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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fifty... Five Decades... Half a Century...

The morning dawned with feelings of trepidation. I knew something was afoot. I had been banned from the church property for three days... my husband had brought someone in to help me clean the house and prepare beds... and for WHO? No one would tell me a thing. At around 8 AM my phone rang and my daughter-in-law, Amanda, told me to be ready at 10:30 - her and Randi - the other DIL - were going to pick me up for lunch. ...AND to pack a bag with hair fixing necessities and a formal (preferably black) outfit. Hmmm... sounded like fun to me - so I was obedient to the letter.
They arrived right on time and we headed to "lunch" which turned out to be one of my favorites... Olive Garden! We were taken to a private room where my sister Debbie and her DIL, Shannon... and two of my nieces (Taryn and Tanis who had driven 5 hours to be there) were already seated and waiting. We ordered and were sitting there visiting and catching up on all our lives - when I saw my husband in the doorway... with a familiar looking lady... and there was my oldest son, Brocc. It took a minute to register what was going on - I was thinking I had left home with somebodies' keys or something and then I recognized the lady with them - ALETA MAE - my childhood-best-friend-cousin, who lives in AL! (I hadn't seen her in many years, so I didn't recognize her right off.) I burst into tears and we hugged and kissed and laughed like the little girls we once were - "SO", I thought, "She must be my birthday surprise guest!"
We enjoyed our lunch together and then Amanda stood up and said - "Okay ladies... we have a spa appointment to keep!" To my surprise, we were booked at a local Day Spa for massages and manicures... all paid for by my sweetheart husband! We had a blast - I had a facial, a Swedish massage, and a manicure. Again, Amanda whisked us off to "get ready" for the next "surprise". We had finished at the spa early enough to get changed at home, so we went straight to the house to change.
The girls fixed my hair... got me all together and in the van - and then BLINDFOLDED me! What in the world??? I could tell the van was heading south on the main highway and we only live 1/8 mile from the church - so it was obvious "where" we were as we turned in there. I was laughing because they had me blindfolded just to drive me to the church - but Amanda assured me she just needed to stop for a second to check on something. So Aleta, Randi and I sat in the van (with it running) while Amanda went in. A few minutes later she gets back in and says, "Okay, we're ready." I've put my seat belt back on - thinking we're leaving - and she turns the van off. She reaches over and takes my blindfold off and we are sitting directly in front of the door to our Family Life Center. The doors open and there stands my husband and all three sons in black tuxedos with bow ties and the works. When I walked in, the place was decorated incredible and standing around the tables were ministry friends and family, clapping and smiling. I was in total shock! It was definitely an "Evening to Remember" - 50's music playing in the background - a delicious catered meal - our church ministerial staff looked so sharp as they served us all (they were in black tie attire). As the evening progressed there was a video presentation and then my friends and family started sharing "Wanda" stories. (It was a bit unsettling to just sit there and listen to accolades in my honor, to be honest... but I didn't plan the party, did I?) My boys all had sweet things to say to me and I was overwhelmed by the end of the night to say the least.
Aleta stayed til Sunday afternoon, and she and my other BFF cousin, Kim, spent the night at my house. We stayed up til dawn and reminisced. There were so many gifts (like the gorgeous patio set complete with a beautiful awning and chandelier) and all were special... the most precious gift of all was the "time" everyone took out of their lives to celebrate my life with me. Fifty is a milestone - and I will never forget my 50th birthday as long as I live. The church threw another big bash on Sunday night - with cake and ice cream and sweet fellowship. I look back and consider it all, and I know I am blessed. Blessed with a loving church family; wonderful friends; godly parents who gave me their best; precious siblings who I cherish more every day; three handsome sons who make me so proud; two daughters-in-love who have filled that empty "daughter" spot in my heart; five incredible grandchildren who love me like I'm amazing or something; and my one and only... Jeff. He has been exactly who I needed through every season of my life. He is making all my dreams come true and I am enjoying this "fifties" season more than I would have ever imagined. Our lives are Gods. He comes first - and I am grateful that my husband is as committed to God as He is to me.
Who knows what lies ahead? I know I am in good hands with Jesus and Jeffery!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Turning Fifty

In a few days I'll turn 50 years old. Fifty! Ten decades... Half a century OLD.
I certainly don't feel fifty. I don't even feel like a grown-up yet - but of course, I must be. I have a 32 year old son... a 30 year old son... my BABY is 25 and my sweetheart-at-sixteen husband is 54... oh - and then there's the FIVE grandchildren - so yes, I must be fifty.
Fifty used to seem ancient. I thought fifty year olds were so wise and all-knowing. I assumed they felt confident in their wisdom. But here I am - almost there - and no one has given me any clue as to what I should know (in case someone asks me something!) There is no screening process to becoming one of the "fifty-something" set. You just get on the AARP mailing list and "twang" you're OLD enough.
I'm sure I'll post more on this milestone - but for now, I just wonder, when will I start feeling wise?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stress

I recieved this article in an email recently. I've seen it before, but today I related on a whole new level. If you are reading this and you're dealing with the balancing act of life... I'm sure you'll enjoy this. Unfortunately, I don't have an author to credit this to - but I think whoever the author was - he/she speaks to us all.
Stress -
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranging from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can.
So, my friend, put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while. Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
* Accept that some days you're the pigeon and some days you're the statue.
* Always keep your words soft and sweet just in case you have to eat them.
* Always wear stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be"Recalled" by their maker.
* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.
* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
* The second mouse gets the cheese.
* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wow... its almost May!

Time is racing by and I haven't blogged in quite a while. I'm staying busy being a full-time college student and working part-time as a security consultant along with my pastor's wife/music/speaking/responsibilities... enjoying the warming weather - an incredible new deck my husband has built for me around our pool (after much begging/groveling! ha) - spending some quality time with my sister Pattie and her family while they visit - excited about the camper we just bought (that I have been "talking" my husband into buying for years!) and looking forward to some down time in the near future... In a nutshell - I guess I could say I am getting a lot of things accomplished that I have dreamed about (with my schooling) and getting a few of my wishes granted (deck and camper) too! Maybe its because I'm turning 50 in May and my honey is just trying to be extra nice... I'm not sure - just VERY happy!
I am so grateful for the life God has blessed me with - family, friends, home, church, job... I know it is all because of HIS goodness and nothing I have done or deserve. I love Him and want to bring Him glory and honor in all I do!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

He Loves Me!

I woke up this morning to a beautiful blanket of snow! I had to smile and stare - because - well, let me explain... if you know anything about this area of NC - we RARELY get snow. I LOVE getting snowed in! There is just something about the feeling of coziness when snow or ice has shut the whole world out and I can stay inside - make a pot of soup and some cornbread or yeast rolls! Everything shuts down here when it snows, so I don't have any errands to run or stores to visit... no one drops in unexpected - so I can stay in my pj's all day if I want to! We have such mild winters here, so we only get severe weather every few years. Just two weeks ago we got over six inches of snow that stayed around for three days - BUT I WAS IN LOUISIANA and missed it! I was so disappointed... and then I heard they were calling for snow this week. Everyone was doubtful because we rarely get snow twice in one winter! So I told my friends and family - if it snows again - you can just tell yourself, "Jesus loves that girl too much!"
It snowed! It snowed! He loves me... It snowed!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

A clean page. Untouched. No mistakes. No white-out smudges. Fresh. Sparkling new. 2009!
January is always a time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the new one. I spent New Year's Eve in the wonderful presence of God - then had breakfast (at 1 AM) in the presence of precious friends. Its been a long time since Jeff and I stayed out til 3 AM - but the laughter and friendship held us longer than we planned.
Looking at my 2009 calendar gives me goose bumps. God has placed so many opportunities in my path. I want to fulfill His purpose in each of them. I need His Grace and Mercy to accomplish that. I am under no delusions as to WHY I have these invitations and opportunities... All that is good in me... All that is valuable in my life - comes from HIM.
Last night our ministers and their wives gathered for communion and footwashing. I felt so blessed and unworthy and the same time. To be included in such an awesome group of men and women... to be a part of mentoring their ministries... is humbling and awesome.
Whatever this year holds for me, I know that God has already measured it and entrusted me with it. My desire is to bring Him glory and honor in all that I do - and perhaps a smile.