Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arise, shine

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. -- Isaiah 61:10

It’s been over a week since the church bus wreck took five lives and left others in the hospital, most which are still there. I suggest you read this story, written by a close friend of mine. She’s a very talented wordsmith, much more so than me. She had a copy of the sermon New Zion’s preacher gave the Sunday after the accident. I don’t think he would mind me sharing portions of it, as it is an amazing expression of hope.

“We can’t choose the storms because God wanted a perfect world, but when Adam and Eve fell into sin, sickness, disease and death entered our perfect world.  So, we are guaranteed to have storms, but who will we trust when we face these storms?  I cried out and said ‘Lord, Where are you in our storm? Where are you in the midst of this tragedy? And he told me with these words:

“Where is God?
He’s the pastors who leave their flocks to go to hospitals that don’t even have their members in them.
He’s the emergency workers at the hospitals working countless hours to give life, comfort and strength to the hurting.
He’s the volunteers at the wreck who could have been elsewhere but instead they stayed to fight for those who were still alive.
He’s the widow who looks at her last dime and offers it to the families of the victims.
He’s the man who was straddling the fence spiritually, but last night in this sanctuary, he pulled up the fencepost and rolled up the barbwire and is seeking to walk with God.
He’s the people who have drove hundreds of miles from Jackson to Shreveport just to hold the hand of the injured or pray with a family member.
He’s the people who drive hundreds of miles to hospitals to deliver a doll to a scared little girl or a Dr. Pepper to a man.
He’s a piano player, a deacon, a body of Christ who rallies around a scared, young preacher who wants to quit and run the other way.
He’s a director of missions who was out of town on ministry, but drops his schedule and drives all night to the hospital to minister to hurting people.
He’s the one holding the hand of the dying. He’s the one riding in the chopper with a 16-year-old girl who met Jesus just a few short months ago because of a van ministry.
He’s making the Purple Ribbons and delivering them to the community to remind to pray for the hurt and loss that Oak Grove is feeling.
He’s the nurse who ends up being kin to the family of the injured, not at one hospital, but at both.
He is everywhere, He is right here and He is among us.  GOD IS HERE.  He is at the altar, waiting for any and all of us to come to Him.”

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:37-40

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. -- Isaiah 60:1

Monday, June 27, 2011


I grew up in the country. I lived across from a cotton field. It was a 15-minute drive into town.

However. I was not raised in a barn.

Unlike these unwanted visitors who showed up at my parents' doorstep Saturday morning.

Four large pigs have been rooting in my dad's yard. My parents suspected an armadillo, which is why that metal live trap is by the pigs. As you can see...that cage was worthless in this case.

Oh, and apparently they were comfortable enough in my parents' yard that one of them decided to take a nap.

Vicki and Puddin' had a time sniffing the pigs. Vicki is the blur in the next pic. The pigs were friendly (albeit a large nuisance!), but Vicki was a bit apprehensive and very curious about these large creatures.

I woke up about 6:50 a.m. to this craziness, and, when I saw the pigs, I immediately went back into my old bedroom and gave my husband a gentle push. "Hey," I said. "It's before 7 a.m. on a Saturday, but I promise you, if you wake up right now, you'll see something you've never seen in your life."

"Just tell me what it is," he yawned.

"There are four pigs on Mom and Dad's doorstep."

He hurriedly put on his glasses.

My poor dad managed to lead the pigs (with dog food) back to their "home." The owners were not at home, and we're still not sure how they got out. At any rate, they thankfully have not been rooting around in their yard since.

However, what happens to misbehaving pigs?

Just kidding!!!

(Well...sort of. Cause we really did have sausage and bacon for breakfast that morning. Yuuuummmmmyyy.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Church van crash kills 4

Please read this story and be in prayer for those families who have lost loved ones. This is actually the church I grew up in, and it's heartbreaking to know that parents who were expecting their children home last night had their lives changed in an instant. The only fatality I've heard was from a girl I graduated high school with -- her second cousin, who was four years old, died last night.

It's amazing how life can change in an instant, when you least expect it. No one expects tragedy to happen; no one expects lives to be lost, especially when you're doing something right. From what I've heard, the driver was being responsible. Something messed up with the van (can you tell I'm not a mechanic?), and that's why the van flipped over.

It's just heartbreaking. Children and the driver were airlifted to Jackson, Miss. Pray for the driver as well. I can't imagine the turmoil he's going to go through in the coming days, weeks, and even years.

So please remember them and this tight-knit community. This is a tragedy that's going to echo for a long time.

EDIT 10:45 a.m.: Crash victims have been identified.

EDIT 12:52 p.m.: Joey, the driver of the vehicle, has been taken off of life support.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Words I didn’t know existed until I started playing WordFeud

Please note that these are just the words I've learned over the last two weeks -- it is not comprehensive. Also, thanks to Sommer and Richard for playing me in WordFeud and helping me expand my vocabulary. Apparently.

Additionally, some of these words, Microsoft Word indicated were not real words. Just saying.

Ain -- a department in East France (not recognized by MW)

Aa -- a proportional shoe width size, narrower than A and wider than AAA; also a bra size (also not recognized by MW)

Tae -- a Scot word for "too" (However, WordFeud will not accept Spanish words. Voice of experience.)

Qi-- in Oriental medicine, a vital energy believed to circulate around the body in currents

Qat -- a variant spelling of khat, which is an African and Arabian tea (not recognized by MW)

Qua -- in the capacity of, by virtue of being (and, no, I don't know what that definition means)

Apian -- of, relating to, or resembling bees (it's an adjective)

Varias -- (MW doesn't recognize it and responded with "no dictionary results")

Hep -- an earlier word for "hip;" also short for hepatitis (not recognized by MW)

Dah -- an echoic word, the referent of which is a tone approximately three times the length of the dot, used to designate the dash of Morse code

Ose -- used in chemical terminology to form the names of sugars and carbohydrates (not recognized by MW)

Oh, and there are more. But I feel this is enough to give you some new words to use this week on your friends if you play WordFeud or Words with Friends. Those Q words (without "U" afterwards) are GOLD. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Favorite breakfast: Breakfast Casserole for Two

I suppose with nothing to do at work until my bleeping books come in so I can do two weeks worth of homework, I should post something a little happier than my attitude towards being late on my homework,'re welcome!
I found this recipe from a blog one of Kyle’s relatives co-authors. I eat a lot of randomness for breakfast (has included nutella sandwiches, soup, and cold catfish), but I don’t think my husband would be overly thrilled by my, ahem, odd breakfast choices. Therefore, I’ve been trying to branch out since most days we eat breakfast together now.

This particular breakfast was Ah-MAZ-ing! I thought it was pretty good, but Kyle LOOOVVVEEEDDD it. I cannot stress how much he loved it. He asked me at least three times that morning after breakfast, “So…is this something easy to make? Could we have this on a regular basis? Like tomorrow?” (And, yes, folks, I did make it the following day and made it again this morning.) Not only is it easy, but while it bakes, I have time to get ready for work, and by the time they’re done, he’s up, and I’m ready to eat.
I also love this recipe because we usually have a majority – if not all – of the ingredients on hand. I’ve even used deli ham cut up because I’m not a big fan of cubed ham, and he doesn’t like breakfast sausage. And, believe it or not, deli ham works beautifully.
The recipe said this only made eight little breakfast casseroles, but I’ve made eight each time. Oh, and, yes, the two of us can put eight down in record time. So if you have a family of more than two, you might want to double (triple?) the recipe.
Breakfast casserole for two
3 slices of bread cubed
3 eggs
4-5 tbs milk
1/2 cup cooked ham diced (or breakfast sausage)
2 dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp dry mustard (NOTE: I did not use dry mustard at any point, and it was delicious)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients (minus the bread) and mix well.  Place a few cubes of bread in each muffin cup. Evenly distribute the rest of the ingredients. Muffin cups will be at least 3/4 full. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm. 
Easy peasy. And mouth-watering.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tara's wedding

She's on her honeymoon right now, probably sleeping past the morning posting of this blog. =) At least I would be.

She became a Mrs. to a fantastic guy Kyle and I knew in college. When he introduced us to his girlfriend, I remember thinking, "Wow, she is so pretty!" And she definitely is, inside and out.

Getting ready for walking down the aisle.

Tara's twin placing her make-up on. And, yes, there is a napkin over her face, so not to smear the previously placed make-up. We used napkins for all sorts of craziness that day, lol!

Bridesmaids and the bride

Me and the bride. She is sooooo good-lookin'! (Reference, anyone?)

Twinsies!! I can't say enough about how sweet both of them are. 

Me and my loving husband at the reception. If I ever got in a time machine, I'd do the same things as before just so I could marry this great man of God.

Ah, Luke. The mic was actually off, but he was pretending to sing to the crowd as the band played.

Sorry so blurry!! Boo on me for that.

Best memories of the day:

1. Playing ping pong with the bride in her wedding dress and me in my bridesmaid dress. And, yes, I had to hike up my skirt a little so I could smoke her. Cause, yes, I did smoke her. =P

2. Playing Apples to Apples with Tara and the other three bridesmaids. Before we got dressed, lol.

3. Dancing with my husband at the reception.

4. Watching Tara and her new husband embrace after the wedding. I can't describe the joy I'm sure we all felt seeing how in love they are.

5. Seeing Tara in her going-away dress. She's just so gorgeous!!

And now she needs to come back from her honeymoon so I can see her again!! =)

Monday, June 6, 2011

To sweet Che

Time came to an end for sweet Che-che this weekend.

It was time for her to go. My mom and dad did all they could for her before making the difficult decision to take her to the vet. But she cried relentlessly in the night, had to be carried inside and outside, was no longer able to figure out where she was, and had accidents in her bed. Not wanting her to suffer, they took her to let her life end peacefully and buried her in the back yard. She was 17 years old. We’d had her since I was in the fourth grade.

But I don’t want to focus on the sad times; there are too many happy memories of that dog. And, yes, I cried over losing this dog. She was part of the family for a very long time, and it’s difficult to think that the next time I go to my parents’ house, she won’t be there.

When we drove three hours to pick her up from a breeder, me and my fourth grade best friend argued all the way home as to who would hold her. She was so tiny and so cute, we both wanted to hold and pet that precious pooch.

She had quite an attitude. She was very sweet when you were sweet to her, but she was not afraid to get feisty, either. When she had her puppy shots, I warned the same friend not to touch her where she got her shots that day. “Where? Here? Here?” J asked, touching the spot, and Che-che literally went up one arm and down the other biting her – not hard, just letting her know she was NOT pleased. J, me, and Mom just died out laughing from this little munchkin’s attitude.

Dad, Che-che, and Vicki

She went to my school, and, in front of everyone, ran across the gym floor. I loved showing her off.

I dressed her in baby clothes and a party hat for her one-year birthday. We even had cake. I’m sure she loooovvved the baby clothes.

Che-che, probably for the first half of her life, slept in a pet taxi. And, for the most part, she liked her kennel. It was her refuge, her tiny home. And, when she was mad, she would storm off in it and DARE you to put your hands in her home. If she was REALLY mad, she’d actually put her paw out and slam the door closed (sometimes going as far as to bite the bars of the pet taxi to show her displeasure with whatever you did to tick her off). My cousin, B, one time decided to put his hands in the pet taxi after Che-che had closed the door. He barely made it out with his hands and then asked us why she bit him. Well….

She hated having her nails clipped, too. There were a lot of things she hated. She snarled, and it was one of those “be careful of the sleeping (or in this case, snarling) dragon.” It took two people to clip her nails. The vet muzzled her one time!! She also hated being kissed on her head. I did it a lot as a dare. Never got bit. But Che-che kinda liked me, too.

My mom didn’t like it when I found out Che-che’s “trick” with the vacuum cleaner. I still think the dog didn’t mind it much. I could take the vacuum cleaner hose, put it near her, and she would place her small mouth around it, and her cheeks would go inward. Mom said I was sucking her little guts out. (I promise, I’m actually a really good pet owner!)

Che-che also had a mischievous side. My parents’ bathroom is connected to their bedroom, and when she was younger (you know, under 11), she would hide under the bed and wait for my dad to come out so she could pounce on him. That was her favorite nightly game. I would lay in my bed and hear her barking and trying to get him. Sometimes, Dad would trick her, though; he’d cut the bathroom light off before he opened the door, and he said he could see her peering in the darkness, wondering where he was. And then the shoe would be on the other foot, and he’d scare her!

Granny, my cousin, and Che-che
Che-che was originally my pet, but she became Dad’s dog. She LOVED my dad, and she tolerated me and Mom. Dad took her bike riding (in a basket), but her favorite was riding on top of the lawn mower. Yes, you would see my dad mowing the yard with a large Chihuahua resting comfortably in a basket on top of the mower. She did that until, really, she got too old to enjoy it.

Speaking of mowers, in the “country,” we do all sorts of crazy stuff, like pulling a large piece of cardboard behind the mower with someone on it for fun. She loved running beside us, chasing us. However, she was not quite as fond of going water tubing. She was okay with riding in the boat, but she was not as comfortable riding on someone’s lap on the inner tube.

She loved to eat. MAN, did she LOVE to eat. My dad spoiled her rotten, and she ate everything. EVERYTHING. Eggs, bacon, ice cream (ESPECIALLY ice cream and cheesecake), ham, cake, etc…And, yeah, she lived to be SEVENTEEN.

She was in my bridal portraits. That was a great decision. We took Che-che, and I posed with her in my bridal gown. So she’ll always be somewhat a part of our wedding.

When we got Vicki five years ago, I told Che-che I would always love her and not to be jealous (as if she liked me better than Dad anyway!). Che-che was getting just a bit slower then, and Vicki, a puppy, would try to steal Che-che’s food/toy – from her mouth! Often she succeeded, too, so Dad had to make sure Vicki stayed away from Che-che so each of them only got ONE treat.

Che-che and Vicki
Che-che stayed at my house back in March for the weekend, and it was the last time I kept her (and volunteered to keep her). That was when she started going down. She cried all night, and I cried with her, not knowing what was wrong with her (though I was told that she had wanted a milkshake and some beef jerky – no joke).

But my last memory of Che-che is from May 29, the last day I saw her. She was rolling on her back in the sunshine. She loved lying in the sunshine, inside or outside. Before she started getting really sick (blind, deaf, etc), she would just sleep outside in the sunshine, enjoying herself. When it was cold, Mom would open the front door so she could lay in front of the screen door and get her Vitamin D.

She was a good pet, a good friend. 
Vicki, Puddin, and Che-che

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Learning to pray

This post could get quite lengthy. Just a fair warning.

Our ladies' Bible study discussed prayer last night, and it was such a good discussion that I wanted to share it with you. In my own life, my prayer time has dwindled. I'm not consistent. God and I may talk every day, but sometimes those oh-I-forgot-to-pray-so-let-me-get-one-in-before-bed ones that go something like, "Hey, God, today was a rough day, help me get through tomorrow, forgive me of my sins, love You, amen." The 10-second tops type. And that's not how prayer should be. We don't talk to our best friends (hopefully we don't!) like that. Why should we give our Best Friend the least amount of our day?

One of the questions posed last night was, "How do you prepare for prayer?" I was a little stunned. I don't really prepare for prayer. In my morning Bible studies, I pray before I begin that God will open my eyes to what He wants me to learn from Scripture, I do a SOAP (Scripture/Observation/Application/Prayer -- thanks again, Tara, for showing me that) and, at the end, naturally, I pray again, this time more about what I learned during the reading. But preparing for prayer...I don't really do that.

How do I prepare for my best friend's arrival at my house? Usually I clean up, I may light a candle, and I wait, usually impatiently (haven't we talked that I lack patience?) for her arrival. Same kind of goes with God. I enjoy Bible studies in a clean area that smells good and usually with a cup of coffee in hand. But my mind is not prepared. My mind isn't focused, and that's what I brought up last night. I have no problem in leaving out the "thees" and "thous" that apparently, from what I read, is a big issue with a lot of individuals. Kyle was really surprised when we started praying together at how I pray. I talk like it's a full blown conversation (probably some of this comes from the fact that I do talk to myself, LOL). But I'm not trying to be funny or silly or irreverent. I'm talking with my Abba Father, and this is how I talk. I'm spastic, I'm sincere, but, too often, I'm unfocused.

Our pastor's wife passed out a really cool prayer plan last night that I wanted to share with you. I prayed with this guideline this morning, and it really helped (Even though part of me wanted to say, "Oh, let's start on a Sunday, a brand new week," but, thankfully, I'm impatient, lol). I know the Lord's Prayer is our model outline prayer, and this goes right along with that.

Prayer Plan

1. I start each prayer time this way -- "ACTS"

2. Next, I pray daily for the following:
My husband -- or, for those who are single, your future husband -- one girl in class said she prayed for the 3 Ss for her future husband: that God keep him safe, single, and sober =)
My children -- or, in my case and many others, future children

3. Then select the appropriate day:
Monday -- Family (extended)
Tuesday -- Friends
Wednesday -- Missionaries
Thursday -- Nonbelievers
Friday -- Sick
Saturday -- Leaders
Sunday -- Church

4. Request List
Prayer items that I want to voice daily to God.

Suggestions: Place in binder and keep in your special place of solitude. Always write the date you enter a request and the date the request is answered. Please feel free to make this plan work for you and adjust it any way you need. The most important thing is to begin this spiritual discipline.


I need to stay focused. I need to stay consistent. I need to pray more for those around me. I've been lacking in this area.

But I'm going to try to do better.

**BTW, thanks for the comments yesterday! Y'all really brightened my day! I will wear my headband happily all through summer!! =D

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Age and appearance

I am 27 years old. In October, I will be 28.

FYI, on most days, I don't feel like an adult. Just felt like that needed to be said.

I teach mainly 18-22 year olds. I don't feel that I look much older than them (It also helps that I continually get mistaken for a college student.).

So my appearance takes the form of my attitude. I've always felt that I was a little bit hippie, a little bit of a 50s child, and a lot of the 60s. I heart polka dots, bright colors, pearls, and sparkles. And my clothing reflects that.

I bought this particular headband last year and wore it maybe twice. I pulled it out again today to pull together my coral-turquoise color scheme and to help my air-dried hair. However, I am 27 years old.

Am I too old to wear a flower headband?

And now, a better view...