When the preacher’s family gets bored at dinner – this is what happens

So it started out as just a normal dinner but somehow this is where we landed between dinner and Upwards Basketball Practice.

Mind you this balloon was a Star Wars birthday balloon for Randy the second week of December. This is what was leftover.

And now for Mitchell……

And the Daddy-O

And the Helium Mom

31 Days: Day 2 – Why outreach is important

Day 2

Why is reaching outside the walls of church so important these days?

It’s because inviting people cold turkey to Sunday morning church isn’t working like it used to.

Gasp! You’re the preacher’s wife and you don’t think inviting people to church is effective? Like your man is the preacher dude and all.

I know. And he’s a mighty fine preacher too. Like I actually  understand what he says and everything. And if I can track with this preacher anyone can. He’s awesome.

Hearing God’s word taught is so important and crucial to our spiritual growth. I’m not in any way minimizing the preaching of God’s word. At all.

And don’t get me wrong, I still invite people to church. I’m a huge advocate of church and I’d be crazy not to tell people about something I love so much. But with that said I believe that most of our in depth, real life conversations with unbelieving friends, co-workers and neighbors will happen outside of the church walls. They’ll happen around the break room table, at the park, on your front porch and many times when and where you least expect it.

And this is why being ready to reach out is so important. It will take the church within the walls being the church outside the walls to connect dots, have real conversations with people and see life change.

What’s interesting though is that many times God uses outreach to bring people in to the church. Once a connection or relationship is built through a natural, Spirit-led conversation with a friend, co-worker or neighbor they usually end up wanting to come to church with you.

But that’s not the end goal of outreach. Sharing the love of Christ is. Sometimes it ends up in that person coming to your church. Many times it doesn’t. Being Kingdom minded means we are okay with sharing and leaving the results up to God.

 

“One Anothering” One Another

Randy has been talking about the “one another’s” in scripture lately and how as followers of Christ we are to love another, bear one another’s burdens and serve one another. So much scripture in the Bible  tells us how to interact with one another. And when we actually do it we’re forming community and not only a safe place to be but a desirable place to be. It doesn’t mean it will be a perfect place by any means. But when we’re living in harmony and comforting one another and more of the “one anothering” we are forming a community where Christ dwells. And people want some more of that. And I think it’s because we’re designed to crave relationship with God and with his people.  So consider these areas of One Anothering and ask yourself how you’re doing. What areas do you need to work on because there will be some this side of heaven. What areas do see God working through you? I really would love to hear. So consider leaving a comment.

  • Welcome one another (Rom. 15:7)
  • Show hospitality to one another (I Pet. 4:9)
  • Do good to one another (I Thess. 5:15)
  • Confess our sins to one another (James 5:16)
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • Are servants of one another (Gal. 5:13)
  • Live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16)
  • Comfort one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Are subject to one another (Eph. 5:21)
  • Have fellowship with one another (I John 1:7)

*To answer my own questions I’d have to say the areas I need work in would be confessing my sins one to another. Yep, that’s a hard one. I was humbled by someone who did that to me this week. Confessed and asked for forgiveness. I need to do more of that kind of one anothering. There are more but I’ll stop there. I’d rather ask the questions than answer them. Ha! Okay and so I guess I’d say that I see God helping me in the area of praying for others. He has really helped me become a more passionate woman of prayer and I do pray for our church members and other people that God puts on my heart. Not saying I’ve arrived in that one another department but it’s an area I see growth in.

Okay, seriously, your turn.

 

My mouth got me in trouble at the car dealership

So my van, AKA “the gold bomb”, has about exploded for the final time sending us into an avid auto search for the last few months. When the lining of the roof starts hanging lower than the seats you know you need to upgrade. And we’re just not even going to talk about the hint of painted letters “Community Cares” that still linger on the windows even after multiple scrub downs.

11098237_10203448832602235_2797124930569050293_n

All that to say – it was time to look for new wheels. ASAP.

And so we did. We strolled into our first dealership on the list of places to look. The young car salesman greeted us at the door and shook our hand. He bent down and in a bit of a “awwww how cute” voice said to Sophie, “Oh hi there, you must be six years old.”  So not cool for a girl who’s almost nine going on twelve.

We talk for a bit about what we’re looking for and then he leaves to go talk to his “manager”. As soon as he left Sophie quips back, “That dude just called me six. I’m so assaulted!” We gave a quick vocab refresher course on the actual word she was looking for which was insulted and clearly not assaulted. Still she was insulted.

A bit later our guy shows us around the lot and a pulls a few cars out for us to look at. I forgot my car looking protocol and broke one major rule – never ever get excited about a car and by all means don’t say you like it right away. Well, I forgot that part and when I saw one car it just fell out of my mouth – “Oh! I LIKE that car!” Randy cut his eyes at me and I knew immediately I messed up. So I quickly try to recover and say, “Well, no not really. I don’t actually like that car. I thought I liked that car but nooooooo, I totally don’t like it. Well unless it was like free or something. Then I might like that car.” Okay, so it wasn’t that bad but kinda sorta close.

Sales boy leaves us again to go and see what he can do for us by talking to his manager and when he left Randy and I both discussed the error of my car buying skills. Literally he says to me, “I just need you to let me do the talking. You say too much. You are never supposed to say the top price we are willing to pay and you never ever ever talk about how much you love the car.” To which I reply, “I knowwwwww honey, I’m so sorry. I won’t say ANYthing else. Promise.”

We decide moving on to another car lot would be best – fresh start – one in which my lips are sealed plus a new selection of cars. This time I do great but we’ve got Sophie over there telling the car dude all about our other car and how the ceiling is coming down on us and how the windows won’t roll down, blah, blah, blah. Of course we didn’t drive our other car to the dealership in hopes to hide the true state of our other car. Pride will always mess you up people. That’s what I’m learning.

We end up hitting one last place at 8pm and while we were there a trade in drove on the lot. A vehicle we were very interested in but the guy still had all his stuff in it. So we waited and waited and waited for him to get his stuff out and then we looked at it and loved it. But because you don’t say that I just held my love inside and pointed out the bird doo-doo on the windshield and the black smudges on the tires. But the good news is my man doesn’t only preach great – he can wheel and deal especially when his wife keeps her mouth shut. So we test drove it, pulled up a car fax report and landed on a price we liked a lot. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my cary buying strategy but we did end up getting an incredible deal on a 2005 Honda Odyssey Touring with only 64K miles on it! Whoo-hoo!!! I just hope I know how to work it right.

So that’s my car buying story and I’m sticking to it.

** Update on the van – so were driving it off the lot and about 10 miles into the trip home I hear Mitchell let out a scream and look back and the seat he’s sitting in has totally folded up on him. He tries to adjust it and it falls all the way back flat. And then all the way forward. It will not stay up straight. It’s so not funny but I have to say I was laughing so hard. We are hoping the dealership will fix it or we’ll have to return it. We have 3 days to have it inspected by our mechanic and point out any issues. We are hoping they will repair it so we can keep it. So I guess we won’t bury the gold bomb quite yet.

IMG_2351

 

In sickness and in health

 

IMG_2218

And the thought that keeps running through my mind this 22nd Anniversary is the vow that we made before God and man to love each other in sickness and in health. There’s a natural assumption that the “in sickness” will come later in life with the exception of general minor sickness along the way.

I don’t consider myself to be a “sickly” person by any means but when I do have physical issues they seem to come in massive waves. Surgeries that go longer and end up causing complications requiring more surgery, fluke accidents, emergency surgery, etc. It seems I’m on a ten year cycle at this point of major health stuff going all wonky.

And bless my man’s heart. When we found out I had major endometriosis and would not be able to have biological children he never once said a negative word to me. He didn’t walk from the marriage or hold it over my head. Instead he loved me and cared for me tenderly.

When I had a serious intestinal blockage and had to have emergency surgery he held the puke bucket for me and didn’t tell me to be quiet when I was dry heaving louder than a burly man lifting 900 lbs. We laugh about it now – he was wheeling me down a corridor of glass walls with crowds walking both directions and I’m being so loud and it’s just so disgusting. He never tried to hide me in a corner or pass me off to a nurse. He just took it all in stride.

Or the time I had a gall bladder attack at 2am and had to go to the ER. I refused to let Randy call anyone from church to keep Mitchell who was a toddler at the time because I was afraid of coming back home from the ER and them saying “Oh, she just needed to pass gas. She’s fine.” No way – we’re not having that kind of news spread around the church prayer line. So Randy watched Mitchell climb in the back seat of the van in his pj’s for hours while I was in the ER getting checked out and eventually checked in for surgery. I realize how selfish that was now but at the time I couldn’t get past it.

And then there’s been these last three months as I have recovered from a leg injury requiring surgery and a very long recovery. There were nights when we first got home that I was so struck with fear that I felt like I was going to die. Classic panic attack is what it was I guess. Randy, who was sleeping on a pallet on the floor, would sit in a chair and watch me breathe because I felt more secure if he was watching me. WEIRD, I know! I genuinely thank God this only happened a few times and hasn’t returned since. A horrible feeling. Randy knew I was struggling so as exhausted and worn to a frazzle as he was, he sat and watched me sleep, knowing I was fine.

This is what love in sickness looks like for us. I’ve not had the opportunity to care for Randy in such a way at this point in our 22 years of marriage and I thank God for that. But I do pray that God will give me the strength to love Randy in sickness as well as he has loved me. The day will come and I want to be there for him as he has for me.

In the meantime I love my man in health. Oh how I love him.

Happy Anniversary my love. Thank you for taking your vows seriously.

 

 

Learning to trust God in deeper ways – not always getting right but He’s patient with me.

Randy and I went to my Dr’s appt. on Friday expecting to check in with my Orthopedic Dr. for the first time since surgery and then go home. Little did we know I’d be getting my cast off. We were told it could be 6-8 weeks. So it was an amazing feeling to have it come off but it was also suprisingly hard. Like I held it together for a really long time in the Dr’s office but as soon as we pulled in our driveway I fell apart into a huge puddle of tears. Randy was the typical man going, “What’s wrong? Did I say something? Are you hurting? What’s going on?”

I couldn’t really even tell him what was wrong because I didn’t know myself what was wrong. I just felt extremely exposed and vulnerable without my cast. I kept thinking something was going to land on my leg and break it all over again before it completely healed. Randy said, “Apparently you were emotionally attached to your cast.”  I think I was. Go figure! What girl in her right mind would rather keep a cast on than make a day’s progress towards getting back into cute snappy red shoes? Hellllooooo, the answer is nobody!

So it’s like I was all freaked out because God was answering the prayer we’d been taking to him on a daily basis. A prayer for fast and complete healing.

I was struggling with the thought of something else happening. Beginning to have thoughts that I was one of those people who just had random bad things happen to them. Randy stopped me and said, “Melody, you’re not that person and that’s not our God.” I knew he was right. I was falling into victim thinking and thoughts based on fear instead of based on love. God’s immense love and watch care over me is a reality and He wasn’t about to let me slip out of his grip at this point in my life. I could trust Him and let the fear go. It would be okay.

And so that’s where I am today. Learning to trust my God in deeper ways. Not always doing it right but learning to do it better.

On another note: I am doing a study on joy by Margaret Feinberg and I love it. It’s called Fight Back with Joy and it’s awesome! I’m doing it with a few neighbors and a friend from church and my Mom. I just love all of her studies. She is my kind of gal. She and Angela Thomas are my favorite Bible Study authors of all time although there are some other incredible authors out there that I also love.

Okay, well, enough about me and my woes. What is God teaching you of late?

This is the story of how karma bit me

So back in good ole college days I was in a prayer group every year with different students. Every year we’d introduce ourselves and tell one thing we would like the group to pray about. Every year I’d wig my classmates out by saying something to this degree:

Hi my name is Melody. When I was young I broke my leg. We were poor and had money for the surgery or the metal rod they needed to put in my leg. But in an amazing twist of things we found a Doctor who would work with us and use a windshield wiper from one the cars in my Dad’s auto salvage yard. They sterilized it up real good and put that baby in. And it cost us nothing! The only draw back is when it rains and my leg starts to move back and forth (My leg goes back and forth in motion like a windshield wiper.) Half the people realize immediately that it’s a sick joke. The other are still trying to figure out if I really just lied about a prayer request or not. And then I tell them and we all laugh out loud together. Fun story. I did get a few “you better be careful how many times you tell that story lest it happen to you!” Ha!

And here’s the Ha Ha not funny party of the story. On Monday morning of this week I sent the kids off to school, had my personal quiet time with the Lord and put my journal down and closed up my Bible and called for Dooley to the dog to come on a walk with me. I wasn’t planning on a long walk so I left the front door open and out the front door we went. I stepped down three steps and then I don’t know what happened. I crumbled to the ground and heard a loud snap. The thing I realize is my lower leg is hanging the wrong direction. I knew I couldn’t look at it any more or I’d pass out. So there  I am laying flat out on my back with my head on the last step screaming in pain and for help. I didn’t know at the time I had broken two bones in my leg about 4 fingers above my ankle. The bone punctured through my skin making it an “open wound” and in need of surgery as soon as possible.

Nobody was walking their dog that day so for about 7 minutes I screamed and waved my arms like a laid out pentecostal. Finally a man with his window down hear me yell “HELP” as he drove by our house. He turned around and walked up and said, “Oh good Lord!” He called 911 and then he and waited for 20 minutes until they got there. I couldn’t remember my husband’s work number so I was trying get the kind stranger to find my cell phone inside but he kept bringing back the kids iPods and such. He finally was able to get Randy by phone and he came over with one of our associate pastors.

Finally after writhing in pain for 20 minutes an ambulance shows up. And then they all got a nice good gawking look at the injury and gathered their own composure and tried to figure out the best course of action. They started cutting my pants and that’s when it got a little too close to home if you know what I mean. I’m surrounded by men and they are cutting my favorite pants off. I said, “Hey, you can’t do that these are my favorite go-to black pants with pockets so I don’t have to carry a purse.” Kind stranger man laughs out loud. EMT guys says, “Mam. we have no choice. We have to stabilize foot.”

They finally get me all packed up and on a stretcher and took me down to Greensboro where I had surgery late that night. And got a …….get this…….wait for it……..

A metal rod put in my leg! And screws and wires that look like twisty ties. You gotta be kidding Melody! Nope, I got it. I played that joke on one too many people and it caught up with me. Ha! No that’s not why it happened but it is also ironic to me that the last words I wrote in my journal that morning before my walk were, “Lord, help me to be still and sit more this week.” For reals I wrote that. I have a hard time sitting. I’m always going and doing. I wanted to sit more and be still more. Welllllllllllll I got wish worked out for sure.

I’ve been in a lot of pain and my family and church family are praying for me and I can see the impact. Randy has been so good to me  – he takes great care of me when I need him. And the kids have been very sensitive to me as well. And my Mom drove up from GA when she heard about it. She is holding the home front down with the kids while Randy stays with me in the hospital.

I was supposed to go home today but PT and OT and I all decided I needed one more day of practice. Transferring is extremely hard because on good ankle is severely sprained. So we’re figuring it all out.

How I’ve seen God work:

  • I could have laid there for much longer until someone stopped by
  • He heard my cries for help and sent a kind soul to help
  • My injuries could have been so much worse – broken neck, back, blacked out, etc
  • Used my family to minister and encourage me
  • Used our church family and friends to rally in prayer

Well, please continue to pray for us. This is not easy. I’m struggling to get on top of pain and it’s easy for me to get discouraged at the amount of time they are saying it could be for total healing. Pray that I will be patient and that I won’t miss what I’m to hear from God during this “sitting still” season.

Btw: I’m on major pain meds right now. The screen is double and I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated myself a few times or at least misspelled words throughout. So thanks for bearing with me and reading anyways. I am requesting your prayers for me though this healing process. That I will heal and mend with no complications. That I will be able to get on top of the pain and see what He wants me to see during this time. Thanks so much!

Go break another leg people!

11193438_10152910242753178_2847081642586110577_n

This was my first leg break when I was in kindergarten. Five years old and in a full body cast for 6 months. The tombstone that fell on my leg was my Great Great Grandfather’s. True story.

Kids at our school have been sending the cutest cards ever. My favorites – because there have been more than one – are the ones that say, “I hope you fell good” or  “Fell better soon” Oh bless them. We have really gotten a good chuckle out of those.

I know I’m rambling but the truth of the matter is when I finish up this post I have to go and pivot on a very very sore foot and I’d rather write about it than actually do it. I need prayers for endurance which ironically people have already prayed over me so that’s really cool.

 

 

I’m that ‘well she tries’ girl in the kitchen

It was a long-time-waiting warm Spring day outside yesterday. And those kinds of days make me do crazy things all in the name of warm weather. I dreamed up this visual in my head of our family rocking on the rocking chairs of our Southern front porch eating warm pound cake with strawberries and watching traffic drive by. As if any of us have time for that but it sure sounded great. So I whipped one up real quick while prepping dinner.

While the cake was in the oven smelling quite divine I decided I would be super Mom and let the kids do what they’ve been dying to do ever since we’ve lived here. Make a mud pit with quicksand. After all it was warm and Springy feeling outside. I even went to say out loud (which was a mistake) to the kids, “You know, sometimes playing is more important than homework!” I do believe it’s true to some degree but really should have kept that thought to myself because boy did they ever latch on to that one. I dread what the teachers might hear today at school from our kids. An exaggerated, “My Mom said that playing is more important than school or homework ever will be!!!!” Oh dear.

So the kids are doing this:

IMG_1588 IMG_1586 IMG_1580

while I’m cooking dinner and smelling the cake in the oven and running out every 15 minutes to be sure nobody was drowning in mud.

Randy came home to this…..

IMG_1589

Thankfully my man is cool with things like this. He wasn’t worried about the grass because there was none to begin with. This is the spot where our trampoline has been for several years but we moved it to a different location.

I assured Randy I would make all this up to him by pulling out a beautiful warm pound cake. He  excited about that. I don’t have a light on my oven and knew better than to open the oven – it might make the cake “fall”, whatever that meant. I’ve never had a cake to fall and have never understood what that means really. So I just waited the hour and a half to pull out the cake.

Finally we heard the long awaited ding of the timer while we were finishing up dinner.  I jumped up and grabbed my oven mitts and swung open the oven door to find this:

10314697_10153330728036842_343399426168528532_n

I let out a shocked scream. The kids said, “What’s wrong Mom!” Randy could see from where he was sitting the damage. My mouth fell to the floor in complete shock. I’d never seen a cake do this before. I looked at the oven to be sure my temperature was right and it was and then it hit me….

I swung open the cabinet door and yanked down my flour bag and sure enough I had accidentally bought “self rising” flour instead of plain all purpose.

I took the cake over and put it on the table and looked at Randy and said, “This is what happens when I try too hard to be all domesticated.”

Sophie said, “Well, then don’t try so hard.

Mitchell quips back immediately and says, “Actually, try harder please!!”

And that’s when we all busted out laughing and started scraping off the sides of the cake. I was ready to pitch the thing but Randy scooped it up into bowls. Yes, bowls for cake. Let’s just pour the salt on the culinary wound why don’t we.

IMG_1593

And you know what? It was was actually delicious! We loved it. Randy said, “I think this is the best cake you’ve ever made!”

Have I mentioned that I love my man? He’s so sweet. The cake was good but really now, it wasn’t the best cake I’ve ever made.

So yeah,  I’m the “well she tries” girl occasionally. Not all the time because generally I can pull together  decent meal and dessert but when I blow it I blow it big. Ha!!

So, care to share any of your “well she tried” kitchen episodes? Dare you to. 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad’s, date your daughters before others do.

Dads, you will never know how much special time with your daughter means to her. All little girls desire to be cherished and loved by her earthly Daddy. And nothing says “I love you” more than special time set up for just you and her. A Daddy-daughter date. A Father reaches a daughter’s heart in a unique way that a Mother can’t and so that special time together is so important.

This is what it looked like for our daughter and her Daddy as they went out on a fancy date tonight. Randy gave her a handwritten invitation and had it ready for her this morning at the breakfast table. She was surprised and beyond thrilled to open something with her name on it.

IMG_1548

She ran upstairs and said, “MOM! Daddy and I are going on a date tonight and we’re going to eat at a restaurant and then see Cinderella!!!” And then we screamed together because that’s what girls do when they get asked out on a date. They feel so special that they scream and dance in place.

Later Sophie said, “I don’t know what half those big words mean in that invitation but I sure am excited.” We laughed and then Randy explained what the “big words” meant. Ha!

IMG_1550

It’s cold and rainy outside and Easter hasn’t happened and in the South you don’t pull out white anything until Easter Sunday but for Daddy-daughter dates all those rules go out the window. You just dress like a princess and nothing else matters. I curled her hair and she put on some lipgloss and she felt beautiful. And then she walked down the steps with her Daddy waiting downstairs for her.

I assured Sophie she would have a blast with Daddy because he is FUN to date. “He makes you feel so special on dates and treats you like a queen,” I assured her. She smiled and said, “He doesn’t have to be doing this but he is.” I said, “You’re right sweetheart. He doesn’t. He’s choosing to be with you tonight.” She was a sponge soaking up the thought that her Daddy wanted to be with her.

I kissed them both goodbye and off they went on their date.

I’m at home by myself tonight and I couldn’t be happier about it. My prayer is that while Sophie is on a date with her Daddy that she will learn what to desire in a young man one day. Not only that, but that she will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that her earthly father loves her unconditionally. And that this love will point her to her heavenly Father who not only loves unconditional but loves her perfectly. This what a father can teach his girl if he chooses to take the time to date her.

Some people call this video creepy but I think it’s really cute and demonstrates clearly that even the smallest of little girls love to be with their Daddy on a date.

Some Daddy-daughter date ideas:

  • McDonalds lunch just the two of you. Ask her about her friends and what they play on the playground.
  • Get an ice cream cone together. Ask her what her favorite song is and pull it up on your phone. Share earbuds and listen to the song together.
  • Take her out somewhere special for dinner.
  • Go see a movie together
  • Invite her to the hardware store with you and let her help you with a project. Doesn’t sound like a girly date but little girls love to be a part of their Dad’s world. Let her help even if it’s harder to do with her help.

If you’re a single Mom and your daughter does not have a Father figure in her life right now I want you to know that her heavenly Father is the Father to the fatherless. This is what He says of Himself and if you believe God to be true to his word then you can find such comfort in this. Your daughter has the heart of her heavenly Father in a unique way. He is watching over her and I believe with all my heart as you seek Him He will redeem what is lost in the years of not having an attentive earthly Father. Do not grieve with no hope on behalf of your daughter but cling to the fact that her heavenly Father is sufficient and nothing – not even the absence of her earthly father can thwart God’s plan for you or for your daughter.

So Dad’s, start dating your girls before the boys in her class do. Set the standard high. Open the door for her and pull the chair out for her. Treat her with a gentle respect that might be hard to find but will be worth waiting for one day. Tell her the things you see Jesus doing in her life in addition to how pretty she is. Let her know by spending special time with her that you cherish her. And know that it’s never too early to start praying for the man that will one day be dating her more than you.

Linking with Laura and Jen

 

A new kind of Spring blooms you will just love!

IMG_1547

This is my idea of the perfect set of blooms because you don’t have to remember to water them and they stay yellow year round. Heck you can even snag a cup of water on a rainy day without having to go back inside.

For real, how red neck can you get?

Our son put these out for some air soft target shooting this week. I thought it was pretty clever. And tacky. They will probably stay there until next Christmas. Isn’t that lovely.

Okay, so for some random weekend thoughts:

Mitchell gets to go to Dnow with his Youth Group this weekend. It’s his first time going and we’re really excited for him. He’s looking forward to it. They’re donating food for a backpack program for kids in the school system who could use the extra food over the weekend.  I love that he’s getting to participate in this! I didn’t grow up going to Dnow and didn’t hear about it until a few years ago. I’m really glad our Youth Pastor has seen this as an important part for our youth group and has encouraged our kids to go.

Randy and Sophie will have a Daddy-daughter date and will be seeing Cinderella together on Saturday. But she doesn’t know yet so don’t spoil the surprise if you know her in real life. She will be getting her special invitation from her Dad soon.

Me? Well, me and one of my BFF’s is going to get our toes done. We’ve been sending obscene pictures of our horrible chipped off toe nails to each other for the past two months saying “when are we getting our toes done?!!” So it’s time. The world will be a better place after our toes get cleaned up.

So that’s what our weekend looks like unless the Lord intervenes with other plans.

I hope you have a fantastical weekend!