Have a dressed up day!

Monday, January 30, 2012

When We Need To Bring Back Simple

We walk around downtown and I remember only three trips here from my childhood.  Three memories of the big city downtown only a few miles from my home.

Across the bridge over the river and you are there.

I remember being afraid to walk on top of the grates on the sidewalk.

I remember a downtown Krystal.

I remember a store with animated Christmas scenes in the windows.

No more. 

We walk with two of our children and two of our baby girl's friends.  They take photos and are excited to pose in front of The Mayflower.

Here, just a few miles from home.

But we never come here.  There is never a need?

Life is supposed to be simplier now. 

We walk by storefront after storefront of empty windows.  Boarded up buildings.

Life simplified by mega-stores and online shopping.

Once we had to go to Howard's and TG&Y and the Sunflower or Jitney to buy what now can be purchased in one place with no heart.

And with this simplicity we lose much.

When did downtown become a place you must be afraid of after dark?  When even in the daylight hours you can only go so-far before little hairs stand up and you take your child's hand and bravely try to shake off a feeling you don't want to have - when you must turn back from what should be yours.

We watch them ride elevator up and down up and down and take photos of the beautiful work the hands I love created. All the circle trim and the gorgeous banister in the pride of downtown - The King Edward.

They laugh and we are caught in the rain and pass the man selling the hotdogs and check out the train schedule to Chicago and snap photo after photo and I feel like a tourist in my own downtown.

She looks at her daddy and says that would make a good picture if not for the extension cords. I roll my eyes and he proceeds to explain to her the difference between extension cords and power lines while she rolls her eyes and smiles that great big beautiful laugh - I knew that.

And life is not simplier now.  Simple would be when downtown rolled up the streets after dark because they wanted to - not had to.

When churches didn't lock their doors.

Simple would be when there would be more lazy days to do nothing but follow three giddy girls around downtown.

To stroll hand in hand with the man you love and hear and see him smile when he remembers how far it used to be from here to there.

So that's it. 

That's the magic.

Bring back simplier times.

Slow down and get caught in the rain and plan a trip to Chicago on a train you'll probably never take and laugh like a tourist.

Friday, January 20, 2012

And Manna Falls

I don't hear the ding.  Not like the doorbell of my childhood to welcome guest or the ring of the phone to hear voice, because now it's just a sound on my phone that brings only letters. 

And why do we like technology so?

I rarely do hear the ding.

Hours later I find the message.

Mama, guess what?????

And I text back -


I wait for the answer. 

I wait to hear blessing in her life that makes up for the pain in her body as I wait for us both to learn that pain is blessing.  Possibilities float around my mind like breezes in the heat.  For do we not count it joy when joy springs in their hearts?

But then I received it and it was like manna to this hungry mama's soul.

Because later I did hear the phone ding.  I was listening.  Waiting.

I feel wonderful today!!!!!!

And it fell. 

Joy came down like rain to a dry land. 

Like food from heaven to a hungry people.

Manna, or Manhu, which means, What is this?

Because do we not recognize gifts when we receive them?  Or do we just forget the giver?

This is a portion to which God has given us and we will take it and remember to be thankful.

The Israelites were wandering and they were grumbling -

". . . but You have brought us out into the desert to starve this entire assembly to death."
Exodus 16:3

It was good and it was wholesome and it looked like pearls fallen from heaven when the Lord gave His answer to His people.

And me the same today as them and it rains from heaven to remind me . . .

"Then you will know that I am the Lord your God."
Exodus 16:12

And like manna we are to gather our joy fresh each morning.  Be thankful throughout the day and do not hoard or become too comfortable or passive as it will melt away like manna when the sun grows hot. 

And there will be void where there should be fullness.

And I need to sleep quietly and rest easy.  I need to trust that God will bring daily bread afresh each morning.  And I need to believe that my life and hers and each of ours is safer in God's storehouse than in our own.

And the manna spoiled if kept overnight.  The Lord provided sweet and fresh each new day. And like our joy today, sweet and fresh each morning to be recognized and gathered. 

And when we have much we forget.  We forget upon who we depend.  We forget to be thankful.  We become independent?  No.  For is there such a thing when we know God?

And He provides just what I need and just when I need it and the gift of Jesus?  The eternal provision for my thirsty and hungry soul - yes and I shout gladness and thankfulness.  And I ask for vision.  For wisdom to recognize the difference between what I want and what I need.

For what I need?

Just to honor and glorify my God.  To recognize the gift in each moment and then let go - believing in the miracle that more will come.

And like the ding I listen and I wait and the manna falls

tasting like
" . . . wafers made with honey."
 Exodus 16:31

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Max says . . .

I a man, mommy.

I half man, half fir'man, half football man, half ninja.

And I a spy.

darlin' son, real men don't have their hairdo - ed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

Please pray for friends of my daughter.  Their child, four months old, passed away last night around six oclock from a heart problem.  Gratitude for lifting them up in love, please.

My thousand gifts continue . . .

before Christmas baby Jesus was stolen from Sandra's manger - yesterday he was returned to her yard - believing a change of heart of the best kind

sleeping late on Saturday

late nights on Friday

soup and salad with friends

free board games - thanks, rosana

Christmas still not put away - but knowing I have eleven months left

anticipating upcoming events planned with friends

ziplock bag of blueberry muffins

a daughter turning twenty

oldest daughter's 100 on chem test

mixmatched socks

valentine tree

friend whose heart is broken brings gift to me - a humbling day

letter from sponsored child, Christian, in the mail

My list, #'s 798-901

I got a bloggy award.  Nice little surprise from my dear friend, Donna, over at Mississippi Mama.

Blessed is me, Donna's not just a blog friend - she's a real-life-but-don't-see her-enough kind of friend.

In Germany, Liebster means favorite or dearest, this award showcases bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.

Thanks, Donna.

Passing on the award to -

Paying for my Raising

Handwoven Dreams

Making it Our Home

Unto Thee O Lord

Sug Cakes . . . southern sugar

Check 'em all out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, January 16, 2012

And the Son Shines in August

M I Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I Crooked Letter Crooked Letter I Humpback Humpback I

Is there a cooler way to spell a state?  Or an easier way for a child to learn to spell a word?

Know it?


We are number one in many sad things.  We are last on the list of many good things.

But now there is this . . .

And I'm not so sure how many states would have put this on a section front page.

I'm more sure of how many states would not have.

But this is so much more than just the courage of a journalist.  It is a man's stand.  It is a man's faith that is that of a child.

We are southern.  We are gentle.  We drawl. 

And we are Bible-belt.

Sometimes not so much anymore?

But then, this . . .

Here in the state with the most crooked letters we might tar and feather you and run you out of town on a rail (and you can't make it a parade) if you bad mouth our God.

As a child of the King I hurt and am sad and am frustrated and struggle with how God is being removed from every area of public life.

Even here. 

But then there is this . . .

Somewhere in our state August wrote a letter to God.

And God performed another one of His many how'd that happen miracles and this letter ended up at the largest newspaper in our state.

And even though it's not so large it shined on Sunday.

Oh, it shined.

August, wherever you are I join Mr. Watkins in praying for you and your sister. 

And Mr. Watkins, thank you.

And the double hump-back state?  Straighten your back and stand proud.

Read A Letter to August here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bluebird - How About Right Now, Right Where We Are?

When you were just a little thing I knew something was very different about you.

Love born 3:33 in the morning, a quiet time.  Me with an amount of energy strange after a twelve hour natural labor.  A time to ponder.  And ponder I did.

You had a goodness and a kindness so very rare to come by.  Always striving to do right.  Trying so hard to honor Jesus who you loved so.

And that is how you grew up.  As close to perfect as a sinful person can be.  A female Job?

I lived with a terrible feeling that you would never grow up.  Your aunts can tell you how much I believed you would not stay with me long.  The age was nineteen.  For some reason in my crazy gut I was convinced you would never see nineteen.

Now you are days from twenty.  But twenty and hurting and broken.  So far from your true self.  Spirit so tired since nineteen.

I no longer believe it was because I was going to lose you that made me treasure each moment.  Memorize each way you lived.  Afraid it would be taken away.

I now believe it was so I would watch closely enough to help know your purpose.  To be able to help guide you when nineteen would come and you would lose yourself.

Shelby, if there ever were people that Satan would place his angels around, that Satan would put every obstacle in the path of - it would be people like you. 

People with the ability and the desire to make a difference.  To be the feet of Jesus.

It would be you, my sweet girl.

And that is what he has done.  He found your weakness and attacked. 

He has taken your energy, your love for activity, your gumption, and your desire to save the world and left you with pain and hurt and fear - all in this world that broke your heart before feels like too much for you right now.

I know you are tired.  I know every step is an effort.

And I know that you wonder why God - your protector and friend - has allowed this to happen to you.

But Romans 8 tells us -

The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.

I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
 (The Message Bible)

In this - if you let him - God will perfect your faith.

But consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  
James 1:2-4

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:7

In the bible God praises Job to the devil.  Permission is then given to Satan to test how faithful Job would be if he had to endure loss, grief, and pain.
Though he (God) slay me, yet will I trust in him: 
Job 13:15

I can see our Jesus praising you.  Saying this one is mine.

We sometimes question why good people suffer and how God is involved in it.  We try to find the cause of suffering and often put the blame somewhere--on self, others, Satan, even God.

God's word in the book of Job asks us to look beyond blame and to accept the uncertainty of this world and trust God for what we cannot see or control.

There hath no temptation (trial) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (tested) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

Exercise our faith, bluebird.

And most importantly - in all of our suffering - believe that our relationship with God can be renewed, my darlin' girl.

Your daddy and I have been desperately seeking to find the answers to your pain.  We may never have an answer that is easy to accept.

But maybe it is time to try to accept, anyway?

And time to get to work - exactly where we are right in this moment.

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 1:9

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Do You Think I'm Cute?

He brings the mail in and sets it down.  It has been a good day.  A day of friends and picture taking and watching them learn and grow.

There's a manilla envelope at the bottom of the stack.  My name on it.

I start to grin, and fuss.

Nancy shouldn't have mailed these.  Look, it costs her $1.79 to mail these.  She should have just given them to me later.

All the while tearing into the envelope.  Cause isn't mail nice when it's not expected?

But then -

This is not . . .

I laugh.  Loud.  Feels so good.

Look, look what Nancy sent me.

And out I pull a little piece of sweet friendship.  She writes that she couldn't resist this little onsie for my new nephew.

What sweetness.  So thoughtful.

So, may I present my newest love in my gift onsie that speaks only the truth.

thanks, nancy
love ya

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Take Down the Nativity

I pick him up from Sunday School with a label stuck to his shirt and he wears label proudly on his chest.

Be kind to one another

He keeps it on all day.

Next day I find label sticking to the edge of the doorframe of his bedroom.

Why is this here?

I ask him.  Thinking I know the answer.  Whispering a prayer I know the answer.  Knowing that sometimes you do get things right with your children and get to reap. 

All standing there in person reaping what I have tried so hard to sow.

I put tis here like lu do.  When Gideland comes he will see it 'cause I lov Gideland.

And I'm grateful and a little proud because I have taught him to place in his path that which you can meditate on that is good. 

That which Gideland's mother taught me.

But then I have to stop.  Because I'm struggling right now.  I've even found it hard to breathe today.  I've had moments of fear that have made me feel as if my throat is closing up.

How does my heavenly Father feel when He cannot reap in me what He sows?

Because I have struggled to hold on to even the words I have placed in my own path. 

God's words. 

 Given to me as breath for when I can't breathe.

I take down the nativity.  The last of the Christmas decorations I have been dragging my feet on.  I carry as many figurines as I can in my hand to speed up the job.  Then I pick up the baby and forget he's not attached and he falls out of the manger.

I catch this clay baby before he hits the floor and I breathe relief.

Gently I carry him to the box that will tuck him away for another year.  Stored up in the attic with dust and memories.

But that's where I stop.  I find myself seperating this baby from the other pieces and placing him on the shelf beside the broken punch cup.  That day I was so broken down.

I will leave Jesus out all year.  For not only my eyes but the eyes of my son to see.

I think of the label. 

 How I long to proudly wear on my chest, like a badge of honor -

I love you, Jesus.
I trust you, my God.
Thank you for breath when I can't breathe.

And as a friend reminded me today -

Thank you for being bigger . . .

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Thousand Gifts . . .

And it is a Monday.  I don't even need a calendar to feel it.

I'm already behind in my new year.  I haven't been on the computer in days - so I missed all communication between the other moms in my homeschooling group to plan out the first few months of the year.  Now all that is available are months I cannot do because of bible school preparations.

I feel like a sloucher and a slouch.

Christmas still sits in corners packed away but not packed up.  The tree sits empty by the window looking as dark as my mood's been the last two days.

I had to put socks on this morning - I'm a barefoot kind of girl - 'cause my floor's too dirty to walk on - sticky and grimy and nasty lazy feeling.

Like me.

But I read Vicky at Having Some Work Done and she speaks of how I feel this year and after each Christmas and once again God sends a blessing in another's words.  Thanks, V.  Maybe not next year?

Thank you, Father God. 

For the joy of your blessings can be as simple as everyday not feeling like Mondays.  Everyday not bringing troubles or sorrows or sadness or confusion or frustration or hurt in a friend's eyes. 

But more than this.  For the absolute contagious joy that comes even when a day is like a Monday.

My gratitude list continues . . .

chubby cheeks

a surprise in the mail

gathered around the table telling him what we each love the most about him

delia crying cause only he can make her really laugh right now

strangers wishing him a happy birthday

smiles from other moms

telling birthday wishes in secret - to everyone

finding my glasses in just the nick of time

laundry folded and folded and folded - maybe tomorrow put away - the promise of the maybe?

bonus checks

moms who plan and love me in spite of my ball juggling dropping

rice krispy treats

sleeping beautiful nephew

shout spray

free cupcake wrap templates

prayers for Shelby

$1 value drinks

lesson that I hope she learns because of another's mistakes

prayers for job seeking

homemade soup and pound cake and pimento cheese

excellent on a resume and cover letter - so proud

the sound of ruben's voice on the computer and the reassurance it brings

My list, #'s 776-797.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mommy, I too 'cited

I get on to him at 9:00.  I fuss at 10:00.  I pop a behind at 11:00.

I can't sleep, Mommy.  I too 'sited.

Finally, quarter to 12 sleep comes to the soon-to-be birthday boy.

I looked back on last year at this time to remind myself what the beginning of four looked like.

I remember crying.  Thinking four is such a milestone.

But now five . . .

I'd give alot for four again.

Six fifteen this morning he jumped out of bed.  I fussed at him and at seven I popped a behind - yep, the behind of a birthday boy.  At 7:45 he got caught standing in the hall -

he laughs and says

Somebo-de sing Happy Birfday to me!

I sing and hug on him, kiss those chubby cheeks, and tell him how proud I am of him.  Tell him what a beautiful five year old he is and that he is the only son in the whole wide world for me.  And God knew it.

Oh, Mommy.

He pulls away and calls his daddy on the phone -

Daddy, sing Happy Birfday to me!

Mommy says I look like a mon-ke and I 'mell like one too!

 Somebo-de sing Happy Birfday to me again, pease!

and those cheeks look like they may explode.

Oh, Mommy.  Slow down six.  Slow down.

Love those cheeks - the ones I pop, too.
Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12