Saturday, December 31, 2011
We arrived safely home from Michigan last night.... and we were all happy to get home. The kids mostly because they hadn't yet had their "Christmas" with me... so they had presents waiting. The only present I had waiting was a bath and my bed- which was more than enough. :-)
One of the highlights of the trip was having my cousin Rhonda photograph the kids (and me). It was alot of fun and she did a great job. The pic above made us laugh.... and laughter is the best medicine. Okay, so I just thought I'd throw in a tired little cliche there. But frankly... it would be be hard to argue that it isn't true.
Though the last few years have been decidedly difficult in many ways... some how through all of it... I emerged again.... me.... Brenda. The girl I have missed SO much. I thought she was dead, to be honest. But she's very much alive! She laughs so hard she pees her pants (okay, that is a new development.... last time I saw her, she hadn't birthed three babies- ha ha). That's the part I like the most about her- she laughs alot.
What's awesome- and can only be the working of the Divine... is that she has actually emerged in a more beautiful form... like a butterfly (she loves tired cliches, too). :-) She is stronger, more hopeful, more sure of who she is. It's nice.
[I will now stop talking in third person]
So it's that time of the year when we kind-of look back and see where we've been and we look forward to a clean slate - this year we call it 2012- and we dream about where we will go. Here's some of my thoughts on this subject.
My New Years Resolutions:
-Have fun with my kids, laugh with them, turn their frowns upside down
-Use more cliches
-Seek ways to serve- anticipate an incredible opportunity from God this year
-Listen for God's voice EVERY day and go with Him wherever He goes
-Finally finish up my second journey through the bible
-Figure out a way to "off" the dog and make it look like an accident
-LOSE WEIGHT, EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE (this is a mandatory resolution, but I really, really, really, really would like to end 2012 about 50 pounds lighter). If Brenda is back, she should have her old body back, as well. Just sayin'.
-Depend on God's amazing power (grace) to accomplish things I never thought possible
-Get out more (say "yes" to invites more often than I say "no")
-Make that pile of clothes at The Saving Way disappear... turn it into the cash it is waiting to be... to help a cause I believe in strongly.
I love God.... I just went to Biblegateway to find a verse to end on and their "verse of the day" is the verse God has been using to speak to me many, many times over the past 3-4 years. I could not accept it when he first spoke it to me... I did not want to forget the "former things", nor did I feel excited about anything new God might be doing. I wanted Egypt, frankly. And I actually thought it a little harsh for him to hit me with this when I had not yet had time to come to terms with what I had lost, much less grieve for it... so I wrote the verse down, added my commentary, which was "No, I do not perceive it!" and tucked it away, knowing God's voice when I hear it and figuring it would mean more to me later. Does it!!!! It means everything.
“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:16-19
Happy New Year!!
Posted by Brenda at 8:35 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
It's the wee hours of the morning. I woke up coughing, which woke the dog, who decided he needed to go potty, which meant I had to get up and let him out, which didn't make me happy. The coughing is not good and I'm afraid I am allergic to my job. :-( I haven't coughed like this since last Spring during allergy season- and at that time, the doctor said I had bronchitis.
And then I went home, assuming I would pick up the prescriptions in an hour or so when I went back out. I was wrong about that. I spent the next couple hours in the laundry room with four kids and a dog (had an extra kid that day). Tornadoes devatated our area and left us all without power- and my pharmacy closed.
The next morning (Sarah's birthday!), I ventured out amidst the uprooted trees, damaged fences, and the roof of the Wendy's now in their parking lot.... and found a line at the pharmacy, so I got in it. They were allowing one customer at a time into the store. Bigger stores, like Publix, had already brought in generators, but the drug store I had chosen was completely without power. I waited about an hour, made friends with the others in line (I always find the comraderie in these situations to be something special) and then was only able to get a couple of my prescriptions because they could only accept cash, and with the banks and ATMs without power, that left only what I happened to have in my wallet before the tornadoes. I had to pick the ones that were most important... the antibiotic, the cough medicine perhaps. I don't remember.
It felt more like a third-world country than America. We don't wait in long lines to get our medicine and other necessities. And who keeps cash around these days? And who is as sick as I was and has to decide between their medicines? We have programs for this kind of thing. People don't go without needed medicines here.
So I sit here eight months later and wait for the cough medicine (i.e. codeine) to work its magic, and remember that day and the days that followed... we were without power for close to a week at my house. I took the kids and fled to Nashville first (was given a discount at the hotel because we were refugees) and then to Kentucky to the loving arms of my dear friends, Beth and Nancy (where we got to stay for free and they even fed us).
And all of these memories flood back just by seeing a date on a medicine bottle at 4:00 in the morning.
And I can only sleep another hour now (sleep, please come back to me) because I have an early appointment with Tammy to get my nails done. I've been missing my pretty nails and for some reason, this manual labor job I now have is making me want to find ways to feel feminine. I end up with dirt under my fingernails every day and with the acrylic nails, I won't get that. Plus, I can afford it again now that I'm working regular hours. :-)
And it strikes me just how very blessed we really are in America......
Merry Christmas if I don't get back on here to say so again before the big day! I hope Santa brings everyone plenty of goodies and that Jesus blesses everyone with love and peace and joy, which are much more valuable commodities than any goodies Santa will leave in your stocking.
Posted by Brenda at 5:04 AM
Sunday, December 11, 2011
So we had this guest speaker at church this morning and I don't necessarily know if I agreed with everything he said (I'm not saying I disagreed- I just don't know if I agreed)... but I can't run away from his main point, even though I've been trying all day.
He quoted a poll where 5,000 American Christians were asked to give three one-word (or phrase) definitions of "grace" and the overwhelming majority of answers were things like
- a free gift
-forgiveness of sins
And he said that grace is certainly all of those things. But those things are not the primary definition of grace. Those things, he thought, reduce grace to a ticket into heaven. And he quoted Luke 2:40:
"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him".
Why, he asked, did Jesus need grace if it was only a ticket into heaven?
Good question, I thought.
Grace is, he asserted, first and foremost God's empowerment in our lives.
And then he used a verse that got my attention because I just blogged about it last week and it has been rattling in my brain, repeating itself to me through the day and in the night.....
II Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
He had more verses, but I didn't need any more, really. Here are some if you want to look them up yourself:
II Peter 1:2-3
I John 4:17
I John 2:6
I've been sitting here today looking at a 4 inch metal replica of a stake like the ones driven into Jesus' hands and feet (they gave them to us at church on Easter) and thinking about his horrific death so that I could live .... how he came so that I could have life and have it to the full!
And it nags at me.... Why do we settle for what we are able to do on our own ability (and speaking for myself, isn't a whole lot!) when we have God's supernatural ability available to us through his grace? What things could I do to make the world a better place if I really believed that through grace, I have access to God's amazing power? What could God do through me? How would my life look different than it does right now?
What stops me from being extraordinary? After all, I was created in the image of an extraordinary God.
Perhaps what this means to me specifically is best left for me to explore with God and not on my blog. But I just can't shake the realization that God wants so much more from me and for me than I have been allowing myself to believe.
The end for today.
Posted by Brenda at 10:40 PM
Friday, December 9, 2011
|Hours and Hours of Puzzle Fun!|
And finally, I'm sick of being fat. So I am working hard on eating more of this:
Posted by Brenda at 6:11 PM
Sunday, December 4, 2011
|Libby decorated the mantel for Christmas|
|Rufus has had a long day|
|Writing God's words on my doorpost|
|Random shot of the loveseat|
|My end table next to my chair|
|My laptop screen.... notice the green splotches where I stepped on it|
Posted by Brenda at 9:48 PM
Posted by Brenda at 12:08 AM
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 10:28 AM
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
This is good stuff to those of us with a huge thorn in our flesh that we really wish God would remove.
II Corinthians 12:6-8 (from The Message):
So I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap [i.e. thorn in my flesh] to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap [i.e. thorn in my flesh] and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Posted by Brenda at 2:07 PM
Sunday, November 27, 2011
If you read my blog post from last night... you are lucky. Because I just deleted it. I just decided it was stupid, pointless ramblings. Ha. If you didn't read it, then you are lucky, as well.
Right now I have a TON of schoolwork to be doing, but I am procrastinating by balancing my checkbook, checking Facebook, writing on my blog, etc. I am the queen of schoolwork procrastination. I mastered the art when I was in college the first time!
I'm also sick with a head cold/flu. It hasn't been bad enough where I have felt like I needed to stay in bed.... but it's not good, either. I'm all runny and stuffy (alternating!), coughing, kind-of achy, afraid I have a sinus infection, etc. It's hard to study when you are sick. I'm also so happy that when my mom was down last, we found a great deal on Kleenex at Krogers and we each got 10 boxes. So I have a stockpile to work through. I have a box in every room, plus one sitting here on the kitchen table while I type.
Thanksgiving was fabulous with my sister and her family down here. I wish they could move in permanently! :-)
I was saying in my post of last night that I am changing my major starting in January. Sitting here trying to get my checkbook to balance... well... I can't say I am going to miss Accounting all that much. Ha ha. I love it when it balances... but when I can't make it, I feel very frustrated!!!! Right now I have a $6.02 discrepancy. That makes me crazy.
I will tell you about my new major in another post. I'm going to go now and study SOMETHING. I've had straight A's all semester and I want to finish strong! Woo hoo!
Posted by Brenda at 7:48 PM
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 2:19 PM
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We met at church (which is a great place to meet)
But soon we were barefeeted and pregnant
And that's just how it went. (Oh yeah, she's an Accountant).
Through................ quitting our jobs and having babies
and sleepless nights, potty training and scabies (just kidding!)
VBS and teaching Sunday School together
and learning the Beatitudes forever and ever
and going to young mommy's bible study and hanging out and laughing
and talking and sharing and gossiping and passing.... (notes)
and many trials and tribulations.....
A friendship was forged.
A river was gorged.
Possibly no one has been there for me as much as this girl
She's really put up with alot- she probably wants to hurl.
Together we've never eaten beef jerky
But she can do a Herkie!
And I miss her so much now that we don't share a church
And there's been so much pain and a whole lot of hurt
And I'm sorry for this because it's mostly my fault
I don't like pepper, but please pass the salt.
I know we will be friends a really long time
Because eventually we will die and be together in the sweet by and by.
Jesus, bless my sweet and generous friend
And guide us to a place of amends.
Posted by Brenda at 10:51 PM
Saturday, November 5, 2011
If you encountered the ♥ of the Lord.... you would know it. It leaves no doubts.
LOVE SONG - Jason Morant
Where can I go?
Where can I run from you?
You know all my thoughts, you see through my ways.... and still you come to me.
So I sing a love song to you....
From heaven above
On earth down beneath
Your love reigns down on me.
You know all my thoughts, You see through my skin..... and still you come to me.
So I sing a love song to you....
You walk on waves
You run with clouds
You paint the sky for me to see!
Your majesty, your majesty is why I say...
This is a love song to you!
My life's a love song to you!
Posted by Brenda at 12:12 AM
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
So... on Sunday afternoon/evening, we drove to Memphis to see Taylor Swift. This is the continuing saga of the Taylor Swift Trip. TeST from here on. ;-) We were running late because of a church commitment and the road to Memphis from here is .... nice from a scenery standpoint. But there's no expressway (though rumors of a new expressway have been told since we moved here 17 years ago) and only the occasional small town... not alot of traffic and sometime after we cross from Mississippi into Tennessee, but before we got to Memphis... I saw the flashing blue lights behind me and naively changed lanes to let him pass... only he didn't pass. He changed lanes with me. So... I contemplated this turn of events a moment and decided, darnit, I spent alot of $$$ buying these tickets and I just shouldn't be hindered from my mission of getting to Taylor, so I floored it and lead Mr. Policeman on a high speed chase through the night, jumping a median and going airborne for a minute... wow- I finally lost him on a dirt road, all the while Onstar informing me I had left the planned route and asking if I needed updated directions. It was very exciting.
You believed me, right?
No, actually I got a nice hefty speeding ticket and also got in trouble for having the wrong insurance card in the wrong car. (Or the right car?)
As we drove away from the encounter (much slower), the girls began to complain about how unfair it was that I was given a ticket and how rude the policeman was and how he should have let me off with a warning, blah blah blah. And I said, "Girls.... I was speeding". This didn't hinder them- they continued to tell me what I SHOULD HAVE said to him and the attitude with which I should have said it and then they started to think up stories I could have told about how my grandmother was dying and I was trying to get to her bedside... and continued to talk about how it was so unfair, blah blah blah. And I said, "Girls..... I. Was. Speeding." They were baffled. So I seized this teachable moment and had a little monologue about taking responsibility for your actions. You do the crime, you do the time.
AND since two of them are driving age and one will be in another year, I also pointed out to them how all the time I had gained by speeding was LOST in those 15 minutes I had to sit on the side of the road and wait for my ticket to be written. Was it worth it, do you think?
No, they agreed. (Yay! They agreed!)
Posted by Brenda at 10:40 AM
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
So I was talking yesterday about our Taylor Swift concert trip to Memphis and how I had mostly positive thoughts on my 3 1/2 hour drive home. As I've thought about it, it wasn't so much the positive thoughts, but more the lack of negative thoughts that surprised me. I wasn't spending my time worrying about my future, stewing over things that other people are doing or have done that have upset me, or that kind of thing. I felt a sense of well-being that has mostly eluded me in life. I like it.
So one of the "possibility" things that I was thinking about is.... writing my novel. I had (a year or so ago) what I thought was a good idea for a fictional book and started writing it. I haven't returned to it in months, though. I think in my mind I usually have myself defeated before I even really get started on something. But it occurred to me last night that my idea IS pretty good and there is no reason whatsoever I couldn't get a book published. Other people do it! There's even a girl who I used to go to church with (with whom I once attended church) who published her first book within the past year or so. And she's just a normal person, I think. At least back when we were friends she seemed fairly normal. :-)
I think really I was having one of those moments where you look at your life and you think... dude, you're 41. You're really blessed. You have three beautiful kiddos and a nice life. And that's great. But- every time you blink, time is getting away and for real, you're running out of time to do the things you think would be really cool to do.
And I think it would be really cool to write a book.
(And dad... you're even older than 41 and you need to write YOUR book, too! ;-))
So- here's the deal. I'm back to working on my novel. I'm making a mental commitment to spend a couple hours EVERY WEEK on it whether I want to or not. And I might even go to a writer's workshop or something.
Posted by Brenda at 10:21 AM
Monday, October 31, 2011
I surely do wish you could have been in my mind last night as I drove home from a Taylor Swift concert in Memphis. As the girls slept soundly, (it was very late)... wow.... I had some really profound thoughts and blog post ideas and no one to tell them to and no way to write them down! What a shame. The really, really good stuff is probably gone. But I think I can salvage some with which to entertain you.
Can I just say on a side-note... it hit me about half way across Mississippi that most of my thoughts and feelings were of a POSITIVE tone or nature. Things like..... possibilities and little blessings and silly little notions.
If you've stumbled upon my blog- this doesn't mean anything to you. But if you know me IRL ... well... you know how straaaaaaange it is for me to have 3 1/2 hours alone with my thoughts and have them mostly be positive. I mean... this is HUGE! It can only be explained by the working of the Divine in my soul.
Let me start with this... the concert made my girls (all three of them-ha) very happy!!
Me? I'm not a big fan. Of her music or country music in general. I thought she was a little strange (could have been cold medicine or something, though, as she was sick and fought back coughing several times... it's got to be rough to have to perform sick). That aside, I've been to better concerts. And I think this boy who was sitting near us felt the same- his expression didn't change the whole time:
BUT- one thing I will say for Taylor is... she is very classy. With a couple exceptions (and my standards are high), her songs are suitable for young girls. And her outfits... very tasteful. She can't really dance that I could tell- so she jumped around alot, but no overtly sexual gyrating (that's a funny word!) or flaunting (so's that one) about. For a secular artist... I approve. (And Need to Breathe was her opening act, although we got there only in time to hear the end of their last song... )
So I will leave you with that for now. Because that is really enough.
Posted by Brenda at 8:43 AM
Monday, October 24, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
I am always looking for an easy fix
For quick-dry mortar to slap between the bricks
For the cake...... without the mix.
I don't want 12 steps, I want one.
I don't want pain, I want fun.
I want the prize, but not the race
I want healed wounds, but not the brace.
I want sobriety without confession
I want the truth without profession
I want none of self and all of Thee
Without the death required of me.
I want to love you with all my heart
But ..... keep back for myself a wee, small part.
I want the feast.... but accept the scraps
Believe the lies, ignore the gaps.
I want to want the things you give
I want to learn that surrender is now
But also a solemn and difficult vow
To wake up tomorrow and choose it anew.
And only possible by power from You.
Posted by Brenda at 10:48 PM
Monday, October 17, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 9:51 PM
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 6:13 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Thanks to Netflix (streaming) I have an endless supply of them.
One on Solitary Confinement was especially interesting (and by "interesting", I mean disturbing) as I sometimes feel I will go crazy when I am home alone for a day or two at a time without human interaction. The men in this particular prison go years alone at times until they can "prove" they deserve to re-enter the regular prison population. That right there is disturbing enough. Imagine working toward the goal of returning to "regular prison".
But these guys spend 23 hours a day in alone in a small cell. Their meals come in through small slits in the door. Once a day, they get moved to an exercise room where they spend an hour alone. They never get to go outside, though each cell has a small window through which the sky can be viewed . The guards talk to them as little as possible. No one touches them except to handcuff them. They have to "earn" priviledges such as books and TVs.
They find creative ways to communicate with the other inmates... such as slipping notes into little pockets they carve in the covers of the library books or using a string to dangle a note to a cell below. It doesn't matter to them who answers... they crave human interaction so desperately- they are happy for a word from ANYONE. Sometimes they act out just for the attention- verbal and physical, even though it means they will lose the priviledges they have already earned. :-(
After watching the documentary, I have decided that I oppose long-term solitary confinement as a reform technique. A day or two. Maybe a week. After that, I believe serious mental illness sets in.
Loneliness hurts. And it hurts worse the longer it persists.
And they said something interesting in the documentary that I've been turning over in my mind. They said loneliness is painful for a purpose. It is nature's way (and by "nature" they mean God) of making people reach out to other people. Because it is not good for us to be alone. We need each other to thrive.
Posted by Brenda at 10:00 AM
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 10:51 PM
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Posted by Brenda at 10:48 PM