So, I've been trying to pretend this is my dairy--and make that entry daily. But, it just doesn't happen! If any of you know me, you know I AM NOT A NIGHT PERSON! Once 9PM rolls around I'm beat! My mind is mush, and my body--is most happy if I'm in the prone position. Of course, I rise with the roosters. Much to the chagrine of my hotel room companions. They tell me that I wake them up when I click away on my computer early in the morning (if you call 8:57AM early!) but I'm convinced they are sleeping soundly. I hear them breathing!! Speaking of hotel room companions--this has been a great trip. I traded Kaleigh and TJ for my neices Alec and Kes. Here's a picture of them making the trip to my house. (No, they didn't ride all the way up here in the back of that truck!) We're in Pigeon Forge to watch Mikel play softball. So far we've eaten pancakes, visited the aquarium, laughed at the Comedy Barn, waded in the creek and seen Mikel play two games. Hmmm--nothing like a week of watching softball, huh?! Since we won both our games and no one has scored against us--we are the number 1 seed. That means that we don't play ball today (Thursday) until 7PM tonight. Then, if we win--we may not even play on Friday. It's hard to remember we're here to play ball! We're hoping for a World Series win to finish this season. Only that game will most likely be played on Sunday, and poor Tom. He lives for this--and he has to be home on Sunday to preach. You better believe that if Mikel does anything amazing or if our win comes during his sermon--we're calling. We'll interrupt the program for an important announcement. Then...it will be time to reshuffle the deck and retrieve Kaleigh and TJ. This is typical of our family's life. On Sunday (after the World Series championship--hopefully) I'll travel to Atlanta, Kaleigh will meet us there (at Mammer and PopPop's house) and Tom will bring TJ to Chattanooga to meet us on our way. Because...we are on our way to our favorite place in all the world--Spanish Wells, Bahamas. (I'll tell you all about SW in another blog). BUT, in order to save considerable amounts of money the kids and I are flying to Miami from Atlanta and Tom is cashing in credit card points on his free ticket from Nashville. So--somehow we have to collect our family from the four corners of the world and all be on those two planes come Monday morning. I'll keep you posted on all of this...the connections, the World Series, and the Dixie Stampede (which we plan to attend today). Just in case you want to know the details of our lives. :) (Why else do you read these things???)
Last summer we came up with the world's greatest 12 year old bday party. Tom and I took TJ and a few of his friends to our friend Wayne's house on Smith Lake in Alabama, and we parasailed!! (We also tubed, skied and surfed, played that train game you can play with dominoes and ate BROWNIES!!) But our main goal was to experience the sensation of being one of those little bows that dangles below a kite. Now, I know that I am NOT a kid anymore, and I know that when I was growing up in my family the most adventurous thing we ever did was skip rocks into the lake without wearing life jackets. But since I met and married Tom McCoy, my life has taken a turn for ADVENTURE with the emphasis being on all sorts of life-defying activities. In fact, I've written an entire book on my adventure of snow skiing (brief infomercial--that book is coming out in the Lifeway Bookstores this Fall, Women Embracing Life...All of It!). These adventures have included jumping off 30 foot cliffs into mountain streams in Arizona (well--not me, but watching two of my children do it), and diving with sharks in the warm waters off shore in the Bahamas, mountain climbing vertical rocks, and the list could go on. I've done LOTS of amazing things--even learned to water ski (slalom) after 35. But I don't think I've ever impressed others quite as much as I did when I parasailed last May. The first video shows how it works. After that, you will see how it worked for me.
There is a phrase in Scripture that I often relate to; "...and Mary pondered these things in her heart..." Did you know my first name is Mary? It's a family name--my mother's first name is Mary, and I think my great-grandmother's name was Mary. So, I kind of read this phrase as a personal one.
And there are many times I "ponder these things in my heart." So many things.
19 years ago Tom and I went to Ridgecrest Conference Center to attend Sunday School week. Our trip was paid for by Earl and Jo Waldrup who were serving with us at our mission church. Tom took full advantage of every opportunity to rub elbows with the "great SS leaders" of that day. Harry Piland, Andy Anderson, Art Burchman, Larry Shotwell and others. We came home filled to overflowing with dreams, visions and plans! We also came home with the privilege of being "adopted" by Harry Piland. Through the early years of our ministry we were consistently encouraged and "coached" in how to grow a healthy church through "Sunday School."
So, when Tom was invited to preach this past weekend for the SS conference, and we took our worship team, 6 of our pastors and 120 or so other of our SS leaders with us--it was a time to "ponder." How did I get from one of 1500 plus people worshipping in the Spilman auditorium in 1989 to the wife of the preacher in 2008? How did we go from 3 SS classes back then with an average attendance of 30 or so to over 100 classes today with attendance pressing past 1500?
The slide show starts in my mind...the first Sunday of our young adult class, the summer I left to do GA Camps and gave the class to the Randy Coffman, Tom encouraging our people over and over and over again that if they didn't divide their groups we could never multiply...the business meeting when we argued over how much it would cost to rent a portable building for more space (because we were pressing toward the 80% rule). And the day we moved into that portable building. I see us making applesauce in my electric skillet in the preschool class, and playing a game in the 5th-6th grade class--I see each of our buildings open for their first Sundays, and remember how TJ scooted nearly across the TS Road before I found him (when he was a toddler and we were building another of our SS spaces)...the slides go on and on and on.
So, we went to Ridgecrest this weekend, Tom preached "the glory down" our worship team sang, 130 of our church members worshipped with abandon
Okay, so I stirred up a bee hive with my back--for all of you out there, yes, pastors and their wives DO THAT!! ;) Anyway...I'm moving right along...
What happened to the stockyards???? Tom and I have been in Thompson Station for 19 1/2 years and all that time we've enjoyed telling people of how God has let us build a church "right across the street from the stock yards!" Then, last Saturday when I was bringing TJ to the fireworks tent (to purchase discount fireworks the day AFTER the 4th--only to find them all packed up and ready to move out)...he and I decided to tour our new parking lot and driveway--(have you ever seen such a driveway for a church??? ) We were pulling back out on highway 31 when we realized the stockyards were demolished!
When did that happen? Nobody told me that was happening? How can it be? TJ almost got tears in his eyes. A landmark...a piece of history...a real reminder of our rural roots is gone just like that! What will we ever do without the STINK in July and the bloated dead things leftover in the parking lot and the 18 wheelers parked in our lot?? Never again will we chase goats around the building. It will never be the same again.
There was a time in our ancient history when Tom came home from church and said, "If we have to, Leighann, we'll just start all over in the stockyard..." Of course we never had to, but I just KNOW that stinky old spot inspired us. I'm thinking it was on a Sunday night when Tom declared, "If God can touch the world from a manger in Bethlehem, He can certainly touch it from Thompson Station Church across the street from a stock yard! We will TOUCH THE WORLD from Thompson Station!" And for years that was our motto: Touch the World from Thompson Station Church.
Of course, we changed our motto last year. Now we're not just gonna "touch the world" we're gonna CHANGE THE WORLD...so, I guess it's all in the motto--they're changing the landscape and we're changing the world.
Oh my, right when I was starting to have a little FUN time on my hands, I got all ambitious and decided to BLOG! Now, I have another stress--gotta BLOG today! :) Okay, okay, okay. I'll just pretend it's one of those little pink books with the flap that locks with a key and call it a diary!
So here's what you've missed--a TSC staff trip to the lake. When I get my camera back from Reese Wagoner (she accidentally packed it in her diaper bag yesterday)--I'll download some pics and show you how Angela Spencer CAN SKI!!!
You also missed my bday gift to Tom--I gave him ME! And, that's all I'm saying about it--I'm also NOT telling you the real reason my back went out on Saturday.
And that brings me to the subject of the blog I'm writing now. Tom turned 45 on July 4. And when he had his bday, I just start calling myself that age (my bday is September 11--great thought for another blog; fireworks on his bday--flags flying half mass on mine...) Some of you may be reading this and thinking that we are in the prime of our lives. I read it and remember thinking people were kind of old when they got to be this age!
I stepped out of the shower Saturday morning and felt a "hitch" in my back. That was warning that this great BIG, wonderful, amazing, completely taken for granted part of my body was about to scream for attention. We had a long drive home and by the time we arrived, my back was ACHING!! I'm talking sharp pain, dull pain, constant pain, throbbing pain...you get the picture. Okay, so when you hurt, you rest. So--I tried to rest. Only the pain was worse when I was lying down or sitting. The only relief I felt was when I was walking or floating in the pool. So I'm thinking "it will get better with time..." wrong again. It got worse. You should've seen my kids when I tried to unfold myself from the car as we ran our errands! Everyone's been amazingly patient, and only a little embarrassed. I'm just here to say, OUCH!!! So today I finally broke down and went to the doctor. Oh my goodness, I'm loving DRUGS! I know, just say "no" and all that...but I'm counting the minutes until I get my next pain killer! I got my first cortizone shot. Thankfully they didn't put it in the pain-not sure I could've handled that, but they did put it in my rear--and when that medicine unleashed itself into my system, I totally forgot the pain in my back and traded it for a pain in "my you know where!" the weirdest thing was the immediate surge of pain as the medicine traveled up my side. It was like someone punched me! Tom went with me to the doctor--that in itself was amazing. Now that he's a president, and pastors such a big church and has so many important things to do--I don't even think to ask him to take me to the doctor! (Besides that--I don't think he went with me to see the ultrasounds that revealed the sex of two of our three children! It's just not the kind of marriage we have.) But for some reason, today he offered to take me--thank you, LORD that he did! When we went to pick up the meds and as the woman was breezing through the possible side effects, the cortizone was still giving me the whammy! and right when she said, "you could feel light-headed and dizziness" I grabbed Tom's arm with my cold and clammy hands and muttered, "Tom, I'm dizzy now--I'm not feeling so well." The woman's voice drifted far away and Tom carried me over to a little bench I guess they put there for such a time as this.
They found me a Diet Dr. Pepper and a spoonful of peanut butter--and after what seemed like a long time (actually just a few minutes) I came back out of my abyss (I didn't see a bright light, but my insides were screaming to let go of life as I knew it!) I've only come close to fainting once before (won't go into that today)--but my daughter Mikel has this happen to her often. Oh my! I have a much better appreciation for what she goes through!
So, that's the back pain. Want to know about the getting old? They took an x-ray and my prognosis sounded like this from Dr. K-- "here you have the disks between your vertabrae, and these are all good--but see this one between 14 and 15 (not sure those numbers are right, I've never been a numbers person) here your disk is thinning. This happens AS YOU AGE!!" There it was, those 3 little words that flashed before my face and reminded me that I'm getting old! So--what now? I can jog 6 miles, ride 20 and ski all over the lake (or at least I could LAST week)...now I can stand up--maybe lay on my side tonight rather than "flat on my back" and live to my next pain killer. And next week I'll go to physical therapy and start doing those exercises. Tomorrow I'll stop eating sweets and breads and keep trying to get this little bit of extra weight off. For, I can't change the fact that I'm aging, but I can do a few things to strengthen my poor old back.
I'm wife to Tom. He pastors Thompson Station Church in Thompson Station, TN. We've been there 22+ years (since January 1989)--the only church we've ever served since graduating from SWBTS. I have two daughters--Mikel (19) and Kaleigh (17), and one son, TJ (15). I also have a granddaughter, Misty (born 2-9-11) and a new son-in-law Austin (20).
I love to write and have 7 books in print. Three are in the Lifeway bookstores. And a new one released by Bethany House June 2011. I'm on staff at TSC and serve as the prayer and women's minister. I enjoy laughing, love "alone" time, and am learning to "be still" so I "will know."