Sunday, September 09, 2007

37 Things to Do in the Year of Laurie

1. Age gracefully - I did this by covering the grays and hopefully will keep them covered. Also, I'm not worried about aging, so that in and of itself should qualify as "aging gracefully".

2. Quit smoking. I know I need to stop and I know it would be healthier for me if I did. It's hard, but a lot of things in life are hard. I plan to slow down some at first, then quit eventually this year.

3. Learn to master the art of silence. - I'm working on this. Trying not to talk so much just to hear myself speak and when I do speak, trying not to be a potty mouth.

4. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage in New Orleans .

5. Read through the Bible. I did this! I am so excited that God has given me the endurance and perseverance needed to do this. He has given me the love of reading and it's truly a gift to be able to read, so why not honor Him and read His Word? I am on my second round of doing this and am now in Nehemiah.

6. Stay overnight at a Bed & Breakfast Inn.

7. Read "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "War and Peace".

8. Check my voice mail every time I see the light on – and keep my cell phone charged. - I'm keeping my cell phone charged and with Milo 's continued encouragement, I'm doing better with the voice mail.

9. Do one Random Act of Kindness every day. - I do this.

10. Go to movies more often. - I haven't done this. I do watch movies at home, though.

11. Get an anti-aging facial. - I did this at Tunica at the spa and loved it.

12. Send a message in a bottle.

13. Visit Square Books in Oxford , MS .

14. Be more outgoing. - I am working on this! I went to a NYE party at Harriett's and was pretty outgoing. I am making more of an effort at not being so introverted.

15. Paint the back porch swing by myself.

16. Fly. Okay – at least take a train.

17. Watch all 10 seasons of "Friends."

18. Choose a "life verse" from the Bible. Memorize it and remember it in all situations.

19. Have better posture. - I practice this when I walk and when I sit. It's working!

20. Overcome my fear of elephants. - not doing very well on this. People get trampled by these evil creatures. Did you know that in Keonjhar that there are villagers living in caves because they are frightened by elephants who are destroying their huts? True.

21. Have more self confidence and be comfortable being me - let the Real Laurie shine through! - I am doing this! Yay, Laurie! I'm more positive and less negative about myself.

22. Watch more tv. - I'm doing this. I put this on my list because I tend to read more than watch tv. Now I'm watching more tv. Lifetime movies rock, as does CSI, Everybody Loves Raymond and TBN on Wednesday nights..

23. Read every book on my bookshelf and take the ones I can bear to part with, after reading them, of course, to Gateway.

24. Take an online class – something for enrichment and fun.

25. Visit Graceland - Steve and I did this! It was so fun.

26. Eat healthier.

27. Visit the D-Day Museum in New Orleans , LA.

28. Lose more weight.

29. Keep a list of all books I read throughout the year.

30. Write in my blog more often - at least twice a week. - I do this!

31. Go on a road trip alone - just for the weekend.. Leave Friday and back Sunday p.m.

32. Read the newspaper at least once a week. Sundays would be probably be best. - I haven't
done this but plan to start.

33. Be a better wife. - I hope I'm doing this!

34. Spend more time in prayer daily. I pray at night but need to continue my walk in prayer with God throughout the day.

35. Send one card a week to someone just to let them know I'm thinking of them. - I haven't
done this yet but I am going to. I'm going to go tomorrow to get a box of cards.

36. Do more crossword puzzles.

37. Work in some kind of homeless shelter or women's shelter for a weekend or three.
Community service, in other words. I have never done anything like that as an adult and I think
I'd find it rewarding.

So........there it is. Wish me luck and pray for me!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Harvest of Bitter Words

Galatians 6:7, NLT version, reads: "Don't be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant."

That is a timeless truth. I sowed seeds of bitter words. I am reaping a harvest of bitter feelings my family has toward my spouse and his daughter.

About a year and a half ago, when my husband and I had problems, my parents and sister and family heard all about it. My side of it. Not the spouse's. Not my bonus daughter's. My side. I used them as a sounding board to vent hurt feelings and get positive reinforcement that "I was right." They were very loving and supportive, as family should be during trying times.

They haven't forgotten the hurt feelings and now my relationship with my extended family is now strained. Extremely strained. This evidenced itself when my sister chose not to invite my bonus daughter to her wedding. I already knew the feelings were there because my grandmother, who has Alzheimer's, is the only one who "remembers" to ask how Kristyn is doing and when will she have her baby. I chose not to invite them to baby showers because no one ever asks about her unless I bring her up.

Now, more recently, I didn't go to my sister's wedding because of her rejection of my bonus daughter. We had talked a week before her wedding, deciding it was for the best that I take a stand for my family. She didn't want to invite my bonus daughter and by proxy my husband, understandably, did not feel welcome. I chose not to attend out of respect for my husband and his daughter. They are my family. They are me. Reject my family and you reject me. I had to take a stand for them.

Because of the bitter words I spoke about them, my family just really doesn't care for them.

Loyalties to me are strong and they have chosen to hold a grudge. They seem not to accept that I am right in allowing God to restore my marriage and moving on from the terrible strife that we went through. I have forgiven all hurt feelings and wrongs I felt were levied against me. I had a choice to make. Hold a grudge and dissolve my marriage or let it go and admit that there are things I was wrong about, too, and work it out with my husband and salvage our marriage. I chose to save our marriage. He is the love of my life. My soulmate. I raised his daughter from the age of 6 and love her completely and totally as if I had given birth to her myself. I cannot imagine having stronger feelings of love for her than I have. We were very angry and bitter toward each other but we chose to mend our hearts and relationship and are now close again.

The bitter seeds sown in the words I spoke are now being resulting in my reaping a harvest of hard times. It hurts. My father has now told me that he never got over "what my husband did to me." I never knew how he felt.

When you sow those seeds you don't expect that although you can forgive your spouse and move past the hurt and let God restore your relationships and renew your marriage that your extended family will never love your husband and daughter the way they used to.

My old nature wants to say that I don't get it. Who wouldn't be happy that we worked our marriage out. Who wouldn't be happy that we are not another statistic and we bucked the odds and allowed God to restore our marriage. The campaign against the spouse and his daughter seems awfully unfair, given that my sister's mother-in-law, his sister, and a relative of ours who did another family member "wrong" were invited.

This has caused me to totally made me re-evaluate my feelings toward my other sister. She has totally cut the family communication. I wonder if they did something similar to her, basically asking her to choose. I don't know.

I don't think I'm supposed to get it. It wouldn't matter if I got it. My family has to deal with their feelings. They are not for me to "get".

I think what I am supposed to do is just give it to God, admit that I sowed the seeds of bitterness through angry words and trust Him for the rest.

If my family refuses to accept them back into the fold as I have, then perhaps I am supposed to just gravitate on over to his side of the family, who released their grudge against me when they realized that my husband loved me enough to remain married to me. They heard things about me from his point of view and have not held a grudge against me. I'm sure while we were separated my name was mud, but they have totally made me feel welcomed and loved and accepted. Maybe from them I can draw on their love and forgiveness, learning from them in releasing the bitterness they felt and growing more toward treating others the same way.

My husband, bonus daughter and son-in-law and now my soon to arrive grandson are my life. They are my heart. They are my family. I am a wife, a bonus mom, a mom-in-law, a grandmother. When I married my husband I left my old family and formed my own. Forced to choose, they would win, hands down. My husband is my soulmate. My life. Of course I would choose him. Does that mean I love my parents and other family any less? No. It means God moved me into a spiritual union of marriage and motherhood and joined me with my husband to form my own family. I should add that my daughter is hurt by this grudge and all that she understands. I was completely honest with her in telling her that I said some pretty bad things. She knew. She said, "You used them as a sounding board and who can you go to if you can't go to your family?" She encouraged me to go to the wedding, as did my husband, but I didn't feel right about it. My husband and my daughter and I are One in my eyes. We are happy. We are committed to our relationship. We have no problems. We are happy people!

If they continue to reject my daughter and husband I will miss them so much. I will miss family events, but truth be told, and I may be saying this out of brokenheartedness, I'm not sure I want to be in a family that can hold a grudge that tight and that long. If I modeled that I would hate the world and wouldn't open my heart to anyone who wronged me or else I'd go bonkers trying to pick and choose who I selected to remain angry and hurt toward.

Interestingly, my mother, in the same breath of acknowledging that my daughter was not invited to the wedding, asked where she was having her baby. I told her. She mentioned something about bringing a gift to the hospital. What? Why? To see the baby? Nolan is not some cute puppy who will be put on display. You can't reject someone and then turn around and cozy up to them just to see a baby. She doesn't want them to come to the hospital for the same reason. Why make a show of not inviting her to the wedding yet come to the hospital to see her? Way too much to ask.

My prayer is that God will open their hearts. I pray God will help them sincerely show they accept my family. How am I supposed to know if they are faking acceptance just so I will continue to come to family functions or if they are sincere? Only God can tell me that. Only God can heal the hurt on both sides.

If they choose not to let go of the grudge, then I thank God for my true family, the ones who love unconditionally and care, even when I, in their own eyes, wronged their "blood".
The lesson I learned is this: Trust only a therapist to tell bad things about your family to. Keep family secrets secret. Then you won't go through the heartache and anguish I am going through now.

Update: 5/9/08 - I am glad to say that God has restored our family and all has been forgiven. My sister called about a week after the wedding and apologized for what she had done. She talked with my husband and with Kristyn and God was all up in that situation. Forgiveness abounded and my mother, other relatives, etc., have now made them feel welcomed back into the family. Praise God!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tales of a Housefire that wasn’t and three car wrecks in one day

My husband is a great firefighter and is worthy of the title "My Hero." I am the Queen of Panic and Destruction.

This afternoon we had quite a bit of excitement. Granted, I slept through some of it but hey, I woke up for the major part! That counted. I should have stayed asleep.

The spouse was burning something in the outdoor fireplace on the patio. Many fires have been burned in that Pit of Destruction; alas, I fear it has burned it's last time. Maybe not. We'll see. Anyway.........The fire got out of control. How? Well, the fire was supposed to be out and the spouse doused it with a mixture of gas and oil. Why? I don't know. Men do that. To see if it would flame back up? It did. What was left of the gas can, incidentally, was a piece of charred plastic with the word Gasoline clearly visible. Oh, it shrunk from 5 gallons to about the size of a brick. A broken brick. A small brick.

I awoke from a sound sleep - the movie was good - Michael Douglas, Gwenyth Paltrow - A Perfect Murder, but I was soooooo sleepy, to hear the back door fling open and my husband yell, "Call the fire department!" I'm thinking, "What's that smell?" It dawned on me that it was probably smoke, given who he requested I call. I couldn't find my phone. It was in my purse, I later discovered, in the pocket it was supposed to be in; however, it eluded my searching eyes. How I wish it had not. Maybe I wouldn't have panicked. I flung the door back open and said, "But I can't find the phone!" Then I saw it. I felt it. The hottest heat (thank you, God, that I won't burn eternally in hell....I don't think I could stand the heat, not to mention eternal separation from You). The tallest flames! I thought the house was on fire. He tossed me his phone and I was dialing our area code and suddenly remembered, "Self!" That's what I call me in these conversations in my head. "Self! 911 does not have an area code! Think!" I punched in 911 and the guy goes, "What city, please?" I'm thinking, "What a maroon!" " Richland !" I answered, it dawning on me slowly that I'm on a cell phone and it doesn't show our address automatically. I said, "House fire, and gave our address. He repeated the correct number but I never heard of the street he repeated back. I said it again and he got it wrong again. I spelled it. While I am doing this, I'm looking around for Wilson and Buck the Bunny. Yes, I call him Buck the Bunny, even though his name is Buck. For those of you who don't know, Wilson is my 2 year old toy poodle and Buck the Bunny is, well, a bunny. A lop eared dwarf rabbit. Not very dwarf. I couldn't find Buck! I'm spelling the name of the street and going, "Oh, God, I cannot find the bunny! Buck! Buck!" He doesn't come when you call like Wilson does. Must work on training..

The spouse flings the door open and says, "Tell them never mind, I got it out." I'm still smelling smoke and gasoline and I'm thinking, "I have to find my bunny, you tell him!" I throw him the phone and say, "You tell him!" The 911 operator asks him, "Are you sure there's a burgular in your back yard?" Spouse says, "No, a fire, but it's.....ahhhhh..........tell them to hurry!" It flamed back up! I'm thinking, "Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no."

I cannot think. Oh, I know what I'll do! Wilson is tripping me while I'm dashing around searching for Buck the Bunny. I get Wilson and grab the keys and head for the Kia. I get in the Kia and don't close the door. There's my mistake. I'm thinking, "I'll back the truck out and leave the a/c on and go find Buck the Bunny in peace and get the birds and Daisy (the gerbil) out and roll the birds out (Sonny and Duchess are our parakeets who are in a huge cage on rollers) and put them under the Bradford Pear in the front yard in the shade and then get Willie Wonka, the beta fish, out.

I crank the truck and the door doesn't close, but who cares? I have a puppy looking at me, not excited he's getting to go for a ride but like, "What's going on? What in the world is happening?" He knew something was up. Anyway, I backed out and the door flew open even wider, denting the Saturn, my husband's new truck (new to him, he had it less than 2 weeks!) and bending the door back on the Kia. I looked at Wilson, who's looking at me like, "Mama, what's wrong?" I went forward so I could dislodge the door and backed up again. The door flung back open and lodged again. Forward I go. It hung. I give up! I backed up and, well.....Yes. Step back folks, we have a winner. One woman single handedly damaged 3 vehicles in less than 15 seconds.
Remembering to put the truck in park, I grabbed Wilson tried to shut the door. Why wouldn't it shut? It was too bent.. That's why! I deposited Wilson on the sofa and headed out the back door in time to see the flames dying down and the spouse says, "It's okay." I left Wilson inside and sat down on the swing, not sure what to do. He's still hosing down the house and I'm thinking something but I swear I can't remember now. Probably that I was going to have to tell him I wrecked all our vehicles. I don't know. I went inside and sat down on the sofa and leaned over. Way over. Trying to breathe. It hit me, what if Buck the Bunny is in the comforter and I'm smothering him? I shook the comforter out. No bunny.

I'm outside on the swing. I'm watching my husband wield the garden hose, watering the house. There's a man running through our backyard. He works for the fire department and heard the call over the scanner. Since he lives nearby he thought he'd head on over. I hear fire engines and there are a parade of men in our backyard. My husband knows some of them. They may as well have been speaking a foreign language. I later told da spouse that I thought he said he had some bleach that would take the soot off the house, but what he actually said was that he had an extender brush for a car washing thingy deal that would work.

They left some time later and my husband came inside. I had to tell him. I tried. The first thing I said was, "I can't find Buck the Bunny." He snipped, "Did he go outside?" I said, "No, I don't think so." He found him. I had to tell him. I said, "I had an accident." He thought I meant I wet my britches. Nope.

Oh, my, goodness. It wasn't pretty. Tensions were high and his first instinct was to blame someone. The words flew like daggers and he later apologized for them. He knew I was trying to save the pets. That's what I get for not having babies. I could have worried about one "real" baby but noooooooo, I have a house full of furballs to save. But this is not about that. I was upset that he was upset and I knew he was rightly upset and that he was upset at the situation but I was still operating on panic.

I said things. He said things. Repeat. Tensions were high. He apologized for his words and I apologized for wrecking all three of the vehicles. We were very thankful. the house did not burn down and that no critters were lost.

We prioritized and went to our daughter's baby shower.

Came home, went for a swim, went to Waffle House to eat a bite and smoke and thank God again and just sort of unwound, talking about how we felt while things were going on. I told him how my mind was just blank during parts of it. He said trauma does that.. How well I know!
He was so sweet to apologize to me, the Queen of Panic and Destruction who had taken out all three of our vehicles in 3 movements.

We drove up to the sight of the Kia, with its door hanging open, taunting me. I looked at his truck and the Saturn and apologized again. He isn't mad. He called the insurance company. Or did he do that before we went to Waffle House? We watched The Messengers. Well, you know me and scary movies. I made it through 1/4 of it, LOL!

So the house did not burn down due to the heroic efforts of My Hero, My Husband, and I, the Queen of Panic and Destruction, did wreck 3 cars in under 15 seconds.

We are blessed and highly favored, though. If the fire had burnt our house down..........

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

1. Realize that you are a sinner.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)

2. Realize that a price must be paid for your sin.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passes upon all men, for that all have sinned..." (Romans 5:12)

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:14-15)

3. Realize that Jesus paid the price!

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

4. Ask Christ to save you.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Are you willing to ask Jesus to be your Saviour? Then please ask Him to save your soul in a prayer like this: Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I deserve to go to hell. But you said you would save me if I would call upon you. Please take away all my sins, dear Lord, and take me to Heaven when I die. Thank you for saving me! Help me now to live for you. Amen.

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

from a song I heard recently that describes my life at the moment:

God gave me a window
And I have finally seen a light
And though I felt like going under
I know that it's gonna be alright