Home for the Holidays

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It has been as quiet as a mom with a sleeping baby around here lately.  And I’ve been as busy as . . .well . . . as a person can be.  :0)  And in the process of all this busy, I’ve contracted some sort of something.  I’m not quite sure what it is, but it’s a whole bunch of up and down, sneeze and blow, rest and unrest, uugghh and uuuuurrrrrggggghhhh.  So I am saying a prayer for myself, my baby girls (who are actually getting much better by the day) and everyone else who may be getting over the uuurrggghhhs (you define what that is).  I certainly want to feel better, for good.  Next week I am making my way to my hometown to spend some time with my family.  I’m looking forward to wrapping my arms around my nieces and nephews.  There’s a juicy little dimple faced boy who looks just like my little sister when she was a baby.  Then there’s my other nephew with the golden ears which have been switched to the off position, for whom I’ve been brushing up on my sign language so that he and I can have a conversation and perhaps he’ll better know that I see him and I love him. The crew of what feels like scores of nieces each with their own tv variety personalities and a new, precious wonder of a girl who I cannot wait to hold in my arms for the first time.  Oh yes, I must get better!  So many joys ahead.

For some people, though, going home for the holidays is often a very sad and often painful time.  Since my parents are divorced, this used to be true for me.   I hated the idea of dividing up my time between the two houses and the stress that accompanied that type of planning.  Considerations flowed in and out of my mind in capital, oxblood red letters like breaking news scrolling across a ticker: I have to make sure I get to daddy’s house.  How will my mom feel while I am gone?  Will she feel alone or abandoned?  Will daddy feel like I spent enough time with him?  The whole thing could easily give me a case of the uuurrrggghhhsss!  For real.  It was very heart-wrenching and difficult for this people pleaser to feel as though there was no hope for me to make the people I care about the most, happy.  It was as though I was approaching Mt. Kilomanjaro in stilettos and a clutch bag without so much as a 4 oz. Deer Park for the journey.  I found myself praying off anxiety before each visit or just avoiding going home altogether.  And because I know that there are some of you who may be experiencing the same for similar reasons or reasons completely different from mine, I want to offer you hope.

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How about instead of thinking about all the dysfunction in your family, you take out a pen, right now, and jot down a list of thanks, to God, for anything and everything right about your family.  Before you roll your eyes and call me an idealistic Pollyanna wanna be just try it.  I really believe that in every family, there is some redeeming quality, some glimmer of hope, some semblance of goodness if we look hard enough.  And the alternative to seeing and appreciating the good is your misery and the risk of making an idol out of every grievance you legitimately have with each person in your family.  And we all know who so badly desires your misery . . .  So take a few moments and call forth the good.  Conjure it up.  And be careful not to allow your enemy to overshadow each sweet thought with a memory that negates it.  After you have a hefty list of only the sweet, thank God for each item and enter into a time of prayer asking Him for whatever it is you need to experience His joy and be a light for Him while with your family.

I am sincerely looking forward to going home to be with my family.  And I sincerely believe that it is going to be a beautiful time as we make new memories together.  And I am going to accept nothing less than that . . . and I challenge you to do the same.

Disclaimer:  Above are not pictures of a dysfunctional family . . . they are actually a very sweet family with dysfunctional tendencies.  :0)

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Five Minute Friday!

I have so missed this!  So glad to be joining the Five Minute Friday crew today!  Today’s word is “together.”  Five minutes.  One Word.  Here goes!

Together

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Mommy, may I have some water?

Mommy, I need to use the potty.

Mommy, what does frog mean?

Mommy, what are you doing?

Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommeeeeeee!  Mommy, I called you!

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I do dearly love those two little girls.  I get to spend my all day everyday with them.  It is a blessing and I know it full well.

When I go about my day doing laundry, or cleaning bathrooms, the cadence of their happy little feet mark time behind me, following diligently from room to room.  They volunteer to help even when there’s not much to do.  They RSVP to be by my side even when there has been no invitation extended.  If I sit, snuggled with a blanket, they take it as an open seat, and snuggle next to me.  They want to hold me.  They want to kiss me.  They want hugs.  They want me.

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And as much as I often want nothing more than a quiet moment to myself, I think to myself that one day, they will need the wisdom, love a listening ear and comfort of a mother.  They will need me, but if satan has his way, they may not want me.  I do not want to spend their little years having them practice being sent away to play or be otherwise engaged while mommy has a moment.  There will be moments I get to myself but for now I will love them. And I will enjoy us being . . . together.

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Support Staff

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It was a beautiful, bright, winter Saturday.  The kind where the air is crisp and wet, thick with the anticipation of some wintry mix threatening to keep everyone inside, fireside bound for the whole of the day.  Except the bright boldness of the sun dared anyone to mention inclement weather, as she spread all her rays out over the earth like a mama’s proud arms, welcoming her babies in to the warmth, love and comfort that only a mama can assure.  Yes, the sun was working her magic and wooing all of the women as they excitedly dressed and prepared to go and wish well another Darling, preparing herself to take on a new last name and a basket full of responsibilities to go along with it.  They were all so excited that though aware of the blue temperatures outside, they were motivated to be with her, share with her, celebrate her and tell her exactly how to be the best wife possible to this lucky man.  So excited they were, in fact, and having done this several times before for a friend, a niece, sister, cousin, that they got caught up in the excitement and familiarity of it all and forgot to consult with their their editor and manager about what they should say.  Surely He cares that much about us, to inform us on how to inform others about how to do His will?!?!  Yet they sauntered out there, laughing, playing happy games, conversing amongst themselves, sipping the sweet, inviting nectar of joy and eating the tenderly baked, enticing confections of comfort and started talking out of turn.  Their guards were down–which can be one of the worse times to speak aloud at all, especially in a group setting and especially when you haven’t spoken with your manager.

No, they weren’t rude or harsh, but they spoke more from their own heartaches and past mistakes rather than from truth.  And Darling, so eager to please and be the wife she felt her lover deserved, took it all in without a sieve.  She swallowed it all whole thinking that it’d be better to receive it all now, soak up the moment and try it out later to see for herself if these platters of advice from the kind, well-meaning women in her community, would lay softly on the palate of her intended.

Seeing that she was a hungry girl, and wanting her to do well in this call, they talked more and more and became braver in their offerings, leaving no room in the house untouched.  From the Kitchen to the laundry room to the bedroom, Darling was told exactly what her man would like and wouldn’t like, and how she should conduct herself if she wanted to stay married. Shucks, it got so good in there that even the younger, unmarried school girls started placing their offerings before her, as if they knew anything about this scared calling for themselves except for what they had been warned against or had seen played out in some version the Housewives franchise.  They meant well. . .

No one seemed to notice that Darling’s once bright, anxious, joyful eyes had now dropped to a half moon, wandering, listless stare.  And those that did notice figured that she was probably just getting tired and wanted to open gifts.

Not all of the talk was unproductive and unedited but one of the comments that I think dimmed her light a bit came from the back of the room, an auntie, older, respected, and thought to be wiser than most of them said,

 “Don’t tell your business.  If anything happens in your marriage, keep that between you and your husband.  Don’t tell people what’s going in your relationship because you’ll choose to forgive him and they won’t.”

If I were a betting woman, I would bet you that all across the world, there is some version of this same bit of advice being told to women all over the world.  But is it biblical?

It just doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me.

Darling finds herself in the position of being recognized as that “good thing” that the gentleman has been searching for.  She is so excited about being with this man and so she sets out to plan her wedding, for some, the day of her dreams.  As she plans, she chooses the women who will stand closest to her on that day.  They smile, cry, tilt heads to the side, clutch hearts and prepare for months of sentimentality and love, anxious for the big day.  Then, after the day has come, they have all celebrated, eaten cake and burned it off with the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide, the couple drives off into the sunset to live happily ever after . . . and the supporting cast members are supposed to just walk away and stay out of their business?

No.  I think we’ve got this all wrong.

I don’t believe that you should share your business with just anybody just as much as I believe that you shouldn’t have just anybody in your wedding.  Marriage is sacred and we should treat it as such from the moment we start dating.

The bible speaks often about community and how we are to conduct ourselves as we live in community with each other.  One example is in Galatians 6:2 encouraging us to: Carry each others burdens…”

I should be able to talk to a select few women in my life, or perhaps one woman, who is close to me, loves me, sincerely cares about me and my marriage when I am happy and when I am struggling to be the wife who respects her husband as I am called to do in Ephesians.  I should be able to go to her and trust that she will keep my confidence and lead me to the throne to receive help and healing for my heart, mind and marriage.

Now, to be clear, I do believe that our first move should always be toward the Lord, in prayer.  We shouldn’t ever get into the habit of running to friends and family for help when our God has already set Himself up as everything that we need.  But the place where most people get mixed up is in forgetting that God places people in our lives who we are to grow with.  He will often use people to show us His love for us, to show us His hand of provision, and even His hand of correction can come down through the people in our lives.  Don’t shut people out because you have been told to cover your relationship like a newborn child in the middle of a war zone.  Be wise about the people you have in your life, and trust God to use them to lead you into His call for you, which is holiness.

I have some of the most amazing women in my life.   Truly.  They love me.  They like me.  They applaud me but they also challenge me.  They know who I am and they know that I aspire to be pleasing to God, so they never let me compromise that. I am free to pitch a 60 second fit but they are are there, one (and sometimes two) at a time, to gently get my head back in the game and get back on point.  They are consistent as I parent, in my friendships, my work, relationships, goals, and yes, my marriage.

I think that we should talk more about this and unravel it a bit more.  We’ve got to debunk this myth and see what the Lord has to say about it.  While it has some value for keeping the sanctity of your marriage, I believe that it has taken a turn and put more of us in bondage than anything else.  I believe that there is a reader who needs to be free and know that she just may have someone in her life that she can be completely transparent with about her marriage, to the glory of God and the edification of her and her husband.  I also believe that for some of us, it runs a little deeper and we need to clean house and get some new Frans ’cause the ones we have on staff have taken an extended, paid vacation.

Marriage Letters: On Transition

Huni, Huni, HUNI!!!

Transition?  Huh!  It’s the story of our lives, right?!?!  We’ve been transitioning since the moment we decided to change almost everything and move our family farther away from our will for our lives and closer to His.  Every conversation had, every decision made, every box packed, every box unpacked, each tear of joy and sorrow, each goodbye and each hello, all have been another part of our transition story.  It’s been bittersweet, but it’s been a journey that both of us are so moved by, daily.

Ironically, I think that’s what has made this transition hardest for me– the “dailyness” of it all.  I haven’t began to feel yet like the transition is over.  Cool thing that happened today was that I started to feel some of my motives changing and, as a result, I gained a bit of new strength accompanied by some new brain juice to fight with.  That was really cool, really, sweet and really, very needed.  For as much as as we can realize that in the center of His will is the safest place, and for as much as we encourage each other on to great works, I am searching for level ground.  I am looking for the waves to rest and the boat to stop rocking with such a rowdy sway.  I don’t know all of what God is trying to do in us, but I do know that He is trying to make us stronger and more effective.

In the meantime, I have needed you and I have needed for our connection to be strong, steady, comforting, joyful.  I have needed you to be a place of comfort and consistency among all of the change.  Thinking about what I need and alllllll of the conversations we’ve had in efforts to make this transition smoother makes me think about what we’ve learned in this process.  Well, what have we learned, Huni?  If the Lord were to send us another couple that was transitioning in anyway, what would our testimony be at this point?  What would we tell them?  How would we encourage them?  Let’s not waste this opportunity.  transition and its tremors are often the demise of many unions.  Let’s begin to get this figured out.  I have a feeling that searching through it and getting an understanding of ourselves in this season will yield fruit not only for others transitioning, but for us.  Right now.  This sounds like a date night conversation!!!  no?  ok, lemme know!!  I love me some you!!!!!

pamela t.

The Sunday Community: Proverbs 17:6

 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.

Proverbs 17:6 (NIV)

Happy Grandparents Day, Grandma, Granddaddy, Nana Phee, PawPaw, GG, and GG Mama!  We count it a sheer blessing to have so many of you to celebrate today and we love you.

~Izzie, Ava, Emmanuel & Pamela

  Please join me and The Sunday Community at Jumping Tandem for more of God’s word and inspiration.

Marriage Letters: On Our Anniversary

Oh, Huni.

Seven years.  Wow.  Seven years ago today we trotted our little scared but in love selves down that wide aisle, ready to give ourselves away all for the chance to love each other the rest of our lives.  We had no idea what our tomorrow would look like but we were sure that no matter what the view, we wanted to see it together.

Remember that wave of fear that rushed over us when we stepped into the vestibule, after we said I do and you planted a big one on me?  Emmanuel!  We were sooooooo scared!  Who’d a thunk it?  And I’m not even sure why.  Those few moments alone, without all the hustle and bustle of making  preparations for the wedding, without the swarm of family and friends excitedly supporting and anticipating the union, all we had was ourselves and all this love that was supposed to get us from there to eternity.

We have since learned that love, as great and important as it is, is not enough.  You need my respect as well as my love and I have learned that the more I love you and respect you, the more I participate in the Lord’s work of making you the man that He’s purposed for you to become.  I apologize for all the ways that I have not loved you and the times that I allowed myself to think that I knew better at the risk of disrespecting you.  I’m really sorry, Emmanuel.  Our marriage is a big deal to me but I am only now opening up to allow God to heal all the broken bits of my heart and while He’s doing major surgery on me (which is probably going to last a lifetime) I’ll have these bouts of hard-to-love-me and hard-to-see-my-love. It’s a side effect of brokenness.  But I’m in the fray.  And I ain’t going nowhere.  And I’m grateful to have a partner who’s as committed to this thing as I am.

So. Here we are.  Seven years later.  No longer afraid,well, at least not for the same reasons that were there seven years ago. . .

You’re my gift.  I get so humbled when I think about my little girl self and see the woman that I am today.  God is so great.  He’s so good, so incredibly sweet to me to have built me to be a woman of great strength, wisdom, and power in my own right and then put a little polish on me when he gave me you.  I’m a movement by myself but I’m a force when we’re together.  ;0)

I’ll take this seventh anniversary as a chance to tighten my grip on your hand as we  move from waltzing to marching into our purpose.  And the beauty of it is that in this season, we’re a great deal clearer about what it is and how to do it.  SO here, we go!  So excited to see what this next chapter brings.

loving loving you,

pamela t.

Mommy Goodness!

A big, fat, hearty Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers of the world!!!! :0)  No matter how you are called upon daily to serve as a mom, it’s hard work being us, for reals and it is my sincere pleasure to wish you a happy day today and also to pray prayers of strength, love, courage, and deep relationship with God through Christ Jesus as you walk this walk of selflessness and service.  As glorious and as sweet as days like today can be, I have learned that you’ll need Him every step of the way!

I have had a great day so far.  I was greeted by mother’s day wishes starting around 6ish.  Phone calls and texts galore!  Ok.  People.  Thank you, but for reals??!!??  That early in the morn??!!  I’m a mom!  I needs my sleep!!  :0)  joking. . . kinda . . .  ;0)

My Huni’s alarm slapped my ears at 6:30, like it does relentlessly morning after morning and so resigning that I wouldn’t be sleeping in on this Mother’s Day, I hopped on my laptop and found some wonderfully encouraging words for any mama’s soul in my inbox and on the Gypsy Mama’s site.

I love (in)courage and receive emails from the site fresh and hot to my inbox daily.   This one: http://www.incourage.me/2012/05/what-we-wish-we-could-tell-you-mamas.html was waiting for me this morning and was a wonderful way to start my Mother’s Day, thinking of all moms, not just those like me.  So good.  Please do check it out.  Guaranteed blessings there.

The Gypsy Mama offered up something different but it was just. what. I. needed.  For reals.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there’s a giveaway!!  For free!!  Check it out:  http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/and-then-i-broke-up-with-myself-six-years-ago/

Went to church service this morning.  I love the body of believers that we worship with here.  Really, truly, our lives have been changed in ways that we could never have imagined ever since our first Sunday worshiping there.  And today was no different.  Love, love, love it when my pastor’s wife speaks.  She speaks truth and spoke it this morning like always.  However just before she did, our worship leader Pastor Jon Owens and his wife Kelley shared a bit of themselves with us.  I do not know them personally, but I really wish I did.  Especially after this. They have an amazing testimony and have been used by God to help inspire some movement in our lives without even knowing it.  Oh, this video . . . it hints to none of that.  Just how amazingly talented  and . . .  fun they are.  How can I describe this . . . .hmmmm . . . I don’t even know.  You know what, just watch it.  You’ll never be the same . . .  :0)


So, for the rest of the day I will eat and rest.  A dear friend has made plans to drop by later.  I expect we’ll laugh and talk the evening away.

I asked for a book called Mother Letters as a gift for today.

 I cannot wait to dig in.  Check it out for yourself or gift it to someone else.  Find out more here:  http://motherletters.com/ebook/

Now, for my mama:  I love you mommy.  I know that a great part of who I am, God used your hands and heart to mold.  I miss you so much.  I wish I could see your face everyday and be closer to you, to take care of you and nurture you into your destiny the way that you did with me.  But I trust God with you because before you were mine, you were so sweetly and securely His.   May He ever love you and use you until He calls you.  You’ve been a great mother–no matter the outcome of me and my sister’s lives.  Now I get to have you as my friend.  Thank you for being willing to stick around as my friend.  In my absence, I send you my heart, my love, and this gap-toothed smile that you so generously shared with  me.

I love you mommy!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxo!!

Never Will a Rock Cry Out In My Place!

 37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!

39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”

40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” (Luke 19:37-40, The Message)

Move over rocks!!  I got this one!  :0)

171.  Kool Moe Va

172.  biggest cheeeeeeeeeese from the littlest

173.  penny wishes

174.  granddaddies

175.  birthday cupcakes . . .scrumdillyum!!

176.  DQ surprise!

177.  TBP intern class of 2012 . . . love, love, love those girls

178.  my first trip to the crepe truck courtesy of Precious, accompanied by Jamaica Swagu

179.  all gone  :0)

180.  excitedly watching Grandma and Granddaddy unload their car

181.  Dragonfly Jones VaVa

182.  watching her be happiest

183.  late night cuddles and cosby show

. . . and I’m only just getting started . . . check the list and join me:  https://pamelluce.com/my-one-thousand/

Marriage Letters: On Outside Influences

Huni,

Outside influences.  This is a good one.  Well, you took away my cable.  All the good influences are now so far from me . . . I can’t hear from them like I used to . . .Kardashians, Braxtons, Ice -T and Coco . . .  :0)     joking . . . tee hee hee . . .  :0D

I’m thinking of the sweet comment you made this past Saturday about one of your closest friends, wishing that he and his wife lived closer.  I wish they lived closer too.

I’m thinking of another of your close friends who has moved away and how I saw you grow and change as the two of you grew even closer while he was here.  I’ll miss him and his wife when they have completely transitioned to their new city.

I’m thinking of the couples with whom we spend our Thursday nights, the older couples in our life and other friends who form a circle around us and cover us with their love, encouragement and prayer.  The Lord has been so good to us, blessing us with people who love us, enjoy spending time with us, pour into us and are honest with us.  We have manifestations of Proverbs 27:17  all around.  And we are sharper.

As we’re being thoughtful and prayerful about this next transition in our lives, it’s important that we have relationships with people we can trust, with whom we can share what the Lord is doing in our lives and in our hearts.  There are so many outside influences clamoring to taint our bond, so we have to cling to Christ and be open to the people He gives us and the ways He chooses to love us and guide us through them.

We are a reflection of each other and our support groups are a reflection of who we want to be and what we can become.  If we want to be great, we have to surround ourselves with greatness.  Influence is a choice, but the people and objects that influence us can be subtle and therefore blur our ability to determine when something has changed the way we think or relate.  We need to be careful and protect our hearts and minds through prayer and the word.  If our marriage is a ministry, and through it the Lord can reach people, change and save their lives, we need to be driven closer to Him and closer to each other so that we can show up for Him and be effective.

I’m so grateful for who you are and the kind of people you attract.  We have a beautiful life partly because of the beautiful people in it.

Loving loving you,

pamela t.

This concludes the marriage letters for now.  Please visit http://therunamuck.com/2012/04/29/marriage-letters-on-outside-influences/  to read more letters.  The letter written by Amber today was just plain good.  Seriously.  A must read.

Sisters Praying

So, usually on Wednesdays I write a bit about what Beth Moore is teaching.  Thus far I’ve focused on her series on the family which has been aired on Life Today with James and Betty Robison for the past couple of months.  There was no new part of that series played today, in fact Beth Moore wasn’t on Life Today, today.  So, I wanted to take this time to see if there were any out there who need prayer on behalf of their family?

If I can be honest, but delicate (because some of them may read this and I don’t want to embarrass or shame anyone–at all), I’d like to expose myself a little bit.   If you could know anything about me, you’d think I have it pretty together, not perfect by any means, but a pretty solid chick.  You’d never guess how much I have to overcome daily and how much I have already overcome through God’s grace and love alone.  Why?  My family of origin is quite dysfunctional, broken and in great need of redemption.

It pains me deeply when I think about all of the things my family is ridden with–alcoholism, infidelity,  jealousy, low self-image, domestic violence, drug abuse, pridefulness, lack, depression, illness, adultery, fatherlessness, and the list goes on and on and on.  It makes me very sad because these are people that I care about and who mean a great deal to me, but also because there is a such thing as generational curses and I am having to fight these demons off of me and my children so that the vicious cycle doesn’t repeat itself and satan have his way.  No.  So I pray for my family and I attach the word to them, name by name and one by one.  It starts to get over my head a bit at times and feels like too much to handle, but I have a Father who holds my whole world in His hands.  Surely He can work miracles in my family.

Perhaps there are others out there who’s family can use a little prayer?  If it’s your family or the family of someone you know, I’d love to pray for you & yours and invite you to pray for me & mine.  Please leave your prayer requests in the comments and pray for the person who commented before you.  I’ll personally pray for each prayer request left here, with pleasure.

The family is soil, fertile and rich, ready to receive good seed and a able to produce a wealthy harvest.  It is a training ground for great people to be formed and, often, the roots of  how people develop the type of relational styles they use to engage others everyday.  In families right now, both brilliant people and broken people are being formed.  God desires to reign in homes and families all over the world.  So does satan.  People get ready.  It’s time to pray.