That's Why I Love the South...

Sorry friends up North.......this is why I LOVE the South! Check out our February temps!

The Sweetest Sound...

is one I long to hear just one more time.

Isn't it sad how much we take for granted? Ever since my father passed away a short 3 1/2 months ago, Sundays have been the hardest days for me. I have learned after numerous Sundays of slipping out to the bathroom to get tissue, to keep a pack in my purse! There is always some song or passage of scripture that reminds me of my Dad.

This morning one of the hymns we sang was "Living for Jesus". I immediately was transported in my mind to hearing and seeing my Dad sing that hymn. My Dad was a Music Minister's "dream member" of the congregation. He sang with such enthusiasm and passion, always with a smile on his face and sometimes looking upwards with such intent that it made me wonder what he was seeing or envisioning. He, by no means, was a soloist, but he could certainly carry a tune. But more than that, was the music that radiated from his heart and his countenance.

Even after his stroke and the dementia that robbed him of the man he once was, it did not steal his joy of singing the hymns. He got to the place where he was unable to stand, but he would sit in the pew, rock back and forth, and sing those songs with the same passion that he always had. Even though he might miss a line or two, I believe it was the sweetest sound the angels carried up to heaven to his Heavenly Father.

I miss that sound, but I know the singing has not stopped, for he is in heaven now, worshipping and praising His father, and remembering every line. I love you, Dad, and miss you so much.

Lazy Saturday...

Had a lazy day today...still exhausted from the week. Me and hubby pretty much laid around all day and got caught up on laundry and took a few catnaps here and there. It was so nice to be able to do that after we had been running all week.

Tonight we decided to stay in and order pizza and have movie night! So I picked one of my all-time favorites that we hadn't watched in a long time, "Sweet Home Alabama". LOVE that movie!

Now we are going to "batten down the hatches" for this severe weather that's supposed to move in tonight. Geez...hope I don't sleep through the tornado alarm!

They don't get the name "GRUMPY" for nothing!

I have been so stressed this week...hence the lack of blogging! I've been working with a "former" boss this week on an inventory at First Baptist. He owns an inventory company that catalogs in print and photographs all the items of a home or business for Insurance purposes. This is very detailed and stressful work, especially in a church of several city blocks! We have been working diligently all week to get this church inventoried and we are only about half-way finished.

I used to work with him 5 years ago and he hasn't been able to find good help since! He calls me when he has big jobs and begs me to come and help him, cause honestly, he knows I'll get it done. Anyway, he called me about a month ago and asked me to give him one week to help him on this job. Turns out it will probably take two weeks, at least. Let me just say, that I have been reminded of why I quit working with him several years ago. He was pretty cranky then, but now he is even crankier..if that's even a word! He is almost 70 years old (too old to be doing this type of work) and he is ornery, obstinant, grouchy, grumpy, and downright rude at times. He always has to be right and that doesn't mix well with someone who really IS always right! (it's true...just ask my hubby!) There have been several times this week that I've had to just put down the laptop and walk away for a few minutes and take a few deep breaths. One day I even had to call Gary and tell him to say something quick to keep me from walking off this job! I'm the only one that knows how to run the program on the laptop. He just "flits around" taking photos on the digital camera...what monkey can't do that? I've told him all week that if he realized how valuable I was, he would be nicer to me! He just laughs. Each morning I prayed for patience in dealing with him, and each morning that patience flew right out the window in about 2.2 seconds. By the time I got home each evening, I was both physically and mentally exhausted and usually in the bed by 9:30 p.m. And now week one is turning into week two. Ugh.

One final thought...this afternoon we were working on a floor with a maid. She seemed a little "off" because she kept talking to herself nonstop, very loudly I might add. But she said something that stuck with me. She was babbling about this and that when I heard her say, "God has given each of us different gifts, and this is my gift". Here she was, pushing a janitorial cart around, vacuuming, dusting, emptying trash cans, but she was doing it joyfully unto the Lord. That was like a sock in the gut to me. I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my poor attitude and was quickly reminded of Philippians 2:14 , "Do all things without complaining and disputing." So, thank you Velma, for that very powerful testimony...seems like I was the one that was a little "off".

He's My Cello Fellow...yeah, yeah

Just got back from the Symphony. Gary says I need to post on a "non-musicians" recount of the symphony. He laughs hysterically when I tell him my thoughts afterwards.

First of all, it's so divine to rub furry elbows with all the Montgomery Society at the Symphony. Seriously, it makes me laugh because that's really the only time all the little old ladies like "Martha" (pronounced, Maaaahtha) and "Eleanor" get to drag out their furs...even though it was near 55 degrees outside! They all say things like, "isn't the symphony just mah-velous?" and "that 3rd movement of Bartok was ever so inspirin' (no-"g")...and "will I see you at the Junior League luncheon next week?" "We are inductin' (no-"g" again) our new society membahs"......

Anyway, back to the symphony. Throughout all the movements, I have a mini-movie going on in my head. It goes something like this...sweet music, pretty flute, isn't she lovely, skipping through the meadow, picking flowers and chasing butterflies on this bright sunny day. Uh-oh, scary music, he's coming out of the woods, he's chasing her, oh no, he's about to get her! Run, sissy, run! Hurry! Here he comes! He's running faster and faster...oh and it's the pretty music again, back to the skipping. I sit there and giggle to myself...sad, I know.

Then I like to watch the Maestro! First of all, can I just say "Seinfeld" episode? Remember the one where the Maestro demanded that everyone call him "Maestro" all the time. So, it takes me a few minutes to get that vision out of my head and then I'm on to examining every overly dramatic move the Maestro makes. Sometimes he looks like he's going down a set a stairs, yet there are no stairs there. Other times he was looking like he was drawing circles in the air and another time he looked like windshield wipers on a bus (you know, the upside down ones). Giggle again.

All in all, the music was beautiful, seriously, it was and I had a "mahhhvelous" time! Hey usher, where can I spit out my gum?

Looks Like We're Still in Montgomery, Toto!

Don't worry! No need to call FEMA! We didn't get blown away by all the inclement weather and the tornados! Thanks for checking on me, friends. I've just been very busy the past couple of days.

I was determined to get the house clean this weekend. I won't tell you how long it's been since I "deep cleaned" the house...let's just say it was long overdue. Saturday started out with Chocolately goodness and ended in a slippery mess! I started my day with chocolate swirl coffee and chocolate chip pancakes. Yeah, yeah, I know...not too healthy...but we splurge on weekends! Then it was time to tackle those dust bunnies and get down to business cleaning every inch of this home. I mopped the kitchen, caught up on laundry, Gary cleaned bathrooms, I re-organized my closet, cleaned out other closets, which resulted in bags and bags of trash. Then late Saturday night I decided I was going to finish up by mopping the hardwood floors in the dining room and foyer. Things were going along fine and I was almost finished when the bucket decided to stop sliding across the floor and tipped over. A WAVE of Murphy's Oil went splashing across the foyer and onto the carpet in the office. I mean, the best surfers in Waikiki couldn't ride this wave! You know when you watch something happen and you're helpless, almost like it's happening in slow motion?! Well, that's how it was and hubby was just thrilled (not!) about having to pull out his shop vac from the storage room and vacuum up the carpet. Oh well, alls well that ends well.

Sunday was a good day at church and went to bed early because I've got a long week ahead of me. This week, I'm helping a friend of mine (previous employer) inventory the First Baptist Church of Montgomery. Long hours and alot of hard work.

I keep checking in on my friends and what ya'll have been up to! It's been fun making new friends too...if you have a minute, check out beachkat, musicaljean, the preacher's wife, and also stop by and say hello to my hubby!

Off to the Montgomery Symphony tonight...hubby plays cello and tonight they are doing a concert of Dvorak Symphony #8 in G, Bartok and Brahms Hungarian Dances. And I'm missing "24" for this?!

He's Some Kind of Wonderul!

To me, Valentine's Day is kinda silly, because we should always let our loved ones know how much we love them. But I buy into the whole propaganda, the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, the boxer shorts with big red lips all over them, the box of Red Hots or that heart-shaped candy that tastes like chalk and has silly messages all over them. [Okay, maybe not the boxer hubby would absolutely NOT wear those!] But I do like the flowers and the candy!

So, last night, he wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day since he would be at church tonight. He surprised me with two dozen roses and had plans for us to go out to a nice dinner, but mother nature had another idea! We were under a Tornado Warning for 2 hours with the most outrageous hail storm either of us had ever seen! A little after 8:00 p.m., we were finally able to go out to dinner, but were so tired when we got home, we decided to exchange gifts tonight when he gets home.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to write a "Top 10" list for my hubby, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list by any means. But here are just a few of the many reasons I love my hubby...

Top 10 reasons I love my husband...

10. He helps out around the house with everything
9. He loves Christmas as much as I do
8. He looks hot playing the drums
7. He can never tell jokes right
6. He laughs at the same jokes matter how many times he hears them--and I mean, side-splitting, doubled over, hand slapping leg kind of laughing too!
5. He blushes easily
4. He leads me to believe I'm funny
3. He is an awesome father to Zack
2. He is a passionate, committed man to God and his family

And the number one reason I love him so much is...

1. Because he is the most selfless, loving man who is my very best friend. He "grounds" me and shows me the world through a different set of eyes that aren't so cynical. He loves me without condition and always makes me laugh. He is my provider and protector. I never knew I could experience such joy and happiness, but he has brought that to my life.

Okay, so that was a bunch of reasons all piled into number 1, but you get the idea!

I love you hon!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Your Schweetie

O Say, Can You See?

This morning I accompanied my son to the Doctor for his first ever physical. He's been seeing this doctor for years, but they were only "sick visits" and he had never had just a regular check up. So after the Doctor's urging and a few teachers telling me that Zack wasn't looking "too good", I decided to make him an appointment. I was very anemic as a child and teenager and thought he might be experiencing some of the same issues too. He was looking pale and had dark circles under his eyes, his hands were cold all the time, and he was dizzy and shakey. Not to mention, he's not eating right nor getting enough sleep!

So, first thing was for him to step on the scale. We knew he had been losing weight, that was obvious to anyone who knows him...but 41 pounds in a year? WOW! We didn't realize it was that much. In January of '06, he decided to cut out sodas and junk food and started working out. He wasn't fat by any means, and now 41 pounds lighter, he is very, very skinny. The Doc was a wee bit alarmed at this and said he was under-weight by about 10-15 pounds and needed to gain a few. (Hmmm, what does that feel like? Your doctor telling you to gain weight! Excuse me just a moment while I drift off in fairy-tale land and dream of my doctor telling me those words!)

Okay, that was nice--more like "never NEVER land!"

Next thing was for him to read the eye chart. The nurse told him to read the smallest line he could see. Zack rattled off a sequence of letters and then looked at her. She frowned, looked at him and said, "do it again". So, he rattled off some more letters, not sounding anything like the first set of letters he read and looked back at the nurse. [Sidenote: I have perfect vision, so by this time, I'm getting the giggles because I know what he's saying isn't even close to being correct!]. She very sweetly says, "why don't you try line 5". Hmmmm...that was not so good either. "Okay, Zack, try line 4" Yes! That's my boy! He finally gets those 5" letters correct! Now the nurse turns to him and says, "tell me the colors of the two lines on the chart", which Zack very confidently says "blue and pink". By this time, I'm doubled over laughing with tears streaming down my cheeks as she drops her clipboard down by her side and in a half-flustered, half-joking way says, "WHAT eye chart are YOU looking at?"

Then as she directed us to a room, she went on this 10 minute rant about how he should not be driving, "he has 20/50 vision and that is not a passing grade to get your license. Did they pass you? Do you have a license? Cause, you really shouldn't have a license! You really can't see! You should not be behind the wheel." At which point, my son turns to her with a smirkish grin and says, "well, I took my driver's test over 7 months ago and passed the eye part then, maybe it's just gotten worse. But I can see the BIG things. I can see other cars and trucks on the road. Sometimes at night though, I have trouble with traffic lights until I'm right up on them." HELLO? Stop talking please!!! This is all news to me.....can you please stop talking and let's just quietly tip-toe out of here and run to the Optometrist before DEFAX comes and picks me up?!

So, after another lecture by the Doctor, not only on his weight, but his vision, they took a "ton" of blood (according to Zack), a chest x-ray, ran an EKG and we were out the door.

"Hey Mom, can I drive?" Uhhh, let me think about that for a minute, "No!"

Doesn't get much better...

Today was a good day. We had Charles Billingsley at our church today--leading worship this morning and then performing a full, almost 2-hour concert tonight. It doesn't get much better than that!

Want to share just a little "funny" from today. Sometimes Gary and I really get in the mood for breakfast food for lunch or dinner. Today we went to one of our favorite places that we go to when we just want good 'ole comfort food.

After walking in and seeing tables that had not been cleaned and a floor that was in desperate need of sweeping, the conversation went something like this...

Me: Man, this place has really gone downhill
Hubby: Hon, it's the Waffle House, it didn't have far to go!

Food for thought...

Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. Ecclesiastes 7:3

Saw the following on a blog I was browsing this morning...

God never uses anybody to a large degree, until after He breaks that one all to pieces. Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations. For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, “Joseph is a fruitful bough…by a well, whose branches run over the wall” (Gen. 49:22). It takes sorrow to widen the soul.

Claim Your Victory!

Tonight I have the house all to myself! Hubby is at a Men's Conference at church (with none other than Dr. James Merritt himself) and teenager is at work. On the 7 minute drive home from the office, I thought of a million things I could and should accomplish tonight---like re-organizing my closet that seems to have gotten out of hand the past couple of weeks; or sifting through the pile of magazines that have come in that I haven't had the opportunity to look at; or running to Wal-Mart to pick up some necessary household items (hmmm...Wal-Mart on a Friday night? I don't think so!) or tackling those dust-bunnies that are taking up residence in the corners of the dining room.

Then I thought, "wow, but putting on my flannel pajamas and fixin' (Southern term for 'preparing' for you snow birds up north!) me a cup of Chocolately Swirl coffee or Irish Creme hot chocolate and curling up in bed watching a good movie sure does sound inviting!"

So revel in your victory, you dust bunnies! Tonight, you've marshmallows are melting as we speak and I think my electric blanket should be just about hot enough now to warm up these cold little feet!

Tomorrow's another day...

Showin' some Link-love!

I found this web site from Beachkat's blog and have been "lurking" on his site about as long as I lurked on Beachkat's before I "outed" myself during "de-lurking" week! He's a Worship Pastor in California and I love getting a glimpse into his world every day.

Also, for some really funny stuff, click his "fat ragamuffin" posts. Hilarious! Love the "jiggle tests!" Anyway, throwing a little link-love all the way out to California!

The Message, The Method, and the Minister's Wife

There is something that I've been "mulling" over for several days. It's raw, so if you can't handle it, stop reading. And let me go ahead now and provide this disclaimer that the thoughts and opinions expressed here do not directly reflect or relate to any friends, family members, church(es), nor are they the opinions of any friends, family members, church(es), etc.

I will attempt to put my thoughts down on "paper" and may not do it so eloquently, and for that, I apologize. Bear with me as I try to make some sense out of the thoughts and feelings that have been bouncing around in my head. I am not saying that the opinions I express are right in any way, but they are honest. They are as honest as I know how to be.

We are taught so much about being "in" the world, not "of" it. Sanctification...being "set apart" for holiness. I was raised in the Independent Baptist church. Although not on the extreme end of legalism, it did have the tendency to lean in that direction. For the past 15 or so years, I've been a member of the Southern Baptist denomination of churches. {Sidenote: I really don't like the denomination "labels"}. I digress.

Lately, I look around and wonder what we are doing. I have to admit that I am struggling with some disillusionment. A little background. Two years ago, I was extremely hurt in a church and by a Pastor that proclaimed to be a Bible-believing, Word-of-God teaching pastor. This man was a liar. He stood in the pulpit, of God's church, and told lies, one right after the other. And the people, hearing and knowing the truth, still turned a blind eye and chose to follow him. How? I couldn't understand how the people of God's church could become so complacent that they ignored the lies and moved on. That was the beginning of the downward spiral from which I can't seem to recover. That was the beginning of this wall I've built around me, stone by stone, filled with the mortar of resentment.

But back to my original thoughts. So often we get so focused on not being "of" the world that we alienate the very ones Jesus came to save. John 3:17 says "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." We sit in our church pews, with a "check-mark" in our attendance column, and look down on those that don't attend on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in not catering to the world by canceling Sunday night church on Super Bowl Sunday...but how many people did we reach that night? "Oh, but we were in church!" How much more effective would it be to take that same group of people outside the four walls of the church to saturate the neighborhood with The Message of God's love and forgiveness? Isn't that having church? Isn't that what it's all about?

Some churches have revival once a year. They invite a guest speaker, meet several nights during the week, the regular attenders sit in their usual spots, some songs, hear some preaching and call it "revival". Maybe some hearts are stirred, maybe emotions run high, but how long does it last? Until the following year when they invite another speaker back for yet another "revival"? Webster's describes the word "revival" as follows: a renewed attention to or interest in something. To me, revival would be a renewed attention to the Great Commission. Go ye INTO all the world and preach the gospel. Take the revival out of the four walls of the church and take it into the world. We go to church every time the doors are open. We have our "gold star" in attendance, but haven't shared the truth of God's love with our next-door neighbors. We back out of our driveways on our way to church and wave to our neighbor's that are one step closer to spending an eternity without Christ. There's something terribly wrong with this picture.

The most judgmental people can be found in the church pews. We say we "love" everybody, but honestly, if someone walked into the church looking like a strung-out drug addict, or dressed like a prostitute, would we extend arms of unconditional love or would we lower our heads and whisper to our neighbor to catch a glimpse of what just walked in? We can be so judgmental, like the Pharisees were. When Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many of the tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and the disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they couldn't believe that Jesus would sit at the same table with these people. Jesus' response was this, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." The Message has not changed, but the Method in which it is delivered must continue to evolve. We have to take the Message of Christ and make it relevant to a lost world. That means, we live it every day, outside of the church, we take it to them, wherever they are. Christ was the ultimate example of that for us.

I recently saw a Nightline segment on XXX Church and JC's Girls. I have to admit that initially I was a little taken back by their methods. But then I listened to their message. I listened to their testimonies and realized they are living out The Great Commission. They are taking the message of Christ's unconditional love directly to the people who need it, while we sit comfortably within the four walls of our church, probably judging their methods based on a "set of rules" we think are acceptable and not acceptable. But rules do not make us God's and rule-breaking does not deny us God's grace.

In closing, let me just say this...I cannot measure up--none of us can. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Yes, I'm a minister's wife. Yes, I was raised a missionary kid. But none of that matters. Here's the bottom line, my attendance in church will not earn me a "pass" to heaven. Any amount of giving won't get me a "gold star". What matters is that I have accepted Christ as my personal Savior, so unworthy and undeserving of His salvation and yet His grace is extended to me each and every day. What matters most is my relationship with Him, daily, not just Sundays, and my relationship with others. What have I done to further His kingdom? If I'm honest, I'd have to say "not much". I can sit in church and "report" the fact that I was there, but can I look around and see a friend I invited, or someone I led to the Lord?

The Message is unchanged. The Method for reaching a lost world must change.

Sometimes you just want Chocolate!

So, I just got home from work and spent an hour playing around on the M & M's web site. After a busy weekend, I could think of several things to blog...but sometimes you just want chocolate!

Here is our M & M family...

My hubby loves baseball (hence the ball cap) but can't forget the school-teacher briefcase; my sweet son and his spiked hair, he, too, loves all things baseball; and me, love to dress up so I gotta have my glam-gloves on, but am oh so comfortable in my slippers too! Plus, can't forget the cell phone!

Create your very own by clicking here and post it so I can see what you look like!

The Obligatory Tip Jar

So I'm finding more and more often that my life could be a Seinfeld episode. My sister swears that there truly is a Seinfeld episode that covers just about everything one could deal with day in and day out.

The other day me and a couple of other Realtors decided to try this new mexican restaurant, Salsarita's, that just opened across the street from our office. It's one of those Moe's type of places where you walk up to the counter, place your order and walk down the line while they make your food and you tell them what you want on it, like an extra scoop of that yummy cilantro salsa, or "more olives please". Anyway, at the end of the buffet of available toppings, sits the cash register and the polite young know, the only one that can speak halfway decent english, waiting to take your money. And without fail, there it is, the 1920's milk jar with a tattered piece of paper taped to it with the word "Tips".

This jar always evokes such conflict within. On one hand, I'm thinking, "how is this different than Chick-fil-A?" I walk up to the counter, place my order, they make my food, ring it up and hand it to me. BUT you won't find a "tip jar" on any Chick-fil-A counter....or any "fast food" place for that matter. Unless you're coming to my table, placing the food before me and refilling my water glass why do you deserve a tip? For making my food? Isn't that your job?

But then there's the obligatory tip, you know the one, when the person in front of you drops a dollar or two in the jar and the nice lady behind the counter says "thank you very much" and then shoots you that look like she expects the same generosity from you. So, as I hand her my debit card, I'm digging thru my purse in search of that obligatory dollar. YES! I've got one! Just as I go to put it in the jar, she turns away and refills the cup holder next to the drink machine. WHAT???!!! Come on lady, you didn't see me put my dollar in! Oh, the dilema. For a split second, I thought of the Seinfeld episode where George puts a dollar in the tip jar, the calzone man doesn't see him do it, so he goes to take it out and put it in again and the guy thinks he's stealing! Now I'm wondering as I sign my debit receipt, "should I leave the 'tip' part blank?" I certainly don't want to tip twice for something that I don't think even deserves a tip in the first place. But does my tip count if she doesn't see me put it in? Geez, I guess not since I didn't receive the same flash of a smile and "thank you very much".

So now I'm declaring I'm done. Done with those tip jars at places where people are just doing their jobs. Tonight I drove thru my favorite Starbucks to order my favorite marble mocha machiatto, and lo and behold, a tip jar at the stinkin' drive thru window. Are you kidding me? I just paid four bucks for a small coffee and you want a tip too? Here's your tip...fill my coffee up to the lid. And get a clue, I work hard every day too and there's no tip jar on my desk!
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