Saturday, January 31, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (61-80)

61. Do I keep the promises I make to myself? HA! I am way more likely to break a promise to myself than ANYONE else. Looking at my own answer there, I feel ashamed. I tell my teen girls to treat themselves as they would treat their very best friend. And, here I am, falling down on the job.

62. Do I keep the promises I make to others? I do. Does that mean I never let anyone down? No. I am not so perfect. But, I will work hard to keep a promise.

63. For my life to be perfect, what would have to change? Me

64. What am I most looking forward to right now? This Friday, when the girls drive up from Brandon. Cat, Leila, Emily, Amanda and I are getting a cabin for the weekend. RETREAT! Laughter and fun and probably some crying and some serious talks too.

65. What activities do I perform that give me the least joy? Do they really need doing? Can I delegate or pay someone else to do them? No I cannot pay someone else to do my most hated chores. Delegate? Yes, somewhat. The boys have recently learned to put away their own clean laundry, after I fold it. David will help me any way I ask him to. As they get older, they will take on more defined chores.

66. How can I simplify my life? Spend more time with my husband and kids and less time worrying about stuff. STUFF. I am always getting rid of stuff in an effort to simplify.

67. Do I see myself as a creative person? I do. Some days I feel more creative than others, but creativity is definitely one of my strengths, and I thank God for that. It brings me a great deal of happiness.

68. Do I allow myself to be creative? I DO! Though I don't make enough time for it. Or, rather, I have the time but don't utilize it properly. I am bad at time management and prioritizing. Hello, I am ADHD, nice to meet you.

69. Can I be spontaneous? I can, but not the way I could be pre-kids. So often, things take SO MUCH planning that I lose the impulse that got me started and just quit. I am a starter. I love beginnings.

70. Am I too critical of myself? Aren't we all?

71. Am I too critical of others? I can get in overly critical moods, but generally I am a pretty liberal lover of other people. Unless they are fictional characters on TV or in books. I can criticize fake people like crazy.

72. Do I look at problems from several different angles and perspectives? I TRY to, but no, I don't often manage it. I can when it isn't MY problem, usually. But when it is MY problem, then I get stuck in MY perspective.

73. What have I accomplished? Absolutely nothing. But, God has done some amazing stuff in my life.

74. What are the major sources of stress in my life? It is always finances. Wondering if we will ever pay off any debt and not have to worry paycheck to paycheck. Corey thinks I don't stress about these things, but I do. I just don't like to let him know that I do. I feel like he has enough pressure without MY worries on top.

75. How can I reduce stress in my life? Spend more time in meditation. Think before I speak/act more often.

76. Do I know where my money is going? To Walmart. I am single-handedly paying the CEO's salary, by now.

77. Do I have a handle on my finances? Corey handles our money and I am proud of how his mind works in that respect. He can figure out numbers and percentages and how to pay this and that debt off most effectively, etc...

78. Do I have a financial plan for the future? Do what Corey says. LOL!

79. Do I know where my time is going? Too much of it to the laptop. Not enough to my family.

80. Have I created an efficient time management system for myself? HA! That is funny.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Felicities 1/30/09

Visit Becky's blog to join us in sharing our happies, in honor and memory of Natalie Rose York.

  • Cuddles from David
  • Sleeping till noon
  • Cutting shapes with my Cricut
  • Wearing my new blouse to Soundwave (Thanks Ashley)
  • Sitting with Renee's family, last night
  • Birthday cakes made out of K'Nex
  • Hot buttery croissants
  • Laughing on the phone with Mom
  • Looking forward to the next weekend with my girlfriends


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand

The Birthday Edition!

I love Memes like this one. Simple enough question: What are you reading? For me, it isn't on the nightstand. Sometimes there is a book there, but not often. There are 2 on the dresser though. I read one before bed, most nights. My nightstand has no room for books. The other junk all over it gets in the way.

Soul Cravings by Erwim McManus (nighttime reading)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Chunkster Challenge)
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (Book group)
Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James
Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs (teen small group)
Esther by Beth Moore (Journey Group)
Inspiration Sandwich by SARK (pre-journaling book)

Click here to join in the game.


From My Boys

My first Vlog. Hope you enjoy. Maybe next time I will even show my face. *snicker*


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Corey and I watched End of the Spear. I had tried to watch it by myself, but that was a no-go. I couldn't keep my eyes on the screen. I am not sure how this med-free lifestyle is working. I can pay attention better if someone else is with me. Why? I haven't a clue. Feel free to enlighten me if you have any ideas. So, Corey watched it with me, and I cried... a lot. What an amazing story. Makes me realize how easy my life is and how simple the things God has called me to really are. I mean, He hasn't sent me to convert remote tribes that would rather kill me. Ya know? So, yeah, End of the Spear is worth it.

I finished reading Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice. It was neat to read all of the history in that book, as I am going into a study on the book of Esther. Bones talks about King Cyrus. I finished that and am now engrossed in Anna Karenina, or - as I like to call the book - my Russian. My only complaint is that Tolstoy feels the need to use so many names for each person. Stephan can't just be Stephan. He has to use the middle name too, which I cannot recall how to spell right now. Lemme see... Example: He cannot refer to Kitty as Kitty. He must call her "Kitty Shcherbatskaya." In my head, I shorten everyone to their first name.

I think I met Jesus in Walmart today. It takes a lot for me to say that, since I refer to Walmart as either "Hellmart" or "Purgatory," according to my mood. Well, I took David with me to run errands. Haydn is with his Daddy at a camp where Corey is speaking to a group of teenagers. I ran to Walmart for AA batteries and a couple of greeting cards, after getting my phone fixed at Alltel. Well, as I shoved the buggy away from the checkout lane, an elderly man caught my eye. He was motioning for me to come forward. I did, and he told me he wanted to talk to David, or, as he said, "this fella here." He asked David's name and how old he was and started telling him jokes and listening to David's chatter. Believe me, this was HEAVEN for my son. He likes nothing better than for someone to listen to him, and I am incredibly bad at it, I must admit. At one point, David sang Jingle Bells and this sweet man stood up and danced. Seriously. He danced for my four-year-old, in the midst of a large group of people. He danced.

This afternoon, I finally took down the Christmas tree. I also reorganized a ton of stuff in the guest room, so now the desk is clear. I have moved all of my papers and study materials from the kitchen table onto that desk. Corey will be thrilled when he sees it. He hates clutter. Why God cursed him with me, the clutter-queen, is beyond me. Maybe he did something really bad in a past life. What is crazy is that I hate clutter too. I find it very hard to aim my ADHD mind in the right direction when I am surrounded by a scattering of stuff. But, organizing it all involves aiming my mind in that direction. It's a Catch 22. I saw a Facebook Bumper Sticker, a few days ago, that said, "My mind is an iPod on shuffle." That is the best definition for an ADHD brain I have heard yet (Except maybe Cat's analogy of walls covered in Post-it notes). What I need, more than anything, is a playlist. If I can get my mind onto a playlist, we are good. *wink*

Happy Weekend!

99 Powerful Questions (46-60)

46. What would I do if I had no fear? Take a hip hop dance class. Write a lot more. Work harder at publishing.

47. What would I do if money were not an object? Travel a LOT. Give a lot of money away. Buy my husband a Mustang.

48. What excuses am I making? I don't have the money. I don't have the follow-through. I have kids.

49. Do I enjoy what I do on a daily basis? Some of it. I enjoy the interaction with friends and the ministery stuff I am involved in. I enjoy learning and reading and crafting. I don't enjoy cleaning or driving kids to and from places or being in charge of discipline.

50. Am I on the right path? Most days, sure. I have a bad habit of stopping for naps or taking excursions off the trail.

51. Am I kind to myself? Sometimes I am too kind to myself. Other times I am too hard on myself. I am not good at finding the middle ground. Perhaps it should have been my year of balance.

52. Am I kind to others? Yes.

53. Do I take things for granted? Certainly. I take my husband and kids for granted all the time. Not that I am PROUD of this, but I have to admit it is true. I also am prone to taking my parents for granted.

54. Am I doing what matters most right now? Yes. But am I doing it well? I don't think so.

55. Is there an area in my life that needs more attention? My parenting.

56. Do I make the best use of my time? Not at all. Better than I did before my 6 months of working full-time, but I still spend too much time on the computer and too little time with my husband and children.

57. What can I do right now that would make the biggest difference in my life? Find a way to enjoy time with my children. Become a morning person.

58. What am I avoiding? Myself. Growing up.

59. What am I tolerating/putting up with? My scatterbrained self.

60. Do I have specific, measurable goals with clear deadlines? Nope. When I make those, I end up missing the deadlines and beating myself up over it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Felicities 1/23/09

This week has been so strange. Corey is still sick and hurting pretty bad, but he took David with him to Alabama to visit his family. Granddaddy isn't doing so well, and he wanted to help his Mama out some and assess the situation. Assess because, when Granddaddy passes, Corey will be called upon to do the funeral. He is the funeral man in the family. So, he did that, and I had Haydn here. Haydn and I get along fine when it is just us. People tell you not to wish those baby days away, that you will miss them. Maybe in many years, I will. Right now, I am very glad to see the kids grow up. I am a better mother to school-age children. I enjoy Haydn as a 1st grader in a way I never did before. I am hoping the same thing for David.

Anywho, Corey came back with David, Weds night - late, and he is still sick. He worked all day yesterday. He will go into the office for a bit this morning and then take Haydn with him to Camp Wesley Pines to speak for some event. So, I will be down to one kid again. Leila and Matt are headed to Booneville, so I am hoping to see Leila this weekend.

Friday Felicities (more info)

Sausage balls
Russian names
Visits from best friends
Flair and Bumper Stickers on Facebook
Sleeping through the night
Sleeping late in the morning
Corey taking a kid with him
Finishing a good book
Discovering the Garden of Hope
Facebook Chat with Cat
65 degree weather

Have an awesome weekend!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Fourth Photo Meme

Ciona tagged me. Here are the rules:

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store pictures on the computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Above, you will see the picture. It is from a folder titled "Janet," because said folder is full of images my friend, Janet, has taken. She is simply brilliant, and I save the photos I like the best. I have printed and framed a couple, here and there. Isn't this one just gorgeous?

To see more of Janet's photography (and trust me, it is well worth perusing), click here: Bree's Flickr.

I tag: Stephanie, Liz, Ashley, and Tara.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Currently: The Birth-Month Edition

Current Book(s): Taking way too long to read Servant of the Bones, b/c going off of my ADHD meds makes it hard for me to concentrate (hm, ya think?). I did just read a novel from Haiti. Thought it would be neat to learn about that country and culture, b/c Leila's family is from there. Started a Bible Study, also, on Esther. It is Beth Moore's newest edition. Loving it so far.

Current Playlist: I have Katherine McPhee stuck in my head, tonight, since I just watched House Bunny with Corey. He had not seen it. I love that movie.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: DVD rentals even tho I have Netflix. ROFL.

Current Color(s): On a black kick. I like how I look in black. :)

Current Fetish: Blogs and blogging. I have fallen in love with it all over again.

Current Drink: Coke. Enough caffiene to help my focus but not enough to upset my newly delicate tummy.

Current Food: Chicken spaghetti made by the Fabulous Debra Partin. Chris, your mom rocks.

Current Favorite Favorite: Books of all sorts. I just love books.

Current Wishlist: Cricut, iTouch, fun new tees

Current Needs: To have debt paid off. That is about it, physically. Emotionally, I am needing some retreat time and some girlfriend time.

Current Triumphs: Mastering MediaShout and feeling like an asset to media team (thanks Sherry and Renee for making me feel good).

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: The boys' attitudes. My monkey-mind.

Current Celebrity Crush: nada

Current Indulgence: Naps. Off meds, I am struggling with sleep patterns.

Current #1 Blessing: God's seemingly infinite patience with me.

Current Slang or Saying: "Seriously?"

Current Outfit: Black jeans, gray DNow tee shirt.

Current Excitement: My birthday is on the 27th. I am most excited that there is a girls' weekend on the horizon. Leila, Cat, Amanda and Em. :)

Current Link(s): I have been loving bookmooch lately. Also, Swagbucks ROCKS.

Current Mood: Variable. I am feeling mostly happy and content but I keep hitting dips.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (36-45)

36. What does success mean to me? Accomplishing things I set out to accomplish. These may be small things are large things, but if I manage to do what I set out to do or learn what God has set out for me to learn, I think it counts as success.

37. How can I add value to the life of others? Louise tells me I do this just by being myself. I hope she is right. I try to add value by being encouraging and by directing people's vision back to God and what God is doing in their lives. I try to be a non-judgmental heart for those who need it.

38. How can I serve? The answer to this question is infinite. I can serve in any way that God leads. For me, personally, that usually involves the spiritual gifts God has given me. He gave me a large measure of faith in the big situations. I can generally stand back and see God's hand in a situation, or I can at least see possibilities for what God MIGHT be doing. I have also discovered that God tends to use me on a person-to-person level, rather than a more corporate one. In most of the jobs I take, I find at least one person that I feel God placed me in a position to serve in some way. At Cokesbury, it was Louise. And Osman too. I felt God was using me to ease a part of their lives for a while. When I waitressed at Applebee's, I know God put me there to pray with and talk with a particular girl. Did God use me in other ways and with other people? Sure. But I believe it was specific people that I was mainly there for.

39. What can I do better than anyone else? Nothing. There are things I can do better than a lot of people, but I am not the BEST at anything. I am a good writer. I am, generally, good at taking an abstract thought and putting words and feelings to it.

40. What are my top three strengths? I have a very open heart/mind when dealing with other people. I like seeing Jesus in them. That is probably my #1 strength. Next to that, I would say my desire to know God more and learn more is a strength that drives me. I have discovered that I am always learning. I don't know it all and God is always changing me. When I am at my best, I can relax into these changes. If we could all do that, all the time, what a different world this would be. I don't hold grudges. This doesn't mean I never get angry or that I forgive instantly. But I have learned to ask God to forgive through me, in most cases, instead of trying to do it on my own. So, a forgiving heart would be my third strength.

41. Am I moving in the direction of my dreams? Most days. Doing something creative each day, reading and learning each day and asking God to lead me helps me feel like I am moving in the right direction.

42. Do I tell others what I really want? Not always. OK, seldom. I fear being seen as selfish or greedy if I admit to wanting more than what is given.

43. What does my ideal day look like? Waking up on my own, showering and reading a good book while eating breakfast. Doing something creative. Taking myself out to lunch and reading for a while longer. Taking an afternoon nap. Spending the evening with my husband or a friend.

44. Where do I want to be a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now? In 5 years, I will be about to turn 32. I hope to still be here in Tupelo, be finished with my degree in Creative Writing, have an 11 year old and a 9 year old, be ready for Corey to graduate seminary and have Savannah visiting us on a regular basis. In 10 years, about to turn 37, I will have a 16 year old and a 14 year old. I hope to be watching my boys become godly men, helping Savannah settle into college life, etc... Corey and I might be part of a church plant by then, with him as senior pastor or worship pastor. Who knows. Maybe we will be in youth still, right here at FUMC. I am okay with any of these. I could also see us as part of a community like The Simple Way (somewhere warmer than Philly, please, God?). I might have my masters by then. God could move in so many ways between now and then, that I really have no idea how to visualize it. As for 20 years from now, as I am approaching 47, the kids will be 28, 26 and 24. maybe I will have grandkids. Maybe not. I have a feeling, at least one of the boys will be working in ministry in some fashion. I hope to be a librarian or have some other fulfilling career. I hope Corey is still ministering in whatever area God will have lead him to from here.

45. What does my ideal living environment look like? Open and airy. Full of light. Enough organization to keep my ADHD in check, but lived-in enough to feel homey. Soft couches and cushions, scripture on my walls and peace all around. Bright colors.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Kind of Voice I'd Like to Take a Nap in

I picked up The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis at the library. This is the audio version that he made himself, reading from his rough draft. I believe they said he recorded it 5 years before his death. I am in love with the man's voice. It has that gentlemanly British accent, and also a sort of grandfatherly humor. I can't quite explain it, except that I want to wrap it around me and take a cozy nap on a rainy day. I am enjoying the book, but - in all honesty - he could be reading a math text and I would enjoy it. That may be the ONLY way I could ever enjoy math. LOL!

I am on part 2, where he discusses Philos. I am excited because his thoughts on friendship are seemingly identical to mine. I have often tried to express how I think we have jilted the love of friendship in our modern culture. Our spirits will flourish within an intimate friendship, but if we find such a friend, people often consider it inappropriate. As though 2 women cannot be friends without also being lovers. He speaks of the stance of lovers being facing one another and the stance of friends being said by side, facing forward together.

If you ever get a chance to hear C. S. Lewis speak, take it.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

When It Rains...

I have been crazily organizing things so that I could leave, at noon today, to drive to Alabama and visit Granddaddy. Granddaddy is very sick. Corey has been getting sick himself and went to the doctor today with what he thought was a bladder infection. A million tests later, he has been diagnosed with diverticulitis. Poor guy. No more chex mix for him. Christmas is ruined.

So I have canceled by trip to Alabama. Turns out, Haydn is getting an award, at school, in the morning. Now I will get to see that. Hopefully I can help Corey run Disciple Now, this weekend, because I somehow doubt he will feel up to much. The doctor gave him two antibiotics and some lovely pain medication. He is sleeping now.

I started a new Bible Study today. I will be meeting with a group every Thursday to do Beth Moore's study on the book of Esther. I am really looking forward to it. Purim is my favorite Jewish Holy Day, and we will be celebrating Purim. :) My inner Jewish-girl is doing a little happy dance, right now. Be glad you cannot see her. She doesn't dance as well as my inner R&B-girl. *snicker* I really enjoy Desiree, who is leading the group, and I was happy to meet Rebecca today. I will meet the other two ladies next week.

I managed 3/4 a mile on the elliptical machine this morning. That thing kicks my butt. But, I feel good.

Say a prayer for us this weekend, if you would.

13 Quotes on Sadness

Just 13 quotes on sadness, etc, for the Thursday Thirteen. Dear God, Grandaddy getting sick does NOT equal a good birthday present. Thanks. May I return it?

13 Quotes on Sadness

[1] It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ~Colette

[2] Sorrow you can hold, however desolating, if nobody speaks to you. If they speak, you break down. ~Bede Jarrett

[3] Sorrow makes us all children again - destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

[4] The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost. ~Arthur Schopenhauer

[5] The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep. ~Henry Maudsley

[6] She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~George Eliot

[7] As long as I can I will look at this world for both of us. As long as I can I will laugh with the birds, I will sing with the flowers, I will pray to the stars, for both of us. ~Sascha, as posted on

[8] I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. - Joseph Addison

[9] However long the night, the dawn will break. -African Proverb

[10] The silence that guards the tomb does not reveal God's secret in the obscurity of the coffin, and the rustling of the branches whose roots suck the body's elements do not tell the mysteries of the grave, by the agonized sighs of my heart announce to the living the drama which love, beauty, and death have performed. -Kahlil Gibran

[11] Out of sorrow entire worlds have been built Out of longing great wonders have been willed. -Nick Cave

[12] Hey God, can this world really be as sad as it seems? -Nine Inch Nails

[13] For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.' -John Greenleaf Whittier

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (26-35)

26. Do I constantly dwell on the past? I used to. Now, there are parts of my past that come back to me in haunting realness. Usually brought by music or conversations with old friends.

27. Do I let other people’s negativity affect me? Yes. I HATE this about myself, but if you are someone I care about, then your mood is bound to affect my mood. I am the most affected by Corey's moods. If I sense the TINIEST bit of frustration from him, my day takes a nosedive. I have not found a solution for this.

28. Do I forgive myself? Mostly. Yes.

29. Do I smile often? I do. It is wonderful to have reason to smile.

30. Do I laugh often? Again, I do. YAY! 2008 was my Year of Laughter, remember? I now look for all sorts of reasons to laugh.

31. Do I surround myself with positive, life-affirming people who want the best for me? I try to, and I usually succeed. I am rebuilding this, now that we have moved to Tupelo. I am meeting wonderful people, and I seek out those who seem to like me and enjoy me as well as I enjoy them.

32. Am I a positive, life-affirming person? I think so. I do have my moods, but those are generally limited to myself. I try to be loving and encouraging to those I meet each day. It goes with my life theme: "Love God and Love Neighbor."

33. Am I giving enough time to nurturing/replenishing myself? Yes and no. The amount of time is not the problem. My managing of the time is an issue. I take time but end up doing nothing of use with it.

34. What is my secret ambition? To be known and loved for my writing, to perform peices I write on a regular basis. I doubt this is a secret though.

35. What do I want to be remembered for at the end of my life? Loving God and Loving Neighbor.

Monday, January 12, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (16-25)

16. Do I appreciate what others do for me? Not enough, I'm sure. Rather, I don't appreciate how much Corey does. I know this. I am sure he knows it too. I take him for granted. He has always been so wonderful about working so that I don't have to, helping with the kids, etc... I have come to EXPECT it. I don't understand why other men don't behave in this way toward their wives. I am spoiled. Outside of that, I appreciate things so much, but I am always unsure of how to show it. I say thank you, write thank you cards, etc... I don't want to embarrass someone by gushing, but sometimes I do it anyway. My friends and family are simply amazing. Like I said, I am pretty spoiled.

17. Where do I want to go? Everywhere. I have these deep longings to travel to all sorts of places. Sometimes, when I read a book where I learn about some other country or region, I feel a literal ache around my heart. I don't believe God is ignoring this desire. I'm just not sure how or when I can do such things. I am married and have two small children. I don't have money for travel (I don't even have money for the dentist). I close my eyes and dream of serene mountain scenes, soothing ocean waves, wild animals on safari, thrift stores in London... My sister lives out in California now, and do you know how badly I want to go see her? Candy and I want to thrift shop in Hollywood. I sometimes reread parts of Eat, Pray, Love, just to travel in my mind to Italy, India and Bali. Ooo... Bali! Bali and Israel and Africa are the places I ache for the most, as of late. Anywhere historical or literary is good. I could write on this topic forever.

18. Who do I want to meet? I want to meet people who love God with all they are, even when that doesn't look how I expect it to or how I think it should. I want to meet Loretta Lynn, Nikki Giovanni, Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Gilbert and many many many others. I want to meet all of the friends I have made, over the years, through WaH and blogging. I want to meet God in all the forms God can take.

19. What adventures do I want to go on? Well, I have already written about my desire to travel. So, aside from that, I want to go on a retreat to a convent. I want to go on a retreat by myself and one with a dear friend. I want to finally take a honeymoon. I want a "Sisterchick" trip (or two or three). I want to get in a car and just drive. We can stop where the Spirit leads us to stop and do whatever pops into our heads.

20. Do I care too much about what others think of me? Often, yes, I do. Other times, perhaps I don't care enough. Physically, I think I care too much what I think about me - about my reflection.

21. Do I take offense too easily? In most situations, no. With Corey, yes. I always assume he is insulting me, and he isn't. I don't know why I single him out for this. Maybe because I am around him the most. I was reading an article on ADHD yesterday that talked about how we aren't good at verbal cues. I feel like I SHOULD be able to read my husband's cues, but I am not good at doing so. I think that is what frustrates me more than anything I percieve him to be saying. I get frustrated with myself.

22. What makes me happy? Feeling loved. When I get a present in the mail, or a greeting card, or a phone call from a friend just because, I feel loved. When I feel loved, deeply, I feel happy. Plenty of solitude outside of my home can also help my happiness. When I am at home, I tend to sink into lethargy too easily. Relaxed time with Corey or my friends makes me happy. Laughter with my boys makes me happy. When I feel smart, I also feel happy. I like to be knowledgable. That can become a pride issue way too easily.

23. Do I procrastinate? I'll answer this later. If that helps. ;)

24. Do I stand up for myself? I don't often have need to. Like I said, I am pretty spoiled.

25. Do I hold grudges? Not usually. And, when I do, I normally don't hold it for long.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (5-15)

5. Do I take the time to really listen to what others say? Yes. No. When reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I was very convicted about my inability to listen. I have, over the last year, made a concerted effort to be a better listener. I am still not the greatest. When I get excited or passionate about something, I interrupt and talk fast.

6. Do I have fun? Not as much as I would like to. Over the last couple of years, my girlfriends and I have had so much fun together. They taught me what true intimate friendship can be and, with that, came so much laughter and relaxation. But, I don't have nearly as much fun in Tupelo. Not Tupelo's fault. I just haven't settled in enough yet.

7. How can I bring more joy into my life? By having more patience. If I could just relax and let life happen more often, I would be a much more joyful person.

8. What do I want more of in my life? More time with girlfriends, more sense of purpose and motivation, more peace of mind...

9. What do I want less of in my life? Less guilt. Less loneliness. Less materialism and vanity.

10. Am I on the look out for opportunities? Lately, yes, I am. Opportunities to be more who Christ created me to be. Opportunities to use my giftings. Opportunities to laugh.

11. Do I seize opportunities? Yes and no. For the first bit of time we lived here, I was isolating myself. I am getting better about this. I am going off meds, joining a gym, helping with Media Team, teaching a small group and taking part in two adult Bible studies. I recited a poem in church today. I took myself to a movie, last night. I wrote a poem in the waiting room of the doctor's office.

12. Am I open-minded? Am I flexible? I consider myself an open-minded person, though there are issues I cannot budge on. I try not to be judgmental, even when I am closed to other options for myself. I am flexible in some areas and not others. Some things, I need to be more flexible on. I need to be a much more flexible wife and mother.

13. Am I quick to judge others? Compared to five years ago, I am not. But I know there are people I do judge too quickly. This will always be a battle worth fighting.

14. Do I take calculated risks? Hmm... Yes.

15. Do I give others sincere compliments? This one, I do. I do this often. I try to always find some way to genuinely compliment others. I look for good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

99 Powerful Questions (1-4)

I originally saw this on Dana's blog. She emailed me the blog entry she got it from, Abundance Blog. I will be posting my answers in parts. Some of these questions don't have easy answers, but I think it will be a good examination of my life. If anyone else is interested, I would be happy to forward you the email containing the questions, or you can click on the links above for more information. And now, without further ado, questions 1-4:

1. What do I want? There are so many levels to answer this on. The first thing that comes to mind, however, is to be happy. I suppose, that would lead to someone asking, "What will make you happy?" Then, there is the debate on joy vs. happiness. Basically, this answer is too abstract. Right now, I want to be successful at treating my ADHD with diet and exercise. I want to grow in wisdom, Biblical and otherwise (no pun intended). I want to be seen as a Creative/Artsy/Writerly person, but - more than that - I want to BE a Creative/Artsy/Writerly person. I want to magically have patience and self-discipline. I want to find true intimate female friendships here in Tupelo, the way I did in Brandon. I want to be a good friend and have good friends. I want to be generous, and I want to have the means to be even more generous. I want to make my husband and children proud of me.

2. What am I grateful for? Again, a question with an answer much longer than any blog can handle. So, in a condensed version, I am grateful for my husband's immense well of patience. How he handles me... Well, I couldn't handle me if I were him. I am thankful for my children, for the fact that we are finally out of the baby stage. I am blessed to have friends who are willing to know even the worst parts of me without withholding their love. I am thankful for a father who has taught me to love myself and accept myself, warts and all. I am beyond blessed by a mother who has always put my sister and I before herself and a stepfather who treated me like his own. I am so completely grateful that I have a good relationship with my stepdaughter. Such relationships hold the potential for so much hurt and stress. It is wonderful that she smiles when she sees me and I smile when I see her. I don't need to be her mom. She has one. I do need to be someone who loves her and someone whom she loves, and I am grateful to have that. I am immensely thankful that we seem to be past the rough behavor issues we had with Haydn during his kindergarten year and that it looks like David will make a smooth transition into school. This could go on. Seriously.

3. What's missing in my life? Balance and fitness. I am terrible at balancing. I either take on way too much at one time or I say no to everything and find myself listless. I am also terrible at balancing my roles as mother and wife with my seemingly-desperate need for solitude and creativity. I am out of shape. Notice, I am not saying, "I am fat." Sure, I have some fat. I am not fond of it, either. I was 110 lbs before I had children, and I now weigh more than I did at 9 months pregnant. So, no, I can't say I am happy with my weight, but it isn't my weight that leads me to list fitness as something missing from my life. I am thinking about health and energy, stamina and well-being. I decided, on New Year's Eve, to crank up an old Aliyiah song and dance. I made it a few seconds before falling onto the couch, out of breath. I am only 26 (27 this month). There is no good excuse for why I am so unhealthy. Treating my body the way I do is disrespectful to the God who made it. I teach my children to respect the gifts we give them, but what kind of example am I setting with the ultimate gift... life?

4. Do I see the whole world anew each new day? Somedays. Usually, once I clear my head of sleep, I can see the day as a new opportunity. I didn't used to, but Natalie helped me with that. I often think of the days she missed out on - the days she would be eternally grateful to have now and the days we all would have been thrilled to share with her. Every moment that she was alive is so precious to me. 33 years wasn't long enough. I read some of her old blog entries, and I always find myself thinking, "When she wrote this, she had XX months (or days or years) left to live." Then, I cannot help but think, "How long do I have? Am I wasting it?" So, yes, I am seeing my days as new and precious. A brand new day with no mistakes in it. His mercies are new every morning.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Felcities 1/9/09

It is that time of the week again. Join in on Friday Felcities and visit Becky's site. This is done in memory if Natalie, who started the Meme. She was thankful, even in the worst of times and praised God for the simple things even to her dying breath.

Friday Felicities

  • Writing a poem
  • Cuddling and kissing my boys
  • Finding old friends on Facebook
  • Having a friend say she is proud of me
  • Knowing I can sleep tomorrow
  • Good music

Have a great weekend, friends!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

And I Read (2008 edition)

In January I...

  • Walked the Labyrinth
  • Stood in as manager at Cokesbury while Louise was out of town
  • Turned 26
And I read...

  • Black by Ted Dekker
  • The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennen Manning
  • The Sex Club by L. J. Sellers
  • The Sudan Project by Melissa Leembruggen
  • The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson

In February I...

  • Began an unsuccessful fast
  • Took my first business trip
  • Was hospitalized for a "viral infection"
And I read...

  • Red by Ted Dekker
  • White by Ted Dekker
  • Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner
  • The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

In March I...

  • Caved to Harry Potter
  • Watched my baby turn 6
  • Had a visit from Mom and Wayne
And I Read...

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  • The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Lying Awake by Mark Salzman

In April I...

  • Got a call from my big brother (haven't heard from him since)
  • Stayed home from work with sick kids
  • Decided to be a stay-at-home mom again
  • Helped at Bethlehem Center
And I read...

  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
  • The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  • This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

In May I...

  • Caught up on Church Library organization
  • Watched David turn 4
  • Entered a Ballad writing contest
  • Worked on the Senior Slideshow
  • Had a private Bible Study with Amanda-Panda
  • Began watching Meg for the summer

And I read...

  • Evensong by Gail Godwin
  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Three Girls and Their Brother by Theresa Rebeck
  • Maggie Rose and Sass by Eunice Boeve
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • The Gospel According to Harry Potter by Connie Neal
  • Marley and Me by John Grogan

In June I...

  • Started Beth Moore's Breaking Free study
  • Fasted from shopping
  • Began my summer of travel reading
  • Took the kids bowling
  • Sent my kiddos to VBS and DID NOT VOLUNTEER
  • Mourned Rwth's reappointment to Belzoni
  • Visited South Carolina
  • Began actively seeking God's answer on the "heaven" issue
And I read...

  • The Pact by Jodi Picoult
  • Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
In July I...

  • Watched the entire 6 seasons of Sex and the City in one week
  • Saw the Sex and the City movie with Cat
  • Celebrated a visit from Savannah
  • Traveled to Carthage with Leila, Em and my kids to buy Wii Fit
  • Caved to the Twilight bandwagon
  • Saw Kit Kittredge with Cat and out kiddos
  • Sent the boys to stay with Grams and Pawpaw for a week
  • Taught Bible Study for Youth
  • Mourned a broken laptop

And I read...

  • The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
In August I...

  • Spent a lot of time crafting at Cat's house
  • Was given a "happy" from Chicago by the great Amandalicious
  • Spent a ton of time in my "nest" in the back bedroom
  • Asked Leila to take me camping
  • Announced our pending move to Tupelo
  • Finished the Spiritual Warfare chapter (rough draft) for PPD book
  • Was blessed by the gift of a freezer from Leila and Matt
  • Sent my oldest to 1st Grade
  • Began carpooling with Amanda
  • Got my Invisible Children bracelet
And I read...

  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • High Tide in Tucson by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Take Me With You by Brad Newsham
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • Far World by J. Scott Savage
  • Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson
  • Transformation Soup by SARK
  • Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
  • The View from Here by Brian Keith Jackson
  • Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

In September...

  • Held candlelit prayer, at midnight, with 4 of my girlfriends, at the labyrinth
  • Saw and LOVED House Bunny
  • Had a blast at Harry the Potter with girlfriends
  • Volunteered as the communications person for a Red Cross sheltar
  • Was given Wreck this Journal by Lana
  • Completed Nolan's scrapbook for Catherine
  • Started watching The 4400 with Corey
  • Found a house to rent
  • Read a book to Haydn's class
  • Was proud of Haydn for being Student of the Week
  • Started Disciple 1
  • Was invited to join Amazon Vine
  • Moved to Tupelo
And I Read...

  • Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicolas Sparks
  • Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
  • Succulent Wild Woman by SARK
  • Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell
  • God is Love edited by Brian Doyle
  • Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
  • Sisterchicks go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn
  • The White Mary by Kira Salak
  • I Wanna Be Your Shoebox by Cristina Garcia
In October I...
  • Hurt for and prayed for Wendy
  • Learned to cook on a gas stove
  • Worried about my stepdad, after his heart attack
  • Found out my older sister is pregnant
  • Went camping for the very first time
  • Met Leila's friend, Ginny
  • Used red gel to spike Haydn's hair for school
  • Watched a lot of Reba and Extreme Makeover
And I read...
  • Oxygen by Carol Casella
  • Iodine by Haven Kimmel
  • The Ragged Way People Fall Out Of Love by Elizabeth Cox
  • Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis
In Novemeber I...
  • Lit a candle for Nat on All Saints Sunday
  • Ate a lot of Butter Pecan Ice Cream bars
  • Chose to write a poem instead of voting
  • Said goodbye to Renee without ever meeting her
  • Worked a LOT on Leila's album
  • Was given a new camera by Daddy
  • Saw Lauren
  • Visited friends and family for Thanksgiving
  • Had unhappy medication issues
  • Was sick a lot (see afore mentioned issues)
  • Became addicted to Paris Hilton's My New BFF
And I read...
  • Embrace Me by Lisa Samson
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  • Tiger Lillie by Lisa Samson
  • The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

In December I...
  • Went of medication
  • Spent two weeks in the misery of withdrawal
  • Saw Fireproof with Corey on our anniversary
  • Discovered Crystal Light singles
  • Bought a ton of Christmas gifts
  • Made Christmas gifts also
  • Saw the Nutcracker for the first time since I was a kid
  • Chose to pause Disciple so I can restart with a group in 2009
  • Had my hair cut back into a pixie
  • Spent 3 days home alone while Corey took the kids to Bama
  • Saw Yes Man with a group of teenagers
And I read...
  • The Coal Tattoo by Silas House
  • Need by Carrie Jones
  • Kiss by Ted Dekker
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • Where Do I Go by Neta Jackson
  • Lilith by George MacDonald
  • Eat Mangoes Naked by SARK
  • Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 - The Year of Patience

Welcome to 2009. That sounds so odd. I can remember when, in elementary school, our teachers would hype us up about being the "Class of 2000." I was led to believe there would be flying cars readily available by the time I graduated from high school. Here I am, nine years later, spending way too much money to keep my mini-van running. At least it is almost paid off.

 In the meantime, with or without a flying vehicle, it is time to face the year that lies before me.

God gave me my theme on the first week of Advent. I was not looking for it. I was sitting in service, listening to Raigan teach on "Breaking Through." She talked about Isaiah praying for God to "Rend the heavens and come down." It was a powerful message to my very tender and confused heart. The past month has involved a struggle with my medications and whether or not I am taking the right ones, etc... Actually, the past two months have been a medical mess. So, there I sat, holding this piece of white linen. We were told to pray over the scrap of cloth and ask God to reveal something to us. I believe we were asking what He wants of us, right now. My boys sat on either side of me, and Corey had his linen square as well. I clearly heard the word...


I cringed. If anyone was watching, they must have thought I heard God say he wanted me to sacrifice my first born or something. Honestly, I would rather pray for just about anything except patience.

Patience? Please, no.

If I pray for patience, God will.... teach me to be patient. I don't WANT to learn to be patient. I'd like God to deliver a pretty box wrapped with a bow. I would open that box and suddenly be filled with infinite patience. I know God doesn't work that way. I know I will have to learn patience. The whole prospect scares me. But, there I sat, staring at my white cloth, glaring at my white cloth. I tore it down the middle and stood, walking down the aisle to lay one half of the cloth in a manger. The other half is still in my purse.

Patience it is.

I have two verses to go with this theme. The first has kept popping up, and I have now taped it to my bathroom mirror on an index card. It is, to me, a promise of what God is doing while I am learning patience.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am
making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

The second verse appeared to me on a t-shirt, of all places, and will be my constant reminder of why I should be able to have patience, how my God will sustain me as I wait.

The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a
spring whose waters never fail. - Isaiah 58:11

It is no surprise to me that both are from Isaiah. He is one of my favorite prophets, only rivaled by Hosea, and it was his own fervent prayers for God to "rend the heavens and come down" or "get on with it already" that brought my heart to an open place, where I could recieve this year's theme.

I have a song for the year, as well, but that is for another post. For now, as you are walking through 2009, say a prayer for me. I could use a side of mercy with my patience.

Friday Felicities - 1/2/09

It is Friday! Time for Friday Felcitities. Please run over to Becky's Blog to join us. These are in honor of Natalie. I can't grasp that she has now missed two New Years. I know she is living better than me, but it still hurts.

Friday Felcitites

My red fuzzy robe
Anticipating goodies in the mail
Free books for review
My Willow Tree nativity (the BIG one)
Thinking about Epiphany
Red velvet cake sent home by MIL


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