Sunday, February 26, 2006

Understanding God

May all of your expectations be frustrated.

May all of your plans be thwarted.

May all of your desires be withered into nothingness

that you may experience the poverty and helplessness of a child

and can sing and dance in the joy of God

who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I have no idea where this quote (or benediction as I've heard it called) came from. If any of you know, please let me know, so that I can credit it appropriately. I do love it. I found it first not long after the discovery that I had been somewhat "duped" in my marriage to Tdub. Thwarted plans, frustrated expectations, and the poverty and helplessness of a child resonated so clearly and painfully to me then. And I learned that all my desires indeed had to wither into nothingness so that the ONE who I was created to desire could reveal Himself to me.

And the paradox of the situation is this; by giving up what I desired and desiring only Him, He in turn has given back to me the very things I placed above Him at the start. There was nothing wrong in my original desires, in and of themselves, it was the place I'd given them over Him that was harmful to me.

I enjoy the way everything is turned upside-down and backwards, mysterious and incomprehensible in God's Kingdom. The first shall be last. Foolish thoughts to confound the wise. Becoming as little children. Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. None of it makes any sense and it makes perfect sense at the same time.

I'm thankful it doesn't take a doctorate in theology, or even an 8th grade education to comprehend the deep matters of God, even though I'll never really comprehend even one tiny thing about Him.


View Current Blog

Friday, February 24, 2006


What a week it's been! I can't remember a Friday when I've come home from school more tired. I took a 3 hour nap after I got home and Tdub came home from work, loaded the guys in the car, and took them out to eat. They'll be home early though because they're (he and the 3 younger boys) going to run in a race of some sort in FW tomorrow morning. I hope the chill and the rain let up for them. I'll be sleeping in and enjoying a morning all to myself. Wow, an evening and a morning of quiet solitude. I'll have no excuse not to be "recharged" after this!

The highlight of our week was the beginning of our huddle groups with the youth on Wednesday night. Tdub and I have the sophomores meeting here at our house for Wednesday night class. We had a small group this first go round but we expect the attendance to pick up after the word gets out that the format's changed and that free snacks can be enjoyed during the devo. There were 5 girls and 3 boys here last Wednesday.

It's been several years since our youth minister did the "huddle" format. Tdub and I have had a group each time. One thing that struck me profoundly last Wednesday night was the difference in Tdub from the first time we took a huddle group till now. Our first experience with huddles was immediately after we married and before "all hell broke loose" in our marriage. It was a large group of seniors who were like the "dream team" of youth. Most of them were very active in school as well as church and several brought friends along who were members of other churches but enjoyed being with this group of kids on Wednesday nights. They were a bright group emotionally as well as intellectually. I'm not sure what our purpose with them was but I understand, now, what their purpose was for my life. As I sat in our living room with the new huddle group Wednesday night, listening to Tdub share from his heart some of his expectations and perceptions of what huddle group is all about, I flashed back to the old Tdub, sharing with the group before, and it was as if God had engineered every bit of it as a testament to me of His power to heal, change, redeem and restore.

The first huddle group was one of the several things that just didn't reconcile for me with Tdub. I discovered a man who seemed to have compartmentalized all these different areas of his life. There was the "father", the "Bible class teacher", the "Youth Leader", the "husband", and a few other roles. It was as if he was sectioned off into all these parts and each of us had to wait (or not, depending on who you were) for your slice of time from him. He said all the right things at the huddle group, but, when we left the huddle group, those things seem to stay there or only apply to the kids he was teaching. He was also a wonderful, nurturing father. Still is, for that matter. But, the father in him was separate from the teacher, the friend, and the husband. I'm not sure if this will make sense to anyone but me.

The difference now is that Tdub has become one whole person. His role as husband, father, teacher, friend, etc...all combine and intertwine to form the person he is ALL the time. It's an amazing transformation, really. And one I might not have had revealed to me so fully had it not been for God's hand in making us part of huddle groups. I'm continuously amazed at the complexity of God's plans for us. He truly does work ALL things together for our good so that ultimately His will is accomplished in our lives. In moments like the other night, at huddle group, as I listened to Tdub and recognized the MIRACLE sitting across the room from me, I'm blown away by this God who didn't stop at sending His son to rescue me, but continues to order my steps and take the time and effort to REVEAL His plans in ways that I can comprehend. Unbelievable.


View Current Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I play in a Bunco group with some ladies from church. The group is not of my "typical" crowd but I've forced myself to be a part of it and it blesses me. This is a group of women who are all a generation or two up from me in age. Their kids are all grown and out of the house, living productive lives of their own. A few of them have children my age, even. Most of them are grandparents. The fellowship is good for me for several reasons.

1. They make me feel young. Simply because I'm usually the youngest one there.

2. They give me hope in that many of them have been through some of the same sorts of struggles I go through with my children, and their children all made it through.

3. I make them laugh. I love being funny, and they seem to find me funny. It makes me feel good that they seem to enjoy my company. I'm a pretty transparent person about most of the struggles in my life and I find a good way to deal with most things is to find the humor in the situation.

4. They give me hugs, affirmation, and encouragement. It's still not quite like it would be if it were actually my own mother, but it fills a void for me and I'm thankful for them.

I started out as a substitute player but have quickly moved in as a regular. I never wanted to go originally, I went because I was always helping out a friend in need who couldn't be there. I actually dreaded it the first several times. Tdub sort of "rolls his eyes" over my participation in such a group. Heck, I rolled my own eyes about it at first. But, I trust that God's purposes are bigger than mine, and that He's even in the small things, and the things done just for fun, like this once-monthly little game we play.

So, off I go, to Bunco.


View Current Blog

Monday, February 20, 2006

Answered Prayer

The weekend with my parents was GREAT. Unbelievable. It's as if the past 6 years is a closed chapter and we are movin' on. Granted, we are not "close" as in share all of who you are close. But then, we never were. Ever. I've only felt like I could completely be myself with my Dad growing up....but he has allegiances to my Mom which have always inhibited me with him as well. Who knows? Maybe he's at the root of it. Anyway, I'm just glad/happy/thrilled that we are finally back to a place where we can visit and relax together, in OUR home, no less, and part ways having called it a good time. This is MAJOR and an answer to years of prayer on both sides.

Luckily, the squirrels in the attic did manage to stay off their little polo ponies and curled up tightly in balls sleeping during the parental visit. It's uncanny, though, that not 10 minutes after they pulled away, I could have sworn I heard a faint and tiny neighing sound and then, as if the Lone Ranger of squirrels had suddenly appeared from nowhere, the tiny clamoring of little hoofbeats could be heard running across the ceiling. Maybe there's a little geeky, struggling squirrel up there who reads my blog on his little wireless laptop, and warned the others of the impending visit. Yeah, that's it! I'm glad they take him seriously. :)


View Current Blog

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Being Transparent

It's sad really, that it's easier to be open and honest about our struggles with the WORLD WIDE WEB than it is with our own brothers and sisters in Christ in our local body.

Is this our problem, theirs, or a combination of the two? I suspect it's the combo deal. I believe that God is calling us to take risks and be transparent with those around us. If we don't share our struggles, then we deny God's soveriegnty over our situation. And yet, it's more difficult to share when you fear that many within the body won't respond to you with true Christ-like love, acceptance, and forgiveness.

One stupid way that some in our particular body could show a lack of forgiveness would be to limit or deny our ability to teach and minister in our youth group. Even though, our particular struggles may very well make us more capable of understanding and ministering to young people. And, as I think about the folks I fear might be less forgiving, they are not the ones who've been willing to committ the time, effort, and energy required to make a significant impact with our youth. And these are by NO MEANS the majority. But a vocal minority can cause a great deal of strife.

I apologize if this all sounds cryptic and rambling. In this instance, this post really is all about me just getting my thoughts out whether it makes any sense to anyone else or not.


View Current Blog

Friday, February 17, 2006

Family Visit

My parents are on their way to visit. We're happy but, as always, a bit apprehensive. If you've read ALL of my blog you know that relations between my parents and I (specifically my mother...who controls everything) have been strained to put it mildly, for the past several years. Things are finally taking a turn for the better, it seems.

They are coming to watch the little guys play in some of their last games of the season (YIPPEEEEE!!) this weekend. They'll be spending one night (not here, shudder the thought) and heading back tomorrow afternoon. Thank you Lord for Holiday Inn Express! Our purchase of this 120 yr. old house was one of the several things that they took issue with when we married. The thought of them being here for more than a few hours at a stretch frightens both Tdub and I, not to mention #4 who is also acutely aware of the critical eye Grandma and Grandpa have for things broken or not quite level. We're all hoping the squirrels in the attic curl up in a big ball and fall asleep. Sometimes it sounds like they're playing little squirrel polo up there. I'd swear it was the hoof beats of a herd of little polo ponies running from one end of the ceiling to the other. Basically, they'll be here less than 24 hrs and probably in the house for now more than a few hours at a stretch.

Pray is goes well.


View Current Blog

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

On the Road to Manhood....A #4 Story

Never one to disappoint, #4 has provided me with yet another story to blog about.

He ended up spending the night last night with his dad. I noticed this morning when he got in the car that he had a Wal-mart bag with some stuff in it. I didn't think twice about it. He stuck it in the backseat and it stayed there all day. As we got into the car after school today he pulled this bag up to the front seat and said, "Look what I got Mom." (remember, he's 11) He starts pulling, one after the other, these short black spray cans with different colored writing on them out of the bag. I quickly discern that these are cans of Axe brand body spray for men. We've bought him this before but only ONE can at a time. He places them all in his lap then starts picking them up to show me, one by one, and reading the names of the
different scents, in sort of radio/advertising type voice.
(that last one really said Essence but he was on a roll and I didn't have the heart to correct him) He had 6 in all and went through each one. Here's how our conversation went after that.

ME: that's what you bought with the money your dad gave you
for Valentines?

#4: Yeah...aren't they cool? I really like these cans. Now I've got them all.

ME: Are you sure there wasn't anything else there you wanted?

#4: Well, they didn't have the game I was looking for and I wanted to spend my
money because I usually always save it, so I decided to get these.
I've always wanted to have all of them.

ME: Well....good.

#4: Yeah...these will probably last me for like 10 months...maybe longer!

And so....if the wind's blowing your way from the direction of central Texas and you catch a whiff of something that could only be described as Phoenix, Touch, Voodoo, or the Essence of's just #4.


View Current Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Change, cont..., where was I?

I'm changing schools next year and moving to a 6th, 7th, 8th grade middle school. I'm blessed to have the of option of picking up and moving just because I feel like it. With the redistribution there are openings, AND, because I've been teaching in my district for 17 years, I'm known to be a reliable, hard-working, and kid-friendly individual. Those are three pretty key elements needed to teach just about anything. The worst teachers I've ever met usually know their subject well, they just can't stand kids. I have no idea why anyone would get into the business of teaching if they didn't enjoy children. Granted, I get exasperated by them several times each day. But, I can't recall going through even one day in 17 years that at least one student didn't say or do something that either made me chuckle inside or laugh right out loud. I do enjoy young people and get much pleasure from being around them.

I talked about the move being good for the family yesterday because of the two younger guys both moving into that level. This is the primary motivation for my move, but, the truth is, if I were extremely happy with the current management at my school I'd be much less inclined to make the move. As Emery commented on yesterday's post, I do think this change will feel like a "vacation" for me. I won't find out what my new assignment is until sometime late this month. It will probably be something like 6th grade language arts or (if I could be SO fortunate) social studies. The social studies jobs at that level are the most sought after, so, chances are the reigning 6th grade teachers will be given first crack at those. We'll see.

Right now I'm exhausted. All three of our basketball players had games tonight and all three won. (oh goodie, more games until they finally lose one) It's the end of the season and I'm worn completely down by basketball games. Tdub comes away with all these stats like how many steals, assists, points, turnovers, fouls, etc...and I leave hoping I can stay awake during the usually short drive home, assuming I can remember where I parked my car this time in the lot. We usually have to attend in separate cars because there's always at least one set of games that overlaps a little. Don't worry, I do cheer and yell and have a good time watching. It's just that there's SO MUCH of it to watch! geez!

It's crazy. But it will soon be over.

I'm dozing off. Happy Valentine's Day!

View Current Blog

Monday, February 13, 2006


No...I'm not talking about sexual preference.

Just change in general. I'm one of those people who is energized by change. It sort of stinks, but so far, I've been able to make good changes and not just change for the sake of change. I'm talking about school now.

I've decided to change jobs and schools next year. I'm not exactly sure what my new assignment will be, but it probably won't be art.

The school district is re-distributing a few of the grades next year to create a 9th grade center. This moves our 6th graders into middle school with the 7th and 8th graders. Currently, Tdub and I have a 5th and 6th grader. So...I've been under the impression that I had one more year with #4 being at school with me. I've had at least one child at school with me for the past 14 years. (I've been teaching 17.) So...I'm going to make the change and move into middle school with the two little guys. I never thought I'd come to this. There've been times when I dreamed of the day I could finish my day uninterrupted by the scuffle of feet and plonk of a backpack on a desk....yet another kid coming in just AFTER I'd gotten rid of the ones I'd been teaching all day. And yet now, since #1 is actually OUT of school and I recognize the fact that they do grow up and go away (i'm counting on the fact that he WILL eventually go away), I'm not ready to let go of being a part of someone's school life by being part of their school.

I know what you're thinking (all 4 of you who've made it this far reading). "What do THEY think about Mom coming to middle school with them?" Honestly, they don't mind and are actually great with it. The thing is, I'm not one of those hovering-over-the-shoulder sorts of mothers. I don't bother their teachers about what's going on. I don't come in for extra help in working through their projects. And, most importantly, if one of their teachers has to discipline them in any way, I DON'T make excuses for them or find some way to make it HER/HIS problem. I've actually fussed at a teacher before for being TOO lenient with one of mine when I knew she was somewhat "favoring" him because he belonged to me. I'll never forget the time one of #1's teachers sent him down to my room to have him tell me that he'd forgotten his homework and it was time to go out for recess. I quickly scribbled on a note for him to take back to her, "well, what are you sending him to me for? send him to detention with all the others who don't have their homework!"

So...I'm ready to make a change. I've got to stop for now...I started writing with the intention of finishing these thoughts but I've run out of time. I'll have to do it later. Maybe it will be better to break it up into sections lest I drone on and on. This way, there'll be two really boring posts for everyone to read.


View Current Blog

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What is willful grace?

In the past week I've been given several compliments by fellow bloggers (some at Ex-Gay watch and at least one here on this blog) as to my ability to live in and treat others with grace and dignity. And I very much appreciate hearing it...but...

It's not me. I'm not really all that graceful. In fact, my blog title describes perfectly how grace works for me, hence the name. Granted, I may be bearing (i hope) certain fruits of the spirit in greater abundance than the general population; particularly love, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. But grace? I have to WILL myself to demonstrate grace to others. My husband included.

What I'm saying is that it doesn't just naturally flow out of me from some grace spigot located at the base of my neck. I choose to be graceful and to operate in a spirit of grace. It's conscious. And, while I'm able to demonstrate loads of grace as it concerns the issues surrounding this blog, my marriage, and in dealings with my sons, I'm not always that graceful in other areas of my life.

I'm having a very difficult time being graceful at school right now due to my unhappiness with "the management". My grace spigot runs completely dry it seems, the minute I walk through those school doors. It's become quite a struggle for me to remain positive and willing to give 110% in all areas there. Which entails basically any tasks that don't directly involve instruction/relations to the students. It's surprising how much "other stuff" there is to deal with in public education that can bear greatly on one's over-all demeanor.

I guess I write all this in an attempt to "keep it real" here on my blog. I don't want to give a false impression. I think I fear coming across as Martha Stewart is to the goes Grace to the Gay/Ex-gay/SomewhereInBetween Christian. Believe me, there are PLENTY of people who can attest to my lack of grace in many areas. I'm surprised at least one of them hasn't spoken up ;)....(JB).

Ok...I've gotten that off my chest. I feel better.


View Current Blog

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Boys

I haven't written or updated on the boys in a while. So, lest this become a truly ex-gay blog (i've accepted that categorization, by the way) I'll update on them today.

#1 got a REAL job (thanks in no small part I'm SURE to the haircut) and is now on a mundane 8 to 5 schedule every day of the week. This answered my prayers exactly for structured time. He goes to school on Mondays and Wednesdays and works the other 3 days. This job is perfect. Today, his assignment was to pull 1000 little chips off of circuit boards. This place refurbishes old electronic parts. His task today involves dipping in hot stuff, pulling off exactly the right element, then quick drying the board so that the rest of the stuff stays put. Sounds like something dolphins or any other highly developed mammal could do if you gave them the right tools. But he's doing it. And I'm happy. :)

#2 is great. (in my opinion...that's for Tdub) He's matured a great deal during his freshman year of high school to the point that I think he's pulled completely out of the "possession" that is the middle school years. He's working harder to be a leader on his basketball team and while he's not blowing the top off of anything academically, he's making A's and B's. Well...except for one bad 6 weeks in biology but we had the "come to Jesus" meeting at school with all his teachers and he seems to be on top of that situation at present. We don't have to argue or plead with him about attending church or youth group and he appears to have a good identity as far as his place amongst his peers. We both wish/hope/pray that he will grow a few(several) inches within the next year...but...what can we really do about that?

#3 is the easiest child. If #4 were Felix (from the Odd Couple) #3 would be Oscar. Sure, you have to remind him to wipe the ketchup off his face (how does he not FEEL that???) but least he eats what you put in front of him. I mean,'s nice to know that there are actually different shades of green when you are getting dressed in the morning, but in the grand scheme of things, does this really matter? (no, really doesn't!) #3, as we speak, is moving headlong into the "possession" that is the middle school years. But, for him, it will be a bit different. He's a much more physical/literal sort of person. Don't get me wrong, the middle school years are pure hell. But I think they may be a bit different sort of hell with this one than what we've experienced in the past. That said, he has the biggest heart of the 4 and is FUN FUN FUN to watch on the basketball court. He has the best self-esteem of all of them...which could be the reason he's the easiest.

#4 is the high-maintenance manipulator of the group. He's also the only one who's shown any interest in achieving higher grades. In fact, I walked into the bathroom last night as he was bathing and he actually had these little cards about the planets with him in the bath, studying for a science test. He also achieves at sports, but, what makes him a valuable and sought after player is the fact that he is so "aware" of what's going on. He not only always makes excellent passes but he knows exactly where the ball needs to be at all times. He's the "smart" player on the team.

We currently spend every Saturday traveling from one basketball game to the next and still not making it to every one. Tdub helps coach #3's regular team and is WAY more into all of it than me. I personally, can't wait for it all to be DONE, even though I do enjoy watching them play.

And that's all I got.


View Current Blog

Friday, February 03, 2006

In the Beginning...

Brady, (who I have good relations/dialogue with in the the blogosphere) once articulated my stance regarding homosexuality this way, “She is religiously opposed to homosexuality (meaning she doesn't think it is in God's plan), but she is very fair-minded, balanced and open about the subject.” That’s pretty much it, in a nutshell. I can’t think of a better way to describe my beliefs about it.

For me, it comes down to design and what seems to me to be God’s original intent for humanity. Some people, whom I greatly admire, respect and turn to when I have theological dilemmas, believe that the Garden of Eden was not a literal place and that the story in Genesis wasn’t an actual event. I know others, like this man, who believe it WAS a real place and an actual event. I’m not sure, but I tend to lean toward the more literal view. Either way, we all agree on this. God’s plan is to eventually restore His kingdom to the original plan. Jesus is all about redemption and reconciliation. Restoring us to our place in God’s kingdom come. Jesus is the King and Lord of that age and He will reign again one day here on this earth. All the damage, hurt, pain, suffering, brokenness, etc. which entered our realm with that first act of defiance against God, will end.

There are MANY things, --and many of which I’ve been a part and continue to struggle with, --that will no longer be issues for us at that time. I happen to believe that homosexual acts are among those things . So, if you’ve tried reparative therapy, praying, fasting….everything but basically mutilation to rid yourself of your attractions….not to worry. All those “things” we struggle with which cause us to veer or stray from God’s original intent will all be set right. Resurrection. Redemption. Reconciliation. It’s an epic story we’re part of as believers in the kingdom of Christ.

What to do in the meantime? I’m not sure. Maybe that’s why we’re told this.


View Current Blog