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Looking Back..Kroger Adventures

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Looking back….Kroger adventures

I have three grown children so I’ve had a busy life. I occasionally have a little time to sit down and reflect over some of the fun and not so fun things that have happened while the kids were growing up. I will tell you that two of my favorite ways to reflect about years gone by are: 1. The whole family sitting around the table and talking about some incident that happened…each kiddo chimes in with their funny take on the situation and sometimes Dad and I are learning NEW things that we didn’t know when the incident occurred. ☺ 2. Bringing out a box of old pictures and going through them together as a family. Kids always talk about what they remember (which is sometimes different that what you remember). Usually both situations bring about lots of laughter, fun times and great memories.

Since my oldest turns 24 today I have been doing some reflecting. Some serious reflecting this morning in my time with the Lord and now reflecting on some of the laughs we all shared. Since I haven’t written much on the funny side of my life (and goodness knows there’s LOTS of it), I thought my super serious blog earlier needed a lighter side to accompany it for today.

Grocery shopping. Two words that can strike fear, anxiety and dread into a Mother of three little ones. Tantrums, screaming, crying…wait….that’s my reaction when I have to go the store. Sorry, back to the story. Grocery store trips with young ones are best made in the morning AFTER breakfast (and store is less crowded) so that they are not hungry and not too cranky. Just my take…yours might work different. Since I had three in car seats and back in the yonder days there were no FANCY RACE CAR baskets with 3 kiddy seats (which I guess is fine because when I watch women now maneuver those things it looks like someone trying to steer a whale down the swim lanes of a pool). When we get our basket I would put Jake in the seat and tighten the strap as tight as it would go (cutting off his oxygen wasn’t a stresser…more worried about what he could REACH) because he would stretch as far as he could, first to one side of the basket then to the other…fingers and arms extended in search of touching SOMETHING on the shelf. Giving little whines because he couldn’t reach anything (or because he couldn’t breathe)…because I would keep the cart in the MIDDLE of the aisle. Next time you see a Momma doing this, have a little compassion and understanding…she is NOT trying to make it hard on you just trying to keep her sanity.

Then for Jessie. Jessie wanted to sit in the seat that Jake sat in…except that he couldn’t sit up extremely well and was very tiny for his age…so he was cart seat whether he liked it or not and she was IN the basket whether she liked it or not. I promise you she DID NOT like it. She complained the whole time. I tried to make it a game. Count the items Momma puts in the cart. Stack the items and make something. Put cans in one place, boxes in another place. And whatever other things I could think of to keep her mind occupied on the groceries or songs or anything but being where she DIDN’T want to be. This worked for about ¾ of the shopping trip and then all CHAOS would break loose (which I will get to in a minute).

Then for Josh. Josh would walk next to the basket, hold on to the basket and frequently pick up an item I needed off the shelf and place it in the cart. Then he would return to holding onto the basket.

So this was my adventure. Walking down the middle of the aisle. After a period of time (about ¾ of the way done with my list) the cart would begin to get too full for Jessie to sit in comfortably any longer. Her wish had come true. FREEDOM. I would have no choice but to pick her up out of the basket and let her walk. I would instruct her to hold onto the cart so she could stay with us and help Mommy get groceries. This worked for about ½ an aisle. Then it sunk in. Like a prisoner that was in chains for years and the chains are removed…at first the prisoner doesn’t realize they are truly FREE, no longer tied to anything. YEPPERS. All of a sudden she would let go of the cart, turn around and look at me with this mischievous look in her eyes, smile, laugh and then take off RUNNING as fast as her little legs could carry her. She would reach the end of the aisle and turn with amazing track-like strides similar to running a curve and she’d be gone! I’m standing with a baby in the basket (that’s barely breathing) and a toddler that’s holding on to the basket. DILEMMA! I think so! Here’s the issue: 1. Run after her WITH the basket (in which I proceed to run OVER my toddler who can’t keep up with my break-neck speed and get arrested for trampling a child underfoot and with a shopping cart). 2. Run after her WITHOUT the basket (which means I abandon my other two children and get arrested for child abandonment in the middle of the grocery store…AND child endangerment for spanking the little track star). YAY! Motherhood is full of these dilemmas! :D

What’s a Mom to do?? What any Momma that’s a coach would do…SPRINT! I turn to my toddler, Josh and instruct him to stand with the basket next to his baby brother and NOT MOVE! Then I move the cart next to the shelves so it’s not in the middle while I’m gone. Then I RUN! I begin running down the end aisle and looking down each intersecting aisle for a crazed escapee. Then, three aisle over I spot her! She is in the middle of the aisle, giggling loudly, especially after she spots ME! Laughing at me! Haha! You silly Momma! You spotted me. You MIGHT catch me. But I will win this game. ☺ So here I come at her. ZIP! I’m there and grab her by the arm. She laughs for a second then IMMEDIATELY goes limp…whole body limp. Please know that all this is with people watching. This type of thing tends to draw a crowd. As soon as she goes limp, the laughing turns to tears and screaming. She says, “Don’t SPANK ME, MOMMY! Don’t hurt me!” Yes. She says this. People stare. Dirty looks. One lady proceeds to follow me around the store the remainder of the time and WATCH me. I still swat Jess on the behind and carry her back to the cart…mad and screaming. She now stands in the cart after she calms down. Shopping is done. Now on to the check out. Only three lanes open. One express. Two with candy ALL over each side. My little mischievous grins again.

HaHa!! Hope you enjoyed the trip with me down memory lane. I could write a story about the candy aisle…the unloading of the groceries and the woman that followed me and wanted to call CPS because I spanked my child and didn’t buy them candy. Yes. So many stories. Going to the store is much easier now but I still smile when I see Mommas and think back. :D

LOVE LOUD!


shameLESS

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shameLESS!!

GOOD MORNING, friends! Heard the Billy Joel song, Shameless yesterday and that started me thinking about my life. I know that what I’m writing about today doesn’t necessarily correlate to the song but the title is what moved my mind that direction.

SHAMELESS. Sit and soak on that one for a minute. What DOES it mean to live WITHOUT SHAME? I can tell you this….I’m NOT positive. I mean, I KNOW that when we cast ALL our anxiety, cares, worries, past, uglies, mistakes, BIG mistakes, regrets and SO ON onto Jesus…that He heals them ALL…WASHES them ALL CLEAN! I can also tell you I have LOTS of things I regret. Some small and some HEAVY. In fact, so heavy that I don’t have font HEAVY ENOUGH to use to emphasize HOW HEAVY those regrets are. But while I tell you all this, and can also tell you that God has been moving in me to let GO of those past regrets. To ask FORGIVENESS from those I need to seek their forgiveness. To let GO of some bitterness that’s lurking in deep dark corners. (Friends, that’s where bitterness LURKS..it doesn’t WANT to be in the LIGHT…because like fungus it needs dark places to live…light makes it shrivel and die.)

So today, I am sharing a SHAME. It is one that has heavied my heart for many years. At the time I was walking through the midst of it…it almost swallowed me. The dear one I needed to ask their forgiveness…I did that at the beginning of this summer. As SOON as my youngest, Jake, came home from college, he and I sat down and talked. I opened myself to him about the past and he was peaceful and loving and AMAZING. God is truly GOOD because this has been a black place for me all these years.

I have three beautiful children…Josh, who turns 24 today, Jess, who is 22 and Jake, who is 21. So as you can SEE, they are VERY close in age. Josh and Jess are 15 months apart…Jess and Jake are 17 months apart. For a season in my life I was either pregnant, just gave birth or near pregnant. ☺ I stayed home with the kiddos and Mark’s job was NOT a well-paying job at that time. We struggled with money, although we were quite happy with our little family.

When I had Jess, many people would comment…”Poor Josh, he isn’t getting to be a baby!”…and many other comments along those lines. So we managed as well as we could trying to let Josh have his time as a baby and yet be a big brother, too. He stepped into the role quite well (and has been a GREAT big brother his whole life). So wouldn’t you know it…just as SOON as I think I’m kinda getting a little handle on this Momma role, here comes a knuckeball.

☺ We are leaving for a short little vacation to Colorado with Josh and Jess and I haven’t been feeling good. I take a pregnancy test and it is positive. And here begins the darkness…the ATTACK from the enemy. He immediately IMMEDIATELY hits me. Question after question…”What HAVE YOU DONE? POOR MARK, he can barely make enough money for the family NOW. What a BURDEN you are to HIM! What a burden you are putting on the family! Those POOR kids! They won’t get to be BABIES! You aren’t EVEN GOOD at this MOMMA thing and NOW you’re going to have ANOTHER BABY!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? You are SO INADEQUATE! YOU ARE OVERWHELMED!!” And on and on and on and ON he kept coming at me!! I was believing all the lies he spoke! Friends, the enemy comes to STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY! Don’t forget that! Don’t fall victim to it!! He is a THIEF! And he was on the fast track to crushing me!!

I began talking to Mark (my husband) about having another baby. He was a gem the whole time. He never waivered about the kids or money or anything. He was supportive. But I was hearing the enemy sitting on my shoulder and yelling in my ear….lie after lie…hurt after hurt. So I questioned. I began to think…MAYBE I SHOULDN’T HAVE THIS BABY?? MAYBE I REALLY DO SUCK AT BEING A MAMA? MAYBE THIS BABY WOULD BRING TOO MUCH BURDEN ON OUR FAMILY AS A WHOLE? GOOD LORD, WHAT am I thinking??? But I thought it. It was gaining strength in me. CRAZY, right??? I’m married and THINKING about having an abortion!! WHAT?! Sadly, it is true. But with big regrets come BIGGER moves of GOD.

So we left for vacation(I was 6 wks pregnant) and on the trip, as I slept one night, the Lord spoke to me. He KNEW what was going on inside me. He SPOKE to me as CLEAR as someone sitting at the table and talking with you. The Lord spoke, “Suzanne, you are pregnant with a little boy. You will name him Jacob and he is MINE. He will be a strong warrior and do many mighty works for me. He will be a leader and I will lift him up because he will draw people to me. He will be FULL of life and joy!” WOW!! I woke straight UP…sat up and bed and woke Mark up!! I told him what the Lord had spoken to me about the baby. Mark was half asleep and I think a got a, “That’s great, Honey,” out of him before he rolled over and was snoring again.

So the Lord took this BROKEN, messed up, woman and gave me a gift!! I will let you know that we DID have a little boy and his name IS Jacob. If the Lord names your child, you don’t argue. :D And I have carried around YEARS of guilt and shame that I even CONSIDERED having an abortion …a life that GOD created and wanted here…has a purpose…and I thought I could “choose.” It was never my choice.

So I don’t live with this GUILT any more! I am shameLESS when it comes to my past regarding Jacob. God is using him in big and mighty ways and I am just BLESSED to sit back and watch. He is God’s, not mine.  You may sit back and judge me..if so, go ahead, but God has redeemed me. We ALL have hidden shame and I am sharing mine because it has proven to help my healing. So friends, LET GO of all the JUNK! God is a REDEEMER! Let Him WASH that SHAME off of you!! Praying that in some small way, this story of MY SHAME will help YOU get to a place to let GO of yours!

LOVE LOUD!


CURRENT

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Current ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On my runs with the Lord in the mornings…many days He reveals quite a good deal of insight. Other days it is quiet. Other days I am talking (probably more than I should)…but I always enjoy our time together. Such was one morning a couple of months ago. We were having some electrical work done in our backyard and my mind turned to electricity.

Electricity is pretty amazing to me. I’m not a genius…no Einstein…no degree in electrical engineering…not an electrician. This plain ol’ gal just has a basic knowledge of the stuff. I kind of feel the same way about God. I’m not a preacher…haven’t been to Bible college…don’t know the Hebrew or Greek origin of words (doing good to pronounce those actually!)…just a regular gal that LOVES the Lord, read some books, reads The Word, done a few Bible studies. You get the picture. Bible scholar, I’m not. Therefore, you might be able to draw many more awesome analogies than me and that’s great. I’m just sharing some things the Lord brought to my awareness.

Electricity is POWERFUL! It is strong enough to kill you and WILL if you come in contact with enough VOLTAGE. When toned down, we can “deal” with its power but still can’t take a FULL blast of all that it is (and live). We can’t understand or even COMPREHEND God’s HOLINESS. He has MADE A WAY for us through Jesus to have the opportunity to connect with HIM but in these earthly bodies, HIS holiness is too great. He has made a way for us to LIVE.

I think it’s really cool that when I want to charge my iPhone, I just plug it into the wall socket. When I want to use my toaster, I just plug it in. The electricity is there. Waiting. Jesus is there. Waiting. Waiting for us to PLUG IN to Him. Whether I plug in or not, the electricity is THERE. Whether YOU plug in or not, Jesus is there. My iPhone dies without a charge…without the electricity. Short life. Friends, we all die without Jesus. He IS the WAY, the TRUTH and THE LIFE! No one comes to the Father, except through HIM. I can sit and try to do life by myself. Without all the blessings that electricity brings. I can do life without Jesus and miss out on LOTS of blessings. Blessings NOT just in this temporary life but eternal life.

The electricity is there. Still there. It doesn’t jump out of the wall and zap you. It waits on you to plug in. Jesus LOVES US and is WAITING on US to PLUG IN, CONNECT to HIS CURRENT. Once we DO, He brings such power and amazing things into our lives….so why do I forget to connect some days? Why do I choose to live in the dark? When I turn on the light switch in my bedroom, the electricity moves into the light bulb and LIGHTS UP my room. Will I let Christ FLOW THROUGH me? Will I be a LIGHT for HIM??

So my questions for you today my friends are these. Will you PLUG IN to the powerful current of Jesus? Will you let HIM flow through you? Will you illuminate this dark world with HIS LIGHT? Waiting. He is waiting. It just takes YOU making the first move. Connect to HIS current today! IMG_1066


Embrace the Rain

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EMBRACE   THE    RAIN   ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Here it comes!! We see the lightning…hear the thunder… R A I N !

I’ve been at baseball games and seen the rain coming…had to wait to finish a game or just flat rained out. I’ve been at the store with TONS (yes, MEGA TONS) of groceries and here comes a gully washer while I’m in the store so I’ve got to figure out how to get to the car with ALL the groceries. YIKES! For those of you not form the South, “gully washer” is a down pour…raining cats and dogs …stuff like that. I’ve been out running and it CAME DOWN on me…which can be lovely…cools me off. I’ve been asleep and slept like a baby because the rain made it that much better. I’ve been all dressed up and coming out of church/into church and it’s pouring. What’s a woman with a hairdo to do?? Ok, so you get my gist. RAIN comes!

Rain comes no matter OUR circumstances, it comes! Does that grass and trees and flowers need it? No doubt! But it can sure be an inconvenience sometimes! And sometimes it can be JUST what we needed. I’ve heard the saying that you can’t have rainbows without a little rain and it’s so true. RAIN is a gift from God but how we VIEW it is completely dependent on where we are standing…what we’re standing in/on or walking through.

So I can tell you, I’ve been frustrated by it’s timing sometimes. Sometimes it has been a COMPLETE inconvenience or annoyance. I’m in the BIG MIDDLE of something and I don’t have times for rain! Because it’s all about me and what I’m doing, right? :) Ha! I don’t have time to get wet…I don’t have time to RE-fix my hair…I don’t want to reschedule this event. Notice lots of “I” statements.

Now while I’m complaining and whining about the problems the rain is causing ME, somewhere else there is someone that is praising the Lord for His timing with the very same rain that is pouring on me. :) Different circumstance. And times I’m thanking Him for the rain and what it brings there is probably someone out there doing a little griping about the rain. Kind of the way it works, right?

So maybe I need to open my eyes a little bit wider and see a bigger picture? The RAIN brings so many good things!! Yes, it brings mosquitos..humidity..slippery roads..BUT it brings beautiful things…growth and learning how to get through and manage these situations. So today as it rains…not complaining. Embracing the rain..dancing in it!

James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

 


INTENTIONAL..not intentions

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INTENTIONAL…not intentions

So this morning when I was running and talking with God, He began to put some things on my heart (as He usually does). ☺ He began to talk with me about serving. I was looking at myself and thinking of all the areas or ways I could serve. Things I could do but I am NOT doing. Wanting my children to learn to serve, and yet, I am not doing a great job of setting an example in this area. Hard look in the mirror on this one! Hurts sometimes.

So while I have my list of ways I “want” to serve, I seem to be falling way short. It’s NOT that I have a list of excuses, either… no, actually it’s probably worse…I am just existing. Friends, do you know what I mean? For example, now that I’m off of school this summer, I had all these plans (BEFORE school was out) of ways I was going to serve or invite people over for fellowship and things like this, but here it is June 19th and I have only opened the doors of my home once so far. I am in a routine…get up, run/pray, workout, breakfast, shower, athletic conditioning camp, lunch, relax, dinner plans, facebook/watch sports, go to bed. There. That is my everyday so far. It’s not a day full of evil plans. I’m not killing people or stealing money. It’s not a day full of pampering myself and yet, it’s not about God either…at least the whole day isn’t. Well this is where it leaves me standing. We are to live intentionally, not lives with intentions. Let me say that again, friends, because when God said this to me…it hit me square between the eyes. We are to live INTENTIONALLY, not lives with intentions. BAM! So the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” this holds true. Not that we are going to hell if we don’t DO certain things…because it’s not a works associated salvation…and yet… IF I REALLY love God and I’m consumed with Him…He lives in ALL of me…then these things are done out of love (not a checklist). Wanted to clarify that part before I went on further.

So I am ready to sit down today and make a list of things I WANT to accomplish this summer…ways I WANT to serve and THEN, find ways, make time and INTENTIONALLY make MY schedule work around my serving. Be intentional about giving my day totally to the Lord…not just being in a routine and day is over, then month is over then summer is over then life is over… Whew! What DID I do for the Kingdom? We usually don’t just “happen” upon opportunities to serve and give…we usually have to BE INTENTIONAL about serving, otherwise it just passes us by and we may not even notice. No, I will sit down today and begin to be INTENTIONAL about living this life and serving others. I won’t let my “good intentions” hang in the air because they will get placed on the back burner and be forgotten. I MEANT to do that but didn’t get around to it. I MEANT to go there, help those, love those, serve those, reach those but life got in the way. ☺ Friends, we only have ONE life, so let’s not let our routines, our busyness, our “life” get in the way. Let’s live INTENTIONALLY and then we’ll find that the “good intentions” take care of themselves. Be a blessing!


DIAMONDS

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DIAMONDS—-

Not sure about you but I’ve had some real struggles in my life. I figure most of us have… some people maybe more than others but we’ve all been UP AGAINST it at some point. As I was running this morning, the Lord kept bringing a passage to mind as I was giving Him my take on a particular struggle I’m in at this time.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

So I guess I’m not your typical female in that I’m not really a “jewelry” person. I wear my wedding ring, a cross ring and tiny cross necklace and small earrings…that’s it. I’m not giddy over diamonds or gold or all that stuff…but I can tell you that when I have been to a jeweler with a friend and seen a collection of diamonds sitting on the little cloth…WOW!! They are beautiful! They sparkle and shine and reflect. They look so perfect and amazing. How did they get that way?

Diamonds aren’t full of light, themselves. They don’t have tiny lights inside them and shine. No, actually they reflect the light and you can see many of the colors in the light spectrum reflecting through the diamonds…little amazing prisms. Diamonds reflect and IN that reflecting their true beauty is SEEN. We are each like little diamonds. Meant to REFLECT Christ (because He is the ultimate light) and through reflecting Him, our TRUE BEAUTY is seen. If diamonds draw in all the light and don’t reflect it, then you would never know HOW beautiful they really are. It is through the reflecting that they shine, glimmer and catch our eye.

Also “reflecting” on how diamonds are made. Referring back to the verses in 2 Corin. about being “hard pressed but not crushed.” As you know, diamonds are formed over a period of MANY, MANY years…they begin as coal. I don’t have a piece of coal on my left hand on my wedding band…kinda UGH, right? Through the PROCESS of being compressed, heat and all this PRESSING IN AND TIME…a diamond is formed. It isn’t overnight. You can’t go buy a piece of coal, put it on your counter and wake up the next morning with a diamond. IT IS A PROCESS. Friends, WE are a PROCESS. WE ARE A WORK IN PROGRESS. ☺ It is THROUGH our trials, our struggles, our disasters, our failures…our working through those…our overcoming…that we GROW, get stronger, grow more beautiful. We are becoming diamonds. So bear in mind, as you struggle today that you are a work in progress. God is taking your lump of coal and you are being hard pressed, struck down, tried and everything, but not overcome. You WILL shine. We need to stay the course, knowing that He will not let us be crushed but we can REFLECT HIS light and be the BEAUTY we were created to be.


Been RUNNED over

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Been runned over… ☺

Crazy title, right? Maybe. Frequent mornings when I run, it is well before sunrise….such was today. It is wonderful in many ways but also, depending on HOW early…can be worrisome as well. The view is ALWAYS amazing and I can always find beauty…even in the rain, BUT when I run in the summer since I’m out of school…it’s later. Later means “rush to work time” for lots of peeps in my neighborhood…which means driving like a bat out of h*** if you know what I mean. I have had some very near misses with some speedy, not paying attention drivers…despite the fact that I run ON the curb or right next to the curb. I frequently find myself scurrying to the sidewalk for safety when I’m hearing an engine revving behind me, or tires squealing.

So, such was this morning. I was having a nice, peaceful run…lots of heat and humidity but some serious talk with the Lord. I am rounding a corner on my block and I am hearing a loud engine coming up behind me so I hustled through the grass onto the sidewalk. He turned the corner…tires squealing and zoomed past me like I’m sitting still. Just as he passes me I see a little animal try to dart out of the way of his truck but to no avail. He hit the back legs of the animal and it began to scream as it made it up in a neighbor’s yard. I jogged over that way to see and it was a little bunny. UGH!! Broke my heart! Bunnies are out all over our neighborhood in the mornings and some will frequently “run with me” (or should I say ahead of me…but still hop in front of me and wait on me…then hop ahead again and wait). I continue on my run, knowing that there is nothing I can do because it is a mess…crying and flopping and then nothing. Sorry if this grosses you out…I’m not getting very graphic, just giving you some general picture. I’m thinking about the poor bunny…probably one of my running buddies…and the speedy driver. God begins to talk with me. I’m annoyed at the driver…sad for my friend. Wishing I could have done something to KEEP the bunny from being run over…slowing the guy down…hollering at the bunny in the street…whatever! It all happened so fast it took me a minute to grab onto what even happened. So what about this world?? Lots of thought about the situation I just witnessed. So do I get in such a hurry in my life that I don’t see the tender things that God has placed in front of me? Am I on auto-pilot? Cruising along at 90 mph…listening to my radio…texting…zooming around…completely oblivious that others are around me…MAYBE even oblivious that I run over others in my rush or my desire to GET WHERE I WANT AND WHAT I WANT??

What about my poor bunny friend? Well, the obvious is don’t stand in the road and not expect to get run over, right? Little bunny was just minding his own business. Nice early morning crossing the street, not in too much of a hurry until all fury was coming at him. I see myself here sometimes, too. Kind of meandering around…not too much intention or purpose with what I’m doing. I mean, I’m doing something but not going AT it. Thinking that my taking my own sweet time that I’m playing it “safe” when in all actuality I’m even in more danger…maybe danger of complacency. (Col 3:23) Well, one thing is for sure, friends…we live in a broken world. The world (and the enemy) has no love for us. The world will run OVER you if you just sit there. Oh, there were signs that it was coming at the bunny full bore…but the bunny either ignored the signs or didn’t hear it until it was too late. I know more than once in my life I’ve fallen victim to the world…to its call. It is enticing and lulls us into its web then BAM! We get consumed. We get RUNNED OVER. Time for me to not just sit here. Not be complacent. I’ve seen the world run over too many wonderful people. Revelation 3:16 “Because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I will spit you out of my mouth.” Not sure about you but I sure don’t want Jesus spitting me out! Don’t want my tombstone to read, “Done. Was runned over by the world.” Get up today! Get moving! Get your proverbial running shoes on and get after it! Praying for you to find your shoes and get on the path to greatness today…not mediocrity. ☺ Be blessed!

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”