About Me

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I'm a child of God, wife to Charlie, mom to three beautiful girls, daughter to Dennis and Susan, and friend to as many as I can meet. (In that order.) Welcome to my bloggaroni. :) Follow me on Twitter: thatsmykimjay / Go to my site: www.kimjay.com

Friday, July 31, 2009


Well, the stress started the minute I woke up today. I squandered yesterday's babysitter day with almost a full day of the hair-extravaganza. All three of us "big girls" went to get haircuts and mine colored while the Peanut was at Wendy's. So, today I'm stressing because I have several photoshoots this weekend, and I have several in the pipeline already to edit. But, that is a BLESSING - and a little mind boggling.

How am I gonna get it all done?

So, the baby woke up off and on all night. And, though I didn't get up with her every time, I certainly laid in bed listening and trying to judge which cry deserves mama's personal attention, and which would go away soon. So, not much sleep for me. Add that to the drastic change in weather from yesterday - you get a major headache. This morning, she was in a particularly independent mood, and threw fits over every frustration she had. Feeding herself, toppling over repeatedly, not wanting what I made her. Fussy morning. So what do I do? I leave. Ha!

Well, Morgan has two friends over, Bradyn has one, and Anna is just bored. So, I figured I would just load them all up and go to the mall. Stop stressing over what I'm NOT going to get done. It would be as much stress being here trying to get it all done in the middle of the circus anyway. So, I left the Peanut with the big girls and went to switch my Corolla for Charlie's Highlander so we can all fit in it. Amazing what a 45-minute drive ALONE will do for your outlook.

Today, is GIRL day! I am woman hear me roar! Whatever. We are going to the mall - with no money. And, memories will be made, fun will be had, love will be shared. Okay, maybe we'll just be glad to get out of the house. Have a GREAT Friday everyone!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nadia Price Strid

My whole life, I've heard about Nadia. "When I worked for Nadia..." "Nadia used to do this..." "Nadia had one of those..." "Nadia, Nadia, Nadia..." She had such an exotic name. And, based on the stories from my dad, such an exotic life. How she traveled the world. How she taught him the whole art of photography. How she met so many cool people. Here is an excerpt from my father's personal story he is keeping:

"I was the lowly college student and darkroom worker. I carried the bags of one of Memphis’ great photographers and artists. I interviewed with Nadia, January 1966, the same month I met Susan. I showed her work I had done in college and high school. I was hired at $1.00 an hour and $1.50 an hour if we had to go out of town to work. I learned a fortune of experience from working for her. Under her guidance, I printed pictures of some of the most notable Memphians of the 20th Century. I learned lighting, chemistry, composition, and perseverance to learn something new. She once went to Europe for a vacation. She told the photography supply shop to give me whatever I needed to set up a color lab at her studio. I read the books and bought the equipment. When she returned, I had printed the first of many color prints. I built the sinks, the work tables, did the plumbing, and wired the timers and lights. She was impressed. I was proud. I saw her last month and took her out to eat. She is now 89 years old and as spry as ever. We reminisced and compared life histories. I told her how she influenced Susan and me. I have many classic portraits and pictures taken while under her guidance. Most are Susan and Mamma and Daddy. They are all priceless. Now my daughter, Kim Jay is a professional photographer. All digital and more artistic than I ever imagined."

My Daddy called me this morning. Let me just say, my Daddy is my biggest fan - followed by Charlie in a close second. He still talks to Nadia. He brags to her about me, which makes me nervous, because, well - I just started this whole photography thing! Anyway, he called me today to tell me that Nadia had gone to my website! (Nerves - immediately, my stomach is in knots, and I'm sweating.) Of course he said she said nice things, but what else would she do? Tell him his darling daughter has a LONG WAY TO GO!?!?!?

A pic of me my Daddy took in 1971.

So who is this Nadia? I've never had the privelege of meeting her yet. So, Google to the rescue. Here's some of what I found:

Absolutely fascinating in every way. What amazing blessing I have been given, in this connection through my father to such an amazing person, much less photographer! Because of her, my father took the time when I was little to explain things like f-stops and apertures. Because she taught him, he taught me.

When I start to think that my work is not art, just photos, I will try to remind myself that each and every child, family, young adult, pet...each is a work of art from my Creator. That's how Nadia started. She saw the African-American culture as a beautiful creation of God - in a time when it was NOT politically correct to do so - especially in MEMPHIS! She took her photographs because it was beautiful to HER. That is my goal!

Thank you, Nadia. And, thank you Daddy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps...

I miss Papa Tang today.

Last night, as I was sending my last "Tweet" on Twitter, I said, "Glad you all got to see me!" One of my Twitter friends, @jplovesmem (or Janice Person), knew Papa and appreciated the humor. It really made me miss him. If you knew Papa Tang - and MANY people all over Memphis knew Papa Tang - you know he had a saying for everything. EVERYTHING!

We are constantly saying these words around our house, "Papa Tang used to say that!" or, "As Papa Tang used to say..." Especially now with the Peanut around.

She burbs at the dinner table, "Bring it up again, and we'll vote on it!"

Bradyn whips up one of her "recipe" concoctions for me to taste, "No, thank you, I just had a bar of soap."

I cut a board a little too short for the picnic table, "That's okay, we'll just go pick up some 3/4" caulking."

"Well, take ol' Kimberley Denise Rotten there, for instance. She means well...."

Another big burp from a family member, "Now let's hear from another county!"

And, everyone's favorite:

Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cock-eyed mosquitos, and, bow-legged ants...
I come before you, and not behind you.
I come to tell you a story about which I know perfectly nothing of.
Last night, a ton of bricks, rolled up my driveway,
And killed our poor old dead cat.
So, we rushed him to the hospital as slowly as we could,
To find King Arthur at the fourth corner of his round table,
Eating vinegar with a fork!

Papa Tang married my Grandmama when my mom was a teenager. He had two daughters (Aunt Dixie and Aunt Glenda), and Grandmama had two daughters (my mom and Aunt Buff.) Like the Brady Bunch. He was never-ever-ever considered a step-anything. If you had Papa, you were as blood-kin. That went for family, friends, anyone. He married my Grandmama and took care of her better than any man on earth would have. You've never seen two old people gush and mush over each other like them two. Little things. He held the door for her, and patiently waited as it took her 30 minutes to say "good-bye" when leaving anywhere. She saved the "heart" of the watermelon for him because he was her sweetheart. You better not even think about stealing it and eating it yourself!

He was a real card! A fine christian man who took his family to church on Sundays, was an elder at church, led a boyscout troop, and prayed for our every meal. He also had a thing for beautiful women. Like the Barbie Twins, as you could tell walking into his shop. Pin-up models from the war, calendars, all in full clothing of course. He was a flirt! I can't tell you how many nurses and sales girls I witnessed him flirting with. But, it never even worried me at all. Even as a child, I new he was just kidding with those girls. His love for Grandmama was SOOOOO over the top. Much like my Dad with my mom.

But, today, mostly, I miss the hugs. I'd give anything (getting vehclemnt) for one of those hugs. To hold his big hand in church and play with his wedding ring like I did as a child. Even as he was on hospice before he died, we would climb up on that hospital bed set up in his room at home, and lay our head on his shoulder. Even when he got to weak to talk, to weak to call me "Little Sug", he would try his best to pat me so I knew he meant he loved me. My girls, who were 6 and 2 at the time, climbed up in bed with us. When he died, I was at first afraid to see him. We went over to the house and I peeked around the corner. He didn't look good. But, I just couldn't help myself. I had to hold his hand. It was cold already, but I didn't care. Eventually the room filled up with his four girls and Grandmama and some of us cousins, and I'll never forget. "Susan! His back is still warm!" my Aunt Buff cried, and we all immediately slid our hands under him to feel what was left of Papa's warmth on earth. I never wanted the funeral home to get there. I wanted to stay right there with Grandmama and hold him forever.

Even my small children, who are usually afraid of funerals and the dead - kissed his forehead as he laid there in the coffin. Not an ounce of hesitation. It was Papa. In his hands, a yellow mum that Bradyn had brought to him the week before. He asked me to put it in his hands as they crossed them in his coffin. Papa was just meant for cuddling. I'd just really give anything - anything for him to hold me again in that big recliner and rest my head on his shoulder.

When I was single, I prayed for God to send me a "Papa Tang" like he did for Grandmama. God gave me Charlie. And, as Bradyn and Morgan love on Charlie, I can't help but feel God's presence in our lives...because both Papa Tang and Charlie are witnesses to the healing Christ brings. Praise God for them both!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My body is falling apart and I'll be 40 in December...

Did this thing come with a warranty for goodness sakes?!?!?!?!?

Had the yearly today. Girls, you know what I mean. Guys, just never mind.

Seriously, my day began with a face full of zits. Now, someone please tell me, what the heck?!?!?!? I guess I should formally and publicly apologize to anyone and everyone to who I bragged to in high-school, about not having pimples. Cause now, I'm paying. And, they're not your average garden variety type either. These things hurt! And are seriously U-G-L-Y! I made it 39 years before this whole crap started. It seems, too, that the more I clean my face and treat it with whatever, the worse it gets. Ugh.

So then, THE appointment. That annoying, humiliating, uncomfortable, tortuous, part of life that we women must endure our entire lives. It was all going fine until the question, "So, it looks like you will be 40 this year. Have you had a mammogram yet?" Two words I did not want to have to hear until I HAD to. "40" and "mammogram." And, I guess today was the day. Oh joy. My body is falling apart underneath me. Thyroid, bladder, acne, allergies, asthma, the list goes on and on (as I am omitting the gross stuff - and there's lots of it!)

So, of course I go there. You know where I'm talking about, ladies. There. On the phone with Charlie, "Just be glad you're not a woman!" His response, "I hear ya!" I get to thinking in the car ride on the way to pick up the daughter I forgot to pick up earlier..... MEN.

Okay, I understand the whole pain during childbirth thing because of Eve. But, pain for the rest of your life? A body that is held together with masking tape and staples, that is squishy and bloated, and leaks? Thanks a lot, Eve! Thanks - a - lot! Here are some of the things we women have to deal with that men will never understand - although the sweet ones try really hard - they just will never get the full magnitude of living with all of them like we do!

The "chocolate time of the month" as we like to call it in our house. The funny thing about this phenomenon is - although we as women are the ones dealing with this week of schizophrenia, followed by a week of disgusting mess - is that the men are sometimes the ones complaining about it the most. Especially, if there is more than one female in the home. Forget about four - and my poor friends Sara-Anne and Gina - five! Yeah, the men actually complain about it like they are the ones having to beg to be brought to the marina so you can go to the bathroom, instead of peeing in the lake like everybody else.

Shaving is another fun activity. Especially if you have a freaking 37" leg! Do you guys understand how hard it is to shave that far away? I have to FedEx the razor to my foot and wait for UPS to bring it back. It takes me FOREVER to shave my legs! And, how are we rewarded for our silky smooth appendages? "You take too long in the shower!" But, heaven forbid we NOT shave! Then we hear, "Yikes! Look at the hair on those legs!" Nuff said about that.

Now. While we're on the subject of hair. It takes me every minute of an hour to get my hair to look the way it does. First, shampoo and condition in the shower, which takes awhile with the coif I got going on up there. If there is not sufficient water pressure - even longer. 20 minutes. It is soooo thick. Then, the hair drying process. In order to get my hair straight, I have to section my hair off to dry it one part at a time - pulling it straight with a hairbrush. 15 minutes. Then, after it's dry, back up into clips in sections for the straightening. 20 more minutes. Then, five minutes left for teeth brushing and makeup. This must happen every day if I want to look decent for my hubby, who has verbally expressed his desire that I wear my hair the way I do. (He doesn't even like it up in a clip - but hey, I gotta get a break somewhere! It gets in my face all day!) So, sometimes I just skip the shower altogether - and "hat it."

Clothing. To dress up and look nice, a man need merely to tuck his shirt in and put on a belt. And, he can wear the same exactly thing repeatedly, and nobody will really notice. We, however, must stuff ourselves into pantyhose, Spanx, and push-up or strapless bras that cut off the circulation to the lower half of our bodies. To dress up jeans - high heels. I don't even think I need to explain how that is worse for women. Then, we are required to have a million different outfits - because people remember what WE wear! But, then we get nudged about shopping too much.

Well, I could go on an on, but you get the picture. And, I'm not taking away from the sweet guys out there who work hard for us and provide the world to us. I just get so frustrated at the handicap we girls work with on a daily basis. I mean, just think of all I could get done in a day if I didn't have to worry about this stuff! If I didn't look like a matchstick when I had short hair, I would totally buzz it! That would make my life sooooo easy! Heck, I'm even longing for the days when the perm-look was in. I had it made! Wash and scrunch. Loved it. Oh well. Guess we just have to keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First edition of Out-Take Tuesday.....

I tell you what...my job is so freakin' fun! I get to play with so many cute kids (although some are challenging at times, they are all so sweet!), meet so many cool people, watch young people grow into adults, and go so many cool places. Fun!

One of the funnest (I know - not a word) parts of my job is downloading images right after a photoshoot. It's like Christmas! What did I get? Anything good? Then - WOW! These beautiful little faces jump out and make me cry! And, I didn't even give birth to them!

This last batch was of four GORGEOUS little girls. Their mom, Gina (pronounced "jeh-na") Bailey Harris, has been a friend of mine for as long as I can remember. I have known her longer than I have had my permanent teeth! I used to babysit her every single Wednesday night for years - while her dad, the choir director, and her mom and my mom were at choir practice. They are family. Not "like" family. They ARE family. Brenda, her mom - "BB" to the granddaughters - and my mom and I put on soooooo many Vacation Bible Schools, I can't even count! It was so good to be able to spend an afternoon with Gina and Brenda and those girls!

So, Gina has four girls. All under the age of 9, I think. When the youngest was born, Gina's husband said, "Four weddings and a funeral - mine!" I thought I had it bad! I seriously know that God was smart to space mine apart because I don't have a lot of surplus patience. But, Gina - another story. The thing that has always struck me about Brenda, and now I see in Gina, is nothing seems to phase them. Nothing seems to rattle or shake them. Several weeks ago with the Nana's Girls pics, I was ready to pull my hair out if Anna didn't cooperate. The tantrums make me a nervous wreck.

But, being the presence of six Bailey girls at once, toddlers running around, babies crawling out of the picture, oldest girl being done with it all - I was in the midst of the best afternoon I've had in a long time, because they were so calm and having such a fun time. Not one time did anyone of those four girls cry or pitch a fit. Not once! That's unheard of in a photoshoot - even if it's me throwing the fit. So, I thought I'd share some of the funny out takes, and thank Gina for being a great example of a good mom for the rest of us! Cheers!

Friday, July 17, 2009

To everything turn, turn, turn…

“As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)

I’m panting so hard for God today, that I think I’m gonna need my inhaler! I just feel so starved for His presence today. Ever get that way? It doesn’t happen much, in my busy-busy life, but today it is. But, gosh, that’s bad isn’t it?

Back at the beginning of this blog I wrote about that priority time I was going to try to start. Done it twice so far. Ugh. How pathetic. I’m absolutely certain that the feelings I feel today are because of my avoidance of God. I feel so down and depressed. I look at everyone else’s life and wish. The grass is always greener. Wonder if the deer wish they were fish so they always had water? Then they wouldn’t have to go around panting all day, and all would be right with the world. Oh, they would think, if only I were a fish!

I was Twittering today, and two of my Tweeps (Twitter friends) were talking about how they hate their tiny little offices. Of course, me at home with the baby hanging on my arm, making it a physical miracle anything ever gets blogged, was thinking, Man, how I would love to go to an office and work ALONE all day! I would be such a better mom/wife if I were NOT doing it ALL the time!

I know I have soooo many blessings. And, I’m sure there are those of you thinking to themselves that my life would be a great swap. But, isn’t that the case for everyone? The single person spends their days thinking about being happily married. The married person thinks about their old life as a single person. The teenager wants desperately to finally be an adult. The grownup yearns for the old days as a teenager. The toddler wants to be a “big girl.” The middle child wants to be the baby. And, on and on and on…

Perhaps God designed it that way? Perhaps He put in us that little gene of desire somewhere deep in our DNA, that makes us continuously wonder, What if? Otherwise, would we desire Him? I mean, if our makeup was that of pure contentment, why would we need Him? We’d just sit around happy as can be all day. And, yet, His Word tells us to be content. It’s all so confusing.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philipians 4:11-13)

Well, lah-tee-dah, Paul! I’m so glad you have mastered it! How are we supposed to get there?

Today I dream of the day Peanut goes to Kindergarten, and I can work on my photography all day long uninterrupted. But, gosh, I don’t want to rush through her babyhood! Look at Morgan, she’s slipping through my fingers, and Bradyn is fast behind. So I guess I should rest in the day. Today, AnnaGrace is over to play with Anna Katelyn and it is a good day! I will not get ANYTHING done. Which, for the Dennis Roaten in me, is a hard thing to let go. But, my Mama, who is pretty darned near the wisest Christian I know, always reminds me that there are seasons. There will be plenty of time to work. Five years is a blink. It will be gone so fast. And, in that five years, Morgan will be off to college, and Bradyn will be in highschool. Now, to go read Goodnight Moon four hundred times to two little girls who would rather eat the book.

To everything, turn, turn, turn…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” (Ecclesiates 3:1)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morning people...

I don’t like them.

Okay, that’s not true. The fact is, I deeply love many of those freaks of nature. Charlie, Morgan, Aunt Judy and Uncle Bobby, Memaw, my Daddy are a few. I am just insanely jealous of that particular trait God has blessed them with. If I could change anything about myself...okay, well let’s face it, we’d be here all day if I listed everything. But, if I could change anything about myself - being a morning person would be high on the list. In fact, it has been the topic of many a wish accompanying a penny into a fountain.

There are several issues that come with not being a morning person. First, morning people tend to be a little judgmental towards us. Admit it, you morning people! You know that you have secretly, and sometimes not-so-secretly, thought to yourself that we non-morning-people are just plain lazy. I would like to go on record saying that this is totally false. There was a point in my life where I was getting up late with little ones because I didn’t have to be anywhere and neither did they. But, once I was up...I was keeping a clean home, sewing numerous projects, chasing toddlers, making breakfast lunch and dinner, serving on committees, and staying up until 2 a.m. working on the house, planning a VBS, or sewing to save money. I really don't think I was lazy.

Secondly, we non-morning people don’t sleep late because we are laying in bed thinking, “Oh, I’ll just sleep a little more instead of enjoying this beautiful day.” NO! We are physically using every ounce of willpower we can muster to get the cells in our bodies to cooperate all at once, heaving themselves out of that bed. Just as you morning people have a hard time going back to sleep after you are awakened - we late risers have an equally hard time NOT going back to sleep. We cannot control this phenomenon. We would LOVE to be able to jump out of bed the first time we open our eyes. It is just physically impossible. It is how we were created.

Another thing. It has been my observation that early risers are more prone to naps and going to bed early. I will not name any names, but a certain person, who would frequently comment that “8:30 is early for you, Kim!” would come to visit. They would nearly always sleep an hour or two in the afternoon and go to bed at 8:30-9:00 at night. Now, I did the math on several occasions and realized that I was staying awake 6 more hours a day than this person! I was accomplishing three times as much! And, this person clearly insinuated that I must be lazy because it is hard for me to wake up.

So why does this happen? Why do early risers get to be that way? It is my assertion that God just made us all different. For reasons that He only knows. I have tried to make an effort to be conscious of this. As a manager at the bank, I was regularly called upon to be at meetings early in the morning. Besides the obvious logistical problems this caused with kids as a single mom, it was just plain hard to get up earlier. I noticed that in these meetings there were always a few who showed up 10 minutes early, having read their paper, drank their coffee, and leisurely delivered their kids to school. I however, mostly commiserated with those in the meeting who seemed to land into their seats, as if to say, "I made it! What's my time?" These wonderful human beings obviously had a morning that mirrored mine.

Here's how their day started:

Morning began with that foul alarm device that shouted profane obscenities, “Beep, beep, beep, beep...”, continuing for at least four snoozes. The alarm clock manufacturer took great pains to "beep" out the words, just like watching an episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. But, I know very well the words it was covering - and Miss Susan (my Mama) wouldn't care for them none too much.

Eventually they managed to roll out of bed and into the shower. This is a non-morning person's only hope of consciousness. At some point during the shower, you realize that you have been washing your hair for five minutes over and over again. Or, you spend five minutes trying to remember if you washed it at all. Shaving? Well, that must wait until later in the day. Way too dangerous for a non-morning person to wield something that sharp that early in the day. You finally wake up when your early morning child - that little brat - yells at you that she is ready to go. Oh the gall!

You get out of the shower to find that you have been in there for a full hour! Okay, not really. Maybe 45 minutes. At this point, the race is on. You are left with a handful of minutes to get it all done and get to that blasted early meeting at work. Brush hair, brush teeth, gather and sign the papers for school that you were supposed to gather and sign last night, grab moola for lunches because you don't have time to make them, and you forgot to do that the night before as well. Argue with oldest child, argue with youngest child, jump in the car, stop in the driveway to throw out yesterday's Coke can into the garage that you will pick up when you get home, and speed out of the neighborhood.

Yes, I know how those meeting racers feel. And, you know what? Those early morning people get raises and kudos and accolades for their punctuality. That is completely ridiculous. To give rewards to people who are doing what God gave them a natural tendency for, that’s like someone complementing me for being able to stay up later than everyone else. I think when you are hired you should be required to disclose whether or not you are a morning person. THEN, the people who consistently show up for meetings on time who are KNOWN non-morning people should be rewarded. Because they.....they have truly done miracles...and they deserve the pat on the back for it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jeremiah was a bullfrog...

A friend of mine updated her status yesterday, I think it was. It said something about having read Chapter 29 of the book of Jeremiah and loving it. Made me remember why I love Jeremiah, too. So, thought I'd share.

It was January, 2006. My divorce was final on January 4, 2006. I had gone through that icky-divorced-crazy-woman stage in those five months prior to my divorce and was pretty much over it. I was sitting on the couch, facing the silent, dark TV, upstairs at my new apartment - mom and dad's upstairs TV room. Crying. Girls are at Randy's. I'm bored. I'm lost. I'm completely and utterly at the bottom-most point in my life. There's the scene for you.

I had been journaling and reading the Bible like crazy. Grasping all the time for some sort of comfort, comfort that I had preached and promised was there in the Word, so many times in my life. I had been listening to Sara Grove's song, "Jeremiah."

It talks about a "fire that burns up in your bones." My kids loved this song and we played it all the time, and for the life of me, I couldn't remember a Bible story about Jeremiah's fire. So, I started reading the book of Jeremiah that day. Whoa. There's some deep, hard-hitting, stuff in that book! I mean, seriously.

"Long ago you broke off your yoke
and tore off your bonds;
you said, 'I will not serve you!'
Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute.
Jeremiah 2:20

Um, ouch. Now, it's talking about Israel turning its back on God. But, I couldn't help but wonder what other applications it could hold. I had stopped going to church regularly, although still praying like crazy all the time. I was actually enjoying the freedom from the controlling fear I was living in - in my marriage. The fear of "what if's." "What if" became "what is." So, no need in worrying about that anymore. No more guilt in the constant thought in the back of my mind, Could there be somebody else out there for me? Is Randy it? Will he leave me? To be perfectly honest, I was REALLY enjoying the attention I was getting as a single woman in the corporate world. This was a FAR contrast to the stay-at-home mom who was constantly worried if she could measure up to the girls on TV, in the magazines, and well, you know.

So, I started off into Jeremiah. Long book. Lots and lots of tongue lashing towards Israel who deserved every bit of it. I felt so down-trodden (how's that for a Biblical term?). Then, one day on that couch, alone again...God spoke to me. Whenever people talk about God speaking to them, you wonder. Well, don't you? Cause, let's face it, we'd like to think He's chatting away at us all the time. You know, telling us the answers to the prayers we constantly pray - Which school should my kid go to? Should I buy this BMW? What should I serve for dinner? But, I truly think He reserves His voice for the moments we KNOW it's from Him. Whether it's big or small. I think He holds His tongue until He knows He'll get the credit and people will be changed from it. Just my opinion. This is what He told me:

10 "This is what the LORD says: 'You say about this place, "It is a desolate waste, without men or animals." Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither men nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying,
"Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
for the LORD is good;
his love endures forever."
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,' says the LORD.
Jeremiah 33:10-11

When those words "voices of bride and bridegroom" jumped off those pages and I realized what God was saying to me in that moment, my heart turned a flip. He was telling me that everything was going to be okay. He had someone out there waiting for me. I wouldn't live in my parents' upstairs forever, alone. I WOULD get married and grow old with someone. My body got warm and I started crying with the same fervor as when they first laid Morgan on my stomach when she was born. Uncontrollable joy! There I sat, so defeated, and yet so happy all at once. I had no idea how, but I knew without a doubt that Jesus was exactly Who I had been telling people He was for all those years. My life WAS without men, without a home, even. God assured me at that moment it was all going to be okay.

So, that next month - I met Charlie. One year and five months later we were married less than 100 feet from where I sat that day when God spoke. This was printed on my wedding invitations:

"Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
for the LORD is good;
his love endures forever."
Jeremiah 33:11

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Confessions of a control freak...

Yes, I said it. I'm a control freak. This crazy label has been wielded at me with malice, humor, fear, and angst.

I didn't fully believe it until several years ago. I was at a weekend-long group therapy session way back in the day when I was grasping at anything and everything I could find that might possibly help me deal with my failing marriage. We had to endure one of those "exercises" where you have to trust another human being. They told us we would get a partner, blind fold one of us, and the other would be in charge of leading the blind one around a field next to the venue we were therapizing in. I thought, Oh, this will be fun - just like the stuff I used to do with the youth at the church.

She went first, and I guided her around in the line following our leader around the empty lot. Not too much to worry about. A crevice here and there where the earth had been moved around and rained on. Some weeds, some empty coke and beer cans. Fun. Now, my turn. At first it was okay, fun even. Until... I hear screams and laughter and then slapping and more screams. The woman in front of me was "led" into a mound of fire ants. Then the "group leader" started yelling for our partners to quickly head another direction. Why? Why not let us take these stupid blindfolds off and let us RUN to another direction?

Then, totally out of nowhere, I feel like I've been locked in a trunk, unable to get out. I stop and take off my blindfold. The leaders gave me some very disapproving looks and body language - and I felt all of two years old. So, not to be further embarrassed and singled-out, I put the blind fold back on. Very soon after, I hear a voice in my ear, "Deep breath in, deep breath out." What the heck? I'm not giving birth here! Why was this woman "talking me through" this? Oh, that's why - I suddenly felt as though I was going to faint. I was hyperventilating. The blind fold is coming off, dam (as in Hoover Dam, mom) it! The day after that point - was a long session in which 10 strangers explained to me that I was having "control" issues. No duh.

You see, I have no trouble with control as long I have faith in the one controlling me. Or, as long as I know what's ahead. I don't think that is so "crazy." Do you? Why else do we worry to death when our daughter is driving the car (not having even her full license yet) and snooze away when our husbands are driving? We have faith in the experience of the latter. With all that being said - I'm worried about my girls this week. I won't stop worrying until they return. It's about all I can think about. I am eagerly waiting for every call or text from Brady Lady. I don't expect them from Moey. She's cool. She don't need me. (Wink.)

With all that worrying, I guess I'm not placing my faith in the One who deserves it most. I know in my intellectual mind that God can handle just about anything. HA! So, why is it so hard for me to keep the blindfold on? Why do I constantly have to keep peeking around the corner and begging people that just came off the ride to tell me what it's like? Why can't I just wait my turn and see for myself what God has in store? He has proven Himself time and time again. Look at Charlie Jay for goodness sakes! That man is a miracle. I trust him more than I trust myself! If anyone has thought through, analyzed, and weighed the consequences in any given situation (including the purchase of diapers at Kroger vs Costco), it's Charlie Jay.

Yes, God has taken care of me. And, I know He has to love my sweet little girls more than anything - even more than I do. I have to know He's watching them and protecting them - even when they are away from me. Oh, Lord - what am I gonna do when Morgan goes off to college????? Crap! More worrying! I'm gonna put it out of my mind and go eat a doughnut. :)

Matthew 6:33-34:
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mobile blogging...

Okey dokey. Just downloaded an ap for my iPhone so I can keep up with my blog from da road. We'll see I my patience holds up for this tiny little typing exercise.

So far, pretty good vacation. Although my body has suddenly and violently begun to revolt against me. In my ever-nearing middleagedness, I have developed was seems to be ever-worsening asthma. And allergies. Throat gripping, nose drowning, skin crawling allergies.

So, we tried moving to a hotel last night to see if that helps. My brother and sister-in-law have been so nice to let us stay with them this week. But, Tahoe, was making me sick. And I think Anna, too. It did seem to help, but staying in a hotel with a baby isn't ideal.

This morning during her nap, we were all sequestored (not sure about the spelling on that) in the room tip-toeing around in hopes that the little cherub will remain one and not show the Tasmanian devil side we've seen a few times already this vacation. How's that for some serious run-on action?

So what do four cell-phone weilding Americans do for an hour in a hotel room in silence? Text, Facebook, email, and Twitter. Pretty funny. And, we've gotten a lot of slack for getting Bradyn a cellphone. But, I have to say it has already come in handy quite a bit.

Okay, so that wasn't so bad. I hope all my "with"s were not converted to "wig"s by my iPhone corrector. Have a great day!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Vacation thoughts and ramblings from a mom...

I can't wait to see my new little God-son/nephew. Looking forward to hanging out with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and friends. Excited about a possible poker game, Busch Gardens, and the beach. BUT...

I am seriously dreading 13 hours in the car Friday with a 14 month old. Not thinking I'm gonna get much rest with Peanut in a strange bed. Then, it's all the packing for here, packing for there. No highchair, no baby-proofed home, none of our regularly scheduled nap-times. My mom would say, "Don't bar trouble. No sense in worrying over something that hasn't happened yet." She's right, but ugh. How can you not? I mean, when I know I'm gonna have a root canal - I dread it! When I know I have to have blood taken - I dread it! Vacation for Mama means doing everything you're doing at home on a regular basis, 24/7, in another place, without all the comforts/tools/routines of home.

I remember when I was little, we camped nearly every vacation until I was 16. We didn't have a ton of money to go fly somewhere, but my Daddy made sure we always took a vacation. And, I have to say, those camping trips have a way of bringing a family together. You eventually have to get along with your little brothers after a few days in the woods and in a camper with them at night. Anyhoo, I used to wonder how my mom coped. Not only did she have to cook and clean still, but in a campground. Where you have to pump your water up to a HOSE! She would peel potatoes while we played with sticks and went "exploring" - and when we got back - what the heck? Where did all this food come from? She was amazing.

(This pic is from a couple of years ago in Mountain View, AR on a weekend trip to the lake - where she cooked for us all weekend as she always does. She loves this pic for some reason. Note the old Canon Rebel I loved so much!)

A couple of times, me and my ex took Morgan and Bradyn camping. Me, trying to recreate the moments I had with my family with my girls. We explored, played with sticks, but dang it! When we got back to camp - nothing. Crap, I thought, that means I have to cook! Ugh. I'm just not a good a sport as she is. We are wired differently. I wish I were more like her. I want to go-go-go, not miss anything, have fun with the rest of the family. She was perfectly contented, happier even (or so she made it seem), to cook and do for us than to go and do.

I feel tied to the kitchen like a dog tied to a tree watching the kids run and play across the street. If I never had to cook again, oh how life would ROCK! I guess I'm pretty gripey about most of the traditional "stay-at-home-mom" chores. Except laundry. For some weird reason, I LOVE to do laundry. I love to sort. I love to fold everything, just so-so. I love the warm clothes coming out of the dryer smelling so good. I love that moment when you've put away the very last stitch of clothing and the laundry room is EMPTY. I know, I'm a freak. Why can't I be that way about cooking? We'd save a LOT of money going out! :)

I'm not trying to be intentionally ungrateful for the life God gave me. But, sometimes I think if only I had been a boy. I'm so career driven, so goal oriented, so in love with jumping in the car and doing my own thing. I love the feedback you get at work. I love the feeling of getting paid and getting raises based on my performance. I love yard work. I love to fix things. I love working in the shop with my Daddy. I love my mom, but I don't really enjoy cooking with her, but hey - I'll clean the kitchen all day long!

Anyway, trying not to "bar trouble," I'll try to have a better attitude about our "vacation." At least Anna is a bit easier than Christmas. The baby couldn't crawl then, and fussed all the time because she wanted something out of reach that we had no idea of. We can take her outside and let her play and wear herself out. :) And, she LOVES the puppies we'll see. And, the girls will be with us. So, maybe it will be easier. I'll let you know. :)