Church People Can Have Fun Too!

Church People can have fun too!

And my church is proof.

This year our church gathered once again for an open house in our home and we had a blast. Some really funny things happened this year. Some planned and some not so much.

Like the coat rack crashing and all the coats being left in a pile on the floor. As people left they had to dig through a pile of coats to find theirs. I noticed that the people who floated in after the coat rack catastrophe just decided to wear their coats. Of course that could also be because of how cold we keep the house. It’s not good for the hostess to have a hot flash with church people in her home. She’s able to shed some clothes faster than grease lightening.

The food was so good – lots of great meat dishes came this year which was wonderful. The desserts and appetizers were stellar as well.

I’m not sure Sophie’s friend knew what she was getting into when she home with us after church Sunday. Bless her heart. We put her to work as much as the rest of us. She and Sophie cleaned, cooked and served punch! I hope she’ll want to come back over sometime.

Okay but ya’ll the best part of this year’s Open House?

Oh my goodness.

In response to this church announcement shown a few weeks ago we had a special guest show up unbeknownst to me or anyone else except two people. Randy didn’t even know about it.

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Rowanda Mcsomething-something showed up as “Bonita Beehive’s” sister. And because I was just serving punch at the Open House as “Melody” and wasn’t expecting said sister to show up I had to go and get my Bonita Beehive on and come back downstairs.

When I got downstairs Rowanda starting showing me some of her purse contents which included a small mason jar of “special punch”. I’m still in shock at all this going down and a crowd is gathering. Suddenly I hear, “Sing if the ocean were whiskey.” I knew the song but small kids were there and I just really couldn’t sing it the right way with them there. So I made a church version which replaced “rye whiskey” with “punch” and it just didn’t sound right at all. In more ways than one. It was just flat out wrong funny. But we were laughing so hard. This man from our church who dressed up as ……wait for it……HIS MOM……wore everything of his Moms. Down to her hair. I’m not kidding. Everything he had on was hers. I wish I had gotten a picture of his boots because he had ten rings on his boot laces. And ya’ll he’s really not crazy. He’s legit normal with a wife and son and leads mission trips and loves Jesus. Promise. Don’t judge.

What I love about this picture above is my hubs lol-ing so hard in the background. This is my ticket out of trouble. If he gets called in before the deacon board to ‘splain hisself and he says, “But it was my wife.” I’m gonna whip this picture out to gently remind him just how funny he thought this was all by hims own self. Bonita ain’t no dummy.

So this is the part where I always fail at pretty much every hostess type event I do. You will see beautiful lights and unnecessary but fun details such as garnished platters and pretty flower arrangements and such but then you might notice there ARE NO FORKS or that DEAD PLANT to greet you as you walk up the front steps. This is so me. I can never pull it all the way off you know what I mean? But I think if I were to be able to pull it all the way off I’d soon take credit for it and think I’m good at it. When in actuality it’s about people gathering and being together.

I love my church family and I love that we can laugh together and play and have fun. I love that we can work hard together and let our hair down together. That we can learn together, have hard conversations together and keep showing up even if when we’re not all pulled together. This is what I love.

The hard stuff I’m dealing with right now – the stuff I don’t care to talk about.

So here’s the deal and the low down about the stuff I don’t care to talk about but it’s a big part of my life right now. I want to remain transparent on this blog and not just in the good times.

I’m having surgery on August 22nd to have 20″ of my colon removed and resectioned. I have ischemic colitis as a result of a recurring volvulus. That means my colon has been twisting and kinking and forming a blockage preventing blood flow in that area so it has to come out. Yeah. Not fun. And no, I don’t have to have a bag. Thanking God for this because I just really don’t think I could handle that. I was scared to type that because you know how sometimes things go after you say something like that. Yeah, but we’re not doing to dwell on that are we. Nope, cuz it’s not going to happen. No bag. Just a simple little resection procedure. La-lah-la. Ha! Okay, this is where I get weird. Randy tells me I get weird whenever I have surgery. I’ve had a few. More like six. And apparently I start making jokes and act like it’s nothing but then I do what I’m doing right now which is just being totally weird and all.

Talking about weird……..at my last colonoscopy I told the dude that was going to knock me out with sleepy medicine that I was afraid of not being totally out during the procedure. So I asked him to make me count to 10 before doing anything to me. He said, “Nah, it doesn’t work like that with this medicine. You’re awake but not awake.” Apparently this answer didn’t satisfy me and I talked to him incessantly and looked at him with eyes wide open during the entire procedure. CREEPY!!! I don’t even want to know what I said. How do I know all this? Because after the procedure he came and told us.

So yeah, I get weird when big things like this come up.  So if you see me and I’m being weird it’s because I’m trying to pretend that everything’s perfectly normal when it’s not. My hubs is helping point this out to me. Like when I got really sick one day with this colitis stuff and wasn’t able to finish some VBS work I was doing in decorating. I didn’t call or text the person in charge to let them know why I wasn’t there. Because I didn’t want to talk about it. Rude and weird. But I wasn’t ready to acknowledge it.

Getting to the point of recognizing the weirdness is a long process. I’m stubborn. It takes a 2×4 to show me where I’m wrong or being weird. So after years of trying to convince my man that it’s perfectly normal to play counting games with your anesthesiologist…. or to send out dress up accessories (wigs, sunglasses, etc.) to your family in the waiting room while I’m having surgery with a note of who to give the china to if I died. (Seriously yes. Don’t even ask. First surgery.) I’m finally realizing that it’s true. I get weird.

So these days I’m trying not to be weird about this upcoming surgery. I’m talking about it in this space which may or may not be weird. But it’s my blog and I can write about my colon if I want to. Ha! Yeah, I’m pretty sure this is weird again. But I want to thank you for journeying with me as I learn how to un-weird myself.

Here’s how you could pray for me if you’re willing:

*For the surgery to be a smooth procedure with no complications or infections.

*For my husband and kids as they walk through this with me. It’s not easy on the caregiver. My husband has been by my side with every single surgery. And while he is willing to point out my weirdness he has allowed for my weirdness ALL these years with incredible grace. Cheers (holding up my miralax cocktail) to the hopefully new unweirded me!

*That I will tolerate the pain meds okay – I have issues with medicine.

*For Sophie & Mitchell not to be worried. They will have one week of school under their belt when I go in for surgery. New routines and schedules will still be under way so I’m asking God for grace in this process for them. Sophie has already shed a few tears over this.

I am thankful that according to the Doctor taking this section out will take away the issues I’m having completely. It’s a mechanical problem and so having this area removed removes the problem itself. This is a huge blessing. My stay in the hospital should be 2-4 days. Recovery (if done laporoscopic) will be 4 weeks or longer if an incision is made. I have a lot of adhesions and scar tissue so that’s why we don’t really know if it can be done laparoscopic.

I thank God that he has provided us with an amazing support system through our family, church and friends. We will be covered in prayer and encouragement in this time and that is a gift directly from God.

Thank you for your prayers friends! And thanks for putting up with the weirdness. I’m pretty sure there was plenty of it in this post. Ha!!!

Love Is: Part 1

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Today begins a series called “Love is.” What does love look like when its fleshed out? Maybe you’ve been on the giving end of extending love and maybe you’ve been on the receiving end. I hope yes to both.  Either way – would you be willing to share it with us? I’d love it. A picture to accompany would be awesome but not necessary. When have you experienced the love of Jesus through someone else?  Email me or share in the comments.

Today I’ll start by telling you a story and preface it by saying that some times Love looks flat out weird.

I can’t really explain it. I just know that after hearing Lisa and Emma’s story back in January I felt compelled to pray for them. Their family moved from CA to NC five months ago for 9 year old Emma to receive treatment at UNC Children’s Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis. All their family and everything they know is back in CA. I know what this is like. We did it 6 years ago. It’s not easy to move to a new place with two perfectly well children. I can’t wrap my mind around doing it with a very sick child.

Emma is my daughter’s age and so I told Sophie about Emma. Showed her pictures of her in the hospital and we started praying at night for Emma. Then I asked others to pray with us for them. Lisa and I exchanged one or two quick Facebook messages – I asked her permission to share some of her Bible journaling pictures with the workshop we did and told her we were praying for them. But that was it. We don’t know each other at all.

Fast forward to two days ago. All week long I knew Emma was back in the hospital for a nasal surgery. Lisa and her husband and their girls live about 3 hours from the hospital so when Emma is admitted Lisa’s husband drops her and Emma off and he takes the kids back to their home.

All week I’d just been heavy hearted for this family. So far from their extended family and friends. Walking an incredibly tough road with this illness. And I just felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing on me to make a trip to the hospital to visit Lisa and Emma. But I also knew how strange this would be. I fought it a few days because I didn’t want to be weird. But the Holy Spirit has put other things on my heart that I perceived as weird – yet I knew they were from him.

I ran it by Randy and told him my whacked thought and said, “I know it’s really strange but…..” He gave the thumbs up but also agreed with me it was kinda cray cray.  I love this about my man. But he’s also wise enough to tell me no to the really really crazy things I consider doing. Like getting a tattoo. No, wait, he let me do that one. More like far fetched ideas of wanting to throw a city wide Thanksgiving Day dinner in the park. And other impossible things like that.

So I owned the weirdness and pulled Sophie out of school and we took a little road trip to the Children’s Hospital to see our friends – that didn’t know we were friends yet – Lisa and Emma.

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Sophie read Dork Diaries to me out loud on the way there – not the most genius set of literature but HILARIOUS nonetheless.

We got to the check in desk and found out they don’t let kids under 12 on the patient floors. Talk about disappointment! We were both so bummed. Sophie reluctantly agreed to wait for me in the lobby while I went up to find Emma’s room. I told her I wouldn’t be long because you know…..I am a total stranger walking in a room and I might even get kicked out because of the weirdness. Ha but not Ha.

I timidly knocked on Emma’s door and poked my head in. I quickly said who I was and that we had talked briefly on Facebook. She said, “Oh yes!! I recognize you! Come on in.” And she gave me a bear hug and introduced me to Emma who was not feeling well at all. She’s such a beautiful little girl.

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Then Lisa took me to the little corner of her room and showed me her Bible journaling station. She had a perfect little set up. Then she opened her Bible and showed me what she learned that morning in Esther. And we talked. And it wasn’t weird. I think it was because one woman of faith understood another woman of faith and how when Christ is fueling a love-filled action it shrinks the awkwardness.

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Amazing faith this woman has. Lisa shared with me some specific requests for their family and I’d love for you to pray for them as well.

  • For the 6 week antibiotic round to do it’s thing and kill the bacterial infection Emma has in her lungs.
  • That Emma will communicate clearly her pain level instead of toughing it out all the time.
  • Friends – since they just moved.

In looking back at this day I realize that sometimes the Holy Spirit puts stuff on our hearts and it’s so heavy you can’t get away from it. We can ignore it, think it’s a weird idea and run the other way or we can act on it as awkward as it may feel. It won’t feel right until you just do it and even then it could still feel weird. Weirdly right. That’s okay. Responding to Jesus through obedience is the key. I will be the first to say that many times I don’t get this right because of not wanting to press through the uncomfortable.

I’m also reminded that sometimes our ministry is in the waiting and behind the scenes. Sophie went fully expecting to see Emma. But she waited in the waiting room instead. And we were both bummed about this. I reminded her that part of her ministry that day was waiting. And that’s not always fun. Her 3rd grade class was also back in class praying for Emma and her Mom so they also were a part of this ministry as well. We all play different parts and they’re all equally important.

Love is – weird sometimes. Love is – waiting. Love is meeting new people that you feel like you’ve known forever because well that’s what the Holy Spirit does.

Press on friends!

 

 

 

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

The Makings of a Waffle House Christmas

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Hello family that is addicted to Waffle House! That’s most of us right there. My Mom has a neighbor who is a photographer and he took a family shot and did some candid Waffle House pictures for us. He was wonderful. If you’re in the Atlanta area and need a good photographer check Gibbs Frazeur out.

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This was the sight at our family Christmas party a few days before Christmas. The Waffle House crashed our party!

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This great WH team served all 22 of us our Christmas dinner. Certainly a memory we’ll have forever. I grew up going to the Waffle House and most all my friends remember coming along. We would end up skating in the parking lot and have our own booth and made up games to kill time while Mom and Dad had their coffee. We dropped more quarters into the juke box than they ever cared for. I’m pretty sure the WH staff hated to hear “Special Lady at the Waffle House” just one more time. One time I pretended to be blind and read the waffle house menu with my finger. How weird is that? Another weird fact: My Mom somehow got a Waffle House waitress uniform and wore it to a church Christmas party. We were still sort of new at the church so some people weren’t sure if she was for real or not. She had a big wad of gum in her mouth and long dangly earrings and told everyone she had just gotten off work. OH.MY.Gosh. This is my family.

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That’s my sweet Mom (with umbrella) and my nephew getting their food. My Mom is so cool you guys. She’s pushing 80 and can still rock a party like nobody I know.

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We all got a grand slam breakfast and had chicken or steak with it.

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And even though we’re eating on paper plates and greasy Waffle House food we are most definitely still eating on nice linens. Thank you Mom for always making it nice for us.

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The only thing we lacked was some good ole Waffle House music and so I shall provide it here…..

Happy New Year friends! Go have some hash browns scattered, covered and smothered.

Belly Laughter

Usually family formed belly laughter is just that – for the family – and just like pulling out old home videos is boring to other people so are their family belly laughter stories. But one reason this blog exists is for family memory preservation so I’ll share it anyways.

The weekly belly laugher comes in the form of a mispronounced Science term. I’m explaining to my son how this Science stuff works while trying to be all brainy like until I get to the term “Stratigraphy”  (\strə-ˈti-grə-fē\) and murder it completely and cannot with all my might say it the correct way after multiple attempts.

My 8th grader is beside himself laughing hysterically at me, not with me, with each mispronunciation of the word. I admit, it really is funny. It sounds so redneck and uneducated the way I say it. The wrong way. We laugh and for the last two weeks all I’ve heard about is the word Stratigraphy! At bedtime. At breakfast. On the way out the door to school – “Hey Mom, remember “Stratigraphy?”

As if to follow in this new pattern of mispronouncing words I get to the word Potomac River while studying with our third grader and once again say it totally wrong – short o and added a “t” in the middle making it sound like an automatic Pontiac car or something just completely off.

There’s no hiding anything with Sophie. You don’t get by with anything with her. No saying it correctly real fast like in hopes she didn’t catch it the first time. Nope. You’re doomed with this child.

Eyes roll in the back of her head and she says, “Mom, that is NOT how you say that word. Bahahahaha!”

Oh dear. One can hope for better days of pronunciation I guess.

 

How we handle sales calls at dinner time – don’t hate us

Maybe you’ve been there before. You just finished cooking dinner and gathered the family at the table which is a feat in itself.  You’ve prayed and now you’re ready to put that hot bite of paleo cauliflower casserole (that’s a joke for those who don’t know me) into your mouth and the phone rings. Honestly, I’d be relieved if a phone call interrupted a bit of paleo anything but that’s not the point.  Typically you make it a practice not to answer the phone or text during meals but it’s the HOME phone and who ever calls on that anymore unless it’s aliens or something. You figure you should answer.

As soon as you do you realize what you’ve opened yourself up to.

The dreaded sales call.

The ones that only come when you’re sitting down for dinner or when you’re laying on the ground dying and need to call 911 but the phone is out of reach. That’s when you get a sales calls.

The other end is speaking with an intense thick accent, ironically though, his name is Bob Smith. He is wanting to talk to you about a class action lawsuit for bladder mesh surgeries which he is convinced you had at one time in your life. That was the call last night.

But it could be the call about the bird houses for sale that are made by blind people or the call selling an upgrade to your phone carrier or the call……you get it because you get these calls at dinner time also.

You might feel bad for just hanging up on the person because the Lord knows that three statements of “I’m not interested” doesn’t do a bit of good to most push sales calls. So consider this option if you have children in the home.

Hand the phone to them and tell them to say, “Yes, I want to buy it.” in their most childlike voice possible.

This solves all your problems because they end up hanging up immediately and you don’t have to feel  bad.

It sounds heartless but come on sales people – give us a break at dinner time. Save your calls for when we are shopping for birdhouses and contemplating bladder meshes – I don’t even know what that is!

We are probably the only people that still have a home phone and I don’t think I’ve ever received a sales call on my cell phone so this post is probably already outdated before I even hit the publish button. Ha! Oh well, there might be one other home phone survivor out there who still gets sales calls at dinner. If so, good luck with passing the phone off to your kid.

 

 

 

 

 

What 44 years of life has made me thankful for

I’m turning 44 on 9/11 and I’m reflecting on the things that I’m thankful for……

  • Life – my Mom’s OBGYN told her he could just scrape me out of her womb and “take care of” me after my Mom expressed her shock and disappointment in her pregnancy. But God…….led my Mom into a conversation with her Pastor who talked her through this decision. As she answered his questions she realized how selfish and how wrong that choice would be. She chose life. I’m thankful she did.
  • New Life – after nine years of life I realized I could have a new life in Christ. One that would transform me from the inside out. My third grade teacher sat with me in the hallway of Mount Parent Christian School and led me to Jesus Christ.
  • Life in a Christian Home – such a blessing to have godly parents who loved God and loved me. Who taught me the Bible and provided an example of a committed marriage built on God’s faithfulness.
  • Life with “my man” – marrying my high school sweetheart has to be the highlight of my 44 years of life outside of getting saved. Our dating years were so much fun and life with him is still one of life’s greatest gifts to me.
  • Lively chil’rens – at one point we were beginning to wonder if we’d ever hear the sounds of children in our home. After ten years of marriage God brought to us two incredibly awesome kids – loud kids. Trust me –  you might even hear them now. Ha! God knew the quiet type might not ever survive our home. They are one of my greatest blessings.
  • Life in the Church – oh yeah, how could I not think about my life in all the different churches that have assisted in my spiritual growth. The one I grew up in after getting saved. The youth group that grounded me in high school. The church I came home to all through college and got married in. Our church as newlyweds that took Randy under his wing and mentored him. The first church plant God led us to and allllllllll the things we learned. For the second and current church we’re in now and how beautiful the body of Christ is when she’s healthy and growing. Oh yes, in my 44 years of life I am sure thankful for my church.

Well that’s all I got for now. I’m exhausted from being so serious. Now I’m off to party. To be the sassy birthday girl. To eat my cake. Cuzzzzzz it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Cry if I want to. Eat chocolate cake with chocolate icing on top if I want to……….

Oh, and yes, I do have the annual birthday voicemail message up and running on my cell for all my local yocals. Call me if you dare. Muwahahahaha.

How I found myself in the middle of a live Frat party this week.

 

My sweet Christian friend who is sharing her story of redemption and freedom from drug addiction started sharing her story through a variety of social media platforms. One of which is Periscope. I wasn’t familiar with this app so I was playing around with it trying to figure out how to follow and watch her daily 2pm coffee chats. Well somehow – I swear I don’t know how – I found myself in the middle of a live virtual Frat party in which I was asked to show specific body parts!!!!!

Say what?!! You are kidding, right? No people. I am not kidding.

I could see the party going on live – close up – but they can only see a comment thread from everyone else who was watching or following. Clearly I just clicked on a random “live” event and had no clue what I was doing. I figured I was about to view a live Christian ladies event…. yeah but no.

I was so appalled that I gave the granny talkin’ to to this group of wild thangs and then got out of there fast and ran and told on them to my Christian speaker friend. I suppose my user name didn’t help much (@bowlofwedgies) and is giving me great pause and reconsideration at this point in my social media career. But seriously there is some crazy stuff out there with apps. You have to be so careful.  Christian speakers use Periscope so people can hear them speak live and I was under the impression that it was for Christian speakers but nooooooooo. It’s really not. In fact when my friend was speaking via Periscope I was outraged at some of the comments she received from random followers – called “trolls”. Her husband would block users that were being totally inappropriate or mean. But I love the fact that she is still speaking through Periscope because this is a great platform to be sharing Jesus. The opposition is great and we’re told we’ll be persecuted when sharing Truth. It shouldn’t scare us – we should approach it with caution and with great boldness.

So friends, if you’ve never been to a frat party you’re not missing anything. I know this because I found myself in the middle of one for about one minute and one minute too long! It’s not worth it. And to my teenage and college friends who feel that virtual attendance to such parties is not the same thing – you’re wrong sweet people. It is the same thing. Guard yourself online. Set up boundaries. This world has no concern for your personal integrity or purity. It will be the Holy Spirit who helps you in this area so depend on him heavily.

 

 

 

Meditation doesn’t have to be weird

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Yes, that is my daughter and she’s such a poser.  Occasionally she whips out a meditation pose complete with a mesmerizing “Ahhhmmmmmmm” for pure entertainment. I admit that it gets a laugh of out me just about every time. We can thank big brother’s influence for this trick. I was shopping at Harolds trying on clothes and came out to four year old Mitchell doing this exact pose on the silk covered circular stool in the middle of the store. He had escaped his assigned spot and felt the need to reflect. I was mortified but apparently all the customers and workers thought it was great because he had quite the crowd gathered talking about how even children meditate these days. On the way out I asked Mitchell where in the world he learned to do that. He said, “It’s on Ice age.”

So when I talk about meditating this is NOT what I’m talking about.

But what I am talking about is simply reading a verse or two of scripture and simply thinking about it. I suppose you could stand on your head and hum if you want but really it’s not necessary. And your family might worry about you. Instead just write out a verse and think about it. Read one word at a time and think about each word. Pray and ask God to open your eyes to what those words strung together mean for you. Ask questions about the verse.

Let’s take Job 2:10 from the tagline of my blog and practice:

 “Shall we accept good from God and not adversity?” Job 2:10

It’s important to read scripture in light of scripture. Meaning – in context. Reading stand alone verses can get us into trouble if we don’t read a little before and after to get the bigger picture.

A lot has happened between Job 1 and Job 2:10. Like his whole life changed in Chapter 1. And when Job 2:10 comes along he’s still grappling with things but his firm belief in who God is enables his wise response.

So I could write this verse out on a note card and read it a few times.

Then I might ask myself who is speaking these words. Is it Job. Is it God. Is it someone else? (Answer: Job)

I could further question and ask who Job is saying this to. (Answer: his wife. yeah, she kinda got a talking’ to)

Then to bring it home personally I might think about the good things I’ve accepted from God in my own life. Maybe even write them out.

The same thing with the word adversity. Think through the adversity that God has allowed in my life. That’s uncomfortable. But necessary.

And then finally I will ask what God wants me to understand about this verse and how to use it in my life. I have always found Him to be faithful in revealing these things to me. I don’t mean immediate understanding. Sometimes I really have to dig it out. Research. Ask my pastor. Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting on the Holy Spirit to show me in His time.

Meditation is a powerful tool that will help imprint the truths of scripture on our hearts and minds. I’m trying to be more purposeful in this area of my life and thankfully it’s without the headstands.

Linking withKristin, Holley and Jennifer.