April 30, 2008

My Life in 6 Words?

Saw this at Alana's and several other places. A six-word memoir of my life.

A blasphemer, forgiven. A woman, loved.

I think we're supposed to tag 5 folks. Let's see what Jill, Lisa, Joanne, Lauren, and Chris have to say.

April 28, 2008

Prayer Request

The tornado that passed through southeast Virginia yesterday hit just 30 minutes away from my home. I have several friends who work in that area and were there when it hit. Their buildings that were damaged, but they are okay. Praise God, there are no fatalities listed yet!

Please pray for those affected. The clean-up is going to be a long, arduous process. Over 100 homes are totally destroyed, and many more damaged. More than 200 injuries (the hospital was hit, but stayed open to receive patients).

And please pray that God's people will join together to accomplish His work and reach out to those in need. May we glorify His Name through this tragedy.

April 27, 2008

Weekend Recap

What a great weekend.

~CJ's softball team won Friday. It was a gorgeous night to be outside, and we had a fantastic time.

~CJ & I had a very successful trip to the garden center. We brought back lots of pretties, which I'll proudly show off on June 13th

~I finished reading The Appeal by John Grisham, and can resume my Spring Reading Thing reading. (I'd been on the wait list at the library for months, and had to take it when I could get it). It wasn't my favorite Grisham book, but still a pretty good read.

~I'm now a St. Louis Rams fan

Not only is Chris Long a tremendous athlete, he's a class act. Listening to the announcers at the NFL draft praise him for his actions off the football field, I was even more proud that he played at my alma mater. He's represented UVA well, and we will miss him next year. (As CJ said yesterday, "How are we going to win without him?")

~Did you know Paul Revere never shouted, "The British are coming!" He quietly told people, "The British regulars are coming out!" Also, he didn't see the 2 lanterns in the Old North Church, though he did arrange for the signal. As you can tell, the history project is finished! I'm hoping it's the last one of the year. (We've had 6 school projects this year!)

Hope your weekend was wonderful, too.

April 25, 2008

Catching My Breath

T.G.I.F. More specifically, T.G.I.F. and I'm going to be home this weekend! I've been gone the past two, and my house is suffering. I'm looking forward to a weekend spent mostly at home.

CJ has her first softball game tonight. Tomorrow morning is plant shopping. Sunday, of course, is church (and teaching Sunday School). The only other item on our agenda is a history project on Paul Revere. I'm planning to get things cleaned up and back to (somewhat) normal.

Since I made a conscious effort to slow down and simplify, I've found that I can't keep up the rat-race pace anymore. I used to flit around all the time, busy with whatever and rarely spending an entire Saturday at home. It didn't bother me that my house was a wreck and laundry was everywhere.

Now, I can't handle it. I've got to do something about it (unless I'm curled up on the couch with a good book...ahem).

I'm behind on everything, even my reading for the Lux Venit Reading Group. But I hope to catch my breath this weekend, and post my thoughts on Chapters 4 & 5 by Monday. (By the way, I just won a book from Leslie @ Lux Venit! God is outdoing Himself these days!)

In the meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy a hot dog at the ballpark, the 75° weather, a stroll through my favorite garden center, and putting my house back in order.

Have a great weekend.

April 23, 2008

I'm All Aquiver!

Look what I just ordered! (click on each cover to find out more)

Thanks to a couple of gift cards, a coupon & free shipping, I didn't break my commitment!

I can tell you that four months ago, I wouldn't have been nearly as excited as I am about this order. If a book struck my fancy, I bought it without a second thought. I knew committing not to buy any books for a year would be challenging, and it has been. I've been making notes of what other bloggers are reading and creating a list of books to buy once my commitment is over. I had no idea that God would provide all (YES, ALL!) of those books now! This is such a treat!

God is so good!

April 22, 2008


...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:11-13

Philippians 4:13 is one of those verse we Believers like to pull out when we're trying to be spiritual. It's a touchstone of our faith. Alone, it's one of our Christian mottoes. As I read the passage this morning, the beauty of the placement of this verse washed over me.

Paul states that contentment doesn't come naturally. He's reached this place only by the supernatural power of Christ.

One of CJ's recent vocabulary words was contentment, which Webster's defines as "the quality or state of being contented".

con·tent·ed \kən-ˈten-təd\: feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation

In other words, having peace about where I am in life.

The pursuit of peace and simplicity was born because I was not content. In fact, I was a malcontent.

mal·con·tent \ˌmal-kən-ˈtent\: a discontented person: a: one who bears a grudge from a sense of grievance or thwarted ambition
I always wanted - always expected - my life to be more. My high school dreams of a high-power career and all the trappings never came true. After I became a Christian, I set my sights on having a big ministry. That hasn't happened, either. I didn't realize that I was actually angry with God for not allowing those things to come to pass. I had it all worked out in my mind...why wouldn't He get on board?

I didn't know how discontented I was until I'd worn myself out with futile attempts to create the picture-perfect life. I was working so hard to make it look just right, and nothing was good enough.

For example, in the attic are solid linen curtains I ordered before we moved into our home. I always knew exactly where they were, but I got different curtains after we moved in. I don't remember why the first ones weren't good enough, as I'd never taken them out of the packages! I would like to think there was a valid reason to buy different ones, but, more likely than not, I just wasn't satisfied. I brought one of the linen curtains down from the attic last week, and I really like them. They'll fit beautifully with the streamlining I've done, and I can't wait to hang them as my "summer" drapes!

I'm finally learning to appreciate the gifts He's given. Through His power, I'm finding contentment.

Oh, Praise His Name!

April 21, 2008

A Bloggy Book Swap?

April's almost over and we're 1/3rd of the way through 2008. I've survived 4 months of the challenge not to buy any books. My friends are amazed, but none more so than I.

I'll admit, I had my doubts when God first spoke this challenge to me, but it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I thought. The positives have definitely outweighed the negatives.

~By looking at other bloggers' reading suggestions and scouring my local library, I've discovered books I never would've known about or thought about reading before. I'm glad I haven't missed out on these gems.

~I read a book when I get it, rather than stacking it on a crowded bookshelf with others that are waiting to be read.

~When I'm done with a book, I just return it. I don't have to find room for it. (Big Bonus!)

On the downside, our public library doesn't have much of the newer, contemporary Christian fiction (i.e. Lisa Samson, who I adore), and none of the newer non-fiction, either. Additionally, my church's library is small. Consequently, there are many books I don't have an opportunity to read unless I buy them.

BUT, I have an idea! What about a Bloggy Book Swap? I haven't thought this out in detail yet, but I'm thinking that it would look something like this.

~Create a post listing up to three books you're willing to part with, & link your post here
~For each book you list, you get one "credit"
~For each credit, you get one entry for other blogger's books. You can use all of your entries for one book, or different books
~Each participant will have a random drawing for each of the books they're giving away

What do you think? If there's much interest, I'm willing to host (though I'm not tech-y enough to create a button). Spread the words among your friends by linking to this post, and we'll see what kind of response we get. I'll make a decision by the end of the week.

April 17, 2008

Changes Wrought

I made another trip to the consignment store yesterday. I've lost count, but this was the 4th or 5th SUV-load I've taken since I started purging in January. I know we've had 3 truckloads of trash (and more to come!) In the process, I've "earned" $130 from cleaning the downstairs, and another $50 in coins I found in a sand bucket in the attic and took to the bank (boy, does loose change add up!) I can't wait to see what the attic loot brings!

There's still one area left to sort. If I get to it before the attic gets too hot, that's fine. If not, it'll keep til Fall. We will finish the garage (R & CJ started that on their own, WITHOUT any prodding from me...see, it's contagious!) I do have some things I want to fine-tune in the house, but I'm definitely winding down.

I've received comments from other bloggers who say I've been an inspiration, a "hero"...which makes me want to shout, "BUT YOU DON'T KNOW ME!"

I know me.

I know that it is all because of Him. Believe me...BELIEVE ME...when I tell you that absolutely none of the changes in my life would have happened without His guidance (and in some cases, I've gone kicking and screaming). I can't take any glory here, because I know myself too well.

This isn't false humility. It's the unvarnished truth. As I think back on the past year of my life, I can't believe what He has done.

The working wife has become the wife who happens to work.

The busybody has become a homebody.

The hoarder has become a minimalist.

The one who couldn't slow down (for fear of looking at herself) has become the one who cherishes and anticipates the Day of Rest.

And the one thing I hope each of you knows is that if He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone.

I will listen [with expectancy] to what God the Lord will say, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints (those who are in right standing with Him)--but let them not turn again to [self-confident] folly.
~Psalm 85:8 (AMP)


I think I've mentioned a time or three that I've lived in the same small town since I was a toddler.

I remember when our first fast-food restaurant was built and when "driving across town" took all of 5 minutes (if you took the scenic route).

I remember Mama dressing me, my brother & my sister in our best clothes and going to the local department store to have our picture made. In the last 20 years, the department store moved and its original building has been a hardware store, a furniture store, and a thrift store.

I remember the one-movie theater downtown and "suicide" drinks (a bit of everything in the soda machine, all mixed together...seriously yummy!). That building later housed CJ's dance classes, and is now closed.

I remember life before Wal*mart. And it was good.

These days, we have six fast food restaurants, several photography studios and one semi-decent department store. Driving across town takes much longer than I'd like since so many of city folk have migrated here. I guess they decided that moving to a small town would be just the ticket for a relaxing lifestyle. It's only brought more stress to us natives who yearn for the good old days of knowing everybody (and their business).

Our schools are crowded, the traffic is crazy (a relative term, I know), and I can hardly find a familiar face when I'm brave enough to go to Wal*mart. Fields and forests have been ransacked in the name of progress. I miss the friendly small town atmosphere and short lines at the grocery store. I've been a vocal opponent of all the change.

Until today.

As I sit here sipping my Grande White Chocolate Mocha & enjoying the deliciousness of a cranberry scone, I'm thinking progress may not be such a bad thing after all.

April 16, 2008

We are the Watchmen - Revisited

I wrote this post last year, in response to the massacre at Virginia Tech. It seems appropriate to re-run it today, on the one-year anniversary of this horrific event.

Like many of you, I've been glued to the television for the past few days. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the tragedy in Blacksburg. I don't know that I'll ever get there.

The media has been oh-so-subtly casting blame on the college administration and campus police. There's a big debate about the time line and emergency notification. Now there are all sorts of facts coming to light about the killer's past mental instability. Seems as if professors, campus police, roommates, suitemates and classmates all had an idea that this young man was dangerous, or at least circumspect. Some of his acquaintances have said that when they first heard the gunman was an Asian male, they were afraid it was him.

My first reaction has been, "Why didn't someone step in and do something?"

Of course, it's easy to sit here two days later and ask that question. It's easy to find fault with the stalking victims who didn't press charges, the teachers who didn't take his writings more seriously, and the mental wellness center that didn't follow up with him. Quite simply, they are to blame.

So am I.

So, Believer, are you.

When we witness strange, intimidating behavior and we don't call it out, we're to blame.

When we're afraid to label someone as a potential threat because we don't want to risk offending anyone, we're to blame.

When we don't get involved because it's "none of our business", we're to blame.


But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, the man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.
--Ezekiel 33:6

God appointed Ezekiel as a watchman for Israel. As believers, we are watchmen for the world we live in. It's our job to protect those around us, to lead them to truth & save them from death. We are accountable for the lives of those around us.

Where were the watchmen?

Plenty of people saw this young man's penchant for violence. No one sounded the trumpet. Or if they did, it wasn't loud enough. Perhaps they didn't see the threat as serious. Chalked it up to young adult angst, an over-dramatic expression of feelings. No need to make an issue of it. Let's just address it quickly and quietly move on.

Where were the watchmen?

He stalked girls and no charges were pressed. Did those involved think it was no big deal? That others would think they were overreacting?

Where were the watchmen?

Students quit coming to class because he kept taking their pictures with his cell phone. Appropriate actions weren't taken. Did the teacher or fellow students worry that they would infringe upon his rights...even though he openly infringed upon the rights of others? Were they afraid to label him as a trouble maker or threat, because it could hurt his feelings?

I'm not sure I would've handled things any differently.

As hard as it is this week, we have to look past Virginia Tech and ask ourselves, Where are the watchmen?

We consider people as "quirky" rather than dangerous.

We believe their sin is "not my problem" or that it "doesn't affect me".

We don't want to offend people who think believers are narrow-minded, so we don't tell them the truth.

Where are the watchmen?

We hear people deny God, yet we don't sound the trumpet.

We see them turn their backs to Him, yet we don't warn them of the death they're facing.

We watch as they continue to believe the prince of this world and follow his ways, yet we don't shield them from the sword.

Where, oh where, are the watchmen?

We've trivialized sin. As Anne Graham Lotz says in her book, "My Heart's Cry":

We call lying, exaggeration.
We call stealing another person's reputation, gossip.
We call murder, the right to choose.
We call fornication, safe sex.
We call homosexuality, gay.
We call lust, adult entertainment.
We call profanity, obscenity, blasphemy and pornography, freedom of expression.

We are the watchmen
. And we're falling down on the job.

May God have mercy on us all. And may He bless those whose lives have been forever changed this week.

April 11, 2008

The Excellent Wife: Chapter 3

How godly we become depends on how hard we work at it.

How hard you work at putting on the right thoughts and actions will directly affect how much like the Lord Jesus Christ you become in this life.

Ouch, OUCH, O.U.C.H.

I don't have time for a detailed post, but I can pretty much sum up my reaction to this chapter in a couple of sentences.

Being an excellent wife will not come naturally. It requires that I roll up my sleeves and get to work.

I'm heading out of town for the weekend, but look forward to reading what everyone else has to say on this chapter.

April 9, 2008

Let's Talk

I've been reading John 11, right after Jesus raised Lazarus.

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

"What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
~vv. 45-53

Questions have flooded my mind.

Why didn't the religious leaders, who should've been the most educated in recognizing the Messiah, want people to believe that Jesus was the Messiah?

Did they certainly recognize Him (not just believe He was a prophet, but know he was the Christ), and still reject Him? If not, why were they so afraid? If so, what does that say about them?

Why wouldn't they want to be freed from the burden of the law? Was their identity so wrapped up in ritual that they were afraid of losing themselves if they gave it up?

I've always assumed they just didn't recognize Him. Now I wonder if they actually KNEW who He was.

I don't have the answers. What say you?

Let the discussion begin.

April 8, 2008

April 6, 2008

Hauling it Away

CJ & I worked in the attic some more on Friday. We've made a lot of progress, eating this elephant one bite at a time. I've adapted the "Clean Sweep" approach. We're almost done with the initial sort. This is the load we took to consignment yesterday. We've got a much larger pile that will have to wait til fall (clothing & holiday decor), plus a stack of plastic bins of things to sort (which will most likely go to consignment). There's one area left to weed through, to separate the "definitely keep" from the "maybe" and "definitely not".

Once that's done, I'll need to organize what's left to keep. CJ's special toys and baby clothes, photos, paperwork...I could give myself a headache thinking about it, but it's going to wait until fall.

It's been so freeing to haul stuff away. I get a thrill from getting things out of the house, whether it's throwing a box in the dumpster or taking it to the consignment store. Just knowing I won't have to look at it or think about it anymore takes a load off my mind.

I wish I could do the same with my sin and failures. I've been beating myself up for letting things get to this point. As I've tackled every job, I've berated myself for the mess I've created. There are times it seems that I won't ever be finished. Some days, I want to just give up.

Satan uses sin and failure so effectively against us that even after sincere repentance we often remain completely disabled...If we blow it as a parent, spouse, servant, employee, or leader, we should fall before God in complete repentance and ask Him what we must do to cooperate with restoration. Then we should follow Him in utmost obedience to His precepts. Restoration does not mean you can no longer stand for the truth because you fell. Restoration means you must stand!
-Beth Moore, "A Heart Like His"

My aching heart needed to read that this week! Beth goes on to share Micah 7:8-9

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Because I have sinned against him,I will bear the LORD's wrath,until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.
~New International Version

I've been discouraged, and my discouragement nearly paralyzed me. This week, I got back into my routine of rising early to spend time with Jesus. I've worked to make things better for my family. I've hauled some unwanted junk away. I wasn't sure the consignment shop would take all the clothes I was taking yesterday. I told CJ that, if not, we would take it to the local ministry store because I refused to bring it back into the house. It's time to let God haul my failures away for once and for all. I don't want them back.

Though I have fallen, I will rise.

Amen, and AMEN.

April 4, 2008

The Excellent Wife: Chapter 2

And I thought Week 1 was tough! Chapter 2 gave me so much to consider, I read it several times. I haven't digested it all yet. I wish I could respond to each paragraph Martha Peace wrote, but I'm going to focus on the top three points that spoke to my heart.

Yours and every wife's chief end in life is to glorify God, but it is to glorify Him in the manner in which God planned.
~Pg. 10

I wrote in the margin, "not my plans!" I long to glorify God, but so often I want to do it in accordance with my plans. However, I'm to glorify Him within the roles He has chosen for me. If I seek to satisfy myself with what I want, even if people are pointed to God in the process, I'm not truly glorifying Him.

For several years, I've wanted a "ministry" beyond what I have. I've wanted to do big things for God. I've bought into S*tan's lie that serving my family isn't enough. I've wanted to find my identity in other arenas. In the past year, God has brought tremendous changes to my heart. More than anything, I want to serve my family. That is the only ministry that matters.

The works God has prepared for you to do include not only what you do in your relationship with your husband, but also your heart's motive or attitude. It will help you to have the right attitude if you focus on what you are supposed to be doing, not on what your husband is supposed to be doing.
~Page 12
I am easily frustrated when R doesn't do what I expect him to do, especially around the house. I am quick to blame him, showing little patience or understanding. I slip into the role of martyr, which I think suits me well. It doesn't. If I would take the energy I spend worrying about what I think R should be doing, and invest it in what I know I should be doing...well, my home would be much different.

And lastly...the biggie. Submission. This is something I've struggled with for most of our marriage. R has a quiet personality. I am anything but. Worried what others may think, I tried to squelch my spiritual gifts for fear of "overshadowing" R. I was miserable. I finally, FINALLY accepted the fact that God has given us different strengths and weaknesses, and that we complement each other. We are a team and R is the captain. He knows that. I know that. And, most importantly, God knows that.

You can visit Leslie to see what other members of our reading group thought of Chapter 2.

A Tisket, A Tasket...Wanna' Buy a Basket?

This afternoon, I'm heading back to the attic to get the consignment items together so CJ & I can haul them off in the morning. I'm also making a list of the L*ngaberger baskets & accessories I have up there, so that I can send them off to a good home through on-line auction (they will NOT go to consignment).

Another blogger has contacted me about purchasing a couple of them. And it occurred to me that maybe others of you might be interested as well. I will also be selling "demo" models from Southern Living at Home collection (things I've used for display at shows...no original boxes).

If you'd like to see the lists of what I have, leave me a comment (if I can't get to your email address from your profile, leave it in the comment). I'll have the lists together by Monday.


I'll post on "The Excellent Wife: Chapter 2" tonight. Haven't had time to put my thoughts together yet.

April 3, 2008

Another Meme

Tiffany tagged me to play "Who are You?"

What was I doing 10 years ago? I was nearly through my first trimester with CJ, and praying that everything would be okay. I'd had a hard time getting pregnant once before, only to suffer a miscarriage. This time, we felt a peace and thought everything would be fine (it is!). I was mourning the loss of my 20's; greeting 2 new nieces; and feeling sick, sick, sick!

Five things on my To-Do List Today - Grocery shopping; pay the car insurance bill; pick CJ up from dance; study with CJ for tomorrow's tests; and laundry (it never ends). Not on my "list", but something I definitely need to do is spend some quality time with R before he starts 2nd shift tomorrow.

Five Snacks I Enjoy - Reese's Peanut Butter cups; graham crackers; chocolate-covered pretzels (100 Calorie); red grapes; and an apple with peanut butter

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire - pay all my bills; take an extended European vacation; donate lots of money to Samaritan's Purse and Shaohannah's Hope; set aside money for CJ's education and "life-start"; and savor the look on R's face when I told him he didn't have to work anymore.

Five Bad Habits - blogging too much; procrastinating; not really listening if the subject doesn't interest me; not finishing what I start; and talking too much.

Five Places I have lived - 2 small towns in North Carolina; my current small town (since I was 3) and Charlottesville, Virginia. I don't think my 3 addresses in the last 5 years count...because even though I've lived in 3 different "towns", I kept the same phone number (and all three houses are within 7 miles of each other!)

Five Jobs I've had - waitress (hasn't every college student?); sales associate at The Limited; sports writer for local newspaper; assistant manager at bowling alley; and paralegal.

I'm supposed to tag 5 folks...but just let me know if you join in.