Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let's Shed a Little Light on the Situation

Okay, did I feel silly!

The boys and I all went to church together on Sunday in the Mustang. On the way home, at night, in the dark, I had a car that was riding close on my tail. I didn't like it.

After a bit, he pulled over to my side and just kind of hung close. The boys are like, "Hey Mom, (that's what they call me, you know) what's that guy doing?"

I said, "I guess he wants to race or something, I don't do that." I just ignored him and thought to myself, "I don't like driving this car if people are going to look at me like that. It makes me feel funny."

You see, he wasn't the first one or last to be cutting looks my way.

I just drove along and as the roads got darker, I noticed there wasn't a lot of light in front of me. The lights in my car come on automatically and the way I know they are on is because my dash lights are on. No dashlights, no headlights. Dashlights on, headlights on.

Makes perfect sense. The Mustang's dash lights were shining bright. (Bet you know where this is going don't you?) Headlights, not so much.

Apparently, dashlights on in 'Stang do not mean headlights on.

Color me embarassed.

Turns out no one wanted to race me. They were just trying to get me to turn on my lights! Go figure!

Where's my sign?

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

His First Oopsie and My Hubs Rocks!

Poor J had a wreck today. Both boys were in the truck and both were fine, truck not so much. Rus called Nate, I think J was in shock. Smart choice to call Dad and not Mom. Mom was so panicked. They texted me to let me know.

I called back really quickly. After checking on the boys. Finding out that the other person was fine and J wasn't being stupid, I kept talking about thngs that really weren't important. Nate finally told me to settle down and not get hysterical. I informed him I was not hysterical ( I didn't feel like I was, guess I was a bit in shock, too. The fear and relief). He told me I was headed that way(his tone was way calmer than mine.)

After getting off the phone, I realized he was right, I was headed to hysterical. How well he knows me.

Nate was amazing. He handled the whole thing so well. I know on the way there he was petrified. When something's wrong with your kids, the whole world stops for a moment. J said he was so cool when he got to the accident. He was a bit worried. He took care of the boys and all the accident stuff. Got a rental car, a blue mustang, and picked up J's parking pass. I made sure to let him know what a wonderful man he was and what a great dad and that I loved him dearly and am blessed to have him.

Spent forever working out cruise details. Have a cruise notebook now so I feel so much better!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"In Jesus Name"

Well, it's a new week. Sometimes I don't take the time to blog because I want to do something specific with my blog. You know a meme or activity or something. Sometimes I don't blog because I'm tired. Then I get behind.

Oh, well . . .

This Sunday morning the lesson was on "Praying in Jesus Name."

I never really thought about the fact that I always end my prayers with, "In Jesus' name."

We talked ahout the reasons for going before God and using His son's name.

One of the reasons was to establish resonance. To align our beliefs. To become unified.

Also, when we pray in Jesus' name He appreciates that we know His son. I likened this for the girls to my own sons. When I was studying the material I had an epiphany. If I didn't know you and you needed something from me I don't know whether I'd give you much time or be likely to even listen. On the other hand, if I didn't know you but you came to me and told me you were a friend of J or Rus, I'd stop what I was doing and listen.

I explained to the girls that a child is a part of their parent's heart. If you are a friend of my child, I look at you much differently than if you were a random stranger. It is a connection and a powerful one. It's the same way when we go to God using His son's name.

It just seems natural to use the phrase "in Jesus name".

As I was studying I started reading more about it. There have actually been people fired for saying prayer and using the phrase, "In Jesus name."

I guess we only have religous freedom when it is convenient to other people. When other people aren't offended.

Guess again, people, guess again. My Jesus died for my sins. My Jesus told me in John 14 to pray in His name. My Jesus said do it. That's all there is to it. Just do it!

That being said:

Daddy God I come to you to pray for our nation. It was founded on religous freedom yet that is being taken away from us. Father God just be with us as a nation. Be with each Christian and give them the power to stand up for their beliefs. Be with me and help me stand for my beliefs.

Daddy God, be with my girls at West Brook who are having a hard time in their English class. The teacher has decided that "Evolution" would be a great hot topic for discussion. They have asked for prayers because this teacher is making it very hard for them, he is questioning them about their religion and making them uncomfortable.

As I told them today, comfort isn't always a necessity. We have to step out of our comfort zone and stand tall and stand firm. I know that satan is going after them.

We just returned from an amazing time in Your presence, Father, and he's not happy. Lay your all powerful hand on my precious angels and give them strength and peace. Wrap them in you powerful love and bind satan from their presence.

In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Take that satan, take that.

If someone somewhere has run across my blog and is offended, I don't apologize. This is my little piece of the web and God is present here. All I have to say is: "Don't let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya!


Monday, February 9, 2009

What a Weekend!

Well, last weekend was Winter Retreat and it was amazing. Winter Retreat is always awesome, but there was just something different this time around. At Afterglow last night, Janie Davis said it best. When asked what was so great about Winter Retreat she said, "It's Winter Retreat. What else can I say."

I have to admit that I wasn't sure about it this year. I was a little concerned about our speaker, but I was way off base. His name is R.V. Brown. When asked what it stood for he replied, "Risen to Victory." That should've been our first clue that we were in for an amazing ride!

Our Worship group was "The Ticket Ministry" and they did more than just lead the worship. They were small group leaders and played with our youth. They loved our kids and that made all the difference. It made them so much more than just a group that led worship.

One major difference this year is that there was no rain. In the six years I've been going, it's always rained and has usually been cold. Even before that noone can remember a dry Winter Retreat. Our youth have become so used to this that they were, at first, disappointed that they weren't going to be able to play mud football. With the beautiful weather, they soon got over that disappointment.

Saturday night is always such a big night. Starting with the music in the service, you could tell something was going on. On his very first night, RV told us that he had prayed over each chair and had circled the building seven times to bind Satan from the Tabernacle. I can truly say that on Saturday night the Holy Spirit could be felt surrounding us. The feeling was amazing, I had goose bumps.

After our worship we had the Talent/unTalent Hour. Jeremy, Lila and Josh have formed a band called "RisingSon." They played for the first time in front of a crowd. I was so proud of Jeremy.

After the Talent/UnTalent Hour, we have share time. It is always a touching time, but this time was so much more. All or the sudden, I looked over and Rus was waiting to go up on stage. Once he got up, he shared what was on his heart and I was awed, amazed and so unbelievably proud. It was so much more, but I'll journal it because it's not mine to share. To have the guts to get up and share your heart like he did, was impressive. My boy got a standing ovation from his peers. There were others that shared but only his that touched us all in such away that we had to stand. To say that I cried would be an understatement, I cry at everything, so this got me good. All us mommas were wiping our eyes, most of the dads and quite a few of the youth. How could you not, it was just that powerful.

Sunday night we had Afterglow, a time to share about the weekend. Rus had mentioned to me that afternoon that he wasn't sure whether he wanted to speak or not. I asked him if David had approched him about it and he told me no but RV said you shouldn't be afraid to stand up for Christ and share your testimony. I gave David a heads up and called Mom and told her Rus might speak. She told me to let her know and she'd come if so. I wasn't able to call her.

David had all the youth and most of the sponsors sit in the choir loft. I say most because Neesie and I sat up front. Neesie had already asked me if Rusty was going to speak and if so we should go get tissue. I wasn't sure so we got it just in case. They tried to get us up there we begged off, we knew we'd be bawling cause that's what we do. I also wanted to take pictures. They ran out of room anyway so we made the right choice.

Needless to say, Rusty did get up to speak. Needless to say, I bawled. Unbelievably, he got another standing ovation, the only one again. I say this not to brag, but to try to get across just how moving the entire thing was.

After it was over, I was stopped so many times by people wanting to tell me how they were touched by his testimony and how proud they were. One of the college students even stopped me and told me he never cried unless he was mad and Rusty brought him to his knees and he almost broke down.

I was so glad that my mom made it. I asked her how and she told me that she was watching tv when at 6:24 (church was at 6:30) a still, small voice told her to get to church and she did. Boy was she glad. Dad'll be sorry.

None of us left this weekend without being moved by the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer that the mountaintop experience will last.

There's so much more. I'll share Jeremy's fire tomorrow and the verses.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Novelty of Facebook

There are days I have my issues with technology but it really is a wonderful thing.

Take for example Facebook. I thought I'd check out Facebook and hopefully reconnect with some old friends. I have located some and am having fun playing with my present day friends.

Over 23 years ago I moved to Beaumont from Austin at the start of my senior year. My parents were going to let me stay with some of their friends but I couldn't do it. Literally, I was there one day and gone the next. I totally picked up my life and started over. I just took it all in stride and never really thought about it.

I had some great friends in Austin/Pflugerville and I just left them behind. Now that I have stopped to think about it, if they'd done that to me I would have been so hurt and probably a bit angry. Oh, I'd know it was something that had to be done, but not the way I did it. We had so many big plans for our senior year and so many dreams. I had every intention of staying or I would have said good-bye. I would have had a good-bye party and cried with my friends. But God had other plans for me and it's been great.

I did keep in touch with a handful of my friends but eventually lost touch with each and every one of them. It's not a lack of love, life just got in the way.

I literally hadn't talked to any of my friends from high school in over 15 years. So I thought I'd give Facebook a try. What a fun ride it is already.

A couple of days ago I got an email from a very special friend. A friend I hadn't said good-bye to. I actually got an email asking what was going on in my life. I thought about it for a day or so and this morning I sat down to answer. The words that came out were a bit of a shock and cleansing at the same time. I had never taken the time to stop and think about the entire situation.

As I was doing it I realized it was something I'd like to post on my blog, to help me remember. Maybe it will actually touch someone and help them understand that God has a plan and it is a perfect plan. Even my number one life verse talks about that and I never stopped and put two and two together.

Here goes:

Mom, Dad and Cindy moved to Beaumont my senior year. It was arranged for me to stay with Sue and Clovis Williams and graduate from Pflugerville. Everything was going great: I had a job I loved, a great church, great friends at a school I had been at forever and everything I thought I wanted.

The Fam had been in Beaumont for about 6 weeks by the time school started. I'd visited a few times, but held on to my Austin life. The Fam was visiting churches and had found one with an amazing youth group. It was so unlike Hyde Park it was unreal.

I loved Hyde Park and the amazing opportunities it presented me with as well as the great friendships. I would take absolutely nothing back and would change none of my experiences.

Hyde Park was so huge and here was a youth group that averaged about 35-40 people with the core group of about 20. I became quick friends with a girl named Tamara and met a really cool guy. It always amazes me how God just puts people where they need to be when they need to be there. I don't know why it should, He is God.

School had already started in Beaumont the last weekend I visited. Pflugerville was getting ready to start school on Monday. When I visited with the Northend Youth, I was amazed at how close they all were. I went home that Sunday ready to carry on with my life, or so I thought.

Sue and Clovis were wonderful but they weren't my parents. Even though Mom, Dad and I had our problems, especially Dad and me, there's something about family. I was sitting in my room at the Williams' and thinking about all the things I was missing in Beaumont. Great friends, a sweet guy, my family and a chance to start over.

No matter how much I loved being "independent" in Austin, I was torn. Even though I loved Pflugerville, my friends and my "station in life", it hadn't been the same for me since Becky had died. When she was killed in the car accident, it left a hole that just wasn't filling up. I'd already quit band, which I loved, because I just couldn't deal with all of the memories. I still had my other friends and loved them all dearly. But,since high school had started, Becky and I had been almost inseperable, minus one silly fight.

Everything at school and many things in Austin reminded me of her. Even as much as I loved Todd and Kevin, even as good of friends as they were, it was hard to be around them in the same places we'd hung with Becky. Losing Becky gave us a connection, but also was painful. On new turf, Beaumont, it wasn't as hard. They visited me many times and were ushers in my wedding. The first hurricane scare after I got married, they were ready to come and rescue us. My husband was amazingly understanding when they'd randomly drop by. A couple of times Kevin would pop in and say he was in the neighborhood. I'm still trying to work out how the Austin area and the Beaumont area were neighborhoods. Then they found great gals and got married and we lost touch. I totally digressed.

Anywho, I returned on Sunday afternoon and sat in my room. I can't remember if I made it to choir practice or not. I think I did, I believe I remember telling Christy and Julie I was thinking of moving. Especially Christy because she had traveled with me to Beaumont. By the time I made it back to the Williams', I'd made up my mind.

I called Mervyns and explained. Told Mark since we worked together. Called my parents who were over the moon happy. Called Kevin who said he'd take me to the airport and then drive my car (if you can call that Chevette a car) and stuff up the next weekend along with Todd, if he could get off work. Called Samantha to let her know, talk about totally shocking her.

I went to Pflugerville on Monday and checked out and collected my school records. They were shocked because I'd been granted special permission to finish school in Pflugerville while living in the other end of Austin. I said good-bye to the couple of people I saw with little explanation and I walked away from their confused faces.

Kevin was there to take me to the airport and I cried the entire way. He left me alone except to ask if I was sure this is what I wanted. He told me nothing had been done that couldn't be undone. I told him I needed my family. He reminded me that my parents and I fought ALOT. I told him yes, but they're still my parents. I don't know if he understood.

He reminded me that I had him and all of my friends. I told him I knew that and I loved them and valued them. I told him I wasn't sure going to Beaumont was what I wanted but it was what I had to do.

I only got to say goodbye to Todd on the phone. Most of my friends got nothing and I'm sorry for that.

I only knew that I was hurting inside. I tried so hard to overcome it, and for the most part I did. No matter how many amazing memories I had, and there were too many to count, they couldn't replace the truly painful ones.

Can I just take a moment to tell you how weird this is? I truly haven't thought about this in twenty years. I just buried the entire thing. Then I get on facebook and reconnect with people. It doesn't hurt now so I can think about it. God's plan is perfect.

I don't know if you can imagine what it is like to totally start over with a clean slate. To totally recreate yourself. I am having some major "aha" moments now. This is truly what it is like when you give yourself over to God, you become a clean slate. How cool is that?

I never really believed that I had a "good" testimony. I didn't have an amazing conversion experience, I wasn't a bad bad kid, I was simply a young girl brought up in a Christian home doing what I was supposed to do.

Don't get me wrong, I was saved on that day but because it was all so "normal", I didn't feel like my testimony was that important. Talk about a major God moment. Again, I digressed, but in a good way.

Anywho, I got to Beaumont and had a really amazing senior year. My new high school, West Brook, had a senior class of over 500. Talk about a culture shock. To this day, I can meet someone I graduated with and not even know we went to school together. In fact, my best friend, since college. and I graduated with each other and had no idea.

My youth group was very active and we were very close. I had no problem finding a place to fit in. I didn't have a lot of the same things I'd had in Pflugerville/Austin but I had some different things that were wonderful. God takes away and He gives.

I had no problem recreating Missy. My slate was totally clean. It wasn't that I was trying to be different or have a new identity, I simply was able to have a clean start. I was still me but I had the opportunity to start fresh. No one knew the "old" me.

One time, in college, Kevin came to visit. We had a group of people at my house from the BSU and we played Scruples. Have you ever played Scruples? In Scruples, someone asks you a question and you answer. You don't have to tell the truth, you just answer. The group then has to decide whether or not they believe you. I don't remember all of the particulars, I only remember that Kevin, angel that he is, outed me every chance he got. In some ways he was right, and some ways he was wrong. Although, I had changed in many ways, fundamentally I was the same.

Kevin and Todd kept visiting. Christy came a few times. I'd go to Austin to visit. I was Samantha's maid-of-honor. And then that season seemed to end, too. I completely lost touch. That makes me sad. But life goes on.

I know that was a lot but thanks for taking the time to read it. I can honestly say it holds many "aha" moments for me.



Monday, February 2, 2009

Blessed Revisited

Revisiting my word of the year, "Blessed".

My friends at church. I've been totally blessed with a group of friends at church. For the most part, these friends are the parents of my kid's friends. It is so nice to have people to laugh and play with.

I was thinking this before hand, but last night was our Super Bowl party and it was wonderful sitting there laughing with and enjoying my friends.

God has blessed me with a remarkable group of people and I just want to say thank you God for putting these special people in my life.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17