The Network

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Verizon boasts to have one of the largest 3G cell phone networks available.  The cellular provider claims that no matter where you go in the United States, you will have coverage and, therefore, be able to both receive and make phone calls from your cellular device.  It’s a pretty grand offering.  Since my primary place of residence is somewhere between John’s barnyard and Mary’s farmhouse, I play “chase the signal” a few times a day as I move skittish throughout my house shouting, “Can you hear me?  Hello?  You there?  Can you hear now?  Hello?  Hello?  Wait, I can hear you!  Wait, don’t hang up!  Helloooooo!!”  :0/  Yea.  Oh what fun.  Clearly I don’t have the Verizon network.  But, it got me thinking about another network.

This weekend Huni had the great fortune of visiting his alma mater, North Carolina State University, to participate in a leadership panel.  On a whim and at the very last minute he convinced the girls and me to join him.  Whilst there, I had the great, good fortune of talking to and spending some time with family and friends.  During one conversation, I had a friend describe the latest happenings in her marvelous life (she wouldn’t describe it that way, but hey, that’s what friends are for!).   She told me that she and her roommates, three single ladies, are doing a study on purity together.  The other night one of the roommates led the time and it was phenomenal.  She told me about how she prays with a different friend in the mornings either before or after going to the gym.  The day that we were chatting she was tired after having a sleepover with a friend/colleague in support of two women who are currently raising financial support and preparing to go into full time ministry.  And there it was that she and I were talking, laughing, crying and reflecting together.  She does have a marvelous life, right!?!?

Since I live quite a distance away from all of my Frans, I was feeling quite sad after our conversation. I was like, man, how lucky you are to have all of these great connections and great women in your life.  And most of them are at your fingertips!  Comparison and self-pity are two venomous arrows in satan’s quiver.  He aims them right into your eyes, blinding you from the glory that surrounds you and somehow simultaneously highlighting someone else’s.

Sunday we went to our church.  I missed my favorite part of the service, praise and worship, I was tired from a restless night of tossing and turning and although I was happy to be there, I just wasn’t feeling it.  Honestly, I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed.  After service was over, I talked to a Fran from undergrad.  She’s so fabulous and always greets me with such a warm reception.  This time we were able to talk a little while longer than usual and she was just as sweet, gracious, funny and cool as ever.  As I finished my conversation with her, I looked up and saw a dear sister who I’ve intimately studied the word with over the past few years.  I was only able to give her a quick squeeze before a big sister in the faith came and squeezed the tears out of me.  Literally.  Just the sight of her brought a flood of tears.  Her prophetic wisdom knew that my tears were more than just the sight of her, so immediately she inquired for the real story, wiped away my tears and prayed for me.  Once we were done, I looked to the row directly below and there was yet another sister in the faith, looking at me compassionately, embracing me with her eyes, saying more than words could say as she offered me her home as a homebase for me and my girls whenever we came to town and wanted a change of scenery.  Later that night I hopped on OoVoo with Huni and we goofed, teased and chatted with some couples, the wives of which are more of my sisters  in the faith.  Together we shared some of the latest news in our lives and talked intently about how we saw the Lord calling us and directing our lives.  And this doesn’t include all of my Frans.  Only a handful.  Only a handful.

These women keep me grounded.  They know my heart, they know my hurts, they get my humor.  They love me, they enjoy me and they want me . . . just as I am yet they actively participate in my growth; they pour into me and root for me.  Even when I cannot wrap my arms around them, lay my eyes on them, or hear their sweet voices, I know that they are for me, thinking of me, praying for me.  I too have a marvelous life.  Not because of the things I have but, in part, because of my network.   All of these women are a way that God shows His love, concern and compassion for me.  They remind me that He sees me and He knows me.  No matter how lonely I feel, the truth is I have a network.  And it is sweet-potato-pie-with-whipped-cream-on-top-amazing.

What about you?  Who’s in your network?  How about showing them some love this week either via text, phone call, lunch date, good ole snail mail, or something free and simple like a stroll through your local Target?  The moment you start reaching out to each of them, you’ll receive an instant reminder of just how big and bountiful is your life.  And you’ll smile.  And your heart will feel all warm and fuzzy.  And it’ll be better than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day.

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Deep Breaths

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Note:  I know that not all of my readers are moms, but I need to take this mom moment anyway.

Today was a day, okay?!?!  Busy, like most days, but as I was texting with one of my sister-Frans earlier tonight, I described myself as an introvert living in an extroverted situation, daily.

I am a stay at home mom.

I prayed for this.  Which in itself is an irony because I was the girl who never wanted children.  I mean, never.  I thought that this would cause problems in my marriage because Huni wanted children the minute we said “I do” but I said, “Boy, NO!”  So he waited, patiently, as God worked on my heart and then gave it desires for beautiful babies.  Then God filled those desires twice over.  And when we discovered that we were preggers with the first, then got her in our arms, I knew immediately that I wanted to be like the Levite woman and hide her away (Exodus 1:2).  So, I prayed that the Lord would bless us financially so that I could stay home and care for my new baby girl.  I worked part time and kept praying.  Months passed and my belly became swollen once more with yet another sweet surprise and my prayers became more urgent and intense as I felt that my best was compromised because I gave a percentage of it away everyday when I went off to educate other people’s children.  And He did it.  He gave Huni a job through which He chooses to bless us with income that allows me to spend my days with my baby girls.

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Each week, I face hard days.  But each day, I enjoy sweet moments.  Every few hours, I have to repent.  But every second, if I pause to receive it, grace abounds.  I see myself and the lack of patience, gentleness and understanding with which I parent.  I mourn over not being able to get it right.   I crave alone time and give way to self entitlement so that at the end of the day when the girls are sleeping, I can selfishly say, this is finally MY time, please just let me have MY time (but sometimes I don’t say it that nicely).  Instead of reflecting on the joy and love I felt as the Levite woman, I become the garden woman, tempted by the crafty serpent to slap God’s hand away by looking to what I cannot have, ungrateful for all that presently I have (Genesis 3).  And so, combined with legitimate fatigue of the mind and body, my emotions weigh and sway to the ebb and flow of condemnation, to gratefulness, to discouragement about the outcome of today, to hope for a better outcome tomorrow.  But, God’s grace abounds.

Tonight I had a good talk with another of my sweeeeet sister-Frans.  We laughed.  I felt a little lighter after a hectic day and found, through my twitter feed, this little video here:  A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.  It felt like God’s gracious reminder to me that satan loves to use our weaknesses to distract us and cause us to take our eyes off of the One who can make us strong.  Oh, that I would train myself to fix my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

To all moms (and all of you who hope to be moms, or know a mom, or have ever had a mom . . .):  Everyday is Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to you.  My goal is to see myself more through God’s eyes, not my expectations and failings.  Will you join me?  As a wife, mom, daughter, granddaughter, sister, Fran, cousin . . . I won’t get it right every time.  But there is grace and God is good.  And in His grace and goodness, He will deal with me, and perfect me, and cover me so that He can receive the glory from every part of me.  Love you ladies!!  Through Christ, WE GOT THIS!!!  (Philippians 4:13)

The Show

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“Character refers to who you are.  Reputation refers to who people think you are.”

~Emily P. Freeman

So often we move and act, aware of the eyes that seek us out  . . . convinced that the eyes are ever present . . . “Girl, somebody is always watching . . . .”  We overact or prepare to perform without even knowing for sure if the audience is present and attentive.  This hyper awareness has the potential to have us spending money that we don’t have to impress people we don’t know.  It can have us posting to blogs and social media sites our every move, especially the really triumphant ones, executive producers of commercials and vignettes about the great lives we live.  So often this awareness makes us sensitive to the people we encounter daily, devoted family and adoring friends but it mutes and blurries the sovereign God and the conviction of His Holy Spirit.  The presence of people, our busy world, its persistent distractions–both beautiful and destructive–have a way of confusing what’s most important and therefore making us actors on the world’s stage.  At the end of the week, we look back and wonder at some of our decisions . . . or we fight our way through the week, each day a struggle like Rocky Balboa pulling that huge, heavy truck uphill, knee deep in snow, because the temptation brought on by the curtain call beckons us daily, and to keep focus, to keep true is harder than we realize.  Those of us who are most caught up in the performance have made it to Broadway.   People expect a version of ourselves that is not true.  They can calculate what we’ll do next and they know where to expect us.  Not because we are so predictable as much as it is because we have done such a good job at showing ourselves, making ourselves known.  At the end of a life, these people look back and wonder, “What was it all for?  Where has it all gone?”  Being careful to develop your character according to the Father by the instructions given in His word can produce similar results (as it pertains to a sort of predictability), but the actions are Christ-driven, the purpose is Christ-centered and reward is so much greater.  Living character-conscious takes care of reputation.  You don’t have to throw yourself in front of the spotlight . . .somehow it finds its way to you, like gravity . . . like the wind, they obey their laws and everything else flows naturally to its sway.

I received an Emmy for my role in the show.  Actually, I have a wall full.  No condemnation if you were my co-star.  Let’s pray for each other today, that we would look to the Master Director for our roles and lines.  Love and grace, Frans. xxoo

The Accidental Sabbatical

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I haven’t published a word since April.  (gasps . . .  womp)  And I didn’t even plan to take a break from blogging! (crazy eyes, collapses to head in hand . . . smh) Thanks to God’s sweet grace, and a few inquisitive readers, I’ve found my way back to the qwerty keys and I’m ready to rock! (BIG grin, rubs hands together)  I hope to fair better this time around with a few tricks I’ve learned about being a successful blogger.  I appreciate the patience, kindness and encouragement I’ve found in some of the readers who frequent this little den in cyberspace.  As long as I am able to fulfill this calling, I will write.  I sincerely hope you’ll stay around and continue to journey with me.

#can’tstopwon’tstop (does a P.Diddy ditty and finishes with a spin, suit jacket blowing in the wind)

welcome back!!!!

(wink)

Photo Credit:  http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/blog-sabbatical.html

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.

Genesis 3:1

So, this year must be THE year to get married!  Who knew!?!  I have several family members and friends who have agreed and set a date to enter into covenant with another person this year.  In 2012 I am a part of 5 weddings.  Yep, 5.  The first two of five weddings have already occurred with the most recent being one of my little brothers, thus my mysterious silence for the past two weeks.  The first was for a dear Fran of mine from college.  She’s probably one of the sweetest people I know and I was so honored that she has cherished our relationship through the years so much that she would desire to enter into this covenant with my prayers and support.  So, I figured I’d share what I’ve been up to by sharing some of what happened with the weddings!

My Fran, Ayana, and her husband J.R.were married in Charleston, SC on July 7, 2012 at the Charleston Aquarium.  She had a short, sweet ceremony with the Charleston Harbor as the backdrop.  Even though there we were in the middle of the fierce July Charleston heat, there was a cool breeze blowing off from the water, at times so strong that we had to anchor ourselves or be blown away by more than just the love and beauty of it all!  So, here are a few flicks from the day:

So pretty, right?  And again:

Planning a wedding can be so stressful.  And my dear Fran Ayana has waited a long time to meet her special someone, fall in love, don a beautiful gown and mark the start of their lives together forever with a beautiful day.  It was so good to see her smiling and having such a good time that day.

My huni and I had a good time as well.  I was a bridesmaid and that can keep you pretty busy but I was able to hook up with him and have some fun taking a few flicks, being our fabulous, zany selves.  There we are!  The fierce bridesmaid and her hot boo!  (I wanted to write, “the fierce bridesmaid and her fierce boo,” but I figured he might have a problem with me using the adjective “fierce” to describe him . . . .)  :0)

     

Another fun, fun, fun part of the weekend was hooking up with all of the other bridesmaids.  You can tell a woman by her Frans, and Ayana is just so abundantly blessed because she has some WONDERFUL women flowering her life!!

A couple of the women that Ayana chose as bridesmaids, turned out to be women I knew from undergrad–which is where Ayana and I met.  We went to different schools but we were in the same campus ministry and met at a retreat. (this same organization is also where I met my huni!)  So there were some women there who were a part of the ministry, a woman there who I actually went to undergrad with and had no idea that she even knew Ayana and there was a woman there who attends the same church that I do and we had never met until she came to my house for the bridal shower that we had for Ayana!  Craziness!  Sweet, sweet, craziness!

I was also able to see another of my good Frans, Quiana, who was there to witness the union between Ayana and JR.  Please send prayers up for Qui.  She’s getting married in September and if you’re married, ever planned a wedding, or anything associated with the two, you know how pressing and full this time can be.  I’m praying joy, grace, favor, peace, and love for her and her fiance, Josiah, during this time and beyond.  Please agree with me on her behalf.

SO here are the last few flicks of the girls and me:

   

   

Good, good times.  Really.  We had so much fun.  Sweet love, new friendships, good food, dancing, laughing, woooo!  It doesn’t get any better than that!!

Just about a week ago my little brother took a lady by the hand, said some originally written vows, poured out his love and decided to spend his happily ever after with Mrs. Brendalyn Thompson.  The two were married July 28 in Durham, NC and had a nice, contemporary wedding true to their own unique style.  We were all swept away by their ceremony and danced the night away with the happy couple.  I didn’t get to take as many pictures of this event but I definitely wanted to share the few that I have:

Boooooooooooooooooooooooom!!  It’s official!!  Wooooop Woooooop!!!

Big, sincere, loud, congratulations from my heart to both couples.

Seeing two people unite and decide to share their lives together can be one of the most beautiful events to enjoy.  It is sentimental on so many different levels as it is an incredibly important and big decision for any one person to make.  Almost every woman I know wants this.  She wants someone with whom to share all of her life, for the rest of her life.  It’s a holy thing, marriage.  It’s a covenant.  It’s one of God’s many dwelling places and it is an instant ministry through the testimony that it offers its witnesses.  Everyone is watching.  Everyone.  Including our enemy.  It’s no small wonder marriage is so hard.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.

22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.

3 Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? (Genesis 2:21-3:1)

Ever since Huni pointed it out to me, it has done nothing less than intrigued me that after the man and woman are united, free, naked and not embarrassed, having forsaken all others, moving in complete oneness and in agreement . . . we meet the serpent.  And from the moment he enters the picture, he begins his evil regime to steal, kill and destroy like only he can.

We know what he’s all about so I won’t give him any more shine than that.  I’ll simply say this: After we’ve cried with the couple, laughed with them and celebrated their decision, they really need our prayers.  Actually from the moment we learn of their intention of courtship and all throughout the life of the marriage, they need our prayers!  They need for us to hold them up and support them by speaking truth, kind words, and pouring into and onto them goodness, love and mercy as they move through life together knowing who their enemy is.  And Frans, he is tireless.  So should be our prayers.

Please pray that people would honor God in their marriages, their families and their lives together.  Every time you want to open your mouth to criticize or critique another person’s marriage, pray.  Submit yourself and your loved ones to Christ and trust Him to do the necessary work in you and them.  Don’t let satan use you to disrupt God’s work–whether you agree with it or not.  And Frans, I am talking to myself here!  Wooo!

There are times when Huni and I get into it and at just about that moment when I am about to totally let my flesh have her way, spotlight, microphone, music and all, I get a glimpse of satan, reclined, knocking back root beer floats, eating hot buttered popcorn enjoying the show.  And I come to a screeching halt———MAD, because I forgot who the real enemy is–it’s not huni.  It’s satan.  How quickly we forget.

We need each others prayers and support.  Please choose to participate in giving God glory, not in helping satan fool us all.

Assured

Today I went to visit an old Fran from college.  Kim Morrisette is not just any old Fran.  She’s the woman that God used to water and point toward the Son, the seeds that my mama had sewn into me, raising me in Christ Jesus, knowing Him as my Lord and savior.  I was so broken, so sad and yet I was searching for something big and deep and real and although I was confused about many things, I knew that what I needed and wanted was only going to be satisfied by God.  So Kim led me and a group of girls in our dorm, Greene Hall, through bible study.  Our friendship deepened and she went on to disciple me and train me to do the same thing for other women on campus.  She poured into me and facilitated further training with my roomie and me as we helped to lead a new, small campus ministry.

I didn’t get to spend a very long time with her– I teased her about living out in John’s barnyard (she lives quite a distance from me in a beautiful farmhouse “out in the sticks”) and that took a bit of our time away because good ole me left a little later than I intended and then I made it all the way to her street and got lost–but the time I was able to just be around her and meet her children and see her face and see what her life is like now, was so good.  I missed Kim and I am so glad that during this season of my life, the Lord is making a way for us to connect again.

Within the past week I’ve been in close connection with people who have lost loved ones.  Some have been traumatic and the other quiet but all have been hard and sad.  I almost feel like times are very uncertain right now; you can’t know if the last time you see someone will be the last time. . . how much will change with people between now and the next time you see them, if you are so fortunate to see them again?  So much fear and uncertainty.  And although it’s reasonable for me to feel and think this way, it’s not the way of truth.  It’s not Philippians 4:8-9 and it won’t draw me closer to my savior, it’ll just keep me questioning Him, and doubting Him.  

I enjoyed spending time with Kim so much today because it was a reminder for me that there have been other times when I thought that God had left me, forgotten about me, wasn’t working on my behalf, didn’t have a plan for my life except to repeat what had been done in my family generations past or just plain old didn’t care.  But Kim came to me at the most crucial time in my undergraduate career.  I was on the brink of utter hopelessness and I needed to know that all that mama taught me about God was real and that there was more.  As I look back to then and see what my life is now, in those times when I felt so shaky and uncovered, God, in fact, did have a plan and He was working it out for my good, even when I didn’t always sense it.  Seeing Kim was such a sweet reminder of His grace.  God is so good.  In times of tragedy, pain, sorrow, loss and confusion it’s good to have a blessed assurance– that firm, sure, sweet reminder that He is in control, He knows what He’s doing, His word is still true, He is trustworthy, He’s got me and my whole world in the palm of His hands.  I am safe there.

I’m sure that there is someone out there reading this who just needs a reminder that He is good and that He is a loving Father.  Please, be of good service to yourself and think about your life–what it was, what it is, and what it could be.  He’s there.  And He’s been there the whole time.  If your waters are smooth right now or if they are rough, this is a good time to know the God you serve and His characteristics.  Do yourself a favor.  Remind yourself of all that He’s done.  And rest.  Assured.

Marriage Letters: On Friendship

E 2 tha T,

That’s what your friends call you, right?  Or something related. . . ET, E, Easy . . .

I wanna be your friend.  Your best, good friend.  yeah.  Like Forrest and Bubba.

When we first met, friendship was a requirement for me.  I needed to know that you’d stick around and try to get to know me and find value in friendship with me before I let you pursue me for love.  That was my deal with basically every guy I dated but you were the one who actually took me seriously and dug through my rough places to find the diamonds that I worked so hard to hide while I protected myself from everything and everyone.  Even you.  You stuck it out with me.  You decided that if it took befriending me to get the chance to love me, then you’d be Stevie and I’d be Dionne and we’d make them think we wrote the song! Hey!  And you. were. my. friend.  For reals.  Before and during our dating relationship, we had such a sweet, deep friendship.  But . . . (yeah, there’s a “but”) . . .it’s different now.

I hear you on the phone with your friends, and I hear how hard you laugh and how much you share and I gotta admit, I get a little jealous.   I don’t feel included anymore.  I don’t feel as close to you as I know we could be and as I close to you as I want to be.  And I hear you say that I shouldn’t expect for our friendship to look like my friendships with the women in my life.  (How many times have you said, I am not Chasity!!!) And I get that.  I do.  And it’s not that I want our friendship to look like any other friendship I have but there are aspects of those relationships that I expect to see in our friendship because, I feel, our connection should be greater and deeper than any other connection I have with anyone else on earth.  And when our relationship doesn’t look like our friendship is strong, it’s discouraging because it’s a reminder of how things are different from what they used to be and that we aren’t as close as I want us to be . . .as I feel we should be.  What are we gonna do?

I don’t want to replace your other friends.  You need them, just like I need my friends.  And you know how much all of my friends mean to me.  What it is that I want, is my buddy back.  We have allowed some very good, good things to come in and squish all of the room for friendship, out.  When was the last time we played Phase 10?  Marcus still has our tennis game . . .we could play that!  I know that I can lean on you and talk to you about anything and I know that we can have a really, really fun time together, laughing until crying and talking late into the night, but it’s not our way anymore.  We happen upon these moments, or they hunt us down through circumstances but we don’t run after opportunities to find joy in each other.  Marriage is a gift for so many reasons and it’s a serious matter but I think that one of the reasons we have each other is to make life a little bit sweeter.  Friendship does that for me.  And I want us to be friends.  Best, good friends.  Like Forrest and Bubba,  David and Jonathan, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and Dorothy.

But really.  What are we gonna do?  I can’t blame you, I’ve played a big part in this too.  It was impressed upon me a few months ago that I need to be more vulnerable with you and trust you more.  uggggggggghhhhhhhh.  Two very difficult things for me to do, but I think they’re so difficult because I keep looking at you and your limitations and not the spirit of God who resides inside of you and empowers you, eliminating your limitations.  Even though you can make me madder than a wet hornet, you can bring me joy like no other.  And I just want to enjoy you more.  I don’t want our marriage to slip into the mundane and then glide into this survival, day to day mode where we just take care of each other and our children, but we don’t fully enjoy our lives together.  It seems like a sure indication that a marriage is headed down that road is when the friendship starts to wan.  I know that we are friends.  There’s not doubt about that.  And I know that we have a good time together, but I want it to be better, richer, funner!  ;0) So, here.  Let’s have a do-over-midway-start-over.  E 2 tha T, will you be my best good friend?  Check yes or no.

I love you!!

pamela t.

Hearts Books Hearts

I really, really love to read.  I always have, since I was very little girl.  It’s been described as exercise for the mind which makes it my favorite kind of exercise to do because it leaves me feeling good without the fatigue, muscle aches and sweat!  ;0)

It seems like summertime is reading time as so many people take vacations and are looking for a fun way to relax and allow their minds to be massaged by their imaginations.  It’s a lovely ride.

So, I have compiled a list of books that I’ll be *ahem* attempting to read (sometimes naptime trumps reading time and, well, it takes me a little while . . . :0)) and thought I’d share it with you.  Some of these books will be on my long term list and some will be on my summer list.  Hope you find one you might like!!

First, there is a coooooooooooool looking list that I found posted on The Simple Mom’s site.  I’ve not read any of these but they all look really good.  I downloaded a sample of Paris in Love onto my Nook and I’ll probably do the same for What Alice Forgot until I’m finished with those I’m reading now and can go on to something else.  Here are a few of her picks and her commentary about them:

1. Paris in Love

I wasn’t sure I’d like this book when I first got it, but I like Paris, I like the illustrated cover, and well, I’d be happy to spend a year in the City of Lights. Paris in Love is about a family’s year in Paris, when the parents take a year-long sabbatical from work. The writer, Eloisa James, is actually a Shakespeare professor and romance novelist, and this charming memoir is based on her Facebook status updates from their year.

This is a charming, lighthearted read—I kept it on my nightstand and read several pages every night over the past month.

4. The Red Tent

I’m a bit late to this party, but enough recommendations from friends on Facebook have me convinced. A decade after its publication, author Anita Diamant has released a tenth anniversary edition of The Red Tent, so I thought it’d be a good time to give this book a whirl. From its description:

“Told in Dinah’s voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.”

I’m anxious to see if this story lives up to all its five-star reviews.

5. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

Another Austinite, Jen Hatmaker’s name won’t leave my Twitter stream and Facebook feed. I’ve chatted with her briefly via email, and she immediately made it to my People I Want to Meet Soon list. She and her family are church planters in socially unique setting in the city, and she says they’ve seen their world turned upside down as they’ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

To see the rest of Tsh’s picks, please visit her site.

Ok, so now for my picks.  These are books that I have read, am reading or would like to read:

The Hunger Games

Yes, Frans.  I got sucked in.  SO, here’s the story.  A dear Fran of mine and I decided that this year we would read a book a month.  Well, then we noticed that there were all of these good movies coming out, that had been adapted from books, that we were actually interested in seeing.  So we linked arms and went on a quest to read a book and then watch its movie. Just before the Hunger Games debuted we decided to read it and both of us were hooked.  Now, I have to say, this is not my kind of story.  Typically, I want nothing to do with this sort of story.  I enjoy a good adventure, some mystery, intrigue, suspense, murder and allllll that good stuff, but not as much as a good love story, some drama, something thought provoking and heart wrenching.  But Frans!!!  This book had it all tied up in one nice little bloody bow.  They’re pretty interesting books.  I’ve finished the first two and will probably finish the final one this summer.

I Don’t Know How She Does It

Ok.  I don’t know about this one.  I’m reading it now.  It’s . . .okay.  :0/  It’s gotten rave reviews and it’s not awful, but it’s just not shaping up to be as good as I thought it would be.  And there are some naughty words.  And they always throw me off!!  It’s not over yet, so I’m hoping it’ll get better.  We’ll see.  I just really want to see the movie . . .

Loving Our Kids on Purpose

Now, I’m not totally a parenting book nut–this is my first one and I love it!  I love how it draws a direct parallel between our relationship with our children and God’s relationship with us as a loving Father.  When I see myself as a child, and consider how He loves me, it changes my focus and heart toward parenting.  I haven’t finished it yet but it’s been wonderful.

The Vow

Yes, it’s a movie and I wanna see it!  But actually one of my dearest, closest Frans, who I affectionately refer to as Karma-Dee-Doo (her given name is Karma Best. Top five name, right??!?!?), told me about this one and acts as if it’s a MUST read.  She’s just gone on and on about it so I’m gonna give it a try.  If you try it and don’t like it, I’ll give you her contact info so you can slice her.  :0)  She did say that it trumps the movie by far, which, unfortunately, most books do.

Redeeming Love

This one comes HIGHLY recommended by just about everyone.  I’m just now digging in but will finish it this summer.  So far so good, but I have a feeling this one is going to be very heart wrenching . . .

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

I just love Maya Angelou.  And I want to read everything she writes.  Although this is an oldie, I haven’t finished it yet, so it’s on the list to finish this summer.  Another of hers that is my fave is Letters to My Daughter.  SO good.

SO.  In making this list, I discovered that there are quite a few more books that I’d like to read.  I’m one who reads a few books at time but I’d better get through these and then I can add more. :0)  Please, share your picks for the summer or let us know if you’ve read any of these and tell us what you think of ’em!!

Go on.  Get a book and a nice, relaxing place to read it and enjoy!