Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Great things are in store...age.

In the process of checking items off my moving to-do list… Yes, I have an actual moving to-do list programmed into my PDA. (It’s the hand-held electronic calendar thingy you might see me pull out of my purse and tap on at any given moment – in the middle of a conversation, during the announcements at church…Hey, somebody’s got to keep up with this stuff!)

Anyway, in the process of trying to get things checked off yesterday, I browsed for storage buildings online. We have a shed at our house now where we keep various garden tools, our weedeater and all the empty pots of plants I’ve killed. When we move to the trailer, we’re going to need somewhere to keep all that stuff for the three times a year we actually use garden tools.

You know you are no longer a child when you get excited over shopping for storage buildings. Actually, I don’t know that I was so excited about storage buildings. I think what actually excited me was the realization that you can actually buy a storage shed for less than $500…and the fact that I’m one obsessive step closer to checking an item off my list. Because when you can order a storage building online and have it shipped directly to your local Lowe’s…this was going to be easier than I thought. Until I realized that somebody would have to assemble the thing once it arrived.

Nonetheless, I was so excited that I printed off a few pages of storage buildings to show Gunter over lunch. Then, I couldn’t even wait until we got to the restaurant to start talking storage buildings. He reminded me that we need to pick a place to eat first, so restrained myself until we got our sweet tea, chips and salsa. (Is it just me, or do Mexican restaurants have the best sweet tea in existence?)

He pointed out that we should probably buy one that will last us a while, maybe not the $400 one.

So I don’t think Gunter is quite as anxious to get our storage building search behind us, but he rarely is. What a complement his patient, laid-back self is to my full-speed-ahead, act-immediately-or-tragedy-will-strike tendencies.

A few years ago, I would have never believed I would go to Lowe’s on my own free will, much less be enthused about it. Just one more sign of old age.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Punctuation Pride

To all my "word nerd" friends out there, happy National Punctuation Day!

I know what all of you non-word nerds are thinking, but I beg to differ. You might not realize it, but punctuation is important and even FUN. Punctuation allows us to write in a way that is actually read like conversation. And misunderstood communication is a very dangerous thing, my friends.

Show me a sentence written with correct punctuation, and I'll show you someone whose credibility has just gone way up.

So, in celebration of National Punctuation Day, go hug a hyphen, embrace some ellipses, praise a parenthesis, brag on a bracket and commend a comma. I could think of a million more, but I just get nerdier by the minute.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jake's ark

Here is one of the neat stories I've covered since I've been working for The Alabama Baptist newspaper again. Jake is just an example of regular people using their talents to build the Kingdom and help others.

What can you do with 2,920 Popsicle sticks?

Jake Perry can make Bible stories come alive for the fifth- and sixth-graders at Zion Hill Baptist Church, Andalusia, in Covington Baptist Association.

Perry, a carpenter by trade, used his skills to make a scale model of Noah’s ark out of Popsicle sticks, wooden dowels and toothpicks. Based on biblical measurements, each foot of the model ark represents 75 feet of the real, full-sized Noah’s ark. The model’s finished size measures 6 feet 3 inches long, a foot and a half wide and 8 inches high, and it is complete with floors, staircases, cages for the animals and even a tiny clay oven.

To read the rest of the story and see a full-length ark photo, click here.

After party at BBC

The fifth quarter Friday night was GREAT! I was pretty nervous because when it comes to youth, you never can tell how many might show up or what their response might be once they get there.

Oh, me of little faith.

God certainly taught me a lesson this weekend. I have trouble believing I’m here as a willing tool to let Him work, not to work something up myself and hope He’s pleased. I tend to focus more on my own performance than His power.

So sometimes, He just takes the situation into His own hands and does His own wonderful thing without much help from me -- like the 60 YOUTH that hung out at our church Friday night. 60 might not seem like such a big number, but it is when your normal crowd is 10-15.

I’m certainly not bragging. I’m just so thankful that God brought them so they could hear the gospel. This Friday night, we’re hoping for even more.

And by the way, I was still wired at 1 a.m. Here are some photos from the weekend.

We attended our first New Brockton football game as fans! I even invented my own Gamecock walk and crow for the occasion. Here's "Blee," doin' his thang.

Mary's probably going to hate me for this. But it's just too funny not to post. She's holding one of the ropes for human foosball.

And here's how we spent most of the rest of the weekend. We stayed at our new crib Friday night and spent most of Saturday cleaning and putting in shelf paper. This moving stuff is taking way more time and effort than I anticipated!

We've moved in one comforter and a blanket, some dishes and a few knick-knacks. That down, the rest of the house to go!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't be devoured

The news about Ray Boltz has broken my heart. I struggled with whether I should blog about it or not, because my first instinct was to try to call as little attention to it as possible. But just like we learned in PR class, there’s no sense in trying to hide bad news – you just have to respond to it in the best possible way.

As a minister’s wife and daughter, things like this hit close to home. Within the past year, several seemingly strong, high-profile men have fallen – at least two who had greatly influenced my own walk with God.

Is anyone safe? Is any Christian – any minister – immune from falling prey to testimony-ruining sin? No.

1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

So how can we keep from being devoured and help others escape from the lion’s mouth, too?

For one thing, we can STAY ALERT. In animals-eating-people movies, the creature, whatever it is, usually picks someone off as a snack when everybody is relaxed and not really worried about the danger – when they’re asleep around the campfire, treading water at the beach, wandering alone in the jungle, thinking everything's hunky-dory...

We can also be devoured when we decide to let the lion get too close or make friends with him. Like those crazy people at the zoo who sneak into the panda cage because they look so cute and cuddly. “Big,” life-destroying sins don’t just come on a person all at once. They start small – a thought, a slight compromise, a little wandering in the wrong direction…

In the two verses before Peter talks about the lion, he says this: “Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time, He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.”

We get proud. We mistakenly think our lives are our own and that we can just do whatever we please, destructive or not. We pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow and which parts to throw away. And we make God who we want Him to be, not the God He actually is.

A ruined life is what happens when we try to go through our days without God, without realizing that our living is all about Him and for His purpose. When we think our own happiness should be our main pursuit, listen for that low growling sound in the bushes.

Makes me want to be that much more vigilant, for myself and for those around me whom the lion is stalking…For those walking in darkness who can’t even see what is attacking them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

5th Quarter

I used to love 5th quarters when I was in youth group! Those were the days when I could stay up past 10 p.m. without becoming a zombie. But, as long as I keep moving, eating and/or consuming Diet Coke, I ought to be good...at least until maybe 11.

This Friday will be Gunter's first 5th quarter on the ministry side of things, and we're praying God brings lots of people who don't have a relationship with Him. I'm not sure what's planned for this Friday night (besides free food, of course, something fun and the gospel), but I know that next Friday night, a Clemson quarterback will share his testimony.

We've also got 5th Quarters planned for Oct. 3 and 24.

So please send up a prayer for us, and if you're in the area, send some youth our way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

6 unspectacular facts about me

I’ve been tagged by Sherry at Life at the Parsonage, so I’m supposed to follow these rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. List 6 unspectacular quirks about yourself.
4. Tag 6 bloggers by linking to them on your post, then commenting on their blogs to let them know "they’re it."

6 unspectacular facts about me:
1. I can be pretty indecisive, so choosing six unspectacular things to share about myself is really tough.

2. I can quote every word of “Sittin’ Up With the Dead” by Ray Stevens, and almost every word to several of his other songs (e.g., “Mississippi Squirrel Revival”).

3. I am afraid of the dark. This includes murky water.

4. One of my favorite hobbies is trying to rap to Christian songs (T-Bone is my homeboy). For a drawling, slow-talking Southerner, this is quite a challenge.

5. Before Gunter and I started dating, I hated Mexican food, but now, it’s one of my favorites. On the contrary, I used to really like Chinese, but now I can barely tolerate it.

6. I cannot STAND for anyone to touch the front of my neck. Seriously, I will freak out if I even see a hand coming at me in that direction.

So there are my six unspectacular facts. I’m glad to have enlightened your day with this knowledge.

I’ll tag six people because I’m a rule-follower, but I’m also a people-pleaser, so although you’re tagged, please don’t feel obligated if you don’t enjoy this tagging stuff. And if I didn’t tag you but you would like to carry on the survey anyway, please feel free.
Christi at Two Peas in Our Pod
Heather at The Craveys
Samantha at Russell Family Blessings
Melissa at My Life as it Happens
Melissa at My Blue Morning
April at The Reeds

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Corn dip

In honor of tailgate parties and the sweet fellowship that could only be a part of watching football together, I thought I'd post a dee-licious corn dip recipe, courtesy of my friend Catherine. Come to think of it, I've gotten some of my very best recipes from her and her mom, affectionately referred to as Nance.

This is great served with corn chips, especially the kind that are good for scooping. Gunter even liked it, and he hates cream cheese. Be careful -- it's addictive!

1. Mix the following ingredients in a glass casserole dish:
2 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter or margarine, melted
2 cans of gold and white corn, drained
1 can of mild Rotel
salt and pepper, if desired

2. Top with shredded cheese -- any kind you like.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until bubbly.

Serves a bunch.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I got a nickel, I got a nickel, I got a nickel, hey hey hey hey!

Never underestimate the power of a yard sale.
(No, this photo is not our money, but we did make some.)

I started out at 6 a.m. Saturday with a bunch of stuff I needed to get rid of and ended up with an almost-heat stroke, a carload of stuff for the Christian Mission and $163! Those nickels and dimes add up.

I believe Saturday was the hottest, most humid day of the year, but I still enjoyed myself. Counting money makes me nervous, but I love getting to talk with people and send things home with them. One young woman bought a bunch of houseware-type stuff because she was looking to fix up her new house. Warmed my heart. She also took some skirts with her that I knew were too small for either one of us.

The most exciting part of the day was when a mini-van pulled up and out piled six very enthusiastic children and one patient, godly grandmother/foster mom. I would have given anything I had to them for free, but I think she was seizing the opportunity to teach them how to buy things with their own money.

The most popular items were probably knick-knacks and Christmas decorations. The least popular were probably shoes, clothes and purses. I was surprised that we sold some of Mama’s books from elementary science teacher workshops.

The weirdest item we sold? A fox tail keychain that Gunter walked around wearing like an Amish beard, with one end hooked over his ear and the other under his cap. I wish I had taken a picture to show, but I was too grossed out at the time.

As I start to pack our things to move, I bet I’ll run across enough excess stuff to have a whole ‘nuther yard sale…but I can only handle one per summer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Like a duck to water...well, not exactly

Since I'm busy yard sale-in' today, I thought I'd schedule this blog to share about my experiences from last Saturday.

We went to the lake with Kasi and Jason, and had a stinkin' BLAST -- even with the sunburn ol' paley got, despite obsessive, repeated sunscreen applications (from a $10 can of emergency sunscreen Gunter bought at the Florala Pharmacare).

It started out like this:

The black boxes are present because we didn't want to show our very attractive armpits to the whole Internet world. Bathing beauties, we are.

Gunter and I rode the tube at the same time because Kasi and Jason assured us we would both fit. Didn't happen. Gunter couldn't squat like this for long, so we tried to both lay on the tube, but that didn't work so well, either, because he was more concerned the whole time with pushing my weight off his stomach than having fun.

I'll give kudos to myself for being brave and attempting to ski. See? I'm smiling! At least, I acted brave until I bumped myself in the rear end with one of my skis and almost jumped out of the water thinking something was coming after me. My favorite quote of the day (Kasi, addressing me) -- "You might stay inside all the time, but you're no wimp."

One thing I learned -- I can scratch "Become a world-champion water skier" off my list of things to do before I die and devote that time to something a little more attainable. But, "Hang out at the lake again" could definitely be part of the list.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Your treasure awaits

This Saturday is my big yard sale! We're getting rid of some junk...I mean, prized possessions, to make the moving process easier. Besides that, we just don't need so much stuff! For two sentimental packrats, this is a big deal.

So if you're in LA (Lower Alabama) this weekend, stop by! My clutter can be your treasure! Some of the amazing items for sale include a million dollars shredded in a jar, a slip-n-slide, tents, clothes, purses, shoes, bed sets, home decor, books and more. We're also going to have some appliances for sale and a Wade Adams original solid wood dining room set.

The yard sale will begin sometime around the crack of dawn and will end around noon. If you need to know where I live, just post a comment, and I'll give you directions. Tell your friends!