True Friends

I have been really blessed in my life to have had some incredibly close friendships. Some have been born of crisis. Some born of necessity. Some born of proximity. Some born of stage of life. And some seem almost ordained by God. That probably sounds corny, but it's how I feel. I am not the kind of person that can have superficial friendships. I can't just be your friend. I need to be your best friend. I have taken a lot of good natured teasing about that over the years. But perhaps that is why I have such close friendships.

I just spent the week with some people that I feel like God purposed to be my friends. I always feel like I have robbed them of a little piece of themselves when I leave, because I know that I have questioned and prodded and questioned some more until I have absorbed every piece of wisdom, every anecdote, every laugh, every tear and every second that I can while I am with them.

I often wonder how it is that they call me friend, because I don't often hold back with them, and often I fear that I may have sucked the life out of them. They often tell me that they are so glad when I come to visit because they glean so much from me. I don't know how that is true because that is what I would say of them.

Perhaps that is why we are friends. Perhaps we are friends because they don't feel like they have to cheer me up when I am down. They just love me til I am "up" again. Perhaps we are friends because when I am wrong, they tell me I'm wrong. And sometimes they don't even do it gently. Perhaps we are friends because even when I am wrong, they don't hold it against me . . . for very long anyway. Perhaps we are friends because when I question God, they don't try to give me answers, they just help me ask better questions.

All that to say, true friendship is a rare and beautiful gift. It survives time, and circumstance, and distance. Some people say that if you have one true friend in your life, then you can count yourself rich. If that is the case, I am extravagantly wealthy.

When Is It Okay to Complain . . .

I, as a general rule, try to be very polite, and excuse people's rudeness and inconsideration. I know that I, myself, am probably rude and inconsiderate at times, and that I am probably unaware of my actions.

But there comes a point when I feel compelled to speak up, to say, "Hey, cut it out!" or something else that makes the point that my patience limit has been surpassed. But I struggle, sometimes, with exactly where that line is, and exactly what to do when it has been crossed.

Case in point. Friday night Mike and I went to a movie. We went to the theater in Market Street where unaccompanied teenagers are not allowed to go. (You might think that sounds unfair to teenagers, but if you have ever been to the OTHER movie theater in The Woodlands on a Friday night, you would know how WONDERFUL it is that we have options.) Anyway, we went to see Appaloosa. Everyone in there was probably our age or older. So you would think it would have been a fairly sedate evening. Unfortunately, the woman sitting directly behind me had two problems. She had new shoes that squeaked horrifically everytime she moved her feet, and I'm pretty sure she had restless leg syndrome. So throughout the entire movie I heard, "squeak, squeak, squeak . . ." quiet. "squeak, squeak, squeak . . ." quiet. It was maddening. I tried clearing my throat (after about 30-40 minutes of squeak, squeak, squeak). I tried looking back at her. I did everything but turn around and say, "HEY LADY! QUIT MOVING YOUR FREAKING FEET. YOUR SHOES ARE FREAKING ANNOYING THE HECK OUT OF ME!"

I wanted to do that. But I didn't. And oddly, I felt trapped by the whole situation. Should I go get the manager and have him help me? Should I disrupt everyone else in the movie by saying something to the woman? So, I did nothing. I miserably watched my movie and was so glad when it was finally over.

Other Case in Point. Last night I went to bed at 10:30 and a woman in the building behind my building (not even the same building as mine) had her music up so loud that my windows rattled. I could hear her voice and that of her boyfriend and they sounded like they were standing right outside my bedroom window. So Mike got up and walked onto our back porch and asked her if she would mind turning down the music. "WHAT?" she yelled. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" she yelled. I laughed. Mike said, "You can't hear me because your music is too loud. Would you mind turning it down?" "OH YEAH. SURE!" she yelled again. So Mike came back in and climbed back in bed and the music softened. . . for about 60 seconds. Then it started again.

He got up, put on his clothes and left the apartment to go talk to her. This is the second time this has happened. She doesn't even live in our building! What do we do? Do we just go talk to her every time it happens?

All that to say, YIKES! People, have some consideration. YKM (You're killing me).

A Little Robot, a Little Rick James

Does anyone know why they do that? I left the medical center yesterday after Jacob's doctor's appointment, and instead of going the way I know to go, I decided to go a different route. It seemed smart at the time because my "normal way" was actually in the opposite direction of the way I needed to go.

So I headed toward the interstate (or freeway for my friends in other states), navigated several one-way streets, made a few u-turns, did a few "yoo-hoo,-driver-in-the-next-lane, can I get over?" manuevers (which Jacob LOVED because he had to be the "yoo-hoo" guy) and FINALLY I could see the interstate.

Only trouble was once I got to it, I couldn't get on it!!!! There were no on ramps and no signs telling you where to go to get on it. That should not be so. At the very least, if they aren't gonna put an on ramp, they oughta put a sign up!

But, alas, we finally got on (20 minutes later), popped in a little Rick James (OWW She's a Brick House), and danced all the way home. I even did a little "robot" right before we turned on our street toward home. Which Jacob laughed at hysterically.

All that to say, the day ended well. And I slept for 9 and a half hours last night! Ahhhhhhh

What We Know

Two posts in one day. Wow. Just wanted to thank you for praying.

We don't have a lot of new information. But the doctors were at least able to say that they really don't think Jacob has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). That is a HUGE load off our minds.

Still more tests to run, more waiting. But for today, the news was relieving.

All that to say, that's what we know.

Not Okay With Not Knowing

Jacob was an easy baby. Well, actually he was a super hard baby because he had colic for FIVE MONTHS, but once he got passed that, he was an easy baby. He slept all night at an early age, potty-trained easily, was extremely compliant and obedient and had the most joyful laugh. I actually have a tape recording of that laugh (yes I said tape recording) that I play from time to time. It still makes me laugh. He still makes me laugh . . . in real time . . . not just on the tape.

He was an easy teenager too. At least with me he was. Don't know that Mike would say the same thing, but I think that's the way it is with dads and sons. He wasn't perfect (Jacob, that is) Outside the stuff I know about, I'm sure there is probably stuff I don't know about that he did. I'm okay with the not knowing. At least about those years.

What I'm not okay with about "not knowing" is the present day and the future. Today is the "big day." We meet with the new doctor to try to find out what exactly is going on with Jacob's body. I haven't put a lot of details out there in e-land . . . not going to today . . . but if you follow this blog at all, you know he's sick and we don't know what's wrong. So today we are meeting with a big named specialist in the field of neuromuscular disorders.

It makes my heart beat hard. It makes my breathing shallow. It keeps me from sleeping at night. All of that sounds like worry. And I'm not supposed to worry. Because if I worry I'm not trusting God. And if I'm not trusting God, then who else can I trust? "Be anxious for nothing" the Bible says. Well, I'M ANXIOUS. Maybe more today than I have been. Not because I think this new doctor is going to tell us something terrible. It's just that I DON'T KNOW what he's going to tell us.

Welcome to my brain. I wake up and I am great and God is great and I'm not anxious or worried or troubled or any other words that are synonyms of those words. And then some days I wake up and my mouth is dry and my soul feels heavy and I can't take a deep breath and I am searching for God and saying, "GOD ARE YOU LISTENING?"

All that to say, if you are the praying type, would you pray today for Jacob, and his doctor, and us? And would you ask for complete and total healing of Jacob's body? I figure, if God can move a mountain, a few muscle twitches and cramps oughta me no big deal.

Zephaniah 3:17

"For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

I believe God speaks to me, really to all of us, as though we were preschoolers. He repeats Himself, over and over and over. We learn best through repetition. This past Sunday, I attended a Child Dedication service at our church and I heard the verse above. Then that morning I was reading something and I came across that verse again. Then, when I walked into a co-worker's office, I saw the verse on her bulletin board. Three times I saw Zephaniah 3:17. I decided to pay attention.

So this morning I slowed down and read the verse. And I made it personal. Which John Piper might hate but Rob Bell would love. :) PS - Rob Bell's new book is out Jesus Came to Save Christians!

Here goes:

"Carol, your God is living among you. You aren't invisible, nor are the circumstances of your life. He is right there. He is mighty to save you. He's strong. He can handle all of this, and don't forget, he's living among you. He will take delight in you, Carol, because He adores you and you are incredibly precious to Him. With his love, he will calm all of your fears. His love is all encompassing, and it's the safest place you can go. So go. Find peace there. And when you get there, you will hear Him rejoicing over you with songs. He's singing over you. Remember when you used to sing over your children when they were little? Remember how that calmed them? It's because they could feel your delight in them. They could feel how much you loved them. They felt safe. He's singing over you now, Carol."

All that to say, my Savior, he can move the mountains.

Don't Tell Stupid Stories About Me

Yesterday was Zack's 24th birthday. I was going to write about him yesterday, but alas, I did not. And as I was considering what to post about him today, I was having trouble because he has rules about what gets posted. His rules are pretty much the same as Mike's and Jacob's. There is really only one rule. "Don't tell stupid stories about me."

But I'm a mom. All of my stories are sweet or poignant or tell of him doing something silly that only a mother would remember and love. I have millions of those stories. Millions I would love to tell, but I won't. I have embarrassing stories, stories of love and betrayal . . . dun-dun-dun. I have stories about how he wanted to have a different, "cooler" name than Zack. Stories about how when he grew up he was going to be a brain surgeon, or a professional basketball player, or the school janitor because they got to sleep in the janitor's closet at school.

Oh which one to tell . . . I guess I will tell the first story. The beginning story.

Zack has a way of doing things in his own time, in his own way. It is pointless to rush him into anything. That only frustrates him. You have to gently approach the idea, and then gradually let him work his way into it. That has been true from the beginning. The very beginning.

You see, he was supposed to be born on September 15th, 1984. That was his original due date. But that date came and went. In fact, 5 weeks passed before Zack would make his beautiful entrance into the world. 5 weeks late. Weighing in at 9 pounds and eleven ounces. That's also like Zack. When he does decide it's time to do something, he DOES IT. :)

All that to say, Happy Birthday Zack. In the words of Shauna Maness, "You rock harder than all of the 80's hair bands, and that's hard."

Randomly Righting (That's Not a Typo)

I wish that the "start of day" took longer. I like to ease into my day, which can only happen in one of two ways. Either, I have to get up really early, or I have to have no place to go for a while after I get up. Probably neither of those is going to happen on a regular basis, so I just need the "start of day" to have more time to happen within my schedule.

My least favorite thing, well . . . that's not true . . . I have many least favorite things . . . but something I do not enjoy is happening even as I write this. I am looking at the clock on my computer, which by the way is still set on Atlanta time, and it is telling me to hurry up. It is saying, 'Hey CAROL! Your wet hair is still in a towel, you still have your robe on, there isn't a dot of make-up on your face. Get movin' Missy!' (Clocks say that kind of stuff to me all the time, and worse.)

My push back to the clock is that I haven't even read my Bible or written in my journal, or lingered over my thoughts. So SURELY there must be more time. But there isn't. WHY isn't there ever enough time in the morning? I need a solution to this. I have tried many things. I have tried washing and blowdrying my hair at night. That doesn't really work because I get TERRIBLE bed head. I've tried lots of other "solutions" but I don't have time to write about them because I gotta get going.

All that to say, this is a random post and I don't even know why I wrote it. But it made me smile the whole time I was typing. So I guess that's a good enough reason.

Don't Worry I Still Love Jesus

You never know what a "gut level" honest post will do to people's minds. Yesterday, I just threw out there that I am struggling, REALLY STRUGGLING with my prayer life. I got some emails from people that were very meaningful responses to my post. Rich salve I believe I said to one of them. I got some that were sweet, but not particularly helpful. And I got some from people I freaked out who wanted to know if I still believed in God. LOL! (It really did make me laugh out loud.)

I'd like to start with a "for the record" statement. Don't worry, I still love Jesus and I still believe in God. I told the girls at my girl's group the other night that when I have grieved all I know to grieve and mourned all I know to mourn; when I find myself at the very bottom of all I can handle, the one thing I can count on is finding my faith intact. The one thing I can count on is that God isn't going to have changed at all. My perspective of God might have changed. My understanding of who God is might have changed. But PRAISE GOD, HE hasn't changed at all.

I think I am better for the struggling, if that makes sense.

I'm going to work on not offending anyone here in the next few sentences . . .

I have a picture in my mind of this woman who gets up early every day, reads her Bible, maybe writes in a journal, smiles and neatly tucks the Bible and journal into their place in her nightstand and starts her day. She leads her life spoonfeeding Jesus platitudes to the masses, and remembers to take a healthy dose each day for herself. On the weekends, she puts on her best Sunday-go-to-meeting outfit, spit polishes her son's wayward hair, irons the wrinkles out of her daughter's dress, dutifully plants a kiss on her husband's cheek and then they all walk into church together, one big happy family. Life there in the Jesus Bubble is good and safe and perfect.

But I don't want to live in the Bubble. I lived in the Bubble. It's not real. Jesus did not have a safe and easy life. And He clearly told us our life wasn't going to be safe and easy either. But whenever I find myself in the "this freaking life is not easy" place, I wrestle with God. And I know that even though I am limping, I will get up and walk. And the place where I struggled, I will remember. Not because I left an altar of rocks there (it's in the Bible), but because that hard place where I struggled will be a memory that showed me something else about God that I didn't understand when I was in the bubble.

All that to say, the struggle is hard, but I choose the struggle over the bubble. At least for right now. Who knows? I might go screaming back to the bubble, demanding to be let back in to bubbleville. Oh, and don't worry, I still love Jesus.

Wrestling and Limping

I'm struggling with my prayer life. (How's that for a nice smooth entrance into a blog post?) I'm struggling with my prayer life. I'm not struggling to pray. If anything, I am praying more. I'm not even really sure how to put into words what my struggle is.

Perhaps my struggle is that I don't think God hears my prayers. Because He sure isn't answering them. Is He? I have prayed for over a year for my house to sell. About 6 months ago, I just said, "Okay Lord, you have a reason for all of this, so I am just going to quit pestering you about it." And my house is still for sale. And then about 6 weeks ago, I started talking with God about this. About how we can't move forward with our lives. About how a good portion of our savings is wrapped up in this house. About how real estate was supposed to be the "perfect investment" and now it looks like we could lose thousands and thousands of dollars. About how we take money out of savings each month now because we have two mortgages. Maybe I was thinking if I re-presented my argument to God, He would go, "Oh, Carol, I see what you're saying now. You really DO need your house to sell . . . request granted." But you know what, in the last 6 weeks of this praying, my house stopped SHOWING. So I stopped praying. At least about that.

The last year has been a year of trial for sure. Broken bones. Broken bones for which I prayed for MONTHS to heal. Sick family members. Seems the more I pray, the worse things get. The more time I spend with God, the worse my life seems to get. Which makes me a little leary about spending more time with God. Of course I recognize this is flawed thinking. Which is why I have asked God to be the Shepherd of my thoughts. Because even my thoughts are wrestling with my thoughts.

And in the midst of my prayer struggling, I hear a man tell me that perhaps my praying style is flawed. Now I have this formula I need to use to pray. After all, Jesus modeled it, right? But then I see plenty of places in the Bible where Jesus didn't use the formula, so then I don't know which is right. Do I have to pray the formula, or is it cool if I just wrestle with stuff and sweat blood over it?

Then that makes me think of Jacob. Not Jones, Jacob of the Bible. And I see this story. A story of him wrestling with God. Of course he doesn't know it at the time because he's dreaming. But he's wrestling with the Almighty. He's not wrestling with the world. He's not wrestling with his job. He's not wrestling with his coworkers. He's not wrestling with his family or his wife or his children. He's not wrestling with the noisy neighbors above him. He's not wrestling with any of that. He's wrestling with GOD, and it isn't until he wakes up that he realizes it. And when he realizes it, does he wake up, smile, brush himself off and go about his merry way. NO!!!!! He gets up and walks away limping. And he was never the same again. In a good way. God would I love to be at that place . . . the never-the-same-again-in-a-good-way place.

This has turned into an epic post. But I think when you struggle, you have to process the struggle. And the more you ask questions, the more questions you have to ask about the questions you're asking. I don't know if I can pray a formula. But Jesus did. So I should. Right? So why do I resist it so? Is it because I think it controls me? And if that is my question, then why don't I want to be controlled? Which raises other questions about who I am, who I think I am, who hurt me enough to make me think I didn't need anyone telling me what to do, and so the questions continue.

All that to say, I am wrestling. And I am limping. And I know that I will get to the place where all of this makes sense. I think I know that . . . I think I do. But now that I am limping, it might take me a little longer to get there.

Bump, Bump, Bump

Yesterday, I went shopping for something to wear on my date with my husband. I wear jeans almost every day of my life (which I like, and it doesn't bother me REMOTELY), but I do know that every now and then, Mike likes me to wear something else.

So, I went shopping at 10:30 in the morning. I went to the mall and shopped in every store that would carry both my size and a style that a woman of my age should wear. Nothing fit. Everything was either too big (yeah!) or too small, too loose or too tailored. It was frustrating. At about 2:00 p.m., 31/2 hours after I started, I ended up at Marshall's. I FINALLY found a pretty sweater that I thought would look nice with some black slacks that I had at home, so I got in line to pay for it.

I need to mention that the line was EXTREMELY long. Like, day after Thanksgiving long. Seriously long. Behind me were two women who did not speak a word of English. This would not have bothered me at all, except that I stood in line for almost 30 minutes and all the while, the two women chattered. Initially, I loved the sound of their language. It sounded almost like they were singing. I enjoyed their talking until they started bumping with their basket. I thought the driver of said basket just wasn't paying attention the first time she bumped me. But then she kept doing it. Literally, for 30 minutes, two steps forward, bump. Two more steps forward, bump. Two more steps forward, bump. "STOP BUMPING ME," I wanted to shout at her, but I didn't. Bump. Bump. Bump.

I wish I was kidding. But I'm not.

Finally, I was next in line to pay. I stepped up to the red line where I would await my "green light" and literally, the woman pushed her basket right up against my buttocks. I lost it. I snapped. I had had it. I reached my hand backward and ever so gently pushed the basket off of my butt!! The little lady behind me tap, tap, tapped my shoulder blade, bowed three or four times, and said something that I think was "sorry" and smiled at me. I smiled back at her, feeling bad for moving her basket. As I turned back around you will never guess what happened. Actually I am sure you can guess. She bumped me, and then she and her friend laughed!

All that to say, it's a good thing I looked hot in that sweater or that whole ordeal would have just really ticked me off.


When I first moved back to Texas, Zack and I sort of set aside Thursday nights to hang out. He would typically cook dinner, and then we watched The Office (which I had to learn to love, still learning by the way . . . mostly because it has this inexplicable way of making me spit water out of my nose at the most unexpected moments!) and then we watched Grey's Anatomy. Zack wasn't a big Grey's fan . . . had never really watched the show until last season, but that was our pattern. He always acted like he didn't really like the show, but secretly, when we would miss a Thursday night, he would tivo it for me (I almost said tape it) and watch it without me.

Last night we hung out, went to the mall for some work clothes, came home and ate pizza which is not on my food plan, watched The Office, which was funny and I almost spit water through my nose, and then we watched Grey's. He still professes not to like it, though I distinctly saw him enjoying it last night. He's not a fan of the two of the characters, so he protested a bit about them. But he still liked the show. I know he did. You know you liked it, Zack.

The best thing about last night was just the normalcy of it all. For those few short hours, life felt balanced. As the evening ended, and my eyelids grew heavy, Zack popped off the couch (he tends to come to life in the late evening) and said he had to head home to learn some songs. If I haven't mentioned it, he's a bad ass musician (I usually say he's a bass player, but after some discussion between he and I, he said bad ass musician sounds way better, at least if you are a musician).

All that to say, shirt and tie $64, pizza and a coke $17, spending a normal evening with my b-a musician son . . . priceless.

I Confess My Hope

I am not feeling clever today. I am feeling overwhelmed, but even that comes and goes. This morning I couldn't open a travel coffee mug. It was on seriously tight. I took it over to Jacob to open and he easily took the lid off of it and then replied, "Come on Mom. My nerves are dying and I could get the lid off. What's your problem?" That made me laugh. Which made me think I was losing my mind that I would laugh at that.

I am really trying not to make leaps. I'm trying not to research diseases online. I'm trying not to freak out! Last night we sang this song. For some reason, I took the greatest comfort in these words.

I confess my hope
In the light of Your salvation
Where I lose myself
I will find You're all I need

Sing my soul of the Savior's love
Sing my soul Unto God alone

I will meet You here
In the life we call surrender
Let the world I know
Be the glory of Your grace

You alone are God
You alone are God
We declare the glory of Your name

All that to say, this life we call surrender is not easy. But in the midst of that is the greatest comfort I will find. Knowing that someone bigger than me is in control of all of this . . . there is truth in that. And where truth is, the spirit of the Lord is. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

I . . . can't . . . breathe

I was listening to this woman the other day complain about how the guy at the drive thru had gotten her order wrong and how she was sick of the fact that it shouldn't be rocket science to put the correct food in the correct bag and hand it to the correct person in the correct car. At the time, I was ready to just jump in and say, "YES! I HATE THAT TOO!" But I stopped myself. But I did agree with her.

Yesterday, I got myself pretty riled up about something as well. Something minor and insignificant. Just my house selling. My house that has been on the market for over a year now. A year and one month to be exact.

But today, I don't care. I don't care if my stupid house never sells. I don't care if I never get the right food at the drive thru. Because today, I have enough trouble for today. I feel like an air balloon that has been floating around for a while, but all of a sudden the air in me has found a hole and is whooshing out. The room is spinning and the oxygen is gone. I would take a deep breath, but my chest is experiencing this crushing weight.

My son is sick. They can tell us what they are pretty sure he doesn't have, but they can't tell us what he does have. Did I mention I can't breathe? I keep telling myself not to borrow trouble from tomorrow. That's what the Bible says. I don't know what he has. I don't know that he has anything to worry about at all. Maybe it's something really explainable and simple. That could be it. That would certainly be a glass half freakin' full mindset. Right?

All that to say . . . crap.


I am a fairly early riser. (Though the past two days would not indicate that . . . I'm sick, get off me.) But typically I like to rise early, go potty, look at myself in the mirror and pull at the skin on my face, especially around my eyes, go to the kitchen, make coffee, scramble two egg whites, then sit down and read my Bible, then write in my prayer journal, while sipping my coffee and eating my eggs. Actually the egg eating happens fairly quickly, but the coffee sipping lasts the duration of the Bible reading and journaling. Then I blog, most days. Once all of this is accomplished, I shower, do my hair and makeup, get dressed, and go to work (sometimes this part involves searching frantically for something . . . shoes, purse, keys . . .)

Anyway, my mornings are very routinely structured. But here is the problem with my routine mornings. If one thing . . . ONE LITTLE THING gets out of order, then the morning is BUST! It is. If I don't have eggs, BUST! If someone moved my Bible and journal (like me taking it to work and leaving it), BUST! If I sleep too late to accomplish my routine, BUST!

I have OCD, so the fact that I have a routine is not all that bothersome. It is actually good. But the bad part is that my mornings (which include my time with God) are so routine that they are just that, routine. Kind of boring. And when a routine becomes rote, then it no longer requires the mind to engage in order to accomplish the tasks.

So . . . GULP. I am trying to mix-it-up a bit. Today I had peanut butter toast. And, I blogged before reading and journaling. I feel a little unsettled (maybe it's the weight of the peanut butter in my stomach, or maybe it's my fever). Maybe the Lord is about to shake me up! Who knows what today holds? It's a blank slate! Woo Hoo!

All that to say, I'm sick of routine and ready for something, well . . . less ordinary.


Have you ever been walking along and found money on the ground? Like cash money? A bill? The green stuff? It doesn't even have to be big money. A fiver, a ten a twenty . . . (the largest single bill I have ever found was a twenty, but I did once find a wad of cash that added up to 54 dollars!) The feeling of first seeing that money, and then dashing to it, scooping it up before anyone else can get their mitts on it . . . it exhilirating. And the replaying of that experience in your mind brings you smiles and warm fuzzies all day. Then everytime you tell someone else what happened, it happens all over again. You are happy all over again. But also too (that's my Sarah Palin humor) you walk with expectation, eyes scanning the ground, looking for more money!

You are probably wondering where I am going with this, and truthfully, I might not know myself. But here's what I am thinking on this morning. Yesterday I heard a man say, "What our minds linger over, inflames our passions. What our passions are inflamed by takes our thoughts captive. What takes our thoughts captive drives our actions." If I think about it too long, it's going to ignite my emotions. Once my emotions are ignited, i'm gonna be thinking about it all the time. And once I start thinking about it, I'm bound to do it. (that's my translation)

Like the money. Once you find it and you get that boost of emotions from it, you think about it all the time. The more you think about it, the more your emotions are involved, until you find yourself telling everyone about it and looking for more.

Over what is my mind lingering these days? I don't like to think about it. No pun intended. But it isn't good.

All that to say, I need to be transformed by the renewing of my mind in Christ Jesus. Thoughts?

Yes, Still

One year and one week ago, I moved to Texas. My husband stayed behind with his job and with our house. He got a job here in Texas as well. But alas, the economic real estate market crashed (or at least turned over and exposed its underbelly) and now those looking for a house is far outnumbered by those who are selling their houses.

So, we still have a house to sell, and that is definitely our first preference. But we're also considering leasing it for a year or two, until the market settles down.

If you have friends or family who are looking for a great house at a great price, either to own or lease, then check out the link below, and then have 'em give me a holla.

All that to say, HOUSE FOR SALE OR LEASE.

Not So Sure

On a scale from 1 to 10, I would say I have a pretty strong faith, like maybe a 9. I'd say a 10, but that would sound like I have it all together spiritually, which I don't. Heck, I'm actually gonna say it's a 10 because I don't think "faith" is measured by a checklist, or a spiritual accounting system. I think it's your measure of trust in whatever or whomever it is that you believe in (which in my case is God, Jehovah, the great I Am.) I KNOW that I can trust in God.

Here is my dilemma though. I'm not sure about prayer. I pray. I pray all the time. But I find myself lately hyperanalyzing my prayer life. I have prayed super hard for a long time for certain things, none of which have come to pass. And as far as I can see (which I GET is limited in the space time continuum) those things would be good for me, so I just don't understand why they haven't happened.

So, I stopped praying for them, and have just taken the "it'll happen when the Lord is ready" mindset. Which I think for a while I believed, and now I'm just mad and want God to give me some reasons. I trust Him. I trust His reasons. I trust His timing. At least my heart says I do. But seriously, I'm just getting frustrated now.

A lot has happened in a year. A lot. And for the most part, our life is the better for it. But some super hard things have happened as well, and they just continue. So I think now, "Well, I guess my prayers either don't matter, aren't heard, or don't change God's mind." I know I have some friends out there who will tell me that God's mind doesn't change and that isn't the purpose of prayer, but in the Bible it clearly states "but the Lord changed his mind about the harm he would do to his people." Exodus 32:14. He changed his mind because of a conversation he had with Moses. So doesn't that indicate that our prayer, our conversation, might change his mind?

I don't know. I don't know how to pray. I don't know what to ask for. If I ask for a bread will God give me a stone? No. But for this moment, I am looking at the table, and I see a lot of stale bread.

All that to say, Lord help in my unbelief. I guess I'm not a 10 afterall.

Help Me Please Help Me

I watched the VP debates last night. And I read some blogs this morning. And I read some newspaper articles. Personally, I like Sarah Palin. Initially I thought she was a stupid choice and really thought it proved John McCain was not a very wise decision maker. Then she did so swimmingly well at the convention that I thought maybe he was an unconventional thinker and that served him well. Then I watched the debates last night. I thought Gov. Palin looked nervous and it seriously bugged me that she didn't answer the questions directly. That always bugs me. Seriously. Just answer the question. But, she is very charming, which apparently many believe is her strong point. I don't know. I do have one burning question though. When in our nations history has the VICE PRESIDENTIAL candidate been so important? Usually they are a name on a campaign sign and not much more. Which leads me to ask what is wrong with the candidates running for President.

And now we have this "bailout bill." I am a Children's Pastor. I am not an economist. I have a degree in Education. Not a degree in economics or finance. So I look to those who do have one to help me understand what this bill would mean for me and for our country and our economy.

But here is my problem with both the presidential race and the bailout bill. I cannot find a single unbiased answer to any of my questions. I can't seem to make heads nor tails from what the media writes, because they don't appear to be unbiased. Maybe they never have been and it just wasn't as evident until now. But I would just like some answers. Some simple, unbiased, factual answers, written in a way I can freakin' understand. Is that too much to ask? I'm a pretty smart person (at least my GPA would indicate that I am). I like to think I can comprehend difficult subjects that are outside my scope of expertise.

All that to say, if anyone knows of someplace that I can go to get some facts on the candidates (the ones running for PRESIDENT) and to get some facts on this bailout bill, can you let me know? Help me, please help me.

Velvet Elvis - Remix

I'm re-reading Velvet Elvis. I haven't read The Shack yet, though almost everyone else I know has read it. But I don't always like to be "in" so I am reading Velvet Elvis. Again.

I like the way Rob Bell writes. It makes me think. And he is witty and insightful and sarcastic. All the qualities I think I possess. Except he is humble. :)

But I just love that he says things that sound heretical, but then backs them up with thoughts and questions and what ifs that make you go "ohhhhhhhhh."

Chapter One (or movement one as he calls it. Why? I have no idea. Probably just to be different because that seems to be his nature, or at least the way I perceive his nature.) In movement one he uses the idea of a trampoline to describe God. Seriously. A trampoline. And for those of you who have read the book, feel the freedom to come back tonorrow. Maybe I won't be writing about Velvet Elvis.

The springs of the trampoline, he proposes are the tenets (the doctrine) of our faith. Things like the trinity, the virgin birth, should you drink or not, or should priests get married. These are the springs. And he points out that if one of the springs should fall off or break that our entire faith is not busted. Just that spring. The springs are what hold up the mat. (I guess the mat represents our faith in whole). He uses the trinity as an example. The idea of a "trinity" didn't exist until hundreds of years after Jesus died. It is a "spring" that was added, but faith in Christ existed before that particular spring. Make sense?

But then he likens some people's faith to brick walls. That if one of the bricks falls out, the whole faith is void. It falls. It crumbles. I have seen this happen with people. What they thought they knew about God changed, (He didn't change, but their perception did) and suddenly the brick they hold in their hand, the one that got ripped out, their perception-of-God-brick, doesn't fit back into the wall anymore and the wall wobbles. I like that Rob says, "That's how it is in Brickianity." Clever. Some of my friends in brickworld, pulled out a brick and realized they didn't want a brick-based faith, so they started jumping instead. I've lived in brickworld and practiced Brickianity. I like jumping better.

All that to say, I am jumping on the mat and exploring the strength of my springs right now. Some of them are really being stretched. I'm not sure they will hold. But the mat will.

I Needed That

Last night I went to a Mexican restaurant with a friend of mine. It was kind of impromptu. I lead a young women's group on Tuesday nights, and normally grab a junky fast food dinner, so I thought since I had the time, I'd go sit down and eat something a little healthier. (Relax, I had chicken fajitas and I hardly ate any chips. Besides, today is my "weigh day" so I sure wasn't gonna scarf down a ton of mexican food the day before) . . . anyway.

So, my friend and I are sitting there. She is having a beer and I am having a margarita. To some of you that might seem weird, a Children's Pastor drinking a margarita, but we aren't legalistic about alcohol at my church, so I didn't feel at all weird about sitting in a mexican restaurant drinking a margarita. However, I do try to be sensitive to who might be in a restaurant if I choose to drink, because, well, it's too long to explain so just trust me that I try to be sensitive.

I see this big group of women come in with gift bags and babies and a few little children and literally they sit them down right next to our table. So, I keep looking over at the table to see if I know any of these people or their children and if I am likely to offend any of them. I apologized to my friend who was with me for being so distracted. She asked me if I was worried because I was having a drink, and I said, "No. Not at all. "

She said, "Good. You shouldn't be. It's not like you are getting drunk and doing a table dance." (nice) :) But as she is saying that she holds her arm up in the air and winds it around in the air (picture a cowboy on a bull, with his arm up in the air . . . that's the picture). Right as she said "table dance" and moved her arm around, the waiter walks by, sees her and says excitedly, "All right!"

I laughed hysterically. She slunk down (is that a word?), covered her face, and tried not to die from embarrassment, meanwhile laughing along with me.

All that to say, laughter is a good diversion. It's good for the soul. That's why we are supposed to eat, drink and be merry.