Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Table Talk

Oh how I love me some technology! My sister called me via Facetime this weekend….from our parents’ house in Tennessee where she, along with our other sister and their families, had congregated to enjoy a nice pot of home-made stew. It was so nice to not only hear from all of them but SEE them, too! Even though I think they called to rub it in that I was missing the stew! (Just kidding…..that was only PART of the reason they called!) J But, I totally understand….with temperatures in Tennessee in the 50’s for highs and 30’s for lows right now, some nice home-made stew would be just the ticket! My crew and I really miss our Tennessee folks….especially our wild family gatherings (we just missed a fish fry last weekend!!), but we are not missing the 30 degree nights! It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend with temperatures in the 80’s and a steady, light breeze. We enjoyed eating our grilled hotdogs on the patio and fun at the baseball park.  Still, I have to admit, I am now craving stew! I don’t know…..something about stew just isn’t the same without 20 people bumping elbows. It tastes great, but you don’t enjoy it quite as much! Maybe that’s just me. Even so, I think I may be throwing some together in our near future, 80 degrees or not! J Can’t wait to bump elbows with all of the fam in a couple of months over some chicken & dressing and 10 conversations going on at once!!
Anyway….I digress.  It really was a beautiful weekend in the South Bay area. My sweet thang and I got to enjoy a nice chat on the patio Saturday morning while the children were with the babysitters (AKA, the Xbox and Curious George). We were awake at 6:00am….On a Saturday. Which, is becoming more and more of a habit vs. our usual 7:30 on the weekends. As I fixed his coffee, we both noted that we must be getting old….er. This was further noted in our topic of conversation on the patio. Neither of us have ever been extremely political people but with the election so close and so much going on….. a lot of our conversations lately have been over politics. We were just discussing how differently we view things now that we’re older and aren’t concerned about “our rights” so much as “what is right”. Does all of this mean that after 15 years of marriage, we’re starting to grow up??
Well, I wouldn’t go that far! But, I did enjoy the adult conversation with my man about something besides the kids. Actually, I had a lot of thoughts flood my mind, but we didn’t really have time to get into everything as the kids did need to eat and what not. So, those of you who know me and my tendencies…you know what’s coming don’t you??  I will be unloading them on you!! As Sammy Kershaw says in one of his songs, “Let’s talk about anything, anything in this world but politics, religion, and her.” Many folks ascribe to that rule of thumb, as well, (well accept for the “her” part) and I understand.  However, while I agree that there is a time and a place for everything, all things can’t and shouldn’t be completely ignored. So, here we go with a ginormous can of ginormous worms: Politics & Religion!!
For the record, I am not about throwing stones at any particular party here. I think they have equal amounts of evil, untrustworthy people in positions throughout both the Democratic and Republican parties, don’t you?  As for this post, I simply (or not so simply) want to share a few tidbits of the things that I have been chewing on myself over the last few years that have shaped my opinions and……of course, my vote. Some of the things I will discuss from my own personal experience are no doubt going to offend some who read this (precisely why most people steer clear of politics and religion). To those who may take offense, I would just re-direct you to the previous sentence. As the following all pertains to my own personal convictions and the experiences that helped shape them. Sorry if this sounds a little overly dramatic….but, they simply must be said. So if you’re good with that….read on! J
When I was a kid just out of high school, I thought like a kid. I acted like a kid. I voted like a kid. They will actually let you vote as a kid, as long as you’re 18. It doesn’t mean you have to be mature or even remotely wise. I found out, they will also let you get married and have babies, but that’s another post and a whole other can of worms! J The point is, kids….well…they think and reason like kids! There is no certain age where everyone just all of the sudden learns to think beyond themselves and really weigh the implications of their actions….or their vote. Some never do!

So, after being raised in a conservative family, I branched out when I left the house and became “enlightened”, and identified myself in political conversations as a democrat. I viewed them as a rights oriented party and I was in the phase of just wanting everything justified under the idea of “I have the right to make my own decisions and you don’t have the right to tell me I’m wrong….ever.” I didn’t agree with their support of abortions, but, I was willing to overlook it because of the appeal of other things they supported. Looking back at my personal and political views, I had the mentality of my almost 3 yr old who, just today at the doctor’s office with her brothers, demanded she get a shot, too. She picked up a stool, carried it to the table, climbed up by herself and awaited her turn. She quickly found out she wish she’d have known the pain she was about to bring upon herself with the flu shot. Oh, she toughed it out…..didn’t even cry. But, I doubt she will be so enthusiastic going back to the doctor for her 3 yr check up in a few weeks. Turns out, she “did NOT like that pen that stuck her!!”
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Much like the rationalizations of a child, we sometimes demand what we think we are entitled to without even considering if it’s really what’s best for us. There was a time I would identify with a party,  not because I truly believed it promoted what was best for us all….but, because it was what suited me and my interests. Like my brother once told me about his vote as a republican, “I don’t vote for what’s good for ME…I vote for what’s good for the nation as a whole.” Sure, I was all about helping the little man…..but what about those precious babies that the democratic party supported being aborted? My vote didn’t ensure that right…right?? Do you know what we get when we become prideful against authority and obsessed with ourselves and our own rights? When the government champions the pursuit of happiness at all moral and biblical cost? Constant and increasing disappointment for those who always feel they are “owed” something and in an every man for himself society. For example, Paul refers to our love of money as “the root of all kinds of evil, and through this craving…we have pierced ourselves with many pangs.’” I think this is what I would call “shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot!”

Here’s the thing, there is no way around it….when we stomp our feet and insist on our way and choose to live outside of the authority of God and His wisdom, we end up hurting ourselves. It’s especially ironic since, usually, the intent is to look out for number one! Every order that He established has its purpose in His kingdom and ultimately for our benefit. Let me just go ahead and give you the example that I am all too familiar with and yes….it’s extremely sensitive (as most political discussions are): Working Women.
We pushed hard to inundate the work force. We didn't need a man or the government telling us what we could or could not do. We persevered in our quest and we were successful. Though I'm sure there are still plenty of gender biases to deal with out there, we have a party that strongly supports us. But something unexpected has happened. Somehow, it's gotten to the point where women think they have no choice but to work and leave their children in another's care. But, wait a minute, aren't "choices" what we were fighting for in the first place??

 Now, let me just pause for a moment and say that I totally agree that our first responsibility is to our husbands. If the family is struggling financially and things are beyond his control, by all means, let's be a help to our man. Look at the Proverbs 31 woman. She was a help to her man....not a drain. Then there are those hard-working women without a husband, completely doing it on their own and have no choice. I’m SO not talking about those obvious cases. The point in this example is the unfortunate fact that most women feel caught between a rock and a hard place.....for a number of reasons: First, since our first responsibility is to our husbands, If they don't agree with us staying home....we will be in for a heap of problems in our marriage. We have messed with God’s order so much that many men aren’t cool with assuming the provider or head of the household role anymore and do not understand the wife that doesn't want to work outside the home just because there are now a couple of kids to care for. Secondly, Pressure and guilt abound from so many sources outside the home: From society that thinks you're lazy if you call full time wife/motherhood "work" to the coworkers who talk about you and the boss who makes you feel like a bad employee if you take off to stay home with a sick child. But, for a number of reasons, we have it in our heads that we just couldn't make it any other way; Some deeply rooted, others not so much:
We won't be able to make the house payment (we may have to downsize).
We won't be able to buy a decent car (the $40,000 SUV).
My kids won't have good clothes to wear (my kids may not be popular without the brand names).
 My husband won't value and respect me.
 My husband won't provide for me.
PLEASE don't misunderstand, I realize how truly and uniquely blessed I am to have a husband who wants to be the provider and sees the value of ME being the primary influence in our children's lives. Not every woman has that. Which, only further illustrates the point. There are many men like him out there, but as an unintended result of our insistence on having it all…..they are increasingly becoming the exception rather than the rule. Having it all is often not all it’s cracked up to be. I know how it feels.  I have felt the guilt of leaving a sick baby in the care of another, even if it was a grandparent. I have felt the sting of inadequacy when I wasn't home when the kids got out of school to talk to them about their day, help them with homework, and fix a good meal because my shift didn't end until 7. I have felt the pressure of dentist bills and car maintenance. What am I saying?? I still feel those. The point is...See what we did by stomping our feet and saying "you're not the boss of me!"? or as Jude said, “I want a shot, too!”
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
“To distinguish good from evil”......that’s the bottom line that has been erased in this country. We only skimmed the surface with a couple of examples that are symptoms of a problem with many deep roots. But, one thing that must be addressed somehow, someway… is that we are so out of practice that we can’t even see evil for what it is anymore. This mentality is so childish but so deep rooted and deceptive that it makes us puppets of the master mind… the father of all lies. It will go so far as to have us believe, “It’s a free country! I have the right to do whatever makes me happy….even if that means ending the life of my child”; Even if it means we have to cheat someone else; Even if we block out of our minds the people that are starving in this world while we’re saving for our vacation home; and on and on…..We are determined to be happy…to get what we’re owed or what we’ve earned.  If we aren’t careful…we will get what we’ve asked for and exactly what is due us…..God’s hand removed from us.
We could go on and on about the strengths and weaknesses of democrats and republicans, which areas their ways are more like Christ than the other and round and round we go. I have lots and lots of thoughts on the matter and plenty of things but as I typically have to do, I must stop and say, “Another day, another blog”.
I will leave you with one of Jude’s favorite songs (and mine):
"Let heaven roar. Let fire fall.
Come shake the ground with the sound of revival.
God's not dead, He's surely alive!
He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion!"
You know, even if it’s been a long time for some, I can’t think of a better time in history to open our mouths to pray and open His Word to hear. He is certainly not dead! I say.....let’s get our prayer on and then go get our vote on!!:)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

In One Ear......

In a house with 3 kids, 2 of them pre-teen boys with selective hearing, there are a lot of phrases that seem to get repeated over and again and even entire conversations that seem to take place repeatedly. For those without kiddos or with little ones who haven’t yet mastered the art of tuning out mom, I’ll create a little scene that is typical of the little selective hearers!
Mom:  “Boys, it’s time to turn off the TV and get ready for bed.”
(No movement. So, mom repeats the instructions a couple of more times over the next 10 minutes.)
Mom: (a little louder the 4th time) “Boys, did you hear me? Turn off the TV and get ready for bed!”
Boys: “Ok.”
(Verbal response, but still no movement. Mom stands there and watches to see if they are going to get up and move.  Feeling her blood pressure begin to rise, she goes over and turns off the TV herself and turns to look at them with the “I’m about to lose it” expression.)
Boys: “What?”
Mom:  “If you two are not IN your beds in FIVE minutes WITH teeth brushed, you can just plan on going to bed at 8:00 from now on!!!”
Boys:  “Ok, Mom. Why are you yelling??”
Mom: “Because I’m tired of repeating myself!! I didn’t yell the first 4 times!! “
Boys:  “What did you say? We didn’t hear you!”
Mom:  “Then why did you say, “ok”??? You know what? JUST GET IN THE BED!!!!”
This little scene is exactly the type of thing that has my daughter, not even 3 yet, using the phrase, “DO YOU HEAR THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY MOUF (aka mouth)??” She didn’t get the phrase from watching Chris Tucker say them to Jackie Chan….I did, though! I love Chris Tucker….he is hilarious and I steal his line when I’m trying to keep things light and not get so bent out of shape.  By bedtime though, I can’t seem to function that way and I need people to listen and respond!! This may be why the phrase, "Calgon, take me away!" was coined.
Can’t it drive you insane? When you need someone to really “hear the words coming out of your mouf” but they just aren’t listening?! Whether it’s getting your kids in the bed at night, explaining to your husband for the 10th year in a row why you aren’t wearing the turtleneck he got you for Christmas, “Baby.....it’s beautiful, I just CAN’T wear turtlenecks!”, or telling that friend, “this guy is just like the last one…..not good for you!”……no one enjoys being in the position of not being heard. MOST of the time, we’re not talking because we like the sound of our voice. I tell my kids to get in the bed because I know how miserable they will be the next day without enough rest. I tell my husband about turtlenecks, because well…I’ll never, ever wear them and I don’t want to continue to hurt his feelings by hanging them in the closet, never to be worn. When we see our friends heading for a disaster, we want to spare them. Sometimes not being heard can move beyond frustrating to an up at night, gut-wrenching prayer of "Why aren't they listening?? Why don't they see??"
Having said all that, it’s easy to conclude that sometimes it’s hard to be a mom, a wife, a friend, etc. etc.  We might be tempted to say, “Whatever….do what you want!” But, this is where real life happens…..and real ministry. We all have a ministry, whether we realize it or not, whether we’re successful at it or not.  We may have days that we’d like to abandon post, so to speak. Or, at least, send everyone ELSE to bed! But, we all, as believers, have a field of ministry...all around us. We have something that is “our thing”. It may change over time…but we have a thing.
Something that’s been rolling around in my mind over and over these last couple of years is the issue of being committed to do the thing….. Whatever our thing is. As believers, with the Word of God to guide us and the Holy Spirit to empower us, I keep asking myself, “Where is our staying power??”  If so much is wrong with our families and our churches and our nation…..WHO is going to have the gumption and the resolve to do what it takes to see “the thing” or ANYthing through?? We always want to leave the dirty work to others.  The problem is, there are some things that we are all called to do. Things like, make disciples, be an active help to the Church, love our neighbor, love our spouse like ourselves, feed the hungry, etc, but, in large part, we even take those things with a grain of salt now.  If we don’t like the way things are going…..we leave. If we don’t see the results we want….we quit. We see larger problems as something that we can’t possibly do anything about, whether talking about feeding the hungry or the degradation of the Church.
I was reading this weekend, The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler, and came across a section that just hit me like a ton of bricks on the matter of staying power….even when you feel no one is listening or even cares. I can’t explain how much this has been on my mind and heart the last couple of years. (As a side note - Can I just say, God is so good in confirming His stirrings in us. That’s why I love Beth Moore’s quote she often uses, “Ain’t no high like the Most High!” He doesn’t have to reveal Himself to us…what a gift it is….nothing compares…..He is what we were made to crave.)   Back to the book I mentioned, we have probably all heard some wonderful, powerful sermons on servanthood or missions out of Isaiah 6:5-8. Let’s just read it again:
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty! 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me.
 It’s beautiful isn’t it? I love that passage. I SO want that to be me….” Here I am Lord…. Wherever you lead….I’ll go.” Until I hear what ministry the Lord had for Isaiah. This is portion the that Matt Chandler camped on so poignantly.  And, as he said, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a sermon preached on this portion of scripture. If so, it wasn’t something I cared to commit to memory.
Isaiah 6:9 He said, “Go and tell this people, “ ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
What does Isaiah say in response? Same thing I’d probably say…..  “FOR HOW LONG??”  To which the Lord basically tells him in the next few verses, “Until the cities lay in ruins and only My remnant, my true believers, remain.” What if that was our ministry?? He’s basically been given the ministry of no one listening to him. EVER! And the pain of sitting back and watching their hearts be hardened and their lives go to utter ruin as his words go in one ear and out the other.  As Matt puts it, “God is saying, ‘Isaiah, you’re going to proclaim faithfully, and they’re going to reject continually…….and I am at work in that.’”
Now, I just think how disheartening it is when I’m not getting through to my kids or that friend that’s headed for a fall.….I can feel like an utter failure….even second guess what I know the Lord laid on my heart. In today’s world of ministry, we’d probably even see Isaiah as a failure. I mean, I look at Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Francis Chan, David Jeremiah, etc…..all very gifted Bible study teachers and preachers. People flock to hear them, and I am one of them. I see their appointed ministries as successful. Though, I doubt they started out that way….they did the hard thing first and then, “to them….more was given.”  I’m going to paraphrase what Matt said about this: “There are many cases in the Bible where people didn’t see the fruit of their ministry in their lifetime. God sees this thing differently, though. Numeric growth and enthusiasm are not always measurements of success. Faithfulness is success. Obedience is success. (STAYING POWER). God’s call to Isaiah introduces us as believers to a strange sense of freedom: A hearer’s response is not our responsibility. OUR responsibility is to be faithful to God and His message.” I love the picture he draws of the faithful in this next part: “I guarantee there’s some old dude, in some town most of us have never heard of, faithfully preaching to nine people every week and when we get to glory, we will be awed at his house!”  Those nine people, my friends, are His remnant. That sweet “old dude”, is a modern day Isaiah with some serious staying power. The response of others is not our responsibility, it’s between them and God. Could we just resolve to be FAITHFUL in our homes, our churches, and our communities?
"We would all do well to remember that God did not save us to become sensations, but rather, He saved us to become servants." ~  David Jeremiah
We have to be faithful to what we’re called to and not what we think it should be….even if our church gets down to 9 people, even if we become distanced from friends or family, even if we feel like we’re repeating the same thing over and over again and it’s going in one ear and out the other and we never see any fruit at all. God is at work in that!! I love that Mrs. Patsy Taylor told me our last Sunday night at church before our move, ”bloom where you’re planted!” She is a woman of few words so I listen when she speaks! She didn’t realize but that phrase had been on the tip of my tongue for a month before the move.  Even if we don’t like where we’re planted, we might as well bloom until He moves us. Too many of us want to sit on the sidelines and gripe about what all we could or should be doing instead of being faithful to what He’s already given us.
 That said, I have committed to the Lord to share whatever He lays on me with whoever I’m supposed to share it. Hence….this blog.  (Those messages were getting to be a bit much for a Facebook post!) But, I also pray I’ll never again let fear of rejection or anything else keep me from doing the hard thing, whether through a written word or face to face ministry. For example, some of my sweet friends have mentioned to me about writing a book. Honestly, He just hasn’t impressed upon me to do that or given me a message that would need a book (I know what you’re thinking….some of these posts could easily be a chapter!  Lol!) However, if the Lord were to really put something like that on my heart, I hope I would be disciplined enough to do it. Not because I want to be the next Beth Moore or because I want to be a best-selling author. But, because I am so thankful of how He allows me to experience Him, I want that for everyone I know! Even those I don’t know, and those I almost wish I didn’t know.  If all He ever wants me to do is occasionally share on a blog and repeat myself over and over to 3 fabulous children….I’m perfectly ok with that! Though, somedays…I need a shot of resolve for my own staying power. That sounds like a product, “resolve staying power”; do they sell that in a bottle?? How about you?  We all have a “thing”. Where are you serving faithfully today? Or where could you use a fresh dose of resolve?
Matthew 13:8-16
8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Repeat as Needed

Here in California, advertising is everywhere. I’m not complaining…..My husband has been in ads distribution for 20 years. It’s just a pretty obvious observation that the ads are a little flashier out here on the busy streets of L.A.  It’s typical to drive down the road and see a huge movie promo covering the entire side of a building.  Of course! It’s Hollywood! What seems odd to me, though, is the method of having people on the sides of the roads with signs they wave back and forth pointing passers-by to a store or some type of service. I never once have thought, “Oh! Well, let me pull in and check that out!” Instead, I’m thinking, “Bless their hearts….with all that repetition, they’re going to develop carpal tunnel or end up with a torn rotator cuff!” It makes me hurt for them! “They must be tired…how do they do that all day or even an hour?”  I’m always curious how effective that method of advertising is on overall sales. Does it beef up the profits?

I don’t know about you, but “repetition” does not often evoke happy thoughts for me when it is what’s required to build up or strengthen something or otherwise demand a lot of effort on my part. Take exercise for example. I don’t typically think, “Man, my abs are going to look great and my back is going to be so much stronger!!” Instead, I think, “There has GOT to be a better way!!” So, what do I usually end up doing? Nothing. That’s why my lower back is so easily strained and I can nearly be put out of commission just getting Jude in and out of the car. It’s also why I quit taking piano lessons as a child. Too much repetition was required. Well, that and the fact that I was terrified of playing in front of people at recitals. You know what I’m talking about. It’s why many a husband’s golf clubs have been thrown into the woods. The amount of repetition and years of practice it takes to hit the money shot & clear the water every time requires a lot of time and persistence. You can see it, can’t you? It’s a beautiful day. He’s played very well and is an even par for the first nine holes and is thinking, “I’m a natural! I haven’t even played in a month!” The back nine: Tee’s off…right down the middle of the fairway….beautiful! He’s thinking he can be on the green in 2. He’s that good. Next shot……slice…in the woods! “Oh well, I can make it up on the next hole.” Only, from there, he finds the woods, the bunker and the water. The last 8 holes are more revealing than they are forgiving. He finishes with only one ball left in the bag…. and minus a club.
You see, to be a consistent golfer, natural ability or not, you have to play regularly and visit the driving range frequently. Unfortunately, for most people, as much as they’d love to, that is extremely inconvenient. Furthermore, for many who do visit the driving range often, learning to strike a golf ball well and consistently well, proves extremely frustrating.  When my boys were having trouble with their baseball swings, not hitting the way they wanted and knew they could, we knew just who to take them to see.  We know a great coach who can look at a swing and see just where it’s lacking. More importantly, he has a gift and a way of communicating to them what they need to do to correct their swings that we as parents and even their dad as a coach, just can’t. However, as the boys have learned, all of the lessons in the world are pointless if they don’t go home and practice the techniques he teaches them to work out the kinks and improve their game. Repetition, repetition. Or as we have always heard, “practice makes perfect.” Though, it may not actually make us perfect in those areas, most of us would settle for steady, consistent, reliable….just a little confidence when we get up to bat.

 I guess I need to move on….starting to repeat myself! J This past weekend at a Beth Moore conference, I got a much needed lesson myself on repetition. She taught out of an unfamiliar passage of scripture to me, 2 Kings 5. This is the story of Naaman, a great commander of the Syrian who was well respected in the eyes of the king….despite the fact he was a leper. It’s a very interesting read without even expounding on it. It says he is a great man in his master’s eyes but uses the word “BUT”, as in, he has this one thing that seems to hold him back….it’s just always with him. He hears there is a prophet (Elisha) that may be able to cure him of this disease. So, he tells the king and the king sends him to the king of Israel to seek help. The king of Israel doesn’t know what they want him to do about it but when Elisha hears, he tells them to send Naaman to him. Only, when Naaman gets there, Elisha doesn’t go out to see him, but sends a messenger with instructions for Naaman to go wash in the Jordan river…. 7 times…and be clean. Well, Naaman is livid. He doesn’t know why Elisha doesn’t come out to him and he finds the instructions ridiculous. This was not the kind of healing he was expecting. He wanted the whole show….calling on the name of the Lord and such. But, his servants go to him and basically ask him what his problem is….all Elisha told him do was go to the river to wash! Was he really going to leave without even trying to be cured?? Needless to say, Naaman gets over himself and does what he was told and leaves there with skin clean, “like that of a little child”.

Her lesson was called “Claimin’ Naaman”!  One of her main points was from this portion of verse 1: “He was a mighty man of valor…..but he was a leper.” How many of us have a thing that makes us think, “If it wasn’t for this ___________, I could be this__________”? Maybe it’s something we think and subconsciously tell ourselves all the time, maybe it’s a fear, maybe it’s a big fat failure, maybe it’s an old wound that someone else caused, whatever it may be… we replay it over and over and over again….and it’s always with us. “If it wasn’t for this __________, I could be this __________. “, “If they only knew this_____________ about me, they wouldn’t think this __________.”, etc. What we need and are missing is a healing in some area. But, as Beth said, “sometimes we refuse to do what healing requires!” by throwing our fits and saying, “I don’t want my healing this way” or even, “I refuse to heal this way!!” These are some of the reasons she threw out there as why we think and act this way in the areas we struggle:

-          It seems ridiculous! We are either too self-important or we just don’t believe it will work. We just can't see the reasoning here.

-          It seems too hard! Maybe it’s too humbling to own up to this thing or maybe it’s just something that we don’t think we have the strength to work through.

-          It’s inconvenient. (This is the one that got me). IT REQUIRES TOO MUCH REPETITION!!

This one is so me. I so easily revert to that kid who doesn't want to practice the piano who, consequently, doesn't want to get up and play in front of others. Naaman had to go wash 7 times. It doesn’t say why. But, could it have been that with each dip, he was humbling himself before God and exercising his faith muscles? Naaman left a changed man, not just with clean skin. He left knowing and fully believing in the One true God because he had been healed.
I’ll paraphrase Beth here the best I can because it’s just too important and I don’t want to mess it up: “If we don’t like the way our medicine looks, we try to write our own prescriptions. Positive thinking only carries you a few weeks…. We can’t write our own prescription for healing. It has to be God, it has to be God. We have to know his Word and hide it in our heart. Scriptural healing requires repetition!!  Speaking these truths over and over and over and over and over again is necessary because our mental attitudes, addictions, ways of thinking, etc., are REPETITIOUS. It takes GOD to change your heart and your perspective. Know the Word! Claim you a verse and say it over and over and over again. When the enemy presents you with fresh condemnation or fear and finds that instead of stopping in your tracks, you thank God and praise Him because you are forgiven or because His strength is made perfect in your weakness, he will STOP!! He is not going to do anything that causes us to praise God.”

Paul gives us a great example of not getting the type of healing we want when he refers to the “thorn in his side” that he had begged God to take away. It doesn’t say if it was a physical ailment, or a mental or fleshly vice. But, he referred to it as a “messenger of Satan, sent to harass me”. His response was this, (2 Cor 12:9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.)
That’s all I want and really all I need, the power of Christ to rest upon me. In all of my insecurities, all of my regrets, all of my fears about the future, anything and everything that may play itself over and over in my mind and keep me from doing anything He has called me to do or receiving anything He wants me to receive. Cause I’ll tell ya….as Beth said & I agree, if He’s got something for me….. I WANT it!! The father of all lies loves to harass. That’s for sure. He wants us to believe that we don’t really want it and that God isn’t love…He’s just sitting up there with a big flyswatter waiting to wack us on the head. But, we do not have to be so easily deceived….I mean…who likes to be made a fool? Satan will always come up short when face to face with the Word of God in our hearts and on our tongue. So, the question now is, “where to start??” If you aren’t sure…here are some good starters:

-          2 Cor 12:9, above

-          Lamentations 3:22-24 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion”, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.

-          Luke 1:49-50 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is His name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

-          1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

-          2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

-          Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm then, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

-          1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

-          Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

-          2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.
Got a spot that needs attention?? Do what the shampoo bottles say…Rinse (with the water of the Word), lather (with prayer and repetition), and repeat as needed..... until it’s so clean you can see His reflection. What verse are you claimin’ today??

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Simple "Nank You"

When’s the last time you offered a heart felt “nank you”? Honestly, you’ve probably never said “nank you”, or at least not since you were 3 years old. That’s how Jude, my almost 3 year old girl, prays these days. This is a typical rendition of her prayer, “God, Nank You for Daddy and Mommy, and nank You for their daughter, Jude, and nank You for Peter and Preston, and nank You for pon-pones (long gone cat), and nank You for Doc & Pepper (the dogs) & Daisy (the dog our parents graciously took in before the move), and….nank You for ME!” Then she always ends with a really loud, southern “AMEN!”  She may vary a little by leaving one of us out or adding in someone else or church or friends, but…..she never fails to mention herself at least twice.
Now, you might be thinking it’s cute but it could become a little self-absorbed to let her continue to pray that way all the time, but I say as long as she is saying “nank You”, say it as many times as you want, baby. She loves life!! I want her to thank Him for it! As she gets older, she will learn to incorporate the needs of others as well as her own. But, right now, she isn’t really in need and she’s naturally thankful. Talk about “out of the mouths of babes”. 

Down deep in most of us, we are thankful for another day of life. We just fail to show it. I don’t know about you but I get far too easily frustrated and enough days of that I can appear purely disgruntled. It sometimes takes real tragedy or some type of wake-up call for us to get to a place where others to see how we appreciate life and those in it. I have to admit, reading news on children battling cancer or other illness or the sudden loss of a spouse that’s around my age always makes me more patient and loving with my own children….and more appreciative of every day that I am allowed to wake up and be a mom and wife. How quickly we can get into the “woe is me” mode, though.  So, let me just stop right now and list a few things I’m thankful to God for. I think I’ll follow in Jude’s example and first say, “Nank you for me!” I AM thankful that He gave me life and that He faithfully guides me through it when I call on Him; Thankful for the ability to laugh; for wise cracks that bring smiles; for the belly laugh of babies; for the sound of a baseball that’s hit well; for taste buds……AMEN?! Watermelon, cheese, peppers? Anybody else? I’m thankful for beautiful blue skies and colorful sunsets and the soothing sound of rolling thunder! I’m thankful for the gift of relationships, even the ones I have with our silly dogs! How much more thankful I am for the relationship of brothers, sisters, cousins, and true friends.

Some skeptics or even some struggling believers would say, “Sure, you’re thankful!…look at your life! You live in sunny California, have three beautiful children, a husband that loves you and would do anything for you, and friends and family galore. What about people like me who don’t have that kind of life? Or, what about those who live horrible lives… who are abused, who lose children, suffer through illness, who are oppressed, starving, etc. How am I to be thankful? How are they?”  To which I would say, “You are right…I am SOOO blessed. But, I am not naïve enough to think that my life could not be turned upside down tomorrow if it is in His plan for my life. You pose legitimate questions….are you willing to discuss some answers?”  This goes straight to the root of a fundamental theological issue that creates HUGE stumbling blocks for believers in their faith and non-believers in their acceptance. 

Let’s just go on and open up this big ole can of worms, keeping in mind that I can only share with you what He has taught me and He still has a lot of work to do with me. So, if it helps……give Him the credit. If not or if it only causes more confusion….that would be my fault. The root questions here are really, “If God is good or if He is sovereign, how could He: Make me this way? Allow me to be born into this situation? Not deliver me from this situation? Allow that person to go on hurting others?, etc.

See, told you it was a can of worms. Let me give you my own personal disclaimer that I certainly don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of God and neither I, nor anyone else knows exactly how we would react until put to the test.  But, I did promise at the creation of this blog that we were going to dig some roots. So, here we go!

I can only tell you what I HOPE my response would be in unthinkable circumstances. For example, I think in young families, our worst fears are that we’d outlive our babies or lose our spouse.  If the Lord allows something like that in my young life (or now almost mid-life), though mixed with my grief, I hope at some point I would be able to say, “Thanks be to my God for loaning me this precious soul for the time that He did.” I do know that will only come out on that day if I am intentionally trying to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness in my heart TODAY. That, along with an awareness of the fact that this life is so short and because His Word tells me that death can NOT take them from HIS grip, I know I would still have eternity to look forward to with them.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers; neither height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL CREATION will be able to separate us from the love of God…..that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38-39)

 There’s the Word….allowed to take root, its fruit is peace.

As I heard Priscilla Shirer say once, “when you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice….in the same way when we’re squeezed, what’s on the inside comes out of us, too!” As believers , our orange juice, so to speak, must be gratitude. Take for example the latest prayer chain I’ve seen on facebook, “Bringing home the Browns”.  A husband and wife, Heather and John Brown, had been trying for 7 years to get pregnant and finally, it happens! Shortly after, John, a police officer in the Army reserves is deployed to Afghanistan. Only, he’s just there about a month when he receives news that Heather, 34 weeks pregnant, was in the hospital and they had to take the baby. He rushes home to find that Heather had developed pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and toxemia of pregnancy) that caused her to have seizures and quickly put her into a coma and they had to deliver the baby by c-section. John has been posting updates to facebook that are not what you would think someone in his circumstances would say. They aren’t filled with pain and questions, though the family must be in tremendous turmoil. The posts are filled with hope and thanksgiving…. for the baby boy, John, that is now at home from the NICU, and for improvements seen in Heather who is still in a coma. Orange juice all the way. (If you are a facebooker, “like” his family’s page, “Bringing home the Browns” and keep them in prayer, please).
I guess what I am trying to say here is that our lives are meant to glorify God in all circumstances, whether in blessing or affliction and whether we are thrust into affliction or born into it.  I would dare to say that He is closest to us in our affliction and when we seek Him through it, that is when He is most glorified through us. My life can’t glorify Him unless I can thank Him for it.....always! Especially is seasons of blessing. Being keenly aware of and thankful for His provision fine tunes our vision to see His hand on our lives so, when the trial comes, and it will, we can hold fast to His presence and promises, thanking Him all the while.....because we know He is good! Now, we’ve only skimmed the surface here. Earlier, we hinted at some much deeper questions that I’d like to tackle, but, I have to remember, this is a blog, not a book! J Another day, another blog. We will get to them as they seem to be searing a hole in me for some reason. For now, I will leave you with some passages to ponder on thanksgiving! They may not be new to you but revisiting them has certainly been beneficial to me. What have you forgotten to tell Him “nank You” for lately?
p.s. If this is any indication of how much this topic has been sinking into me over the last year or so....these are the songs I want at my funeral, should I have an abrupt end to this earthly life:)
1. Blessed Assurance - preferably played on the organ by Mr. Billy Joe King, from Mercer, if available. If not.....whoever can do the song justice!
2. Thanks Be to Our God by Travis Cottrell - doubt he'll be available to sing at funerals but doesn't hurt to ask. I am going to be worshipping along with his singing at the Beth Moore conference tomorrow night! woohoo! .....So, i know he won't be available this weekend!:) and
3. Celebrate Good Times by Kool & the Gang :)

2 Corinthians 4:13-17  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase THANKSGIVING , to the GLORY of GOD. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Philippians 4:6-9  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

James 1:2-4;12  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing; Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Got My Roots Done!!

Got my root problem taken care of today, my friends! Well, my “not so blonde anymore” root problem anyway.  Whew! What a relief!! You know how it is when you’ve been going to the same person for 10+ years…. change is scary. It’s a very special relationship and not to be taken lightly! J I mean, Tiffany knew me well and I always left happy with my hair AND our chats.  Needless to say we had some good talks due to the fact that I have short but deceptively thick hair. I guess it’s to cover up my thick head! See…she’s more than a stylist, she’s a friend! Furthermore....she knew about and was conscious of my weirdness with my eyes, my tender-headedness, and I’d gotten to the point long ago that if I didn’t have a specific cut in mind for my hair, I’d just say, “you do whatever you think it needs”.  I wasn’t sure how I’d find a new Tiffany here that I could just let do whatever…..or if I ever would again!! I know, I know….I’m being a bit dramatic, I’m only half kiddingJ  The thought had crossed my mind but I’ve seen some great heads of hair out here and I didn’t figure they did it themselves. I just didn’t want to have to go through the awkward phase of my hair not looking right until I found that person!

So, since I don’t know anyone very well yet, I posted on the facebook page of a great MOPS group I joined in September (mothers of preschoolers) and meet with every other Friday and asked for help on recommendations. Ask and ye shall receive! They were great to offer them, along with addresses and phone numbers! So, I called the one I thought would be the most convenient or at least the one where I knew a little about the area and this was very near where Jude and I go to the beach. The stylist whose name I had wasn’t available as soon as I needed.  So, I just asked her to book me on Saturday morning with whoever was available as long as they were good with highlights. She said that would be her….and her name was Tiffany!  Was sure hoping that was a good sign….and it was!

It was a very “we’re not in Kansas anymore” experience for me. This shop and this Tiffany were very different in some ways. I’ll just draw out a few comparisons so you can get the picture. With Tennessee Tiffany, I usually went to the cute little shop she’d built into her garage.  Ours was the only conversation going on unless our kids were there too or she had someone coming in behind me. California Tiffany works in a very quaint but very busy little shop with lots of conversations going on in various accents! Very LA. They are both very girly… and I mean that in a good way.  Not to stereotype but people typically want their stylist to look like she cares about what SHE looks like. Tennessee Tiffany has long blonde hair, dresses very stylish, is tan in the summer and enjoys the river and football games with her hubby. California Tiffany is very petite, dark clothes & hair with fair skin & great makeup, plus… has a couple of piercings and tattoos and is very artsy.  They look very different yet look like they know what they’re doing as stylists as evidenced by how they present themselves and they’re both beautiful women.  Most importantly to me, though, was that California Tiffany has a great personality and very sweet spirit….much like my Tennessee Tiffany.

By the time we were finished with highlights and got to the haircut, I was able to respond to her questions with, “just do whatever you think it needs.” So, I left breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. I know, there are far greater problems in the world than, “are my roots showing?” But I’ll just tell ya….mine were looking rough and it was because I was too afraid to choose a stylist for that first non-Tennessee Tiffany haircut in 10+ years. Plus the hubby really liked it! Though, I think his enthusiasm was more over the fact that I didn’t get any length cut off this time. I don’t want to give him false hope. This is a trial period for growing it out.  J (Thanks to my fears….not only did my roots get bad but it got a bit longer than it’s been in quite some time, as well! For now, it’s tolerable. Historically speaking, though, it doesn’t make it very far past this point! )
The finished product. I have always hated taking pics of myself with a phone.... Now I'm thinking the ocean air is making my nose grow! Good grief! Oh well...at least my hair looks decent again!:)

I don’t know, I thought it looked pretty good. Jude just turned on the lamp beside me though and said, “see……it matches your hair!” Anywho……

I share all of this to say that this is one more experience that I feared and it turned out to be a blessing. I am finding more and more that I am blessed by the very things and people that use to strike fear in me or at least, make me uncomfortable. I am loving the diversity that surrounds me. I’m learning that women all over creation, literally, really are wired very much the same. We have the same issues regardless of race or nationality, piercings or not, art-loving or not, single, married, mothers, or any mix thereof.  Because, the fact of the matter is, we were all designed BY and FOR the same God.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Plan Sman

My husband use to ask me when he was traveling to LA for work, “Hey, you want to move to California? The weather is just perfect out here!” To which I would always reply without hesitation, “No.  I like the change of season.” California wasn’t really a place I even felt the need to visit. I wanted to see New York, the Caribbean, and other places but just never had the desire to visit California. Obviously, I was coming from a place of ignorance.….ignorant of the mountains, beaches, canyons, amazing sunsets, and nearly perfect weather, to name a few things. “Seasons” was what I was worried about? How can I put this?? Seasons smeasons.
Furthermore, I never wanted to live near the ocean….only visit. I loved to visit! But, that was plenty for me. Yes, I know…I’m strange. But, the ocean is big and unpredictable and the ocean air had done strange things to my hair in vacations past.  However, those of you who have seen my nearly daily pictures on facebook of the sunset  from the peek-a-boo ocean view that I now enjoy, can guess what’s coming next………….. Visit, Smisit!

When it comes right down to it, though, what “I” wanted was not the only thing holding me back from relocating across the country to a place I never even cared to visit. I had children to consider. Children that were loved by so many and so rooted in Tennessee. I knew they would adjust but I just hated the thought of them having to say goodbye to close friends and family and all of them having to say goodbye to the kids. I could already picture in my mind them graduating with their group of buddies and growing up with cousins. Honestly, I didn’t want to say goodbye to that safety.  I feared the thought of them having to find their way in a sea of completely new faces. We all hear the horror stories of kids growing up in big cities, what they are exposed to, etc.  So, I could see the potential dangers in this sea of new faces.  Like the ocean, it too was vast and unpredictable.
Texas, I was convinced, I could deal with. That’s where my husband, Steve’s, company was headquartered and that’s where the bulk of his weekly travel came in. Texas is much like Tennessee and not too far and he was traveling pretty much every week. I had told the Lord repeatedly I’d move to Texas if He worked it out. I mean, I was being pretty cooperative! But, He never did.

I remember when this California company first called my husband about a job.  It wasn’t right for him. Which, was a relief because, surprise, surprise, I wasn’t on board. I had all of those thoughts and fears running through my head.  But, I remember a couple of days later, it was still on my mind and I was in the car and felt the need to hear a good Word. So, I turned on the radio to AM 640, the local station for sermons and news. David Jeremiah was on. I love David Jeremiah so I thought, “perfect”! 2 minutes into it, that “perfect” turned into, “really, Lord?” as he began to tell about his decision many years ago to move to California from Ohio, I think it was. Imagine that. He talked about his long running resistance to it and his preconceived notions picked up from the media that you can’t raise your kids in California. To which he added, obviously that’s not true. His wife actually had to be the one to point out how he was trying to control everything and was dismissing the leading of the Lord. I think he had been asked by several to make the move and she finally said something to effect of, “if God Himself came down and told you to go, you still would come up with an excuse.”  

Over the next weeks and months, there was more and more travel with my husband’s job and the quality of life had sort of dwindled as the travel increased over the years. I knew he needed the Lord to intercede in some way, as did the rest of the family. There has always been a possibility of a move in his line of work. So, I finally got serious and told the Lord, “Fine! If you want me to move to Texas, I will move to Texas. If you want us to pick up and move somewhere totally different, we will do it but, I’m tired of limbo. I want us to be on the path you want us on, wherever that is.” He is patient but boy is He funny. 2 days later, the California company called again with another job opportunity.

So, after a long cross country ride, here we all are, by the ocean... in California.  Who’d of thunk it? God. That’s who.  As my friend Kim reminded me today with the passage she used in her blog today from Psalm 139:16-18 (www.celebratinginchstones.blogspot.com), that God has thought out all of our days. That includes her children’s….and mine. We may be caught off guard by something but nothing takes Him by surprise. And His thoughts toward them are way better than anything I could’ve dreamed up for them.  My job is not to plan out every detail of their life and make sure it’s pain free. My job is to teach them to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, with all of their soul, and with all of their might. They need to realize that, like the ocean, life is vast and unpredictable. So is their God. The difference is, the “oceans roar and tumble at His name”. As I heard Beth Moore recently put it, (paraphrasing), “ We can refuse change, refuse to go with God, close ourselves off in our living room and choke to death on a ham sandwich. The safest place you will ever be is in the will of God. If we aren’t careful, we can protect ourselves right out of our calling.”   That’s not what I want for them. But, if I want them in His will, they have to love & follow Him. So, it makes sense that I would first have to practice what I preach before them.

I must admit, I love California. Now, I can’t lie and say that every day is rosy. When you are as rooted and involved as we were with family, friends, church family, etc. and are transplanted to a place with no familiar face in sight, you are going to have some bad days.  All in all though, the kids have done wonderfully. The middle school boys that I was worried about have actually done better than Jude and I. But, my real peace comes from knowing without a doubt that this is where He wants us. I don’t know for what purpose. I don’t know if it is for Steve, myself, Peter, Preston, or Jude or something beyond us. I’m learning to not even speculate when it comes to God and His plans. I may not even see it in my lifetime. I just finished a bible study by Beth Moore, Law of Love, out of Deuteronomy. So, the fact that Moses never got to set foot into the promise land is on my mind. But, he got to see it. He didn’t know exactly how they were going to possess it or when. But, he knew that they would because His God said so and His God had been faithful to him. Before climbing that mountain, knowing he was going to die, he blessed his people and told them their God loved them (Deu 33).

I want to be a blessing to my family and an encourager. Hard to do that when you’re stressed and crabby, engulfed in negative thoughts. So, I’m learning to enjoy each day as it is given and enjoy the peace of being in the will of God for today without wondering what tomorrow may bring. Yesterday, I told Peter that he would have to study for his science test coming up on Friday. Peter says, “you are assuming we are going to live until Friday. We were blessed with another day of life today but….” He’s a funny fella. He was kidding but only partially. Just an example of how our life here together gives me new meaning to the phrase, “too blessed to be stressed!” We are all together every night. Plus, I can see some magnificent scenery from the park and the grocery store, with mountain and ocean views.
Now, don’t think that we are picture perfect and our life is perfect….we are far from it. But, our life together is still far better than anything I could’ve ever thought of or planned myself. So, the next time you are tempted to say, “wait, Lord…that’s not what I had planned!”, can I suggest maybe taking a deep breath and consider saying instead................“Oh, plan sman.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Where on Earth Did They Get that Name??

Hear ye, Hear ye!  No, that’s not it.   Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ear.  Ummm, no… not that either.    Hey, y’all!!  Yes….There we go! Welcome, welcome! You will have to bear with me, as I am brand new to this blogging thing! Did you know they will let anyone have their own blog? For free! Hehehe..…Oh the thinks you can think! I’m not sure how or why, but, I just quoted Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss all in one paragraph….see, I could be dangerous!
Ok, enough of the rambling.  Speaking of rambling….My friend, Kim, is actually the one who came up with the title for this blog. One of her first ideas, though, was “Robin’s Ramblings”.  I told her that would probably be very accurate (obviously)! Then, after I shared some things that I felt impressed upon to include along the way, she immediately wrote me back with “Are My Roots Showing?” I can’t tell you how long I have brainstormed the idea of a title for this blog without being able to come up with a name that set the tone I wanted. All of the sudden, there it was!
 It was one of those moments like I had when I came up with the name for the child I was carrying. After pouring over a gazillion names, like most moms do when they find out they’re pregnant, I had the perfect name just fall into my heart! I was only about 8 weeks pregnant and listening to Priscilla Shirer speak at a conference and she mentioned her son, Jude. I sat straight up in my seat and told my sister in law sitting next to me, “That’s it! That’s my baby’s name! Oh, I hope I have another boy!!” I LOVED it. It came over me so strongly that I felt it had to be a God thing and that it would almost be disobeying to not use that name. Only, what if it’s a girl? To which my sister in law, Felicia, and friend, Shelley, both replied, “I kind of like it for a girl, too!” Oddly enough, so did I. Even more so, my husband was on board with it! Needless to say, Jude is now an almost 3 year girl with long, blonde hair that curls on the ends, big blue eyes, and as Shelley has said, oozing personality from every pore . She is not what I had envisioned when I saddled my unborn child with the name I loved. She’s so much more and her name fits her perfectly. 

So, while I have an idea, I’m not sure exactly what type of blog I am birthing here or just what it will become.  But, like the name Jude, “Roots” is coming from a place of love.
We've all said it about baby's names before, "where on earth did they get that name?!" I'm quite certain people said that about us with Jude.  If you are wondering about the title for the blog or curious about where I may be going with this "roots" thing, or if you just want to get an idea of what to expect from this blog, please read the side note on the blog page titled, “about roots”. 
Thanks for visiting! Please feel free to comment or share anytime! I’m sorry, I just can’t resist…I’ve only been in Southern California for 2 months so, the Tennessean in me must say it......”Y’all come back now, ya hear?!”
~ Robin