July 31, 2006

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Well, I tried. I really did. I promise. I tried to participate in Boomama's Bloggity Homes Tour. I got my digital camera out, took pics, and even uploaded them on the computer (a GIGANTIC step for me!). I couldn't get Blogger to accept them. And I didn't have the time (or sanity) to keep trying. So, no Homes Tour for me :-( I DID check out some of the homes, and loved them all! But I was a lurker. No comments. Again, not enough time.

Thursday, I was wrapping up the summer Bible study I hosted & taught in my home. I won't even go into all the details of my weekend, but I had way too much to do, considering I also had to teach Sunday School (to adults...no fooling them) and prepare to teach Vacation Bible School to 5th & 6th graders last night.

This week, I'll leave work every day, pick CJ up & we'll continue our treck to the Arctic Edge. (Unfortunately, R's working second shift & will miss the fun.) Then we'll come home, I'll get ready for the next day, go to bed and do it all again. We're counting down to Saturday, when we leave for vacation. And it's a beach...but not a nude one, so in the middle of all of this, I've got to get laundry done. And lists made. And necessities purchased. And things packed. And leave things at work in good enough shape so my boss doesn't panic while I'm gone.

Deep breaths. D.E.E.P. B.R.E.A.T.H.S.

So, even though I've come to love you all dearly during my short time of blogging, I'm afraid I won't be around for a couple of weeks. This week...well, you already get the picture of this week. And if I don't crash and burn, next week I'll be in a sleepy North Carolina beach town with a gallon of sunscreen, a beach umbrella & chair, and several good books. No lap top. Just lazy afternoons & nights filled with board games and laughs. Aaahh...sounds like Heaven!

I will surely miss you. I hope you'll miss me a little. And when I get back, maybe...just maybe... Blogger will let me post a few vacation pics!


P.S. - Don't forget to pray for Addison's surgery this week. You can visit her mom, Sarah's, website here.

July 27, 2006

13 Things No One will EVER say to me


Several of my blogging buddies have done 13 things they'll never say. I'm not brave enough to make a list of things I'll never say...but I will go out on a limb & tell you things I'm pretty sure no one will ever say to me. NOT EVER. But, if I ever hear any of these, I won't have to eat my words...I will be unconscious from shock!

1. Great tan! As a friend said to me last night, she & I are two of the whitest women she's ever known! I don't go out in the sun unless I'm coated in SPF 45 (and even then I still get a little pink!)

2. Thanks for cooking breakfast, honey. I doubt R would thank me for cooking pop-tarts, and that's the extent of my breakfast cuisine. Besides, why should I make breakfast when he's so darn good at it?

3. You need to gain some weight. To be honest, my dad DID tell me that all the time when I was in high school & college. No one's said that to me in 15 years, though!

4. If someone sees our family together, CJ looks JUST LIKE YOU. Particularly this time of year, when she's got a beautiful tan. CJ put it so well once when she said, "Mama, if people think I look like you, it's because they haven't seen my dad!"

5. Not tonight, honey. I've got a headache. Do I really need to explain this one?

6. Paula Deen has nothing on you! I'm a pretty decent cook, but COME ON. She's PAULA DEEN!

7. You're sure you don't want coffee? Me, turn down coffee? Nope. Ain't gonna' happen!

8. How was sky diving? I'm not that stup...I mean, adventurous!

9. You're such a great athlete! My philosophy is...Sports are for watching, not playing!

10. Has anyone ever told you that you look like Eva Longoria? Well, let's see, except for the fact that she's short & has a french boyfriend....Oops, I just woke up. NOTHING about me resembles the beautiful Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives!

11. I'd love to do my chores, Mommy! If CJ EVER says this one, I'll GLADLY eat my words. With ketchup, please.

12. You're so much like your sister. Love her to pieces, but we don't look alike & we certainly don't act alike. Very different personalities. But we really are friends. Her Christmas gift to me this year, a pillow that said, "I smile because you're my sister. I laugh because there's nothing you can do about it!" I'm glad!

13. Honey, why don't I clean the bathrooms for a change? That one just might send me to the Pearly Gates!

July 26, 2006

WFMW - Weight Watchers On-Line

UGH! I can't get Blogger to upload the Works for Me Wednesday Banner! Sorry, Shannon!

Several years ago, I did Weight Watchers. Actually, while I did it, it was pretty successful. But I got tired of keeping track of points. I'm not a math person. And I hated using those slide charts!
I just gave up.

This spring, I finally got motivated to lose weight again. I tried it on my own for a while, but I wasn't getting the results I'd hoped for. I didn't want to go to WW again, because: (a) I didn't want to pay $10/week just to weigh on someone else's scales; and (b) I didn't go to the meetings because the leader was annoying. Richard Simmons annoying. I looked at all the other diets, but everything else was cost-prohibitive or taste-prohibitive!

Then I found Weight Watchers on line. Easiest thing in the world! Much cheaper (after the $29.95 joining fee, it's only $16.95/month). Most foods are in the data base. You click, and it adds the food to your day. If the food isn't on the list, you can add it (you just need calories, total fat & fiber...enter it once & you're done, NO SLIDE CHARTS!). You can keep a list of favorite foods & activities. It keeps a running tab of your daily points. (I admit, I like the challenge of seeing how much I can eat and not break my points limit!) It even keeps a running tab of your activity points and weekly bonus points for the swap-outs (so I know that 30 minutes of aerobics = ice cream!) You weigh at home once a week & enter your weight...it also tracks that for you!

My favorite feature is the ability to plan my week out. I can enter menus for the whole week (and print them if I want) and decide when to swap out my activity points & extra points for the week. I'm able to eat what I want, but be more sensible about it. It gives me accountability (I'm paying for it, so I want to succeed) without the hassle of a meeting I don't have time for. And no special food! Best of all, I lost 2 pounds in my first week :-)

Weight Watchers on-line works for me. If you want to see more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head over to Shannon's blog. Next time, I'll try to have the graphic for you!

July 24, 2006

Shards of Beauty

After reading these recent posts by Boomama, Addie, and Barb, I have been overwhelmed by the prayer needs that have been popping up across the blogosphere. Makes me thankful that we serve a REALLY.BIG.GOD. Today, I read this post by Sarah, and my heart has become even more tender to these various situations listed.

I touched on this in a comment to Sarah, but now I know the Lord has given this to me so clearly (at least I hope it comes out clearly), that I need to get it out there. Once you read the links, you'll see that there are many individuals who are suffering through tremendous trials right now. As Sarah said, it's too much to bear alone. But, as I told Sarah, one thing I've learned over the past several years is that every time I feel like I've been smashed to pieces, God takes the shards & makes a beautiful mosaic...like this one.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but there must be thousands upon thousands of tiles that composed this stunning portrait. Amazing how they all come together to form something of such truth & beauty.

1 Peter 1:3 - 9 tells us that we are guaranteed an inheritance in Heaven and that we are shielded by God until Jesus returns. We can rejoice in these things, EVEN THOUGH we are suffering trials here on earth. Note, Peter does NOT say we should rejoice in our trials. I've heard this passage misquoted by well-meaning Christians who thought he was saying just that. Peter IS saying that no matter what happens here, we can rejoice that our inheritance in Heaven is secure & that God is shielding us. Nothing happens to us that God doesn't know about or allow. NOT ONE THING. Does that mean I LIKE everything that happens to me? Of course not! But I can trust that God is in control & He sees the mosaic He's crafting. Honestly, I don't always have such faith, but I should.

Peter goes on to say that even though we "suffer grief in all kinds of trials", these obstacles are coming because God wants to refine our faith. As Sarah said, how would we ever know to trust God if we didn't have to lean on Him? How could we know that we have faith in Him if faith itself weren't necessary? God wants our faith to be "proved genuine" (v. 7). God already knows how faithful we are (or aren't), so perhaps the proving is for ourselves. With His strength & guidance, I've withstood more than I thought I could ever bear. I'm sure I'm not the only one who can given that kind of testimony.

Our faith is also proven to those who are watching. Peter says that these trials come so that they "may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." When we have faith, we encourage others who watch how we trust in God. Maybe, just maybe, we unknowingly model faith for someone, just by the way we put our trust in the Lord. And God will be glorified. All of those broken pieces come together like this one.

Each trial or obstacle we encounter, painful and unexpected though it may be, can be used to create a living testimony to God. I pray that I will have the courage & strength to allow Him to take the broken pieces of my life, my plans & my dreams and glue them together in such a way that brings honor to His Holy Name. That others say of me (as I say of Sarah, Addie, Amy, Boomama, Elise, and the others), that "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him." (v. 8)

Praise you, Sweet Precious Jesus!

(Note: These mosaics were created by Francis Scott Bradford & are in the American Cemetery & Memorial in England. You can find the link to these mosaics here.)

July 23, 2006

A Little Inspiration, Please

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~

Despite living in what once was the middle of nowhere, we attend a fairly large church. Big enough that our pastor introduces a new member by saying she's been visiting for months, and I've never laid eyes on her. I always feel bad about that, because I can remember when I did know everyone. When I could tell the first-time visitors on the spot. When we were crammed into an old sanctuary so tight that you learned more about your neighbor than was appropriate for a Sunday morning. Now we have so many interesting and Godly people at our church, and I want to get to know them. Truly, I do. Still, I liked it better when I knew everyone pretty well. But, the more our church grows, the more I find that I can't keep up.

That used to bother me. I mean, I'm a small town girl. I love that the local gas station owner sells pumpkins & corn from his garden. I love that the owner of our favorite Italian restaurant(we have 2) knows me by my first name. I love that my daughter's school principal taught me in elementary school. I love that she had friends whose parents went to school with me, and that we all look out for each other's kids.

But I'm learning that I just can't be friends with EVERYBODY. I can get to know women and share with them as sisters-in-Christ. I can talk with them & pray with them. I can teach them in Sunday School or lead them in a Bible study. And I have a lot of FRIENDS. Women I love & enjoy spending time with. But God has blessed me with a very small group of SOUL-SISTERS. Women who feel like family to me. Women I would drop everything for if they needed me. Women who've done the same for me. Women who will honestly tell me if I'm straying from God's Word. Women who remind me of a Pooh cartoon I once saw, where Pooh & Piglet are sitting together.

Piglet - "Pooh?"
Pooh - "Yes, Piglet."
Piglet - "I just wanted to be sure of you."

Praise the Lord...I have friends I can be sure of!

I've made attempts to widen my circle of Soul-Sisters, only to fall flat on my face. While the thought of having many close confidants sounds good in theory, it just doesn't work in my life. If there are too many, I can't devote enough time to each relationship. I might miss births and deaths, marriage troubles and triumphs, laughter and tears...all the threads of a cord not easily broken. A bigger circle also means that I lose perspective on just how special each woman is to me. I forget exactly how much I need her & how much she needs me. I don't ever want to take that for granted.
When I focus on the few amazing Soul-Sisters God has placed in my path, I realize I'm so tremendously blessed that I don't need to collect any more. They are rare creatures, these fantastic women...and I am a better woman for having known each of them.

July 21, 2006

Fantabulous Friday #3

So far, I haven't really gotten anyone to participate in Fantabulous Friday, but that's okay. I'm having a great time! God is using it to remind me of my blessings & to give me a specific time to thank Him...and that's what it's all about. I don't praise Him nearly enough!

If you've read my blog before, you know I write about CJ...a lot. In fact, one of my friends said last night that when she reads my blog, it always seems to come back to CJ. I just can't help it. God has taught me so much through this little girl. She constantly amazes me...primarily because of the way God is obviously working in her life. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I didn't have a thing to do with Jesus until I was in my mid 20's. CJ, on the other hand, has been at our church since she was 9 days old. It's her second home. Jesus is so real to her, and I praise Him because she'll never remember a time when she didn't know Him.

Over the past few weeks, I've watched Him do some FANTABULOUS things through her...which have touched my heart so deeply. And since this is MY blog, and MY praise...can you indulge a proud mama while she busts her buttons?

~Last month, her school had a fundraiser for a local boy who needs a bone marrow transplant. The students were "buying" 50-cent chances to hit a teacher with a pie in the face. We gave CJ $10. The next morning, she dug $10 out of her piggy bank. When I asked her if she really wanted to do that, her comment was "It's not about the pie, Mama." Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that we're supposed to give to those who are less fortunate.

~As I mentioned in this post, my sister's husband is getting ready to deploy to Kuwait. Her children are 11 and 8. When we visit, they love to play with Uncle R. CJ was jealous at first, but I explained that her cousins don't have their dad right now, and they need someone to help fill that void. The next time we went back, CJ took a back seat & hung out with me while her Daddy played with them. She watched them & remarked, "Mama, I'm glad Daddy can play with them. It's good for them." Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that we shouldn't be selfish, and to put others' needs ahead of our own.

~When we go to the grocery store, she always grabs any stray carts she finds in the parking lot & brings them in. If she's putting our cart up, she gets the loose ones & puts them up, too. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me to have a better attitude about cleaning up the messes other people sometimes leave...whether physical or emotional.

~Recently, we were leaving a store & saw a mother & young child coming toward the door. They were far enough away that I kept walking toward the car. CJ stopped & waited so she could hold the door open for them. Thank you, Lord, for showing me that I need to have a servant's heart.

~This morning, when I took her into day camp, she pointed out the memory verse for the week, and told me she'd gotten in right on the first try. Thank you, Lord, for convicting me that I need to spend more time hiding your word in my heart.

~ When we entered the camp room, all of the counselors were so excited to see her. There was a chorus of cheers & "hoorays" because she was back...from the COUNSELORS. Later, the director made a point to tell me that they love having CJ there. Thank you, Lord, for encouraging me that we're raising our daughter to honor you, and for giving her such a fun & sweet spirit.

And, Lord, when she whines, disobeys & gets sassy, remind me of these good things again! I'm sure I'll need it!

July 19, 2006

13 Songs I Love


1. Respect by Aretha Franklin. When CJ was a baby, I'd crank this song up & dance around the living room with her. Whenever we hear it now, we both sing as loud as we can!

2. She's Gone by Hall & Oates. I like pretty much all of their music...but this one's a classic.

3. Small Town by John Mellencamp. Reminds me of home.

4. Ain't Too Proud to Beg by the Temptations. Can ANYONE resist the urge to dance when ths song comes on?!

5. He's Funny That Way by Billie Holiday. Love. Love. LOVE. her voice!

6. The River by Bruce Springsteen. The man can write a song! The lyrics of this one pierce my heart.

7. Mad About You by Belinda Carlisle. Takes me back to college days.

8. At Last by Etta James. What a great love song!

9. You Look Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. R & I danced to it almost every night while we were dating. (The dancing magically stopped once we got married)

10. You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler. My dad & I danced to this song at my wedding. I chose it because it there was no better way to describe our relationship.

11. What a Wonderful World it Would Be by Sam Cook. Such a great little ditty.

12. The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. Another amazing love song.

13. Another Sinatra classic...but Nancy, instead of Frank. These Boots are Made for Walking. Love EVERYTHING about this song. It's the 60's at their best. Full of kitsch & fun. This song never fails to bring a smile to my face!

These are only a few of the many songs you'd hear me sing along with, IF we ever meet & IF one of them came on the radio. I don't use a hair brush and stand in front of the mirror anymore, but I can still get loud enough to embarrass you. Just ask my DH ;0


With all the goings'-on in my house, sometimes I don't unload the dishwasher for a day or so (shocker, I know!). There just isn't time. And, depending on what we're doing, sometimes it takes a couple of days to create a full load of dishes to wash.

Inevitably, my husband or my daughter would put a dirty glass in with the CLEAN dishes (UGH!), or think a DIRTY glass was clean and use it (EEWW!) Then I read this tip somewhere (I think Fly Lady), and it's really worked.

The minute all of the clean dishes are unloaded, I put a dish tab in the washer. This signals that any dishes inside HAVEN'T been washed yet. If the detergent compartment is open, we know the cycle has already run & we have clean dishes.

It works for me! If you want other great WFMW tips, visit Shannon's website. She's made it easier for us to flip thru all the wonderful ideas!

July 18, 2006

The Master Carpenter

“And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” Ephesians 2:22

When I really ponder this verse, I realize the true magnificence of God’s work in our lives. In this passage (Eph. 2:11-22), Paul is telling the Gentiles that God has removed the barriers between them and the Israelites, and that with Christ as the Cornerstone, He is building the Church to be His temple. Then, Verse 22! In Jesus, I am being built together to become the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit! Construction is a long & often painful process (this I know first-hand!). As I imagine God building me together, I remember how painstakingly and lovingly R built our home. He made sure we had a strong foundation. Sometimes, he had to force the walls to be straighter, or remove nails & put them somewhere else so that the frame would be stronger. He spackled nail holes. He wrapped everything in Tyvek before the bricks were laid, as an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Isn’t that just like God? He gives us that strong foundation in Jesus. At times, He has to bend us to make us straighter & more holy. He removes trials from our lives, and sometimes gives us new ones that will only make us stronger. He covers our sins and our hurts with Holy spackle. Most importantly, he wraps Himself around us as protection from this often harsh world. AMEN!

God is building me with His own hands. I may not like the process, and I may question why He chooses to do certain things one way rather than the way I would have chosen. Still, by faith I can know that the Architect sees the finished product, and it’s all good. What freedom!

Every time I pull into our driveway, I realize how blessed I am to have a husband who chose to build such a solid & beautiful home for our family. When I pull into Glory, how much more will I be blessed when I see the handiwork of the Master Carpenter -- the solid & beautiful temple He built in my life! Praise You, Jesus!

July 14, 2006

Time to Get Violent

I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm facilitating The Virtuous Woman by Vicki Courtney at my home this summer. It's been amazing to get to know some women in my life even better. God has really blessed our time together. Last night, our topic was being a woman of wisdom. As we discussed the Godly & wise women in our lives, I was floored to hear one of the ladies say that she looked up to ME as a wise woman & felt she'd learned a lot from me. I was quick to tell her that it was God, and not me she was seeing. Tears immediately filled my eyes. Although I've been hoping for a while that God would use me to minister to women, I couldn't believe I was hearing someone say that. I thought I would be filled with joy. I wasn't. I mean, I know what I'm like. I live with me 24/7. I know who I am (and who I'm not). Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Melissa, the Pharisee. Melissa, the hyprocrite. Melissa, the sin-filled, self-indulgent, cold-hearted, mean-spirited...well, I don't have enough time to list all the adjectives that would properly describe me. By the way, "wise" ISN'T one of them.

This morning, God gently, but firmly, let me know why I was feeling so convicted. I've been using Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge as my devotional (great book, I HIGHLY recommend it). In today's chapter, "The Secret of Violence", Sorge states:

It's easy to confuse natural zeal with spiritual violence. Some people display incredible zeal for God - in the way they worship or share their faith or attend Bible studies. But if it's a natural zeal, it's a zeal that lasts only as long as others are watching. When that person is alone with God, the zeal fizzles, and the intense level of activity suddenly collapses. Natural zeal must be exchanged for true spiritual fervency - a zeal that is energized by an inward, holy fire that burns even when no one is looking.

Well, I was totally undone after reading that. I couldn't have seen myself any clearer if I'd been staring in a full-length mirror (which I never do!). I know how to worship. I know how to teach Sunday School. I know how to facilitate a Bible study. Reading the Bible and books about the Bible interests me. I love to attain knowledge. But do I have spiritual fervency? Do I forsake everything else to seek God?

As Sorge writes:

One of the most violent things you'll ever do is wrestle down all the competing elements in your calendar and consistently carve out the time to shut yourself into the secret place.

At times, I'm overwhelmed by my calendar. I shared in this blog, there are too many things to do. As Beth Moore has said, one of Satan's greatest tools is the captivity of activity. Am I willing to wrestle some things to the ground so that I can have time with God and truly become a wise woman?

You know, it's not that hard to put on a face & play the part, at church or in the blogging world. It's actually pretty easy to LOOK like I'm running after God with everything I have. But I don't want to settle for looks anymore. God isn't deceived. More than anything, I want to be genuine. I want people to know what they're really seeing, instead of whatever I put out there for them to see. And what I want them to see is JESUS...because there's not one shred of good in me. If that means I have to be downright nasty with Satan, he can bring it on. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

Beloved, I'm ready to get violent...are you?

Fantabulous Friday

Time again to thank the Lord for one amazing person/place or thing that impacted my life this past week. Before I do...thanks to Shannon for the wonderful banner!

One thing I'm very thankful for is that I was able to spend some time with my sister & her two children on Sunday. We live 45 minutes apart, and our schedules keep us from being in contact as much as we'd like. H's husband, G., has been activated thru the National Guard, and is getting ready to deploy for Kuwait. He just got back from Iraq in December 2004, and was called again in April of this year. He's been out-of-state since April, & is headed overseas at the end of this month. Though R & I can't come close to filling the void in the lives of H & her children, we are blessed to be able to spend time with them, and just love on them while G.'s gone.

Thank you, Lord, for family. I praise you for the friendship that H & I share, and for the love our children have for each other. I ask you to protect G. while he is gone. Please protect H & her children as well. Lord, help my family to be faithful to them during their time of need, and minister to them however possible. Help me not take my family for granted. Thank you for the time you give us to spend together. Amen.

If you have a Fantabulous Friday to share, let me know. Feel free to use the banner, too! Let's give the Lord some SERIOUS PRAISE!
Stole this from Bev's blog.

Friday's Feast #102

Appetizer: Name one nice thing that you could do for someone else today?

I like to send postcards to my church family. I'm going to carve out some time this afternoon to do that.

Soup: When was the last time you were frightened by the weather?

Hurricane Isabel (September 2003). We had just moved into our home, and a tree fell right on top of our front porch, taking out our railings & poking a small hole in our ceiling. We were blessed...we had friends who fared much worse than we did.

Salad: What would you say is the most useful website or blog that you visit?

Food Network. I can look at my favorite shows & see what they're cooking...and print the recipies (or put them in my recipe box on the site). Also LifeWay has great ministry tips, etc.

Main Course: Who was your favorite singer/group when you were a child?

When I was in elementary school, it was Olivia Newton John. I would spend hours in front of my mirror, hairbrush in hand, singing (or lip syncing) "Hopelessly Devoted to You" & some of her other songs. I also loved the Bee Gees, and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (though I still haven't seen the movie!)

Dessert: Do you have any rituals? If so, what are they?

My morning routine is probably the closest thing I have to a ritual. Between getting myself ready & getting CJ ready...it's far too involved to list. Also, on the Sunday morning drive to Church, I always put a worship CD in to prepare my heart for Sunday School & worship.

This is the first feast I've done. It was pretty fun!

July 13, 2006

Thursday 13

~ I've been married 13 years. We've walked thru the fires together, but I really wouldn't change it. He's my bestest friend, and I love him so!

~ R's softball jersey is Number 12. Actually, it's also been his basketball jersey number. He chose it for the 12 tribes of Israel & the 12 disciples.

~ We've been a part of our church family for 11 years.

~ I've lost 10 pounds since April. Hard work, this diet & exercise thing!

~ 9 women I'd really like to meet (but probably never will, at least on earth): Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Whelchel, Boomama, Bev, Addie, Reese Witherspoon, the Women of Faith team (I'm sneaking them all in under one category!) & Giada De Laurentiis.

~I have 8 sets of dishes. Seriously. If you're asking "What's up with that?!" you can rest assured, R wonders the same thing!

~ Much to her dismay, CJ is only 7 years old. She's ready to grow up, while we're desperately trying to stop her!

~ There are 6 pictures of CJ in my office.

~ I own 5 Vera Bradley bags. I'm fighting the urge to collect more, but it's so darn hard!

~ We leave for vacation in 4 weeks & I can't wait!

~ In September, I'm going to see Lisa Whelchel for the 3rd time. I may even hunt her down & tell her I've met her friend Sarah in the blogosphere!

~ I pass thru 2 stoplights on my way to work. Oh, the joys of small town life!

~ There's only 1 Savior & Lord, and 1 way to Heaven... and His name is JESUS!

July 12, 2006

Bedtime Conversation

Many of the blogs I read are from moms with children in the middle of the "why" years. With CJ going into third grade (WOW...still can't believe that!), I thought we were well past all that. Oh, boy was I wrong!

Bedtime conversation in our house last night:

CJ: Mom, when people get married, why do they start kissing with their mouths open?

Me (scrambling to get out the door as quick as my size 8's would carry me): They just do. I love you. Now go to sleep!

Admittedly, I'm a coward. But I'm NOT READY for this!

Works for Me Wednesday - My Palm :-)

I'm SO not technically savvy! Heck, I just got a digital camera in May. Keeping up with the latest & greatest technology isn't my thing. But life got crazy last fall. I was pushing my gray matter to the limit, trying to remember all the things I was forgetting. I started seriously thinking about a PDA (not sure what PDA stands for...see how UN-SAVVY I am?). I looked around, and almost got one, but didn't want to spend the money. So, I waited. Boy, am I glad I did! Palm came out with this little ditty, the Z22 handheld:

Ain't it just the cutest thing? It's a VERY USER-FRIENDLY PDA. It's a calendar, address book, reminder, calculator & even plays games. You can even use it for your shopping list. My favorite features are: (1) color-coded entries...so I can immediately look at see what each family member is doing (I even have colors for ministry, business & personal for myself!). (2) I can type everything in on my desktop & sync...no having to enter everything on the tiny keypad (just things that pop up while I'm away from home). and (3) For under $100...it was WELL WORTH IT. Heck, I even ordered in on-line, so I didn't have to hunt for it in the stores. (I promise, I'm not getting any commission from Palm for this plug!)

It works for me!

If you've done a WFMW, add a comment to let me know so I can check it out. You can visit Shannon for the main WFMW page.

July 11, 2006

The Light Bulb Finally Came On...

My previous post is an ABC Meme that Boomama tagged me for. The "I" category was for "insomnia". While I have, on occasion, suffered from insomnia (mostly induced by a crying child who WOULDN'T let me sleep), for the past two weeks, I've been much more tired than usual. I think it all started with the 4-day weekend I had for the 4th of July. While we did some fun things, I also slept entirely too much. I don't think I've stopped yawning since.

Of course, part of it may be because I can't remember the last time I had a cup of coffee. Now, I love coffee, but it's been TOO BLESS-ED HOT here to drink any. I've been relying on Diet Mountain Dew, but it's just not the same.

But I think the truth is, I'm trying to do way too much because there's just so much good stuff to do. Besides my job & my part-time job (which I've let slide more than I should lately), there's housecleaning (woefully behind! Seems I'm not alone...see this post from Shannon), exercising, teaching Sunday School, leading a Bible study, the "Captivating" blog study (another thing I'm behind on), and another book I'm trying to finish before I have to return it. Somewhere in there, I'm also trying to be a wife and mother. Whew...a wave of exhaustion just swept over me as I read through that list!

God really spoke to my heart this morning while I was working on my Bible Study ("The Virtuous Woman" by Vicki Courtney). This week's focus is on wisdom. I have to start asking God for wisdom in my daily life. Obviously I'm trying to do too much. (That's probably true for most of us.) There are lots of good things to do, but am I really doing them for Him and to His Glory? I think I already know the answer to that. Something's gotta give, and I need to ask Him for the wisdom to know what it is.

In the meantime, one of my closest friends is a doctor...so I'm going to ask her to start an IV of Diet Mountain Dew ;-)

July 9, 2006

ABC Meme

Boomama tagged me for this. It's the first time I've been tagged ;-)

Accent: Well, I don't think I have one! But anyone north of DC would surely disagree. BTW, I wish I had a "Bahstan" accent ("Pahk ya cahr in Haavad yahd.") Love it.

Bible Book that I like: I like them all (okay...all the ones that I've read). If I had to pick just one, it would be Luke. I really like the way Luke told the stories of Jesus in such detail. I can almost picture everything as it happened.

Chore I don't care for: I'm with Boomama on this one...cleaning the bathrooms. It was one of my weekly chores growing up, and now I have an aversion to it.

Dog or Cat: Dog

Essential Electronics: Computer, cell phone & Palm.

Favorite Movie: I'm a sucker for chick-flicks. "Sweet Home Alabama", "You've Got Mail", "Sleepless in Seattle", & "When Harry Met Sally" are all faves. I also adore "Second Hand Lions". If you haven't seen that one, rent it quick. It's a great story.

Gold or Silver: Silver

Handbag I Carry Most Often: Right now, it's a Vera Bradley bucket tote in the breast-cancer awareness pattern for this year. In September, it will be my new VB backpack in a brown & blue paisley.

Insomnia: Not even a little bit.

Job Title: Full-time Paralegal & part-time Southern Living at Home consultant. Those are the jobs I receive monetary compensation for. The most rewarding jobs are wife, mother & friend.

Kids: 1 girl - 7 1/2 years old.

Living Arrangements: R built our new home 3 years ago. We're in a neighborhood built around a pond. When I look across the street, I see the pond. When I go out on the back porch (it's DONE!), I see a corn field. Pretty interesting, quiet spot to live...and we love it. In case you haven't guessed...we're in a small town.

Most Memorable Moment: Last fall, we took CJ to the beach for a local festival. After we walked around, ate, and played putt-putt, we took a blanket out on the beach & watched fireworks over the ocean. CJ said, "This is the best day of my life." I don't think I'll ever forget that as long as I live.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: Once, my brother & I found a bottle of iodine. He had the bright idea to pour it over my hand & tell my parents I'd cut myself. My mother nearly fainted. My dad failed to see the humor in our prank. I wonder why?

Phobia: Snakes!

Overnight Hospital Stays: Maybe 3 as a child for kidney problems. 3 as an adult, too.

Quote: Maya Angelou: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song."

Religion: There's a book entitled "More Jesus, Less Religion." That's what we all need.

Siblings: Older brother & younger sister.

Time I Wake Up: Somewhere between 6:15 & 8:30, depending on what day it is (and what time I went to bed).

Unusual Talent: None that I can think of.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Butter beans (for non-Southerners, that would be lima beans)

Worst Habit: I procrastinate like crazy. I have a terrible habit of stacking things, rather than putting them away. And, I'm always reading 3 books at one time!

X-rays: Yep. Even more ultrasounds, though.

Yummy Stuff I Cook: R loves my homemade spaghetti sauce.

Zoo Animal I Like Most: I'm more of a Sea World gal.

WHEW! That was long! I tag Rebekah, Amanda & Kelli.

The Biggest Loser

One of our family' summer traditions is softball. For the past 12 summers, R has played on our men's team. I prefer gabbing with the other players' wives...but we all try to make sure we see our men in at least one play so that on the ride home we can each dutifully say, "Wow, honey...that was a great hit/catch/play." The men, of course, are happy & clueless to the fact that we didn't see the entire game!

You know the fellowship is good, because the wives and children travel 45 minutes to watch the guys play. Yep...45 minutes there & 45 minutes home. Although the games start in late April, CJ & I don't go until school's out. So we didn't get to a game until late in June. Our team lost that night.

Several years ago, I dreaded the ride home after we lost a game. But R's mellowed (translation, gotten older) and losing's not SO much of a big deal anymore. Not so for CJ. The minute we got in the car, she said "You guys stink! I'm not coming to any more of your games!"

Funny thing was, that was the first loss of the season. It's still the only loss. But, CJ couldn't accept that R's team was any good because she'd only seen them lose. At first, I laughed at CJ's comment because it seemed so ridiculous. Then I started thinking...

How many times do I look like a "loser" to others? I lose my temper. I lose control. I lose my patience. I just LOSE IT. And no matter how many times I've read my Bible, prayed, served God, or just gotten it right...those people who just saw me lose will find it hard to believe that I'm not a LOSER. Sure, I know I'm a winner because of Jesus. I know I will finish the race in Heaven. I know He forgives every time I ask Him (Praise you, Sweet Jesus!). But do they? Can they believe I'm a winner if they've only seen me lose?

If we don't have a summer evening thunderstorm Tuesday night, CJ & I will be able to watch R play again. I really hope they win. Who knows what my precious daughter will say if they don't!

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run is such a way that you may win." -1 Corinthians 9:24

July 8, 2006

The Good Stuff

Much to R's chagrin, I like country music. Come to think of it, I like almost any kind of music that he doesn't. It's always been hard for us to agree on a radio station. Typical scene in our car:

Me: "Oh, I LOVE this song! Turn it up!"
R: NOT SAYING A WORD, just looking at me like I've grown a third eyeball in the middle of my forehead.


R: "That's a great song. Leave it there."
Me: "Are you kidding me? Well, okay." Pause for 2 minutes..."I've had all of that I can take." C-L-I-C-K.

You get the picture.

Okay, back to the point. There is one. I promise.

I really like the song by Kenny Chesney, "The Good Stuff".

It's that first long kiss on the 2nd date, Mama's home worried 'cause you come in late.
Dropping the ring in the spaghetti plate, 'cause your hands are shaking so much.
It's the way that she looks with the rice in her hair. Eatin' burnt dinners that whole first year.
And asking for seconds, just to keep her from tearing up. Yeah, man, that's the good stuff.

CJ went to my parents last night (that 10 minutes down the road thing has its advantages!) R & I were able to meet some old friends for dinner, at a restaurant on a river. We sat on the deck and ate seafood, wrapped up in music from a boat docked below us & great conversation. It was relaxing, serene & just plain fun. It was good.

But later, we came home & I turned on the music channel. "Singers and Standards". We can actually agree on that one (well, he accepts it in small doses). We curled up on the sofa listening to "Embraceable You", "The Nearness of You", and others. Eyes closed. Holding hands. Drinking in the moment of just us & some timeless music. I looked over at R & thought, "I get to do this for the rest of my life."

Yeah, man, that's the good stuff!

July 7, 2006

Getting REAL

I've been blogging for 2 weeks now. I'm having such a great time...getting to know great people like Boomama, Bev, Addie, Sarah, Kelli, Rebekah, Amanda and Shannon (who made me a FANTABULOUS FRIDAY BANNER...which was so sweet!). It's been a present from Jesus to find ladies all across the country who I have so much in common with. I told someone in a post today, if I never meet any of these ladies here, I'm definitely looking them up in Heaven!

This morning, God spoke to my heart about this whole blogging adventure. I've been guilty of trying to impress anyone who would read my blog. I SO want to be as funny as Boomama, as soulful as Sarah, and as wise as Bev. But, the truth is, I'm just not. I wish I could type something so clever that people would spew Diet Coke (isn't that the drink of choice in the blogosphere?) over their screens. That they would laugh uncontrollably & anxiously wait to see what I would come up with next. I wish I had a friend like Lisa Whelchel who would think I was Godly enough to link me to her website so that thousands of people would tune into my blog. I wish I could be kind-hearted and encouraging. I wish, I wish, I wish.

But God has reminded me that I AM fearfully & wonderfully made. It's okay to be exactly who I am, and not worry about impressing anyone. My worth is found in Him... & Him alone. He created me exactly how He planned. My job is to find out what He wants to do with me.

So, fellow bloggers...I'm apologizing. Not for who I am (or who I'm not), but for envying some of you. For being jealous of your blogging popularity. For maybe pretending, just a little bit, to be someone different. It's easy to put on a blogging mask & create the person I WANT to be. Then I remember, it's about who HE WANTS me to be.

Night, all.


Alright, blogging world...it's time for FANTABULOUS FRIDAY! Time to give praise to our Father for one FANTABULOUS person/place or thing that has impacted your life this week. Now, if I were as techno-savvy as Boomama or Shannon, I'd get a header going on this. BUT. I'M. NOT. So, I'm leaving that to someone else, if this thing takes off. And I hope it does, really...because we should be giving praise to our Lord. I don't know about you, but I think I'd run and hide under my bed if I heard some rocks start crying out (flashback to every time the trees started talking in "The Wizard of Oz"...but that's another story!).

So, without further adieu...

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that CJ & I were able to spend a day at the beach with friends! Even though I'm as fair-skinned as they come and would rather have been at the mountains (read # 6 on this Thursday 13), it was wonderful to CJ have such a great time playing in the waves. I always have a blast watching her enjoy herself. And boy, did she ever! And it was peaceful to sit under the umbrella and just listen to the ocean...a reminder of God's great power. Still, I'm ready for snow :-)

Okay...I'm ready to hear what the rest of you have to say. Leave me a comment with your blog page so I can hop over to read it!

July 6, 2006

As a matter of fact, she is...

As I read different posts from everyone & see how many of you have lots of kids (some of you, LOTS of kids!), I'm compelled to answer the question that you MAY be asking or maybe you're not asking at all & I just THINK you are. Because in my "real" life, people still ask this question. YES...CJ's an only child.

We didn't plan to have an only child. God made that decision. After struggling to get pregnant, we had a miscarriage. Finally, after much physical & spiritual healing, we were able to get pregnant again. During my 5th month of pregnancy, my appendix ruptured. Of course, the doctors couldn't x-ray because of the pregnancy...but I'm convinced that an x-ray would've shown the hand of God protecting CJ inside my womb. Despite the odds, she arrived safely and perfectly healthy. She's been the joy of my life & the apple of R's eye ever since.

When CJ was 2, my health problems began. Long story short (and to spare you all the gory details), we can't have any more children. And we're fine with that. When it was all said and done, my doctor was amazed that we even had CJ. I wasn't. We've never doubted that God wants CJ here, and He has a plan for her life.

I'll be honest...there are days I wish CJ had a sibling, because I've loved having a brother and sister ~ most of the time. It would be nice to have more little feet running around. I think it was Bill Cosby who said that people with one child don't qualify as parents because they miss out on so much strife. I know he was joking, but sometimes I can't help but feel that people agree with him & that they judge us for having only CJ. And that's not fair. They just don't know. Still, it hurts.

I envy those of you who have more kids to love. But, I see how blessed I am to have only one child sometimes. Only one car to buy, one college tuition, and one wedding to pay for. No arguing over the back seat. No "He's hitting me!". Three is a good number for our family. It suits us. As always, God knew what He was doing!

Thanks for listening.

13 Random Facts About Me

Since I'm new to the blogging world, thought I'd give you all 13 random facts about me. So here goes, whether you're interested or not...

1. I've lived in the same town since I was 6. In high school, I planned to move to Boston and grace my parents with my presence at Christmas every year. They're 10 minutes down the road from me. I came home after college, met R. & never left. I can still remember how it felt to eat all those words!

2. I love to read. Really. REALLY. REEE-LY. In fact, once I start a book, I can hardly put it down. Dee Henderson's O'Malley series had me up til 3:00 a.m. on more than one occasion. My favorite book ever is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I've read it probably 10 times.

3. I'm collecting "Frasier", "M*A*S*H" and "The West Wing" on DVD. Favorite line from M*A*S*H:

Col. Flagg: Hey, up close, you're a guy.
Klinger: Far away, too.

Gets me every time!

4. In addition to my full-time job as a paralegal, I'm a consultant for Southern Living at Home.

5. I was an outspoken agnostic/athiest until I was 25. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 28, while reading the story of David and Jonathan (1 Sam. 18:1-4). I was struck by Jonathan, the prince, giving David his beautiful robe and taking David's dirty one. I finally saw that Christ did the same for me.

6. I'd rather go to the mountains than the beach. If you saw my fair skin, you'd understand why.

7. I have a thing for roller coasters. Seriously. Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens is my all-time favorite.

8. My favorite Old Testament book is Jeremiah. Favorite Gospel is Luke. Favorite Bible story is the woman at the well (John 4).

9. If I could go back in time and meet one person (other than Jesus, who I'm going to meet one day anyway!), it would be Thomas Jefferson.

10. I love football and basketball. Not to play...just to watch (although R did recently teach me how to throw football in a less "girly" fashion).

11. An entry in my high school journal states that I want to marry a man with dark brown hair and green eyes. Whadda' you know...I did :-)

12. I'm horrible at geography. There's a scene in Sleepless in Seattle that sums it up:

Sam - Oklahoma. Do you know where Oklahoma is?
Jonah - Somewhere in the middle?

That, my friends, would be me!

13. The person I most want to meet in Heaven (again, other than Jesus) is Peter. I can relate to that man. Oh, and Martha ~ how could she be too busy to sit at Jesus' feet?! Oops...I do the same thing, so maybe I shouldn't ask her that...

July 5, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday- Chore Chart

Actually, I owe this bright idea to my sister. But, since she used to steal lots of my stuff without asking, I decided to return the favor!

We've always struggled with getting CJ (age 7 1/2) to do her chores each week. Now, we have a DAILY chore chart that stays on the fridge. Each day, she's responsible for things such as making bed, emptying back pack, and checking living room (which means getting all of her stuff out). Then, she has one "big" chore 4 days a week (cleaning room, emptying trash cans, etc.).

CJ likes checking her chart each day when she gets home. By breaking it into small increments, she realizes that it's easier to get things done. So far, it's been wonderful.

Destroying our Destroyer

“I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” --Joshua 7:12

For nearly two decades, I had admired a house in my town. I’ve been struck by the beautiful facade and the well-manicured lawn. Even though I’ve never seen the interior, I always imagined it to be spectacular. Then a client purchased the house. He brought an inspection report to my office. The list of defects was three pages long. Pictures revealed extensive structural damage, primarily because of termites. This beautiful house was severely affected because the enemy attacking it wasn’t destroyed.

God promised Joshua that He would deliver Jericho into Israel’s hands. When Joshua was instructing his army how to fight, he gave a clear command that all of the silver, gold, bronze and iron were to go into the Lord’s treasury. Israel was not to keep any portion of the “devoted things”, no matter how small. Achan did not obey the command, and the Lord became angry. He ordered Joshua to find the offender and destroy him. Achan had been warned, yet he still invited destruction upon his household. His family was forced from camp and stoned to death.

At times, I’ve not only disregarded God’s warnings (or the warnings of Godly people), but I’ve practically given Satan an engraved invitation to destroy me. Thankfully, he can’t respond to the invitation unless My Father gives him a permission slip. Praise the Lord, He has saved me from myself too many times to count! He is faithful to His Word: “ ’I am with you and will save you’, declares the Lord… ‘I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’ ” (Jeremiah 30:11). He has not allowed me to be destroyed, but I have been disciplined as a result of my own choices.

As believers in Christ, we can be assured that He will not leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). However, we will not be able to enjoy the fullness of His presence unless we start implementing some serious damage control. Could an abusive marriage or unhealthy friendship be leading us down the path of destruction? What sins are eating away at the foundation of our relationships with our spouses, children, and friends, not to mention our relationship with Jesus – pride, lust, greed, lack of self-control? Dressing in our finest and putting on our mask of Christianity may fool those around us, but God knows what’s eating away at our hearts. He wants our lives to be as strong on the inside as they look from the outside. Beloved, we have to put on the armor of God and take up our sword (Eph. 6:13-18). It’s time to stand up and destroy whatever among us is devoted to destruction. Let’s not settle for hurting our enemy…let’s totally obliterate him! Chances are, we will struggle with a painful demolition process. But, like Nehemiah, we will find our God to be a faithful rebuilder. Praise His Name!

July 2, 2006

Captivating: Chapters 1 - 3

Before I start, a note. I haven't read what anyone else in the group has to say yet. I wanted to get my own thoughts down before I start considering what the rest of the group thinks. So, these are my first-blush observations. Take them for what they're worth...

I just finished reading the first three chapters of "Captivating", and I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. First, I've disagreed with a lot of what the authors have said. A LOT. I also don't appreciate their constant imploring...trying to get me to agree with their statements by asking all those confounded QUESTIONS (particularly in Chapter 3)! I had to fight the urge to throw the book across the room and say, "Enough already! I should've never committed to read this book!"

Okay...calming down, now. Since this is about the first 3 chapters, I'm going to try to make it short. (My husband would probably roll his eyes at that one. Once I get on my soapbox, it usually takes an act of God to get me off.)

Chapter One
I agree, women are tired. Not because we're trying to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, but because we're knocking ourselves out to measure up to the world's ideal woman. I guess I'm tuned into that because of the Bible study I'm facilitating, The Virtuous Woman: Shattering the Superwoman Myth by Vicki Courtney. I recently posed this question to our group: "Is it harder to measure up to God's version of the ideal woman, or to the world's?" Most of us felt it's easier to be God's ideal woman, or at least strive to be, because HE does the work! Trying to be the world's ideal woman is a waste of time & energy for most of us, and unsatisfying for all of us.

Women do like to be romanced. I'm a die-hard chick-flick kinda' gal. I'm a sucker for Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies. I love that God wired us that way. And, yeah, some days I wonder what He was thinking when He didn't give men (more specifically, my man) more of a clue on that subject. Still, one truth He's shown me over & over again...in all areas of my life...is that when there's a void, HE wants to fill it with HIMSELF! Not that I always remember that, or am happy about it. Sometimes, it would be wonderful if R would just open the car door for me, for Pete's sake! But, people fail us. They don't plan to. They don't want to. Maybe they don't even know they're doing it. That's when we have to take our needs to God & ask Him to meet them, or show us that they're really not that important. Again, not that I always stop to do this (women are, after all, emotional creatures!). But it sure makes life sweeter when I do.

There's more I could say, but I need to move on.

Chapter Two

I don't agree that Eve is the crown of creation. God didn't need to create woman. He wanted to. And maybe we need to see God's beauty every day. Personally, I also need to see His power every day. Overall, I felt John & Stasi were saying that woman is more important than man, because she was created last and she's supposed to be so beautiful. I don't buy into that. We came from man. As women, we're important to God (certainly we were important to Jesus while He was on earth) and we can minister differently than men because we have a completely different make up. But I just don't subscribe to the statement that we're the crowing glory of creation. God doesn't need me to be His crowning glory...He's got that one handled without little old me!

Chapter Three

Here's where the questions really started to bug me. I have a life of romance. True, R may not open the car door, and he stopped buying flowers as soon as he said, "I do". But, 13 years after the vows, he still comes home to me. He provides for our family. He still tells me he loves me. Yeah, I still come home from work to do laundry & cook dinner. I haven't found a way to avoid cleaning the bathrooms yet. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. My marriage may not be the Hollywood-manufactured type of romance, but it's certainly a testimony of faithfulness and servanthood, patience and love, mercy and grace.

I've also had a particularly dark period in my life when no one seemed to be available (see pg. 44). I was lonely. What God taught me was that I was relying on everyone but Him, and He wanted some one-on-one time with me. I tend to rely on people for validation. But when I start to look to them more than I look to Him, He brings me back to that place. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now...

Lastly, I really disagree with the whole dominant/desolate thing. Maybe we're prone to be one of those two ends of the spectrum, but I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle & it could change on any given day. It just seems that John & Stasi feel we're trapped in these personas and there's no way out. My question is, "Where is the Holy Spirit?" Maybe that answer's coming in the next chapters. I hope so...

July 1, 2006

A Model of Imperfection

I made a mistake a few days ago. Honestly, I can't remember what it was (okay, before you go thinking that I think I don't make mistakes...I'm just saying I can't remember this particular mistake). I know it was something insignificant to me, but not to CJ. I told her I'd made a mistake & that people, in general, make mistakes. As serious and pretty as you please, she responded, "But I thought you were perfect, Mom."

I'm still trying to figure out if her comment was made out of genuine admiration for me (the kind of admiration that's usually reserved for her Daddy), or if she was being sarcastic. I'm afraid to ask, because I don't think I'd like either answer.

Although there are times I'd like nothing more than for CJ to think I'm just super, I never want her thinking I'm perfect. First, I'd fall off that pedestal faster than I run away from snakes (seriously, read this week's Thursday Thirteen!) I don't want that pressure, and I don't want to disappoint her any more than I'm sure I already have ~ and will in the future. The only model I can be for CJ is an imperfect one. But that's okay. At least I'm trying to tell myself it's okay. As much as I would like to do this whole "mothering" thing RIGHT, be a Stepford wife, and a Beth Moore clone, I'll never get there. Even though I plead with God incessantly to at least give me a LITTLE SMIDGEN of any of those things! Still, CJ needs to know that perfection stopped in Eden, but grace carries us to Heaven. HA-LE-LU-JAH!

On the other hand, CJ's comment could have been pure sarcasm (and that's a good bet, considering her parents). And that makes me wonder, have I projected to her that I think I'm perfect? In the depths of my insecurities, have I overcompensated to the point that I try to portray myself as the perfect parent/wife/woman?

One thing's for certain, no matter how CJ intended her response, the Holy Spirit used her (AGAIN) to lead me thru some deep, uncomfortable soul searching. Am I satisfied with the person God created me to be? Am I striving to be the woman He's called me to be? To be perfectly candid, I don't know. And that's scarier than the snake on my front porch.