Wednesday, July 30, 2008


So I kept the caffeine to a minimum today, and I'm feeling lots better. I've actually welcomed the bone weariness that comes after a sleepless night, and I'm trusting it to bring me a full night of sleep this night. Sometimes its just delicious to snuggle down into my sheets and head off into my dreams.

Thankfully, my 24 hours of caffeine induced edginess did not result in a meltdown on anyone or anything like that. Excellent. That could have been ugly.

It's funny what God can say to a girl in the middle of the night, though, and we had quite a discussion this evening in LIVEChat about the "making guacamole" concept. We talked over how, when our plans or dreams are thwarted, do we learn to make guacamole with what we've been handed. How do we manage to appreciate the unexpected things that aren't what we had in mind? How do we leave room for God to send along the occasional smashed avocado so that He can treat us to some unplanned guacamole deliciousness?

It was good stuff.

Time to give in to the tired. G'night!

Caffeine and Smashed Avocadoes

Can't sleep.

Note to self: You cannot handle caffeine like you used to.

I'm still on a caffeine high from this morning, actually yesterday morning now. I've been taking in significantly fewer calories these days, and in a small attempt to take care of myself, I've taken to a cup of hot tea in the morning when I settle in at work. Nice and peaceful. But yesterday was dreary, and yesterday morning was definitely a coffee morning. So I trooped to the kitchen at work and got myself a big cup of deliciousness, strong and black. Drank it down and went back for another.

By lunchtime I was flying high. Shaking and running my mouth like an idiot. Singing along with every goofy song that came on the soft rock office radio. I'm sure Sheri, the poor soul who shares an office with me, was about ready to call the authorities by the time I actually got food in my stomach to soak up some of the hyper.

Only it didn't really work. I only felt shaky and hyper and nauseated.

Here it is 3:30 in the morning and I'm still feeling slightly nervous, definitely sleepless.

And so I write.

Here's a little single mom story for you:

Monday, after work I scooped up the kids from day camp and headed to Winn Dixie. Not my favorite place to be at 5:20pm. However, the absence of bread or milk or eggs or pretty much anything worth consumption at my house necessitated the trip. My friend's birthday was Monday, and was to be celebrated at a showing of Mamma Mia (FABULOUS movie, GO SEE IT!) at the movies, so I was on a mission to get some food, get the kids fed, and settle them in before I left them with a sitter.

I happened to pass by something wonderful in the produce section. An avocado sale!! Ten for ten dollars!!!! Heaven come down to earth, baby. And so I grabbed two of them. (I'm only one woman, and so while ten avocados was tempting, realistically two is as many as I could down in the next few days.) I then proceed to the limes. While I'm picking out a few limes, my son proudly shows me what he's able to do to my new avocado by either sitting or stomping on it. (Perhaps a combination move since he was riding in the cart and his official grocery store mission is to complete as much of the trip STANDING in the cart as possible, but that mission remains in a constant state of frustration due to my repeated commands to "Sit down!") I felt guilty putting back the smashed avocado, so I just grabbed another once I gave my son a good talking to about respecting the produce, and figured I'd take the hit and chunk the smashed one when we got home.

So we completed our grocery trip, with no more smashing incidents, and headed home where I put away groceries and made dinner for the kids. My own dinner plan was to treat myself to junk food at the movies, like a coke or a daquiri or something. However, I ran across the smashed avocado. Poor thing. I didn't have the heart to throw it out. And there happened to be a bag of tortilla chips on my countertop. So, in a moment of frugal inspiration, I sliced and scooped the injured avocado, grabbed the lime juice, salt, pressed a little clove of fresh garlic, diced a few grape tomatoes, shook in a few dashes of cumin, and VOILA'! GUACAMOLE, baby!!

By this time, my children had already downed their supper and were peacefully playing in their rooms. And so, in a rare moment of absolute bliss, I grabbed some tortilla chips, a Mich Ultra with Pomegranate and Raspberry (oh, yummy) and sat down with my redeemed avocado. I opened an issue of Glamour magazine (women's ministry research, of course) and spoiled myself for a few minutes. Yessss!

I forfeited the treat at the movies, since I'm pretty sure nothing could top that dinner. But the laughter with my girlfriends was treat enough and it was in abundance for all of us.

And so, what could have been a grumpity, exhausted evening after a harried trip to the grocery store with an overly zealous fruit-smashing five year old turned into one of the most pleasant evenings I've ever experienced. I hold out hope, you know, that God is somehow turning the smashed avocado that is my life into the most incredible guacamole. What can I say? He always gets through to me somehow, and if He has to use some avocado violence, so be it.

Ok, God. It's 4:30 am, and my heart is restless. Turn me into some guacamole, would Ya?

I still have two avocadoes left. And five Ultras. Add a crowd of people and we could have a regular miracle on our hands...

OK, OK, I know. Go to bed.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Iron Sharpens Iron

OK, so I've been thinking about what Greg said. (read his comments on my last post) See, as my neighbor, and one of my pastors and the awesome drummer who plays next to me for two rehearsals and two services every week, he has a bird's eye view of what I'm walking in, has walked through every bit of it with me, and therefore is the kind of brother that has every right to call me out when I'm losing sight of what it's all about. He's right. Just because my life is out of MY control, doesn't mean it's out of control. My life, even with all its craziness, all the pain, all the panic, all the different hats I wear, is absolutely, positively under the control of the God I trust. THAT is the very truth that enables a woman on the edge to embrace the edge, learn to live in it, and even flourish there.

That's what I love about God. Following Him means I experience all kinds of stuff that's WAY bigger than I can handle. Trusting Him means I open my life up to things that take HIS kind of power (the almighty kind). Is this easy? NO WAY. It's wild and crazy and messy, BUT... even with the pain... I wouldn't, couldn't live any other way.

I've been in some interesting conversations this week over my "religion." A Baptist is often outnumbered in this town. And I must admit, much has been done to tarnish the reputation of Christians. I often find myself embarrassed by the behavior of those who call themselves Christians. But in contrast with all the offenses, all the hurts, and all the horrible behavior I have witnessed among believers during my life, I'm pondering this evening the value of sharing the walk with other followers. When done right, relationships with other believers can be such a catalyst for living the redeemed life well. I'm living it right now.

There was a time when God called me, dared me to go out to the edge with Him. Remember it, Christy? Shaking inside, but giddy as a teenager, I went. Of course she remembers, because she witnessed it, even ushered it in. It was momentous, and she needed to be there. It wouldn't have happened without her. And here again, in front of all of bloggerdom, God used the words of a believer to apply a push back toward the edge. I needed Greg for that. He's earned every ounce of the respect I have for him, and I probably couldn't have heard those words from anyone else.

Which leads me to the thought that one of the riskiest, most potentially painful, and also most potentially beneficial parts of life is the way God has chosen to intertwine our already tangled lives with the lives of other imperfect human beings. Sounds like a potential explosion to me. And yet God has a way of making it supernatural. He also has a way of sending those amazing moments, just when I'm considering bagging the whole relating-to-other-people thing, to remind me why I do it and why I love it.

It's enough to make a girl happy, even when she just saw Vince Gill on a Fruit of the Loom commercial. Lord, have mercy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Ever feel like God's being quiet? I'm there right now. I know He's SO involved with my life. I know He's in me, around me, everywhere. It's just one of those times, and all followers have them, when He chooses to let me wait in silence.

For the most part it's a comfortable silence. A companionable quiet between me and Him. It still requires patience. Our encounters consist of me asking a lot of questions and Him just listening. His silence tells me perhaps I'm not ready for the answers.


So while I'm waiting, I'm going ahead with something He put in my mind to do several weeks ago. Memorize Romans 8. Here are the first few verses. On my honor I'm typing them from memory. (NIV)

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For through Christ Jesus, the law of the spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son, in the likeness of sinful man, to be a sin offering. So He condemned sin in sinful man, so that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

It's a comfort. Better than any security blanket I know. My world and my head are spinning out of control. God is choosing to give my waiting ability a workout. But His words are there, they are ever true, they are His love for me in black and white. This is why I had to stop with one tattoo. I'd cover myself with His words if I ever really got started. I'd be one of those people on some TV show...

Anyway. Time to start the day. If you see a crazy woman going around mumbling phrases from Romans under her breath... that's just me trying to be patient.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Battle of the sexes?

Fasten your seat belt. This one's a doozie!

Where are the good men? (I'm not talking necessarily about dating material here. Go with me...) I mean the warriors, the renegades. The REALLY great men. I only know a few of them. Like maybe three. And two of those wear Crocs, which is a serious problem in itself, but one for another blog another day. The other is my own father. Oh yeah, and my brother. That makes four.

I cannot BEGIN to explain to you how WEARY I am of guys who can't make a choice for themselves, can't determine their position and defend that position confidently. And then there are the others. You know the ones. The power hungry ones that think their boy-parts entitle them to some type of authority. They make decisions alright, but then feel it is their right to run over everyone else in the process.

Now, before you accuse me of man-hating, I'll have you know I adore men. I think they are fascinating, wonderful, incredible creatures. While I am egalitarian to the core, meaning I firmly believe in the equality of men and women before God and in every other way, I'm not stupid enough to think that because the sexes are equal, they are the same. They are very beautifully, wonderfully different. Thanks be to God.

As I'm moving from married to single, I'm sort of having to re-learn how to relate to men. It's frustrating. Some days I think if I have to spend one more minute of my life covering for a guy who has no idea what he is doing, I might simply explode. The egalitarian in me HATES that. I mean, if you're gonna do something, THEN DO IT for God's sake. Don't just stand there, waiting to make sure you will come out smelling like a rose. What kind of renegade is that?? None, that's what. And how is it possible for a female to embrace femininity if the fellas in the room are already cornering the market? GOOD GRIEF!!

I realize and will readily admit that my personality is ummm.... like 90 proof. It's strong. It can be intimidating to some. It's the best and the worst part of me. But it's me, and I don't apologize for that. As strong-willed as I am, I'm still a woman. And the woman in me hopes, wishes that the guys around me would get over being intimidated by a strong female or any female and just BE A MAN.

Man enough to respect a woman as his equal. Man enough to take care of a woman if she needs it, or to let a woman take care of him. Man enough to enjoy being a man. And man enough to let a woman be a woman.

See, what I think most guys don't realize is that women, even ones like me that have more assertive personalities, can't HELP but respond to a man who is confident in his own manhood. It's part of those wonderful differences. Because as strong as I am, (and if you'll forgive my saying so,) I know I'm strong. I'm parenting my children alone, supporting them and myself. I have three jobs. I have realized some of my dreams, had lots of them crushed, and I'm still dreaming. I've been humiliated and rejected more than once and I'm still living. My worst fears have come true and I'm still taking risks. I'm strong. But as strong as I am, I'm not a man.

I think there is womanly strong and manly strong. And I suppose what I find sorely lacking in my life at this moment is manly strong. My Daddy has it, so I know it's possible. But he's 1,000 miles away. I don't want or need a husband right now. I'm not talking about that. Just somehow it's more fun to be womanly strong when there is manly strong somewhere in the vicinity. There's room enough for both.

Oooo, I think I just let out a secret. I think I just told the world that the most incredible thing a man can do for a woman is be a man. Is that so difficult?

Evidently it is. So, why? Have we as women nagged and barked and whined until the men around us don't feel like they CAN be men? Have we expected men to be so much like us that we've lost the ability to let them be men? Have we, in the pursuit of making our equality a reality, lost confidence in the gift of womanhood, so much that we can't let men celebrate manhood?

Is it the church? I ask this because a lot of the men I know are church men. Have we somehow made it look like loving God isn't manly? I know that's not true, because my brother, one of the manliest men on earth, ever, loves God like crazy. But still maybe most guys feel they have to check their manhood at the church door. I wish they didn't. Especially for the sake of my son, I wish they didn't.

Is it society? Has the spirit of competition, the drive to get ahead in our society driven out our ability to celebrate the differences between men and women because we are too busy crushing anything that doesn't propagate our own agendas?

Is it me? I suppose experiencing the ultimate rejection has a way of causing me to question everything about who I am as a woman, and as I'm answering those questions, I'm also asking a lot of questions about men and what I hope for in a man.

Hmmmm... I know I can count on my girls to chime in on this one. Guys, consider this an invitation to contribute if you like.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trying to Rest

Week one with kids at home is nearly complete. They are doing so well, it almost scares me. We only have a few weeks of summer left, and I intend to take advantage of that time and put in as much fun as I can. I'm on assignment from my counselor to rest and reduce my stress as much as possible, and I'm trying to do it.

Next week is VBS and (collective gasp) I'm doing nothing. If you don't know what VBS is, think a few hundred kids running around a church for a week and less than half that many exhausted adults making crafts with them, snacks for them, playing games with them, and teaching them stuff they need to know. Every good minister's wife does SOMETHING at VBS. Except I'm not a minister's wife anymore. I don't even know if my kids will go. (ANOTHER LOUD COLLECTIVE GASP) We will see. They spend all day away from me at church and already spend at least two of their normal weekday evenings there. We just might sit this one out.

Resting is harder than it seems. Sometimes it's just easier to do something than to explain a thousand times why you aren't doing it for a while. Resting your body when your mind and emotions are still ranting is nigh unto impossible. Dang, resting is work!! But it's necessary for me right now. And hopefully I'll get enough rest to be able to clearly evaluate some things in my life and my career.

Speaking of work, it's Friday. Now quickly becoming, like all the other working drones, my favorite day of the week. Ah well... better be on my restful way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We're Home!

Hear that happy sigh? That's me with my lap and my arms full of kids again. I have never been so happy to see two pairs of blue eyes in my whole life. We spent some time with my mom and dad, then after they left for home, we stayed in the swimming pool and just had fun with each other. We meandered back home, of course completing the obligatory stop at Cracker Barrel on the way. We drove down our street with delighted squeals coming from the backseat. They were so glad to be home. And their mom was glad to have them home.

We piled in my bed and I slept better than I have in weeks. I feel like I've had a vacation. I suppose in a lot of ways, I have. But there's nothing like 2 days in Florida, hugs and encouragement from my mom and dad, a swimming pool, and holding my kids again to put the icing right on the cake. I'm back, I'm sunkissed (have to bring back as much of Florida as I can with me), and I'm ready for Monday. Ready for life.

Friday, July 11, 2008


My kids are coming HOME!!!!! YESSSSS!

And so ends my odyssey of aloneness. I had absolutely no idea how much time, brain, and emotional space that children occupy in the life of a single parent. And a month of life without them has been wild indeed.

I've fought a lot of monsters this month. I've gone places emotionally I'm SO GLAD they weren't here to see me go. There have been points I would have been truly unable to handle them as I've sorted through some junk. Plus, seven months of single parenting and adjusting to full time work had me utterly exhausted. And so I've needed the rest. But I emerge several pounds lighter (it's amazing what panic attacks and time to take care of yourself will do for you. Panic attacks mean you can't eat, and taking care of yourself means you exercise and shave your legs and stuff), much more rested, and VERY READY to have my babies back with me where they belong.

I also emerge with a pocketful of delicious secrets. Somewhere along the way this month, even as I've suffered a lot inside, I've started to get the hang of letting go and having fun. I've tried a TON of things I had never tried before... and REALLY liked most of them. I'm becoming more... well... more ME. To hell with what everyone else thinks I should be, or even what I'VE always thought I should be. A clean slate and an open mind are in my possession and as Gloria Gaynor would put it,

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
Its my world
That I want to have a little pride in
My world
And its not a place I have to hide in
Lifes not worth a damn
Till you can say
I am what I am

I am what I am
I dont want praise I dont want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think its noise I think its pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out
I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
Its one life and theres no return and no deposit
One life so its time to open up your closet
Lifes not worth a damn till you can shout out
I am what I am

I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces
Its one life and theres no return and no deposit
One life so its time to open up your closet
Lifes not worth a damn till you can shout out
I am what I am

Oh I am
Oh I am
I am, I am, I am good
I am, I am, I am strong
I am, I am, I am worthy
I am, I am, I belong

I totally love that song. It plays in my Saturn a lot.

Anyway... I'm off to my second job. (Did you know I have three jobs? Not including motherhood and head of household? I realized that with a start the other day. Then I smacked myself in the head for wondering why I can't keep it all together.) So I'm signing off for now, and the next time you hear from me, I'll most likely be in the throes of transitioning my kids back home.

Here we go!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Nothing Broken

Last night I took myself for a walk. Normally, I'm not that into exercise, but the truth is, it's a great outlet for pent up energy and emotion. So I walked up on the levee and along the river for a while.

God totally treated His girl to a gorgeous sunset. I found an awesome spot, and since the river is so high right now, the water is coming up under the trees. Looks like you could just put in a boat, push off and float a while. Of course, you can't because on the other side of the trees there is plenty of industrial shipping going on. But at that one spot I could imagine the river wasn't totally taken over by progress. So I sat there and let the darkness fall. Just me, God, and the changing of the light.

I walked home in the dark, and was surprised that I wasn't afraid at all, and had mostly stopped balking at the idea of going on that walk alone. I have never had this much time alone with myself. Ever. It's hard! I'm my own worst critic, and often not very nice to myself. Me and myself are having to learn to get along. But good news, I think we're getting there. We have a lot in common :) It's hard to get rejected and not feel like there's something inherently screwed up about yourself. It's hard not to take the "what's wrong with me?" train of thought. But I think I'm ready to give that ticket away.

I was reading and came across the words "Nothing missing. Nothing broken." They were written in reference to who we are because of God's grace and mercy. If I look past all the missing and broken pieces of my life, I can see that my reality as a child of God is that nothing is missing, nothing broken. He has it all. Therefore, it is ok to give a genuine smile to the mirror and learn to have a good time with myself.

And so I begin a fresh, new day. With nothing missing.

Nothing broken.