Isaiah 6:8

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!”

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Hospice Visit

Well, if you read my Saturday post then you are aware that at 1:00 central time today my family met with Hospice concerning my father. The pain he has been experiencing in his the cancer rearing its ugly head. The two ladies showed up a little after 1:00. I need to tell you...that I have a gift...for years it frightened me until the day I realized that it always came at a time when I needed reassurance...or guidance...and today was no different. I see aura's in some people. It is not something I can make myself is just something that happens from time to time and it always leaves me feeling zapped when it happens. When Ginger and Anna walked in...their auras were shining so was as if some celestrial being had entered the room...and no...I am not nuts. I immediately felt a peace like I had never known come over me. The six of us sat down and they began to ask questions of my dad, my mom, Frank and I. It was a team effort. My mom, of course, was oblivious to the word Hospice...she thinks they are from Home Health...and I let her run with that...whatever it takes to cope is my motto these days. They explained that they were there to help...and my mom was excited that they were going to make my dad well again. Anna got busy taking my dad's vitals and checking his physical being out. I was impressed with her thoroughness. She looked at his feet(noticed his gross nails)...asked if he was diabetic, looked at his hands (the right one is discolored and they have a blue tint to them), and asked if he was cold...turned out his oxygen level was only 74%. That was not good. I had to get a glove to warm his hand up enough for her to get a reading. She checked his back, asked questions about his cancer, his eating habits, his mobility...and we responded honestly...sometimes changing the responses my mom gave. They explained all they would be doing for us. A chaplain would be visiting, volunteers were available to sit with my dad if my mom needed to go somewhere....or would run errands for her, they would be delivering oxygen (which will improve his memory), a walker (to help with mobility and stability), and a raised bathroom seat (to give him some dignity). They were also going to deliver Ensure (for when he does not want to eat), pads, and pull ups. They asked if there was a DNR (do not resusitate), a living will, or any other documents that they needed to be aware of. My mom said they changed their will...hummmm...wonder what that means? When they got ready to leave Frank and I went outside with them briefly...explained my mom to them, changed some of her answers to reality ones...and the ladies told us that if the time comes when we have to rule my mom incompetent...they would even help us with that. Relief was immediate. Then they explained to me once more...that their job was not to make my dad better....I did realize that didn't I....their job was to make my dad comfortable and give him quality of life....not quantity. I explained that I knew their purpose...but that she did not! They gave me their number to call....24/7. So, now we begin the process of watching a life end. Dying is a sad state for those that are left behind...and today I crossed that threshold to begin that journey with my parents. I think the thing that makes me the saddest is that I realize that when my dad dies, and my aunt dies, mom will die shortly thereafter. Her sole reason for existing is to take care of my dad and aunt Shirley. So it is a really sad thing for me, an only child, to accept the fact that I could possibly lose both parents in a short period of time. I am glad I have this blog. I see my road ahead as a stormy one and I am glad I have somewhere to vent all I am feeling...and who knows...maybe my walk....will help someone else when they have to take this same walk with their parent(s). I hope so. God Bless You all...and if you still have them tonight and tell them you love them. Make each day with them count.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Traditions and the State of My Heart Today

A tradition is a belief, custom, story, or practice handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth or demonstration. So, when you hear the word tradition what thoughts come to mind? Do you think of regular activities that enrich your life, annual rituals that your family performs, perhaps at Thanksgiving or Christmas? Do you think of extended family gatherings, perhaps the reading of a special biblical story, watching the Macy’s Day parade, or a football game…or several of them. Or when you think of the word tradition, do you have negative thoughts that might include strict guidelines that limit your creativity( we have always done it this way)…or dead routines that have no meaning to you whatsoever. I love the email I got once about a young bride cooking a ham…..” A young woman was preparing a ham dinner. After she cut off the end of the ham, she placed it in a pan for baking. Her friend asked her, "Why did you cut off the end of the ham?" And she replied, "I really don't know, but my mother always did, so I thought you were supposed to." Later, when talking to her mother, she asked her why she cut off the end of the ham before baking it, and her mother replied, "I really don't know, but that's the way my mom always did it." A few weeks later, while visiting her grandmother, the young woman asked, "Grandma, why is it that you cut off the end of a ham before you bake it?" Her grandmother replied, "Well, dear, otherwise it would never fit in my baking pan." The tradition continued….but the reasoning was flawed. I love the play, Fiddler on the Roof. I remember the opening scene: there is the village and you see a fiddler on the roof and Tevye says: "A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? but in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask, why do we stay here if it's so dangerous? We stay because Anatevaka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? I can give you that answer in a mere word--TRADITION--Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything---how to eat, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our head covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you---I don't know.” My family…just like yours has traditions. We always have Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt Shirley’s (and our mom’s do the food)….we have our Christmas gathering at either Amanda’s or my house…and the we do the cooking. We have done this for years. My mom’s family used to always have a big reunion on Father’s Day Saturday…why???....well it was my grandfather and his twin brother Gurry’s birthday. Both of them are dead now…but the tradition continued until there were very few of their generation left. So you are asking yourself by now…where is she going with this…..well…Frank preached from Mark 7:1-24 today. In his sermon he showed an angry Jesus, he is condemning the scribes and Pharisees, not for honoring a tradition, but for placing their traditions above the commands of God. The Pharisees accuse the disciples of violating their sacred traditions. Jesus responds in three ways, addressing three questions to them that are also pertinent to us still today. Where is my heart? What am I obeying from the heart? Is my heart prepared to approach God? You know you can't have a true worship experience if your heart is not in it, you will simply go through the motions of worship. Just what am I obeying from the heart? How often do I judge others because they don't act like I expect them to act, or they don't dress like I think they should, or don't sing the songs I like to sing -- even within the church? How many times have I found myself looking down on others because they were not doing things the way "they've always been done?” Hummm…this sermon was a rude wake up call for me, telling me to get my heart right and do it now...when I think of the children's prayer,:...if I should die before I wake" I get nervous? Does that statement bother me? Well, today when I examined my heart in my pew at Waverly UMC I am ashamed to say I saw some evidences of the big bad five….anger, greed, envy, pride, or lust? So I want to ask you right now…”What is the state of your heart?” I made a conscious decision today not to let the traditions of man bind my heart! Oh I will still be at Thanksgiving dinner, and do Christmas, attend reunions...but I will definitely be doing them with a whole different outlook. I don't want to just be a religious person...I want to be a Christian....You know...Christ Like. God Bless You All Today...and get rid of those Shackles so you can dance!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Dad and an Appointment With Hospice

I just got off the phone with the Hospice nurse. She will be coming to see us on Monday at 1:00. When I returned the original call...I thought I was calling Home Health. I cannot even explain to you what happened when the person on the other end of the phone answered....Lake Martin Hospice. I thought I was going to die right then and there. My aunt was a Hospice worker for a number of years....I know what Hospice is about...but...I also knew I was going to have to be strong for my I did a little research....and I need to share it with you so I can cope with this devastating event in my life. My dad's back began to hurt a couple of weeks ago when he stepped out of the car. Mom took him to the doctor, he ran a series of outpatient tests...perscribed lortab for pain, a muscle relaxer for the back....and then a few days later called in an antibiotic for the kidney infection...but the back is still hurting....why? Cancer is is riddling his body with pain...he barely moves, he does not eat, he sleeps an abnormal amount, he is I took off Monday to go with my parents to see Dr. Powers...but then I found the message from Hospice saying Dr. Powers had referred Daddy to that moment in was a death sentence. I wanted someone to hold me...and make it go away...I wanted my daddy to be strong and vibrant again...but that is not the way the story is leading. So in my research I found the American Cancer Society site...again. I had visited them back in December when my dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer. I am trying to cope right now...but not doing it here is what I found.

From the American Cancer Societies website I found this information. "Hospice, in the earliest days, was a concept rooted in the centuries-old idea of offering a place of shelter and rest, or "hospitality" to weary and sick travelers on a long journey. In 1967, Dame Cicely Saunders at St. Christopher's Hospice in London first applied the term "hospice" to specialized care for dying patients. Today, hospice care provides humane and compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to enable patients to continue an alert, pain-free life and to manage other symptoms so that their last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered care -- it involves the patient and the family in making decisions. Care is provided for the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care can be given in the patient's home, a hospital, nursing home, or private hospice facility. Most hospice care in the United States is given in the home, with a family member or members serving as the main hands-on caregiver.

Hospice care is meant for the time when cancer treatment can no longer help you, and you are expected to live 6 months or less. Hospice gives you palliative care, which is treatment to help relieve disease-related symptoms, but not cure the disease; its main purpose is to improve your quality of life. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when hospice care should begin.

One of the problems with hospice is that it is often not started soon enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient, or family member will resist hospice because he or she thinks it means you're giving up, or that there's no hope. This is not true. If you get better or the cancer goes into remission, you can be taken out of the hospice program and go into active cancer treatment. You can go back to hospice care at a later time, if needed. The hope that hospice brings is the hope of a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of advanced illness."

Please pray for my family and I as we walk down this dark road. I know my father is a Christian...and I truly do not want him to suffer anymore...but as you all know...I am a daddy's girl...and an only child...and I am going to have to start dealing with saying goodbye to my dad...and letting go. Suzy Bogus did a song several years ago...that is about Letting is about letting go of a child...but it applies just as well right now. Oh letting go...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Let Me Introduce You to Alexander City, Alabama

ALEX not my old home town....but I have lived here over half of my life...and can't imagine living anywhere else. This town was a great place to raise kids...I teach in it...and believe we have an excellant school system. It is a good place. You can't convince some of that...but then...when I was could not convince me that West Palm Beach, Florida was a good place. I wanted to live in New here I am in rural small town Alabama...and to be quite honest...I love the slowness of the pace. I love that people you don't even know speak to you when you come out of Walmart...just because it is what you do in the South. We pride ourselves here in Alex City of being the South's best kept secret and we truly are.

Lake Martin, one of our biggest draws, "is located in Tallapoosa County, Elmore County, and Coosa County in Alabama. It is a 44,000 acre (178 km²) lake with over 750 miles (1,200 km) of wooded shoreline." "Lake Martin was formed by the construction of Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River. The Martin Dam powerhouse is used to generate hydroelectric power for the Alabama Power Company. Construction was begun in 1923 and completed in 1926, creating what was then the largest man-made body of water in the world. Originally known as Cherokee Bluffs for the geological formation upon which it was built, the dam was renamed in 1936 in honor of Thomas Martin, the then president of Alabama Power Company." It is still one of the largest artificial lakes in the United States.

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is another big draw to the area. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park is a U.S. National Military Park managed by the National Park Service that is the site of the last battle of the Creek War on March 27, 1814. General Andrew Jackson's Tennessee militia, aided by the 39th U. S. Infantry Regiment and Cherokee and Upper Creek allies, finally crushed Lower Creek Red Stick resistance at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River. Jackson's decisive victory at Horseshoe Bend broke the power of the Creek Nation. On August 9, 1814, the Creeks signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded 23 million acres
(93,000 km²) of land in Alabama and Georgia to the United States government. There are some awesome hiking trails...The nature trail is a 2.8 mile long loop with hills and valleys. in the park, a great museum, and each year numerous reenactments take place there.

You can also find Camp Ascca here. What is that you say? Camp ASCCA is a year-round 236 acre camp, located on beautiful Lake Martin in Alabama. The camp serves children and adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. Their mission is to help people with disabilities achieve equality, dignity and maximum independence. They take pride in offering a wide variety of exciting educational, social and recreational activities. Camp ASCCA is an ACA accredited camp. The Easter Seals Camp ASCCA (Alabama's Special Camp for Children and Adults) first opened its doors in 1976. Since then it has touched the lives of tens of thousands of children and adults with disabilities. Located on beautiful Lake Martin in east central Alabama, Camp ASCCA is a nationally recognized leader in providing camping and outdoor recreation service for people with disabilities in a barrier-fee environment. AT the end of the summer sessions....they had a prom this year. Some of my students were counselors...and came and borrowed prom decorations from me...I loved it.

Children's Harbor, is the next stop. It is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, provides free and confidential counseling and support services to children with long-term serious illnesses as well as to their families, and we provide camping and retreat facilities for these children and families as well as for other children with special needs. Children's Harbor was officially dedicated in 1990 to the memory of Adelia M. Russell. From the beginning the mission has been simple: strengthening children and families. Their icon, a replica of the Plymouth Lighthouse which is located on Providence Point at the Lake Martin campus, symbolizes their goal of helping children and families find their way through the treacherous waters in which they sometimes find themselves. The beautiful campus, located 15 miles south of Alexander City, Alabama, on Highway 63, is built around a picturesque New England seaside village motif and features the Plymouth Lighthouse and a charming little early American church, Children's Chapel. The lakeside setting is also home to Church in the Pines, Harbor House, Mariners' Adventure Camp, Mariners' Adventure Course, Mariners' Retreat Center (Concord and Salem Cottages), Time Capsule Park, and our administrative headquarters. This was a taste of some of the things Alex City has to offer. Tomorrow...I will tell you how the town came to be.
BTW there is some amazing camping to be found in Alabama....and in Alex City....want to know where the best places are to go?  If you are an avid camper then check out the following links:
Alabama Camping (linking to:
Family Camping Resources (linking to:
RV Campgrounds (linking to:
24 Hour RV Roadside Assistance (linking to:

Simply Free

I don't know if you have ever heard of Chonda Pierce...but I have....she has delighted me for several years with her wild and crazy antics...all kidding aside....what a powerful Christian testimony this woman has. If she EVER comes close to have got to go and see her. You will be in for a night of rare entertainment...wonderful singing...and just all time good fun. BUT...what I am writing about right now is something she has coming up. It is called Simply Free....I am enclosing Chondra's email to me about it...and I hope if you are close enough to go you will make plans to go. I am shooting for it.
Message from Chonda, "OKAY, I admit. I am perfectly capable of missing the voice of God. Two years ago God gave Doris a fantastic vision for SIMPLY FREE, an event that where we could both celebrate and experience the FREEDOM that only Christ can give. Well, I took God's plan and improved it ever so slightly. God needs my help you know. NOT! So here is the deal. I was wrong. From the very beginning Simply Free was supposed to be Simply Free. So, as we step out in faith we DESPERATELY need your help. Will you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get the word out? Even if you cannot come, put this on your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and on your church bulletin board. Print it out and hang it in your grocery store, your oil change place, even your country club. Help us tell everyone (EVERYONE) about Simply Free."

This event is Friday, Sept. 4 and Saturday, Sept. 5. The cost is SIMPLY FREE (get it, Simply Free). There will be great speakers, fabulous testimonies, amazing worship. And it is FREE. The purpose is to let others know that they can be set free from depression, addiction, and shame. I don't know about you guys...but that sounds pretty amazing to me. I have dealt with some of the above for years...and thanks be to God have left a couple at the altar and walked away a whole lot straighter...but I understand that there are some out there...who can't let them go....this is for you....and even for those who have turned their lives around...and for those who are family members of people in trouble...Get some girlfriends together and try and make it. There is nothing like a good women's conference to uplift me....I can fly high for a long time on one.

FRI, Sept. 4 (6:30pm) & SAT, Sept.5 (9am - 4pm)

Branches Recovery Center
Held at Calvary Baptist Church
431 Dejarnette Ln.
Murfreesboro, TN

Contact: 615.904.7170

CALL NOW! To make your
Reservations! Or just show up...there will be room!

With special guest:
Comedian and author,
Speakers include:
Mike & Doris Courtney, author and life-coach
Dr. David Appleby, Liberty University
Anne Beiler, "Auntie Anne" author and speaker
And others ...including Dynamic Worship!

Breakout sessions include:
Dealing with Depression
Surviving An Affair
Temperament or Temper Tantrum
Breaking Free From Addictions
Codependency and Church
Inner Healing Prayer
Deliverance or Medicine...And more...

How much is it? That is the greatest part...It's SIMPLY FREE!
a love offering will be taken. Hope you can go. I know you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Several years ago my daughter and I took a trip of a lifetime to Prince Edward Island. It is the home of Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables books. My daughter Kat loved when she was 15 I took her there to see the homeplace. Our trip was a coastal trip for the most part, and part of it was for me. I love we hit as many as we could....and the Lighthouse Depot. I have always wanted to spend a vacation as a volunteer lighthouse keeper. I have read about them, visited them, am really drawn to them. I guess it comes from living within the light of the Jupiter Lighthouse as a kid. Anyways, I had done a little research and found a haunted lighthouse. It was called Pemaquid...and there was a cozy little B & B within walking distance of the structure. We loved the Bed and Breakfast. It was the first one I had ever stayed in and I loved the homey feel it had. The innkeepers were lovely. I was so excited about the lighthouse that I could hardly sleep. Pemaquid is, to me, one of the most photogenic lights on the whole eastern coastline, and definitely one of the most visited. It is located at the end of Rte. 130 and people from all over the world come to stand at the foot of this majestic giant and take pictures of it. This lighthouse is not known as one of the most haunted lighthouses, it still has a ghost associated with it. The ghost resides in the former keeper's house, now the Fisherman's Museum run by the Town of Bristol. It seems that a red haired lady in a shawl sometimes appears. Usually near the fireplace and no one associated with the lighthouse seems to have any history on her. No one has ever died in the lighthouse, and there have been no historical deaths associated with Pemaquid at all. Yet, there she is, visible to guests of the lighthouse on occasion. Maybe she is a survivor of a shipwreck that occured many years ago...or maybe she is the wife or sweetheart of someone who was lost...and now she is waiting for them to return. Whatever her purpose or mission it is definitely something to think about. With that on my mind I went seeking her. I was not one of the fortunate ones for she did not appear during my visit. The museum worker told me she had been seen earlier in the I left a wee bit disappointed...and a wee bit relieved. What would I have done if she had appeared to me? You all know I am a Christian...and a preacher's wife...but I do truly believe that sometimes there are souls that just don't rest until wrongs have been righted. Is she one of those stories? Who knows. If you like a good story about ghosts...that will raise the hair on the back of your neck a bit...then you need to read Kathryn Windham Tucker's books....13 Ghosts and Jeffery. I love them! I read them to my kids when they were young...and we even visited the 13 places in Alabama as a vacation when they were younger. I can imagine some of you are sitting there are kidding me....right? You don't really believe in ghosts do you?...well....have I got a story for you....and some day...I will share it. Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Score One For the Team

Alabama Bloggers

Football season is fast be sure to checkout the Football Carnival: Score for Your Team!!! There is going to be a blogging carnival and what a great way for Alabama bloggers to get to know each other better. And with football season fast approaching, there is no more fitting of an Alabama Bloggers celebratory event than to have a big ole football blog carnival! Sound like fun? I think it will be so you have to go the Alabama Bloggers site and check out the rules and grab your teams button. Alabama is noted for its huge football rivalry. When I first moved here and started teaching my kids would ask me each year who I was for. I am from South Florida....we are not "for" anyone. I ended up graduating from Auburn twice, and I guess my loyalty lies with the orange and blue.
In great anticipation of football season, the Alabama Bloggers site will be having a link-up carnival on Monday, August 31st - the week of the season opener games! AND, Rachel will be keeping score to see which team has the most blogger support - Alabama or Auburn! next Monday be sure you check this site out and earn your team a point! WAR EAGLE!

No More Salsa Before Bed!!!!!

I had a sinking moment last night and was still hungry when we got home from the meeting we had I ate some chips and salsa. What was I thinking??? I know I am not supposed to eat corn....but I was hungry...and I only had 15 chips...and counted the calories...but the cilantro and spices in that salsa did a major number on me. I had nightmares all night long. My first nightmare was my little sweet dachy Beau....turned into a rabid Pit Bull that would not let me off my bed...and I could not get to my parents to save them. I woke up in a sweat only to find Beau peacefully sleeping at the foot of my bed. Whew....back to sleep and on to nightmare number house was overtaken with snakes...they were everywhere. I tried to wake Frank up...but a giant anaconda was wrapped around him. Back to sleep and the worst of all the nightmares....I dreamed my dad was at my bedside...telling me he had to go....and asking me to take care of my mom. I woke up physically crying this time. I got up and went and checked on him...he was breathing easy and sound asleep. After nightmare number three....I gave it up for the night. Moral of this story....if you don't eat enough at dinner....don't eat salsa before going to easy rest will not be found. I may never eat salsa again...and before last night I loved the stuff. Curses on you salsa! Griefus....tonight I am eating oatmeal!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another One of Life's Disappointing Moments....or Was It?

Life is what you make of it. I have this lesson ingrained in my very core of being....but Saturday night something happened that really shook me up and rocked my world. I am part of a catering team....and we did the 1969 Benjamin Russell (the school where I teach) 40 year class reunion. It never occurred to me who might...or might not be there...a couple of hours before the shindig I found out that my very first real big girl crush, Steve McLeod, was going to be there...with a guest. For two hours I worried about...Was it his wife? What was she like? What was HE like? I have not seen or heard from this guy in almost 30 years. I was a nervous wreck. My partner and I set up, changed into our work clothes, and the crowd began to arrive...I looked towards the door a few times....and all of a sudden, there he was. He looked older than he did last time I saw him...but he was still Steve. I would have known him anywhere. My heart dropped to my feet. I could not breathe...or move. I finally made it back to the prep get myself pulled together. Then it happened. I walked out of the prep room, almost ran into him...and realized...he had no clue who I was...or that he even knew me. I was crushed. In my mind I guess he would see me across a crowded room...know me instantly....and we would pick up as if 30 years had not passed....but that is not what happened. I passed him several times during the evening....and he looked for a name tag...I wasn't wearing because I was the caterer...and he had a confused look on his if he was trying to pull me somewhere from the bowels of his memory. So much for lost love and it does not say much for me being unforgettable...curse you Nat King Cole. I went home and told my husband a modified version of the story...he said...why didn't you tell him who you were....well...leave it to a man to come up with an answer like that. I did not tell him who I was....because I wanted him to remember me. Nuff said? So...ladies if you feel you are unforgetable....don't kid yourselves...guys are not like us. (I know that is a sexist remark....but from the men I is pretty close to accurate.) Happy Magical Monday.

Monday, Monday

Monday's child is fair of face. No matter how we try and stop it...Monday always comes around and sometimes turns out like we don't want it to. I am one of the fortunate ones...Monday is usually good to me. It is all I hoped it would be....but I also learned a long time ago....that that statement is only true if you believe. Monday can be however you want it to be. I choose to make it a red letter day...and it usually is. Thank goodness. Well, Monday, Monday by the Mamas and the Papas, wraps up my week of song titles. I know you are either...very glad....or kind of sad. I will miss the researching...but I am ready to move on to something else...I am not usually a series kind of girl...this was a stretch for me...but it was fun. With that I wish to leave you with the following: May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love. Have a Happy and Magical Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Morning is Coming Down

Today is Sunday and my favorite day of the week. Most of you know that I go to church on Sunday in two places...and love it! I enjoy the heck out of spending my day the song I picked today is a real study of conflicts. The Kris Kristopherson song I chose is one I really is one of deep hurt and pain and sometimes we, as Christians, have to understand that in the real world...everyone does not love Sunday's like we do. The words remind me that the shadow of the steeples I worship under...there are people like this and it makes me kind of sad to know that that is true. So on this glorious day...pause for a minute and if you are a praying person...pray for those in the world that are hurting, hungry, have no shelter, are abused, are searching, are lost....and if that descibes you....then feel good...somebody is praying for you. Can you feel it? God loves you all and so do I

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday....Oh What to Do?

Saturday's child works hard for a living....but on Saturday...he plays. Ahhhh what to do....well it is a gorgeous sunny let's go to the park and fly a kite. Today's song was a no-brainer for me. I love the group Chicago and have since they did their very first song. Saturday in the Park always made me feel happy when I was a teenager. So because today I want you to have a Happy Saturday I am sharing it with you. Enjoy todays contribution and know the week is almost over!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday is Truly on My Mind

Friday's child is loving and giving....and I have definitely got Friday on my mind. I am so excited. The weekend is almost here. I can't wait to get away from the school house and spend some quality time with my favorite person....ME! I am truly tired this week! It takes me about three weeks to build my stamina back until then I drag home to lick my wounds and recouperate. I loved the Easy Beats back when they were popular and I also loved this song when it first came out. I used to sing it every Friday...I had all but forgotten about it until I decided to begin hunting for songs with days of the week in the titles and the song itself. I was sure glad I found it. Want to know what Saturday's song is gonna be? Come back tomorrow morning and see!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday's Child

Thursday's child has far to go....and that would best sum up my life...the one who has never had anything easy happen or given to me. I have always had to work hard for everything....grades, has never has always been work! I have friends who go through life and they are given everything....the easy effort involved on their part...they must be Sunday's children. Sigh...but with all this said...I have to admit that working hard all my life has made me appreciate the things I have managed to achieve. Today's song is called Thursday's Child...and for the second time this week is by someone from Ireland. There were several songs with that of which was by David Bowie...I found it rather dark and sad...but this one actually talks about being a Thursday's child. I hope you enjoy it. I did. Bet you are dying to know what Friday is going to bring...huh?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Am I Waiting for Wednesday?

In keeping with my song of the week theme for this week. I really struggled to find a Wednesday song. I found Simon and Garfunkles Wednesday Morning 3 a.m. but it just did not have what I was looking for. I feel like Wednesday sets the whole tone for my week. If I make it til Wednesday and survive the day it is downhill the rest of the week. I don't know why I think that way because I really don't have a bad day during a week that is consistant. I love Monday...because it is a beginning and Bible Study with the girls. I love Monday night Bible Study. Tuesdays are good days too...Wednesday is Praise Band practice and I get so excited when I think that I get to sing with Rhonda, Blue, Billy and the band. It keeps my day uplifted knowing that it is coming. Thursday during the fall I usually bowl with Frank and that is kind of our night to do something we both enjoy together....although this year I am thinking about bowling on the Women's league which is on Tuesday nights. Friday in the fall is Wildcat football...Saturday is the beginning of the weekend and Sunday is my day of Worship...and my favorite day of the entire week. So doing this song a day week...has been kind of fun for me. Number one it has challenged me to step out of my music comfort zone and research songs. Number is music...and we all know how much music rules my world. How many people do you know who plan whole trips...with music to choreograph it. Yep...that is me. When I drove across the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston...I was jamming to James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James." Yes...Music does sooth my savage beast....and today I want to share a song I discovered during my research...I am not a big fan of Lisa Loeb...but I do like this song...and I hope you enjoy it too! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Good Bye Ruby Tuesday....

I you thought the Ruby Tuesday we have here in good ole Alex City was closing....nope...not that I know of. I am on a days of the week kick. I have challenged myself to see if I can come up with a song that has every single day of the week in the title and song itself. Monday would have been Monday, Monday...but I got side-tracked by the roller derby queen on my hall. You are probably wondering where this crazy idea came from....well it came from a poem I read on Sunday. It is one you all probably know...or at least have heard in your lifetimes. "Monday's Child is one of many fortune-telling songs, popular as nursery rhymes for children. It is supposed to tell a child's character or future based on the day they were born." I hope that is not true...because if it day is dreary. I was born on a Thursday. Anyways...the poem goes like this:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

So with that sweet little poem in mind...I began looking for songs of the week and today's song just happens to be one of my favorite songs(I know you are probably thinking, since I talk about music a there any song she does not consider to be her favorite?)...I especially love the version of Ruby Tuesday that the Corrs do. It was recorded live in Dublin, and we all know how much I love Dublin. I think I should have been born a Dubliner...or maybe I was one in my past life. All kidding aside I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy Tuesday....I am off to research Wednesday songs. Can you think of one? So far the only one I have found is a scary sounding one. Bet you are just dying to see what I come up with tomorrow huh?

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Fell in Love With a Roller Derby Queen

Today I am returning to Musical Monday. My song today has a funny beginning. The teacher who teachs French, ESL, and English 10 at our school has joined a roller derby team. I remember watching Roller Derby when I was a child. My uncle Cecil, my dad's older brother, loved it. He actually took us to a roller derby once with my dad when I was a tweenager. I loved the sound of the wheels going round the wooden track. So...with that Musical Memory today....and what moves me is a Jim Croce song called, "Roller Derby Queen." Every time I saw Sam today...the song was playing in my head....of course when I sang it for her...she did not know was from another lifetime ago. Man did I just date myself. If you like Musical Monday then visit Jori and Diane at their blogs. They have a great time there....or visit Mimi and see what she chose for today. Happy Monday to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

All I Could Say Was Wow!

The weekend has left me feeling kind of blue. I seemed to just get right down in the pile of funk and wallow. It was my pity party...and I could not seem to muster up a good cry. I just was feeling empty and worthless. Before you get all soft on me I have to share with you what happened to me today. As most of you know I sing at the Arbor....from 9 - 10....then jump in my car and drive to Waverly, AL so I can be Mrs. Preacher at the church my husband pastors. Well....the praise band at the Arbor was trying out a new song today by Casting of my favorite groups....the song was The Voice of Truth...and believe you me...on Weds. night at was just not there...I left feeling sad because it just did not have what it needed....but today....oh today....God was definitely in the house and in control. We began The Voice of Truth...and I knew immediately...what had been wrong with me all weekend. I was letting those other voices tell me I was not good enough. I know this feeling...I grew up with it. Since the day my little brother died...I have felt as though I was not good enough. I just never quite made the mark for my mom...several years ago...I actually verbalized this to her...and told her I was sorry....sorry I lived and Dougie died. She was horrified...and so was I for saying it. I was ashamed of myself...but I was being honest with her...that is how I had felt for over 40 was almost a release for me to get it out of my system. I just hated that it was at her expense. was a turning point in our relationship...or actually it was the beginning of our relationship. Then she was diagnosed with altzheimers...and we were back at square one. Frank has been great for me...he has let me know I am somebody...and I am worthy to be loved by somebody. Oh what sweet relief to know and believe those words....but every once in a while...those old demons rear their ugly heads....and I find myself struggling to stay afloat...but today...these glorious words just opened up the heavens for me....literally. I was singing with my eyes closed (something I often do to draw into my special music place)...and all of a sudden there was a tremendously bright light. It was so bright I could feel its heat. I thought how odd...because when we sing...there is no bright light that hits me directly in the I opened my eyes...and nothing was any different than it usually is. Odd...I closed my eyes again and the light was there once more...only this time...I felt such a peace wrap around was like nothing I have ever experienced before...I truly believe that I had a moment with God this morning at the Arbor of First United Methodist...and I have felt so special all day. Funny thing...on my way to Waverly United Methodist...with cloudy skies....God blessed me once more with two vapor the shape of a cross. Talk about the time I got to Waverly...I wanted to shout to the Lord...and I the form of a song. I have a talent that God gave me...and I am delighted to use it for sit back and let me share these lyrics and the song with you this evening. God Bless You All Real Good tonight. I know I have been in His presence!

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again "boy, you'll never win!
"You'll never win"

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

And you know what....I am going to do just that....believe the Voice of Truth...and leave those people who scoff at me...alone.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

For the past several months I have watched as my friends and I have had to deal with numerous stressful situations and observed numerous coping mechanisms we all seem to develop in order to deal with life. I wanted to know just exactly what the term coping mechanism meant so I went to a medical dictionary site and did a little research and found that a coping mechanism is any conscious or unconscious mechanism of adjusting to environmental stress without altering personal goals or purposes. Ahhh that is what I thought. So in the past few months, with the illness of my father and the deterioration of my mother's mental faculties I have developed a series of coping mechanisms. I laugh sometimes when my mom does something because if I don't I will cry. I look at my father and see the man he used to be...not the shell of a man he is now. I excuse things...lots of them. I was talking with my dear friend Rhonda one day recently and she was sharing her coping mechanism for dealing with the sudden death of her mom. She has a special is not a physical is a mental one. When she is hurting and can't seem to get a grasp on life...she pulls into her special place and there....everything is as it was before her mom died. We talked on and I began to wonder...which would be the worse thing to cope with...losing my dad quickly...with no warning....or watching him wither before my eyes. As you all know I am a daddy's girl. I love that man with all my heart...and it hurts me so to see him suffer every single day. I cry at night when I see how painful it is for him to move and just exist. I dig deep inside of my own special place....just so I can find rest at night and grab any coping mechanism that works for me...I usually go back in time...back to a time when he was vibrant. In my head I watch the old 8mm movies we have of the man who looked like Tennessee Ernie Ford...and after a while I sleep. I work with six people who are dealing with situations very similar to mine. It is hell being a baby boomer with aging parents. Trina is dealing with a mother-in-law with altzheimers who lives away. She and John struggle with this all the time. Trina is dealing with this like Frank deals with my parents...and it is NOT an easy place to be in. Mary's mom has had a series of accidents and she lives 8 hours away. Mary's brother lives locally...but the two daughters live away. She beats herself up a lot because she can't do more. Her sweet husband Bill went and spent a week with her mom after the last fall so that brother Troy could attend his son's wedding. Beth and Jan are struggling with a declining parent and it is tough on them both. Mary Jean is dealing with her father...and Tammy was dealing with her dad...but he passed away right before school started back. There are probably more at the school but...this small core group has become a great support group. The local group for Altzheimers sufferers...meets each week at RMC during lunch time. I teach...that is not going to when I feel frustrated....or just need to cry/vent...I can find one of the core group and they understand. I have wonderful friends who love me...and my folks...but they don't understand what is happening to me. If you have not walked in my moccassins...then you really don't know where I am....what I am feeling....or what is happening. I wondered oftentimes if quick loss is not easier to cope with...but what is easier? Will it be easier once my father passes on...and I am left dealing with my mom?...or is it easier to deal with what I have now? from time to time...I visit the coping mechanism store and find a new one to get me through....and in the meantime I cling to Phillipians 4:13.."I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me." I am glad I don't have to do this alone. Have a great weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Six Qualities of Good Friends

I am fortunate to have several people in my life that I call good friends. Not everyone is as lucky as I am. But I started asking myself...just what is a good friend? How do you describe or define one? I sat down at the computer and began to write what I have to have in a good friend. When I finished I decided that everyone needs this list because it would help them pick wisely.

The first quality of a good friend is that they will tell you the truth (even if it's something you don't want to hear). Believe friends have told me several things throughout our lifetimes together that I could have done without hearing...but I am glad they were brave enough to tell me. I truly would have rather known how they felt than not.

The second quality I came up with is that a good friend will hear you out. Just as important as being honest is being a good listener, especially when you've got something important to talk to her about. I can't tell you the number of times I have bent the ear of Amanda, Mary, Deborah, Jo...many of my good friends who were willing to sit and let me spout off. Amanda would always give me a pad of paper and a pen and tell me to write it down. Some of Still Magnolia's best works have come out of Amanda hearing me out!

The third quality is that a good friend will stand up for you...they ought to have your back. (Assuming, of course, that you're right. And if you're not, kindly refer to quality

The fourth trait is that a good friend isn't just there for the fun times. They are also there when you're going through something tough - like family trouble, or the end of a bad marriage, the loss of a child, - your good friends are the ones who keep checking in on you. BTW...they are also NOT the ones who bail you out of jail...but the ones sitting there in the cell beside you said...Dang that was fun!

The fifth quality of a good a good friend is that they are someone you can trust. If you can't trust your friend with your secrets, then she's not a friend. (Nope...according to Websters dictionary....that would be your uh worst enemy). I have friends I trust so much....have spilled my guts to them...and they know, just like I do...that if we ever become NOT friends....I will have to kill them. They know entirely too much. Now...that is some more trust!

The last trait is that a good friend will apologize. Even good friends screw up sometimes. If your friend apologizes for her mistake, then she values your friendship more than she values being right all the time. Some people really have an issue with the being right thing. I am not one of those...I don't care who is right...or who is wrong...the friendship is what is important.

"Friendship isn't always easily described. The Eskimos, they say, have a hundred different words for snow. Unfortunately, the English language isn't quite as innovative, though it has vast opportunities to differentiate meaning. Certainly, Love is one of those opportunities. And so, too, is Friendship.

Instead of different words, however, we're stuck with simple adjectives. Close friend. Best friend. Childhood friend. Intimate friend. Trusted friend. Beloved friend. But whether you use adjectives or different words, few could deny the nearly infinite meaning in such a simple word.

Friends are special people. We can't pick our family, and we're sorely limited in the number of them at any rate. Society and mores (and often our own conscience) dictate we select a single mate. But our friends can be as diverse and infinite as the adjectives we choose. Our friends, in a very real sense, reflect the choices we make in life."

I want to share with you with a wonderfully simple poem about friendship by warmhrt. It is entitled: "A Simple Thank-You, My Friend"

Into the dim lit, bare walls of my world,
You entered, bringing light and life to me,
The vivid colors, painted with a swirl
Of wit and charm, of personality,
With tender care, you added comfort, warmth,
And images that line the now bright walls.
I look upon them fondly, bringing forth
A thankfulness that you walk in these halls
With me; our friendship has become a part
Of my world now; it has its special place,
Within my being, life, and in my heart,
Your name hangs right beside your smiling face.
Rememb'ring just how drab these walls had been,
I have to thank you for the light, my friend.

So for all my bloggy buddies out there...sleep well and know that you have a friend.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just Say, "YES!"

YES! Absolutely Yes I say! I want it clearly understood: my response is a hearty,big voiced YES! I truly believe that deep down inside all of us there is a need to hear and even say that word....YES! I know for a fact that it is within me...and have discovered this week at school that many of my students feel that way too. Our Fly Fling (Freshmen dance...upperclassmen ask them) is coming up...and I have this one cute little guy....who asked me earlier in the week...if I knew any freshmen girls....well I told him..."my boy you are in luck today. I have a freshmen advisement...and I have the cutest girls in the freshman class in my advisement...who would you like to ask?" Today, he asked one...and she said, (I know the suspense is killing you...."YES!" He was thrilled...and so was she...because she got asked.

We need to hear the word, yes, spoken to us. When I was a sixteen year old, gawky girl in high school I wanted so badly for anyone to ask me to the junior-senior prom...It did not happen. I wanted to say yes....but never got the chance. All of my girlfriends went...but not me. I played the first year off by saying that I had a boyfriend from out of town and he did not want me to go. I played the second year off by saying that I had to work and could not get out of it. Actually, I did work the night of the senior prom...but I volunteered so that the girls who had prom dates could be off. High school left a pretty foul taste in my mouth...and all because of the failure to get to say....Yes!

Let me ask you if you've even been in a situation where you had to telephone a neighbor and ask them to do something major for know like keep a child or drive you somewhere? You're initial reaction is that you are imposing on your neighbor...even to ask, and if you are at all like me you probably would hesitate before getting up enough courage to ask, but eventually you realize that there is no choice and you need someone's help and so you telephone your neighbor and ask them to do something for you. Your neighbor probably immediately replies, “Yes, I'd be delighted to.” It feels so good to hear that word said to you, "YES!" I love it. So many times we fail to allow someone to say that word to us because we have the negative response we think they are going to give us already programed in our heads.

My dad tells a great story about a guy who needed a jack because his tire was flat....he was out on a coutry road....and up the road he could see lights flickering in a window of a house. He began to walk towards the light...good he approached...he began playing out a different kind of is a scenario in which the people in the house do not loan him their jack...the more he walks...the angrier he becomes...and by the time he reaches the door and knocks he is fully pissed off. His knock is answered by a sweet elderly gentleman who asks if he can be of help. The driver's response to the homeowner is, "I didn't need your damn jack anyways!" How sad...the homeowner was robbed saying someone who let their thoughts go wild.

As human beings we need to speak that simple word to another person. When Frank and I are alone...sometimes he will quietly ask me, when nobody else is listening,: “Punkin (that is my nickname), Do you love me?” It makes me feel so good inside to be able to tell him, “Yes, of course I do. I love you more than breath.” I don't hesitate or garble my words. I say it where he can hear me...and I say it with feeling. I offer him no conditions...I don't say “Well, I love as much as is possible right now.” It truly does feel good inside to speak that word simply to him: "Yes!"

I can remember when my children were small and they would ask me to do something for...or with them....and I was cross-stitching, or smocking, or doing some other kind of French know the kind that is difficult to put down when you start it...but I would simply say, “Yes, I would love to.” This morning a fellow teacher came by my room and, even though my door was closed, opened it and asked, “Can you talk?" Never would I have said no....I, without hesitating said, "yes what is up?" It made me feel good inside to be able to say yes, with no hesitation or excuse.

I personally think the reason I like to hear that word and say it is because a lot of the people around me seem to hesitate before using it. When asked to do something...the air seems to be suffocating with a dramatic pause that says “not really.” Have you ever had family or friends come from out of town to visit and when they ask you what there is to tell them all the things you think are wonderful about your town and the surrounding area....only to have them respond, “Is there something else we can do?” Talk about an enthusiasm buster! I love this area I live in...and I love showing it off. I want you to be impressed with it to...and when your response lacks leaves me feeling like Eeyore.

When my first marriage was failing...I spent more and more of my time doing things with the kids...and at church. Ronnie spent all of his time gambling or fishing. I wonder sometimes...if I had said, "yes" to his requests to go to the casino's...would my marriage still be in tact? That is a question I cannot answer...but I do know this...saying "yes" to someone and sacrificing your own self is not what I am talking about. That is what martyrs are made of.

For a large number of people, there is always a “but.” They just cannot seem to say, “yes.” We all know them....they are the “yeah-buts” you know the people who hesitate and are the ones who are rarely willing to just say a simple, “yes.” There is always a condition to their response. Watch Out for this group!

I knew I had to tell you about the fly fling date experience...but When I was deciding exactly what I wanted to write about today I thought about something a friend said to me at the end of last year....she told me I had to learn to say, "No!" She is right to a point...I can overdo the, "yes," but what she does not understand is the joy that saying, "yes" gives me. In II Corinthians 1:18 - 22 Paul addresses saying the word yes...and Jesus. “As surely as God is faithful, our words to you have not been ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was not a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In Jesus Christ, it is always Yes because the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter ‘Amen! Yes! So be it!’ In Jesus Christ, it is always yes.” I am delighted. My God is a Yes Man! I love it! He created everything...and I am sure he stood back and looked at it...and said a resounding, "YES!" Maybe He even followed it with a Marine cry, "Whooo Ya!"
No matter how lousy we have been....what we have done...where we come from...what baggage we drag around...when we fall on our knees and ask forgiveness...God says,"Yes." It is important for me to discover what it means to say Yes. It isbeen very important for me to learn to say yes to Frank, yes to myself, yes to my coworkers, yes to my family, and yes to God. I am not quite sure when or how it happened, but somewhere during my lifetime, I learned that saying Yes was ultimately important to the author of my life and destiny. God said, Yes to me. And there is a great need within me, to say Yes as well. Yes to God, yes to me, yes to my co-workers, family and friends, yes to this world where I live and work. I don't ever want to be a yeah-but kind of person. I want to be a Yes Man (or woman). I want you to hear me when I say it...and I want you to understand what I am saying. I am just going to say, "Yes!" I challenge you today to say, "yes" to someone...and allow them the opportunity to say yes to you. Happy Thursday All!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

I am asking for special prayer. A family member of mine was hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle early this past Saturday morning on Shug Jordan Parkway in Auburn, AL. He was airlifted by Lifesaver helicopter to Columbus Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and is currently in ICU in critical condition. Ty, is a very athletic 39 year old. He is a triathlete! He, his wife Karen, and their three young sons live in Opelika and I know this is devastating for them. He also has two other brothers and a sister...and a mom and I know that they could use a spiritual hug right now. When the officers arrived at the scene they found Ty unconscious in the roadway. A cycling friend told the police that Ty had been hit by a vehicle and that the vehicle had left the scene of the accident. The really strange thing to me is that “the vehicle that hit him, left the scene, and then returned approximately 50 minutes later. I find it odd that this could happen, the accident be under investigation but not the first charge has been filed. So are you telling me it is ok to hit a bike rider, or runner, or walker....leave the scene....and return nearly an hour later? I did not know those were the rules now. Leaving the scene of an a bad thing. But...bad or not....right now....the focus is Ty getting please pray hard! The family is claiming
Isaiah 40:31 for Ty at this moment ... "But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." If you do Caring Bridge and would like to keep up with Ty's progress he has a site. It is Ty Garner. If you are on facebook and want to pray for Ty there you can do that too. Praying for Ty is the link to facebook. I am sure the family will not turn any prayers down. Thanks for lifting up one for them! I love you all for it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What a Terrific Tuesday!

Do you know how many children there were on the sitcom "Eight is Enough?" This was a question that floated over the walkie talkies at school. My new boss, Mr. Reyes was asking the school secretary this. She faltered so Mrs. Culbertson - Asst. Principal and I answered....eight! Then he came across with which M & M is likened to Tattoo? Answer? The plain...The plain. I had to laugh. Mr. Reyes is one of the smartest men I have ever known...but not only is he book smart...he is full of trivia. He knows EVERYTHING!....and I am loving it. He listens to on my part...he loves trivia...another plus on my part....and what sets him apart from everyone else in my eyes.....he got the fountain the Jr. Class donated over a year ago...up and running. HE DID IT! This man is not afraid to get dirty. He is all about our school and he is amazing! I have just finished my second day...and I had yet another awesome day....because my boss...expects the best from me...and for me. I even picked up trash in the parking lot this morning on the way into the building....why? Because he believes our campus needs to look good...because it represents us to the community...and although I had never quite thought of it that way...he is right! When people look at our campus...they see me. I am not a sloppy and dirty person...and don't want to teach somewhere that is sloppy and dirty...and it is not just a janitor's job...the responsibility belongs to whoever comes along first....and this was me. Funny thing was...I did not mind it at all...and have felt good about doing it all day long. What a great year this is going to be! Mr. Reyes has made me believe this...and because I believe it...I can achieve it! Room 312 will be busting at the seems with pride, I can assure you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Day of School

I remember when I was a child...every single first day of school experience. Weeks before school started we would go to the store and get some clothes, shoes, underwear, and supplies for this monumental event. Then on the very first day my mom would get me up, I would dress, and before actually leaving to GO to school we would take the customary picture on the front porch....of me heading to school. My mom took such pride in this day....and I thought this was cheesy as rip. As I progressed to junior high/high school days we would also add a trip to Anthony's to get the dreaded P.E.uniform. They were these one piece, absolutely horrible, white things we were forced to wear in physical education. They were hot, uncomfortable,and had little to no room to move....especially if you were like me and had a long torso. Another way to torture kids at school....(insert wicked laugh here). Years would pass and one day I would find myself as a young mother getting children ready for the first day of school. Funny thing, all the cheesy things my mom did....I did them too. I have pictures of every child....on the first day of school....from the front porch. When did I become my mom? My friend Debo would always has her daughter, "Did you make any new friends today?" The kids and I thought this was the cheesiest...but her daughter has been out of school for over 10 years and she still calls me on the first day of school and asks me that question. It makes me smile everytime. It is one of those comfort moments. I know the world is right when I get that phone call around 3:45 and she asks me the question. Her daughter is a teacher now and she calls her too. This is one of those kodak moments...without the camera. I love the first day of school. It is so new and fresh. My first day yesterday was fantastic. For the first time in I cannot remember when I came home tired...but it was a good tired. I went to bed early and slept through the night. I am ready for Tuesday! Bring it on!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Service at Sunnylevel

Well, today was my big day and I have to admit that by the time I got to the little country church I thought I was going to have to throw up in the church yard....but I didn't. God was definitely in control today. I went in and sat in the front while Sunday School let out. When I met my contact person I was informed that I was in charge of the whole service. I truly was going to be filling the pastors role. I was also told I needed a Children's minute for Time for Children....I almost bolted...but then I thought...hey....I am a school teacher and tomorrow is the first day of I will bless the children! My one little guy that came forward was such a sweetie. He let me ramble on about school...and I honestly think by the time I was finished he was a little more excited about starting tomorrow. I then got to the pulpit...and something happened. I came alive. I loved every single minute up there. I loved raising my voice...and throwing my hands in the was an emotional high for me. What a day....and I got paid to do this! How cool is that????? You know I love getting paid to do something I love. If people only knew that I would do most of what I do just for the thrill of doing it...I would never draw a I keep quiet about this. I actually knew a few people at this church, my former assistant principal and his wife were there and my dad's cousin's daughter...and everyone in the building spoke to me, or hugged me, or both before I left. What a sweet spirit they have there. Bro. Lennox should be proud of his little flock. So, until the next time...Hope your Sunday was blessed...I know mine was....and you know....even if they didn't get a thing out of the was ok....God knew who it was for....Myself included!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Preach or Teach - Who's Lesson is it Anyways?

I am filling a pulpit tomorrow morning at Sunnylevel Methodist Church. Hummm...I can see the wheels spinning in your head....does her being a preacher's wife automatically make her capable of preaching....the answer is a resounding "NO!" I am certified by the North Alabama Conference to be a Lay Speaker. I have gone through training....and to be honest...would kind of like to get a license to preach...but that is another story for another message for tomorrow is going to be entitled “The Letter “I.” Frank gave me the idea. When Mary and I got home from Birmingham yesterday...I could tell by the look on his face he was not a happy camper...and I was the object of his preturbedness. His one and only comment to me was certainly all about you today wasn't it. It took the wind out of my sails and left a nasty taste in my mouth. You see...while I was in Birmingham eating cousin Amanda called...and asked about my dad....and his excruciating back pain...and his visit to the doctor. I had no clue what she was talking about. So she gave me her take on the situation. My mom had called her mom about my dad. Well...neither one of our mothers LISTENS to the other...they HEAR...but they don't LISTEN! My mom told her called the doctor and got pain pills...her mom heard taking to doctor for pain pills...who knows what was really said. Anyways...there I am over an hour a way...and have no call from my mom...and my dad is in excruciating pain. The time is a almost 2. I called my dad's doctor and asked if they had seen him. His nurse relayed to me that my mom had CALLED about some back pain my dad was in...and they had called him in a pain medication. If it was not better by Monday...they would see him. I called Frank and since by now he was almost ready to go home he told me he would assess the situation and let me know what was going on. I stayed in Birmingham...Frank called...Dad's back was hurting...he was at the house sitting in his recliner....had taken a pain pill...had felt a hurting sensation when he got out of the car earlier in the day. He said it hurt...period. So....Mary and I worked in two more consignment shops on the way back to Alex City. I got home about 6:30....and as soon as I got out of the car began apologizing for being selfish. I took Frank to a local BBQ place for dinner...because he was starving. (mind you he could have fixed himself a sandwich...but he was milking this one for all it was worth.) Dinner was uncomfortably quiet. He watched the tv and I sat and stared at the people in the restaurant. Finally he asked me if I had my sermon done for Sunday. I told him, "no...but I have some ideas brewing." As soon as we got home...I hit the computer and put together my sermon. When I went to bed I thanked him for the sermon topic. He was a little baffled....and I told him...I am writing it about the letter, "I." He asked how he gave me that topic....and I told told me it was an all about me I wrote about being selfish! And this is what I came up with.....yes, I can be a selfish brat sometimes...but can most people....we all have the potential.

I don’t know about you but at times I could be the most self indulged person even as a kid. Those who knew me as a child might have chalked it up to only child syndrome….but that was not it. I was not always an only child….and my parents certainly did not give me everything I ever wanted. Yet, I was selfish and still can be at times. I remember my friends and I used to get all kinds of brilliant ideas on how to raise a ton of money fast. We were always thinking about ourselves and wanted that rush feeling having money would give us. Most of my friends were lucky if we got an allowance…and if it was over a dollar, we thought we were rich. Sometimes, because of my selfishness, it others would have to pay something. I guess you could say I was a selfish, a self-centered jerk? I was only thinking about me.
How many of you can relate – just like me, you have been selfish at some point in your life? You see, for all of us, we have a choice, my life can revolve around I, in the theory that I am the center of the universe or my life can revolve around God and putting other people’s needs ahead of my own. So, let’s be honest, it is a whole lot easier to be self-centered than others-centered. It’s easy to buy into my father in-law saying he who hesitates is lost , it’s all about you and you being the first one in line, the first to talk, the first one you think about when a circumstance happens – how will I benefit from this? How is this going to effect ME!
One reason that this comes so naturally is because the world around us is very I focused. Country Music singer, Toby Keith did a great song a few years ago that really sums this up….part of the song goes like this:

I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about i
Wanna talk about number 1 oh my, me, my,
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see.
I like talkin about you, you, you, you usually….
you get the point?

In this day and time when we hear that someone does something that is for others we tend to think they are from some other planet and are strange, and have some sort of problem. I remember the year I went to Chavies, Kentucky to work ASP for a week one summer. I gave up a chance to go to a work related…all expense paid….workshop in Dallas, TX for a week….to go get muddy and dirty and fix someone’s house. My friends could not believe that I was spending my Fourth of July week….doing this….and on top of all that….I had to pay my own way…..What kind of loser was I? I guess I am just weird why would anyone do that? And when I gave a special pin away to a sweet person….who said they loved it. Now…they did not just LIKE it….they LOVED it….and so did I….so I wanted her to be happy every single time she put it on…and think of me…..and when I took a single mom and her four children school supply shopping….Good grief my friends said….can’t you just leave that for welfare people
Like I said earlier, it is a lot easier to be i-centered and focus on one person, especially when that person is me…. than it is to be other’s centered. But the problem is that Being I centered comes with some side-effects or “I” problems.

1. The letter “I” is not in the word love. It is almost impossible to have a true meaningful relationship with a person who only thinks about themselves.

Think about it………..The Bible puts it this way in James 4:1-2
Vs 1- What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? Vs 2- You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

The cause of relational conflicts is simple: someone is not getting their way.
As long as I put I first, it is only a matter of time before I meet someone else who wants to be first and the result according to the bible is “fights and quarrels.” OK…so let’s Test this theory think back to your last fight with your spouse, parents, friends….What was your fight about and why “What did you want?” if we really looked at it and had you come up here to share what it probably came down to the truth is you were mad because you didn’t get your way?” There will always be a first in something. At a door, only one person can go through the door first. At lunch, only one person can order first. When determining who will talk and who will listen, guys when talking to a female will be the ones listening, but seriously only one person can talk first. When there is a disagreement, only one person is going to get their way. Either I go first or I allow you to. If I go first and make you wait, there is the potential for conflict. But if I let you go first, there is potential for relationship. That relationship in God’s eyes is more important than you being first. Selfishness is the enemy of relationships. The letter “I” is not in love. Ultimately “I” destroys families, friendships, teams, rock bands, student ministries, churches, countries, governments…and that single letter holds us back from what God wants to do in our lives. A Prime Example is Divorce – someone put their needs ahead of everyone else’s, and now you are forced to have two different families. Being the one that has to be recognized for everything causes your friends to walk away, Being the one that has to be catered to leaves others out. When we choose to make “I” #1, we are saying no to making others first. We are saying no to love. There is no “I” in love, but “I” is always in the middle of sin. Sin is when we miss the mark, we miss where God wants us to be. Sin is an archery term. When an archer misses the bull’s eye or the center of the target, it is called a sin. For some of us, we are barely missing the target, for others, we couldn’t hit the ocean, we are so far off. In both of these situations, we are sinning. We are missing the mark. We are not living where God wants us to be. The reason we do this is because of that little letter “I”.

”I” is always in the middle of sin.

How many of you have ever lied? Ah come on now…Yeah, we all have. Have you ever told a really stupid lie and got away with it, at least for a while? I remember this kid named Chipper in junior high put a potato in the tail pipe of his mom’s car. It caused some malfunctions with the car…and made a huge noise….when she asked him if he had done this…he innocently said no….and told on another neighborhood boy, Mike. Mike’s dad was a cop….and he wailed on Mike for doing this. Chipper’s lie….cost Mike a great deal. What would have been the right thing to do in this situation? told the truth, take the blame, clean up the mess, and receive the punishment. Is that what he did? No way. Chipper didn’t want to be grounded. He didn’t want to get in trouble. He had to do what was best for him and telling the truth was not an option. He intentionally did what he knew he shouldn’t do to protect “I”. He lied because he thought that was the best thing. YOU SEE Every sin comes back to selfishness. When someone asks you to do something and you don’t do it. Selfishness.
When we have a chance to serve and don’t. Selfishness.
When we hang with that person we know we shouldn’t. Selfishness.
When we gossip. Selfishness.
When we have a chance to stand up for someone and don’t. Selfishness.
When we get too busy for God. Selfishness.

We are basically saying “God, I am going to do what I want to do, not what you want me to do. I choose I, and not You, and in a sense we claim to be god with a lowercase g. The letter I is always in the middle of sin. I think Jesus knew that we would lean towards I, that we would want to do our own thing. I believe this is one reason why when Jesus came to this earth, He wanted to show us what would happen if we took the I out of the center of our lives. In Philippians 2:5-8
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

What if Jesus said man I’m not dying on that cross for you….why should I?…You see Jesus didn’t come for Jesus. Jesus came for others. Just like me and you, Jesus could have said, this life is about me. I was a king in heaven and now it is time to be king here on earth. But he didn’t. Instead he humbled himself and put others first. Jesus came to serve.
And we are called to do the same thing. So, Why don’t we serve? We pour into ourselves because we think that will exalt us. It will make us better. It will make our lives matter, but Jesus had a different take on this. Matthew 23:12 we see But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
What Jesus is saying is that those who are trying to make themselves something will become nothing, and those who are choosing to become nothing by putting others before themselves will become something. What if….For one day, we, the members of Sunnylevel Methodist Church were to pour our lives into others. What would happen? Then….a week later….all the members of the Eastern District of the United Methodist Church…followed suit…..and then the North Alabama Conference….and then the entire State of Alabama…..Well….this place would be bursting at the seams….and a lot more of your friends would be here for starters. People would look at us differently.
Our relationships would change. Our lives would change. Most importantly, we will become more like Christ, who humbled himself and poured out his life for others.
In closing let me say that there are some of you who are living like this world revolves around you and you are pouring into you. If that is you, if like me you have a tendency to be selfish, I am asking all of you to make a commitment to pour your life into other people. Because of our selfishness, we are separated from God. Jesus came to serve, and pour his life into others, and then he took it another step further. He poured out his life completely on a cross for you and me so that we could be filled with God, and so that we might have a relationship with Him.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Birmingham Consignment Shopping

Mary and I got up early this morning...and after a few stops here in town headed to Birmingham to go consignment shopping. Now, consignment shopping can be a good thing (where you find all kinds of bargains), or a not so good thing (where you get nothing). Today was a red letter day. I got the cutest Laura Ashley skirt, top and jacket set at the Clotheshorse. It is one of my favorite little consignment shops. They don't take junk and what they have is really stylish, clean, and has a number of miles left in it. Then...I got a cute pair of Clark Sandals...barely worn....there was not even a foot bed print in Silver Lining off Hwy 150 in Bessemer. I am so excited. I stand on my feet all day and these feel like standing in clouds! After Silver Lining...and following the Map Quest directions I had run...we went looking for the next place in no avail...what we ended up....was lost! Not to fear, Mary and I called her son Jesse....who works for Southern Company in Inverness...and had him GPS us to I 65. We met him at T.G.I.Friday's for lunch. I had the pecan crusted chicken salad...with low-fat balsamic vinagairette....lunch sized. Then we went to Collage's off Hwy 31. I got some cute moleskin black pants, a black jacket like thing...with one button...and a cute black, turquoise and white stuff was all half price...and I spent a grand total of 30.00 there. I was thrilled. After Collages, we found Some Wear in Time off the Summit Road. Mary racked up there and got three adorable tops. She had gotten a skirt and two tops at Collages....and three darling dresses for her granddaughter at the Clotheshorse (75%off - 11.00 total). We took advantage of the tax free day Birmingham was having today and lucked out. Getting home was a bummer....we ended up getting caught in Friday afternoon, tax free weekend, 5:00 traffic. An hour and a half max trip...took almost 3 hours today. I was so frustrated when I finally got to the other side of Double Oak Mtn. Glad to be home...purchases are all put away....and I am grinning like a cheshire cat! Have a Happy last free one until Fall Break...the second week in October!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

T- Minus 3 and Counting

Well, it is finally here. when I leave here today I will not return until early Monday morning for the very first day of the 2009/2010 school year. The preparations are already done. My room is straight, clean, smells good, looks pretty....and I am sitting here blogging because I am ready! I am ready for my 90 students to arrive on Monday morning. I am so excited I cannot contain myself. I have my itunes up and running and I am just shaking with delight. I have rearranged decorations in my room countless times this morning. I have cleaned all the desk tops. I have moved furniture around til I finally just decided to leave it where it was. I have sat in my room and listened to happy people in the halls talking to each other. It is a joyous day in Karendom. My world is in harmony and all the planets are aligned. God I love what I do! It is days like this that I remember why I teach and I am glad this is my chosen profession. I truly believe that I was born to do this. I am no different from any other teacher....I look forward to the summer...but about week two I am looking forward to coming back. I miss this place when I am not is in my blood. I guess if you cut me I would bleed chalkdust. Tomorrow, Mary and I are going consignment shopping in Birmingham. I have scouted out several places we want to visit and I am excited about that too. So as today is T minus 3 and counting. I can't wait for liftoff!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Revive the Pride

I have a new boss this year. His name is Jose Reyes. He has been in our system for six years as the assistant principal at the Middle School, principal at Stephens Elementary and now he is our new principal and AD (Athletic Director). He has been a very busy man this summer tying up loose ends at Stephens and starting the new regime at Benjamin we all met with him for the start of the school year and got to know just who Jose Reyes is. We started out meeting with a slide asking us to please sit up front...because we were not in church. I had to chuckle to myself. Ok, he is funny. Over the summer months I learned he loves for me that is a plus. If he likes music...he can't be all bad. Right? Well today he told us what his vision for us was...he began with a story from the bible...and by the end of the meeting....I wanted to have some pom poms and shout Go Wildcats! He believes we need a cry...and it is going to be Revive the Pride! He believes that this revival starts with him, we should be right behind him and the students will notice the excitement and they will join in too...which in turn will overflow into the community. Our school used to be like this...we were proud of who we were...but over the years...that has dwindled a bit. It is time for us to shine up the place...because we have company coming. His expectations of us....are high ones! In your job! Be on time for everything. Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, teach, and the most important thing we are to do is care! I was so excited by this point I almost forgot I was at school and stood and shouted, "Amen!"...but I refrained. He had several quotes from Vince Lombardi's book that I found exhilarating..."Winning is not a some times thing, it is an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you don them right all the time, winning is a habit, unfortunately so is losing." "Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing, The Result." I must find this Vince Lombardi book and read it. I think he has some great stuff just for me. We discussed the grounds of the school and that picking up blights on our campus are not just janitors jobs...they are everyones jobs. It is my school and I am proud of it....aren't I? We talked about where the buck stops in our school....with Mr. Reyes. We talked about handling big discipline problems and small problems and what his role would be in this. I know our school/system is "Alexander City Schools - A learning environment where ALL Excel." The word "all" is just that...every single one of us....and that includes, students, faculty, parents, and community. If we shine...we all shine. I like that concept. Then he talked about us being a family. It has been a long time since we were a family. The morale at our school has dropped so much over the years...and today I felt a strong sense of familial love budding again. He encouraged us that if we could not say something nice about our school...not to say anything! He used many of us as examples during his talk...not because we were bad...just to use our names...and he did it with ease and it was awesome. Am I excited about this year....oh you bet. Mr. Reyes gave me something today I thought I had lost...he gave me value again. Value in who I am as a person...and that I matter to this school...and value in who I am as a teacher....I am a good one! I can't wait to begin the revival of the pride....BRING IT ON....I am ready! I am a Wildcat....HEAR ME ROAR!