So Where Does That Leave Me?

I have been pondering over whether or not to share this, and after some consideration, I have decided to do so.  Maybe there is someone out there who thinks like I do and can relate.  And, if not, then I suppose this is one way to offer insight to myself for any of my friends out there who would like to know me better.  Surely, there is someone.  ;)

I was raised in the church and have had a personal relationship with Christ from the age of 9 years old.  I have had times in my life when that relationship was stronger and more intimate than at other times, but I can honestly say that the past 30 years of my life have been consistently spent serving Him.

Over the decades that I have been a Christian, there has been an area that I have sometimes struggled with understanding.  To put it plainly, I don’t have a broad comprehension of God’s love.  I have heard many times over the years phrases such as, “You mean so much to Him”, “God loves You so much”, “You are so special to Him”, “He would have died on that cross, even if You were the only person on earth”, etc.

I have heard these things so often over the years, but somehow I find it hard to believe that He really loves ME that much.  I’m not really all that great.  And, I know that it is not really about me anyway, it is about Him.  Yet, still, I wonder sometimes if those things are true about Him loving me that much.

I have such a blessed life and I cannot complain about much of anything.  I believe that we all can make a choice concerning how we choose to live life and that God lays out some principles in His word that if we abide by them, then we will be blessed.  Truthfully, it’s not all that hard.  He lays out a formula and we plug in the rest.  I guess that is the Math teacher in me talking.  But lately, I have been having a harder time believing that He really loves me as much as I have been told that He does.  And, just when things are beginning to get me down, God shows up for me.  Allow me to tell you how.

Our daughter Devri had a birthday on May 1st.  I wanted to plan a birthday party for her and due to some work we were having done on our house, we needed to do something off site.  She said that she wanted a bowling party, so I charged ahead with that plan.  I called the bowling alley and got all the details for the cost of the party and then proceeded to book it.  When asked what day and time, I replied that because my daughter attends a private school and we get out at noon on Fridays that I would like to have the party from 1-3p.m.  She hesitated for half a second and then said, “Well, we aren’t open during that time, but for you I will go ahead and open for you.  I’m the manager here and I don’t mind doing that for you.”  I was very grateful and the plan was in motion.

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The next week I found some really cute invitations on Etsy and I ordered them.  I also began ordering these cute bowling pin water bottles that I planned on personalizing for all of the party guests.  Next, I needed a cake.  I found the perfect cake and ordered it from The Great Cakery in Coahoma.  I received the invitations and got them all distributed to Devri’s friends.

A few days before the party, Stacey from The Great Cakery called to confirm my order and to make arrangements for me to pick up the cake.  I mentioned to her that my husband would have to pick it up because I would be working until noon and the party was at 1p.m.  She happily volunteered to deliver the cake to the bowling alley for no charge.

I arrived at the bowling alley at 12:15 on the day of the party to set up.  The manager Tammy and the owner of Big Spring Bowl-a-Rama, Diana were so excited about my decorations and the bowling pin water bottles that they wanted to add to the decor.  Diana gave me two Happy Birthday bowling pins for the party guest to sign for Devri to keep as a memento.  Normally, she sells them for an additional $15/each.  The decorations and the cake were perfect and now we were ready to party!

To my great surprise, out of 22 guests that were invited, all but 2 showed up.   And, thankfully, all of the mammas of these dear children are my friends and they all stayed and assisted me in serving pizza, drinks and cake and in the general running that is involved in a child’s birthday party.  I could not have survived without them.  Another “gift” to be thankful for that day.

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Tammy was wonderful about accommodating all of our needs and she even allowed us a few of Devri’s favorite songs on the jukebox and provided disco lights to set the mood.  The kids had a wonderful time dancing and bowling.  It really could not have gone any better than it did.

For all of this, I was so grateful.  On top of having a great turn out at the party, I felt like God gave me some bonus blessings throughout.  The party was a success and it was over and we were back home by 4:30, in time to still enjoy the evening with the family.

For dinner, Devri wanted to go eat at the Hotel Settles.  It is a historical hotel in Big Spring that was recently beautifully restored and we love to dine there.  When we arrived at the Settles Grill, we were quickly seated at a table directly in front the musical ensemble for the evening-a woman sitting along side a gentleman playing the keyboard.  The thought ran through my head that we were sitting so close to them that the music was going to be bothersome.  Boy, was I wrong.  Throughout the meal we were serenaded with jazz tunes from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.  We tipped the musicians at some point during the meal and withdrew any negative thoughts that had spawned upon arrival.  I saw it as another gift from God that day.

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We also had a wonderful waitress and the food was amazing, as always.  Devri was offered a complimentary dessert for her birthday, which John and I enjoyed very much.  Our daughter is not much for Tres Leches.  When they brought out her cake, our new friends sang Happy Birthday to her.  Then the female singer came over to our table and gave Devri a five dollar bill for her birthday.  We were completely surprised.  We were even more surprised when she returned a few minutes later and gave Sam $3 because she didn’t want him to be left out.  We felt bad that they were giving their tip to our kids.  They insisted that the kids keep the money and they told us that they had so enjoyed our family being there that night.  Again, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness for such a blessing.

When we left that evening, John and I got in our vehicle and looked at each other and at the same time said, “This has been the best night ever.”  I can truthfully say that on May 1, 2015, God made ME feel loved.  I love Him in the good times and the bad times and I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me.  I know that there are times that I feel Him and there are times that I feel all alone.  But on this day, I laid my head down believing that He really loves ME!

Joys and Pains

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with the life that I lead.  I have been given a wonderful husband and two beautiful children.  I have found and followed my calling into a teaching career.  I am also a business owner for fifteen years this coming April.  I have a beautiful home and I drive a luxury vehicle.  As a family, we attend and are involved in a growing church with effectual pastors.  With all of that being said, when pain comes, I sometimes do not know or understand how I am to handle such things.  I know with my head and with my heart to call upon my Lord, the Savior of my soul.  I trust that He is in control of every situation.  But what I don’t understand is how to be successful through the suffering, how to make changes in a situation that involve more than just me.  I know that God is in control.  I know he cares about my situations, both good and bad.  And I will always praise Him through my storms.  What I do not want to do is go on pretending that everything is always perfect.  Things are not perfect.  Life is not always easy, even when it is a good one.

New School, New Beginning

New School, New Beginning

As a family, we have embarked on a new adventure. We have become a part of a new school, Big Spring Classical Academy. I am teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and my children are attending. Sam is one of my second graders, and Devri is in the Pre-K class. We are very busy with school, new friendships, and keeping up with our home life, but we wouldn’t trade it. We love this new segment of our lives!

God’s Protection

Saturday night, John took our son out hog hunting.  To my understanding, this involves total darkness, a spot light and driving around in a pick-up truck with two silly little boys who care more about laughing at each other’s bodily expulsions than actually spotting a hog.  But, who asked me, right?  I wasn’t invited, nor did I care to attend.  My three year-old little girl and I stayed at home piled up in bed watching a movie.

It was about dark-thirty when our dogs suddenly began to bark.  We have a sunroom that is completely enclosed with glass, so the dogs can spot any random animal, such as a raccoon, that wanders into the yard.  I got up to hush the animals and made sure the back door was locked, then I went back to the bedroom.  Since we moved in within the last year, we have not been able to decide what to do for window treatments in our room.  So, we have done nothing.  We have a sliding glass door in our room that has drapes, but the four windows have nothing.  These four windows look out into our backyard, which is gated.

Well, about 30 minutes after the dogs had been roused, I saw what appeared to be a flashlight beam in the backyard.  I got a little concerned.  Although, I did not hear the dogs bark this time.  I texted John and told him and he told me how to get the gun out of the gun safe.  The funny thing about all of this is that I really was not scared.  I prayed and asked the Lord to protect us and I kept my eye on the window a little more than I would have, but I definitely was not gripped by fear like I would have been in the past.  There was still peace.  Nothing ever came from the light that I saw and the dogs remained quiet the rest of the night.  John got home a few hours after I had turned the lights off to go to sleep.

The next morning was Sunday and we attended church as usual.  After service, one of the ladies in the church came up to me and said, “Jenny, I don’t want to worry you or anything, but last night I had a dream and the Lord woke me up to pray for you.  I’m not sure what it meant or anything, but I kept feeling like I was to pray for you and your house.”  Wow!  I got goosebumps and just thanked her for being submissive to the voice of God.  Chances are there was something out there the night before in my yard and chances are whatever or whomever it was was up to no good.  But the Lord had different plans for me and my daughter that night and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Him.

God does love his people and He will intervene on your behalf.  Never lose hope and never give up on our big God!

Bad Me

Have you ever said something to someone that you wish you could take back?  I did that recently.  I hurt someone’s feelings.  I realized that I had hurt their feelings.  Then I texted the person to ask if I hurt their feelings and the person confirmed that I had indeed hurt her feelings.  So, I apologized.  But, after I apologized, I received no response.  What does this mean?  Am I forgiven?  It kept me up all night.  And, it is still bothering me today.  So, do I apologize again?  Hmmm…

Makes me so thankful that with God, I don’t have to apologize a second or third time.  I can ask for forgiveness and it is given.  Aren’t you glad that is how He works?  So often in life, though, we go around beating ourselves up for things that are under the blood.  Excuse the church jargon, but it is what it is.  Jesus died on the cross to take our sins and so if we ask for forgiveness, then it is “under the blood”.

Family “Talk”

In our family we have certain “words” or “phrases” that we use that would not make sense to the random on-looker.  I’m sure all families have a dynamic like this in some form or another.  Either that or my family is just a little different-which might be the case. 

We have a man staying in our guest bedroom for the time being and he is slowly being exposed to our family’s language.  We have a 7 year-old and a 3 year-old who are not a bit shy, so they have conversations with him quite often. 

A few nights ago, John and I and the kids were all back in one of the bedrooms near the room where this man is staying.  John and I were scolding the 3 year-old for something and the 7 year-old told her that she was going to get a BAP.  A BAP is a quick slap on the back of the head for doing something idiotic or without forethought that can lead to trouble. 

Well, being told that she was going to get a BAP did not sit well with her.  Since John and I were in the middle of scolding her, she decided her only ally was down the hall.  She went stomping out of her room and marched right into the guest room and said, “I don’t want a BAP and brudder (brother) said that I’m going to get a BAP!’  I listened intently to see what his response would be.  He very kindly said, “Well, if your mommy and daddy say that you need a bath, then you need to take a bath, O.K.?”  I chuckled to myself, waiting for her to go into a full on explanation of what a BAP is, but she didn’t.  She did not reveal one of our family codes.  She cocked her head to the side as if to say, “That is the strangest thing I have ever heard” and she marched back to her bedroom and commenced to getting ready for bed. 

Our secret is still safe.  I guess. 

Valentine’s Day-What it is

I was thinking about Valentine’s Day and what it means. Of course the first thing I thought of was love. Which led me to think of the love chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13. But these two loves that are celebrated are vastly different. 

The way love is celebrated on Valentines is actually a little more like lust, in my opinion. It is more about our selfish wants and expectations than it is about true love.  First Corinthians 13 speaks of unconditional love. Valentine’s Day is a day to make your sweetheart feel special and feel loved.  And I do think it is a fun holiday and a fun way to remind us to actually show someone how we feel. But what happens if someone messes up or forget that special someone?  Is there forgiveness?  is there unconditional love on the other side?

My love language is definitely gifts and my husband’s love language is not gifts and he really stinks at this. It is not unusual for me to be told on a special day like Valentine’s Day or Christmas that my gift is still on the way or that he didn’t get it ordered in time and then I am asked, “it doesn’t really matter if I don’t have a card does it?”  And this year on Valentine’s Day it was not so different. And this time I even told him about 5 or 6 days ahead of time the store he can go to here in town and exactly what he could get me. Now, I do love my husband and I am not trying to make him look bad because he’s a wonderful man. But when this happens it does give me a test-am I still going to show him that I love him?  Is my love unconditional or is it based on whether or not he loves me the way I think he should-especially on Valentine’s Day?

Unconditional love is a very challenging concept. It is not one of those things you can just talk about and assume that you’re going to be able to do it. It is very challenging to love someone despite their actions. I find this is true not only of my husband but even of  my children. Not that I don’t love them when they do wrong, but shouldn’t love look a certain way?  Does yelling at my children look like love?  Does fighting with my spouse look like love?  Does getting angry with someone when they don’t make the choice that you want them to make look  like love?  So this Valentine’s Day I propose that we all love unconditionally despite disappointment And heart ache. And if you didn’t get the box of chocolates that you wanted, go buy some yourself for heaven sake. That’s what I did. 

****Just to let you all know-my fabulous husband came through for me.  I just received (at 5:00p.m.) a gift bag from jake witzel Gifts and Interiors that contained two dozen fudge covered strawberries, a Vera Bradley Carry It All Wristlet and a jar of Fluffy Bunny Shea Butter body butter.  He’s a keeper! 

 

Hormones and Homeschool

I’m thinking this might actually be the name of a new blog, not just a single post.  It would be all about my experience as a pre-menopausal home school mom and my race to educate my children before I kill them.  Well, at least it would cover all the details of our daily trials and triumphs we have while homeschooling.  Today just may have been “the” day to prompt me to do this.

With hormones raging, I approached homeschooling today with a no nonsense attitude.  I had full expectations for my child to be focused and to to do his work diligently (especially since I have been teaching him about this godly characteristic for the past two weeks).  Instead, he whined for 20 minutes that his handwriting work was babyish, yet when I checked his work he had only completed one line and it was not worthy of even a check mark.  I then set a timer and told him that he had five minutes to complete the work and then it would become homework for him to complete after dinner.  Our phonics lesson was not that much more productive.  Lots of crying and whining.  Lots of wasted time.  And I was hosting bunco later this evening.  I did not need this to happen today.  I had a house to clean, tables to set up, and a meal to prepare for 12 women.  And have I mentioned that my hormones are raging?

Sometime during the middle of all of this, I sent him to his bedroom to cry and have a time out.  Time out for me, that is.  He finally stopped crying and came back out and said he was ready to work.  More complaining and just over all having a bad attitude.  I eventually broke down in tears as well and one of us crumpled up the handwriting paper and threw it away.  We need a do-over.  Tomorrow.  And, I promise that I won’t crumple up any more handwriting papers.

Hormones and Homeschool

I’m thinking this might actually be the name of a new blog, not just a single post.  It would be all about my experience as a pre-menopausal home school mom and my race to educate my children before I kill them.  Well, at least it would cover all the details of our daily trials and triumphs we have while homeschooling.  Today just may have been “the” day to prompt me to do this.

With hormones raging, I approached homeschooling today with a no nonsense attitude.  I had full expectations for my child to be focused and to to do his work diligently (especially since I have been teaching him about this godly characteristic for the past two weeks).  Instead, he whined for 20 minutes that his handwriting work was babyish, yet when I checked his work he had only completed one line and it was not worthy of even a check mark.  I then set a timer and told him that he had five minutes to complete the work and then it would become homework for him to complete after dinner.  Our phonics lesson was not that much more productive.  Lots of crying and whining.  Lots of wasted time.  And I was hosting bunco later this evening.  I did not need this to happen today.  I had a house to clean, tables to set up, and a meal to prepare for 12 women.  And have I mentioned that my hormones are raging?

Sometime during the middle of all of this, I sent him to his bedroom to cry and have a time out.  Time out for me, that is.  He finally stopped crying and came back out and said he was ready to work.  More complaining and just over all having a bad attitude.  I eventually broke down in tears as well and one of us crumpled up the handwriting paper and threw it away.  We need a do-over.  Tomorrow.  And, I promise that I won’t crumple up any more handwriting papers.

I Got a New Toy!

I unexpectedly received a new “toy” today!  By some standards it would not be considered a toy.  And, by other’s standards, it might not cause excitement.  But, I was excited when my husband when to the hardware store for supplies on our remodel and he returned with a Black & Decker electric weed eater/edger called the GrassHog XP just for me.  Maybe it’s because we are going to do yard work tomorrow on our massive backyard and I made the comment that I would like an electric weed eater as opposed to his gas-powered one that I can barely lift.  None the less, I was still surprised!

I was so excited that I could not wait to use it.  As soon as I finished the painting that I was working on, I took it out of the box and got busy.  The wonderful thing about this is that tomorrow when we do our yard work, we will have a head start.  I got the back yard completely edged.  The cons to my adventure are that my pointer finger and thumb on my left hand are completely numb and have been this way for several hours.  I guess this is from the vibration of the edger.  I also endured an injury.  Something, I am guessing a stick, rock, or pecan shell, flew up and struck me on the forehead above my left eye.  It stung so badly and felt wet.  I don’t really like blood, so I was a bit scared.  Of course head wounds bleed worse than what the actual cut is sometimes.  I have a small cut, tiny really, but it gave me a scare.  I sure am glad my two year-old was there to be my nurse.  I was at least offered some sympathy and a princess band-aid.

Despite the numb fingers and the blood, I am still excited about my new toy!

Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

All Cleaned Up

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