Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been on Facebook for awhile now. Connecting and reconnecting has been fun. It has allowed me the ability to communicate with folks I'd lost touch with and to enhance contact with people I still see around.

After 45 years, I've met a lot of people. I haven't lived in one place as long as I have now lived in OKC, but I did spend some rather formative years in a couple of remarkable places.

The first one was Farmersville, Texas. I moved there from Dallas when I was 12, right before the 7th grade. You know that awkward, unsure, gangly phase of life we all go through? Yes, that was when my dad decided "goodbye city life" and "green acres we were there!" It was and still is a small town. When I lived there, the population was around 2000. My class had 30 kids in it and that was the entire seventh grade. It has grown significantly since I lived there, but the town square still stands and some parts are relatively untouched. Although McKinney is quick approaching from the west.

My memories of Farmersville are warm and wonderful. Kind of frozen in time actually. They were some of the happiest days of my childhood, full of good people and fun times. It was also the last place my family was still whole. That might have something to do with it. It was the last place life was relatively easy for me. I was still able to be a kid and I was. I was naive, awkward, innocent, involved, excited, and driven. I wanted to be noticed and yet cringed when I was. I excelled at school and went relatively unnoticed socially.

I joined the band and my second year was first chair. In Farmersville, you either played football as a Fighting Farmer, danced with the drill team as a Farmerette or marched and played in the band. Football games were town events and I loved them. I knew everyone around me, but was an outsider in many ways. I was the new girl. I hadn't lived there my whole life, so I didn't have history and I was terminally shy.

I loved my church youth group. I felt most accepted with this wonderful group. Our youth pastor was an outsider as well and I think that helped me feel like I was part.

I had the regular crushes and broken hearts. I had the excitement of sports from both the player and spectator vantages. Being 5'10" by the seventh grade kind of helped that! Yes, I played basketball.

But band was where I allowed myself to cut loose a little. We worked together, traveled together, competed together...we were a team. I joined the flag corp, cause their outfits were cuter and my newly acquired teen body looked better in them. I loved the band dances and the band banquets. My favorite date was Kenny. He was such a nice guy, so cute.

I remember working up the nerve to call his house, sometimes it took 3 or 4 times before I could dial the whole number and let it ring. My heart would be pounding, my pulse racing, and the phone would ring. Would he think I was weird? Would he roll his eyes when he heard my voice thinking oh great it's her? Would he say yes? No? Who else could I ask? Did I really need a date? Everyone else would have one. Always. 3 seconds later...someone would answer the phone, Kenny would get on, I would ask, he would say yes.

We'd coordinate colors with his aunt in town on the flowers, she was THE florist you know. And we'd dance. For one night everyone was equal. Everyone was accepted. Everyone had fun. And by everyone, I mostly mean me. I'm sure everyone else did too, but that wasn't really my focus honestly. Even looking back now I still feel the excitement of belonging. I was there, with a date, in a pretty dress, with color coordinated flowers. All was good. Even if my dad did chaperone every time. :-P

Through Facebook, I've reconnected with Kenny. He's married, a father of 2, and a music minister. None of that surprises me. He was always a sweet guy. He always said yes, even if he really didn't want to. I'll never know and honestly, I'll never ask. I like the picture in my brain and in my scrapbook somewhere of 2 awkward, gangly blond kids with braces smiling like crazy at the band dance.

Thanks Farmersville for the best kid days of my life. Don't change too much. Thanks Facebook for the memories and for reconnecting me to the days of innocence I have sometimes let be overshadowed by what came after we left.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day of Rest

I have always enjoyed going to church. My friends are there, I love worship and singing, it was always a charge up for me. As I have gotten a little older and my children have grown up and out, I have found that sometimes, no church on Sunday makes for a day of rest unlike any other.

I almost feel guilty, almost. I still love God with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. I still love gathering with other believers to celebrate His constant love and goodness. Sometimes, I just feel the need to stop and smell the roses. To count my many blessings everyday. If you are singing that old country song in your head now, my job is complete. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here.

My days are full, my life is busy. Sometimes, I need to stop, listen, relax and rest. No TV, no agenda...just being. I am, after all, a human being. My human doing sometimes forgets that!

So give yourself permission to stop. To sit. Life is too short to race through missing all the moments you could have had. If this week has shown us anything with the deaths of the rich and famous, it shows us that our days are numbered and we don't know when those numbers run out. Live each day as if it were your last day. Give those great smelling roses to the living and then stay a visit awhile...


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Your Response is Your Responsibility

So you should try this, walk up to one of my daughters and say "Your Response..." and wait. They will look at you strangely, wonder how you knew the secret phrase and most likely say back "is Your Responsibility."

You see, I brainwashed them. I admit it. I did not accept the status quo answers. No one can "make" you anything. Mad, glad, sad, choose. Now I hear you saying "But he hurt my feelings" and I understand, I am not without compassion. In fact, I'm a major sap, I cry at almost anything. But to dwell in those places and blame your behavior on those circumstances is not against your will. It is your choice.

For example...2 little girls playing, one takes a Barbie away from the other and she gets mad. Her response to this anger is her responsibilty. She can choose to bop her sister, grab it back, throw a fit, go tattle, whatever...but at that point she is in control and ultimately, responsible for her decision.

I wish I could say I always respond correctly. I don't. This is like many things in my life, I understand them, I desire them, I strive for them. I do know, I'm better than I used to be. I measure my responses based on different criteria than I used to and I react slower than I used to...maybe the gift of age is truly a gift.

I've often said I would write a book based on this idea. Maybe I should. Can you imagine what our world would look like if everyone actually took responsibilty for their responses? I think I'd like living in that world.

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Do you have a story to tell?

We all do. This one touched me today. I may tell one of my own soon.

jenx67 is one of my favorite blogs and today was no exception. Go read her story.


Friday, June 19, 2009

My Thoughts on Father's Day

I love to celebrate. Anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, Tuesdays, anytime is a welcome day for a party. Just ask my family.

I love being treated special on Mother's Day. Being a mom is the single greatest thing I have ever done in my life. I have enjoyed every moment of it. I am grateful for a wonderful husband who supported our family so that I could be a stay at home mom when staying at home wasn't cool.

I love being able to celebrate my husband on Father's Day with our daughters. It's makes me happy to be able to totally pamper him (when he lets us!) and let him know how special, wonderful, awesome he is to us.

But it ends there for me honestly. I have a difficult time celebrating my dad. I look at the cards, I have every good intention, but there isn't one that says "Well, ok. So that's it. Happy Day." For you see, I've known as long as I can remember that I was supposed to be a boy. I started out life a disappointment to my dad.

Understand this, he didn't mention it daily, but he mentioned it enough. So did my grandmother and when my sister was born and there could be no more children, can imagine. Or maybe you can't, I hope not. So he was the ultimate failure, not producing a son, and yet somehow is was our fault for being girls. Guess that biology class was one he missed.

I compensated for not being male by being a total over-achiever. Great grades, always first, always best or died trying. My sister was a tomboy, always cute, always smiling. We were not unhappy children, just not really noticed. Not neglected, just marginalized...especially at family reunions and such. For you see, my dad is the oldest son and Jr. no less. I should have been blah blah blah, III. The third in a long, male dominated line of rednecks. Quite prestigious. ????

I digress...there were many wonderful moments, I have MUCH to be thankful and grateful for and I try to focus on those things. I have "put my behind in the past" to quote Timone in Lion King. Which brings me back to Father's Day.

If you have read my post for any time at all or know me personally, you know I am the primary caretaker of my now alzheimers dad. I am also chief grocery shopper for my grandmother, his mom. Kind of puts a new light on it huh? He doesn't deserve my care. He wouldn't be part of my life if he weren't sick. He divorced me when he divorced my mom. So why do I care?

Some days, honestly, I don't. It makes me mad, I sometimes throw little fits in my head. But then I come back to the realization that when I didn't love God, He knew me and loved me. He gave up heaven, came to earth and died for me. For you. All He asks of me is to love Him back. To accept His most wonderful of gifts, salvation. Redemption wrapped in a crown of thorns. What a gift! He also asks that I honor my Father and Mother. In humble, loving obedience I do. In gratefulness for all He has done for me, I do. For the reminder of loving Fathers everywhere, like my husband, I do. Because my children are watching and learning even as adults, I do.

Because somewhere in my heart, I love my dad. I can't find a card that expresses it accurately and to be honest, he can't read anymore. So I'll just say Happy Father's Day and tell him I love him. Cause after it is all said and done, I do.

Life is too short to focus on those things that do not bring me closer to God. When my days on this earth are done, I want to leave waves of love lapping behind me on the shores of my life.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I am so blessed to have my immediate family nearby. My mom, sister, and daughters all live within 20 miles of me. I grew up living far away from family. The occasional holiday, summer vacation or reunion was all we knew of our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

I love being close. I treasure the moments of ordinary life we get to spend together.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I don't usually struggle with forgiveness. I hate strife, so it's not usually hard to forgive on my behalf. But don't mess with my husband and kids! I can so quickly pick up an offense on their behalf, get angry, go all "momma bear" in the situation. I'm learning to trust my husband and daughters to resolve those things in their lives that might cause a reaction in me. I read this today and thought I would share with you.


By: Rick Warren

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 (NLT)

*** *** *** ***

Forgiveness is unconditional. We don’t earn it; we don’t deserve it; we can’t bargain for it. Forgiveness is not based on a promise to never do it again. We offer forgiveness to somebody, whether that person asks for it or not.

When somebody says, “I will forgive you if…,” that’s not forgiveness; that’s bargaining. When Jesus stretched out his hands on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), he took the initiative, not waiting for us to first clean up our lives.

Forgiveness doesn’t minimize the offense. It actually cheapens forgiveness when somebody comes and asks for your forgiveness and you say, “It’s no big deal. It really didn’t hurt. It’s okay. It didn’t really bother me.” If it wasn’t a big deal, you wouldn’t need forgiveness, and you wouldn’t need to offer it. If it really requires forgiveness then you should not minimize it when somebody asks you for forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean the relationship resumes without change. The Bible teaches three things that are essential to resume a relationship that has been broken: repentance, restitution, and rebuilding trust.

You have to be genuinely repentant and truly saddened about what you did. That’s not just saying a quick, “I’m sorry.” It means heart-fully and meaningfully saying, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”

Sometimes forgiveness should be accompanied with some sort of physical or material restitution. If I came over to your house and burned it down, it wouldn’t be enough for me to go, “Oops! I’m sorry.” I’d need to assume that debt because I destroyed your house.

When it comes to rebuilding trust, it may take a long, long time. Forgiveness is instant, but trust is something that’s only rebuilt over a period of time. It must be re-earned.

Forgiveness isn’t forgetting what’s happened. You’ve heard this phrase over and over: forgive and forget, forgive and forget. There’s only one problem with it – it’s really difficult to forget a hurt that’s been in your life. It’s like when you go on a diet; you think about food all the time. You think about it more than when you’re not on a diet. The only way you can forget something is to actually refocus on something else.

Focus on how God takes the bad and works it out “for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose …” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Rick Warren is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Losing Yourself

I've had several observations recently and they all go back to this topic--Losing Yourself.

My alzheimers dad is losing himself. Sometimes in big chunks, sometimes in tiny pieces, but gone all the same. Parts of his mind remember the times when he "could". Remember the times when he "used to". It's sad to see those remembrances slip through his fingers like water. Just at the point he starts to grab's gone. You can see it happen. Idea...realization...understanding...forgotten. It's lost, another piece of himself. It might drift back through, but that is becoming less likely as the days pass. One day, he won't remember he's forgotten. He'll be gone.

I have a dear friend in a very tough work situation. She is trying oh so hard to be positive, effective, motivated, loyal and yet as the time moves on without support, without encouragement, without feedback, she struggles to keep hold of herself. To not lose herself in the complacency and negativity that surround her. The absolute falseness of the people she interacts with daily. In maintaining the public facade, she is losing herself. No longer positive, motivated, effective, she struggles with loyalty to an organization that is not loyal to its employees. Image is everything and yet is a great deception. I hope she is free to move on soon, she will remember, rebuild and renew.

And lastly, I think I have lost pieces of myself. The pieces that held grudges, judged harshly, worried about socks matching. I've come to a place and time in life that I really do believe and rest in the fact that God is in control. There is not a moment of time where God looks up, smacks his forehead and says "oops! missed that!" He is always, everywhere, all-knowing, all-loving and I count on that. I hope to lose more pieces of myself that do not look like Him.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday!!

At approximately 12:30am on June 12, my nurse called my doctor, threatened him with something, and about 1:00am he walked in my room.

Without checking me, talking to me, or much of anything he found out from the nurse how long I had been in labor, how long my water had been broken, what the xray showed, how long I'd been pushing...then he looked at me and said, "we can keep trying or you can have a c-section, we're in kind of an emergency situation at this point due to infection, but it's your choice." And waited for my answer. After 31 hours of labor, very little sleep, 2 hours of pushing, etc...I looked at Jim, he nodded, I shook my head yes and...

All HELL broke loose! Jim was whisked out of the room, I was prepped for a saddle block, they started the c-section, Jim was escorted back in, and our little girl was born. 9lbs 9oz, 21.5 inches of the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen.

Was it all worth it! 25 years later I'd do it all again to know Andrea Nicole. She is one of the most amazing young women I know and I couldn't be more proud to call her my daughter.

Happy 25th birthday Andrea!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

25 years ago and here we go...?

It's now Monday, June 11th and although I've been in labor all night, consistently, nothing seems to be really happening. None of the "you're gonna have a baby soon" things. I won't go into detail. You're welcome.

My doctor has still not come to the hospital (side note: ALWAYS interview your doctors and if you don't like them, find one you do!), started the Oxytocin drip and that was very effective in switching all my labor to my back. I don't know how that works, only that it is painful, gross, no fun at all!!!

Seem to be progressing slightly, nurse decides to break my water, and gets a bath. Once again, no details, but trust me to tell you she was as surprised as I was, who knew?

And we late in the evening on the 11th, around 9ish, I'm taken down for Xrays. It is discovered that baby is face up and that is what is stalling my progression. So we move to the delivery room and I'm told to grab my ankles (don't even get me started on how stupid that was!) and push. With every contraction, every 1.5 minute contraction, are you kiddin me!! She wasn't. So I do.

For 2 hours, no doctor, no help, no drugs...Nurse walking by every once in a while to check, commenting on stuff, blah blah blah...

And we continue....


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

25 years ago continued...

So Sunday June 10th dawns...

In-laws go to church with us, we go out for lunch, and they leave.

Church starts again at 6:00pm, and we good Nazarenes (at the time) heed the call. I don't remember much about the service other than about 15 minutes in, I start feeling some cramping. Not too bad at first, and then gone. And then back, then gone, then get the picture. After a while, so did I. I was in labor. So during the sermon, I take Jim's watch and start timing the comings and goings. 8 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 5, is over. "Where we going for dinner?" several of our friends start asking. I suggested the hospital. And all hell broke loose!! sorry, all he!! broke loose, I was in church for goodness sake. :-)

Anyway, me and my now quite sizeable posse head for Deaconess hospital. We get there, I walk into labor and delivery to the sound of a woman screaming at her husband, "you *&&%^$(*&_&&^*^%^)&**$%^@@!@#!, you did this to me, you *^&^%^&%$%^(*(&)^%&*%^! I hate you, you are NEVER touching me AGAIN, just get IT OUT!!!" -- I turned white, looked at Jim, and asked if we could leave, it would be ok, I wouldn't cuss at him, I could wait....contraction, contraction, contraction. Maybe not.

We settled in finally, we called the family and the wait began...but I was contracting at 5 minutes apart regularly, I was a week overdue, I was young & healthy,so this shouldn't take too long, right?

To be continued....


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

25 years ago

I was awaiting the birth of my first child. We didn't know if it was a girl or boy. We did know we weren't ready, scared to death, really excited, and feeling very blessed.

The baby was 6 days past my due date. It was Saturday. My in-laws surprised us with a visit, the first since our marriage. My father-in-law wanted to show us where he was working while he was in town (he traveled a lot) and took us to the tire plant. 3 square miles of concrete. We walked. Oh boy. Back-ache and swollen feet don't even begin to touch what I was feeling. 2 hours later (!), we went home, ate some dinner and I did my best sleeping impersonation.

The next day I really didn't want to go to church and hear "You haven't had that baby yet? You're huge!!" one more time. But habit and duty prevailed and I waddled on. We enjoyed lunch with the in-laws and my sweet mom-in-law hugged me, said "I just know you'll go into labor the minute I leave", and left. I had no idea what the rest of Sunday would bring...

To be continued...


Monday, June 08, 2009

Are You a Person of Pity or Pardon?

This came to me through an e-bulletin my husband receives. It spoke volumes to me.

Written By: Pam Kanaly

Last weekend I had the opportunity to revisit the reason why God took me through the “School of Forgiveness” from 1986-1993. I spoke at a conference and addressed how mistreatment carries with it the potential fertilization of deadly triplets: resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness. I was reminded afresh how difficult it is to let someone or something “off the hook” when we have been unjustly wronged! Proverbs 18:19 reveals the power of an insult, “An offended brother is harder to win than a strong city.” I can only say Amen to that! When I’ve been affronted, my initial response might resound: “Stay out of my way, mister!” As a fellow human being, many of you understand the veracity in which I speak!

Though God understands why we are offended, He still commands us to move toward a direction where He can enable us through a process to Let Go and Let Him complete a greater work in spite of the injustice. What possible reason would God have in making us “People of Pardon” concerning the new way we must “do life?” And what happens when we fail to courteously indulge His instructions by choosing pity over pardon?

When pardon lacks, spiritual malnourishment flourishes. We become spiritually anemic and frustrate God’s divine influence in us. The longer we nurse the chip on our shoulder, the more accessible we become to Satan’s lies. Our enemy attacks through unresolved woundedness. Hebrews 12:15 cautions – “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up.”

When pardon lacks, self pity abounds. Subtle independence from God germinates with the mindset, “I didn’t deserve this!” We falsely believe that God promised a life without unwarranted loss. Look at the degree of unfairness Jesus addressed. We are made in Christ’s image. If Jesus had a nature that suffered, then so would we. Philippians 1:29 retorts - There is far more to this life than trusting Him. There’s also suffering for Him.

When pardon lacks, relationships languish. In the process, people around us absorb the overspill of our infection. We think we can hide the offense, grin and bear it, but our choice to remain attached to the wrongdoing infests those we love. Hebrews 12:15 reproves - Bitterness defiles others. The Greek word for defile means to pollute, to trample upon.

So how can we move toward becoming a person of pardon? I’ve discovered the secret: Focus on what’s left and not what’s lost.

Pam Kanaly is President and co-founder of Arise Ministries, a ministry focused on single moms, a public speaker, and author of "Will the Real Me Please Stand Up." Book available at your local bookstores; 10 week Bible Study and DVD's available through September 2009.

Forgiveness is a CHOICE; you do not need to wait
until you feel like forgiving or until they ask.
You have the infection or poison in you, and you are waiting for them to get sick.
Choose pardon now!