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Sunday, May 29, 2011


i have a boatload of work to do before i leave for a week with our church's middle and high schoolers for summer camp. i'm still processing my 48 hours in tuscaloosa. but i don't want to miss an opportunity to share what's going on in my world.
it's sad, really, that images like this have become almost commonplace over the past month.
joplin; oaklahoma city; ringold, ga; memphis… it's almost overwhelming.
there's more i would like to say about all of this, but i still have a job i need to finish tonite and i need to pack.
so i'll be brief. {it's a first, i know!}
please, please, please… don't forget those in need.
i volunteered with Samaritan's Purse. i knew about their shoeboxes for needy kids all over the world… but i had no idea they were in the disaster relief business.
i don't know where you feel comfortable giving… but i do know that SP is a reputable organization that uses its resources wisely.
don't forget.
there is genuine need.
i don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods… but in tuscaloosa, it's already an oven. and there's SO much work to be done outside in the blazing sunshine.
water. sunscreen. water. energy bars. food. talents. the need is overwhelming.
but the Spirit… He's alive and well. i saw Him in abundance.
want to see for yourself? go to the SP website… there's all kinds of stories of hope in the ruins.
have a great week, y'all…

Monday, May 23, 2011


the hay bale garden marches on. we've got blossoms becoming real live veggies.
we've got survival after a vicious hailstorm that damaged an incredible amount of homes and vehicles here. i've never seen so many blue tarps on roofs or plastic on sunroofs and rear windshields in all my life. the number of hail battered cars is astounding and the insurance adjuststers and roofing/home maintenance companies are beyond busy. so the fact that we still have a garden is noteworthy!
as i grow my garden, i'm being reminded about what it looks like to be deeply rooted and i'm further encouraged to be in the Word continually. without water, my garden will wilt and die. refreshing myself daily with the Living Water is key. i'm thankful for the reminders my garden gives to me!
we even have some tomato plants showing up from the tomatoes left on the ground at the end of last year's season. i have one robust plant and two more that just showed up on the scene. we could be in for alot of tomatoes… but that's okay. last year's harvest was pretty pathetic!
we're growing. becoming deeply rooted. drinking up the water. striving to bear much fruit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

stream of consciousness

Our Dogwood Deb
high of sixty today in mid-may. brrrrr.
funny how a high of sixty two months ago would send me to find my flip flops and tank tops. now it just makes me want to find a sweater, jeans and a pair of socks.
third weekend in a row of extended family gatherings. our kids called it "easter round 4." graduation celebration this weekend. next one is in two weeks {a bit of a reprieve} for FIL's surprise 80th birthday party {thank goodness they have dial-up internet and haven't discovered my blog… or know what a blog is… ha!}.
someone quit at our corporate office. it's a good thing because it's freeing me up to do what i've always done for our business, but it does mean extra work to an already pressed marketing director. having to say goodbye to blogging and blogstalking with any kind of regularity. heavy sigh. i love my OLF.
kids are home from college. at least for awhile. bamagirl begins nursing school in a week, and will be gone the rest of the summer. she'll finish in time to begin rush, which is a huge deal at the university of alabama. last year 1,700 girls went through.
boy wonder is working at the summer camp he worked at last summer. he'll be with 7 and 8-year olds again, which is right up his alley. he has so much fun tickling their vivid imaginations and comes home with the best stories. so many of his close friends work with him, too, making it not really a "job." the pay is awful, but the experience is worth it. and it frees him up in the afternoon to play golf and wiffle ball.
the third annual wiffle ball banquet is in two weeks. they've got a derby theme this year so i guess i'll have to get started on crafting a new hat. can't be the hostest with the mostest with a nekkid head!
i wish i had a computer in the shower. i write amazing blog posts in the shower.
still processing all the destruction in alabama {and mississippi, georgia, tennessee and virginia, too} and wondering how they fell out of the national spotlight in a matter of days because of the royal wedding, the killing of bin laden and the rest of life taking center stage. how a city like tuscaloosa can be classified an E1 disaster… only the third of its kind in the US {the others being katrina and 9-11} be literally forgotten in days. perhaps it's a testimony to how folks just pick up sticks {literally} and help their neighbors and don't sit around and whine about how much their lives suck. the FEMA folks said they've never seen anything like it… after one week, tuscaloosa looked like katrina did after six months. i'd chalk that up to southern guts, but new orleans is in the south, too.
i feel pretty safe just chalking it up to God. he's the ruler and master in this whole thing and it's awesome to see the stories of hope and redemption rising up from the rubble.
i'm planning on going myself next week. bamagirl has orientation on wednesday, then needs to come home for the banquet and the {shhhhh} surprise birthday party. so i'll drive her down, find a place to volunteer while she's in school, and then we'll come back. it'll be a quick mini-mini-mission trip, but i'm glad to be able to do my part to help.
so that's what's on my mind. a jumble of things, but it's okay. i'm used to it.
the photos are from bamagirl's debutante ball… it didn't feel right to blog about such an event in light of the tragedy in the southeast, but it was fun, and we did enjoy introducing our daughter to knoxville. not like they didn't know her already. it was a great evening to share with our family, too. {the first of the five get-togethers in a month!}

Monday, May 9, 2011

mothered {thank goodness} to death

i was the fourth child born to parents in their late 30s. my older brother wasn't even living at home anymore. he was 18 and out on his own. my sister was almost 10 when i was born; my other brother almost four. to say i was the baby of the family is an understatement.
when i was about six months old, my mom had her third back surgery, and was out of commission for months. my aunt took care of me for several weeks while my dad got mom out of the hospital and situated at home. my aunt and uncle delivered me back home to a very relieved mom, but she cried as i screamed watching "my mom" back out of the driveway, leaving me with what i thought was a stranger.
she's now in her 80s and suffers from alzheimers, but she's still a delight and remembers us. i'm so glad i visited her with my sibs last summer.
my sister really stepped up to the plate to help. since my mom was laid up for a significant period of time, she really cared for my needs. she diapered, bathed, and fed me like a champ, and the bond between us sisters cemented for life. despite the age difference, my sister debbie and i remain incredibly close. she was a second mother to me, never made me feel like an annoying little sister and we even shared a room. imagine being a senior in high school and having to share a room {and bed} with a second grader? yep… she's a saint.
my mom with my cousin, sherry
my mom was your typical stay at home mom. she was queen of the castle and kept an impeccably clean home. dinner on the table at six. homemade christmas cookies by the boatload. after school snacks awaiting us as we arrived home. she made sure our lunch was ready and on the table when we'd come home for lunch from school. she was a safe place to share stories and was always available after school to listen. when i was laid up at home for two months recovering from my own back surgery, she was my physical therapist extraordinaire. strict, yet loving. hilarious and snarky. generous with her gifts.
she was the best.
i lost her twelve years ago to a train wreck called lung cancer.
when i left home for college almost {choke} thirty years ago, i ventured far from my home state. luckily, i had a family i had babysat for in the boston area that had moved to a city nearby my university. they became my "home away from home" and she became like a mother to me. she'd come and get me for weekends at their house. i'd sleep and do laundry, eat and sleep some more. just like coming home. her girls were like my little sisters and they loved me just like one of the family. she was there days after i gave birth to my first child and was my doula when i had my second. she has loved my children like her very own grandchildren and has always showered us with her love and affection. to this day, she remains my childrens' pretend grandmother whom they call beebs, and she's my second mother.  Photobucket
my MIL with her daughter, dana
twenty six years ago, a fifth mother entered my life. she's the mother to my husband, selfless, generous and a precious example of sacrificial love. she welcomed me into the family with open arms and has never let go. kind, careful with advice and quick with laughter, meeka {a name given to her by our son} is a living example of motherly love and affection.
the Lord has blessed me beyond what i deserve. many people can't even say they have one strong woman in their lives. i've been more than blessed by wonderful mothers. they've all been wonderful examples for me and have all inspired me to be the best mother i can be. my greatest desire in life is to pour in to others what has been given to me. may i never tire of the desire to breathe life into others.

Friday, May 6, 2011

life in a vacuum

i remember the day my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer.
my world was crashing around me, and as i looked around, everyone else's life was going on as if nothing happened. how can you be laughing… don't you realize my mom is dying??
i got the call when i returned home from church that sunday morning after thanksgiving. dad is gone.
i remember that long drive home… the world around me functioning perfectly while i was a jumble of thoughts and concerns.
i feel the same way now. and i'm not even in the tornado zone.
but my daughter is.
and i see life around me… oblivious to the hurt and suffering in tuscaloosa {and other parts of AL, MS, TN, GA, and VA}.
i'm sure there's a lesson here, although i'm too thick to fully understand.
life does go on.
you can choose to sit in your junk and despair, or you can get up, thank God for your blessings and move on.
i'm thankful we're going to have an opportunity to help there. i think this will give me the chance to move forward. because right now my heart is stuck. i'm thankful for the outpouring of help there. God is so good. and His people are so resourceful.
God is good. all the time. He is so very good.
we just want to dig in and be His hands and feet.

this is me. watching life go on… and wondering how i fit in to all of that.
thank you, that is all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Praise You In This Storm

photo by bamagirl
i haven't been able to write. i haven't been able to collect my thoughts. my heart has been a tornado of emotions for a week now.
bamagirl returned home friday morning, having spent the night in gadsen with friends the night before. she arrived home, quiet and still somewhat in shock. by saturday night, she was ready to pack a small bag and head back on sunday, and she would have if her car hadn't been in the shop {completely unrelated to the tornado… miraculously, her car didn't have a scratch on it. not. a. scratch.}. she left monday after we filled her car with donated clothing, water and groceries.
tuesday, it rained. a miserably wet and cold day. she worked through the greek system at school and fed people and then went out with friends to offer their services in a neighborhood. in her words: 
"what a humbling experience... words and pictures cannot describe what has happened here, but I know that God is in this town more than ever! We need him in the calm just as much as in the storm."
 alabama has this bitter rivalry between schools. UA's Crimson Tide vs Auburn Tigers. bitter is putting it mildly. when alabama won the national championship two years ago, the ones cheering against UA the loudest were from auburn. and alabama returned the favor with glee as auburn weathered the cam newton drama while winning the championship. venom reigned in the state of alabama. 
but not now. i've never seen a group assemble so quickly and mobilize forces more effectively than the Toomers for Tuscaloosa facebook group that is 80,000 strong. a house divided has become a house united. it's been awesome to watch.

april has been a fantastically destructive month. floods along the mississippi. fires in texas. tornadoes throughout the southeast. people are hurting. so many have been affected and as we look at the destruction, it can be overwhelming. we can all help in some way or fashion. we can donate resources. we can give blood. we can pray. we can encourage. 
and we can praise Him in this storm. may He get all the praise and glory.