Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When It's Raining, When It's Pouring


Thanking God When You're a Basket Case

*Part 2 CONT'D
Thanking God In 
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

*Maybe instead of writing "Part 2  CONT'D" for the next several posts, I should start labeling the posts 
"Part 2b" and "Part 2c" . . . 
What do you think?  2b or not 2b?  
(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

When there's not a dark cloud in the sky, we don't normally spend too much time under an umbrella -- we're too busy just grinnin' and enjoyin' the sunshine. (Maybe we even work on our tans so that everyone around us can admire our "healthy glow.")  

But at any given moment, often with little warning,the weather can change. And before we know it, the skies have opened up and our baskets are being rained down upon by the bad and the ugly:

  • Something is said, and we find our "ME" soaked to the skin.
  • Perhaps a relationship is rocked, and we're soaked beyond the skin -- we're soaked right down to the bone.
  • Or circumstances veer out of control, and we're not just soaked, we're downright going under -- we're drowning.
And very often in the midst of a storm, it can feel like the only thing our umbrella is sheltering us from is the good.  But the bad and the ugly?  Well, that's drenching us.

And how on this earth do we "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18a) when we're standing chest-deep in the flood waters of the bad and the ugly?  

First, understand this truth:

Perspective is not the 
view from where your 
circumstances have put you, 
but, rather, it is the view from 
where you choose to stand in the 
midst of your circumstances.

[NOTE:  That's HUGE.  Read it again!]

In other words, we have choice in our perspective, and we must choose wisely.  Beth Moore puts it like this:  "Our questions and confusion must motivate us to seek God" (A Heart Like His).

But, again, how, exactly, do we manage to choose to stand in the midst of circumstances -- or even woalk into God's presence -- when we feel as if we've been cut off at the knees?  When we're bloodied and bruised?  Crippled by the weight of what we're feeling?

And the, how do we even begin to give thanks?

Right after acknowledging that we do have some choices and options, the next thing we need to realize is that magic pills, words, or rituals are not among those choices and options.  That's because there are none. 

There is no fast-and-easy, works-every-time formula or one-size-fits-all, guaranteed-or-your-money-back product that automatically takes you to the place where you can "give thanks in all circumstances."  If there were, trust me, I would've discovered it by now. (And I promise, I'd share it with you.)

There are, however, some practical time-tested suggestions I can offer.

1.  Acknowledge your circumstances.  

     In other words, "Get real.

     I'm amazed at how many people never look at the 
     real problem they're dealing with.  They focus, 
     instead, on symptoms that are stemming from the 
     problem, and then they try to deal with those 
     symptoms, all the while never looking at the 
     source of the symptoms.  

     They waste precious time and resources on band-  
     aids in an effort to not drip blood onto the carpet, 
     when what they need to do is acknowledge a 
     gaping wound that requires a trip to the ER for  
     stitches to staunch serious bloodloss.

     It's not until I'm honest with myself about a 
     problem that I can truly recognize the seriousness 
     of a situation or, sometimes, if truth be told, how 
     small in the grand scheme of things, a problem 
     might actually be.  

     Either way, I need to know.  I mean, if something 
     is truly life-threatening or life (at least as-I-know-
     it) changing, then I need to know that in order to 
     make the best decisions possible. (If it's 
     determined that something is serious, then 
     knowing how serious is also essential.)

     On the other hand, if I'm blowing something out of 
     proportion and driving myself crazy because I've 
     gone all drama-queen on myself, then I definitely 
     need to know that, too, don't ya think?  
     Bottom line:  Figure out the truth of your situation, 
     and then choose to walk in that truth.  

Whew!  That's a whole lot to take in at one sitting, so I'm stopping  there for today.  But tomorrow I'll share a few more pearls, so go grab some string and meet me back here.

Walking . . . in all kinds of weather,


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Speaking of Our HOT selves . . . NOT!

I'll post the next "Thanking God in the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" thoughts tomorrow, but suffice it to say that today's entry is proof that I'm stepping more and more out of my comfort zone as the years go by!

Callie in the bosom of her Jaja in the pool with Jaja.

After returning home from a sister-friend's house, where we celebrated the Fourth of July, I told St. Michael, "I took two really big steps out of my comfort zone today!"

"I know the first one was going to the city celebration and having lunch there with everybody.  [Most people who don't know me well don't believe it, but I really am an introvert.  Given the choice, I will always stay home and read a book or piddle around by myself rather than venturing out and socializing where there are lots of people.]  What's the second?"

"Well, then I went swimming at Bev's . . . in front of people!" (Swimming's not the big deal -- it's walking out in a bathing suit that's HUGE -- absolutely no pun intended.  Well, maybe kinda.)

Woo-hoo!  Now ya'll know I've done gone plumb hawg-wild, sistas!

But Middle Daughter said something so true the next day.  "Mom, the kids had so much fun, and what they will remember is that you got in the pool and played and swam with them -- not what you looked like in your bathing suit with no makeup."

LOL!  Well, let's hope!

These days I'm trying to live by that saying, "Those who matter don't care, and those who care don't matter."  It sure is freeing.  I encourage you to try it.

(And, yes, I need to update my profile picture.  I've let my natural hair -- silver highlights and all -- grow out, and I'm loving it!)

Grins and blessings,


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gettin' on with Our HOT Selves!

Source:  Green Lotus for

If you're one of those precious-women-I-love-so-much (and thank Papa-God for!) who's been reading this blog for a while (when there was something to read), then you remember that somewhere in A-Long-Time-Ago-Land, I decided to "go green" and share some "oldie but goodie" studies with you, starting with Thanking God When You're a Basket Case.  

NOTE:  If you missed those first few posts or just want a more in-depth review than the quick catch-up I'm going to give you here, you can find them here, here, and here. (If we're "here" now, should that be there, there, and there?)  Otherwise, we're just going to jump in where we left off back in February . . . 

The quick catch-up:
Back when we first thought about being basket cases (and sister, we've all been there), we learned that we can always trace being a basket case back to what's in our baskets.  

And each of us has three "basics" in our baskets:
  • Our "ME"
      Who we are as individuals -- spiritually, 
      physically, mentally, emotionally.
  • Our relationships
      The people with whom we share our lives -- our 
      family, our friends, our co-workers
  • Our circumstances
      What's going on in our lives -- short-term day-to-
      day happenings and long-term events that will 
      shape our lives for years to come.

It's our "ME" -- the innermost part of our being -- that's our HOT selves.  If we're spiritually healthy, we understand and embrace that we are women who are

         Owned and operated by God, and
         Tailor-made and designed with a purpose.

Now, we're ready to get on with our HOT selves!

Thanking God When You're a Basket Case

Part 2
Thanking God In 
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

More than anything else, knowing and embracing your identity as a HOT woman affects how you respond to the other two items in your basket -- your relationships and you circumstances -- because a HOT woman develops a God-perspective on how she views  the people in her life, as well as what's happening in her life. 

And it is, therefore, the HOT "ME" who is able to thank God in all things:  The good, the bad, and even the downright ugly.  (And, girlfriend, if you haven't had ugly in your basket yet, live long enougn, and you will.)

Our brother, Paul, writes, "Be joyful alway; pray continually; give thanks in *all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

*NOTE:  In Greek, "all" is the word pas.  When used collectively, it means "some of all types" (Thayer's and Smiths Bible Dictionary).  I'd venture to say that "some of all types" definitely covers the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I can tell you from personal experience, sisters, that only a HOT woman can "give thanks in all circumstances."

Good preachin' and hard livin'?  You bet. 

It's at this point that you may be thinking, Pamm, you don't know my husband, or you don't know what my kids are into right now, or you don't know what's going on with my job right now . . . and you're right, I don't.  

But I've walked through enough ugliness to know that while the "livin'" part is indeed hard -- often excrutiatingly so -- it's also choice livin', as in the best kind of living.  The other options are unthinkable.  This I know.  Intimately.

So stay with me, and next post we'll talk about exactly what it's like when our baskets are rained down upon by the good, the bad, or the ugly and how, on earth, we can manage to thank God in the midst of those moments (that often seem like eternities).

Love you much, truly,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Sun Is Not a Baptist

I did something this morning that I haven't done in a long time.

I got up early enough to sit on my den couch and watch--and feel-- the sun slowly, gently and unhurriedly, bathe the room in its light. 

I plumped, pushed, and poofed the sofa pillows at the end of the couch by the big ol' skirted-to-the-floor oak dining room table that I use for an end table (always wanted to do that), grabbed one of the fuzzy red throws for my legs, and then nestled into the couch to sip hot set-up-by-St. Michael-the-night-before coffee, and watch the slow, lazy baptism of the room around me.   

I don't think the sun is a Baptist.  This ordinance was more of a steady sprinking, maybe gentle pouring, continuing until everything was drenched in its light.  No sudden emersion or bold flash flood.  

And I think to myself that, more often than not, that is how coming out of the darkness is. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Honestly, there were times when I wondered if I would ever write again.  

The after-February-10-2011 hiccup started out normally enough.  If you were around then, you remember that I was "going green" and revamping and blogging Thanking God When You're a Basket Case, and it was going great.  But sometime right after posting "One Hot Mama," St. Michael moved my notes while I was hard at work at the School House (must've been one of those mornings he was in cleaning-mode; see why I like to keep him on the golf course as much as possible?).  

No problem, I thought; I'd continue as soon as I recovered them.  Well, in the real world of blogging while also working full time to shape the hearts and minds of adolescents, one day turned into another, and before I knew it a week had gone by, and then another.  (And those notes still have yet to be found, sisters, and meanwhile . . .  well, on to that in a minute.)  

Then St. Michael announces one fine Sunday afternoon on the way home from the Church House that he thinks we should downsize (from the two-story Casa to a one-story) -- and says it just like it's his very own idea.  

NOTE:  The last time I'd mentioned down-sizing, he'd said I could down-size with my next husband but that he was living in the Casa until he died.  I told him that if he didn't change his attitude that could be sooner than he thought, but, truth be told, I loved the Casa (with the exception of the stairs that I tend to fall down), so I let that dog lie and just prayed about it.  God is good.

Reader's Digest Version:  Six weeks later, we moved into our one-story Casita, on the next corner, across the street from the Casa.  (We love our neighborhood, and so it was a matter of location, location, location.  From the Casita's driveway, we can still see Debbie and Terry's house, next door to the Casa, and we share our back fence with Mary and Carroll.) 

Packing up, stripping wallpaper, sewing curtains, painting, moving -- all in the midst of the aforementioned Monday-through-Friday adolescent-heart-and-mind-shaping -- those things account for busyness.  Not really for not writing.  

I wondered if I would ever write again not because I lacked hours but because I lacked words.  A rarity for me.  But I lost my words on March 3.  And it had nothing to do with working or playing or moving.  

I sat at my kitchen table that night checking E-mail as I had done a zillion other evenings, nothing out of the ordinary.  

Until I opened an E-mail from a friend and staff member at the Big Church.   

I read the E-mail and my brain totally garbled the words.  I'm usually only dyslexic with numbers, but that evening it was the letters that danced around the screen, refusing to make sense.  I got up from my computer, went and stood at the kitchen sink for a minute, and then returned to the table to try again.  

. . . called distraught this pm to say that someone went into the church in Arlington and beat up the secretary and killed her son Clint . . .       

Clint Dobson.  He called me "Mamalicious," and I adored him.

Clint was the most incredible young man I'd ever known.  I'd known him as a teenager, but came to love him during the two summers he'd chosen to love on "my people" as he interned in the tiny congregation I pastored.  

We'd talked theology.  We'd talked people.  We'd talked about what it was like to love Jesus, the great love of our both lives, and what that looked like in our every day walking and talking. 

And, of course, we'd spent hours -- often over Tookie burgers and onion rings -- talking about the next greatest love of his life, Laura, and the life he hoped to have with her.  (I once joked that I'd been a size 8 before Clint came to intern.)  

I sang at their wedding.

When Clint got his first church position as an interim pastor at a tiny country church while he was still in seminary, we texted each other over-the-top words of encouragement on Sunday mornings just before we were each to preach.  (This was our main duty in what Clint dubbed our mutual admiration society.) 

I lost my words when Clint was taken.  As days went by and bits and pieces of hideous details of Clint's last afternoon emerged, my words seemed to do what I wanted to do.  They bolted.  They hid.  They crawled under some kind of deep, dark cover, refusing to be called back out.  Totally out of my grasp.  

Truth be told, I had no energy to reach for them had they been right out in plain sight, right there in front of my face.  And more truth be told, I didn't know if I even wanted them.

For a long time, silence in the dark seemed easier.  

But I'm a writer.  I am words.  And though Clint is not here, I am.  Thus, so are my words. I am re-learning to embrace them, struggling not to continue to hold them at arms' length.  At the moment, it is an awkward slow dance between former lovers desiring to reconcile but not quite sure of the former pattern, the old fit.

There's lots more I need to say about these past months.  But these are enough words for today.   


PS  Thank you to Brenda at Cozy Little House for encouraging me (and others) to keep it real.