Thursday, June 30, 2011

Out Of Her Comfort Zone

She had lots of friends who weren’t from my crowd. To look at us you’d never believe we were compatible. She smoked in the school bathroom; I was scared to go in there most the time. Her crowd was the cool, tough bunch while mine was the mediocre athletic, nerdy types.

I can’t remember our first words to each other but we clicked and that was the start of a lifelong friendship. Crys introduced me to her brother, a popular tough guy. We went on a double date and another lifelong relationship was made that night. I met the guy of my dreams and married him 2
years later. Thanks for that.

You’d have to know Crys to understand that she’s never really been the emotional kind, not lovey dovey, or huggy. I on the other hand cry at the drop of a hat, love anything sentimental and hug a lot. So you’ll understand when I found the letter why it made me cry all over again thinking
of her.

My dad passed away 11 years ago. It was one of saddest, most unbelievable times of my life. I have written several posts about him and if you’ve read any of them you know he was my hero and I was his princess. Crys doesn’t like to show emotion and she’s not big on funerals so she stayed at my
mom’s house the day of the funeral and cleaned and prepared for visitors. This meant more than she’ll ever know.  We never really took the time to talk about his death because I knew and I think
she knew we’d just end up in a bawling session. That day she did her thing and I did mine, and we hugged good bye when it was all over.

A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail from her. She expressed how sorry she was that I had lost my dad. The letter was about a page long and her words touched me so.  I can’t explain how much it helped me at that time. Crys showed my family love by all the things she had “done” because that’s her way of giving love. The special thing about it is that Crys knew I needed a different kind of love, a letter of love. Even though it took her out of her comfort zone she
went there, she did it for me and I will never forget it. As I write this post now big tears well up in my eyes because I am reminded of this thoughtful loving thing Crys did just for me.

I ran across that letter just the other day and as I read it again the memories flooded back to all the times we’ve been there for each other. I write this to tell Crys “I love you. You are never forgotten. You are my sister. You are beautiful inside and out and I’m thankful to God for putting
you in my life.”

The letter is neatly folded and remains in the box with what I have left of my dad's belongings.

I am thankful to The Red Dress Club  for this prompt.  It is a post that needed to be written a long time ago. Here's the prompt:

You or your character find a forgotten letter or card from someone important in
your life--whether good or bad.  What does it say?  How does it affect you or
your character?  What is done with it?

10 Ways To Respect Your Man

[caption id="attachment_1417" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Aug. 1, 1981"][/caption]

Webster’s defines respect as high or special regard, or the state or quality of being esteemed. If we take this definition literally and apply it to how we treat each other, we’d have some pretty awesome relationships going on out there huh? Marriages would last longer, be revived
or renewed. Families could quite possibly stay together and children would witness what a true marriage should look like.

Respect could revolutionize relationships. So what does it look like? I'm going to list 10 ways a woman can respect her man or vice versa. These 10 have been tested and tried by me in my own marriage and I can testify that respect can change mediocre to marvelous. Along with our willingness to change and God's love, miracles happened in our relationship. Give it a try you might find a priceless treasure where you thought there was only some trash.

1-    When he comes home from a long day at work give him a few minutes to wind down. I know you gals who have been home all day with the kids just want to pass them off to him as soon as he walks through the door but trust me, it’s not a good idea. Usually. Believe me when my kids were young my first instinct was to hand him those precious little ones and run for my life.

2-    Listen to his ideas. I realize you might not agree with these ideas. They may even sound crazy sometimes but just listen. There will be another, more appropriate opportunity to tell him that maybe he needs to rethink these ideas, ideas that will blow your whole savings account. But
for now just listen and let him share his dreams or plans or whatever it is he needs to share with you.

3-    When you feel it's time to talk to him about such things as mentioned in No. 3 do it in a gentle way. There’s nothing worse than making your man feel like his ideas are dumb. Put yourself in his place, do you want him to suggest to you that your ideas are dumb?

4-    Thank him for working hard to provide for you and your family. A man’s identity is often wrapped up in his job and it helps his self-esteem to know you think he is doing well at it.

5-    Put your relationship with him above all other human relationships. Yes even above your children. It took me a long time to learn that this was a wonderful way to show him how much I respected and loved him. Take time away with him every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Let
him know that being alone with him is important to you.

6-    When you give him what is important to him this shows him respect. It might be “intimacy”, it might be fried pork chops, or it could be providing him with a few minutes of relaxation before he has to be daddy or hubby after work.

7-    Do not degrade him especially in public. If you are with friends playing a game and he doesn’t get a question right don’t make hubby feel like an idiot. He already feels embarrassed because he didn’t get it right. Don’t make it worse. It’s better to say,”That’s ok honey you’ll get it
next time.” Well my husband would rather I didn’t say anything about it at all. Leave it at that and move on with the game.

8-    Don’t make a habit of correcting him in front of others. Maybe he’s telling a story and exaggerates a bit or remembers it different than you, is it really worth it to correct him in the presence of his friends?

9-    Do something to let him know he is appreciated and not just on Father’s Day. One night B got home late from work and I had made steak. After heating it up I cut the steak up for him before I gave him his plate. He said, “Wow, why did you cut it up?!” “Cause I love you.” Sickening
right? Well I thought he’d like it. He did.

10-  This is the most important concept of all. Do unto him as you would have him do unto
you. We all want to be treated with respect. Most of us don’t believe we are respected as much as we would like. One solution may be to teach others how we want to be respected by respecting them that way.

What’s your take on this? I’d love to hear if you have any more suggestions to add.

Don't forget to check out my latest on Grace Full Women, "Can My Behavior Change My Heart?"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Sort Of Security

This is a prompt from the Red Dress Club. Write a flash fiction
piece 300 words or less inspired by the word Life.

This is part of Lina’s story before she went to prison. You
can read more of Lina’s story at I Never Left Her, Prison Cell From Hell,  Normal Is A Good Thing

Why did I buy that stupid pack of cigarettes? I won’t smoke them. Hopefully. They’re like some sort of security, I guess. Just in case I get nervous if my lawyer tells me something I don’t want to hear I’ll have them. Anyway I like the way a cigarette feels between my fingers, between my lips, and the taste brings back old memories. I’ll take them with me and keep the pack in the glove compartment of my sister’s Taurus.

At 15 years old my people-pleasing-self began smoking with my boyfriend. He taught me how to inhale and I sucked down the nicotine for years until I got pregnant with Ben. I wanted my first child to have a healthy start in life and somehow cigarettes just didn’t seem like the way to go.

After that it was quit, start, quit, start and the monster won almost every time. But this time I had been on the wagon over a year, yet here I sat with Lynn knowing after this meeting was over I could and probably would have a Marlboro Light to ease my nerves. I’m on my way to prison anyway what’s it gonna hurt?

What about Ben and Lacey and my dreams of happy, healthy lives for them? It began
to fade.  I pictured me blowing smoke out the window of the car while they rode in the back seat. The toxins billowing behind me up their tiny nostrils. They seemed content but how was that contributing to the dream? Actually I was helping to destroy it. Instead of giving them life I was taking it from them.

Walking out of the lawyer's office, Lynn's arm around me, I felt the walls closing in, literally. My lawyer  gave me heartbreaking news.

I needed some sort of security to help get me through.  The glove compartment door fell open and I was truly thankful my sister had gotten rid of the pack of Marlboros.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Do Men Want?

I heard a sermon yesterday on my way to church. The pastor was listing things men needed to help them be the best they could be. I certainly agreed with him on most everything so I thought I’d share. There aren’t many men who read my blog but women if you can add to this list please comment, maybe we can write a book. What Do Men Really Want?

1- Men want real food. However they need the healthy stuff like salad, baked chicken and fish, broccoli and lots of water. Today the Train and I will begin our path to eating the healthy stuff. Yesterday we stuffed ourselves on the real stuff, donuts, barbecued ribs and snacks til we went to bed. We love us some REAL FOOD but it’s time to get on the track to a longer, healthier life.

2- Men want recreation. Football, fishing, hunting, computer or video games, etc. Guess what? They need it too! My philosophy is let him do one of these things cause he could be doing something much worse. I did not say his recreation should take every spare minute he has but he needs time to himself just like you do.

3- Men want respect. And as much as he wants it he needs it too. The Bible even tells us in Ephesians to respect our husbands. Obviously it’s something ingrained in them that makes them whole. A man who doesn’t get respect feels taken for granted and used. (Later this week, “How To Respect A Man.”)

4- Men Want To Be Encouraged. You probably won’t find too many men that will admit to needing this but deep down they do. Encourage how? Ask him to do something for you (I am keeping my mouth shut on this one) then tell him what a good job he did. Example: My hubby washed the dishes and put them away. After I woke up from my fainting spell I saw he had not put things in the right spot. I would have never told him he did it incorrectly, no I praised and thanked him. (Another thing, if you ever expect to get him to do anything else like that, don’t criticize.) Also
for encouragement, tell him he’s strong, good-looking, has a nice butt, love his nose, his muscles or notice his haircut.

5- Men want  "intimacy". Actually they need it. It really is a fact cause I asked my hubbyand there are huge statistics that say the same. Men think about it most the time in one way or the other. The Bible also tells us not to withhold intimacy from each other within a marriage unless we are taking time away to pray and agree together to do it. ( I may also right a blog from a woman’s point of view on this subject, because it’s a bit different from a guy’s thinking.)

6- Men want companionship. Ok maybe some of them don’t want it but they need it. He needs the togetherness with a good woman who loves and supports him. She can make him stronger and more effective in life as a husband and father and even on the job. He just needs to let her in to that deeper place he’s kept hidden. Opening up to his woman can open doors to
refreshing, rebuilding, and reviving their relationship.

If a man wants a woman who will walk around the world for him all he has to do is be honest about who he is and what he wants, love, support and respect her, and be a good father to their kids. It really is not all that hard guys. ( tiny bit of joking here)

7- Men want to be appreciated. Thank him for being the provider for your family or helping you provide. Think about the positive instead of the negative. Thank him for cutting the grass, for reading the kids a story, for going to church with you. There are a multitude of things you can thank your man for. On the Father's Day card I bought The Train it said thanks for being my partner and friend and for making me happy. He needs to know how you feel even if he's not able to share his feelings as well as you. You might just teach him a thing or two.

8- Men want God. They may not know it but God created the heart with a keyhole in it. The key is God’s Son Jesus. When he lets Jesus open his heart his life will change. A man of God can change his world, his family and his marriage into something amazing.

Well there you have my little list of what a man wants. What do you have to add?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Most Embarrassing Moment in Church

As I got ready for church I looked in the mirror and thought, “Well you’re lookin’ pretty good ole gal.”  Beautiful? Maybe not, pretty, yeah, I’ll settle for that. My black and white paisley skirt, black shirt and silver belt were looking sharp on my 5’2 and one half inch body. I looked as slim as pudgy
could get, which is what I strive for with every outfit I put on my body.

Once at church I went to Lifegroup, that’s the new word for Sunday School, and then stopped off by the restroom.  As I stood at the sink checking to make sure I still looked “pretty”, a few friends came in and we talked a few moments. One of those sweet ladies was an avid reader of my blog and she told me how much she enjoyed my posts. Ahh this was a good day so far….

As I sauntered toward the sanctuary passing a multitude of people (male and female) in the
hallway, confidence and joy exuded from me. It had been a great morning with study, family, and friends and I looked forward to a good sermon from the pastor.

But you know how it feels when you know someone is watching you? I kinda felt this way so I began adjusting my black shirt and as I walked a little further I noticed my leg felt strange. Cold,
drafty... I reached around to the back of my leg and discovered to my horror my skirt was caught up in my panties! Well, all I could do at that point was pull it out and keep going.  As much as I
wanted to I did not look back to see who might have seen my pink panties, my upper thigh and whatever else was hanging out back there.

Once seated in the huge sanctuary of a few thousand my mind began to race.

1-Who could have seen my display?

2-Why didn't my friends in the bathroom notice? Or did they...?  Were they really my friends?!

3- Thank goodness I decided not to wear my full Spanx underwear.

4- Thank goodness I don't wear thongs. It might have terrified the whole crowd.

5- Why didn't anyone tell me my skirt was neatly tucked in my underwear as I made my way down the hall?

I really didn't hear too much of the first part of the service. Actually I felt a little self-conscious wondering who, if anybody seated around me saw my butt. Off and on throughout the service my
thoughts went back to this "mishap". I hurriedly left the church after the service. There was no sauntering; no confidence, no joy, no feeling pretty, and the thought did run through my mind, “Pride comes before a fall, in my case pride comes before a “tuck”.

Written for a prompt from The Red Dress Club. Show us how physical beauty can open doors or close them.  How can it make a positive or negative  impact?

Hey stop by my other blog Gracefullwomen and read my newest post What Do Women Want. Don't you want to know?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Say Now What Might Not Get Said Later

Here is the prompt we were given from The Red Dress Club  RemembRed memoir.

This week we would like you to write about how the show of affection has played a part in your memory. Choose a time when either the abundance or lack of affection (either by you or someone else) stands out, and show us.  Bring us to that time.  Help us feel what you felt.

He was tall, dark and handsome and I thought he hung the moon. It would have surprised me to find out he actually didn't because there wasn't anything my father couldn't do.

My mother, brother and I didn't see him much because he worked two jobs most the time but when he was there we made the most of it. Our family ate dinner together, watched Little House On The Prairie, Carol Burnett and Andy Griffith every week, we hugged, and said "I love you".

My mother tucked me and my little brother in every night. We said our prayers, kissed her and she told us how much she loved us. Daddy came in later too and there would be no "sweet dreams" for this little girl unless her daddy said so right before the lights went out.

4:00 am came early and Daddy had to get his day started in order to work both jobs. He was as quiet as a mouse as he crept around the house getting ready. But before he left he opened my door and slipped in. He kissed my forehead and said, "I love you sweetheart, see you tonight."

"Bye Daddy. Love you too."

I closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep as my father went off to work at the car manufacturer for hours and then to pump gas at the filling station. He worked this second job one year so I could attend kindergarten. It wasn't free back in 1969.

Every morning of my childhood life I got that kiss and those words. After I grew up and moved out on my own I still heard those words every time I spoke to my Daddy. I don't hear them anymore because he slipped away to heaven in 1999 but I will forever hold them in my heart.

Growing up with love and affection displayed openly helped me be able to do the same. My husband and children never, if at all possible, go to bed without hearing how much I love them. Before we leave the house everyone gives the "I love yous" all around.

It may seem flippant and careless to some to use the words so easily but my Daddy said, " What if I left and never saw you again? I want you to know I love you." I feel the same. Say now what might not get said later.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

A question has arisen several times lately so I have decided it's time to discuss it.
Question: Can I lose my salvation?
Answer:A true believer, meaning someone who is one with Christ, who has accepted Christ as Savior in faith,  can not lose salvation.

Establishing that one is a true believer is important to understand because if not then of course loss of salvation does not apply one way or the other because it has not been obtained yet. These Scripture verses helped me nail down my own salvation: The whole book of 1 John is pretty clear about who is a believer and who is not and John 10 gives a good picture of Jesus as Shepherd and believers as His sheep.

Understand in 1 John when he speaks of "the one who believes does not continue to sin" he means sinning as a way of life, meaning this is the pattern. Of course we cannot judge the motives of another's heart and we do not know why someone may be sucked in by addictions and such, so read these verses in examination of your own salvation. Search your own heart and motives.

Proof from Scripture that we cannot lose our salvation: 1 John 5:18-20, John 10:25-30. Both of these passages are clear about what true salvation is and that we are secure in salvation once we receive it.

Romans 8:38-39 promises us that nothing can cause God to stop loving us once we are His children. Nothing!

Some say if we hold to the doctrine of eternal security we will be prone to "have a license to sin." However I disagree with this belief because it is obvious to me that anyone who lives under the belief that God's grace and salvation is given as a gift and is permanent, knows that we live for Him out of our love for Him. We love because He first loved us. The understanding of God's great love for me draws me  into an intimate, close relationship of trust with Him. Out of this relationship flows a love that causes me to WANT to live for God, not sin because I can. It is exactly the opposite of what the followers of the doctrine that one can lose salvation describes it to be. Even the Apostle Paul had something to say about this in Romans 6:2-6. Read it.

I hope this has answered some of your questions. Please feel free to post comments or ask questions. Email me anytime at

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Prison Cell From Hell

This week's prompt from The Red Dress Club is all about character development.
We'd like you to write about what your character wants most. Today I'm building on my character Lina. She was introduced in my last prompt I Never Left Her.

The prison cell was frightening most the time. But right now in this perfect moment Lina lay on the bottom bunk thinking about Lacey and Ben. Her kids were all that held her together. Her cell mate left for a few hours for laundry duty and this was a good thing for Lina. It gave her a break
from Sheila’s constant berating.

Lina thought maybe the warden would transfer her to another cell after the last incidence but it never happened. So she lay there waiting almost holding her breath knowing Sheila would be back soon. But for now Lina could get lost in her memories of the good times before life went wrong.

The night her sister Lynn came to pick her up from Eckerd was a turning point in her life. Cross Point Rehab Center agreed to admit her that night. Lina worked the program for 3 months and has stayed clean since then. Her life was being rebuilt and Lacey and Ben were living with her again.

Then the day came, the dark, horrible day when she had to begin paying for her past mistakes. Lina was arrested for selling drugs 4 months after coming out of rehab. She wasn’t selling drugs at that time but in the days when she was addicted Lina would have done anything for a fix.

The police detective offered her a deal. She would give the authorities information about the drug ring in Atlanta in exchange for a much lighter sentence.

Her main concern was that if she became a nark it would put her life and the lives of her entire family in jeopardy. She knew the consequences she would pay for giving information to the government. So she didn't do it. Lina was sentenced to 2 ½ years in a federal penitentiary.

She lay there crying, debating with herself, “Did I do the right thing?”

“Would God have protected us against them?”

“No I had to do it this way to protect my family.”

As she was pondering these things Sheila was brought back to her cell. Lina pretended to be asleep.

Sheila had the urge to humiliate Lina once again. “ You know little girl, they ain’t never lettin’ you outta here. You gonna mess up again right here in this prison and get more time.”

Lina laid there, eyes still closed, breath held, not acknowledging a word Sheila had spoken.

“Did you hear me little girl? They gonna make you stay right here in this cell with me for a long, long time.”

Lina continued in the same sleeping position, not moving nor saying a word. At this point Sheila grabbed Lina by the back of her shirt and jerked her out of the bunk onto the floor. Looking Lina dead in the eyes as if she were about to kill her prey she screamed,  “I said you are stuck with me for a long long time!”

Lina looked up at Sheila as if she were a  vulnerable, frightened lamb going to the slaughter. Somehow an  inner strength rose up within and she said, “ All I want is to get out of here! I will get out of here and nobody can stop me not even you Sheila.”

The prison clinic was cold and dark. Lina lay there wondering why she was there on a gurney. The clinic nurse came in and asked how she was feeling. “My head hurts and it hurts to breath.”

“You got a pretty bad beating, but you’ll be fine. You have a concussion and a broken rib.”

Lina began sobbing. With every sob she wanted to scream from the excruciating pain shooting through her body.  “All I want is to do my time so I can go home to my babies.”