The chicken herder strikes again...

Ok so what do you do when God shuts down the entire US Army just to keep your family from going in?  Really?  I know that it's a shock and we all have to have time to recover but really what are the options?

We can see if we can get 1 year orders... or we can make long term plans.  Well... as most of you know my husband and I are a bit on the adventuresome side and are open to change, our children are resilient and always open to new ideas.  Or revisit old ones.  We spent the day today at the family farm.  There is a twinkle in Ande's eye when he goes out there.  My children... their faces glow like firefly butts in July. I know I am a city slicker.  I know that I love Starbucks, and pedicures and new shoes... but I think I am going to have to give in.  Really.  Adam and Julia spent the day in the creek trying to catch salamanders.  Hours of no bickering... something about the sound of the wind in the trees and babbling of the creek silences their arguements.  

It's a small house, about 900 sq ft total.  But there are 10 acres, 4 flat farm land, 6 acres of mountains to get lost in, play in, build forts and fairy houses in.  10 acres for the dogs, and the cats, and the livestock to be determined at a later date.  There is room to do so much, and there is quiet and peace and a chance to hear God without the fire station across the street and the train down the hill. I believe I will get to do some real writing.  I will get to really educate my wonderful kids, and watch them flourish without televisions, and distractions other than butterflies and corn growing in rows.  

Is it me?  Not even close.  I grew up in a large city, not a mile from an interstate that hummed me to sleep in the spring and the fall when the windows were open.  I grew up with malls, and drive thrus and modern conviences.  Maybe that's why my soul rests when we are out there.  My body is in constant anxiety.  My flesh jumps at every sudden movement.  God is working on my fears.  Believe you me.  My mother in law today... Lord, I know you had a good laugh at the two of us.  She found something dead with a long tail in pot in the cabinet and proceeded to chase me out of the house with it asking me what I thought it could be with such a long tail.  I am yelling her name as I am running out the front door.  Finally I stop and look and it was a salamander.  What a bunch of loons.  We laughed, and cried... it was a great day.

My inlaws are full of stories when we are out there.  Ande in high school and his shinanigans that the kids can't get enough of.  Her struggles on the farm when Ande's Dad had to work out of state and her and Ande were there all alone.  She tells me stories of her Mom and Dad as we find platters and bowls that they gave her when she got married more than 50 years ago.  My father in law gets the boys and heads to the barn and shows them all of his treasures.  I swear he just keeps the stuff so that he can have stories to tell them.  We eat dinner together... we act like a family and it's wonderful, for Ande and the kids... and I.

So, I am guessing we have a plan.  We have explored so many options and they all seem to not be feasible... or the doors have been shut.  This is it, for now.  Check back tomorrow... it is likely to change.

Lord, I just thank you for a great day.  For planting a vision in Ande's heart, for giving him hope, and the ability to see things I can't.  Lord, I pray for you to change my heart, to line me up if this is your will for our family.  Lord, I am willing to be willing.  I trust you, and I trust that you will work out my fears.  Lord, thank you for Isaiah 41:10.  I cling to your promise.  Thank you Father.  I love you... 


Stumbled upon this song...

I have never heard it before... but I love the chorus. I will learn to love what I can not change.  I love that line. 


Dying to Self... & others.

This week has left me in shock... at what point does the Army start turning away people.  Never before in history, until this week.  So did we chase this rabbit for no reason or did we learn some really great lessons along the way.  As optimistic as I have tried to remain there are some people that just want to point out the obvious.  "Road to Nowhere"... we are all on a road to redemption and sometimes, we have to explore and heed the calling even when we don't arrive where we thought we were heading.  Persecution... trying to lay shame, or blame.  Not cool.  Sorry.  I have been fighting off shame for more than a year... I know what it tastes like, feels like... I will no longer accept it - no matter what the source.  

We have been set out like trash.  All of those that used to speak into our lives have left us to our own devices.  We have tuned our ears to God, only because there are no words coming from anywhere else.  Those who said they would never walk... did.  I have had to walk away from the sources that I have always run to.  The well is dry and God has put a "stay" on the relationships.  I can't blame anyone because I see God's hand so clearly.  I don't see where we are going, or our future but I see the lessons... I feel the freedom.  I feel my breaths getting deeper and my heart beating stronger.  I have been weaned from my mother, I have been weaned from baby food, from small dice and there is a time where the Lord takes you for Himself.  

There are so many others that are searching for direction.  That Father God has held the cards in their destiny.  They are, like us, waiting to see the great reveal.  I don't know what is coming down the pike, what I do know, is that God is written all over it.  He has planned for this and these wild goose chases are of no surprise.  He has accounted me into my destiny.  I used to think that I could disqualify myself... and I no longer subscribe to that way of thought.  I think God prefers the disqualified.  I think He seeks out those that seek Him and listens to all of our cries, as we pour back to Him what he has lit within us.  I believe that broken and disqualified, bankrupt, at the end of ourselves and our own resources and crutches is where God find us.  It is on that journey to no where that we lay aside the burdens, that we lay aside the things that weren't ours to carry in the first place.  Without the journey to no where we would show up where he wanted us, with all of our own things... and wouldn't know, and wouldn't reflect that they only way we made it, us, was through Him.  We trade our way for humility.  We cry out of the tenderness that this road has beaten into us.  He shows us the hearts and intentions of others, and not just ourselves.  We learn the terrain... much like Moses learned the desert before he led others out during the exile.

So I look at my future and say, I will follow you to a land that you will show me.  I will walk beside whom you send during the seasons.  I let go of my ties to those who only want to hold me where they knew me.  I release them back to themselves and call forth the parts of me that I have left there.  I leave my Lot and chose the covenant that Lord has made with me.  I choose to believe the promises, no matter how dusty they are.  

Ok, here is the revelation God just gave me.  Abraham and Sarah... Sarah brought forth Haggar..., my husband brought forth the Army.  Right form of transportation to deliver the promise but wrong vehicle.  God's promise, His vision for Abraham didn't change.  Sarah had some doubt... she tried to create a way, when she didn't believe the way that God had revealed.  

God, you are so good.  Your awesomeness is amazing.  I don't know anymore today than I did yesterday, but I know that you are here.  Lord, I accept the persecution of those who don't understand, and those who can't see.  Lord, I never estimated the cost.  I lived my life fully to my own pleasure.  Father, my family belongs to you.  I know that, I trust that.  I trust the passion and the vision in their hearts.  I trust your voice in them.  Father, I shut out those that try to add shame, Father I pick up your cloak of humility and say, Father, forgive me.  For I have fallen short, but I fully embrace what you have for me.  I have no comprehension... only immense love and gratitude that you know my name, my heart, and my family.  Thank you Lord for your healing and your cleansing waters in our home.  I trust you Lord.


Lord, it's me... JenniLee...

Father, I thank you for allowing me to get to today.  I come to you with Thanksgiving in my heart for whatever happens today.  Lord, I trust you.  Whatever that looks like, I trust you.  I just wanted to take a minute before everything gets busy today... to tell you that I love you.  That I trust you... that I am your humble servant, your loving daughter, and willing.  My heart is full of hope... and Lord, whatever this looks like... I say, here I am Lord, use me.  

I will be Twittering my day today... keep an eye out.  You could be among the first to know where we are going.  You can catch it here in the upper right hand corner and you can find it on my facebook page.  Please, keep us in your prayers today.  Thank you... for enduring this dry season with me.  Blessings on your and yours.

Love & hugs... JenniLee


Encourage Yourself...

Today is the day... in the next 24 hours we will find out our fate with the military. So I am just searching for some words of comfort... thought I would share them with you.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”- John 10:28-30

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."- John 14:27

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29.11

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."- Isaiah 41:10

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."- 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."- Matthew 6:34




For Carolyn...

Father, hear my heart today.  Lord, my flesh... it's revolting.  It's tense, my stomach is upset and I just cry out for your hand.  Lord, there is no substitute for you.  I thank you for your words this morning.  Thank you for reminding me... 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Father, I am so weak.  I don't have much left to survive... I only have you and some crutches left.  I am propped up Father through self medication.  There aren't enough shoes, pedicures or appletini's to ease this discomfort in my flesh.  Lord, remember me... Father, remember me... I am still here.  


The rest of my life...

Well as of yesterday we are ready to roll out. We have cleaned up our financial mess to the best of our ability... and we met with the recruiter and it looks like we may know something by next week. I have been saying that since January but the recruiter assured me "hell or high water" and I am going to take him at his word until he teaches me not to. I am ready. So ready... like I am falling apart more and more by the minute. I can dance for only so long before I realize that my heart is still hurting and I am still here where it is obvious I no longer belong.

So I ponder what will I miss... and there is a very simple answer. My friends. The ones that over the last couple of months have pushed, pulled, tugged and towed me through the hardest season of my life. My inlaws... and their ability to keep the kids for days on end for Ande and I to work on our marriage, and just enjoy each other. My mother, my brother, and my sister in law... well because they are family and familiar and well... just because I will miss them. I will miss the mountains that have looked down on me through this season. With their infinite wisdom of time and patience... and erosion. I do love these mountains. I love the smell of the Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park in the fall 5 miles in with no one around. I will miss the rivers and streams... oh and the rocks. Mountain Laurel...

We don't even know where we are heading so there is nothing to really look forward to except knowing it won't be here. I look forward to putting country decorating to a rest. I will take some of my favorite pieces, antiques... that sort of thing but I would like to commit to myself that I will never again own a plaid couch. Really. I have spent this evening perusing Pottery Barn and Bed Bath & Beyond for ideas and I am really liking sea glass colors... teals, sea greens... whites, lots of whites. Who knows... we still do have 2 hair dogs and 3 kids. I do know that we aren't taking what we have even if I have to sit in camping chairs. I think that will motivate Ande to take me to the furniture store.

I am mentally preparing. Looking around at what will go and what won't. Ande and I have very different philosophies. I look at this as on opportunity to really down size and to get to the place that the movers aren't going to laugh at us when they pull up. Less is more. Ande won't part with anything... which sometimes is a good thing except when it has to be packed and moved. Books... my God, we have so many books. We don't need so many books. Really... who needs so many books?

I just want a fresh home to decorate, a new area to learn. The opportunity to get involved again... to get back into the game of life and really enjoy the next few years of my kids and my husband. I mentioned that I would like to go back to school and Ande told me if he was me he wouldn't. Just enjoy life, being a mom a little longer, and he said what he wants me to be is our activities coordinator. That's a title I can live with. I want to find my desire to keep a tidy house again. I want to be excited when I wake up and slap worn out when it's time to close my eyes for the day. I want to remember every laugh, every smile and remember the blessing that God have given me, the amount of time He has given to me as a gift with my kids. I want to take them exploring new areas and cultures... and meet new people.

I have held it together here since the crisis and I just don't know how much longer I can hold on. I don't like this me. This desperate, depressed, drinking to ease the tension me. Really, I don't enjoy her at all.

There will be no more competition to keep up with everyone. We have had it all... own our business, had money, built houses, had the cars and it left us more empty than when we lived in the small house and had to stretch for everything we had. I look forward to not having that drive. To knowing that there is a set amount of money every month... a set amount of days off. There will be some routine in our lives and I truly believe that is going to save us all. I look forward to the business being done and it not taking up our thinking capacity. I look forward to just enjoying a simple life in a sea of other wives in the same boat as me.

It's just a total 180 from where we are right now. The security, the routine, the simpleness of it. We hated it all 11 years ago... now we look back and realize we were idiots and should have just rode the train until the end. Well, we have wisdom we didn't have then, we have chased every one of our dreams... and find ourselves right back where we started, desiring nothing more than we had when we started. But along the way, along the way, we found ourselves, each other and have fallen in love with these three kids. There is an appreciation now... a humility that only comes when you watch it all slip away and there is nothing you can do about it.

I will miss this house... and my kitchen. I thought I would cook for my grandkids in this kitchen... but it wasn't God's plan. I have enjoyed the years here... it's been a great place of getting to know myself... getting healing for my past... falling in love all over again. Allowing God to have His way... but, now it's time to move on. I am ready, Father, I am so ready.


Forgiveness takes a hold...

Today is probably the first day, in months, that I am not harboring a grudge.  I feel like an elephant converted to a ladybug.  It is like I can run where I could only sludge through before.  It has taken me close to six months... to get to this place.  I have laid blame everywhere... including myself... and have finally arrived at the place that I know that God Himself has orchestrated this extraction.  Not Satan, the church, the pastors, my husband, myself... we give ourselves and others too much credit when we blame them.  We think too highly of ourselves (yeah I don't like the word pride much) when we think that we have the power to absorb all of the wrongs in the world.  

I mean this is knowledge I have had for years.  I have known that God orchestrates, I have read the book of Job a bunch of times.  I have done studies on it... I have read books on it.  I have taken classes on it.  I had knowledge - head knowledge.  But the freedom that comes with revelation is exponentially better.  Allowing God's Word to become real.  Does it mean that I am not still stuggling... no there are things that I have to overcome... there always will be.  But what I have done is decided to forgive.  I decided that a long time ago... but what I have today is the "feeling" of forgiveness.  I could come face to face with some of the prosecutors in my life right now and I could pour out grace in a place that I would have just poured out vile not long ago.  

Grace is the answer.  I finally get it.  God gave me grace... I wronged Him in every way possible and yet He has never turned His back on me or said that He couldn't handle one more day.  He loves me, even when I live unlovable... even when I turn tail and run... He loves me.  Even when my witness is tarnished, even when I sit out of the game for fear of pain... guess what?  He still loves me.  Grace... mercy... love...

LOVE...that never fails.  Love never fails.  It never quits, never gives up.  Always hopes always forgives.  If I love you... it is the same for you.  I love people that have hurt me.  I have had to walk away from people that I love in order to be obedient to my Maker, but that doesn't make the love go away.  When we step out of love is when the pain begins.  There is a seperation that occurs and it is the more excrutiating pain I have ever experienced.  But true love returns.  God's love always floods us again...   He never asks us to give up something, that He he doesn't return something... bigger, better, cleaner, more Christlike.  We have to be willing to put it all on the altar... we have to be willing to raise the knife on our best sacrifice... He will send a ram in the thicket.  We learn the lesson, we understand that give up our dreams, our callings, our marriages, our children... He is our all in all... when we keep our eyes on that... He is always faithful, always hopeful for us - even when we lose hope ourselves.  He always loves us.  

We can't get away from His love, we can't outrun it.  We can't out sin it.  He waits to pour His love on us...  for me I had to give up the vile so that he could replace it with understanding, with forgiveness, with hope.  I have no vision for the future... but I know that He does.  He will complete what He has started.  I have faith in that... and that gives me hope.


Dance until the gumballs fall from the sky...

Have you seen Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler?  Or at least the previews...  That's how I am feeling right now.  After months of discussion, months of waiting we have completed a phase to move in the next direction.  We now enter Phase 2 of Active Duty re-enlist.  I will be sure to keep everyone updated but it is so nice to know that at least... come on... at least there is movement after feeling like a stuck slug baking in the August heat.  Well without the heat... because it was a cold winter.

So the next step is seeing what our options are and making some tough decisions from there.  Guess we will see what is next.  Who knows... so what we know is that we are closer to going but we still don't know where or when... so we really know no more than we did yesterday but I feel like we have accomplished something... and I am guessing... that Ande is too.  All because of some dancing... by faith.  How cool is that?

And I made it to the gym. I believe this was a very successful Monday... Adam and Ande had "the talk" and he know officially knows what ovaries and a uterus are and what they are for... and he used the word sex in casual conversation.  Great...  chalk another one up to puberty.  All in the day of a homeschool family.  Sex, Army, laundry, Walmart... sounds like Monday to me.

This is the song stuck in my head... Hope it makes you dream of diamonds in the sky...It has nothing to do with this post... just thought I would share the sunshine :)

By faith... today I choose to dance...

Even if I don't feel it... today I am dancing.  Today I am praising... for I know that the Lord has gone ahead to create a way, even if I can't see it.  

So today I am dancing all the way to the grocery store to buy groceries, and I am going to dance while I fold laundry, and I am going to dance while I teach my children.  

Dance, Dance, Dance!


CD Player Update...

Apparently God reads my blog...

My CD player ate 6 CD's 4 weeks ago.  Tonight, it spit the jammed one out.  I was able to reload it... and guess what it played.  Guess what song it played... come on... guess... ALIVE by Superchick.  I think He is trying to tell me something.  

I love God's word...

Really I do.  We were at church this morning for easter and the Pastor preached right out of Luke.  They Just Don't Get It... 

Luke 18:32-34, "He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about."

Boy, do I understand that.  They failed to grasp what He was talking about.  Yeap, that's me.  It's nice to know that I am not the only clueless one out there.  Really it is.

In this season, so many have offered advice.  They have all said to me what I have been trained to say to someone in my situation.  I know all of the right answers, I am looking for revelation.  I am looking for something new, something exciting, something to kick start me back to being myself.  Something that will help me shake this depression... something that will give me a vision for the future... something that reminds me that God himself remembers me.  I know that I am in the palm of his hand, but have you ever been holding something so long that you forgot about it?  I know that I am not the only one.  You have done this... well I have done this -so there.

I am ready to pour out passion.  I am ready to be alive, to dance again.  I have been sitting so long, I am ready to dance.  My husband has said that I have put my life on hold, like I have just stepped off and have remained here.  I have given up everything that used to give me joy... and now I just do the bare necessities... He is right.  I know that it's time to get moving.  To re-engage.  Stop hosting the pity party of the century... Ok, here it goes...


God wrote me a love song...

Wanna hear it?  

No really, I was driving home earlier this week with the radio on.  My CD player ate 6 of my favorite CD's and for the last few weeks I have had to go back and forth between the local radio stations... 1 country, 1 classic rock, 1 staticy top 40 and the christian station.  Well I love christian music but lately it has all begun to sound the same so I found myself listening to more country... and my kids were amazed that I knew all of the words on the classic rock station.  But I was driving in the car alone and did what everyone stuck with radio does... flipped through all of the stations and finding nothing.  I purposed to change it to the christian station because I had been avoiding it, sometimes... well, you just don't want to hear how much God loves you when you don't feel it.  

So I am riding down the road and this song comes on...

I knew that God had played it just for me.  The first line grabbed me and held me... then the kicker was the "why are you still searching as if I am not enough"... Holy Cow... Lord, you got me, you have me.  I had been running... I have no idea where I was running to, but I knew what I was running from.  I could say it was the church, or the people, or my family... but it would be taking the easy way out.  I was running from God Himself.  I have been feeling like he has forgotten me.  

I know that others have experienced lots of teaching and preparation only to be set aside.  Paul was sent home for years after the road to Damascus incident... David hid in caves from Saul - after he had been told he was going to be King.  There seems to be a natural process.  A seperation from everything that has defined you... to sort through what is really you and what has become a defense mechanism.  What is personality and what is reactionary... what you were made to be versus what you have become.  There are some things you can't be taught in Bible College... or even ministering to others.  Until you learn to minister to your own needs there really isn't any need to practice on anyone else.  

I have heard the voice of God... and have begun to fertilize myself with worship and realizing that I need to get back into his Word... and His will for me.  I still have no answers, I have no idea, if and when... we just know that something is coming.  What?  Who knows... no one but God.  I still deal with a lot of anxiety.  We are working on it... my emotions boil under the surface.  My flesh cries for comfort.  I find myself shopping too much... isolating more than I should... and cleaning.  Three of my indicators that I need to find an outlet for some tension.  I am touchy, and emotional, and really there is no one to turn to by God.  My friends try, my kids - my husband... my family.  

Scorn has broken my heart
and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but I found none
Psalm 69:20

God, I know that you see me... I know that you do.  I don't understand, but I know that you have it under control.  Lord, forgive me of my anxiety.  Lord, I do want you in charge, I do want nothing less than your destiny for me.  For my family.... Lord, I am tired, and all of my hope is in you.  I am grasping at straws, I am in a state of controlled chaos... but my heart beats hard in my chest and my fears like to dance on my emotions.  I am ready to give up... yet I don't know what to do except to call for you.  I don't want anything but you... I just want the ministry of you.  I just long to sit at your feet and to feel what your Word talks about.  Right now... I don't feel anything.


36 Years....

So today is the day I celebrate the 20 year anniversary of my 16th birthday... and the 15th anniversary of my 21st birthday.  Maybe I am just looking at life through the rear view today... but what I know is that I am God's favorite.  There are times that I can get sad... and wonder how that 16 year old girl ended up here.  How those years between 16 & 21 were so influential in my life in general.  I am feeling a little bit old today... a little nostalgic... and a yet accomplished and secure in a way I haven't known before.

I do know more of who I am... I have had some tough lessons in leaning only on the strength of God (though retail therapy continues to be a weakness - 4 pairs of shoes - 9 days.... yeah, even the lady at Dress Barn was amazed).  I have more confidence in myself and my endurance.  Endurance has been the word of this season for me... from Backpacking, to serving, to breathing through the storm.

God has seperated the wheat from the tare in my life.  Last year this time, my phone rang constantly and I was busier than a billy goat... this year, it's a lot more laid back.  It's a lot slower lifestyle.  I have enjoyed spending more time with my kids, with my husband, with my dogs.  Hiking, biking, camping... working out... just having a great time.  Growing deep roots... and building a stronger family.  I had so much baggage that I didn't realize that I was toting with me everywhere I went... I am much lighter now.   I remember thinking this time last year that it was the happiest I had ever been.  I have pondered that a lot today and I have decided no... right now, is the happiest I have ever been.

I am blessed with friends that truly care about me and not just a bunch of people that want to be vampires in my life.  I have people that love me for just who I am.  There is security in that... there is a knowing in that.  My husband tonight as he was blessing our dinner said that he is looking forward to the next 36 years... I don't know if he was just saying that to earn brownie points (with God or I, I can't be sure).  But there is security in that.  

I do look forward to the rest of my life.  I look forward to the adventure that God has for me.  I look forward to marriages and babies, and time spent loving my kids and being Momma.  I love being Momma... and Honey... and my Daddy's Baby Girl. 


Friends.. the wind beneath my wings.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.  ~Donna Roberts

I don't know about anyone else... or how they survive without them but the lift I need when I am down... is my girl friends.  We all have people we know but I can honestly say that in my life time until I met my friends here that friendship wasn't something I was good at.  I have walked away from some people I have really cared about... but the friendship wasn't healthy and there was a time to let go and to heal.  I really didn't know anything about friendships until I hit my thirties. 

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.  ~Elisabeth Foley

Now I have one friend from middle school and despite the fact that we have been friends for over 20 years and haven't lived in the same town forever... she is the one I call when I want to remember who I used to be.  She reminds me of high school and how far I have come... she is one of the greatest encouragers on this adventure of my life.  But we don't family together, we don't know each other's kids... we are phone friends that would jump on a plane in an emergency and use each other's homes as fall out shelters.  

A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.  ~Grace Pulpit

The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had.  ~Author Unknown

Then I have my life friends, our kids are in similar activities, we parent each others kids, we hold each other accountable.  We love one another and we are dependable friends.  We are loyal, we are practical and these friends know that my toilet often has an orange ring and that there are hair balls larger than cats under most of my furniture.  These are the friends that will make sure that my toes are painted when they put me in the grave and that there is not moldy food in my fridge.  These are the friends that my children will look to for strength... and call things like Momma2 and beg to spend time with.  They feed my entire family... and there is a level of understanding that you don't get with just anyone.  I love these friends. These are the friends that when crisis hits, sit with you, never uttering a word - but just sitting. Not demanding... just bringing comfort in their presense.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.  ~Donna Roberts

I have some friends that are only "my" friends.  Our husbands don't spend any time together.  Our children know one another but they don't spend any time together.  These are the friends that hold my hair and pet me when I sob uncontrollably.  These are the friends that expect the best out of me at all times.  When I stumble they immediately come along side and direct me back to my Savior.  They pray for me, they encourage me with scripture... they are my therapist and my greatest source of edification.  They never leave me to my own devices... they never crawl into the pit with me.  They have earned the right to speak into every area of my life.  They are my mentors, my friends... my strength.  They call me out of the darkness and remind me of God's purpose in my life... being with them makes me a better person... and strengthens my relationship with Jesus.  They ask the hard questions... and they wait for the answer even in my evasive attempt the change the subject.  

A real friend is someone who would feel loss if you jumped on a train, or in front of one.  ~Author Unknown

My husband is my adventure friend.  When I want to hike, or mountain bike... when I want to be challenged physically and to get dirty... he is that friend.  He is beginning to get more and more of my hurts and as I allow him to see my vulnerable side he is learning how to deal with my pain and my tears.  He is my protector, my warrior... and my Mr. Fix it.  However, he brings out my endurance... and shows me things about myself that I never would have learned if I hadn't hiked those 5 miles...  We parent together, we plan vacation together... we ride out this adventure of life together.  He can hurt me more than anyone else... and has... but he is one of the most faithful people I have in my life... he doesn't walk away when it gets hard.  He digs in his heels and says... this may be the pathway to hell but we are walking together.  

What I know is that all of these people shape me.  They have seen me over the last few years lay down my cloak of protection... They have seen me without my mask.  They have encouraged me to love myself... so that I could love them better.  They have taught me to trust myself... and to let down my guard.  Whether they are in my life everyday, or on my IM window... they have sought to know me... the have deemed be deserving of thier time and energy... and they bless my socks off.  Constantly... and everyday.  They are the chocolate icing on my cake.  They make it bearable... and I am honored to call you all my besties... because you all have a place in my heart.  

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.  Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.  ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

You can find more great friend quotes here.

May the Lord bless you and keep you... until we meet again. 


Hey Lucy I am home...

Just a quick update that we are home from the beach.  We had a great time and already my skin is yearning for more sunshine. Weather.com says I should see the sun tomorrow and that makes me happy!!

I have been feeling a little frumpy lately.  Nothing like a trip to the beach to remind you what women in bathing suits look like and then looking at pictures of your trip to remind you of what exactly you yourself look like.  Nothing a new large pair of hoops and some layers in your hair can't fix.  I am going to be 36 next week... I am feeling a little rough for the wear and tear and I am thinking that I am going to really take advantage of this change to whip myself into shape.  I did spend hours riding bikes with my family on the camping trip and it is something that I enjoy I am hoping that as the weather clears I will be able to get outside and get more exercise.  Not that I mind going to the gym but I prefer hiking to the elliptical and I prefer scenery as opposed to a stationery bike.

I kept looking for God at the beach since I haven't really been able to find Him here in the mountains.  The new well isn't at the beach either.  Old tricks... the beach used to be able to sooth my soul... now it's just a really great place to vacation with my family.  I have so many memories of the beach that sometimes I have a hard time getting through the memories to look towards the future and I really think that is what happened this trip.  But I still love the sand and the sun... and I really love hearing my children laugh over the sound of the waves.  It was a good time but coming up I-26 when the mountains were in view it all came rushing back and my escape from reality was over.  Back to these mountains... and back to the chapter that I am really ready to finish in my life.  

My heart is heavy tonight and I am not sure if it is for me or for a friend of mine going through some life altering stuff.  The choices that we make impact everything years down the road and I can only pray that she follows God and where He is leading her.  She is on my mind because of some of the things that she has shared with me lately and I know the pain, and I emphasize on too many levels... and part of me wants to stand up and applaud her and part of me wants her to think it through a little longer.  Part of me wonders if she just doesn't have more gumption... and if I am not just a slight jealous that she is flying in a new direction and I am still tethered to where I don't belong any more.  Either way... I love her, and her family and tonight they are on my heart.  I didn't have any advise for her... *I know, right?* but I can hug her and remind her that we love her and support her 100%... always have... always will.

For now, I am going to go ahead and close the laptop and try to get some reading done.  I am reading The Gospel of Ruth by C. James.  It is really thought provoking and I am sure that I will be sharing some of it soon.  Good night my friends... May the Lord bless you and Keep You until we meet again.