Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Several years ago, we stopped doing the "family thing" for Thanksgiving. Before that we would trade years. One year we'd go to the McCoy's and spend Thanksgiving at a catfish restaurant or at Montgomery Bell State Park buffet. The other year we'd drive to Georgia and gather with my Dad's family for the holiday. I loved my family members, but I didn't enjoy either festivity.

Catfish or the country buffet simply didn't seem enough like Thanksgiving to me. And driving to Georgia to turn around and drive back through the holiday traffic didn't appeal to me either. So, one year we told both families that we were breaking tradition and going our own way. So, we have a new tradition. The Thanksgiving holiday is spent with our immediate family. Just us--Tom, me, Mikel, Kaleigh and TJ. The first year we did this, the kids loved it! We found a condo in the mountains and took off.

We spent the holiday hanging out with one another, making Christmas presents, and doing whatever there was to do in the locale where we were staying. Then, about 3 years ago, we started going to North Carolina. My parents had a place there--oh my, it was incredible! We took all our food with us (I have this little envelope with the menu's, shopping lists and recipes in it.) and we played games, put together puzzles, watched ball games, took hikes and roasted marshmallows. My parents would come up on Friday after Thanksgiving and we'd all go together Saturday morning to cut our Christmas trees. Then--we'd haul it back home.

But my parents had to sell their house this past year. That, my friends, was a sad day. And so when this week was approaching, I was in a quandry as to what to do. I tossed around the idea of staying here. And, we almost opted for that. But, then I realized that all 3 of my kids would want to be anywhere but home, and I'd have to "ground" them just to have time together!!

So, just a few days ago, I got online and found us a cabin to rent--back in North Carolina. I'm leaving tomorrow (Sunday) and Kaleigh's going with me. Tom, Mikel and TJ are coming up on Wednesday to meet us. I shopped today using the lists in my Thanksgiving Menus envelope, and have all the food packed in my Highlander.

Just in case you are picturing the picture-perfect family all nestled in a mountain cabin enjoying one another's company--I want you to know what each of my children have said about my plans:

Mikel--"I found someone who will let me go with them to their Thanksgiving dinner if I can talk you out of taking me."

Kaleigh--"I don't know why we have to go over there. This is a perfectly good place to be. I'll miss my friends."

TJ--"Awe, Mom. Do we have to go?"

People tell me this is simply a phase we're going through. It seems that if you don't have a last name different than my own--my kids don't want to hang with you. Why is that? When did I lose my appeal? What happened to "Oh mommy, can I go with you?!" I'd even welcome a tear or two when we have to part for school in the morning!!

But...I'm still the Mama so I still get the "say so." And I say we're spending Thanksgiving together--far, far away. Where cell phones won't work, and computers won't link into the internet! We're eating pumpkin pie, turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce and WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME!!!

I hope that you have a Happy Thanksgiving too. And, that you'll take some time to thank God for giving (I'll be thanking Him for giving me these teens!).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Black walnuts and old bananas

There is something you need to know about me. I have a very hard time throwing away old bananas. It's silly I know...I don't have any trouble tossing out bad lettuce, oranges or even old apples. But those bananas...they are hard to toss. My mother used to make delicious banana muffins out of old bananas, and although I travel most every weekend to the far corners of the nation--and work at the church in what time I'm at home. Although I push myself to write two to three books a year--and all three of my children are playing sports (that I support by watching) I still feel like I need to make something out of those bananas.

Then there are also those black walnuts. I have the hardest time not going out there and collecting those walnuts. They are falling all over the place, and staining the streets. When Mikel was a toddler, she collected them for me, and got covered with black "stuff." I don't remember actually cooking with them--I most likely gave them to my mother. She loves to bake with them. If the truth be known, I don't even like black walnuts--they taste like they've musted even when they're supposedly good.

What is it about me that is plagued by bananas and black walnuts? Come to think of it--wouldn't they both be tasty in a bread???

Friday, November 14, 2008

Moe's Barbeque Fish and Things

Okay, if you live in Thompson Station or Spring Hill--you know how exciting it is when new restaurants open. For heaven's sake, when Captain D's opened--there was a traffic jam in front of Lowe's!! I was NOT in the line mind you. The last time I ate Captain D's I was pregnant with Mikel, catching a quick bite with Tom before spending the afternoon helping him with some of his doctoral work, and I regretted it the entire afternoon!

However, I did notice that O'Charley's is "NOW OPEN!" And I do hope to get Kaleigh down there soon for some of those big hot yeast rolls. (She loves O'Charleys!) And, the Olive Garden is coming soon. I've been meaning to taste some of Gigi's cupcakes, and I've heard great things about that new mexican grill (can't remember the name). I remember when our choices were two: the Spring Hill Restaurant (a meat and 3 in downtown Spring Hill--now for sale) and the Steeple Chase Inn (where Pancho's used to be and the Mediterranean restaurant is now. In fact, it was at the Steeple Chase that we interviewed with the entire congregation --in the large corner booth--on the last Sunday of January 1989 when Tom preached his trial sermon).

But the most recent banner that caught my attention is just outside the new Kroger gas station (beside the new Kroger that is beside the middle school--YES!! I plan to send TJ shopping in the afternoons timing it just so that I can pick him up in the Kroger check-out line to pay the bill.).

The banner reads "Moe's Barbeque Fish and Things"

I've nearly had an accident craining my neck to see where exactly Moe's is located. Is it in the Kroger plaza? No. Is it back there with that new childcare center? No. Sharing the building with the oil change place? Nope. Today I discovered Moe's restaurant. It's a trailer in the TSC Hardware (not church) parking lot. I kid you not--you can enjoy Moe's in the comfort of your own car--parking for FREE at TSC!!

Something about things... kind of concerns me when it's served out of a trailer! but, more power to you Moe!! You're one MOE choice we have for dinner!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I like sex

Bet that got your attention!! We had a church member who said to Tom, (when he announced we were pregnant with TJ--which made our third pregnancy in three years) "I know that people do that--I just don't want to think of my pastor doing it!"

It's kind of like thinking of your parents doing it. UGH!

But, I'm just gonna say...I'm married! I never partook before I was married. I've been married for almost 22 years and I've been partaking ever since--I enjoyed it from the first and I enjoy it even more today.

There...did I make you blush??? (Tom is so going to get on me for this blog...)

Anyway, I've been amazed at the people God sometimes plops right into my path. For instance, I met D. James Kennedy--sat in his office and practiced my EE presentation with him. Morris Chapman (CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention) gave me my annual review when he was chairman of the personnel team at TSC. I've served lasagna in my dining room to Jerry Rankin (president of the International Mission Board) and his wife Bobbye, toured India with Rebekah Naylor (former missionary doctor there--a hero to Girls in Action), had dinner with Dave Ramsey, done jumping jacks and lunges in Travis' Cottrell's home (with his wife Angela)...the list could go on and on.

But just this month, I've met two new friends. One is Neil Anderson (author of The Bondage Breaker, Victory over the Darkness and Breaking Free), AND my neighbor is Joe Beam! If you google "sex expert" on the internet, you'll find his name. How cool is that???

Tom and I went to lunch with Joe and his wife the other day, we sat right in Jeffrey's talking about ------ (I will restrain my freedom of speech just a bit.) I love how God places people in my path.

So, if you like sex--visit my neighbor Joe's blog. Because he makes his living talking about it--you can get a good sex talk daily. I've added him to my links.

This will be the one and only time you'll get it here. :)

I'm closing now--but just let me say this. Sex was God's idea. And I think it was one of His BEST!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How 'bout those Titans?

Okay, let's get back to the real reason we blog--to yick yack about the really important things in life.

Things like our Tennessee Titans! How about those Titans?

Now, I have to confess that I know very little about football. I'm one of those moms who says, "that's why I'm glad my son doesn't play." And when I watch those guys tackle one another--I praise God my son loves basketball!

But, I have to confess that I'm all caught up in Titan fever. We're undefeated, and I'm just sayin- that's something to brag about--don't you think?

Tom and I got to go to a Monday night game. Our good friends, the Chapman's invited us to join them in their high dollar seats. I'm not sure how high the dollar is--but since the seats are on the fifty yard line and the night we went we could practially talk in a normal voice to Eddie George, Steve McNair and that guy who owns the team--I figure they cost a pretty high dollar.

Anyway...sitting amongst the crowd I got a good taste of what it's all about. The game was great (we beat the Indianapolis Colts)--the booze was sloshing and the language made me blush (as did the scantily clad cheerleaders). I wish I could tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my time--but I have to confess I'd rather have my seat at home.

In my own house I can enjoy the game, actually see the instant replays, and listen to the commentators explain what's going on. I can control the noise, and monitor the language. The only thing sloshing is diet coke and maybe hot cocoa. I don't want to sound like a prude, but if preferring a wholesome atmosphere --and wishing the cheerleaders were clothed--makes me so, then I'll simply let you call me "a prude."

Don't get me wrong, dear Chapman's. I'm grateful for our time together. I actually admire the way you live your witness week in and week out as you dive right on in to the middle of that mayhem! I'll pray for you like I pray for the missionaries serving in the places we cannot mention.

But as for those Titans' we're going all the way! And when we get there this time, we're beating our opponent! Go Titans!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I really like Stretch Marks post better than mine

I just finished reading my friend Melissa's blog--and all I can say is "AMEN." Go to hers...she says it all much better than me. It's kind of like Norman Rockwall meets Evelyn Christensen. :)

Well then...

Well. I guess we learned a few things this week...
...we learned that one can be evasive and non-committal and still get elected to office.
...we learned that America has come a very long way from the racial injustices of yester-year.
...we learned that while we stood together and cried patriots tears on the evening on 9/11/01 when our president told us we'd have to fight a long, expensive, difficult war if we wanted to win against terrorism--7 years is long enough for many Americans (although the battle has yet to be won).
...we learned that the Bible belt still votes values--but that the influence of those who live there doesn't reach very far beyond the "buckle."
...we learned that the majority of Californians still consider marriage being a union between one man and one woman--no matter how their state court wants to redefine it!

This is a new day indeed. Change is what we've been promised--

For too many years America has grown to expect those who are Christians to sit down and be quiet. My friends, It's time for us to stand up and be counted!

God put us in this country for such a time as this.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Salt and Light

I'm going to do something I will rarely do on my blog. I'm going to get on my soap box for just a minute.

I read from Matthew 5 this morning in my Praying Toward the Election prayer guide. You know the passage, "you are the salt of the are the light of the world..." Jesus urged us to be salty and to shine brightly.

I heard a preacher remind me once that salt was more than seasoning in Jesus' day. Salt slowed decay. When I moved to Tennessee I was introduced to "country ham." I'm thinking that salt didn't quite slow that ham enough! But, nonetheless, the salt-curing process make that ham "ok" to eat long after it was alive and kicking!

Salt was also used to heal wounds. (ouch!) So...when Jesus said "you are the salt of the earth" He was telling us that we are here to "slow the decay" and "heal the wound" of sin's festering sore!

Jesus also said "you are the light of the world. He said, "people don't light lamps and put them under bowls! They put them on lampstands!" And boy do they ever! What good is light if not for shining in the dark?

I'm sitting here hours before the election. Perhaps the most interesting presidential race ever. And although I don't know what the majority of American's will say with their vote tomorrow, I do know that just the fact that we're faced with such a choice tells me that America is much darker, much more decaying and much more wounded by sin than I knew before we got to this day.

And I have to wonder, why is that?

Is it because our salt has lost its saltiness? Are we hiding our lights under the bowls?

Perhaps we've seasoned our fellowship with other Christians and forgotten that our salt was given to us for much more than flavoring our worship gatherings.

Perhaps we've illuminated our houses of worship so brightly that we've completely forgotten how dark it's gotten outside those doors.

I don't know if Obama or McCain will be elected tomorrow. But I do know Who I trust. And I know Whom I serve. I know Who's called me to be His own. I know that He will remain where He's always been--on His Throne. And my friends...I know what He's told me to do:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16 NIV

Don't stop voting your values when you leave the polling place tomorrow. Keep casting your vote as you live your life. God has always blessed America--He's longing for us to join Him.