Thursday, May 27, 2010

At The Dump

Today- I learned some super important "things" about the person I am..... and guess what?!?!

 I am awesome!

Super awesome.

God hooked me up with some really cool gifts.  I didn't ask for them- I never EVER would have asked for them.  As a matter of fact.  I totally- most of my life- have actually cried out "WHY ME!?!?!" because I thought my gifts were- in fact- curses.  (Melodramatic?  No!  I hate that word.)

Before today, I thought that who I was, was messed up.  Whatever.  There were some good things about me- but all in all, around in a whole, I felt messed up.

Most of my life, and this is no exaggeration,  I assumed that there was something totally really wrong with me.  I've always been hyper-sensitive, and easily overwhelmed.  My Daddy put it nicely when he would say "Well, Amber?  You're a little high-strung, like your Grandma."  (A little?  No- no- no- no?  A LOT!)

Blah blah blah- I'm not gonna get into all the details, but what I do want to say is this:

God made me.  I'm perfect- because He made me.  I've heard it over, and over again- "God doesn't make any mistakes."  And I knew this was true for everyone else- but I never believed it for me.  I knew that I was messed up, I mean- seriously- I lived with myself.  There was no hiding from myself.

 Ya ya ya.  I knew God loved me, and that He didn't purposely mess me up- but I genuinely assumed that He chose not to fix me.

Not gonna lie- I've harbored a lil' bit of frustration with Him in that. "Hey God- that blind dude?  You healed him.  Why won't You hook me up with a little-bit-of-healing? I'd rather be blind than to deal with THIS."

Here's the COOLEST part of all- He didn't need to fix me. I wasn't broken.  I just needed the wisdom and knowledge that He had to offer in order to comprehend why it seemed like I was messed up.  I got a taste, Mmmmm.... a sweet taste of that knowledge today.  I'm savoring it.  Yum.  It's so good!!!!

And........ I'm gonna leave the rest of this story in my drafts- cause I'm not ready to detail it.  I don't care to share it, don't get me wrong- but I feel the need to sit on it, and soak it up, and dwell in the Truth that I found today before I publicly put it all out there.

I've blogged about some personal stuffs.  I'm an open book (or web-page) so to speak.  This isn't so much a "personal" thing that I get to marinate in, more of a core realization..... psh..... whatever.

 It's something I get to really breath in, for as long as I want- and as long as I need.

I get to "breath" it in.  How beautiful is that?  I get to inhale the breath of God.  In my quiet place......

I titled this "At The Dump".  This cool chick told me today, "You just gotta take it- whatever it is, just take it to the dump.  Dump it at the Cross.  And walk away."

I think, blogging, is kind like, a pit stop for me, before I get to The Dump.

Thanks for riding with me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It's not his real name.  I never asked him what his real name was.

He reminded me of Ray Romano.  At first glance, he looked like a regular college kid- walking into a coffee shop, messenger bag across his chest, ready to settle into the couch and veg out (or study; whichever).  I was alone, which was a pleasant change to my typical day in and out.  Being married, with 3 kids- sitting alone on a coffee shop couch with a book is quite rare.  I was basking in my solitude, going back and forth from people watching to book reading.  Simple Pleasures.

Raymond sat across from me.  I didn't think it was odd until I looked around and noticed that there were empty couches and chairs through out the shop.  "Uh. Oh." I thought to myself.  "This guy's about to try to pick me up!"

Married.  3 kids.  College kid tries to pick you up- who can lie and say it's not flattering?  Not me!  I was flattered.  He asked what book I was reading, and he seemed surprised when my response exposed the fact that I was married (apparently, he didn't notice my Big O' Rock).  "I'm reading a book on how to be nice to my husband." I said kind of jokingly, but then added, "Really.  It's about the inner-lives of men, and how to comprehend them."

"So?  You're married." He responds as he looks down at my ring.  I get the idea that Raymond may not be who I initially sized him up to be.  He is squinting his eyes, as though he is uncomfortable.  As though he's embarrassed, and unsure of himself, and awfully self-conscience.  Thinking about it now, I get sad all over again for him.

We conversate a bit more, I am smiling and trying to be annoyingly friendly- and open, and nice, and hide any amount of discomfort I am feeling. It didn't take long for him to lower his head and start to read his book.  At this point, I'm feeling sadness in the pit of my stomach.  I had looked over Raymond a bit, and noticed cut marks on each side of his arm.  From shoulder to mid bicep, he had cut himself.  I force myself NOT to show sympathy in my eyes.  I keep smiling, but I wanted to cry.  I still do.

I wanted to continue talking to him, part of me wanting to know more about who he is, and why he did what he did; I threw out to him the same line he had offered me; "So? What are  you reading?"  And it worked!!  Raymond opened up a little bit.  Guess what he was reading?!?!  A book about BODY LANGUAGE.  How interesting is that?  It seemed as though he had a desire to understand people.  He wanted to know how to relate and how to interact among his peers.  He noted that it was a "hobby" of his.  To learn "that sort of thing".

I immediately do a play by play of what body language I could have been "talking" during our conversation and hoped beyond hope that I didn't tell him anything that would make him sad.  I'm so concerned that he is sad.  I'm sad at the thought of him being sad.  It's just- so- sad.

The chit-chat didn't last long though, and he packed up his bag and walked away, with out even saying goodbye.  Or, "nice talking to you."

I lost sleep that night- thinking about Raymond.  This young guy, apparently disheartened with life- who cut himself, and squinted his eyes when he smiled; he talked with out confidence, or certainty.  It seemed that Raymond was flinching at every word spoken, and at every word spoken to him. Why was he flinching?  What was he afraid of?

I don't know.

I have a compassion that  I cannot explain for those that are hurting in the way that Raymond seemed to be hurting.  I want to help.  I want to understand the root of their hurt.  I want to figure it out.  I want to help.

If I'm losing sleep over Raymond- apparently, Raymond needs somebody to care about him.  He needs an intercession, and God chose me to pray for him.  He's not just "some-guy at a coffee shop".

He's Raymond.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Perfectly Flawed

I love to drive.  Solo, in the car- radio blasting.  If alone, I'll sing until my abdominal muscles ache, and pound the steering wheel rythemically to the beat.  At times, I don't sing at all.  I am still, and quiet.  I listen to the words carefully, and consider the lyrics thoughtfully.   I pray, and I ponder, and I wait.  Patiently, I wait to hear what The Lord might say to me.    I hear God best in my car.  Alone.

I love sign language.  I have been learning it for several years, independently through videos, books, and varied websites.  I've cried out to God, begging him to gift me with a beautiful singing voice.  He heard my cry.  His reply?  Sign Language.  I can sing with my hands.  I've yet to learn how to communicate with the deaf, but I know a few words, and a few phrases, and a few songs.  It's the most beautiful language to sing in that I've ever seen.

For some reason, I can't grasp the concept of putting away the half and half.  Or placing a trash bag in the trash can.  Or unloading the dishwasher.  Or taking on the grueling task of laundry one day at a time.  For all of these reasons, there are times that the half and half becomes sour, our trash can acquires loose trash, our dishes pile up in the sink, and we have various mountains of laundry forming all through out our house.

I am an untidy house keeper, finding myself more focused on ridding our home of the clutter than scrubbing down the baseboards.  Clutter can set off a panic attack- with out warning.  I'm claustrophobic.  (And I just spelled claustrophobic with out having to turn to spell-checker.)

I like the interior of my car to stay organized.  There is a refreshing inhaled breath that I take when I've put my car in order.  Water bottles are stored in a neatly placed cooler.  There is a trash container behind the seat to catch the gum wrappers and Chick Fil A containers. The vacuum has sucked out all of the leaves and the dirt, and random cracker or cheerio that has dropped in between the seats.  Ahhhh.  I love a clean car.  It's not often that I get to experience it- nonetheless, a clean car soothes me.

I am notorious for unfinished projects.  As I type this- there is a set of dressers in our garage.  Half painted.  A bulletin board that I am "redoing" leaning against our dining room wall.  I only need to hot glue the fabric in place.  It's been unfinished for 3 weeks.  I have random containers of "give away" items in random places that have been full for random periods of time- waiting on me to bag them up, and take away to our local thrift shop.  I have baskets that hold papers, cd's, nail files, magazines, flashlights, loose change, and other such items that are waiting on me to clean them out, and put them where they belong.  And I have 3 or 10 blogs in my drafts that I started- put aside- and lost an interest in finishing.

To my left sits my husbands guitar.  I spent weeks and weeks practicing.  On my left hand, I had even acquired a few nice calluses, just on the tip of my first, second and third fingers.  I had memorized several chords, and began the frustrating task of strumming from chord to chord, trying to memorize where to place my fingers.  And now? This guitar sits.  Untouched by my (now) soft hands for 2 weeks.  One thing after another has led me to miss my (paid for already) guitar lessons.  Circumstances that have been out of my control, but some have been due to a lack of motivation as well.

I have a switch that goes off when I find an injustice has been done.  No amount of will that I've found has allowed me to keep my lips tightly closed when I feel as though somebody has done something very wrong.  My blood pressure rises a bit, and though the wrong doing may not have been done to me, I passionately express my opinion as though it had.

I have a deep empathy for most people; but not for those that can not empathize.

I am in an ongoing battle with myself to not judge.  Specifically, to not judge those that gossip, lie, manipulate, or use passive aggression to get their way.  I have to be careful not to turn away from those that are blind to a Truth they claim to know- I am cringing now as faces come to mind- working extra hard not to assume that these are the people that will stay blind forever.  

It's easier for me to pray for a stranger, and get broken hearted in their grief- than it is for me to pray for own family.  There is an exhausting guilt to be experienced in admitting that truth.

I am completely real, and honest, and open- and crave relationships and friendships with like-minded folks.  On the other hand- I enjoy diversity.  I love that we are all so different, each holding onto our individuality as we find common grounds with one another.

I like myself most of the time, except for the times that I hate myself for messing up.

I am harder on me than anyone else.

I am one part dork and one part awesome, which makes me the awesomest dork EVER.  I've yet to establish a difference as to whether someone is laughing at me, or with  me.  And I'm totally ok with that.

I only went rafting once in my life- but I'm pretty sure I would be a great kayak-er.  I love walking, but not running.  I like hiking, as long as we're not taking on one of those big-huge hills and I'm hiking with a pro.

I'm self-conscious and confident all rolled into one- typically I am uncertain as to if a compliment is sincere, but (mostly) certain of myself and who I am.  I need my husband to tell me great things about me, and when he forgets to,  I typically assume he doesn't think I'm all that great.  That makes me sad, and it means that I can forget too quickly who I am.

I love myself the most when I am goofy.
My sister brings out the "giddy" in me, and I bring out the giddy in her.

I like tattoos (on everyone) and I love my blue-collar man;  I love his scruffy beard and his rugged tan in the summer time. I love that he's a man's man and can build a fire and a cabinet and fix my car and play a sexy tune on his guitar, and he can grow a rockin' garden and if we ever went on a 'live like a pioneer' reality tv show, we'd win, because he would be able to perfectly provide for us.

Once upon a time, I had a celebrity crush on Kris Kristofferson.   

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Big 'O Rock.

I've never been the materialistic type.  When Joshua and I got "engaged" (I was 19, he was 21) he couldn't afford to put a REAL diamond in the center of my gorgeous engagement ring.  We also couldn't afford to buy a "real" wedding band for either of us.

On our wedding (elopement) day, we went to a Christian book store and got my wedding band.  A silver, simple band, with the fish symbol all around it.  Before that- we were at an antique shop, and found his wedding band for $15 (sterling silver).   We were getting married because we loved each other, and were ready to commit to one another.  Not for a piece of metal or mineral.  We, both of us, were fine with it.

After being married (not quite) a year- he bought me a "real" wedding band.  I was more nervous than excited.  We didn't have money for that.  But?  It's what he wanted to do.  Something inside him couldn't stand for me to NOT have a real wedding band.  (It was a simple white-gold with diamonds around it.)

Through out the years, he has gifted me with some beautiful, meaningful jewelry.  A pearl necklace with matching earrings.  An 'amber' stone, and 'amber' earrings. (I had mentioned that I always wanted to own a 'real' piece of amber.  He obliged.)  And one of my very favorites- a sapphire and diamond ring.  He buys COOL jewelry.

Here and there he'd mention that he would like to buy me a 'real' diamond for my engagement ring. I would always casually respond "Why?  I love my ring!"

Several months ago- he couldn't take it anymore.  He went to a jeweler and picked out a ROCK.  Put a down payment on it, and insisted it was going to be mine.  He took me to have a look at my soon-to-be stone, asking me to admire it along side him under that little looking glass thing, and asking me if I thought it was "cool".  "Ya.  It's really pretty."

I have to be honest here- I did NOT want that diamond.  I didn't understand the point in it.

I forgot about it......  Until Mother's Day.  And on Mother's Day, I came downstairs (after getting to sleep in) to find a hand-made card, and a little wrapped package on our table.  Joshua had made the card from a Nashville Arts magazine we picked up during our 10 year anniversary trip to TN.

Inside the box- I found my engagement ring (long story- I hadn't been wearing my ring- it was in my jewelry box).  It looked a little (a LOT) different.  He snuck away and put a Big. Huge. ROCK in my ring.  I say huge- it's a little more than 1/2 a carat- but to me- THAT's a big rock.

He was more excited than I was to have that ring.  I put it on my finger and admired it, and he took it off my finger, "Let's go outside.  And look at it IN THE SUN!"

I wasn't as excited as he thought I should be, and I felt kinda crummy about it.  I'm too practical, and thought that it was too much for me to have.  Finally- after a bit of a discussion- he said "I wanted you to have it- so you'd know that you're valuable."  Cha-CHING!!!!!!!  That did it.  I fell in love with that rock.  Because it came attached to a beautiful sentiment.  He wanted me to know that I was valuable.

And THAT was valuable to me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spider Squisher

Who cares- if it's with in eye sight- I squish whatever bug I can.

I'm not that girly- but bugs- eeeeeK.  I don't like 'em.

My 4 year old has named any, and all black ants "Esa" (eee-suh).  The little red fire ants?  They are "Esa's babies."  Last year (age 3) she decided (through trial and bug-bitten error) that "Esa's babies are MEAN!".

My 2 year old is a copy-cat.  If she hears it, she says it, and claims it as her own.  She now calls black ants "Esa".

Today, in our foyer, "Esa" was crawling around.  She was watching him/her and said "It's Esa.  It's Esa.  See it?  See it, Mommy?"  And- with out thinking, I squished Esa.  (Yay me for winning Crappy Mom of the Year award.)  Thankfully- Leah is cool.  Had it been Zoe, it would have been a SCANDAL for me to have (innocently) squished Esa.  Leah?  She just walked away, started walking up the stairs, turned back to me, and said "Esa?  He's on your shoe?"  (I lower my head slightly- ashamed) "Yes.  Esa is on my shoe."

Her response?  "Okay."

Phew!  I need to me more careful with my squishing.


It's unfortunate.  I'm a rebel.

In my actions.  In my thoughts.  In what I don't do.

I'm a rebel by nature.  Sin nature.

It's not a choice I make- to be this rebellious.  It's a choice when I choose NOT to rebel.  And that's when it becomes cool that this nature in me, is who I am.  In NOT rebelling, I am, in a sense, REBELLING.  Against my nature.

Satan likes to kick up these STUPID thoughts in my head.  I can choose to consider my thoughts; or I can choose to move them away.  The latter is the HARDEST, but well worth the effort.  Well. Worth. It.

I could become a total idiot if I allow my thoughts to be considered.  I could become even dumber if I act on those thoughts.  I can't lie.  I have done both.  Considered.  And Acted.

I struggle, periodically, with a specific thought.  The thought that, if considered, could get me in big-huge trouble.  This specific thought has been the hardest to push aside. Worldly, it'd be fun.  It'd be interesting.  Spiritually- it would DEVASTATE me.

I'm so thankful that God has made it black and white for me.  It's my choice- to consider and/or to act.  It's totally up to me.  But being aware of the repercussions is worth more than gold.  I choose NOT to act.  More so, I choose NOT to consider.

Totally. Worth. It!


I really have an aversion to meeting "famous" people.  

My favorite artist/band of all time; musically, lyrically, and ministerially, is Casting Crowns.  There isn't a song that they've recorded that hasn't hit home for me- at some place or another in my life- this band has ministered straight to my heart.

One decision I've made, and will hold firm to,  is that I DON'T ever want to meet this band.  Not in the passive "Let me get your autograph!" way.  I've yet to attend one of their concerts; but I can guarantee that a person wouldn't find me standing in line at their autograph table on the day that I do get to one of their concerts..

My husband and I were stoked to have won tickets (years ago)  to a private concert by my husbands ALL TIME favorite Christian band.  It totally rocked. (literally).  We were front and center, up close and personal,  hollering out request to our favorite songs, laughing at the faces the guitar player was making and LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.  Man!!  These guys were amazing LIVE!

And then.  (Oh my)  AFTERWARD.  We. Got. To MEET. the BAND!!!!
(Eeeeeeee!  Whooooo!   AhhhhhH!)

We stood in line behind 200 other guest (and we were GUEST!) waiting our turn to meet these cool, awesome, nice guys.  To get our picture taken with them.  To meet the men behind the BEST Christian music EVER (according to my husband).

And.... for me- it was sadly disappointing.

These guys didn't seem very nice at all??  They weren't excited to see us.  Why was that?  After I was met with a disinterested lead singer, and the other guys in the band that wouldn't even look up to see who they were talking to, I tried empathizing to why it was that these guys weren't who I had imagined they would be.  "They were tired, and their hands hurt from signing autographs, and the lead singers lungs were possibly ready to explode from singing his little rocker-heart out.  They missed their families, and they may have been stressed out due to some technical difficulties....."

Now, I have this empathy toward WHY it is these guys weren't all smiles, and "God bless you" and "YES! Come over here and get a picture with us...." but it didn't change the fact that; They Weren't NICE to us.  They weren't mean.  Or rude.  Just.... unwelcoming.

Since first impressions are lasting... they are not only just men, they are Not Nice Men to boot.  I'm distracted when I hear their music.  I think to myself "I wonder if these guys are The Real Deal."   It's unfortunate for me that I met the band, because in meeting them, I was forced to HUMANIZE them.

Realizationally speaking, I can admit that they probably ARE, in fact, Nice Guys.  Even still, back to that first impression thing.... You know..... whatever.

It was a great experience, though. I had a nice time with my husband.  We were on a super-great date, and it felt like we were teenagers- hanging out; carefree, kid-free....Very fun!

I vowed, that night, to NEVER do an autograph thing with any other "famous" person.

I didn't mean to, but I sort of broke that vow one afternoon after a Gary Chapman marriage conference.   (Don't worry.  I'm not gonna say that he  was "not nice".  He's actually a pretty nice guy.  Very wise).   For some very strange reason, I followed the crowd up to the podium at the end of our conference, and got his autograph.  I already KNEW that I had told myself that I never wanted to meet another famous person.  Maybe I didn't quite think that he was actually famous? I don't guess he is.... Who knows.

I got the autograph, and made a dork of myself in the process.  I may as well have stuck out my front teeth, hunched my shoulders, and snorted when I laughed as I said,   "Hey Dr. Chapman. I love your books..... "  Pause.  Pause.  Pause.  (Insert laughing and snorting, and wiping the snot from my nose while pushing up my horn-rimmed glasses.)  OF COURSE I love his books!  I'm at his MARRIAGE CONFERENCE!  Gah!!   His reply? Simply,  "Thankyou."  I should have hit myself in my forehead and told him straight up, "I'm a DORK, Dr. Chapman.  Can you write a book about the love languages of Dorks??"

 Afterward, I asked myself WHY I actually cared about this guys signature?!  He's just..... A GUY.  That wrote a book.  (Ok? A LOT of books.  A lot of great books!)  BUT!?!?  Why did I want to have this dudes signature on my book?    His magical signature did not actually entice me to READ that book. It's been an entire year, and the infamous signed book has been sitting- on our dresser- collecting dust!

So?  I really don't want to EVER meet any person that I have, or ever will learn something from through any avenue of media.  Wait?  Let me back up.  I don't want to meet "famous" people via a drive-by autograph and a hand shake.    These people are HUMANS.  They're just like me; and you. I know that if I were talented enough to create some sort of media that "taught" people, or "entertained" people, I wouldn't necessarily want to sit at a table for 3 hours signing books, or cds.  I WOULD want to talk to people- and get to know them.... but NOT just sign an autograph.  It would disappoint me.  I love talking to people- so- just signing a piece of paper wouldn't be fulfilling.

Perhaps these people are separated from us "regular" folk cause they have a more interesting job?  Maybe not!  I have a pretty DARN interesting job here at home with 3 AWESOME little girls, let me TELL YOU.
For some reason or another, though, there is this magnet that us "regular" people have to those artist that actually get to use their gifts, within their career.

Backing up to the humanization of famous people- more specifically, music artist- I will say that I have been blessed to get to know a specific artist of a well-known band.  Ironically, I met this cool-dude at the aforementioned "not very nice" people concert.  His band was signed under this (other) bands label- and they happened to be there.  I knew the producer (sort of knew him through another friend) and said "HEY!!! How's it going."  The producer/promoter that he is, he said a nice "Hello......(insert ADD stare)..... HEY! Have you met these guys....." And we were introduced to the drummer and bass player from the band "Two-Bare Feet".   Nice guys.  We talked about the town we were from, (they were SUPER local to our town) and the high schools we went to... and so on.  I was talked into creating a Myspace page ("You don't know what MYSPACE is!??!) and.... whatever else we talked about- I don't remember.   I'm telling you- it was a COOL night!!

Fast forward (I'm not sure how many years later) and I am at our local YMCA.  I need something for my work out, and I go to the desk.  The guy there was all smiles, and super friendly, offering me the help I needed.

Thankfully for me, I don't actually think before I speak, and I said "HEY!  How do I know you?  You look really familiar."

 He said "Oh? I don't know...." and we played the "Do you know... and what's your husbands/wifes name...where'd you go to school- where do you work... blah blah blah..... and then it hit me!!!  "OH!!!! You're the guy from Two Bare Feet."

Again- speaking before I think- I forgot that the bands name was no longer "Two-Bare Feet", but it had changed to Echoing Angels.  I knew that.... but forgot.  So- friendly guy from Echoing Angels didn't just sit back in his chair arrogantly announcing "You know me because I'm a ROCK STAR!" And he didn't disregard my dorkyness in not knowing at first glance who he was.  He was STOKED to meet me (again), and walked around the desk to give me a big hug- like I was some long-lost friend or something.

Nice guy.  For the past 2 years, any time I've talked or chatted with him at the Y, he's been the same humble, friendly guy.  Openly talking about the bands "news" and the trials and hurdles that it's had to go through in getting a new record out, and talking about his cool kid- and sweet wife, and so on....

I have been tremendously blessed to get a better appreciation for Christian artist and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into it through this guy.

I got a new experience in the humanization of "artist".  A much better realization.  A deeper empathy.  There's a lot of TRUSTING God involved in having a career that ministers to folks through music.  I s'pose for some artist (Hey D.C. Talk, Third Day, and Casting Crowns) it's like super-fast-fame and non stop recording, and touring, and...... eh... maybe not.

I still don't ever want to do a 'meet/greet/autograph thing' with Casting Crowns.  Or any other band for that matter.  I AM, however, SUPER glad that I got to get to know JP from Echoing Angels.  I haven't met the other dudes from the band- but in being priveledged enough to get a sneak peak at some of their new music- I can say that this band ROCKS.  They have incredible talent.  Some of the (new) lyrics I've heard are OUTSTANDING.  (This is ON TOP of their already INCREDIBLE CD  "You Alone".)  I'm on the edge of my seat- waiting for them to overcome their hurdles, and get the stuff (wad-of-cash) they need to get their new CD out.

There's a freshness in what I've heard, a boldness, and seriously- musically- IT MOVED me.  I was left wanting more after hearing a small portion of the songs JP had on his iPod.  I can't remember the lyrics- but there was a point that I almost got teared up it was THAT good!

For me- the musical talent absolutely HAS to match up with strong vocals, and most importantly PASSIONATE lyrics.  And it does, on all counts for Echoing Angels' new stuff- and let me tell you- I just got a taste of what it could be, and what it's going to be!!!!  Trey has a WOW-strong voice. Dude's got vocal chords!!  JP has mad-passion for what he does, and for the people that he serves.   The label that signs this band is going to be BLESSED.  Not only are they gonna score some sweet talent, their gonna get to work with a great band!

Friday, May 14, 2010

"The Enemy Draws Nigh"

Watch out people.

We have to stay on guard.  
We have to look to our left, and to our right, and we have to keep our defenses up.

None of us are safe.  We're all succeptable to the attack.

The enemy draws nigh.  He's closing in.  He's...... he's here.
The enemy is here.  He's wiping us out.  He's taking us down.

And he's using SEX to do it.

Sex.  Sex.  Sex. 

So?  It's no secret that the church we went to for 8 years is going through a major-big-time-huge scandal in regard to........ SEX.  

And not just a random fling affair.  The pastor.  Had sex. With more than one person.  More than one time.  And it was all really, really, really, REALLY bad.  

Bad.  Bad.  Bad.

Over the course of JUST a few months, the church has fallen apart.  (This was NOT a little church!)  NOT because these people had such a dependency on "the pastor" (there were some stragglers that likely did).  BUT?  In my super-humble opinion, it was because people were not sure they could TRUST one another.

The enemy took ONE man out- knowing it would cause a trickling down effect on hundreds more.

And this pastor?  He is just a man.  That's it. Just a man.  It was because he put himself on a pedastool of righteousness, though, that caused the fall of the "flock".  It created confusion among the congregation.  Gossip created MORE confusion.  The church was divided.  It is divided.  It's hurting, and so are those that are and/or were apart of it.

So sadly, the scandalousness of the male and female sex drive and the Enemy's use of it is not contained in just that church.  It's every where.  And Satan(the-big-fat-turd-head) is targeting ministry leaders.  "Amber," you may ask "How do you know this?"  I live in a small town, folks.  And all over my small section of North Georgia, I have heard over, and over, and OVER again about "indiscretions" among those that are IN ministry.

Marriages are falling apart.  Perhaps a few failed marriages have to do with "miscommunications", some may have to do with "money", but I would be more likely to believe that MOST have to do with SEX, or something related to it.  

I could be wrong.  I'm no professional.  I'm just calling it like I see it- and like I've experienced it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Decisions. Decisions. What AM I doing?!?!

I'm going to homeschool.

Nope.  I'm not.  I'm putting my kids in public school.

Nah.  I'll home school.

Nuh-Uh.  No way Jose'.  We're NOT home schooling for atleast TWO YEARS.

What AM I DOING!?!??!?!?!

Oh geesh.  Golly-Jeepers-Oi'Vay.

Over here I blogged about how I felt certain that God showed me that I was- for sure- s'pose to home school for the upcoming (next) school year.  I mean? It was all so clear.  It was going to be possible to educate my daughters in a way that was going to work for ALL of us.  Ahhhh.  Big sigh.  What a relief....

And then.... over here.... I'm confused all over again.

And then, over the past week, I had a peace about sending my daughters to a public school (outside of our county) that just happens to also educate THREE of my daughters (first) cousins.  One of those cousins will be in the same grade as my (almost) 2nd grader.  They could be in the same class.... we could carpool... and help each other out with field trips... OH THE GLORy of it.   Eeeeeeee-NT!  No.   Nope.  TODAY I found out that the "out of county" tuition cost (per child) would be a mere $4279.35.

You know.  JUST a few hundred bucks short of NINE THOUSAND DOLLLARS!!!!!!

What am I going to do?!  



Why Can't I Be HER?!?!

You know who she is.  She's that mom.

The one that would sit on the floor the entire day, playing with her bundle of children in whatever sort of silliness they could put themselves into.

She's the one that dumps out blocks and baby dolls and brings down the finger paint from that way up high place.  She squishes her fingers into the gooey-gross-fun-ness of the purple and the green, and paints right along side her preschoolers and toddlers, and all the others above or in between.   It's HER idea to take off the shoes and the socks to paint their feet and let them walk all over layed about papers to create a fun path of footprints.  And there isn't a square INCH of her that cringes when the paint finds itself all over the floor, and the walls, and their clothes, and her new white blouse.

Why can't I be that Mom?!

Why can't I crave snuggle time on the couch with all 3 girls, and have this "Mom-Like" desire to read bedtime stories and tell silly jokes, and talk about how Cinderella has the beautifullest dress and then dream up ways we could all have a pretend play about all the forest animals (that live in the forest).  Why can't I make it awesome for my girls to extend their imagination beyond an Adventures in Oddysey tale, or a Veggie Tales dvd?

And furthermore... why can't I be that "Homeschool Mom".

The one that thinks of crazy-awesome science projects and takes her children on 4 hour long nature walks... out in.... NATURE.

The one that can wrangle the 6 year old into a Math Mode, while encouraging the 4 year old to write her letters in fun sing song-ways (Z.  Zig. Zag. Zoo) and allow  the 2 year old to spill out the "school drawer" in search of her school work?!

Why can't I be her? That mom?

Why can't I befriend my 6 year old the way her (favorite) Aunt can?  And engage in fun conversation, and bypass the annoyances of her "know-it-all" attitude.  I'm HER mom for-goodness-sake.  Why can't I ACT like it?
Why can't I figure out a way to let her be her without bringing her down (like almost everyone else does).  Why can't I be the one to lift her up, and build her up, and over and over and over again encourage her in all that she IS, rather than all that she ISN'T?

I want to be that mom!

I want to  functionally, and productively BE. A. GOOD. MOMMY.
Not just a mom.  A MOMMY.
A Good Mommy.

I want to be her.

God has so much work to do on me.  I hunger for HIM to transform me.  I say hunger... I mean... I'm skin, and bones  STARVED and desperate for Him to change me.

I don't want to be the other her.

The one that sucks.

The one that scars her perfectly-perfect children for a lack of effort, or a lack of education (on the mom thing), or a lack of selflessness, or a lack of EVERYTHING that a Mom needs.  I'm already showing signs of being her.

The one I grew up with- because she didn't have an IDEA as to how to be a Mommy.  She had the poorest of examples through her mom, and did all she could, with all she knew how to do...which wasn't much....  and that certainly wasn't good enough to produce a 1st generation "good mom".

I don't even have the luxury of operating with a blank slate on this whole "mom" thing.  My slate is all warped and mangled and missing quite a few tiles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Body, Mind, and Internal Organs.

Puke is worse- I'll just say that upfront.  But the "other" thing that happens when your internal organs are all whacked out?  That's pretty bad, too.  REALLY miserable.  It could be worse, I could be puking.... I said that already..... but WHO clamped my stomach into all those knots?  And why won't it QUIT gurgling?!

I thought I had the stomach flu.  Nobody else is sick, and I know of NO stomach virus that last for SEVEN days.  It's NOT the stomach flu.  I'm thankful for this- for ONE reason- and ONE reason only.... my 3 girls are NOT going to get the stomach flu from me.  It won't run it's course through our house.

I went to Quick Care- (have I mentioned how much I HATE going to a doctor?)  They informed me, after I paid my $60 fee, that I should see my family doctor.  He would be able to help me after he did some blood work.  Ummmm?  Can I get a refund? (No.)

For 7 days my body has held onto ZERO fluid.  I doubt I've absorbed an inkling of nutritional content.  I've presumed life (as normal) taking care of my 3 amazing daughters and somewhat cleaning our house and preparing our meals.  Physically there's been no choice BUT to slack off in certain areas (tonight's dinner consisted of Apples.  Bananas. Crackers. And Cashews.)

This week, despite feeling like The Grim Reaper was hovering over me, I was able to keep plans that I had made Tuesday to visit with a friend in Atlanta.  To the Centinniel Olympic Park.  With all 3 girls. For the day. The drive up wasn't so bad, but walking around the park, keeping up with the girls (envision a Mama Hen chasing her 3 little chicks- working hard to keep them coraled into one general area), that was a little difficult.  It was fun for all of us, though- despite my readiness to pass out when 2:00 came.  I finally caved and told my friend I had to go..... (she drove in from Alabama).  She understood.  Hugs.  Love Ya.  Bye.

And thankfully, today, I sucked it up and met up with these awesome chicks for a Beth Moore bible study we've been having.  I felt better there than I had felt all week- it could've been the fellowship that distracted me from my misery, or it could be the fact that my illness is FINALLY subsiding....Nope... there goes the gurgling again.  Either way.  It was great.  I enjoy meeting up with those ladies.

The bummer with this is that, so far, I've had SEVERAL people inform me that my symptoms sound very similar to a gall bladder issue.  :( Big. Boo.

The other bummer- is that I'm toting around some hard-core bitterness this evening toward my husband.  He came home feeling "unwell" early yesterday evening.  And he rested.  For the night.  He then took TODAY off from work, and slept (until after 2:00 this afternoon) and rested some more... for the REST of the night.  I know that we women should be accustomed to having to brave through whatever illness we have, but frankly, I'm NOT.  I feel cheated.  Why can't I take the day off when I'm painfully (and I mean PAINFULLY) sick?!?

Over the weekend, Joshua DID clean up our house.  He did.  I got to rest in between upchucking and hair curling, and tear-wiping after my sister made her wedding vows.  And he earned some MAJOR points for cleaning up my barf.  It's not that I'm un thankful for him.  What makes me sad is that I've stayed sick.  Sick. Sick. Sick SICK sick.  And when Monday rolled around, I became the work-horse again.

So I'm sad because I feel invaluable.  And I'm sad because I'm sick.  And I'm tired.  And I'm the saddest because I've known for a long time that my body has been under WAY to much stress. And my husband knew about it, too.  And we discussed the TWO physicians that have warned me that "it's not possible to keep doing what I'm doing"- but nothing has been changed.  So- my MIND has also been distressed.  And apparently, my internal organs are paying for it.

I've never had a serious health issue before- but apparently the onset of a possible gall bladder attack is due to high stress (coupled with  eating high fat/greasy foods).

It's my bad for not taking it upon myself to get to the YMCA for Yoga classes, like I've been instructed to do on many occassions, by said physicisans, and counselors, and finally a psychiatrist.  It's my bad for assuming that everything would eventually get better, and I'd be ok.

There's not much else I could've done to make life less stressful though.  Honestly, and sadly, I've just been stuck- doing most of the hard part of LIFE alone.

There's my blow-out.  It's yet another reminder that I have to start figuring out where priorities lye.  Homeschooling was a conviction for both my husband AND myself... but I don't think it's possible to carry out the burden of a mutual conviction on my own.  Is it?

And living in our teeny house isn't anything I can change- but I also can't install the NECESSARY gates to ward off cereal stealing, baby powder dumping 2 year olds.  And I can't put up a fence.  Nor can I take care of several other "honey-do" items that only The Man can do.  I can be affected by them NOT being taken care of- but I can't take care of them alone.

That reality TOTALLY bites!  I can't do it alone..... but I don't have help.

I'm stuck.

I'm going to see a wellness doctor tomorrow.  Not a TRADITIONAL Medical Doctor- mind you- but one that deals with NATURAL medicine and all that awesomeness.

And I'm going to start going to Yoga.

And I'm praying that if my gall bladder is all whacked out- that I'll atleast lose 20 pounds in the process of getting it better.

There needs to be SOME positive outcome in all this dehydration ya know!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beat Up

I had no warning.  It got me on Friday morning, absolutely tormented me all of Friday night, and beat me to a pulp all over again Saturday morning.  The Stomach Flu.  (They should rename it This Won't Kill You, You Just Have to Be Terribly Miserable for 2 days).  But?  Ya.  I guess Stomach Flu is a bit easier to say.


 The morning of my sisters' wedding I thought about going to the E.R. to see if I had been poisoned..... no really..... I couldn't find any other explaination as to why it was so painful!  That very afternoon, I was to drive over to my younger sister's house, don her with beautiful hair and makeup and tell her (in a chipper high pitched squeal) just how GORGEOUS she looks on her wedding day.


It didn't work out (quite) that way.  I made it to her house.  Pale faced.  Hunched over like a 98 year old women.  Hardly able to walk, drive, talk, breathe, or MOVE with out some sort of nausea or body pain.

I sucked it up, though.  I mean!  I just dove right into the hair curling, "That looks so pretty!!!!" primping and all.  And ya know what?!?!  I started feeling better.  Sure did.  30 minutes into the spiraling of her long (LONG) black (STRAIGHT) hair, my misery went on a little mini-vacation.

And my sister- YA- she totally looked beautiful.  She didn't need me to do anything with her hair or her makeup to help her along her way to gorgeous-ness, she's already naturally beautiful- I was just there to spark up a level of confidence so she needn't question herself.

And? After I mosied my way back home- MISERY came back in full swing.  I was slow slipping lemon water as to not barf in the floor board before I made it into the house.

The wedding was great.  It was just a small gathering of the immediate family; something I'll have to write about at a later date to give the wedding it's full glory.  I was upright, and attentive as "The Photographer" taking a mere 2 rolls of 35 mm film as those around me shot umpteen digital photos and videos.  (I can't wait to see all of those pictures!)

We got home later on that night, watched a little movie or something, and I took a sleeping pill.  That's how bad my body hurt.  My discomfort was severe.  There wasn't an option.  In 3 years, I think that must've been my 5th sleeping pill.  Ya.  It was that bad!

I woke up Sunday morning feeling  a TRILLION times better.  My husband let me snooze- uninterrupted.  Totally appreciative of that.  OH!  Speaking of shout-outs- I gotta say that I am so thankful that Joshua took it upon himself to be my "caregiver" over the weekend.  My first violent barf wasn't pretty.  (IS barf ever pretty?)  No- I mean- it wasn't contained.  I "missed".   I asked Joshua to come up to the bathroom with a washcloth and cleaning spray as I crawled into the shower to clean myself up.

I was just sitting there, ready to DIE, in the shower.  And as the water rinsed me off, keeping me awake, he walks in with a question- "Do you want me to clean this up for you, or are you going to do it?"

That's his man-talk for "Hey honey- don't worry about cleaning it up.  I'll do it for you."

My eyes perked up as best as they could "If you don't care to clean that up- I would really appreciate it."  Big sigh.  "Thank you!!!!"  I was so relieved that he was going to take care of that for me!!  It's possible we'd have had to quarantine the bathroom from the girls had he not;  because I don't think I'd have had the stamina to do it.

 In the "middle of the night" he once again came to the rescue.  I tried my best to make it in time- but violence is not patient- and that puke was like Linda Blair evil.  Joshua followed me into my misery- I made my pleas for God to just go ahead and "KILL ME NOW" as I heaved and hurled, and crawled back into the shower to clean myself up.  (I didn't necessarily need a shower, but I felt like I did.).  And I cried "I'm so sorry.... I missed again.... I'm sorry.  I'm sorry."  He didn't even need to use his "man talk" when he said "Don't say your sorry.  It's ok.  I got it."   Very sweet.

And he cleaned this weekend.  Real cleaning. Like? He wiped down our dining room baseboards.  And- did all this "stuff".  I can't really detail it all- but there was a lot of "putting stuff where it belongs" and cleaning spray involved in his clean up.   I think he had a little bit of "Mommy Mode" in him because he was having to take care of the girls, and me, and cook, AND it was all so frustrating to do in a cluttered-up messy house.  So?  He tackled what he could of it.  There was a lot to do.  Still is.

 And then, he cleaned up PUKE again......after our 2 year old- suddenly- with out warning- upchucked all over me....and our living room floor.

So?  This weekend I got a little beat up.  My husband kinda did, too.

I'm hoping the Stomach Flu disappears.  Forever!