A Heavy Heart

Trying to head-off excess Google-age, I shall be a little cryptic in this post.

Back in February, I made what I thought was a flippant prediction about a certain family of multiples and America's fascination with them, and how much longer they had for reality TV shelf-life. Unfortunately, recent developments in the family have apparently increased America's fascination with the family, but seem to spell disaster for the family itself.

My heart aches and breaks for the family as America's fascination with the disaster seems to fuel the gossip and speculation of what is or isn't happening and the best course of action for all.

I don't know the truth or what has gone on in those walls. I have tried to glue a broken marriage back together -- with only two children in the home and no reporters camped out on the front lawn. It is still the hardest mental/ emotional thing I have ever walked through and there were MANY, many times I wanted to walk away because it was simply too hard to keep walking the way I was going. The prayers of people around me were the only things that carried me through.

I would encourage you now, when you see a picture of the famous family of multiples on a cover of a tabloid to stop and surround them in prayer. We don't know the truth, but I can guarantee you they need our prayers.

This is a great thought about the subject.


Follow Up/ Decision Made

For those of you who wondered about the valedictorian and salutatorian from Clyde, America, who had a tough decision to make regarding the state track meet and graduation, you can find out the decision they reached in the article here.


What Would You Do?

Because of the Swine Flu brou-ha-ha, the State Track meet for Texas was rescheduled for the weekend when many high schools have graduation ceremonies.

"Wow," I thought, "that totally stinks. But I would send my kid to the meet (assuming that was the kid's choice). How often do you get that kind of chance?"

However, an article in today's paper put a new light on it:

What if you were valedictorian or salutatorian of your class? And what if your qualifying event were a relay? And what if your qualifying time in the event was the best in the state?

A very small district not far from here, Clyde, America, is what we call it, has a male valedictorian who qualified for the state track meet with his 800-meter relay team with the 3rd best time in the state. Their female salutatorian's 800-meter relay team qualified with the best time in the state.

Tough decisions for 18 year olds.

Either way, they have honored their district and their families by their achievements, as well as their attitudes in the face of this decision. Way to go, Emily and P.J.!!


First Grade Dialog

Subbing in PE this week -- jury duty for PE teacher. No, I don't know what trial. He won't tell us -- that's why I would want him on my jury if I were on trial.

I'm also being reminded why I don't work full time. End of year excitement/ concerts/ talent shows on top of this is a LOT for my migrained brain. Hence the lack of blogging. But I had to share this.

Today the kids got some time to 'be active' if they were finished with their muscle test. Two kids shooting baskets:

Boy: Hey, AnneMarie, do you like Boston Terriers?

Girl: (disgusted) I don't know! I don't even watch basketball!

Smile! Enjoy! Have a great Thursday!


A Smile For Tuesday

I'm horribly busy, horribly tired, and confess I'm not spending a lot of time listening for God these days (though I spend a LOT of time pleading for "strength for the journey"). i could use these guys in my breakfast room to send me on my way with a smile...


Filling a Void

God spoke to me in a HUGE way last week and I hope I can convey it adequately here.

So I was interviewing Donnie Carroll, the children and family minister at my church, about teens and summer jobs. Not only is he a WONDERFUL minister for children and families, he has 7 children (and a grandbaby) and is an amazing parent, as well (along with his wife, Lisa). I was eager to seek his input for this article.

He talked about that since his kids were little they would have jobs to do and part of that is the kids learning to be part of a team – if you don’t do your job, then there’s a hole, or a void, there. Other people are disappointed, or can’t do their jobs if you don't do YOUR job if you work as a team type stuff, whatever. Great stuff, as is usual of him. Great for my article, great to hear as a parent.

But he paused in the middle and went ON and on – like embarrassingly so – about what a great writer he thinks I am, how easy my writing is to read, how I need to write a book, yada, yada. I told him that I really want to write a book, feel called by God to write a book, but have SO many doubts and reasons ‘why not’, blah, blah. I said what I always do, “I walk into Lifeway, look around, and think, ‘The world doesn’t need one more book.’”

His response knocked me flat: “Yeah, but Sarah, that’s just like when my kids don’t do their job. Your book may be that void that one person needs. If God is calling you to do it, it’s that void of not doing your job.”

Just whoa.

Really think about that in the overall realm of God's family. God gives each of us, His children, jobs to do here on earth (check out Ephesians 2:10 if you don't think He has stuff in mind for YOU to do). And we go about our business filling our calendars with our own things and pushing aside His nudging to do our own schedule and agenda.

I'm not a visionary, so I don't see it, but I CAN imagine that if all of God's family did all that God called us to do -- we would be the unstoppable force on this planet that Jesus prayed for us to be in John 17 when he prayed that we would all be one.

No matter what the success of the world may or may not look like, if we are NOT saying ‘yes’ when God calls us to do something – we’re the missing link on His team. We’re not filling the void.

I prayed to see Jesus that day. I definitely heard him. May you hear him today.


Good Things Out There

Y'all, I LOVE this commercial! I know it's nowhere CLOSE to the season it was intended for, but it just makes me laugh. Genius marketing. Kudos to the Cheese Council.

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Oh, What a Night!

Last night was one of those 'lasts' (or 'only' if you are talking about per-child) of elementary school for our family.

One of the elementary schools in our town sponsors an area-wide 5th grade track meet as a fund raiser for their PTO. And, y'all, they have to make a KILLIN' doing this. Not my point, but you may want to consider it.

I adore both of my elementary school's PE teachers. Precious people with a heart for kids. A women teaches K-2 and a man teaches 3-5, but they team up on much of their work and work together well. The man has a daughter Ashley's age and has coached her in basketball. He is soft-spoken, a gentle spirit, but he is COMPETITIVE!! And he REALLY likes to win the 5th grade track meet.

Riley ran in the 100 m dash. We know the kid is fast and he did great. Oh, for perspective. There were 20 schools or groups (a running group of homeschool kids participated) in the meet. There were about 18 HEATS (9 runners each) of the 100 m dash for first girls, then boys. I am too tired to do the math -- it's a LOT of kids. Riley qualified for the finals! (You qualify by time, not by how you place in the heat).

A very long day indeed after those 36 heats of 100 m dashes. Then many, many other races of 200m, then 400m. At the 800, Ashley and I went to pick up dinner and bring it back. We got back just as the 4x100 relays for girls were starting. Riley was in the boys' relay team. His relay team qualified for the finals in THAT, too.

Finals were scheduled to start at 7 p.m. They started at 8:45 p.m. Riley ran HARD in the 100m, but was the last finisher. Not by a long way, but the last across. We talked about it and decided that 9th place out of 20 schools isn't too shabby.

If you don't know track meets -- well, you should, 'cause they are SO much fun. but the 4x100 relay is ALWAYS the last, and the boys is always the last one. So that was the last final. Riley was in the 100 final and one of his teammates was in the 200 final -- won it BIG -- and THEN in the 400 final and didn't appear to give that much effort. I didn't expect the relay team to do too well by the time their 9:40 start time rolled around. Boy, was I wrong! It was a great race, and Riley's team came in 2nd and another of his elementary team came in 1st. What a night.

It was another time I was able to see my child using his gifts and it was SO fun, but I love track meets for the stragglers. I am a straggler and would be tempted to simply walk off the track. But those guys don't. They struggle and try and strive and the crowd cheers and encourages and nudges them on. Track meets are a great way to spend an afternoon. Go find one soon.

At the ever-lovin' blessed FINAL end of the meet, medals were given for the finalists that placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on a little medal stand and everything. Being that there were still quite a few 5th grade girls around, there was a LOT of screaming that took place. After the medals were given out, the winner of the meet was announced. When it was announced that it was our little school, the kids (girls) SCREAMED and took off across the infield of the track...? Wha? Yes, they were heading to the other side of the track to go take a victory lap. Are you kidding me!

Then, coming around the track to where their sweet PE teacher was filming the madness, they started singing their school song. Cutest thing ever, and a memory that, even though it happened LONG after I like to be in my PJ's, I am SO thankful I saw.

Way to go, Raiders and most of all, Riley. So proud of you for giving it your all.


Thursday Check-In

Y'all, I would love to stay and chat, but life is continuing down the crazy trail.

Fifth Grade Talent Show auditions? Check.

Finish article about faith and torture? Check.

Migraine every day this week? Check.

So I am off today -- more talent show practice, more interviews for another article, and, blessedly, a doctor's appointment. There is preventive medicine for migraines, and I am praying that I get started on it TODAY. I have operated at 50-75% capacity enough in the last month to know that I am not emotionally ready to admit that to be my lot in life.

Then, this afternoon is the long-awaited fifth grade track meet. Every elementary school in the district sends their 5th graders to a track meet so the school can claim bragging rights for the year. I think running is one of those things my willowy 11 year old will be gifted in. Pulling for him!

Oh, and remember I requested a lovely bake sale to cover after an article on torture which came after an article about child abusers? Yes, so next week is the completely stress-free topic of when couples from two different faiths marry. Wowzer. That should stretch me...

I enjoyed everyone's thoughts and comments about the torture debate. More than anything, no matter where you 'land' on it, I know you have thought it through. That is what has blessed me so much in my interviews. I will link to my article, which should be published in the paper tomorrow.

Everyone have a great Thursday!


Selective Hearing

Watching our children develop their personalities has been such a fascinating study in genetics and nature vs. nurture. Ashley, first-born, is her daddy (also first-born) in MANY ways. Riley, the "baby", is just like me (also baby) in equally many ways. But when it comes to listening to conversations around you and/or directed TO you, our house has distinct gender lines.

Ashley and I (as seems to be typical of women) have conversation radar. We can listen to several dialogs at once, all the while mentally filing away important information or calendar items. Troy and Riley? Not so much with the radar. Riley reads EVERYWHERE we go (seriously, he is major bummed if he doesn't have a book in the car for the 4 minute drive to church) so we will have many deep and wonderful conversations in the car with Riley blissfully unaware. I have learned that if I NEED him to be aware of his conversation, I must tell him to tune in, then have him repeat what I need him to know. Bless. Troy, I have come to realize, is a visual, not auditory, learner. If I will email him information, he will process it better than if I tell him. Thank you, Lord, for technology!

All was explained recently when Riley looked at me quizzically at 7:30 on a recent morning. I had clothes AND make-up on. Very rare occurrence for that time of day, indeed. "Are you subbing today?" he asked. "Yes, Riley, I told you that."

"Well, I was probably reading, wasn't I? You KNOW I don't hear you..."

"No, Riley, we actually discussed it last night at dinner."

"Oh, well, I never pay attention to that..."

Good to know.

HOWEVER -- he was tattling to Ashley about me saying a curse word. I was indignant and denied it to the death. I would NEVER say such a word. Okay, I would, but not where he could hear. He finally said, "You were talking to dad. You whispered it, but I still heard you."

So, a conversation that I have looking into his eyeballs, he ignores. A conversation whispered to another person while I am 20 feet away -- now I know the rules.


Tossing Out a Grenade

We here at The Cleft of the Rock, Inc. steer away from hot-button topics. Mainly because Queen of the Rock doesn't do confrontation well (and avoids it if at all possible). I want all of my readers to be happy, happy, happy. This post may stir up some exuberant debate. I only ask that you remember you are replying to actual humans -- mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, someone's child-- when you write your reply/ answer.

Last week I turned in this article to the local paper about security in churches, based on the horrible story out of California where a young girl was kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered. The woman who did it turned out to be a local Sunday School teacher. That was a tough article to dig into and write about.

So this week I was assigned an article about this study that shows Christian's response to using torture politically during times of war, etc. So from child abuse(rs) to torture -- I have requested a bake sale next.

First, about the study, let me say: it is a ridiculously small, skewed sample size and has only served to stir up a fire storm. An example: it shows that 'white protestant males' are twice as likely to support torture 'sometimes or often' as those who are not affiliated with any church -- but they interviewed twice as many white protestant males as unaffiliated. I'm not saying the results are inaccurate, but I, personally, don't put a lot of weight into ANY poll of less than 1,000 people and even 1,000 is too small to fire up all the finger-pointing this study has.

CNN has, of course, featured it because it makes Christians appear to be two-faced and mean-spirited.

So, I have been asked to join in the firestorm and find out what local folks say around here (feel free to call me if you have an opinion! -- I can't use anyone with my same last name as a source, though!)

Let me say, too -- this is a topic I steer completely away from. I haven't thought through it enough to come down on either side, mainly because I know I wouldn't come down on the same side of the people I am closest to. I was very blessed by the first person I interviewed who expressed her thoughts kindly and articulately and with a scriptural reference to support her thoughts. Blessed my socks off. Oh -- she wasn't who I called to talk to. She was his wife, but I had to not use him so I could use her! You'll have to look at it on Friday to hear about it.

She mentioned the study, "Oh, yeah, that guy wrote about it in the paper yesterday." So I had to go dig through the paper to see what had already been said in the same paper that I was going to write an article for.

Man, oh man, I am glad I did. I ended up reading Leonard Pitts' column about Christians silence or tolerance of the issue. The thing that struck me the most was his invoking the memories of several other times in recent history when Christians SHOULD have been outspoken for the right and weren't: Germany in the late 1930's and early 1940's, the Southern States in the late 50's and early 60's, the early 80's through the AIDS threat.

I REALLY encourage you to read his article. And I'm always happy to hear what you think, as long as you remember to keep it kind.


Beginning of a Great Week

Oh, we are gearing up for end of school madness. In a fit of insanity, I reluctantly agreed to be in charge of the 5th Grade Talent Show at Riley's school. One very sweet empty-nester said, "Well, he'll never be this age again." To which I replied, "Yes, and I don't want to HATE one of the last activities he is in at elementary school, and I WILL by the time it gets here!" It's only 2 weeks out of my life. What else would I do, right?

Well, that is currently the question. I have mentioned here off and on that I have occasional migraines. In the last 8 weeks occasional has gone to regular to frequent. I am VERY blessed to have medication -- $10 per pill -- that effectively treats the pain of the migraine. I can be mostly pain-free within an hour, but it's the post-migraine "hangover" that kills me. I still haven't figured out if it's the medication or the migraine itself, but I lose at least the rest of the day, and frequently part of the next day being completely useless.

Unless you get them, I don't know how else to describe it besides limp dishrag syndrome! For an example: I'm not a TV watcher, and if I ever do sit to watch TV, I HAVE to have something else to do. Read a book, work on a crossword, paint my nails, whatever. I can't stand to sit idle in front of the flicking screen. Unless I am in post-migraine hangover, at which time keeping up with a flicking screen plot line is about all I can manage. I am completely void of energy. I can physically do the most important things -- I just can't think of what the most important thing is.

So the past few weeks I have been in migraine/ hangover/ realize all I didn't do during migraine/ hangover cycyle. It's not a great way to raise a family and not much of a way to live. Please don't hear me saying it's the worst thing ever. Oh, no, God keeps reminding me of MANY things that could be worse. But it is annoying. And expensive, at $10/pill.

I know that there are also medications that are migraine preventives -- a daily medication. One woman told me she quit taking them because they were $100/ month. I'm already spending $100/ month, and maybe I could prevent getting them. I don't know.

I'm also looking at external factors/ triggers I can control to eliminate -- chocolate (not much of a chocolate eater), caffeine (how sad would that be), aspartame (Diet Coke, even sadder), and many, many others. My head kind of hurts thinking about trying to figure it out!

So, that is my boring news, boring quest for this week: try to avoid getting a migraine. And that is why the blogging is becoming increasingly lame these days -- I can't think straight or I'm so busy catching up that I don't have time to write anything.

I'm still listening for the Lord, still appreciate teachers, and still have a rockin' family. Back tomorrow for more excitement!


Happy Mother's Day

This little project is specifically for my "earth-first" friend, Denise. Recycle your boxes, honor Mom. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Denise, while you're bein' all crafty-like, please whip us up some ice cream or coffee cup cozies. We could give them to Mom OR for Teacher Appreciation. Either one.

This is a sweet video that the AMAZING videographer-dude at our church put together (who also featured Baby Benton up there). I'm in here. And, more importantly, my hair is really cute. First, the guy is amazing because I simply tripped over my words and mumbled and muttered and he actually made me appear to be able to string two sentences together. That was nice. Also, it made me incredibly thankful for the godly women I call 'sister' in my congregation. My own mother is 500 miles away. I know how she would do much of this parenting business, but it is such a blessing to walk beside these women and watch them raise their children in the Lord. I LOVE what beautiful Valerie says in here: Having children keeps you close to the Lord since you are constantly in prayer for them. Amen!


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For Mother's Day

in this month's Abilene Families: (originally written May, 2006)

As a mother, you would think that I would be all about Mother’s Day – a day just for ME, a day to get, get, get, and a day when praise is lavished on all mothers. Who could ask for anything more? Truthfully, mother’s day – especially the Hallmark version of it – makes me very uncomfortable. You know which kind of image I’m talking about – a young mother, clad in a pristine white gown in an immaculate, beautifully decorated home, holding a perfectly chubby, cooing baby as they gaze into each other’s eyes. The poetry accompanying the image details the sacrifices the loving mother makes and how wonderful she is and on and on and on. I simply can’t relate: My home has never been immaculate OR decorated, I learned a long time ago not to wear white while holding a child of any age, and I regret how much time I didn’t spend gazing at my babies before they transformed into galloping toddlers, now pre-teens.

The words are what make me squirm the most. Mothers are not defined by the Hallmark moments, but by the horrible moments. Anybody loves to play with a giggling baby or rambunctious toddler, but it’s mom who cleans up when potty-training is not quite successful. It’s mom wiping heads and doing laundry and providing a clean basin when the stomach virus tears through the house at 3 a.m. It’s mom holding constant vigil at a hospital bedside or waiting room. It’s mom lifting, feeding, bathing, and caring for a handicapped child day in and day out. It’s mom wearing a trough in the carpet next to her bed as she kneels for a child who has lost their way or is fighting in harm’s way or whose heart is broken beyond repair. I don’t know of any woman who would ask to be put in any of those situations, but those are the moments that define motherhood. We don’t want praise or pretty words about things we do that we would rather not do. It’s just what we do. It’s being a mom.

While these flowery thoughts and sentiments make me somewhat uncomfortable, they can be downright painful for many people. Mothers who must wait until they get to heaven to hug their child again, mothers who selflessly blessed an adoptive family with their own baby, mothers whose only children are really nieces, nephews, and friends since life has not brought her children of her own and countless other situations can bring pain and disappointment to this day of celebration.

As you think of the women you know that you would consider “extraordinary mothers”, they are probably women making it just one day at a time in extraordinary situations. You probably don’t call to mind a mom of two healthy children with a healthy spouse still living in the home. You probably don’t think of someone like, well, me. The extraordinary mothers we know may have many children raising them all to be successful individuals, may have handicapped or chronically ill children, may have lost a child, or may go to great lengths for her children to have normalcy in the midst of difficult life circumstances. Few of these women would want the accolades or flowery words of a Hallmark commercial. They are simply putting one foot in front of the other because another being in this life depends on it. It’s just what we do. It’s being a mom.

I can’t speak for all moms, but as much as I love words, I don’t want to hear many about what kind of mom I am on Mother’s Day. For me, it simply reminds me of all the places I fall short or what a bad attitude I occasionally have while doing what I do – being a mom. Oh, sure, I won’t turn down any gifts – diamonds are my favorite, sapphire is my birthstone, and if you’re buying a ring remember that my fingers are crazy skinny – but if you need to use any words, a simple, “Thanks for what you do” will suffice, and I wouldn’t mind hearing that once a week. Not saying, “But I don’t want to” when asked to do your job would be nice, because I rarely want to cook your dinner or fold your clothes, but it’s what I do. It’s being a mom. And, most of all, just grow up to make your momma proud.

Unfortunately, in the past year, my children have been acquainted with several children who have lost a parent to death. Knowing that anything can happen, I have been reminded at those times to let my children know what I want most for them out of life. At one point we were driving and discussing a child who had lost a parent and how hard that would be. I said, “If anything ever happens to me, first I want you to know how much I love you. And all I want for you in life is to love the Lord and to marry someone who loves the Lord.”

This brought a know-it-all nod from one child who said in a satisfied tone, “I knew you were going to say that.”

Very well, then. Carry on. That’s all I need to know for a happy Mother’s Day!


Book Review: Playing for Pizza

First, I seem to have gained a few new readers in an unlikely place: my statistics tell me that my blog has become popular with some of the Catholic schools in my hometown. So, St. Fred's and Jesus the Good Shepherd folks -- welcome to the Cleft of the Rock! Y'all! You are MY PEEPS! My parents live less than half a mile from Jesus the Good Shepherd, so you're on my walking route when I'm visiting. The campus looks AMAZING lately, by the way! And St. Fred's -- y'all were SO our rivals in high school, but it was all in fun, right? Go Warriors!

I suspect that many of you found my blog through my writing about teachers. If you teach at one of those schools, many blessings on you!

Now -- a book review!


A)It's about football. B) It's set in Italy (that was actually the fun part of it). C)Not mystery.

It is probably the least likely Grisham novel ever. I skimmed the football parts, but came to love the character (like most of Grisham's characters). I think Grisham must have traveled and/ or lived in Italy recently. This is the second novel of his I have read that is set in Italy. Can't remember the other. Truthfully, it is all so unfamiliar to me that it's hard for me to get into it. HOWEVER -- his description of the rich foods may cause weight gain!

I think it came in someone's stocking at Christmas. It was a fun, quick read. Easy on the brain and a nice paperback diversion.


For the Teachers

This week is teacher appreciation week. Every year I promise myself that starting in April I will get all of my ducks in a row and do something excessively wonderful for all of my children's teachers. And every April looks just like last April where I finish out the month with disheveled hair, wild eyes, and torn clothes, screaming, "What the heck was THAT????" Oy.

So I have yet to do anything excessively wonderful for my children's teachers -- this year or any other-- but I do appreciate them so.

I always tell people that my philosophy on choosing how to educate your children (public, private, or home) is to do it prayerfully and carefully, and be willing to admit at any moment that it is no longer working for your family and change gears.

Thus far, we have been in public schools. Thus far, I still cannot believe how blessed my children have been with teachers and administrators. I do not request or choose teachers for my children, I pray and let God -- the One who knit them and knew them before I did -- choose my children's teachers for them. He has never failed.

Yes, my children are my responsibility. Beyond my responsibility, they are little pieces of my heart out walking around on this planet. But research tells us that the more adults my children have that take an interest in their lives and have a relationship with my children, the more successful they will be in all areas of life. And my children's teachers have not disappointed.

To you, precious people, words are not enough to thank you. How do you say 'thank you for being a brush stroke and background lighting for this masterpiece of a human'? How can I tell each of you that your delight in my child's successes and strengths fanned into flame a passion that will carry them into adulthood? You have pointed out strengths that Mom doesn't see (yet!) and pushed them along and kept them from doing 'just enough'.

My children do school well. What an amazing blessing. But it's also a danger -- the potential is there to blend into the background and be forgotten and ignored as one simply "going along to get along". None of you have LET my children blend into the background. You have encouraged and cheered, praised and prodded, expected the best and never accepted the worst.

I have done your job. That is why I am now not doing your job. It is NOT for the faint of heart (or weary of foot). It is for people with tender hearts, thick skin, and a million hugging arms. It is for people with cast iron stomachs, bladders of elastic, and Solomon's wisdom.

I know that by this time of year you don't want to be appreciated by any way other than a day away from these people and you wonder if you would actually come back. But for some crazy reason, back you come. Sometimes you wonder if it's just your car coming out of habit.

You have no idea. Even at middle school level, you wouldn't believe how much I hear about you and the things you say. How you touch my child's life and shape their values by what you find funny, the way you treat other students, and even the music played in your class. How your sad days will make my tender-hearted child's heart ache until you are smiling again.

Some of you live in my neighborhood, worship at our church, exercise at my gym, shop at my grocery store, have children at the same schools. We see you and feel like a part of your life. You are a part of my family. A beloved part of my family (not the crazy faction that we try to keep from visiting). And I am part of yours -- if for no other reason than the fact that you have given your all to my children and there is precious little of you left by the end of the day. Thank you for that, and thank your family for us, too.

I can't say thank you enough or adequately. But I do thank you, and pray frequently for you. This time of year, my prayer is "strength for the journey". May you truly have strength for your journey, and countless blessings in your life for the blessing you are in mine.

I thank my God every time I remember you.
Philippians 1:3


What I'm Hearing

I spent most of Saturday alone. I didn't even plan to, which is probably best. If I had planned on it, I would have had grand plans, then frittered them away on playing Scramble on the iphone or some such nonsense.

Troy was helping friends move 'the big stuff' and I wasn't really into 'the big stuff' so I went over to the being-moved-out-of house to clean some. I got there just as all the guys had one load of big stuff loaded and were leaving. So I cleaned alone for a few hours. And thought. And listened for God.

I went and grabbed some lunch (and loaded a book into my Kindle app on my phone and man-oh-man, could Amazon's one-touch purchasing of Kindle books get me in HUGE trouble!). I did a little shopping and wound up at the gym to do my workout. Still alone. Still thinking. Still listening.

And guess what? God spoke! I'm sure He's been speaking all along, and I am just re-learning to hear Him. I had such precious time listening and being directed, led, and loved.

Then Sunday.

Sunday should be a GREAT time to hear God, right? And I did. What a PRECIOUS Sunday it was. Service was beautiful and I was immensely blessed. However, the rest of my Sunday looked like many other days with meetings and gatherings and driving kids hither and yon. And this I discovered: it is way harder to hear God's voice in the middle of the madness. Or maybe I heard His voice, but just didn't want to obey.

While I'm still re-learning to hear God's voice, the busy-ness is too hard. It all comes flying at me and relationships, commitments, and obligations bring up my own past hurts, bitterness, and selfishness.

So, thankfully, Lamentations 3:22 tells me that God's mercies are new every morning. So I sit in the quiet and re-learn His voice, and learn again to listen in the middle of the madness.

I want to KNOW Him and know the sound of His voice so that the gentle whisper is most prominent inside my head.

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13

The Lord is in the gentle whisper, which can be oh-so-hard to hear. May you hear it today.

Some resources that have been beneficial recently have been the book that goes with this study: What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, by Lysa TerKeurst.

Also, Leigh Gray of Speaking Thru Me ministries had a post along these lines.


When I mentioned Tucker's encouragement for us to find ways to spend May giving, I said I would commit a post a week to that -- and I plan to. However, today would be a great day for you to visit Trey's blog to find a reason to give.



Things you missed me blogging about:

Being asked when my baby was due. Um, not pregnant, but thanks.

Winning a $25 gas card from Meals on Wheels!

Refusing to participate in Swine Flu -- the panic OR the virus. Either one. I refuse.

Having some fun girlfriend time for the first time in a LONG time.

Hearing Sheila Walsh speak. Wow. Remind me to walk back through that. Amazing.

Ditching the DISH!

Amazing time to really listen to God. I finally did it! And that's why I took a bloggy break!

Starting an online Bible study.

And, this isn't much of a return. Sunday was BRUTAL -- 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. basically away from the house. Not much of a day of rest. Today starts Teacher Appreciation and return to deadlines and real life. Oh, I didn't want to participate in Swine flu, but I have grand plans for a Swine flu quarantine in case school is canceled for a week or so. I'm ready. I've got closets to clean out and cabinets to organize. Bring it on! Oink!

Wish I could make my return a little more exciting. Gotta pace myself. What about you? Any of you hearing from God lately?


Good Things Out There

(shhh... I'm not really here!)

I couldn't NOT post some of this bloggy excellence on my 'Good Things' list.

I keep linking to Trey's blog. Because he's genius. And because he has a passion for godly marriages to stay intact. Love what he says here.

I've never actually met Trey. Or Tucker. But I know they both have a heart of gold.

Here's Tucker's evidence. Read this and make plans for May to be your month to GIVE!

My dad sent me this video. Love it!

If you would like to add your 'Good Thing' button to your blog, copy the code into an 'HTML' box on your sidebar:


Quote for the Day

Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, it makes youfree. -- Stormie Omartian


My Man

Obviously, Troy is one of my favorite writing subjects. Not only is he a precious gift from God, my relationship with him teaches me a lot about myself. Here is one of my favorite stories about him, written two years ago:

Our Ashley is adult-sized. She is not adult shaped, and, at barely 11, isn't an adult, but she is adult sized. Over 5' tall and in ladies clothes that do not fit because she isn't shaped like a lady yet, but the girl that she still is. She is still getting used to those long legs and ginormous feet that she inherited from her mother.

Last night, due to events we will never understand other than the earth's gravity, Ashley's feet came completely out from under her while she was walking into the kitchen. She had both hands full, so the entirity of her adult-sized body landed on her tailbone on our tile floor. As Troy and I stood over her trying to help her and determine what happened it quickly became obvious that even if there WERE something you could do for an injured tailbone, we didn't know what it was, and watching her cry and writhe in pain was heartbreaking.

So Troy squatted down and, without even audibly groaning, scooped up her adult-sized body as if she were still 3 or 4 and carried her to a more comfortable spot
-because she's his baby girl
-because she needed him
-because he's the daddy.

I also wrote about Troy in:
When the Oceans Rise and Thunders Roar

I've Become the Other Woman

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