Castles, moats and dragons...

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to fell the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. – Abraham Lincoln

I am thinking that Honest Abe was onto something.  

Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." - Luke 18:24-25

I have been reading up on strongholds...just some light reading as usual *LOL*.  Some people are perfectly content to stay planted...it's just not me I find healing and Jesus absolutely intreging. Anyway, stronghold are beliefs that are so well protected that they can't be penetrated. The are fortresses with moats, and dragons, and high towers.  We take it upon ourselves to control the situation so that others won't know what our true beliefs are.   We control God right out of the picture.

We establish ourselves as our own best guardians and protectors and leave little if any space for God in our hearts or in our plans.  That's why the rich young ruler didn't need God, he was self-sufficient - he had all that he needed to create safety around him.  It is in our comfort, in our contentment with ourselves that we don't need God.  When we walk in blessing after blessing, we begin to take Him for granted and we begin to think that somehow we have brought this success upon ourselves.  What pride we have.  We boast of our "stuff".  It's just stuff, they are making more stuff everyday.  What makes your "stuff" any better than anyone elses stuff and why do we use it to categorize ourselves.  The stuff havers and the none stuff havers.  What a bunch of bunk.

I woke up this morning and God spoke to my heart saying, "You take yourself with you everywhere you go."  Well that's a pretty brilliant point there God.  Thanks for that revelation.  He goes on...  it doesn't matter where you go, it doesn't matter who your friends are, where you do or don't go to church... you are still with you.  There are no "do overs"... there are new areas to occupy in healing but you can't toss all of this out.  I began to understand.  The thoughts I have about myself go with me everywhere.  The strongholds I have built, my defense mechanisms... until healed will go with me everywhere I go.

I have experienced a lot of healing, I have begun to understand God's redeeming love... but there are parts of me that God is just now beginning to touch.  He knows that if he touched them all at once I would blow up... it isn't His heart to kill me... my flesh, yes.... but he wants me to be free from the strongholds because not only do they keep out potential pains... get this.... they keep Him out.  When we let down our defenses... when we realize we are so tense from trying to hold it all together... when we are so afraid of being hurt... we hold on so tight.  

We do everything that we can to ease the pain... we crutch on everything from sex to withdrawl.  We get so afraid of pain that we don't leave our homes... we don't interact... we facebook instead of having lunch.  We seek to control our surroundings to keep the pain at bay.  We Scarlett O'Hara... I won't think about that today...  All He wants to do is to come in and ease our hearts.  To create a new stronghold in which the thoughts we have of ourself can't penetrate our understanding of His love of us.  It's in the demolition and remodel that we really get to see how many thoughts we have, how many places that even we ourselves haven't opened the doors on.  

But I am always up for a project, an adventure.  I don't know what tomorrow looks like.  I don't need any answers... I just need the Jewish Carpenter to help me with a remodel of my castle.  I cry out in pain as he removes blocks and moves them around... I scream in agony as he demolishes walls that I have so carefully erected.  He is tearing me down to the foundation... and jack hammering the parts that are unstable... I submit.  I surrender.  When it gets to painful I cry out and He is quick to come to my side and apply the salve of His love...

What a wonderful maker.  Thank you Lord.


Keep on swimming...

Sometimes, just sometimes it's hard to keep your head above the water.

I have been reading Scarlett the sequel to Gone with the Wind that isn't really a sequel because Margaret Mitchell didn't write it, none the less, I adore Scarlet and sometimes when the boat capsizes you just have to keep swimming.  No matter how cold the water or how desperately that you want to just sleep.

I can say that in the last six months my whole life has been turned upside down.  Not by an any one act but by a series of things.  Either way, my boat has capsized and I have been treading water waiting for the Coasties to arrive.  Just when I think I am ready to start swimming, another storm comes and treading is all that I can do.  What I have to keep reminding myself is to not give up.  God reminded me this week through a friend of Psalm 73.

Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
and their words strut throughout the earth.
And so the people are dismayed and confused,
drinking in all their words.
“What does God know?” they ask.
“Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
Look at these wicked people—
enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.

If I had really spoken this way to others,
I would have been a traitor to your people.
So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
But what a difficult task it is!
Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
Truly, you put them on a slippery path
and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
In an instant they are destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors.
When you arise, O Lord,
you will laugh at their silly ideas
as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

Those who desert him will perish,
for you destroy those who abandon you.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

The thing is I didn't even realize it.  The thing about people in third world countries is that they don't know that they are in a third world country.  Their Momma did it that way, they don't know any different.  Tradition continues.  It's not until prosperous people come that the realize that they lack anything.  Could we all have more...absolutely but at what cost?

I chose Christ, even when my flesh takes over and I lose it in a moment, afterwards I still long for Christ.  I repent, ask forgiveness, give forgiveness and then ask for His healing.  There are so many times that I have belittled myself for my actions and God has said honey, I take you just as you are because you chose me.  Much like David.  David made mistakes, but he always sought God.

At this time in our country, I watch the bailouts, the stimulus deals... and I am reminded of this chapter.  There is such greed in America.  We are never satisfied.  We always want bigger badder faster... It's Tim the Toolman Coveting.  We judge ourselves by what others have, or don't have, or crutch on and very often don't open our hearts to the examination of God the Father.  

Are there times I want to give up... to give in and let the ease of the wickedness take over?  To just be like everyone else?  Absofreakinlutely.  However, "others may - you cannot".  I don't seem to get very far into wickedness until my heart cried out for Jesus... "This flesh is killing me please come save me!" I know we all want to "be done".  I am ready to move on to the next phase of my life and get on with it.  Jesus is in control, really He is.  I can't force it... I can't envy others, what I can do is be flexible and allow God to change my mind and my will.  Moment by moment.

Thank you Lord! 


Let me explain the shoe thing...

When I was in the seventh grade at Landon Jr High my parents had just recently divorced and there wasn't a lot of money to be had.  I was totally excited the day my mother took me to Kinney shoe store and bought me shoes. A pair of white sandles... the ones that you wrapped around your ankles and tied.  I thought they were cool - I thought that they made me cool.

I was in my advanced English class last class of the day.  We had to write a paper to describe someone in our class.  It was an exercise in adjectives and details.  Leanne Zebriski's first line of her paper that she read aloud went something like this, "She wears the same pair of shoes to school everyday."...  

That is the moment I go back to everytime someone mentions that I have an abundance of shoes.  

I can go back farther and remember quitting dance classes at the ripe age of 5 because I had bigger feet than everyone.  They had a box of tap shoes that you hunted through to find a pair that would fit you before class.  The instructors did it to save costs for the parents.  I hated it.  Told my mother I hated dance and I never went back.  As much as I wanted to dance it was all wasted on a dance shoes.

Shoes are a thing for me.  I like them, but I hate to wear them.  I guess that's the Florida girl in me.  If I find a comfortable pair, I will buy a multitude of them in different colors.  Right now my favorites are still Crocs and my newest love are my new Keen boots.  I hate tennis shoes and wish that Nike or one of those types could make an attractive tennis shoe.  I have a very large foot for a women and wear a women's 10 in most shoes but 11's in Nikes... probably why the disdain towards tennis shoes.  I love flip floes... always have always will.  I prefer Tevas for comfort but usually buy 4-5 pairs of Old Navy cheapies to wear around the house.

I used to be a barefoot girl until we got Valentine Grace, her and her sister broke me of walking through my house barefoot when they were puppies.  Now I always have something on my feet.  

The other thing that I used to be a stickler about... pedicures.  You can ask my friends and they will tell you all about it.  We all have a thing... feet just happen to be mine.  

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"


Ok, I went in...

I attempted to conquer.. but it was more of a stab.  Maybe a poke.  But there is nothing super about it.

Today I have spent the day in Julia's room.  I know, right?  I have been putting it off for months.  But today I entered and walked out without yelling... to carry out a few bags of things that she didn't need.  I filled a contractor bag full of trash, and a lawn & leaf bag full of clothes.  It's the whole point of I asked Julia to clean out from under her bed and left her on her own.  It took her 25 minutes.  I told her don't sort it or anything but get it out on the floor so that we can go through it.  I know that my parents and probably my cousin Heather can remember when I used to have a room like that.  Well, my dresser still looks like that... but my parents warned Ande.  

We are in pre-move clean.  We know we are going we just don't know where and when.  It's just time.  Time to get out of the poverty mindset that we have to hoard everything or we have nothing.  I don't know how we are going to do it, it's a huge adjustment but it's something that really needs to happen.  We have been hauling around a ton of stuff for years.  I am ready to cut the ties.  Really.  

I have a thing for shoes.  People know that about me.  I can remember the exact moment that I decided that I was going to buy shoes every chance I got.  But that's a post in and of itself.  However, now I am deciding to just take the things that I love.  I want to live a simple life and not have to spend a ton of time cleaning (like I usually do... HAHA), I don't want to spend a bunch of time having to make arrangements for my stuff.  Do we really need to get a storage unit or do we just need to donate it.  I don't want to have to spend time organizing it...or maintaining it.  

So I keep saying that we are only going to keep the things that we love.  I have so many do-dads and "keepsakes", more than one person will ever need in a life time.  Some of them I love, some of them others loved enough to give me.  I have to establish some boundaries.  We have books, and I don't mean a few... between us we have hundreds.  I love books... but do I love every book specifically?  Am I ever going to reference it again?  You get the idea.

So today was the beginning.  The hoarders are going to squeal like pigs... but I am determined.  

Luke 12:15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

So we are learning and I am teaching my children this lesson.  If we don't need it or love it, it's outta here.  So I will continue in Julia's room until it is dwindled to something that she can maintain without my intervention.  So instead of giving things to my kids I want to give them ] the ability to say "no".  Not only to drugs but the other things that will inhibit their growth.  It is ridiculous the amount of stuff we have.  I look forward to breathing... and teaching them how to inhale fully without the weight of the stuff we have.


All of it... or ALL of it?

Boy it's been an exciting few days.  I have gotten my sister married off.  Now some of you will say now JL, you don't have a sister.  But I would say to you that yes indeed I do. I have a lifelong friend... she knows my past and my present and can help me remember where I have come from.  She has given me more grace than anyone but Jesus.  I love her, but she isn't my sister.  I have friends that I love, adore, we have common interests and I love any amount of time that I get to spend with them.  But this girl, who weaseled her way into my heart... God said, "You have been whining about wanting a sister for 34 years... here she is".  

Getting her to this point has been excrutiating.  For her, him and well a plethora of others over the last year... my has it only been a year?  However, these last few weeks have been the most painful.  Throwing showers, having to go to places and see faces that I want to just forget.  Having to be a sister and walk through my own pain for her joy... has been well, let's just say it ain't been no walk in the park.  However, sisters do what sisters do and I wouldn't have traded any of this for anything.  Really I wouldn't.  That smile is worth it... 

The Lord and I have been talking over the last few months about events coming up and whether or not I am to participate.  Like the wedding, the shower, there are things that are coming up that I have had to decide what I am going to do.  Whether I am going to lay myself out there or am I going to whole up and protect myself.  I told everyone that today was the day that I would make my final decision.  That today, God would let me know what I am supposed to do.  Being at the wedding... seeing the faces - there was no pain.  Just joy, and family.  Real family, not the kind you are obligated to, or have nothing in common with, but God family of like minds and a an overwhelming powerful love for Jesus the Christ.  

So, I get through the wedding and I am at the gym walking the inside track like I do most nights from 8:15-8:45, listening to my worship music, just walking.  This has become a powerful time in my life.  With no distractions, submitting my flesh to cardio and fat burning... God talks to me and I worship.  So as I am walking... I am listening to Jeremy Camp - Take My Life. God says... you told me I could take your life.  Are you done hiding?  Or are you going to step up and be the woman that I have created you to be?  Well I guess that is my answer isn't it?  He is telling me that in the last year He has changed me.  Has it really only been a year since this really started?  Wow, Lord you are amazing.  I am humbled that you would even consider me worthy to be called your friend, much less to be used by you.

My spiritual mother always says we can go to battle because we know the healer.  So if I get hurt I can run to Him, he has loved me through much worse and lately His word for me has been perserverance.  Through perserverance the snail reached the ark.  And I will reach my ability to enjoy the journey of His will for me.  Because everyday is His will.  I can do nothing without Him.  His will is not a destination, it is everyday.  My everyday sacrifice of myself, my preferences.  Some may, others may not.  I am one that may not.

He has asked me to be naked and vulnerable and to swiim in my own bowl... to be ye seperate.  Is it going to hurt?  Probably like hell, and I going to do it anyway?  Absolutely.  I have no choice but to submit to His love.  


Let him with ears hear....

I am sitting here in bed with Ande, Zoe is sleeping at our feet.  Ande is watching National Treasure 2 on Alex's PSP.  Ande doesn't have the best of hearing and anyone that spends any amount of time with him will realize it quickly.  He is entrawled with the PSP and the headphones.  He made me listen to the ducks flying in because he could actually hear them.  

I am sitting here now, wondering, are my ears so damaged by trash that I can't even hear the small details.  Ande and I don't have TV in our house and most of our news comes in through the internet.  We live in our own little world and that's okay, they seem to like us here most of the time.  Not  having TV for over a year now, it always amazes us what we can see in just small doses of it.  On New Years Eve we were with my inlaws and we were watching the ball drop and in the 40 minutes that we watched I walked away feeling defiled.  It's like the turtle in the soup pot.  I just find it amazing.

I grew up in a house with TV.  A big one... and it was on as long as someone was home to watch it.  I am a music person even now I am jamming to Pandora while I write.  But I don't have a long enough attention span to watch a whole movie.  Some love it, I find it excrutiating.  I have to have interaction, if not I want to be reading... or sleeping.

But I do know that Obama is coming into office tomorrow... and I think that he was sold to America with a red bow.  I think he was portrayed by the media to be so much more than he is.    I watched Bill O'Reilly tonight briefly while I was on that eliptical machine at the gym.... Bill says, he was abandoned by his father, mother moved him around, he grandparents raised him through adolescence.  I get all of that.  And he is the first african american president and I am so happy that is a boundary that this country is willing to break.  Honestly, it means a who new era is here and I get all of that.  Call me crazy.  I know that I have some liberal family out there that is going to blast me.  "Change"  we want change.  We guess what... you got it.  Now what are going to do?

Well, I for one am going to pray daily for the President.  I hope and pray that he can hear the voice of God and not just his over zealous wife.  I will pray for our nation, and for our children.  I will honor the Oval Office even if I can't honor the man that sits in the chair.  

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.  For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.  The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.  So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.   Romans 13:1-5

So as I lay my head down to sleep on the eve of a new era, I am reminded to trust God. He has it all under control.  He can't be persueded by the media.  He has a plan, and He knew that this was coming.  He is the same God that protected Paul, the same God that watched Pontius Pilate turn Jesus over to the Pharisees.  His ways are not our ways, but we give Him control.  We stay on our knees, we listen for his voice.  We heed it, we desperately seek His face... but at the end of the day He says, I love you so much more than you can imagine.  I hear what you can't hear.  I have surround sound.  I can hear details.  Rest in me.  Yes sir.  Amen.

The Soup Kitchen

The man
with his bag - 2 pairs of shoes attached
with his arms crossed 
colors his face
is but a fleeting fantasy.

He loads the bus, spilling the coffee
From the styrofoam cup they gave him
inside as he waited.

He feels blessed and anxious at the same time - 
With great anticipation of his first shower in days.

I patted him on the arm as I walked by
and thought how odd that this man
this homeless man - stirs a desire within me.

to assure him
to tell him he is going to be safe
to mother him-

The desire to bundle him up like a small child
  and rock his pain away
Even as I sing a lullaby in his ear.

The prayers and the blessings come for him naturally-

I am just thankful when God
loans me his glasses.

For more rambling writings check out... Flutterings.


The days leading up to goodbye,,,

The thing about leaving is that you have to say goodbye.  For the past few months there has been a deep grieving going on within myself.  I don't really know how to explain.  I don't know how to tell my friends by, my support system... my church family but it is something that God is requiring of me.  It doesn't get any easier with time.  At this point it is just outright excruiting knowing that I am leaving but dragging out the process.  I have seen this with my military friends...how the service member shuts down and just gets into leave mode.  We used to call it short timers.  That's what I have.... Except that there are obligations that keep bringing me back to that place.  The place that I don't want to go...

It's hard to stand on the outside and watch everyone elses lives go on.  Almost as though you had never been there or been of any consequence. I defined myself by this for so long and now... now... I just have to trust on God and what he has for me.  His new definition.  Even through the pain.  There are some that will remain... but I have had to say goodbye before and I know that there will be few that will stand the test of distance and time.  I learned how to be a friend here.  How to invest in people... how to love without fear.  And now... now I am hurting and battling rejection and abandonment.  Maybe if I hadn't loved with such abandon I would hurt so bad today.  If I hadn't gotten so tender... so close then it wouldn't hurt so bad.  I wouldn't cry so many tears and it wouldn't have to be so painful.  Most days I would say that I wouldn't change a thing... but this is one of those moments of weakness when I wonder.  


Still waiting....

I am sitting in this place that I know that times are changing.  That my tomorrow isn't going to look like my today.  Ande and I have been feeling the shutting of doors and have been grieving for the life that we have created here.  We know it's time to move on, we just don't know that the farm is our answer.

So often when you start feeling the pressure of God you try to put the puzzle pieces together logically.  I think that the farm was a logical choice for us at least economically.  I don't know if you remember the 80's movie "Dirty Dancing" but there is a moment in that movie where Patrick Swayze says to Jennifer Gray's parents "Baby doesn't sit in the corner".  That was the scene that kept going through my mind.  God may still sit me in the corner but at this point I don't think that the farm is what God has for us.  I talked to my friend from middle school who probably knows me better than most.  She told me that I just don't see you chasing chickens.  

We are blessed with options that so many don't have.  I feel so spoiled as I watch others struggle to find options.  We have too many to chose from and too much time to mull them over.  There is change coming.  We are just having to wait for answers, for details.  I am learning patience.  With God, with myself.  Trying to learn to keep stuff to myself.  Some people don't "flow" the way that our family does.  We often make 4-5 sets of plans before we actually make a move.  Some people can't change directions as quickly as we can and for that I apologize.

What we are waiting for is directions.  I just need an exit number.  I don't have to have details beyond that.  I can sit at the gas station and wait for further instruction but I want an exit number to get off this crazy highway.  

My faith is growing, my trust in God and what He has for us.  We are trying to be logical, He is prompting us to just depend on Him.  

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: 
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.



Remember what I said about change???

We are evaluating options before we commit to the farm.  I know that all of you wanted to see me chasing chickens but come on... I mean it could still happen but, it would be a stretch for me.

There is another option that is flying around.  I am not at liberty to say what it is yet... but when I get a confirmation I will let you know.  

In the mean time...have you checked out the rest of my new site??  

If you look to the right there is a link that says "The rest of the story".  There are recipes, and other fun things that I am adding to.  I am finding that I am putting all of my little scribble recipes on there and it is helping me to eliminate clutter in my kitchen.  I will warn you that there isn't any diet recipes on there.  But I am starting to think about it... 

Let me know what you think... 



For those of you that don't do well with change...I am so sorry.  Sometimes I just into things with both feet just to be moved with the current into a different direction.  I am cleaning up around this place and trying to be a little better organized.  So please pardon my dust as I make a few changes.  
The first noticable change is that I know am the proud owner of www.justjennilee.com - there are a few advantages to that.  #1 I can add as much information to the site as I would choose.  I am working on some stuff behind the scenes that you might get to get your eyes on in the next few days.  It depends on how much time we spend at the farm this weekend prepping for the move.  #2 it makes it easier for you to find me.  Isn't that just the coolest thing ever???  I know I am a dork but I get amused by the small things in life.  Like dogs, and fires and really really good cookies.

Speaking of cookies I made some of Ms. Cheryl's cookies last night, now quit your bellyachin' that the link isn't there, I know it isn't - but those are hands down the best cookies I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.  Doncha worry yer perty little head the recipe will be back up soon and you can have all the cookies you can bake.

As mentioned we are heading to the farm this weekend.  So expect some new pictures and adventures.  I am just hoping to get the house ready to paint.  My goal for the weekend is to get the bedrooms and the living room emptied so that there are no more drawers to cause me issues and that so I can start painting.  Painting is meditative for me.  It makes no sense, but there is something about my mp3 player and paint fumes that just makes me happy.  Don't call me crazy - odd maybe but hey we all have our thing.

So you all be patient with me.  I have sat here for over 6 hours today trying to get this thing up and running.  I just didn't get it all the way but it is close.  So enjoy your weekend... stay out of trouble and I will be backer faster than you can sing "Tommorrow" from Annie.


Wednesday...my favorite day of the week.

Sorry I have been rather quiet this week.  That is what happens when you have a house full of sick kids & get on your "it's the first of the year - let's right all of the wrongs in the world" kick.  So one of the things that I am trying to do is to step away from my laptop a little more often.  Nothing crazy...believe me I wouldn't survive but more often than I have been for the last few months.  So here is what I have accomplished today...

I have made banana bread with 3 over ripe bananas that I found buried under the stack of chip bags in the basket by my fridge.  Nice save for the bananas who were on their way into the trash when I remembered the new me.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...  ok I reduced the amount of trash by using those bananas to make a super simple recipe banana recipe.  It's good...especially warm with butter.

I made my sourdough starter today.  It's easy I got the recipe for the starter and the bread from a book written by the lady that cooked for Johnny & June.  I figured if it was good enough for them it was good enough for me.  I will post the recipe in a seperate post.

I have found my counters and my dining room table.  All of those items that just seemed to be hovering at waist level were really resting on my table and my kitchen island.    All of the candies and cookies that everyone brought for the holidays were condensed and organized for optimum snacking performance. The counters were cleaned, the old mail was put into the burn bin.  

For those of you that know me intimately, you know that I am a "delegator" not a "doer".  I did... my kids and Ande as my witnesses...I did dishes today.  By hand.  I have the chips in my fingernail polish to prove it.  I did it, now I remember what dish pan hands are.  But all of those things that just sort of sat around waiting for someone to wash... Like the vase with the flowers from the Nutcracker... and the tea kettle were all washed today by my own hands.  I let the kids have the day off.  Well, they were doing school so not really off but it was a chore free day.  Told you I was feeling like righting all of the wrongs in the world.

I did some laundry and emptied a bunch of baskets of clean clothes that multiplied like rabbits. I didn't realize how many of these baskets I had floating around until my family stacked (yes, I said STACKED) them all on my side of the bed.  For the past 2 nights I have literally had to be a contortionist to get into my bed.  Not tonight by golly.  I will be able to walk right up and kick my shoes off and begin a new pile.  

The other thing I did... I had my barn painted.  Yeah, not the one on the farm.  I remember the first time I heard someone refer to coloring their hair as painting the barn I thought I would laugh till I wet my pants.  Now it is my official line.  So my barn is now brown with no gray weathering showing.  I also had the caterpillar growing above my eyes pruned.  My eyebrows had taken on a life of their own.  So I now am colored and waxed and ready for the new year. 

I feel accomplished.  I had a productive day... the first one really since the rats.  I take a little longer than most to recover from stress.  *haha* So I have officially kicked lazybuttitis out and have moved in, "I do not have to be an overachiever but I should at least be able to tell you the color of my counter tops".  

Just a little update on Zoe and her potty habits... she has successfully pooed outside countless times this week.  We are so proud of her.  She still is known to have an accident but for the most part she is being the angel we know and love.  What we do know is that lotsa garlic is not good for her.  It will induce accidents.  In the middle of the night.  With the smell of garlic poo more than I can bear at 2am.  But that's another post.

Ecclesiates 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."

Thank you Jesus...for another day to serve the ones I love. In your name I pray.  Amen.


We're Packing... and not boxes...

My sister-in-law and I

Yeah so, I grew up in a house knowing that there were guns.  I knew they were there but I never saw them.  Well except for Friday nights when my Dad would inevitably clean his when a guy would be comin' a callin' on his daughter.

I was petrified of guns.  Didn't like them, they were weapons of death.  I was more liberal and open minded (maybe that's where I lost my mind...have to ponder that - I was so open minded it fell out) - anyway, I will admit that I voted for Billy in 1992.  What did I know?  I was 19 and my only experince with guns were knowing that they had murdered people I cared about.  I smoked weird stuff then... who knows what I was thinking legalize marijuana and outlaw guns.  Who was that girl???

So about a year ago I read this bumper sticker that said, "If guns kill people then spoons make them fat".  Somehow that just made sense to me.  Now, I know some heat carrying women, you know who you are ;), and I always thought that they were a little on the "Chicken Little -the sky is falling" mentality.  However either I got this by osmosis...by just hanging out with them or it's a fear that I truly just don't have anymore.  I love to shoot.

I will be the first to admit there is still some fear.  I still shoot the first shot in my clip with my eyes closed.  Trying to familiarize myself with the noise and the feel again.  There are nine more bullets in the clip I trust that one of them will hit my target.  I am still working on it.  I have come a long way in just a few months.  

What I know is that my 11 year old son last night had a conversation with me that led me to believe that he doesn't have the same fear of guns his momma does.  He said he wanted his own shotgun...( we all know you hunt with a rifle - his Daddy set him straight in his retelling of the story at bedtime) so that he could go walking in the woods near our new place.  He said that way if he walked up on a deer he could shoot it.  Then come home and tell me that he shoot his gun (he doesn't want me to worry if I hear a shot) jump on his 4wheeler then go pick up the deer and bring it home.  I tried to tell him that he needed to dress the deer in the field.  He doesn't want any part of that right now.  He said that is Daddy's job, he will kill it and eat it.

So my wonderful husband and my Florida born mountain raised son are out buying a rifle.  I guess when boys get ideas like he did last night it's right time that his Daddy takes him and buys a rifle.  Men, I love them and thier rites of passage.  


I keep waiting for the movers...

Well yet another unproductive day towards the move.  We don't even have boxes yet.  I am not sure what we expect to happen... but nothing has happened and I guess that's what we should expect.

I did, however, attend the most beautiful wedding ceremony ever today.  There is something to be said in this day and age for a couple to be pure at the altar.  There was something spectacular there.  There isn't a word to describe it.  The presence of God was tangible.  He had ordained it and there was no doubt otherwise. Yet, it was fun... and very reflective of the couple and it almost restored my faith in love.  It was the first wedding that I attended that the emphasis was on the ceremony and not the reception.

But while I was gone the movers didn't show up.  I just dread the work that is involved in what we are trying to do.  The simple renovations to the farm house, the packing of their stuff, the packing of our stuff...  I am just tired thinking about it.  And another day goes by and my heart breaks.  I just want to yell, Lord move, or move me.  It's excrutiating to know that I don't belong where I used to, and yet I don't belong anywhere else either.  This whole thing depends on good old fashioned work... something none of us are really good at anymore.  An object in motion stays in motion.  Well the first of October God was very clear to "Be Still" so now we are just stuck in still.  

There are times in our lives that we just want to play an ostrich and stick our head in the sand, and I guess that's where I am at today.  I just want to run, no packing, no details... just run after the dream without the consequences and without the effort.  

I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2

I know I may be taking that out of context but it is the cry of my heart.  Lord, deliver me, even if it's just from a big case of lazybuttitis.  Deliver me from myself, and the things I do to sabatoge my own progress.  Lord, I choose to believe in you.  I choose to believe in love.  I choose to be obedient to the calling you have on my heart.  I love you...


So many distractions, so little time...

So there was this grand plan today to organize and start the process of cleaning out Julia's room. Seeing as how we didn't go to the farm yesterday I figured I needed to at least get a head start on clean up here and getting ready to move.  Ande was going to get boxes... we had a plan.  An agenda.  I already had dinner plans.

So why when her room looks like this did she spend most of the day...

Because it's the holidays!  Her cousin Cyle called this morning and said that he & his fiance were in town.  Always on the lookout for an excuse to get out of work we invited them over.  You heard of saved by the bell...Julia and her stuffed animals were saved by the phone.

So instead of being chained to the mess of the year (2 days into it and she already holds the reining title) we spent the day playing Wii.  Isn't it nice for family to visit?  

This is Cyle, one of my five nephews.  He is getting married this summer to a really great law student...

I love her.  They have been dating for years and have been engaged forever waiting for her to be through with school.  Well they decided that 2009 is the year.  So this summer they will get married and next summer she will sit for her bar after graduation.

Alex with his Uncle Kerry!  Uncle Kerry was at the hospital when Alex was born.  He used to call him Tater Head.  It was great to spend the day with him and his wife...

Drinking coffee, eating pizza... laughing and just having a great day with family.  Grandma and Grandpa even showed up for a while.  This is what family is all about.  It was a great day and I feel abundantly blessed to be related to these people.  We share the same last name... all of us women have decided to marry into this family... and I can honestly say, without a stitch of sarcasm that I hands down have the best mother in law in the universe.  My father is law is growing on me after 15 years :), but my mother in law rocks the kasbah.  

Lord, thank you for today.  For redemption of relationships.  For unconditional love and sister in laws who bring sweets.  Thank you for new family members and anticipation of weddings.  Thank you for a full Aunt's heart.  Keep them safe Lord.  Bless them.  Bless them, bless them, bless them.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.



Here it is.  Our future.  There is so much to do and yet today we just couldn't get into the groove.

Well maybe everyone else could have but for some reason today I just wasn't feeling it.  We spent the night last night with my wonderful inlaws.  We went with them to their church and heard a good gospel singing.  Went back to the house and watched Ryan Seacrest and then went to bed.  Nothing exciting, nothing over the top just a quiet evening sitting in a beautiful church hearing some music that is all new to the kids and I.  It was beautiful but different.  Being the Christian Rockers that we are... gospel just isn't something that we have a lot of experience with.  But I see that changing.  

We got up this morning and were supposed to head to the farm for some more work.  We got there and I just didn't want to face it.  Not today.  Not the first day of 2009.  The work just seems so overwhelming and sometimes I can face it and sometimes I just want to ride around in Ande's truck and look at the countryside. So with some sweet talk that's what we did.  We unhooked the haul trailer and headed out to Fontana Dam.  We didn't take any pictures but I have this one from when Ande and I did our backpacking trip in October.

What a beautiful place.  So we took the kids and the dogs and went riding around out at the Dam.  We had packed a lunch to eat at the farm, which consisted of 2 2liters of soda - Mountain Dew and Diet 7Up & cold hamburgers.  The plan was we were going to heat them up when we got there.  Well, we didn't end up at the farm.  Have you ever had one of those epiphany moments?  I had one today.  We are sitting in the cab of the truck eating cold hamburgers on regular bread with non melted cheese with ketchup & mustard.  An Escalade pulls up along side of us in the parking lot...just about the time that I lifted the 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew to my mouth.  See the cups were at the farm too.  Nothing like a bunch of locals, in their work clothes, eating out of aluminum foil and drinking out of 2 liters.  They had Florida tags.  The Dad spent most of the time that we saw them on the phone (probably working even while on vacation to pay for the Escalade)... that used to be our dream life.  Look how far we have come.  I just started chack-a-ling. 

The epitomy of redneck.  Oh well who are we trying to impress.  Everyone I have ever tried to impress has usually been the first one that God humilitated me in front of.  I am to the point that I just don't care what people think.  Really.  Obviously because what you may have not noticed in the picture of the kids is this...

Only people with no pride drive around with a dog box on the back of the truck for a family day out.  Because you know that I can't leave them at home.    I love to see the looks on peoples faces when they drive by and see Valley and Zoe in the back.  Especially those people that I used to be that worried about stuff like that.  Look we are a family of 7... 2 of them don't fit in the cab... we all know what Zoe is capable of if left alone.  So we take them where ever we go to save our bathroom.  

So even as we were all out Hillbilly Deluxe today this was our view.

I can't look at those mountains...the Smoky Mountain National Park and not know that there is a Creator that has the whole world in His hands.  Even as my life seems to spin out of control to Him it is all under control.  

Phillipians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 

Phillipians 1:20, "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."

Lord, thank you.  For the grandeur of your creation.  For subtle reminders that you are all around us.  Thank you for your peace that passes all understanding.  You alone can provide that at this moment.  I love you Creator, Redeemer & Breath of the Almighty.  Only by Jesus can I approach your throne so it is in His name that I pray and praise all of you.

Work outs....

Ok, so for the past three weeks Ande and I have been working out 4-5 times a week and cutting out carbs.  This is my attempt to keep up with my weight loss and my work outs.


1 cup of coffee with half and half
Atkin's Shake


1 cup of coffee with half and half
1 Atkin's Shake
Asiana buffet for lunch to include: 8 pieces of sushi, 1/2 cup of boiled shrimp, braised chicken, salad and a diet drink
Fasted dinner
Sugar Free jello snack after the gym

30 minutes tall bike
30 minutes XTrainer on eliptical
jog .3 miles
walk .7 miles
20 minutes in the free weight room working on shoulders, arms & abs.


Atkins Cafe Carmel Shake
1 cup of coffee with half & half
Pulled pork with a little sauce
a small order of fries
1 piece of fried trout
1/2 cup of buttered noodles

Didn't go to the gym


1 cup of coffee with half and half
10am Slim-Fast with fat free milk
2pm 1 Hershey Kiss
2 fried eggs, 3 slices of bacon & 2 sausages
sugar free jello with cool whip

30 minutes XTrain Aerobic on eliptical 
25 minutes on bike
10 minutes on treadmill
jogged .5 miles on track
walked .7 miles on track
50 sit ups


1 cup of coffee with half and half
10 am Slim-Fast with fat free milk
4 pm a few bites of chili
7 pm Chicken Alfredo with broccoli. (Dreamfield pasta)

30 minutes tall bike
30 minutes XTrain Aerobic on eliptical 
15 minutes walk around track...