A Lesson in Honesty

I work at a really cool church. I don't mean cool in that we have a cool building, with cool worship, and a super hip pastor (though most of that is true, and we are getting ready to move into a cool building!) But it is cool in the sense that it is full of very authentic and flawed people. I find that I fit into a crowd like that pretty well, as I am quite flawed.

Once a quarter, our entire staff, full time and part-time, goes away together for an entire day of prayer. Now the first time I heard that, I thought, 8 hours of prayer? What does that look like? But it was really one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced, only topped by staff prayer at 220 SLW which is always incredible. At these all day prayer events, we worship together by singing, several times throughout the day. We pray individually (alone). We pray together (corporately). We pray in teams. We pray in groups. It's hard to describe the day, but it is incredible.

Yesterday was our quarterly day of prayer. As a part of it, we prayed together. Our pastor is such an incredibly humble man. I mean he is HUMBLE. One time when we were talking about strengths, he said, "I think I am humble." Then he said, "Well I guess I'm not very humble if I say I am humble. " That made me giggle a little. Anyway, back to yesterday. So, as a part of our corporate prayer he begins by leading us in a time of confession. Now, I know you are probably thinking this is either lame or scary, but it is neither . . . nor is it phoney, no "Lord, help me be a better wife and mother, help me to love my neighbor" stuff. No, it is real serious confession, "I am lazy God and sometimes I don't really care what you think." "I am self-centered and rebellious . . ." "I have lusted after things, things that separate me from you." Keep in mind these are pastors and church administrators praying these prayers. And praying with a tremendous brokeness, true repentence.

But, as is his fashion, our Pastor said something after our corporate time of prayer that was earth shattering. He said, "A great work of God is not going to come across your computer. A great work of God is going to come on your knees." I don't know why that impacted me so greatly. Probably because I am on my computer FAR MORE than I am on my knees. He has said other things that have had the same impact. Things like "prayer is the real work," and "self-reliant people don't pray."

I think that I learned, following a time of true repentence, real honesty before God, that I am flawed. I need God. And He isn't going to come across my computer screen. (Well I suppose He could if He wanted. I mean He's talked from a burning bush, so I guess He can go hi-tech too).

But all that to say, I need Him. And where I am going to find Him, is on my knees.

Choose Wisely

If you ever watched the Indiana Jones Movie Series, then you remember the scene where Indiana has found the "Chalice of the Christ" and the fountain of youth. The old guard who is sitting in the cavernous room says in that spooky oracle voice, "Choose Wisely." When the first guy chooses the chalice that he thinks belongs to the Christ, and dips it in the fountain of youth, and drinks, he ages instantly, and I mean ages . . . I'm talking like skeleton aging. And the spooky oracle voiced guard says, "He choose poorly." Duh. But when Indie chooses the right chalice and drinks from the fountain, the guard says in the same spooky monotone voice, "He choose well."

That's the voice I hear at night, when I have stepped from a very relaxing bath, have wrapped myself in a warm, fresh towel, and make my way to my underwear and nightgown drawer (if you are my brothers or parents or children (or Sarah), you might not want to keep reading . . . :) ) I must think long and hard about my choice. Because my choice has great implications. Great implications.

As I stand over the open drawer, hand hovering over my choice, I hear that voice saying, "Choose wisely."

Apparently, my choice in sleepwear and underwear sends a subliminal message to my husband's brain. I'm just choosing something to sleep in. But to him, I'm choosing how long it will be before I get to fall asleep. I know you married girls out there are nodding your heads right now, thinking, yep, that's right.

Maybe I'm just in the mood for something silky, you know? Just something silky. But putting on something silky, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull to my husband. Or maybe I want to wear black panties and not white cotton ones, that too is apparently a message. So I must choose wisely. Sometimes, I purposefully put on high waisted white cotton undies, with long flannel pants that have penguins on them and a purple t-shirt (he hates purple) with a big hole on the shoulder. (Could I look any less attractive?) But sometimes I do put on that little silky red number that he loves. . . wink.

All that to say, I don't really understand why I can't just open the drawer, choose what suits my mood, and go to bed. I guess I'm not a guy, so I don't think like a guy. But tonight, I chose wisely . . . wouldn't you like to know . . .


Milestones were originally used in the 16th century to tell weary travelers how far they had traveled, and how far it was to the next destination. Because roads were easily washed away, they also let the traveler know they were headed in the right direction. So when we talk about milestones, we are saying that we recognize that a distance has been traveled, a goal has been met, and there is more to come.

Today was a milestone. Zack graduated from college. He has definitely traveled a great distance. From infancy to adulthood, officially. No longer dependent upon his parents for food, finances, or much else for that matter, except maybe occasionally desiring some Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper.

We marked the event in a typical Jones fashion. Randomly different family members showed up. (I mean that in a good way) We ate way too much. We laughed. We argued. We took photos (none of which included Zack in a cap and gown because he turned it in before he found us awaiting him outside with our cameras, oh well). We played games. We napped. Some of us.

And now, he is an adult. Don't ask him what he's going to do with the rest of his life. He doesn't know. But how many of us knew at 23? How many of us know now?

All that to say, I am the mother of a college graduate. Thank God.

Don't Doubt Me

For all you unbelievers, here are my quilts. One is completely finished and one is a quilt top that still needs a border and then to be quilted.

Strange But Oddly Comforting

I have hesitated to blog about this because I know too many people who will tease me about this, BUT last week I took a week of vacation and went way out into the middle of nowhere (Tickfaw Louisiana to be exact) for a quilting retreat (yes I said a quilting retreat). For those of you who are making "old lady" jokes in your mind right now, I was by far the youngest person there. In fact most of the women were in their 70's.

It was probably one of the most relaxing things I have done in a long time. Part of the reason was because I could not get cell phone reception and had absolutely no access to my computer. So I was forced to rest! Instead I spent the time sewing, talking, and listening to the wisdom of 70 year old women. We laughed, (well, I laughed) ate too much food, stayed up way too late (I thought old ladies went to bed early), and just in general had a great, relaxing time.

But let me tell you these ladies LIVE. They don't care anything at all about watching their figures. We ate rich, RICH meals and every meal came with a homemade dessert (including but not limited to Italian Creme Cake that was OMGosh so so good.) I told them that I could actually feel my thighs growing! One lady said to me, and I quote without censure "Well when you get to be our age, all you have left is Cheesecake and dildos." I worked real hard at trying to put that thought out of my mind! Although I laughed, I told her I didn't think people actually used that word anymore! But I was oddly comforted by the thought that at 70, I'm still going to be thinking about and interested in sex. :)

Throughout the week they would say, "Carol, cover your ears, you're too young to hear this!" HA! I love being in a group where I am the young'en! They had some pretty incredible thoughts about politics (like Barack Obama was the anti-christ to name a few) and some pretty incredible insights on life (like "I have found that the best thing to do is to just always tell the truth. It doesn't help anyone to do anything else.")

All that to say, I came home rested, relaxed, and feeling very very accomplished. I was less busy and got more done than I have in months. These Senior women may be on to something.

Back Home

I don't really know how to write this without sounding like a whining baby (I was really thinking b***ch, but am working on a better vocabulary, so I went with baby). Finally, my husband is living with me again. We have been apart for 7 months. We tried to see each other once a month, and that was okay, but not great.

During our separation, I worked hard at not doing things that I know he doesn't like. Some examples . . . I didn't sleep with the ceiling fan on, though I love the sound and feel, but he hates it! I didn't leave my shoes all over the place. I cleaned the kitchen every evening. I didn't leave out my hair products, etc. You get the idea. I didn't want to do things that I knew I would have to break the habit of doing once he arrived. I did this because I knew that we would experience a time of "readjusting" to one anothers lives.

So, he's here. And well . . . it is an adjustment. Seven months is a long time. I have established a routine that didn't include him. And now he feels like he has to adjust to my routine, like he has to "fit in." And I feel like I have to change my routine to "our" routine. I used to go to work, come home, watch what I wanted on TV, (at a reasonable volume), eat something lite for dinner, soak in a hot tub or go to bed with prickly legs. Now, I go to work, but have to let someone know when I think I will leave and when I think I will get home. I do not watch whatever I want on TV and what we do watch (usually a dumb-criminals show or poker, etc.) we watch at an insane volume. I could go on, but I won't.

But, I am happy for the change.

All that to say, I am going to be changing a lot in the next few weeks. You might spend a little extra time on your knees for us. :)

What is a Mother?

I have had this conversation with several friends in the last few days. These happen to be friends who have lost a baby during their pregnancy, what doctors call a miscarriage. One of them said to me, "I just really wanted to be a mother." To which I replied, "You are a mother."

To me, motherhood begins from the moment you hear the doctor say, "You're pregnant." Or, in today's modern world, it begins when you read the stick and it says, "Pregnant." From the second that you discover there is a life growing inside of you, your entire life changes. This is true whether or not you want the pregnancy. But for those who want the pregnancy, the change is astounding. From that second, you are different, and you will never be the same. I know this from personal experience, because I lost a baby at 16 weeks. (That's only 7 weeks less than Kyle was when he was born). I know many of you will make the argument about when "life" begins and when is the baby a "baby" but I promise you, because I have lived through it, the baby is a baby from the moment you find out you are pregnant (my personal belief is that it is a baby at conception), but in your heart, it is a baby from the moment you find out you are expecting.

Anyway, I felt the need to blog about this because I want to say to all those mothers who have suffered loss while their baby was still in utero, you are a mother. You never got a chance to be a parent, but you are most assuredly a mother.

All that to say, allow yourselves to grieve. Any mother would. There's no right or wrong way to grieve. There's no need to feel silly or feel the need to "get over it."

A Yearning to Wallow

I feel the need to wallow today.

No I don't. Yes I do. No I don't. Yes I do. No I don't. Ugh.

I want to complain about the fact that I have to clean my house today. I want to complain about the fact that I need, okay WANT, a pedicure. I want to complain that I have a to do list twelve miles long and can't get ANYTHING FREAKING done because my phone rings off the hook (if it had a hook, which is doesn't, but I don't know the cell phone equivalent!)

I want to complain about the fact that my butt looks like the 18th tee on a duffer's course (think about it, you'll get it). I want to complain that some idiot in a Porsche almost rear-ended me going 80 in a 45 this morning and made me break my promise to myself not to think bad words anymore.

I want to complain that I haven't had a day off in 15 straight days, and I am so tired right now that every thought taxes my brain! I want to complain that I can't see, I can't hear, and my short term memory is crap, dang it . . . bad word . . . my short term memory is pooh.

I want to complain that somehow, today, my life just seems unfair in a million ways.

BUT, then, I remember an old friend of mine who never seemed to have a bad day. She told me that each day should would write a few things that she had to be thankful for onto a roll of adding machine tape. When she had filled up the roll, she would put a piece of tape on it and put it in her cabinet. Whenever she was having a bad day, she would open the cabinet and see years worth of rolls of adding machine tape. She said one look inside that cabinet was enough to remind her that life was indeed, good. Now, I have to say, if I were her, I would probably open the cabinet on a bad day and be inclined to heave the rolls at something, but I suppose I should learn from her. Today I need a good lesson.

So here goes, my cyber roll.

I am glad that my husband is coming to live with me today. I'm glad the fact that he is coming gives me reason to shave my legs everyday (I love the way freshly shaved legs feel on my sheets!) I am glad that I have a house TO clean, even if it isn't mine. I'm glad that someone has been willing to give me a place to stay for the past 7 months.

I'm glad that I have a butt, divots and all, because I heard yesterday that when we get to heaven we will have 30 year old bodies and I was pretty hot at 30! I'm glad that people tell me I have held my age well. :)

I'm glad that I have such a great family. I'm glad that my true friends love me with my warts and weaknesses and that I can be myself with them. I'm glad that my son is graduating from College. That rocks.

I'm glad that there is a God in heaven who loves me just as I am and not as I think I should be. I am so grateful for His grace and His sacrificial love.

All that to say, I could choose to wallow, but then I would just end up eating myself into oblivion, and my yearning to wallow would become a yearning to swallow! And who needs that? Today, I will say, It is well with my soul.

An Update on My Arm

If I were the cussing kind (which sometimes I suppose if I am honest I am) I would be cussing a blue streak (I don't even know what that means, but it sounds like a lot). I just got back from the bone doctor. Turns out that ONCE AGAIN I have not grown any bone in my arm.

So, what's next? A CT Scan, followed by bone marrow removal from my hip, and probably a plate in my arm and possibly a rod. Oh the words going through my brain right now. So many choices . . .

But, on a positive note, I don't have to wear my stupid brace unless I am in a dangerous situation (he specifically mentioned the grocery store and kid's birthday parties . . . that's funny that those are equally dangerous! HA!)

So, if you are around me much, you won't see me in my brace . . . most likely. But I'm still broken, officially.

All that to say . . . I can't really say. :)