Monday, April 28, 2008

You Gotta Have Friends...

When I was a kid, I had lots of friends. My "best" friend seemed to rotate yearly, depending on who I saw more often at school, although I was still close to all of them.

I got married right out of high school, and one by one, my friends started falling to the wayside. One came and went through my life more than once. The last time she left me behind was just before my divorce, and it absolutely broke my heart.

After that, I really missed having a best friend to do things with, to talk to, and to laugh with. I hate to say that years later, things haven't changed much. It's been hard for me. I have girly tendencies, being a girl and all :-), and living in a house full of boys doesn't let me "get my girl on" very often. My husband is a great friend and my best friend, but it just isn't the same.

I remember reading the verses, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:10) and "a cord of three strands is not being easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12) My soul would be so grieved. I didn't have those friendships that the Bible tells us are so important.

I prayed for friends, and specifically for godly ones. Eventually I began meeting a few women, and developed some "surface" friendships, but no deep relationships.

Then I noticed something this weekend.

I have a wonderful friend who calls just to wish me happy Monday and leaves silly messages on my cell phone. I have friends who will join in on practical jokes without even knowing the "back story" behind it. Friends that will join in who DO know the back story. I have friends who will grab me and hug me for no good reason, and go places with me. I have friends who understand that we have to go to McDonald's for lunch together because we have our 3 kids with us, even when they don't have any of their five. I have friends who encourage me by telling me how they enjoy my blog, and ask me to "guest blog" on theirs.

What I noticed this weekend is that I have friends again. I lost my so-called "best friend," and God didn't replace her with one, but with several.

So, to all you ladies (and guys) out there that I now truly call my friends, thank you. You know who you are. You are the answer to my prayer.

Thanks, Lord...:-)

Monday Madness

Usually, I ignore these little quizzes. Occasionally one catches my attention, like this one. I get a chuckle out of them, but I had to share today because this one was DEAD ON! (And frankly, who couldn't use a good laugh on Monday?)

So, what cereal are you?

You Are Corn Flakes

You are traditional and easy going.

If something is high quality, you're satisfied with it.

You don't need much variety or novelty in your life.

You're happy with what you have. You're quite loyal.

You're the type of person who eats the same breakfast every day...

And likely at the exact same time each day!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Picked a Winner!

First off, I want to say thanks to everyone who played along during the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. I hope you enjoyed finding an awesome new musician (buy his downloads on his MySpace page!), and I hope he enjoys the feedback you all gave. You were all very sweet :-) This was his demo CD of 4 songs that he wrote and performs. I told you he was awesome, didn't I? :-)

Don't forget his name: Josh Fowler! picked the winning number for me, and it was #22: tammy!

Congratulations! I'll be sending you an email about shipping arrangements...

I hope to see you all around here again soon!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bite Back!


I'm linking to this post because I think it's a great cause. I'll just let BooMama tell you about it:

"This Friday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. And through the Bite Back campaign, people can give a one-time donation of $10 and provide a mosquito net for a child - or a family, if they’re all sleeping in the same place - who otherwise would have no protection from this completely preventable disease. That $10 will also provide education and treatment for people who are already sick with malaria.

My sweet friend Anne has challenged her readers to donate 50 nets in 50 hours. And I’m totally going to follow her lead here at BooMama: The Blawg. Remember, this is a one-time donation, not a long-term commitment.

So here’s how you can help.

Click here to donate $10 that will provide a mosquito net for a child (you can donate more than that if you feel led). Each net lasts three years, so for $3.33 a year - less than a penny a day - you can save a child’s life."

We can do it - Let's Bite Back!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Survey and A Giveaway!

If you're visiting from the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, then HEY! If you're a regular, then HEY! (See how I love everybody?!)

Well, this post should be a bit about me and this here blog. So, for starters, I'm a writer. Not just a blogger, but a pen-and-paper, in print kind of writer. And I'm working on a book. Actually, two. AND YOU CAN HELP ME!!

I'm doing some research for one of them right now, and it would be immensely helpful if you ladies (sorry fellas!) would take the survey(s) that apply to you. If you are or ever have been a daughter-in-law, then click here to take the Daughter-in-law survey. If you are or ever have been a mother-in-law (your son is married), then this Mother-in-Law survey is for you. If you are both, then you can take both surveys. Did I mention how much I would appreciate it if you would participate? :-) Many, many thanks...

Now, on to the giveaway!!!

This part is also a reflection of me right now. This CD has not left the CD player in my minivan for days. The songs are stuck in my head. And I want them to get stuck in yours, too. How you ask? Because I'm giving the winner a copy! YAY!

The CD is called "Broken" and it's by a new singer/songwriter named Josh Fowler. And may I just say, he is awesome! Seriously. He could be the next big name in Christian music. Or mainstream music. Whatever kind of music. He just rocks!

So here's the deal: I want you to go to his MySpace page here because I don't know how to put it on my blog. Sample his playlist. Pick a favorite from his songs, come back to my blog, and leave a comment on this post telling me which one it is! I will use a random number generator to choose a winner from the comments on Saturday, April 26th at 6pm Eastern Standard Time.

Got it? Good! Now GO GO GO and listen to Josh!!

And enjoy the rest of the carnival! And take my survey :-)

Oprah in the news - again

WARNING: This topic is a bit controversial. This post is simply my opinion. I welcome your comments, but I'm not trying to pick a fight!

The concept of Oprah as a spiritual leader first occurred to me when I heard her mentioned in a song called “What if His People Prayed” by Casting Crowns in the line: “Stop asking Oprah what to do.” That was a few years ago. I have to say that instead of viewers turning her off as the years passed, she has instead been growing in popularity. In fact, right now she is probably more noticeable than ever.

Oprah makes headlines every time she loses weight – or gains it. She has been in the news for her humanitarian trips to Africa. She built a school for girls after that, getting even more attention in the media when a scandal broke out later. Her name rose to the front page again as she began diligently supporting presidential candidate Barack Obama. And now, once again, everyone is talking about Oprah.

This time she is making headlines because of her “interactive class” on the internet. The teachings and apparently, Oprah’s own beliefs, are fueling a media frenzy among conservatives and Christians with the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. I haven’t personally read it. The video clips, blog posts and book reviews about it imply to me that it could truly lead people to the wrong conclusions, and away from God. Again, I haven’t read it.

It is undisputed that Americans have a newfound fascination with spirituality, and a non-Christian leader with such prominence is obviously a danger to the lost. Oprah’s way, if it teaches what I think it does, will lead people astray, plain and simple.

Here’s the thing: the outcry from the Christian population is fueling it even more.

Christians have the reputation of being Bible-thumping, hellfire-and-brimstone types who are over the top in our beliefs. Needless to say, that is a turn-off to many who are spiritual seekers. Oprah’s newfound belief is a much nicer, easier, feel-good way to them. They read the book and watch her webcasts to see what’s causing such an uproar. We argue over belief systems, and that makes the seekers even more curious. Do you think they are running to the Bible for answers? I don’t. They're running to her and listeningto the hype. The more we fuss about Oprah, the more attractive her way becomes.

What I believe has actually happened here is simple. Oprah has found something that makes her feel good about herself and she’s emphatically sharing it with everyone she can. No one can argue that she is a woman of incredible power and influence. So her message is being heard worldwide.

How many of us as Christians are doing that? How many of us are so excited about our God that we are spreading His Good News all around the world?

In Romans 1:8, Paul tells those in Rome how thankful he is for them, because “their faith is being reported all over the world.” He goes on to say that he is obligated to preach the gospel “both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and foolish.” Share it with everyone. Oprah is doing that. If you are willing to sign up for her class, you’re in. No discrimination. And anyone in the world with internet access can hear it.

Oprah has suffered greatly in her life. We’ve all heard the abuse stories and know how hard she has worked to get where she is now. That’s the trouble. She has not relied on God to help her. She is doing it in her own power. She may be swimming in billions of dollars, but deep down, she’s still empty. There is a God-shaped hole in her heart and she’s trying to fill it with anything she can find.

Success hasn’t filled it. Fame and fortune hasn’t filled it. Losing weight didn’t fill it. Giving things to Africans didn’t fill it. Building a school for them didn’t fill it. Supporting Barack Obama is a temporary high, but it won’t fill it. Her “Big Give” TV show won’t fill it. And this hype that she’s touting as a life-changing program won’t fill it, either.

“Look at that man, bloated by self-importance – full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive.”

Oprah’s answer is right there in Habukkuk 2:4. Doesn’t that sound like it’s describing her? She may seem to have it all right now, but she doesn’t. She’ll find what she’s missing when she stops running from God. Only He can make her be truly alive.

Instead of lashing out against her beliefs, shouldn’t we be praying for her? Show her some biblical compassion and mercy. Instead of pointing a finger and proclaiming her a heathen, blasphemer, cult leader, a “pied piper” and whatever else she’s been called, we need to see her for what she is: lost.

Can you imagine the eternal impact she could have if she were using her influence to share the gospel, instead of this belief system she’s promoting now?

Pray for her, everyone. Maybe that will be the next way she makes headlines…

Friday, April 18, 2008

Movin' and a Shakin'

I just want to say that when you are in prayer at 5:30 in the morning, with your eyes closed, and your couch starts shaking and your walls are creaking and popping, it's a bit unnerving! I thought either God was really trying to get my attention, or my guardian angels were whoopin' up on some bad guys.

I guess it was an earthquake.

Can you believe we felt that in North Carolina? What a neat planet God made...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I know, I know.

Blog readers usually like it when, say, a blogger actually blogs from time to time.

So, hello.

Jeff and I got away for our spring mini-vacation to Kentucky this past weekend. My brain has just been a big vortex of thoughts lately: book chapters, blog posts, emails I need to write, things to remember. I so needed a break, and God was a sweet One who granted it. I had kinda hoped that the peace and quiet (translation: no kids) would inspire m, or better yet give me time to get those thoughts out of my head and on to paper. But, God instead decided to dull the roar in a much simpler manner. He simply turned my brain OFF.

For example, we went to Keeneland, a thoroughbred racetrack in Lexington. Beautiful. We bet on the races, usually the minimum $2, to make the races more enjoyable. It really is more fun to cheer for a particular horse than just to watch aimlessly. They sell programs and have handicapping seminars to teach you how to choose a winner. Here's my way:

"He has a cool name.
She was born on my birthday!
Ooh! Pretty!"

See? But that's not a bad thing. So basically, all weekend, my biggest decisions were things like "Mexican or pizza?" "Horror flick or 'man movie?'" (21 is decent, by the way.) Oh, and the knitting. I was able to make this for a kids' home in Alabama for my monthly group thing:

But, now I'm home. Still have things in my head, but not quite so swirly. Aaron has started baseball, so I have less time than ever. I really feel like I'm entering a season of slowing down. But I'm not exactly sure how to do that :-)

I do know that I sure would like to get to get these ideas out of my head, though. Maybe someday soon!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You Gotta Hear This!

(Sorry, I can't get the graphic any bigger)
I had to work this past weekend, so I missed the concert of our worship leader, Josh Fowler. My sweet busband had to call me at work as soon as he left the church. Know why? To rub in that I missed an awesome concert and he didn't! Isn't he thoughtful? :-)

As it turns out, he was totally right. He bought a copy of Josh's CD, "Broken," which I promptly swiped as soon as I could. So you'll know, Josh is not only singing, but he wrote these songs (and is probably on keyboards, too, but I'm not 100% sure on that part). They sound as good as anything on the radio, Seriously.

If I knew how to play music on here, I'd let you listen. But, I don't know how, so just go here to Josh's MySpace page and listen for yourself. And then, um, hello! BUY THE SONGS!!!

And FYI, Jeff and I are getting' out of dodge to Kentucky this weekend. YAY! So the blog will probably be quiet for a few days. Like that's a change :-)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

All Creatures Great and Small

As I drank my coffee and gazed out the window this morning, I discovered a little bunny happily munching on my grass. I called the kids, and we all enjoyed watching him nibble, and hop, and wander around the yard. I also noticed squirrels scampering through the leaves, hawks circling overhead, and bunches of tiny birds pecking the ground. As I watched all these little creatures, I was reminded of this song:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Yes, He has made all things well. I hope you can all enjoy it today!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Have you seen my....

My kids seem to be more and more in the forefront of my mind and, therefore, my "planned" blog posts. Notice I said "planned." As in, I don't have enough time to actually write anything, but if I did, it would be about the boys.

Sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out. Or install permanent earplugs. But often they just make me laugh. Case in point:

My little Eli builds a "nest" with pillows and says he's a hamster. Remember that post? Well, maybe he's doing it from past history. Jeff is convinced that he was a squirrel in a past life. Here's the evidence: all these photos were taken on one day, and none of them were staged.

Bunny in my newly cleaned-out cabinet in the dining room

Green Goblin toy in my stationary drawer

Plastic lizard and Plankton in my fridge

Ninja turtle in my kitchen pantry (he wants the Oreos)

Spiderman 3 socks in my toiletry drawer in my bathroom

Spidey suspended from my dresser drawer handle

Living room end table drawer full of toys

Not pictured, but also observed ON THE SAME DAY:

Blanket under the bathroom sink
Spiderman toy in freezer
Batman motorcycle with my PJ's in the dresser

Last year he would wedge a Patrick Star (Spongebob's friend) toy between the window and the screen in the living room, and a tiny magnetic Spiderman could be found dangling from my lampshade.

I am not making this up! He knows where all of these items are, and he will get upset with you if you move them. I had so much fun photographing these. I knew he hid stuff, but not quite THAT much! I am considering the possibility that somwhow he really has hamster or squirrel genes.

Is it just me, or do your kids have odd habits too?

Friday, April 4, 2008

And the winning paint color is....

(drum roll please....)

the same.

Yep. We agreed to disagree.

I went to Lowe's and found a rug that I thought was "it." I matched some paint samples to it, and brought it all home to show Jeff. At first, he wasn't sure about the rug, but thought he could live with it. The paint colors? We totally agreed on those. Just not on where to put them.

Next morning? Jeff couldn't live with the rug after all, and so it went back to he store, and we went back to Square One. We looked together, even at the Home of 50,000 Rugs, and we couldn't.agree.on.ONE!

Yesterday, Jeff went to the Carpet Barn for a job he's doing, and Lo! And Behold! He thinks he found the rug. "What does it look like, honey?" I ask him.

"It's busy. And green," he tells me.

Busy. "What does that mean?" I say. "What kind of pattern is it? Swirls? Circles? Dashes? Flowers? What?"

"Umm, I don't know. It's just busy. But I like it."

Sounds perfect, doesn't it? :-P

So, when I have a chance to get to the Carpet Barn, I'll let you know just exactly what this rug looks like. Stay tuned...

(In all fairness, Jeff does normally do quite well with colors/design choices for the houses he builds. I just hope this rug looks better than it sounds!)


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