Monday, February 28, 2011

The Risk

You pray that God will break your heart for what breaks His and then you take a deep breath.  And wait.  Because you know it is a prayer of risk.

And then your friend who serves in a foreign land gets up and talks about young boys that are being held captive for evil reasons.  Reasons that make me want to scream and pull out my hair.  The worse part is that this evil isn't even illegal in that foreign land.  It is acceptable.

But not in God's eyes.

And so, I scream and give forth salty tears while I pound away on the treadmill.

And remember that I prayed for this ache.

The prayer of risk.

My heart is broken and I have no doubt that it is what breaks God's heart, too.

And, yet I feel small.  And, yet, desperate for God to move.

And set the captives free.

I am simply undone. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Resting in Joy

The heart is full of gratitude and it wants to pen down the joy of simple things.  Grand things.  Answered prayer.  And yet, it doesn't quite know how to express itself in the written word.

Until the Spirit takes over.

And then, all words start to point to the glory of The One.  The Holy One.  The One who invaded my whole being so that He might make Himself known to those He puts me in contact with.  The One who died so that I might live.

The songs of the birds are more sweet outside your window when you feed them.  The male cardinal is a glorious shade of red, pudgy from all the nourishment.  He sings a beautiful tune.  He loves to be on display.  He enjoys the spectacular.

The female cardinal remains hidden.  Until she moves and you realize she was there all along.  Her beauty is a quiet one.  She is content to be in the background, preparing to birth new life.  Her tune is pure.  But it is not spectacular.  She flourishes in the humility.

Our God is spectacular.  He created uncountable universes and planets.  Atoms and cells.  Birds and fish.  He is all glory and even created the trees to dance to the rhythm of His grace.

Our God is all humility.  He sent His One and Only Son.  Child.  Heir.  Pride and Joy.  To be born.  In a stable.  With manure all around.  Mice burrowed under the hay while the Savior of the world took his first breath of air. 

He is sometimes spectacular and on display. 
He is sometimes hidden.

He is always worthy of our adoration.

While telling Elijah to look for Him, Elijah didn't find Him in the wind.  Or the earthquake.  Or the fire.  His presence was to be found in a gentle whisper.  There is nothing spectacular about a whisper.  And yet it is glorious. 

Do we always look for our Jesus to show up in the spectacular? 
Do we leave room for Him to whisper into our souls?

The joy of answered prayer has been written upon the pages of my heart.
And today, I rest in that joy. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Champion

The last 2 days were a whirlwind.  A break in the monotony.  A gift.

Eli and I traveled to NWA to attend his state speech meet.  We decided to go a night early so we could see Mom, Dad, and Mini.  Mom cooked us an awesome meal and then we let Eli practice his speech for us.

Since his speech wasn't til the next afternoon, it afforded us time to go see my college BFF Brittney.  Brittney has always understood me on a spiritual level...which is such a gift.  She has three beautiful girls...and it always makes me wonder if arranged marriages are maybe a good idea after all.

Eli then wowed the judges with his speech and he came home with a gold medal around his neck and a Shamrock shake in his hand.  {You can buy those green shakes at mickey d's and trust me, you should.}

When I fell into our big chair at the end of the day with my hubby, I just had a tear snake down my cheek.  When wondering what on earth could be the matter, I just told him that I was overwhelmed with the grace of God.

He has put His grace on display in our lives.  We are so unworthy.  And yet, He is lavish in His love towards us.

For your baby girl fix...I present you Lillian!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Basketball Days

I heart me some basketball.  I used to have a love affair with the AR Razorback basketball team...back when they were worth my time.  While in high school, I would sit on my bed and read Moby Dick cheer on the Hogs, willing them to win the national title. 

Today, I get just as excited when my boys play.  The good news is that having a camera glued to my face helps keep me from yelling at the refs. 

Maybe I am a little competitive.  Or maybe I just want justice for these cute boys.

Anyhow, why is it that the funnest sport season goes by the fastest?  :)

 Eli's basket!
 Now here we have Cade...

Soccer is right around the corner...and that is fun to watch.  But I'll take basketball any ol' day.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eli's PBCs

Tonight, Eli asked if he could make up a recipe.  I told him to go for it.  He proceeded to write down the ingredients for a cookie recipe.  Then he asked if we could make it.

I gulped.

Then, I remembered that this son likes to create.  He is imaginative and fun and joyful and he loves to make things up.  He even started his own "diary of a wimpy kid."  It doesn't matter that he hasn't read any of the books of that series. 

So, I did something totally against everything in me. 

I let the boy make up his recipe.

Yes, I tweaked a couple of changing the cup of baking powder to a 1/2 tsp.  But, I am telling you, he came up with the rest of the ingredients!  (I did add some butter...shoot me, I live in the south.)  And we did throw in some chocolate chips at the end, cause everything is better with chocolate.

Here is his recipe.  You might want to print it off and let him sign your copy some day.  He just might be a big deal.  Cause I am telling you, these cookies are gooo-oood!!!

"Eli's PBC's"  (Peanut Butter Cookies)

Mix together:
1 1/4c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In another bowl, mix 1 egg, 1/2 c. soft butter, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 TB. milk, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 c. peanut butter together.  Add flour mixture into this bowl.  Throw in 1 cup chocolate chips for fun.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or so.

Eat one.
Eat another.
Get the boy's autograph.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are you possessed?

I can't get this post by songwriter/singer Shaun Groves out of my head.

He makes a statement that is so simple, yet I have not ever thought of it that way.  We invite Jesus to come live inside of us...we are the tabernacle where He dwells...and yet have we ever thought of being inhabited by Him?  Do we think of ourselves as being possessed by Jesus?

It makes so much since...we know any good works that we do, it is really Him doing...and therefore we have no room for boasting.  We think of people being possessed by the enemy and demons, but why not possessed by Christ?

I guess it sounds kind of alienish...but when Jesus moves in, he doesn't take over like some green slimy two headed thing.  He still allows us to be us...we still have our fleshly desires.  But, alongside those old desires, he has installed new desires...ones that will glorify His name and bring about His purposes.  "Jesus is in you believing, thinking, feeling, doing."

Will we yield to the invasion?  Or fight it?

You just have to read the post!  Click on Shaun Groves' name above!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

favorite things

First, we have the Vidalia Chop Wizard.  This little do-dad has changed my life.  I love onions and seem to put them in everything.  This bad boy chops them up with a single push of the palm, and then locks the fumes down tight til you are ready to use the onions.  Because crying does not belong in the kitchen.  Amen and amen.

Next, we have the red washed Toms.  Now, I do not own these, nor any other pair of Toms, but I have my eye on them.  How cute would they be for the spring with some rolled up jeans?  Yes, they will soon be a favorite thing, I am sure of it.

 Ahhh, the owl.  Need I say more?  I love them.  But only the cute kid kind, not the scary ones.  I need this hat in a bad kind of way.  Maybe the dog will don it.  (You can find this hat on etsy....which is a whole other favorite in itself.)
 And now we have Mrs. Meyer's Countertop spray.  Cleaning my kitchen tops (as opposed to bottoms) has never been so much fun.  I went with the Basil scent because it said it would calm my nerves.  I figured $3 countertop spray would be cheaper than a therapist.
And, finally, we arrive at Carried Away, which is what my husband picked out for me all by himself!  It is the essence of spring and makes you want to kiss a newborn, read amidst poppies, and go shoe shopping.  All at the same time. 

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Singing the Praises {three years}

Can I just sing the praises of Chicken Scallopini for a minute?  White wine, butter, mushrooms, angel hair pasta, chicken dredged in some kind of light floury goodness, capers, cream, a hint of lemon.  I took my first bite last night on our Valentine's date and I think I shed a tear.  Good food does that to me.  Especially when I am not the one to cook it up!  So, I wish you chicken scallopini tonight for Valentine's Day.  Sigh.  I just love Italian food.

Don't worry, I am drinking water.  I am pretty sure I have flushed out every calorie since.  :)

Now, let me segway into yesterday.  February 13, 2011

I saw that date written on the church bulletin and spent the rest of the church service covering up the date so that I wouldn't have to look at it.  It doesn't belong flippantly on some piece of paper as if it is just any other day.  No, that day is sacred to me.

It is the day Kiley met her Maker.  Three years ago.

I had planned on going "home" to be with Mom and Dad, and to visit her graveside, but the snow had other plans.  So, I scheduled a date with my man.  Our first Valentine's date in three years.  Because before this year, I couldn't bring myself to go celebrate while my heart was in such ache.  Eric was very patient with me. 

We sat at dinner laughing at a couple last night that was oogly-googly in love...kissing every few minutes.  I saw that they weren't married.  I looked my husband straight in the eyes and told him that they don't know what love is.  I told him that we do know what love is.  Love is when your spouse loses a loved one, goes into a three year funk, and you are ever by her side, being patient and constant. 

Yes, I know love.  And I am ever grateful for it.

So, back to the day.  My heart kept vacillating between wanting to think about it and not wanting to think about it at all. I managed to get thru part of the morning without knowing what day it was.  And then I almost jammed my eye out with my mascara tube when it hit me.

Worship was the hardest and yet the most sweet.  The tears fell, but they were of relinquishment.  I have no answers.  Three years and still I wonder how God is using this for good and glory.  And yet, all I can do is rest.  What choice do I have?  God tenderly allowed us to sing a song that I don't know very well...but included phrases that He knew would be meaningful to my soul.  Because he knows that February 13th is not just any other day.  Hiding me under his wings.  Going into the valley only to make the ascent.  Yes, God knew.

The hugs and phone calls came from those that have been with me on this journey from the start.  The ones who decided to enter this journey with me, knowing that it would be ugly and messy.  The ones that knew pearls are created from the nasty innards of oysters.  I am grateful for those friends God has put on my path.

He knew I couldn't walk this road alone.

So, today, I sing His praises.  For His grace.  For His mercy.  For His joy.  For bringing me sisterhood when my own sister left.  Today I sing to the One who gives.  And takes away.  And gives again.

My heart is full.  Sad still, but full.  I guess that is a good place to be.

Tonight I will stare into three pairs of beautiful female eyes as I tell them how priceless they are in God's sight.  I will show them the nasty innards of oysters and then gift them with pearls.

I will tell them that Jesus died to prove that they are worth loving.

And that He can always create something beautiful out of the nastiest mess ever.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting All Real With Ya

Let's just have a heart to heart.
My brother is getting married in June and it has given me a reason to be thinking about some goals.
Weight loss goals.

My smart Momma told me a long time ago to have a weight number in mind that I never wanted to get above and that when I reached it, to never let myself go over it.

Well, I am at that number.

Yay, me.

It is so emotional being female.  You start down the thinking path that you are overweight and it throws everything else off kilter.  I gave myself a darn good smoky eye this morning just to offset the other feelings.  Oh, how we try and compensate.  But, it never helps.

Sure, you can be all sweet and leave comments saying that I look "just fine," but I know how hard it is to try and accessorize your whole week around one pair of jeans that fit.  I know how hard it is to look in the mirror.

So, I decided to research the best way to lose weight.  And guess what?

I already knew everything that I researched.

Weight loss isn't rocket science.  You simply burn more calories than you eat.

Then, what is the real problem?  I mean, I eat soy nuts and Greek yogurt for snacks.  So, why is my metabolism all the sudden having a mutiny?

I just don't know.

But, I know a road back, I think. 

Do what I know to do.  And keep doing it.  That is all I know to do.

I did learn a couple of things that surprised me:
1.  Diet drinks can stop you from losing either allow yourself one a week or flush out your system with the same amount of water after you drink one.  {I only have a coke about every couple of days...but I will for sure start flushing it out...or thinking twice about putting it in there!}

2.  Drink at least 2 liters a day.  Water, of course.  Now, this isn't new news...but this part is:  If you are chronically dehydrated, your body will retain water in unflattering places.  I think that is me.  Guess what?  Drinking that much water a day can lead to 100 plus extra calories burned a day.  Also, drink some water before you eat, so you will feel fuller faster. Ummm, hubs, can you buy me toilet paper for Valentine's Day? 

 3.  Exercise.  I guess this isn't new, either.  But, I put a pic of me and Kelli on there for some motivation.  She still looks amazingly hot.  Me, not so much.  I like how the treadmill says "Image" on the front.  When I am down in the dumps, I can read that and remember that I have been created in the image of God...this tends to put other things into perspective.
 4.  Eat:  6 small, tiny, itsy bitsy meals.  Protein: size of your palm.  Healthy carb:  size of your fist.  I think I am going to starve.  Place pic of self on fridge.  More motivation.
I am going to go cry now.
Bye Bye

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Art of a Good Snow Day

There are many ways to enjoy a good snow day!  Here is how we spent ours:

1.  Gaze at the snow in wonder as it falls
2.  Have a victory smile when Mom tells you school has been cancelled
3.  Smile as everything looks so clean and bright
4.  Let the boys go outside despite the fact that they don't own snow boots
5.  Smile at the fact that you aren't spending money on gas today
6.  Make the boys come inside and stick their numb feet in some warm water
7. Fry up some pork chops...yes, fry them up because calories don't count on snow days
8.  Make snow ice cream and sing Michelle's praises for bringing you Eagle Brand despite the slick roads...and lick the Eagle Brand can because calories don't count on snow days
9.  Smile as you remember when your Mom made snow ice cream...and laugh when it feels just like yesterday
10.  Start the laundry of all the snow clothes
11.  Watch the biggest boys try and put together a very challenging puzzle

12.  Prepare to watch good movie

How did you spend your snow day?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Chaos.

I'm dying to know.  What do you do with your children's clothes once they have outgrown them?  Consign?  Give away?  Garage sale?  Save just in case God sneaks another little one into your womb?

Well, I am here to tell you that safety pins are a hot commodity in this town right now.  I went to Ace, Fred's, Home Depot, Staples and Target and had NO LUCK.  That, of course, left me to the joy of Walmart...the day before a big prediction of white powder, mind you, but, they didn't disappoint.  Feast your eyes on safety pins.  Glorious safety pins.  Safety pins that will be needed in abundance in case you consign with the Rhea Lana Children's Spring sale.

 Which is why my laundry room threw up.
 Clothes. Clothes. Clothes.  Be cleaned and sold and make momma some money so she can go buy some summer flip flops.  Or a macro lens.  Or both.
 But whatever you do,

Get out of my house.
You are making me insane.
All my love and I pray you go to the highest bidder.

Because a macro lens is really calling my name.
And flip flops, oh how I long for you flip flops, when 8 inches of snow is predicted.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Savannah and Snow

I love this girl.  But, she is not a poser kind of girl.  She is not a model.
 She would rather be in my face licking my face or my camera lens, whichever she can reach first.
 Or, she would rather be frolicking through the snow.
 But posing isn't her thing.
 I love the color of her hair!
 We call her "Tubby" right now.  She likes to pack on the pounds in the winter, just like her momma.  Guess we are afraid of a food shortage.  Or maybe it is because her momma won't take her on walks in the frigid air.
 She is the perfect gift for our family.
I can't believe she will be 7 on the 21st. 
happy birthday (almost) to our only girl.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Today I have been disturbed by not feeling well.   Half a voice, eyes wanting to shut, pressure.  Typical cold that I refuse to agree with.  So, I have napped and drank my weight in Emergen-C.  And wondered what it means when the line to a song says that it really isn't about me. 

Do we invite God to invade our lives?  Do we welcome Him when he disturbs us?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Make Me Like Christ

 If you could only pray one prayer regarding yourself day in and day out, what would you choose?
 If I could only say one single daily prayer that pertained to myself....
 I think I would pray:
Make me like Christ.
Make me like Christ.
Make me like Christ.

What do you think?  Would this one prayer sum up everything necessary for our personal lives?

"God's grand design is to reproduce Himself in human personalities, especially His traits of love and holiness."  Ellisen

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Counterfeit

We all know that Satan was an arrogant dude who wanted to receive worship instead of give worship.  But, this paragraph has gotten me thinking.

"Contrary to many naive opinions, the devil is not a red monster with a pitchfork, but often a do-gooder.  His goal in life is to counterfeit the works of God.  This has been his prized ambition ever since he went into business for himself.  His first recorded intention ended with the words, 'I will be like the Most High.' (Is. 14:14)  This counterfeiting effort is his most effective ploy, for the more closely he can imitate God's work, the less likely men will be inclined to seek God or pursue His will."  Stanley Ellison

Since Lucifer is a created being, he doesn't have the brains to be anything more than the God he wants to strip of much deserved adoration.  So, he mocks him.  He twists all that is good in God, turns it around, and thinks that he will get worship this way.

And all that is evil does worship him.

This all sounds true, of course, but I wanted to dig deeper into the practicalities of how this plays out.  How exactly does Satan strive to be like the Most High?  Do we recognize it?  Are we onto his schemes?

Here are a few:
1.  Names.  Jesus is the Lion of Judah.  Satan is the roaring lion.
2.  Triune/Fellowship.  God is Father/Son/Holy Spirit.  In Revelation, Satan is dragon, beast, and false prophet.
3.  Light.  Jesus is light.  Satan appears as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14)  (This area makes him very deceiving...we really have to know truth to be able to recognize the devil masquerading himself as light when in fact he is darkness.)
4.  Word.  Jesus is the word, he cannot speak a lie.  Satan knows the word, quotes it and twists it to serve his own purposes.
5.  Messengers:  Jesus has True Prophets while Satan has False Prophets
6.   Spiritual Gifts:  Those from the Holy Spirit will build up the body.  Those Satan misuses will cause confusion and discord, better known as works of the flesh.
7.  Gospel:  Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life.  Satan:  any religion to get people's minds off the truth. (any message that tickles our ears and feeds our egoes.)
8.  Messiah:  Christ is the Messiah.  Satan:  Antichrist will solve all problems and receive worship.
9.  Angels:  Both have followers and ranks in the spirit world.
10.  City:  God's is Jerusalem.  Satan's is Babylon.
11.  Feasts/Celebrations:  God has 7 feasts set aside for the Jewish people.  Satan has set apart dates that are used for the occult.
12.  Marked:  God tells his people to bind teachings as a sign on their hands and foreheads. (Deut. 6:8)  Satan tells his followers they have to be marked on the right hand or forehead in Revelation 13:16.

I paid for a new pair of athletic shoes today with a $100 bill.  The guy at the cash register held the bill up against the light to ensure that it was the real deal.  Satan wants to fool us and tell us that it is God and not him at work.  (Isn't our first instinct to blame God and not Satan for all the bad stuff we face?)  We must hold everything up in our lives to the LIGHT of the Word to see what is really true.

If we are dealing with:  hate, confusion, destruction, unbelief, or hopelessness, we must recognize that these are the exact opposites of love, peace, mercy, faith and hope, and therefore, aren't of God.

You know what is really ironic?  God knows that Satan wants a throne, to have authority, and be worshiped...because Satan wants to be like the Most High.  Guess what God is going to do?  He is going to give him exactly 42 months during the Tribulation for this to occur.  Satan will possess the Antichrist and rule over a throne in Jerusalem.  Everyone left on the earth will either be coerced into worshipping him or they will die.  BUT, after that 42 months, the adversary will be thrown into the pit.  {can I get an amen?}

I guess I just want my eyes opened to how sneaky Satan is.  I want to expose his lies that I am believing because, after all, he is doing his best to look like the Most High.

How have you found Satan to be the Counterfeit?

To My Only Niece

happy 5th to you, Tia.
 We love you soooooooooo much!
 To a girl amongst a whole slew of boys, I wish you courage, spunk, and a tender heart.  Oh, wait, God already gifted you with those.
In that case, I wish you a baby sister.  Sam wishes you a baby girl cousin.

At any rate, have a special day!  You are five!!!