HodgePodge – 11/18/15


Since my 30 Days of Thanks bombed this year … I thought I’d take the pressure off myself and just blog when I can – which happens to be TODAY.  Wednesday is my late start morning … although it is also my late ending night.

So, it’s HODGEPODGE day with Joyce and friends:

1. What’s surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?

May I say EVERYTHING??  I think what took my by surprise the most is how it has not gone anything like I imagined when I was a college student or a newlywed … but that even that is okay.   I have learned to say “God’s ways are not my ways, although God’s ways are better.”

Also, what’s surprised me most recently is how much I love having TEENAGERS in my home!!  In fact, I don’t want them to grow up and leave me.  When I first became a mother, people would say things like, “Enjoy these days with your sweet baby … because one day they will become teenagers …” like that’s a bad thing.   It’s so not.  I am thankful for pretty great kids!!
2.  Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year…awesomesauce, beer o’clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe (apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here), fat shame, hangry, Mx (gender neutral), and skippable. 

Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation?

I find Mx ridiculous … recently (well, a few months ago?), a professor at my home-town University of Tennessee made a statement about no longer using masculine or feminine pronouns (which thankfully wasn’t approved):


I don’t see myself as confrontational or narrow-minded … but apparently, I’m fairly TRADITIONAL!

I, too, would never say fatberg or fat shame since I never knew those words existed.

I have been known to shout “awesomesauce!” and I have been hangry …

3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you’d rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy…which one on the list is your favorite?

Yes, I’m un-American … I do NOT like gravy – not white gravy, not brown gravy, not sausage gravy, not any kind of gravy.  I don’t like eating grease, and I love my meat or potatoes very dry!   I do attempt to make gravy for my family – but it is usually just from a packet.

I have learned about chocolate gravy now that I live in Arkansas … and that is the ONLY gravy I’ll ever eat.  I can’t make it often (actually my daughter makes it for us) – but yum!!

4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.

Yes, I plan – I make lists.  I expect things to GO AS PLANNED.  And yes, my plans generally fall into a trillion pieces!  ha!   Mostly that happens when I plan emotionally and my husband plans logically … and he is right and I am not. :-/

Actually, when I want to accomplish a task and am determined to do it, I plan my work and work my plan.  I love it when a plan comes together!

5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you’ll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?

So, yeh, I’ve played Monopoly; we own an original game and a Spiderman version and a Junior version.  We used to play games that lasted for HOURS when I was a kid … but once I started playing my husband, who is hard-core, I lost the fun in playing.  He’d wipe you out, take all your properties, and then put you into his debt.

I have never been to Atlantic City.  I’ve taken lots of rides on a railroad – mostly in Europe.  I don’t know much about parking in my town – but I guess there is a mix of paid and free parking around.  The last thing I took a chance on??? I don’t know – maybe a new recipe!!?

6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning?


Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

7. In keeping with this month’s theme of gratitude….what is something you’re taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you’re grateful for?

I am afraid that I often take the ordinary for granted.  I get stressed out far too quickly, and I worry about the future way too much … I rush through my busy weeks, grumbling about my way too long to-do lists and getting irritated at interruptions.  I don’t stop very often to seek joy or to relax.  I wish I was more like my kindergarten who thinks EVERY LITTLE THING is something to get excited about.  I guess I could want to be more like my teens who seem OBLIVIOUS to all the things that need to get done (laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning …) … but then again SOMEONE has to clean up the messes!!

A friend’s family recently lost their 31 year old son (husband, father) to a heart attack … and it made me realize that every day is precious.  I think I need to make more of an effort to do things that are fun and to appreciate my family in the run-of-the-mill days when we are all so busy.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
If you read this random thought, please say a prayer for what I am calling my need for a “Thanksgiving Miracle”.

It’s not really a life-altering need, but it is important to me:   we are traveling to see my parents (700 miles) over Thanksgiving week.  And we’ve got everything arranged … except my son’s job.  He asked for the week off a long time ago, and they did not approve his request.  I am so sad – and mad – and ready to go over there and threaten his manager if he doesn’t give Drew the time off (a kid who does anything they ask him, picks up extra shifts when needed, and has signed up for a leadership course with the business).  I’ve almost said he should just quit, but he’s come so far.  :(   Anyway, Drew wants to handle it and try to talk to his manager and get others to work for him so he can go … but we’re still not 100% sure it will work out.  My mama-heart wants to intervene – so this is hard.


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30 Days of Thanks – FAIL!


So, I guess I need to face the facts:  blogging just isn’t going to be working out on a regular basis.  It makes me sad because I’d rather just sit at home and read and write all day long …

but life gets in the way.  Currently, I am still working on editing a friend’s manuscript, grading papers for a 7th grade English teacher, and I just wrote the script for Annie-Belle’s 2nd Annual Mystery Dinner which took place last Friday.


Oh, and then there’s that pesky sort-a-full-time job I have!!  Thursday, I stole away early to take some “Senior” pictures of Drew, since it was finally sunny again and the barreness of winter had not set into the trees yet.

andrew1 best pic Andrew2_best Andrew3_cropped Andrew5_edit focus Andrew6_edit Andrew9_fun edit

I am definitely not a professional photographer nor do I have an editing program besides picmonkey.com … but I have a friend who helped me with my favorite pic (the first one) using Photoshop Elements (I liked your picture even better than the one my professional photog friend edited for me, Amy!!!).

And….. we just got Drew’s 1st acceptance letter to a university for Fall 2016.  We’re not making any big announcements since he applied to 3 different places so far, but it is exciting to think he is “in” at what is probably his first choice right now anyway!  On Thursday, we are visiting the campus of John Brown University which is a Christian liberal arts university in near-by Siloam Springs … but I have a feeling that it isn’t quite “the one.”

Anyway … all that to say, I am just thankful to function on a daily basis.  Anything else I accomplish along the way is a bonus!  ;)  And thus, my official 30 Days of Thanks is being cut short and chalked up to “good intentions”.   But that doesn’t mean my heart will cease being thankful every day for all of God’s goodness



Posted in Drew, thankfulness | 3 Comments

30 Days of Thanks – Day 5

431e9dba4a57cacb80312724b29466caToday I really, really, really need to focus my mind on thanks … what a day!  what a week!  TGIF tomorrow, I suppose.   (If anyone would like to hire a maid service for me, that would be great.  Especially if she does laundry …)

So, I’m trying to find some hope and happiness tonight to calm my whirly thoughts before bedtime.

And I guess I can say I’m thankful I live in beautiful NW Arkansas … probably one of the last places on the planet I ever dreamed I’d end up!  And while this place holds its own set of challenges, I can’t complain about my little city – it has many of the elements I enjoy in life:  a big library, lots of events, SEC sports, shopping and eating … all within minutes of my house.

If you aren’t familiar with Arkansas (I still am not – I just know the parts where I live and those along Interstate 40 that takes us straight across the state to the border of Memphis, Tennessee!!), here it is broken down:  apparently there is some INTERESTING history to this state.


So, we live in “Razorbacks” – just south of “Wal-mart” … near the “mountains better than the ones in Missouri.”


Posted in NW Arkansas, thankfulness | 1 Comment

30 Days of Thanks – Days 3&4


Today we are celebrating our middle child … our fun-loving, tenderhearted Annie-Belle.


When we were expecting Annie, Daniel was still in the Army.  At the time and place where we were stationed, OB care was more like an assembly line operation, and I was known by my husband’s social security number rather than my own name!  I often waited an hour for a 5 minute check-up with my doctor.  But the care was adequate, if not very personal.  After the initial ultrasound at 6 weeks pregnant or so to confirm the pregnancy was viable (I was actually still being seen by a reproductive endocrinologist at that point), I never got another ultrasound to confirm the gender of our baby …

And so, not so much by our own choice, we didn’t know if our 2nd child was going to be a boy or a girl!  Secretly, of course, I hoped for a girl since we already had a boy!



The rest of Annie’s birth was an adventure as well.  She was due around November 26th … but my water broke early in the morning about 3 weeks before that date.  Not only that, but after expecting yet another natural child birth, I had to have an unexpected (thankfully, NOT emergency) c-section because Annie was transverse and my water had already broken so she couldn’t be manipulated in the womb.

Annie was born around 5:33 p.m. EST in Virginia at an Air Force Base hospital.  Thankfully, a college friend happened to be visiting us that weekend and stayed home with Drew during that time.  She hadn’t come to babysit … but I am thankful she was there for us!  We weren’t exactly sure how we were going to handle the child care situation during the birth since we weren’t near any family … but God has a way of working things out.

Annie is our resilient middle child.  That status – middle child – too came a little unexpectedly when she was 9 years old.  And she’s handled it well.  She’s a sweet sister to Mimsy and puts up with having to share a room with her.

Annie is my opposite, which often leaves me at a loss of how to handle her.  Annie is emotional and cries easily … she loves to perform – sing or act – on stage or otherwise.  She loves people and isn’t afraid to meet new ones.  Annie loves all things social – she’s our party animal!  Unfortunately, life with the rest of her homebody family means she often has to go to functions alone … and she usually does so cheerfully.

The last few years have been hard – trying to find a place where she “belongs” … and she just hasn’t fit perfectly anywhere.  We have prayed for a “best friend” for her, but so far, God has only given her ME, her mother.  I guess that’s His plan for now.

Anyway, Annie would be mortified to know I’ve written a whole blog post about her (she has this hang-up about me talking about her to my friends?!) … but it is only because I love her so much and am incredibly thankful she was born.  She is one of my biggest challenges and yet one of my most humbling gifts.  She is my example of loving others unconditionally and of putting yourself out there even when you don’t know anyone!

Happy 15th birthday, A-B!



Posted in Annie-Belle, birthday, thankfulness | 1 Comment

30 Days of Thanks – Day 2


While I’m not really always thankful for Mondays any more … I am thankful I have a job.  Today was my payday – and I am thankful God is providing for us through employment.  It wasn’t my fondest wish to work outside my home; but God has brought me to the acceptance of the fact that I am capable – if not to keep up with EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE adequately – because I do have skills that are marketable.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over having experienced unemployment.   It makes the Fridays when Daniel works 16 hours and Saturdays when he works 12 more be something to be thankful for!  It makes pay days that much more satisfying.  We have work!

I am thankful our parents instilled work ethic into us – and it seems like it has taken at least in our son, who works 20-25 hours a week at his job.   He is planning his financial future, which will soon (hopefully) include buying himself a vehicle (with our help).

And I suppose I can include work ethic into the jobs that aren’t paid too … I definitely can’t run this household on my own – and am always grateful when someone else in the family steps up!

I am sure wiser investments or different career paths may have made this time of our lives a little easier, but it is what it is.  We are hopeful that some day things will be easier financially … and at that point, I guess the leisure or traveling we might be able to do will be that much more appreciated too?!





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30 Days of Thanks – Day 1


In November of 2009, about a year after I started blogging, I started celebrating 30 Days of Thanks in November.  I’m not sure I managed to follow through every year since, but the years I did, it was such a great reminder to be THANKFUL every day.  There is much to be said about gratitude … it definitely does affect the ATTITUDE.   I am not promising I will post every day this year either; my life doesn’t always allow me the peace of mind to write – but I will attempt to do my best to be THANKFUL all month long.  :)

Thinking back, November of 2009 is when I first connected with a few bloggers and friends who are still reading along today (or whose blogs I still follow, too) … [Remember Mamabuzz, Melanie??  It is how we first met!]

My blog is the record of our families’ days … it is an outlet for me to share what I am learning, to ask for advice and prayer, and to just fulfill my need to write.  It is kind of my therapy – which I happen to share with the internet!  It also once got me in some pretty serious trouble … but I learned a valuable lesson through that episode about who truly is a trusted friend and who isn’t.  If you’ve been around a while, you may remember the great transition from blogspot to wordpress as I dumped some nosy readers!!

While I still risk some criticism or being again misunderstood at any time by sharing my words with the world wide web, it is worth it to connect with the trusted friends who continue to read my blog.  It is my introverted version of making my voice heard even when I don’t have a daily interaction with people.  And so, I am thankful for this blog … and for those of you who stop by to visit me here!

I am also THANKFUL for all of you who said you’d be praying for my Annie-Belle in her friendship situation right now.  She is “over it” for the time being … It helped that she had a short “fall break” from school on Thursday and Friday to remove herself from those “friends” at school to gain some perspective again.  She also participated in what she enjoys most last week:  drama!  (as in acting.)

Our church holds an annual House of Destiny at Halloween time, and Annie-Belle and Drew both had a part in it this year (Drew, a little reluctantly!).  So, the kids spent the last 3 night performing their parts from 7 to 10 p.m.  At last report, several people accepted the invitation at the end of the program to pray to accept Jesus into their lives.   And that makes it all worthwhile.

Since Daniel worked 16 hours on Friday and 12 hours on Saturday, it was pretty much just me and Mimsy at home to man the door for the trick-or-treaters we had stop by.  Mimi dressed up as Princess Anna (from Frozen) to greet them … and she also visited the nearest neighbors.


We live in a pretty big neighborhood in town … and there were a lot of sweet princesses, pirates, minions, and other colorful characters who stopped by.  My favorite was a little boy in an inflatable glow worm costume, complete with lights inside of it!

We also dressed up at work on Friday … I work with some pretty interesting characters (Alvin & the Chipmunks, a Ghostbuster (too bad you can’t really see his costume), Victor Vega, Rosie the Riveter, Minnie Mouse, a baseball player, a football player, and a gumball machine!


Oh, and that’s me in the Army uniform in the back row … but I’m not even sure you can see me in the camoflage!


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Mom, Are We Normal?!

Some days I wonder if my family is “normal” … I mean, we are absolutely FINE when we are among ourselves.  It’s our own world we live in – and we like each other here.  But then I find we don’t always connect well with the “outside” world.   Even at church or among our peers.  Are we really THAT different and hard to get to know??

Personally, that’s ok with me!  I’ve come to grips with myself – I enjoy conversations in my own head with myself!  As a friend said recently, she is becoming more introverted as she gets older.  ME TOO!!  I’m ok with my very small circle of trusted people; I don’t have time for other people’s drama.  My husband is ok with that … and even our son seems to be a homebody, introverted, introspective kid.

But what do I with my extroverted, social daughter who so desperately wants friendship with someone her own age.   Last night yet again, we had the conversation – with many tears on her part – that we’ve had over and over for several years now, “It’s not fair!”  …  Why doesn’t she fit in anywhere when she really is a cheerful, happy- hearted person who likes to have fun, too?

Recently, twice, she’s been told to “go away … we’re talking” by girls in her class.  My reaction is “who needs them??”  But she says “I do, Mom.  I just want a friend, a real friend.”  *sigh*

Of course, as mama bear, I want to pull her out of school and homeschool – but as we discovered when we did that her 7th grade year, that just isolated us even more.   We don’t really belong in either place.  And I’m not really sure why.

I told my daughter to talk to her guidance counselor at school and also another trusted teacher there.  And they both told her exactly the same thing, “You just haven’t found your people yet.”  One of them went on to tell her that her classmates there really have had easy lives comparatively to what Annie-Belle has gone through – and they just can’t understand where she’s come from.  Those kids have lived in the same town all their lives, surrounded by their extended families, growing up with the same kids who are also in the same situation.  Their views and needs are very narrow.  Those kids – as the teacher said – are just craving “junk food” right now (as in easy lives, fun, entertainment, surface relationships) – but some day, they may find that they are sick of junk food and will want meat-and-potatoes (a more nourishing relationship that goes deep to the heart) and then Annie-Belle will be there.  We laughed – but it kind of makes sense!  And even if it isn’t THIS crowd from school in particular, it will be a meat-and-potatoes friend somewhere else.

I’m not saying our family is any more experienced or spiritual due to the situations we’ve had to face … but somehow it has affected how we live and see the world.  And that’s really it too:  the WORLD doesn’t mean as much to us anymore.  Sure, there are things “in the world” that are interesting – we’d love to travel again or see a new movie that might come out or shop for cute clothes … but as far as most modern entertainment, we are clueless.

My daughter said she was kind of teased when the kids in her class (Christian school) were discussing an episode of some recent TV show, and Anna told them she spent the evening watching “Little House on the Prairie”.  I guess the catch phrase is “…. and then there’s Ann[ie-Belle].”  Which I told her makes her special – of course, to the others, it might make her the “goody-two-shoes” … but that is OK!!   And who knows, their TV show might not even be “bad” … but it just doesn’t appeal to us (besides, who has time or energy to waste on TV!!?!).

The thing is, Annie-Belle is perfectly happy in her little world too … she said she has zero interest in the shows and trends that her friends sometimes talk about.  BUT she still has a lot to say.  She is finding out that a friend she thought was so “spiritual” – and who is often lauded as the school’s Christian character example – isn’t so spiritual after all (not that we’re claiming any dibs on the spiritual prize either!!).  It’s disappointing … and it is just the beginning of the disappointments we have in PEOPLE.

It’s hard, though, to see your child cry … and kind of see her losing the joy that she usually has.  Even her brother remarked to me the other day that she seemed “not herself” lately.  So, what do I do??   Of course, her dad in all his logical, man-thinking, says “it’s a phase … she’ll be fine.  She just needs to focus on school.”  And I agree … but SOCIAL LIFE is a part of school – and you’d think in a CHRISTIAN school, it might be a little more tolerable than other places.  But people are people.  And she just needs to find her “people.”

So, say a prayer for us as we seek wisdom – and perhaps another outlet for her.  We had a balanced (by our definition) youth group when we came to AR, but our YG leader left and now it has fizzled … we are still praying about changing churches this summer …  But, I keep reminding A-B that right now her family is her friends … and she has a really good attitude about that.  She shares a room with her little sister and is willing to color, play dolls, or sing silly songs with her; she and I try to go out together, just the two of us and do something fun together.  BUT I get it that she longs for a bosom-friend (a la Anne of Green Gables and Diana!) with someone her own age.  I am thankful I’ve had that experience in my life, and I wish it for her … someone trusted who you can talk about everything with.

I know God has a reason and a purpose for EVERYTHING … I know He is working in ways A-B doesn’t even realize right now.  I just want to be the mother who directs her in the right thinking right now.  I keep encouraging her that she’ll grow up and find “her people” outside our family someday … but that doesn’t always help with the loneliness of today.

These are the days that parenting is so hard.  I don’t like that my child is hurting … but I’m also not really sure how to fix it.   And perhaps only God can.

Posted in Annie-Belle, Family, friendship | 6 Comments


Nothing gives you a more jarring perspective than the news of a young life cut short … For me, that came in the form of a phone call last night, telling me of the sudden death of a young man (in his early 30’s), whom we went to church with in Missouri.  He’s a father of 4 young children, and of course, a husband, brother, son, uncle, friend, employee, church member….  He was my husband’s choir director for a short time, and my husband sang in a quartet with him and his family on occasion as well.  We loved his family, and my husband considered his mother a friend and confidant during some very troubling times in our own lives.   And now they are grieving this sudden, tragic loss.

On Facebook tonight, this young man’s wife posted their last picture together, taken, apparently, a very short time before he died.  They were both smiling, out on a mountain biking date without their children … and within a short period of time after, this man was in the presence of his Savior!

A close up of the old big stump.

In our Beth Moore Bible study last night over the book of Daniel, we studied chapter 4 – King Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony:  his pride got the best of him, and God reduced him to living like a beast in the field for 7 years before he came to his senses again!   He had a forewarning of this event in a dream that Daniel interpreted for him– of a flourishing tree that was cut down and reduced to a broken-down stump.  This stump was fettered down with iron and bronze.  Some interpret that to mean the stump was prevented from growing … but instead, it might be interpreted that this stump was being protected because IT WOULD FLOURISH again (which is exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did after his very lowest point, living as a beast of the field).

Beth Moore reflected on her lowest days in the lesson … which of course, that brought back my own.  Several years ago now, my husband was not only unemployed, but he’d broken his leg – then he’d gotten a job in another state, and we lived apart for 6 months.  My “job” was to finish homeschooling our children, finish up our duties in Missouri, and get our house ready to sell.  Living in 2 households was draining us dry; his new job did not pay enough to cover those expenses plus the debts we’d already incurred … and our house wasn’t selling!  In fact, it was hardly being shown.

One day, I was cleaning our old home’s kitchen.  As I scrubbed down the refrigerator, I would notice more and more areas that I’d neglected so long and needed to really deep clean – those seals around the doors and the areas under the crispers … and finally, the vents underneath.  I was sitting in the floor, scrubbing – I’m not really sure where my children were, but at the moment, I was alone, considering how very far we had fallen and how extremely humbled we had been to have to rely on so many others to help us and how much we’d lost.  And I knelt there in the floor and sobbed.  I bowed myself down and just cried my heart out.  I was completely broken.

My husband today texted our love and sympathy to the mother of this friend of ours that passed away.  She replied “We are broken, but God is sovereign.”

Brokenness is a bond of mankind.  Sin breaks us … sadness breaks us … death breaks us.  BUT as Christians, we have the hope that GOD alone is protecting us with His own hands!  The pain leaks in between … but evil cannot touch us with His permission (think about Job – an old pastor of mine, Harold Clayton, delighted in the fact that “the devil needs a permit” as the first chapter of Job describes the Devil asking God for permission to touch Job).  The question is often asked, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” … and despite the books that are written on the topic, I still don’t wholly understand why.  BUT I trust that GOD KNOWS.

In true brokenness, the kind that seeks God (not the kind that becomes bitter), we are most blessed because really, the ONLY ONE who can fully calm our hearts is GOD.  We can have hope of flourishing again, despite the pain and the scars … and in fact, come out with a testimony.  I wish I could say MY testimony were stronger and less wavering … but maybe – hopefully – my testimony isn’t complete.

After being broken, King Nebuchadnezzar said, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just …”  (Dan 4:37a)

Please pray for our friends … I can’t even begin to fathom their loss and the void that has been left in their lives.  Only God knows why this happened … Pray they will just continue to trust Him and flourish again in due time.


Posted in church, Devotional Thoughts, friendship | 2 Comments

When Your Heart Begins to Thaw & Your Head Begins to Understand …

“The car can fail today and the kids and the dog and the fire detector and the dishwasher and the doctor and the whole free democratic world and it’s entire economic system but the mercies of God cannot and will not fail and His faithfulness is not merely great–  it is unwavering.” ~Ann Voskamp


I am not always a big fan of Ann Voskamp’s writing style.  BUT I follow her blog, and I’m fascinated by her One Thousand Gifts book.  I’ve picked it up & put it down at the bookstore several times … Mary & Martha (the home business I am a consultant for) has offered it at half off … I’ve perused it on Amazon.  But I haven’t bought it YET.  Ann sometimes writes in these short bursts of thoughts that aren’t quite my style  – and yet the fact that she writes things that seem REAL and relative to every day life and hurts draw me to her writing over and over.

Yesterday the article on her blog HIT HOME … hard.  Was she interviewing ME?!  The woman who has hung on for year after year … reminding herself that GOD LOVES ME … clinging to the promises I’ve heard all my life that GOD provides needs, is with us always, knows best, works things for our good and HE IS GOOD … alternating between these bold statements of my faith to times when I wonder if I really do believe all of it?  OF COURSE, I DO!  But some dark moments, I’ve wavered.

Trite formulas have never worked well for me – following the rules wasn’t enough.  I needed a deeper knowledge that what the Bible says WORKS … that it is TRUE not just when you are dressed up nice for church on a Sunday morning.  I need the Bible to be true when I’ve done everything I know to do that is right – and things/circumstances still don’t work out well and people misjudge you.  When there is injustice and loss – not just once but twice and three times and four times.  When the consequences of choices – mine or other’s – go on and on and on.  When you just can’t seem to “catch a break.”  WHEN like the blog article said, everybody else has found their niche and their address and their way and you’re wondering if Someone has lost your number because you keep waiting and your’s never gets called and why does it feel like everyone else is moving ahead and everything in your world is falling behind and apart?”

But the story – my story – doesn’t end in the despair.  It doesn’t end defeated!  It doesn’t stop cold and lonely.  Our trust is in GOD … not the things we think we need or want or even already have, like a lovely home or money in the bank!!  As a sweet friend who reads my blog reminded me just very recently:  “Trust in the PROVIDER, not just the provision.”  (<<I’m clinging to this, Angie!)

Even though this week – so far – has been so swirly busy – and I haven’t had much time to stop and think, God has worked on my heart more intensely despite my job, the activities and the non-ending list of things I need to get done.  I haven’t slept well this week, and in the earliest morning hours, the words I read and heard recently have ministered to my heart.  Ultimately, I feel it is GOD’S WORD that is working.

I am attending a Beth Moore Bible Study with a friend on Tuesday evenings now.  I have never known much about Beth Moore – she wasn’t much valued in the circles I used to worship in … nor was Ann Voskamp for that matter – but these women are SAVED, redeemed, and have something that I found lacking in the circles I used to worship in:  they are REAL.  They talk about things I was told to never talk about … they discuss what hurts and what is hard – they go beyond housekeeping tips and “how-to-serve-your-family-with-a-happy-heart” advice.  There are no trite and simple answers for some situations.  HOW MANY times – when I was a church secretary – did I talk to someone who asked me where or how to get answers when the church or pastor didn’t seem to be answering them?  YES, OF COURSE, there are principles in the *Bible* that apply to EVERYTHING – those verses a pastor might take you to over and over again … but when you take a hard, modern-world situation and attempt to reconcile it with pat Christian answers, and then throw in a lot of modern-day sin, it does appear a little hard to reconcile.  The basic answers ARE TRUE:  Trust God.   Pray.  Wait on the Lord.  But when emotions don’t cooperate, and others continue down abusive paths, and nothing seems to STOP or change, then what??  How does one apply those answers of “Trust God … Pray … Wait on the Lord” in a PRACTICAL way??  I’m not downplaying simple “trust-God” answers – because they ARE simple to understand, but they are hard to apply sometimes in a complicated world!!   Does that make sense – or am I just a stubborn, stupid person who lacks the “child-like faith” to completely let go and let God??!

Anyway … back to Beth Moore.  My study in on the book of Daniel.  Comparing today’s culture, today’s BABYLON, with the Babylon that had captured Daniel and many young boys of his time.  In the world … but NOT OF IT.  And here is what I’m talking about practical:  comparing the Bible to TODAY.  Relevant.  I need RELEVANCE.  HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ME?

So, as I wrap this up, I wanted to share what Beth Moore taught me this week.  Remember Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego being thrown in the firey furnace??  Remember that they TOOK A STAND; they didn’t bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s 90 foot idol – and they trusted God to deliver them … AND had enough faith to say “EVEN IF HE DOESN’T” they would continue to believe and trust.  THAT is what I needed to hear … because sometimes God DOESN’T deliver you.  Sometimes someone is NOT healed or there will NEVER be a big bonus of cash to add security to the bank account or an addict DOES NOT stop using or abusing.  SOMETIMES, God wants a person to walk THROUGH a trial -not just be delivered from it.  And that doesn’t mean He is any less good or less powerful.  And besides that, what I learned the most is this:  our life here on earth is NOTHING compared to eternity!!   If I die of cancer tomorrow, I am in Heaven that much longer!!  If I get misused and misunderstood or never fall into the great American dream … HEAVEN is fair and beautiful and abundant for far longer than I am on earth!  The stuff I long for and worry about NOW – on this earth – is but a vapor.  Heaven is NOT a mist that passes – it is ETERNITY.

We still have to live today – be RELEVANT today … but eternity is the goal!  What we do for eternity LASTS.  That is where the focus will be.  The car that broke down – well, yeh, it is draining our bank account, but we have yet to have to walk 20 miles to get anywhere.   The bills and debt aren’t going anywhere fast … but each month, we send a payment that keeps us out of the poor house.  And on I could go.

These are the things I want to remember today.  Especially today.


We all have needs … but having a perspective of the eternal vs. the immediate sure helps when the focus is where it is supposed to be.  So, yes, we are still in the midst of indecision of finding a reliable car for Drew – and I just wrote out the budget for the revised “debt snowball” and that means we’re looking at 75 more months of debt (if nothing else goes wrong!!) … but those things will take care of themselves.  Seeking God’s kingdom is much more important.  I’m still exploring the ways God wants me to seek Him exactly – but it’s daily bread.  It’s “doing the next thing.”  And for now, that is enough.






Posted in Devotional Thoughts, provision | 4 Comments

This Morning’s News


Well, for those of  you who don’t drink coffee, I’d offer you tea or hot chocolate!!  ;)

It is Wednesday … my new “favorite day of the week”.   Back when I didn’t have to work outside the home, my favorite day was actually Monday – the day everyone ELSE went back to work and school, and I got to start the day off slower but had some quiet time to plan my week in the calmer, more collected way that I seem to thrive in.

But alas, those days are over – and now that school has started and my work schedule has changed, quiet Mondays are a thing of the past.  My pharmacy has opened a new branch in a little town about 12 miles from my house – and that is where I have to be Monday mornings by 8 a.m. now.  While I like the quieter outpost location, it isn’t easy to get there ON TIME.

So, yeh, I work out there on Mondays all day (but get off at 3:30) … and Wednesdays from noon until 6 p.m. (closing) … and Fridays from 8 a.m. until noon.  Otherwise, I work at the original pharmacy location or in my little office.  So, needless to say, work has gotten a little BUSIER lately.

Oh … and OF COURSE, we are having our usual car problems again.  This time it is our zippy little Saturn Vue.  The transmission went out last week … and yesterday we found out that Saturns have a fancy transmission that can’t be re-built – they have to be replaced – to the tune of $3,600 to $4,200.  Considering the vehicle has over 180,000 miles on it, the mechanic recommended we NOT invest more money into it (my son wishes he’d known that a few weeks ago before he installed a new stereo system in it!!).

So, it looks like we’ll be car shopping soon.  It has been over 16 years since we bought a car (I bought the Vue brand new in July of 2003!).  The other vehicles we have were either forced on  us against *MY* will (Dan’s Buick that previously belonged to his grandmother) or the van which my Dad graciously gave us when we were in such terrible dire straits 2 years ago.

Of course, we’re looking at getting a used car for Drew to drive … and he’ll be helping pay for it as he now has a job and plans for this to be HIS car – hopefully to get him through college and maybe even beyond?!

And speaking of college … we are starting to fill out college applications!!!  Given the circumstances of our vehicle situation now – our get-out-of-debt plan has gone from being a 5-year-plan to a 6-year-plan and now probably a 7-year plan … without leaving much leftover for us to help pay for tuition.  :(  BUT I think back and neither my husband nor I had much help from our parents to pay for college either … and we made it somehow.  God provides.

So, yeh, things have been a little difficult lately again – playing the vehicle shuffle to get everyone to work and school and activities and church and appointments … but I’ve been trying to keep my chin up!  God provides DAILY bread.

The last few days have been kind of bleak – but as a lady at work reminded me after hearing about our vehicle situation, “Any problem that MONEY can fix isn’t that much of a real problem.”  (other than our problem is we have so little money to FIX the problems!!) – but what she meant, I think, was that a broken-down car is a temporary inconvenience.  Getting the news that you have cancer or that a loved one was in a serious accident or has died is SO SO SO much worse.

So, I try to focus on the good – the happier days – the days we can go outside and have a picnic because the weather right now is just about PERFECT (the in-laws were here last weekend):


and I can be thankful for my health and my family (who are hiding behind a display of “bluebirds of happiness” at a local art colony):


That doesn’t mean I don’t waver between discouragement and frustration and anger sometimes … because obviously, I do!!  In fact, the last 3 or 4 years have really just been one kind of horrific thing after another – mostly a lot of financial setbacks – and apparently this season of life is just going to be hard that way.

Another girl I work with asked me yesterday, “When was the last time you were happy?” … I’m not really sure what prompted that other than the fact that I’ve been working there for almost 1 year – and over and over and over, I’ve had bad news – mostly about vehicles – or while everyone is going to the beach or Disney World or whatever adventures, I’ve not made it further from Arkansas than a flight to Tennessee, which my parents actually paid for!!  I mean, I’m BLESSED – but my life isn’t the typical American dream.

I felt a little bad because at first I answered, “Oh, about 10 or 12 year ago, when we were still in the Army.”  But that was happiness based on enough money and time to travel and do just about anything we set our minds to.

MY HAPPINESS should NOT be based on money … like the older lady who’d said “problems money can solve aren’t really problems.”

And as a Christian, my joy is in the Lord.   And so, I’m back to grasping on to that elusive joy … the one that doesn’t go away when circumstances hit hard.  The one that keeps my mind focused on God’s goodness and provision.  Yes, “life is hard” right now … and who knows, we may NEVER catch a break on this earth?!  BUT eternity will be wonderful comparatively – and the things I do FOR eternity (the people who I invest in) are all that will last.



Posted in budget, Drew, every day life, Family, provision | 4 Comments