Friday, March 31
150 or so new best friends.......

I'm the one in the black over-sized tee...............

  Into the pensieve on Friday, March 31, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (6)

Thursday, March 30
Still not finished, but.....
I've lost my voice....allergies are raging...I'm dead-dog brain is exploding...

and my heart is FULL!!!! No, make that OVERFLOWING.

Still at Finishing School and it goes from 8 in the morning and I'm not getting home til after 10. Even though the days are packed, you're still left wanting more. This is GOOD stuff :). It's Titus2 (especially beginning at verse 4) being lived out in a way that speaks to the heart...older women INVESTING in the lives of younger women. These gals are amazing... The "school" is exceeding my expectations (how often does THAT happen?).

Because the things they're sharing are based in God's word, I've been convicted of many things related to my role as wife and mother......all the while, however, being totally esteemed as a WOMAN. Being taught what a Godly wife...mother...woman looks like. Yeah, I thought I knew, but it's like once again, I'm seeing in technicolor what was formerly in black and white.

Oh, it's my birthday :). I've been celebrating since Tad & the kids first woke up this morning, and I've never stopped today. The three "diva's" sang to me (Kay, Emilie & Donna), the 160 or so women at the conference sang to me, Kay and her staff gave a dreadful serenade, my new friends gave me presents (!), a not-so-new friend give me a "sisterhood" gift (a part of herself)...and I came home to lots of special snail mail and some fun emails....I'm just generally feelin' the love. Not bad for a 40-something birthday. I most cherish knowing a memory was made today. I'm feelin' "Youniquely Woman"...!

Here's a pic of me and "the girls" after a l o n g day--and night--of finishing......

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, March 30, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (4)

Wednesday, March 29
So, I'm at a pilot conference this week at Precept International, Youniquely Woman. It's a week-long finishing school........and I'll explain more later. Sessions are led by Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes and Donna Otto, three new "best friends" ;).

For now, gotta tell ya the funniest lines of the day:

What's sexy about feet in your pajamas? How's he gonna get to you??

You can always pray you're adopted because then it means your parents never really did it. (The speaker's adult, married daughter is one of the program participants.)

And don't get me started on Emilie Barnes' demonstration on purse organization...did you even know there was such a thing??? Oh, my, I laughed until I cried.

Great day for endorphin release. Made some new friends (Hey Kimberly & Shannon)...and learned more about a not-so-new one ;).

More soon......this is GOOD stuff!

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, March 29, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (2)

Monday, March 27
Speechless...........almost ;)
Oh my word!

Wow......w o w.

Ok, the last post has set me on a freakin' bunny trail that I DO NOT have time to follow at the moment. But wow.

What does God care about? The heart. How do I KNOW this? Because He tells me so over and over and over again in scripture.

In The Message, 470 times; New Living Translation, 528; NIV? 743; NASB, 805; KJV, the high (of all translations I checked) 884.

A quick look tells me about His heart and about mine and about yours, too. And about anyone who's ever lived or will live. I'm overwhelmed. I'm stunned. Why this is so amazing to me is questionable. I should know this, it shouldn't take me by surprise. And yet it did.

My initial response is as David's was in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." That will have to do for now. But I know what I'll be writing about next.

(and doubtful I'll finish it this week...I'm headed to "school" so it may have to wait til next week. This one's gonna take some time.)

Gotta end with one more "wow".

  Into the pensieve on Monday, March 27, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (2)

Sometimes it takes very little...
to get me riled up.

Yesterday Rachel and I needed to pick up a baby blanket for a Youth group project. We found one at a department store, then walked through girls' clothes before paying. This meant we walked by girls' accessories...including socks, belts, underwear. Note, I said GIRLS department, not juniors, not women's, GIRLS.

Rows & rows of cute, adorable, colorful, PADDED bras! Where's my frowny face when I need it? Where's the mad bluebird?? Sexy, Victoria's Secrets-type bras for 10-year-olds! I happen to have a daughter who isn't rushing to grow up too fast...this repulses her as much as it does me. IT'S INFURIATING!

I cannot imagine what it's like for a young girl growing up today...the images they're bombarded with that are impossible to attain (at least in a "healthy" way). I am convinced it's our job as parents to FILL these girls with a proper view of feminity. The world will fight you on this, and if you have a daughter who isn't blind, it already is. If we are not intentional, the void will be filled with...something...and it will NOT be a biblical standard for beauty.

Start here and here. Then make it your business to find out what that means...and teach it to your daughters. Of course, I guess the step before that is you gotta believe that it's true yourself (and so do I).

  Into the pensieve on Monday, March 27, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (3)

Friday, March 24
Word Cloud......COOL

Thanks to Desert Pastor for passing along the link to this. It climbs into your blog and generates a "word cloud", (in his words) an expression of what your blog's all about. Again I say "cool"!

  Into the pensieve on Friday, March 24, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (2)

Thursday, March 23
Just look at this face......

This is EXACTLY how I feel right now...this little fella does a nice job of visually depicting just how TICKED OFF I am, and at the same time, beautifully so.

I planned a surprise night out with my husband. No kids (all three spending the night out?? How often does THAT happen??!). Dinner reservations at one of our ALL TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANTS (and I HAVE to add, if you're EVER within an hour's drive of Lookout Mountain--Tennessee OR Georgia ;)--you MUST, I repeat MUST check this place out! I'd recommend the "Slash & Burn" catfish & coconut cake.....and I don't even LIKE coconut cake. Southern Living agrees, and, even at today's gas prices, it's more than worth the drive and your time. You may thank me later by bringing me a slice of cake).

I'm not gonna tell ya the other surprises I had planned because my children read this blog. They'd "ick" out.

And if I ever had any doubts before (which I don't), I am convinced SATAN IS ALIVE AND KICKING AND HE HATES MARRIAGE AND HE'S LAUGHING AND DOING A HAPPY JIG RIGHT NOW.

Tad is working LATE :(. Major "thing" at work...not exactly something you can plan for. Not only did I have to (tearfully) call and cancel our dinner reservations, he may not come home until......who knows?????

The saving grace is . . . I WILL be ready for him (we'll call this "Plan B") ;)

Who's laughin' at who now?

Oh, yeah, evidently this is a very famous picture. Here's a link to give credit where credit is due.

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, March 23, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (5)

I'm all about sensitivity, but...
...this has GOT to be the ultimate in political correct INSANITY!!! (ok, so perhaps that is an overstatement, but this, roll your eyes, and say "puh-lease!") Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep?

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, March 23, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (3)

Tuesday, March 21
BFF (shhhhh, it's kindofa music review)(as if....!)
People who've been around me any length of time will eventually hear me refer to my new best friend Beth Moore. Love, love, LOVE the way that Southern girl speaks and how she makes Jesus as real and accessible as, well, "the girl next door". Of course, she's spent a lot of time with God and knows Him intimately and has the way of sharing her relationship with Him in such a way that you just gotta have a piece of it. Hopefully, the "piece" is of Christ, not Beth (she'd hate the latter).

The Bible studies of her's I've gone through have had great impact in my own life and spiritual growth. There's a lesson during each series that I'm convinced God inspired her to write just for ME! (all Beth's "best friends" feel that way ;) ).

All good things must come to an end, though, and I'm afraid I'll have to inform Beth that I have a new best friend Nichole Nordeman. I picked up her newest CD recently, Brave, and it's fantastic (listen to the music player when you click the link)! She didn't become my new best friend, though, until I read through her lyrics with the accompanying explanation for the origin of each song. She expresses well and succinctly her life experiences as well as those around her, and her response to each. Although I loathe the overuse of this word (can't believe I'm using it here...), she's REAL. Gotta love that.

I am also LOVING Derek Webb's CD, Mockingbird, right now, too. It's a "wow, did he just say that?!" kinda CD. Provocative ... thoughtful ... convicting... challenging ... and at times, in your face. While you're giving Nicole a whirl, give Derek a try, too. (Derek used to be a frontman for Caedmon's Call and left the group to fly solo. There's some story there, but I don't know what it is...I AM thinking he's probably freer to say what he really thinks now....!).
Look at some of his lyrics and see if you agree:

"There are two great lies that I've heard: ‘the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die’ and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him” -from “A King & A Kingdom”

“Don't teach me about moderation and liberty, I prefer a shot of grape juice” -from “A New Law”

"Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication it's like telling someone murder is wrong and then showing them by way of execution” -from “My Enemies Are Men Like Me”

Oh, yeah, thanks to Amy & Wendy for encouraging me to listen with BOTH ears ;).

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, March 21, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (3)

Saturday, March 18
" the closest thing we have to magic."

The line comes from "Aquamarine", a tween movie I wasn't sure I'd be able to sit through after watching the first 20 minutes, but ended up tolerating if not mildly enjoying (probably mostly due to the fact during my own preteen years I spent hours in the pool pretending to be a mermaid!). It's a wonderfully profound statement in the midst of the otherwise trite, predictable dialogue found in this genre of movies. I guess I should say here, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed the movie; I wonder if she has ever pretended to be a mermaid, I need to ask her.

According to Merriam-Webster Online, magic can be defined as an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. So, I'm not talking hocus pocus or abracadabra or even Wingardium Leviosa ;).

Children delight in a good story. Think about your kids in their preschool and early elementary years.....they BEG to be read to or to hear stories....books off the shelf or tales of your childhood, doesn't it blow your mind how they can listen to the same thing over and over and OVER until you (and they) can practically recite it?

For parents who follow Christ, there's a challenge to make the Story of God THIS delightful, THIS captivating, THIS our children want to hear about it over and over and OVER until they don't only recite it, but LIVE it without even realizing that's what they're doing. Not just rote placement in their heads, but seared upon their hearts.

My kids are just over the age of being read to, but they still love hearing a good story. I wish I had had these thoughts when they were younger; then again, it might not have mattered because I'm not the same person I was then. Older? Wiser??? Well, definitely older (lol). Now it forces us to find a new way that "speaks" to their age.

Which brings me back to my original point. Love IS magic! Clearly not in a mystic, sleight of hand kind of way. God IS love, He is the supernatural source which exudes extraordinary power and influence. Don't for a second think I'm reducing God to some great magician status...if you do that, you're entirely missing my point. I am AWED by His love. Awestruck! When I STOP to consider the dimension and expression of His love, when I'm still and attentive enough, and I catch a glimpse, I am affected. Changed.

More on this soon...sometimes there's just not enough time to finish.

  Into the pensieve on Saturday, March 18, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (3)

Thursday, March 16
Poster of the week

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, March 16, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (2)

Wednesday, March 15
Jesus is NOT my best friend!

I'm ticked right now. I wish I could make this picture of Calvin bigger, because his expression reflects how I'm feeling.

This morning's devotion with the kids was titled "Sitting with Jesus"; the companion Scripture was Psalm 63:1-7. So far, so good. The devotion was about a son who woke up and went to look for his mom. He found her sitting in her favorite chair, Bible in her lap, eyes closed, and he knew she was praying. She heard him, smiled, welcomed him and a discussion between them followed. When he asked her what she was praying about, she explained she was sitting with Jesus and that sometimes she simply liked to sit with him, think about how good he is, talk with him a little and just enjoy him. I'm still okay.

The devotion we're using always ends with "How about you?" questions, and one of the statements in that section was "Jesus wants to be your best friend." I always ask the kids questions about that day's devotion and scripture, and today was no different. I simply asked "Is Jesus your best friend?" As you may guess, all of my kids chimed in "Yes." You can imagine the shock when I said, "No, He isn't!" Thomas immediately (and defensively) said, "Moooooom....yes, He is!" The other two just looked surprised. I again firmly said, "No.......He isn't." They looked at me like I was crazy.

In that moment I saw the inordinate amount of pressure we, as Christian parents, can place on our children--to SAY the "right" thing, regardless of whether or not they really believe it. We force them to live a lie, and thus begins an unhealthy pattern that will last until adulthood unless something intervenes (God's grace...?) to break it. This isn't just perpetuated in our homes, lip service can be reinforced in church, and if your kids are in a Christian school, there, too.

Somehow, espousing with your mouth one set of "beliefs", when your heart (and actions) reflect another, inoculates you from...desensitizes you to...? the truth and REALITY of the gospel. In other words, you can live this life indefintiely expressing your "beliefs" without believing them, and not even realize the difference.

Am I making ANY sense here? I know I'm on a rant, and sometimes it's difficult to express the full measure of what I'm thinking.

Anyway, I didn't just leave my kids stunned, with their jaws dropped open. I explained that it was okay to say that Jesus wasn't really your best friend, if he in fact, wasn't...I told them they needed the FREEDOM to be honest about it....that I couldn't HONESTLY say he was MY best friend because often he is not the FIRST person I go to when I'm sad or mad or happy or excited or hurt or frustrated or lonely or in need of counsel or grateful or WHATEVER. Sometimes I go to him as a last resort...and sometimes, not at all. That being said, I told them at least I wanted to want him to be my best friend. I wanted to be able truthfully to pray as David did, "My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You..."

I lived the lie and said a lot of things I didn't truly believe for a long time. I'm realizing revelation comes in pieces, not in whole. Some of you have heard my dissertation on "Prescribed Faith," but when the real thing invades your heart, there's no denying the DOES make you hungry for more!

Maybe I can't protect my children from doing the same thing I did for so many years, but that's not going to keep me from trying.

  Into the pensieve on Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (10)

Tuesday, March 14
Yesterday was a hectic day, mainly because I was on the road three hours just prior to school pick up. I was kind of pleased Rachel's horseback instructor cancelled her lesson, which allowed me time to run to the grocery store to get something for dinner (I cooked maybe once last week?) and to begin the week by working out :).

While I was cooking, Thomas walked in the kitchen. I smiled at him but inwardly I was thinking just how fast he was growing up and how I wanted to slow it down. I think he read something in my smile because he said "You look pretty, Mom." The truth was, I felt anything BUT pretty after my drive through Atlanta, little sleep the previous night, "glowing" from my earlier work out ;).... His words instantly changed the way I felt. He walked over to hug me, and a great song was playing, "What If" by Nichole Nordeman. I just held onto him and we started dancing. He didn't even seem to mind 'cause he didn't let go either.

One of those sweet moments to savor. I've already forgotten what we had for dinner but I hope I'll always remember to take time to dance.

  Into the pensieve on Tuesday, March 14, 2006
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Monday, March 13
"God is God...
God is good. And God knows what's best for his children."

These were the words of a dear friend of mine as she courageously battled leukemia over the past year. They were a kind of war cry (to me), as she defiantly shook her fist at the disease and the very real threat of death, saying "You have no victory, you have no sting!" Anne's war cry was not loud and demanding, it was gentle and steadfast. Her offensive weapons were God's word and prayer (without ceasing!); defensively, she armored herself with truth and righteousness and peace and faith.

Last Tuesday evening, Anne's physical battle ended. As the church's website informed the membership of this sad news, it read "...the Lord called Anne home...".

Anne LIVED her faith openly and without reserve. Her only desire was "to glorify the Lord and be a witness for Him." And so she did :). Those who followed the progression of Anne's illness, saw her become less and God become more--she was truly "hidden with Christ in God". God has been amazingly magnified through her illness in a way He never could have through her health...literally, thousands have been touched by the faithfulness of this "steel magnolia". Perhaps none more than her husband, Shelton, a pastor for I-don't-know-how-many years. To witness transformation--albeit from a distance--of a man already gifted in the preaching of God's Word, is encouraging in and of itself. Their children have been forever changed, too, in a way that will affect generations to come.

I post this now to ask you to continue praying for them. Several friends have been praying all along for Anne, and now that this battle has ended, I'm sure new ones will erupt. The aftermath is often a more difficult time, so as you're able, remember them in your prayers. A beautiful song was co-written by Westminster's worship leader and a praise team member, and it gives you a glimpse into the impact of Anne's testimony--listen and worship! Anne's Song

  Into the pensieve on Monday, March 13, 2006
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Sunday, March 5
Warning! Gushing mom alert!!

"Sweet didn't know what it was til it met Rachel..."

Told by a 10-year-old to her mom about my teenager.

Moments like that and I think maybe we're getting it right some of the time. Of course (and once again, I smile) it could just be she was born that way.

  Into the pensieve on Sunday, March 05, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (7)

Friday, March 3
Kay Arthur: "I was a ...

Shocking, huh? I was more than a bit surprised when she said it, and when there must've been a discernable audience reaction, she referenced the KJV of the Bible. Good ol' King James.....tellin' it like it is. "Impure", "immoral", "sexually immoral", "adulterers", "fornicators" just don't pack the same punch as "whore", "whoredom" and "whoremongers".

Kay spoke to our youth and I found myself judging her (without realizing it) before I heard her. The only other time I had heard Kay speak was when she gave a horrifyingly graphic account of the scourging of Jesus (it was as verbally explicit as Mel Gibson's The Passion was visually). I'm sure her presentation was accurate, but since this was my first exposure to her, I presumed a flair for the dramatic (many in the audience had tears streaming, my own daughter said, "I never want to hear that again.").

So, the morning she was scheduled to speak, I was curious more than anything. I don't remember expecting to "hear Christ" through her. I thought she'd "JesusSpeak" over the youth's heads, be anything but relevant, appear holier than thou, spoon feed the stuff they've heard over and over and OVER! Of course, these were not spoken thoughts, I wasn't even conscious of them. It was not until AFTER I heard her that I realized my misperceptions and learned more about myself than her.

Ummmmmm...I was wrong. Again.

She shared Christ and His message of redemption and forgiveness simply and succinctly, and in the process shared her personal testimony, that until then, I had never bothered to consider. Now 72 (unbelieveable, she looks and acts 20 years younger), she didn't come to a saving knowledge of Jesus until she was 29. Prior to that, she was married, divorced, sought the company of men for fulfillment, and perhaps other unsavory or salacious activities. That morning she spoke to the kids in a way that was relateable and applicable to THEM. She explained she could've chosen to wallow in her mistakes, become bitter for the hurt she had experienced in life, question why God had taken so long to reveal Himself to her. Instead, she acknowledged her place in history and basically embraced the role she has through the circumstances of her life--and how God has used them for her good, His glory, and the advancement of the gospel. (I feel like I've got to add a HUGE disclaimer--those are MY impressions of her from the morning, she spoke much more eloquently than my summary.) She has been forgiven...and so she is forgiving.

About me......I wonder when I'll get over myself! I'm actually grinning while I write this, I really am NOT a know-it-all. BUT, that being said, who did I think I was that I thought I couldn't learn something from this woman who has authored over 100 books and studies, and who is head of an international ministry????? I must be CRAZY! lol Why am I automatically suspicious of those in "lofty" places? I'm inwardly critical before I hear a word...I presume they revel in pedestal placement...that they're only in it for self glorification, or horrors, for money and power. "They" can be anyone in a ministry with broad exposure or with a book on the Christian "top ten". Ugh.....not very pretty. A friend of mine once said (quoting her father who was undoubtedly quoting someone else) "When Peter speaks of Paul, we learn more about Peter than Paul" (I think I just butchered that, hopefully you get the point). I wonder why I have an easier time seeing Christ in the "unknowns" in the Church, or even in nature, than I do in the "big names".

Sooooooo...I am left humbled at my own arrogance, ticked at how subtly pride sneaks into my heart...repentant, again. And VERY thankful God is l o n g s u f f e r i n g!

[OMW....I've resorted to tabloid blogging, LOL!! Posting a title just to get your attention. Hmmm, wonder if I'm the only one guilty of that (doubtful)].

  Into the pensieve on Friday, March 03, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (6)

Thursday, March 2
Happy Birthday Baby......

Gotchu on my miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnd! Hey y'all--to celebrate another 40-something birthday, Tad got some crocs...and he's wearing them! lolol Ok, so maybe he didn't actually get 'em FOR his birthday, but I find the timing v e r y interesting. His feet look cute. The boys want 'em now (of course, they've been wearing mine and Rachel's, but I think our colors might not exactly suit them if they wear them anywhere but home).

  Into the pensieve on Thursday, March 02, 2006
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Please click the red's my current blogging spot!

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Married to my college sweet-heart :)...three GREAT kids I'm not selling to the circus today...I LOVE to laugh (& smile often) to read & cook, hate to shop (unless the store is very small and doesn't leave me dazed and confused). I'm scared of flying so although I'd like to travel more, I don't.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find life in my 40s to be an amazing time of transformation & discovery--of self, others, creation and the Creator.

Here's a partial explanation for my Blog title. I think it'd be cool if they really existed.

A Pensieve is a stone basin.... [One] can extract his or her own memories and place them in the Pensieve, especially to relieve the mind when it becomes too flooded with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within...

A Pensieve first appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

For the complete explanation, see
my 2/17/06 post.

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