Monday, July 31, 2006

Birthday Sonday

Yesterday was my son's 10th birthday, and we celebrated the day with a family trip to Sea World, San Diego. More to come - gotta run.

Back again...

So, about yesterday. We (my family), my parents, and my brother and his family all converged on Sea World yesterday to celebrate Alec hitting double digits. What a day we had... from Shipwreck Rapids and waterfalls; to "Believe" and getting soaked in the zone by Shamu's splashes; to the dolphin stadium... oops, wait, he changed his mind... to the an encounter with sharks; to "we're waiting for grandpa smoothies"; to the seal lion and otter show; to bathroom pit stops; to Shamu's Fun Zone and scaling rope nets barefoot, and climbing rope ladders, and kicking Coli in the face (accidentally), and crawling through endless tubes on our knees, and jumping as hard as we could on swinging rope walkways to see which kids could remain standing; to Sea World's version of "Those Amazing Pets"; to polar bears in the Wild Artic; to a perfectly ended day eating at a salad bar without any salad. Can anyone say... Shrimp Giver????

Alec, this day was one filled with many memory-making moments! And times with extended family that we cherish now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

O.C. Fair

1. Never been a fan of the fair... Carnie Dudes are so wrong on every single level.

2. Never been a fan of the fair... It's like a ginormous vaccuum that targets the wallet with a continuous suction until you're completely wiped out.

3. Didn't want to go to the fair last night... Refer to #2 and #3.

4. Best thing about the fair... Grilled Corn on the Cob. Scrumptious!

5. Obligation settled... I can now say that I have officially completed my Mom's Obligation of attending a teeny-bopper concert with my daughter. Jump 5 and.... was it the Bone's Brothers????

6. Most memorable moment #1... Coli and I singing at the top of our lungs and dancing like crazy girls to We Are Family (Sister Sledge covered by Jump 5).

7. Most memorable moment #2... Coli and I "groupie screaming" like all the rest of the 8/9/10 year old girls knowing it would completely embarrass Teighlor, who refused to participate in our moments of craziness.

8. Most memorable moment #3... Knowing it did completely embarrass Teighlor - or at least she pretended to be embarrassed. Deep down inside both Coli and I know that she loves the fact that she has such a "wild and crazy Mom and Cousin" who are not above making fools of ourselves for a memory-making moment!

9. Most memorable moment #4... Teighlor "just having" to get on my cell phone after we left the fair so she could groan to Kelsey about how mortified she was that Coli and I acted like "all the rest of those children" during the last song of the concert, and then hearing Kesley's comment, "Knowing those 2... I'm not surprised!" YES... we do have a reputation!!!!! *wink, wink - Coli*

10. Most memorable moment #5... Seeing how the times have changed - when you look out over an audience of pre-pubescent girls and they're all holding up cell phone cameras taking pictures of their favorite singer! What happened to Barbies, and Saturday morning cartoons, and Sorry! (the board game with the bubble in the center that you have to pop to roll your dice)?

11. Most memorable moment #6... Knowing we just participated in some more memory-making moments that will go down in the history books.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mohave Memories

On Saturday I was driving through Laguna Beach with by SisNBff. We were talking about how our lives together will be changing… not for the worse… just a change. We are a family that is big on making memories. They are things that we will always carry with us no matter where we live, where we go. Coli was saying how we should really concentrate on making tons of memories before life changes in Texas and how every moment should be made special. Hence, the next thought from my head was…

Give us a moment, we’ll make a memory.

My thought was based strictly on what we were talking about regarding our family time, yet we both realized how great a tag line this would be for the photography business. Stranger things have happened.

These past few days have been filled with memory-making moments… from a wedding in Newport Beach where I know I had more fun than the bride, to the Laguna Beach portrait shoot where the waves decided that they were going to have fun and wreak havoc on the bridal party, to our drive home with Lauren where the evening was filled with silly conversations about bean barritas and Out and In burgers, to an awesome Sunday message spoken by the pastor but inspired by God, to a Sunday afternoon filled with moments captured on film, to our yesterday on Lake Mohave filled with sun, spills and belly flops.

I have so much I want to write about, but I just don’t have the time today. So, I will prioritize and capture those special moments of yesterday.

5:30am… Early rising, out the door, pause for a twilight photo opportunity, and pile in the truck for a 3 ½ hour ride to the river, which turned into a 6 hour cruise from our stops to eat, gas, potty and eat again.

11:30am… We made it – Lake Mohave! Time to drop the boat and drench our bodies in SPF. J’s back from parking the truck, the boat’s engine is revved up, the wind is blowing through hair, and we’ve now officially started our Funday!

11:45am… Our first chance to get wet while Jason is inflating Big Mable (ooops, I mean the Big Maple Bar – thanks, Coli!). We’ve only been on the water for 15 minutes but we’re all already overheating cuz it’s sooooo hot outside… 116 Dees-Grees! I waste no time, and am first to dive in. What’s surprising is that in this kind of heat the water isn’t as cold as we thought it would be… almost lukewarm… but still reeeefreeesshing!

12:00pm… The tube is ready to go and so are we. Coli and I strap on our life vests and jump onto the Big Maple Bar. New tube… new experiences… new thrills… new spills. Our first few rides are just setting the stage for the fun to come.

12:00-Whenever… We all take turns riding the Big Maple Bar, except for Alec and J. J was the captain of the ship, making sure the boat stayed afloat. Alec… well, he decided to cop out of the tube fun (not sure why) and saved all his energy for belly-flopping. (For a glimpse of these memory-making memories… check out the soon-coming video posting)

2:00pm (or so)… We pull into a cove, let down the anchor, and all dive in for swim time. We’re in a cove surrounded by cliffs, surrounded by beauty. I get this thought… “I wonder if one of these cliffs is accessible for cliff jumping?” You see, the other day I was told that the only way to conquer my fear of heights is to tackle it head on. YOU who gave the advice… you’re the inspiration for this next memory.

I assess the depth of the water, ask for my flip-flops, and head off to my next adventure. There’s no easy way to get up the side of the cliff… I had to pull out my “never before used” rock climbing skills to pull myself up. A bit more dangerous than I was initially expecting… considering the rocks just a mere 4 feet below the water surface waiting for my fall. But, I had already mentally challenged myself and I was not turning back… not yet, anyway. I get up to a place on the cliff where I can kind of walk/crawl along the steep incline. All I can think once I get up there is… “What was I thinking?” I’m up here all alone on the side of a cliff, my $2.50 Target flip-flops are falling apart and leaving my bare feet to endure the rocks that feel like they are heated to 200 Dees-Grees, and I’m in no protective clothing other than my bikini. I look down and all I see is the incline of a slippery-slope, and every new moment that my feet are burning, they are also losing ground on the side of the cliff. I now realize that I have absolutely NO access to the dive point from up here… something I could only realize once I was battled my way up the cliff side. Now I have to find a way back down the cliff and the nerves start to kick in. The remaining 5 minutes (which seemed like an eternity) it took me to get down I seriously prayed out loud begging Jesus to allow me the opportunity to live past this really foolish decision and get me out of this mess. Every step I took truly felt like it was going to be the one where the dirt and rocks gave way underneath my feet and I was going over the side. I felt true fear, something that’s quite unusual for me, for the few minutes it took me to get to a point where I could get myself back in the water. I finally made it, I’m sure only because of the 4 angels Jesus sent to surround me on my way down. By the time I hit the safety of the water again, I had incurred scraped knees and elbows, burned feet and hands, and somehow managed to grab a prickle bush with my bikini top and ended up with a million tiny pin-like prickles consistently poking my body. The leaves of the bush were so imbedded in my top that I had to remove it and borrow another top for the rest of the boating time. Needless to say, I will not be attempting to tackle my fear of heights like again – unless the way to the cliff is clearly carved out and set a glow for me.

3:00pm (or so)… time for capturing some more moments on video. Alec belly-flops and Coli catches an attempt at a group dive, which turns into the funniest moment on our video highlight reel. We then head out for some more tubing fun and it’s time, once again, for Coli and I to board the Big Maple Bar. Here’s my chance for reaching back into history for a moment… history that took place a mere two months ago during our first river trip this summer before Memorial Day weekend. You can read about this adventure in one of my former blogs. Anyway, back then I categorized Alec as our “safety first” guy, Teighlor and Coli as medium tubers, and me as the high tuber… all relating to the speed at which each person was willing to be pulled. This time around I was so proud to promote Coli from the medium to high-medium because of her willingness to ride with me and let whatever happens…. Happen. Because of her “throw caution to the wind” attitude, I had the BEST EVER ride of my life – even beating out those moments where I rode by myself, caught air, and skipped across the lake like a smooth rock. Her screams, her noises, her looks… I laughed so hard while we were tubing that I almost lost all strength to hold on. At times I couldn’t even get enough breath to make a laugh noise… I just had my mouth open waiting for my stomach to catch up to my laughter. Coli, I will never forget those two rides, back and stomach, with you. By far, the best moments EVER!

Teighlor and Lauren then take to the tube and give us awe-inspiring moments of profound tubeness. You girls rocked that tube like no other. You held on in moments where we for sure thought you were going to eat lake water. Teighlor, watching your body flail around like a rag doll at times when you could barely hold on… priceless. And you’ve both proven that you deserve to be promoted to “high-medium”. When you can ride the tube by yourself and still survive bone-crushing falls like me… then, and only then, will you be promoted to HIGH!
5:00pm (or so)… Teighlor and Lauren are partaking in the ride of their lives… and the boat stops. Boat’s broken down… not good. Jason spends the next hour trying to get us going, but it just isn’t happening. He flags down a Good Samaritan family who generously offers us a tow back to the launch site. Well, just like cars, boats break down too. At least we got our day filled with fun before this mishap.

6:30pm… We finally make it to Harrah’s buffet for an hour of stuffing our faces with good food – something we were all looking forward too after expending so many calories on the lake earlier in the day. I wonder who ate the rest of my Boston Baked Beans?????

8:00pm… Food’s consumed, it’s in the process of digesting in our tummies, and it’s time to pile back in the truck and head home. We’re all EXHAUSTED… tons of sun, water, tubing and food will get the best of anyone. We did make it home by 11:45pm… great time considering we were only doing 35mph!!!!! *SMILE*

What an absolutely FABULASH day it was…

Oh, almost forgot two special memories of the day…

“Oh, that’s what it’s called. A crop.”

“We’re 2/3 of the way there.”… “So we only have 2/3 left to go???”…. “Oh, I mean 1/4th.”


Friday, July 21, 2006

My Journal Stones

It's always important to leave a stone behind in life -- not to find your way back -- but to help you treasure where you have journeyed with the Lord. (phrase "borrowed" from my Coli)

My stones are the blogs I write about my life; the emotions I go through; what impacts me; and how the Lord works in and through me. By leaving these journal stones I can always look back and see what God has done.

Sometimes and Always -- by Me
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily I lose faith in the God that I serve.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily I am discouraged by situations that are beyond me and my control.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily my focus is taken off of God's Sovereignty and instead captured by people.
Sometimes I am amazed at how hard it is to trust in my God who has never let me down; never let me go.
Sometimes I am amazed in the fickleness of my emotions.
Sometimes I am amazed at how easily my heart becomes divided between extreme faith and extreme doubt.


I am always amazed at how God sees me, in spite of how I see myself.
I am always amazed at how God uses circumstances to get my attention.
I am always amazed at how God draws me to Himself despite the stubbornness of my heart.
I am always amazed at how God is patient with me, giving me just enough space to recognize my need for Him.
I am always amazed at how quickly God will answer my cries to Him, even when I put distance between us.
I am always amazed at how the God who created the universe knows every thought of mine before I think it; every word I'll say before I say it; every thing I'll do before I do it.


I will continually be amazed at how God... who knows me better than I know myself... who sees my heart for what it really is and not what I try to pretend it to be... loves me in ways that I will never understand until I stand before Him.

Search me, oh God, and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. ~ Psalm 139:23-24

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hebrews 6

I read through Hebrews 6 today, read through several different translations as I usually do when studying. The different translations give me a complete understanding of word usage and meaning.

Hebrews 6 has a lot to it, but the 4 points that I could sum up from this chapter are:

#1 - Don't be content by remaining in the "milk" of the word. Once you have learned the basics it's time to be challenged by God, it's time to move to the next levels and a deeper relationship with Christ. It's great to hear of and understand the basic tenets of Christianity... baptism, resurrection, eternal judgment. There's so much more to the Bible than knowing of the death of Christ. Let God show you... invest the time to learn and study.

#2 - I'll let the translation from The Message speak for itself on this one... Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they've personally experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible. Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated him in public! (Hebrews 6:4-8)

#3 - When God makes promises it is impossible for Him to break them. When He promised Abraham that He would bless him with everything... He swore this on his own name. God's word is unchangeable... therefore, so are His promises.

#4 - Because God's Word and His promises are unchangeable, we who are Believers can take refuge in Him with courage...

Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest... (Hebrews 6:18-20)

When I read these last few verses of Hebrews 6, I was moved by the words. The picture of these verses is magnificently beautiful...

We flee to our Lord, our refuge, with complete courage... no doubt... because we know that His promises are unchangeable... and because of this we are completely confident in our God. This confidence is the anchor for our lives... one that is strong and trustworthy. We never have to worry about whether that anchor is going to hold, even in the strongest of storms. The confidence we have in our anchor, our Savior, is what takes us straight to God's throne room, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God... always in intercession for us.

"Abba, Father. I know that my priorities have been out of order these past weeks... from baseball, to work, to fun. I have put you at the end of the list too many days. Thank you for calling my heart to your side today. Thank you for bringing me into your throne room during my worship with you today. Thank you for always meeting me."

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Waiting Impatiently for Texas

The following is my response to a blog I read tonight... a blog written about God teaching patience through waiting. I am posting it on my blog site because I wanted to be able to look back and be reminded of all that God had us waiting for... as he checks each one off the list. Until then.... PATIENCE.

"Oh my gosh and golly... I think everyone in this household can relate to your blog. Patience is something we are all being taught because, just like you, we all believe that life is waiting for us in Texas... until then, WE WAIT!

I, too, believe that my future hubby is waiting for me in Texas... waiting for the Lord to move my butt out there so he can meet me... and I, him.

My kids' future Dad is out there... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so he can meet them... and them, him.

Jason and Coli's future children are out there (or the place where they can start the process is anyway)... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so they can meet their new parents... and they, them.

Coli's future clientele is out there... waiting for the Lord to move her butt out there so they can meet her... and her, them.

Alec's baseball future is out there... waiting for the Lord to move his butt out there so it can welcome him... and him, it.

Teighlor's abundant life and all the things she longs to be a part of (and can't be in Dirt Town) are out there... waiting for the Lord to move her butt out there so they can find her... and her, them.

Alec and Teighlor's future best friends are out there.... waiting for the Lord to move their butts out there so they can meet them... and them, them.

Gosh, so much to look forward too! Until then.... PATIENCE!"

Thursday, July 6, 2006

15 Minutes of Fame

We had our first game tonight of the 2006 All-Star Tournament -- and we walked away with our first WIN!!!!!

God blessed Alec abundantly tonight. Not only did he get the call to pitch the first game, but he pitched a complete game and got the win. He also went 1 for 2 with a double, and had 5 put outs of his own. Overall, he had a hand in 15 of the 18 outs for the game (10 K's and 5 Assists).

His pitching Stats... 6 innings pitched (96/32/51), 26 batters faced, 10 Strike Outs, 1 Walk, 6 Hits, 1 Run, 1 Earned Run.

Alec.. the Lord had his hand on you tonight! What a fantastic way to start the tournament!

Ohhhhhhh! More update after the fact. We found out this morning that our All Star game was highlighted in our local paper, and Alec received mention. This is the article...

A.V. American edges Hesperia American
FROM STAFF REPORTS, VICTORVILLE — Alec Brewton tossed a complete game to help Apple Valley American (A) beat Hesperia American (One) 2-1 Thursday night at Hook Park in a 9- and 10-year old baseball All-Star game. Cody Mudford drove in the go-ahead run for Apple Valley in the fourth inning with a single. Hesperia’s Cesar Godinez threw a complete game and struck out 10 batters in a losing effort.

Boy, I wonder what it feels like to have your 15 minutes of fame at 9 years old??????

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

For My Son

Alec, I am so proud of the year you've had in baseball. Your team (Yeah Angels) came in 1st place... with an undefeated season, no less! That's a major feat in and of itself.

Then your team took 2nd place in T.O.C. -- a noteworthy finish -- beat by the only team that could have taken top place from you guys. (Great playing White Sox)

At the Closing Ceremonies your coach introduced you as the THEE player for all coaches to look for in the draft next year -- and even called you, in his opinion, the best pitcher in the league this season. Not too shabby a compliment, considering that you were one of only twelve 9-year olds in a division dominated by 10 year olds.

Then we got the call that you had been selected to the 9/10 year-old All-Star Team! One of only four 9-year olds to make the "A" team. Your coaches have talked you up as possibly the best pitcher on a team loaded with a pitching bench 9 players deep.

Tonight your All-Star team had their last practice before the tournament starts tomorrow. You boys have been busting your butts -- more accurately, the coaches have been busting your butts -- 6 nights a week, 3 hours each practice, to get you ready. It's been a long 3 weeks, but (finally) tomorrow night we'll get to watch as your team takes the field for their first game.

Alec, your passion for this game has driven you to practice almost every day this season -- sometimes more than once a day if you and I had the time (or the daylight) to be outside. You committed yourself to improving your pitching... having me catch your fastballs and change-ups over and over again until your speed and accuracy and delivery were spot on. And your dedication paid off. You have grown leaps and bounds as a pitcher this year!

But, most importantly, you have never boasted in your skills... and that's what I'm most proud of in you. You have remained humble because you understand that all of this is a blessing from your Heavenly Father... He chose to gift you with talent and a deep passion for the game that is unusual in a boy your age. Always keep this perspective... give all the glory to God for all that comes your way (baseball related or not)... and He will continue to bless you.

No matter the outcome of tomorrow night's game or the rest of the All-Star Tournament, I want you to know that you make me so proud to sit in the bleachers and be known as Alec Brewton's Mom. Play hard, play fierce, play fun tomorrow... enjoy your night! And in all innings, whether on the field or in the dug out, appreciate every moment! We will all be there to cheer you on!!!!

I love you, Bud!
~ Mom

Sunday, July 2, 2006

From Tragedy to Triumph

I wanted to write this blog on Friday after picking my son up from Summer Blast (a.k.a. Vacation Bible School), but I wasn't home and didn't have access to the internet.

The last 3 to 4 weeks have been draining... both emotionally and spiritually. Just when we thought a season of mourning was over, another one would begin. We went from a family that hadn't experienced death in so many years, to a family that is now too familiar with death and all that it brings... from emotional lows, to re-evaluating life, to understanding God even more deeply than one thought possible.

Needless to say, these past few weeks have taken their toll but they have also been eye-opening. We have realized that even tragedy doesn't always bring people close to you -- or make them reach out admist the trial going on. "They say" that in times of trial you will see very clearly those that truly love you. But the other side of the coin is still there... you will also come to realize that there are people in your life who are only capable of being with you as long as all is going good. It's not the kind of love that run deeps because it's capable of being turned on and off with flow of good and bad. It's discouraging, but unfortunately, it's also part of life.

All of this is written because it preceeds the joy I was blessed to be a part of this past Friday... and showed me that even in times that are hard, where the storm seems unending, God still finds ways to shine rays of his Son's light into my life.

This past Friday was the end of a week of VBS for my son, and parents were invited to attend that last 1/2 hour... to catch a glimpse of just a part of what the kids experienced that whole week. I went with my daughter and walked out a half-hour later with my eyes focused on the glory of Jesus... something that's been hard to focus on lately.

During the 1/2 hour I was there they played a 5 minute video where kids from different grade levels were interviewed and asked what they had learned over the week. Parts of it were cute and parts were funny but the part that brought me to tears was when several kids said that they had learned about who Jesus was for the first time and had asked him into their hearts.

Then, near the end, the youth pastor had everyone bow their heads and close their eyes... and then he extended an invitation to all kids who wanted to accept Christ, who hadn't done so during the week. Instead of asking the kids to raise their hands or come up to the stage, he simply asked the children to repeat his prayer out loud. Once again, I was brought to tears as I listened to a large number of children repeat the sinner's prayer. To hear all those little voices ask for forgiveness and invite Jesus into their hearts... well, I could only imagine the smile Jesus had on his face, the love and joy radiating from his eyes, as he saw into each and every little heart and watched it change... from one that was lost to one that now knew the One who saves.

Simple words from simple kids... yet they brought me to tears because all I could think was... "this is what life is all about... Jesus saving the lost" -- and watching anyone discover Jesus for the first time, especially children, and then hear of their joy in choosing him as their Savior... well, it was a bit emotionally overwhelming. After weeks of experiencing so much loss, I think my heart just broke open, and it felt so good to experience life again... be in the midst of hearts turning towards Jesus and eternal destiny's changed. It's the shot in the arm I really needed.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~Matthew 19:14

Monday, June 26, 2006

Death Comes in 3's

Why is it that "death comes in three's"? For so long I've heard the saying repeated, especially when celebrities or people in the public eye die. I've watched in disbelief and amazement as this saying always plays itself out -- yet it's always been from a distant place -- people I know of but truly don't know.

These past 2 weeks in a row brought death to our doorstep... Coli's 17 year old brother and my 58 year old uncle. Now, we've received news that we knew was coming, but didn't know when to expect. Jason's family removed all life support from his father this evening after a very short battle with cancer and now he's waiting for the phone call from the hospital that will bring the news of his father's death.

This will make the 3rd straight week that death has brought grief to this home and proves the saying that... DEATH COMES IN 3'S.

Interesting scriptures and commentary I found on death -- thought provoking...

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. ~Ecclesiastes 7:2

In the former we find occasion for serious and deeply edifying thoughts and reflections; from the latter we seldom return with one profitable thought or one solid impression.

Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. ~Ecclesiastes 7:3

The reason is immediately given; for by the sorrow of his demeanor - the grief of the heart that shows itself in the demeanor - the heart is made better.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning... ~Ecclesiastes 7:4

The wise man prefers the occassions from which he can derive spiritual gain.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Waiting on Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my uncle's memorial service, and I'm torn on what to expect. On one hand it will be good to be done with the planning and preparation and just get to the service. On the other hand, this week has been a weird one for me emotionally, and I'm a bit unsure of how my emotions will hold up. These past few days I have been so busy taking care of things (some that stole so much emotional energy and shouldn't have) and busy with daily baseball practices in preparation for the All-Star tournament, that I haven't had much downtime to process my uncle's death. Now I'm wondering if my heart is going to catch up with my head tomorrow and I'll be left holding the pieces of my heart...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Surreal Moment

Last night I was sitting at Carrow's with my mom, dad and my kids eating a really late dinner because Alec's baseball practice for All Stars had gone pretty late. It's ironic how moments can almost stop time. My mom's cell phone rang and within seconds we knew that something was terribly wrong. My mom had just received the news that her brother, my Uncle Billy, had died... and died by his own hand.

I can't really write about what went through my head at that point... I don't know if I even remember. All I rememer is that my focus was on getting the check so that my mom wouldn't have to sit in the booth of a restaurant to process this news.

The next couple hours were spent making phone calls to my sister and brothers and niece... trying to help my mom while she was making the phone calls to others who had more information....

This morning my mom and dad drove out to Arizona to deliver the news to my grandmother in person. My prayers are with all of them... this will not be easy news to hear.

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in shadow of the God Almighty (El Shaddai)." ~ Psalm 91:1

Monday, June 12, 2006

Re-Evaluating Life

I've cleared everything from my Xanga site tonight... not completely... just from public viewing. I did this because today has been one of re-evaluation. I received a call today from my BFF, my niece, my Sister in Christ... Coli. I was given the news, through her tear-filled voice, that her 17 year old step-brother was killed in a car accident today. Only 17 years old...

There's so much that went through my head as I listened to Coli tell me what had happened... and then I tried to come up with words that would soothe her hurting heart. I knew that I couldn't...are there words that anyone can say that are capable of removing grief in a moment like this??? The best thing I could do, the only thing that could bring any sense of relief to her, was to pray with her and for everyone who was grieving just like her today when they received this same news.

I only had the opportunity to meet Jeremy a few times but I still cried with Coli because a mom I know had lost one of her children. My heart grieved for her... and even more so when I learned later that her last conversation with her son was one of contention... neither one of them knowing that that conversation would be the last one they ever had with each other. You don't have to be a parent to try to imagine what it would be like to have your last words to someone you love very much be words of contention; but as a parent, she will feel that weight even heavier because it was her son.

When we are faced with mortality, especially the mortality of a young man who still "seemingly" had his whole life ahead of him, we seem to instantaneously take stock of our own lives. It has been over 15 years since I have lost someone close to me. It's been long enough that I don't remember the grief I felt... I only remember the love I had for my Grandfather.

What I realized today, amidst so much that is going on in my life and those around me, and more so as it pertains to the relations of those directly dealing with this loss, is this...

How much of what we hold onto, what we stand for in the name of right or moral, really matters when it interferes with or distances us from those we love? Does it really matter... in the end?
Jeremy didn't know that today would be his last, nor did his Mom or Dad or brother, etc. Would that conversation have been different if they had known? Absolutely... but wouldn't so much of what we all do be different if God let us in on what's around the corner?

Death, especially of someone so young, tends to have this way of making one stop... stop and think about what's truly important in life.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Random Ramblings

It's Monday night, and I just looked at my site (hey, that rhymes) and realized that I haven't posted any thing new in a bit... so I thought I'd try cuz I sooooo don't like it when I get on other peeps sites and the same old blog is up. And then I realized that my brain is tired and my body hurts from throwing like a gazillion pitches at Alec's baseball practice today. Like the baseball freaks we are I took Alec to the ball field an hour early for batting practice and then I just got nominated to remain the pitcher for batting practice for the boys as they showed up for practice today. I didn't pitch to everyone cuz my arm decided at one point that it could no longer throw strikes, but the tomboy in me was more than thrilled to be able to pitch for the boys for the time I did -- and even strike out a few!

But now my body is reminding me of the fact that I'm not 10 like they are, and my body isn't used to throwing a gazillion pitches without rest. Yes, I can play catch with Alec for hours and not come up hurting but throwing pitches is a completely different body motion and it didn't take long for some aches to set in. This is either a sign that I really need to start working out again or that I'm just gonna have to suffer when I play.... hmmmm, I'll have to think about this one.

So, I've rambled on without really saying anything important, and I'm trying to figure out at this point if I really have anything important to say...

FREEDOM! I know I should write about this... it's so important to share how Christ can and does set us free from the bondage of sin and attack that keeps us from walking a truly abundant life with Him.... but I just can't seem to put words together right now.

Maybe tomorrow when my brain is rested. Until then.... Sayonara!

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Good-Bye Samson

Well, when rough seas are all around can another big wave actually make things worse??? Sometimes...

This morning I had to make a very tough decision to remove our first Brewton family pet, Samson, from the home. Sometime within the past several weeks something in Samson turned, and he started acting very aggresively towards the other dogs. I don't know if he finally figured out that he was the biggest and strongest in the yard and could throw his weight around without consequence, or if his desire for being the center of our attention made his jealousy towards the other dogs come out.

Whatever the situation, I had to made a decision for the safety of our other animals. As much as I love Samson, especially since he was our very first pet, removing him now was the better option than waiting until something happened to one of the other dogs. I don't think I would have been able to handle that.

So this morning Alec and I put his leash on, drove him to our local Animal Shelter and put him up for adoption. It was difficult and made even more difficult by the fact that Samson rode with his chin on my shoulder almost the entire way there -- something he's never done before when in the car. It made me wonder if pets have some sixth-sense about things like this.

When I said good-bye to him, he wouldn't stop kissing me. I was "this-close" to taking him back home, but I knew that even though my heart broke as I watched a volunteer take him away, that I had made the right decision. What was even harder was watching my son go through that same heart break. This was his first dog, a dog he helped name... and he had to say good-bye too.

Samson... you brought joy to us through your constant smiles. And we pray that God brings you to a great family who will spoil you with love.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dirt & Dirt Bikes

Dirt Bike Riding... that's what we did yesterday! Nope, this pic isn't of me (pic not posted here)... I only wish I were that daring on a bike! I'm still, what I would call, in the beginner's category of riding. I love going fast on an open road and will open the bike up into 5th gear on a straight-away, but there's something a bit scary about taking hills and catching air that keeps me in the "safety first" zone -- and I'll be the first to tell ya that "safety first" is not usually my motto!

I don't know why it is but the fear of falling and gashing open my arm or breaking a leg keeps me from going all crazy-wild on the bike. It's the one thing I've done where I can honestly say that the word safe is a constant presence in the forefront of my mind - instead of being the word that is always thrown out the window in the name of all-out-fun!

The only thing I can think of is that God knows if I lost my sense of 'safe' on a dirt bike then I'd be done for -- I'd be the first in our group to have to take a trip to the hospital -- and that's the last place where I want to be. So for now, I will enjoy the speed on the flat road and just suck up the comments from the peanut gallery about how I ride "like a girl". I guess sometimes when you're a girl... it's okay to be a girl!

OOOHHH! I forgot! I did do something a bit out of the girl box.... I finally rode the 2-stroke dirt bike and got to feel what true power is in a bike. Albeit, I wasn't the only one - Bexy and Foxy rode it too! Yeah for girl power! See David... even girls can ride a 2-stroke and get it out of 1st gear!!!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fun in the Sun

Yeppers, that is what we had yesterday! A fun-filled, sun-filled day on Lake Mohave. We only went up for the day.... drove up early in the mornin' and came home last night. I have to say we were all pretty wiped out on the drive home from the sunning and funning, but boy, was it worth it!

The weather was gorgeous and the water was perfect. Okay, maybe the water was just a bit chilly when we first jumped in, but after a few seconds of wading around, we didn't want to get out. And since it was the day-before-the-holiday-weekend, there was really no one on the lake - or at least it felt like that.

And the tubing, you ask???? As laughter-filled and wipe-out-filled as I remember from last summer! Teighlor was more daring than last summer... taking more spills and allowing a bit more speed in her rides, and it's only our first trip out for this season. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of my dare-devil spirit come out in her as the summer progresses.

Alec? Well, he rode, but he's still a "safety first" child... he definitely didn't get that from me!!!!!

Coli? She's still the girl who makes me laugh so hard when she rides and probably always will. Her screams of terror (or is that fun?) crack me up, and her faces of terror (or is that fun?) are priceless! Next time we are bringing a camera to capture these moments on film!!! Aside from her eye-bleeding moment (they didn't really bleed, but you'd have to be there to understand)... she provided my laughter for the day. Thanks to Coli and her eye-bleeding moment (there's a silver lining in every cloud) we now have a new "fashion trend" for tubing.... one generated out of necessity for saving the eee-holes... goggles anyone????? Adding the goggles on top of her screams, on top of her faces.... equalled moments of unbridled laughter for me.

Jason? Well, he never rode the tube... some excuse about his rotator cuff, but he did a splendid job in driving the boat for the rest of us. He stayed slow when necessary for those riders who couldn't quite adapt to anything higher than a trolling speed (fishing term) - (does the name Alec come to mind?)... and he stayed on the higher side of medium for those riders who wanted to catch air but still guarantee going home without broken bones (do the names Coli and Teighlor come to mind?)... and then he let it all hang out for those of us who like to throw the word "safe" out the window (oh, that brings this story 'round to ME!).

Me? Thought you'd never ask. I'll start with this... every muscle in my body from my waist up HURTS! Not an I-can't-move type of hurt - just a hurt that reminds me that there are plenty of muscles in my upper body that I have not worked out in too long. But all this day-after-aching is sooooooo worth the fun of yesterday! Each time I get on that tube I think to myself, "Maybe I should slow it down a bit, not take too much risk, not catch as much air as last time... just to be on the safe side." Well, that thought only lasts as long as it takes to get the raft going 'cuz them I'm all about the adrenaline of speed, air, and somersaults across the top of the water... and there was plenty of all three taking place when I was on the tube and Jason was behind the wheel of the boat.

There were moments when I was being whipped along the side boat in a turn where the speed made it almost impossible to hang on (and sometimes I couldn't), and there were moments when the raft would go soaring into the air and leave my stomach below, and then there were moments (after I was thrown from the tube) where I felt like a rock being skipped across the surface of the water. And in all of this I never once took a really bad spill -- Thank You Lord for protecting me during my moments of thrill-seeking adventure!

What a day it was! Fun for everyone! And the icing on the cake was dinner at Harrah's grand buffet - food all around to fill our tummies for the ride home. I have to admit that I ate just a wee-bit too much... but isn't that what buffets are for????

All in all it was a pretty awesome day! One my body will be recovering from for the next few days... but what's fun without a tiny bodily reminder the next day?????


Thursday, May 18, 2006

From "Help Me" to "I'll Choose"

"Hallelujah... Hallelujah. Whatever's in front of me, help me to sing Hallelujah.
Hallelujah... Hallelujah. Whatever's in front of me, I'll choose to sing Hallelujah"

From the very first time I heard the chorus of this song, I was moved by the simple, yet poignant, transition in the verb usage from the first line to the second. Bethany Dillon very accurately pens in her lyrics the necessary step in moving from asking for the Lord's help in praising Him for whatever lies ahead, to the Believer making a conscious choice to praise the Lord for all that lies ahead in life.

As Christians we have access to our awesome God 24/7... and He's always faithfully to listen to our prayers and help us. But as we grow in our spiritual maturity and our faith grows deeper, we begin to understand that we have so many choices in life that God can't make for us....

The choice to life joyfully or sorrowfully
The choice to forgive or hold a grudge
The choice to move ahead or fall behind
The choice to live in freedom or stay in bondage
The choice to laugh or cry
The choice to smile or frown
And we also have the choice to Praise the Lord (sing Hallelujah) for whatever God allows and purposes in our lives, or we can blame God and let life defeat us.

What's your choice???????

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Mother's Day

My Mom -- The main reason I celebrate Mother's Day!

Teighlor Elissa -- my beautiful daughter, my 1st gift from God, and my 2nd reason for celebrating Mother's Day!

Alec Michael -- my little boy, my reason for being a baseball mom, and my 3rd reason for celebrating!

In Proverbs 31, God has given us a picture of the type of mother Christian women can become—loving, supportive, generous, and wise in word and deed. Surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit is the key to being transformed as God desires.

Becoming a godly mother begins with the marital relationship. The Lord calls women to demonstrate "noble character," lovingly and generously meeting their husband's needs. The Spirit of God will help believers mature past self-centeredness to the point where a spouse's best interests can have top priority. (Philippians 2:3) For those who parent alone, God will teach this principle in other ways.

The second step involves learning to be consistent in offering forgiveness, acceptance, and agape love. The Lord wants us to parent as He does. He will reveal how to adapt actions and attitudes—as well as schedules—to the maturing ages of the children. He also guides parents in how to lead them toward Christ.

Third, He will provide the skills needed for managing the home. He knows that a positive, godly environment helps families to flourish. As mothers submit to Him, He will train them to be trustworthy, diligent, and disciplined.

Finally, our heavenly Father will provide the compassionate hearts that look beyond one's family to recognize the needs of others and offer help as He directs.

God sees in His own daughters the makings of "majestic" mothers who influence their children for Christ. Place yourself under the Spirit's control so that your family will be blessed with godly leadership. (In Touch Ministries)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Writing Psalms

Last Wednesday my BFF got the opportunity to lead the high school youth group. What she did was something that I thought was going to be a difficult assignment for the group (when I originally heard the idea). She handed out a different Psalm for each person to read. Each Psalm was a different type of Psalm, i.e. one of blessing, confession, praise, rescue, protection, etc. The challenge was then to write your own Psalm as the Holy Spirit lead. The Psalm had to be the same type as the one that you read.

I got to choose my own Psalm to read to the group. I chose Psalm 32 because it spoke of purity of heart, which meant that I was to then write a Psalm based on purity. I thought the challenge was going to prove tough for everyone but it ended up being an awesome experience. At the end of the exercise we each took turns reading our Psalm out loud and then the person next to us was given the responsibility of praying for us, for whatever had been revealed in our writing. The idea from Coli ended up being an incredible experience.

I am not choosing to include my personal Psalm so that others can read it and write a glowing comment. I am including it because I want to remember how the Holy Spirit lead me through this process - and what God chose to reveal "to me" and "about me" in this exercise. If you have never tried something like this I would encourage you to take time alone with God and let Him walk you through it. It's not about writing poetry -- it's about the Holy Spirit writing through you.

Oh God, my soul thirsts to know purity.
A purity of heart in every thought and action, as lived out by your son, Jesus Christ.
What human mind can truly understand righteous cleanliness?
Will ever my dependence on you grow so deep that my reach for purity will not seem so far away?
My God, you've stretched out your hand and removed my sin, time and time again.
I long for the day when I will see my life changed in such a way that I no longer feel like I'm starting over again.
My LORD, you've taught me how to live; your Holy Spirit is there to guide each step I take.
Let your ways be burned on my heart that my walk with you will grow stronger each day; and my passion for purity becomes a struggle of my past and a strength of my future.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Devoted & Dangerous

Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer life. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. ~Colossians 4:2

This was one verse in a passage of scripture that was used as the building blocks for a devotion I read today. And although the rest of the verses are relevant to the devotion, something about this verse just stood off the page for me. That something is the topic of PRAYER.

A month or so ago I was asked to help teach our high school youth group because the leader was sick and couldn't teach that night. Not having much time to put something together I simply gave it to God in prayer and asked that He use me for what He wanted to teach that night. The Lord put prayer on my heart and very faithfully lead me to scriptures and information that I was to use.

One sentence that I came across in my reading, and that I shared with the group, has stuck with me since that night. It is... "No Christian is greater than his prayer life".

This morning I was praying and seeking the Lord for more detail to the plan He has before me for my life. I know where my passion is, but I feel like there is so much more waiting for me that is still unknown - and I've never been someone who is good at being content with waiting. I can do it - and many times I am forced to do it - but the bigger part of me just wants to "get going". I want more from my life, but I'm not willing to move ahead out of my impatience and risk being outside of God's will.

Let me share one part of the devotion I read...

The single most important activity for any follower of Christ to engage in is spending time with God, meditating on His word and praying. Notice that I said "spend time with God". Believers today expect prayer answers to be as instant as microwave meals. If the Lord does not respond immediately, people typically have one of three thoughts: God is angry with me; I must have sin in my life; or this must not be God's will. Usually, however, the real answer is that we haven't prayed long enough for God to have worked out all the details. There is a time for quick, emergency petitions, but most prayer is a continuous effort.

After I read this scripture this morning and the devotion that followed, I was struck with this thought... "Does my life feel like it's on hold right now simply because all of the details for what lies ahead are not yet worked out? Or am I the one who's causing this stagnation because I haven't been devoted and committed enough in my prayer life?"

Honestly, the answer could lie in both questions -- God could still be working things out before revealing more of His plan to me -- but I also know the answer to the latter question: I am not committed enough in my prayer... plain and simple. It's an area that I struggle with constantly... and why do I? I love to pray. I know God has given me the gift of prayer. And yet, even with this knowledge, prayer still is not at the top of my priority list most days. Granted there are days when my prayer life is awesome, and the Holy Spirit is so heavy that I could pray for hours. But it's not like that everyday. Why?

Here's the second part to the devotion and the answer to this question...

We live in a spiritual war zone. Every time we get on our knees we are doing business with God, but we are also doing battle with the Devil. As a result, we must expect interference and harassment. Satan knows that a devotedly prayerful person is dangerous. Such an individual is enjoying a deep, peaceful relationship with God that translates into a passion for obedience and a powerful witness.

No, I am not excusing myself from accountability here and blaming my lack of commitment on Satan. I do take responsibility for the priorities in my life, but I also know that Satan is the master deceiver and any time he can help fill my life or my thoughts with an endless "to do" list -- he's won his battle, and I've lost mine.

Conclusion (taken from the devotion):

If you would like to be "devoted and dangerous", make prayer your top priority!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Birthday to Remember

To All Y'all... and you know who you are! Thank you much for sharing my day with me and for over-the-top spoiling me with great food, great fun, and tons of laughter! Y'all made ushering in my 39th birthday that much easier to handle... gosh, that sounds so old, but I don't feel 39 (maybe 15, right Coli?)

From the Cheesecake (kelsey); to my worst day ever at Starbucks (the only downer in the day); to Xanga page changes that "take the cake" (coli); to crumble birthday cake (teighlor); to Mimi's (what? no more Mi-mi-mi-mi? - nope, just free spinach artichoke dip instead); to Apple Valley's Animal Shelter, which just so happens to have housed the ugliest chihuahua ever known to man with a snaggletooth and 3 good legs - that is until Miss "I-saw-that-dog-this-morning-but-neglected-to-tell-any-worker-that-we-wanted-her-until-they-showed-her-to-someone-else" showed up with her 4 kids and snatched her right out from underneath Coli's big "I'll-take-this-tree(i mean dog)-home-and-love-it" Charlie Brown heart; to 'almost' round two of "oops, we'll give you the opportunity to fall in love with that animal, but you can't take it home because it already belongs to someone else"; to Cats - the musical- and Rum Tum Tugger; to awesome worship (best yet by far); a night among the Psalms (great job, BFF); to one final tummy-stuffing meal at Carrow's.

Gosh, I'm tired just recapping my 24 hours of birthday celebrating!

I am surrounded with and loved by the bestest (which is better than best) people a girl could ever wish for!


Birthday Wishes

Chatterbox Comments:
: Thank you, My Family, for making me feel so very special! What a great surprise to come home too! Hugs & Kisses to All!
: Happy Birthday! We all miss you very much and can't wait to see you again! Just think, this is the last year that you can say you're in your 30's (that's what I told Joe this morning). Love you!
: Happy B-day! you are 24! *In my world, at least!* Love forever, Kate
: Hi Auntie Lexi! Happy B-day!I miss you sooo much! I hope you had fun at the Cheescake! *It looks like you did!* Thanx for everything!
: Too bad I cant spell hope - once you turn 40 your brain turns to mush - take note !
: Happy Birthday Beautiful ! We hpoe that you have a wonderful, happy, and laughter-filled day !
: Happy Birthday to our beautiful 39 daughter. You are truly special.We love you!
: Happy Birthday SexyLexie!
: Happy Birthday to you! You live in a zoo. You look like a monkey. And you smell like one too. I love you.
: Happy Birthday to you! You're 39 now and you're getting old. haha J/K I love you. Happy Birthday!
: Happy Birthday for the second time!

Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday AUNTIE BABS! Happy Birthday to YOU!

Hope you had a swinging day at work! Did anybody join the tee-shirt club??? haha

Thanks for playing the birthday game with me last night! I could have listed 50,000,000,000 more things ... but I'll save some things for your next birthday. (Shedding a tear, for added sentiment. haha)

The number one greatest thing about you??? YOUR FAITH. In God. In Every Believer. In Me. You're greatness seriously can't be matched!

"Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you..." (Psalms 36:10) Lord - pour your LOVE out on my BFF today!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Worship Concert

Just got home a little while ago from seeing Shawn McDonald at Grace Baptist Church in Lancaster. What an awesome evening full of awesome worship! I am so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, so I will go to bed now and write more about this tomrrow... or actually later today!

April 14 - 10 p.m.
Okay... so I'm adding on to my own blog from a couple nights ago. I was so tired (I mean... I was just sooooooo tired - that's for you Coli) that I couldn't write anything that would have made sense... to me or anyone else.

What I really want to say about this concert is that the best thing about it is that it wasn't a typical concert from a Christian artist. This was like sitting and having Shawn McDonald lead us in worship. It was so intimate and so stripped down musically but that was what made the night so special. Just Shawn and his muscially-gifted pal, Will, with a couple guitars, a cello, and some harmonicas. No fancy lighting or sound effects (except for some echo on the Shawn's mic)... just Shawn's raw voice and the guitars -- and the cello too.

Not only that but God blessed our socks off with amazing seating. We sat in the third row -- it was first come, first served seating. Sitting that close we got to see Shawn and Will's amazing talent as they worked the guitar strings like crazy. God has definitey annointed these two men with amazing musical ability.

Wait... there's more. The absolutely, fantastically, supersplendific part of the night was how Shawn started it all off. He has got to be the most humble artist I've seen live. Instead of coming out and wowing the crowd with a long set of his original songs (and soaking up all the applause he would have received), he came out and started with his slowest worship song, Yahweh, and then followed it up with about 6 more contemporary worship songs - none of which were his. I just closed my eyes, raised my hands, and worshipped the Lord. For the first 20 minutes I forgot that I was there to see Shawn McDonald... I was just having an awesome time worshippping with a man whose raw voice is absolutely, amazingly beautiful. I could only think this as I was worshipping, "Man, what church wouldn't be totally blessed to have this guy as their worship leader."

All I have to say to end this blog is this... if you have any chance to see him play... DO IT! You won't be going to see someone perform... you'll be going to have this man draw you into an incredible night of glorious worship!

Monday, April 3, 2006

Moses and the Lamb

I saw before me what seemed to be a crystal sea mixed with fire. And on it stood all the people who had been victorious over the beast and his statue and the number representing his name. They were all holding harps that God had given them. And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

"Great and marvelous are your actions, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations." Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name?For you alone are holy.All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed." Revelation 15:1-4

While believers stand in this world, in times of trouble, as upon a sea of glass mingled with fire, they may look forward to their final deliverance, while new mercies call forth new hymns of praise. The more we know of God's wonderful works, the more we shall praise his greatness as the Lord God Almighty, the Creator and Ruler of all worlds; but his title of Emmanuel, the King of saints, will make him dear to us. Who that considers the power of God's wrath, the value of his favour, or the glory of his holiness, would refuse to fear and honour him alone? His praise is above heaven and earth. (Commentary Notes)

As I sat here tonight, I was determined to not let my attitude of this day be the final thought that I went to sleep with. So I turned to God's Word, the one thing I should have held close to me today and yet neglected... I paid the price with a discouraged soul -- and I can't help but think of those who walked my day with me and yet reaped not one benefit of being with me.
God is ALWAYS faithful to minister to me when I reach out to Him -- no matter how late I am in my reaching...

Did I start out seeking verses out of Revelation? No, I probably would have chosen something from the Book of Psalms to minister to me. But God always has a way of getting me to rise above ME and see HIM. What better way to remind me of who He is?

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” John 8:28-29

As I read through John 8 [being drawn to these two verses], I found myself both convicted and challenged.

I understood how even Jesus, being God Himself, did nothing of his own accord but everything He did came from following his Father--straight from his Father's teaching. I thought, "Gosh, Jesus is one third our triune God, and He certainly could have lived his life righteously on earth on his own... right? Wouldn't His holiness alone have kept him in his Father's will?"

So I read these verses again and saw that even though Jesus knew who he was... that very point (knowing who he was) was exactly what kept him seeking his Father and doing nothing of himself.

It convicted me because I saw such humility in how Jesus lived his life and an incredible depth of dependence of his Father... that I have yet to learn to live out daily.

It challenged me to really see myself for exactly who I am. Just like Jesus, I am a child of my Father. But can I say (just like Jesus)...

"that I do nothing of myself; but only as My Father teaches me"?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

I wouldn’t have thought that in just over 6 months my mind would have forgotten just how much I don’t like San Francisco, but it did because today I got a reminder that felt like a good, hard slap upside the head. We arrived in the city at noon and I quickly remembered what this place is like… narrow, congested streets that were made before the invention of the SUV size vehicles and that all seem to go only ONE way without ever giving drivers the allowance to make a left turn onto ANY street! Whoever designed the city grid must have lost his left arm in some tragic accident because I had to make right turns and go around blocks time and time again to just to find my way around this stinkin’ city because no street ever allows you to turn LEFT ! Not to mention the fact that the streets intersect at weird points, go diagonal instead of staying north and south, or east and west, and only half the streets allow traffic to flow both ways - so it’s a constant guessing game of “have I turned onto a street where the only thing I’m going to see is oncoming traffic heading right for me?”

Oh, and did I happen to mention the lanes for the trolley cars yet? Who’s the genius that thought of creating streets where electric trolley cars could travel down the same lanes as motor vehicles? I know San Francisco is known for their trolley cars but I have to say that more than once I got just a little freaked out when I’d look in my rearview mirror and find a trolley car coming right up behind me and wondering if the thing actually had brakes to stop before it hit me! Yes, I’m over exaggerating but cut me some slack… it’s been a long day already. I’ve been up since 3:30 a.m., and I didn’t sleep well to begin with because I knew I’d have to be getting up so early!

Let me top it off the bad side of Frisco with this last addition… Coli had decided that she wanted to try to get her nails done today when we got here since we’d have some time to kill before having to go to registration and orientation tonight for the workshop. So we find a place in the Yellow Pages and head downtown. MapQuest tells us that it’s only something like 4 miles from us but between the ‘no left turns’, trolley car lanes, and diagonal streets, it took us 4 hours to get there. Not really, but it sounds good for the story effect.

Anyway, we finally find the street we’re looking for and wouldn’t you know it… we just happen to choose a nail salon that is smack-dab in the heart of the Rainbow District. I don’t know if that’s really what it’s called but it’s how I’ll always remember it. I’ve never seen so many rainbow flags flying than I did here today. And I don’t think I’ve ever driven through any part of town where the ratio of men to women is some thing like 100 to 1. It was insane, but not in a good way. Needless to say Coli decided that she didn’t need to get her nails done that bad after all. I know we live in a world that is plagued by sin, but I just couldn’t stomach seeing it vomited all over the streets to the degree it was here. This place truly is the modern day Sodom and Gamorrah.

Don’t get me wrong though. The day hasn’t been all bad. I had an 8 hour drive with Coli where we entertained each other so well that I think we laughed the entire drive. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but only a little. We seriously were so loopy and just over the top silly that we kept each other cracking up. The drive, albeit a long one, has been the best part of the day. I have so much fun with my best friend and when you lock us in a car for 8 hours straight the non-stop laughter is just a guaranteed thing.

Our new words that were created today…

Shphurprise! (screamed at the top of your lungs with Sponge Bob arms raised high)… I’m not even going to try to explain this one cuz it’s just not ‘gettable’ unless you were in the car with us, had been on the road for hours already and had found yourself driving through endless towns filled with people who have never heard of the invention of the modern day magazine.

Cherry Brossoms… to English speaking folk it’s really Cherry Blossoms but by the time I said it this way we had already seen 3 straight hours of nothing but cherry blossom trees and my mouth just couldn’t take it anymore!

After spending hours with my BFF I always find myself wondering if there are other people in the world who have as much fun as we do when we’re together. It’s crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thanks SisNBff for making that long journey seem like only minutes! I definitely have filled my monthly quota of ‘good for the soul’ laughter… and we still have another 8 hour ride home to look forward too on Friday!

Lastly, God did bless me with some gorgeous gloomy, rainy weather! I know that may sound weird, but I don’t get enough of it in Dirt Town so I was looking forward to the forecast of a week of rain.

Well, it's time to sign off for the night and see what tomorrow holds for us in lovely San Francisco!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Peace Revealed

In November and December of 2004 God brought me through an amazing process of discovering my 'Heavenly Name'. That journey alone was a remarkable one and so filled with God, but that's not what I'm here to record today. It's been over 2 years since the Lord revealed my name... Peace... but since then I've found myself questioning why Peace???? It wasn't until this past Sunday that God revealed His intention, His meaning, His purpose of His chosen name for me - and the Lord chose to reveal its significance through a simple statement born of a Sunday morning Bible study. This is it...

"Peace is a by-product of genuine conversation (prayer) with God".

(Peace: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.
By-product: a secondary and sometimes unexpected or unintended result.
Genuine: sincerely and honestly felt or experienced.)

As soon as this quote was said it was like God turned on a light switch for me - I had experienced an epiphany.

Webster defines epiphany as (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery.

In a simple and striking moment I had complete understanding of my heavenly name.

Since I was in my early twenties I knew that my main gift from God was the gift of prayer. It's not that I pray 'better' than others or that God listens to me more intently, it's that this was the gift God had given me to be used in service for Him - it was my ministry.

For several years God has been developing that gift and has expanded His purpose for me by opening doors to take part in praying for deliverance for those seeking complete freedom in Christ. He has also opened the doors of the spiritual world and has allowed me the awesome opportunity to take part in battle against evil, against the enemy of this world, Satan.
In hindsight this shouldn't have been difficult to understand. My heavenly name and my ministry go hand in hand.

Peace is the result of prayer...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Puppies Go Home

How, in just a matter of days, do 10 cute, adorable, and sweet smelling puppies turn into one ginormous group of stanky, sticky, ball of puppy poo???? Go ahead... laugh... it's not funny anymore. As a matter of fact, those puppies that were bundles of joy just this past weekend have morphed into the biggest burden of continuous crap cleaning that I've ever encountered.

Five weeks ago Liberty gave birth to 10 puppies that couldn't see, couldn't walk, and that had to crawl their way to their mother's belly just to nurse. Who ever imagined that within a matter of 5 weeks those same helpless puppies would grow into a group of clueless creatures that don't seem to care that they sleep in pools of puppy pee and roll around in piles of puppy poo. UGH!

Just this past Monday, a mere 4 days ago, we removed the whelping box they were sleeping in and expanded their living territory to a big chunk of the kitchen floor. We also started the process of paper training. I can't even begin to describe the nightmare that has unfolded since that fateful day! Have you ever tried to housebreak a new puppy? It requires a lot of time and attention, doesn't it? NOW multiply that by 10!!!!! It is NON-STOP peeing, pooping, cleaning, scrubbing, peeing, pooping, cleaning, scrubbing... get my point? And that's not even the worst part...

I've had two kids. I've changed so many diapers that I could do it with my eyes closed, and the dirtiest diaper wouldn't even faze me. Well, I've found something that just makes me want to vomit. Are you just the slight bit curious? Let me share...

Picking up warm, soft, freshly eliminated puppy poo and doing it in record time so that the other 9 puppies won't traipse right through it and leave puppy poo paw prints (say that 5 times fast) all over the floor as a secondary form of necessary clean up. It's just so nasty and so wrong -- on so many different levels!!!

Last week I never thought I'd say this, but here goes...