Monday, January 29, 2007


Well, the "tag" thing is another blog addition that I'm adjusting to but I will give this a try.

I've been told to tell five things that many people would not know about me. I'm pretty much an open book and an avid storyteller about my life so there's not much people don't know. I'll give it a shot....

5. I guess just ridiculous preferences that people may not know...I love all things "British". I'm obsessed with British movies (love their humor more than I can say!) and Jane Austin is my favorite author. I have her books scattered around my library with favorite passages marked so I can get weepy at a moment's notice. Also, a big lover of jazz music.

4. I have always had the ability to get unique jobs that I am in NO WAY qualified for! After serving evictions for a rental company, I was hired on as a Veterinarian assistant (people do usually go to school for this!) and with various responsibilities, I was also able to assist in surgeries. I believe I could still spay a cat in a pinch if I needed to!

3. When I am really "moved" by something or affected by something emotionally, I get a bad ache in between my thumb and my pointer finger. It REALLY hurts! I suppose there is something medical to explain it but I haven't figured it out yet. I notice it especially in romantic movies...A couple will declare their love for each other and then..ouch! It's my personal notifier that I am being "swooned"!

2. A few good "nevers"...I've never had a cavity. Never gotten a speeding ticket. Never took geometry in school.

1.. A few years ago, Steph took me to see Stars On Ice and during his performance, Kurt Browning came up into the stands and sat down beside me and we ate out of my popcorn tub together! It's my small brush with fame!

I'm Back...With a "flash-back"!

Okay...I was totally done. No more blogging. I'm too busy. I can't keep up....and this whole blogging thing requires way too many emotions! When "whether you should blog or not" gets discussed in your counselling session-You've gone too far! Time to take a step back.

But...My best friends Steph and San called and worked on me today and I decided to give my blog a few more tries. It's interesting to think that I asked them to blog for forever and only received mockings and now they are pestering me! You are SOOO a year behind in everything, Steph!

We did get a kick tonight about what I could "roll call" in my particular blog but I'll save that for another time! (Shhh...Steph!) Besides...what's this blog roll all about? I missed the memo on this new movement! I guess I just assume nobody reads my blog and I've become content with that. Oh well!

So, Steph asked me to take the next month and blog old memories. I did that in my Daisy blog and my family and friends seemed to like it. I don't know...maybe it's just a nice escape mechanism but it's seems to work for me and my little group.

I ventured into my picture tubs tonight to find something to write about and I came across some hilarious memorabilia that I'm going to post for Steph. Many will not find this interesting in the least but it will make her smile-so that's good for me. I've discovered that I need a scanner to blog creatively now so I will be finding a friend to scan my old pics tomorrow.

For now, this is what I could do with my own camera...

These are all the valentines that I received our Senior year. Steph reminded me that I had previously agreed with several other girls in my class to come on Valentine's Day that year dressed all in black but in usual Charity style...I waltzed in on Valentine's Day draped head to toe in red and pink carting around all my valentines! (I really was a BAD girlfriend!)

That was a truly successful heart holiday for me!

This is the tag that I stole off of Jason H.'s lockers when I was convinced that we were "meant for each other". I put it into my own locker where I knew it was safe because no one wanted to go in there...due to the rotten pb&j that I kept stored!

Then...and I can't believe it...I found our script for "One Way"-the play we all did our Senior year! I read through some of the pages when I found it...

I remember thinking it was awesome and that we all may need to tour the Midwest, putting it on.

It's really not too good.

Oh well.

This I will say little about...But, "I" don't have a tattoo!


This is for my best friend. Apparently, I've cheated her out of some necessary and hopeful moments in friendship and I owe her a little. I can't make you my Matron of Honor, Steph, but I will say that this note reminded me that you've always been there in some form or another. I believe I wrote this my first year of marriage and it isn't surprising that it is signed off "with love" from the both of us!

Thank you for saying the hard things to me. I know I will be even more thankful in years to come.

Monday, January 15, 2007

You Never Know

My church has a very special ministry to single moms.

It was developed by a lady in our church that suddenly and unexpectedly found herself as a single mom after many years of marriage. She's become a good friend to me in this past year and it's amazing to talk to her and hear about the journey of healing and acceptance that God has brought her through with the difficult end of her marriage to divorce.

She explains that one day she just decided that while she could spend the rest of her life hoping (and that is okay)...she had to spend today-living. She believes like I do that to "help" is to "heal" and so she began our "Mosaic Ministry" to single moms and we do a big lunch for them along with other things once a month.

I first learned of this ministry through my friend Anne who came to have a heart for it through difficult times of her own and she put me on the list to bring food. This "list calling" business that she is in charge of REALLY need re-evaluated for better success and since I've come from the church whose motto was "How can we do that better??" (AH!), I bull dozed my way in and made some revisions! They may or may not work, but I had to do something for my poor friend!

One of the things we do now is feature a "Mom of the Month". I interviewed this month's mom this morning and my heart broke for her as she told of the trials that she faces and the loneliness that comes with parenting without a companion. But, don't you worry! She bounced back from those comments with a fierceness about a love for God and a contentment in His companionship that I think only few people accept and enjoy in their life.

My heart has been softened to these women because of my good friend that surprisingly and for the time being, finds herself in a similar place. The stories are not the same but that "fierceness" was very familiar to me. I'm thankful that God has kept my marriage together but I envy, a little, that place that my friend and so many others have emerged from with a closeness to our Savior and friendship with God that puzzles me.

So, I've been asked to attend the luncheon this Sunday and talk with the single moms about what has drawn my heart towards them.

You will be the answer to that question, San. You are in a fiery trial but your refining has reached much further than you could ever have expected. I know that it is easy to spend your time focusing on who is not changing but I'd hate for you to miss the MANY of us that truly are.

I guess when God leads us never know how far you may go.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

First Responders

I was sitting in a brain storming meeting today at my church about counseling. Someone "stormed" up an idea that we could call the lay counselors in our church "First Responders". These are the people that get the first contact with a hurting person and immediately offer hope and prayer for those in crisis. They may not be the counselor that sees the case all the way through but they quickly react when help is needed and dispense the "spiritual meds" that get us through the beginning of a problem.

I loved the title and was a little bummed that I hadn't thought of it myself. While I was mulling the name over in my head, I began to think about the "first responders" in my world.

I have these three girlfriends in my life. The four of us have known each other for almost 17 years now and believe it or not, we're closer today than we've ever been before. Our lives are going in totally different directions than were anticipated in our high school predictions that we buried somewhere in 1992 but no one can recall where.

Sandy is living as a single mom right now and Manda is also learning in her own difficult way to stand strong in God alone. Steph (Our essential "loner" that needs private time to really get her thoughts together) is practically quarantined to her house with two beautiful boys that want to be with her EVERYWHERE she goes! And then there's me...Pretty much living most of my life in the past as they would have expected (ouch) but strangely the one hating to be away from home and big change but having moved 7 times in 10 years of marriage and settling 12 hours away from almost everyone I know!

It's a little surreal sometimes that things really are the way they are! Not altogether the worst outcomes but definitely not anticipated.

I suppose that's what makes life interesting. If we all got exactly what we planned on we'd all be bored!

(Although, I'd still like to see!)

I guess before this past summer we all looked forward to getting together and the conversations were enjoyable but lacking much meaning or depth. This can happen to friends who have been close for a long time. They become sort of comfortably estranged. Knowing each other...but not really.

Then a bomb hit.

(Actually a bomb hit a few times before that but we all managed to keep a distance that expressed concerned but didn't obligate anyone to long-term care. I suppose God gave us all chances to respond and grow together but it just didn't happen. )

Then the effective bomb... Now that one has been undeniably loud and painful and creating a need for response that you can't hide from.

A familiar chain of phone calls sent word of the explosion and that began a new job for four girls that I will now title, "First Responders".

It's actually kind of humorous to watch (as my husband can attest to) because my phone will ring and it will be one of the other three on the line and the call starts like this...

"Have you heard from San yet today?" (I sink into a chair) "Um, No...*reluctantly* Why?"

Then I get the gory details of whatever bad thing has happened ending with something like this..."Well, San called Amanda, and told her to call us and she called me and now I'm calling you."

Then we all remind each other to pray and think right and...not say bad words that aren't edifying...And to call the hurting friend as soon as possible.

I have been known to get more than ten calls in one day back and forth in response to a painful situation. Those conversations have beautifully transformed from years past into productive calls of encouragement with little gossip or judgement over failure.

If you don't know what it is like to have a committed group of women in your life to share your burdens with then you should attempt to make that happen. Even Jesus had His three that He took to the garden to pray while He faced death and it's a wonderful assurance when you are desperate.

I used to think that I could write a book about my girlfriend circle with all our stories and antics but I know now that I was wrong then. What we had in the past was fun and clever but what we share in friendship now has purpose. It is safe and it is trustworthy and these are the kind of relationships that last.

Steph, San and Manda.

These are my first responders.

Gotta run! I hear the phone ringing!

(We apparently have a theme going tonight to encourage San and while I'm extremely reluctant to direct you to my ex-best friend's blog...I will do so because it is a documentary of sorts with pics of our friendships! It's good for a laugh!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


There's a real tendency in my personality that makes me sad.

I listen to people talk about beautiful days and flowers blooming and my first thought is, "Who cares? Do you know what I'm facing in my life? I don't have time for sunsets and sips of tea! I have to get busy living and surviving the next minute with some sort of success for the kingdom!"

Isn't that crazy? Here God has given me so many things to inspire my day and I miss them all by living within a cloud of discouragement and doubt.

I've never been much for "wonder" as an adult. I mean, I wonder how I'm going to pay the next bill or how I can keep from getting myself hurt or out of trouble. I wonder when things will happen...when hurts will disappear...when answers will come. I wonder when it will get easier? I wonder how to help. I wonder when there will be a "normal" day again?

But, I never stop to "wonder" in the blue sky that seems to always surface at the start of nearly ever day in the South. When was the last time I "wondered" in the night sky or the bird that nests outside my front door. What about the mighty stories of the Old Testament or miracles that God still works?

Am I losing my wonder? Am I letting life's hardship rob me of it? I used to have it when I was a little girl but it's almost completely absent from my days anymore.

I guess I started thinking of this when I heard a song off of my new favorite CD. It's called "In Christ Alone" by Keith and Kristyn Getty. It's actually my current favorite song, also. I wish there was a way for you to hear it as you read lyrics but sadly you'll just have to imagine it's very beautiful.

This song is my heart cry as I attempt to walk through this life without missing the real point...
God, who He is and what He does, and His creation and all that goes along with that is to bring us "wonder".

"Don't Let me lose my Wonder"

I've seen the days melt into night in circles of lights.
I've watched the spider spin a star between the window box flowers,
I've heard you laugh and cry in a single sigh,
And a story form within.

Don't let me lose my wonder.
Don't let me lose my wonder.

I saw her broken dreams inside but helping others fly
I saw his eyes without a doubt though other lights faded out.
And though her calling roared, such graciousness poured
From the vision of her soul.

A baby cried through the dark beneath a jeweled spark
I knew your voice upon the hill and heard my lostness still
I found my home in the light where wrong was made right
And you rose as the morning star.

Don't let me lose my wonder
Don't let me lose my wonder

For San

My friend Sandy has been enduring an extremely difficult trial these past few months and sadly, this day brings even harder events to face.

I feel like someone has tied my hands up and made me mute because no matter how much the desire...I cannot seem to get to her or form the right words to bring comfort.

One thing I can deeply relate to...I did not want the call I got today and it was added to a deep pool of hurts already within my heart this week so that I feel I could drown in if I let myself. I am having to refocus my mind minute by minute as I know my dear friend is doing...times a million minutes.

"Why is my face downcast?...Why is my soul bewildered?...Hope in the Lord."

There is still hope, San. When God is in the midst...There is always hope.

Let us together remember to praise God that He has already taken care of our greatest need..Our sin.

I love you, friend.

"So we do not lose heart...for this momentary affliction is preparing us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." 11Corinthians 4:16-17

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer

Jesus, draw me ever nearer
As I labor through the storm
You have called me to this passage
And I'll follow though I'm worn

May this journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
At the end of my heart's testing
With Your likeness let me wake

Jesus, guide me through this tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more

Let the treasures of this trial
Form within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at Your throne

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Perfect Prototype

I often talk with ladies that I meet about how I could have been Satan's perfect prototype.

I imagine he assembled himself and his guys all together in hell around a big business table and began a meeting about the perfect type of a woman to get good and stumped in life and when he shot up the picture on power point (since Satan is the inventor of all things technotronic, right? Kidding...too much time in the Bible Belt!) up popped a picture of Charity!

"She's perfect. Totally gullible...Easy to convince and even more to make afraid. Look how much she cares about herself and what people think of her! She's got to always fit in, be needed and to feel wanted by the people around her. She likes beautiful, emotional things...So we'll lie to her and tell her what is ugly is attractive...What is twisted is straight..What is bondage is freedom. Oh, *snickering* and it won't be hard! If it seems easier to believe, then she'll fall right for it! She wants proof, statistics, evidence. She's just lazy that way. I imagine with enough magazine articles and romantic, seductive movies along with her natural lack of discretion and selfishness...She'll be doing some damage for us in no time!"

I try to be silly when I say it, but it's so true.

Even today as I woke up, I had a conversation with God about how much I don't like doing things His way! I walked over and plopped on the couch, flipping through the channels for the weather and came across an old show I loved in the middle of a great, romantic part and I got teary. "See God..THAT seems like love!" Look how good they both seem to feel about each other! I'm sure they've got those butterfly thingys ALL THE TIME, right?

Your love, God, is hard work! It means that I may never have my way and I have to be glad about that...ick! It plays out like I shouldn't strive for acknowledgement but invisibility while regarding another...Yuck! It's unconditional no matter how I'm mistreated or misunderstood. Marriage Your way is all about making me holy more than happy. It's a loving covenant brought about by vows that are to be honored without room for escape or divorce-Hosea style.

No one would make a TV show about that!

And it's not just true love in marriage but also with my friends. God wants me to put their hurts and needs above my own? He wants me to share them with as many people possible because true love is not exclusive-It's generous. But, how does that make me feel special? (See, Satan was onto me!)

And then my children. Why can't I listen to Oprah when she tells me that I need to take a sabbatical from them?? I'm tired and their loving response for my hard work for them is just now starting to surface in little amounts as they grow. It doesn't seem fair. I want a hot meal...I want a full nights sleep...I want a mom's night out. I want a break from having to be their ideal role model. Love is not self-seeking...It seeks after the needs of others-especially the "least".

And my neighbors? I mean, I hardly know them but because I run into them on the street or at the grocery store or any other part of my life that includes a stranger standing beside me...I'm suppose to love them like I love myself? Do you know, God, how much I love myself?? That's like an all day obligation!

It's humbling to admit that I really do think those things sometimes. The great deceiver has duped me and as alluring as he has made "loving" seem his way..It's actually hate. And even more so, as confusing as loving God's way may appear, He is the original author of love, thus with faith in action, I can embrace His definition. His love promises great returns.

I want those who have meant the most to me in this life to really feel they have been truly "loved" by me. I get now that that is an act of God and the only way I can play it out is with His help...because if left on my own with my human understanding-

I'm just a girl on Satan's power point.

And that's no good.

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Life Found a Way

Thanks to the fact that the Shitzu breed is all gender acceptable to cute hairstyles...

I finally get to put a cute ponytail in someone's hair in this house besides mine!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Year of Firsts

Today was Sam's first piano lesson.

It was so cute...brought back a lot of memories for me. My friend Kim is a piano teacher and volunteered to give Sam lessons this year. Of course, we jumped at the offer.

He was so much like me-all stressed about messing up and having to be told to "relax" every other minute. He marched right up to the piano and played his new song that he just made up for his teacher!

My prodigy!

I hope he sticks with it but it's a secret dream of mine that one of these boys will be a singer. I love a boy to sing to me! (I think I have a clue who that will be since I haven't eaten with Josiah in peace since he started taking table food. He hums the whole time he chews!) Although, the curriculum she chose encourages and prepares the student to be able to sing while they play. I think that is pretty cool!

I imagine spring soccer will throw piano in the dust but a mom can hope, right?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Runner-Up Pics from 2006

These are the pictures from last year that I love but didn't make the cut for any former posts. So with honorable mention...I present these for your enjoyment!

(I hate that this picture isn't better. It's a picture of Di at Supper Club demonstrating to all of us how she used to peg her pants legs in the 80's. There's noone I'd love to hear tell a story more than Diane.)

(Matt is going to kill me for this one! This is how he looks after a hard week of teaching!....Whoa...)

(Josiah and I eating the blue icing on his cake!)

(Me and Anne on my birthday)

(Me and Bob Inglis our Representative in Washington DC. There is a very embarrassing moment that goes along with this pic that I'll share at another time.)

(Sunset Beach)

(I know I posted this one already but it really is a favorite for the year! Me and San getting tattoos at the beach.)

(Future poster couple for skin cancer! All crispy from the beach.)

(Me and my realtor after we closed on our house. I finally had the keys!)

(Matt's way of letting me know that I own too many dishes. This is me behind a pile of packing paper that regrettably only got bigger with more time!)

Me and Anne's husband Seth. He's become a great friend these past three years.)

(Friendship means lending support even for a video game!)

(Sweet Baby JoJo)

(Sam and Aunt Anne. Anne loves Harry Potter also so she and Sam have an unspoken bond of love! They have a date for the upcoming new movie. This is Sam, one of the only children at Anne's birthday party.)

The New Year

I'm not sure if I'm ending the first day of the new year with great confidence about the days ahead...


First, I spent last night zonked on the couch, doped up from a sinus infection. I fell asleep around 8 and woke up about two minutes before midnight to see the ball drop through the fog that was my contacts. Fireworks were going off all over our street so getting back to sleep was a little more of a challenge but I accomplished the job.

The boys had fun watching movies and eating a ton of junk food and I guess that makes it all worthwhile.

I woke up to a trashed house and realized that if I was going to have help taking all my Christmas stuff down...Then I had to do it today.

Double Ick.

I figured I'd set the tone for the New Year by jumping on my stairmaster and climbing for 30 minutes. Sadly, five minutes into it...I almost threw up. That machine kicks your butt! It's amazing.

So, I cleaned from 10 to 4 and jumped in the shower to head to Abe and Amy's for dinner.

(Then my husband dropped an informational bomb on me thus ruining my fun friend evening and sending me into perplexing concern. I cannot share above mentioned bomb but can only say that it launched us into an ethical debate on whether it is okay for husband to withhold or even...lie about information for a night so that a wife can enjoy herself until morning? I feel this is fine....)

Triple Ick.

We headed off the Abe's and had an enjoyable evening despite bomb. We even broke out our Loaded Questions game (and boy, has that been a while) and played a round. I found out that my friends think terrible things about me and social games should be banned on sensitive evenings.

Quadruple Ick.

I came home realizing that I needed to do the bills and after looking at our bank account online I swung back into a concerned state which reminded me that I already had things to be concerned about that I had pushed to the back of my mind during dinner and hurtful game!

I don't even know what "Ick" that makes now...

So, I'm going to bed and hoping for the best tomorrow. You really shouldn't judge a year by the first day of it, right? That's seems wrong?


Sam learning to play Risk.