Saturday, April 29, 2006

Living Beyond Yourself -- Week 5

I don't even know how to share what I want to without making this a mile-long post... but, here it goes...

This week, our lesson concentrated on Peace. And during the video series, Beth pointed out the difference between a Peacemaker and a Peacekeeper ... and let me just say ... that really struck a chord with me.

As I've mentioned before, I am a people pleaser. I hate controversy and conlfict. HATE it. And I now realize that for the majority of my life, I was acting as a peacekeeper, and not a peacemaker. For three years, I worked with a man that loved contention. He was my supervisor. He would constantly tear me down in front of my co-workers, argue with me, yell at me, and try to start fights with me. My co-workers just couldn't understand why he became so abusive with me... I have always said it's because I refused to give in to his desire to argue with him. I kept quiet, tried to patch things up, moved on ... despite the fact that my husband and coworkers all advised me to report this man to Human Resources.

I just couldn't. I was paralyzed with the fear of loosing my job, or of tarnishing my own good reputation at work. I was afraid of being labeled the "trouble maker" -- even though his behavior was unethical and abusive.

Beth pointed out in her video that the some of the motivations behind a "lover of contention" are misery, and power -- a desire to be in control, which is very strong and manipulative. He was all of this. He caused so much stress in my life. And fear. In fact, while working under him, I had three miscarriages. Not a good thing.

Finally, when I was 7 months pregnant with Hunter, I had reached my limit. I went to Human Resources and reported him, taking with me all my documentation. They began an investigation. When I was 8 months pregnant, I was put on bed rest. And the day I went on bed rest, he advertised my position. That created a whole different upheaval, but while I was sad to leave my coworkers and a job I absolutely loved, my HR rep and I decided it was for the best... And my husband pointed out that it may very well be God's hand in all of this. Needless to say, he has burned many bridges, insulted many other people higher up than me, and has left a bad reputation for himself.

I can look back and see all the times I tried to keep peace. But I really felt like I was in the middle of a spiritual warfare. You see, he was of a different ... How can I say this gently ... belief system. One that acknowledges Christ as a good man and an important profit, but not his god. Many think that his god and my God are one in the same. They are not. And each time I stepped foot into my office, I could feel evilness hanging like a thick cloud in our area. It cause a lot of anxiety in me. Not peace.

Beth shared a scripture in her video that was ME ... ME ME ME, I tell you!!!

"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not
serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace."
Jeremiah 8:11

They dress the deep, ugly, baaaad wound with a bandaid and say... it's going to be just fine, really ... it is. But IT'S NOT. And that's exactly what I was trying to do. For three years. Folks, I was NOT in a healthy state (as Beth said)!

Another scripture that Beth laid out for us (in Day 3 of our homework) --

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

The peace I was trying to create was not like the Peace that Christ gives us. I was troubled. I was afraid. And that was no way to live. Now, I have a new job (one that I don't like very much) but, I'm not at work until midnight, or even 3:00 in the morning any more. And, I have a great boss.

I'll tell you what ... I want "peace like a river ... not a pond" -- yeah, Beth said that, too! But this little Texan lady is smart ... and carries a walloping spiritual punch!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ta Daaaa!!!

What do you think of my blog's "new dress" as Susie, the designer of my template put it??? Didn't she do a wonderful job!

Thanks, Susie ... you did a stupendous, awesome, fantastical job! I LOVE IT!!!

Let her know what you think in the comments, and go ... no RUN to her site and check out her awesome prices ... quick ... before she's inundated... A Little Luxury

P.S. -- A special thanks to Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer for sharing Susie with me!!

Friday stuff ... and some food fun, too!

I am totally up to my eyeballs in commodity markets, commodity pricing, trend analysis, global economy outlook, manufacturing reports, financial flows and industry news. I'm trying to finish a newsletter for work, and I need a break! I'm tired of pretending to be smart this week ... it is simply exhausting!

But first, I just wanted to show you a couple out-of-focus pictures of traffic on the beltway around Washington, D.C. --

Like I've mentioned before ... I live just outside DC, but our women's retreat was a little closer to DC than I care to venture, and this is what I was driving in... 8-lane highway (4 lanes on each side ... but at some points, it is 6 on each side), bumper to bumper of slow moving traffic, both ways ... ugh! The pictures are out of focus, because I took them while I was trying to drive. Not something I'd recommend!

Now ... for a few things that bring a smile to my face. The first picture I want to share with you is one of my son's foot. Yes, his foot brings a smile to my face. Why? Well, because he has one lone freckle on the bottom of his foot. Now, freckles run in my husband's side of the family, so I'm sure he'll eventually have a face or even body full of freckles. But right now, the only freckle on his entire body is on the bottom of his foot. And over the last couple of months... it's gone from a pin-head sized freckle to what you see now. I'm thinking it might be a birth mark, because all of my sister's kids have the same freckle on the bottom of their foot, and my mom does too. So cute. And whenever I undress him, or change his socks, or change his diaper, I always grab his bare feet, pretend to sniff them, and say... "Who's tinky (stinky) toes are these??? Pooo tinky! They are Hunters tinky toes!" And then I kiss all over them and tickle them. They're not really stinky ... so I'm not sure why I started to say that to him, but he laughs and laughs when I do that ... and the poor child is going to grow up thinking stinky is pronounced tinky ... So... here's a picture of Hunter's "tinky toes ..."

Next, I wanted to share a couple pictures of the bracelets we made at the women's retreat ... each of the colored beads represents a verse in Ps 23, and is a tool for memorizing the Psalm, as well as a reminder that He is with us...

I also wanted to share a picture of a gift that was given to me for speaking at the women's retreat. I simply adore it. And it is perfect for me. And the person that picked it out knows me intimately ... better than most people know me ... my sister-in-law!!! And she knows I love teapots, AND love lime green!!! She also put together some awesome goody bags for the other women that had a worship CD, a Point of Grace tape, a starbucks gift certificate, little candies, one of those bracelets like Lance Armstrong wears, and I can't remember what else she put in there... but they were adorable. Any way -- here's my new tea pot --

And, finally ... before we get to the food fun, I just wanted to leave you hanging on the edge of your seats ... because ... Susie (her own blog is so cute) at A Little Luxury has re-designed my blog template, and she has done a FABU job on it!!! It is so adorable, and incorporates ALL my favorite colors -- pink, lime green, oh, the list goes on! So keep your eyes peeled for the change!!!

Now, here is a recipe that I used to make when I worked with the youth in our church, and we had all-nighters. I'm assuming they liked it, because it was always GONE. Of course, I didn't make it for them, but rather, for me, because I love s'mores, and also, because I'm selfish like that! Also, it's nice to change up the rice crispy bars every now and then and have a different kind of bar treat! It's not a GiBee original recipe, but go ahead and try it out with your kids or youth ... it's so easy and tres good! (um, feeble attempt at french for very good) --

Golden Graham S'mores

3/4 c. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. butter
1 pkg. (11.5 oz.) milk chocolate morsels (not semi-sweet)
3 c. miniature marshmallows
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (12 oz.) Golden Graham cereal (9 c.)

1. Grease rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.
2. Heat syrup, butter and morsels to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
3. Pour over cereal; toss until coated. Fold in marshmallows, 1 cup at a time. Press in pan with buttered back of spoon. Let stand 1 hour.
4. Cut into 2 inch squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature up to 2 days. Makes 24 squares.

Let me know how you like it!!!

(Note: I only updated this to space the pictures out better. No content was changed)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

With friends like that...

Oh, my! I am overwhelmed by your outpouring of love, support and prayers! I don't even know where to start.

Tuesday, while I was driving to the doctor, I called my husband on his cell phone. We were traveling on the same 4-lane highway, but going in opposite directions at the same time, and I thought I had passed him. Sure enough, I did. I told him I wasn't feeling well, and was worried about my doctor's appointment. Of course, that worry was nothing like yesterday's worry!!! He immediately prayed with me, and told me he had called his sister and asked her to pray for me, too. Which was so calming. She's a prayer warrior, and I KNOW that if her brother asked her to pray ... SHE DID. That, and my husband's prayer, carried me through the appointment. I haven't told the rest of the family any of this, because we don't really KNOW what's going on yet ... but that's okay... my sister in law does read this, so she's probably keyed in on this now.

Then, last night, I was a ball of tears. My husband innocently said something, it hurt my feelings, and I cried for about an hour. Maybe it was all the stress being released ... who knows. But it did me good to cry it out! My son didn't know what to make of it, but ... at least I'm a quiet crier and not a loud sobby kind of crier ... so while he was perplexed, he wasn't scared! LOL! (I can be a drama queen, and freak out easily -- shocking, huh?)

It's funny how when you are in a "freak-out" moment, you forget everything you know ... know what I mean? For instance ... Shalee was right in her comment ... I have a number of good prayer warriors lifting me up to God. (Okay -- she is right about having a hot fudge sundae after the mamogram, too! A girl after my own heart!) KPJara shared Psalm 18:2, which is a song I sing whenever I'm distressed... thank you for the reminder. Aggiejenn shared a beautiful prayer from Stormie Omartian's "A Book of Prayer." Flip Flop reminded me to STAY OFF THE INTERNET (I know she wasn't yelling at me!) -- and for the record -- flat hair is just that ... hair that is obnoxiously flat when it should be bouncy! Perri -- I see your point ... fortunately, I am blessed to have a husband who baby's me and cares for me no matter what!!! He always goes above and beyond his share of duties ... Praise God for my husband!

Kristen reminded me of Proverbs 3:5 -- and to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding, and Faith emailed me a reminder of Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. MomRN2 -- I can't imagine having to make the decision of having a "preventative mastectomy" -- I keep telling myself that technology has just GOT to come out with something better for us women ... and soon! Thank you for carrying this load for me! I'll carry yours for you!

And SHANNON -- well, daggone it ... she pretty much hit the nail on the head ... Here's what she said in the comments ... she told me that I'm "not only carrying around the burden of worrying, but you're carrying around GUILT for being worried. Is it normal to be fearful when uncertain things happen? OF COURSE. When your son is frightened would you scold him for being afraid, or would you scoop him up in your arms and let him cry until he felt better? Certainly, you would do the latter. Instead of beating yourself for feeling normal human emotions, just take them to your Father in all honesty, and know that He'll hold you just the same way you'd hold your own child. " She's a smart chick. Okay -- ALL of you are, because you agreed with her, too!

And ALL of you reminded me that you are praying for me and have either been there, done that, or had similar scares. You all speak from experience ... tempered with grace and love.

Oh, yeah ... and Holymama! My goodness, God is sooooo good, isn't He?

See what I mean? Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of the basics!!! You all have done that for me! And besides ... Carol told me I'm no longer allowed to worry about this ... so that's good enough for me!

With friends like this, how can a girl go wrong?

(Sorry I didn't include any links with names ... I'm feeling rather lazy today and overloaded with work, so I'm rushing...)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm feeling stormy today... Sort of

You know those blogs (and I apologize if yours is one of them) that list what mood the person is in? Sunny, Stormy, etc.... Well, those usually irritate me. I cant really say why, but sometimes I look at that description next to the word "MOOD:" and I think to myself... "Ehhh ... who cares?"

Well, by now, I'm sure you've gathered that I'm in "a mood" today. And yeah ... it's pretty stormy! And men -- before you go any further -- be warned that this is a girlie post with female "stuff" in it ... so run away now ... or don't whine, because I'll say I told you so!

For the past few months, I've been having "break through bleeding." This is common with women taking the birth control pill (no lectures, please ... I take it for medical reasons ... obviously not to prevent pregnancy since I am a recovering infertile!). Break through bleeding is normal, and will often resolve itself -- but if it doesn't -- then it is usually a simple matter of switching to another pill with either higher estrogen or higher progesteron content.

Any men with me still? Because I did warn you ... Also, ladies ... if you don't like getting personal, you too may want to move on too!

In February, I started spotting at the end of the month. In March, it was heavier in the beginning of the month, light in the end of the month, in April, light in the beginning of the month, and then ... this past weekend ... Satan slammed me! I had horrible lower back pain, abdominal pain, heavy spotting, light spotting, no spotting, etc. I have felt light headed for the past month and a half, and quite exhausted, at times, going to bed right after my son (at 8:00!).

So I finally made an appointment with my OBGYN. When I arrived, he looked at me and asked me, "what do YOU think is happening?"

"Well," I said, "My common sense tells me I probably have a cyst on my ovary. But ... if I didn't know better, I'd say I was having another miscarriage, but I know that's not possible, because I've been on the birth control pill since November." [ha, ha ... I was joking around with him ... a good thing to do with your OBGYN while being examined, right?]

So he examines me. And looks at me and says ... "I don't feel any cysts, but your uterus in slightly enlarged and mushy."

And I, ever so articulate, just looked at him and said, "Huh? What does that mean?" He replied, "This is common with women right after they have a baby."

Now, I look at him, and say (with a slightly raised voice), "But, that was 7 months ago!" And calmly, gently, he says to me, "I want to draw some blood and take some tests. Now, I don't want to freak you out... it's probably nothing. But I'm going to order a pregnancy test. It could be a miscarriage, it could be a cyst, or it could be something else."

"WHAT?!" Uh, yeah ... he had to peel me off the ceiling. "How is that possible? I have been on the birth control pill!" He asked a few more questions, and I informed him that I had been sick in February and had taken an antibiotic. "Well, GiBee, you know that many times, an antibiotic can render the pill ineffective, but like I said, it's probably nothing. It's probably a small cyst that I can't see. We'll call you later in the week to let you know what the test says. Also, I want you to go for a mamogram."

NOW I'm starting to freak. I'm only 38. I say to him, "I thought I had a few more years until I had to do that!" And, calmly, he replies... "I know, but I want to get a baseline for you. But, don't worry, I didn't see anything that alarmed me or caused concern. But, your [paternal] grandmother had breast cancer, and I want to get a head start on your mamograms." (I don't even know what a baseline is in mamogram talk ... all I know is ... it's gonna hurt. And it's not gonna be fun, people! Sheesh, and I worry about flat hair ... there are many other things I would prefer NOT be flat!)

Then, when I went out to the nurses station to collect my paper work, I saw the ticket for the blood work. There were a lot of things checked, and I didn't understand any of them. And I said, "Is this for my blood work?" (Obviously, YES, because my name was on it) He casually leaned over, then picked up the paper, laid it on top of my chart, placed his hand over it and said, "yes, I'll make sure it gets with your vials of blood."

I wonder if he realizes how much he really DID, in fact, FREAK ME OUT!

Now, I just taught at the women's retreat about fear, worries, and laying them down at God's feet and walking away from them. About trusting the Shepherd's Heart ... Something I personally struggled to do the entire time I battled with infertility, up until the very last month before I got pregnant when I finally gave it all to God.

And here I am again! Worried. Anxious. And performing Dr. Google searches and self diagnosing. And what I'm finding is unsettling. It's the "C WORD" -- Uterine Cancer. Cervical Cancer. Ovarian Cancer. And ... Breast Cancer. Practically every woman's fears!!!

Sure ... in the back of my head are my doctor's reassurances that all is well ... this is common ... it's probably nothing ... don't freak out ... But in the forefront of my head I'm thinking ... something is wrong ... I'm "enlarged" ... and not just in my stomach, hips and butt where I expect to see middle age spreading and enlarging ... but I'm enlarged inside ... that can't be good!

Now ... what is it I have to do with my worries? Lay them where? How? Why?

*Insert BIG Sigh here* Many times in my life I've had worries. And I've carried them around. And, MAN! They can get heavy and exhausting. So, isn't it time I take a bit of my own advice? Learn from past experiences? In fact, when I laid my worries at Christ's feet and walked away from them, he swept them away from my heart, and actually removed my fears from my mind. I mentioned briefly yesterday about doing just this and I thought I'd give you a bit more background on that expression.

A dear friend of our family used to live in this area, but ironically, has moved to Oklahoma, and is probably the only person in that state that doesn't blog! Any way, she is a breast cancer survivor, and she shared a wonderful, wonderful analogy, and basically, with a few embellishments on my part, here it is: she said we tend to carry our worries, fears, anxieties around in a suitcase (baggage ... get it?). Sunday morning, we lug our heavy suitcase to the altar, pop it open, and all or our life's "messy things" in our overstuffed suitcase pop out ... we pray, pray, pray -- asking God to take our "issues" -- and then -- we neatly stuff (or maybe cram in some instances) all our issues back into the suitcase, and lug it back to our seat with us. Then, when we leave church, we take our suitcase with us and carry it around every waking minute, all week long. Protecting them. Obsessing over them. Sharing them with others, but not letting go of them.

Oh, yeah. I can see that. Can you?

Instead, we should be taking the suitcase to God, opening it up, dumping it at God's feet saying, "Here God ... this is all my stuff ... take it from me" (okay, maybe a little more politely) and then WALK AWAY. With OUT the suitcase ... 'cause, really ... you shouldn't need it any more!

So easy to preach, and in reality ... difficult to practice.

In the mean time, while I was typing this post, my husband called. I shared with him all my worries and fears. I teared up and had to stop. He immediately started to pray for me and encouraged me not to worry until we have something to worry about. Smart man!

Okay -- *big, BIG SIGH* No more searches on Google. No more obsessing. I'm turning all my worries to the Lord, and I'm walking away.

So, I started this post feeling stormy and frightened. Now, a mere HOUR later, I'm just cloudy and partly sunny.

Ps. 57:1:

"Be good to me, God--and now! I've run to you for dear life. I'm hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over."
(The Message)

"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Never... NEVER take away a woman's computer when she's just returned from a retreat and wants to share, share, share!!! Never!

My computer has been down and being fixed and I just got it back today ... about 1 hour ago ... and I thought I would DIE without it!

Needless to say, I missed you all very very much! I feel so out of the loop! So after I post, and as I sit here sipping my Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi and munching on my healthy salad (oh, BLASTED -- I can NOT lie ... I also have a cupcake. But it's white -- not chocolate, so it doesn't really count), I'll slowly start catching up with each one of you. 'Kay?

So, sure enough... satan attacked me on Friday. I had an attack of the PCOS way with plenty of abdominal pain, lower back pain, and ... other stuff ... don't worry. I'm seeing my doctor this afternoon. But as the trooper I am ... life went on and satan did not keep me down or win this fight!

The weekend was a cold, rainy, WONDERFUL and PERFECT weekend to be in a bed and breakfast (well, we think that's what it was) with a bunch of women!!!

So tell me something ... what do you get when you mix 12 women, spinach dip, salsa, chips, vegetable platter, chocolate chip cookies, rice cakes and macaroon-chocolate-raspberry tarts together?

You get 12 very giddy, talkative, animated women having a good ol' time ... oh yeah ... and a platter of untouched rice cakes. Duh!!! (our pastor's wife brought them ... I love her DEARLY, but... what was she thinking?!?!?)

God started working Friday night. And, I mean WORKING, girls! I love big retreats, but there is NOTHING more intimate than a small group of women! The devotion opened all our hearts to an honest time of sharing and ministering to each other. It just amazes me ... no one ... and I mean NO ONE ... can tell me they don't have a problem or a single care in this world. Because if they do try to tell me that, I just won't believe them! Everyone, no matter what your age, has a concern, whether it's your health, an unsaved loved one, a problematic marriage, a troublesome child, job dissatisfaction, hurt feelings, aging ... everyone has something. I was just amazed, because my fears were erased that night.

You see ... my message the next day was called "Knowing the Shepherd's Heart" based on Psalm 23, and learning to lay our worries at the Shepherd's feet and walk away without them. My testimony was intertwined, which was, of course, about my marriage and my battle with infertility. And I went to the retreat knowing it was what God wanted me to share, but wondering if anyone would relate to it (because we had women from 30-something all the way up to 60-something, and no one really dealt with or understood infertility). And the devotion that was shared Friday night, and all the prayer concerns and problems that were shared opened my eyes to the revelation that we all have "issues," no matter what stage of life we're in ... and women worry. We all do.

Most people view Psalm 23 as the "death Psalm" or a "Psalm for the dying" -- but really, there is so much to learn from this Psalm that can be used on a daily basis! I can't possibly condense three hours of sharing into a small post. I tried ... but came up with three pages (top to bottom), so if any one wants to know about the lesson, and has any suggestions on how I can share it without having a mile-long post, I'm open to suggestions!

I think we came away from the weekend with renewed hearts to pray, study God's word, and lay our troubles at God's feet. We ate, played, laughed, sang, cried, cried, oh, and did I mention, cried? And last, but not least, we all came away with a deeper love and understanding for each other. We ministered to each other in a very special way, too. Through our own trials, and examples of our personal dependency on Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful weekend. If you ever have the opportunity to go away for a small retreat (or a large one) ... go. Don't ask questions. Just go. God will truly bless your socks off.

By the way ... the bracelets we made were an absolute hit! There are 10 colored stones, and each color reminds us of a verse in Psalm 23 ... kind of like the salvation bracelet. I'll post a picture of it tomorrow.

Okay ... I have 1-1/2 hours to catch up on all my blogs before I go to the doctor's office.... Hopefully, I'll get to all of them!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Craziness

Okay ... just a quick update ... I am swamped! Work, home, retreat .... too much to do, not enough time. GAAA! Quick -- how can I loose 5 pounds by ... TOMORROW?!?

I just wanted you all to know that I will not be able to post much today, or the whole weekend, for that matter ... and I feel rather lost that I haven't been able to visit all of my fav blogs this past week. Oh, I got a few in here or there... but not ALL of them!

So, don't feel slighted or hurt or forgotten if I haven't left comments at your place lately ... or if I haven't left comments in my comments section answering questions, or whatever we do in comment sections ... it's not you. It's me! CRAZY-BUSY!

I have a quick retreat update: I finally finished my handout (outline, scriptures, etc.) for the retreat, I have all craft things pulled together into individual little bags and ready to go, my outline is DONE and has gone UNCHANGED for two whole days (PTL) ... and I think I'm ready for the retreat this weekend. We have a LOT to cover in a short amount of time! I thought I'd be scared or nervous by now, but all of your encouraging words have done wonders to boost my moral and my courage! You have all been a blessing to me these past few weeks.

So now ... I'm so excited ... and I just can't hide it ... I'm about to loose control and I think I like it (I like it ... but YOU may not!) -- so stay clear of this exclamation-living girlie girl as I grab my bags and head of to our intimate little women's retreat this afternoon! The Holy Spirit is working already, and I sense that there will be a whole lot of God things going on this weekend!!!

I hope that you all enjoy this weekend, and I find you all happy, healthy, and ready to start a new week for God's glory on Monday!

... But first, let me just grab my Peanut Butter and Pickle sandwich ...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Meme Craziness -- now leave me alone for a while!

I was Tagged ... Twice ... AND ... I volunteered for the third! What ... Am I crazy or something?

Yeah, don't answer that. This is gonna be a long one, folks! make sure you check out who I tagged ... it might be you!!! The tags are in two places on this post, and TAG is in RED.

First, the easy memos (2) that I was tagged for ...

I. Six Random Things Meme -- tagged by Morning Glory at Seeds From My Garden --

The meme is to list 6 random things about yourself and then tag 6 people to play along -- Good luck with the six people ... But here it goes ...

1. I love to decorate my home with a Pottery Barn-ey Italian-ey feeling, with wrought iron pieces and a bit of whimsy thrown in ... Go figure that style out!
2. I absolutely LOVE whimsical Bumblebees, Butterflies, dragonflies, flowers ... etc.
3. The first home we ever owned was an historical "bungalow" style home that had German shingles on the outside that were painted mint green and pink, and had a white picket fence ... My mother painted whimsical murals on the inside of the house with Peter Rabbit and his garden in the kitchen, a topiary on the inside door of the powder room (located under the stairs), and on the second floor, a stream with a tree and fat bumblebees, lazy butterflies, and sweet blue birds ... All in washed watercolors style.
4. My current home is totally contemporary in style, see #1 for decorating style.
5. I could get lost reading books!
6. I love spending every single free moment I have with my husband and son!

II. Six Weird Things Meme -- tagged by Lauren at Created for His Glory

Here are the rules of this tag:
1. Go write weird facts/things/etc. About yourself in my comment box and on your blog, then tag six more people! (Do I even know six people that haven't been tagged with this yet?)
2. Then leave a comment that says "You are tagged" in their comments telling them to read your blog. ENJOY! (Yeah... I'm really gonna enjoy admitting that I'm weird... Shhhh --- don't tell anyone else!)

1. I hate having my feet under covers. HATE IT. And I can't wear socks in bed. And while we're at it... I hate sheets. I have a small down cover I use year round, and that's it. My husband has his own cover he uses -- this prevents fights over covers (especially in a king-size bed)!
2. I love peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches on soft white bread. If I can't find pickles, green olives will do just fine. Don't knock it until you try it!
3. There are certain things that must be salted properly before cooking ... boiling water for spaghetti or rice, hamburger while/before it's cooking (okay -- all meats), and furthermore, I must have salt on bananas, apples and watermelon.
4. I MUST have ice cubes in my glass of milk. Especially with PB&J, cookies, or cake!
5. I MUST wash my dishes, flatware, glasses, etc. in the dishwasher. I'm a germ-phob and can't stand hand-washed stuff. Don't let me know it didn't go through the dishwasher if I come to your house!
6. I have to polish (really, it's just cleaning) flatware and examine my glass for cleanliness when I go to restaurants. If the items mentioned are NOT UP TO PAR ... they go back. AND ... I hate getting wet plates at a salad bar. I won't eat off of a wet plate. EEEWWWW!

Wow! That was easier than I thought it would be! The following people are tagged to do both the 6 Weird Things Meme and the 6 Random Things Meme!

I tag (for BOTH Memes of 6): 1) SUSAN at 5 Minutes for Mom (this blog is shared by Janice and Susan ... twins. Janice was already tagged. Yay me for being so smart!) 2)Heather at The Roller Coaster Ride of My Life 3) Queen Beth from From Her Majesty's Throne 4) Karen at The Big Trade Off 5) Randi at I Have To Say 6) Heth at From Under The Laundry Pile

Now I see I have a LOT of people I can still tag! Watch out! (If anyone needs ideas on who to tag, just let me know -- insert evil chuckle here!)


III. The Longest Meme of Fours In The Entire World! -- I volunteered for this torture after reading Momrn2's Meme at My Quiet Corner (Private prayer -- Lord: What was I thinking? Why didn't you throw a lightening bolt my way and loudly say: GiBee -- These are not the plans I have for thee!) Well, if anything ... you'll learn a whole lot about me!

REVISED to add: I just found out that Susanne tagged me for this in the comments at Shalee's Thoughts! At the same time she tagged Momrn2! Well now... aren't I just the most observant person in the world?!? Sorry for missing that, Susanne! At least I didn't re-tag Shalee, because I saw that she had already done it!!!

Okay -- here we go:

4 jobs I've had:
1. Assistant Manager at Hickory Farms (highschool, people!)
2. Disbursement Assistant at the World Bank (best job in the world)
3. Church Secretary at our Church (this job was right up there with the best!)
4. Mommy and Wife (okay -- THIS ONE is the best!)

4 Movies I Have Watched Over and Over:
1. Steel Magnolias
2. Love Comes Softly (Hallmark Channel, people!!!)
3. A Walk in the Clouds
4. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (okay... I haven't seen it yet ..But once I do, it will be on this list anyway, so why not put it on now?)

4 Websites I visit Regularly:
1. Oh -- all my friends blogs ... I have 5,239 friends that blog, and I read every single one! Okay, not really ... more like 72 new friends I've met blogging back and forth
2. Google -- "I can't live if livin' is without it!"
3. -- it's my right arm
4. Yahoo mail

4 Favorite Foods:
1. Peruvian Ceviche (oh, my heart be still)
2. Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce
3. Steak (okay -- red meat)
4. Mom's potato salad

4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Lancaster, PA
2. Bermuda
3. Main
4. Outerbanks

4 Books I have read Over and Over (other than the Bible):
1. Abram's Daughters Series (5 books) by Beverly Lewis
2. Mark of the Lion Series (3 books) by Francine Rivers (oh, my goodness -- so good!)
3. Any of the O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson (the Chronicle Series have 2 books that contain 3 entire stories in each)
4. The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

4 Musical Artists that I will never tire of hearing: (Just 4???)
1. Third Day
2. Point of Grace
3. Salvador
4. Casting Crowns

4 Reasons Why I Blog:
1. I can meet wonderful new friends
2. I can share my heart
3. I can encourage and be encouraged
4. I am spiritually challenged, and can in turn, challenge others

Okay ... here are 4 people I tag: 1) Sheri at Shades of Pink, 2) KPJara at Can You Hear Me Now? 3) Mama D at The Tales of Mama D 4) Perri at My Life in Bits and Pieces

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday Wrap Up

I'm torn... I want to do a Wednesday Wrap Up, but I also want to post pictures... so I think I'll do both -- and we'll start off with the Wrap Up, then I'll post pics this afternoon, okay?

As usual ... you all blew me away. I hope that you check back from time to time to read the other comments... they are simply amazing ... from the simplest one liner to the blovel -- I love reading each and every one! I love this song so much. It moves my heart each time I sing it or even read the words.

"You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all. Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I'd be a fool, You are my all in all."

So, to me, this particular part of the song brings to mind Matthew 6:19-21 where we are told not to store our treasures here on earth.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-21

I wonder ... are my priorities in order? Do I seek the Lord as a precious jewel? As my treasure? Or do I put a higher priority on seeking other things in my life that can be destroyed by moths and rust, or can be stolen? It's really something to analyze in each of our lives, because look at the last part of that scripture... where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I have to question myself... where is my heart? Is it seeking the things of the Father? Am I about his business? Or is it seeking things that make me happy in the "here and now?"

Sometimes I question my priorities, because in this area... things are so expensive. We both have to spend a lot of time at work so that we can pay our $2500 mortgage. Ouch! But -- we both have used cars, so there's no treasure there. I do love "things" ... but since we had our son, my priorities have changed so much! I have an innocent, tiny person to take care of now. He looks to me for his every need. Is that how I look to my Father? As a babe? Do I look to him for my every need to be taken care of, or am I spinning my wheels here and trying to fill all my own needs and take care of myself?

I know many times while I was battling infertility, I often thought of giving up. It was so difficult to imagine that my God ... a loving and caring God ... would want me to be barren the rest of my life. Without child. It really rocked my faith at times. And looking at this particular verse of the song, the word FOOL really strikes me hard! It is such a strong word ... I looked it up on Google this morning, because I wanted to show you the definition of FOOL: a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of; a person who lacks good judgment -- WOW! How true is that? If I don't seek the Lord ... if I give up, I would be a person who lacked good judgment ... who could be easily taken advantage of. Huh! Brings a whole new meaning to light, doesn't it?

You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all. Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I'd lack good judgment or be taken advantage of, You are my all in all.

A few of you mentioned Phil 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I have learned that if I'm not constantly wrapped in the word (I love that expression), the Holy Spirit, and my focus is not on God, I falter in my faith. I become weak and easily frightened -- lack strength. I KNOW that realistically, I can't do all things. And... I'm honest enough to accept that even through Christ I may not do ALL things... but I can face and accept the outcome. I had to learn to think this way after so many miscarriages. I would often say, "Oh! I'm pregnant! I can hold onto this pregnancy, because with Christ, I can do all things, and he wants me to have the desires of my heart!" -- Well, that's true and not true. His timing is everything! Mine isn't. BUT, what I did learn is that with Christ I had the strength I needed to get through another miscarriage. I had his grace covering me. I had his love soothing me. I had his peace. To me, that's part of what that scripture means.

This is one of the very reasons I love praise and worship music. The words cause me to think. Cause me to review. Causes pause in my life. And, strikes up good conversation!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday Toss-Up

Tuesday's Toss-up is here again! It's YOUR turn to comment on my blog, and I can't wait to read your profound, funny, and at times, life changing thoughts!

Here's how it works... Read the quote (today, it's part of a song), process it a bit, and comment on how you (or we) can apply this to your (or our) lives ... or what the quote means to you. Oh, and don't worry about the length or theology behind your comment ... it can be short & sweet, or long and detailed... just GO FOR IT!!

You are my strength when I am weak, You are the treasure that I seek, You are my all in all. Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I'd be a fool, You are my all in all.
by: Dennis Jernigan with Shepherd's Heart Music
(A.K.A. -- A good ol' Oklahoma boy!)

Be sure to visit Dennis Jernigan's site to read his awesome testimony!

Remember -- no Googling ... original "first thoughts" from YOUR heart and mind only!!! AND -- check back through out the day to see what others have shared!!!

Revised to add: Please go to Heather's blog (The Roller Coaster Ride of My Life) She is so precious! You've just got to get to know her and her blog!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Monday Musings

Okay ... First, I want to apologize to all my blogging friends... I have not gone to hardly anyone's blog for about three days. Actually, I made it on a few times, only to be called away by either Hunter, my husband, or my parents. I feel like I'm being torn into 20 pieces! I MISS MY BLOGGING FRIENDS!!! Also, sorry to post so late!

Now, just a few quick things. I had a lovely Easter with my family. We had leg of lamb (yeah, I like it okay, but I'd only eat it once a year ... for my parent's sakes!), yuuuuummmmy shitake mushroom and spinach bread pudding (fancy name for stuffing - mmmmmm!), asparagus, new potatoes, broccoli slaw, and tres leches for dessert. What did y'all have?

Then... I just wanted to share my most embarrassing, disgusting, horrific experience that I've ever had ... and quickly, because I'm sure I'll forget about it soon (hehehehe! On Purpose!) ... So, I arrived at church on Sunday, and ran through my song, and then sat down for Sunday School. My dear and kind (yet very honest) husband came and sat next to me. I very demurely crossed my ankles and placed my hands on my lap (read: crossed my legs and plopped my hands down). When my eyes glanced down on my lovely aqua/white/yellow striped linen skirt and saw a stain. A yellow stain. A yellow PEE stain from my sweet and adorable Maltese (read: She's gonna be served up for dinner this weekend). Yeah. Lovely, huh? Evidently, in an effort to actually look good for Easter, I tossed our clothing to be taken to the dry cleaners in a pile on the floor by the front door (so I wouldn't forget it) ... and my adorable pup took that as a sign to "mark the spot ... right here ... on mommy's skirt" GRRRRR! And just so you know... it doesn't come out when it's dry cleaned. You have to wash it in running water for that to come out!

And I hadn't gotten up in front of the church to sing yet... not that there was anything I could do about it... fortunately, there were yellow stripes in the skirt, so ... it was a bit camouflaged. Needless to say, the skirt was torn off the second I got home, and a second shower was in order for the day!

How embarrassing.

So, what did YOU wear for Easter?

Finally ... I thought I'd just toss this out ... how would you like it if I posted a few pictures of our family on Wed or Thurs??? I'd only leave that post up for a few days, though ... just long enough for you to burn your retinas when you look at my picture.

Don't worry... my son is so adorable, you won't want to look at anyone else.

So what do you think?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Resurrection Day!

Christ our Lord is Risen today ...

To all my dear friends that read this blog ...
Have a blessed Easter celebration with your families!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Living Beyond Myself ... Week 3

This week, we studied Agape (Love). Love, love, love.

And while I know we learned a lot about Agape, this just really caught my attention ... the characteristics of love. We all know them. In fact, 1 Cor. 13:4-8a is a scripture that is read at every single wedding I have ever gone to. In fact, it was read at mine, and probably read at yours, too.

Here it is in the NIV Version:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Cor. 13:4-8a (NIV)

Now, I don't know about you... but because it's read so often, when I see this verse, it sort of falls dull, and I sort of think to my self... "yeah, yeah... love is patient, love is kind... yeah. Got it."

But do I really?

What if I were to put my name in front of each characteristic? Would the meaning of this passage still hold true? No. Of course not... because GiBee is not patient all the time. GiBee is not kind all the time. GiBee is envious every now and then... Well, you get the picture. And so do I.

But, I guess I've become immune to the NIV translation, because even when I do put my name in it, I still yawn. Shhh -- Don't tell anyone that I said that.

So, since you all know me so well, then you probably guessed at the very beginning of this post that I was NOT going to let the NIV translation get the best of me. So... here is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in the Message translation ... and let me warn you... it's an eye opener. Are you ready?

"Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies." 1 Cor 13:4-8a (The Message)

See what I mean? Yeah. I thought so. But, praise the Lord I have learned this week that Agape is a divine capacity to love. And -- it is more of a response than a feeling. And, hallelujah! It is expressed through me when I surrender to the power and temperament of the Holy Spirit.

And, this week's study recap about Agape would NOT be complete if I did not share with you the major elements of agape... which are particularly fitting, since we will be celebrating our saviors resurrection on Sunday...

Action and Sacrifice.

"This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him." 1 John 4:9 (The Message)

Y'all -- God DEMONSTRATED his love for us through the SACRIFICE of his own son. FOR us. So that we wouldn't have to carry the weight of our sins. He took it all for us!


Friend... He was beaten beyond recognition. Ridiculed and mocked. Betrayed. He was dragged through dirt streets carrying a wooden cross of horrific proportions. He was spat on. And ... He was crucified with NAILS. Real nails. He lost real blood. He was stabbed in the side. He was abandoned by his Father for one brief moment. And then he forgave us. And he died ... so that we might live.

I just don't know any one who could possibly love you more than Jesus.

I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend ... And ponder on the amazing Love our father has for us.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Busy? Me? Naaah!

Um ... I just realized taxes are due. This weekend.

And I haven't started mine yet.

Yeah ... fun stuff. And throw that into the mix with parents arriving from out of town tonight. Totally forgot today was Thursday, and they were going to be here. Today. Thursday. Gaah!

And I only remembered because my mom called me at lunch to say "hi, just wanted you to know ... we just left" -- and my reply ... "Uh ... Left? To go where?" Mom: "Your house!" Me: "Oh, mom ... I was just joking. I KNOW you're coming to my house!" [Internally thinking: Yeah, I know they're coming, but forgot they were coming TODAY -- is everything clean and ready?]

So ... out of town parents now in town -- tonight ... foot washing and communion service tonight ... LBY post due tomorrow ... Anniversary party for friends all day Saturday ... Pick up hubby's suit for Easter from cleaners on Sat ... Singing solo in church Sunday which I haven't practiced yet (maybe tonight?) and am hoarse from lovely chest cold -- GREAT! ... have lots of LBY homework to do ... still getting stuff ready for retreat next week ...

And ... to top it all off ... I invited KPJara to come on out to our foot washing service tonight ... haven't heard back from her ... I'm pretty sure it's because she must be on the plane. Oklahoma's not too far from Washington, D.C. -- right?

Gotta fly -- check ya later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

God-Flavors. Yeah -- and God-Colors, too!

Once again... Thank you for commenting on Tuesday's Toss-up. I must admit... I SELFISHLY love reading all of your writings! I don't know why people don't toss out subjects more often and let others comment on them! It's very fun to see how God can take one quote and translate it in each of our hearts! So many different opinions, yet so much alike!

Interestingly enough... just like our opinions, there are many kinds of salt, too! And they come in different varieties and colors ... There is plain ol' table salt, Kosher salt, sea salt, canning salt, pickling salt, rock salt, popcorn salt, and gourmet salt. Salt can be transparent, white, yellow, orange, red, blue, green, black, and various colors of gray.

Salt seasons our food, enhances flavors, aids in baking, and salt even freezes ice cream as well as dissolves ice! But when all is said and done... salt is salt.

So, I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with this little science lesson, right? Well ... first... I just have to toss out this scripture... after all... it's what it's all about, but check it out in the Message translation... YOWZA! It really brings it home!!!

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You've lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." Matt. 5:13 (The Message)

Oh.My.Goodness!!! Okay, let me just sit down and try to catch my breath after reading this passage in this translation!

Yes. I will readily admit that it is so easy for me to settle back in the comfort of my salvation. You know what I mean... keep it all to myself. Not share with others. Because basically I'm so afraid of what people will say, how they will react, and how they will receive the message! Yeah... I'm a people pleaser, and witnessing isn't always pleasing to people! (Heather - I'm a big witnessing chicken too!)

But when you read this passage in the translation above... MAN! It sure does shed a whole new meaning on things! Pretty plain and simple! And really, how exciting is that? I am here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out all the GOD-FLAVORS of this earth!!! I LOVE THAT! God-Flavors.

Not much of anything else brings out flavor like salt does... it is different from all other seasonings. And really, we must be different too, in everything we do... We can share the Word in so many different ways... through our lives, our words, our activities, our families, our attitudes toward other people (oh, that hits close to home!), and in every other aspect of our lives. But also as many of you mentioned... through "touch" (aggiejen) ... "Skin on skin, hand in hand time with others" (Shalee), and we as Christians can "give them a little jig in their step and a full feeling in their belly" (Flip Flop).

Oh, and Susanne mentioned salt being a preservative... Yeah. Salt protects meat from spoiling... and "corruption" -- Wow! That's what Melody Greene hit on in her article! She was referring to the Media, but she said... "Salt is also a preservative. Before refrigeration existed, salt was rubbed into meat to keep it from spoiling - or being corrupted from bacteria. Our Christian influence works in a similar way. It restrains the corruption of the world, which if left unchecked, multiplies as quickly as bacteria on a hunk of meat."

It made me wonder if my Christian influence is helping to restrain the corruption of the world? Yikes!

Okay ... one last thing... let's look at the rest of the scripture that I referred to earlier.

"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." Matt. 5:14-16 (The Message)

Oh, am I the only one that is getting EXCITED about this? Seriously! I can hardly contain myself. GOD IS NOT A SECRET TO BE KEPT! Breath. Breath. Breath. Okay -- one more time -- HE'S NOT A SECRET, y'all!

So, why is it so difficult to go public? It's not like I'm standing here bare nekkid (Peach!) and it's not like I have green skin! I have no strange appendages hanging from my side, and I have no disgusting boils on my face. Yeah... all those are things that would cause people to ... well, REACT badly towards me.

Okay -- let me re-read that last part ... "Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

HEY! I can do ALL of that! I do it here on my blog, don't I? And... I'm not scared of you! So... if I just flip it... and do it at home ... at work ... all over the place ... well, THAT WOULD MAKE ME SALT! Did you see what Addie wrote in the comments? She said, "You know how salt get's all hard in the shaker when the shaker hasn't been used in awhile. Hmm. I think we're the same way."

I don't know about you, but I don't want to get all hard and crusty!!!

And, honestly ... the thought of loosing my saltiness, becoming useless, and ending up in God's trash can is just more than I can digest right now!

Oh, YEAH! I'm gonna shine!!!! Shine, shine, shine!!!! I'm going to make it a goal to go OUT OF MY WAY to be salty. 'Cause, honey... I want to be a part of bringing out all those God-flavors and God-colors on this earth!

Will you be salty and shiney with me, too?

(y'all must think I'm strung out on crack!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday's Toss-up

Tuesday's Toss-up is here, and it's one of my favorite days, because it's YOUR turn to comment on my blog!!! I love reading all the profound, funny, and at times, life changing things you, my friends, have to say! And, oh, my! While this is just a simple, and to some, silly quote, the more I thought about it... the more it convicted me!!!

Here's how it works... Read the quote, process it a bit, and comment on how you (or we) can apply this to your (or our) lives ... It can have many different meanings, so after you comment, make sure you read the article this quote came from to see Melody's very interesting interpretation. I'll have the link in the comments section! Oh, and don't worry about the length or theology behind your comment ... it can be short & sweet, or long and detailed... just GO FOR IT!!

“Jesus told us that we are the salt of the earth. Simple enough. We all know that salt only works by direct contact. It doesn't matter how close I hold my salt shaker to my potatoes - until I shake some crystals out onto my fries there will be no effect."

by: Melody Green

Once you've commented, please click on the link for Melody Green and have a look-see around her amazing site. She is the wife of the late Keith Green, and her bio is so, SO good! She has gone on to do amazing work... After Keith went to be with Jesus with two of their young children in 1982, Melody began to direct the ministry of LDM. She also went on to become what many call "their favorite writer"... she has preached around the world, visiting over 30 countries, and spearheaded LDM's pro-life and missionary efforts. Melody has met two Presidents and has written songs that are sung around the world today. Ya just can't beat that!

Remember -- no Googling ... original "first thoughts" from YOUR heart and mind only!!!AND -- check back through out the day to see what others have shared!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

No, really? You thought I was perfect?

Haaaa haaa haaa haaaaa haaa!! What, do I have to prove to you that I'm not???

Last week, I had two major AAAHHH HHHAAA! Moments. The second one was about speaking at our women's retreat... the easier of the two to blog about.

The first one ... was a bit more difficult to talk about publicly ... so what the hay? ... Let's talk about ... Earthly Desires and ... REPRESSION ...

Yes, Let's!!! (and forgive me if I repeat my self... crossover is just too easy!)

Everyone probably has them (earthly desires), but what's more important is ... I have them. And the funny thing is ... Beth Moore has a way of jumping out of her video at me from where ever in the world she's talking ... and locks her big eyes with just ME and makes me feel like she's only talking to me... and it made me stare at my screen like an idiot thinking, "My stars! How does she know what is in my heart?!?"

I know... you're all probably gasping in HORROR at the thought that I am not perfect, but rather, have Earthly Desires being repressed in my heart... but I do. And what made me feel better is... Beth taught me how to RID.MY.SELF.OF.THEM. Freedom once and for all, Hallelujah!

First, let me lay out on the table just a few of my earthly desires. I am a people pleaser... oh, how I want everyone to like me. And when we first moved into our neighborhood two years ago, I was acutely aware of that desire popping it's ugly head out. You see... my father is a recovering alcoholic ... 38 years of sobriety, praise God! I'm so proud of him.

Because alcoholism is an ugly, ugly disease, and because you never know when it will rear it's ugly head, I never really drank. I did in social settings, because I just wanted to be cool. And honestly, I like the taste of a well-made Pina Colada... but I also like the taste of a NADA Colada and can do without the alcohol. I gain nothing from it. I don't crave it, desire it or want it. But... all the people in my neighborhood drink. A lot. And find it socially un-acceptable to NOT have alcohol at a function.

I felt pressured the first time I invited the ladies to my home to serve a wine cooler type of punch. I researched them on line, wrote down my list of ingredients I would need, casually mentioned it to my husband, and he ever so tenderly and lovingly replied, "under NO circumstances will you bring alcohol into our home for your gathering. They have a problem with alcohol, and I won't be a part of aiding them with their problems. If they can not be friends with us regardless of the fact that we DONT drink then we don't need their friendship. Set yourself apart, dear." OW! Gee, thanks honey!

What a party pooper! And... when my neighbors came over and asked for some wine, you can bet I blamed it all on my "mean" husband. And at the other gatherings we've been to, I've been invited to drink, but have declined ... "out of respect [said with clenched teeth] for my husband."
Shame on me. Even this past summer I found my self saying this and putting down ... MY HUSBAND for his beliefs, people! The head of my household! The man GOD GAVE ME... the person I run to with all my life's little boo boos ... the man that LOVES me and respects me and treats me like the most precious thing he owns! And why? Because I'm a people pleaser ... and I HAVE REPRESSED! Shame, shame, SHAME on me!!!

Moving on... (yes... there is more) -- you see -- I like pretty stuff. Lot's of pretty stuff. Shiny, pretty, sparkley stuff. Clothing, purses, shoes, jewelry, china, serving platters, glasses... Oh, heck... I just like it all. And, when we were newly married, (long time ago, mind you) I would spend. Spend, spend, spend... even if our bills didn't get paid. In fact, our home was almost foreclosed on because of my irresponsible spending habits. And why? My husband would AGONIZE. Threaten to divorce me, fight with me, and lay awake with sleepless nights because I was recklessly spending all our money -- I would talk badly about him, just so I would feel better about myself. I simply became a Homewrecker ... and why? Well, for a lot of reasons, but one of them was just so I could feed my addiction to ... stuff ... (read this post and this post). I am no longer reckless like I once was, Praise God! But I still get urges every now and then, and find myself on a shopping binge (about 2 times each year) ... Why? BECAUSE I HAVE REPRESSED!

Okay ... if you aren't shocked enough by my confessions ... I have one more. I watch Desperate Housewives. There. I said it. Out loud. As I was typing. I am so ashamed of this, because I know the show is trash, but I have found myself addicted to it! HELLO! It's a TV show for crying out loud, and I'm ADDICTED TO IT. I tape it. I wait for it with baited breath and watch it in the secrecy of my bed room. And I don't let many people know I watch it. See something wrong here? I do... REPRESSION. Soooo not a blessing to God!

So, I'm sure you're asking yourself... "Why is she airing out all her dirty laundry to us?" Well, because we all have hidden sin. Things we are ashamed for people to know. Things that we try to hide so deeply that we think we slipped it past God and we're headed for home plate free and clear.

But guess what that does? It causes build-up in my life. A nasty, ugly, slimy build up of sin. So, when I sin again, it gets easier to justify. To hide. To live a fairytale life that I'm perfect and noooo ... that's not horns you see popping out of my head... that's a new head band I'm sporting! Yeah right. God sees right through that.

Beth Moore said that if (now listen to this... because it walloped me right in between the eyes...) "if we are FULL OF OURSELVES, we can't walk FULL of the HOLY SPIRIT, because PEOPLE [I added that] -- they can NOT co-exist... Self and the Holy Spirit."

Okay ... so one's gotta go. Gee, which one? The Holy Spirit? Or my fleshy desires? That's a tough question!!! Yeah, well ... listen to what else she said... "NOTHING sin can give us is worth (are you ready for this?)... is worth what it is taking away from us in order to have it." Oh, my ... I ... can't ... breath. But it only gets worse! (or better...)

She said that we latch on to sudden, irrational urges (my shopping, nay, spending addiction) and suddenly, we're living in deep regret (uh, yeah... a foreclosure and divorce can lead to DEEP regret pretty darn fast!).

So, what does it all boil down to? Okay... move in closer, adjust yourself into a more comfortable position, because I'm going to lay it out in a crystal.clear.format...

I need to WANT God to get me at my heart's desire... I need to STOP pressing desires down... I need to ask God to give me NEW desires ... HIS desires... in other words ... REPRESSION, bad -- CHANGE, good --- Irrational Behavior, bad --- Godly desires, good!!!

So, my public confession is just that ... public ... and doesn't really amount to a hill of beans... but I've prayed in my private quiet time that God would remove all my junk ... from the very core of me ... and replace it with HIS OWN desires... and fill me with his soothing Holy Spirit ... and coat me from the inside out with the balm that heals all the gaping raw wounds from my yucky, icky junk that I've been repressing... just waiting for it to rear it's ugly head again. NO MORE! I have been purified, sanctified... and the Holy Spirit dropped a whole load of 'Liquid "Holy Spirit" Draino' down my pipes and flushed me out. Praise God!

CAN I GET A WITNESS?!?!? (thanks for that little line, Faith!)

So, do you remember the Beth Moore quote I put in my Living Beyond Yourself post last week about living in victory? No? Well, here it is... just to refresh your memories...

Living in the Spirit is all about living in victory on this planet, in our bare feet, on the hot pavement of living!

And now that I've been flushed... and have total infilling of the Spirit ... I can do just that... live in Victory ... in my bare feet, on the gooey, hot, sticky pavement of living, and I know... that I can go to him DAILY and ask him to remove my junk and purify me. It will get easier as the days go by.

And, won't my husband be ever so relieved! ;-)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Living Beyond Myself ...

Evidently, it takes a Mack Truck, in the form of a tiny, little size negative 1 lady who has a booming voice with one serious Texan twang to hit me over, and over, and over again before I.GET.IT. (Oh, and it backed up over me one more time just to make sure I really DID get it!) Oh, the indignation!!!

Seriously, though... This week, I have been SO doubting myself. As you saw from my post this week about committing myself to Share in a Women's Retreat, I am living WAY beyond myself. For some reason, I can get up with no problemo and sing in front of my church, but THIS??? This is something else. I'll be teaching. I'll need to be accurate. I'll need to have POINTS! I'll need to be SMART! And if that's not enough, SATAN IS AFTER ME!

If you remember Carol's fantastical post where she talks about the Spiritual Attack she and her planning team for her Women's Retreat came under... then you'll soon realize that I am living a MIRRORED life to Carol's!!!

Over the New Years holiday, I prayed that God would use me to serve Him. On January 9th, I sent my PastorMan's wife an email that I would be willing to speak if they ever had a women's retreat. The.VERY.NEXT.DAY she emailed me back all excited that God had answered her prayers. And ever since then, I have been diligently working on what I was going to be speaking on at the retreat.

And Satan has been miffed, to say the least. He has dinged me left and right... here's a small sample of how: In January, my car started making a "clunking" noise under the right wheel well (I drive an Expedition, so if anyone knows what that sound is, I'd love for you to drop me a line). In February, I dropped my son on his face. I had 3 horrible migraines. I hurt myself running into every imaginable thing in my room as I tried to get to my screaming teething son in the middle of the night. My husband cut his finger, making a terrible, bloody mess.

In March, I battled with more migraines. My husband's cousin committed suicide. My son was struck with Rotavirus, keeping us home and in bed for 11 days straight. Then I got it, my husband got it, my mother-in-law got it, and soon, everyone that read my blog got it. Sorry, friends! Then my son got a nasty cold. In April, my husband was smacked with an awful head/chest cold, with a terrible cough and stuffed up ears. I started getting it at the beginning of this week.

On Wednesday night, I stayed up late (okay, 10:00 is LATE for me) to finish working on my outline for the Women's Retreat. I snuck upstairs (all was DARK and quiet). When I got into my bedroom it was pitch black, and I proceeded to trip over a set of stairs we have by the bed for our dog, and sprained my ankle, and also got a nasty gash on my leg. My husband was frightened out of a deep sleep and came flying at me (still all in the dark) to see if I was okay, tripping over me in the process.

Satan is happy! He loves causing strife in our lives... and he's doing a lot of that to me right now.

But then came Thursday... Thursday night is when I listened to the last part of the video series (told you I was behind). And that's when my bestest friend -- Beth (she's yours too, don't worry!) placed my racing heart at ease with a few simple words and a scripture...

You see, I had been fretting... worrying... knowing that I can't possibly sound as good as Beth Moore does when she speaks (and Praise God there are only 12 women that will be at our retreat). I can't even fake it, because while I have a SLIGHT southern accent, it's NOTHING like hers. And... I don't have BIG HAIR. Don't even know how to GET big hair. And cute outfits? Paa-leeze. Let's not go there. Plus size women do NOT have cute outfits. Okay, maybe I have a few, but NOT LIKE BETH'S! (and YES, I am Plus Sized)

But then Beth spoke right at me... RIGHT AT ME! She had us turn to 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, and when she read it out loud and began to explain it, I just stopped cold and said ... THAT'S ME SHE'S TALKING ABOUT! Here it is...

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant... not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Cor. 3:5-6

I am NOT competent in myself to speak eloquently, or to be funny, or loving, or to be a great teacher ... but my competence comes from God. Yes!!! HE has equippedd me -- HE has made me a competent minister.

Oh, that is so promising. So freeing. So... DO-ABLE!

I am purified. Sanctified. Equipped. Competent. And now, Confident.

Praise God for this study. His timing is perfect, isn't it?

So, I'm off to put on the Armor of God, continue getting rid of my junk and inviting the Holy Spirit to fill every empty spot in my body, pray a hedge around me and my family, and continue gathering craft items.

I CAN DO THIS! After all -- as Beth says... Living in the Spirit is all about living in victory on this planet, in our bare feet, on the hot pavement of living! And, honey ... I've got the VICTORY IN ME!!!


EDITED TO ADD: I still can't get the links to work right. I'm going to try to come up with something this week, but in the mean time, please follow the links t the left... They are just awesome!!!

Friday Food Fun, & Other Things...


Would the person (or persons) that MESSED with the internet yesterday, causing it to be unbearably slow, chuggish, and made it impossible for Management to view her favorite blogs -- Please come to the office. If you spill the beans now, punishment will be minimal. If I have to COME OUT AND FIND YOU, punishment will be excruciatingly painful.


Moving on to other more important subjects... Later this evening, or maybe early tomorrow morning, I'll be posting my LBY comments. Man, what a doozie!!! So, for now, I'll just keep it light.

My baby got all shotted up yesterday, and I'm so proud of him (or scared)...

Proud, because he handled himself like a champ.

Scared, because he cried so little, it makes me wonder how great his pain tolerance will be. He'll probably laugh at me and gleefully sing "nanny, nanny, boo-boo" whenever he gets spanked (GASP! -- Yes, I do believe in spankings when appropriate... Spare the rod, spoil the child... But, I also believe in time outs, too.)

His stinky ol' dad was there, but he made ME hold him down this time. He said I had to learn to get used to it incase he couldn't come out with me one day. Gee thanks. That's HIS job, not mine. My job is to stand outside and weep silently as my son lets out his howl of pain and surprise, and after it's all done, sweep in and comfort him, love him, cuddle with him... NOT PIN HIM DOWN AS THE MEAN NURSE JABS HIM REPEATEDLY IN HIS FLESHY LITTLE LEGS WITH A SHARP THINGIE.

Fortunately, he didn't cry very long, and within minutes, he was even smiling again. Oh, he melts my heart. One look into his big blue eyes, and I'm done for. And just to redeem himself, his stinky ol' dad took us out to dinner because mom was too exhausted to even think about cooking. Smart man!

So here are Hunter's stats: he is now six months old ... awe! My big, big boy! He weighed in at 18 pounds 2 ounces and measured 27" long. He can sit, stand while holding on to something, he knows his name, he can rock on his hands and knees, but he can't drink out of a sippy cup yet. Well, he can, but he can't hold it very well (probably lazy like his mom) and he really expects it to just flow into his mouth, and hasn't figured out that he has to suck. I've tried the cups with straws, but again... they all have that spill-proof suction thing going on and he's too lazy to suck that hard. Oh, well ... ya win some, ya loose some.

Now... moving on to the important part of this post... Another YUMMY Friday Food Fun Recipe... and ***OH.MY.STARS.*** -- This one is deee-lish in every way imaginable. It's a dip that can be served with fruit, cookies, biscuits, ehhh -- just lick it outta the bowl if you must. Any way you serve it, it will NOT be forgotten for a long, long time. My fav way of serving it is with sliced apples. So, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Toffee Dip with Apples

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened (room temp is best)
3/4 cup chocolate-covered toffee (such as Skor) chopped up into bits (about 4 ounces)
1 cup pineapple juice
6 Red Delicious apples, each cored and cut into 8 wedges
6 Granny Smith apples, each cored and cut into 8 wedges

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add toffee bits, and stir well. Cover and chill.

Combine juice and apples in a bowl; toss well. Drain apples; serve with dip.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I Rolled Out of Bed for You...

And basically ... it turns out it was for ME!!! I wasn't feeling well today, so I stayed home, and thought... I'll just stay in bed all day and But ... I snuck out of bed to see what's going on in the blog world and... really ... I am so blown away by all your comments from yesterday's post, that I wanted to take this time to make a few comments back to you...

Mary -- you are so sweet. Your plate is so full with so many kids, and I'm honored that you have time to read my blog, let alone post an encouraging comment! How do you do it all???

Heather -- Funny thing... I can sing in front of church with no problem. But put me up there to make an announcement, or to speak... and my legs get all jiggly, my heart pops out of my chest and into my throat, my hands shake.... so, Here's to hoping the Holy Spirit takes over and I don't remember a moment of that day Hehehehe!

Morning Glory -- Sigh ... my fear is, that ... yes ... you do need to get a muzzle for me.

Susanne -- Thank you so much for your confidence. I am seeking God muchly even as we speak. And you'll hear more about that on my Living Beyond Yourself Post. Do you have a blog?

Faith -- All I have to do is go to yor blog, and I feel calm almost immediately! Thanks for your encouragement... We'll talk about the bracelet!

Diane -- Breathe, honey, breathe! Thank you for your encouraging words. As I go down the line of comments, I'm getting more and more confident that I.CAN.DO.THIS!

Susan --Welcome, welcome, welcome. To my blog, and to my family... the Family of God. If anyone hasn't gone to visit Susan yet, please go... Please Don't Hang Up ...

Stacey -- Thanks for the encouragement... I've been meaning to tell you that I love your choice of music... except the David Crowder Band... The jur's still out on them. I was at a Mercy Me concert a yer ago, and they announced that they were going to go back to their "original" style of music... heavy/hard rock ... I was sad because I love their current style so much. We'll see how it goes!

Kristen -- Funny -- I had just placed those restraints in my bag for the weekend! Thanks for the encouragement!!! If you want a TRUE daily Bible study, then go visit Kim at Hiraeth!

Mamma D -- If we don't have an absolutely fantastic time... I'm coming after you!

Heth - A Noob? Is that a new word, or one that's been around for ages? I seem to have missed that one, but I think I'm gonna like it!!! Yes, God is so stretching me right now. It hurts.

Shalee -- Wanna be my Aaron? Yes, God IS greater than my fear, and with everyone's encouragement, I'm feeling a bit better about it all!

Anne Glamore -- honey, I am so, soooo sorry -- prayers to you and your family!! Can I borrow your sparkly outfit? Can I, huh, huh, huh?????

Kris -- YOU WILL BE THERE? Oh, I feel so much better now. And, PAAAH--LEEZZZ -- how could I do anything without EXCLAMATION POINTS?!!!?!!!?

KPJARA -- Haven't I had enough vomit in my life over the past three weeks? Let's leave Liz Curtis Higgs out of this. She's one of my favorite people in the world and I'd hate to scare her off ... she's rocking hilarious ... and wanna know a secret? I REALLY wanted to do a lesson on BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE, baby! But, I had already committed to something else that I felt the Spirit laid on my heart. Maybe next time. GAAA! Did I really say that?

Perri -- You are so sweet! I hope I do do great things for God.. but did it have to be so soon?

SarahGrace -- Isn't that a song? Yes, it is... I just went and looked it up. It's a Darlene Zschech song that Women of Faith sang -- When I am weak you make me strong, When I'm poor, I know I'm rich for in the power of your name, All things are possible, all things are possible --- THANK YOU for placing that song on my lips!!!

Sandra -- Thank you for commenting on my blog! I am so excited to find yet another blog to go and devour... Hey, all ... go visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM -- She has an awesome post on prayer, too!!!

Jan -- do you belong to Jeana? 'cause I just love her to pieces!!! Thank you for commenting on my blog and encouraging me. Everyone-- go visit Jan -- she's a new blogger... My Mind...Lost, Strayed, or Stolen -- I'll be devouring your new comments this afternoon! And, YES... my husband tells me I am addicted to volunteering. He thinks the word NO is not in my vocabulary!

Janice -- you mean, you're NOT going to be there? With all your free time, I thought for sure you'd be there! Has everyone visited Janice at 5 Minutes for Mom? She and her twin blog there! Go check them out!

Randi -- can you be available to God, but still throw a temper tantrum about it?

Peach -- STOP!!! You're making me blush!!! Thank you for your precious words of encouragement!!! That's it... I'm gonna make a no-socks rule! I don't want socks flying up at me while I'm speaking!

One last thing... If you haven't read Shannon's post called Remembering, please go. It is touching. It is honest. It is beautiful. And -- something that many, many, MANY of us can relate to. Thank you, Shannon for sharing your heart with all of us! You are the bestest!!!

Finally, here are ALL the words to the song that SarahGrace put on my heart... All things ARE possible!!! You can go HERE to listen to a quick sample... so you can have the song on your heart, too! (It's song #1)

Almighty God my Redeemer, my hiding place, my strong refuge. No other name like Jesus, no power can stand against you. My feet are planted on this rock and I will not be shaken. My hope it comes from you alone, my Rock and my Salvation.

Your praise is always on my lips, your Word is living in my heart. And I will praise you with a new song, my soul will bless you Lord. You fill my life with greater joy, as I delight myself in you. And I will praise you with a new song, my soul will bless you Lord. My feet are planted on this rock and I will not be shaken. My hope it comes from you alone, my Rock and my Salvation.

When I am weak you make me strong,When I'm poor, I know I'm rich for in the power of your name. All things are possible, all things are possible.

I am actually feeling so much better, that I'm going to go and shower and try to go to work for a short period. My son has his 6 month check up today, poor baby!!! Pray for him around 4:15 my time (East Coast) because he'll be getting some yucky shots!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

See? Opening my mouth DOES get me committed


Insanity. That's my defense, and I'm sticking to it.

Back in January, I had been praying for God to show me a way that I could be used to serve Him. And for some reason (read: because I'm insane), I sent my PastorMan's wife an email that said something like this (well, exactly like this)...

"I don't know if you and the women's ministry would ever consider planning a women's retreat, but if you wanted to, I know that getting guest speakers can be costly, and possibly, not likely for the first time. I have had this on my heart for a few weeks now, but have been hesitant to share it, because it would require me to step WAY out of my comfort zone, but if you ever felt like planning a women's event, and, if you felt you had a need, I would be willing to speak on the subject of God's strength, love and compassion through the Power of Prayer."

So, I sent the email off, pretty confident that we (a very small church) would not be planning a women's retreat until we were a little bigger... maybe in a year or so. And here's what she replied...

"Wow! God is definitely speaking to you...and now me. We are planning a Women's Retreat for the weekend after Easter! We're in the process of looking for a facility so we can confirm a date and begin promoting and planning. I would LOVE it if you could speak! ... It sounds like God is leading YOU to answer my prayers as to what I'd like our retreat to be. I'll pass this info on to the other ladies who have agreed to help plan, but I'm sure they will be as excited as I am!"

What? WHAT??? No, no, no, no, no. I don't think I read that right. Let me re-read it. AAAHHHH! I DID READ THAT RIGHT. What have I done? I OPENED MY MOUTH and NOW I'M COMMITTED!!!

Oh, why Lord? WHY??? [Because I laid it on your heart]
I can't DO this. [Yes, my child, you can. I will help you]
What will I say? [I will place it in your mind and on your tongue]
Do I have to? [No. But you will miss a blessing if you don't]
But, I'm scared to get up in front of my friends. [Imagine them naked] Okay, God didn't really say that... but He did remind me that I can do all things with HIM.

So ... 16 days and counting. Joy. Have I started my outline? Yes. How many times have I changed it? 5,000,235. Am I scared? OH YEAH. Am I insane? You answer that. Fortunately, there will only be 12 women there. Phew. So, on top of the 10 hours of homework each night for our LBY Bible Study, and trust me... I AM LIVING BEYOND MYSELF WITH THIS... I have to prepare for our retreat. Thank you Jesus (and Lauren) for this Bible study (which I'm a teensy weensy bit behind on -- shhh -- don't tell the others).

And... did I mention I diarrhearreah of the mouth? Yeah. I do. Because... evidently, while I plead insanity for having done this, I just can't be happy torturing my self by getting up and leading a study at the women's retreat. NOOOO. I have to suggest that I lead the ladies in a craft that is related to my study. Did you notice what I said??? NOT JUST ANY OL' CRAFT... Nooooo ... One that RELATES to my study. Am I CRAZY??? And just so you know ... it's not a "Bible study" -- I'm the "guest speaker." Wooo Hooo. (Balling my eyes out right now.)

So, I'm off to find the right stuff for our craft... preferably on line. We'll be making bracelets like these (am I allowed to do that?) ... Of course, they won't be as beautiful, because I can only afford glass beads, but it will be the same premis. And my topic? Trusting the Shepherd's Heart -- based on Ps. 23. So... I guess I should start doing a little bit of that myself, huh?

So, you see... Tuesday's Toss-up was purely selfish on my part. I needed some encouragement that God continues to answer prayer -- no matter how little or how great. I know He does... that's not really what I mean. I just need to know that I'm not going to get up in front of these women [that know me!] and fall apart. Shake uncontrollably. Cry. Or worse... wet myself.

So, I'm going to use your examples of answered prayer as a method to calm myself. I'll just say... "You can do this, Gi. YOU CAN. God heard your prayers... remember when [insert your name] prayed for [insert your example here] and God answered her? Well, he'll swoop down and wrap you in his arms and give you the strength you need to get through this." (in fact, maybe I'll just print out all the comments and carry them close to my heart as a physical reminder -- although, I might look a little "bumpy" (if you know what I mean) if I carry them close to my heart.)

And, KPJARA ... THIS is why I could NEVER do stand-up... Iscaredycardy-cat. But don't let anyone else know.

Yeah. And next year, I think I'll contact Women of Faith and see if THEY need a guest speaker, too. Why not? Trust me.... I'm just getting my groove on.

Pray for me.


Edited to add: For an extra special blessing today, please go to Shalee's Thoughts -- her post on the Power of Prayer is wonderful, and I promise, will bless your socks off... so read it barefoot! -- Go, go, go, go, GO!!!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

God Cares about Squirty Bottles -- and -- Tuesday's Toss-up

Yup, God cares for squirty bottles. You see... This past Sunday, I was running late for Sunday School. What a surprise there! My husband had given me until 9:00, and then he was leaving and that meant ... separate cars. I HATE THAT on a Sunday! We're a family and we should travel as one. But, with the time change, it was pretty hard to drag my hiney out of bed. My husband is on the praise team, so he had to be at church by 9:30 for a quick practice with the intern.

At 8:40, I was still drying my hair, waiting for HIM to finish ironing his clothes (see? it's his fault I'm late, not mine!) so that I could iron my stuff, and my son was still asleep. I was NOT going to make 9:00. So, he called the PastorMan's wife and caught a ride with her. Whew. At least we could come home together, and I would be able to calm down and get ready with some breathing room.

At about 8:50, I wandered over to the ironing board to iron my very, very wrinkled khaki pants. I went to squirt water on them, and the squeeze part of the squirty bottle was not working. I tried everything. Shaking it. Jiggling it. Slamming it repeatedly on the ironing board. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I could NOT wear these pants as crushed as they were, and trust me when I say... my hiney would NOT appreciate it if I stuck these all-cotton slacks into the dryer to try to fluff the wrinkles out.

So, I laid hands on the squirty bottle and prayed over it, asking the Lord to let it work just so I can get my stuff for church ironed. And guess what? It did! Now, it wasn't an all out spray of water... but a light mist was perfect for what I needed to get done. And this morning, when I went to use the squirty bottle again? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

I've prayed over other strange things, too, and have had God answer my prayers... like, I would pray for God to provide for us, and I'd go fold laundry and find a $20 in the dryer (even $100 one time). One time I laid hands on a hot water heater. Another time, I laid hands on an air conditioning unit.

Why does all this matter, and what is my point? God cares so much for us ... soooo much ... even the small stuff that trips us up matters to God. Just look at the following scripture... now, I know we ALLLLL know it -- probably by heart -- but here it is in the Message version, and WOWZA! This version packs a punch ... in modern day, 21-st century language... Matthew 6:25-34

"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion--do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best--dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers--most of which are never even seen--don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Okay, I know I've talked enough ... So, now it's time for Tuesday's Toss-up --

What are some of the strange things YOU have prayed for and God has answered?