Thursday, May 28, 2009

8 Pathways To God

I've listened to a lot of talks, sermons, lectures, prayers, advice or just ramblings. A lot of those words went in one ear and out the other, but some I can remember very vividly. The words never left for some reason.

In February of 2000, a guy named Sam Roberts came to UCO and spoke to our FCA huddle. Sam worked, and still does, for Back then it wasn't as large of a church, but it was up and coming. I started going to that church in 1999, so I knew who Sam was.

Anyways, he spoke about what he thought were the 8 pathways to God and how every Christian doesn't 'meet/learn/feel close to' God the same way.

This was HUGE for me. I always felt guilty that I didn't get from scripture what my roommate got. The words didn't jump off the page for me like they did for her. I thought, "Man, what am I doing wrong? Why am I not feeling close to God like she is when she reads her Bible? How come tears don't flow from my eyes when I read like they flow from hers?"

I have remembered this talk for the past nine years, BUT I could NEVER remember all 8 pathways. I only could remember the two that had applied to me; still do. Well, God is funny.

Our local cable company, has a channel. On that channel they run ads for non-profits wanting to get the word out on an upcoming event. I read that a local church was going to start a Beth Moore study called Believing God. I knew I had the book, so I thought I would start reading it and see if it was any good. Yesterday, I grabbed the book and opened it up. Inside were the notes I took back in February of 2000! Eureka!!!

So I want to share with you Sam's sermon from that night. Enjoy.
  1. Relational - in solitude, in a community (Hebrews 10:25) "I equate this NOW to being in a life group."
  2. Intellectual - mind is fully engaged, likes challenging things, brilliant "I equate this to a philosophical person."
  3. Servant/Serving - doing things for others, volunteering (Mark 10:45)
  4. Contemplative - song writers, poets, daydreamers (Ps. 46:10) "Read the verse and it will make sense."
  5. Activist - adrenaline junkies, love to be active, likes tasks that no one else will do. "This reminds me NOW of the guy who wrote Under The Overpass." (a must read)
  6. Creation/ Nature - likes nature things, sunsets, animals (Ps. 96:11-12)
  7. Worship- during worship time (Judges 5:3)
  8. Giving - feel God has blessed them, wants to give everything, time and talents. (2Cor. 9:7)
After he said these words, I felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I realized when I get so emotional at a song, or emotional by the look of a sunset, that is God meeting me like he did for my roommate when she read Scripture.

Back then numbers 6 & 7 applied. But I think as I have matured into a 'stronger' yet at times slacking Christian, more of these apply. I would venture to say, as I mature as a Christian, soon I will be able to meet God through all 8 Pathways to Him.

My pathways today, 2009, are still 6 & 7 and 2, 3 & 8.

What are yours?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Shot In The Spine

Let's recap the doctor, shall we? (If I could talk really fast, I'd be talking like the MicroMachine Guy from the late 80's. Remember him?)

As I'm walking into 'the room,' the injection guy, not sure if he is an official doctor, introduced himself. Very nice guy, we'll call him dr. B. He is a middle aged man, with a moderate accent. He reminded me of the pipe smoking guy on Mr. Deeds.

I get up on the table and it is then I realize there isn't a single female nurse in the room. Awkward. So I'm lying on a table and my crack is just chillin'. It is then I realize another fun fact, these people see a lot of butt cracks during the day. I hope mine was a pleasant crack.

Doctor B begins by numbing my lumbar region, L-5 to be exact. As he's working around my spine with a needle, the only female nurse in the department cracks the door.(HAHAHA cracks the door, so funny.) She begins talking to doctor B about a patient who is still in MRI and will not be up to them for another hour and does he (doctor) want to wait..... blah blah blah.

I tried to keep my trap shut, but out it came, "YOU ARE DISTRACTING HIM!!!!" I told her. It is possible I said this with attitude, seeing as how he has a needle near my spine and is trying to work and talk at the same time. He may be good at it, but not while I'm lying there.

He says, "Nahh," he pauses says, "I'll wait, but you're right" talking to me, "I am distracted." The nurse says, "I'll talk to you in a minute." I'm thinking "DUHHH LADY, your question could have waited 10 minutes.

I didn't get a shot in the neck. Apparently I should have been going to physical therapy for ohh, the past 3 weeks. (oops) Apparently I should have had a home traction unit in my house by now. (oops)

I'm not sure if the shot worked or not because my neck is still messed up. They are in cahoots. My leg has not been tingly all day, but my arm has, so it's a love hate relationship here.

I go back in three weeks for another shot in my lumbar area. That'll give me good time to do some therapy and maybe I won't need another shot.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Going To The Doctor

Tomorrow, Tuesday, afternoon I'm off to the doctor. A few weeks ago I went back to the back doctor *rim shot* and he suggested I get an epidural injection in my lumbar region and in the cervical region of my spine.

I've had them before in my lumbar and they didn't work, but I am hopeful. I am hopeful this will at least allow me to be semi-normal ie. not as much tingling in leg and arm.

I told him I wanted to be able to run again and that I had a few lbs. I wanted to lose before we have another crazy child. His answer was slightly confusing but I get it... he said.

"You know, I used to surf. But I spend most everyday hunched over an operating table and that has really caused my back and neck to become very stiff. Because of that, I have had to change my lifestyle so I can still take care of my family and my patients. I don't surf anymore and I do somethings differently, so I can still operate on my patients. You can still go for a walk, and possibly a brisk one, or you can use an elliptical." ( I gave him a look of 'are you serious?') "Ya, I know you'd like to go and hit the pavement and just get it, the workout, over with, but that just may not happen. Because you have the cyst in your neck, your symptoms may not 100% go away. You will probably have moments of tingling and moments where you think everything is fine. But we can alleviate the tingling with the injections. That will at least help with your discs. You may have to change the way you do a few things so you can take care of your kids and yourself."

So his answer was not what I wanted to hear. BUT BUT, I do not have MS and my symptoms have not been as bad, lately. I have my moments that put me out of commission for about an hour, but once they pass I'm ok.

I may not be able to run, but I guess I can swim. I like to swim anyways... as long as the water is warm.

So say a prayer around 3:30ish as I will be taken back and a humungo needle put into my spine. Good times, good times.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

a fishergirl's tale

i caught a fish and asked chloe to help me reel it in. she did. when i asked her to take a picture with me, she did. but she had to run to the van to retrieve her 'precious'. a 'lushy' from sonic.
when i told her, 'Don't touch the back of the fish honey because he can cause an ouwie.' she did
she calmed down and took a better picture with me.
meanwhile, back at the van.... cooper is eating pizza & looking cute.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Bite That Keeps On Biting

Chloe is a fillet mignon. She is the property by the sea. She is the triple crown. She is the 15 pound bass. She is the gift that keeps on giving. She is these things to a mosquito.

Chloe stepped outside Wednesday evening for a mere 15 minutes to help Matt water the grass seed. In that mere 15 minutes she accumulated 4 mosquito bites. To most people, mosquito bites don't itch or bother us. Not to Chloe. They turn into quarter, sometimes larger, sized bites that pulsate. Yes, I said pulsate. They turn into a huge knot under the skin. It's awful. Check out the video. You will notice it changing from red to white and back again. It goes to the beat of her heart.

You and I put on underware when we leave the house. I douse Chloe with bug spray. If we were on a deserted island. I'd bring us bug spray.

The doctore doesn't seem all that concerned, but they concern me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Safari To Safaris

Last weekend, we had a decision to make. Go to the Tulsa Zoo or Safaris Sanctuary? Been to the zoo many times, Safaris is cheaper, I've seen the owner on TV, so lets go on a safari.

As soon as we pull into the 'parking lot' and I use that term VERY loosely, I knew it wasn't going to be what I had expected. And it wasn't.

You are grouped together and taken around the grounds by a 'tour guide' or a 'safari guide' and again I use those terms VERY loosely.

We pass a tiger, it was owned by Mike Tyson. Then we come upon a lion and lioness.

Let me explain how the fencing is. The pens are maybe 30ft across by 50ft deep. The height of the fence holding the killer animals is about 12ft high. About 2ft in front of that is a 6ft fence that keeps people from touching the animals.

I'm a few feet behind our group, it is difficult to maneuver a cheap stroller in gravel. As I approach the group I hear a tiger roar. I see Matt gently pulling Chloe from the 6ft fence, I see the tiger on its' hind legs, completely stretched like it is trying to pull itself up and out of the 12ft fence. The tiger had 2ft approximately to go. Once I catch up, Matt says very serious, "Megan that thing wanted to eat me. It had its ears pinned back and was staring at me when it was roaring." *slightly freaking out and kind of wanting to leave*

We continue on, but I can not focus. I start looking for ways to save my children just in case the thing gets out. There were some men making a new cage for the bears. I see their truck and think, "I can hop in there, but I don't know if I'd have time to get Coop out of the stroller. I think it would all fit though."

Now folks, I may sound like I'm kidding, but I am not. Keep reading.

About 10 minutes later, another group is going on their safari. They arrive in front of the tiger who wants human for lunch. I had taken my eyes of him for a few minutes to get Cooper's stroller out of the mud and it is then I hear the all too familiar noise.

I turn around and the tiger is screaming at a man in front of its cage. The tiger is again on his hind legs attempting to hook his paws on the top of the fence. The man in front of the cage is just laughing his head off. He thinks it's funny. He was pure hick. No normal person would think that funny. Why? Because I could tell, I could feel in my rapidly beating heart that that tiger wanted out, not to frolic with humans but to devour them. (I was too panicked to get out my video camera and when I did I was too afraid to go near the killer tiger.)

I told Matt, "Matt I want to go." I'm almost in tears. "That thing wants out and if it gets out Matt we have no where to go to be safe. It will be like that movie." I couldn't think of the movie but I meant 'Ghost In The Darkness.'
He looks at me as I'm about to pee my pants, "Ya, I think I can toss Chloe up there." He was dead serious.
"Babe those jaguars will get her!" I say, implying he needs a new plan for her.

We finish the safari part of the tour and head up a hill to the non-exotic animals. I think to myself, "Oh we are definitely NOT safe up here. That tiger will come up here and eat all these lame animals. Oh geez there's a zebra!! That is right up his ally! Oh GREAT a lame deer! We have got to bounce!" (I learned the word bounce from my African American roommate my freshmen year in college. Bounce means 'to leave.')

We mess around a while longer. We see some wolves, relatives of the monkey, a lame turkey, peacocks, ducks, pigs, a blind raccoon, a fox and birds of many varieties.

When we get in the car I tell Matt "that wasn't what I had expected," he agreed and we went home.

That night I couldn't sleep. My mind raced through what 'might/could' have happened. It haunted me all night.

The next morning Matt is as traumatized as I am and all the way to church we discuss how upset we were and how we wish we'd had our $12.00 back.

I think we will stick to the zoo. Thank God for the creation of moats.

This guy was just sitting in his cage. I sat on a bench and took a few shots of him. I photoshopped the fence out and added some artistic filters to it. The picture at the top of this post is watercolored.

This is the sponge look.

Here is one of the lame deer. It licked Chloe's hand...

... and then wrinkled his/her nose. So cute. Chloe thought it was funny.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Perfect Ladybug

I like stencils. You know the things you use to create a the perfect letter "a" or the perfect picture of a flower? Those, I like those.

I like how there is a pattern I can follow that will help me create the perfect letter or shape. I just place the stencil on my surface and begin painting within the cut out of the stencil. I love how it is so precise, uniform and easy to use to create a beautiful project. Once I used a stencil, and the paint seeped under it and made my letter 'b' look like it had a growth protruding from its curve. I hate that. I have to start over when that happens. It's not uniform.

A week or so ago, I bought two aprons, one for me, one for Chloe, and a canvas bag for Chloe. Along with those, I purchased a package of 6 Tulip paints, a bag of brushes and foamy things to paint with, a package of alphabet stencils, so Chloe's name would be perfect on her apron, and a package of stencils that had a ladybug and a butterfly. My goal? To create beautiful things with my daughter.

I had put the project off for about a week. The paints, stencils and brushes sat in my room still in the Hobby Lobby bag. The washed aprons and bag moved around the kitchen depending on if their presence was in the way of kitchen chores.

I have a hard time to doing crafts with Chloe. I can't relinquish the 'craft control.' When I sit down to create something, even if it's a blog post I see it in my mind how it will look, sound, feel, how it will make others feel and how it will look when finished; like a work of art. This also happens when I take pictures, do scrap booking, create a photo collage and write out a thank you card. It all has to look perfect; to me. It needs to make the most impact.

So when we finally sat down on Thursday to create a beautiful canvas bag for Chloe, I think I had a mild panic attack. I visioned the paint under the stencil and the ladybug looking like a blob of sparkly Tulip paint. I visioned paint all over Chloe and all over me. I visioned the paint colors running together where it looked like sparkly black paint. My heart raced at these visions. I pressed on, knowing Chloe would love even a glob of black on her bag or a deformed ladybug.

I pressed the stencil on the bag. Nowadays they are sticky and won't move. Praise God! That eased one fear. I squeezed out 4 paint colors hoping Chloe wouldn't notice the lack of yellow and orange. She did, so we ended up with all six colors on our foil paint pallet. I dipped the foam brush dobber thing in the paint and did one dob on the ladybug's antennae to show Chloe how to dob and not to brush in strokes.

She's smart and caught on. I dipped in paint, she dobbed. At times, I saw her dob in places that already contained vast amounts of blue, pink and purple, but to her it needed the yellow and orange and green. I did reach for her hand in an effort to relocate the paint, but I resisted the urge. I let her do it. I thought, "This is going to look awful." And the very next thought that passed through my narrow mind was, "But it will look perfect through her eyes Megan. Get over it and let her paint a beautiful possibly deformed ladybug."

So I did. And you would never believe how it turned out.

I think Chloe has a good eye for 'perfection.'

What in your life do you try to put a stencil around in an effort to achieve perfection?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"The Secret Life Of Bees"

My neighbor texted me the other day, "I'm cleaning and have a bunch of books. Do you want any?"

So I head over. There is one in particular she wants me to read. It's "The Secret Life of Bees."

This was Saturday or Sunday. I started reading it on Monday and by Wednesday I had finished it. Yes, that is pretty fast for a mother of two. "How did I finish that fast?"

Well, it MAY be possible I read while the kids played, napped and ate, but that is just slightly possible. It is also possible I read while Chloe was at school when I should have been doing other things. Again, just slightly possible.

This book was written for people who have minds like mine; detailed, curious and has the ability to step into the book. It is SO well written! I like the little details this book brings to life like the way the air tasted or what The Black Mary looked like. The ending is awful, but the book is really really good.

So I finished the book Wednesday afternoon, got on redbox and tried to find the movie. I rented it and watched it that night. I spent the whole time picking apart the movie. It is very different than the book. I told Matt, "If people watch this movie and don't read the book they are doing themselves a great disservice." The book is filled with so many details that can not be captured on film, only with words.

The words require you to 'create' the people in your mind; what they look like, how they sound, how they dress and how they interact. I think the movie was very close to imitating that, but it wasn't perfect. A few of the main story lines in the book were changed in the movie!!! *grrr*
So I would say to you, "Read the book and only watch the movie if you want to pick it apart."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do You Know What May Is?

I had a skin scare back in November of 2008. I had a spot removed from my chest that looked rather bothersome to the doctor. It didn't bother me, in fact I really didn't think twice about that spot. I always thought the moles were the ones that were scary. Not so. It ended up not being skin cancer, but had it gone undetected and not been removed it is possible it would have ended up being cancerous. "What did it look like before it was removed?" Just an everyday freckle. It was darker than any of the other freckles on my body, almost black. It was about the size of a pencil eraser. But size does not always matter.

Anyways, I thought I'd tell you May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Sooo, find the nearest dermatologist and make an appointment for a skin check. Dermatologists across the country are offering FREE skin checks. Here is the link

Because I spent way too much time laying out and not as much, but still too much time in the tanning beds, I will visit Dr. Anderson every 6 months for the rest of my life. That's what I get.

Research shows that the UVA rays you get at the tanning salon are three times more powerful than rays from natural summer sunshine.

Here is a really good article in Ladies Home Journal that is full of good, life saving information.

This is what I use EVERY SINGLE DAY. It has become my new normal for my morning routine. It came recommended by my doctor. I even use it on the kids.

It contains Helioplex which is very important. FYI: Helioplex is a sun protection technology that combines two active ingredients: avobenzone and oxybenzone. It's used by Neutrogena in their new products to provide strong protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Here is a link that will inform you on how to buy sunscreen and teaches you about SPF, it's very helpful.

"Do I still want to lay out?" If I wasn't fat, yes, yes I still want to lay out, BUT I desire to be alive for my children even more.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cooper Species

The following are videos of the species Cooper freaking out because I would not let him have the prized cell phone. This video is him attempting to get it while I torture and tease him in an effort to get him to walk. The reason you can only see his feet? Because I had to hold the phone in front of him like a carrot, so he would walk and Chloe would not be a good videographer. If I scooted too far back he'd just crawl.

This video is just funny and very short.

Here you will see the Cooper species yell, scream, tear up and allow snot to fall out his nose all while trying to grab the elusive pink cell phone. While attempting this feat, he manages to take TWO small steps; the first of his kind.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Mother's Day Gift

For Mother's Day, Matt took Friday off. Well, I don't think he intentionally took Friday off in order to celebrate Mother's Day. I think he took it off initially because I had a Dr's appointment that morning. Anyways, we got to spend the day together while the kids played at Mama's & Papa's.

Matt wanted to surprise me with a new camcorder, but he can't surprise me because I check the bank account just about every day and I pay the bills. So any odd activity and I'll notice. We stopped by Best Buy to browse. At least I thought we were just going to browse. We head over to the cameras to see if they have the Sony lens I've been dreaming about. They don't, so we go to the camcorders and Matt starts asking me which one I want. Him being a good salesman, he sold me on a Sony and I love it. Here is one of the first videos we took. It's about a minute but if you watch long enough you will see Coop stand for only the second time in his life....

Ok, so now I have to give my husband props. When he bought me this he said, "Aren't you excited about this?"
"I'm really excited. This is going to be nice b/c my cell phone is terrible at video."
"Didn't I do a good job thinking about this?"
"You sure did, very good idea babe."
"I think you need to give me props on your blog."
"I will, but you never read it, so how will you know if I do or not?"

Props to Matt for being thoughtful.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Rare Find

I was cleaning around our bed, which was long long overdue, and found a Buck knife in it's leather case that hooks to a waist band. "Huh, must be Matt's," I thought.

I take into the living room, get it out of the case, "Is this yours?" I ask Matt while noticing an etching of a date on the top of the blade.

He looks at it, "Ya, your Dad gave me that."
I open the blade and see my Dad's initials carved at the base of the blade. The initials were only visible when the blade was open. "But why is your birth month and year etched on there?"

"Umm, I don't know, but that's kind of weird."

I email my Dad and ask him if for sure the knife is Matt's. He tells me it is and that it was his (my dad's) dream knife back then and that he had given it to Matt and Matt could give it to Cooper later on.

I ask him why he etched that date into it. He told me he must have done that when he bought it. "Why? Is that neat?" He asked, totally not getting was I was throwing down.

"Ya, it's neat because you bought that knife the same month Matt was born and we are married and now he has the knife YOU bought the same month he was born!!!"

I thought it was neat.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

She's All Growed Up

We officially converted Chloe's crib into a 'big girl' bed, Saturday May 2nd, 2009 at approximately 1:00 pm central. I've been putting off the transition because I am a selfish mom and I enjoy my time eating lunch, sitting alone, drinking coffee, reading, blogging and or doing nothing in peace.

I must compliment Chloe though. She did not get out of bed once during her nap that fateful Saturday. I say she did not get out of bed. She did not come into the living room, just to clarify.

From the looks of the contents and occupants of her 'big girl' bed. It does appear that Miss Joy did in fact get out of bed and retrieve the stuffed animals that were NOT placed in her bed prior to her lying down. It appears she also 'read' a few books, toted one of her 5 baby dolls in the carrier because every good mommy knows the carrier goes to bed with you. There were many items on the floor. My guess is they could not fit properly on the 'big girl' bed WITH Chloe, so they took the best spot available on the floor.

Around 5:00pm central time. Matt and I decided it was high time to wake Chloe up. (sinners we are, I know) We wanted her to sleep like she was still in a crib that night. This is the reaction we got. (Proceed below)

That is Chloe's angry face AND the face of a sister refusing to let her younger yet larger brother play with the contents and occupants of her 'big girl' bed. Come on people, every doll, book, animal, little person, purse, truck, ball and string is for sure Chloe's and NOT Cooper's. Just in case you were curious.
Once Cooper is clear of the 'big girl' bed, all weeping and gnashing of teeth subsided. Then there was a slight silence.

She is doing really great though, I must say. I'll talk about that later though.

(The title is Okie talk for those of you not familiar with hick.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Don't Have To Understand Everything...

You don't have to understand everything to believe in something.
-craig g.

I was drinking chai with some friends a week or so ago. The topics of conversation bounced around to random things and ended up landing on the topic of "God providing for your every need."

One of the ladies said, "I don't believe that. How can there be starving children in Africa and yet God still provides for your every need?"

No one said anything. I'm not sure if they agreed, didn't know how to refute her comment, or didn't agree, but didn't want to argue.

I didn't agree, didn't want to make her uncomfortable (I don't know her well), and really didn't know what to say to show her why she was wrong. (I was going to share my story of God providing, but it's too lengthy, in a good way.)

When I got home Craig's quote popped in my head, "You don't have to understand everything to believe in something."

"Darn it!" I thought. "Why didn't I think of that then?"

He is so right. I don't have to understand why terrible things happen to young children at the hands of their parents, I don't have to understand why people do what they do. I don't have to understand it all.

BUT I do understand a few things and in those few things that I DO understand, it's enough for me to believe Him for everything.