Reformed Grits

Testing, testing… Is this thing on?
August 21, 2009, 3:20 am
Filed under: Faith, Family, Our Call, Uncategorized

Ok, well tonight I’m sitting in my bed with a bowl of cookie dough that I made for the express purpose of eating.  Not for making cookies, I mean, but just eating.

I have not blogged in MONTHS.  NO one looks here anymore or reads here anymore and that’s ok… because it’s still here and I can come visit it when I like and all my memories are here.

I recently came across a childhood friend (Hi Amy!!) who asked me about our call to ministry and I referred her here which is much better than trying to tell it again.  And you know what?  When I came to look for it, I read it.  And I wanted to cry.  Do you know why?  Because one year from now we could be any where.  On the planet.  I’m totally serious.  My beloved will, God willing, graduate in May and I seriously have told him to brace himself because I’m throwing a GIANT party.  Totally not kidding.

So then what?  We will do what a wise woman once said:  Do the next thing.  And for us, that means working towards ordination which he hopes will be accomplished by the end of the summer.   He *can* start at a church while he’s working toward ordination, which means that anytime after May’s graduation he could get a job in a pastoral position at a church.  Anywhere.  And no kidding, we have been ready since day one of our call to “go.”  If you will recall we are committed to be “preparing to go; but willing to stay.”  Funny, but we really are preparing so much to go, I’m not sure at all that we are willing to stay.   It kills me to think of my kids not graduating from this precious, wonderful school we have totally invested our guts in from before the first day it opened.   Of asking what will be my 10th grader to leave the only school he’s ever known and go who knows where?  But it occurred to me today… I am going to have to let go of the notion that the possibility of that change for all of them (I will have 5 in school and Bee will be in 4k!  Hard to believe!) will be tragic.  If God has a plan for us, He has a plan for ALL of us as a family.  One of the best things that ever happened to me was when the school I had gone to for 7 years closed down.  I was “forced” out of my comfort zone and I would not change it for the world.

Other things going on in Gritsville… The only child in the WHOLE family doing an activity is JD who will be doing drama again this year.  Wow.  It’s good, only because I have hit the wall and that hurts.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

What else?  Oh!  I’m having more migraines than ever and started having unexplained anxiety and panic attacks in April!  That’s been fun.  I’m so drugged up now that I cry every day and actually hug people.  I hugged at LEAST 2 people today.   Wait, 3 for sure.  It’s weird.

I’m trying the Exodus 14:14 method of parenting one of my children.  I will not be asking them about homework or assignments or checking behind them.  I will not even be watching their grades online.  AT ALL.  If they fail, they will repeat the grade but they are capable of achieving.  But I’m at the point where I don’t want them to be “doing school” reactionary to what mom’s gonna do; I want them to look forward to not failing and repeating a grade.   Everytime I fret and fritter over how they will do, it’s a call to prayer.  Only God can change a heart.  This I know.  It’s actually a bit liberating.  Maybe that will be one thing I can cross off my “I haven’t cried about this today” list.  That list is already full.

Ok, so there it is.  The update since, what, January?  Pathetic.  I’ve missed writing; so I will write when I can.  I need to telll stories.  I need to vent.  I need to wordsmith a bit.  It’s an outlet.  If you read, I appreciate you and hope you enjoy.  I love comments because I’m pretty self-centered and like to be petted that way; but God is rearranging me bigtime.  I’m seeing HIM and His “bigness” everywhere.  I’m done pushing; I’m done striving.

By the way, Exodus 14:14 says, “The LORD will fight for you, and you will be silent.”  Don’t you love a hero?  He’s my hero.   He’s going to save the day, and all will be well.  And He loves me.  What more could a girl want?


I’m brave
January 17, 2009, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Family, Life

As soon as I hit “Publish” on this post I’m doing something scary.

I’m going to delete my old typepad account.

I know, I know it’s not really that scary but I did put “my life” there for a long time.   I miss writing every day.  I miss the interaction with (both of) you.  I miss the journaling of my life there.  But it seems that the older my kids get, the more complicated our lives get as we get closer and closer to ministry-life, the less transparent I’m able to be.  Just like in Uncharted Territory when I was unable to share the reason’s behind soccer’s demise in our home.  I hated that.

Things that have happened in our lives in the last month I can’t share regarding Mr. Grits’ job situation.  Growth milestones with my kids that could embarrass them if I shared.  “My” life is so entertwined in others’ lives that for me to share invades their turf and I get that.

The stories shared here have been precious to me.  I’ve moved them here for safekeeping.  Pushing “delete” on the old blog is scary because that time in my life will be gone– from that part of the internet anyway.   I’m brave enough to do that.   (gulp.)

Them’s the breaks….
September 21, 2008, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Family, Life, Soccer IS life!

Well… the weekend didn't go like we planned…

We enjoyed the stay with our wonderful host family– God bless you, A&G, for your hospitality and for caring for me and the boy.  But it was cut short and that's a shame…

The first game Saturday was a blood-bath.  It was a tie 0-0 but the most brutal, violent soccer game I've ever seen.  Naturally, all officials call games differently and to be honest it's more fun when they let a lot go.  That's some real action and the boys really get in to the aggressiveness and I love that.  But there's a point where rules must be enforced for safety reasons.  It's for their protection and so that REAL soccer can be played that the officials are there.  Our officials in our first game seriously frightened every parent there.  The boys really all crossed the line and it was literally violent– think 2or 3 fist-fights, lots of "posturing", a TON of pushing, shoving, cursing, throwing other players to the ground (literally like grabbing 2 fists full of shirt and heaving them to the ground), elbows thrown, high kicks, and a lot of shouting from parents… and kids.  It was a mess.  It really did drain our boys and took them out of the game mentally.  It was spartan.  It was so disappointing that they were not playing their best– or even GOOD– soccer as a result.  And as a result, we tied 0-0.  I still get a pit in my stomach as I feared for my child's health and safety on the field.  Can I say that I was very proud that he kept his temper in check and that he played equally as tough as the other players but kept himself in check?   Love that kid. 

A few hours later as the boys hit the field we were disappointed to see that our guys were mentally out of a game that they easily could have won.  They were tired and it looked like a pick up game.  Sad, sad, sad.  Halfway through the second half, I looked downfield as someone yelled, "Kick it out of bounds!"  I saw Jojo white as a ghost holding the back of his forearm as he sank to his knees.  Uh-oh.  He went down and leaned over as I saw his buddies on that end rush to see about him, and then I saw one of our team dads who was an orthopedic surgeon run out to him from the sidelines.   I heard Jojo kind of moaning/screaming (he told me later he was saying, "It's broken!  It's broken" because he had heard the "crunch"– sorry) and I started flitting around in a mini-panic.  It was obvious when I saw the other teams parents running looking for help that our soccer day was done.  When I got down to him he was looking for me and Dr. M was holding his arm together with both hands.  We got J to lie down and he was in shock I believe.  I threw my phone to a friend who I got to call Mr. Grits–I knew if I called him I'd scare him with my freaked-out voice that was currently 2 octaves too high plus I had just gotton to J and I didn't want to scare him either.  I was able to calm him down by praying with him and getting him to slow his frantic breathing down.  Miraculously I was able to calm myself down too doing that.   I asked my friend, "So what are we looking at?" and he said, "Compound fracture of the wrist."  Ouch. 

Our good friend Dr. M, who just "happened" to be from Memphis, where we were, had some other ortho friends who worked and lived locally.  He started pulling in every favor he ever had and within a few minutes we were on our way to see an old friend and walked right in to the hospital with standing orders for my sweet boy's care.  Wow, what a blessing.  Can I just tell you too that before we left that night there had been SIX other broken arms from that particular soccer tournament that weekend?  Good officials are very necessary.  😦

To make a long story longer… he had x-rays and I was able to go back with "my doctor friends" haha and see the pics as they discussed them.  It was so cool how they do it all digitally now.  I was a little grossed out to see the particulars of the injury– radius and ulna both fractured.  The ulna just looked like a bone that snapped clean through.  The radius looked like a train had hit it from the front and it just splintered in half and pointed up.  Yeah, it was nasty. 

Shortly they had him in a treatment room, hooked him up to an iv of versed and morphine which may have been the 2nd worst part for him–he is very anxious over these things.  As soon as he was relaxed and sleepy, I told him I'd be back and I went out to wait.  Dr. M had told me that he might get wide-eyed and say "OW!"   Yea.  What I heard from 20 feet away was not "OW."  I think it was the tearing of the fabric of a mother's heart as my baby boy screamed a "man scream" of the worst kind.  I was on the phone and the woman on the other end heard it (yeah, it was that loud) recognized his screaming and we both burst in to hysterical tears.  I could barely breathe; she just started praying one of those prayers you just "vomit" out when you can't think.  I felt someone rubbing my shoulder and when I looked up about 3 minutes later when I started to stop shaking there was a hulk of a old black man nurse who came to comfort me.  What a sweet look he had on his face.  He just stood with me as I sobbed and then another younger female nurse moved me outside to talk to me back down from the ceiling.  A few minutes later I was ready to see him and be by his side so I wiped down my face and tried to calm myself.  I was squatting at the same place in the hall with a box of snotty tissues when the docs stepped out so they could x-ray the re-set.  Dr. M happened to look over at me and blanched.  He came over and told me he hadn't realized I'd only gone that far– I should have been OUT.  Yeah, um, I wasn't.

Can I have something for the pain?

I composed myself and went in.   I tried my best to act like it was no big deal.  I think I pulled it off.  He said he felt a lot better now.  The doctors said we'd have to wait a few hours to make sure the meds didn't have any adverse effects, so we waited for what was an eternity.  I'm so grateful for all the phone calls we had during this time, and the visits from all the friends (including A&G who brought our luggage to the hospital, as our plan was to head back HOME after discharge that night.  He and I were both ready to just go home.)  We got a lot of discouragement about going home that night, and with my husband's blessing I could have… but it wound up being so late by the time we were able to get released that my sweetie wound up booking a room where the team was staying.  (I know we could have troubled you, A&G but it was so late we didn't want to cause more confusion in your home.  Y'all have been so sweet and good to us!!!) 

We finally got some dinner and back to the hotel, and one of our team dad escorted me to a pharmacy to get some pain meds for my boy.  Pain meds in; lights out.  We were dead to the world– and I NEVER sleep in hotels. 

He had wanted to try to get up and make the team's 7 AM game, but sadly we slept through it.  (We lost, making our weekend record a pathetic 0-1-2.) 

We checked out, got on the road, and now are so glad to be in our home (which, I still wish we had done last night but oh well…) 

Thanks for all your prayers and comments.   The weekend was not what we expected, but as I've said a million times to my sweet boy, it's all for our sanctification.  He and I thoroughly enjoyed being together.  I can't count how many times he told me
thank you for different things.  I can't tell you how many times he did sweet things like offer me his jacket when I was cold and ask me if he could help me and walked with his arm around me (oh yes, he did!)  How many times this day have we said "We had the BEST time this weekend– except for that one part."  :-) 

He owns the cattle…
September 10, 2008, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family

My oldest two children, only being 15 months apart, are 1 year apart in school.  This means that for the first time this year, I have two children in the junior high "youth group."  Can I just say, it's expensive!  They don't do everything.  Jojo pays for his own, of his own initiative, because he was cutting a few lawns this summer so was able to and just started paying his own.  It's been great because since it's his hard-earned money, he really thinks about what he wants to do before he plunks down the cash.  With Sister, she's not had the opportunities to make money like he has but she does have money so we usually subsidize her 50/50.  (In case you think we are being partial, we did make the same offer to Jojo but he passed and just pays his own way.   I don't take that amazing and sweet fact for granted!) 

Recently they were excited to get a flier with the fall activities but the real buzz was over the retreat.  They've talked about it a lot.  Their friends are talking about it.  And it costs… well, let's just say for our family it was prohibitive.  We aren't poor and we have everything we need and a little more but in terms of a one time activity (times two!) with that price tag, well let's just say with the unexpected commitments in soccer it really made it something we'd just have to trust the Lord with.  The kids knew it too.  They got in the car this evening just a bubblin' with talk about the pictures and description of the place where the retreat was to be held. 

They quieted up when they mentioned to me the cost… but that they really wanted to go and how sad they were but that they understand.  What came to mind next was a song we sang at church growing up, maybe you've heard of it:

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
The wealth in every mine.
He owns the rivers and the rocks and reels,
The sun and the stars that shine. 
Wonderful riches– more than tongue can tell
He is my Father so they're mine as well…
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
I know that He will care for me! 

I just challenged them to commit it to prayer.  That their Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and that if He desires for them to go to this retreat, then He will provide for them.  I really wanted them to go.   I knew it would be great memories and fun with good friends, but I also know there is just a "small" group of less than 40 (including chaperones!) going so they would be able to really be challenged by the Bible study and time away. 

They silently and probably somewhat doubtfully agreed to this and they went to bed that night. 

Not long after they went to bed, I got a phone call.  A friend had a job she needed help with, could she use Jojo for a few days work?  The pay would be… the exact amount of the retreat!   I said of course he would be willing and we talked details. 

After I got off the phone I went up to my groggy son and asked him if he had been praying for God's provisions.  He, sleepily, said yes.  I said, "Did you believe when you prayed?" and he answered yes.   I was then privileged to share with him God's provision, as he tearily replied, "I can NOT believe that!"  He was shocked, and it was my privilege to share the news with him. 

As I left his room, before I shut his door and turned out his light I told him, "NEVER forget that your Heavenly Father CARES for you."   

I can't wait to see how He makes the rest of this crooked path straight! 

“I can’t get no…”
July 20, 2008, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family, Life

I have a new past-time that entertains me on nights when my beloved is out and away, whether at school or at a friend’s enjoying his favorite past-time

I go to a website for a familiar seminary, and go to the “jobs posted” page where there are hundreds of open ministerial positions posted.  Some are for Senior Pastors, some are for Assistant Pastors.  Some for Youth Pastors; some for Worship Leaders.  Listings for Ministerial Administrative.  And so on, and so forth.  I look over the listings and where they are… and I wonder. 

I wonder where we will be.  I wonder what we will be doing.  I wonder if we will be far from home.  I wonder if we will love it– or hate it.  I think about what our home will be like there. 

Which leads me to the next thing I do.  I open a new window on my computer and go to a realty website and type in the zip code of a job that sounds “interesting” and I see what houses we could afford there.  It’s been very… enlightening.  Some places I get really excited about, and some make me cringe and think it would never happen.  (Those will be the ones God leads us to, I’m sure.  He’s funny that way with me.) 

Last night, I “found” a job in an area of Texas that was near a large city and VERY close to the Gulf (because I LOVE the beach.)  They had a classical Christian school, which was a HUGE plus.  I looked up and houses that were significantly within our price range were considerably larger than the house we are in now– and have pools, and yards that don’t need napalm, and playrooms in addition to 5 bedrooms and “Texas basements” (a storage attic, LOL). 

And I began to get ready to move. 

One problem.  We are still about 2 years out from finishing school (I say “we” like a man who says “we” about having a baby) and then another year for ordination.  Three years.  Did I mention “we” have been in school for 6 years already?  That means we are only 2/3 of the way there.  Lately my beloved has been talking more and more about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  (Our pastor would say, “And I don’t think it’s a train!”)  I want to be expectant, but I’m having a hard time being patient.  I know that this “adventure” could take us anywhere and we could be doing anything.  My personality makes me see all this as “an adventure.”  Adventures, I have learned however, aren’t always what they are cracked up to be. 

At the beginning of the summer, we were wanting to get away for a long weekend.  I love to fly– that’s how I feel like I’m REALLY getting away!– and so in planning I decided to find the cheapest flight to anywhere and that’s where we’d get away to.  Turns out, that place was New Orleans.  It was exciting to look forward to it and plan.  We’d romanticize and dream about what this adventure would bring us.  We had every expectation of sipping cold drinks as we sat and leisurely and chatted at restaurants that would bring us plate after plate of everything we could stand to eat.  We’d go to movies; eat dessert; sleep in; stay out late.  And relax. 

Now I am definitely not complaining about our trip– it was a lot of fun and we enjoyed getting away together.   But let me tell you, it was HOT.  And we walked 95% of the time everywhere we went.  And for whatever reason, I felt exhausted and wanted to fall in bed by 9 PM into a deep, dark slumber.  And I had no appetite.  And like I mentioned earlier, I never found ice cream the whole time I was there outside of an Arby’s Jamocha Shake.  And the people there made me sad– from the beggars, the homeless, the gamblers, and those that were taken advantage of.  It wasn’t like I thought it was going to be.  It was hard.  And hot.  And… different

Going away– whether for the night with your husband or indefinitely with your family– in search of a respite from life through the adventure of just going, is really not satisfying.  Well, that is to say it’s not satisfying if you aren’t already satisfied where you are.   When will I learn that?  Years ago at a Bible study Caroline and I went to, the author of the study said that when you set something in front of you and say, “THIS will make me happy” whether it’s a certain car, achieving a certain financial status, time away, food, or whatever… when you set something in front of you as that which will bring happiness or joy, you make it more important that God in your life; in actuality, you are idolizing it.  I hope that scares you as much as it scares me!  I don’t want to waste worship on anything that is not worthy! 

My reaction to this is to attempt to be satisfied.  And for me, that requires patience.  The grass truly isn’t greener than the grass under my feet.   As a sheep, I can be sure of this.  Because my Shepherd has led me to the greenest of pastures.  What could be more satisfying than this? 

We have had a breakthrough, ladies and gentlemen!!
June 22, 2008, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family

I'm so thrilled tonight, I can't even tell you!

This morning, after her forced shower, I called her in to brush and dry the hair she usually lets air dry since we were going to church.  As I was helping her I spoke with her about how she is getting so much older and how cool it was she was going to logic school (jr high) and how great it was that she was going to her first ice cream social on Tuesday… and that it was a big event and how important it would be for her to look her age…
To which she replied, "I know what you are going to say.  You want me to wear something 'decent.'  Yeah, well, can we go shopping because I don't have anything." 

WELL, YEAH!!!!!!!!

After lunch, she, JD, and I (she wanted him to come because he has fashion taste.  A little too much for his age if you ask me…) went shopping.  We got FOUR OUTFITS.  Read 'em and weep, baby!!  FOUR!!!!!  JD wanted her to get pink and "girlie-prissy" stuff, but I kept telling him that we were NOT there to make her in to someone she wasn't but that we were there to help her FIND her style ala "what not to wear."  (My kids LOVE that show!!!)  When she asked what we were looking for, I just said something that makes her look her age; when she asked what that meant I said, "Well NOT like a teenager because you are not one; but you are not in grammar school anymore either!"

Now, we aren't talking dresses, skirts, skorts, or anything like that.  I'm just talking about something beside jean shorts and huge, baggy Auburn t-shirts!  She got 3 pair of really cute plaid shorts, some more "feminine" cut tshirts (which means, yes there will have to be, um, you know, under "gear" and I can NOT believe she was ok with that!!!)  and one more pair of dark brown shorts.  All long because she doesn't feel comfortable wearing strappy shirts or any clothes like that.  Her things are modest, and a great style for her and who she is… but she looks like she gives a care (which I think she's starting to!)   Oh and she also got PINK in some of the shorts and a PINK shirt, and one shirt even has a FLOWER on it!!!  And she also got some PINK flip-flops!  (And brown too!)

Thank you all for your great advice and prayers!  I think we are ON OUR WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Was just thinking…
June 14, 2008, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Faith, Family, Life

Today I was talking to my beloved about what I was doing 2 years ago today.  The week before, we had had VBS at church and I had brought snacks for the teachers which basically meant I dropped stuff off in the morning, had my kids in VBS all day, and had the day free.  That whole week, Caroline and I, who were due 2 days apart, utilized that time by driving all over town in search of the last of our baby needs.  We each got an infant car seat, pacifiers, burp clothes, and other last minute things.  This pregnancy was the only time I have EVER been ready before my due date– and I was only 33+ weeks then!  I tend to go late (JD was 12 days late!) and I really thought I had time.  My pregnancy had been perfect.  I felt good; I was happy as a lark (no pregnancy blues I'd had in the past), I was sleeping, and I was full of joy.  I actually was enjoying being pregnant!  
But let's back up… do you know what a gift my girl was?  We announced our pregnancy with John Knox on the day we took Sugie's baby bed down.  When we told the children, JD cried– no, sobbed  –big, beautiful tears of joy.   He was smiling so big I thought his face would crack.  They were all so excited!  They were SO happy!  Every conversation they had was about "the baby" and how thrilled they were that another one was coming.  They couldn't wait to tell all their friends at school and church (one of our children actually stood in the hall of the Sunday school rooms and said, "Hey everybody!  We are having another baby!!!")
Almost 3 months later, when we gathered them around us again to tell them that our baby was dead, the scene could not have been worse.  I won't tell you what it was like in that moment, but telling them was almost harder then hearing the news for myself.  They openly grieved for a long time over the death of what we found out the next day was their brother. 
After all was said and done, Mr. Grits was over the baby-business.  He was ready to "end" our childbearing years and my stomach churned whenever he talked about it.  I could not fathom closing that chapter of our lives on such a bitter note.  He received wise counsel to not be hasty in this decision on the heels of such loss.  I was desperate to have another baby, immediately.  But we decided to hold off until we could make a better decision that would not be made early in grief.  We would wait and think about it again, say in 6 months or so.  Maybe at least after his due date.  We didn't know. 
3 or so months later, we had been at a soccer party where Taco Soup was served.  When I came home, I could not quit burping onions (sorry to be so gross.)  I remember telling Mr. Grits, "I don't know what's wrong with me… This only happens (it then dawned on me) when I'm pregnant!"  I happened to have some pregnancy tests in the bathroom left over from… well, who am I kidding– I had them around all the time!  I took one, and had a faint positive I thought.   Sure enough… I was pregnant.  And not even late yet.  (Do I know my body, or do I know my body.  Say it with me, sistahs!) 
So back to the awesome pregnancy I was having… when all of a sudden I started with preeclampsia symptoms which I was told was impossible.  (Guess what?  "With God, nothing will be impossible")  I wrote her birth story here which you are welcome to go back and read.  Why on earth would I get this "impossible" case of toxemia when I've lost one baby and this pregnancy was going so well?  Why God?  I was in terrible physical pain and the joyous birth moment I had anticipated– oh, how we talked about the swell of emotions we would feel as we heard this baby's first cry!– was replaced with a little 4 lb 2 oz baby, a life-threatening disease, and so much nausea that I don't even remember her cry for all the throwing up. 
Yet, the more I ponder it, the more I see beauty from ashes.  This baby is a gift.  Yeah, yeah, I know– they all are– but she's like redemption. From simple things like being ready at home for her, and the time I had to prepare ahead of time when I didn't know she'd be early.   And even from being sick, I can tell you that God is good.  We didn't know it at the time but after she was born the doctor told us that her placenta was extremely under-sized, and had a huge clot under it that was cutting off her life-force.  This "bad disease" saved her life.  She would have died before we reached her due date. You tell me by whom we live and breathe and have our being?  Who knows all things?  Who puts to death and gives life; who wounds and heals, and no one is delivered but by His hand?  Who is in heaven and does whatever pleases Him?  And Who makes everything beautiful in His time? 
My God.  That's who.
So on the eve of this father's day, I give honor to my Father.  Take it from me… He's worthy.

… the Lord hath anointed me to… bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
prison to them that are bound… to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of
the Lord, that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3