Joy Comes in the Morning!

Joy Comes in the Morning!

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

I spent the past weekend in the beautiful city of Greenville, South Carolina for the Allume conference.  I think of it as a women’s retreat for bloggers.  It’s definitely not like any other blog conference I have been to.  It’s heavy on worship and seeing yourself through Christ’s eyes and light on SEO and social media tips.

And it was exactly what I needed.

It’s been a month since our daughter left and the grief and shock are just beginning to lift.  The hundreds of emails and comments you all have sent have lifted my heart like you can’t even imagine.  I read them all and share them with my family and we pray for those of you who are going through a similar situation.

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At the conference I got to spend time with dear friends that know me so well.  They have prayed over me and cared for me as I walked through this difficult time.  What a gift it was to be with them in person and just leave it all behind for a few days.  We prayed, we worshiped, we laughed ourselves silly.  I even danced.  Hip hop.  Yes, I am a Diva-in-Training.

I came home with a fresh outlook and today, for the first time in a month, I don’t feel like I am dragging myself through the house pretending to be thinking about something else instead of the grief of our situation..  I truly am finding good in the sadness and I am excited to share the joy with my family and give them something to do besides be steeped in sorrow.

One thing I have realized is that I can’t let someone else’s decisions affect my joy.  It would have sounded impossible to me a month ago, but I have learned that I don’t have to let even something this devastating, a break in one of my most valued relationships, tear me away from living a life filled with glory and joy.

I know.  Easier said than done.  Whew!  It’s definitely a process.

I really, really, really want to give you the gift of knowing that you are not alone.  In your trials and desperate situations, you are treasured.  There is a God who cares about your deepest pain.  There is One who you can always turn to.

And you know what?  I care too.  And so does my family and I am guessing a whole lot of other people.

As I prepare for the week ahead, filled with activity and appointments, I know that I have a source of peace and comfort.  Look around you, it’s there!

For instance, just a few minutes ago one of my boys asked me the funniest question and we both laughed so hard.  That is the good stuff.  My three daughters at home and I have become so much closer through this, isn’t that sweet?  My marriage is becoming a testimony of strength through hard times.  There is so much good in the bad.

 

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Let us pray for you if you need it.  Leave a comment here and many others will pray too.  I just know it.

Be blessed!!!!

 

Facing My Fears

Facing My Fears

Well, I finally turned in my first draft of my book.  It’s been one of those, “Be careful what you wish for” kinds of things.

I have always dreamed of writing a book.  And when I read books it seems so easy.  It’s also easy to sit in my recliner and watch the winter Olympics.  But not so easy to actually do.

It’s been more like an act of service than a living the dream.  But still very satisfying.

Last weekend while the girls and I were at the coast we decided to walk out on the dock across from our house.  It looked so nice from the balcony.  But when I stepped up to it I froze in fear.  It was a very long plank of worn wood with nothing to hold onto.  And by hold onto I mean grip with all my might until my finger ache.

As we started to cross, the girls were chatting it up behind me just skipping and enjoying the ocean.  “No talking. please,” I said,  “I need total concentration so I don’t die.”

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I inched my way across, not letting myself look at anything but the board directly in front of me.  “Don’t look up….don’t look around….” I kept telling myself. When I was a kid I had an extreme fear of water.  A few years of swim lessons helped, but I still can’t breathe when I watch a movie about someone underwater.  I would be the only person in the world to die from holding my breath in a theater while watching “Dolphin Tale 2.”

My friend who owned the house later told me, “If it helps, the water there is only about three feet deep.”

Nope.  That doesn’t help at all.

I made it across the dock, spent time on the pier with the girls watching the birds and talking about life and God’s goodness and then {cue horror music} I had to get back across.  I let the girls go first and after they were all the way across I just did it….one step at a time.  There’s definitely a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Speaking of dread, today when I hit the send button on my book I felt that same irrational fear of death.  Why?  You can’t die from a bad book.  Wait, can you?

Wait.  Not that my book is bad.  I hope I hope.

Fear is a funny thing.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  God knew that we all would struggle with this.  I read somewhere that fear is mentioned over 365 times in the Bible.  Wowsa!  No denying that we are to fear not by leaning on Him!

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I am learning a lot lately about what I am afraid of and how much I need to put my faith in God and God alone.  I walked all the way across that dock and back again.  I was so proud of myself and my girls clapped for me.  They knew I was petrified and it was a huge blessing to show them that I could do something that really scared me.

Although let’s not get crazy…..I still don’t know if I could have done it if anyone was talking to me.

 

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

Time and Texts….Oh the Mystery

I can’t believe how quickly October is flying past.  While it will be remembered as one of the worst times in my life, it is also God’s mercy that I look back and realize that weeks have slipped by without my noticing.

When that happens I always think of those newborn baby days that seem soooo long then you realize your baby is 6 weeks old and you can’t imagine how that is possible.  Time is a weird thing, huh?

This past weekend I took my three girls to the beach for a weekend of encouragement and refreshment.  We had been planning it for a couple of months and while we missed our sister, it was a wonderful time for the four of us.  We watched DVDs from the True Woman Conference and talked about what God is doing in each of our lives.  I loved hearing how each girl was being blessed by the teachings and what they were learning.

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One of the conference sessions was about the history of feminism and it was so funny to hear the different perspectives from the four of us.  For my girls it was a fascinating history lesson but for me it was a flood of memories.  I remember hearing “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” over and over on the radio.  I remember Virginia Slims telling women that they deserve their own, thinner cigarette.  I used to roll up strips of paper and pretend I was smoking…..”I deserve this,” I would think as I took a long, pretend draw on my symbol of adulthood.  Oh how things have changed!

But the main focus of the conference was about putting our eyes on God and not ourselves.  Embracing who we were created to be instead of fighting for our freedoms.  It was amazing and the timing couldn’t have been better.  All four of us walked away with a sense of knowing that we are safe in the arms of a loving Father who leads us with a wisdom that we can’t fully understand.

And to watch it all with the ocean waves splashing in our view……that made it perfect.

God knew exactly what we all needed.

Of course.

My boys were at home fending for themselves (aka eating nachos and playing wii) and texting me constantly.  “Hola Mamacita” and “Where is the ketchup?” kind of texts.  One of my boys really loves to text with me, but he doesn’t really get text etiquette.  He will say something to me, “What are you doing right now?” and I won’t see it or reply right away.  After about three seconds he will text again, “Hello????!!!!”  But if I am driving or running or sleeping I still won’t see it.  So three more seconds, “???????????????!” and so it goes for 20+ more texts from him.

But in typical homeschool mom fashion it has led me to mentally develop a class on texting, phone calls and other social interaction.

Bam!

Some challenges are much easier than others.

This week I am frantically finishing up the last of my book to send it to my editor for feedback.  All of this family drama has put me behind, but God knew this was coming and He has given me this extra week to say what He wants to say in the book.  I only THINK I am writing it.

Have a great week and may God minister to your heart the way He has mine over the past few days.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more encouragement!

 

 

What Makes You Smile?

What Makes You Smile?

There are three things that always make me smile….always.

1. The sound of my kids laughing together
2. Big, white, puffy clouds
3. Any movie with Doris Day in it

What is it about Doris Day that just makes you happy?  And her clothes….oh man I don’t even care that they are all 60s and outdated….I would wear any of those things in a heartbeat.

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Our weekend was beautifully simple.  One of my daughters & I went to the city on Saturday to return her friend to the airport and see a movie.  We previewed “Dolphin Tale 2″, which I really liked.  For sure we will rent it when it comes out.  I doubt we will see it in the theater though….taking 11 people to the movie is too expensive.  It would come down to a choice between Dolphin Tale 2 or paying last month’s electric bill.

But I should go ahead and add dolphins to my above list because I always smile when I see dolphins.  They are just so happy!

Since James had a big tax deadline on Monday he was kind of “gone” all weekend, so I took advantage of the time to myself on Saturday night by taking a simple course about Facebook marketing.  I think it will come as no surprise that I ended up with a great big old headache by the end of the evening.  Insights and statistics are not something I catch onto easily.  I went to bed, but the headache rolled over into Sunday morning and by the time church was over I was ready to dunk my brain in a tub of ice water.

A friend at church asked me if I was feeling OK and I told her I had a headache.  “Oh,” she said, “”Do you think it’s allergies?”  “No,” I replied, “It’s Facebook.”

I came home and instead of the ice water trick I rubbed myself down with essential oils.  There’s a great headache remedy that I really like and wish I had thought of it the night before.

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I used the oils and laid down on my bed and watched a movie with my good friend Doris in it.  Headache-gone.

Today I am all better and I hit the ground running,  Literally.  I went for my morning run at 6:30AM.  The problem is that it’s dark now at that time and I am going to have to rethink my mornings.  The possibility of getting hit by a car is not worth staying in shape.  So I am looking for some new exercise DVDs.  I love my TTapp, but I’d like to try something new so I can alternate.

This is my last week of peacefulness before the storm of travel hits.  For the next 5 weeks I will be either traveling or having guests or my kids have activities.  Our family calendar looks like a scrap quilt of appointments and plans.  So my plan of attack is to sleep this entire week and hope for the best.

Have a good one!

 

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Five Women and a Flat Tire

Because I can’t let a drama go by untold, I have to share with you the flat tire incident from Tuesday night.

My friend Sara and I took two of my daughters to the city to pick up their friend from the airport.  We shopped and we ate and we went to Costco….you know.  City stuff.

We stayed all day and into the night for a meeting hosted by Young Living.  We dropped the girls at the mall (a first for us!) and Sara and I met another friend and went to the meeting where we stood in the back of a very crowded room. It was loud (people wouldn’t stop talking to each other) and hot.  So we decided to slip out and visit for a while instead.  Sitting and talking is always better than standing and sweating, at least in my book.

After a nice visit we left to pick up the girls, make a couple of quick stops and then head toward home.  We were looking forward the extra hour’s drive to talk a little more.  Really, it’s all about getting our words out for the day.

We were having great fellowship when it happened.  We had a full fledged blow out going 75 MPH.  I wasn’t speeding, that’s the speed limit on the highway here….about 30 miles down the road it changes to 80.  Tell your kids.  It can count as a geography lesson for the day.  “Which state has 80 MPH speed limits?”

It was after 10 at night, so dark doesn’t describe it.  More like pitch black.  Well, except for the Mack trucks and SUVs racing past at 75 miles per hour creating flashes of scary light.  And our cell phones which we were using to find things we dropped in the weeds.

Now I think the last time I had a flat tire I was in college.  I drove a Cutlass Supreme and the spare was where all spares belong, in the trunk under a flap of carpet.  It seems that all of the improvement over the past 30 years had led to a move from the trunk to who-knows-where.  Turns out my spare is up UNDER the van and the way you release it is through a hole between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.

You know, I have always wondered what that 2″ circle of plastic was for.  Now I know it’s to fit a long socket thingy that looks nothing like the picture in the manual to unscrew a mystery spare tire holder that, unless you are lying flat on the ground under the van, you can’t get it out.

Nice.

I might also mention that we had to unload our entire van full of groceries and various other items onto the side of the road to get to the tire changing tools.   We looked like modern day Clampetts minus the gun and dog.

After half an hour of figuring out the spare tire situation a sheriff pulled up behind us.  He was so nice and he actually ended up changing the tire for us.  Of course, we had already done all of the hard work in locating the spare through the mysterious hole in the floor.

An hour or so later, we loaded the groceries, luggage, shopping bags and 5 tired ladies back into the van and agonizingly drove only 55MPH all the way home.  The sheriff had explained to me that you can’t go faster than that on a spare.  We finally made it home around 11, which in Lisa time means WAY past bed time.

The next morning I asked my oldest son if he would take the van to the tire place and get it all fixed back to the way it was before any of this ever happened., which he did.  I do realize that sounds like I don’t do any work, but keep in mind I spent 20 years raising him.  Not dealing with tire cleanup is is my reward for years of diapering and nose wiping and hurting my back pulling him in a wagon.

Have a great weekend!

Oh…..and be sure to check out this week’s YouTube video!  In it I talk about not letting your emotions control you (a concept I used on Tuesday night for sure!)

 

I’m Keyless

I’m Keyless

The conference this past weekend was a great family activity.  The kids especially loved seeing their friends and hanging out at the conference hotel until 2AM Saturday night playing games and singing.  I do not especially like staying up until 2 in the morning since it makes for a very grumpy mom, so I was in bed by 10:00.  Oh the joy of having kids who can drive themselves home.

We heard a lot of great speakers and ate a lot of hamburgers.  I got salad with chicken, of course, but the kids ate their weight in burgers.  For some reason they didn’t want to go home and eat leftovers when their friends were all going to Fuddrucker’s.  I agree really….the fellowship is the best part of these conferences!  But I’ve eaten enough Fuddrucker’s to last me a year.

We also had a family staying at our house so that meant people coming and going all day long.  I tried to run back and forth between home and hotel so my older kids could just enjoy the weekend.  It would have been nice to spend more time at the conference, but laundry waits for no man.  We invited different families over for meals during the weekend also, so that really kept things hopping.

On Sunday there was a church service to wrap up the conference and our whole family went, but I wasn’t feeling great so I decided to leave right after the service with the little boys and go on home, letting the rest of the family linger and say their goodbyes.

Here’s where I should tell you that I don’t carry a house key.  I really never need one because there’s always either someone at home or a pre-arranged hidden key (don’t bother looking for it….it’s a very complicated hiding process).  But I didn’t think about it yesterday so when I got home I realized I was locked out.

This is not the first time it’s happened.  And before you tell me how simple it would be for me to just GET A KEY, we have tried that.  But every time I go make myself a key something happens to it, someone borrows it, I forget it….the list of keylessness issues goes on and on.

I have thought before of getting one of those keyless entry locks, but two things stop me.  1. They cost like $100 and 2. They are ugly.

I may go back to trying to carry a house key.  But I think we can all see how that will go.

I did manage to get into the house.  I won’t tell you how, but just know it involved a metal bowl and some gardening shears.

One thing I especially loved about the weekend was that the rains brought cooler weather.  It was in the 80s all weekend which pretty much equals heaven in this part of Texas in September.  There’s nothing like a 100+ degree drought to make you glad for the teeniest bit of cool moisture.

We are looking forward to a quiet-ish week of normal-ish activity.

What do you have going on?!

The Humbler Games

The Humbler Games

It’s Friday and around here that means just one thing…..another YouTube video!

This week’s video is called, “The Humbler Games.”

Y’all will love this one.  We did something different and made a little movie.  It’s so much fun for us because we all worked together to make it (lots of us behind the scenes even though you don’t see us on camera!).   This picture only shows who worked on the day of shooting, but the other kids helped too.

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the discouraged mom!

This is meant to encourage those of you who are tired or discouraged.  There is always hope!  God is ready for you to call on Him when you feel like you can’t take it anymore.  It’s The Humbler Games…..

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the tired, discouraged mom! #parenting #youtube

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Shine Your Light

Shine Your Light

I’m sad to report that I don’t have any little girls anymore.  {excuse me while I go have a good, hard cry!}

Thankfully my sister has 2 baby girls, so I can take my occasional need for pink and purple glitter out on them.  And this little book fits the bill.  I got it, carried it around under my arm for a few days twirling, and now I will send it on to my nieces for their girly enjoyment.

Sweet little devotional for girls

Oh the sweetness!

God’s Little Angel: Shine Your Light Devotional is a darling way to read Bible verses to your little girls every day.

Sweet little devotional for girls

Now I want a pair of those plastic heels that are impossible to walk in but make you feel oh, so pretty!

Enter below to win one of the precious devotionals for your little girl….or for yourself.  I may keep mine since it makes me feel like a princess all over again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If You Can’t Find Me I’ll Be at a Riverwalk Hotel

If You Can’t Find Me I’ll Be at a Riverwalk Hotel

The past week has been Texas history week here at the Point. We visited museums and landmarks and walked trails and, of course, ate Mexican food.  It’s Texas law that you have to eat Mexican food a minimum of once a week.  I follow this religiously.  I don’t want to lose my Texas ID card.

On Wednesday, while my girls took a friend to see the Alamo and Riverwalk I parked myself in a fancy hotel lobby and mooched off their internet.  I needed to spend some quality time with my new computer.  Buying a computer always seems like such a good idea at the time, but then you come face to face with the realization that you have no idea how to use the new operating system and somewhere along the road of life you’ve lost the capacity to learn.

I was considering returning it, but thought I needed to give it a fair shot at having the honor of belonging to me.  It must be such a joy to be right in my face every day as I whine about how hard it is to learn new technology at my age.  Excuse me while I stop for a moment and think about how lucky my computer is…..

It turned out to be a good decision to sit for a while in a luxury chair where no one was trying to tell me about their ideas for how to make a sword out of the curtain rod they found in my garbage and just read the computer’s instructions.  After an hour of reading one tip at a time the light started to turn on and guess what!  I can learn new things!  Who knew an expensive hotel was the key?!

I am considering making it a weekly appointment.  Throw in some fajitas and I might even stop complaining about technology.  OK, probably not.

I have decided to keep the computer since I have mostly figured out how to use it.  Although I am still considering paying one of my kids to install the programs I need and set up my email.  No reason to put my brain under too much stress.

This weekend I am heading to Austin for an essential oils class.  I’m looking forward to sharing how much they have blessed our family!  Plus I will get some drive time to finish an audio book that I started over a month ago.

Have a good one.  Eat some Mexican food!

 

Sweating is Not My Thing

Sweating is Not My Thing

We have been working in the yard for the past few days getting ready for a big party tomorrow.  Two of the girls are graduating so we are having a small ceremony with family and close friends.

I don’t like yard work.  I am not one of those people who enjoys sweating and getting my hands in the dirt.  I hear people talk about how satisfying it is to get their hands dirty and all I think is, “Yuck.  Haven’t they heard that cleanliness is next to godliness?!”

I also don’t like tomatoes.  Just a random bit of info that I thought you might need to understand that I don’t care for yardwork.  It seems like people who love that also really like to grow tomatoes.  That’s just my assessment from the other side of the glass.  By that I mean inside the house where the air-conditioning is.

What DOES interest me is having a beautiful yard.  So sometimes I do actually have to sweat and get dirty for that to happen.  Thankfully I have a full crew so our family rallies together like a little machine and gets the job done.  Then we jump in the pool.  Because lounging in the cool water does interest me.

An as an update on our green swamp, it is crystal clear and staying that way.  I used the advice from a website called Trouble Free Pools. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now it’s going fine.  It has been freeing to be able to do this myself without the help of the expensive pool store chemicals.

Back to the graduation prep, there’s also plenty of inside work to be done.  Bathrooms have to be cleaned and stocked, tablecloths have to be ironed and someone has to cut a watermelon half into a Pinterest worthy fruit bowl.

Being a true Texas gal, I am ordering bar-b-que from a local place that slow cooks it all night into a melt-in-your-mouth slice of heaven.  The whole meal is going to be gluten-free in honor of the 2 graduates who both are GF.  It’s been a challenge, but I’m up for it.

I decided on an ice cream bar instead of cake.  This morning I’m having one of the kids scoop ice cream into small mason jars so it will be ready to just pull out and serve.  No bowls and scoops and drippy messes.  Seriously y’all.  I am making it as easy on myself as possible short of hiring servers and landscapers.  Which I tried to talk James into but he insisted it wasn’t in the budget.

He and I don’t see things the same way.  I see a whole week’s worth of exhausting work ahead and he sees coming out of his office on Friday night to a beautiful yard and prepared food.  But then, I see the money in the bank account as just magically appearing, and I don’t think he sees it like that at all.

I am looking forward to hanging out with my people and laughing about the old days.  There’s nothing like an evening with the people who knew you when you were 12 to keep a girl humble.  It will come as no surprise to any of them that I don’t like to sweat.  When I was in the second grade I insisted on signing up for girl’s softball then cried through the entire first game because it was hot.

It’s gonna be fun.

Have a happy fourth!