Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Sermon: It sho' 'nuff ain't up to ME

I’m convinced that one of the worst things we can do to ourselves (and to the Kingdom when you stop and think about it) is to allow ourselves to become convinced that “it’s all up to us.” The moment that happens, not only do we take on a huge weight that we were never intended to bear, but we stop depending on God. Yup. You heard me. We stop depending on God. I know that sounds harsh -- I mean, we wouldn’t try to put Papa-God out of a job intentionally, would we? -- but the moment we think it’s all up to us, we have just said -- wittingly or unwittingly -- that He’s no longer in charge or in control; we are. And trust me, I’ve been taken charge of enough things to know that spells disaster! Either I totally screw things up, or I do nothing at all ‘cause I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll screw things up! (And, of course, knowing me, I will!) That’s how we act if we think it’s all depending on us.

Does that mean we stop caring about what’s going on around us and just sit back, pretend we’re Doris Day, and sing “Que sera, sera”?

No, not at all. (Or as brotha Paul would say, “May it never be!) But our job is definitely not being in control (‘cause family, it sho’ ‘nuff ain’t up to us). Our calling is to be obedient. (And, yeah, some days, I’d much rather be “in charge” than be obedient . . . I mean, let somebody else do the hard stuff, right?) We are called to listen for His voice, and then do what He tells us and empowers us (don’t forget that part) to do. That’s it. We get to leave the results to Him. Because we live with, love with, and serve a risen, He’s-alive! Savior, we know that we can leave “the driving to [Him],” and he’ll get us there, safely and right on time [wink, wink, Sonya and Mike!]. The hard part is that sometimes the scenery along the way doesn’t look like we think it should; heck, we might even think we’re totally going the wrong way (not to mention, not fast enough!), but we can trust Him. We must trust Him. He’s not only the Driver, He’s the Guide, -- only He knows for sure the direction in which we must go.

When we truly understand that Big Truth and aren’t afraid to walk in that truth, then we can speak the words He calls us to speak, do what He calls us to do, and leave the results up to Him.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but what a relief! I’m tired enough sometimes just doing the stuff I should be doing -- I sure don’t need to be doin’ my job and Papa God’s, too!

And you don’t either. We serve a living God. Let’s let Him live through us and do the work of the Kingdom through us.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Not my usual post . . .

Not my usual post, but I have to spill my guts to someone or . . . I don't know, maybe I'll cry in front of my third period "scientific reading" kids and freak them out or something . . . since I don't want to do that, you, my sistas in Blogland are it.

I got my heart broken this morning. Like the kind of broken where you feel like you can't breathe or , as Sandra Cisneros writes in a short story my kids read every year, you "can't stop the little animal noises from coming out of [you]."

It all started because he wanted to lay his head down on his desk and sleep through advisory.

"Are you tired, sweetie?" (They're all my "sweety"s and "honey"s and "baby"s.) This particular one looks pretty awful this morning. Red-rimmed, hollow, dark-circled big brown eyes in a small, pale eleven-year-old face that looks vaguely like someone else who semi-regularly plays haunting games in my head.

"Yeah, I didn't sleep very well last night."

"How come?"

"Well, I got in big trouble at home last night." He steps closer and leans in to me. He lowers his already tiny voice, "I don't want anyone else to hear this."

My eyes never leave his, but with my left hand I send an "in-a-minute" wave toward another student approaching my desk and then nod for the one of immediate concern to continue.

He'd been rough-housing with his sister outside, and in and amongst all of the sixth-grade-boy details, I manage to gather that he wasn't supposed to have been outside. I think he made his sister cry -- accidentally stepped on her hand or something -- and his mom had yelled alot at him. Normal stuff, huh? But then I do my usual mudging and digging . . . (I mean, all kids get yelled at once in a while and don't usually lose too much sleep over it, so there's gotta be more to the story, right?) And he tells me the "more." And I focus hard on listening and being the grownup who doesn't cry. Who doesn't looked shocked. Who in her head doesn't say Jaja words about the woman I don't remember meeting (but who, he says, came to Open House a couple of weeks back.) But, mostly, who doesn't cry . . . doesn't cry . . . doesn't cry. And I work hard at keeping my breaths going in and out, in and out . . . steadily . . . evenly.

This baby, to relieve his own stress, had gotten into the shower after the Big Yelling; had run the water for a long time. But it didn't wash away the yuck. Mom came into the bathroom, turned off the water, and grabbed him by his hair and slammed his head into the shower wall. Hit and slapped at him until he curled up in to a ball against the tiles. "If you want to pick on someone, try picking on me, not your sister. Yeah, try it with me!"

Did I mention how little this kid is?

Then came the bad part.

He didn't sleep well because he'd then been forced to spend the rest of the night outside.

No dinner. Just the pill for his ADHD and some clothes thrown at him. No breakfast this morning.

He explains almost apologetically that it was hard to sleep because of the mosquitoes (we live on the Texas Gulf coast and have just had two days of rain) "and my dog kept breathing in my face . . . " and that the swing on the porch wasn't that comfortable, "but it does have some cushions . . . "

I take this baby out into the hall, away from other kids, so I can do a quick check for bruises. I only see one on the exposed shoulder, the side that wasn't against the tiles. I get as much information as I can before he says, "I don't want to talk about this anymore."

"Okay. Let's go back in the room, and you can rest on the couch until the bell rings."

But now I can't rest.

I talk to my counselor friend in the front office, and the digging for additional info begins. I don't know the details yet, but my friend is finding from other sources that there have been questions asked about this family in the past. She is checking with the neighboring school district where all of the children in the family attended school last year. She and others are working at putting fragments of information together to better give us a clearer understanding of what's going on.

Meanwhile, the thing I dread has to be done. I have to file a report with Child Protective Services.

It's not like I haven't done this before. I have. (It comes with the pastor - teacher territory.) But this time it's different. This kid isn't living in a known crack house. This kid's mom isn't, from all outer appearances, an obviously mentally ill person. This kid's not a teenager with older siblings who can step in to protect and intervene. No. This is a little kid whose family attends church, whose mom sends I'm-a-very-involved-parent E-mails to teachers; a little kid who will probably be placed in a he-said-she-said situation against his mom -- a situation which, knowing the system as I do, could conceivably have a pretty lousy outcome for this little guy.

Okay, I know you're wondering Pamm, how do you even know that what the kid said is true? It's okay, my counselor friend asked them same thing. But I know he's telling the truth. I know. I do. I saw it in his eyes. I heard it in the ever-so-slight stutter as he struggled to maintain his composure and yet continue his story. It's true. I wish it weren't, but it is. And now my counselor friend knows it too. She talked to him, and now I see it in her eyes. She knows too. She does.

So I will file my report. And I will pray for this sweet boy child to be safe this weekend. Safe until I see him again on Monday morning. Hopefully better rested.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just a few shots . . .

Here are a couple of pics I snapped last night . . . more to come as time allows!

Here's a shot almost identical to my last posting except
this one shows the simple curtain I made for over the
window. (VERY simple!) I used my "old" Battenberg
lace curtain for a "slip" of lace underneath a simple
panel of the same fabric I have in the breakfast room.
Just needed a little spot of color here, and this does the
trick. I loooooove walking into my kitchen now!

A close-up of that counter area. The thrift store Johnson
Bros. platter and the bunny tin hides the plug-in and cords
from the microwave and toaster oven. (And to the far left
is probably the last watermelon of the season, waiting to
be cut open and enjoyed!)

These critters and jar of potpourri sit on my window sill.

This is a corner of my stovetop. The flour
"canister" came from a garage sale, as did
the wooden spindle candle holder. The rooster
salt and pepper shakers had been packed away
and I'd forgotten I even had them! They are
perfect in my kitchen now! (And bring back
good memories since one of my sweet girls gave
them to me!)

I'm just came home real quick on my conference period, so it's back to work for me and then off to meet my TEXAS TWO-STEP women tonight at 7:00 at the church house! Woo-hoo!

Have a fabulous day wherever YOU are!


PS I'd love to hear from you sweet bloggin' sistas -- remember my comment thingie is at the top of my posts. (I told ya I can't figure out how to fix that!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Sneak Peak!

Okay, I didn't get to snapping any more pics of the "new" kitchen this weekend -- too busy writing, teaching, or "takin' care o' bidness" . . . (Okay, I DID watch the end of the Texans - Titans game -- Woo-hoo! How 'bout those TEXANS! Now THAT's football!) But, here's a sneak peak to pique your interest until I can do some snappin' later this week . . . (I know, with me it's always "later next week!" Such is life going ninety-to-nothin' with my hair on fire!)

I did finish painting out the window on Saturday, and I made a simple (VERY!), little curtain this weekend, but in this pic you'll just have to imagine it. Be sure to click on the photo to see the details of St. Michael's countertop tiling . . . I am loving it!

I'll have to see if I can find some before pics, but the bottom
cabinets were dark chocolate brown, the upper ones white,
and the cabinet with the oven was a sagey green. And the
countertops were 45-year-old laminate, along with the original
awful old sink and fixtures. (Hey, they did serve their
purpose, and the color scheme worked at the time with what
I had, but it was never my dream kitchen like it is now! )


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tabletop Blessings!

I know, I know, I've been a baaaaaaad blogger lately, which is to say that I haven't been blogging at all! But I've been working on other projects like painting my kitchen and writing the material for the TEXAS TWO-STEPPING Bible study. (Almost every woman there said she was wondering how in the world we were going to connect Bible study and digging our way out from beneath the clutter and chaos we've allowed to invade our homes, but we DID it! And it was AWESOME! We're studying the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, and we're using his rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls as a metaphor for rebuilding and healing our homes.)

I still have to paint around the window above the sink, and behind and around the fridge, and make a simple curtain for the window, but we've come soooooo far! Woo-hoo! And I can't tell you how much I am looooooooving my kitchen -- especially my countertop/labor of love from St. Michael.

I'll post pics of the kitchen later this weekend, but for now, I'm just showing a few snapshots of our breakfast room. My sweet, special friend Denise, who has her own blog, Bloomin' (go check her out) saw these perfect-for-Casa-St.-Michael placemats while on vacation this summer and decided to bless me with them. (She's just like that!) The chair back "accents" are adorable dish towels she also bought for me to use as napkins or "however you want to." So I decided to use them this way! I wanted to be able to see those cute red roosters bordering them, so I literally tied one on! (Okay, I tied them to the chairs with some jute twine and tiny black plaid ribbon. Hey, it's what I had on hand!) Ultra simple, but, I think, ultra cute. And now, I can enjoy them every day! (And not worry about their getting gravy or ketchup stains on them -- : D .) Anyone can also easily do this with similar size strips of fabric for a different look with each season.

(Remember, you should be able to click
on the pics to make them larger.)

The picture is a little dark, but the
braided rug beneath the table is red.
(Tessie just had to get into the picture!)

I know, I know, this pic's dark, too, but
you can at least get the idea of how simple
this little project really is. (And again,
Tessie, is becoming quite the camera hog!)

Don't these placemats just look great on my table!
I told Denise that they make me think of her
and smile each time I look at them.

Have a fabulous Friday! (They're ALL fabulous as far as I'm concerned!)

Grins and blessings!


I'd love to hear from you! (My COMMENTS thingie is at the top of my posts. I know, I know, I've tried to make it go back down to the bottom where it should be, but it won't go!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Michael-the-Pirate goes to school!

Middle Daughter has the most adorable blog that keeps us all posted on the what's happening on the Other Side of Houston, whether it's Grandson-Michael-the-Pirate attacking his fair maiden sister Callie-Belle with his Crayola marker sword, or a sewing or decorating project or even just random Middle Daughter thoughts. Today's post made me realize that time is flying by . . . it seems like just yesterday that I was rocking this sweet baby boy to sleep on my ample Jaja- bosom his first night home from the hospital. (And Saturday he'll be three!)

Happy First Day of School, Michael!

This morning, Middle Daughter dropped Michael off at preschool for his first day as a Red Bear! Waiting for him at school were his two new teachers, Ms. Wendy and Ms. Elisa and 11 new friends to play.

He was really excited to wear his new 'fast shoes' today!

He was eager to get to school this morning, so he could tell his teachers about the birthday party he is having this weekend, eat the lunch he helped his mama put together, and sleep on his super cool Cars nap mat she made for him.

The opening activity this morning for the Red Bears was cutting shapes out of red play dough. Michael even got to grab a seat at the same table as Jacob, his friend from last year!

Middle Daughter said he wasn't so talkative when she dropped him off this morning, but he did get right into the activity that his teachers had out for him. She was looking forward to his perking up and then telling her this afternoon all about the fun things he did and all the friends he made.
Awwww, I wish I could've been there! But, alas, I was helping my sixth-grade babies adjust to their second week at their new school.
I'll have to call Middle Daughter in the morning from the airport to find out how it went. (St. Michael and I are heading off to Seattle for our nephew's wedding! We'll celebrate Michael-the-Pirate's birthday when we get back.)