Monday, June 30, 2008

Lookie over there on my sidebar --->

Oh goody. More technology to become addicted to. But I've bought it, hook, line and sinker. Ok, well I didn't actually buy it because it is very much free, but anyway, "it" is Twitter. Where do these people come up with these names, anyway?
So I guess it's safe to say, I'm Twitterpated. You know...Bambi? Twitter...pated.........yeah.
If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, here is the most elementary explanation on the whole web. And if you are, indeed, Twitterpated yourself (seriously, everybody's doing it), would you please let me know so that I can be alerted everytime you take a sip of your java? Because I obviously have nothing better to do.
This should be fun. Or completely boring, perhaps, but hey, join me anyway, k?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Whirlwind

Getting There
God wanted me somewhere this weekend. Somewhere specific. And when God decides that He wants you somewhere, He will make the details fall into place so swiftly and easily that you will stand in awe when you get to where you are going, and you might even ask your friend to pinch you because you aren't quite sure if it all isn't really just a dream.
On Thursday, I was minding my own business when my sweet friend, Leisl called. She was going to the Deeper Still Event over the weekend and she was trying to pack. I felt a HUGE sadness come over me as I thought about how incredibly awesome it would be to spend my weekend worshipping the Lord. But I tried to suck it up because this particular conference had been sold out for many, many moons.
I did mention to her that I was pretty sad about it, so we decided to call around to some local churches to see, if by some miracle, they had an extra ticket. None did. So, I prayed and asked the Lord to please lift this desire from me if it wasn't His will for me to go. After all, I had plenty to do this weekend, for sure.
I still couldn't shake it, so I checked the Deeper Still blog to see if anyone had any tickets for sale. There were some tickets, but the owners of said tickets were all from out of state and there was no way for me to get them, in this, the 11th hour. I had just about given up when I gave the little round thing on my mouse a spin, and lo and behold, it landed on a Birmingham phone number.
I seriously couldn't believe my eyes! But I tried to not get excited because I thought surely the ticket was gone already. I called Mark to see if he was alright with me going if I was able to get in touch with this person, and he said yes (have I mentioned lately what an awesome guy I'm married to?). I told him not to change any plans though because I probably wouldn't get to go.
So, I called and I got a woman's voicemail where I left a message and hung up. I prayed yet again, "Lord PLEASE help me to stop mourning over this!" (because I was SERIOUSLY bumming, y'all) and I asked Him to help me to have a productive day and to rest in His providence for it.
Well, a few minutes later the phone rang and it was a lady who didn't take long to CRY because her getting rid of this extra ticket she had was a HUGE answer to prayer for her!
I was going to Atlanta! And before I knew what hit me, God provided childcare, a room, transportation and even the funds (Mark was asked to do some side-work that would completely cover the cost of this and something he is looking forward to doing in a few months).
I headed up that evening to get my ticket from the woman selling it to me, then home to pack, and before I could process it all, I was on a bus early Friday morning.

The Event

We got to the arena which holds 20,000 women about an hour before the event began, and I swear all 20,000 were in front of us in line before the doors even opened. I have never seen so many women in one place in my entire life. Whoa. I became overwhelmed (in a good way) thinking of the magnitude of this ministry and how all these women were setting aside their "stuff" this weekend to worship the Lord. Plus, I was a little freaked out that we would only be able to bag seats that were about as close in proximity as Pluto is to the Sun.
But boy was I wrong.
I'm not sure how it happened, and I KNOW that it was anything but fair to the gals that sat outside since NOON, but Leisl and I went straight down to the floor, right in front of the stage and could. not. believe. that there were seats so close that I could see the sweat droplets on Travis Cottrells brow, very clearly. We parked our insanely grateful behinds right there and thanked the Lord for yet another display of unmerited kindness.
Anyway, I don't think I can adequately describe the events that commenced over the next 24 hours. Wow. And not a "wow" in that I-just-attended-a-great-show kind of "wow. I mean WOW! at the way the Spirit was palpable in that place. I worshipped so freely and so tangibly that I don't know if I will ever be able to think on it again without tears. BLESSED be the Name of the Lord! He gave so freely His blessings to me this weekend. The blessing of uninterruped focus on Him, the blessing of 3 solid teachers with 3 separate, but very important words, and the blessing of worship; true unbridled worship.
Thank you, Father. Thank you so much for plucking me out of my plans and whisking me away to commune with you in such a precious way.
Right This Minute

I am home now, and I am strangely sad again, which is crazy I know. I am a little surprised about it myself. I have been thinking about it though, and I am pretty sure that it boils down to this: When you go away on one of these powerful retreats and you have no responsibility, no expectations from others, no to-do list that's 50 miles long breathing down your neck.... When you leave your burdens and your anxieties and your "junk" at the door and just focus on God night and day with no real distractions......and then you have to jump back in.... It's sad.
And a little scary. Scary in the sense that things will go back to status quo, even though you are begging with every fiber of your being to stay changed and to stay connected.
Scary because you want to do this thing called life in a way far better than you have been, but nothing circumstantially has changed...and that's hard, and I need direction which I have a hard time hearing.
But most of all, I am scared all over again that this life will be lived in such a way that I only managed to keep my head above water and no real difference for Christ was ever made. I cannot even stand that. It is one of my biggest fears and it has been ever since the day that I accepted the Lord.
And that's how I feel.
Well, I guess I just went all raw on you. Nothing very funny here, eh? Anyway, to sum it all up, if you ever get the opportunity to go to something like this, DO IT. It's worth feeling painfully challenged. Believe me.
If you are interested in more blogs about this awesome event...Here are a few with pictures...I'm the dot in the far left, in case you were wondering. ;): Deeper Still Blog, All Access, BooMama, Travis Cottrell and The LPM blog (nothing up yet, as of this posting, but I'm sure it's coming)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey! I haven't talked about food in awhile!

The above statement is actually kind of shocking given my love for sustenance. So I'll make up for it with a recipe that will make you want to slap your Mama. It's that good. Presenting the perfect summertime cake:
(Sweet Mary Mother of all things, ain't she pretty?)
Raspberry Lemonade Cake
1 C. very hot water
1 box raspberry gelatin
1 box white cake mix
1/2 C. thawed lemonade concentrate
1/4 C. water
1/3 C. veggie oil
4 egg whites
1 container whipped vanilla frosting
1 C. whipped topping
1 1/2 C. fresh raspberries (garnish)
lemon peel strips (garnish)
Heat oven to 350. Spray bottom of a 13x9" pan with baking spray. In a small bowl, mix hot water and gelatin until completely dissolved; cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/4 C. of the gelatin mixture, 1/4 C. of the lemonade concentrate, water, oil, and egg whites with and electric mixer. Pour into pan (reserving remaining gelatin and lemonade concentrate). Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Poke warm cake every inch with fork tines. Remove 1 Tbsp of the gelatin to a small microwavable bowl (like a custard cup). Then mix the gelatin and the lemonade concentrate together. Pour this slowly over the cake. Cool completely (about 1 hour). In medium bowl, fold together frosting and whipped topping; frost cake. Microwave the small bowl of gelatin uncovered and on high for 10 seconds to liquefy. Using spoon or toothpick, swirl gelatin into frosting. Garnish with raspberries and lemon peel strips. Store in the refrigerator.
Now it's your turn. If you need something to blog about, here it is. If you have a recipe that you especially love during this most precious season, please don't be a miser. Just leave me a comment so that we know who's sharing the love.
And if you don't want to participate, say "hi" anyway. It makes my day to hear from you, stingy or not. ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 23, 2008

My First Spiritual Lesson

I was talking to some friends about breaking bones when I remembered something that happened to me when I was a way-cool teenager...
The year was 1992 and the hair was big. I went to our high-school's basketball game, not because I was the least bit interested in the sport, but because I was hoping to see Mark. Rumor had it that he and his girlfriend were breaking up and I wasn't about to let him slip by again.
To give you a little background, we had been "seeing" each other off and on since jr. high, but I had broken it off right at the end of the previous year. I ended up going to Michigan to spend a good part of the summer with my friend, and it was there that I completely realized that Mr. Mark W. was definitely the one for me.
I had it all planned out in my 16 year old mind: I would come back home and hook up with him at our local fair (we were country folks), and there, we would run off into the sunshine together. That was a perfect plan and all, but there happened to be a third person in my little dream-turned-nightmare, and she was holding my beau's hand right beside the funnel cake booth (play the record scratching sound in your mind).
I was as emotionally devastated as any self-absorbed 16 year old girl could possibly be at the thought that her beloved didn't stick around and wait for her to finally make up her mind.
It didn't help matters that his new little cheerleader girlfriend knew our history so she wasn't exactly nice to me about their new relationship. She took GREAT pleasure, once the school year started, (and I was subjected to having to see them together at every change of class)....anyway, she took GREAT pleasure in displaying her affection for Mark in my presence. She would grab his hand or peck him on the cheek any time I was around and then glance at me and smirk wickedly.
This went on for their whole time together (about 4 months), but it took me all of about 5 minutes of that before I pulled up my boot straps (or were they leg-warmers?) and got my resolve on. She was goin' down.
Around Christmas, on a Friday night there was a school dance. That day, during school, some of my well-informed sources disclosed the info that there was trouble in Cheerleader Paradise, so there was NO WAY Gayle was going to be anywhere else on earth than at that dance. And as fate, luck (not that I believe in those things) or whatever the heck would have it, Mark was there and he was alone. Oh, how the angels singing drowned out M.C. Hammer on that chilly December night!
The details are a little sketchy here because I was in such a state of euphoria (or was it a high from the Aqua Net? No one will ever know.), but I think one of our friends got us together for one of the final slow-dances of the evening. Not much was said, but we walked out together only to run into his hyper-crazed, not-so-perky-at-that-moment girlfriend who quickly demanded that he get into her car. And before I knew it he was gone.
***Good grief, this is getting long. I really meant to just tell you an embarassing story about me, but I went beserk with the details. I need to hurry up because the kidlets are about to break out in full-scale revolt here since they haven't had their breakfast.***
Ok, anyway. A few days later I went to the aforementioned basketball game where I sat on the bleachers opposite court of my cheerleader nemesis. She was cheering her little black heart out and watching me like a hawk. Soon I was being poked by one of Mark's friends saying that he was off to the side of the bleachers and that he wanted to talk to me.
My heart began to thump like a nutcase and I willed myself to keep the cold sweat to a minimum because "now is not the time for my make-up to start melting off my face so that I look like something out of a horror movie". I cooly descended the bleachers, because one would be totally un-cool to appear over-anxious, you know, and it was there that all of my teenaged dreams came true. He wanted to get back together and he gave me his senior picture (which was the completely stupid thing that everyone in our area did back then when you were dating...hee-hee, can you say CHEESY?).
So I took my prized possession (the picture) and headed back up to the almost top of the bleachers where my friends were. It would have been all good except that I *had* to get cocky. When I got about halfway to my seat, I turned around to look at my seething cheerleader nemesis who was boring a hole in my back with her eyes, and I gave her a wink and a smirk. That would prove to be my fatal moment because, even then, God decided to snatch me up in my pride. I turned back around and promptly lost my footing causing me to take a nose-dive right into the crotch of one of the cutest boys in the whole school.
It wouldn't have been half as heinous if I would have been able to GET UP, but all of a sudden, I had the most wicked pain searing through my twisted up and caught foot that you could ever imagine. I finally became...ahem...untangled, and had to be carried out of the gym by my sweet brother. Oh the horror. I didn't even care about my ever-swelling foot, I was so mortified.
The next day, I wound up going to the hospital where it was decided that I had sprained my foot pretty badly or cracked a bone...I can't remember, but I did have to be on crutches for several weeks with this crazy half-cast thing that looked distinctively like a box on my foot.
In the end, I did get my man (obviously), but I did learn one VERY important lesson quite literally: "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling." Proverbs 16:18

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crazy Mama

Carrie posted my thoughts pretty completely yesterday. My kids are making me crazy so allow me a little rant if you will.
First of all, I absolutely can-not stand for someone to walk in the door with a crappy attitude (yes, I said crappy. CRAPPY.) Yesterday, after my kids got home from VBS...and they are indeed at another one because Ty is helping since he couldn't last week.
Anyway, after they walked in the door they started to go at it. They just began screaming and yelling about a schedule or some other rot, and then they all turned on Andrew because they thought he was messing in their stuff, which went to MORE screaming and yelling...and on and on it went. Until I had to do the deep, scary (yeah right) Mom yell to make them all retreat to their proverbial corners for a longwinded lecture about why we LOVE EACH OTHER, and how rude it is to walk into a place (that was completely peaceful a nano-second before) going beserk.
Did it work? No. So by the end of the day I was twitching and trying to cover up my Tourettes.
I honestly think that it has to do with the insane pace we have kept over the last few weeks. We have had camp, 2 VBS's and lots of hanging out with our friends to name a few. We haven't had a ton of down time and I think that is making things a little whack? Who knows, though. What do you notice the trigger is when your kids start losing their minds? And better yet, what do you do about it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

But there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother

Ok, first of all, I just have to tell you how much I covet a laptop. Mark brought his home tonight and since we have a wireless connection here, I grabbed it, crawled up on my bed all propped up with pillows (in other words, extremely comfy) and commenced surfing the net. On second thought, maybe I'd better not get one of these...
Now, since I don't have the brain cells functioning at the moment to make a smooth transition, I will go ahead and spill it that we have had a tough last few days. The bottom line is that one of our closest friend's Mom passed away over the weekend after a very short battle with cancer.
We found out early Sunday morning of her homegoing, and while we rejoice that she had the unimaginable privilege of dancing in the presence of her beloved Savior on Father's Day, quite frankly, the hearts of those that loved her the most are shattered.
It was so hard to watch my brokenhearted friend yesterday. She couldn't even lift her teary face out of her hands as she travelled behind her Mama's hearse in the funeral procession. Mark and my Mom took off of work along with several of our old friends to go be with our sister and her precious family, but that feeling of helplessness as you watch them in their intense grief is terrible. Knowing that nothing anyone can say or do is going to take it away is gut-wrenching when you love someone and your natural instinct is to "fix it".
I know that my friend loves her Jesus the way her Mama did (does) and I know that He probably purposely and jealously won't allow any true comfort apart from Him, and when I really wrap my mind around that, it is the most kind thing He can do. It is His express right to make sure that when we are at our lowest that no thing and no person can get in there and do the intimate binding of our battered hearts. What a beautiful thing to have a Savior who won't let us settle for less.
Now, I just have to figure out practically how to help. Any suggestions (apart from food, because, land sakes alive, she doesn't need any more of that....)?

Monday, June 9, 2008


In case you are not in the continental United States, I will just let you know, it is bloody hot outside. It's the kind of heat that just "clings" to you the minute you leave the blessed, overworked air conditioning. This is normal in the middle of August.
Ah, but who needs to read one more post about how animals and the elderly are at risk?
I love Summertime (even though it is technically not even here yet). And since I am having to visit the parched vegetation at least once a day to give them a drink, I thought I would share 2 of the things that gave me great joy this evening:

See, it doesn't take much! The truth is, I am ecstatic that they are still alive!
Anyway, today we had an awesome first day of VBS. I have such a sweet group of 5th/6th grade girls that I get to lead around all morning. It only seems like yesterday when I was their age, impressionable, tender and full of hopes and dreams. I quietly watched them today as some of them searched for acceptance and approval of even their smallest actions, and it made me a little sad.
I know that's all normal, but I became freshly reminded about how hard it is to be a young person. I wish that I could just gently grab each one of them by the shoulders and say precisely the thing that would make them understand just how very much they are loved by their Father.
I wish that I could make them grasp that they don't need the approval of man because "man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart"...and that man's approval is fleeting, anyway.
I wish that I could beg them to make all the right choices and to seek to glorify the Lord, no matter what....but that would be weird.
And I would probably get fired from my volunteer position. So I quietly listen, and I trust God to use me somehow. And I pray. I pray that God will bring forth fruit that's incalculable in each of their precious lives. I pray that God will use each one of them mightily and as uniquely as He created them. What an awesome thing to get the privilege of watching these kids grow up.
Hmmmm, I wonder if I will still feel this way by Friday? Just kidding... ;)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Worry Wort

Well, my boy is off to Boy Scout Camp for the week in 3.5 hours. Am I ever going to not fret when he (or any of them) go off somewhere? This is his second year, and he seriously cannot wait to go. He keeps telling me of all they are going to do and how much fun it is, but I just can't get rid of the horrid feeling in the pit of my stomach called worry.
I worry that something will happen to him and we will be so far away. I worry that he will get homesick and I won't know it. I worry that someone will be mean to him and he won't defend himself....and on and on it goes.
I know the scriptures regarding worry. By heart actually, because I am a major-league worrier about everything. I know what I need to do. I need to be strongly attached to the Vine and just trust in His Sovereignty. It's just the "doing" it that I need work on. So pray for me this week, if you will because I am freakin' out and I miss my boy already.
In other Crew news, we released Huntin yesterday. And yes, she was a Buckeye! Thanks Carrie and Caroline for your help with that! We actually had a really nice Science lesson because of ol' Huntin, and those webpages were very beneficial.
This week is VBS for our church, and I am leading the 5th and 6th grade girlies. I can't wait! It's going to be another busy week around here, but that's probably a good thing.
Alright, off to get ready for church...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Check this out...

June is always full-speed ahead here for the Crew. Jacob has been doing Cub Scout camp all week and loving it, and now we are preparing for Ty to head to Boy Scout Camp next week. Factor that in with co-op meetings, some school, Dr. appointments and endless errands and you can see that there hasn't really been a dull moment around here.
Nevertheless, at 2:38 a.m. when my eyes burst open out of a deep sleep with the sudden terror that "that butterfly is going to come out of it's chrysalis soon and it's in an open mason jar", I still deemed it necessary to get out of bed, find the dern butterfly do-hickey and place the mason jar inside of it, nice and protected, lest she decide to be reborn anytime soon.
Yes. These are the things that keep me up at night.
I almost plodded out here to the computer to post about how ridiculous it was for me to have gotten up because I couldn't fall back asleep. Now I wish I had, because it would have been further proof that God even works in the most minute details. You know, like the one where my kids would have been devasted when our freshly hatched butterfly in all it's newborn naivety met the ceiling fan whirring at demon speed? But, bless her sweet beautiful delicate heart, she was spared such a tragic death. Because here is what I woke up to this morning as I started my coffee:

Bloggy friends, meet Huntin (don't ask), the lovely lady who was born sometime after 2:38 a.m.. Isn't she beautiful? I get just as giddy as the kids when they finally hatch (actually way more-so than the older boys who politely told me that they wanted me to get out of their room so they could resume drooling on their pillows).
I can't even help all the spiritual analogies that run through my mind each time I behold their fresh beauty. It always makes me so grateful for the transformation that God does in each of His children. Just think on that each time you see a butterfly, and you will be blessed.
So anyway, for all practical purposes, do any of you know what kind of butterfly we have here?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Testing, Testing

Ok girls (and Mark), now that I have committed bloggy suicide, lemme know if you've made it through the gates so I know if this actually worked....
Also, if you would be so kind as to inform me if you had to jump through so many hoops that it doesn't feel worth it, I would appreciate it. Honestly, I don't want things to be crazy complicated for you. So spill it truthfully...I need feedback, girlies!