Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lessons From Gideon - Week Two

So... I'm a couple days late in posting this, but better late than never, right??

Seriously though, I could use y'all's prayers.  The enemy has been fierce in our lives lately, and it has not been easy.  Some days getting out of bed at all is a struggle for me.  (I'm just being real, here.)  But I am getting better.  God is good.  He is faithful.  And He continues to pursue me through it all.

Why, just today He has reminded me that HE is My shield... My Victory... and My Courage. (Psalm 3:3)

And if that weren't enough, my precious Mama sent me an email with these words...
“Take your eyes off yourself and reset your focus. Take your eyes off your mountain and turn them to your mountain-maker. Take your eyes off your hardship and refocus, past the chaos, beyond the veil, where My sovereignty reigns over all. In the press, in the whirlwind, in the shifting sand, I have things to tell you that will usurp the ‘usurping one’, that will calm the storm, and will place the mountain into a swallowing sea. Turn to Me. Step back, step away, and turn to Me!"
Wow. Just... WOW!!!

If I can just take my eyes off myself and my circumstances long enough, and "Lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help"... He can show me SO MUCH.  He can teach me SO MUCH. He will heal me and restore me through His Word and in His Love.

That being said, here are some things He has spoken into me lately through His Word, and through the study of Gideon...

Week 2: What to Expect When You're Expecting
  • Knowing God's purpose requires being aware of God's presence.
  • May the eyes of my heart be enlightened that I may know what is the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of His power. (Ephesians 1:18-19)
  • God has positioned me in this life exactly where He wants me.  He is here.  His call is on me.  I must open my eyes to SEE...  Then I can KNOW... Then OBEY.
  • Today's tasks - even the most mundane of them - are often preparation for tomorrow's calling.
  • God is teaching you faithfulness, diligence, and integrity through each and every task.
  • Don't despise the very things (laundry, housework, carpool, homework) that signify your seat under the umbrella of God's goodness each day.
  • Whatever He is asking me to do - recklessly follow Him! Because if He is with me, then no one and nothing can ever be against me!!!
  • Behavior does not determine identity!  Gideon was cowering in a wine press... yet God called him a "Mighty Warrior"!
  • My identity in Christ is what empowers me to my full destiny!
  • Today, you are getting tugged out of the shadows. Now, lift up your head and act like it!
  • God has strategically set me in this home, this family, this town, and this season for a REASON.
  • Some of the most difficult and intimidating opportunities to walk in God's calling come when we are staring in the faces of those who know us best and whom we love the most.
  • My greatest impact is done here... in my smallest sphere of influence... in the ordinary rhythms of daily living.
  • It is easier to stand on a platform and teach people we may never see again than to walk with our own children, friends, and loved ones in accountability, and discipleship. But these spheres encompass the heart of true ministry.

Oh  my goodness!  I went into this post thinking I was a "day late and a dollar short", but as I have reviewed my notes and "ahas" in Gideon, I realize that it was all a part of the plan.

The Master's Plan.

Even through my struggle and reluctance, He is speaking.

And I am listening...

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Lessons From Gideon - Week One

This fall I had the privilege of attending an awesome Bible Study for ladies at My Church.  Together we participated in Priscilla Shirer's Gideon: Your Weakness. God's Strength.  Needless to say, it was quite powerful.

At the end of each day's assignment, Priscilla asked us to "hashtag" our big take-away of the day.  Now, if you don't know what a hashtag is, it is a Twitter action.  (Don't know what Twitter is? Well, all I can say is Google it! Don't know Google?  Oh, no! You're just up the creek! ;-))

Anyways... A hashtag is a way of connecting with others on Twitter (and now even Facebook) around a similar topic.  For instance, if I send a Tweet about Christmas and hashtag #SantaClaus, then I will be able to connect with other people tweeting about Santa and see what they have to say. (Oh yeah... a hashtag always begins with a # sign). ;-)

Priscilla challenged us to connect with other women in the Twittersphere around the topic #LessonsFromGideon, so I thought I would share a few of mine.

I am going to break this up into several posts because a) I don't want to overwhelm you  b) this will be a way for me to review my study each week and possibly glean more from its pages, and c) maybe some of you have done the study (are doing the study?) and would like to follow along and leave a comment.

Without further ado, here are my "aha! moments" from Week One:  Head, Hearts, and Hands.

  • His strength will operate through - often in spite of - my weakness.
  • Today's difficulties are often results of yesterday's disobedience.
  • My God is a God of mercy and redemption.  Always.  Every single minute.
  • The most important way God has reminded me to wage war against the enemy, is through raising my children.
  • My #1 mission/ministry is that of motherhood!
  • I am the first line of defense for my family.  Stay alert!  Pray!!
  • Our choices and actions affect our families.
  • What kind of legacy am I leaving?
  • As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

Throughout this particular week, I remember breaking down crying several times during my time of personal study.

Why?  Because of the reminder of WHO I am in Christ, and HIS CALLING on my life.  It's easy to reconcile being a "stay-at-home" mom when your kids are small.  Just think of the money you save on childcare!  And who can better care for the needs of my children than me?  But honestly, I've been struggling in this area a lot lately.  Now that all my kids are "big kids" what does that mean?  At 13, 12, and 9 do they still need "Mommy" at home?  Who am I if not "Susie Homemaker"??  Is there something else out there I should be doing? 

I felt God's gentle whisper in my ear, every single day during this week, "Be who you are... Do what you've done.  You're good at it, and your children need you now more than ever!"

I guess that was my biggest #hashtag of all!  

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is This Thing On??

Hey y'all!

It's me... your long lost bloggin' buddy!

I've been terrible at making time for sharing, lately...

I need to tell you about our Family Night... and Halloween Party... and my Bible Study...
and how I manage to hold on to my hair while parenting teens and pre-teens.  (Let me tell you, it ain't easy!!!)

I promise... I've been making notes and taking pics, and there are several drafts in my queue.

Y'all hang on to your hats, because I'm about to become a bloggin' whirlwind!!

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Walk It Off in 30 Days

Starting tomorrow, my pal (and I say pal because she has been a permanent fixture in my DVD cabinet for about ten years now ;-)) Leslie Sansone is going to be coaching a Slimmer by Thanksgiving Challenge!

Here are the deets:

"Hey my walking friends...part of this 30 Day Plan will be to include Walking sessions and Strength Training exercises! All you need to do is plan for approx. 30 to 40 minutes each day through October.  I will TWEET weekly workout details every Sunday so we can plan our week together! I will be on Twitter coaching you every day!
***Please friends, always know, you Do NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE anything, just follow along and have fun! 
However...if you choose to use the DVD's, I will offer suggestions for our Walk DVDs and Strength Training accessories."
***This Sunday the first weekly assignment will be posted!"

I am SO excited!!! Don't tell anybody, but I actually started TODAY!  (Cause I'm OCD. And it's Monday, And I can't start something on a Tuesday. Even if it is the first day of the month!) Yep! I went to the gym and logged 40 minutes (2.2 miles) on the treadmill!  The WALK OFF has begun for this chick!

 I would love to invite any and all of you to join in on this challenge.  Don't have a twitter?? That's okay, you can get all the info on Leslie's Facebook Page or just log on to her blog for each day's instructions.

So, who's in??  Leave me a comment if you plan to participate.  I wanna encourage you along the way!

I can't wait to be THANKFUL for a slimmer ME in 30 days!

P.S.  If you see me dancing I mean, walking around my neighborhood, or bobbing my head on the treadmill at the Y, just know that I'm getting my groove on to get the weight off!  Don't drink the hater-ade!! Give me a fist bump and make me smile while I sweat!! ;-)
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Monday, September 23, 2013

The Wallet (Take Two)

This is a repost from my old blog.  I know, I know... all this talk about moving on and starting fresh, you wouldn't think I'd repost something old, would you?  Well, after our sermon yesterday morning at The Stone, it's all I have been thinking about.  I am thoroughly enjoying our walk through the parables, and I just had to share this little story of my own experience with something lost... I hope you enjoy!

(Originally posted July 25, 2011)
Actually,  it’s a “waw-let”…. At least that what Sam calls it! 
For his birthday, back in June, he received quite a haul!  Even after depositing money into his savings account, Sam still had $113 to spend. I’m pretty sure he’s never had that much money at his immediate disposal before.  In fact, he made a daily ritual of sitting down in the floor of his bedroom to count it.After noticing this event a few times, I asked, “Buddy… are you counting it again?”His immediate reply was, “Mama, this never gets old.” (He he!!) 
Well, one day, a week or so later, he decided to count his money again.  But this time he could not find his “waw-let”.  We were about to go spend a couple of days with my family in Columbia, and he told me he wanted to take a few dollars with him… in case, “I see somethin’ I want.”We looked everywhere he said he had been with it, but couldn’t find it.  I dismissed it with a “Well, it’s got to be here somewhere, it didn’t just sprout legs and walk off!”, mostly because I was packing and trying to get the truck loaded.  He was upset, but he let it pass. 
When we got to Mama’s he went to spend the night with my sister and her little boy. An evening with Aunt Betsy almost always includes a shopping trip, and this one was no exception.  They ducked in Crazy 8s at the Sandhills Shopping Center, and Sam saw a “cool shirt”. “Aunt Betsy”, he said with his little puppy-dog eyes just a-droopin’, “I would by me that shirt, except I’ve lost my waw-let”.Of course she “loaned” him the money to buy the shirt, but this led to several phone calls from family in the following weeks after we returned home as to whether or not we had yet found the “waw-let”. 
The next week, all three of my kids left for a trip to Lancaster to spend a week with their Aunt Misty (Chris’ sister). As soon as I sent them off, I made up my mind to re-start the search. Since I still had a few hours before Chris got off work, I decided to be thorough. Very thorough. 
I began by taking everything out from under the bed.  All those Rubber Maid totes full of various and sundry toy collections, all of the random stuffed animals that had been “lost” in the night… everything! No wallet.I went through each and every one of those tote boxes.  I looked under the covers and between the sheets.  I climbed up to the top bunk to see if it had wandered up to Jacob’s bed.  No wallet.I ended up cleaning out the closet, emptying the large toy box by the door, and going through each and every drawer full of clothing. Still… no wallet. 
At this point, I realize it could be anywhere! (Seriously!! I found Spiderman in an empty Pop-tart box in the pantry once!!)  This thought lead to me continuing this exhaustive search through each and every bedroom and bath in the rear of the house.  I even looked under bathroom cabinets.  Still. No “waw-let”. 
As I came to the other end of the house, and prepared to look in every nook and cranny in the living, dining and kitchen areas, I prayed.  “Lord.  You know how upset that baby is that he can’t find his wallet, and I am desperately trying to find it for him.  Please help me, here!” 
In the front entrance of our home, there is a little table/cabinet that I got from my sister.  It has two drawers and a small cabinet area beneath.  Really, the only reason it’s there is so we can have a place to drop our keys, and to hold my peace lily.  We don’t store anything of consequence there.  But something said, “Look.” So I did.One drawer, nothing. Second drawer, nothing.  I pulled open the cabinet, and there it sat.  
I called my dad, my sister, Chris, and certainly Sam at his Aunt Misty’s, to tell them! “What was lost, had now been found”!! 
As soon as the words escaped my lips, I was reminded of three parables in the book of Luke.  The Lost (or Prodigal) Son being the last, and most famous of these, and the first of the Lost Sheep that I learned to quote as a teen, I tend to overlook the middle passage in that little trilogy.  The Parable of the Lost Coin .In it, Jesus tells about a  woman who had lost one of her ten silver coins.  She swept the house and began to “seek diligently” until she found it.  She didn’t give up.  She kept searching…That’s what I had done.  I never quit searching for the wallet.  I knew it was here in this house SOMEWHERE and I had to find it. 
That is what Jesus does.  He never stops searching… looking… waiting.  He came to “seek and save that which was lost”.  And when He “finds” us… the angels in heaven rejoice!! 
Just like the woman in the parable rejoiced as she called all her friends to come and celebrate with her that her coin had been found. Just like I exuberantly called everyone I knew would give a care, and reported that I had found the wallet!! Truly.  There has rarely been a time in my life that I was more exhilarated. More relieved. All my hard work had actually accomplished something!  
I began to think more on this… this “victory” of mine, and the Bible passages that had come to mind with it.  Jesus completed a great work, too.  A greater work than anyone else has ever accomplished.  He laid down his life for me.  
“It is finished”, He said from the cross.  Knowing that all His hard work had actually accomplished something. Salvation.  
For you. 
For me. 
He never stopped searching… 
I once was lost.  Now I’m found! 
Thank you, Jesus!!!

Special thanks to Pastor Bill for reminding me of this precious story, and the fact that I am precious to HIM!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013


Thankful Thursday[3]

Today I am thankful for…

  • the lovely fall-like temps we’ve been experiencing over the last couple of days
  • connecting with precious ladies at my church while sharing in the awesome study of Gideon by Priscilla Shirer
  • as a result of this study, coming to the realization that God’s call on my life doesn’t have an expiration date :-)
  • being able to take a stand for something that I believed in this week, and making a difference because of it
  • all the super-duper friendships that I’ve been blessed with… old friends, new friends, wild and crazy friends, and my “therapy friend”… they are all PRECIOUS friends
  • my awesome family… Mama, Daddy, brother, sisters… BILs and nephews…
  • my beautiful, talented, incredibly intelligent, spectacular children
  • my MAIN MAN

I am a lucky, lucky girl.  Blessed beyond measure.

What are YOU thankful for?

Join us over at Grace Alone for Thankful Thursdays each week.  We’d love to have you!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Going Through...

Pain.  Heartache.  Depression.  Frustration.  Disillusionment.  Loneliness.

We all face these at some point in our lives.  Sometimes we face them all at once.

Going through...

Sometimes just going through the motions, until you can get to a better place.

Climbing out of the pit,  back into the sunshine.

Rising out of the valley, back to the top of the mountain.

Y'all.. this is real.  This is life.  Like the old song says, we really were never promised a "rose garden".

But it's all about perspective.

Over the last year of my life, I have learned to ask not "why", but "what"?

Not, "Why are you letting this happen, God"??

But, "What do you want me to learn from this, Lord"??

We go through stuff sometimes.  Hard stuff.  Stinky stuff.  Sticky stuff.

But truly, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger."

Not because we gain more of our own strength.  But because we receive more of His.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

 No, we aren't promised rose gardens, but we are promised grace.

What are you going through right now??

Just. Let. Go.

And watch God flex his muscles. ;-)
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Friday, September 6, 2013

It’s Friday, Y’all!!

That means…
  • Grilling Out.
  • Movie Night with the Fam.
  • Staying up late with my Man, watching scary stuff like Supernatural, Fringe, or Being Human.
  • Did I mention NO HOMEWORK?!?!
  • Sleeping IN tomorrow!!
I love Fridays!!!
What’s your favorite thing about the weekend??

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Organize Me!

So… some of you may remember this Facebook Status from Monday:


Since I got several comments inquiring as to “how” and asking for help, I thought I’d unpack that status a little more here.

The first thing we did (and I did this a while back, but was neglecting to use it) was log in to My Fitness Pal.  This is an EASY and FREE online tool to help you keep track of weight loss goals.  If you don’t have one I strongly suggest you sign up. Like I said, it’s a VERY EASY way to track your calories for the day, as well as log in exercise and water consumption.  Their data base includes almost any food you can think of, and if you have a smart phone, you can just scan the bar code of the food from your pantry, and enter data that way.  HOW EASY IS THAT!?!?!  It also has a forum and “friends” to help  keep you accountable.  I even made this cool ticker to help motivate me to keep on keepin’ on!!  Oh, and did I mention how EASY this app is to use?? ;-)

2lbs Lost

Next, we opened up Google Calendar, and began working on my schedule.  Knowing I won’t get my workouts in unless I a) schedule them and b) do them first thing in the morning, that was the first item I blocked off my calendar.  Monday thru Friday.  8:30 to 9:30 AM.  No exceptions!  (Yes, Mrs. Phebe, I also scheduled BIBLE STUDY starting next week!!) ;-)

Screenshot (2)

I also used tools from Housewife How-Tos to help me get my “Fall Cleaning” planned and scheduled on my calendar.  (I tweaked things a bit to keep them simpler for me, but this was the ultimate guide).  I recommend printing out the following check-lists as well, so that you streamline everything when you schedule your cleaning.

Daily Tidy Up Routine

Weekly Kitchen Cleaning Routine

Weekly Living/Family Room Cleaning Routine

Weekly Bedroom Cleaning Routine

Weekly Bathroom Cleaning Routine

Weekly Kids Bedroom Cleaning Routine (Great tool for teaching your kids what you mean when you say “clean your room”! I am going to put them in sheet protectors and use expo markers for the kids to check off each week.)

I actually scheduled these (using the Fall Cleaning Chart mentioned above) into my Google Calendar.  Not only do I get my "Daily Agenda” emailed to me every morning, but if I “set reminders” I can get alerts on my phone, too.  (Otters like me need LOTS of guiding and motivation, or else we will get distracted and want to play!)

Another great tool that Chris uses, and has introduced me to, is WunderList.Com (there is also an app for your phone, just check the site).  Here I can schedule items on my To-Do list, and set reminders so I won’t forget and actually get them done.  Yes, you can even name your lists (like “Grocery” below) and then you can check items off on your smartphone! That’s wonderful for people like me who get all the way to Bi-Lo and then realize I left my shopping list on the kitchen table! ;-)

Screenshot (3)

I am a list maker, and the teacher in me loves paper and pen (colored ones, preferably!) so it was a little hard for me to go all “techno” with my organization.  But the MAJOR plus, is that I don’t have to keep up with a bunch of separate lists, journals, notebooks, etc… it’s all right here on my computer (and also linked to my phone via apps) so everything is in one neat and tidy place, and I won’t lose them!!

Maybe you’re like me, and you need a nudge into organizing.  Really, it’s the first step in productivity. And who doesn’t like that awesome feeling of accomplishment?!?!

Now, it’s time for me to quit blogging about it, and actually go…

Git ‘er done!!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Game Day, Baby!!

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?!?!?

I sure hope so, 'cause it's GAME DAY, Baby!!!

That's right.  I am a Gamecock.  My Man is "Roll Tide" all the way.

We bleed DEEP RED in this house.  Like Garnet.  And Crimson.

Orange (of any shade) is most definitely NOT in our color wheel!!!

Emilee and I are Gamecock born and bred.  Chris, Jake, and Sam, wear their giant "A" with pride. I guess you could say we are a "House Divided", except we all like each other's teams as well, just not as much as "our" team.  And since we rarely play each other, we all passionately pull for both teams unless we are forced to choose. And then, well...  that's when it REALLY gets fun!!

Our flag pole shares equal time with the Giant Gamecock "C" and Elephant "A" during football season. (Except that one year... when Carolina actually beat Alabama.  Then MY FLAG got put back in its' rightful place! ;-))

I just love this time of year.  I love cooking up the tailgate recipe of the week, and getting in our game gear. Whether watching the game with friends, or watching/listening at home, we always have a ball!! (Yep. That pun was definitely intended!)

What's your favorite sport/team??

Holla back atcha girl!

Meanwhile... Gooooooooooooo Cocks!!!!!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Baby Steps

Ever since I can remember, I have struggled with my weight.
Even in high school, when I weighed 135 pounds (at 5'5") I thought I was fat.  (Looking at pictures, I realize now that I wasn't, but because I didn't weigh a perfect 110 and fit in a size 6, I thought I was.)

Thinking something over and over again, leads to believing it.  And believing something, even if it isn't true, can eventually make it reality.

Today, as I type this, I am at the highest weight I have ever been. EVER.  Yes.  That's INCLUDING pregnancy.

I am 75 pounds over-weight.

I. Am. Fat.

But I have a choice.  I can sit here and wallow, and keep thinking negatively about myself, or  I can take steps to positive, permanent change.

Oh, this ain't my first rodeo.  You name the diet, I've done it.  And I've been successful.  I've lost up to 40 pounds in 6 months, only to gain it all back (and then some) again.

Why?  Why is this SO HARD?  Why do I keep riding this roller-coaster??

In her book Becoming Myself, Staci Eldredge shares a theory:
A list of laws, rules, tips, techniques, and strategies does not a transformed heart make.  No wonder 95 percent of all people who lose weight are unable to keep it off.  Diet programs work.  If you work the program.  But they work from the outside in, and without substantive internal change, it's impossible to hold the ground of a lower BMI.  Yes, we all have areas in our lives we want and need to change, but the only way that is going to happen is when we have a change of heart.
Changing your heart changes your mind.  All those negative, self-defeating thoughts have to change into faith and belief.  Not in myself.  But in the One who changes me.  I will no longer listen to the voice of shame, or the voice of discipline, but I will search for the voice of my King...
The voice of Shame says, I basically hate me; I need to get rid of me.  The voice of Discipline says, I've got to fix me, because me is not good.  God says, I love you.  Let me restore you.  I like that one best.
So today, I am making a very important choice... The most crucial choice I can make if I want to see change.  I am choosing to believe that I am loved.  I am worthy.  I am purposed for good.  And I CAN make positive changes.  But only by letting go, and LETTING GOD have this mess I've made.
God is in the mess.  He is about transforming our inner mess so he can transform the rest of the mess.  Our transformation begins when we believe that we are loved.
I may be a "hot southern mess" but I am God's.  And He loves me.  And by putting my hand in his hand - just as each one of my precious children did with me while learning to walk - He will guide me and help me. He will teach me.

And I. Will. Change.

One baby step at a time.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Counting Blessings

Thankful Thursday

One of the things I loved about blogging early on, was connecting with others in the blogosphere.  Not “strangers” mind you, but like-minded people, to learn from and share with.  My favorite place to do this was over at Grace Alone for Thankful Thursdays.  I thought I would carry on that tradition here at Sweet Tea Diaries

Today I am thankful for….

  • A great start to the school year – All three kids seem to be having a great week, with good teachers and friends. (Yep, even Jake!)
  • Awesome friends – I love that I have “sisters” that I can turn to.  Some of these are by blood, some in spirit.  All are precious!!
  • A fresh start – It feel so good to be blogging again.  Though saying goodbye to Truly Captivating was hard, I think it was just what I needed to rekindle the spark.  Sometimes we have to let go of good things to grasp hold of something better.
  • Being able to re-activate my gym membership – Yep!  The Zumba Madness will be returning to a Twitter feed near you!! (Well, not right away… I will probably start out on treadmill/eliptical and Yoga. Gotta ease back into this.  I don’t want to be hauled out on a stretcher!)
  • My Man – No matter what. He’s always there for me. I happened to “like” a certain book on Facebook the other day, and lo and behold, it gets to delivered to my door two days later!  I am a lucky girl!!
  • My Kiddos – It can be trying sometimes (anybody out there got a 13 year old daughter?? holla!!!!) but the blessings far outweigh the trials.  Precious. Precious. Precious!!
  • Getting to able to be part of THIS STUDY at My Church. Love getting to know ladies over coffee and a Good Word. Can’t wait to start on September 10!

A great way to cure the doldrums is to count your blessings.  Thank you, Iris and Laurie for leading us each week.  I feel better already!! :-)

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Follow Me!

What's your pleasure?





I finally got my blog icons updated, so feel free to follow along!!

Don't know what in the Sam Hill I'm talking about??

Check out the images to your right, just under my blog header... They look a little something like this:

Just click on the one that interests you, and voila!  You're there!  All you have to do is "follow", "friend", or "subscribe".

Speaking of subscribing... If you don't want to miss out on anything I post here, the best thing to do is subscribe to my RSS feed.  That would be this little icon, here:

Once you click it, it will take you to my FeedBurner link and you can follow the directions to either subscribe by email, or some other type of blog feed reader.

So that's it.  Easy as pie.

Hope to see you around!! ;-)

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For Jacob

Shoes In Africa

So, the kiddos came home telling me all about their first day of school.  Emilee and Sam were both super excited to fill me in on the activities of their day.  Jake, on the other hand, was a bit quiet. We always play the “Rate Your Day” game, so I initiated. 

He said, “Well.. give me my scale.”

“You know the scale, Buddy”, I replied.  “One = awful, Ten = awesome… so, how was it”??

“I guess a four, he quietly commented.”

“Four?? Really?? On the first day?  May I ask why?” I said, very concerned.

“Well”, as he fought back tears, “I have ABSOLUTELY NO FRIENDS in my class… Nobody to talk to.”

Being a bit of a “helicopter mom” (that’s what my hubby calls a mom who hovers a little too much), this broke my heart.  You have to understand… Jake is not an incredibly social creature; very quiet and mostly to-himself, but he usually has at least one buddy in his class.  6th grade is a very difficult age to feel all alone.

When Papa (my Daddy) called this evening to find out all about how today went for his grandbabies, I shared this with him.

He reminded me of a story…

The Story of the Shoe Salesmen in Africa

Two shoe salesmen were sent to Africa to see if there was a market for their product.

The first salesman reported back, “This is a terrible business opportunity, no-one wears shoes.”

The second salesman reported back, “This is a fantastic business opportunity, no-one wears shoes.”

The only question that I have is, when confronted with a problem or challenge, which salesman are you?

This helped me understand how to encourage Jake.  Okay, so you have “no friends” in your class… YET. But the possibility for friendship is there.  Maybe you’ll make the best friend you’ve ever had in your life… You’ll never know until you try.  Meanwhile you can keep in touch with your other friends at recess, and through texting and XBox Live.  It’s not a total loss.  It’s a growing experience.

Yes.  Growing hurts sometimes.  Just like when you wake up in the night with your legs aching… but it’s part of the process.  Part of life.

I’m so glad I have wise people in my life (like Papa) to keep me grounded, so that I may in turn keep my kiddos grounded, while seeking for new journeys and adventures.

As a Mama I experience growing pains, too.  It’s hard to watch your little chicks fall and struggle as they learn to fly.  But it’s completely necessary to teach them how to spread their wings, so that one day that can not only fly the coop, but soar on to great things!

My Mama has a cross-stitched quote that hangs on the wall beside the entrance to her family room.

There are two great gifts we can give our children.

One is roots, the other is wings!

Lord Jesus, give me the strength and wisdom to do just that!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why Begin Again?

There was an old man named Michael Finnagan....

Nah.  Just kidding!

But seriously.  Why did I start a new blog?  What's the big deal?

There isn't one really.  I just felt like starting fresh.  Blogging had become more of a chore than I wanted.  I felt like I had this "image" to uphold.  What should I talk about? Which audience to address?  Etc.. Etc...

So I decided to get back to the basics.  When I first started blogging back in 2005 it was for ME.  To give myself an outlet.  To tell about the cute little things that the kiddos were doing each day.  To share things that I've learned.  Whether about parenting, home-making, through Bible study, or just everyday life experience.

I know it sounds selfish.   (If you really know me, you know how funny that sounds - I'm one of the least selfish people on the planet.  To my detriment, really).  But I want my blog to be for me.  About me.  To me.  I want to look back on things and see how I've grown.  I want to be able to reflect upon lessons I've learned and memories I've made.

I lost my voice with Truly Captivating.  She was an awesome friend for many years, and took me through some really special times, and some really rough times. She introduced me to the blog world, and many special friends with which I hope to reconnect. But, like I said before, I felt lost in expectations.  Mostly expectations that I placed upon myself, but expectations none the less.

So with this new blog, I am starting fresh.  I named it Sweet Tea Diaries because I wanted it to reflect a myriad of subjects, but mostly just living life in the south as a woman who is wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.  A lover of Jesus, and music, and cooking, and tasting, and love and laughter and FUN!

Sweet Tea is the "house wine of the south.  I was raised on it.  People flocked to our house when I was younger just to get a taste of my Mama's sweet tea.  And now, I am passing on that same hospitality to my own children's friends. (They always ask how we get our tea to taste so good. I just say it's a family tradition!)  Home is more than a place for you to hang your hat.  It's a place for you to be yourself.  To bring your friends.  To feel safe, and loved, and free to learn and grow and continually change.  To become all that you were meant to be.

That's what I hope this blog is.  A place for me to struggle.  And share.  And laugh.  And tell stories.  And ultimately spread my wings. And soar!

I am so excited for the journey.  I hope you'll join me.  Any time.
Just stop on by and sit a spell.  There's plenty of southern hospitality and sweet tea for all!

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Theme Song

"American Honey" - Lady Antebellum

She grew up on the side of the road
Where the church bells ring
And strong love grows
She grew up good
She grew up slow
Like American honey

Steady as a preacher
Free as a weed
Couldn't wait to get going
But wasn't quite ready to leave
So innocent, pure and sweet
American honey

There's a wild, wild whisper
Blowin' in the wind
Callin' out my name
Like a long lost friend
Oh, I miss those days
As the years go by
Oh, nothin' sweeter than summertime
And American honey 

Get caught in the race of this crazy life
Tryin' to be everything
Can make you lose your mind
I just wanna go back in time
To American honey

There's a wild, wild whisper
Blowin' in the wind
Callin' out my name
Like a long lost friend
Oh, I miss those days
As the years go by
Oh, nothin' sweeter than summertime
And American honey

Gone for so long now
I gotta get back to her somehow

To American honey

There's a wild wild whisper
Blowin' in the wind
Callin' out my name
Like a long lost friend
Oh, I miss those days
As the years go by 
Nothin' sweeter than summertime
And American honey
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