Mind Mush

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Yeah, I know-what a catchy title. Mind mush. That’s where I am right now-but let me explain. 

The past three days my husband and I have been attending MusicFlorida, an event hosted by a music service where publishers come and present their best and newest in hopes that something will grab our attention and we purchase it to use in our worship ministry at church. As of this morning, we have heard 286 pieces of music, and we have another full day today. So, yep, mind mush. It all becomes a blur after a while, and I feel sorry for the guys who are presenting on the last day, because I think we are all staring at them with a glazed-over stare. 

It never ceases to amaze me, though, that God cuts through the mush and and reveals truth to me that I need to know, something He so wants me to hear. This week He has been pressing into my heart, over and over, “I am taking care of you. I will take care of you. And you ARE going to make it.” I fully believe he uses my “mind mush” to speak truth into me because there is nothing else to crowd it out. It cuts through the fog and reveals itself as a beautiful nugget of gold. Timeless truth, a promise he never fails to keep-He will take care of me!  

 

Don’t Quit

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I’m doing something new this year-at least to me. I’m writing a Scripture passage each day, following a writing plan. There’s plenty of them out there-just Google “Scripture writing plan” and see. It’s nothing new or revolutionary-children once learned to read and write by copying Scripture passages-even in the public schools! 

 This morning the passage on my calendar was Psalm 27:10-14. Psalm 27 is a favorite of mine, one I go to on dark, painful days. It begins by proclaiming “The Lod is my light and my salvation-who me should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom should I be afraid?” 

But this morning, it is the last verse that grips my heart and mind:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD. (HCSB)

When a verse of passage just stares me full in the face like this one is today, I go to my handy Bible app to read it in other trnslations/versions. And there, in “The Message,” I read this:  “Stay with God! Take heart. DON’T QUIT. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.”

I believe I have found my word for this year, well, actually two-DON’T QUIT. 
  

So Long, 2015

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I don’t think that I have ever been so glad to see a new year arrive. If I had to pick one word to describe 2015, it would be painful. And I am more than ready to put that pain behind, the year behind, to bury it deep and never dig it up again-at least the first 50 weeks.

But for all the pain of the first 50 weeks of 2015, the last two weeks were a soothing balm to the wounds. Good times with dear friends, the typical sweet yet crazy Christmas with the family-all wrapped together in a beautiful gift, a kiss from God, saying, “My dear daughter, I know it’s been hard-but you needed to grow. You needed to learn to trust Me, believe Me-and it took pain to accomplish this. But through it all I’ve been right here, even when you were screaming at the sky, asking where I was. I never left, stood ready for you to leap into my loving arms. And you finally did.”

So long, 2015-and welcome to the new!

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Inside My Mind: Random Thoughts-Blogging 101

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an egg-making bunny who delivers candy in baskets-somebody had way too much time on their hands

Unpretentious people are my favorite people

Where in the world is my husband’s passport? 

Not so sure about my son  having a job and moving off-campus into an apartment next term-Mama’s not quite ready for this 

Wish somebody else would walk the dog at 5:30 in the morning-why does she bark at only one of our neighbors-and have to go into his yard to do it

The cat is really being a toot to the dog

Why is that family friends with everyone else in my family but me? Why am I being singled out?

Riding wings of love-it was everywhere

Sixth grade choir divas drive me crazy 

No, that thought does not need to go out to the world 

That stem of leaves I can see through the window looks like birds lined up on a wire

And they are all looking the same direction

My full name means “lame friend”-how lame is that-feel like Charlie Brown

I think in sarcasm most of the time

Yellow Starbursts are the best

Jadis

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A few months ago-sadly, my last post (how embarrassing!)-I shared with you about the loss of our precious pup Lucy. Well, the hole in our family that was created by her passing has been filled with another precious rescue baby. This is Jadis:

   

 

We found this beautiful dog one Saturday when we saw a local rescue had set up for an adoption day outside the pet store at one our shopping centers. Our intention was to just take a look, but God had other plans. We were first drawn to a beautiful black Lab mix sporting a name tag with our favorite college’s logo. We quickly found out that the tag had been placed on him by his brand new owner who had adopted him earlier in the day and would be getting him later in the afternoon. The very next crate held Jadis. My husband walked over, knelt down beside the crate and said her name. She immediately put her snout between the bars and licked his hand. Then we began talking to a couple we knew there, thinking they were volunteers helping out, only to find that not only did they run the shelter with their daughter, but when she walked over,  she was the tech from our pharmacy!  So, after discussion at home and a flurry of phone calls and e-mails, Jadis came for the mandatory home visit, and within an hour the papers were signed, she was ours, and our home was complete again. Spotting the familiar blue tent from across a parking lot led to a divine appointment that has brought us a new “baby” to love-and the Davises are thrilled! 

***Thinking about adding a pet to your family? I encourage you to consider adopting from a local rescue group, especially a no-kill shelter. The rescue that gave us our Jadis will not adopt a dog out to a family until it is certified healthy, free of parasitic worms including heart worms, fully vetted and spayed or neutered. A home visit is required not only to assure the shelter that you will be providing a safe, loving home, but also that the pet and the family are a good fit for each other. The adoption fee we paid was a very small fraction of the cost of the vet care she had already received, and far less than buying a pure breed. Oh, the bonus-she was also crate-trained and fully house-broken, something you will never get buying a puppy from a breeder. You will be saving a life, and the love you receive in return is priceless!***

My Lucy

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My Lucy

She wasn’t the prettiest pup at the pound when we went there six years ago to adopt a new pet. But when she nosed her little snout thigh the link in the gate and licked our hands, we knew she was going home with us. We named her Lucy because it just seemed to fit.
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Lucy had a taste for fine leather, especially when it was attached to the heels of my favorite shoes., and for crinkly plastic water bottles, especially in the middle of the night from her hiding spot under our bed, just out of reach. She could remove the stuffing from a stuffed animal and then play happily with its limp, empty carcass. She hated thunderstorms, gunshots, the mail carriers, and the meter readers, and bravely “protected” me from the latter by barking furiously at them, hair standing up all the way down her back, and getting between me and them when they made a delivery to the door. She would chase the mail carrier truck to our neighbor’s house just to make sure he knew she meant business. When she wasn’t outdoors, she would perch on the back of the couch and poke her head through the curtains to look out the window, on the watch for whatever caught her fancy. She loved riding in the car and hitching rides on the neighborhood golf carts.

A few weeks ago we noticed a nasty sore on her hip. It looked like maybe she had been bitten by something. When it refused to heal and only grew larger, we took her into the vet to have it checked out. Surgery to remove the growth and a biopsy revealed that it wasn’t a bite, but cancer. Cancer in dogs is graded on a scale of 1-3, and hers was a 3. Our options were a form of doggie chemotherapy at $300 a month that may buy her an extra three months or so, or to let her be happy for as long as that might be. We chose then second option. And for a few weeks, she was her just as playful and energetic as always.

Last week things changed. She began to sleep much more than usual, ate much less than usual, and was very restless at night, pawing at us with a look on her face that said, “Something is wrong. fix it.” Then, we found a new growth very near the site of the first one, and in our hearts, we knew. So, we spent the weekend loving on her every second we could, letting her eat whatever we could coax her to eat, which wasn’t much. Monday we went to the vet, and X-rays confirmed what we already knew. Lucy’s cancer was now throughout her body, and the choice was how long to wait to let her go. We had made that decision over the weekend, and after a few more minutes of cuddling, crying, signing papers, and removing her collar with the tag we bought the day we brought her home six years ago, we told our sweet girl goodbye and left through the back door

The house is very, very quiet now. I hardly slept Monday night, because I kept waking up to let her out, reaching under the covers to pat a body that was no longer there, and crying when I realized she wasn’t there. The cat knows something isn’t right because she is getting a LOT of attention, whether she wants it or not. I miss my fur baby deeply, but I know we did the right thing in not letting her suffer any more than she already had. My husband is talking “our next dog,” but I’m not nearly ready to even entertain that idea. There will be one, eventually, but right now I need some time with my memories of the dog that stole my heart, ate my best shoes, and always let me know when someone was coming. Lucy, you will never be forgotten, and your “mama” will always love you.

Countdown to 50- Let me Tell You About My Family

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Once upon a time there was this brown-haired little girl who grew up as a PK , moving with her family to six different towns and five different churches in two states before she went into eighth grade. Incidentally, one of those churches was in the Mississippi Delta.

At the same time, this blond-haired boy was also growing up as a PK in Mississippi. He moved a bit, too, living in North Mississippi long enough to become a through and through Ole Miss Rebel fan (and hey, this is my story, so there will no PC discussions allowed) and then then spent the majority of his school years in the Mississippi Delta. Interestingly enough, at one point these two kids lived within an hour of each other, and never met.

Until an August day in 1984, in the music library at Garrett Hall at Blue Mountain College, a nice little Southern Baptist school in North Mississippi, that, at the time, was considered a women’s college, with the only men gaining admission being those who had demonstrated a definitive calling in their lives to ministry. That background is necessary, because when the brown-haired girl enrolled three years earlier, she made it abundantly clear to the “preacher boys” that she had no intention of becoming a preacher’s wife, because she had had enough of that fishbowl growing up. She had grand plans of a performance degree in voice, which she did get, and then seeing where she could go with that-eyes on the prize being the Met or the Kennedy Center as an opera singer. Hey, she might even de-throne Sandi Patti!

So this geeky blond-haired boy in a tweed jacket with the professor patches on the elbows comes over to the brown-haired girl, dressed in a ratty pair of shorts she had owned since her junior year of high school, and an equally ratty orange “Florida Beach Bem” t-shirt, (she loved that beach, now) because class was over and she could , minding her own business because as THE senior soprano in all her divaness (my word), she had already claimed her favorite lesson schedules for voice and organ and had a few days to kill while all the freshmen and other underlings scrambled for times (actually she was bored and sizing up the new-comers, but the other sounded so much better.) Geeky blond-haired boy really laid it on thick asking brown-haired girl if she had room in her schedule to be his accompanist for voice master classes, department recital days, and semester juries (the musician’s version of exam, when the department faculty could ask you to perform ANY piece you had worked on that semester, and quiz you on composer, intended interpretation, translations of foreign texts, yadda yadda yadda.) Brown-haired girl was amused, because it was apparent his housemates had already warned him to be very, very nice, but don’t act like you are coming on to her in any way, because she could go from sweet to psycho in the flutter of an eyelash in true Southern fashion. Lo, and behold, it wasn’t long until these two were best friends, JUST friends….

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Yes, just friends, because at the time these two were dating the other’s best friends and roommates-crazy, huh! But God had heard the brown-haired girls plans for her life, HER PLANS, and He had to have laughed. And then, He spoke over her, “Daughter, I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for the disaster you have planned (my words interspersed here), to give you a future and a hope.” Fourteen months, a broken engagement (hers), an all-night phone conversation after a youth choir tour concert at his father’s family church (which brown-haired girl at the time did not know this little tid-bit) and an evening at the Lee County Fair in which the two best friends finally realized while riding the Spider that they were totally smitten with each other, and these two were engaged. And six months later, this happened:

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And that is the story of how the brown-haired preacher’s daughter did what she had sworn she’d never do…..became a brown-haired worship pastor’s wife. God knew all along…and their love story is still being written one day at a time after 28 years, 3 churches, 3 towns, 2 children, and 8 homes.

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Countdown to 50 #3-13

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Sunday Mornings!

As long as I can remember back into my life, Sundays are a given: church! I wouldn’t have it any other way…..

Every church I attended/was a member of in the first half-century of my life had a picture out there on the web:
Evansville Baptist Church, Coldwater, MS:

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Malmasion Baptist Church, North Carrollton, Ms: My dad’s first church:

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Kendrick Baptist Church, Corinth, MS:

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Morris Chapel Baptist Church, Morris Chapel (Savannah,) TN-the town I adopted as my hometown-this was our house, right next to the church:

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Lowery Memorial Baptist Church, my church during my college years:

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Hopewell Baptist Church, MY first church to serve, and where I married my husband 28 years ago:

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Ingomar Baptist Church, New Albany, MS-our first church together:

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First Baptist Church, Okolona, MS-where we became “married with children”

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And last and best-Northcrest Baptist Church, Meridian, MS, where our family became 4, and has become our true home, 22 years and counting:

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Countdown to 50 #2

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5:00 A.M. Sisters, sisters, there’s nothing like sisters!
I have two sisters-Bobbie and Sherie. Sherie is on the far left of the picture, Bobbie is on the far right. Two sisters within Five years of my birth, and it’s really kind of cool. Bobbie is exactly 2-1/2 years younger, and Sherie is 4 years and 52 weeks younger, so we just call it 5. Two. Very. Cool. People!

And then we have a baby brother. We haven’t met him yet, because he went to Heaven before he was even born. But we will meet him…….someday…..

(I realized after the first post if I kept going on like that, then I would need way more than 24 hours…..

Countdown to 50

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Countdown to 50

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Wow. It is finally here. In approximately 21 hours, 40 minutes it will be my fiftieth birthday. A half century. 5 decades. 18,250 days, plus 10 or so leap days.

So, since it appears I will be awake for most of these next fleeting hours, thanks to a nice steroid shot for a shoulder that will be getting some PT in about 6 hours, I’ve decided to challenge myself to post as close to fifty people, places, things, etc., that have shaped who I have become. Most will be wonderful. Some may actually turn out to be funny. Sone will be “should have, could have” moments-but none of these will be regrets. They are all what I know now to be those divine moments and appointments that have brought me to where I am right now. Gosh, I could be really cheesy and call it “Fifty Shades of Fifty” but, nah…..

I hope you find this little journey of mine a little enjoyable…..as you get to know me better…more than likely way better than you wanted to, but here we go!

2:29 A.M.
The only place to begin this journey is at the beginning, with these two:

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This is my mom and dad on their wedding day, February 21, 1964. My dad was 22, my mom 15. Three months later they celebrated their 23rd and 16th birthdays, and three months after that, a week before their six-month anniversary, I entered their world. I have to admit, when I finally figured out at 15 (yep, that naive) that I was the major catalyst for my parents marrying when they did, that was a struggle. But God knew what was coming all those years ago….fast forward to February 21, 2014….

My two sisters, three sons-in-law, six grandchildren, one soon-to-be grandson-in-law and a host of family and dear friends celebrated their golden anniversary. Out of their “shotgun” beginnings came a father who surrendered his life to Jesus, followed His call to preach the gospel when I was 8, and I became the “front row! piano side PK. Out of that beginning, 50 years ago, has now come the following

Three daughters-two married to pastors, and one who got really smart and married a regular guy who can build ANYTHING and keeps our domestic cars, and the Japanese imports, running;

Six grandchildren, one newly married to a young pastor, and four (the newlywed, her brother, my daughter, and my son) who have collectively traveled very close to 60,000 miles to share the love of our Father in four countries on three continents-North America, South America, and Asia-pretty much outdoing their parents, who so far have only managed 4 states, one Canadian province (when Canada wasn’t a “cool” mission field,) an Easten African nation and one in Central America;

The first grand baby, my daughter, who is completing her third college degree and the intern hours necessary to qualify her to test to become a registered dietician, and someday, a certified diabetes educator, with a love and passion for people she has served in her travels that just takes my breath away;

The second grand baby, who is seminary alongside her new husband preparing to go wherever God takes them to share His love and the love of His Son,

Grand baby number three, who inherited his dad’s amazing ability to make anything and fix anything, who I pray will someday marry that beautiful, Jesus-loving girl he’s courting, who loves his family fiercely, and whose walk with The Lord grows exponentially each passing season;

Grand baby number four (my baby boy) who is beginning his sophomore year in college this week, studying to fulfill the call on his life to pastor, and most likely plant churches. becoming the third generation in my family and the fourth generation in his father’s family to spread out Father’s love behind a pulpit, with the same fire in his soul as his sister that exploded after a Christmas break mission trip to South Asia his senior year of high school;

Grand baby number five, nine months younger than my son, studying medicine, who I can fully see in medical missions, who just got home from a summer of missions in Alaska, with only the Bering Strait separating him from Asia’s most remote points in Siberia; and, finally-

The “miracle” baby girl who came into the world just shy of 33 weeks, weighing 3 pounds, 3 ounces, who is now a high school junior honor student, cheerleader, incredible softball player, and equally good golfer! A girl who is growing in her walk with God in a depth that you just don’t see very often in high school students.

Now, somebody tell me God did not fulfill His promise in Jeremiah-For I know the plans I have for you….” my parents, who I rise up and called blessed! Thank you for choosing life!

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