It’s Random Wednesday!

Sue does Friday Fluff (a bunch of randomness), and I liked the idea. I just haven’t thought of anything really cutsie yet for the title of my weekly (sometimes daily) randomness.

But I am in a wicked place, y’all.

WIC-KED. (Maybe Wicked Wednesday’s?….hm. I’ll chew on it.)

Remember when I gave up Starbucks for Lent? Yeah. That’s out the window. As evidenced by my VENTI HALF-CAFF BOLD COFFEE NO ROOM FOR CREAM this morning. No room for cream, you ask? Cuz really…it’s not the coffee I love…it’s the sugar and cream. But if I tell the Barista’s…not the same thing as a Libero, Jill…that I want room for cream…they leave out half of my coffee. And that really irks me. Big time.

Monday night was Bible Study Girls Night Out at my new fave restaurant. I think everyone enjoyed it. Here is a picture of us…

The sweet, sweet lady on the front left, MQC (Mary Quite Contrary) is the LEAST contrary person I know. She loves each of us as a mother loves her children. And she doesn’t hesitate to tell us what she thinks (knows???) we need to hear. I love her. All of these ladies, in fact.

I had a wake-up call last night. At one of my favorite restaurants. On the way out, my beautiful girl and I ran into a guy that The Man went to high school with. I saw the flicker of recognition in his eyes and he stopped and looked at me and smiled and I said, “Hey Reg,” and he said, “Hey. How’s Harry doing?” Harry? Harry is not my husband’s name. I peered closely at his eyes…they WERE a bit blood shot…and he WAS heading into the bar…for all I know, he could have already been in there for awhile. So I said, “you mean, The Man (insert real name here)?” He immediately, said, “Susan…I’m sorry…of course, ” and continued to apologize for the oh, half a nano second I blessed him with our presence after that. As we left, I of course had to call The Man and remind him of everything he is missing…you know…divorcing your wife, leaving your family, partying every night. And not recognizing someone you’ve known for 20 years.

As I was washing my face last night before bed, I peered closely at my own reflection in the mirror and gasped…THAT’S why Reg didn’t recognize me! I’m 47 years old now. And fat. And I looked horrible. HUGE WAKE-UP CALL! I’d like to be able to say I jumped out of bed this morning and ran 5 miles and hit the weights in the basement. But I can’t. But I can tell you that I slowly eased my tired, achy body out of bed, late again, and made my way to the dining room (cup of coffee firmly grasped in my hand) and had a nice, long, intimate chat with my Lord. And He reminded me that, “yes, Susan…you are now 47 years old…and I have a lot of work for you to do. Yes, you DO need to take better care of yourself. When are you going to get over the whole, ‘worrying about how you look thing’? Look around you…look at EVERYTHING I HAVE GIVEN YOU…and start thanking me for it. Every. Single. Day. And I will bless you in ways you could NEVER imagine.”

And I realized right there…THAT was my real wake-up call. And I praised Him like I have never been able to praise Him before. I did what Bethie had told me to do throughout Stepping Up…take His Word and work it and write my own version. I used Psalm 107:1-9, where He had conveniently led me.

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

3 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.

5 They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.

6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.

7 He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.

8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,

9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

And when I read my worked and own version, and had read it aloud, I felt so renewed. Redeemed. Refreshed.

And I am soooo going to hit the pavement and weights tomorrow!

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No Pain, No Gain.

Just a quick post this morning.

Have you ever gone through a situation that was painful, shameful, horror-filled even? And were later able to Thank God for it? Even if it was years later?

God reminded me this morning that things I experienced, lived through, survived were allowed by Him. Not because He wanted me to be in pain, to carry guilt, to suffer. But to use those experiences to bring me closer to Him, in every way.

And, just as importantly, so that I would be able to help our children in ways I never would have been able to recognize if I hadn’t been there…done that.

I thanked Him this morning for the pain. The guilt and shame I carried with me for years. The horror I still, in the darkness of the night, see and feel…

but now I know that He is there
to shield me
shelter me
save me

Thank You, Father.

For every single piece of it.

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops patience, endurance. James 1:2-3.

Learning Patience…I hate it.

So, as much as I’m mourning our oldest child going off to college this Fall (not that I’ve shared it with y’all…lol), I’ve become very impatient waiting final notification from his first choice, CNU. So many of his friends have already received their letters…most of them denials, by the way…I have been itchin’ for his to come in the mail. CNU, daggone it, doesn’t post their decisions online. I think it’s all part of their plan to help the parents get used to NOT knowing what is going on in the lives of their children at college. Breaking us in.

It’s killing me.

So I mentioned it to God this morning. Most respectively, but I did tell Him that I just gotta know. So I knew, without a doubt, that when I checked the mail there would be nothing from CNU. So clearly this morning, I knew He told me over and over, “not YOUR time, Susan…MY time.”

Why? I dunno.

Actually, I think it is because there are folks there that really want him. (Well…excuse me, but who WOULDN’T???…lol) Seriously, he met with some of the professors there and they e-mailed the admissions office recommending him for admission. ‘Course, there is the fact that HE didn’t do what he knew he had to do…get big time grades the first semester. So, as The Man keeps telling me…we all did all that we could to help him, and he took it into his own hands, so whatever happens…happens.

Here’s the part that I’m hating though. The NOT knowing. Yes, it’s true…I’m a huge control freak. Which is why I am positive that God is helping me to learn some patience. I don’t do patience well. Never have. And it’s not something that you can just ask for and be granted. Nope…there’s some suffering that goes along with that request. The suffering and lesson of actually having to wait on something you really want…learning to be patient.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to totally get it. Oh, I get that it is His timing and not my timing. And I get that He is in control and I’m not.

But I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

Oh, and P.S. have I mentioned that I am absolutely loving these boys again? I have been cranking them all day. After listening to this great guy for an hour first, of course.

Totally Wigging Out Here.

My stress level is through the roof. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Exhausted.

So I did what I am supposed to do. What I have to do each morning. I got down and looked up.

Psalm 107:13-15 became my own this morning.

13 Then I cried to the LORD in my trouble,
and he saved me from my distress.
14 He brought me out of my darkness and the deepest pit
and broke away all my chains.
15 I give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for me!

I have felt such a change in my prayer life since I started making scripture my own. Praying it in the first person. The Susan person. Inserting my own name, my own darkness and my deepest pits. I encourage you to do the same. He is so very good. He WILL answer. He WILL bless you.

He has me.

Feelin’ the Strain.

Big happenings at church today. My preggo bff, Jen, had a little episode during Sunday school. Just got the word that she is fine and at home. Also just got some commentary on the event from eye witnesses. When she and her hubby scooted out of class, I caught them out of the corner of my eye heading for the door. A minute later, I turned around to look…just in time to see her start to go down and her hubby catch her. Apparently, bff Jill and bff Lori saw the same thing because, word has it, in an orchestrated move, the three of us jumped up and high tailed it…perfectly in step…to the door. While the two of them got Jen settled and comfy, I ran into my office, which during Sunday school hosts the er, eldest class of Sunday school students. Pushed my way through them reaching for the only cordless phone in the building (cell phones work intermittently at our locale). While folks tried to get Jen cooled off (dizzy, sweaty, clammy, trying to catch her breath) I was dialing my good buddies at 911. When I finally hung up with them…paramedics were on the way…I turned around and a long time friend was standing there. She touched my arm and said, “you were remarkably calm and did very well with that” I told her that 1) it wasn’t my husband, 2) it wasn’t a child of mine, and 3) because it IS someone I love…I should be breaking down any moment. I waited until they hauled sweet Jen off in the rig. By that time, worship had begun. I was seated next to bff and birthday girl, Beth, and just felt it coming…I had to get out of there and have my mini-breakdown-moment. So I did what I always do…called The Man who was somewhere near Annapolis heading to the girl’s volleyball tournament. He has seen me in this condition a lot lately. I felt better after talking with him. I did come home and take a nap. A long one. Jen is home and apparently very, very hungry. Her bp had tanked and then over compensated in the opposite direction, according to her hubby. We’ll keep an eye on her a bit more closely for the rest of her pregnancy. I was so worried about her. One of the down-sides to loving those around you!
On a different note…I ripped this off from a blog I was visiting today…can’t even remember which one. I thought it looked fun and I tag YOU to copy and paste from me and put it on YOUR blog.
So here we go:
Current Book(s): He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer. The book is awesome. I highly recommend it. I want to have it read before we begin the bible study on March 3.
Current Playlist: It’s been All-Travis-All-the-Time on my iPod.
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: People.com. I thought I had broken that horrible addiction!
Current Color: Browns and raspberry together.
Current Fetish: Comfy sleep pants and my fuzzy slippers.
Current Drink: At this very moment…I have a yummy cup of tea going in my favorite tea cup and saucer…the only way I drink tea…although I drink my coffee in a big old fat mug. Go figure.
Current Food: Grits, grits and more grits. What’s up with that? Which reminds me…I’m outta grits at the office.
Current Wishlist: A new crock pot. My life just rocks…doesn’t it?
Current Needs: A menu makeover. We eat the same stuff all the time. And I need food in this house.
Current Triumph(s): Recognizing my need to immerse myself in God’s Word. Every. Single. Morning. Without. Fail. And I’ve been doing it.
Current Bane(s) of my Existence: My husband coughing at night. And when he’s not coughing, it is because of the cough syrup with codeine which makes him fight in his dreams all night long. Last night, and you can ask him, I hauled off and whacked him. It was a reflex reaction. That’s my story…
Current Indulgence: Girl Scout cookies. Until I am literally getting sick of them.
Current #1 Blessing: My oldest child. I’m so going to miss him when he heads off to still-to-be-determined-college in the fall…I just can’t get enough of him. I find myself just staring at him. Hanging on his every word. (Tearing up as I type that.)
Current Slang or Saying: Oy.
Current Outfit: Cords, sweater set, fuzzy slippers.
Current Excitement: Dinner out with the girls tomorrow night at my new fave Italian place. Can’t wait!
Current Mood: Reflective.
Current Pictures:

Where did the time go from my little linebacker on the left to this big amazing young man on the right? I know that God has a huge plan for him. He loves God mightily. We had an awesome conversation in the car on the way to church this morning about college, how liberal the environment is, and even being involved in a Christian religious organization on campus…will probably still be more liberal than he’s used to. God, knowing what He is doing, placed this child in a government class where the teacher has just come out of retirement. He did so, because he felt called…felt CALLED people…to come back to this particular high school…not the high school he taught in for 20 years prior to retirement…to teach THIS particular government class…THIS particular year. And my son is in it. And the teacher’s reason for coming out of retirement? He felt that the high school seniors heading to college over the next few years (which includes my oldest this Fall and our middle child Fall 2009) will be blind-sided by the ultra-liberal, anti-Christian, atmosphere they will find themselves in on most campuses. He, Mr. K., wanted to make sure they got both sides of it, and were prepared and able to make their own decision. After the first day of class, my kid came home complaining about the ultra-liberal political agenda of his government teacher. The same Mr. K. who is actually ultra conservative, come to find out. I am loving my child being in this class. It is a lot like a college class. They talk of current events every day. There is no right or wrong side. They are encouraged to speak their minds, respectively of course. It is usually my child and a small handful of students against the rest of the class and my kid is thriving. On the first day, Mr. K. grabbed the flag off the wall and said he was tired of the Bush administration and he was going to go out in the parking lot and burn the flag. He turned and headed to the door, encouraging the class to come with him to exercise their constitutional rights. A bunch of them jumped up shouting with glee. My child jumped up to tackle the teacher and wrestle the flag out of his hands. Now THAT’s what I call a high school government class.
I think my kid is going to be all right.

Sunday…a Day of Rest.

Sunday is rarely a day of rest for us. Today is no different. It is 7:18 as I begin typing this. My Starbucks is brewing. One child, our oldest, remains in bed. The Man has already been to Einstein Bagels to pick up 2 dozen bagels and 4 containers of cream cheese. Lucy and Caleb and The Man have already showered. Lucy will be picked up in 10 minutes (along with the bagels) to head to a school up past Annapolis for a day long volleyball tournament. The Man and our youngest boy will head out at the same time, in the opposite direction for an invitation only travel basketball team tryout.

Sunday is a day of rest. But rarely for us.

And I’m tired, y’all. Down right weary.

I’m not going to b-ball tryouts. I’m not going to the volleyball tournament. I’m going to sip my Starbucks and have some quiet time. I’m coming to my Lord and Savior, weary and in need of His rest. Philip and I will go to Sunday school and church. Just the two of us. And then I might come home and take a nap.

My house is a wreck. Yesterday was a day of cleaning. But not much cleaning got done. Unexpected errands kept coming up and I finally threw in the cleaning towel and just went along with all of it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. This is the way we have chosen to live our lives. But I do get weary. I do get tired. I do get frustrated at not being able to keep up with the house, finish projects.

I do, at times, wonder what God thinks of it all.

The Psalm I have been reading each morning and am beginning to memorize is Psalm 143:8-10 (NLT).

8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.

Our home is quiet again as the door just slammed shut for the second wave departing. It’s just me and the sleeping kid, if you don’t count the two dogs pacing in the kitchen, one cat chasing his Mousie around the living room, and Johnny chasing Stephanie & Georgette (the new girls) and Ginger & Maryann around the fish tank in Caleb’s room.

Off to officially greet the day with some Word. I pray a restful and peaceful Sunday for all of you.
I am glad that you are a part of my life!

Sometimes…it really stinks.

I’ve been handling it pretty well, I think.

Sure, I think about it often. Okay…every hour of every day.

But usually, it is at least with a mix of excitement and anticipation, in addition to the grieving.

Until some stupid little thing makes it a reality.

Makes it crash down on me in an unbearable crush and all I can do is cry.

Something so little and insignificant can drive me to my knees in prayer about it.

A thank you note arriving in the mail at church. Thanking our youth for sending an unexpected box of Valentine’s Day goodies to a church member college dorm address.

A box that my own sweet boy helped pull together and pack.

A box similar to one that this same sweet boy will be receiving next year in the mail.

To a college dorm address.

And I just sit here and sob at the thought.

Just be Quiet and Listen.

I’ve been really out of sorts lately. It would be so easy to blame it on hormones. Let’s face it, at my age I can blame everything on hormones. And for a day or two, I DID blame it on hormones raging…mine and my sweet angel girl’s hormones.

I woke up this morning (after sleeping in and catching up on fifty a few missed nights of sleep due to The Man’s coughing) knowing that I had to deal with whatever was making me out of sorts. And deal with it today.

With my first cup of Cafe Verona firmly in hand, I made my way to the computer and to bff, Joanne’s blog. As I read the title of her most recent post, I gave a little nod and smirked. After reading the first couple of lines, I was saying aloud (to God, because no one else was home), “so…this is the way it’s gonna be, huh?”

I didn’t need to read it through again. I got what I needed. What He knew I needed.

I’m pretty predictable in the morning. I get up, put on my fuzzy slippers and lavender bath robe and head to the kitchen to get that all important first cup of Starbucks brewing. Once I’ve secured that, I head into the dining room for some quiet time/devotion/bible study time. The first time I typed the previous line, I left out quiet time. I have been doing that in real life, too. Leaving out quiet time. I’m too rushed. Too tired. Too busy. Too focused on getting every last bit of knowledge out of my current bible study. Lexical aids stacked up around me. A couple different versions of the bible, my journal, highlighters and purple (must be…always…purple) pens. There’s nothing wrong with all of that. It is the way I do bible study.

But I’ve kinda been leaving God out of it. That realization sent me quickly into denial…leave God out of it? How can that be? I’m studying! I’m reading! I’m gleaning! Catchin’ my own Rhema!

I forgot one all-important detail…

listening.

Just being quiet and letting God speak to me.

Coincidentally (I totally do NOT believe in coincidences) I just finished Beth Moore’s Stepping Up bible study and we are set to begin He Speaks to Me by Pricilla Shirer. I mistakenly (yeah…right) purchased the actual book and not the bible study the first time around. I decided I was supposed to have purchased it (no coincidences, remember?) and kept it along with the actual bible study book.

He Speaks to Me: Preparing to Hear from God

Coincidence?

No way.

It was All Volleyball…All Weekend around here, folks.

We camped out at the DC Convention Center for a huge tournament over the weekend. Lucy’s team went 50%. Placed third in their bracket overall. They learned a difficult life lesson over the weekend. Lucy is #23.

Their coach, Jason, plays all the girls equally. And can because they are all very good players. We basically have two full teams. He might tweak player combinations, but as a rule, he’ll play one entire team of girls (6 girls) for the first game in a two-game match, and the other 6 girls in the second game of the match. If they go to a third tie-breaker game, usually the team on the court during the second game of the match stays on to begin the the tie-breaker and he’ll eventually sub all the first game team in before the tie-breaker is over. No matter how an individual girl is playing. And just like me, at any given time of any given day…it could be that a girl is having an off day. She’ll play anyway. That is why the girls love Jason so much.

And sometimes hate his guts.

Take Sunday, for example. We’re facing the last match of the day. Against a team that hasn’t lost any matches all day. If we beat them in two games, we take first place in our bracket. And, more importantly, don’t have to be back the next day to play at 8:00am. If we win first place, we come back and play at 1:00pm.

Earlier in the day, some of the girls…my sweet Lucy included…also known as Miss Intense Competitor…complained that Jason yanked out some of the girls who were playing really well and subbed in when he should have just let the team out there play the thing and win. Jason got a bit ticked about his coaching decisions being questioned. My own girl, for example, rode the pine (aka sat the bench) a little longer than she normally would have because she voiced a complaint.

So this all-important last game of Sunday evening comes along and Jason decides to give the girls what they asked for. He played the team he knew would win. And win they did. It was a super tense, very close game. It got ugly. The parents got ugly (I’ll be posting more on that later), but we won. And there were a lot of tears. Not tears of joy for winning…tears of hurt, pain, questions…

Several of the girls sat the bench the entire match. After sitting the bench for a game before this one. And they sat on the bench and cried. The girls who played also cried, in sorrow for the ones who sat the bench. And then they began complaining.

Ahhhh…how the tables had turned. The girls who played the entire last match…my own sweet daughter included, cried for the girls sitting the bench. And wanted Jason to go back to the old way of everyone getting to play. Lesson learned.

Or not.

Monday at 1:00pm. The first team comes out for the first game. My own sweet Lucy is not amongst those playing. Nor did she play the second game of the match. She was subbed in for two plays during the tie-breaker. We ended up losing this match…and it was single elimination. One would think the girls would be happy…playing time for the weekend had been equaled out. Lucy, after all, had played four straight games equalling two complete matches! She still had more playing time than the other girls, overall.

Lucy is still stewing about it. I haven’t pointed out to her the contradiction…the life lessons that should be learned here.

But I will.

Because there are several. One…winning is NOT everything. Period.

And two…be careful what you ask for.

Oh…and three…I don’t care who you are…in a moment of deep stress…especially when your own sweet child is involved…you can become one of “those parents”…

More to come on THAT ugly, painful, ah-ha moment.

Thank You.

Thank You, Father, for using this season of Lent to keep me focused on Your Son, Jesus. To remind me that durng this time, 2000 years ago, He was spending His last days on Earth as a man. Preparing for what He knew was coming. Preparing His Disciples for what He knew, but that none of them would understand…could never understand, until He had died and rose again.

I am so unworthy of this sacrifice. And yet, You did it for me. Knowing every thought I would ever think. Knowing every sin I wuld commit. Knowing every time I would turn from You and toward my self. You still did it for me. You still continue to love me. To woe me. To cherish me. Praise you, Lord. The One and Only true God. Maker of Heaven and of Earth. My Lord. My Savior. My Love. My Life.

Amen.