Monday, June 28, 2010


I just got my butt kicked in tennis...and it hurt really bad.  I thought I was really playing well in my beginner league. (Last week we won in a tiebreaker!)  One of the girls in the other duo tonight was NOT a beginner.  At least not in the sense the rest of us are in this league.  It did teach me a lot though.  I was kind of thinking that even though my serve had a high arch, it didn't matter that much.  Tonight taught me that someone who knows what they are doing will whoop up on you with a ball like that-plenty of time to plan their return.  Also, every time we would get a volley going and it would get up to a certain speed, I lost it.  I just love this game and how it is fun and yet challenging.  I can't wait til next match.

Today, the girls and I spent all day visiting a friend who is camping.  She has a couple of other friends there too.  We had a fun day...eventually, after the girl drama wound down.  There were a lot of girls in the 9-13 range and gosh that is almost more than you can bear.  We swam and hung out and just had nice visiting time.  I am sure to sleep very well and very easily tonight!

Tennis and friends-it doesn't get any better...oh wait, it does.  Tonight I cozy up in my bed with hubby, not in a camper.  Plus my shower is indoors and bug free.  Counting my blessings.

Friday, June 25, 2010


About a week ago, I was discussing the Joyce Meyer book, Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes.  I was going on and on about how great it was.  I had the latest Beth Moore book, So Long Insecurity in my reading queue.  Then we went on to have the conversation about why I was a bit partial to Joyce Meyer.  I identify with her-she is really blunt and to the point like me.  She is also not so frilly that I couldn't hang out with her.   While Beth Moore is also blunt and to the point, she is a very frilly type girl.  I imagine her as a cheerleader and rather fru-fru. Too pretty for me to enjoy being around without being really self-conscious.  I love the way God speaks through her to me, but I just can't see us hanging out.

So now, here I am, approximately one week later.  I am on the very last chapter of So Long Insecurity which has been like a healing balm on my chapped soul.  AND, one of the main things addressed throughout the book is how women pre-judge each other.  How we make up our minds about people we haven't even met just by their appearances-most of the time in a very unfair, mean way. 

I am now happy to report that I have decided I love Joyce and Beth equally-AND, not that it will ever happen, but I'm pretty sure I would love hanging out with either one of them.  I am thankful God placed these women in the ministry He gave them because they have both impacted my life, my thoughts and most of all-my perceptions.  I am also thankful that they have the same kind of broken places that I do so that I can truly hear their message without any thought of, "Well, if they had gone through what I have gone through..."

Both of these books should be read!!  The Joyce Meyer book is all about not being too hard on yourself.  The Beth Moore book adds to that and also adds, don't be too hard on other women either with a side of give men a break as well!  I love books that give me conviction in a positive way-a way that teaches me how to be a better person.

Now, if I could just manage to get through that Lisa Whelchel book, now there is a girl I cannot relate to...(WINK).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The interesting thing about recovery is that it will never be finished.  When you have an addict in your life(be it friend, family member, self), it will always require work and commitment or there will be a return to chaos. 

I read the blog of someone who is an adult child of an alcoholic and has a spouse recovering from the disease of alcoholism.  His blog is one I look forward to reading each day.  Today, these statements in his blog about the rollercoaster ride of addiction and how it affects the others who also ride really jumped out at me.

"I can accept responsibility for my wrongs and you want me to be responsible for yours as well as mine.

...You resent me because of something that you did.

I want there to be trust and honesty. You keep secrets and hide so much from me."

My thoughts?  Rollercoasters are much more fun at amusement parks than in life. 

I am so thankful for a God whose mercies are new every morning and will never run out.  I am so thankful for a God who is big enough to carry my burdens if I will only give them to Him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cracked Vessels

There is a Christian book speaks to the fact that God uses cracked vessels.  Tonight, I can verify that.  About three weeks ago, I began planning a ladie's night out for our church.  We had not had one in forever.  I got one of my favorite people to agree to hosting it and went from there.  I love games and fun, light entertainment and was planning the ice breaker games.  However, at the library today, I was finishing up a library book that was due.  Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes by Joyce Meyer.  The urge came over me so strongly that I needed to take notes and present a couple of the chapters tonight.  I took a few notes but I didn't really feel comfortable presenting things that God is really working on in me.  As I looked up verse after verse, it just kept convicting me that this is the material I needed to be studying.  I thought of my friend, Jane, who recently lost her battle with cancer.  I thought about how the story of her life lined up so much with this book.  I thought of how different my life is because of the time I knew and was friends with Jane-the mighty way God used her in my life.  Nothing grandiose, just Jane being Jane, but it was powerful.

After arriving, I chatted with Carla and awaited the arrival of the ladies.  We had no idea who was coming and decided it would be fun even if no one showed up.  As we said the blessing and began to eat and fellowship, I sat over by myself to work on my presentation.  I was nervous but sure this was what I was supposed to be doing.  Then a lady joined me.  This is someone I have known for a short while and someone my husband worked with for years.  They worked together long enough that I know some of her 'dirt' through the grapevine and she knew I knew AND, she wanted to 'clear her name' so to speak.  As we talked, she kept asking me questions and talking about how nervous she was tonight and at church in general.  Almost everything we talked about referred back to my notes and the chapters I had read in the book.  I shared some of my past with her-it is funny how we tend to think other people have no skeletons in their closet.  I let her know a few of mine and then shared that it didn't matter-I was forgiven.  My past doesn't define me anymore-and hers doesn't either.  God already knows we are not perfect...He loves us anyway. 

A sense of calm washed over me.  I wasn't even sure that much about the material I was covering.  I presented the material I had prepared.  I have my notes-but I don't really know what all I said.  I did speak from the heart and other than that, I hope I helped and did not harm anyone.  HOWEVER, what I do know is this:  I was in that place at that time, studied up on that topic for that lady and that conversation.  Everything else was just what I thought was tonight's plan.  God used a cracked vessel and a broken past to give a fellow broken person the Hope that is Christ.  I am honored and humbled beyond words.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


"So here I sit, at home, all alone,
Waiting for you to call me on the phone."

That is an excerpt from some of my teen poetry.  Full of angst and hormonal awkwardness. Oh it makes me so sad for the girl that I was.  I just want to give that girl a hug and tell her to just focus on her studies and leave the fellas until she is old enough to handle relationships.  I clearly was not ready for any kind of relationship.  They were my obsession, which is what you do when you are too young with too much time to focus on 'the one'. 

That leads me to my other obsession, the one that fed the first obsession with Miracle-Gro, songs by Heart.  They were so on target with my teenage self that I wonder at their maturity as grown women.  Of course, do rock stars ever really grow up?  I think maybe the spot-light keeps them teens forever.  This became my 15 year old self's theme song:


I hear the ticking of the clock

I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark

I wonder where you are tonight

No answer on the telephone

And the night goes by so very slow

Oh I hope that it won't end though


Till now I always got by on my own

I never really cared until I met you

And now it chills me to the bone

How do I get you alone

How do I get you alone

You don't know how long I have wanted

to touch your lips and hold you tight

You don't know how long I have waited

and I was going to tell you tonight

But the secret is still my own

and my love for you is still unknown


Till now I always got by on my own

I never really cared until I met you

And now it chills me to the bone

How do I get you alone

How do I get you alone


So, in confession form, I give you my teen angst anthem band.  This lasted on up into my later teen years/very early 20's.  I was in a seriously dysfunctional on again/off again relationship from 18 to about 20 and Heart was back with, I Didn't Want to Need is just the chorus:
I didn't wanna to need you, no

I didn't wanna want you like I do

I didn't mean to fall

Didn't wanna care at all

I didn't wanna need you

Like I need you now

Yep, that one fit me like a glove as well.  I even insisted on playing when we were in the car together.  I wanted him to know he wasn't my plan and yet, there I was.  I took comfort that Ann Wilson felt the same way.

After I met Erik, at 21 and began a solid relationship, it was hard to give up the angst, the obsession that I had trained so many years for.  He allowed me room for angst and obsession.  It actually took having my first child at 24 to ground me back to earth.  It taught me what love really is-a verb, not a noun.  A thing that is full of peaks and valleys-but mostly determination and loyalty.  Where are the songs for that?

So, as my daughters grow up, they are gonna have angst and want to date.  They will obsess over boys and probably write some bad poetry.  I will do my best to help them form some good judgement.  I will try to teach them that waiting until you are older to be in a relationship keeps the angst from getting out of hand.  I will discourage disposable relationships.  I will continue to model the fact that love is a verb...and sometimes you don't feel like it and you have to fall back on determination and loyalty and God.  I will try to teach them from my mistakes.

They will listen to me and really try to hear despite the fact that they have some boy on their mind that they can't stop thinking about, some might even call it obsessing...

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Jon Acuff is the blogger who writes the blog, "Stuff Christians Like".  I love the blog because it breaks down some of the ways Christians take themselves too serious and come off as big pretentious phonies.  I love the fact that he isn't 'perfect' and God still uses him.  But mostly, I think he speaks to me this post.  Go read it and love it.  I sure did need it today, this week, this life.  I think God knew that and that is why I love blogging, and fellowshipping with other Christians.  Sometimes you just have to know that you are not the only one feeling that way to move on with your life and get back to living out His will.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rain Down On Me

Ahhh, at last some nice rain to cool our parched garden.  We have a little thunder boomer action today.  It has been convection oven hot, so I, for one, am pleased.  We are at the library.  Two of us made it in before the huge drops of rain began.  I was one of the two that did not beat the rain.  Being soaking wet in the air conditioning is cold.  Brrr.

We have had a busy last few days.  We have been celebrating Lilly's birthday most of the week.  Actual birthday, friend birthday party (Not all of her friends mind you, she had a list a mile long but it has to stop somewhere!), and the grand finale of family birthday party.  Good times.  She is completely spoiled rotten now.  You know, when I was growing up, we got a cake in the flavor of our choosing.  That is all.  Occasionally there might be a present, but that was nothing to be counted on.  Of course, no one had toys like kids have nowadays either.  Back when I was a young whippersnapper....

Yesterday, we took some time to enjoy a family day at the lake.  It was our first time out on the boat this summer.  It was very nice.  The water was calm.  It was about the perfect temperature for swimming too.  I love days when all is peaceful and relaxed, aside from the usual sibling banter.

Enjoy your fresh, brand-spanking new Monday.  I know I am.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tennis Anyone?

I fell in love with tennis watching Chris Evert Lloyd.  When I was a young girl, I didn't just become a fan...I wanted to BE that person when I grew up.  It started with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. Oh yes, I DID have wonder woman Underoos.  Then it was Chris Evert Lloyd, then Stephanie Zimbalist('Laura' from Remington Steele). (Side note-I recently checked out Remington Steele episodes from the library and while I idolized that show as a young girl, it really sucks.)  I digress, rewind to Chris.  I was always teased for my 'thunder thighs', so when I watched tennis I just figured that was a perfect outlet for my big thighs.  I dreamed of someday playing tennis. 

HOWEVER, I come from small town America and there was no tennis available.  So I played yard sports in the summer with my neighbors and girl's basketball in middle school.  I never really liked to run and so I was done playing basketball after middle school.  I loved the game, I just hated running laps and sprints which would have increased in high school.  That was pretty much it for my sports career-I never tried anything else.  I played softball any time I got the chance, but that wasn't often and I was never very good.

When Kayla, my middle child, wanted to play tennis a few years ago, I did consider letting her play.  You know- living vicariously and such.  The only problem was that all the tennis programs were so stinking expensive.  Then there were a few summer classes but they never fit into our schedule.  So, this March when Lilly decided she wanted to play tennis, I was on the look-out for some tennis opportunities but I was NOT optimistic.  A few weeks ago, one fell in my lap.  Only $40 and all supplies-racket and balls-would be supplied.  It is what is known as Quickstart tennis and it is modified to make the game a bit easier and less frustrating for the younger crowd.  She started playing Wednesday night and she loved it.  She is so excited.  Hopefully there will be some openings for Erika and Kayla later-their age groups are full right now. 

So, at the parent's meeting it was mentioned that there was a grown-up Quickstart team as well if I wanted to sign up.  Oh yes, I did so very want to.  So I signed up and had my first match tonight.  I am hooked.  I just love it.  It is hard and I lack knowledge of the rules of play and everything else, but it is a sport I really like.  We have a coach talking us through everything and we are all beginners, so it is just PERFECT.  It is the perfect kind of hard-you can progress.  Play is slow and easy when you are a beginner and will get more challenging as I get better. 

The best part of the whole night tonight was that, because of aerobics for all these months, I am in shape.  I wasn't huffing and puffing.  It was way easier than aerobics but it is still really good exercise.  I am a long way from skinny-but I am in shape again and it feels great.  Anyone free for a friendly game of tennis with a rank amateur?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Fish Tale

I am taking a little break from the massive house cleaning I am trying to do.  I am blogging during that break because I don't really want my political post to be up any longer.  I believe what I believe politically very strongly.  Like most people, I also believe I am right.  If we didn't believe what we believe, we wouldn't believe it, now would we?  All of that to say, when we have political opinions, we can often have feelings towards people that are not really fair.  Some folks are very intolerant.  I believe most people that read my blog regularly are just as tolerant of my beliefs as I am of theirs  AND we embrace whatever differences we have.  I also know there are many who completely disagree with me and my favorite talk radio folks.  So, out of respect...something else to look at, something non-political.

We spent nearly the entire day fishing yesterday.  I sort of let spontaneity take over our day.  We started at a local park having a fishing event for kids.  Lilly got there early and got a free cane pole and a goody bag.  Then she was able to fish for 2 and a half hours to try to catch the biggest fish. (We all fished but only hers would count in the contest.) She caught 8 fish in the course of the contest.  They were the tiniest bluegill I had ever seen.  We knew she wasn't in the running with her 6 inch catch but she was having fun catching fish.  At one point she even caught two fish on the same with the hook, the other by its fin being wrapped in the fishing line.  It was much fun.  As it turned out, in her age group, a 6 inch fish was large enough to be the winner and she got a really cool fishing trophy.  Then,  I won a door prize drawing that got us all kinds of yard water toys, a badmitton/volleyball set, sidewalk chalk and a jumbo sunscreen.  It was fabulous.  We all left with big smiles on our faces.

After that, we were all grungy and gross.  We had planned on attending a wedding but there was no time left for every one to make their way through the shower AND after sweating for 3 hours+ we all needed a shower.  We made the decision to head to a neighboring town for the Superman festival instead.  Upon arriving, we saw no festivities.  Then we heard the commercial announcing it...for next weekend.  We hit some consignment stores, scored some bargains and headed home.  We cooked frozen pizzas and then went off to yard sale(it was 400 miles of yard sales weekend) on our way to our next fishing destination.  Erik did not get to travel on with us because he had a gig and needed to rest to get ready for it.  So sad...he really loves yard sales, NOT!!!!

At out next fishing location, we discovered boat races.  I had it all planned out in my head where we would all stand and that we could even wade in the water but that bay was wall to wall testosterone...I mean boat racing enthusiasts.  We then went with plan B.  Plan B yielded the biggest surprise ever.  The most unlikely person I would ever imagine running into while fishing.  Stephanie!!! And she was fishing too.  (Her 'play' clothes are just as nice as her regular clothes-it was cute.) We were delighted.  We visited a bit and then went to our own fishing spot.  We fished for an hour and a half or so and after Lilly was still the only person who could catch a fish decided to seek fish elsewhere. 

Lo and behold Greg and Stephanie were still fishing so we visited again.  This time we stayed long enough for Lilly to go on and on about cleavage, breast buds, and other embarrassing topics to numerous to mention. (In other words, more than 5 minutes-wink, wink) I am believing God that He will give me the tools to help her develop a filter.  I was very outspoken as a child.  I had never met a stranger.  BUT, there were topics that I would never have even thought to discuss.  Thankfully though it was Steph and she lives with Greg so embarrassing things are her forte...heehee.

We finalised the day with milkshakes which is always the perfect end to a good day.  And showers.  Showers are awesome after a day of grungy.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Few Rants

  • Hating BP is about as effective in cleaning up the oil spill as hating Obama.  BP wants the leak plugged more than anyone and Obama is just as clueless about oil spills as he is job creation.  This is a huge disaster that was bound to happen sooner or later...kind of like a certain nuclear plant that is located in the ocean.  Our country has done many things in a very stupid way and we WILL pay for that stupidity...hopefully not all at once.  Try praying for a successful resolution and save your hating for the porn industry.
  • I agree with almost everything Sean Hannity says, however, I can not STAND to listen to him.  Why did you leave talk radio, Bill O'Reilly???  I miss you each and every day.  Thank goodness for Glenn Beck.  AND, well, Rush is always shocking and entertaining.  So many people just don't get that he means to stir it up-he is a radio's entertaining.  His goal is to rile up the press and he does it EVERY single minute of every day.
  • AND, on that note, I am so tired of people having a free pass to bash conservatives-AKA, teabaggers.  I could make fun of Obama every day and also the liberal agenda (there IS one).  I choose not to, it is a free country.  I try to never bash, except the media-they break every single rule of journalism and it makes me livid.  I don't boil down catastrophes to the president.  I don't think Bush caused Katrina anymore than Obama caused the oil spill. 
  • Teabaggers are not the freaks you see portrayed by the media.  They are not a bunch of right wing Republicans, they are probably mostly independents.  As a group, we do not hate minorities, including homosexuals.  AND if you think that is the agenda, you are drinking the Koolaid the media is serving up.   In fact, I would wager there are quite a few minorities and homosexuals that are pretty fed up with our governments lack of restraint when it comes to taxes and spending. Teabaggers are your close friends and neighbors fed up with the VAST amount of money the government wastes.  If you don't think the government takes your money in taxes and then completely wastes it on crap???  Well, you need to do a little more research that isn't tied to a 'media' outlet.
  • I am selfish, selfish, selfish this summer.  In the school year, my life pretty much revolves around my children.  Their education and the activities associated with it are first and foremost-even trumping laundry.  While I do want them to have a fun summer and I have enrolled them in some fun things, the other days are mine and I shall do exactly what I feel like and no more.  Don't mess with me, kiddos.
  • I feel better now, thank you to all of my readers who disagree with me politically but respect my right to freedom of expression as strongly as I respect yours.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Need

I'm a bit introspective today.  I have spent the day with my mother and that always launches me into analyst mode.  I'm constantly searching for clues to understand her and also my life better.  My mom is an Eeyore.  My friend, Sue, shared that term with me.  It means someone who has made up their mind that they are always a victim and that they are somehow not meant to be happy.  I have definitely had some Eeyore moments...even complete phases in my life.  However, I am much more tuned into the survivor mode-I made it through lots o' crap and God just used it to build my testimony.  I have made up my mind to be happy-in good times or bad.  I want to soak up the good things life has to offer.

I tend to think of myself as the first generation of God being faithful to my Mom's profession of faith.  He has promised hundreds of generations of blessings for the ones who start the new, different generation-a generation of believers.  My mom came from a home that was very troubled.  The kids were aware that is was dysfunctional in all caps but there was nothing they could do.  My mom did eventually live with an aunt until she married my dad.  Oh how madly and thoroughly she loved my father.  Obsessively.  Compulsively.  I believe she still loves him that same way today, despite being married to my stepfather for over 30 years.  (Obviously the marriage to my father did not work out.)  We will just leave it as my dad was not marriage material.  He is currently unmarried (after 3 failed marriages) and has every plan to remain so.

So, now after all these years of being a mom myself, some of the things lacking in my childhood seem incomprehensible.  They seem like things that happen automatically when your child is born.  But, that isn't always the case.  While on one hand I don't believe that there is anything that cannot be overcome with hard work and help from God; on the other hand, I also believe there are things that happen to you that change you forever in very significant ways.  Life turned my mother into an Eeyore.  She graduated from the school of hard knocks and makes sure everyone knows it.  (I have a strain or two of that in me as well.)

I feel compassion for my mother-endless compassion.  I can make excuses for her behavior.  I can excuse some of the things she says and does.  I am easily angered by her.  When she wrongs me or my family, I strike like a rattlesnake.  Then, I forgive and work really hard to forget.  I pity her in countless ways.  I consider her a victim...not because of the wrongs done to her, but because she chose and still chooses victim status.  We have those two choices-survive or be a victim.  I don't know many people who have breezed through life unscathed by it's sharp thorns.  We all have our scars.

Today, I saw my mother beam and light up over a compliment from a stranger.  We were sitting in the doctor's office and a lady walked in, complimented my mom's beautiful yellow outfit and went about her business.  My mom leaned over to me and said, "I'm gonna get the big head now, it has been so long since I had a compliment, I don't know how to act."  It made her whole day.  She was happy, really happy the rest of the day-I might even go so far as to say,  she was giddy. 

My eyes are watering to think that a complete stranger has that kind of power over someone.  That someone could need approval from others so desperately.  It gave me a glimpse into just how deeply I have hurt my mom through the years by being critical of her, of my upbringing, of her choices.  I can recall very few compliments I have given to my mom.  In fact, I have often held them back before out of childish spite.  It is suffocating in many ways to be around someone so needy.  However, if I lovingly gave of myself, she might not need it so much.  Having needs met, no matter how small they are does induce a sliver of satisfaction, even contentment.

I am going to work very hard at changing my attitude towards my mother.  Today gave me a glimpse into her psyche that I won't soon forget.  More importantly though, it gave me a very hard look at a character defect in myself that I had not seen before.  AND THAT, is something I can work to change. 

I don't know the lady who complimented my mom, but I have to thank her for making my mom's day which made my day so much easier.  I also will probably learn to give more compliments.  Such a small gesture can mean so much to some people.