I Picture Eternity

I have had a digital camera for a couple of years now. For a while, I had one of those tiny little cameras and then upgraded to my Canon Rebel Sport, which I still don't know how to use very well. But anyway, since that time I have not gotten one single photo printed. Not one. So the other day I sat at my computer and uploaded all of my photos off of discs, onto my computer, and then I uploaded them from my computer to Walmart's photo lab. $47 and 316 photos later, I had printed over two year's worth of photos!

The best part though was getting the photos from Walmart and then sitting and putting them in my photo album. It was such fun to sit and remember each of the moments and events documented in those photographs.

Going through my photo album is how I picture the judgment. I know God is this great big, omnipotent judge, who at the end of my life will either say "Well done" or "Depart from me." But I have a hard time reconciling how the blood of Christ comes into that judgment. So in my mind, I picture God and I going back through my photo album of my life and sometimes pausing and smiling over certain things, and sometimes Him touching a photograph, looking over at me and saying, "that wasn't a great moment, was it Carol?"

All that to say, I picture eternity. And when I think about it, I want there to be lots of joy and laughter as I look back over my life with God. I don't want there to be many moments where I have to hope the pages of that album stick together.

I Woke Up in Love

For my married friends out there, do you ever just wake up, roll over and look at your spouse, and feel incredibly in love? That's how I feel this morning. Just . . . in love. Crazy in love.

Now, it could be the leftovers of my estrogen accident I had a few days ago. How I realized my estrogen accident is kind of funny.

We had to make an announcement at work about something. And the "something" was sad. It was one of those things that weighs heavy on your heart because it affects people you love. People you have done life with. And so as we started to pray, the first guy that prays, his voice cracks. And the tears form in my eyes. Well, by the time I started to pray, I was crying. I mean CRYING. Like my child had died crying.

I used to be a big time crier. But I'm not anymore. And this kind of crying just doesn't happen to me anymore. This is a little personal, but I think I'm not a crier anymore because I had all my girl organs removed when I was 37, and now I am living an even-keeled life by way of modern medicine. I wear an estrogen patch to provide what my ovaries no longer can (since they are missing!)

So, back to my story. . . Later that day (after my crying jag) I am driving down the road thinking, "why was I crying so hard? I mean . . . I'm sad and all, but not THAT sad." Then suddenly it occured to me that I had put on a new estrogen patch, but I had forgotten to take off the old one! So I had massive doses of estrogen flowing through my body!!!

All that to say, I woke up in love this morning. And I do LOVE my husband. And I'm surely hoping that this gushy feeling I have is because of him, and not because of what has now become famously known as "the estrogen accident."

Weighty Proportions

For as long as I can remember, I have dieted. Well, maybe not for as long as I can remember, but at least since I was a junior in high school. I wasn't discontent with my weight in high school, although I weighed a good bit (I wore a size 9 when I was 12 years old, that's the smallest I ever remember being). Then I started dating a guy who was WAY skinnier than I was, and that started what would forever become my struggle with weight.

When I married I weighed 122 pounds. And since I am 5'8" tall, that means I was pretty thin. But even then I don't think I appreciated my body. I think by that time I was already sure that my body was imperfect and would never be perfect. Sad. True story though.

And then the babies came. Two in a row, only 16 months apart. And that weight seemed to stay on forever. I did every "diet" I could try. I did the grapefruit diet, the mayo clinic diet, the one meal a day diet, the six meals a day diet, the aerobics 7 days a week diet.

For a time I remember being content with my body. I wasn't super thin, but I wasn't particularly heavy. But I think I was emotionally healthy. And I was spiritually healthy. And my marriage was good. And my kids were good. But when anything was "bad," I ate.

And so has been the pattern of my life. Diet, exercise, like my body, life gets hard, eat, eat, eat, gain weight, get unhappy with my body, diet, exercise , etc.

But I am sick of the hamster wheel. I want to be happy and healthy, but not to have a great body, but just to be able to do the things I want to do in life. So I have started (SURPRISE!) an online journal of my journey to good health called Move a Little, a Personal Journal of Weighty Proportions. I will post my meals, my exercise, my feelings, etc. I'm not brave enough to post my actual weight yet, so I will just post my weight loss for now.

All that to say, here's to good health.

What Women Want

This past weekend our Pastor at WoodsEdge Community Church taught a message about how to be a better husband. My SINGLE son told me that it was a great message; like an inspiring pep talk before the start of a big game. He told me this while he and I and his dad were eating lunch after church. When I turned to Mike and asked him what he learned, he said, "Oh you know, the usual, I should love you as Christ loved the church."

I asked him if he could break it down a bit more for me and he said, "Well, you know, make you a priority and stuff." . . . spoken like a true man. :)

Upon further investigation, apparently the Pastor said things like,
  • Make your wives a priority in your life.
  • Your wife deeply longs to be romanced.
  • Open your heart to your wife. Talk about your feelings.
  • Talk about your relationship with God.
  • Your wife needs to know you value her, to feel cherished.

All that to say, I think that is a good start of a list. Ladies, you have any other thoughts our men need to hear? You single girls feel free to chime in about your expectations too!

With Thanksgiving

I was sitting in the bathroom this morning at 4:00 a.m. because I couldn't sleep. I guess that's a weird place to go. There was a perfectly nice living room with a couch in it just one room over, but for some reason, the bathroom felt better. Maybe smaller, more cocoon like. I feel like I need to be in a cocoon.

Do you ever just get tired of the drama of life. It is so draining. So tiring. So . . . dramatic.

As I sat in the bathroom, crying and pouring my heart out to God, I said, "Lord, I am so anxious. My heart is so anxious. Would you please give me wisdom?" And instantly, INSTANTLY, He spoke to me. He said, "Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be made known unto God." (Oddly enough, God speaks in King James.)

So I let my requests be made known unto God. And I didn't feel less anxious. But as I was thinking about that verse from Philippians, I realized I was missing a word . . . thanksgiving. With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known . . . hmmm

All that to say, I am perplexed. I don't know how to throw my anxious heart up to God, AND be thankful.

Streams of Consciousness

I had trouble falling asleep last night, probably in part due to the fact that I inadvertently drank caffeinated coffee at 9:00 p.m. I tried going to bed around 10:30, but tossed and turned for 30 minutes and finally gave up, and got up. I sat up until a little after midnight and watched a boring boxing movie (I usually choose sports shows to try to fall asleep to).

When I finally went to bed I had just barely gone to sleep when a text message came across my phone (I HATE it when I forget to set that thing to Alarm Only!). So, I laid awake for a few more minutes, and then finally fell asleep. But then ALAS (darn my old body) I awakened at 5:30 AM because I had to get up and go, and OF COURSE I couldn't fall back asleep.

As I lay there in my bed, I had this stream of consciousness that went something like this:

I wish I could fall back asleep. I have to stop drinking so much right before I go to bed. This bed is so big. How is it that Mike is still on my side of the bed when it's this large? He is such a snuggler. I swear, if I put a table between us, he would figure out how to get on my side of the bed. I wonder if that table in front of the window in the foyer would fit on that other wall in the foyer? It would look so good there. I wonder if Deb ever thought of putting it there? If I move the table what would I put in front of the window, and where would I put that giant trunk? What time is it? I wish I could go to sleep. I wish I could stop thinking and go to sleep. Why does my broken arm hurt? I guess it's the weather. I wish it would start pouring and flood the streets and then I could just roll over and go to sleep. Who am I kidding? I can't sleep. I may as well get up. I wish Mike would stop snoring. (punch mike. he doesn't stop) I guess I should just get up. I wonder if I have anything to wear to work today? I think I'm going to lay here a little while longer and pray. "Lord, was I a good parent? I must make you crazy Lord, I mean, as my "parent" I must make you crazy. I must make you crazy because my kids make me crazy. I bet I make them crazy too. I think that's the way it works with all parents and kids." Arrrgh, I'm getting up.

That little stream of consciousness is very similar to what kept me up most of the night. Have you ever wondered why sometimes your brain just won't shut off? What happens to you during the day that causes this stored up surplus of thoughts to come spilling out when your body finally stops moving?

All that to say, I think my brain is still spilling stuff out. Should make for an interesting Sunday.

Help Me Dorothy

As many, if not most of you know, I don't live in my own home. I live in someone else's home, and by that, I don't mean that I am renting a house. I actually live in SOMEONE ELSE'S home. My sister in law and her husband got transferred to Shreveport for a year, so we moved into her house. With her furniture, and her dishes, and her pictures, and her knick-knacks.

And now we are doing some remodeling in her house, and at the same time, trying to blend our things (our furniture . . . just a small amount of it, our pictures, our knick-knacks, our dishes) in with her things.

It's a weird feeling. I don't even know how to describe it really. I sort of liken it to that TV show where the entire family moves into someone else's house and pretends to be them. Only I'm not pretending to be them. Whatever. I can't explain it.

Because I am a woman, I want . . . no . . . I NEED to nest. I need to settle in. I need to make this house my home. A place for all of my family to come and feel comfortable. A place for my sons to come to and think, "yep, this is home." But I feel like I am doing it in another bird's nest. And I can't quite get everything where I want it, because I'm afraid if I move stuff around, then the nest might fall apart. Does that make sense at all?

All that to say, I hope that someday my house in Georgia will sell, and all this will end. Until then, I guess I'll just keep trying to find home. If only I had some ruby slippers.

In the Stillness

I have a confession. I have not read my Bible in 4 days. And when I have tried to sit and "converse" with God, I have found my mind wondering. I don't have a long to do list that is distracting me. If anything, I have had some wonderfully stress free days this past week or so.

Now, perhaps it is not shocking to some of you that I have gone 4 days without reading my Bible. I know that's not the end of the world. But I have also gone many more days than that without journaling. And that should be shocking to any who read this blog, because you know a.) that I love to write and b.) I process my thoughts by writing.

And yet, as disconnected from God as I should feel, I don't know that I have ever felt more connected. What is this new thing He is teaching me?

I have this deep sense of fulfillment. And when I do have my "time alone" with Him, I have nothing to say to Him, and yet, again, I feel this incredible connection to Him. I could say that maybe since I am not running off at the mouth, that He's getting a word in finally. But that's not it either. Because He's not saying anything to me. We are just together. In silence. And it's rich. And it's wonderful. And it's fulfilling.

All that to say, maybe silence really is golden. When He said, "Be still and know that I AM God," He really meant, be still. Not reading. Not writing. Not talking. Not even listening. Just being still.

Who's Throwing Them a Party?

I think I have discovered something about myself recently. I don't seem to be a "take up the fight" kind of person. Much of this self-discovery has come by way of my response to other's response to our present political climate.

I have never really been one to "discuss" politics, mostly because I hate the highly passionate manner in which people state their opinions as though they were facts. But today, I will put one toe in the ring of political debate. I consider myself to be fairly conservative, though my truly conservative friends would consider me a liberal. And I would hate to consider myself middle of the road, because the only thing being in the middle of the road gets you is run over. I have a unique method of voting. I don't vote on campaign promises because quite frankly, I have NEVER seen anyone who got elected keep their campaign promises. So, I try instead to vote based on the candidate's political history, and their stance on certain issues that are important to me (pro-life, pro-choice for example).

However, once a candidate has been elected, I try to be supportive of that candidate, especially if it is the President. And by supportive, I don't mean thinking everything they do is just peachy wonderful decision making. But I mean that I pray for them. I ask God to give them wisdom. I ask God to draw that candidate to Him. Etc. This doesn't make me superspiritual. And that isn't my point. I just feel like if this person is going to be running the country I live in, then I darn sure want them to be guided by the Lord. I don't think the Lord really cares if someone is a Democrat or a Republican. But I think we sometimes care too much. I remember my step-dad telling me once that I better vote a straight Democratic ticket, even if the devil himself was on it! True story.

Recently someone told me that Obama was to blame for our current financial situation and that his "bailout" plan sure didn't seem to be working. When I pointed out that he had only been in office for 8 weeks (at that time), they smiled and said, "I guess you're right. We should cut him a little slack." Then I also reminded them that Obama's bailout wasn't the first one. I will say I didn't vote for Obama, though I wasn't totally thrilled with my other option either. And I don't agree with all of these bailouts. If they want to stimulate the economy, give those billions to taxpayers and let us spend the money on new cars and new houses and new clothes. That'll stimulate everyone!

But if I am going to spend my time on a bandwagon, it isn't going to be to throw a teaparty. Or to attend one. It is going to be to help hungry people have food, or thirsty people have water, or naked people have clothes. And maybe that makes me judgemental about people who are politically active. I suppose someone needs to be. (politically active, I mean, not judgemental.) I guess it takes all of us. But I would like to find a balance between fighting to be a government run by the people and also to find a way to be "for the people."

All that to say, I don't know why my heart feels heavy today about tea parties. Maybe it's because I keep thinking about little children who went to bed hungry last night, and I wonder who's throwing a party for them?

Just a Minute

I was watching this tv show last night and the daughter on the show was mad at her parents and not speaking to them. The mother, in her wisdom, went in and talked to the daughter. Her wise words were, "you can choose to sit there and be mad, but for each second you are wasting being mad, you could have chosen happiness. And you will never get that second back . . . or that one . . . or that one . . . or that one."

I know it was just a tv show, but that really struck a chord in me. (I have no idea what that expression means, but I like it.) I thought to myself, "how many seconds of my life have I spent angry, or bitter, or frustrated, or discouraged, or sad, or mad, or any other range of negative, life-draining emotions." How many seconds have I spent focusing on the fact that the beds didn't get made or the dishes didn't get done, or that my kids grades weren't what I wanted them to be?

How many seconds have I lost to futile arguments? How many have been sacrificed to feed my ego? These are all seconds I won't ever get back. In fact, I will never get back the seconds it has taken me to even write this post. So moving forward, will the thought that time is fleeting affect how I live?

All that to say, I guess time will tell. (sorry, couldn't resist that one)

A Compelling Story about Prayer


Many of you who follow my blog may remember that several months back, my son, Jacob was very, very sick. This video tells his story.

All that to say, watch it if you will, but get the kleenex. Mike's a cry baby. :)

That Pointer Finger's Important

I am living at my sister-in-law's house, my new temporary living quarters. She, in turn, is living in Shreveport on a temporary job there with her husband. Her mail still comes to her house, and we just collect it all and put it in a banker's box (small file box). Then once a month, I call her and go through every piece of mail. Actually, I've only done it once because I have only lived there a month . . . but I'm guessing this pattern will continue.

Anyway, last night, as I am opening all the different pieces of mail (most of which was junk . . . seriously, I could help all the failing banks out . . . QUIT MAILING OUT SO MUCH CRAP!) Anyway, as I was opening all those pieces of mail, I kept getting these tiny little paper cuts. And then suddenly I got the biggest and worst paper cut EVER known to man, right near the inside edge of my pointer finger, closest to my thumb and near the fingernail. OUCH!! It bled so bad!

And today, my finger hurts like . . . well, it hurts. And I started to realize, do you know how much you do with your pointer finger? You type with it. You write with it. You pump gas with it. You text with it. You dial your phone with it (why do we still call it "dialing" when there isn't a dial any longer?). Then of course there are all those "personal" things you do with your pointer finger (use your imaginations).

All that to say, I am whiny and my finger hurts.

Say What You Need to Say

Confess it. You started singing that song didn't you? :)

Actually, I couldn't think of a good title for this blog, because I couldn't decide exactly what I should say. I just returned from a week in Colorado at a friend's condo. These people are really some of the most amazing people I have ever known. They are blessed to be wealthy, and I don't say that as a spiritual cliche' (like, "oh they are just sooo blessed") but really and truly blessed with wealth. Meaning God gave them wealth because he knew he could trust them with it.

They are without a doubt some of the most generous people I have ever met. I have lived in their home in The Woodlands, as have many, MANY others. And now, most recently, I have been blessed to be able to be taken into the ministry of Current Elijah. Current Elijah is a ministry that these friends started when the Lord told them that Pastors need a place to rest because as it says in I Kings "the journey is too much."

So, Mike and I spent a week where it snowed every single day, which was breathtakingly beautiful, and we played, and we were pampered, and we were prayed over like we were the last people who were ever gonna get prayed over before Jesus comes! And we prayed for ourselves, and for our families, and for our friendships, and for our ministries.

I wish I could truly put into words the life change that happened there.

All that to say, I am refreshed. I have been nourished and provided for so that I can continue the journey. (Oh, and I ate ribs for the first time. Who knew I liked ribs?)