The Network

verzion network

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.

Tonight I Tripped Over a Barbie Doll

It was pitch black dark in the den.  After a long day, tired and frustrated I was making my way down to the breakfast room for some sense to be talked into me.  For some words of prayer to be spoken over me.  And there she was.  Just a smiling.  All sprawled out on the hardwood floor like that’s where she belonged.  Like I was in her way.  Of course because it was dark, I got a little nervous about what exactly was lying on the floor that sent my feet into an impromptu jig that could have rendered my body bruised and scratched tonight.

Then I realized it was her.  And a funny thing happened.

I didn’t get mad.  I didn’t think about how she got left there or who it was that should have picked her up.  I fought the temptation to use that as a time to run that movie in my mind where I play the thankless mom who cleans up after the girls and cares for the huni and am often overlooked.  Because it’s a reality show that plays on repeat in my head most days.

But not tonight.

My immediate thought was gratitude and thankfulness.  I smiled at that ole barbie.  Because I thought about my little girls and the great joy that they bring me everyday.  I thought about how much fun I have playing with them and how much happiness I receive when they are happy.  And let me tell you, after a day like today when we run out of time for afternoon naps and have to endure each other in our sleepiest, crankiest of states, these were gooooood thoughts to dwell on.  And a sure blessing from God and a sign of His growing me that these were among the first thoughts to spring into my psyche.

This job of being mom and wife is hard.  And everyday carries with it a new challenge, a new opportunity for me to get over myself and enjoy this life I have been given, to see my children and husband as gifts, not burdens and to realize that I am so blessed to have this family of mine.  On the sunny days and the rainy ones.  While the babies are napping and when they’re running off of remnants of last night’s sleep.  Oh, Pamela.  That you would count it all joy.

Tonight I tripped over a barbie doll and instead of wanting to throw her out of the nearest window, I smiled, placed her in her “bed,” and thanked God for the little girls who clamor to play with her each day.

Rock on all you wives and mamas out there.  You are never overlooked.  He longs to be gracious to you and He always sees you.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Wednesdays with Beth: Taking Your Treasure Back pt. 3

I’m not sure how many of you actually take the time to click the link and watch these videos, but if you’ve never taken a chance to do so, you should give it a try.  Beth Moore typically speaks for about 15 (or so) minutes and then James and Betty Robison, the hosts of the show, come back and speak about their missions work and invite viewers to help them change the world by meeting the needs of some of the people who need it most.  In all, it’s about 28 minutes of your day really well spent.  You get an opportunity to grow in your relationship with Christ as Beth Moore teaches and gives fresh perspective on a never changing God aaaaaaannnnnd you are offered an opportunity to change someone’s life.  I almost always enjoy the broadcast and I try not to miss it.  I offer it here on the site because I’m sure there are others out there who’d love it as well.  I would encourage everyone to take a look but especially if you haven’t ever tuned in, try it today.  Click here and see what I mean.

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.

Wednesdays with Beth: Taking Your Treasure Back pts. 1 & 2

Frans!!!  It’s been too long!  And I have missed sharing with you in this space.  It’s been encouraging to hear from you, encouraging me by sharing that you’ve missed the posts.  Totally unexpected.  Totally sweet.  I’m so totally grateful and so totally humbled.  I have so much to share and share I will, but for now, I want to get us caught up on the latest installments of Beth Moore’s newest series on Life Today called Taking Your Treasure Back. Here’s part one and part two.   Enjoy!!

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/

Try Thankfulness Instead

There are many things to complain about.  Most often when we complain it seems so legitimate.  Righteous even.  But it’s not.  And it never, ever makes anything better.  At least not for me.  See, watch:

1.  I am so tired.

2.  I couldn’t complete any of the things I wanted to get done today.

3.  That girl was so rude to be using her phone while trying to serve me at the check-out line at the grocery store.

4.  I’m getting so frustrated with my family and all of our drama.

5.  More dishes in the sink for me to wash?!  I just finished washing two piles!

Anybody feeling better?  Me neither.  Okay, now watch this:

150.  While my girls were napping, I enjoyed reading a page turner and it was thrilling!

151.  Spending time laughing with Nit and KiKi.

152.  Seeing Iz light up at the sight of her cousins, no matter how many times she sees them.

153.  Peanut butter Cheerios.

154.  A chance to see God move on behalf of my family as I intercede on their behalf.

155.  Hot, running water with which to wash my dishes.

156.  A visit from Mini, complete with dinner, conversation and giggles.

157.  DeeDee’s trust and vulnerability.

158.  KiKi’s new journey to NCCU.

159.  Calvin’s new journey to ECU.

160.  Victory seen on the hopeful faces of two soon-to-be high school graduates, both college bound.

161.  Restored relationships.

162.  Jamaica, serving me ice cream while she ate liver.

163.  Leaping into the wind at the sensing of the presence of courage and fearlessness . . .couldn’t miss the chance . . .couldn’t let them pass me by.

164.  Lisa and Sarah.

165.  Growth.

166.  Determination to pay down more debt.

167.  A plan.

168.  A weekend home with my family.

169.  Honesty.

170.  Expectation.

and the list goes on . . . try counting blessings the next time you want to complain. . . I really do feel so much better!!

As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.  Joy is always possible.Whenever, meaning–now ; wherever, meaning–here.  The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience.  The joy wonder could be here!  Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be–unbelievably–possible! ~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

See my running list here:  https://pamelluce.com/my-one-thousand/

 

photo found on google, from myfitclinic.com

The Real Reason He Suffered on Speaking of Truth

So!  I received my daily email today from (in)courage (http://www.incourage.me/), and I was totally moved.  The post came from the site Speaking of Truth (http://www.speakingoftruth.com/) and was written by Sarah Nutter.  I so enjoyed the post that I emailed her to see if it would be okay if I posted it here and she agreed!  Please take a look at it and continue reading over on her site.

The Real Reason He Suffered

Incourage 2 The Real Reason He Suffered

I used a tissue to wipe up the blood that trickled down my left index finger. Always the clumsy one, I hadn’t been holding the crown of thorns carefully enough.

And all it took was one measly thorn prick to get me in tears.

This Good Friday prayer walk I was in charge of for our church wasn’t supposed to affect me like this. It’s just that that prick hurt a lot.

Mostly, emotionally.

Because it was only one thorn. One out of, like, a hundred. One condemning thorn that confirmed what I’d spent my whole life denying:

That if it had been me…

Read the rest here:  The Real Reason He SufferedSpeaking of Truth.

Love Letter to the Women Who Mean So Much to Me

I think that the term best friend has lost some of its flavor.  Back in the day-day, best friends were as distinguishable as the smell of curry in the hallway of a diverse apartment building in D.C.  If a girl said that someone was her best friend, you could best believe that the two of them would be melded together like the sweet, sticky syrup to the dough on a cherry pastry.  And consistently so–no matter what!  They’d take on each other’s personalities, look out for each other, and fight (of course), but they would essentially create a world made just for the two of them, through which they would freely and creatively express themselves and in which they would endeavor to live for the rest of their lives.

But now it seems like a BFF has been reduced to a fad, the latest trend.  And as her ability to accessorize with your life changes, so do the ideals of friendship.  For some people, that term-BFF needs to be amended to BFFN–Best Friend For Now!  And I am so sad to report that there are even some of us who can’t say that we have very many friends at all–much less a best friend.  I hear so many women proudly say, “I don’t do women.  I prefer to deal with men, ’cause women are just too much.”  And I think that’s just a shame.  I really believe that we are a reflection of each other and if we refuse to unite then what side of ourselves are we giving each other to reflect upon?  And why are we okay with that?

Well, I have come as the BF Fairy to restore your faith in friendship!  (get excited) One fateful day (some years ago today, in fact), the giver of all good and perfect gifts opened up the windows of heaven and poured me out a blessing , and even now, this woman is my ride or die, tried and true homie. I am so grateful that I get to call my mom one of my dearest, bestest, good friends.  I’ve shared my whole, whole, life with her.  She’s seen me inside and out, ugly and beautiful and yet she still loves me.  And she still chooses me, day after day.  She calls me, just to talk, just to know what’s going on with me and to share what’s going on in her life, with me.  She trusts me.  She was careful not to befriend me too soon.  She did me the honor of making sure that I had her love as my mommy before she ever thought of me as a friend.  And it’s because of her that I can dream impossible dreams and pray with faith that the Lord will sift through them and give me what He deems best for me.  She is one of  the most sweet-hearted women I’ll ever know.  I’ve never seen strength and vulnerability contained so beautifully in a person as with my mom.  She’s my shoulder to cry on, laughing buddy, prayer partner, my biggest fan.  And I would not be who I am today if it were not for her.  There is no tribute effective enough to do her justice.  You’d have to meet her to know that these few words were a meager attempt and only hint at the wonder of God’s goodness that she personifies.  She’s inspiration and aspiration to all things higher and greater.  My mommy.

I have a friend who, over the years, has transcended as more than my friend–she is my sister.  I can try to minimize our relationship to words just so that I can tell you exactly how and why it’s been as sweet as it is and still the best that I can say is that in her heart, there I sit–along with her mother, her family, the greatest loves of her life and her darling baby girls.  Her actions toward me have been the spokesperson for these sentiments.  She’s always wanted me to be a part of her life and she has done her share of the work to make it happen.  She tells me all the time that she is going to be the Gayle to my Oprah and this is not because she is settling for being a Gayle until she finds her inner Oprah but because she believes in me wholeheartedly and she gives me the strength, courage and wisdom to pitch my tent among the stars while I rest and dream on a cloud.  I can see the beauty of who I am, and who I aspire to be, naturally reflected in the light of her essence.  She’s been like a mother’s love–comforting, correcting, and sacrificing so that I can be, me.  Of course we’ve had our fights and our friendship has suffered some turmoil.  I’ve wanted to slam and suplex her but I honestly cannot imagine my life without her.  She’s my BFF.

But here’s the real doozy:  I have so many wonderfully incredible women in my life who, through the years and even right now, have deeply effected who I am.  In some cases they have been better to me than I to them.  There is so much grace in that.  I am a big ole mess and if anyone were to decide to give up on me, I couldn’t hold an argument worthy of making them change their mind.  But I’ve got some sit-ins-at-the-lunch-counter-during-the-civil-rights-movement kind of women in my life!  They shall not be moved!!  Each woman who I have the privilege of calling mine in any capacity is a representation of the truth I seek as I grow and develop as a woman of integrity, a woman of grace, a woman of standard, a woman of God.  They not only are friends, they are goals, for if I can but strive to attain the beauty of self and character that these women possess I just may become the first real-life superwoman.  Yes, I love my best friend and her light shines brightly in my life but the evolution of my refinement is continued in the summer, spring, winter and fall that are all of my friends and some of the women in my family and church as well.

Through my life I celebrate you all–a beautyFULL, spring bouquet in the center of an elegant table setting.  You allow me to adorn myself in the petals of your love and grace and in so doing you have given me the confidence to sashay about with confidence in this harsh, judgemental, mean world.  As my stilettos leave holes in the ground, I continue your legacy, inviting those who come behind me to plant a seed in fertile soil–the results of which will be deep, strong roots and the rich, succulent fruit of God’s productivity yielded through me from you.

And all of this– not simply because of me but because God loved me so much that he specifically and thoughtfully placed all of you in my life.