Category Archives: Faith

Time flies…… a good day for a wedding!


Way back when I was just a little girl, time was slow, really slow and steady. The thirty plus days between Thanksgiving  until Christmas were more like thirty months  and if the school year was any longer and summer break was any shorter then we would be in school full time! This is from the perspective of a child which I have found is the exact opposite when you become….middle aged. That being said, when the children that you watch be born and grow up, that are not your own seem to leap to adulthood in like a week, it makes one painfully aware that time does not stand still…it do fly!

This weekend we are a part of a wedding back in East Tennessee, the preacherman will unite in marriage a grown man and  a little girl who was just a little runt a few years back! How did this happen! I blinked. She is also a twin….a twin that although I have known them from birth…I still call…twins, as in not their real names…..because lets be real, they are twins and for the life of me I could never tell you which was which…ever…..! I mean put name tags on them, dress them differently it did not matter, I never really knew. This is not for lack of trying I was around them all the time. Their Dad is my husbands best friend and his wife is my best friend, we have a history yet I was lost. I did try, my kids knew which was which but not me.

They were always the twins, scary little mystery girls that I was never sure about what they were up to. Twins are a special secret club, they have a language…a underlying knowing that is a little creepy. I never felt like I could ever get the upper hand, even me an adult, I felt as if those two heads put together would always out smart me….and I was right! I have spent a lot of time with them in many situations and they were equipped with this sly grin that reminded me to be on my guard. My own sweet little daughter was one of their dear little friends…she always knew which was which….and she always came home a little wiser, sitting under the tutelage of these two masterminds. They have  extra jolt of energy and mischief than other kids, always up for fun and anything that is exciting.

They are for sure a rare breed and as time does fly, they are all grown up. One of them, Amber has already been in the Army and served our Country (thank you for your service Amber!) and now finished school and knocking it out of the park with a great career! The other one, Aubrey is  walking down the aisle tomorrow, she also has finished school and began her own successful career, raising a beautiful little boy and has found her one true love. This little girl has before our very eyes…grown up, along with her twin and her oldest sister, Ariel and her little brother, Lee. The original Ellis brood. There is a baby brother, thrown in for good measure, the extra blessing, Jeremy. I think they had to “one-up” us, WE…. Praise the Lord stopped with four kids!

These “kids” are making lives for themselves, I am proud of them and the job their Dad and Cheryl did with them…..they say it takes a village to raise kids these days, I would like to think that I had a tiny piece of influence…maybe. If nothing else I hope they see Gods grace and commitment to Him which is the only way to survive the flying of Time and the ups and downs of marriage especially. Congratulations Sweet Aubrey on the day of your marriage ceremony and I pray for many years of love and laughter. They are equal parts that are needed….but that is how you were raised so I’m not worried. Best wishes on your special day, Aubs….or is it Amber?

Much love from all of Us “indoor people”who love you!

 

 

Hands extended


My Mom looks at her hands constantly….she touches them, rubs and worries over them, she will even comment that her hands look so bad. I beg to differ with her…I consider them the strong symbols for a life lived, proof of her endurance.

wpid-photo-2.jpgYet she, seems surprised by the look of them….I know why, it is a daily reminder of the days lived, her age can’t  be hidden from her hands. All the beauty products in the world can’t conceal the well worn years, lipstick and blush can paint in our youth but, our hands reveal our true self.

Now that she has been overcome by the perils of Alzheimer’s, her life has shifted, she no longer is …”I am woman, hear me roar!”, a pseudo strength that propelled her to raise kids and work after divorce when not everyone was so understanding of her independence…she is although, still somewhat the master of her domain even within the realm of her small world now, it is baffling and yet touching to see these hardworking hands lend comfort to her new friends.

She extends kind words and a soft touch, holding the hands of those precious souls who have her same disease, maybe a little farther gone but, still in need of a friend. I witness hands that once cooked great food and that held my hands across my life, now helpful in the lives of others. She is showing kindness and love and actually ministering there in this home where she lives. I asked her once about her relationship with God, she quickly set me straight….”……..how do you think I ever got through my life without trusting in God!!!!!!!!” Special emphasis on the exclamation marks….she set me in my place! I will forever have hope that was her testimony and now her hands are His hands extended there in her world.

Although she frets the aged-ness revealed in her hands, I enjoy the touch of her gentle hands, the mother’s love that I long for, for which i felt I didn’t always get as much as I wanted, I am blessed to receive now. I find myself noticing my hands more, a few age spots….dang Sun worship.…now I know why Southern Belles wore those cute white gloves….should have thought that one out…oops. I am learning how important it is to connect with people, be present at the moment, especially now when the few moments I get to sit with her are running low.

Life is a gift…..our parents are gifts…..our children and grandchildren are our joy…..Life goes full circle. (I feel like I am about to break out singing The Lion King …….and no one wants that to happen!!!!)
But, I will say one line from an old song…..”put your hand in the hand of man that stilled the water…” and in the hand of someone who needs it. Thanks Mom for holding mine….still.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Put_Your_Hand_in_the_Hand

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Macklemore….what?


Over the past few months I have been entertained by an artist that would not be my usual choice. Let me preference this by saying I also have a seventeen year old so this was my avenue of introductiImageon to Sir Macklemore.

Beside the fact his music, along with Ryan Lewis, is some of the most catchy of tunes and to remember my Dick Clark Band Stand Days(ugh, I am soooo old) I would say it is easy to dance to also. That is if I could….ugh again! Back to the point, this music is very fun and easy to smile to. Mind you, I hear the radio versions usually which are minus the “expletives” thank you very much, not so much wincing! That being said, I had discerned there is more to this man, and I was right.

English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from hi...
English: Publicity photo of Dick Clark from his ABC radio show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His independent thinking and hard work is evident in his over the top yet mind stirring lyrics and his inate charisma. The moral of the story, so to speak, is what draws me in. The next thing that got me was while at my local Kroger, I spied a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine for which our young artist was the cover. On further skimming of article my heart sank. I felt his

Kroger logo
Kroger logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pain and it is a familiar story. This mom could relate.

mack cover

This kid has been there…in the real world…..he has earned his stripes and quick to acknowledge his need for help along the way. He is independent and amazingly crisp in his view of the world he lives but he also is only one wrong step way from destruction and knows it. I find this makes me love him even more, in the son way I mean, as the mother of four I know the life on the mean streets is tempting and always ready to welcome a lost soul.

When I read about a person who has and is overcoming their destructive “bents” I am encouraged, even enamored by his grit. I know how hard it is and I do not know if his strength is God Centered or not. I assume there had been some influence since he was raised Catholic, maybe a inner peace that God is there to help. I don’t know nor is it my place to judge. He was raised with a lot of diversity in his life and in saying this I am reminded of songs by one of my favorite “Christian artistsDC Talk (Toby Mack)….. for which my kids loved way back when, as well as I did too. They were standing for God and equality and diversity and every one of us allowing people to find their way. God is working on me and everyone else, none of us are at the same place at the same time….until we get to heaven!

My admiration for this young man may seem silly, I am not his demographic but I am the mother of his peers and I am impressed with his rise and fall and rise again, with his weaknesses as well as his strengths and most of all with his decisions to go forward, clean, free from the things that pull him away from his calling……. Speaking truth to a generation who so badly yearns for it. I respect his love for people, same or otherwise and his confidence that we are all in this together and we might as well get along.

Kudos, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, at least for giving us/we/the thrift store shoppers clout! Love it!!

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…”how do you solve a problem like….”


One of my husbands, (yes, I am ratting him out!)… all time favorite movies is The Sound of Music!

The Sound of Music (film)
The Sound of Music (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all the years I have known him, he has rallied all the kids around to watch it …ONCE AGAIN! at Easter time, only to be compared to the ritual of watching The Ten Commandments, (“…so let it be written, so let it be done!”). You have to be impressed with his loyalty and dedication! But, in the Sound of Music there are many, many songs to sing with (for which we(HE! DOES MOSTLY)do and lately without the whole family only  because the kids have gotten older and they choose not to endure our festivities….spoil sports!

Movie poster of The Ten Commandments.
Movie poster of The Ten Commandments. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite songs is…..How do you solve a problem like Maria…lalala! This brings me to my point in writing today…(ya knew I would get there eventually, right?) And it is a stretch so hang in there….but….this song is one that reminds me of my beautiful Bethany. Tomorrow is her birthday and because I enjoy writing about my kids if only to completely humiliate them…..(paybacks rule!) here I am once again attempting to let her know how important she is to me.

Back to the song…it is about this NUN who is just a little too human for the rest of the NUNS which makes her perfect for God….. if you ask me. She is always getting into a pickle and causing a ruckus….full of opinions and speaking her peace! So goes part of the song…….

…..When I’m with her I’m confused
Out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!

She’d outpester any pest
Drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!

Yep, that about explains it all! My Bethany is all that and more…I prayed earnestly for her, picked her out and described her to GOD. HE picks this one time to answer my prayer…exactly! He is cute like that…..and awesome and she is my only girl and for that she had to be something special!

Her birthdays come every year, like clock work, like us all and she would sell her soul for a white cake and white icing-STORE BOUGHT CAKE….for which is the worst ….I say…wedding cake kind is her fav! I have attempted to make my kids their cakes ,but the love is lost on this girlie….so I will give in and succumb to my loss of tradition…..she is just that worth it! No matter what goofiness or literal pain in the heart she can be, I adore this kid.

And so I have to respond with these lines from the song:

……Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand

Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?(BETHANY)
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

She is the heart of my heart and so much like me I feel sorry for her…..she has grown to side with her daddy WAY TOO MUCH which is disturbing when I am odd man out but never a day goes by that I don’t praise the Lord for her and her spirit. She keeps me praying and I know that her future is HUGE with all kinds of exciting twists and turns.

20120228-193313.jpg
….then (my favorite pic!)
307549_10151190120057592_1745377602_n
…now! (what a doll!)

Happy Birthday my sweet Bethany Rose!….a problem I will never solve because like Maria, even if those strict NUNS acted like they were mad…they loved her and like Maria, my Bethany  is a joy. You are never a problem and without you I would be lost….

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This is LIFE!


Romantic Heart form Love Seeds
Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

 

In honor of the…(because February is boring so lets make up a holiday), …..special day called Valentines Day, I must take a minute to say, the heart is a fragile yet quizzical thing. A very needed organ for the body, no doubt but, within all the blood flow and reason we breath in and out, there is a mystery.

 

In our lives there are millions of decisions we make…many little choices which change the future of our paths. We make split second decisions all of which create our lives as a whole but, also bring about good and bad. Why is all this left up to us?

 

Is there really a master plan or even a Master who is directing the orchestra of lives, or are we blowing willie-nillie out here without any sense of whats to happen next? Lately I have been confronted with these questions. I had thought I had it all figured out. What a shock to see I have really blown it.

 

Pix Pix Pick Up Sticks & Pixie Pic Up Stixs
Pix Pix Pick Up Sticks & Pixie Pic Up Stixs (Photo credit: Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka

 

It reminds me  of the pixie sticks that I played daily as a kid. No matter how hard I try to gently drop them down so they will not fall all mangled up….they still do. Then one by one…slowly and gently I begin to pick each one up hoping against hope I will not disturb the others.

 

And so life goes….all mangled up. As hard as I try those sticks just get all twisted up in each other…this is life. No matter how we try to stay clear of trouble, free from all the turmoil from all the other sticks, that red one just will not stay off the blue one…some days are just that way.

 

A thousand little choices we make that can change the outcome of our lives and the lives of others. I wish I could see the future, or maybe not. This continual struggle is more than one heart can endure most days. But endure we must….this sick joke called life.

 

The Bible reads….in Mark 9:24…”I believe help my unbelief” says the father with the boy who had been sick his whole life. Now that is a story I can relate to. Maybe not an “official” sickness but, a life of torment all the same….Jesus had compassion on this child and as every mother and father through the years has prayed for their own kids…we all believe with I am sure an element of unbelief.

 

When a heart is broken it is hard to rebuild…..but even so…Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!

 

What causes this deficit? What choice was made way back before all this? Or did anything….choices, free will….AUGH!!! My mind swirls even trying to understand it all.

 

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Life Dates


In my life of canvases and paint I usually really mess up a few and it can not be seen even by my family….as is this day…and in my need to cover up a horrible sight I ended up painting in a new direction for me…a collage of sorts with paint.

I love collages, especially word ones…I make a few from time to time…but I ended up painting one this time…for which as a painter, doing lettering is a bit dicey! But, here it is…all my family life dates, our marriage and birth dates and names…..ENJOY!!!!DSCN0664DSCN0663

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january 2nd…already failed!


Welcome new year...oh how I loathe YOU.…..the guilt has already started…..yep, I am already late on my Bible reading program, remembered it tonight at church ……at prayer service……ugh….I am a failure already! Okay,…… get caught up tonite, yep…..that is the plan….the mornings are for Old Testament….evenings are for the New Testament….Matthew 1 and 2 (…all the genealogy of Jesus -yada yada…….and the Christmas story, etc. which feel redundant right about now!) and catches me up thru today January 2…whew! Now what I have left Genesis 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 respectively. So the Creation…Adam and Eve being totally ignorant which cuts all of us out of Eden…ugh! Then the first recorded murder….way to go guys! and all the way up to Noah. Really had a big start first people of the earth…way to GO! Screwed it up for the rest of us.

I suppose it is smart to read Old then New since the old makes me want to scream aloud…HEY!!! Knuckleheads…you HAD IT MADE!!!! So when I read the NEW it makes it all go down a little better, GOD intervened and gave us an out…..and this could not be kinder of him. Don’t you know he was screaming too? Like any “parent” he probably felt the struggles……if he can feel pain, he was sorry for us I imagine. It is so hard to wait and watch…..I know this too well.

So, on the second day of the new year I was already behind in more ways then one…along with the most important one that feeds my soul, I am behind on the walking commitment. Once again, I think in my heart...I WILL DO IT.…I even have had a gentle (she lies!) reminder yesterday. I have a family member who is the same age as my daughter that I just adore. She has struggles with walking; she has lived with a frustrating physical impediment since birth. No person has ever blessed so many through her struggles, actually, because of her FAITH in GOD even though she struggles. Her prayers are straight from God, her spirit is strong although her body frail. Her life is a testimony to her faith and the faith of her parents and sister.

I had posted a goofy New Years Resolutions post on Facebook concerning weight loss—-(FBAnyone been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions? Me? Thinking about….. doing something about……considering the options……for my ginormous full figured……let’s just say…….personality! (left myself an out there…did ya catch that?) OK your turn……..go!)…….and my precious cousin privately messaged me  and while I was playing cards with my adult kids and and my husband was in the room also….I began to read aloud her message to me…..YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP!!!

AUGH!!!!! Dead men sitting…..she slayed us! The room filled with conviction as she explains how she has worked on being able to walk about 20 minutes a day (she walks in her neighborhood…with a walker…cold/hot weather….everyday!) and she would love to work up to a 5K…!!!!! OH MY LORD! Here I sit…like a slobbbbbb! Too lazy to even walk in the next room to get my other pair of glasses so I ask one of the kids to……I want to stab my eyeballs out….I am un-clean!!!!! We ALL gave an unbearable gasp….then the kids yell…oh great, thanks! They love our precious cousin, they felt the pain I was feeling…we were all guilty…me being the worse(in my mind!). This was in no way her mission…that is not her way, BUT it just happened….I love that young lady and have had God speak to me several times through her.

So to update: Forgot to read my daily Bible verses...check! Avoided taking even a walk to the mailbox…check! and that was just yesterday…January 1st!!! Today I am reminded….although I have had two salads…I still have not cut out the white foods! The doctor said…”if it’s white don’t bite!”…crash and burned…Still eat like a pig?……check! So to bring it all home….on January 2nd…two days into the New Year…..I am already a failure…..

I can do this I tell myself…..I have read the Bible in a year before…actually sooner….I feel confident in that one. I am a preachers wife don’tcha know….perfect and all…PLEASE!!! And a long time ago…like 20 flippin’ years ago (Good Lord, I am so ashamed!) I was a walker…took the kids to school and went to walk at the Baptist Churches Gym with all the “old folks” for which I am one now…I did enjoy walking….. now LAZY though; and then eating right…well….not so confident there. Believe it or not…I have never dieted! Ok I take that back, if you know me it is not hard to believe it….my meaning is I never really had to way back when….B.H. (before Hysterectomy!) I carried a bit too much weight but not in this extreme….I am a reality program! I expect TLC to call any day now!

SO there you have it….I have cut myself open….bleeding and afraid….what to do next? Go to bed, get up in the morning, take my boy to school and try harder. Looking for anyone who struggles also. Feel free to join me in my efforts. Many people have so much to struggle with, I am ridiculous to even compare myself….my precious cousin for one, but she is always smiling. I keep a picture of her on my computer…walking to remind me to get off my BEHIND and make something of myself…..

Tomorrow I get to read about Genesis 7,8,9..the flood, Noah and rainbows and Matthews story of John the Baptist…gotta love that guy! Yes, I peeked ahead…it is so good I can’t wait!!!

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Good Advice


Listen to Jesus and do what he says!

Probably the best plan I have ever heard…thanks preacherman!

(a pure minimalist point of view, of course!)…it works though!

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Our legacy


In a week of so many highs and lows, it is nearly impossible to put into words the joy and grief. My week began with a great high, a personal success, a soon to be finish of a season of awful pain. By mid-week that joy was made complete, a mother’s heart was made whole again.

My joy came to a screeching heart by the next morning at the news of a horrific crime, someone else is catapulted into the depths of pain and fear and loss. The shock, of so many innocents to fall at the hand of a sick person, who himself was lost in his own pain.

My mind can not contend with this kind of sorrow, I do not allow myself to listen…to watch….to be pulled into the hype of the suffering of so many. A nation is in mourning, families at a loss of the precious children who God himself intrusted them with. What more could parents do…we never know when the last hug will be given.

Children are our legacy. Our very soul lives within the hearts of our children…their heartbeats are what keep us in pace. They give our lives meaning. Weather we have children or we are children, each one of us know the pain of loss when something like this event happens. My limited array of vocabulary can not fully express my heart.

I am a mother full of peace today because I have been given a great gift from God, but I feel the loss of so many who are lost in their sorrow, as if it were my own. Never to compare, I can’t even go there to feel that hurt, even my own losses can not stand up to you and your families emptiness.

My prayers are with you all. The Lord keep you in His embrace, Sandy Hook school families and Newtown, CT.

 

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The lonesome year…….in Honor of my friend


In a few short days the one year anniversary of the death of one of my closest friends will be upon me. She was more than a friend, she was my preacher man husbands sister. From the first time I met her I made it my goal to win her over…..since I have two sisters of my own, I know girls and I knew pretty quick she was a contender.

She was a few years older than my preacher man which was fine until I realized she was my age. I am older also than him……which was not a problem…he was taller!(the logic I had back then!!) To him though, she was the dreaded big sister…and that was pretty much their relationship. This was going to be an uphill battle.

But, it turned out that it was pretty smooth. Me being a person who always wanted to be liked and her need to be the boss of him (not really, but she was already the enemy and I was soon becoming a traitor!)I think in his eyes at least I was on treacherous ground. It was understandable since in ALL families the kids are some days on the same side and on other days mortal enemies. Nothing so shocking about that. I am from a family of four kids…and we had four kids…….drama times four!

We did become fast friends and spent the next nearly thirty years, raising our kids, talking on the phone every day(thank you Lord for the invention of call waiting, that was about the death of me)since to get through the day we had long conversations about anything from baby rashes to the world news and everything in-between. Some days we would venture out of the house to tour the local Wal-Mart or fast food kid meals and playgrounds. Yep we had a big life….oh me!

Our families would hang out and we would cook great suppers and play cards and visit and compare our husbands. The rub was that mine was her baby brother….like I said treacherous grounds. But with many good and bad days…fights and fusses….prayers and intercession we were tight. Our lives were inter-twinned. She was my people….. my sister just as much as my two blood sisters and in the adult time of my life I was with her more.

So after one year with out her I can honestly say it has been hard. It wasn’t fair…we didn’t have enough time. There wasn’t enough time for her to spend with her grande babies. No one loved babies more than her. Where I liked only my kids…mostly, she loved to play with all babies(weird!) but sweet of her. Those grand babies were her heart after her two boys who were her pride and joy. She loved her boys and she was such a better sports mother than me….she was at every event, no matter the distance. In my defense…three kids on three different fields…..exhausting!

I could tell funny stories for days about our adventures, we were a cross between Lucy and Ethel and Laverne and Shirley; many stories are too unmentionable(funny as well as gross!) but most of them were silly, just like we were. We have shopped on the curbs of the finest homes(they leave their “junk” out there to be picked up)(we were recyclers before it was cool)and did every craft that was in style. She would call and say…”you up Ethel?…..lets go eat breakfast after the kids go to school” and we would go….pony tails and sweat pants, we didn’t care.

My loss is in no way anything like that of her husband and boys, but it is my pain. I had the best friend for a time…we were brutal on each other as well as full of love. This has been a lonesome year for me. I cherish my friends and I cherish the time I had with her. I am not sad for her, she is healed and beautiful and happy and where she lived her life to go, in heaven worshiping her Savior. I would not want her to come back to the pain she felt before she passed. I know I will see her again.

So in tribute to her, I post her picture as my header for my blog. This is the place I share my heart and I wanted to honor her in some small way, my way. Jesus knows my pain and he has carried me through. We all have lost people in our lives, I am nothing special but this is my friend…my sister….so this is my way to honor her. If she was writing this she would say…don’t weep for me, give your heart to the Lord, follow HIM, He is the Way, Truth and the Life, He brings peace and he loves YOU!

This is what I say also……Jesus is the only way.

John 3:16
John 3:16 (Photo credit: Martin LaBar)
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