My fave Fall decorating piece that cost $6!

Fall is my favorite time of year and decorating for it is so much fun. I’m the kind of decorator that uses the same pieces for years at a time. I get a good piece and hang on to it for decades. And it doesn’t bother me but I do pick up little accessories here and there to add to the theme.

img_3803

This year my all time favorite find is this eye ball in the glass container……

img_3802

Isn’t that creepy awesome??!! My desk sits opposite of the mantle so I totally feel like I’m being watched whenever I sit down.

And where did we score this awesome treasure? CRACKER BARREL. My man is actually the one who spotted it and had the vision for this little treasure. Bahaaha – get it “vision”?  I’m sorry that was corny-ea. Oh my word okay I’ll quit.  So back to Cracker Barrel – they have different kinds – green, blue and brown eyes.

I think having one in a bookshelf would be pretty awesome as you interview a prospective employee. You could psychoanalyze the whole situation. You know they notice it, if placed in a prominent place, and so if they don’t say anything about it then you might conclude they are not as assertive as you’d like or perhaps you interpret it as them having good manners. Yeah, so see I never get very far with psychoanalyzing because of my overanalyzing. Trips me up all the time.

Anyways – whether you want to subtly creep someone out in your office or just use around the house or stick in your purse to pull out every now and then to remind your kids you have eyes everywhere – then you know where to go! Cracker Barrel.

You’re welcome. I care too much not to tell ya’ll about these ever so fun things.

The Calm after the Storm

That’s where I feel things are now – a bit of a settling. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of scary health issues in our household lately. But I praise God we are getting through it. His word and His presence has sustained and upheld us in the most powerful of ways.

I saw God stretch my Mom and take her down a very difficult path. For a day or two we thought He was going to lead her on home but God……wasn’t ready for that to happen yet. I’m so glad. I love my Mama and we’re very close. I know it will happen some day but until now I’ve not allowed my mind to even go there. I have been stuck in the days of still believing her unchanging response of, “I’m 64 years old thank you for asking” for the past 25 years. We always chuckled but somehow “64” has been lodged in my head and almost a feeling of, “My Mom will never die because well she’s my Mom and she just can’t.” Reality set in for me as I watched her body go through so much and major issues like her COPD were suddenly peripheral issues.

Once again I was reminded that my only true hope and lasting treasure is Jesus Christ. It sounds so cliche-ish but it’s the very raw truth. Jesus matters. At the end of the day – whether top of the mountain kind of a day or way down in the depths of the valley kind of a day – Jesus is the only thing that doesn’t fade away. That doesn’t crumble. Who doesn’t let us down. Who won’t die. Jesus is the only one that truly gets us. That loves us deeply. He’s the only one who offers something incredible on this earth and after this lifetime on earth. Nothing and No one can compare to him.

So while I’m so glad I made it through my surgery and my Mom made it out of the hospital I have to know that my greatest hope is not in these things but in God alone. May I remember these things and live them out as truth in my life.

 

Powerful words to frame our circumstances

img_3720

This spoken from a friend Mama whose little girl has CF and is fighting for her life right now. This spoken from Jesus to his Father as he faced death by crucifixion.

These are hard words to utter sometimes. Because God’s will isn’t always what we desire or want. We can’t see the whole picture and understand his ways and so life just won’t always make sense to us. But the reason we can be okay with these words “Thy will be done” in every single circumstance in life is because of who our God is. Even in the midst of not understanding his ways He is good. He is faithful and won’t ever leave us. He is compassionate and His mercies are new every single morning. He is fully aware and knows everything about our circumstance. The details of the valley you’re walking right now – I’m walking right now – He knows it. And while He might seem distant and far away, He is not. In His silence He is not punishing you or me. He is working his will and his plan. Trust that he is good and his love for us is individual and intimate. This is why I can say, “Thy will be done.” It might come with tears streaming down my face and a meltdown on the front porch but I still want these words to reign in my life. These words to hover and frame every single circumstance and season of my life.

It’s not easy to do. I’m preaching to myself friends. My Mom is very sick in the hospital and being six hours away and unable because of my own surgery recovery to be there has been extremely difficult for me. My sister and brother live within 5 minutes from my Mother so they are giving me updates and keeping me in the loop all throughout the day. My Mom fell a few days before coming to help us with my bowel resection surgery in August. A CT scan didn’t reveal anything going on with her head and her back injury wasn’t addressed through X-ray or CT scan. Three other Dr. visits and Urgent Care visits still didn’t reveal the hairline fractures she had in L2-4 in her back. It was when she was taken to the ER and admitted that they did a CT scan of her back and realized this. But she has now developed something called “Ogilvie Syndrome” which mimics a bowel obstruction. The Dr is 99.9% sure this is what it is. If medication doesn’t take care of it then she’ll have to have surgery removing a large portion of her colon. She’s been through so much in the last two weeks and experienced pain like she never has before. There are risks with the medication and there are risks with the surgery. And all I can do and the best thing I can do is pray and tell God, “Thy will be done.”

I had my meltdown moment for the first time yesterday on the front porch. I was hiding from our daughter because I didn’t want her to see me cry and then upset her on behalf of her Grandmother. I texted my sister and said, “Mom’s going to be okay, right?” She called me a few seconds later and I answered all sniffly and she said all big sister like, “Quit crying. She’s going to be fine.” And I laughed.  And I got my head back on relatively straight. You see sometimes I replace those powerful words with “My will be done.” And so it’s a process of speaking Truth to ourselves and to each other. Reminding our hearts of what our heads probably already know. Walking in those Truths and knowing we won’t always get it right.

Well, friends, I would be so touched by your continued prayers for my Mom, Sue, and my sister, Linda, who is her main caregiver right now. Will you pray specifically that God will heal my Mom? But at the very top of that specific request let’s tell God we want what He wants because we trust him more than we do ourselves.

Thank you so much.

 

Raising kids but also raising future spouses

IMG_3666

Okay, so we can’t blame everything on our spouses Mother and Father but let’s face it – a childhood does impact the future role as wife or husband.

If a hubs had a Mom who did everrrry.thing for him then he will have a strong tendency to expect his wife to do everrrrrrry.thing for him as well. If a young girl grew up having everything given to her on a silver platter – guess what – she’s going to expect a man to give her everything and more perhaps on a gold platter.

We train our kids in the teaching and admonition of the Lord. That just means we see what scripture says about how to function in life and we work under that philosophy of life. And we teach our kids by modeling and with words. With correction. With discipline. With lots and lots of grace. For them and for us.

When it’s easier to pick up your kids’ clothes off the floor because it’s just not “a battle worth fighting” in the grand scheme of things get a visual of your child’s future spouse saying, “Your Mama doesn’t live with you anymore!” Ha! Ha! No really – I get this struggle with some of the seemingly smaller things like messy rooms and leaving a mess behind in the kitchen. Because you’re thinking to yourself, “I just want him/her to make it in school, have good friends, stay away from drugs & sex – the big important stuff. Who cares if they leave tighty whities on the floor or wrappers on the table!”

And yes, I do think we need to choose our battles carefully. But I’m trying not to always dismiss the small things for the sake of the bigger things. Small things add up to big things eventually. I am raising a son and daughter to be a strong young man of God and a beautiful spirited Daughter of the King. But I’m also very likely raising a future wife and husband. And I pray for those spouses already. I pray for them in so many areas and I pray for their parents. I trust God is hearing our prayers on their behalf and I simply can’t wait to meet them one day. But until then I’ll keep working on the small things and leaving annoying friendly reminders as needed. And other times I’ll cave and just pick it up myself because everyone needs a Mama to back you up at times.

 

Front Porch Friends

porch10-322x208

Because of God doing such an amazing healing inside of me I am recovering really well and I feel good generally. And so I’ve had a lot of visitors this past week. Every morning I’ve sat on my front porch in my Grandfather’s old rocking chair talking with a friend. And what a delight it has been. These visits made my day.

I’m not sure the other people would say the same thing because the visit was totally under the influence of pain meds. And me on pain meds can be humorous and probably confusing.

On one such visit I made the comment about not knowing how my son read the book of Revelation like he said he did out of a Gideon New Testament since it’s only the New Testament. My friend gently reminded me that Revelation is indeed in the New Testament and it’s the last book of the Bible in fact.

Another friend said, “Melody, remind me to show you the crazy text messages you sent to me while you were in the hospital.”  When she left the house I quickly pulled out my phone in case I had said something totally horrifying. It wasn’t too bad but I did request prayer for my iPod to sleep followed by several lines of “bahahahahaha”. So yeah – the effects of pain medicine on me is quite entertaining and embarrassing.

Upon one of these visits a friend and I belly laughed about going home from my pre-op with the very clear instructions to shave. So I shaved my legs. Well, apparently that’s NOT what they wanted me to shave for bowel surgery. When I woke up from surgery I was more shocked at the Brazilian shave than I was the scars! We laughed so hard until I truly thought I busted a real stitch. And then I later thought – did I really just share that story with someone other than my husband and Mom & sister? It’s okay – everything is covered under the excuse of “pain meds” and “anesthesia” right now. That’s my card and I’m not afraid to use it.

Even through the craziness of visits under the influence I’ve been reminded once again how important friendship is. How important making time to sit on the front porch is. I hate that it takes a major surgery for me to do that. But it almost feels unjustified if it’s not for a “good reason”. Like it’s being lazy or something to just sit and talk on your front porch just because you want to. And I don’t like this mindset inside of me. I want to be okay with the discipline of slowing down and enjoying friendships on the front porch.

The Lord has his way of slowing me down and pulling me back. Sometimes I feel like a horse being let out of barn at full speed and it takes a major fall, injury, or surgery to bring me back to front porch leisure. I embrace it and welcome it when it comes to me but I never plan for it. Maybe I should start.

What about you? What are your front porch experiences like? Do you have to work at making time for front porch friendships? Maybe you have them but they don’t take place on the front porch – maybe it’s the coffee shop or your living room. I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

front-porch-friends-bw

 

Small bites of powerful Truth

I have loved my YouVersion Bible App the last two weeks. Because I’m an all or nothing chick still longing to be somewhere in the middle I either read my Bible in large consumptions like an in depth Bible study or I don’t do it at all. I’ve never been one to read a single verse and call it time in God’s word.

But the last two week’s that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve been relying on my  YouVersion Bible App and the verse of the day to give me my daily portion of God’s word. I have a hard time reading on pain meds so when I do it has to be small quantities. This app has been perfect for me and I’m coming away with a renewed outlook on spending small portions of time in God’s word. I’m also still using my May Book prayer and gratitude journal to record what God is putting on my heart. I have loved this practice so much that at the end of the 40 days I just might get another one!

I’m also wanting to help Sophie and Mitchell get used to their You Version Bible App so they can navigate it well enough in a moments notice when they need to pull from scripture. Let’s face it – our kids are most likely going to be using their digital devices to read God’s word. We might as well help them get into a habit of using it daily. There are some great devotional plans through YouVersion for teens, families, etc. All kinds of reading plans. And it’s all free! A great resource.

 

The Impact of a Church Family

image

I looked at Sophie and said, “Honey, don’t ever leave a good church. Even when you get old always stay rooted in a Christ centered church as long as you’re physically able.”

My heart has been so full once again of the Body of Believers that have come alongside our family to pray, encourage and support during my last surgery a little over a week ago.  I can’t imagine going through such big life events without my church family.

A group of ladies came and prayed over me before my surgery and people have sent cards, meals, calls and visits to tell how they’re praying for my recovery and for our family. It makes such a big difference.

I think a lot about people who are not plugged into a church family for whatever reason. And I miss the effects of community for them. Many people don’t even know what they’re missing because they’ve never experienced it before. Others have experienced it but for whatever reason left the church.

When a healthy (not perfect) church does what Christ calls the church to do then the people are encouraged and the world sees something beautiful. Something they can’t always put their finger on but they want a part of it too.

I’m thankful I’m a part of a church that prays. That bears one another’s burdens. That speaks truth. That forgives when we don’t always get it right and that loves in the midst of the difficult.

Do you have this kind of community? If not, I would love to pray for you as you consider taking that step into finding a healthy body of Christ followers. If you do have this already what is it that you love about your church community?  I’d love to hear. 

Surgery Update

You guys our God is simply amazing me. He is my healer and is working amazing miracles within my body as he works to restore the broken inside of me.

I’m doing great. My Doctor said everything went excellent. Great path report. Incisions from laparoscopy are healing well and I’m tolerating liquid and soft foods well.

Cool things that happened in the hospital:

My cute Mom came to visit me……

IMG_3552 IMG_3553

Randy’s parent came to visit as well. Randy’s Dad kept taking the flowers from the nurses station and bringing them to me as a gift. He’s so generous like that – to give other people’s stuff to me. Ha! Pretty funny. Thankfully he gave them back after each visit. Grandma and Poppy made several Mayberry ice cream runs with the kids and that was fun for them.

IMG_3550

Sophie’s class huddled up to pray for me during my surgery. Sophie made the decision to go to school that day and I’m so glad she did. She had a few times where she cried but I’m so glad she went. Her teacher was so helpful and supportive. Prayed with her the night before and that brought a lot of comfort to Sophie. But at the end of the day she was ready to see her Mama. She ended up spending the night in the hospital with us and slept in a chair half the night and on the bench/bed the other half. Such a sweet girl. She’s truly my Sunshine. Mitchell did great as well. He wasn’t worried. When Randy asked how he was doing with me going into to surgery he said in typical Mitch fashion,”Well, ya’ll said not to worry so I’m just trusting what ya’ll said and not worried about it. But I did make Mom a prayer request at school.” Love that kid.

IMG_3551

A friend gave me this awesome Names of God coloring book and I am loving it. Sophie came home from school yesterday and crawled in bed with me and we worked some on coloring. Such an awesome gift. Another friend gave me a bunch of Bible puzzle games and books and that’s been fun also.

IMG_3554 IMG_3565 IMG_3566

One of the highlights of my preparing for surgery was my sister calling every other day and us praying together. We saw God answer a lot of prayers. It has been a sweet time that almost makes us closer than if we were face to face having coffee every other day. She will be coming up when my Mom goes back home. So that will be fun too.

Oh and I’m still cracking up at Randy’s Facebook post about praying for my bowels of mercy that are now 21″ shorter. BAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!!!!! And he says he’s not sassy like his wife. What.evah.

 

 

Equipping ourselves through hard times

 

So in our household right now we’re preparing for surgery. I go in at 7:30am Monday, August 22nd to have a large portion of my colon removed. Because I know my propensity to become discouraged if things don’t go the way I’m hoping for them to go I purchased myself a gift. Ha! I know – but seriously I think I need this. And no it’s not a pair of black shoes contrary to what my husband would automatically think. I do occasionally gift myself with a great pair of black shoes because…..well because I’m female.

IMG_3547IMG_3546

No black shoes but instead I purchased this 40 days of Prayer and Gratitude journal with my name on it. Is’t it adorable? It’s a May Book. They have all kinds of designs and inside choices of paper to choose from. I always purchase when they go 50% and offer free shipping otherwise it would be too much to pay in my opinion. But they run sales all the time. Anyways, I love this one because for 40 days you write out a scripture, a prayer and the things you’re thankful for.

I bought this journal with the intention of starting the day before my surgery. This morning Sophie and I did it together. She wrote out a prayer and I did and we talked about the things we are thankful for. A sweet couple in our church sent me flowers yesterday and they had Isaiah 41:10 written on it. So we took that verse and made it our verse for today. “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.”

I know staying in the word will be important for me. And having this 40 day journal will help me stay intentionally thankful in the midst of hard days ahead. I also have some verse cards written out to hang onto during my recovery time. Of course I can’t prepare myself in every way but building in some tools to help stay focused is a good thing.

Oh, and may I ask you to pray for a certain little nine year old girl who is really struggling with fear right now? Her name is Sophie. She’s my baby girl and she’s really having a hard time with run away thoughts. We’ve held each other and she has cried too many times to count in the last two weeks. She’s afraid I might die. She even has a picture conjured in her head of her teacher pulling her out into the hallway to say she just got a text from Randy saying, “She didn’t make it.” (OMGosh! Really? She thinks we’d send that kind of information through a text message? She is definitely a Generation Z kid) Oh how my heart just crumbled into a million pieces when I heard her tell me that. We’ve prayed and read scripture and talked about the peace of God and taking captive our thoughts and all that. I’ve assured her I feel so confident about this surgery going smoothly and that I truly feel like I’m going to do great but only God knows the outcome. And He is so worth trusting because He is good all the time and His ways are perfect. I am asking God to stretch Sophie’s faith and to work out something beautiful inside of her through this process. We would love your prayers too.

And for the rest of my family – Randy who will be next to me through it all as he has every other time we’ve walked this surgical road. It’s not easy on the caregivers. For Mitchell who is a typical teenager doing life at his own pace and not too troubled by this surgery thankfully yet sensitive about it. Randy’s parents and my Mom who are traveling up today to be with us and to help with the kids. We have incredible prayer support through our families, church family and friends. I am so thankful.

Well, that’s the update friends. The next time you hear from me could be interesting as communicating under the influence of anesthesia is always intriguing. Don’t hold too tightly to what I say over the next few weeks. Pain meds do a number on me but who knows I just might crank out some amazing pieces of literature. Bahaha!!!

Thank you for your prayers!

Great reads & Bible Studies

Thought I’d post about a few great reads that have been helpful in my life lately…..

Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson

Sophie Hudson is absolutely hilarious and yet deeply profound. You will simply love her. I love this book that reminds us God designed us for relationships – with Him and with others.

The Armor of God Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer is A+mazing. I’ve had the chance to join an existing women’s group the last few weeks doing this study. And I’ve loved it so much. The study. The ladies. The discussion. Everything about it has been so wonderful. This is a 7 week Bible  study with 45 minute teaching sessions. Homework is 5 days and takes about 20-30 minutes give or take. I love how LifeWay is mostly producing 6-7 week studies now and this seems to be a good fit for many people. The study I’m in is not bound by the weeks and takes more time to discuss the homework before moving on to the videos. So you can do it however you’d like.

Tough Guys and Drama Queens – how not to get blindsided by your child’s teen years. by Mark Gregston.

A few of the chapters: Overexposure to everything; Overresponsible Parents, Irresponsible Kids; Loss of Gender Differences; Authority Cannot Be Forced; Relating is More Important that Winning; Pick your Battles Wisely; Offer Freedom to Make Mistakes.

And what I want to order soon is this……

Because I love Fern Nichols and these dvd’s are her teaching a 6 week prayer curriculum which includes time for discussion and prayer. You can order this brand new curriculum at the link below

Igniting A Passion To Pray DVD Set – Moms In Prayer

What about you? What are you reading right now that’s having an impact on your life?