Friday, November 29, 2013

God is Old and He's SLOW

A girl I used to work with was a massage therapist. The best part was that while she was working out the kinks and stress from my muscles, she was also a really great listener and gave awesome advice. I used to say she was my therapist who happened to give massages because I received two services for the price of one. Her name was Gretchen and she was one of those people who is an angel on earth just when you need one. Whenever I was griping to her about something I was hoping/believing for but was not seeing any progress with, she would smack me one and say, "Girl, be patient. He hears you. Just remember that God is old and He's slow!

I always giggled when she said that because it put a funny visual in my head. But the truth is, I took a lot of wisdom out of that one little phrase that was part joke and part reminder that God is timeless and that He literally has all the time in the world to do whatever He sees fit whenever the timing is exactly right. Sometimes we have desires or needs that we want resolved immediately. Hurts we want healed. Relationships we want restored. Pain that we beg to subside. Grief that seems interminably long. We cry out to God and say "Hey, you're God. Why can't you just fix this, already!" Or something to that effect. We pray and we wait. And wait. We stretch our faith and try to keep the flicker of hope alive  as we keep on waiting. Eventually, we may be forced to move on and just hope for the best. Can you relate?

Here's a story to illustrate my point:

Once upon a time, when I was a young girl, I had that intense and overpowering experience of my first real love. He was a great guy and I thought he was perfect in every way. He was tall and handsome and strong. I had never met anyone who made me feel so special and cherished. I thought about him constantly and when we were apart, I counted the minutes until I would see him again. I was so in love and so in awe of him that I thought he was the knight in shining armor in my Cinderella story. I fantasized about all of the places we would go and things we would do together. We would be Mr.and Mrs. fabulously, perfectly happy. I was young and naive. I thought we would love each other forever and live happily ever after.

Enter: reality. My family life was falling apart. His family wasn't crazy about me or the status of my family life.(I don't blame them). I started to be afraid that he would be like so many other males I had trusted in my life and he would leave me. I had some worthiness issues. People close to me whispered into my ear that I wasn't good enough for him and that if I held onto him, I would drag him down with me and would that really be fair? Was I that selfish? Would loving me ruin his life or his future? I knew he sincerely loved me. I knew he was willing to take care of me. I knew he would stand by me but I allowed people to convince me that he would stay with me out of obligation. That he would stay by my side because he was an honorable guy and he felt sorry and responsible for me. Eventually he would see me as a liability. This pricked at my pride. Those castle walls I had imagined began to crumble. In my desperation, I began to put up emotional walls of my own. I began to rebel. I hurt him and pushed him away. I was nobody's charity case. I'm sure you can see where this is headed. To make a long story short, I began to make a series of disastrous choices that coincided with the time that I was thrown out into the world as an emancipated minor. I was afraid and alone and had lost all hope of retrieving my knight or my fairy tale. Just for good measure, by my naive and foolish actions, I blew up the castle and my heart was shattered into a million pieces in the process. ~The end

Well, not exactly. God had a plan for my life. I had a destiny to fulfill. I began trudging through the mud with the faint glimmer of hope that somehow, I would survive. I fell down and got back up countless times. I made bad choices and learned some tough lessons. Eventually, I began to work harder and make better choices. My God supplied all of my needs, if not necessarily all of my wants. As I matured and healed, I felt more and more hopeful that I would find that pure kind of healthy, unconditional love I had felt when I was younger. I let that be my ideal goal. To experience that happy ending that I believed God had meant for me. In fact, that young love experience taught me some of the most valuable lessons about love and relationship that I needed to learn in order to weed my garden of undesirables. I'm hard headed and I made mistakes but never gave up hope and prayed that when my prince finally came, I would be worthy and I would be ready for him. It took a LONG time. Remember? God is old and he's slow. Still...David came into my life at just the right time. Handsome, strong, capable and compassionate, he swept me off my feet into a life of love and security that is way more than I ever imagined and is better than I deserve. I am loved and cherished. My prayers were answered. Our family is built on a firm foundation of faith and trust. Things are great in love and life. I'm living out my fairy tale in real time.

But...there's more to the story and I'm sharing all of this personal stuff to make a point and I'm hoping it helps some of you.

Through the years, I had never really resolved the guilt and the sadness that was buried in the old rubble. I felt there was unfinished business to be dealt with. I felt I owed my former knight an explanation and an apology. I knew he had moved on and found a happy ending of his own and I was truly happy for him. Still there was a disturbance in the force, as it were, and I had held on to the pain and regret and dragged it behind me like a punishment. I even carried around a box of memorabilia with his name on it containing letters, napkins, swizzle sticks, goofy mementos and old photographs. On particularly bad days, I would drag out this box and weep rivers of regretful tears into it. The memories were comforting and painful at the same time. I guess in a way, I thought I deserved the pain and anguish. One Monday night (the same night that Joe Theismann broke his leg on Monday Night Football...yes, I'm that old...) God whispered to me through my tears that it was time to throw away the box and everything in it, including the guilt and the regret. I didn't want to obey. I stood outside under the stars on a cold, clear Dallas night, and held onto my box in front of my apartment dumpster for a long time. I didn't have the strength to let it go. I hugged the box harder and contemplated forgetting the whole thing and going back in. In that moment, I felt God's presence and a whispered promise that He would make all of my wrongs right and would give me an opportunity for resolution. The only catch was that I knew had to throw the box and the residual emotions out once and for all. With a shout of anger and grief, I hurled the box up and over the top of the dumpster and winced as I heard it's contents clinking and banging to the hollow bottom. I stood silently in the darkness and the cold and cried a while longer, then finally turned away and went inside, pulled the covers over my head and fell into an exhausted sleep. From that day on, I waited for God to fulfill his promise. Nothing happened that week or that month. Or that decade. I moved on and hoped for the best. Time marched on and so did I. The pain gradually subsided but I still prayed for peace in my spirit.

Fast forward to this week. David knows this whole story, as we were really close friends and had shared a lot of our personal triumphs and tragedies before our relationship turned into a romantic one. He has always understood me. He knows I'm soft-hearted and sentimental and that I cannot stand unresolved conflict. He knows that this issue has bothered me for a long time but that I had put it into God's hands. He's been urging me to reach out to people and to trust God to provide healing and resolution with anyone I might feel I needed to. In his words, "You have a lot to gain and nothing to lose." That's my prince. He's supportive and awesome like that. That's one of many reasons why I love him so much! A month or so ago, The knight had found me on Facebook and this week I finally summoned the courage to write to him. He responded and, just as God promised me, all those years ago, there was communication. There was resolution. There was mutual respect and we were able to finally tell each other we were glad our paths had crossed all those years ago and wished each other every happiness. He has a beautiful, loving wife and awesome kids. His story is a successful one and I'm so gratified by that. Decades later, all is well. Finally finding peace took a LONG time. But as you know, God is old and he's slow. :)

You may be praying and believing for something that seems to be taking FOREVER. You may be in a painfully dry season. I would encourage you to remember that although God may seem slow, He is never too late and is always on time. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of lessons and experiences to get us in position to fulfill our potential and purpose in Him. I know that my relationship with David is stronger because it is built on honesty and openness. I know that God had always intended for me to have the family I have (and the testimony that comes with it) from the beginning. I don't know why things went down the way they did but because of the difficulties and trials I've been through, my faith is strong and I trust God with every detail of my life. I hope you will take away from this story that God really will give you beauty for your ashes. That healing can come out of our deepest hurts and that sometimes we have to be reduced to rubble so we can be reconstructed on the solid foundation of God's love. It's a process and God may be old and slow but His perfect design for your life will always be worth the wait! Just keep moving forward and continue trusting the plan. When it gets to be too much or you get discouraged, remember what God says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~Isaiah 55:8-9


Blessings,

~Cat






Friday, November 15, 2013

Trickle Down (Mom)enomics

I'm back and I'm in a hurry to write this because I'm basically in a hurry to do everything these days. I guess it's just that time of year. So much going on and this year, it is compounded by the fact that my dear hubby got an amazing promotion (thank you, God) and is also in the middle of back to back turnarounds, so he is working really long and totally random hours. We see each other in passing and this will continue until after the New Year. We are making it work and the kids are transitioning okay but we all miss him and our (sort of) normal routine. It is hard for them but I'm realizing more and more as I gain experience as a mother and wife that when it comes to the family vibe...I set the tone.

Hear me out. I've had a lot of time to think about this, experiment with it and the evidence bears me out. Most of the time, when I'm calm, cool and collected, everyone in the house seems to line up with my mood. Conversely, If I'm not careful, I can send the whole clan out into their various daily lives in a stressed out, bummed out or frustrated mood simply because I fail to exercise a little self control. I'll give you an example, though it's not flattering to me, personally and is a bit embarrassing. In the spirit of mom unity and all that, I'll go ahead and put myself 'out there.'

Last week, I woke up feeling awful. My knee was hurting, I fell asleep too late, while reading, and hadn't taken my contacts out, so my eyes were dry and blurry. David was still not home from work and I allowed myself to become resentful that I had to get the kids up, fed, dressed and driven off to school (earlier than usual that day) without any help. This was particularly stupid because David is rarely here in the mornings anyway and I am perfectly capable of doing all of those things, as I always do, by myself. Besides, my kids are really compliant and generally in a good mood when they wake up, so getting  them to school is no big deal. Usually, it's my pleasure. Actually...it's my JOB.

But on this day, I was NOT in the mood. I walked into the family room and immediately began finding fault. Clothes not picked up, the kids weren't moving fast enough for me. The dog wanted out and then in and then out again. There was no food in the dog's bowl. I began grumbling purposefully loud enough to hear that I was sick and tired of having to do EVERYTHING and that I was going to start grounding them from electronics for leaving their stuff out and I was not their maid and I was nobody's personal servant and what about personal responsibility and accountability and disrespect, blah, blah, blah...I mean, I was on a roll, y'all!! I was riding them like a jockey at the Kentucky Derby. Totally out of character for me and completely unnecessary. But you moms out there will relate that once we get started like that, it's like a snowball going downhill. The momentum is too much and all of our pent up frustration comes to the surface and then before you know it, you're anger jumps out of the gate and it's off to the races. I'm ashamed to admit that I kept this up all the way to the school drop off lines. And believe me, I was justified. I was fired up with righteous indignation. I had had it.

Nothing I was saying was wrong. I had legitimate complaints. But wow, was my timing and delivery way off. My kids are sensitive and eager to please. They were sleepy and had just woken up. They are used to laughing and giggling and kisses and prayers in the morning. Talk about a blindside. The two little ones were holding back tears and sniffling and Patrick just looked shell shocked. I dropped them off and drove home still juiced up with aggravation. It wasn't until I walked back into my quiet house, mess and all, that I realized the damage I had done. Too late. At that point there was nothing I could do about it but wait until I picked them up and try to gently explain and apologize. After I had time to reflect, I realized that the whole thing was my own fault. That morning, I had become so self centered that I bypassed my usual 'Good morning. Lord...thank you for this new day' and jumped right into "poor me mode." I forgot to put God first. I zoomed in on my inconveniences and failed to take a moment to just be grateful for a new day. That's not like me but I'm human and have weak moments just like everyone else. I felt contrite and regretful all day. I asked God to forgive me but I couldn't wait to see my kids to ask for theirs, as well.

As parents, I think it is vital to openly admit our mistakes to our kids and to ask their forgiveness. THAT is how they learn accountability and personal responsibility. By modeling what they see us doing with them and with others in our lives. When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong. I don't try to be perfect in their eyes. I just want to give them my best. Sometimes my best isn't all that great but at least they see me trying and learning and growing. I feel like that's a good lesson. That no matter our age or position, we should be accountable for all that we say and do at all times. Also, that regardless of who we are or how old we may be, we are (hopefully) always learning and growing.

When I saw them that afternoon, all of my kids were noticeably a little wary and even a bit distant with me. I don't blame them. During our conversation when we got home, Patrick threw a truth bomb at me that I will never, ever forget. He said, "Mom, I  like the way we usually have fun in the mornings because I think that's a special time for us. Not all kids have moms that are fun like you. When you are griping and mad in the morning, it just ruins my whole day. I mean...you didn't even pray with us this morning. I prayed for you when I got to school that you would stop being mad at us."

Boom. We all talked it out and I was able to articulate my expectations with them and they forgave me for being a raving witch. Although it ended well, I'm left with a lesson I'll keep with me always.

Since that a-ha morning...I've made a commitment to myself to do a little mental inventory before I even open my bedroom door to be about the business of my day. I'll give Jesus His due, as the first greeting I give in the morning belongs to Him. I'll think about how I'm feeling. If I'm annoyed because I stayed up too late, I'll shake it off and tell myself to deal with it. I'll greet my husband and kids with a hug and a smile. I will gently but firmly nudge them in the direction they should go. I will do my job and set the proper tone for the day. I will encourage, uplift and pray with them as we part for the day. There will be plenty of time for reinforcing behavior and unless one of the kids is being a total pain and I have to deal with it (it happens), we will greet the day as positively as possible. That is on me. Why me? Because I am the grown up, I am the mom and wife, and whether I understand why or not...it's my responsibility to set the tone in my household. The tone I choose is peaceful, calm, patient and loving. With God's mercy and grace...I can at least do that. Call it 'trickle down Momenomics.'

Will I get this right every day? Probably not but I'm determined and usually that means I will succeed. When I do slip up, I'll own it, apologize for it and ask for a do-over. Sounds a lot like life, I guess. Thankfully, I know that to err is human and to forgive is divine.

I'm grateful for divine forgiveness and also deeply humbled and thankful for the unconditional love and understanding from my best friend and husband and our darling little humans who are growing up way too fast. :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

Blessings and love,

~Cat







Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Power, Perks and Perils of Being a Girl...An Open Letter to my Daughter

Hello, sweet girl.
As I am writing this, you are sitting in your 4th grade classroom with your sassy 9 year old self and I am sitting here, smiling to myself thinking about you. Last night on the way home from gymnastics, we were giggling until we were snorting and helpless with laughter. You had me rolling. One day, when you are older, you will understand why I call such exchanges 'freeze frame moments.' There are those special experiences that we share when there is so much joy, just in the loving of you, that I wish time would stand still and I could just bask in the feelings and intimate emotions shared by just the two of us. You are a rare and precious gem. A pearl of great price. A source of wonder to me and conversely, sometimes a serious pain in the rump and a thorn in my side, as I'm sure I am in yours. That is just as it should be, of course. This is the way with mothers and daughters.
I wish that you would always see yourself through the eyes of your Daddy and me. I pray that you will carry the self confidence and sense of self that you have right now all the way through your childhood, teenage years and into adulthood. Unfortunately, I am honest enough with myself to know what the odds are of that and I have concerns. There will be speed bumps and hairpin turns in the road ahead. I want you to be prepared but not overwhelmed. I want you to dream big but be ready for the inevitable disappointments. I want you to be compassionate and caring to others without getting lost in the shuffle. I want you to be able to discern real love from false affections. I want so much for you. Mostly, I want my own experiences, mistakes and unfortunate choices to be the bridge you use to carry you above the turbulent waters and guide you safely over the same pitfalls that we all encounter along the way.
Honey, the world will often look at you through narrowed, steely eyes of judgment, jealousy and predatory opportunism. It will whisper deceiving, accusing seeds of thought that, if nurtured or allowed to implant, will multiply and crowd out reason and truth. You must be vigilant in your thought life. Whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is holy, whatever is loving and peaceful and humble...stay focused on. Any thoughts of failure, unworthiness, hatefulness, envy, false pride, or of being alone are to be removed by the root and cast aside like the garbage that it is. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.
You will make mistakes. You will have lapses in judgement that will lead to consequences. Be ready for that and be ready to take responsibility for your actions and to be accountable for your wrong doings. Apologize quickly and forgive easily, even if others are not mature enough to do the same. There are a lot of lost and hurting souls walking around in this world. They may hurt you or betray you. Don't take it personally. 99% of the time, the actions of others toward you really have nothing to do with you. It is about their own issues. Don't feel you must carry the burdens of others. You were not designed to be an emotional pack mule for everyone around you.. Be loving and pray, help within your own capabilities and give the rest to God. He's bigger, stronger and has way more wisdom than you (and me, for that matter...) please learn to let Him do the heavy lifting.
There will be a lot of other girls/women out there who will tell you that you "deserve" to be treated as an equal to your male counterparts. That men and women are actually equal. This is simply NOT SO.
Anyone with a basic grasp of biology and anatomy will realize the inequalities of the sexes and not bemoan them but celebrate them!  This is why we need each other. We were created to be in partnership and relationship with one another based on love and respect and our mutual interests and beliefs. A healthy relationship is not founded on competition. I've never seen one of those that ended well. That is not to say that you don't deserve to have the same RIGHTS. Totally different issue. Don't allow anyone to confuse you about this. It will lead you on a quest for something which is ultimately unattainable and will lead you in circles. You are a girl. You have power in your own right. Don't waste your time trying to prove yourself or your value to anyone. If they don't want or are unable to see and appreciate your fabulousness...just politely move along.
Here's the big one. We've already established that you are loved, smart, beautiful, worthy and are filled with limitless potential. Period. Since we know that, I want you to listen carefully to me here...You do NOT need a boy/man to pay attention to you in order to validate any of the things I mentioned above. There are good guys out there. There are some not-so-good ones out there as well. Both types will look to you for guidance on how to treat you. I'm going to repeat this because it is SO IMPORTANT. If you respect yourself, your faith and commitment to God, your body, your values and your beliefs, you will be respected in return. You will filter out the undesirables by letting them know you are not an easy target. Respect yourself ALL THE TIME. Especially when it comes to taking photos, or posting things about yourself on social media that do not line up completely with who you really are. Be vigilant and behave. One mistake in this area can create a huge ripple in the sea of your life that is vast and far reaching. Once spoken, something cannot be unspoken. What is seen cannot be unseen. Remember that wherever you are, whatever you are doing. One moment of indiscretion can lead to some serious regrets. You don't want to deal with that. Make it easy on yourself. Carry yourself with respect, dignity, integrity and represent your family and Jesus well.
One other thing...Your father and I will always be your soft place to fall. We will love you in spite of any mistakes you might make. As a family, united in love for each other and bonded together by the blessing and love of almighty God, there is nothing we cannot overcome. Nothing. Come to us confident in the knowledge that nothing can separate you from that love and mercy. Also be confident that we will use WHATEVER means necessary to protect and guide you in the way that you should go. This may include invading your privacy, telling you the truth, (even if it hurts), popping up unexpectedly wherever you tell us you may be, taking away your phone, car, privileges and other things that you value in order to keep you on the right path. We are willing to risk your anger to keep you safe. We are friendly with you. We are not your FRIENDS. We are your parents and it is our profound duty and obligation to protect you from anything or anyone that may do you harm. Even yourself. We are completely unyielding in this area. Save us all a lot of heartache and drama by abiding by the rules and respecting yourself, the authority of your parents, your brothers, your friends and others placed in your life. Remember that if we didn't love you so much, we wouldn't bother to care so much about these things.
As your Grandaddy (my Daddy) used to say: Stay close to Jesus and don't waste energy trying to make sense out of nonsense. I often wonder how my earlier years would have turned out if I had heeded his advice a little sooner. The truth is, I made a lot of mistakes and mischief. Somehow, God was able to turn it all around and give me beauty for my ashes. That beauty is you, my love. You are beautiful. Your soul is beautiful. You are treasured and I honor you for the amazing little girl that you are and look forward to enjoying the amazing woman you will become. Stand strong on that unbreakable foundation of love. You have the royal blood of the King of the universe flowing through you. You are destined for greatness and are ever my powerful little princess...

Matelaine of Kingsbury.




These are the words to the lullaby I used to sing to you as I rocked you in my arms or knelt by your bed side as you slipped off to sleep:
You came into our lives one day.
Right then, we fell in love...
A little girl to love so much,
Our baby's gentle touch...
Mattie Noelle, Mattie Noelle
You were sent from heaven up above.
Mattie Noelle, we hope you can tell...
Just how much you fill our hears with love.
Our Mattie Noelle.
I love you forever, baby girl.
Love,
Your Mama


Please watch this to remember WHO YOU ARE!



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Steve Crawford Changed My Life. Here's How:...and here's what I want YOU to do about it....

Hi, Everyone.
 
If you don't already know of Steve Crawford, allow me to get you up to speed. He is one of the worship leaders at Lakewood Church. He is a ridiculously talented singer and musician. He and his equally ridiculously talented sister Da'dra Greathouse are the leaders of the Lakewood Worship Team which I am humbly honored to be a member of and serve with. Both of them are wonderful and I love them both very much. Today, I want to single out Steve. 
 
Steve Crawford

 
This will make him uncomfortable and a little embarrassed because even though he is incredibly gifted and is quite well known, and sings in front of sold out stadiums all over the world as he travels with Joel Osteen Ministries, he's shy and refreshingly full of boyish charm and has a huge heart for God who he serves with humility, reverence, honesty and, quite frankly, a lot of man hours and personal sacrifice. Lots of self confidence. Zero arrogance or ego. I mean, zip. He's a regular guy and wants to be treated as such. Just a few of the reasons why he's so well loved and respected by those who know him.
 

I first saw Steve Crawford on the platform at Lakewood Church one Sunday during our family's first visit there several years ago. Like everyone else who hears him sing...I was blown away. Not only by his voice (as I said...ridiculous) but by his powerful heart of worship. Watching Steve praise and worship makes people go: "Wow...He's totally in the presence of God. Man...I'll have what he's having." It had a profound impact on me that day. (Still does, even now). I was like..."Who is this guy?" Honestly, I'd never seen or heard of him or of Da'dra before. Probably because in the churches I attended before...people just didn't do praise and worship like that!
 
 
Boy, was I missing out. Well, I've definitely made up for lost time during the last few years! Check out this video of Steve (and the rest of us...I'm on the far right of the screen, can't see me until the very end...) in action, getting our praise on at Lakewood Church).


Turns out, Steve and his sister have been singing gospel in churches since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. They also formed the group 'Anointed' and have performed in front of some pretty influential people over the years and have received accolades, honors and awards galore. The list is long and impressive but I won't go into all of that here because I want you to see his links below and go check out his Facebook and website, etc. for yourselves and really get to know him. You won't regret it.

Over the last several years, Steve, in word and in deed, has HUGELY transformed and increased my faith walk and relationship with God. He is an amazing mentor, teacher, brother and friend. I am one of the blessed people out there who can say, "Steve Crawford loves me and I get to love him, too." He and his wife, Tammy are family to us. They have three amazing kids that they are excellent parents to. As you can see...I can't say enough good things about Steve but if he was here I know he would tell me to stop it, already. He's sweet and humble like that.
 
I will tell you only this much more...that this man has profoundly changed my life forever for the better by his example and selfless love and I want to bless him. And I want YOU to, as well. Today I am making a generous donation to his new solo project because I believe in him and I want others to benefit from what he has to share with believers and lovers of praise and worship music all over the world! There's no telling who his voice will touch or whose lives will be changed. Here's how you can help: Please give generously as he so generously gives of himself to others. THANK YOU!!

Blessings,
~Cat
 



From Steve:


Dear Family and Friends,

I have started a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com to raise money to fund my
first debut solo project. Kickstarter.com is a crowd-funding site, which allows individuals to support, by donations, to various projects. This is how it works:

Once you sign up on
www.kickstarter.com, you be able to click the amount you are willing to pledge to support the project. Each pledge amount will have certain incentives that I am offering as an expression of my gratitude. There is a set time frame, (in my case is 21 days), in which to raise the money and reach my goal of $35,000. When the goal is met, at that point, the money pledged will then be transferred. (I am believing for this). Also any excess will still be applied toward further promotion for the project.

However, if the goal is not met within the allotted days, then the funds will not be transferred from the pledgers and the project will not be funded. At this point, I will be praying for another way to accomplish this vision. 


So, the Kickstarter fundraising campaign has begun and I am asking all of my family and
friends to please help me make this dream come true. It's amazing how much can be
accomplished with many. So, in advance I thank you.

I will be communicating through the social media outlets mentioned below with more
highlights on the status of campaign as well as updates.

I want to thank you so much for your help. Please help me spread the word. Feel free to forward this message to your family and friends.

Remember, no amount is too small or too large. Every donation is greatly appreciated. 



Sincerely,

Steve Crawford


2910 Commercial Ctr Blvd.
Suite 103
Katy, Texas 77494


Website:
www.stevecrawford.cc


Facebook:
www.facebook.com/ImSteveCrawford


Twitter:
www.twitter.com/imstevecrawford



Steve Crawford's Solo Project Update !!!!!


Hello everyone,

I wanted to give you an update on the campaign for the project.

We have 61 backers as of today totally donations of $9,572.00.

With 21 days left we still have $25,428 to go. That's all. LOL.

Thanks to all who have contributed. Please help me get the word out!!!

I really need your help. Thank you all!!!



Copy and paste or click on URL:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1959319832/steve-crawfords-first-debut-cd

God bless you,

Steve Crawford

 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Unpacking Your Baggage

On The Wharf in Boothbay Harbor, ME
Well, we just returned from our family vacation in Maine and I'm feeling the usual post-vacation blues. I always say, "I need one more week." Wouldn't matter how many weeks I was there, either. I'll always want one more week of Maine. If you ever have the opportunity to vacation in coastal Maine (preferably the Boothbay Harbor region http://boothbayharbor.com) DO IT! You won't regret it. It is my absolute favorite place on the planet. It is the one place I can really let down and relax, which is saying a lot since (as most of you already know) I basically have the nervous system of a Chihuahua.
 
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Why do you suppose 'they' say that? And who are 'they' anyway? 'They' annoy me with that phrase. I want the good stuff to go on and on, don't you? Alright...where was I? Oh, yeah...the post vacation let-down. Listen, my absolute least favorite thing to do is unpack and put away all of the stuff I spent days (and really late nights) excitedly getting together and sorting and organizing in anticipation of an upcoming trip. This time, with the help of a friend, I even washed everything while still on vacation in order to avoid piles of laundry when I got home. I had big plans to be all done unpacking the very first day I got home. The result of all of that work is that, although I did put away two suitcases worth of stuff, I ran out of steam pretty early on and now have quite a few clean piles of laundry left in inconvenient places to put away. I've gotta be honest...I'm tired and I'm not feelin' it right now. Such is life.
Seanook Cottage, East Boothbay, ME
 
 
At the check-in counter at the airport, I was that lady who had overstuffed a giant suitcase and was over the 50lb weight limit. My calm and collected hubby never batted an eye as he opened my bag and began pulling out my personal belongings (in full view of the  several openly hostile passengers in line behind us) in an attempt to distribute the weight evenly between our other bags. I stood helpfully by, with my hand covering my face in acute embarrassment nodding my approval as he pulled out item after item, hair spray, de-frizzing hair serum, blow drying heat protectant, etc. to be inspected for their potential transfer to another suitcase. I had done it again. Very carefully and thoughtfully packed TWICE AS MUCH stuff as I would need for the trip. And not just for myself, either. I packed way too much for all of us. Looking back at my preparations I can only ask myself in astonishment: "What was I thinking?" Where, in the dark recesses of my mind, did I think I was going to wear three different pairs of black dress pants to a place where we spend the majority of our time hiking, in a boat or climbing on rocks? Temporary insanity is the only explanation. Happens every time. I start with the minimum items I'll need and then I start seeing stuff that I feel I can't possibly do without and then it all spirals out of control from there. Here is a perfect visual aid that depicts precisely what happens to my brain during the process of packing for a trip: Especially at about 1:50... 

 


 
"That's all I need." lol
 
As with everything else, I see this as a metaphor for life. We all do this and I'm as guilty as anyone else. We drag around too much unnecessary baggage. Stuff we can totally do without. Personal items that clutter our lives. Emotions and past resentments. Unforgiveness. Guilt. Shame. Blame. Even certain people. Boom.
 
This humiliating moment at the airport check-in~. And yes, I'll admit publicly that despite my efforts to the contrary, I did the exact same thing on the way home, too...(Well...can I help it if Maine has a lot of pretty rocks we just couldn't live without? I mean, besides the ones we boxed up and mailed home...and no, I'm not kidding)~
Saying goodbye to Ocean Point
 really serves as a reminder that I need to make an effort to do some serious unpacking of the baggage of my life. There are a lot of things I can most definitely live without. Would actually live better without! I'm going to get started on that just as soon as I unpack my literal baggage from our vacation. I really intend to reduce the inventory around here. It will be so great. I can just feel the weight lifting off of me already.
 
But of course I'm totally keeping the rocks. Those are super important souvenirs of our amazing trip! And the dress pants. I mean...a girl can't have too many pairs of nice, black dress pants. And my hair care products, too because my hair has to look nice, you know, being that I'm a Texas girl and whatnot... but really, that's all I need...
 
 
 
Blessings,
 
~Cat
 

 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Who's Your Daddy?

There's no point in me buying a ticket and trying to win the lottery. The odds are stacked against me winning big again since I've hit the jackpot in the marriage department. Today marks my 16 year wedding anniversary. Wow. Hard to believe it's been that long. On one hand, it feels like only yesterday that David and I and fell in like and inevitably in love. Then again...it's hard to remember my life without him in it. I sometimes feel like my life really began in earnest on the day I met him. It was like living a two dimensional existence and then being thrust into the vividness and texture of the three dimensional life experience. Knowing and loving David has fundamentally changed me for the better. He is my favorite grown up and the best friend I have ever known. He is my hero and my sidekick all rolled in to one. He is my loyal confidante, my sounding board and an excellent snuggle partner. Simply: He is the love of my life. 
 
I had him all to myself for seven amazing years and then, thousands of prayers and tears and one miracle later, we became parents to a beautiful little brown-eyed boy who, in our eyes, was perfect in every way. Patrick changed our lives overnight and then when our precious twins, Mattie and Michael were born 2 1/2 years later, we were so delighted and thankful for our three healthy babies but man...at times we were like sleep deprived  zombies, bumping into each other occasionally on the way to change a diaper or burp a baby (or two). It has been an amazing blur of a ride ever since. Becoming a mother was such a deliciously mind-blowing experience. But for me, the best part has been observing the  transformation of my husband into the father that he is today. I've often said that if every child had a daddy like David, the world would be forever changed for the better. He's inspiring like that. I've told him he should write a book with his advice on how to be a loving and successful husband and father while managing a successful career. I know it would sell millions of copies. He would never have to work again. (But he would, anyway!)
 
Want to know why I say that? I say it because it's true and everyone who knows David would totally back me up on this one. He's a great dad because his toughest critics, his own kids, all say so. I just asked Michael to give me some words to describe his dad. He went on and on so I'll have to give you the short list: Fun, super-fun, kind, caring, quiet, dependable, hard working, cool, loving, strong and perfect. Quite the rave review, wouldn't you say? I happen to agree with Michael. He is all of those things. And more, although 'perfect' may be pushing it just a smidge. I mean...let's not get carried away, here, right?  :)

When I was Michael's age, my dad made rare, unexpected and whirlwind appearances into my life. It was awesome when he came around, don't get me wrong...but he was not a consistent presence in our lives. People would ask me, "Who's your daddy?" and I would have to say "you wouldn't know him. He's not from here. He doesn't live with us. I hated that. He always made me feel loved and treasured but then he was gone again. It often seemed like important pieces of my puzzle were missing. I never could quite put myself together again completely. I vowed to myself that when I had children, they would never feel that way. Incomplete. Not if I could help it. Thanks to my husband, when people ask my kids, "Who's your daddy?' They can answer with certainty and confidence that their daddy is their role model, their football coach, their mentor, their nerf-gun battle captain and teammate, their fishing partner, their counselor, their hard working, selfless provider, the magic mender of their hearts and hurts and countless other things I don't have room to list...the most important being: Loving, supportive and loyal husband to their mother.
 
I'm not na├»ve enough to believe that because of all the love, sacrifice, dedication, discipline and affection lavished upon my children by David and I, that they will automatically all turn out to be doctors or teachers or scientists or pastors or Olympic gymnasts or whatever, who never stray from the path and who always stay away from people or behaviors that might harm them. I know life doesn't work that way. They will mess up. Poor choices will be made. I will ceaselessly pray for them and try to train them up in the way they should go and then eventually, grudgingly and probably with much hand wringing and weeping, let them go out into the world and become who God has destined them to be. I believe and declare that my children will be mighty in the land. If they follow in their dad's footsteps, they will be headed in the right direction and will not depart from it.
 
My husband provides all of us with daily encouragement, daily prayer and the security of knowing that no matter what the world may throw at us, when it's all said and done, he is our firm foundation and our soft place to fall. He is the best of the very best of dads and we are exceedingly proud of him.
 
David from all of us, we wish you a happy and blessed Father's Day. We honor you and we love you with all of our hearts. Thank you for always being there even when you don't feel like it and thank you for never complaining or raising your voice when you do feel like it. We all believe in you and can't wait to see what great things you will accomplish next and are cheering you on every step of the way!
 
All our love, forever and then some...
 
Catherine, Patrick, Mattie, Michael
& Sparky
 
 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Looking After Each Other

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." ~Romans 15:5-6

Today I was just minding my own business scrolling around on Facebook and checking my blog when I ran into the scripture listed above. I really wasn't planning on writing a blog post today because I have a lot going on and a to-do list as long as my arm. But this scripture gave me pause because it is one I've seen and read and thought about a little but today it was like reading it anew. The original thought behind it to me was, to put it in layman's terms, look after each other and encourage the people in your life. To have each other's backs, as it were. More or less.

Well, as it turns out, there is more. Much more that I have been overlooking and I wanted to share it with you, even though you are probably much wiser than I, and you've probably already figured all of this out for yourself. Still, I think it is so amazing that I can read or hear a scripture and get something new out of it in different seasons of my life. Kind of like that special bubble gum From Willie Wonka where you can chew the same piece of gum but get all kinds of different flavors out of it depending on your mood or desire. Kind of a weird comparison, I know, but as you have likely surmised by now...I'm a little weird. Stay with me anyway.

So, yesterday...another scripture crossed my path which was this:

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many."
~Hebrews 12:15

Sort of similar messages, right? The words that stick out for me in these two scriptures right off the bat are: 'look after each other' and 'watch out' and 'toward each other.' Doesn't take a brain surgeon to see what we are called to do. We are supposed to be taking care of each other. Loving our neighbor as ourselves. Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Being a friend who sticks closer than a brother, etc. The first scripture tells us to encourage each other so that we may have endurance to run this so-called race of life.

The way I see it, the instructions are pretty specific. We are to do this with a Christ-like attitude...and here's the kicker: We are to be of one mind. One voice. The ultimate purpose of which is to glorify God. As God gives grace to us so freely, we are to spread it around unselfishly and unreservedly so that as ONE BODY, we reflect and glorify the love of God. I just love that. That is our purpose as believers. Our calling. Simply to love and serve one another in order to emulate the character and image of our creator, almighty God who is LOVE. Goosebumps.

But we have to be careful, don't we? There is a warning there. We have to watch out that we do not allow bitterness to take root in us. Why? Because a bitter root produces bitter fruit. Because as one body, one mind, one voice...we are contagious to one another. The scripture says that bitterness may grow to trouble you but it will end up corrupting many. We are all connected. Just as our joy and laughter can be infectious, so can our bitterness and criticisms.

As I write this today, I realize how important it really is, what a huge responsibility and privilege it is...to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To keep 'washing' those hands and feet in the word of God, so that I will not contaminate others with my own negative stuff. I don't want to be a carrier of sin or a transmitter of hate. My desire is to carry the communicable, joyous, totally transmittable good news of Christ's salvation to every heart and mind I come in contact with.

I want you all to know that I will continue to encourage you every chance I get. Keep running your race. I've got your back as I hope you have mine. Don't get discouraged because as you know...if you've read to the end of The Book ...WE WIN. Glory to God!

I'm really grateful for this revelation and I wanted to pass it along to you. I hope and believe it will bear good, life-giving fruit. All my love to all of you.

Blessings,
~Cat










Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Healthy Dose of Humility

I'm going to come right out and say it. Growing up up in an abusive household doesn't make me special. If it did most of us would think pretty highly of ourselves. It surely doesn't entitle me to extra sympathy or special attention from anyone. To beat a tired, over-used phrase...'it is what it is.' By the grace of God, I have overcome so much and have grown to recognize that triumph out of tragedy is a recurring theme God has used since the dawn of time to show Himself great in this world. With humility, I will say that the course my life illustrates that attribute of God's character perfectly. Humility. Such an important word that is somewhat lacking in our modern discourse. It is a quality that I strive for in my own life but occasionally...I fall short. And by occasionally, of course I mean daily.

They didn't talk to me much about humility when I was growing up but I was put down and dismissed quite frequently. That is what I thought humility meant. To be humiliated. I knew that feeling quite well. I was raised by very self-centered, self serving people. I mean no disrespect when I say that. I'm just being honest. The adults in my life (my mom and step-dad mostly) seemed to believe that children were bothersome and intrusive and were annoyances to be dealt with in whatever manner they deemed appropriate to what their mood was at the time. This is not to say I was not loved. I was. They did the best they could, I suppose. My dad loved me very much. Just never seemed to be able to stick around for long periods at a time.

I'd describe my life growing up sort of like being in a climate where volatile and violent changes in the weather patterns would take place constantly. Hard to know how to gear up appropriately day by day. I became a human barometer. My internal dialogue became something like "Prepare for the worst, expect heavy weather and remember to really enjoy the sunshine while it lasts."  I became both self protective and fiercely protective of others around me. It also created an unhealthy tendency to crave peace at any price, the end result being self taught to become a chronic people pleaser. This looks like humility on the surface but is really selfishness In disguise. ie: (If I can keep everybody happy and ok, I will feel better and safe and will have some semblance of control over my own environment). I know. That's deep, isn't it?
 
Fortunately, God has placed people in my path along the way that helped me to discover that I was not living on a hostile planet, so to speak. Aunts, uncles, amazing and loving grandparents and great- grandparents, even parents of my friends, who lavished love on me and gave me a glimpse of what a peaceful, loving home should feel like. People who put the needs of others before their own. True humility. I was determined that when the time came, I would never settle for anything less for my own children. And I haven't settled. My children live in a peaceful (most days), loving and God-centered, spirit-filled home. We are not perfect. We are messy and we are extremely goofy. We work together but mostly play together. We pray together. We enjoy each other. We like to hang out in our pajamas and be lazy together. My family works. We are functional. That, in and of itself, is a triumph of great magnitude in my eyes. Humbling, to say the least.
 
As parents, sometimes we swing too far in the opposite direction of our pain and try to build up our kids' self esteem, (which I believe to be vitally important, by the way), and we try to protect their egos too much. I've been guilty of this. But in a society of swagger and celebrity worship and 'me-ism' I have been trying to redirect my children's focus from themselves and their own desires onto God and to the needs of others. This requires vigilance on my part and I have been praying for direction in this area. There are teachable moments around every corner. The challenge? Recognizing and making the most of them. On this, I'm not willing to settle, either. I tell my kids every single day as they get out of the car to go to school:

"God loves you and I love you. You can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens you. Now...go do great things with this day and be a blessing, not a burden to those God places in your path."

I get an occasional eyeroll and sometimes they say it along with me in a little sing-song voice but I don't let that stop me. I'm sowing precious seeds into this garden we call life and I intend to nurture them and care for them until we reap an amazing harvest. I declare our children will be mighty in the land. In order for that to take place, we must surrender, be obedient, trust in God's will for our lives and let our faith sustain us through the process. As for me and my house? We will serve the Lord. By His grace, we will serve him with a healthy dose of humility!

This verse says it all:

Philippians 2:3-11
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Speaking of teachable moments...we are watching The Bible series on the History Channel as a family. It has opened up incredible dialogue about so many biblical and general life topics. The kids even asked to watch it over again last night. I recommend this series (but not for younger viewers, as it has violent scenes, as you might expect) and we are all looking forward to upcoming episodes which air every Sunday night until the finale on Easter Sunday. My kids are getting out their Bibles to see what book the show is on and I've learned quite a bit myself. It is condensed, so we have to pause occasionally to get everyone up to speed, but overall it has been a great family experience so far. I'll share the link with you so you can get the details for yourselves.***





http://thebibleminiseries.com/

Blessings,

~Cat

Monday, February 18, 2013

'Talk To Me, Goose...'

Hello, family and friends...
 
Yes, I'm still here. Were you wondering if I was ever going to blog again? Probably you didn't notice I've been MIA. We are all so busy all the time. For me, the weeks since the New Year have been flying by at top speed in a blur of homework and store runs and gymnastics classes and vet visits and Dr. visits, etc...but you know how it is. Supersonic. The speed of moms everywhere.
 
Still, through it all, God has been finding a way to reach through the turbulence that is my life and speak to me about some things. I was thinking about this the other day when I was rushing to get ready to go somewhere and there was a torrent of text messages from random people coming in non-stop. Pray for this. Can you help me with that? Are you available for whatever. Can you fill in for so and so. What do you think of this idea? Can you tell me how to say something to my boss? Holy Wow. It felt like a radio where someone is constantly flipping the channels in my mind from station to station. All the while, I'm trying to slap makeup on my face and dry my hair and just GET OUT THE DOOR. I felt like I needed a flight controller to handle the thought traffic coming in and my responses to all of these issues going out. It's hard to keep things straight when there is that much activity on the tarmac of our lives. (Wow, I'm rocking these air travel references today!) :)
 
So, right about the time that I was feeling like chucking my hairbrush at the mirror and switching off my phone, God put a vision of a scene from the movie Top Gun in my head. The one where Tom Cruise is about to crack under the pressure of his mission and he takes a big, deep breath and is holding the dog tags of his dearly and recently departed copilot and says quietly to himself: "Talk to me, Goose."
 
***Let me take an unscheduled stop and say a few words to Tom Cruise, who I am sure is positively riveted to his computer in anticipation of what I may say next because of course my opinion of him really is that important to him. Tom...you had me at Risky Business and Top Gun and Jerry McGuire. You lost me at Brooke Shields and hopping up and down on Oprah's nice furniture like an orangutan beating your chest and howling out your proclamation of love for Katie Holmes. (Although, I'm sure you meant it at the time...sorry that didn't work out for you). Unfortunately, you have made the same mistake as many other actors and celebrities by thinking that because you can pretend really well and convincingly portray characters from stories, that somehow you are authorized to be authentic experts on anything and everything. I think I speak for a lot of your fans when I say that we really just wish you would keep right on acting and keep your personal opinions to yourself. That's really all I have for you right now, Tom. Thanks for listening. ***
 
Ok. Where was I? Oh, yeah...'Talk to me Goose.' So, the function of Goose (before he was inadvertently and catastrophically ejected into the wild blue yonder, bless him) was to be the eyes and ears of the pilot. He was classified as an NFO, a Naval Flight Officer, specifically a RIO, or Radar Intercept officer. I researched this extensively via Google and Wikipedia. Probably in the same way Tom Cruise and other celebs do their research in order to attain 'expert status' as well. But again, I digress.

I promise, I'm getting to my point which is that the pilot felt lost without his regular copilot. He trusted in, relied on and counted upon his counsel and input to be an effective pilot. Without Goose, he was too busy handling the flying of the plane and engaging the enemy to see the incoming gunfire and missiles. He needed Goose to tell him when evasive action was necessary. Goose kept him focused on the mission at hand. When the proverbial poop was hitting the oscillating device, Goose was there to pull the plug and get the mop.

Why would God put this movie scene in my head? I think you can probably figure that out by now. How many times do we get caught up in combat mode and fly around in circles saying: "It's all too much, I'm taking fire, I don't know my heading, MAY DAY, MAY DAY, I'm going down..." without stopping for a moment, catching our breath, picking up a bible or calling out in prayer to the author and finisher of our faith saying, "Talk to me, God."

In that moment, I read Him loud and clear. God intercepted, reached me through the static, found a clear channel and managed to use me in a mighty way that day. In the midst of it all, I called out to Him and He directed my every step and through obedience and trust, He allowed me to really be a blessing to someone. To do incredible kingdom work right smack dab in the middle of supersonic mommy mode. The result? Peace. Joy unspeakable. Another life lesson learned and tucked away for future use. God really can use any of us no matter where we are or how stretched we are if we just take a moment to breathe Him in and ask our heavenly Father, How may I serve YOU today, Lord? Then just lift up your hands and let Him do His thing and take the controls. His will is a beautiful sight to behold. He filed an incredible flight plan for us all before the dawn of time. When we choose Him, our destination is a certainty. Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

One final thought:



Blessings,

~Cat

 




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Seriously...What Will People Think?

Well, my friends, the holidays are officially over. If you happened to be at my house, that wouldn't necessarily appear to be the case. There are ornaments and decorations all over the den waiting to be hauled back up to the attic and the winter village scene is still lit up and proudly displayed on my mantel. Disgraceful, isn't it? I know. I have my reasons (besides lack of motivation) and I would explain them to you but that would mean I would have to violate one of my key New Years resolutions and I usually make a rule not to do that until at least February 1st.

You may be asking yourselves what have I resolved to do (or not to do) in the coming year. Or maybe you're not even remotely interested. Nevertheless, I'm going to share a couple of my resolutions with you because, well.. I'm in a sharing mood and you've already read this far so might as well just forge ahead, right? Anyway it's all pretty standard stuff, like: Eat less, move more, work on my book manuscript, get my house organized, take the dog for more walks, etc. I've even resolved to be able to do the splits by the end of 2013 (the result of hours of watching young kids at my kids' gymnastics class being impossibly flexible and ambitiously believing I can still do it, too!) But here's the biggie...and it will admittedly be a bit of a challenge. I have resolved to stop being concerned with what other people think or say about me. And you know what? I must say, I'm off to a pretty good start.

Remember I told you earlier about not having gotten around to putting away all my Christmas stuff? Well there's a perfect example for you and I'm happy to report that I don't give a rat's right rump cheek whether people think I'm odd or lazy or whatever because it is nobody's business what I do or when I do it as long as I am not a danger to myself or others and it isn't adversely affecting anyone. And it isn't. I'll get around to it when I feel compelled to do so. And not a moment sooner. So there.

Here's the issue: I am, and have always been, a people pleaser and approval seeker. I wish that were not the case but I just seem to have always been wired that way. I think a lot of us are. Especially women. Something I have learned over the years is that trying to please people or win their approval (especially certain people, if you know what I mean) is an exercise in futility and leads to frustration and aggravation and occasionally even degradation. Trying to please others and conform to what they think I should be doing has created a lot of unnecessary detours and roadblocks along the journey of my life. I am moving forward in the New Year to effectively put an end to that. Here are a few reasons why:
  • Regardless of my best intentions or efforts to be a loving, caring and compassionate person, people are going to think whatever they want to anyway. I am strong minded, straight forward  and communicate advice or answer questions accordingly. Some people are taken aback by my approach. I can be a bit of a steamroller. I don't mean to be but nevertheless...I am sometimes misunderstood because I tend to be pretty open and direct which can catch people off guard. This is just who I am. 
  • There never has been a gate between my brain and my mouth. I rarely know what I'm going to say until I've heard what it was. I'm not saying that this is a good quality. It's not. I'm just made that way. I do make an effort to exercise self control in this area but won't say I've been all that successful.
  • For some reason that baffles me, a lot of people tend to want to believe the worst in others. My theory is that some believe that magnifying the flaws of others makes them more normal or acceptable to themselves. (I'll bet many of you have been subjected to this attitude).
  • I've learned from experience that most judgment comes from a lack of self esteem or self worth from the one doing the judging. There are a lot of sanctimonious, self righteous folks out there who are just waiting for a misstep so that they can pounce on you and 'show you the error of your ways.' To these people I respectfully say: Get a life, why don't you, and stay out of mine.
  • I am a gregarious and silly person with a rapid fire sense of humor that is hard to keep under wraps. I kind of like that about myself and am not inclined to change that anytime soon. I love sharing laughter and joy with others. I laugh loudly and sometimes giggle inappropriately when I'm in an awkward or nervous situation. Can't seem to help myself.
  **(I've had the unfortunate experience of snickering helplessly at a funeral as the minister repeatedly mispronounced the name of the deceased. I was also once ushered out of a wedding ceremony for laughing uncontrollably after a well meaning bridesmaid yanked the bustle of the bride's dress (which had somehow become tucked way up into her bum) right at the front of the church in full view of the entire congregation before the couple could exchange their I-do's. Not one of my finer moments but a funny memory to have and to hold, as it were).

 Listen...life is too short not to appreciate the humorous and ridiculousness that inevitably comes along. We are made in God's own image. The gift of laughter and joy is one of  His most beautiful blessings to me. Still...sometimes others don't 'get' my sense of humor. That's okay with me. I don't mind laughing either at myself or with myself or even by myself.

 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~Proverbs 17:22

In the infamous words of Tony Bennett: (my younger readers can Google him...)
"I've gotta be me...I've gotta be me...who else can I be but me?"  Indeed.

Finally...after all these years of fretting about having a crazy dysfunctional family, not fitting in or not being thin enough or educated enough or being too indecisive or silly or not serious enough or not being perceived as a good enough Christian I have finally come to the place in my life where I can honestly say...who cares what anyone else thinks of me? I know who I am. I know whose I am. I am a living child of the living God and my Daddy created the universe and everything and everyone in it. He loves me just they way I am and He's guiding my every step. I'm shining my light and believing that God will let my life be a living example of His amazing love and His tender grace and mercy. I'm one of His very favorites, you know. You are, too!

There is a sense of liberation and freedom in letting go of what others think. Some of you may have already come to this place of peace. If not I invite you to join me. Hey, as a sign of solidarity, you may even want to join me in my other resolutions as well. Together, we can do anything, right?

I will  let you off the hook on the whole 'doing the splits' thing, though. I mean really, who am I kidding? A mother of three children trying to do the splits? C'mon, seriously...what will people think? Oh, yeah,..I  almost forgot. Who cares? All I can say is that I hope they are laughing with me because I may need some good medicine for my crushed spirit and dried up bones if things don't work out as planned. Ha!

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~Colossians 3:12-15

Blessings,

~Cat