Thursday, November 28, 2013

I’m Thankful for My Box

On this day of Thanksgiving I find myself behind on my facebook posts…20 days behind to be exact, but last night as I was in deep thought I realized what I am most thankful for this year…my box.

There’s this song that I listen to everyday; sometimes multiple times over and over and over. This song is me…this song came to me at a time that I realized people (a few) may think I’m strange.

I have had friends visit church with me. I have visited multiple churches and different denominations over the years and what I have found is my God is everywhere. But today I want to say that not everybody experiences him the way that I have, and that’s OK but I have this box.

In Feb. 2008 God drew me to him. I was under such conviction I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe…I thought I was going to die. My church was having revival. That night I couldn’t get to that alter fast enough. At that time I thought that was the only place I could find God so I sat all day waiting to get back to church to fall at his feet at that wooden alter. Again in 2011 he drew me to be baptized, and I was on March 6, 2011.

Fast forward almost six years: Today I look back and see the difference in my life, my actions, my marriage, my surroundings, my thoughts…I am totally different. I had single handedly burned down the life I had known…I was standing in ashes and nowhere to go. That’s where he found me. Today my marriage is stronger than ever because we apply the principals of the Bible, our children don’t battle the things they used to and have had their own salvation experiences, and I think now, “What would life look like had we not involved God?” If I use the measuring stick of our life before God, it looks like destruction with unruly children and a broken marriage of two people seeking something that cannot be found in humans.

So now I have this box…

The words of the song are this:

The room grew still as she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain, some spoke in anger, there’s no place here for her kind
Still on she came through the tears that flushed her face
Til at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Everything she said was heard
As she poured her love for the master
From her box of Alabaster…

And I’ve come to pour my praise on him
Like oil from Mary’s Alabaster Box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair
You were not there the night he found me
You did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his loving arms around me
And you don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box

I can't forget the way life used to be
I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound
And I spent my days
Pouring my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I'd thought I'd found
Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I'm giving back to Him
All the praise He's worthy of
I've been forgiven
And that's why
I love Him so much

So, I’ve come to pour my praise on him
Like oil from Mary’s Alabaster Box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair
You were not there the night he found me
You did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his loving arms around me
And you don't know the cost MY praise
NO, you don’t know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box…

That’s the best I can sum it up…I cannot explain to you the supernatural experience I have had with my God…the addictions broken in my life, the curses lifted from me and my children, the “beauty for ashes” he has given me, the friends he added to me, the blessings he pours on me every day, and the very supernatural events that have and continue to take place in our lives. I pray for faith, I pray the scripture, “Lord I believe help my unbelief,” and when I pray I look up and see in my mind a face nodding and saying, “I hear your cries, and I am answering your prayers.” And he does…every time.

So when you see me at church and I have my hands in the air, and tears streaming down my face as I pour praise on this Jesus who has done all of this for me…please just know that in my heart is an Alabaster Box full of the oil of praise and I cannot wait to pour that on his feet every time I get the chance.

I know who I was, and I know who he made me…he’s worthy of this praise…even when it’s uncomfortable or different than what others grew up knowing as church please remember this line – “you were not there the night he found me, you did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his loving arms around me, and you don’t know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box.”

(Song my CeCe Winans)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hard To Look At

My feet have gotten wet and I am in full wading waters now at the new job! I’ve sold several vehicles, two to one family Friday - thank you - and I am LOVING my new gig! I haven’t blogged since I took the position because it’s been such a change. 

I cried the first two weeks…

Then two things happened, and I dried it up!

I got my first paycheck! Who says money can't buy you love?

And I picked up a newspaper for the first time. I felt the relief of not being responsible for all of those meetings, fires, accidents, community events, and the lengthy tasks to produce broadcast copy and newspaper articles; it was like feeling the first gush of ocean water run over my feet on a hot summer day.

Many things have transpired but the one that consumes me this week is the girls senior photo session.

Shop Local:

I wanted to take her shopping and buy new outfits and really indulge in one of the last few big events of her high school career. I remember being overly excited about my senior photos. At the last minute we decided to stay in town and shop local for all of her outfits. Just to prove Leitchfield has a lot to offer! We started with Ann at Madison Square Boutique and found a dress, a couple of shirts and jewelry. We headed next to Cato’s and loaded up on big jewelry, and then onto Factory Connection for some fabulous high heels in various colors.

We used a local photographer, who rocks! AND, my manager, who has a Masters in Art took time out of his busy schedule to personalize an 8 foot piece of cardboard with Madi’s name on it. What is unknown to most people is the A in Madi is painted like the Eiffel Tower because she is headed to Paris on her Senior Trip - a trip she has paid for by herself. The Eiffle Tower "A" was Gene’s idea, and for that, we thank you!

Library:

I knew I wanted a photo of her reading a book - this kid loves to read! There were two books I wanted to add to this picture. The Great Gatsby because this is the reason her and her boyfriend became friends. They began to chat about the movie and he bought her the book - the one she’s holding in the picture. The book laying at her feet is her Bible that Dad and I bought her when she was 11. I happened upon Dad one night measuring and cutting tape to repair the spine that had pulled apart over the years. This child loves the Word of God and has read through multiple times. Dad took the Bible and laid on her nightstand so she could find it repaired. It was a must for one of her pictures. Brianna suggested the library and the ideas married together to produce this unique shot that captures not only her outside beauty, but the beauty of her character.
Wordy Sweater from Madison Square Boutique

Dad:

These pics were hard to look at for him. He didn’t comment on them or share them on his facebook for days. I thought we had done something wrong so I pressed for information. He confessed.

You see, he is obsessed with my senior pictures. He even has one as his timeline photo on facebook. That was the time in my life he met me and we began to date.

He realized in these pictures, he said, that she looks a lot like me in my senior pictures, and he had a moment of realization that she’s about grown-up.
1993
2013

Madi typically does not look like she does in these pics - a glamorous, confident teenage girl. She’s always been a wall flower - beautiful but quiet, meek, bookworm, who observes people and just glides through life not bringing attention to herself. These pics are very different than that shy, quiet girl. Emotionally, they were hard for him to look at.

Boyfriend:

Part of my prayer for years for this child was this line: “God, raise up a boy who will first be her friend.” The Boyfriends reaction to seeing her senior pictures opened the eyes of my heart to see that his interest in her at first was her character. He said excitedly, “MADI! You’re so pretty!” Like he knew it but at the same time, didn’t.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

High Heels from Factory Connection - Turquoise Necklace from Cato

Chevron Top and Yellow Jewelry from Madison Square Boutique (find on facebook)

Gray Tee-Shirt and Purple Jewelry from Cato

Awesome photos by b. clemons photography (find on facebook)

Red High Heels from Factory Connection and Red/Gold Jewelry from Cato

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Don't Know What to Say

I'm so overwhelmed as I sit here looking back at my path over the last several weeks.

I loved the morning show "In The Know" that was part of my job at K105. I always felt it was a platform that was given to me from God, a platform to speak the peace and love of Christ, given the opportunity.

So it was with great confusion that I left my job at the radio station and set out to work as the Internet Sales Manager at Dan Powers GM Center. I still couldn't shake the feeling that maybe I forfeited my platform.

The county fair came along and with the new job I was obligated to spend a few nights at the car lots booth, meeting people and talking car sales. I got the chance to hang out with co-workers, my manager and his wife for a few nights.

Saturday morning my manager called me to his office to talk to me. He started by asking me how much I missed writing the news, in which I quickly said, "I don't!" He went on to ask me how much I missed being on the morning show -- to which I quickly said, "A LOT."

He went on to explain how he and his wife discussed how big of a personality I had and how he was afraid I may wither in my office if I didn't have an outlet.

This is where it gets cool...

HE asked ME if I wanted to spend an hour each morning co-hosting "In The Know" and said he was willing to give me up for that hour so I could do something I loved so much.

Shut the front door! Did he just offer me that?

I quickly talked with my cohorts of the morning show and I start back tomorrow.

How awesome is that? I get to work two jobs at the same time, make more money than I thought when I switched careers, and God gave me my platform back. How do I know God did this...?

Unbeknowest to me until recently, two weeks ago my pastor prophesied that I was going back to the morning show...

True story.

I am blessed and highly favored! And the good news is, so are you according to scripture.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Boyfriend

I failed God. I failed him, my child and someone else's child.

I learned several months ago my daughter had a "boy" that was just a little more than a friend and of course my first action was to creep his twitter and facebook - because that's normal.

I was not thrilled with my findings - not that he was horrible but this was MY baby girl and anything less than a nerdy, Jesus-loving, hermit wouldn't satisfy me.

At this point in her life, just weeks before her 17th birthday, she had not been on any dates, or even really had any "love" interest.

A Momma's Preparation

You see, I have prayed for this child's future mate. I have prayed that God would raise up a Godly man for her; a man to be her best friend first and love of her life later. I have fasted and prayed for this for all of my children. I believe it's our responsibility as parents to pray for such things for our children. We should pray that God intervene in their lives, guide their footsteps and protect them at all times.

So it was a shock that there was a boy who wasn't Jesus on the radar. Stay with me before you judge me...I'm just a momma after all.

Her Witness

I have taught my children that their personal witness of Christ was the most important thing that they could show their peers. Not to beat people over the head with Bibles or scream judgment over them, but to be Jesus through their actions. Be kind, be gentle, be loving, be bold about their faith and love for Christ, and be prepared to share the Gospel if anyone was ever curious as to who Jesus is - prepare themselves with the "whole armor of God," as scripture says.

This young lady did just that, I later learned. This is of most importance in this story. I learned she was bold about her love for church, and how she had read through her Bible multiple times, and how she was able to answer questions about God as they arose in conversation. Her invitation to church was profound.

God Worked it Out

Last Wednesday I sat in a service where the preacher said, "Are you finishing your prayers?" I knew exactly what I was suppose to do.

You see, I have written in my prayer journal all summer that God remove this young man from my daughter's life. I didn't believe he was the "best friend" I had been praying for. I knew that I had been praying my flesh and not God's will; the Bible says that it's God's will for all to be saved.

I began to write in my journal that God draw this young man to him, convict him, save him...

The next Wednesday night, the "boyfriend" went to church with us, at the girl's invitation. My pastor announced that he was not closing service but would be there the next night to have church again if anybody wanted to return. I have never seen him do this in the three years I have been at this church.

When I got home after church and walked upstairs, the boyfriend said, "thank you so much for taking me to church tonight, I really liked it." I got the chance to tell him my story and some of my daughter's story of salvation. He asked if he could go back with me Thursday, even though the girl had to work and couldn't be there.

So the next night me and the boyfriend headed to church.

By the end of the service this young man had asked me to pray with him and he found his salvation that evening, our Youth Pastor also prayed with him and led him to Christ. He was so excited, he told the pastor, "I feel brand new!" I told him he was quoting scripture and he didn't even know it.

A man gave him a Bible and asked him how old he was. He said, "I'm 18, I turned 18 on June 27."

I asked him if he said 27, he said yes, that's my birthday.

Behind The Scenes

We had church again Friday night and again, he and I went without the girl. He raised his hands and worshiped, he prayed with others, and he never quit smiling.

After service I apologized for not praying God's will in the beginning, and I pulled the curtain back for him so he would never doubt God had orchestrated a huge production for him to receive his day of salvation.

What he didn't know was how God had changed my prayer just one week prior.

He didn't know that we NEVER have church on a Thursday out of the blue.

He didn't know that Thursday morning the Youth Pastor walked into my workplace to pick up parts and I took him in my office and told him how the boyfriend was coming back to church with me Thursday, and the Youth Pastor said, "I wasn't going to come tonight, I had work to do on my house, but now I am going to be there."

He didn't know that God gave me a number and uses it to confirm things for me in certain situations, and how that number 27 will come up in ways that I cannot create. The boyfriend spoke that number 27, confirming to me that all this was real and he had really been renewed, recreated, and redeemed.

I don't know if this is the boy I have been praying and fasting for BUT what I do know, now, is that anytime a person is placed in our lives it is our opportunity to be a witness, be an intercessor for them, and lead them to the rock, the chief cornerstone, the way, the truth, and the life. We can make a difference, one person at a time.

I really like this kid - he's just like my daughter and now that he has gained his relationship with Christ, he is able to see this world with new eyes, understand God's ways - which are higher than ours.

God is good, all the time...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today, I Lay Down the Microphone

Sometimes in life we are offered things that seem too good to be true. This has happened to me multiple times, even when I didn’t realize it at first.

K105 was one of these things.

I entered this building on Feb. 20, 2006 29 years old, separated from my husband and looking for a steady income. What I found was a world that I never knew I would live-in.

The first thing I found was God, then a restored marriage and a recreated me, with a renewed mind. Those things were not from K105 but were the reason the rest of the path into this new world ended up the way it has. When God is first, you are good, you are humble, you are kind, you can love the way God loves and that makes life better.

Without a college education or any idea what/where news came from, I fumbled my way through news story after news story – reacquainting myself with all the grammar and English lessons I ignored in high school. As time went on I found my footing in this fast moving world of media meets radio – which both in their own right is a freight train barreling down a hill, and I’m the grasshopper clinging to the side of a coal car.

I laugh when people call to complain about the station off-air for a minute, or a missed program…I laugh because they have no idea how many things could go wrong within the blink of an eye inside this studio, and how much work was involved to keep on-air all that is right for the day.

I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve prayed on-scene more than anyone ever knew, I’ve thrown in my 2 cents when elected officials seemed to be in need of it, and I’ve even surprised myself on how much I could love something that wasn’t human.

I’ve scream at my scanner in the middle of my sleep when bus drivers and utility crews decided it was a cell phone. I camped-out at emergency management headquarters during the Ice Storm 2009 because there were monumental amounts of chocolate donated. I walked through a cow pasture, in the rain with a cow paddle, covering a fire, and stood in tornado invaded land while wearing the fire chief’s over-sized coat. I’ve watched hundreds of people be rescued by our local first responders, citizens go toe-to-toe with politicians, a community come together to celebrate fiddle playing, freedom, bicentennial milestones, and even wore a costume or two. Picket lines, dirty cops, underpaid cops turn hero, triumphant victories, amazing athletes and mathletes, new schools built, old schools torn down, businesses come and go…I’ve seen just about anything, everything, even my fair share of death and new life born.

I’ve even stood beside the Governor and chatted about all the great things Grayson County is…

This is one of my favorite photos I ever captured, this fireman was one of several that worked for over two hours to remove a man from an entangled car after a head-on collision; it was the middle of summer.

I’ve made the best friends of my life in this job.

And this guy:

He’s my boss-brother…I don’t have a brother so I claim him. I imagine our relationship is much like that…I want to kill him sometimes but I dare you to even consider it. He’s the idiot that hired a no-skilled, uneducated girl that he saw something in when she didn’t, but knew she had a gift for gab, if nothing else.

It’s kicking and screaming I am leaving this position.

Sometimes in life other “too good to be true” opportunities arise and you have to, at least, try them. So, with the heaviest heart I have ever had, I am leaving this one-of-a-kind job and headed to be the Internet Sales Manager for a local dealership.

They say money talks; I guess this time I have to shut up and let it.

Thank you for listening, thank you for allowing me to tell your stories, share mine, and intrude your airways.

God is good, all the time…

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Lot

It’s been a month since I have taken the time to pen about my life. So much has happened and many days just repeated themselves all the same.

We have a new recreational event at our house. The Lot next door has transformed into many things over the years: a football field, a baseball diamond, a golf green, etc. It’s really to dad’s discretion on how he wants to mow the vacant lot. But this month it got what appears to be a permanent fixture in the way of bike ramps.

There are multiple boys who live in the neighborhood – ages ranging from 7 – 18 – a few have moved away but return periodically to visit and play baseball in the lot. When the twins return, their friends from all across the county ascend on the neighborhood and the vacant lot across from The Lot becomes parking.

One afternoon as I was making the turn into my neighborhood, I noticed several boys standing with various tools in hand.
Upon closer view, I realized the group had spent the afternoon re-purposing the boy’s old skateboard ramps.

Dug into the small incline of The Lot was one ramp. Water had been hand delivered to cement the mud around the ramp.

Work went on for days to get these ramps “just right.” As I was leaving for a meeting one evening, I pulled out and saw this:
That’s my boy, my bike, my rain boots, and pretty sure that was my 2 liter of diet coke before it was reclaimed as a water hauler.

My garage was turned into a bike shop. Wheels have been removed, replaced, borrowed, shared and patched.

This bike ramping business is serious stuff, and apparently a bit hard on the ole tires.

I have watched this lot be a gathering place, a playground, a racetrack, and many other things. It’s amazing what kids can do with just their imagination and playmates.

Sure hope no one ever buys The Lot next door. I’m pretty sure when people drive through the neighborhood looking for a place to build; they see the neighborhood playground that lives there even though it’s nothing more than grass.

In other Thomas family business:

Both of my grandfathers died the year I was born, 1976. My grandmother died when I was 8 years old, and the only grandmother I ever really knew will be 99 in November and has been a cornerstone of our family. I cannot imagine losing her.

My husband was more fortunate; he was gifted the opportunity to know all four of his grandparents for most of his life. His grandmother Mary died when he was in college; this was the only grandparent I did not have the opportunity to meet, but I understand her worth to her family just through the stories. I did have the luxury of knowing the remaining three, in which I have also stood by my husband’s side and laid to rest over the past seven years. This weekend we paid our respects to his last grandparent, his Papaw R.V. I never had a grandfather but R.V. has always treated me as a grandchild, as did all of his grandparents. I loved his stories and enjoyed his wisdom. He was born in 1926 and has seen the most rapid changes this world has ever experienced in many ways from transportation to technology. He always spent Christmas with us, was the only coin collector I knew, and was one of the remaining WWII Veterans still alive. He will truly be missed.

R.I.P. Papaw – we love you…

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh How Embarrassing

“Are you ready to punch me in the face?” – Me questioning the husband

At this point in the evening NOT ONE WORD had been spoken between us since I had entered his game room with my bowl of cereal.

I posed the above question and he quickly said, “No, but my cousin Kevin would have already taken your spoon and thrown it away.”

I busted out laughing because he knew WHY I was asking him this question. Which means my spoon hitting the glass bowl was noticeable but he wasn’t going to say a word…he was just going to allow me to crunch my Special K and clang my spoon against the bowl because he knew it was soon to end, and it wasn’t worth the argument…and he loves me enough.

Pick your battles couples. My husband has taught me so many lessons without ever saying a word over the past 17 years. He is the most patient man I know…even when inside he’s dying to use my cereal bowl as a Frisbee.

For all of you readers who do not know us…we do not, nor have we ever hit each other.

I spent the weekend in Nashville with some lovely ladies that God has placed into my life.

I look back and see the most awesome picture God has painted with my life and I certainly see the “beauty for ashes” he promised me.

These women are good to me, good for me, and always join in a circle and hold hands and pray with me before we end our outings.

When women walk with the Lord it’s amazing the change in atmosphere that it in itself creates versus when women who are not walking with God create. I have lived both lives; I would not trade this walk and peace for anything. I heard in a sermon yesterday morning a line that perfectly sums this up, “It’s either Chaos or Christ. There is no in between.”

So true…so true.

When we apply God’s commands to our lives it's good for all of us. I grew up thinking God was applying all these rules to my life to control me, but as I walk in His ways, I realize it’s good for me to follow his commandments. It’s good for me not to kill you – that’s good for you, too; not to steal, lie, cheat on my husband or he on me, set idols up in my life, honor my parents, etc. It’s good for them/you, also if I don’t do these things. Just think, if the entire world lived every moment honoring God’s commandments how much better this world would be.

As I was ending my empowering weekend with my new friends, I woke up to a barrage of text from them to each other stating affirmations of love, joy, and respect for each other. I received a private message from one of the ladies that said the nicest thing anyone who I respect has ever said to me. “You are an amazing testimony to me every time we are together and I always walk away thinking, I want more of who she is in my life.”

I was taken aback by such a text; honored was an understatement! To have such a respectable woman say such a great thing to me brought heat to my face and tears welled in my eyes. I immediately typed “I love you for that. Thank you SO MUCH!”

My phone however decided to prepare its own message for my new friend. Through its autocorrect abilities it said, “I love you for that. Thank you DO DOUCH!”

Changing my name and moving to another country in 3…2…1…

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Midlife Crisis

It’s beginning to consume all of my fun. I’m tired of it and it’s totally out of my hands; Mother Nature’s midlife crisis is ruining my summer.

It ran us off of the beach the first day we got there.

It down-poured all morning our last day at the beach, so we decided to gussy-up and take photos at the beach IF there was a break in the storm; and there was. Might I say the hurricane force winds were just the added touch we were looking for.

The entire week wasn’t a wash; we had a couple good days at the beach.


My niece and nephew, who is 6 & 7, giggled every time the husband and I kissed. They would run up to us and chant, “KISS, KISS, KISS, KISS!” As we would peck each other on the lips or cheek, they would erupt in laughter.

With little fingers wrapped around the back of the couch and her chin resting between her hands, the niece said, “When are you going to get married again?”

I questioned why we would get married again since we’ve been married for 17 years; she said, “Cause you love him so bad.”

Other memorable vacation moments include walking right upon a dead rattle snake in the street beside our beach home.

My nephew reading the Pedestrian & Bicycles Only sign and saying, “I’m not a Pedestrian; I’m American!”

We did end up coming home a day early. During our travels, the rain and wind through Alabama was determined to hinder us. A tree fell on the vehicle in front of us. They were unharmed and we were able to dodge it via the side of the roadway.

In other Thomas family business:

Here it is Independence Day – the 4th of July – and it’s cold and rainy.

I took some boys to see Despicable Me 2 this afternoon and now we’re home waiting on Vegetable Soup and Cornbread to cook, while donning my fuzzy socks.

The eldest girl is home today after spending this week at Mission X Revival Camp in Nashville, TN.

The boy got a pink cast in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. The doc said his bone was perfectly straight and the plate already grown back together.

Photos found on my camera when I got home:

Well America, there it is...Sexy is back and it's all mine!


Well, at least he's still checking me out after 17 years...


It was so good of Sir Elton John to show up for our photos...


My husband was missing when couples pictures were taken...


I reproduced with this man and made these three...


In first world problems:
Somebody tell Mother Nature it’s time to have a HOT FLASH!!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Memory Making Machine

That there’s an RV, Clark!
Priceless line from Christmas Vacation that’s been heard its fair share around the Thomas household - we love this movie.

We became the proud owners of half of an RV this summer…the other half belongs to my husband’s friend.

Perched on barstools one weeknight pondering the upcoming football season, these two brainiacs found an RV for around $1750 and decided this hunk-o-junk was their next playground.

Unfortunately, that piece of history was sold before they could get their hands on the 1970’s something model.

That didn’t damper their future tailgating season, they were on the hunt. With the seed planted and every event already lived out in their mind, they sealed the deal on a 1988 RV decked out in a rather gag-worthy country blue and mauve motif.

The husband came driving into the friends driveway with this beauty while the sounds of Sandford and Son had to have surly been playing in the background.

A couple grand each, a barrel full of elbow grease, and a few pink flamingos in tow, the boys set sail on their maiden voyage to a nearby lake. These two took three of their four sons on a three night excursion.

Smores were made, fish were caught, and us girls even visited for the better part of Saturday.
For Father’s Day we ensured the dad’s had everything they needed for RV camping in style:

Pink Flamingos
UK blue outdoor carpet
Retro RV outdoor lights
Seatbelt style lawn chair
Red, white and blue solar lights
A month’s worth of Spam
A hula girl for the dashboard
The only items I could not secure for these two were matching captain’s hats and Dickies jumpsuits that I wanted to have monogrammed with their names - would have made my summer…

I have to admit, the old 1988 cleaned up real nice, and the little boys are none-the-wiser to the luxuries that more modern RV’s are equipped with. They were just thrilled to spend great quality time with their dads. And these dad’s are applauded by this FRUGEL mom for their skills, thrills and small bills they invested in this memory making machine.