Sunday, February 25, 2007

"OK to Test"

Warning: Sermon to follow ... couldn't get it out of my head

When we were in CO, I substitute taught for a middle school English teacher for a week while she was having surgery. One of the classes was called "Novels." All the kids did was read books the entire class period. I thought this was incredibly ridiculous, but in hindsight I learned a thing or two. One was that if I had been in a class like that, I might be more excited about reading these days. The other had to do with their accelerated reading program. I'm actually not even sure exactly how it works, but whenever any student would reach a certain level in his reading, he would come up to me and have me write "OK to test" in the appropriate blank. Then he would go to the library, be tested and return to continue reading until he reached the next level.

So, is that how it worked with Job? He reached a certain spiritual level and God wrote "OK to test" on him for all, including Satan, to see? Yikes!

Maybe God could just whisper to me that I'm okay to test and then give me the answers to all the questions. I mean, does He really have to let everyone know if/when I'm "OK to test?"

I have a friend whose family just seems to be tested over and over with injury and illness and random misfortune. She called just the other day to let me know of a couple more things to add to their prayer list. She and her family are so special to me and are a strong pillar in their church and school. When we talked, I said to her, "Well, if God doesn't give us anything we can't handle, He must think pretty highly of you!"

These words in James are an encouraging reminder that our struggles only help us to grow: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New Kalleigh pics

It's been awhile since I posted pictures of Kalleigh. That's really what our blogs are for, right? Enjoy.

Kalleigh: 4 1/2 months

Monday, February 19, 2007

Kreg and Keleigh

Kreg and his girlfriend, Keleigh, came down for the weekend. It was so good to see both of them! John and I put them to work right away! "Oh, you're coming to visit? Wanna babysit?" Of course they did! So John and I went out for a romantic dinner at "Bernard's," a French restaurant and our favorite "dress-up" date place. Thanks, Kreg and Keleigh, SO MUCH! It was nice to eat with both hands and without a child in my lap.

Saturday morning, we did the big breakfast thing and then mostly vegged throughout the day. We played Settlers (my very favorite game ... Keleigh won) and watched Star "Warses" 3 & 4. We tried to go see Gallant, but the wind was just nasty and the horses were a little panicky. We did see them, but did not attempt to ride.

That evening I attempted to cook tilapia just like cousin Tiffany, but even with Pam, the fish stuck to the indoor grill, and we ate what looked more like "fish bits." The lemon-butter-garlic sauce was very yummy, though! I didn't try the Asian one ... maybe next time. Thanks for the recipes, Tiffany!

Then Kreg and Keleigh went out for a late movie after the kids had gone down and John and I caught up on some our shows. Johnathan let Keleigh use his room and he stayed in our room. He did fine ... mostly.

They came to church with us the next morning, then hustled on over to Dallas to meet Dad for a late lunch before returning back to HU.

The fun thing for me with Kreg and Keleigh's relationship is that I knew Keleigh and her family from Colorado before she ever went to Harding and met Kreg. I coached her and her sister in basketball, and her dad was my assistant coach! I love you, Goods, and miss you a bunch! Anyway, when I found out she was going to HU, I told Kreg to keep an eye out for her and that they should at least go out once. I think his words were, "Hm. Okay." But what I interpreted was, "Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I have a girlfriend." Big sis always knows best. :)

They are a beautiful couple inside and out. I REALLY don't want to pressure either of them, but it's no secret that Keleigh has my stamp of approval!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Confessions

I'm pretty cynical about this Hallmark-induced day that makes people skip church or else his wife will kill him. Guilt-ridden and manipulative are words that might even be used. Not to mention those without sweethearts. Let's just take a day to rub it in that you're single.

I confess that one Valentine's Day in high school, a friend and I were going around singing our scheduled telegrams on Harding's campus. We finished our list, but did not want to go back to class. So, we would stop random people on campus and say that "that guy over there wanted us to sing a telegram for you." "What guy?" she would ask. "That guy ... where did he go? I bet he's hiding." We would then proceed to sing numerous false telegrams until we had missed the rest of the school day.

I confess that one Valentine's Day I went on a date with a guy knowing full well that our relationship was coming to an end and I planned to break up with him in the near future ... but wanted the chocolate shake. Even worse, I gave him a card with the top ten reasons I loved dating him. Date from VDay '96, if you happen to read this ... I'm so sorry! That was a cowardly thing to do.

Sometimes VDay brings out the worst in me.


I need days like these that help remember how blessed I am and not to take my husband for granted! We've shared 8 Valentine's Days together now, and I am so thankful for him! For his leadership in the church and in our home. For his faithfulness first to God and then to me and our family. For his gentleness and tenderness as a father. For his longing to learn and grow. For so many more things that I don't have words to describe! I love you, Honey.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Back to" is a step forward

Part 1: Back to one vehicle.

We had our little black '03 Saturn Ion, which we loved. We also had a gold '01 Olds Alero that we liked when we purchased it this past summer to have as a second vehicle. It was tricky living 15 minutes from anywhere with only one car. However, two weeks after we bought it, it was in the shop. Then it would be out for a couple of weeks and then right back in. I think of the 8 months we owned it, 3 of those were spent in the shop. What good is a second car if you can't drive it?? That Alero was a money pit. And it was in the shop AGAIN last week, and this time it was probably a blown head gasket. They told us that we should get rid of the car ASAP. The problem with that was that we still owed more than we owned! (What a difference one little letter can make.) So, taking the advice of Mom, we "cut our losses and moved on."

We traded in both of our cars, using the equity in our Ion to pay off what we still owed on the Alero, and purchased a new silver '06 Dodge Grand Caravan with an extended warranty. I just can't attempt to drive cars that don't work. Neither John nor I know anything about fixing cars, so we just need one that is guaranteed to work.

I hear you. "You bought a minivan??" During this whole purchasing process, I kept remembering one of Elizabeth's blog entries ( about their decision to look for a minivan, and I just had to smile.

So, back to one vehicle, but it is one that will (1) work, (2) allow our family to grow and all ride in the same vehicle and (3) even accommodate other people riding with us. A step forward.

Part 2: Back to running ... okay, jogging.

I can no longer use my two favorite excuses for not jogging because I am neither pregnant nor am I recovering after having given birth. Next on the excuse list is I don't have enough, time away from my kids, and we don't have a double jogging stoller. Next is it's raining or might rain. Next is it's too cold. Next is I'm too tired. Lots of excuses.

But my neighbor, who also goes to church with us, came up to me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I ever did any running. Oh how I wanted to lie and say that I never really was any good at running. But I didn't lie, and said that I used to run in high school and college, and then up and down the basketball court with my girls in CO.

"So, are you going to start again once you feel up to it?"

A challenge. Great. Why can't I resist a challenge? Why am I so stinkin' competitive? I reply, "Oh yeah! I have to get this baby weight off somehow! "

"Well, let me know when you're ready, and we can go together!"

I'm searching for excuses ... "I have to watch my neighbor in the mornings, he comes over at 7:15, so it'd have to be pretty early," hoping she was NOT a morning person.

"Oh, that's perfect! [My husband] has to leave for work at 6:45 in the mornings, so I'd have to be back by then."

I'm stuck. "Oh, okay. Well, maybe we can start in a couple of weeks?"

"Sounds great!"

So, Tuesday morning I decided to try it out by myself before totally committing to this partnership. My first time jogging since last spring. I took Bison, the guard pug, with me and I made it around the neighborhood loop twice. A whopping 1.4 miles! Okay, I have some work to do.

Bison and I went again Friday morning and went around 3 times: 2.1 miles! ... and I nearly died, but I did it!

Sunday morning, I saw my friend and confessed that I had jogged a little that week and thought I was ready to jog with her on a regular basis.

"That's great!" she said. "So, you want to go tomorrow?"


And we jogged our 2.1 miles this morning. No excuses. Now I even have a good friend to hold me accountable. And I feel good today! A step forward. :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Just Life

These couple of weeks have been pretty left-brained for me in my approach to them. Therefore I will update you on my life since the beginning of February in bullet point form.

Thursday, 1st:
  • Got my teeth cleaned and fixed for free! Our dentist is a Glenwood member and "takes care" of the ministers and their families. What a blessing!
Friday, 2nd:
  • Finished off the last of the Arkansas molasses. I need more, Mom!
  • Sang at an Italian restaurant with a live band.
Saturday, 3rd:
  • Entered a scrapbook layout in a contest at our local scrapbook store (lss).
  • Drove to Hawkins, TX to spend the evening with the ladies from Richardson East C of C at their retreat where Aunt Karla spoke and Aunt Jina led worship--fabulous!
Sunday, 4th:

  • Sang with the praise team at our potluck to help kick off the new ministry system
  • Tried out a crock-pot cake recipe that was so bad I had to throw the entire thing away
  • Bought desserts at Wal-Mart for our Superbowl party

Monday, 5th:

  • Tried to stay away to watch Prison Break, 24 and Heroes, but only made it through the first two.

Tuesday, 6th:

  • Rehearsed with our group of six who is performing for a couple of Valentine's banquets. Our songs are about 3/4 tight vocal jazz (think Manhattan Transfer or King Singers) and 1/4 contemporary love songs. It's going to be awesome!!
  • Caught up on Heroes.
  • Overslept and nearly didn't wake up in time to be dressed before Nathan (the little boy I watch in the mornings) came over! We learned later that the alarm WAS set, but the day before, Johnathan had turned the volume all the way down. Clever.
  • Taught middle school girls at church as I am a new "lifeguard" for the teens. We have a sweet bunch, and I look forward to spending that time with them each week.
  • Was surprised to see the guy who was my first kiss, whom I hadn't seen in years. Turns out he lives in Atlanta and has already been divorced. So strange! He is good friends with our youth minister--small world!
  • Watched LOST. My TV world is complete.
Today, 8th:
  • Finished making Valentine cards for Johnathan's class for next week. I'll scan one in so you can see.

  • Plan to finish up here and get ready for the first Valentine's banquet at which we're singing tonight!
  • We will then go to Mario's (same Italian restaurant from Feb. 1st) and perform some more!
And some pictures from the last few days:

Best buds.

How dare that toy? Gettin' all up in her face like that!

I think I'm going to start a new Facebook group called, "Dublin Dr. Pepper--It Really Is Better."

Have a good weekend!