Thursday, March 28, 2013

Equally lost


Unless you live in a cave I am sure you are all aware of the equal rights movement for homosexuals and their right to marry.  I am not a homosexual.  I don’t understand it.  There are a lot of things I don’t understand, and maybe I never will. Does that mean I hate them?  No, not at all.  Never.   Does that change what God says?  Nope, not at all.  What I do know is we are all created by God and for His glory.  I can’t help but think how it must make Him feel to know that this is Easter week and so many people are too busy worrying about equality when in reality the only real way we are all equal is we are all equally lost without Him.  So if a person who supports gay marriage can speak up and speak their beliefs and rights, why are there so many Christians who don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and just sit back silently?  We all have the right in this democracy to voice our opinions.  I might as well take advantage of it.  How many Christians that are bashing gay marriage and say it’s an abomination, sin, and wrong, are having adulterous affairs in their own one man one woman marriages?  Are they holding marriage to be sacred?  How many husbands beat their wife’s, or how many wife’s disrespect and dishonor their husbands?  Is this sacred and what God wants?  Not at all.  And yet there are these people that are declaring God’s word regarding what God says about one man and one woman, but ignoring the rest of the scriptures on marriage.  We all have it so wrong.

How often do we stop and think, unless it’s Easter of course, about the sacrifice God made for us by sending His son to die for us?  Notice I said “we” and have included myself.  To be beaten, flesh ripped, mocked, spit upon, nails through his wrist and feet, and hung on a degrading cross and if that wasn’t enough; God couldn’t even look at Him because Christ became sin to finish the work of his Father.  All the fellowship He had ever had with God and God was always with Him and when God had to turn away and couldn’t look at Christ I believe it hurt Christ more than any of His physical ailments.  All for me?  At my darkest and even at my best without Christ and His work on the cross I was lost.  It’s easy to see we were lost when we think of all the bad we’ve done.  But what about all the good we’ve done?  Our best is like filthy rags to God.  It doesn’t matter how good you try to be or think you are or how many people you help, without accepting Christ and that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died an undeserving death for ALL humanity (gay, straight, do gooders, addicts, people pleasers, liars, philanthropists, etc..), and arose on the third day and revealed himself to many and returned to Heaven to prepare a place for the saved then we are hopelessly lost and condemned to hell.  People have a hard time accepting the fact that there is nothing good inside of them and deserving apart from Christ.  Prideful people will never admit they are lost without Him.  It takes an act of God.  My guess is without God revealing sin inside of us; none of us would think we were too bad.

Yes I believe Holy Matrimony is sacred.  My marriage is a cord of three; God, Jeff, and me.  Without Him it would’ve dissolved a long time ago.  I am not anyone’s judge and neither are any of you.  God has such admiration and love for marriage that Christ is said to be our groom and we (the church) are his bride.  That tells me it is sacred to God.  God works inside a person to reveal Himself and puts convictions inside of people.  Man judges by the outside appearance, or the actions of a man.  But God judges the heart.  He sees the motives behind the actions of us all and that is enough that should make every straight, gay, asexual, bisexual person stop and evaluate.  Without Him we are equally lost.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The edge of 30...(insert Stevie Nicks music here)


I suppose I'm in reflecting mode today.  Tomorrow I will be 29 years old.  The last year of my twenties.  Is that possible?  I suppose it is and while I don't feel my age, I can't help but think of all I have learned along the way.  I am not the same person.  Parts of me are and always will be me, but so much has changed.    While some would consider 29 to still be young, I feel like I have lived a lifetime already.  There are so many things that I think of and see that I wish I could've made a trip back in time and had a talk with my younger self and really filled her in on a few things.  As hard headed as I am, it wouldn't have mattered.  Experience is a ruthless teacher isn't she?

I also just graduated and finished college.  I graduated before I finished.  How crazy is that?  While I graduated in July, I still had two months of classes before I actually finished.  Just in that two-year time frame frame I have grown and changed so very much.  At the start of college, I was not very confident and pretty unsure that I could finish, and my self-esteem wasn't the best.  See lovely pic below of my first day of college and the beaut that adorned my ID badge...
  I had tried to go to school two times before and it just never worked out.  Something always came up that prevented me from finishing and seemed to get into my way.  Not this time.  I finished and I not only finished, but I received my final grades yesterday and I officially finished with a 4.0 cumulative GPA.  I still can't believe it.  With all the duties and responsibilities of school, home, work, being a wife, and kids I actually finished and finished well.  My heart is so full this morning.  God has been so very good to me, and I do not thank Him or give Him credit enough.  I have grown so much as a Christian and as a woman.  It still does not seem right that I am a woman and calling myself one seems surreal.  I still feel like a little kid sometimes on the inside and just stuck in this body.  Who am I kidding, I still act like a little kid in a lot of ways.  Jeff would agree with that I'm sure.

There are many ways I thought I would feel when I finished school.  None of them are ways in which I'm feeling.  I thought I would feel accomplished, satisfied, successful, and I could go on.  I knew that school wasn't going to "complete" me.  God can only do that.  And while I know that only God can do that, I've been trying to fulfill that feeling in other ways.  I have fantasized of a new house, new car, new job, more money.  Here's what I've been saying:  "God after I get that new house, car, job, etc. then I can do something great for you."  But the day before yesterday, I stumbled upon this sermon.  It's a series called "Greater"  from Pastor Steven Furtick at Elevation Church.  It's based on 1 Kings 19:19-22.  At the same time that I was watching this sermon I received a text from my sweet Sunday school teacher asking me if I would take the lesson on The Rich young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-22 to discuss in class.  I told her I would and what God has shown me with these two lessons was not by mistake.  There is a quote by an unknown person that says  A coincidence is an event in which a sovereign God chooses to remain anonymous.  I couldn't agree more.  So I am sharing what I've learned, and I apologize to anyone who may read or see this that is in my Sunday school class, because you'll get to hear it all again.

In 1 Kings Elijah is going to appoint Elisha as his successor.  Elisha has no idea that any of this is happening or is supposed to happen.  It's something God has conspired and told Elijah about but not Elisha.  So Elijah found Elisha at his job, which was plowing behind a dozen stinking Oxen and throws his mantle(like a cape) over Elisha symbolizing the passing of Elijah's prophetic calling to Elisha.  At this point, Elisha says he is going to kiss his father and mother good-bye, and that's exactly what he does.  He didn't barter, argue, make excuses or ask what was happening.  Upon returning he slaughtered his Oxen and cooked them on a fire that was built from his plow.  The plow was his source of livelihood.  Pastor Furtick likened it to selling a business that you owned versus burning the building.  If you were a business owner, you would sell the building, not burn it down.  Elisha had no reserves and by burning the plow, he was signifying that he would not be returning to that line of work, and God was calling him to something greater.

Now switch gears with me a minute to Matthew to the story of the Rich young ruler.  Here it is below, and my comments are in italicized font and a different color.

The Rich Young Ruler

16 Just then someone came up and asked Him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”
(Problem #1 the ruler does not address Jesus as Lord, and he's trying to earn his way into Heaven)
17 “Why do you ask Me about what is good?”[f] He said to him. “There is only One who is good.[g] If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he asked Him. Jesus answered:
Do not murder;
do not commit adultery;
do not steal;
do not bear false witness;
19 honor your father and your mother;
and love your neighbor as yourself.[h](By asking which ones he was already thinking of compromise and you cannot compromise when you follow God.)
20 “I have kept all these,”[i] the young man told Him. “What do I still lack?”(Now he's lying.  Not one has kept all the law. And even if he could he's saying"I can do all that it's not a difficult issue for me")
21 “If you want to be perfect,”[j] Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”
22 When the young man heard that command, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.
(Now it just got serious and real.  Jesus hit him in the heart.  Jesus required that which his heart loved, and that was a price the young ruler was not willing to pay.)

And here is where it all got real for me also.  Elisha's plow that he burned was a good thing.  The plows in our lives could be anything good\bad that's keeping us from God.  We can give up those things that are not near and dear to our hearts for God, but where is the sacrifice in that?  How can we pick and choose?  God wants to be the one thing we crave and desire more than anything else and that anything could be something good.  Here is a list of things it could be:

  • food
  • money
  • new clothes
  • possessions
  • TV
  • games
  • computer
  • iPad, iPod, iDon'tknow, iPhone1,2,3,4,5,6,etc
  • a hobby
  • family
  • friends
  • new appliances
  • habits\addictions
  • new shoes
  • relationships
  • attention
  • new house
  • new car
  • new relationship
  • approval from others

I can say that I have put all the above listed items above my devotion for Christ at different times in my life, and each of those things left me desiring more and empty and unfulfilled.  Not all of those items are bad things.  Your family, friends, relationships can all be good things.  When our hearts are craving these things above Christ, therein lies the problem.  I have thought that Jeff would fulfill and complete me.  Wrong!  And that stupid quote from Jerry Maguire,"You complete me," is wrong too.  If you are married you can relate to what I'm saying I know you can!  Has your family ever let you down, or your kids?  Of course, they have.  Everything on that list and more apart from Christ will leave you craving and wanting and seeking but never fulfilled.  And while this is not new to me, and I know this I find myself relearning it again this week.  Our Sunday school teacher asked us to give up something this past Sunday and exchange it for time with God.  That was before I heard this sermon, and before she asked me to study the rich young ruler but it all ties in together.  We can give God what is easy.  It may be easy for you to write a check and stick it in the offering.  It may be easy for you to go without TV if you don't watch much TV.  But what is it that is attached to your heart that when you think to give it up and put Christ before it that it causes you pain.  That's the thing you need to give up.  It's all about our priorities and our hearts.  While others can't see your heart and your intentions, God can.  Lord help me.  Help us to choose you over all.  And the best part about choosing God over all, is that everything else will fall into place behind Him and be all the sweeter because of Him.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

To Dye for!

I don't usually color my hair.  I have gotten it highlighted but not a too often because I just have a commitment issue with hair color!  There I said it.  Ahhh, what a weight released.  That and it's oober expensive getting it redone every little bit.

Seriously, though I just dyed my hair!  I know it was drastic.  However, it's non permanent and my friends at VocalPoint  introduced me to this new product from Nice and Easy.  You can read all about Nice and Easy by clicking here

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to color my hair, and it washes out in 28 shampoos!  I can live with that. So here is my hair color before.  Pretty light brown...

And after...

Choco-latte!!  Actually it's Ash Brown but I think it looks chocolaty.  I think it was fun to try and super easy.  I might try and change things up more often.  If you've ever thought about it but have been afraid you won't like it I'm confident you'll like this.  Not to mention it washes out in 28 shampoos!  That is probably the main reason I was OK with coloring mine.  Try it out! 
 
 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mondays with my Old Pastor- A Review


The wisdom from older people is amazing.  The wisdom that you get from talking with your grandparents or any older generation is priceless.  In this book Jose Navajo is feeling like giving up his call from god.  He feels unequipped, unworthy and not suitable for the job.  He begins a series of visits with his old pastor.  The old man tells many stories to Jose and opens his eyes to the true, one all important aspect of the Christian life; the Cross.

This book was absolutely amazing.  So much that I'm rereading it and doing my best to remember the lessons throughout it and apply them to my life.  The old pastor told the following frequently in the book :

"My life has sprung forth from the shade of the cross.  I have always lived in the shadow of it, and I want it to be the ladder that lifts me up to His presence when my time comes"

The stories in this book are wonderful and eye-opening and heart opening.  Almost everything in life depends on god and almost nothing on us.  Why then do we try so hard to be acceptable or "Christian in a box" type people?  We spend so much time focusing on what we need to do or who we need to be that we forget who we are and who He is and the love becomes a duty.  I recommend this book to anyone regardless of age or where you are in life.  It has blessed me, and I think it will anyone else who opens it for themselves.






Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Like a Ton of Bricks...

How does a person begin to help their young child pick out a card for such a day as Father's Day that they don't even know?  Today I went Father's day card shopping with my youngest.  We were picking out cards, and he picked one out for his papaw that he doesn't get to see too often.  This papaw is the father of Gunner's biological dad who isn't involved with my boys and is incarcerated.  I suppose this made Gunner think about his biological Dad.  He then looked at me and asked if he could get Greg a Father's Day card and mail it to him.  Greg is his biological "dad."  I use the term loosely.  I told him he could, but I didn't want to tell him that.  The poor thing started picking up cards looking for the perfect one and everyone he picked up had something in it about "always being there," or "showing me how to live my life," or "I want to fill your shoes" phrases.  He kept putting the cards back one by one with a kind of grimace on his face.  It hurt my heart like you can't imagine.  I asked Gunner if he needed help, and he shook his head "yes." I just grabbed a very general "God Bless you on Father's Day" card and decided it was good enough.  He was satisfied.  Him and Hayden filled the card out, and we mailed it this evening. 

I thank God everyday for Jeff.  He is the only Daddy these boys have had.  He is such a great father to him.  He's all Gunner knows and certainly the only example of what a "Daddy" is and is supposed to be that Hayden has seen.  More than that they have the Lord.  Both know that God is their Heavenly Father and loves them unconditionally and even more than I do.   

If you are without your father or have never had a father figure in your life, please believe me when I tell you there is one who will never and has never left your side.  He has been with you in every step of your life and seen every fall and every tear you've cried.  Share that news with someone this weekend.

I'm so thankful that despite my messes, God is there to help me clean up and start over again.  Happy Father's Day to my heavenly Father.  The one true perfect man in my life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Haphazardness

Just have a little extra time and was thinking about the many things I'm thankful for and love at the moment so in no particular order here they are...

  • Spotify
  • Charcoal grilled ANYTHING
  • Freshly mowed grass
  • SHMILY notes form the hubs
  • Air conditioning
  • Being done with Writing I FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Upcoming graduation
  • Pioneer Woman
  • My kiddos 
  • Family
  • Friends, only a handful but I love them
  • Grace
  • Love
  • Mercy
  • Pinterest
  • Cravebox( If you love trying new stuff check them out.  You won't be disappointed!)
  • Music and all kinds of it
  • Yogurt
  • Sugar free Russell Stover's candy.  Particularly the toffee ones....ahhh
  • That I didn't pierce my eyebrow like I wanted to at one time
  • That my belly button healed that I DID pierce on my own mind you...
  • Looking at old pics
  • VBS
  • LAUGHTER
  • Aggravating..it's all out of love.  If I don't love you I won't aggravate you;0)  Jeff is so loved
  • Bare Minerals
  • Cheese!
  • Smaller numbers on the scales, but more importantly feeling BETTER
  • Pets
  • Facebook, aka: fatbook according to Jeff
  • Summer
  • Being able to not take myself so seriously
  • Getting an internship
  • Biosilk
  • Soynuts
  • Swimming
  • Books..unless they're school books;0)
  • My blog
  • All who read it;0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Nanny "Toots"

As a little girl I loved staying with my Nanny. She was a short plump old lady with salt and pepper short hair, false teeth, a glass eye that didn’t always look straight on, and a laugh that filled the room and was contagious when you heard it. She always wore dresses and thick sandals and always loved seeing me, almost as much as I loved seeing her. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I got to stay the night with her and was given the awesome responsibility of helping fix the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt’s house the following day. This made me feel like an adult and I couldn’t have been more excited. The next day however didn’t go quite as planned but nevertheless Thanksgiving happened. On the morning of that Thanksgiving it was extremely early and still dark outside when we woke up. Nanny said it was necessary to be up before the chickens when making a turkey. I thought that should’ve been up before the turkeys since that was what we were making but whatever Nanny said I believed! I didn’t mind being up because Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays anyhow. I loved seeing family and playing with my cousins and of course I loved eating all the delicious food. No one cooked like my Nanny. That is a fact that remains true at this present day.


Nanny made it into the kitchen and grabbed a pot from the cabinet and filled it with water and sat it on the stove and turned the burner on. She grabbed her instant coffee from the counter and pulled it over to the stove next to the cup and saucer she had out waiting on the coffee. She leaned on the counter and grabbed a cigarette and lit it and puffed away while she waited on the water to boil. The smoke filled the kitchen and I would watch it and wonder why in the world anyone would want to do such a thing. Once the water started boiling she would dump it in her cup and always spill some out in the saucer and on the counter. She’d take a spoon and fill it with the instant coffee and dump it in the scalding water and stir it real fast until the spoon made lots of clinking sounds in her cup. The coffee had a layer of foam on the top that reminded me of a swirly cloud and I loved the way it smelled. After she fixed her coffee she poured me a glass of orange juice and put two spoons of sugar in it just like I liked it at her house. Of course my mother would never let me have added sugar in my orange juice and since she wouldn’t I never would drink it for her. Mom would fuss at Nanny and Nanny just thought it was good I was drinking my juice no matter if it had sugar in it or not. I loved it when my Nanny would tell my Momma how things were. I always agreed with Nanny and would smile real big. Nanny would give me the spoon and let me make the clinking sound with my cup like hers had done with the coffee. She would pack her coffee to the table and spill it on the saucer and the floor the whole way there. She never worried about the spilt mess and I knew it would get cleaned up after she woke up good. We sat at the table and drank our beverages and discussed the menu for the day. Nanny was responsible for the turkey and oyster dressing and everyone else was making desserts and sides to go with it. Nanny continued to drink that coffee with it still just boiling hot and it made me cringe just to think about what that would feel like on my tongue. It never seemed to bother her. She’d sip it loud and smack her mouth afterward and let out a big “ahh” like it helped take the burn away. I had tried that before when drinking hot chocolate but it didn’t ever work for me. She got up from the table and went to the refrigerator and got out some sausage and some biscuits she had made up from the freezer.

She’d say, “Jenny, we can’t cook dinner for everyone else until we’ve had a good breakfast ourselves. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You never need to go without eating breakfast.” I couldn’t argue with that! My mom cooked but usually not breakfast. I always loved eating breakfast with my Nanny. She sliced the sausage into the iron skillet on the stove and it would hiss and steam as it cooked. I got as close to the stove as she’d let me so I could smell the savory goodness. She’d get a separate smaller iron skillet out for the biscuits and put them in it and warm the oven up while the sausage cooked. After everything was done she’d sit it all on the table and get the grape jelly and apple jelly out of the refrigerator and the Land O‘Lakes butter. Every time she’d grab the butter she’d say, “You got to have pure D butter. There isn’t any other!” I always agreed with that even though I didn’t have a clue what she meant. We sit and ate our breakfast and finished our coffee and juice and decided to get busy on the bird business awaiting us.

After dishes Nanny went to the refrigerator and got the massive bird off the shelf and took it to the sink. She unwrapped all the plastic and began cleaning the innards out of the inside. I couldn’t believe she’d stick her hand in that bird and do such a nasty thing. I was rethinking my desire for turkey at that point. She’d watch my face as she cleaned all those things out and giggle to herself when I’d make a yucky expression. She got a big roasting pan out from the cabinet and laid the bird on the pan. She went back to the refrigerator and grabbed the Land O‘Lakes butter and say, “You got to have pure D butter. There isn’t any other!” Once again I agreed with this statement. She took a whole stick and rubbed it all over that turkey, inside and out. I didn’t see any reason to be kind to that poor bird with a rub down at this point. He was a goner. She seemed like she knew what she was doing and I wasn’t about to tell her it was silly. If my Nanny knew anything it was how to cook! And Nanny had a heart bigger than Texas and if she wanted to give that dead bird a massage then who was I to tell her not to? After the butter and the seasonings, which were a secret, it was time to stick it in the oven.

Every few hours of cooking she’d get that big bird out and take a big medicine dropper looking thing and squirt the turkey’s juice that it was cooking in all over it and plop it back in the oven again. It was a long task cooking a turkey. In between those times we would play Old Maid and help pass the time. Nanny was good at Old Maid and she almost never ended up with that card. I couldn’t figure out how she did that.

It was late in the day and we had to get dressed and ready to go to my Aunt’s across town. While I got my bath she fixed the oyster dressing. I was glad too because those things stunk! I hated that stuff. I couldn’t see how anyone in the world would consider eating it. It was really cold outside that Thanksgiving and nanny started the car to let it warm up. She took the oyster dressing out and said we’d wait and get the turkey very last as we went out the door. I was standing at the bar in the kitchen with my jacket and boots on ready to go. Nanny came back in from the car and went to the oven. She told me to stay far back from the oven while she got the turkey out because it was going to be hot and she needed room to get out the door. I made sure to stay on the other end of that bar. She opened the oven door put an oven mitt on each hand and pulled the oven rack out to get the bird. As she pulled the oven rack out the pan slid and the turkey flew out of the pan off of the roasting rack and across the kitchen floor. I was TERRIFIED! I was just about to cry when without missing a beat she said, “Well let’s get in the car and we’ll stop at Don Lindsey’s Store and get some lunch meat to take to Paula’s.” She shut the oven door put the oven mitts on the counter and stepped over the turkey and headed out of the kitchen into the living room toward the door. My mouth was gaped open and I walked slowly out of the kitchen into the living room never taking my eyes off that bird. She told me everything was ok and not to worry about that turkey. She said it couldn’t hurt anyone or anything anymore.

We got in the car and went to the store and got lunch meat and thanked the man without explaining our dilemma. I wanted to though. I loved informing people of anything I knew about. I was about to bust. She let me hold the lunch meat in my lap and said I could carry it in if I wanted. We rode up the long driveway to my Aunt’s. I could see the house from the distance and several cars. We were running late and I couldn’t wait to see everyone but at the same time I was nervous about not having the turkey. We parked and I helped Nanny get the oyster dressing out and we rushed up the sidewalk into the house out of the cold. Everyone was thrilled we were there. The turkey was the center point of Thanksgiving and now we could all eat! Well, that’s how it was supposed to be. Everyone kept looking and noticed there were no large pans. My Uncle seen the lunch meat I had in my hand and asked where the turkey was. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Like a wave of rushing water I yelled it out to everyone, “Nanny dropped the turkey in the floor at her house and she just ran off and left it there. It’s still in her kitchen floor!” My uncle looked like he just lost a member of his family while others laughed hysterically and asked if I was telling the truth. My Nanny got so tickled it made us all laugh. We have never forgotten about our “Year without a Turkey” Thanksgiving. The turkey is and was long gone but the memories remained forever. I would give anything to be standing in the kitchen with my Nanny one more time. I was 4 at the time of this Thanksgiving. I had many more years with my Nanny and lots of good memories were made with her. It’s been 11 years since my Nanny has passed. I’m 28 now and I love to cook just like my Nanny did. Even more I love to laugh just like she did. I can almost feel her sometimes when I’m standing at the stove cooking and I never cease to hear her say,” You got to have pure D butter. There isn’t any other!” when I use butter. Sometimes I say it out loud and sometimes I just hear it in my head and smile and think of her. My Nanny knew the importance of family and she knew how to feed your belly and your soul. She combined the two and everyone was welcome at her house. She showed love and compassion to everyone she met. I pray that I can do the same.

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