Archives for April 2011

How We Can Help

I know that there are lots of wonderful people out there doing lots of wonderful work in response to the storms this past Wednesday. Here are three ways that are directly connected to our blog community (granted, one of them is connected because it’s my church, but that counts, right?).

Relief for people in northeast Alabama (please read sweet Lisa McKay’s story)

Relief for people in the Shoal Creek Valley (the story of the Lee family is incredibly moving)

Relief efforts through The Church at Brook Hills (scroll down and click on “give”)

Many thanks to all of you who have felt led to give and to help and to pray.

Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!

Hey Everybody

Just wanted to let you know that our family is fine. We lost power early yesterday morning in the first round of storms, and the power came back on, ironically, after the huge tornado plowed through Birmingham late yesterday afternoon (it was several miles to the north of us). When we finally got to turn on the TV and actually see what had been happening in Mississippi, then in Cullman, Tuscaloosa and our own city, we couldn’t believe our eyes.

Thanks so much for your sweet comments and emails. Please continue to keep the people affected by the storms in your prayers.

I’ve Made A Very Important Decision

I was 11 years old when Diana married Prince Charles. And make no mistake about it: I was completely fascinated by every single aspect of their wedding. My parents even let me stay up ALL NIGHT LONG so that I could watch the festivities live on ABC. We didn’t have a VCR at the time (clearly we must have been pilgrims), so I improvised: I recorded the entire ceremony by placing my portable cassette player next to the TV speaker.

Oh, 1981 technology. You were a precious little thing.

For years I held on to the green and white Radio Shack cassette tape with “The Royal Wedding” written on the label in my very best cursive handwriting. I bet I listened to Charles and Diana say their vows fifteen or twenty times in the weeks that followed the wedding, and I wished with everything in me that I could’ve been one of Diana’s flower girls.

Seriously. You have no idea.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged last year, I couldn’t help but remember the morning that I practically propped open my eyes with toothpicks so that I could catch a glimpse of Diana in her glass carriage while Joan Lunden and David Hartman discussed the intricacies of her wedding gown. I haven’t been nearly as obsessed this time around – in fact, a couple of weeks ago I actually had to consult Google to find out the wedding date – but will I be watching?

WELL OF COURSE I WILL.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Now granted, I won’t be staying up all night for this royal wedding. MAMA LIKES TO REST. But thanks to the wonder of the DVR, I don’t have to miss a minute. Last night I set our DVR for approximately nine hours of wedding coverage (7 hours in the morning, then 2 more in a nighttime wrap-up special), so I should be sufficiently up-to-speed on All Things Windsor by sometime Saturday morning. I’m just as tickled as I can be.

I have to admit, though, that I ran into one little hitch when I was setting the DVR: choosing which network I wanted to watch. I hadn’t given the whole network thing a bit of thought, but when it came time to press “record,” I was overwhelmed by my network news choices. HOW TO DECIDE?

I tried to quickly run through the pros and cons of each network in my head. My inner dialogue went something like this:

CNN: I enjoy Anderson Cooper. Piers Morgan is British, so he’s sort of like an expert. CNN’s graphics are inoffensive. Could be a possibility.

FOXNews: Joan Lunden is doing commentary (seems like old times!). But I always feel like the FOX reporters are screaming at me. And the graphics are madness. I probably need coverage that’s a little more subdued.

CBS: I haven’t watched CBS News since approximately 1978. So there’s that.

ABC: I adore Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer. Plus, I watched Charles and Diana’s wedding on ABC. Barbara Walters is timeless. Definite frontrunner.

NBC: Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer seem so easy-going. Ann Curry always lends an air of calm to a broadcast. Al Roker is charming. Might be fun.

BBC: Love the idea of in-country coverage. But then somebody will say “lift” instead of “elevator” and I’ll feel like an outsider. Probably better in theory than reality.

So. What did I decide?

Well, in the end I went with ABC. Like I said on Twitter last night, it was a tough decision, but I feel good about it.

What about y’all? Will you be watching? Any special plans?

And by all means, if you share my gift for overthinking and have already decided which network you prefer for Royal Wedding coverage, please feel free to share.

My special brand of TV crazy loves company, you know.

A Lesson From The Light

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling a smidge overwhelmed.

Yes, I know it was Easter. I was – and am – beyond grateful for that. Thankfully the wonder of the day wasn’t lost on me, but some obligations and responsibilites and whathaveyous popped to the front of my mind as soon as my eyes opened. And do you know what I did? I let those obligations and responsibilities and whathaveyous derail me before my feet had even hit the floor.

(Stupid human-ness.)

(It REALLY gets on my nerves sometimes.)

Since our little family was helping with some stuff at church pretty early Sunday morning, the boys left the house a few minutes before I did so that they could run by Starbucks. I finished loading my car with everything I needed, and by the time I pulled out of the driveway, my mood was somewhere between ick and blah. The stresses of the previous three or four days seemed to catch up with me in one fell swoop, and while I was looking forward to worship, I wasn’t looking forward to putting on some sort of fake smile-y face AT ALL.

(You had no idea I was going to be such a giant dose of cheerfulness today, now did you?)

(Please know that our regularly scheduled happy fun times will return within the next 24 hours.)

I was about a mile from church when a red light forced me to stop at a big, (typically) busy intersection, and when I quit thinking about the to-do list in my head long enough to notice what was in front of me, I couldn’t help but stare.

And the more I stared, the more I smiled. Because the Lord preached a mighty timely sermon to me right there on the edge of Brook Highland Parkway.

Oh my goodness. It was such a sweet reminder that no matter how we feel, no matter how we hurt, no matter how we wrestle and wrangle and worry, we can count on a very real truth in the midst of our day-to-day challenges:

The Light always breaks through the gray.

Always.

And while yes, the gray might hover over our circumstances from time to time, the gray won’t stick around forever. The gray can’t stick around forever.

Why?

Because the Light won’t let it.

And it’s good to remember that. Not only at Easter.

But every single day.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

How Great Thou Art

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

Sentimental

Yesterday Alex and I made sort of an epic-level grocery run to get ready for some stuff we have going on this weekend. We plowed through the aisles in record time – mainly because there’s an eight- year old who can RESPONSIBLY PUSH A CART NOW – and let me tell you what: that cart-pushing business is a game-changer.

Maybe even a milestone.

The boy was such a huge help that I was practically misty-eyed by the time we made it to the check-out, and I have a feeling that it’s a memory I will hold close in my heart forever. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s a day when the 60-something version of me looks at the 30-something version of him and says, “Remember that afternoon? That afternoon you were such a big help in Walmart with the Easter groceries? THAT WAS A PRECIOUS TIME.”

Because you know what?

It was.