging or entertaining is just beyond me today.  I know, I know....it boggles the mind, doesn't it?  I had planned to take a little bloggy break for the remainder of this holiday week anyway, so here is my farewell until Monday.  I get to spend time with my sister whom I have not layed eyes on since Easter, so I am one happy little pilgrim.  Here's hoping that your turkey is moist, your gravy isn't lumpy and you don't do bodily harm to that relative who, quite frankly, really deserves it.  See you peeps on Monday!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

If You Need Me, I Will Be At My Happy Place



I have a picture on my desk of two Adirondack chairs overlooking a beautiful lake surrounded by enormous mountains.  When my own circumstances are less than appealing to consider, I look at this picture and imagine myself sitting in one of those chairs, staring out at the water and the mountains beyond.  I call it my happy place.  A Lamaze instructor once encouraged me to find my"happy place" while I was in labor.  She was an idiot.  But while a happy place was unable to take my mind off of mind-numbing labor pains and the inevitability of a huge head pushing it's way out of my body, it is quite effective at providing me with a mental vacation now and again.  I find this a healthy mental exercise as long as I don't try to set up permanent residence there.  What about you?  Where do you go when you need a peaceful place for your thoughts to sit and put their feet up?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Fav quote of the week: "The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised." -George Will


--Gas dropped below $2.00 in Lake City, Florida this week. In case there is any doubt in your mind, there IS a God!!

--It struck me yesterday, as I was adrift in the orange sea of pine straw I call my front yard, that all of the beautiful songs written about majestic Georgia pines must have been penned by people who do NOT have pine trees in their yards or who own riding mowers with bags attached so that they have no idea how it feels to rake for HOURS and then bag for even more HOURS only to turn around and see that MORE pine straw has fallen. Futility. Sheer futility.

--I have decided to refrain from watching the news until my house sells. I can't deal with reality when I am believing God for a miracle.

--Have you SEEN the new guitar hero commercial with Kobe Bryant, A-Rod, Micheal Phelps and Tony Hawk? They recreate the whole Risky Business underwear scene while playing guitar hero guitars together...fantastic!

--And finally, I went to Starbucks to meet a friend this week and I didn't order ANYTHING. I drank water. One small step for Beth, one giant leap for her goal of having rock-hard abs by April.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are There Women In Your Posse??

Many pastors place only men on the leadership teams of their churches, particularly if they will wear the title of elder or deacon.  These leaders boldly declare that Jesus did not place women in such positions of leadership and they are only following His example.  So, did Jesus have women in His posse?  I am so glad you asked!


In the book of Luke, chapter 8, verses 1-3 we see that, in addition to the twelve disciples, Jesus also had several women in his entourage; Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and then some others who were lending financial support to His ministry.  This, in itself, is monumental as Jewish rabbis in that time did not have anything to do with women, much less teach them, as their tradition stated that women were immoral, stupid and basically evil.  Jesus was so "cutting- edge" to allow Mary of Bethany to sit at his feet and be taught by Him (Luke 10:38-42).  Not only that but He praised her for it.  If we are to use the argument that the twelve disciples were the exclusive pattern, then male Gentiles would be ineligible for leadership in the church because the original twelve were all Jewish.  It was only a few years after Pentecost that there were Gentile leaders in the church and also a Roman woman by the name of Junia (Romans 16:7).  

The women in Jesus day knew that He was unlike any other religious leader.  He sat in public and had a theological discussion with the woman at the well (John 4) and He healed a woman in public, calling her a "daughter of Abraham" (Luke 13:16).  No church leader had ever done that!  No, the women around Him knew that He was different from the unadulterated chauvinism to which they had been subjected.  And the women of today can know this, too.  He has set us free to know Him intimately and to make Him known, leading in whatever capacity He so chooses in His church.  I will address some of these "other capacities" in future posts....




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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Transformed


"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."       Carl Jung


When I was a kid, I had my future all figured out.  I was going to be a world-renowned psychologist with many books to my credit and a full speaking tour.  And I was going to do it alone-just me and God.  Growing up I saw very little that drew me to the idea of marriage.  And yet, when I was nineteen, I met Eddie Taylor and in him I knew I had found my home. One year later I married my best friend and today we celebrate twenty years of profound "heaven on earth".  These two decades have been filled with adventure, excitement, peace, passion, love and a little heartache.  Three sons, six fish, two cats and two dogs later, I wouldn't have my life any other way.  God's love has transformed me and His catalyst has been my husband.  I tell him that he is diet coke and I am mentos and that together we are infinitely better and entirely transformed, reaching heights that alone would be impossible.  I love you, Eddie Taylor!  Happy Anniversary.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Then The Roosters Showed Up...

Anyone who has ever sold a house knows how "unfun" it is to keep the said house in perfect order all the time.  This becomes even more challenging if there are three boys living there as they do not fully comprehend the reality that the realtor can call at any time and want to show your house with precious little warning.  Let me give you a fun example of what it looks like when that call does come and you have an hour to get your home perfect and your entire family, dog included, out of the house.

Yesterday, I got the call at lunch time but before anyone had eaten anything.  I then had to get my hungry boys to make the underwear that usually hangs out of their partially open drawers to magically disappear while assigning someone to quickly run the vacuum.  The vacuum decided to begin emitting a foul and suspicious "rubber belt simmering in a dirty sweat sock" smell which quickly filled the house.  Not to worry-there was plenty of time to sprinkle fragrant carpet fresh powder all over the carpet and then grind it in with my sock-covered feet because there was no way on earth we were turning that smelly vacuum back on.  Thanks to the refreshing fall winds that blew over the weekend, there was a three inch carpet of leaves on the front patio and walkway that had to be swept up.

  And then the roosters showed up.  I am so not kidding.  Sauntering through my front yard were two very stupid roosters who obviously had no internal clocks as they were crowing at the top of their lungs.  Did I mention it was noontime?  Now, for those who do not know me, I do NOT live in the country and I had no idea why there were roosters in my yard, but I was pretty confident that they would not be a bold selling point for the potential buyer that was due at my house in twenty minutes!!  And yes, I did go after them with my broom in my hand in true cartoon fashion, hoping and praying that a car would come along and make rooster pancakes of them.  

It turns out that the roosters really weren't the lowest point.  When I returned home after the showing I discovered a toilet FULL of bright, yes-I-did-take-my-vitamins-today yellow urine with the lid up for everyone to see.  Never have I felt so proud.  If these people do buy my house, I am wearing a bag over my head at the closing.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus...


This weekend I was at the mall with my whole family doing a little Christmas shopping when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a mall Santa before Thanksgiving.  Now, I love Christmas more than the average person.  In fact, I love it so passionately that I have to force myself to wait until after Thanksgiving to watch Elf and begin listening to Christmas music.  So I think the mall people, or the village people, or whoever is in charge should put the Santa thing on hold until the turkey dinner is at least cooling in the fridge.  The pilgrims and the indians are seriously getting the brush-off from the advertising industry and this needs to stop.


That being said, if you know me and my family, you know that we like to take pictures of ourselves doing silly things in public places.  Yesterday the mall Santa was on break and obviously doing a little shopping for the Mrs. at the jewelry store near the center of the mall.  My oldest son was encouraging my middle son to go over to Santa and lean over the jewelry counter beside him so he could get a picture.  Well, let's just say that timing is not the forte of my middle son so he hurried over and old Santa noticed what he was up to before my budding photographer son could get the picture.  David, thinking fast on his feet, blurts out (in his very deep for thirteen voice) "I love you, Santa!"   Mr. Mall Santa looks right into the eyes of my son and says, "Well I don't love you!  Now get away from me!"   Ahh, can't you just feel the Christmas spirit in the air....love, joy, peace and all of that?  Yeah, me neither.  But we all got a big laugh and I can always use one of those.  So, dear friends, the Christmas season is apparently upon us and all I can say is, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...and he is a big, fat old grouch!!"

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Jumbles

The following is in celebration of all things superficial and unimportant...you can't be serious and helpful all of the time.

--I was watching the CMA Awards the other night (now, now...don't judge me) and I was struck by this thought-provoking question: Is it possible to write a country song that does NOT have incorrect grammar in it? The world is dying to know.

--Thought-provoking question number two: If my dog eats his own poo, why does his breath smell like yucky, old, left-in-the-sun-for-a-week fish?

--Watched an old Cosby Show rerun this week. Love me some Cos. Some days I think a good slap in the face by Claire Huxtable would do me some good.

--I bought the recent issue of Shape magazine because Faith Hill (love her!) was on the cover. At forty-one she has amazing abs and I have decided to have abs like hers by my 41st birthday (April12). I wish deciding was all I had to do to get them. I am foolishly writing this in my blog. I have no earthly idea why. You laugh (yeah, I hear you!) but check back with me in April, my friends! BTW, this is not an entirely vain pursuit. I am told it will improve some back issues I have. Bonus!

--And finally, to grant myself a little permission to write the half-baked material that I do on Fridays, I submit to you the following anonymous quote....

--"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men."

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

How To Cool Down After a Workout

The other day I was huffing and puffing away on my elliptical machine and wondering what on earth possessed me to eat half of what I have consumed over the course of the past year (or two). As I was coming to the end of my 2 1/2 miles, I reached for my water bottle to get a big swig before hitting the results button that tells me how many calories I have burned. This is the digital equivalence of a pat on the back and, Lord knows, I will take what I can get. Not one to slack off until I have reached the very end, I kept on ellipticalling (yes, I did just make that word up) while attempting to drink from a nearly full bottle of water. It was as I was guzzling that the arm of the machine hit my elbow and I was instantly SHOWERED with cool and refreshing Publix brand spring water. Oh, yes...I am the embodiment of all things graceful. Not only were my face and the front of my shirt showered but so were my nasal passages and, I'm pretty sure, my bronchial tubes. And of course I started laughing out loud because that is what I do when anyone, myself included, does something stooooopid!

So, there you have it...a new and wonderful idea you can use to enhance your own workouts. Just promise that you will think of me when you do it.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Song, Some Memories and a Thankful Heart

I was reading my friend, Joylene's, blog yesterday and I was unexpectedly swept away. She had Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata imbedded in her blog about music and its magical ability to take you to another place, another time. As soon as the music began I was instantly six years old and lying on the floor beside the piano, listening to my mother play this piece and watching as her beautiful fingers danced gracefully over the ivory keys as if she were born playing this song. She was an accomplished pianist and a marvel to watch and I always knew that playing the piano wasn't just about making music...it was about losing herself in a passion that she, herself, didn't understand. Oh, how I would love to hear her play just one more time and see on her weary face the look of peace that she only wore when seated at the piano, lost in her music.

My mother and my grandparents exposed me to beautiful music; classical, opera, jazz, big band and grand choral arrangements. They also surrounded me with the very best that the literary world had to offer and to this day there is no greater comfort for me than to be in a room full of great books and fine music. I am so very thankful for these gifts that they gave to me and the lasting memories that sustain me. The simplicities of life that are most often taken for granted seem to become the priceless, decorative memories that adorn our hearts and souls in later years. As I gaze about the landscape of my own soul these days, the scenery is breath-taking and I am thankful.

What adorns your soul in this season of your life? Who do you have to thank for what you find there? We should take time in this season of Thanksgiving to truly appreciate those things deeply rooted within us and the precious people who planted them there. (And thank you, Joylene...I needed to hear that yesterday)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If You WIll Let Him

Yesterday, I wrote about brokenness and I said that He will break you if you will let Him. So, what does that look like? There is a difference between what you will tolerate and what you will embrace. There have been times in my life where I merely tolerated His way over mine and then thought I deserved some sort of award for my obedience. But He was gracious enough to teach me that what He is looking for is honor, not tolerance. He is looking for me to wrap my arms around the process as if it were a gift from Him and walk in the way He has opened for me. Or wait, clothed in the circumstance of His choosing. This is honoring Him.

I forgot that lesson and so the past two weeks of my life have not been very pretty. My other mother and dear mentor, Miss Susan, reminded me of this truth. And she didn't remind me with a finger in my face. No, she had my hands in hers with tears streaming down her face. Hers is a life of brokenness, a life that I respect and long to emulate. And so I have turned to Him and I am wrapping my arms around this process in which I find myself, embracing it like I would Him if I could touch Him. And in so doing, I have found His touch again.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

The Way of Brokenness

Horses must be broken to be of any good to a human. The breaking process is used to bring the horse under the master's control and often consists of leading the horse through many potentially frightening situations until it learns to trust its master. This process works best over time-instant results don't happen.

Some people wrongly assume that brokenness in a Christian's life is a destination where, once reached, a permanent address is then set up. If only this were true. The truth is that opportunities for brokenness come to us many times over the course of our lives. Unlike a horse, we have the ability to reason(which can be such a hindrance) and so we do not live out of mere animal instinct. When we come to any future "potentially frightening situations", we say, "But Lord, I have already been tested. Surely this cannot be You. Did I not already prove to You that I will do what You ask of me?" And there we sit trying to understand how we could possibly be at another such place of breaking, perhaps one even more difficult than the last.

Only God knows what is up ahead and what preparation we will need for tomorrow. It is often the promises of tomorrow that necessitate the breaking of today. Other times it is human pride that rears its ugly head and returns in us for an encore performance. Pride loves encores. And then another opportunity for brokenness must come and lower the curtain on such a performance. Ultimately, God is determined to break me both for my good and for His glory. And He will do the same for you. If you will let Him.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Jumbles

This has not been one of my better weeks. Consider yourself warned.


--My phone is strangely silent now that the election is over. I am trying to decide what to do with all of my spare time now that I am not running to check caller ID every hour on the hour. I'm thinking of getting a Harley.

--Have you seen the commercial for the new reality show that is coming out soon? It is a competition for make-up artists called Blush. Oh...my...GRACIOUS!! Freak parade. That's all I will say about that.

--My cell phone broke this week and I had to buy a new one. I cannot tell you how embarassing it was to be at lunch with a friend and have my phone ring with a LOUD, obnoxious ring tone that I did not choose only to realize that I had no earthly idea how to silence the dang thing. Yeah. Good times.

--Oh, and I also accidentally sent a text message intended for my husband to Alltel Customer Service. Unbelievable.

--I'm not gonna lie, The Office was pretty disappointing the past two weeks, but last night was really funny. If you missed it, you can catch it on Hulu.com
--Fav quote of the week: "Achievement seems to be connected with action. Sucessful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit." Conrad Hilton

--The irony of it all is that I was trying to figure out a way I could quit this week. I wasn't really going to quit...it just made me feel better to think about it for a little while.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hi, I'm Debbie Downer...

wanh, wanh, wanh.  This past weekend both my FSU Seminoles and my Georgia Dawgs lost their games, my candidate lost the election and then my antenna broke off of my cell phone (thus rendering it USELESS).  I discovered the broken antenna NOT while I was IN the cell phone store paying my bill, but rather after I had driven home from the cell phone store.  Now, I realize that in the grand scheme of things this is nothing, but we really aren't talking about the grand scheme here-we're talking about my little scheme and therefore it matters...to me!  If you think of my life like a recipe and you mix the above ingredients with a few other temporary, yet utterly frustrating circumstances in my life, add a 1/2 tsp of "woah, our grocery bill was high this week!", a Tbsp of "why did I pick this week to start doing crunches again?", and a dash of PMS and, my friends, this is no angel food cake baking here!  It is full-blown, double-dark devils food cake.


There.  I have completed my totally unnecessary, yet mildly entertaining rant.  Thanks for listening.  Carry on.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Head...Small Word, Big Misunderstanding


1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 


This is a verse of Scripture that has been misunderstood for a very long time.  In the original Greek language the word for head is kephale.  Kephale means source or origin.  The word head in this passage is meant to communicate that man is the source or origin of woman.  It was from man that woman was taken.  The entire reflection of God's image was found completely in Adam, the first man.  When woman was taken out of man, he was no longer the complete image by himself for the woman was the completion of that total image.  

The ancients believed that semen, the source of life, was produced in the brain of man which is in his head so then the head represented the very source of life.  David Hamilton points out in his book, Why Not Women, that "kephale was the word used for the source of a river.  This is why the Greeks often set up the head of a man at a fountain or at the source of a river.  We still refer to the source of a river as its headwaters."  Somehow in the church this meaning is often hidden and instead authority is what is pulled from this passage.

In his beautifully written book, The Shack, William Young has the Holy Spirit speaking to Mack, the main character, and He is answering his question regarding things that God seems to have hidden from man in this life.  Holy Spirit answers him saying, "The choice to hide so many wonders from you is an act of love that is a gift inside the process of life."  God hides some things so that we can have the pure joy of finding them.  Woman was one such gift for man.  She was there within him and God brought out what was hidden to bring joy to the man and complete him.  Man is her kephale, her source, her origin.  And that is why together they are one.  And that is why marriage based on this understanding of this verse in Corinthians is so fulfilling.  It is not about heirarchy...it is about oneness.  Oneness, completion, the fulfillment of real intimacy...this is what man and woman were intended to know together and it is one of the very sweetest of His "hidden joys".

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lord Have Mercy, Will This Day Never End???

Aaahhh...Election Day in the great US of A!  Regardless of who you will be voting for today, I think we can all agree that we will be glad to see it all come to an end!  Ugly, nightmarish memories of hanging chads, counted and recounted votes in Florida and the election that would never end just a few short years ago remind us that we cannot take for granted it will all be over as of tonight.  But we do live in hope!


Perhaps you will go to bed with visions of lower taxes dancing in your head and a contented smile because your vote counted and your candidate won.  Maybe you will cry yourself to sleep tonight because your man and his faithful sidekick lost.  No matter.  The sun will rise again tomorrow and life will go on.  God will still love you and your family just as much as He did during the fevered build-up to the election.  I am encouraging myself with this verse from Scripture:

                  Daniel 4:17 "The Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and He
                  gives them to whomever He wishes."

Dear bloggy friends, we can still trust in His faithfulness and His hand of provision.  We will be able to do as the Psalmist said, "Be strong and let your heart take courage".  Not because we are Republicans or Democrats and not because we are Americans, but because "...we hope in the Lord." (Ps 31:24)  

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Monday, November 3, 2008

That's a Good Question!

What would happen if every time you opened your mouth today only positive words came out?


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Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Sexist Observation #341: It is physically impossible for male children to actually get their dirty clothes INTO the dirty clothes basket, even in a well-lit and uncluttered laundry room. I have no experience with female children. If you have no children yet, it is best to begin lowering your expectations now.

--If you have a minute, check out Tim Stevens blog from yesterday. It is obnoxiously in your face and I usually have a deep appreciation for that.

--Fav quote of the week: "Halloween is just an excuse for women to dress like prostitutes. You know it totally is." Jim Gaffigan

--Confession: I might have previously exaggerated just a teensy bit on how often I get shopping carts with broken wheels. However, since I first posted about it in my blog, I swear it has happened EVERY TIME I have gone to Walmart. Must be some communist-buggy-sabbotage-conspiracy-thingy!

--Another linky dink...check out Eddie's blog from last Friday. Truly rocked our little world.

--Still praying for our house to sell. I'm not gonna lie...I am about a quart low on faith today. I really shouldn't be in light of the aforementioned occurence in Eddie's blog. What can I say? I am painfully human.

--I raked leaves yesterday. I think that everyone that winds up in hell will most likely be raking leaves for the rest of eternity. Either that or cleaning grout. It's a toss-up.

--If the stars align just right then perhaps our beloved Georgia Bulldogs will actually beat Florida on Saturday. You can stop laughing now!!


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Breast Awareness Month


No, the title is NOT a mistake. Recently my son, Periwinkle, (names have been changed to protect the innocent) announced to his brothers that the reason the waitresses at a local restaurant were wearing "Save the Ta Tas" tee shirts is because it is Breast Awareness Month. That's right...cancer has nothing to do with it. So, dear readers, take a moment before this month is over to pause and become aware of your breasts. Or your lack of breasts. Go ahead...have a leisurely stroll down mammary lane. Now don't you feel truly inspired??


I am Beth Taylor and I approved this message.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scratch That.....


In my post this morning I declared that I would not share my political  opinions.  I am retracting that statement and I am asking you to please read this article before you go and vote.  I am categorically and unapologetically opposed to abortion.   Nothing anyone could ever say to me would change my mind.  I am also pro-choice.  I think a woman should have a right to choose and that choice should be made before she has sex.   


The article I reference here by Robert George is the most thorough explanation of Barak Obama's stance on abortion that I have ever read.  Please be informed on where Obama stands on this issue and what this will mean for our country should he be elected.  Many issues are at stake at this pivotal time in history, but none so important as the preservation of human life.  This is not a short article but it is hugely important.  Feel free to forward a link to this blog or a link directly to the article.  Please be informed and please, please vote.

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The Wisdom of Yesterday

I avoid all things political in this blog because I am highly opinionated on the subject and basically intolerant of opposing views in this one arena.  Hey, at least I get points for honesty here, right?  Anyhoo, since we are fast approaching the big election day I want to spare you any personal opinions and instead share with you the words of some of our founding fathers.  


--"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."  George Washington

--"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  John Adams

--"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."  Thomas Jefferson

--"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone."  John Quincy Adams

--"The Bible is the rock on which this Republic rests."  Andrew Jackson

--"The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity."  Martin Van Buren

These words represent the heart of the leadership that aided in laying the foundation of this great nation.  How have we drifted so far from our beginnings?  As you prepare to go out and vote next week for our next President, please consider the words of the Presidents of yesterday and remember why we came here in the first place.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Everybody Limbo!!!

I looked up the word limbo in the dictionary and I found the following definitions:  suspended, on hold, up in the air, on the back burner.  This is a good description of what limbo is.  


 The other definition of limbo is the Indian dance in which the dancer bends backwords in order to pass under a horizontal bar that is progressively lowered.  I think this definition is a more accurate picture of what it feels like to be  "in limbo".  You feel like if you bend any further, you might snap in two.  And the fire is a nice touch in this picture.  Nothing like the fear of incineration to help you bend backwards even further.  Funny but there is no one standing around in festive hats clapping for me right now and I am bent way backwards!
 
Limbo is a most unusual "unplace" in which to find yourself.  Have you ever found yourself there for an undetermined amount of time?  How did you cope?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The Beauty of Margins

One of my favorite leadership talks to give is that of self-leadership.  You cannot effectively lead others until you are successfully managing yourself.  Of great importance in this arena is building margin into your life.  Margin is the extra time that you may need as you live this gloriously unpredictable life.


Case in point would be my life yesterday morning.  I was gathering my family together so that I could drive my husband to the airport to catch a flight.  We left plenty of margin within our schedule and it was a good thing as our battery was dead-graveyard dead-when my husband tried to start the van.  Time for plan B.  Because of the margin we had built into our schedule, we had plenty of time to go get another battery, install it and still get to the airport, after having a quick lunch, with time to spare.  This is the beauty of margin.  

I was taught early in life by my grandmother that tardiness is the highest form of selfishness because it communicates to others that your time is more important than theirs.  She always told me to allow more time than I thought I would need so as to NEVER keep others waiting.  And this lesson has served me well in life.  The slow traffic, dead batteries and coffee spilled in your lap as you pull out of your driveway can all be handled without costing others if you build margin into your schedules.  Try it this week.  It will bring you great freedom, cost you little, and speak volumes to others.  And if the unexpected doesn't happen, you will have a little extra time to create something beautiful in the margin of your life.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Jumbles

--Chronicles of Charmia: Epilogue...I went to Walmart (see below) this week to buy toilet paper and lo and behold, what did I see in the middle of the aisle? A HUGE display of Charmin multipacks....on sale. Then the heavens opened and the angels sang and a blue bird landed on my shoulder. Okay, not really, but it could have happened. It had to be a sign from God and right now I could use one.

--I went to Walmart again this week and rather than take the first cart available, I gave it to the older lady that came in the door right behind me. My good deed for the day. I then took the next cart for me to use and I PROMISE YOU....two of the wheels were broken! I am going to have to shift the percentage up from last week to approximately 84%. Moral of the story: Nice girls finish last due to a broken-down buggy.

--Important quote of the week: It is a well-documented fact that guys will not ask for directions. This is a biological thing. This is why it takes several million sperm cells to locate a female egg, despite the fact that the egg is, relative to them, the size of Wisconsin. --Dave Barry

--My sons were discussing breast implants in the van earlier this week. We passed a Curves gym and my youngest thought it was a place to get breast implants (or boob jobs as he so eloquently put it). He then began a monologue about how interesting it would be to have an implant in your forhead to make you look like an alien. He said it would be called a "freast". I can only imagine what he will become when he grows up...boggles the mind.

--If you are considering buying a new fragrance for the man in your life and you have thought that the new Tim McGraw cologne might be nice, please lie down until this urge passes. Eddie sprayed it on himself (without smelling it first, mind you) in the store the other day and we had to ride home with the windows down. One of the boys even gagged. I think this was just for effect.

--I was driving around town the other day and I got behind a truck that had a bumper sticker that read, "TURD". Now I ask you, what would possess a person to put that on their vehicle?? Is it a southern thing? Should you really need a passport to come down here? You can't even find anything like that in a country song on the radio! Just one of those things that makes you say, "Hmmmmmmmm."

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get Paid For Your Passion

I think I have already mentioned that I have been reading Seth Godin's most recent book, Tribes, and it is really speaking to me where I am.  One sentence in particular grabbed my attention.  Seth says,


 "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don't need to escape from."  

  Godin asserts that the people who love what they do and are eager to get to work each day are people who are affecting change in their sphere of influence.  'They challenge the status quo and push something forward-something they believe in.  They lead."  Many people get up each day and head to jobs where they are working to help someone else accomplish their hopes/dreams/goals.  How many of us are getting paid to "do" the desire of our own heart?  

One of the things I love to do when I get the opportunity to speak to a group of leaders is encourage them to allow the desires of their heart to be resurrected that they might begin living from the overflow of those dreams and desires.  Most folks are taught to get a good job with great benefits and retirement.  I am telling people to make smart financial decisions but live your dreams.  If you are college age or younger, get in touch with your heart and discover what keeps you up at night, where your passion is.  Then figure out how to get paid to do that.  It may take some time and require paying a few dues, but you really can live, and get paid for, the passion in your heart.  If you are further along in life, but disappointed with where you are, it is NOT too late to get paid for your passion.  You just have to take that first step.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Unicorn In A Balloon Factory

As I pray and talk to the Lord about His heart for women to lead strongly in His body, I go back to the handful of scriptures that have been misinterpreted and then used as institutional bars in the church to keep women safely imprisoned in the cage of the status quo.  Sadly, many women have accepted these rules as a reflection of God's heart towards them.  They assume that what they are allowed to do in the church is all that they were created for and that men were designed to carry the weight of real leadership.  Some of the women I have talked to even seem relieved that they are limited because it is safer to hide behind man-made walls of limitation than to have to step out and lead where it might feel uncomfortable.  This is understandable given the fact that it is all they have known their entire lives.


I remember years ago asking one woman, who I greatly respect as a leader in the church, her opinion of women in leadership and she gave to me the response I have heard so often from men in my 25 years in the church, "Women can teach and preach and lead in any way they choose except for church government.  Pastoring and and leading in positions of eldership are for men only."  I remember how stunned I felt when those words left her lips.  I had never felt so alone as I did in that moment.  I never expected her to have swallowed such a gross misrepresentation of God's plan for His daughters.  But she did and so have many others.  

On the flip side of that coin is a moment I recently experienced.  I asked Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine and author of two books on women in leadership, to speak at our women's conference earlier this month at Christian Heritage Church.  During one of his teaching sessions Lee had the women come forward who had been trapped by fear so he could pray for them to be free to lead and fulfill God's destiny for them.  So many women come forward crying out to God to free them to rise up for such a time as this.  My heart was ignited with such a passion to see women come to the place of understanding that God places no gender limitations on them.  He longs to see the misuse of His word come to an end, just as He did when slavery was an issue in this country and people were misusing His word to validate their sin of holding back other races.  I was reminded in that moment, as I stood and watched the women find freedom, that THIS is my holy discontent and the reason I have been given a voice at this time.  

It is time and I am excited.  I realize that this makes me much like (to borrow a phrase from Seth Godin) a unicorn in a balloon factory.  And I'm okay with that.  This is not about me.  This is about the other half of the army of God.  In the coming days and weeks I will be addressing some of these passages of Scripture with the hope of bringing light to a dark place in the church.  To quote Loren Cunningham (Youth With A Mission), "If we don't seize this opportunity now, the church will fall behind for generations."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confessions of a Neat-Freak


Ahhhh, the sweet consolation of things put in order.  I realize that not everyone is a fan of order and some just may not know how to attain order much less maintain it.  For me, order is part of my DNA...I crave it and I thrive in it.  I have been told that this is indicative of a deep, dark,  hidden issue and that I organize and straighten to compensate for those things over which I have no control.  And to this I say, "WHAT????!!!!"  I don't think that I need to tell you that the people who have said this to me were chronically messy, perhaps even terminally so.  Now this is not a criticism of messies or adulation for neat freaks, but rather a confession that I find difficult circumstances easier to endure when my little world is in order.  Of great comfort to me is the fact that I am married to a man who is just like me in this arena.  In fact, he is worse, and I say this with great respect and admiration.  His sock drawer is color-coded as are the clothes in his closet and once, I caught him alphabetizing the spice cabinet.  I pointed out to him that alphabetizing spices might border on some sort of neurosis, but he did not think so.  

The only problem with these OCD (actually it should be CDO....in alphabetical order, the way God intended it) tendencies is that my friends who are gifted in messiness do not like to have me over unless their homes are clean.  This is crazy because I don't care how messy your house is...I don't have to live in it.  And I would certainly never criticize you for it.   I'm a live-and-let-live kinda girl.  You be messy, I'll be organized and the world will continue to spin on it's axis.  Spinning and spinning, making complete rotations every twenty-four hours, while revolving in an orderly orbit around the sun........

So which are you?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Risky Business


Following God can be risky business.  Sometimes the thrill of adventure is exhausting and I just want to take a little nap and pretend I'm not hanging out on a limb.  Sloths eat, sleep, and even give birth while hanging from tree limbs and I have never understood that as "hanging" anywhere is not comfortable for me.  But you do get used to the view and you even begin thinking, after a while, that you might just be hugging a small space forever. I reminded myself today that I am not a sloth, but a daughter with a destiny and that this "hanging" is not a permanent condition.  Oftentimes I don't listen well to my own advice.  I am great at giving pep-talks to others but I am not a good listener when I am the only one in the conversation.  This is one of those times when I find myself yelling my own words in my own ears, hoping like crazy that they will penetrate my heart.  I am reminded that when Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water, he was fine until he began looking at what was around him.  Taking your eyes off of the face of God is never a good idea.  Why do our eyes like to wander so?  Why does the heart doubt what the head knows so well?  When will I ever be like my friend, Jesus, who could sleep so peacefully in the middle of a raging storm?  Someday.  Someday.  


If you,too, are finding yourself hanging in an uncomfortable place for an uncomfortable amount of time, just know that you are not alone.  And it is not forever.  And He will never, ever leave you alone.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Exit Interview

Wouldn't it be interesting if you could have an exit interview with everyone you have encountered this past week? What would they say about their interaction with you?  Were your words dazzling?  Were your arguments convincing?  Did you make your point with dizzying clarity? 

I have been thinking that what we say really doesn’t matter.  It is how we make people feel that matters.  Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  That might sound a little “touchy-feely”, but I find that in most of my dealings with people, it is what they walk away with that matters to them.  Kind of like the aftertaste when you have something to eat or drink….it doesn’t really matter what you swallowed, your stomach doesn’t know the difference.  But your mouth will register the aftertaste for quite some time and it is that by which you judge the meal or the drink.  You leave a mark on each one you touch, a fingerprint on their soul.  What does it look like?  What will others see in your wake?

My wake could have been better this week.  I would like to say that my fingerprints were lovely, but some of them were not.  Tomorrow is a new day and I will purpose to think before I speak, listen much, and leave behind something remarkable on others.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Jumbles

Alright bloggy people...here are my thoughts for this week:


--In this, the final chapter of the Chronicles of Charmia, I would like to report to you all (because, of course, you care) that the last of the John Wayne toilet paper is now currently somewhere in the depths of my septic tank. And in the drawers beside each toilet??? My beloved Charmin. (sigh) I considered taking this Chronicles of Narnia analogy to another level, renaming characters with potty words, but alas, as I thought it out to its logical conclusion, it took me down a road for which I would inevitably have to apologize. And so I won't.

--While eating my mini wheats yesterday morning, I noticed a claim printed on the box that stated that it is "clinically shown to improve kids attentiveness by nearly 20%." Oh, whatever. How in the world did they come up with those results and how can they be proven? Don't you love random studies and the claims they make supported by rediculous percentages?

--Perhaps I am a bit narcissistic, but I am pretty sure that I am the only person who seems to get the shopping cart at Walmart that has the broken wheel.

--In the spirit of thoughts two and three above, I would like to assert that I get a cart with a broken wheel on approximately 81% of my trips to Walmart.

--I am still reflecting/chewing on all of my notes from Catalyst last week. As leaders we should make time to fully digest all of the information and inspiration on which we feed. To swallow it whole and consider it no more will never bring about personal growth.
--Leaders who do not continually learn and grow are like hood ornaments. They serve absolutely no purpose in their ministry/organization

--Lesson from last nights' episode of The Office: Spelling is everything. Astrid....Astird....hmmmmm.

--You must check out Eddie's blog post from yesterday. Two words: armpit hair.

--And finally, if you are going to simmer pot pourri on your stove so your home will smell nice while the realtor is showing it to a prospective buyer, you should turn on the burner underneath the pot rather than the burner in front of it. One of the seven wonders of the modern world is the fact that my house is still standing and not a sad, charred heap of good intentions.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Sexual Christian

I know, I know, the title is unforgivable, but I swear it really is the title of a book. Years ago I was at the home of a friend and on her bookshelf was a copy of this book which is now out of print. In true "beth" style, I cracked up laughing because, really, doesn't it sound like a line from a Saturday Night Live skit? "I'm Beth Taylor and I AM........the SEXUAL CHRISTIAN!"


Anyhoo, as cornball as the title sounds, it is true that as Christians we should be comfortable with our sexuality, and as married christians we should be all about loving the spouse God gave us. After these years of pastoring I am well acquainted with how many troubled marriages there are in the church and how sexual dysfunction runs rampant among Christians. What is so very sad is that God intends for sex to be this incredible gift, but so often the church has no idea how to teach people to unwrap and enjoy it. I long to see marriages healed and husbands and wives free to give themselves wholeheartedly to one another. It is important for older couples with healthy marriages to come alongside younger couples and mentor them, giving encouragement and counsel as they work through their issues. Yet sadly, many couples struggle in a hellish, private world where they have no one with whom they can unmask and find the fulfillment that they find so elusive.

If you are struggling in your marriage, if physical intimacy is less than magical...do not lose hope. God can heal and restore, inspire and ignite. It is His deep desire that you might know heaven on earth. It is not some intangible fairy tale. It is real. And you can have it. Seek out that couple in your life that has a marriage you envy and pursue them as marriage mentors. Don't hide and pretend that all is well when you are dying inside. It could be that all you have to do is ask.

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