Thursday, December 31, 2015

Words for 2016

I wasn't going to write this post.
It felt like I would just be spitting into the wind.

Last year.
The year before.
My plans, and goals...
My words of focus...
They all seemed like flawed failures to me.

But a friend and I were talking yesterday, and she brought up the subject... (Thank you, Friend.)
So I began to pray about it, asking God to speak to me clearly.

Then I read my Bible study chapter this morning...
And God gave me three words.
Very clear, very beautiful words.
My focus words for 2016.

Not that I, myself, am going to achieve them, oh no.
But that I will ABIDE IN HIM and allow HIM to work these things out in my life.

The words He wrote so skillfully onto the tablet of my heart this morning are FREEDOM, REST, and CONTENTMENT.
I am at rest in God alone
My salvation comes form Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken.
  {Psalm 62: 1-2}
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
  {Psalm 61:2-4}
I, the Lord, am your God.
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
  {Psalm 81:10} 
You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.
  {John 8:32}
I asked Jesus for ONE word, and got THREE.
THREE powerful words that are not mutually exclusive.

I can't be content if I am not at rest.
And I can't be at rest if I am not free.

Just like the children of Israel... God told Pharaoh, "Let my people go, so they may worship me" (Exodus 9:1). See, they couldn't focus on God because they were under a yoke of tyranny.  Work for the sake of work.  Work for the sake of survival.  Striving. Struggling. Never free. They were rescued from bondage so that they might shift their focus back to the One True God.

Last year my word was Fierce. Oh, boy. 2015 was fierce alright.  Consumed by a fierce battle for my mind and my heart.  I was under fierce attack from my enemy, and he was winning.  Only because I quit.  I gave up.  But the same way He did with the Hebrew Nation, God came for me.  He has rescued me and set me FREE.

Now I must ABIDE in that freedom.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. {Galatians 5:1}
For my yoke is easy, and My burden  is light. {Matthew 11:30} 
You are my hope;O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.By you I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb;My praise is contiunally of You.  {Psalm 71:5-6}
I will Stay. Right. There.

REST in HIS ARMS.

Let him FILL ME with his presence.
Only then can I be truly content.
I rest my soul on the rock of the ages And my feet stand firm on a sure foundation All my hope in this salvation Jesus, Jesus, rock of ages  
If the words and the scriptures weren't enough.  God gave me songs to sing.  Songs of freedom and rest and contentment.
If You never did another thing for me It will always be enough that You set me free Always be enough that You gave Your life Jesus, You are mine...In a world so unstable You keep setting a table here Inviting me to rest in Your grace To drink of all of Your goodness ‘Til I’m more like You, Jesus You’ll never hear the end of my praise...

I look forward to the view from here.  It's going to be lovely to see my destiny so clearly on the horizon. Free from all the things that have been used to distract me from it.  Delivered to be all I can be for Jesus.
"Your destiny comes into clearer focus. Your worship blossoms into brilliant colors.  And your day amazingly brightens into joy." ~ Priscilla Shirer (Fervent
So  I will stay.  I will rest.  I will abide and be content.
If you need me you'll know where I'll be....
Lord, here I am You have all of me Take the world You are all I need Find me, find me at the feet of Jesus Savior, find me with my heart bowed down Find me on my knees Find me close to Thee Find me at the feet of Jesus 
AMEN!

(Do you have a word or words for the coming year?  I'd love to hear them.  Share in the comments below.)

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Friday, December 11, 2015

A Prayer for My Past


Lord, I have sinned and fallen short of Your glory.
Too many times.
But You have forgiven me, cleansed me, and changed me.
You saw me where I was and loved me way too much to leave me there.
Don't let Satan succeed in putting me back down in that pit.
Ever.
Again.
Whether by condemnation and guilt through the thoughts he plants in my head, or by tempting me to indulge in old attitudes and patterns of sin and destructive behavior.
By Your Spirit, help me see the foolishness of those broken paths and wrong choices, and guide me in turning to you - away from sin - away from shame.
Give me freedom and release from my past. Give me the ability to deflect the lies of the enemy - that I am "no good", "worthless", and "useless"... That my sin has ruined me.
Let me embrace Your truth.  Let it envelop me. The truth that you make all things new.
Even me.
Even this.
Even now.
I am yours.  I am your child.  Adopted in love and sealed by grace until the day of redemption.  You are with me, You are in me, and You are for me. What have I to fear? You are Emmanuel.
You help me mount up with wings like the eagle and soar!  I can run and not grow weary.  I can walk and not faint.
Your grace is sufficient for me and Your power is perfected in my weakness.
And it's in THAT power - that resurrection power - that I now stand.
By Your might and in Your grace, and in Jesus' name...
AMEN!

(The template for this prayer journal was found in the book Fervent, by Priscilla Shirer).
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Monday, November 30, 2015

Singing Over Me

Is it just me, or is anyone else struggling on this fine Monday morning?
I mean, I had my "Spark" and read my Psalms...
I fed the dogs, the children, and myself, and got everyone out the door on time.
But when it came time to go into my study and get in my Word, I kept getting distracted. I was trying to clear my space so that I could just sit down and focus.

Focus on HIM.

Focus on the special word or instructions that He had in store for me today.

But everything I picked up to put away, spurred me to take some other kind of action.
A box from Amazon.com... "Oh, I need to wrap that present."
A note from school... "I gotta get that date on my calendar."
A child's folder... "Let me put that in his book bag.  Lord have mercy! Let me clean out his book bag!"
And on it went.
Finally, I sat in my de-cluttered space to get into some scripture.
I looked at the clock...  "Well, there goes my morning, but I am determined to get this study in today, even if I do NOTHING else."

Yes, Friends.  It's THAT important.

Cue music.  (I always have some worship music playing in the background to set my mind on Jesus before opening His Love Letter.)  Today, it's Christy Nockels singing, "Everything Is Mine In You".  I picked up my book.  The current study I am going through is Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan for Specific and Strategic Prayer.   The focal passage for today came out of Ephesians...
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms... Ephesians 1:17-20
That's when it happened.

Jesus SHOWED UP and SHOWED OUT!!!

(Seriously, y'all, I am getting goosebumps as I type this. You better believe I got me some MAJOR goosebumps at the time!! Not just goosebumps, that's not strong enough imagery.  Let me say it like my youngest, Sam, used to say, "My chill hairs are popping out!" ;-) )

As I read the words on the page, the verses of the song were echoing the very same thought.  Do you get what I'm telling you?

God gave me his word in STEREO!!!

Here's what I'm talking about... As the lesson writer went on to focus on Paul's prayer for the Ephesians (and for you and me, too!) I was taking notes.  As I wrote down a line, I heard the song say something similar, or at least something I could apply.  Don't believe me??  Here's the proof.

My Notes... (Song Lyrics are blue).
Paul wants us to...
    1. Receive a spirit of wisdom  - Even when my heart is breaking, even when my hands are empty, I can trust you with my longing....
    2. Be enlightened to grasp the "hope of his calling"  - Against all hope... help me hope.  Against all fear... draw me near.  I will hope!  I will draw near!!!
    3. Recognize the "riches of the glory of His inheritance" - You are my inheritance, and in You I have everything I need!
    4. Know the "surpassing greatness of his power" toward us - You are Master over all...
    5. Realize that we are seated with Him in the heavenly places - And you are seated in the heavenlies... 
    6. Understand that even though we were "dead", he has given us life -  Everything is mine in you... past or present, death or life....
Yes, friends.... Jesus knew my scatterbrained self was having trouble staying focused on Him today, so he sang over me.  The very words of scripture that he wanted me to study, were blessing my ears in song.  

HOW. COOL. IS. THAT!?!?!?!

The point of all this - other than the fact that when Jesus does stuff like this I just HAVE to share it - is to show you that He knows what we need.  And when we come to him with a sincere heart, seeking his presence and desiring his truth, HE. SHOWS. UP!!!

He didn't just sing, y'all... He totally ROCKED MY FACE OFF!! 

I am still in awe of Him.  Of His grace and mercy.  Of the fact that even though I am small, and I am focused on my little "to-do" list, He is GREAT OLD BIG and HE... the master of the universe took time to SPEAK TO ME!  
Pry our fingers from the earthly, Oh, let us love your glory...
Just as these lyrics filled my ears,,, His presence filled my soul.

Thank you, Jesus!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Prayer...

Been learning a lot about prayer lately.

From this book.  And this one.  And especially this one.

Took some time to pen a "daily prayer" of sorts last night.

Thought I might share...

Sweet Jesus,
What an AWESOME Savior you are! You speak and the mountains crumble... the seas are stilled.  You placed the stars in the sky and the light in my life... I praise you Jesus, because of who you are!  My Messiah, Redeemer, Lord, and friend. 
Tonight I give you my weariness. I'm so tired of fighting the same battles - making the same mistakes - over and over again! Right this very minute, I give You all my doubts, worries, and fears.  I give You my desire to give up and quit. 
I come to You with my thirst - a burning desire only You can quench.  A yearning only You can fill.  I offer You my desire, my gifting, my weakness. 
My need, my failure.   
My everything.   
I pour it out of my broken heart to wash Your feet with my tears - like Mary and her Alabaster Box.  I give You all that I am.  I spend myself lavishly on You.  Only you are worthy of my all. God I give you my heart and all my love! 
Continue to do your deep work in my heart and life.  Transform me into the woman - wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and servant - that I long to be!   
In Your MOST precious and holy name I pray... 
Amen. 

 "I WILL LIFT UP MY EYES TO THE HILLS, FROM WHERE DOES MY HELP COME? 
MY HELP COMES FROM THE LORD, WHO MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH." 
PSALM 121:1


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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Puttin' On My Ruby Slippers

My yellow brick road has been full of twists and turns.
I met a Scarecrow.  A Tin Man. And a Cowardly Lion.
Not the good kind.
These guys wrecked my mind, trampled my heart, and left me weak and afraid.
I succumbed to the drug-induced slumber of sweet smelling poppies.
I've battled some serious flying monkeys.
And faced an Evil beyond compare.

But through all of this, I met The Wizard.
Or should I say, He came to meet me?
Right where I was.
No.  He was not a weak little man,  pulling levers behind a curtain.
I found a strong and Mighty God.
A Wonderful Counselor.
An Everlasting Father.
The Prince Of Peace.

He came to meet me as I turned toward home.
As my prodigal heart realized that this place of fantasy was all a lie, and I longed to return, I wasn't sure if I was worthy.  If only to eat crumbs from His table, I determined to start toward home.
And you know what? At the very moment I turned around on this broken road, I saw him.
Standing right there in the middle.  Arms open wide.

He didn't just welcome me with hugs and kisses...  He brought me gifts.
Not a brain, or a heart, or courage.
But beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness instead of suffering,
and a garment of praise to replace my spirit of despair.

He bound up my wounds and healed my broken heart.  He broke my chains and set me free!
He has created in me a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within me.
He has granted me a spirit of of love, and power, and a sound mind, and released me from my fears.
He has prepared a banquet for me right in front of my enemies.  He has anointed my head with oil.
My cup is spilling-over-full!!

I'm no longer a weak and afraid.  A frail woman. Defeated in depression, and stained by sin.
I am HIS child.  His masterpiece.
A royal priestess.  His chosen one.
I am a MIGHTY OAK.  Rooted in Christ.  Standing at the River.

He has made me new.  And he has made me glad.

That's my Jesus.
My Portion.  My Deliverer.  My Very Present Help in time of need.
That's MY God.
My Light. My Strength. My song.
That's The Rock I stand on.

In fact, here I am.
Can you see me?
I'm the one standing on The Rock of Ages.
In a brand new pair of sparkling ruby slippers.

And if you listen really closely,
You can hear me...
Clicking my heels together... and saying aloud...

There's. No. Place. Like. Home!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Image Is Everything

This is a post from my old blog... I was reminded of some of it's truths in my current Bible Study's homework assignment today.
Image is everything.   
We hear it all the time.  All day.  Every day.  
We are constantly bombarded with images of what society deems acceptable, and therefore constantly concerned with what we reflect to the world. 
A.W. Tozer comments on God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:
“Abraham, I am trying to tell you something ---
something very important.
I want you to listen and to comprehend.
Abraham, you were made in My imageand you were designed for a single purpose:
to worship and glorify Me… If you do not honor
this purpose, your life will degenerate into shallow,
selfish, humanistic pursuits….commit your whole life
and future into my hands.
Let me as your Creator and God
fulfill in you My perfect design.
It is My great desire that you become a faithful
and delighted worshiper at My throne…
When you have found Me, you Creator,your Redeemer, and your Lord,you have found everything you need!It will be your privilege to trust and obey.
It will be my privilege to bless you,
guide you, and sustain you.”
 
This passage, as well as all of the scripture assigned to today’s lesson, spoke very clearly to me today… 
There are many days when I think, “Lord, what am I doing here? I feel so lost and confused… I don’t know what you want from me.” But then I remember…
The Bible says we were “created in His image”. We are his “masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). I am also reminded of one of my favorite verses of scripture from Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11… “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you… plans to give you a hope and a future”.  And Titus 2:11-14 tells us that as our Blessed Hope, Jesus redeemed us and purified us to be His chosen people.  People who are “zealous for good works."
 
In his book Desiring God, John Piper so eloquently states…
“He created us ‘in His image’
so that we would image forth His glory
in the world.  We are made to be prisms
refracting the light
of God’s glory into all of life.
Why God should give us a share
in shining with His glory is a great mystery.
Call it grace or mercy or love ---
it is an unspeakable wonder.
Once we were not.
Then we existed for the glory of God!”
 
God’s entire purpose for my existence (for the existence of all of creation, for that matter) is to BEAR HIS IMAGE… SHINE MY LIGHT… REFLECT HIS GLORY!!!  
No matter what. No matter where. We are to SHINE!!
So check the mirror… Who are you reflecting today??
So thankful that God can take "old lessons" and breathe fresh life into them.  

All day. Every day.  

Lord, let me be like the moon. Shining in the darkness. Reflecting You.
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Peeling Away

Have you ever seen someone peel an apple in one long, curly, strip?  I've learned this art recently, and I have to say, it's really pretty cool! But it takes time. And care. You can't just wield the knife haphazardly.

This reminds me of another kind of peeling... A kind that takes similar care and patience. The peeling of skin. Yuck. (Didn't know this post was gonna be gross, did you? Well, bare with me... I'm getting to the point soon...)

First let me give you a quick update on where I am. Many of you have been praying for me and, I'm sure, wondering how I've been.

I can really sum it  up in three little, yet extremely powerful words....

GOD. IS. GOOD!!

(And for bonus points, I'll add three more... ALL. THE. TIME!) ;-)

When I last posted about my situation, I told you that I - like Noah and his family for over a year after the rain stopped falling - was in the ark.  Waiting...

I'm still here.

Clean up takes a while. It's definitely a process, but if you take the time needed and do it right the first time, things will be a whole lot smoother once you disembark. At least that's what I believe.

While in this place of safety and rest, God has been healing me. Little by little. Wound by aching wound.

He has also begun healing those I love.  Again, a process, but very visibly and tangibly so.

His Word is ALIVE and ACTIVE and it is doing its thang!!

The trick to this process is making sure that I am in a posture of humility and repentance. That I yield, or submit, to It... To Him... daily.

Okay. Now back to the peeling part.

I've always loved The Chronicles of Narnia. Ever since I was but a wee lass, and my Sweet Mama read to me about the "Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe", I've been hooked! One of my favorite tales comes from a lesser known work, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". It is in this volume that we meet the cousin of Lucy, Edmond, Susan, and Peter... Eustace Scrubb. His name gives us a little hint into his character and personality.
Eustace has been corrupted by his progressive parents, who are more interested in jumping on the latest bandwagon fads than they are in raising a son with strong ethical values. Eustace's life is devoid of art, literature, and God, and as a result he is a puny, selfish, unpleasant person. (Schmoop.com)
In other words, Eustace is a piece of work!

But aren't we all??

My favorite part of the story is when Eustace turns into a dragon, or rather grows gnarly, ugly dragon scales. This happens because he wanders off into a dead dragon's cave and his greed takes over. He begins to fill his pockets with treasure. Cursed treasure. (Hence the scales.) Later on, he realizes his wrong, and decides he no longer wants to be a dragon. or greedy. or any of the other negative things that have characterized him up until this point. He tries to remove the scales, but as soon as he peels one off, another one grows in its place. This process is really very painful, and the fact that it's not working at all, is driving him to desperation and despair. But that is actually a good thing, because it is only when he yields to Aslan, The Lion, and allows Him to remove the dreaded, cursed pieces of dragon, that they stay off. For good!

 “Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
 “Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
Eustace could not restore himself. He had to let Aslan do the work. As much as I would love to wave a magic wand and be whole again, I cannot. I have to let Jesus do the work. And it takes time. But oh, my sweet friends, as each layer of "ick" has been pulled off of my dragon-scaled heart, as I too have been doused into the healing waters of The Word and The Spirit, I have sensed a relief and a pleasure unlike any other. It's truly indescribable.

My Redeemer has come for me. In all his captivating brilliance, He has come. I called to Him, and He answered me. He has delivered me (and continues to deliver me) from my enemy... each and every day. He is my light in the darkness. He is my Hope. My Strength. My All.


Someday soon, I sense it even now, as I look over at the ugly, gnarly thickness of the scales that covered me... the fear, the sin, the shame, the self-loathing, and spirit of depression... I know it is starting to happen again. I feel it bubbling up inside of me and beginning to radiate through my newly bared skin.

Jesus is allowing me... empowering me... to shine again!

To shine my light, and reflect His glory!!

Hallelujah!! 
Thank you, Jesus!!  
Amen!!!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Motown Praise

This morning, as I was studying Ephesians 3:20-21 with the help of Priscilla Shirer, God showed me something pretty amazing.  I wanted to share it with y'all.

In her book, God is Able, Priscilla dissects every single word of the following verses...

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

In today's chapter "Totality" we focused on the word ALL. (That is why it is emphasized in the passage above.) ;-)

Priscilla writes,
Boy, I love that word. All. In fact, I took time to research it carefully in the original language of Scripture, trying to dredge up any more depths of meaning I could learn from it.  I wanted to wrap my head around exactly what was in Paul's mind when he penned his thoughts this way.  And I discovered a wide consensus of scholarly opinin that says the meaning of the word we translate as "all" in our Bibles is...
All.   
"All" means all.
God is able to do... it all.
I don't know about you, but this just makes me want to dance and shout!  As I read further in the chapter, I realized that that tiny, but super-powerful, word "all", is mentioned throughout Scripture... specifically in reference to what God can do, not just for, but IN and THROUGH me.

Here's another excerpt from the same chapter,
There is a  totality to God's ability.  It takes in all that concerns us.  "He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases" (Psalm 103:3).  He invites "all who are weary and "heavy-laden" to come and experience His refreshing rest (Matt. 11:28).  He says His lovingkindness "will follow me all the days of my life" (Ps. 23:6), which leaves me totally justified in trusting Him with all my heart, acknowledging Him in all my ways (Prov. 3:5-6), knowing that He is causing "all things to work together for good," for all the children He calls His own (Rom. 8:28).  When you "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness," God promises that all these things will be added to you" (Matt.6:33)---full provision, food and clothing, love and shelter, every need.
All of it.
He is able.
Wow.
Wow!
Wow!!!

Being the girl who absolutely loves to worship my Jesus through song, I immediately thought of the hymn, "I Surrender All", and began to sing it quietly to myself...

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all!
All to thee my Blessed Savior
I surrender ALL!!

But I didn't stop there.  As God often times does, He brought another song to mind.  (This is where the Motown part comes in.) As I was praying the words of that song, it changed... became a little more upbeat. 
A little more soulful.  All of a sudden, in my best Stevie Wonder voice, I began to sing...

Here I am Jesus!
Signed, sealed delivered, I'm yours!!!

Then other bits of this jammin' lyric began to flow out of my mouth... 

Like a fool I went and stayed too long

Now I'm wondering if your love's still strong...

Then that time I went and said goodbye
Now I'm back and not ashamed to cry...
Here I am Jesus!

Oh, you've got the future in your hand
(signed, sealed delivered, I'm yours)
I've done alot of foolish things...
That I really didn't mean...
And you know what?
I AM!!
YOU ARE!!
...Signed (for) as Jesus has settled my debt.  Paid the price for my sin.
...Sealed for the day of redemption.
...Delivered from the power of sin, the sting of death, and the pit of hell!! 

Oh, my Sweet Peeps, if that doesn't make you want to boogie for Jesus, you need to check your pulse!!
Now if you'll excuse me.. I've got some serious rug to cut. 
Peace out, you jive turkeys!! ;-) 

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Somewhere In-Between

"Just let me get home, Lord.  Let me get out of this terrible place and home to my family.  I will be okay.  I promise."


That was my prayer for FIVE. STRAIGHT. DAYS.

Due to a horrible, life-threatening incident (brought upon by none else but YOURS TRULY) I had been placed in a medical facility to heal and recuperate.  I was scared out of my mind.  I wanted to go home. I wanted to "be okay".

But I wasn't.

After returning home, I slipped right back into dangerous and destructive patterns within just a matter of few weeks.  I was not thinking about the fact that the choices I was making were hurting me.  Hurting my family. Hurting my friends and loved ones. All I wanted was to "feel good" at that very moment.  No matter the consequence.

I did not create the storm.  No, this was a low-pressure system that Satan put in place about 3 years ago. But you better believe that I fed it.  My actions and thoughts and decisions were such that they were conducive to enabling the storm to grow.  In many ways they instigated the growth. From Tropical Depression (literally, a severe depression that lasted for months) all the way to a CAT 5 Hurricane.

A couple of weeks ago, "Hurricane Susanne" swept through 2121 Twin Bridge Drive and left massive destruction and devastation in her wake.

Once again, I had to leave.

Since that time, our state (South Carolina) has faced a Once-In-One-Thousand-Years weather event. Massive rainfall resulting in severe flooding. Widespread devastation. And is God is using this to mold me and shape me.  You see, He hasn't been able to get my FULL and UNDIVIDED attention for over a year and a half... He tried.  Wooing me. Gently correcting me.  Even saving my life!!!

Unfortunately, I was too blind to see. It has taken a GIANT OBJECT LESSON to teach this HARD HEAD a very valuable truth.  While the flood waters rose all around me, in a very literal sense, God also showed me that I have personally been stuck in an emotional flood of nasty, stinky, debris filled waters for far too long.

And if THAT wasn't enough, my Mom comes to me and says, "I have something to share with you.  Our Sunday School lesson this week is out of the book of Genesis.  It's dealing with Noah and the Flood." (That's what I said.  Noah.  Ark.  Flood. --- It's like Jesus was saying, " Hey, Susanne!! CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW??")

The lesson centered around the fact that Noah and his family stayed in the ark, for over a year, after the rain stopped falling.  Yes.  The storm was over.  But they had to wait for the waters to recede.  This is HUGE!! See, there have already been two times in the last several months that God has placed me in an "ark" of sorts. (That place I was describing at the beginning of this post, being one of them.) But here's the deal... I kept leaving that ark, that place of protection and safety, TOO SOON. I saw the rising water, the uprooted trees, the downed power lines, and all of the mess floating around me, but instead of resting in His arms, I ran away. I got out in the mess.  I played in it.  Dang, let's be real.  I threw a party.

When God placed me under conviction and correction for my behavior, I did not heed it.  Just like many people who were stuck in cars and trucks throughout our area during the Flood of 2015.  They did not not heed the warnings of state and local officials telling them to STAY INDOORS.  DO NOT GET OUT IN THIS MESS! Wait for the rains to stop and the waters to recede.  Wait for REPAIRS and PREPARATIONS TO BE MADE.  JUST BE STILL, hunker down, and WAIT!!

Well, peeps.  I've learned my lesson. There are severe consequences, broken promises, uprooted dreams, and damaged relationships floating all around me. Due to the horrible devastation of this terrible storm,  I have, once again,  been placed in an Ark. Where I can be safe.  Where I can be nourished.  Where I can heal. Not just me, but my husband and children, as well.

I am so ready to make a fresh start. I want so badly to go home and pretend, once again, that I am okay. That everything is okay.

But I'm not.

It isn't.

Not yet...

I need a FRESH START.... and THIS TIME I will wait as long as it takes.

"Fresh starts remind us that while past failures may be devastating, they do not have to defeat or define us. When we mess up we can't go back and undo what was done, but we can make a fresh start. Fresh starts often mean going through an interim period---one of those times of life when we find ourselves between what was and what may be. These in-between days offer us the opportunity to consider or reconsider what the future can look like. Noah and his family experienced more than a year's worth of in-between days when they lived in the dark with the animals..." (A quote from Mama's Sunday School Lesson.)

Right now, I am definitely in that 'in between" period.  God is working.  God is moving.  He has forgiven me for my sinful ways, and He is washing me in His Word, as I yield to it.  He is creating, in me, a clean heart, restoring the joy of my salvation, and renewing a right spirit within me (Psalm 51). Healing and restoration is taking place within my own life, as well as in the lives of those I have deeply wounded in the process. It is happening.  But there is still a lot of work to be done.  The troubled waters are receding, but it is not done yet.

In order to make a fresh start, I have to wait. I have to be still. I cant make a fresh start until all of the contaminated debris has been swept away. It will take time to make repairs and preparations. I will wait until he gives me the "all clear" that a fresh start is now possible.

Because that's what Jesus does...  He makes ALL THINGS NEW.

While I wait, I should pray fervently, (I humbly request that you join me in prayer) and allow God to show me what the future can look like... humbly submit myself to HIS will.  HIS plan.  HIS timing. HIS peace.

So that's what I'll do.  I'll wait.  Like Noah, I will wait....

Until God opens the door.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

7 things.... Times Two!!! (Formerly "My Jedi")

(This is a REPOST- with some additional comments - from my Old Blog.) :-)

Today is my little man's birthday. He is SEVEN! (Seriously, where does the time go????) Here are the seven BEST things about my Jedi...

1. His smile. Jacob has always had a smile that could light up a room. He still does..

2. His laugh. Jake has a kind of dry sense of humor, and loves to share it! From the time he was a baby, his laugh has been contagious. It still is...

3. His heart. This child has one of the most loving and compassionate hearts I've ever seen. He has a keen sense of justice, not for himself so much as for others. He's a champion of those he feels have been wronged, and doesn't hesitate to come to their defense. I hope that never changes...

4. His mind. Jacob is a very deep thinker. At times, one of the greatest theologians and philosophers I've ever known. He's constantly challenging his Dad and me with his perspectives on things. So pure, so insightful... So Jake!

5. His eyes. My most emotional child (by far...) you can read his moods and feelings just by looking straight into those beautiful brown peepers. His not good at hiding his emotions. And because he's that much like his Mama, I don't think he ever will be...

6. His feet. Talk about your Happy Feet!! The boy can cut a rug like NO OTHER. He's been a "break dance master" since he was about three, and to my knowledge, he'd never actually SEEN anyone do it! He loves to rock out with his dad, and bee-bop with his mom. He loves music, and he's a genius with lyrics. I'm not sure, but I think this may make him famous someday...

7. He's mine! I'm totally in awe of the fact that I get to mother this young man (not to mention his very special siblings!!). He is kind, he is thoughtful. He's imaginative, and intuitive. He's passionate, he's brave. HE's MINE and HE ALWAYS WILL BE!!!

Thank you, Jesus for the honor of being Jacob's mom. Help me to love him, and teach him, and guide him each day into Your ways, and the paths You have set before him. He is such a blessing, Lord... and I pray that You will bless him on this special day, and every single day of his precious life!
 - Amen

*****************************




Jacob is 14 today.... which means he is still ALL of these things... TIMES TWO!! 

I would add now, His Fingers.... because this "Sweet Child of Mine" can rock out on his guitar like a BEAST!!! ;-)

Check out this guitar solo I learned. From: One- Metallica
Posted by Jacob Reeder on Saturday, June 6, 2015


I LOVE YOU, JACOB DEWITT!!! 
HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mail from Heaven

I love getting mail.  Not bills or junk mail mind you, but genuine, personal, good old fashioned snail mail.  In this day of technology, emails and facebook and twitter messages are great, but there's something about seeing  my name written in someone else's handwriting on an envelope sends my spirit soaring.  I got such mail the other day...

It all started with a peculiar phone call from my mom.  (Not that her calling me is peculiar, we talk at least once a day.)  But somewhere in the midst of the conversation she asked a peculiar question:  "By the way, have you by chance gotten anything in the mail from me?" ... Uh no, why?  "No reason... you'll see".

And see I did.  The crazy thing is, I don't usually check the mail.  Most days it stays in the box until KISA gets home and checks it on his way into the house.  But last Thursday, after picking up the kids from school, I decided to make a stop by the mailbox.  And there it was.

A large manilla envelope addressed to me in my Mama's handwriting.  Curious, I couldn't wait to get inside and open it up.  Inside were several sheets of large white paper stacked together with a note on top.
Sus...
As I was cleaning out and reorganizing my kitchen  I found these and thought you might like a copy to keep.
Love you!
Mom
Copies of what?  My curiosity peeked at this point and I put the first page aside to see what would be revealed.  Honestly, I wasn't ready for what I saw next.  In my Nanny's (Mom's mom) handwriting were her recipes for all the cookies she used to bake at Christmas time, and even better, her recipe for the starter for her yeast rolls and bread.

I was speechless!  It's been years since I've seen my Nanny's beautiful handwriting.  She was the bookkeeper for the local school district for years, and when I was a little girl she used to let me go to work with her some in the summer time.  I remember watching her at the adding machine as her fingers ever so gracefully keyed in the numbers and her eyes never left the report she was adding from.  Then as she filled out the appropriate paperwork (this was way before PCs), I remember thinking how beautiful her handwriting was, and secretly wishing that I would one day be able to write as well as she.

Nanny and I had a very special bond.  All my life we were extremely close.  She was always there for me, letting me know she loved me no matter what.  Through the storms of my life she was a great encourager, helping me turn my eyes toward Jesus to guide me through.  And in my successes, she was my biggest cheerleader.

She fell in love with Chris almost as quickly as I did, for she saw the joy his love brought to my life.  When I was pregnant with Emilee she would call and ask, "What are you craving today, Sugar?", and more often than not see to it that I got whatever it was.  On more than one occasion we visited a local buffet at lunch to get some banana pudding!  She was an awesome woman of faith and a great influence on my life.

My Nanny went to be with Jesus on July 23, 2002.

As my eyes scanned the pages from the envelope that consisted of her beautiful cursive writing, the tears began to swell.  I continued to read the lists of ingredients and directions for baking, and my taste buds remembered sampling these goodies, as my mind recalled her beautiful smile and every ounce of love that she added to each and every batch.

It was almost as if she was right there, hovering over me, letting me know she is still with me, and she still loves me.  

I have to tell you, that was priceless.

In honor of my precious Nanny, I would like to share her recipe for "Lemon Things" with you... Enjoy!!!



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Thursday, June 18, 2015

For The Love of Charleston

As I sit here reeling from the news of the events of last night, I can do nothing but cry.
Tear after tear rolls down my cheeks even now, as I type.

For the city I love.
For my state.
For my country.
For my FAMILY.

Senseless tragedy?
Unspeakable?  Unfathomable?

These words only scratch the surface of the cries of my heart.

Now, I see on the news that they are in search of a 21 year old.  A kid.
A 21 year old male (I am old enough to be his mom.) walks into a church.  Sits in a pew and observes, seemingly participates in, a weekly prayer meeting... and then opens fire.

I'm sorry y'all.  I just can't wrap my brain around this kind of hate.
Yes, I said, "hate".
I agree with Mayor Riley on this one... "The only reason that someone would walk into a church and shoot people who were praying is hate."

Hate.

I'm sick and tired of it.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO HATE SOMEONE BASED ON THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN!!!

Period.  End of story.

"Red and yellow, black, and white, they are precious in His sight."  We are ALL created in the image of our creator.   Created to be HIS IMAGE BEARERS to the world.  LOVE. JOY. PEACE. PATIENCE. KINDNESS. GOODNESS. FAITHFULNESS. GENTLENESS. SELF CONTROL.  These are the characteristics of our God, and creator.  These are the attributes that He calls us to bestow on one another... on the world.  Never hate.  GRACE.  MERCY.  JUSTICE.  But never hate.

Yes, I am a southern girl.  Yes.   I am proud of my southern heritage.  But not hate.  NEVER HATE.  In the history of my family, I am sure there are several skeletons that have been exhumed from closets that we would have rather kept hidden.  But we take the good along with the bad.  We embrace the good and teach it to our babies... We LEARN from the mistakes of our past and we also TEACH THESE LESSONS.

People.  When are you ever going to learn to LET IT GO???  Jesus knows that I wish I could go back in time and change things... In my own life, and in the lives of the fore-bearers of this great nation.  But I can't. All I can do is MOVE FORWARD.  PRESS ON.  LOVE.

The Word says that "Perfect love casts out all fear."  You see, fear is what breeds hatred.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of differences.  Fear of change.

But I choose to love.  I choose to allow the love of Christ fill me and flow out of my heart into the hearts and lives of others.  I choose to embrace ALL PEOPLE.  Regardless of color, background, or cultural differences.

I choose to fall on my knees this day, and cry out to My Father on behalf of the families of Emmanuel AME church.  On behalf of the city of Charleston.  On behalf of The United States of America.  On behalf of all of us who choose to love, and who want desperately to make a difference.  To be a light in the darkness of this world.

Because Jesus died for all of us.  Because He loves ALL of us.  And his desire is that we ALL spend eternity in heaven with him.  There will be no sections of heaven, y'all.  No black churches, no white churches.  No Lutherans, no Baptists.  We will all be HIS CHILDREN.  Because we ARE ALL HIS CHILDREN.

It's high time we started acting like it!

#PrayForCharleston
#CharlestonStrong
#GodBlessTheUSA
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Fair Comes Once A Year...

Hold on to your britches, y'all.  Sweet Tea Mama is about to go on a rant!

I'm tired of it.  Sick and tired of it.

You know.  This thing they call "the age of entitlement".

Oh, you don't know?? Well, allow me to impart some knowledge into your precious little head.

Entitlement literally means, "the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment'.   Let me put that a little more clearly.  "The belief that I don't have to work for it. I deserve it. Rules don't apply to me. Because I'm cute. And precious.  And wonderful. And awesome.  And all the things my mama told me I am since the day I was born!"

Now, don't you get me wrong for one second.  I love my children.  All three of them.  And I believe they are all cute. And precious. And wonderful. And awesome.  But I also believe, and have taught them from birth, that nothing in life is free.  We have to work hard.  Train hard.  Pray hard.  Live well. Serve others.  Love big.  Be our best. Fight the good fight, and run the race with endurance.  Nothing is going to be handed to you.  Or at least it SHOULDN'T be.

And bless their little pea-pickin' hearts, they believe me! They come into this very room every evening and spend hours on homework.  They attend study sessions with friends.  They stay after school when needed to make-up work, or ask for extra help. Yes.  My babies all make honor roll.  And yes, I brag like crazy on them.  Because they work HARD, and they DESERVE it.

They take all their activities seriously.  They spend time in their rooms rehearsing guitar, reading books, learning how to write computer programs, painting, and writing songs.  They attend rehearsals and practices regularly.  They were also taught from an early age that when you START something, you FINISH it.  And if you COMMIT to something you SEE IT THROUGH.  We don't quit.  Ever.

Even when it seems that all odds are stacked against you, and your back is against the wall... you move forward.  Step by step.  Inch by inch if necessary. But you MOVE. FORWARD.

And when you break the rules THERE. ARE. CONSEQUENCES.  Always tempered with GRACE, and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, but CONSEQUENCES none the less!

So what's my problem?

Well, I guess it just makes me stone-gut sick to see that, more and more, the rest of the world doesn't share my values.

That even when others work super hard to achieve something, there are some that receive the same awards and accomplishments due to "entitlement".  That some are told, "you have to choose between this and that" when others are allowed "both".  That some can get away with not doing homework, or being late to class, or wearing shorts too short (according to dress code) because they are on "XYZ Athletic Squad", or because their Daddy is "Mr. Insert Community Title Here".  That some who have given their all to certain teams or organizations get cut from the rosters simply because of gender?

Am I making any sense here?  I don't know.  Maybe I'm just rambling to hear myself ramble.  But that's okay, too.  Maybe I just needed to get all this out.  Vent a little.  You know, if us Southern Gals don't vent, we just might explode. (And Lord knows, that ain't good for nobody!)

Well, here we are.  I'm finally gettin' around to the moral to the story.  This is what I tell my kids constantly.  I guess, in this situation, this is what I need to tell myself.

It's not fair.

Life's not fair.

The fair comes once a year...

BUY A TICKET!!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just Call Me Conway

Hello, Darlin.
Nice to see you.
It's been a long time...

(Go ahead and picture me singing that to y'all... in a not-so-deep-and-smooth-as-silk-baritone-voice.)

But, seriously. Has it really been two months since I've written anything? I'm sorry to say, yes. It has.

It's like Barry Allen swooshed by and picked me up on Valentines day, and the next thing I knew it was Easter!  Man alive has it been a doozie!!

I've learned a few things over the last couple of months, though... I've learned that life is short, and time is precious, so love hard.  Tell the ones you love that you love them, better yet, show them. Every. single. day.

I've also learned that people will hurt you.  But that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of our time and effort.  None of us is perfect.  The only person who ever lived a perfect, sinless life on this planet, died so that my (and your) imperfections could be washed away, and we could be made white as snow.  Just because people fail you, don't lose heart. Don't give up. Trust God.  He has a plan.  Do all you can to mend the broken relationship, and if you can't, give it to Him.  He knows what to do, even (and especially) when you don't.

I've learned to be happy in my own skin.  Stop trying to be someone I'm not.  Stop trying to please everyone else, and be specifically who God created ME to be.  Silly, impractical, emotional, passionate, hard-headed, hot-tempered, wear-my-feelings-on-my-shirtsleeve MESS that I am, I am HIS.  And I have good qualities, too.  I am smart, talented, loving and sincere.  I am funny, and creative. I have a heart for people, a desire to teach, a thirst for adventure, a nurturing spirit.  All of these things make me ME. I am learning to see myself as an image-bearer of God, and to love myself, as He loves me... warts and all!

I've learned that waking up at 5 AM can actually be an enjoyable experience.  (Wait. Did I just say that out loud??)  It gives me time to start my day in silence.  With coffee, and Jesus.  Now you tell me, how can that NOT be a good thing?  By the time I wake my kids at 6:30 I am in such a good mood, they want to know who I am and what I have done with their mother!

I've learned that falling off the fitness wagon is costly.  Not being in the gym regularly, and not paying close attention to my nutrition has caused me to gain back almost half of the 40 pounds I worked so hard to lose last year. (I've also learned that when you see your doctor for your check-up, and she takes note of this, she will dog. your. butt. out!!) But, I've also learned not to beat myself up. What's done is done and I can't go back.  I just have to pick myself up by my boot straps, climb right back up on that horse, and ride it like I stole it!  That's just how I do, peeps.

Well, I guess that about does it.  You're all caught up now, without having to suffer through all the gory details.  (Because my mama taught me that good Southern Ladies don't bring up all their dirty laundry. They keep it hidden in the basket underneath the back steps until they can get that mess washed!!)

Since I started out singing, I may as well finish off with a few last lines from ol' Conway's classic song...

Goodbye Darlin'.
Gotta go now. :-)

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ain't No More Jesus's!!

(For Uncle Bubba)

He was known to eat an entire large pizza in one sitting, then sit back, hold his stomach, and say, "I hate pizza!"

When she was very young, my Mama called him her "Little Daddy", because he took such good care of her.  (I do believe he was required - by her Big Daddy - to chaperon a date or two from the back seat!)

We used to meet up at Pirate Land in Myrtle Beach every summer for great big family vacations.
He and Aunt Holly would always bring us gifts. We would be so excited to see them!
(I have been blessed by his generosity to my own children, as well).

I was also told that when I was a baby he would "sing me to sleep".  (Daddy says I went to sleep out of self-defense.) :-)

The best story though, was the time that he was reading to me from a children's Bible book.  Even as a toddler, I was totally enamored with Jesus. I wanted him to show me the pictures over and over.  I would say, "Bubba, Where Jesus?"... and he would flip the page and point.  Then I'd ask again, and he'd flip another page... on and on we went. Over and over he showed Jesus to me.  After several re-reads of the same storybook, when I continued to ask, "Bubba, Where Jesus?", he finally looked down at me, exasperated, and said, "Ain't no more Jesus's!!!"


Oh, but Bubba,  there is!!! There most certainly is!!!

Rest in His arms now, Sweet Uncle.

And give Pa, Nanny, and Uncle Ricky some sugar for me!!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Foot In Mouth Disease & Other Sundry Ailments

Fly off the handle.
No filter.
Diarrhea of the mouth.
Open mouth insert foot.

Temper. Temper. Temper.

Lord have mercy, y'all... I can just cut loose sometimes!

No thought.  No plan.  Just purge.
Release, if you will. Just let me get it all out so I can feel better.

But at what cost?

... The respect of someone I love?

... A cherished friendship?

... My child's precious heart?

Truth is, I typically end up feeling worse than I did to begin with.  Because I've hurt somebody... usually someone very special and dear to me.


Being the queen of "Googling Things",  I decided to do some research.  I wanted to find verses of scripture that speak specifically to taming the tongue.

Here are a few that cut me deep, Shrek... separating marrow from bone, to be sure!
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23 
    • My, my, my!  Do I ever get myself into trouble??  Why is this so hard?  What is so difficult about THINKING before speaking?? And putting myself in someone else's shoes before I REACT without rhyme or reason? 
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. - Proverbs 12:18
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.- Ephesians 4:29  
    • Oh that I would only speak words of grace, and peace, and healing.  That I would be a balm to those around me... an inspiration and encouragement... instead of a devastating dervish of whirling words that wound. 
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! - Psalm 141:3 
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. - Proverbs 17:28
    • If I could just learn to put my lips on lockdown!  That when I begin to think about setting my words free into space, I would think about the effects they may have.  We all have our emotions, but part of being wise and mature and complete is learning to bridle those feelings.. to put up the flesh and give the Spirit the reigns! 
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. - James 1:19-20
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. - Psalm 51:6
    • When I lash out, without thought of consequence, I am being selfish.  In my anger, I am only thinking of ways to make myself feel justified.  But justification is not for me to provide.  In fact, it has already been provided for me, in spite of  all my flaws, scars, and warts, by the Perfect Lamb of God... the Savior of the world. See, it's not just a problem with my tongue.  It's a problem with my heart.   
We've been to our fair share of doctor's offices lately.  Each time, we've been provided with prescriptions for our illnesses.  Antibiotics for pneumonia, sinus, and ear infections... Albuterol in the form of breathing treatments to loosen chest congestion and inflammation.  Nose sprays and ear drops to soothe and comfort as we wait on all these others to take effect.  Not to mention good old reliable humidifiers and vapor rubs.

During this last trip with Sam, when he was diagnosed with pneumonia, the doctor made the comment that she really didn't want to put him on two antibiotics at the same time.  You see, the one that she would prescribe to clear his chest congestion, would have little to no effect on his ear infection. And vice versa.  She knew that he had already completed one two week course of a certain drug to no avail.  She said, "There's really only one other option that I can think of that will be of benefit to both infections.  I'm going to give you a stronger one... but don't worry, it's safe.  I would give it to my own kids."  So we took the slip, dropped it off at the pharmacy, and almost one week later, he is all but completely healed! (Praise the Lord!! After battling with a stuffy nose since Christmas, he can FINALLY BREATHE!!)

When I began this post, I had all intentions of taking each and every one of these verses and printing them out on index cards... placing them in prominent places in my home and environment throughout the day, as a reminder, a sort of prescription for the healing of my heart and renewing of my mind. Multiple prescriptions, that is.

But then I came across this one...
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
Wow.  That's pretty powerful.  In fact, this one verse, could just be the key... the compilation of everything I would need to treat this malady.

If I could just memorize this one... this wee little verse... If I could just take it and hide it away in my heart... Maybe, just maybe...  I could be cured once and for all!

(What's that? I think I just heard an "Amen" and a "Bless Jesus" from the back bedroom!!) ;-)

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Five - So Ready for Spring!!

Yeah, I know what Punxsutawney Phil said.  

But I try not to pay too much attention to Yankees.
Even furry ones.

Now General Beauregard Lee... He's got it goin' on!!
He predicted (by not seeing his shadow) an early spring for the South.
Thank. You. Jesus.  (And Beau, too, I guess!)

So here's my list of why I am SO READY for spring!!!
  1. I need to get back to my daily walks --- Oh, I know some of y'all bundle up and go get your miles in, despite the frigid temps... but not this Chick.  It's just too dang cold for my delicate nature.
  2. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I tell you what, us Reeders have just had a time of it lately.  Especially my poor Sambo.  I'm ready to throw open some windows and air this sucker out!!! Best disinfectant ever... Fresh air and SUNSHINE!!
  3. Speaking of sunshine... I need a tan!!!  Put numbers one and two together and you'll see the mathematical equation for my exercise and fitness success so far in 2015.  That's right.  A BIG FAT GOOSE EGG!  I mean, if I can't burn the fat cells off and tone my muscles, at least I can get a golden bronzed camouflage!! 
  4. My yard looks like death warmed over.  Winter is so, well, brown.  And boring.  I feel the need to bathe my eyes in the aesthetic beauty of some Petunia Wave hanging baskets, Elizabethan Ferns, and potted Geraniums!!  Not to mention the beautiful blooms of my Azaleas and Knock-out Roses... Come on Spring... Bring on your color!
  5. My toes are itching to get into some water... and yeah, I guess my a- ahem, that is, my derriere would like to be in the sand, too!!  Meaning: I NEED ME SOME BEACH THERAPY!! There just ain't nothing like walking down the strand, sunshine on my shoulders, with flip-flops in one hand, and the other wrapped around the strong arm of My Man. And don't even get me started on what a moonlight stroll on the beach will cure! ;-)
So yes ma'am.  I'm ready for SPRING. 

Trouble is, here in South Carolina, spring is rare and short-lived.  Before you know it I'll be complaining about the heat and longing for the beautiful colors and cooler temps of autumn... yet another southern enigma.


Oh, well...
I'd still rather live down here in the Sunny (if hot as hell) South, than up there with them Yankee folk. And Phil.

Happy Friday, Y'all!!!
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love In Any Language

"Love in any language
straight from the heart,
Pulls us all together, never apart.
And once we learn to speak it
all the world will hear,
love in any language
fluently spoken here."
We sang that song in Youth Choir.

Complete with sign language.

But that ain't what this post is really about, Y'all.. Well, it sort of is, actually!

Maybe? Just a little bit. ;-)

This song, no doubt, describes God's love and loving others (all nations, colors and creeds) through Him.  But I want to talk about loving others as it applies to our relationships.  Particularly our marriages.

You know, because it's Love Week.

When Chris and I were engaged, my pastor had us work through the book The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, as part of our pre-marital counseling.  Early on, we found it quite beneficial to know exactly how to "fill each other's love tanks".

Then we had a baby.

And another baby.

And one more baby...

And life got hectic and crazy.  Then it settled down a bit, and just became routine.

My "babies" are currently 15, 13, and 10.  While life can still get crazy and hectic, it's mostly just one huge schedule.  Go here at this time.  Be there at that time.

I've been seeing a lot on the interweb this week about how to keep love fresh, and rekindle romance. I thought I would take a look back at this handy dandy little tool.  But first, I took the test again.

When we first got married, my primary Love Language was Gifts.  This means that I liked receiving gifts... so much, that it was my number one way to feel loved.  Now?  My primary Love Language is Words of Affirmation.  I need to be encouraged with words... told "I love you", "I'm proud of you.". "I appreciate you."

Here's a neat little chart to help me explain...


Turns out, it's not unusual for your Love Language to change as you grow, so it was a good idea for me to take the test again.  See. maybe that's part of our "stuck" problem.  If Reeder and I are still trying to fill each other's tanks using the methods that worked 17 years ago, and here we are all this time and all these "babies" later, well, it's probably just not gonna work! In fact, it hasn't.  So I have asked him to take the test again, too!

I'm looking forward to seeing his results. To learning new ways to connect...  and how to become fluent in new "languages", if you will.

Because once we learn to speak it... then our spouse will hear... :-)

Do you know your Love Language?

You can find out all about them, and even take the test for yourself at The 5 Love Languages Website.  There are also 5 Love Languages books and resources for Children and Teenagers, as well.  (TEENAGERS, People! Because who doesn't need help unraveling THAT mystery!?!?)

I also discovered that there's now a "thing" called Apology Language... which could be good to know when you hurt your spouse's (or anyone else's) feelings -- to help you restore the connection. Pretty cool!

What do you do to reconnect and stay strong in your marriage?  I'd love to hear about it!

Happy Valentine's Day, Y'all!!
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