Warning!

To all who reside and drive in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

It’s finally happened.

Sarah has her license and is able to drive on her own.

May the Good Lord save us all.

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I think I’m going to be okay.

It is true that I am sad and I miss my bff, Jill. A lot.

It is true that my muscles and joints are sore and I had a wicked headache today, which I was able to sleep off with the help of Motrin and my beloved who, when I asked him, “could we all talk quietly for an hour so that I can take a nap and try to sleep off this migraine?” stomped (his usual walk, by the way) to the top of the stairs and hollered out (not once, not twice, but three times), “EVERYONE BE QUIET AND KEEP IT DOWN…MOM’S TRYING TO NAP BECAUSE SHE HAS A MIGRAINE!!!!”

LOL. Gotta love that man. There is nothing quiet or unmanly about him. Which is, I’m sure, what attracted me to him in the first place.

So, after all the hollering died down, I was able to take a cat nap for about 10 minutes, wake up, gauge that while better…still had a headache, and promptly fell asleep for an hour. An hour! And I woke up oh. so. much. better.

Then there is this deal that God and I have going on. That sounds funny as I read it back. But it’s true. There is this ongoing shall-we-say thing in my life that I’m try to get over-with once and for all. It is my deepest, darkest, hugest, ugliest pit and I totally found myself on the edge of it again this week, peering down into the lovely, tastefully decorated, warm-and-inviting (for a mere moment) darkness of it with one foot firmly on a banana peel. So I did what I know Beth Moore would be proud of…I got down on my face and cried out to my God. He answered! Immediately. Firmly. With so many directions to scriptures that I wept with thankfulness and praise!

There was also the caveat. Basically, it was this: “Susan, you must keep your mouth shut.” You see…over this particular issue, I tend to get, well…mouthy about it. I’ll say stuff I don’t need to say. Think about things I don’t need to be thinkin’ on. All of which just digs me deeper in my (purple embellished) pit.

Oh, I tried to skirt the caveat…”but, God, what if I just say…”. No. “But, God, if I only said….”. No. When I had finally exhausted all of my, “what if’s and if only’s” and I stopped blabbering, I had this from Him, “Susan. You must obey me on this. Not. A. Word.”

My tummy was in knots. I confessed to Him that I am totally incapable of keeping me mouth shut! It’s true. Open mouth…I start babbling. I also confessed that I needed His help on this. I can’t do it alone. I can’t do it by myself. Oops…there it is. I’m not supposed to do it by myself. Sigh.

I always forget that part. Thus…the blabbering.

So. Tonight. It happened. The opportunity to blabber. To open mouth and go off. And a totally unexpected, wonderfully amazing thing happened. No blabber. In fact, the entire situation took such a surprising turn…I walked away blessed! Yep. That’s right. Blessed.

Our God is an awesome God. There is a reason He has me jumping ahead to Psalm 103. Over and over. Every day. Not just reading it. Praying it. Out loud.

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

…Praise the LORD, O my soul.

They sure went fast!

This lovely arrived at my front door at exactly 3:00 yesterday afternoon.

The only thing left right now are a few picks sticking out. If the camera were here…I’d take a pic of the pitiful sight it makes.

Good news, though…other than the few Russell ate and the one each I doled out to Shawn and to Sarah…I ate them all myself.

They were worth every stinkin’ calorie.

Thank you T! You made my day!

Saying Goodbye.

A couple of us, including our kids, got together yesterday around 3:30 at our fave Tex-Mex place for an impromptu send-off for Jill and her family.
I was kinda numb the entire time…denial, maybe?

But we had a good time laughing and cuttin’ up and stayed for two hours. I then spent the next three hours with her and Lori (in the blue shirt on Jill’s lap in the picture) at our Sunday night youth event. When we couldn’t prolong the inevitable any longer, and long after Jill’s husband had come up and said, “stay as long as you like, but we ARE leaving in the morning,” we said our goodbyes.

I can say, without a doubt, that our friendship was a total God thing. He pulled us together, along with Lori, Vee and Jen, at a critical time in each of our lives. I know it was God’s plan. Just as I know that Jill’s leaving is also part of His plan. I don’t understand it, but thankfully, I’m able to recognize it.

When the five of us girls got together for a Last Hurrah Weekend together, we laid out five pieces of paper on the table and kept them there all weekend. One page of each of us. All weekend long, we jotted down words, and sometimes phrases, on those pages. I wanted to give you a tiny sampling of the words on Jill’s page:

Will sacrifice for her family and friends
Multi-talented
BFF
Loved
Dedicated
Uber-sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of those around her
Has a servant heart
A Godly woman

Our time together as a small group, as we know it, has come to an end. It wasn’t just Jill’s leaving. It was God’s timing. We’ve scrutinized it many times, many ways. Did we accomplish His purpose in our group? Did we stop doing what we were supposed to be doing?

None of us are sure, and how could we be? But we are sure of several things: NONE of us has ever had a small group of friends like this one. Nor, will we ever again, I imagine. We have prayed together, cried together, laughed together, experienced pain and loss together, joy and life together. We will always be connected by the One True God who brought us together and although the dynamics of our group time has changed, we are still one together.

Jill…you know how I stink at expressing my feelings but I absolutely love you and adore you and will miss hugging on you every day, but you are ingrained in my DNA now and we will always be bff’s.

Oh, and by the way, don’t think I’ve forgotten your last comment to me as we parted last night. You better believe my voice will be ringing in your ears for the rest of your life!

Menu Planning Saturday.

An odd day to plan out next week’s menu, to be sure, but My Man offered to run to the grocery store if I put a list together. My eyes lit up and got moving to make up a menu for the week and then a list from that (give or take a few items that a child or spouse hollered out as needed or wanted).

So…here’s the plan, beginning with today:

Saturday: lunch meat for lunch (yes, I know it’s 1:15 but we all slept in…it was heavenly!). Dinner…no one is home tonight. Boys are off to work the Nissan concert (Rascal Flats), Sarah, Trey & Brett are going to see Batman. Again. And I’m going to see Mama Mia with my next door neighbor, Flo.

Sunday: Lunch out after church, hopefully with Jill., since it is their last day on the East Coast. Dinner will be london broil, baked taters and green beans.

Monday: Breakfast for dinner…eggs, bacon, biscuits, grits.

Tuesday: We’ll grab a bite out…we’re all going in different directions.

Wednesday: Last Church Family Gathering night for the summer. It’s pot luck at a friend’s house. I’m bringing Mamie’s Brownies and potato casserole.

Thursday: Leftovers and/or cereal. We LOVE cereal for dinner.

Friday: No one is home for dinner. I’ll be here. The rest of the family will be here.

Saturday: When I come home from here, we’re going to have a late lunch/early dinner. Russell is taking the kids here. I’ll be home alone (she says rubbing her hands together gleefully!).

That’s our week. It’s tuff to plan out our menus, but I am determined to do it. Don’t ask me how we’re going to do it once football practice starts every day and Sarah starts two-a-day volleyball practices. Oy.

So, Who Knew?

My total gripe post yesterday made me totally better today! Who knew?

I took a couple of Advil PM last night. Wondering why I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Because they’ve been in my bathroom cabinet for awhile. About an hour after I took them, I remembered why…I have serious reactions to all things that ease pain (codeine-ish) and/or help you to sleep. Serious as in…I said goodbye to my family when I went to bed because I was sure I wouldn’t wake up. Ever.

Remaining Advil PM’s…well…let’s just say they’ve joined our deceased fish aka The Flushables.

Change.

I don’t ever recall change bothering me more than change bothers the average person.

All that has changed now.

Change sucks.

I would always get impatient with my grandparents about not wanting to do something different, go here or there. I continued with that impatient, lack of grace, with my own parents and in-laws.

Now I’m there. I don’t like change. I don’t like it one bit.

A first born child turning eighteen, graduating from high school and heading three hours south-west to college.

An incredible BFF moving to Montana.

Montana. Might as well be Africa.

My baby already 5’10” at twelve years old heading into middle school.

I look around our church home and see a large handful of families leaving…one to Pastor a church (Praise Jesus!), military families moving on to their next assignment or retiring.

I have really struggled with this season of change. I cry all the time. I don’t sleep more than a few hours every night. I have bouts of anxiety the likes of which I haven’t experienced in years. My highs are very high. My lows, well, they’re pretty bad. It has begun to impact my health in a huge, debilitating way.

And, yet…

There has been an incredible sweetness in all of this. A draw to the One True God that, even if I wanted to…and for awhile I did…I couldn’t resist.

My senses have an acute awareness to them that I can’t ever remember experiencing before. Especially one of my senses. My Girls…Jill, Lori, Jen and Vee…call it my Spidey Sense. God calls it Discernment. The ability to see the unseen, feel the intangible, know without really knowing how.

I knew awhile back that I was going to be heading into a difficult season. Frankly, I’m taken aback by just how difficult it has been. I’m also surprised that I can see it all so clearly.

I’m losing a child, but only to college. Unlike so many around me who have lost a child until they are reunited in Heaven.

One of the dearest friends I have ever had is moving, but we can still talk on the phone, blog together, fly to see each other.

My baby is twelve and moving into scary, stuff-of-my-nightmares-middle-school, but he’s our third one to do it and we survived (okay, barely) the first two going.

With all of the families leaving our church, God is bringing new families in every week.

My health is declining, but most likely only for a time. I know that I need to get a handle on it…have known for a few years…and I pray He will cover me with His Grace again and get me on the path to healing.

I am very thankful during this difficult season. Very.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for…a Meme.

That’s right, a Meme. Get over it. And yes…TAG you are IT.

Got this from Boo Mama’s blog.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was 37 years old. Oh…Brett was two. I think I had just discovered that I was the oldest mom at his preschool. And then I was the oldest mom from his kindergarten class. I was working from home (yay), writing programs for the law firm I had been working for since 1988. Holy. Crap. Twenty years ago. It seems like just…fifteen.

Favorite Snacks
Dark chocolate covered almonds
California trail mix
Kettle chips
Blueberries
Red cherries
Cheese and crackers

Jobs I Have Had
Babysitter, vacuumed and cleaned a clothing store every morning before they opened one summer, ran the weight room on base (yes…I’m no dummy…I was a teenager and only young enlisted guys came in), bank teller (I quickly realized I was not created to work with The Public), law tech in an Army JAG office, legal assistant in a law firm, switched to computer programming work for same law firm (from home…yay), edited our preschool newsletter (it counts as a paid job cuz I got $$ off Brett’s tuition to do it), sold jewelry on ebay for a friend of ours (don’t ever work for a friend is my best advice), office manager/assistant to the pastor at our church, wife, mom and all THAT entails.

Oh, The Places I’ve Lived
Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Virginia, Nebraska, New York, Virginia, Turkey, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia. In that order.

Bad Habits
Major procrastinator, anxiety-ridden-worrier, java junkie, tend to view things as half-empty vice half-full, lacking a bit in the trust area.

5 Random Things People May Not Know
1. Russell (my man) and I met when I was 15. And he was dating my best friend. And me. At the same time. Until I dumped him. She’s no longer a friend. What’s up with that?
2. My two oldest children are 11 months and 1 day apart. It was HIS fault.
3. I went to college pre-vet.

4. I love animals. All animals. Except snakes. And bugs.
5. I have a secret crush on Mark Harmon. Always have. Pretty sure I always will.

CDs I would want if stranded on an island
Any and all Travis Cottrell. Ditto for Journey. The Bible on CD.

What I’d Do if I Won the Big One (the Lottery) or suddenly found myself a multi-millionaire
1. Put at least 10% in the tithing plate.
2 Make sure my children’s educations were completely paid for…thru graduate school.
3. Buy my husband this car:

4. Buy that land on the lake and build that house we want.
5. Help out any of our family members that need it.
None of this necessarily in any order, other than #1.

Okay, that’s the Meme. You’re it. And you know who you are…

Photos and Life.

We attended a wedding on Saturday. It was one of the most fun weddings ever! There was a lot of laughter and a few mistakes and it was all good, sweet and personable. Just like a wedding should be. During the wedding, Russell ran the sound system. I am an Event Widow. My spouse is always running sound. Or DJing. Or running the video. Or something. Saturday was no exception. I’m used to sitting by myself.

The wedding was at 1:00. The reception following was around 2:00. Then we all went home for an hour or so and then headed to the wedding dinner at a totally different location. It was very cool. It was on the Occoquan River. The food was delicious. Some folks (other than the bridal party) changed clothes. My husband was the DJ (although he did sit with me to eat dinner) and he had changed to a comfy and cool shirt. Here are two pics.


Russell dancing with Sarah


Sarah and Brett

Sarah and I talked all during the wedding and the reception about different thoughts and ideas for her EVENTUAL-LONG-TIME-FROM-NOW wedding. It was fun to toss ideas around. In a scary sorta way.

Speaking of which. We’ll be seeing more of Trey this year. He’s not going back to Old Dominion for the Fall session. His dad was not happy with his grades during his freshman year. His dad was not happy with his summer grades. So…he’s taking the Fall session off. He’s going to work and take some classes at the local community college. The Commonwealth of Virginia has an amazing community college system. I think My Girl will be doing that for at least her first year. I’m already lecturing (in a loving, calm way although I’m totally freaked out about it) to both Trey and Sarah that Trey needs to go back to school and get a degree. In something. Anything. Sarah needs to focus on her senior year, get good grades and then go on to college. I don’t care in the least if she wants to go to junior college…just do something. And, Lord have mercy, do not tell me you are getting married anytime soon.

Like for at least five years.

Yes. Yes, I know…God is in control. He’s got it. I totally believe that. I don’t, however, believe that Sarah and Trey have it under control! Seriously…the entire free will thing…scares me. Big time.

I know I haven’t posted any graduation pictures. It’s because I have an attitude about it. No need to go into detail. Just know that I will eventually get over it and go through the grad pics, clean them up and post some here.

Did I mention I’m struggling with some things? Totally am. But it’s okay. I’m talking to Him about it. He has me thirsting for Him, hungry for His Word, aching to be filled. It’s all good.

Chat soon…

An Ode to Rambling.

:: I’m in a bit of a snit. That’s right. A snit. Only a mere snit because there’s not a darn thing I can do about it, so I can’t very well get riled up or anything over the top like that. “It” is vacation. Or, lack thereof, in this case. Okay, so my beloved (aka the spousal unit) reminded me that “we had a gazillion dollar vacation in December. Remember?” This reminder prompted my snit. And yes, but technically our gazillion dollar, ten-day-stay (3 days too many, btw) on the Walt Disney property in Buena Vista, Florida was in 2007. This is 2008. Where’s my vacation? Still back at the Contemporary, apparently.

:: I’m actually riled up about this next thing, although I still can’t do anything about it. Jill is leaving. I am just not allowing myself to say it aloud. But she is truly, actually leaving. How do I know? The moving truck is parked in front of her house. All of the boxes that contain her home are being loaded onto the truck. And finally, she’s crying. A lot. She doesn’t want to go. No one wants her to go. But something in her marriage vows (apparently) says that she has to go…idk…for better or for worse…blah blah blah. Every time I say “Jill is moving to Montana” out loud I burst into tears. If I don’t say it aloud…it’s not really happening. Right? RIGHT?

:: So here’s the deal. What do you call it when you are in the grocery store (Whole Foods, even), minding your own business, buying organic food and products, and you suddenly start crying because you wonder why you have squandered your life away? Okay, I’m 47…not old right? Am I right? Not old. I don’t feel depressed. I don’t feel totally out of control (only slightly out of control) but I really just wonder, what in the hell am I going to be when I grow up? (Sorry for the H word, but I was thinking it and wanted to keep it real here.) I feel like Paul…I keep doing what I don’t want to do and not doing that which I want to do.

This morning, during my quiet time/journaling time, as I was once again writing about it, praying about it, God led me to Psalm 5 (yes, I know I’m reading through the Psalms and I am only on Psalm 5, but the Psalms are good stuff people!). The NLT translation really spoke to me.

Psalm 5
1 O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
4 O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
5 Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
for you hate all who do evil.
6 You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.
7 Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
8 Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.
9 My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery.
10 O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

After my time with Psalm 5, I opened My Utmost for His Highest for July 19 and, as icing on the cake, He reminded me that He never forces me to do anything. He wants me to do it out of love, respect, worship, praise because He Is Worthy. He Is Worthy. By not obeying Him, I am telling Him I don’t think He’s worthy.

Ouch.

As I sat there meditating on all of this, I distinctly heard Beth Moore’s voice telling me, “just do the thing, Susan…stop praying about it…stop asking about it…JUST DO THE THING”.

She is right. Stop praying about it, moaning, groaning and complaining and get moving.

Just do the thing.