Monday, December 29, 2008

Even the little things

God cares about the things that concern me. Noone can convince me otherwise. Even those things that probably wouldn't matter to anyone else...or noone else would deem important...He cares.
I went to an open house a few months back of a high end couture store at a local mall. My Junior League group had an event there. I remember looking at the clothes and almost choking at the prices for things that I liked. So, I quickly ran to the children's section and remember wishing I could afford some of those things for my daughter. The shirts and blouses were unlike anything I had seen. They were colorful but detailed and extremely well made. The fabrics were thick and rich and durable. The pants were slim cut just like her and some of the pockets had gemstones and embroidery. Just absolutely stunning. I just sorta went through the racks and smiled as I look at the 125.00 price tags and just envisioned her in some of those nicer things.

Fast forward to the shopping for Christmas.... I thought again how nice it would be to be able to buy her some nice clothes. She is getting older and although the discounters clothes are fine and would make due, I just had a desire to do more for her. Not that she would even care, or notice...she just likes "cute" stuff that noone else has on. Anyway, while shopping at a discount store I noticed another store in the strip that I hadn't been in for awhile. I stopped in there (its a thrift shop called "Grace" owned by a ministry/church) and "lo and behold" I found 3 pair of NEW (not used...tags still on) size 0 pants for my daughter at almost a tenth of their normal price. I bought some beige Lilly Pulitzer pants and two pair of dressy Laundry brand dress slacks. I took a picture of the prices. You can see the normal price (the crazy, over the top bottom nunber)..then you will see the Thrift store price and then everything in the store was 50% off their marked down price.

I thought I was going to cry. Not because I found such a supernatural bargain, but because I know God cared enough about the desires in my heart that noone knew about or cared about but He and I. He cared enough to allow me to do something I wanted to do for my baby. It was a little thing...but I thought that was pretty nice of Him. So God, I appreciate what you did for the kids would say "good lookin' out". Thank you for caring for my "little things'.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Superfamily Shuffle-Play the hand your dealt!

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The shuffle begins..The kids are home in the morning. John and I are off work and we have church in the evening. John is singing. The Jamersons are going to their grandmother's house. Then, on Christmas Day we will probably wake early ..... open gifts and then the Superfamily shuffle continues.......

John and the Jamersons (his children) will be going over his sister's house. As of this writing, it is not quite confirmed which drives me nuts since I am a planner...but they are used to I'll leave food, drink and plenty of toliet paper just in case...and Praise God...because..

Me and my crew are at my family's house for the Family Monopoly Game and Family Feud Tournament. We changed the theme a bit and made Christmas more family focused. We signed up Thanksgiving and pulled names (so gift exchanges will go pretty quick...more like here, here-thank Christmas-now GAME ON).

So, unfortunately John and I won't be together for Most of Christmas again but..guess what? I sleep with him every night! I see him every morning...and when the day is done he's coming home. So "other people's normal" no longer pressures me or gets me in a state of foolish expectation. Be where you wanna what you need to do..make the choices you need to running around all over the city trying to meet everyone's expectations....I'll see ya when I see ya. Sounds harsh...maybe..but you have to have thick skin and a steel protective coat to be a Superspouse and Superparent. You can't be overly sensitive or let small stuff get under your skin. That's why I am called to do it and many are not and could not. Its not the dream job from me.

Some of the kids were talking and one of them mentioned "that's why everyone should come over here". I gently reminded them that what makes you think that everyone wants to be at your house all the time? Secondly, that's selfish and self centered. Everyone in our families has in-laws and other family besides the nuclear family and they want time with them at their home as well. They can't and shouldn't have to adjust their lives just to accomodate our complexity. That's our problem...not theirs. Its our hand and we have to play the hand were dealt and everybody else can understand...or not doesn't really matter. We are the not the center of attention or the main attraction-Christ Is. As long as their is love and Christ is being glorified ..wherever you are in the right place.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mini Praise Report

Oh I forgot...a very special young lady to us was looking for her first job. She was very adamant about working and helping pay for some of her high school expenses. Now mind you, she is a very blessed young lady in that her family situation is such that honestly she doesn't HAVE to work. She also makes excellent grades in school. She is very active in various groups and activities in school and in the community. She helps her mother out in ministry and in her business which is alot of manual work. She is juggling it all like a champ. I told her she is learning time management skills early and that lesson is invaluable and will help her the rest of her life.

She lost her dad a few years back and my constant prayer for her and her sister was that they grow up to be responsible, respectable, educated, God fearing, hard working young ladies that would make their daddy proud. I remember being with a group of people and we were praying against any spirit that would make them feel like victims or that would give them an "entitlement type" bitter spirit as if the world owed them something. Watching them over the years...well..its just been remarkable what God has done. They are abslutely incredible. I attribute alot of it to their mom but of course all praise goes to God!

Well, the oldest baby has landed and started her first job in the midst of an economy that NO ONE is getting hired anywhere and people are getting laid off daily. Her mom says its the F.O.G....and I agree (Favor of God).

So moms and dads hang in matter what your children have faced, I (and this young ladies mom) would tell you that God can do anything but fail. Provide jobs outta wee...God honors a diligent heart. Denounce laziness and excuses. Teach then to be diligent and responsible and they will knock the lid off of what God can do.

Put your mask on first!

On a recent flight , I was reminded of a most awesome analogy for managing a marriage and family...especially a complex family such as a blended one.

As you know, flight attendants always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting your children or other passengers. WHY? Because frankly you can't help anyone if you have passed out. It is less likely that a child will be able to help you if you have passed out because of helping them. Technically speaking at 35,000 feet you have about 9-15 seconds to get oxygen flowing to you as an adult before you pass out. If you have the mask on and then pass out, when you get to a lower altitude you will most likely regain consciousness and not have any harmful effects. So, if you put your mask on 1st and then assist your child or others...when things stabilize, all should be well. But if you help everyone else and end up unconscious without a mask, the chances of your survival are nil.

As a spouse and a parent...and a will wear yourself out trying to meet the ever increasing needs of everyone in the house and if you try to do that with grace and're really looking for a grueling on going experience. Before you know it (for women) you haven't been to the gym, the salon, the spa, or anything that just involves taking care of weeks...or months. For men, you can't be anywhere without getting 7 calls from work, church, wife or kids. An example for me, I have tried to map out specific days to go to the gym and by the time I get home, finish dinner, get homework rolling, get out clothes for tommorrow, straighten out the house, wrap lunches, talk to the kids and sit for a second its time to pick up kids from work and get to bed. And mind you I haven't even said "Hi" to my husband yet or checked on my parents, siblings or rehearsed for that skit I have to do this Sunday.

An example for my husband would be this past weekend we went to see the musical "Wicked" and we don't get very many nights out so I protect and treasure any time alone we get to detach from our every day lives and just give our minds a break. He was really enjoying himself and I thought I had his undivided attention for just a moment. However, I go to the bathroom for 15 minutes and come back to find him on the phone with one of his children. I was so disappointed that he didn't feel comfortable enough to be able to first of all- turn the phone off-not vibrate, but "OFF" and secondly that he couldn't rest for 2 hours without having to get totally out of the moment to focus on someone else besides himself.
It's not the child's fault. They are only doing what they have been allowed to do. It's not your churches ALWAYS...say yes....It's not your job's LOVE overtime...It's not your spouse's fault you always meet their needs first in spite of your own.

Are we NUTS ?? Moments like that will kill you as a spouse, co-worker or a parent. You have to retrain people to know and respect your value. You have to take care of yourself and your marriage. You have to know when to say....when. You have to say NO. No to your kids, no to your job, your church, your family, your spouse. Phone off -unavailable for awhile, just wing it and I will get back to you later. Trust me, the world will go on without you. You will be able to rest, think clearly and will be a better wife, husband, mom, dad, steparent because of it. Put your mask on first and then you will see how much better you'll be able to help those around you.

On that note, I am going to eat a healthy lunch and go for a power walk with my co-workers! Its better than nothing :-).

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I'm not a Christmas kinda person...I mean what Christmas has become I should say. People, even with good intentions have tried to make it WAY more complex than what it is. By attaching all of their monikers, slogans, ideas and method on how to celebrate Christmas, it becomes way more complicated than it was initially intended.

October 19th is one of my brothers' birthday. Never has that date rolled around that I don't call him, see him or maybe have a piece of cake with him to celebrate his life....and that's it. I don't decorate the house, put up lights, give my sister, nieces, nephews and parents a gift, cook for 40 people, take time off work and act "nicer" to people everytime his birthday rolls around.

Christmas is Christ's birthday and never has that day rolled around (that I can remember) that I don't say happy birthday to him and thank him for coming to earth. Everything else is well...EXTRA. Yup,, family, decor, vacation, plays and TV specials are all just extra. They are not what Christmas is about. Sure you can use that time to see and visit with family, but nothing is wrong with also doing that on March the 3rd, September 8th, July 26th etc. You can spend the holiday making your house look extra special and put up a tree, buy gifts for everyone, give a special offering and take time off work but you'll still miss it, if you are not careful. Snow is pretty, parades are fun, sales are incredible, and time off is great, but none of those encompass the true meaning of Christmas.

That's why I adore "A Charlie Brown Christmas". There are many stories and shows that emphasize the "Spirit of Christmas" Such as "giving"...(and usually its to someone in dire need), "Family" (seeing family members that you don't want to deal with or that you didn't know existed) or "Worldly"(the Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty) stories. But none quite tackle the one true meaning of Christmas outside of an actual Nativity better than this show. Its simplictic answer to Charlie Brown's question "Is there anybody here that knows what Christmas is all about?" puts Christmas in its proper place. Linus answers him simply by telling him " I do, Charlie Brown.... and begins to say simply from the Word of God....

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
and that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown...and to all of you. Keep it simple. Tell Christ Happy Birthday, have a piece of cake..and enjoy. Our slogan for this Christmas was taken from our Bishop's last sermon (and we'll loan it to you if you'd like)..."Its' all about Him".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Wicked Witch of the West

My Husband and I are going to see the musical "Wicked" . First of all, I LOVE musicals and I always like to know the story before the performance so I can follow along better. I do the same with ballets and operas. Besides its involvement of witchcraft, The Wizard of OZ is one of the most profound fairytales of all times. The lessons learned in each layer of the storyline is enough to digest for years. Everytime I watch it, there is a new lesson to be learned. No man could have planned that. Kingdom messages can be learned almost ANYWHERE. So, anyway in my research of the story "Wicked" which is a "prequel" to the Frank Baum story, I was astonished to note the change in my deameanor toward the original characters once I understood their motives. (There is a point to this just bear with me)...

For example; The infamous "ruby red slippers" were given to Dorothy by Glinda in the Wizard of Oz..but what you find in the "pre" story is that they weren't even hers to give. They belonged to Elphaba (the wicked witch of the west). She created those slippers for her wheelchair bound, paralyzed sister, Nessa (the one who ended up dead-under the house), so she could walk. Glinda was sorta behind the cyclone and giving them to Dorothy was really just to keep Elphaba distracted and chasing after Dorothy for the shoes (the last memento of her sister), when it was really Glinda that was responsible for her sister's death. after figuring that out and reading a ton of other find that those people perceived to be mean weren't really..they were responding out of hurt to a misjustice and were actually "right' and those who appear to be just or 'right" may not have necessarily been.

So lesson learned: Don't judge based on what you see on the surface. Someone may appear to have it all together. They may seem as if all their ducks are in a row and everything that comes out of their mouth is truth. Ummmmm not necessarily so...the ruby slippers they are trying to pawn off on you may not even be theirs to give. The reverse is also true. Just because someone comes off as mean, defensive or arbitrary does not mean that they are hopelessly bitter. If you dig deeper into their story you will find that they got dealt a bad hand and may not know how to overcome it.

Sidebar: I know if I was stuck with green skin and somebody stole my man and my sister's million dollar ruby encrusted shoes it would be on and poppin'!! Earrings off and vaseline out...and you would too...admit it.

You will handle people differently, if you care enough to dig a little deeper. You may also find that people you may have looked up to have some severe issues too and could have left a long line of hurt people behind them. Every "Glinda" with a white dress, a smile and a seemingly magic wand to make all your dreams come true is not necessarily good. And every green witch on a broom ain't all bad...give her back her shoes (or whatever is missing in their life, usually its Jesus in some form) and you may find yourself a new friend with wayyyyyyyyyyy more power, confidence and character than the undercover fake good person could have ever conjured up.
How does this apply to stepfamilies?? I'm glad you asked. There is this terrible stereotype for stepmoms known as the "evil stepmother".... Stepdads also have a simular "mean" assumption made about them. Stepchildren are often viewed as spoiled, rude, mean, inconsiderate and selfish. But the same thing applies to them...all of them...moms, dads, step moms, step dads, the step kids, the non custodial parents...everybody...the acting out- is out of loss. Loss of a dream marriage, loss of a spouse, loss of a parent, loss of a family, loss of a stable environment, loss of security...just plain ole' loss. Don't forget that big wild cyclone that happened, happened in all of your lives in some way. That storm took out and destroyed something or someone you loved and cared about. Be patient, pray and dig deeper. You may eventually find real love behind all that "green".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Four Christmases

There is a movie out now called "Four Christmases". The premise of the movie is that there is a couple that has parents that are divorced and they collectively are a part of four "step" families. The goal was to always be "busy" during the holidays so they wouldn't have to wade through trying to see everyone, every holiday. This year, the vacation getaway plans get canceled and they have to make an effort to be everything to everybody that's important to them. I haven't seen the movie but we can relate. Being in a Superfamily, we actively deal with at least 3-4 families every holiday not including our own household. First of all, there is my family. That includes mama and em', daddy, my sisters, brothers, in laws, nieces and nephews. Then there is John's family, he has a brother, two sisters, nieces, nephews and in laws. Then there is John's kids family (his former wife's relatives) which include their grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Then John's oldest son has his own family which includes his children and wife.

So you figure it out...who do you go see first? Who do you say no too? What happens when it is your turn to host on "your side" of the family but your spouse's sister turn on the other side. Or a scenario could be-your kids are pulling you to see their mother's family which of course cannot include your current spouse and her side of the family. So, to take them means leaving them and their children behind and spending time with your former family, when you really have a new set of in-laws that you need to get to know. UGH, all you really want is to get back into bed with your husband or wife, eat a TV dinner and some popcorn and forget everyone else. Its enough to bring you to heap of frustrated tears, if you allow it. You stretch yourself so thin and in the end without fail someone is left disappointed-usually you. Trust us, real "stepfamily" life is a far cry from the what was displayed on the Brady Bunch. There is no Alice to help clean up messes and NOTHING gets solved in 22 minutes plus commercials.

For example, Thanksgiving this year was over my brother's house (on my side of the family). John's side did not have any concrete plans. He decided to go to his son's house to take his children to visit and visit with my family later. To which I said NO. Really, I did. I said that because I don't want him running all over the place trying to make everyone happy. I said if you are going to be with your son, just be there and I will see you later. Me and my kids would be fine, we would miss the other side of the Superfamily but we would still have a great time with mama and em' and catch them back at the house. Unfortunately for John, his plans did not go as orchestrated and he ended up over his son's house for the entire holiday. He felt bad about not being with me (as well he should have, because I am the bomb:-). But I was fine, I missed sharing a new memory with him, but we had an absolute blast, much too much food and hated to leave. My family was already are talking about the next time we will all get together. Everyone that was suppose to be there was there. That's how God does things.

But if it were in the reverse, Honestly, I would probably have felt just like John. Feeling.... just like my super cape had a hole in it and I fell instead of "flew". He and I worked through what he was feeling and I reiterated why I did all I could to relieve any expectations or pressures in that area. I never want him to feel like that again. However, we are complex and everyday we face new awkward complexities. Sacrifice and disappointment are inevitable, but how you deal with it can make the difference. We're learning.........

Our holiday advice for stepfamilies:

  1. PLAN ahead. Do not wait until the week of, or day of and think that you can manage a complex family situation-it won't work. Communicate your plan ahead of time and listen to (and consider) your spouse's suggestion about your plans.

  2. Learn to say NO. Sometimes to your kids, sometimes to your family, sometimes to your job, church, neighborhood or club. You cannot do everything, get over it and let other people know they need to get over it too.

  3. Understand and accept that this is your life now. It will only get more complex from here. Wait until our children begin to marry and have children of their own. They will have to visit other family members as well as us, mama and em' etc.. Accept where you are so you can plan effectively for where you are headed.

  4. Enjoy where you are, wherever you are. I would have possibly ruined Thanksgiving for me, my family and my kids if all I did was worry about if John was coming or if I constantly called him, bugged him, wondering where he was or if they were going to make it. Instead, I put my phone in my purse, ate two plates, made punch, ate dessert with my nephew, played a hilarious charade game with the whole family and let the chips fall where they may. I assume that John and his family had a good time together as well.

  5. Protect yourself. If one and/or both of you has crazy or insensitive family members that you don't want to be around (and everybody has them :-), set up a signal or a time limit ahead of time as to how long they can stay or how long you will be there. Also, never ruin or sacrifice your holiday by being someplace more than 30 minutes where you are likely to be dishonored, ignored or inundated with an abundance of memories, paraphenalia or consistant reminders of your spouse's former married life. Unless you have the tenacity of a bull and you know your spouse will protect your heart from people who don't understand or don't know any better, its a set up for heartbreak. Don't do it. Stop by if you must, keep the car running, be polite, wave from the door, send a pie, but don't subject yourself to any foolishness both of you and your family deserve better.

  6. Don't give ultimatums. Why not? Because its stupid, as ultimatums usually are. I tried a psuedo ultimatum with John unwittingly once and I lost. I will never, ever do that again. Don't try and force someone else to make a decision. You present the issue and share with them the decision that you have to make that's best for you and drop it. In this case-no demands, you are going to have to spread the love around and share her/him, so suck it up. They had family when you met them and they will have family when you leave. So, instead of being jealous, mean , standoffish or possessive, be grateful that they have family that love them and that they have the heart capacity to love others and still have a special love for you and your kids. Send them on their way and have a great time yourself.

  7. Carve out time with just the two of you during the season to reflect on the year and dream for next year. Last year John and I did a breakfast on Christmas Eve at a restuarant and it was great to slow down from the hustle and bustle and enjoy him. Try it...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Superfamily Goes International !!

There are people in Vienna, Austria that are reading our Superblog. How do I know? They contacted us through a local filming agent and wanted our family to film a documentary on the 2008 USA Presidential elections. They said they read our site and I quote “ I love the SUPERFAMILY 13”! They went on to mention some of the qualifications for the show to be aired in Vienna and what they needed us to do. We responded with some of our requirements and were filmed in October. I shared that to say, we started the blog to share with and encourage other blended /step families we know. But God may be using it for global opportunities for our family to witness indirectly for Him and to get that TV reality show that we are believing for. Go figure!

The Camera team arrived at “The Superfamily Estate” on Thursday October 16th for an afternoon of interviews and backdrop taping that went well into the evening hours. The taping involving the children recorded them singing, having dinner, discussing current events and watching satirical political parodies on You Tube. For the interview portion, John and I were asked a mirage of questions. Besides our thoughts on the election, we covered many more topics. We discussed diversity, our thoughts on the separatism of races due to class, location, education or economic levels. We discussed the “Bradley effect” regarding the election and our prediction(we were right). John covered the historical impact of slavery and the innate inclination of mistrust among African Americans.

Overall, the opportunity was a great learning experience for us and a grand opportunity to showcase our family, the love we have for one another and the fun we have when we all get together. The kids had a great time "performing". The interview with John and I was extremely in depth (lasted almost an hour). It was very eye opening (based on the questions) to hear the global perception of Americans, African Americans, diversity, The Bradley effect , Christianity...and a whole lot more. Prayerfully, we made some headway in dispelling some of the myths!

Picture: The kids are pictured in our living room with Christa Hoffman from Austria. Starting from the gal in pink and working clockwise are:

Jerica A., Joelle, Jordan S., Jason (red shirt), Stevan (purple), Bryan (aganist the wall) Jordan J, Christa and Jerica J (Center-dark shirt)

Friday, November 14, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama & Family

Like it...Love it or hate in the US we have a new president and First Family. Our family is not necessarily democratic or republican. Actually, I split my ticket all over the place for candidates that I thought displayed godly values, experience, education and good ideas (and yes, I researched almost all of them very extensively). But I wanted the opportunity to share with our blogging audience why we made the choice we did and why we are confident that God is still in control and that His will was done.

Our family (under our roof) supported The President Elect and the democratic ticket for 2 basic reasons although there are many:

He and his wife are all about each other & family-and so are we. Its evident that they love each other and that the well being of their children is vital to them. You have never heard stories or have any reason to believe that there has been any unfaithfulness, which is important to us and speaks way, way, WAY deeper as to the integrity of a man/woman than where they stand 'on stage politically" on a homosexuality marriage issue . The other side had, well let's just say had "struggles" with proving that they really walked in THAT level of personal integrity. The P.Elect values Michelle, her opinions, her ideas. Her comfort above all else matters to him. As he said in the beginning, if she had said no to this campaign, it was no. As busy as they are and although they could hire many others do it for them; they attend parent teacher conference, they pick up and/or drop off at school..they help with homework, they attend recitals. As a man, he is obviously very involved with his daughters and cares about simple things such as talking to them every night. As a couple, they go out on dinner dates. They have activities that they enjoy together and apart, as we know for President Elect it's "basketball". For Michelle its the California Pizza Kitchen with the girls every Saturday. Grandma is involved. Malia & Sasha appear very grounded. They've done a great job with managing their lives and making them a part of this process while still protecting them .

He has a plan. I am a planner and we respect people that think things out enough to map out a road to get there and are able to articulate it. Planning for the unknown takes guts. I personally respect gutsy people. P Elect has been planning long before he announced his candidacy. Not only is that smart, but its a sign of someone who prepares and takes life serious enough to position themselves to achieve, not just think that you can "arrive". We heard alot from the other side about what the democratic ticket wasn't doing. They mentioned what experience they didn't have or who they were associated with years ago. But you didn't hear any consistant plans being discussed about what they would do and how they would get it done. Our thought is, even if your plan doesn't work, at least have the best one you can come up with the information that you have at the time. The bible says to commit YOUR plan to the Lord and He will bring it to pass. Which tells us that a person with a plan and a godly committment can certainly get alot more done.

So basically for us it was rather simple...who are you? and what are you going to do?...we determined which one lined up as giving the more accurate and truthful picture of what they were all about-not perfect by any means but at least transparent so we know to a degree what we're getting. We prayed, trusted God and made a decision. Although we don't have any more decisions to make about this- we still have to pray, even moreso now and trust God. It is God who puts up or brings down. It is God who promotes and moves those He wishes into power. He is God by the way and regardless He is still in control.

Our hope is for those who were really concerned about abortion and homesexuality marriage issue (especially believers) will do something about it instead of just whining about the travesty that it is. Those are basically spiritual issues and our weapons should not just be in the innate carnality of a democratic process. You wanna fight abortion?? Battle in prayer and fasting against the spirit of promiscuity, disregard and low self esteem that is at the root of it. Minister effectively to young women who have this decision to make. Make YOURSELF an option to them. You want to end homosexuality, try fighting the war spiritually against the spirit of perversion that is at the root of it. Live a sexually pure life yourself and set the example. Get with those ladies and gentlemen that struggle in that area and love them with the love of the Lord. I know that requires real work, but if you're serious -you are empowered to make a difference. As has just been proven in this election, Change starts with YOU.

From The Superfamily to the New First Family:
The LORD bless you, and keep you: The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Guest Poster

This post is from my my husband's oldest daughter, Jayna, copied from an email. Accidental Death by Doggie Treat. . . . A surreal yet true story!

A few days ago, a member of my choir called me to tell me that she was out of town, and that the individual that she has asked to take care of her toy Chihuahua had left it in a bathroomfor 4 1/2 days unfed etc. Knowing what was coming next, I agreed to get the house keys from the previous doggie care taker, and go take care of the little pup for two days myself. Although there was a lot to clean up after 4 1/2 days gone bad in the bathroom, everything else seemed to go smoothly. . . . .until today when I went over to the house to feed the 2lb (if that) pup. I had previously told his owner that the food that she had bought him was entirely too big for a dog his size, and that she should seek out puppy chow in the future. Unfortunately, this would be to poor little Boogies (the dog) detriment!

Today durring feeding time, Boogie ate his food too fast, tried to throw it up, chocked on histhrow up, and died. It was such a terrible, and grave thing to witness! I was freaking out! If you know me, you know that I am DEATHLY afraid of anything dead and limp! I begged my lil bro (no relation) to do CPR on the Dog, and unfortunately, he "TOO" did not like the sight of dead animals!!!! What to do, what to do!!!!?????!!!!!

Two people deathly afraid of dead things, a woman on her way back from out of town expecting to see her "Boogie" alive, + well in a experienced pet owners care, and poor little Boogielaid out under a tattered living room chair DEAD! Immediately, with adrenalin pumping, nervous jittering, the cringe in the pit of my stomach predicted what I "HAD" to do, I had to preform CPR on this dog like he was my own!!! I picked up the limp puppy,whose limbs and head were lifelessly dangling took him outside and quicklystarted the procedure! One. . . Two. . . .Three. . . .rest. . . . .One . . . . .Two. . . .Three. . . .rest. . .It occurred to me that I was doing something wrong! If this were a child, I would have most certainly cleared the airway first, and checked to see what waslodging it. Another grusome thought came to me. . . I would actually have to stick myfinger down a "DEAD DOGS THROAT"!!!!! I almost threw up at the thought, but time was of the essence! Into his mouth and slightly down his throat my finger went swiping out all of the throw up, .

I took my barf covered yucky, gunky fingerout his mouth and continued with the CPR procedure as I previously had only this time silently praying that God would work out some kind of miricle! As I started to getdiscouraged, I felt his body get stiff, I thought for sure that he was dead after that! But then, very faintly, I felt his lungs inhale. I thought that I was the one manuallyinflating and deflating his lungs. Suddenly I noticed that his eyes were opening, One. . . .Two. . . .Three. . .rest I kept on going "Come on Boogie, you can make it,you can do it Boogie, come back.. . . That's right come on"! Finally his tail began to wag, and he tilted his head up at me. Beginning to feel relief, Boogie clinged on tomy shirt as I held him, gazed up at me with greatful eyes, and licked my face with his nasty tongue previously covered with barf! Although it took him a couple minuetsto collect his barrings, he has running, zipping, and terrorizing the house again in 5mins tops! God is so good! I remember only minuets before this situation occured, my lil bro asked me "Do dogs have souls"?

We sorta laughed at the thought, but only moments later Boogie was lifeless on the floor, and we'll never know what, or whohe saw in those lifeless moments, or if he saw anything at all. But I am here to tell you today, that you, a Human Being "do" have an immortal soul, which at any time could be called upon! You could be out with a friends just hanging out, eating a bowl of morning cereal, playing football, I had a friend just fall out on the basketball court and die this year. . . . . or you could very well be reading this message and kill over (not wishing that on anyone of you, I rebuke death in Jesus name). The point is, you never knowwhat will happen in life, so "Choose ye this day who you will serve"! God is waiting for you, and if you don't know him, he would love to be introduced to you by his son JesusChrist. The Bible says in the book of Matthew that "I am the way the truth and the life,no man comes unto the Father but by Me (the words of Jesus)". It also says inJohn 3:16 that God loved the world so much that he gave his "only" son that who everbelieves in him will not perish like the ungodly, but have eternal life with the Father. Do all dogs go to heaven? I'll know the answer to this question someday, but for now I would liketo ask you this question, "Are you going to heaven"?

If God would spare a little puppy such a fate, what more do you think that he would do for you, his most prized creation? Whetheryou are saved or not, the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, this means me as well. Today, right now is the most opportune time for you to get your life rightwith the Lord because tomorrow is not promised! If you want to make things right with Christtoday all people, saved, and unsaved, please repeat this prayer: "God, I know that I am a sinner.I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust inJesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"

If you just said this prayer, and meant it with your whole heartyou "ARE" saved! Praise Jesus, and Hallelujah! The angels in heaven are rejoicing because of what you did today, and I would like to as well! Please send me a note if youprayed this prayer, so that I may pray for you! I promise that I wont post yourresponse to this prayer all over facebook, and I don't want you to be ashamed to tell peoplewhat you have done. The bible says that if you are ashamed of Christ before men, he will be ashamed of you before his Father on the day of Judgement! The Lord bless you, and bewith you! Stay encouraged! AGAPE

Jayna A Jamerson

Monday, November 3, 2008

You Shall Not Pass!

In most movies scenes where there is a chase- its pretty standard. Good guys chase the bad guys or vise versa. Sometimes however, you will find that one person will "take one for the team". Meaning, they will let the others run ahead to safety while they stay behind try to hold off the other side with a weapon, ambush or distraction. One scene from the Lord of the Rings plays this out that shows the ultimate in sacrifice. As usual, the good guys were running from an ultimate bad guy and Gandolf the grey- the protector of the good guy (Frodo) sees teh severity of the situation and stops running. He turns around to face the monster thus letting the good guy group get to safety unharmed. In facing this monster he says a line that rang loudly in my heart for me as a mother...and as step mother- YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

So often I stand between the enemies of our families respective pasts and declare "you shall not pass". At our wedding our Pastor proclaimed "All things new" and in my opinion there is nothing outside of "all". So, no more running from the issues that irritate me. The old way of doing things cannot pass over to our new lives. The old habits, insecurities, hindrances, curses, and habits shall not pass. The grief, the feelings of inadequacy, the ungodly behaviors of yesteryears..shall not pass. There are trends that I see now that my husband and I faced in previous marriages that can't come either. It shall not pass. Dishonor, disrespect and indifference shall not pass over. Folly, silliness, and inappropriateness cannot pass.

Now mind you...Gandolf stopped, turned around to face the monster and let the others run free. In the movie...he casts his sword into the ground to create a gulf between good and evil and initially he "died" and was willing to die with the monster falling into the fiery gulf with him in order for the good guys to go free. But later we find that not only did Gandolf not "die", but for his sacrifice he returned as Gandolf the in he had been tried in the fire and come out as pure gold. When he returned he was more powerful and had more insight than he did before.

So stepparents, understand you may have to back burner or "stop" somethings in order to focus your time, energy and attention on breakthrough for your family. You may need to feed the dreams of your husband, wife or children by letting them run ahead...while stand your ground against the enemy that you see on their heels. But I am a witness if you sacrifice now and declare victory in your prayer time, in your confession, in their bedrooms, in your spouses car, and all through your home...that breakthrough will happen. Tell the enemies of your family head to head and toe to toe that that YOU SHALL NOT PASS..create a gulf in their lives through prayer and trust me you will come out as pure gold and with more power than you had ever imagined.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Act of Obedience

Don't minimize obedience. One act of obedience changed the outcome of my day yesterday. Obedience (as listed in this picture) is defined as trusting the one that leads you by doing what you are asked to do. Seems simple enough, but trust isn't always easy. I was having a really rough day yesterday on the way to the gym so I started praying about what to do and I was led to go to the church to take of something else. I went there and I as my evening escalated mentally from bad to worse, I prayed and sought God about what to do next. I really couldn't think clearly. .and I needed some specific instructions. God led me to call a particular friend who brought my head out of the ozone and back on earth. She gave me sound advice and then we prayed together. She gave me specific instructions for what to do next and I had a choice. Trust her and do what I really didn't want to do...or sulk and handle things the way that I wanted to. I chose to trust her and left when she told me to leave to go do what she had instructed.

As I was leaving, someone (who I knew) had parked right next me and she waved and drove off. Her car stopped abuptly and she backed back to tell me that she was led to pray for me earlier..actually for me and my family. She mentioned that God told her to tell me to think about my wedding think about how happy I was and how perfect everything was (and mind you it was absolutely perfect:-). I started to cry. She had no idea how fitting and timely her message was. I just hugged her and told her that God was so faithful and I just thanked her for stopping to tell me that. It just confirmed that God knew ahead of time what was going to transpire throughout the evening and He already had people in place to 1. give sound advice 2. to give further instructions and 3. to intercede for me in prayer.

However, had I not followed God's initial leading, I may not have thought to call the right person and I for sure may not have ran into that person in the parking lot. One act of obedience changed the course of a night that could have ended disastrously. Never minimize trusting the right people. That ONE thing that God is telling you to do may seem small and insignificant, but it could hold the key to your success in every single area of your life. God's preordained plan is equipped with everyone and everything you need to be "ok". Get on that path and TRUST me you may still have to go through, but you won't be alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You are here...

Going to a new mall can be a wonderful experience, except that you can't get to where you want to go quickly-because you don't know your way around yet. So, your choices are to wander around aimlessly until you happen to stumble upon it or use the mall map. The problem with option one is that you see so much along the way that you can easily get sidetracked with going in and out of stores that have nothing to do with your purpose there. Option two-requires humility. You have to face the fact that you don't know where you are or where you are going and you need to stop walking, get your bearings and plot a course.

With a stepfamily..or even as an individual you need to stop walking and get a map that includes both where you are and where you are going. It can be a life plan that you have worked out...or a list of goals or objectives that you wrote at the beginning of the year. At some point, you need to take inventory and be assured that you are on the right track.

When using the mall sign you need to know two crucial pieces of information or it will not be useful at all. You need to know where you are and where you are going. Most of us look for that red dot that indicates "You are Here". Knowing that information puts you in position to see where you are in conjunction to where it is that you are going. Knowing where you are is also important, because you may be closer or further from your goal than you think based on what you see around you. Coming to grips with where you are is important. You can't find where you are on the mall map and whine that Nordstroms is on the opposite side of the mall and just stand there and expect Nordstroms to move. It won't. You need to see where Nordstroms is..see what stores you will pass on the way, see what stores are near Nordstroms so you will recognize it when you are "almost there'....and frankly, get ta walking.

With my family, at the beginning of the year we started with writing individual goals for the year in many areas (faith, finances, family, education etc..). I wrote some specific goals for myself and seeing that the year is drawing to a rapid close, its time to take a look at them and see how far I have come and draw a mental red circle so I know- YOU ARE HERE. It does me no good to run around with dreams and aspirations for me and my family in my head and never get an understanding as to where we are currently. I may be closer....or further from where we need to be than I think. Either way, I won't sit at the sign and whine...I'll just keep on walkin'.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coloring in the lines

Extra-I love that term. I have been searching for a term like that for awhile. Extra, that is. I hear it used differently now and it so fits people and situations that are significantly "over the top dramatic" for no apparent reason. Nothing wrong with being different, big, significant or even being a little dramatic now and then...but to be "extra" is another level. It indicates in more than is necessary or appropriate. Its like coloring outside of the have more color and more "expression of you"...but you lost the initial purpose which was to enhance the picture. Now you have alot of "you"...but nothing or very little of what was intended.

I never want to be "extra"in the sense that it is meant now. Not necessary...or worse yet not appropriate for the situation I face or in my attitude or demeanor. I don't mind abundance. I love being significant...I am a part of many "big" things..but to be "extra" is out of order and doesn't fit where I am trying to go now.

I was one that colored inside of the lines. People say that it meant that I am unable to take risks. Ummmmm right- I went back to college, divorced with five school age children.. I married a man who was a widower with 6 kids, I quit a job out of principle without having another one...I have made risky, I call them faith moves throughout my life and have bounced back ok. Coloring inside the lines could also mean that you realize life isn't all about you. Surprise, Surprise... The artist drew a picture for you to interpret with color. Its a partnership...jointly you can have a beautiful thing. It's like working with someone on the job, or in ministry or even at home. Do what you are asked to do. Don't take it upon yourself to re-interpret what they meant. Don't be extra, be a team player. Suggest, offer, ask...but don't assume and scribble all over someone's vision and call it art.
When I hear the kids speaking about someone being "extra" it cracks me up. First of all that they recognize when people are being overly fake and out of important. But more importantly...I hope they learn not to be sooooo deep, or sooooooooo over the top extra that they forget to be well-themselves...just real... No waste, and humble enough to know when to work with others and color inside of the lines.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Running the Business of Family

In a "spiritual gifts" test I took a few years ago, I found out that my gift was administration. I was a tad disappointed, I actually preferred something a little more sensational. However, God's wisdom is incredible and His foreknowledge of what I would need to run my family successfully was put in me before I was even born.

I have been a manager, administrator and/or a corporate Executive assistant in the career world for the past 15 years or so. That experience, plus my certification at Harvard (for free, mind you) has put me in the place where God has given me the tools necessary to run an orderly ship with structure, balance and grace. The lady in the picture is smiling, not because she has to handle all that she does...she is smiling because she CAN handle all the she does. She may be tired sometimes or may delegate an assigment here or there. She is not lazy, she is strong and a hard worker just like the "lady' in Proverbs 31. One of my mentors is a very wealthy, incredibly successful pastor who runs a successful publishing company and cosmetics business. She is the co-pastor (with her husband) of her church, a wife, mother, author of over 10 books and has her children in business for themselves. She told me that "laziness is defined as the monumental effort it takes to refuse to inconvenience yourself." Watching her success and the cohesiveness of her family, I have decided that my family is worth a little inconvenience.

So, simple things that I do in the workforce I use now to solve issues at home. For example, my husband and I were shuffling appointments, events, rehearsals and meetings with the other person finding out at the last minute or after the fact, what was going on. So now, we have a Monday morning-mini debrief over the phone (we are both at our separate offices)where I type out the schedule for the week and discuss it with him. I send him a copy of it via e-mail and he can add anything that was forgotten and send it back. This way we both see what is going on ahead of time. It also allows us to plan better. One week, I sent the schedule over and my husband saw that we were out almost every evening during the week, so he canceled an event that the two of us had so we could be home instead. Had we not seen the whole week at a glance, we may not have even noticed that we were gone so much.

We have cut our busyness down some, but we may still have some more decisions to make. I never want to be the type of mom that I have to hire 20 people to the things for my husband and my family that I want to do. No, its not always convenient-but its my job and other things can wait. I mean if I don't have an hour to do my daughters' hair or clean my own husband's underwear then doggone it I am just WAY too busy. I am all for calling in some help if you need it on occasion. But my family is my "company" and my priority. I never, ever want to be too busy to serve them. Some of the best memories of my childhood was getting my hair done by my mom or talking to her while she ironed and starched my dad's shirts. I wouldn't trade those teachable moments for anything.

I am the Chief Operating Officer and my husband is the CEO. We have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as the Board of Directors and our children are all Executive VP's of their world. My part of the success of our company rest on the ability to take the vision of the CEO, market it, structure it and make it happen. Sure I would love have an Oscar or a pulitizer prize one day...but one the best rewards of all will be hearing my kids tell their kids that..."My mom/stepmom rocked, she was always there for me, She took good personal care of my stepdad/dad and she ran our house with grace, love and constantly running vacumn cleaner."

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Ultimate Biblical Steparents

There are two biblical steparents that I personally think are the absolute bomb! First and foremost , Joseph the stepfather of Jesus. Can you imagine "God" being the "other parent"? What an humbling and odd place to be in for Joseph. The other stepparent is "Leah", the wife of Jacob and stepmom of Joseph and Benjamin. I am going to share my thoughts on Leah...and maybe one day I can plead with my husband to share thoughts about Joseph.

Leah was not ever really wanted. She was the "booby prize" if you will. Jacob's desire was for Rachel. He settled for Leah, but he wanted and pursued Rachel all along. I told my husband about the 2nd wife syndrome of feeling like "the best of what's left". He dislikes the analogy, but it was the only way I could describe what it was like sometimes. This is especially true of the 2nd wife of a widower. Because of course, 9 times out of 10 the widowers preference would have been to be with their 1st wife/husband. The true desire is that they would not have died. That in essence, they would be with them instead of you. They choose you and settle in to having you...accept the acceptable will of God if you will...but where is their heart and the true desire? Its a constant battle sometimes of not really knowing.

Leah was unloved by her husband. He basically used her to bare children. Which means he used her body for his benefit (to produce heirs) but his intimacy (and lack thereof)was not about his love for her. There were times that he probably dreamed of Rachel even when he was with Leah. Rachel initially could not bear children so since she was not available for Jacob's breeding purposes he used Leah continously for that purpose.

Then Rachel got pregnant finally but died in bitterness giving birth to Benjamin. She was buried by the side of the road. Leah probably felt like a ton of bricks had fallen on her. Leah was left with being an "aunt" and stepmother to Joseph and Benjamin. Leah raised them and Jacob finally revered her and proclaimed her as their mother (Genesis 37:10). What a icky place for Leah to be in. Raising the children of her sister who competed with her for the affection of her husband for years. Now that she is gone however...Leah is left with all the children, with a husband that has been distant and a user for years, and with all the work. Above all, she is left to deal with the feeling that her husband settles for her yet again since "Rachel" is now gone.

However...when it all came out in the wash....Rachel was buried by the side of the road and Jacob moved on. Leah was buried like a princess in the tomb with Abraham, Sarah& Issac (Genesis 49:31). You don't see Jacob even mentioning Rachel anymore. Leah is no longer compared to her, competing with her or placed beneath her. In the end, It was Leah's fruit (child) that catapulted the world into an opportunity for eternal life. It was her son Judah that brought forth the lineage of Christ.

God made sure that when it mattered, Stepmom Leah was honored appropriately. She handled her role as a wife and Stepmom with such dignity-Jacob obviously and eventually gained a level of respect for her and maybe a repented spirit for how he had treated her. He may have even loved her when it was all said and done. In the end, God gave her the ultimate honor by placing her in the role of being Jesus' great grandmother.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Changing with the Seasons...

Its supposedly officially the fall season. Next to summer, fall is my favorite. I have the BEST fall clothes than any other season. Its time to shed those sundresses and sandals for two piece suits and close toed shoes. There was a lady that was in our neighborhood that seemed by all standards to be normal if you looked at her face...but then you would notice that it was 20 degrees below and snowing and she had on flip flops. At first you would sympathize thinking that she didn't have boots. But then you would see the boots...only it would be 80 degrees in the summer accompanied by a coat and gloves. There was a name for people who never seemed to wear the right seasoned clothes at the right time..CRAZY. That's would look at them and tell your kids as you walked passed..."baby they just them no mind."

As it is in the it is in our own lives. There are somethings in a blended family situation that have to change because of the new season that you are in now. To try to operate in as you did in a former season would label you as well.......CRAZY. Its absolutely nuts to try and function in a snowstorm with a halter top and a tiny plastic beach shovel. You are not equipped to handle the shift that has occured in the weather. An ill equipped person shows that A). They don't know or have the resources to adapt B). They are stubborn and would rather suffer than adjust and /or C). Crazy.

I have my crazy moments. There are days that I am the equivalent of a sundress at the winter ball-totally irrelevant and other words CRAZY. There's a song that says..."I'm not crazy, I'm just a little impaired" . That's closer to how I feel..I will try to deal with a "wintry" situation and I will have on my gloves and hat...and forget my gloves...or in other words...I can say the right thing, have the right motive BUT say it in a stanky way and at the wrong time. I am not fully ready for the season that I am encountering with my new family or husband, just impaired.

You need every tool necessary to administer guidance, love and direction for your family ESPECIALLY in a stepfamily. Tools (wise advice, books, prayer, patience, endurance, restraint etc..) can be as important as the right clothes for the right season. So bold and tenacious- be prepared..get prepared for what you have to do to operate your family effectively. No more flip flops in the snow..its a new season, the old way will not work.. change with the season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Legacy Journal

I ordered a legacy journal to begin to chronicle some of the things that I want to share with my grandchildren when they get older. The journal is awesome you can record your thoughts, dreams, advice, wisdom and at the end you get to write a blessing upon them. The thing is I don't "technically" have any grandchildren. So I "practice" with my goddaughters, daughter (I've told you about her before). My husband now has two grandchildren and when I first got the journal I noticed it had areas for me and for him to fill out and I thought it would be great to give to his son to pass down one day and then it hit me..duh, you're not their grandmother.

I don't mean that in a mean or derogatory way, but I'm not-they do not revere me as such, we don't quite have that type of relationship. Its more a friendly, acquaintence type than family oriented. So, in order for my husband's grandchildren to get an idea of their true legacy, he will need to remember and record information about him and his 1st wife...their grandmother. Since she passed, they won't know anything about her unless they teach them. Well, that sorta sucks for me. But it was my stupid "unselfish" suggestion ...that really wasn't so stupid as it was right.... and right is just well, right. It doesn't always feel comfortable or nice as the outside parent..but it doesn't change it from being right.
So anyway I started my "Nana Files" for my awesome "practice" baby. And its alot of fun.... telling her about my teen years, my mistakes and my Favorite things. Although she is not my natural granddaughter, she is my spiritual granddaughter. The Word teaches that God "sets" some in families. And to be set, means to be strategically aligned and placed on purpose. I believe that God set them with us so that I would have someone to pour into and to share with. I am so grateful...'cause umm as quiet as it is kept I have a whole lot to say. My thinking is I will leave it as such that my husband's grandchildren would be welcomed to glean from it if they want. But for my grandchildren to come... its a must read item :-).

I encourage all of you that are stepparents or parents alike to leave a legacy journal for your children or grandchildren. Just record your thoughts about God, living, dating, marriage, your mistakes, what hurt your feelings, what makes you happy, raising kids, going to school, important character issues, money management, credit, your childhood...anything that will teach them and give them an idea of what you were about. If you don't have any yet-I am a witness that if you have a heart to sow, God will set someone with you that will appreciate your wisdom, honor your presence in their life and have a teachable, meek spirit to learn from you. At the end, write a blessing upon their lives, based on what you know about them and what God shares in your spirit about them.

Remember your words have life. If you read the account of Jacob (in Genesis) blessing his children and will understand that they will walk in whatever you speak that was given to you by revelation. Tell them who they are, and what they can become. Tell them what they can do and what they can achieve. But I declare... The "Nana Files" will be a hot may want to tell YOUR kids to seek it out too

Friday, September 12, 2008

What really important..

This is a special week in our household. We have three birthdays in our immediate family. My oldest son, my youngest son and my husband. My youngest son's birthday is on 9/11. On that fateful year in 2001 my son was turning 11. Needless to say, his birthday has never been the same since.

I wasn't married at the time of the US terrorist strike. I didn't even know my husband then. I was working downtown and my kids were in school. When it was finally determined that what was going on was not by accident, everything begin to shut down. Our office decided to close and I begin to send employees home. One employee had a son in NYC that she could not contact. I had one employee overseas and his pregnant wife was here in the states trying to reach him. My mom was calling me. My dad was calling me. My sister and brothers were all calling making sure that everyone was accounted for and ok. The kids school called to tell me to pick them up. It was utter chaos, but one theme remained constant. FAMILY. That's all that mattered. I didn't care about my job, my car, my bank account, my position, my troubles...NOTHING mattered more to me than getting my kids and getting to my family.

That evening the dust settled and the gravity of what had happened weighed on us. My family and I watched TV together over my mom's house trying to make some sense of it all when it hit us that it was Jay's birthday. He was so sad that something so evil was now associated with the most special day of his life. We got him cake and ice cream but he said his head was hurting and just wanted to go to bed. I was sad that he was upset, but inside as I watched the horror on TV, I was still incredibly grateful for his life and those around me.

Those who were in the room at that siblings and their kids and my parents..THAT's what really important. FAMILY.

We have to be careful not to put so many things before, clubs, hobbies etc..while maintaining balance in your own life. Family needs to know how you feel about them, what you would be willing to do for them and how much they matter.

There are many that grieve this week..and my heart aches for them. The death of their loved one was so selfish and senseless. I pray that they have learned (albeit the hard way) to cherish the family they have left. I pray they (and us) will always know and never forget...what's really important.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is a BEAST! You know her...John Connor's mom..The Terminator..etc.. ?? Its amazing watching the movies and the Sarah Connor Chronicles because she has dedicated her life to protect her son because of what he WILL do. She knows that he is called to be a "leader of the resistance" and so she risks it all to be sure that his life is protected at all costs. She had people in his life that ensured he learned what he needed to know to be the leader he had to be. She was always their to intervene to prevent as many stupid, immature moves on his part that she could that would cost him his destiny. She can shoot, she can build a bomb, she can fight. She is fierce, loaded and courageous!

I could use a gun. A big one... hmm, two of them actually with grenades and a nuclear war head, just in case. When I think about the magnificent things the Lord has in store for the Superfamily and the "terminators" that have tried to attach themselves to their lives I go into "Sarah Connor" mode. The terminators today aren't machines trying to shoot at them when they go to work. They are more the witchcraft on That's so Raven or the hidden pictures of skeletons and profanity stitched in clothing. Its the lyrics of the latest R & B songs and the hidden and blatant messages of videos. It's the starlet who wears tight and revealing clothing with large "do me hoops" with tattoos and piercings that they unwittingly try to imitate...slowly a little more cleavage here...a size smaller there...pants drooped just so far. Its the laziness and irresponsibilities in their classmates and peers that they feel that they are also entitled to.

Then begins the "fight" against these principalities.

Take those off, Pull those up, Too much junk food-eat fruit, Iron that shirt please, Sorry-You can't watch that, That's not appropriate, That's not how a young lady keeps her things, A young man should talk this way, You want that, well get a job first, Wrong under clothes for that outfit, get that out of your ears, That crowd isn't for you.

Now multiply all of those issues times 7 or 8 kids and then add in the fact that 1/2 of them aren't "yours" and you have a set up for difficult road to go. You want to jump in and help, guide, instruct and correct. With "yours' its not optional. John Connor had no choice-Sarah was his mom and he rebelled now and then but he trusted her and honored her by listening. With stepchildren..its sticky. Maybe it shouldn't be but it is. You feel your "Sarah Connor" coming out and then draw back out of fear that it won't be received or it will be misinterpreted. You see issues and things that need to be corrected to protect them for destiny and you ache to help but there's this "thing" that keeps you from pulling the guns out. In some cases, it feels easier to just let it go and let the "other parent" deal with it.

What's that "thing"...what's the fear. What's causing the lack of security in your authority? I don't know. I'll think about it. But for now -lock and load, fire at will... and I will continually pray that one day soon those bullets will include the terminators of my stepkids as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The "Wimp Report"

My daughter and I went to get dessert this past weekend at a nearby restaurant. As we indulged in WAAAAAAAY too much chocolate I noticed something caught my daughter’s eye behind me. Climbing on the outside of the window was the most hideous grasshopper you have ever seen. The window allowed us to see every facet of this insect. My daughter was mesmerized and I was repulsed.

Later on that evening, I thought about that grasshopper and how in the Bible when Israel’s spies were sent out to view the promise land they came back with a "wimp report". They mentioned that they (The Israeli Army) could not take over the land that was promised because there were giants in the land. They also said that they (the giants) viewed them at grasshoppers. Nowhere in the account did they mention that a giant said that to them or that they heard from anyone that that’s how the giants felt. They just assumed that they were viewed as icky grasshoppers because of how big and fierce they viewed the giants and how THEY viewed THEMSELVES. Their assumption and wimpy perspective kept them out of a promise. Those however who were courageous (Joshua and Caleb) eventually got the promise land and their children were blessed as well.

I recently had a “wimp report” moment. I had been invited a month or so ago to attend an open house for membership consideration for a very prestigious organization. At first, I was excited and ready to apply, interview and get started. As it drew closer and I begin to do research on the group, their projects and some of the incredible backgrounds and resources they have- I got intimidated. Thusly begin my “wimp report”. “They are going to look at me this way…I don’t have enough this…I don’t know that…I didn’t come from here…they must think I am someone else…I’m too short…I don’t have the right clothes…trust me, it was pitiful! But I went anyway (taking my daughter with me for moral support) and it was incredible. I was so welcomed and embraced, it was surreal. I even found out that the president and I work for the same company system. My thought about how they viewed me was totally unfounded and my icky grasshopper syndrome symptoms soon subsided.

Whining and Winning don’t mix. Joyce Meyer says you can be powerful or pitiful but you can’t be both. Regardless of the giant, I am NOT a grasshopper. I am learning to be more confident in who I am…and who I am not…and being ok with me either way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Unending Quest for Total World Domination

World domination is a goal of mine. It’s right up there with losing 10 pounds and traveling to Milan for fashion week. I’m sure it sounds lofty to some but I suppose that explaining what world domination is to me would help…My father in ministry used to tell us all the time about dominating YOUR world. He would say you are responsible for taking over and mastering of your domain and everything that encompasses your “world”. He’d say (imitating MLK) that if you are a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper the world has ever seen, Sweep streets so well that everyone who sees them will have to take notice and admire the excellence of your persistence and commitment.

So, in my world…”stepworld” do you become the best stepfamily there is? How do you measure it? How do you take over and restructure the thought patterns and perceptions of what the general world believes blended families to be? How do you get over the hurdles and heartaches to be an example? How do you dismiss the hurts and wade through the disappointment of what you thought your life would be versus what it actually is? In a word or two, “faith and persistence”. No matter what, keep believing and keep going.

Which brings me to my picture….Pinky and the Brain was one of my favorite cartoons. They were lab mice and Brain’s main purpose in life was total world domination. Every episode was a new feeble attempt at some strategy or plan to take over the world. Pinky, who was a tad less “alert” than Brain would usually be an unwilling accomplice to Brain’s projects and sometimes the cause of it going awry. But no matter how badly the plan failed, when they were put back in their cages- Brain never faltered. This exchange between them was the end of every episode.

Pinky: "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world."

So after every time a child displays crazy behavior, or treats another sibling badly, or disrespects the authority in the home we keep going. Every time I disappoint my spouse or he treats me poorly, we keep going. Every time lines are drawn in the day to day that display separatism rather than togetherness, we keep going. When you hear or see behavior that yells “you’re not my mom”, “or you’re not my dad”…”or she was better than you” or “you pale in comparison to him”…you keep on going. Draw back for a moment if you must, but regroup, strategize and pursue.

And when the enemy tries to get you to go in another direction and ask you….

So….Superfamily after all of this drama “what are you going to do tonight”?
We can boldly tell him...............

”The same thing we do every night, stupid-Try to take over the world.”

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another arrow shot...

Jay’s gone to school and I am back after a whirlwind 4-5 days of getting him outta here and set up in Oklahoma. It was work but it was it was smooth. Grace and Favor followed us around like a devoted puppy and he has already nailed one job and is looking for another for the weekends and the summer. The family that he is staying with is awesome. The pastors and teachers already love him and gave me their word that they would look out for him. The dean carved out some time of his schedule to meet with us just to see how he was, how he was adjusting and to give us some wisdoms on what to watch for and what to watch out for. It was invaluable! The pastor and his wife took some time to talk with us and took a picture with him. It was a great transition and we could not have done it without family. His biological family, his stepfamily, his church families (new and old) and his extended family all came together to encourage him, love on him and cheer him on.

That’s actually what family is of many things I guess. When you need them most (when you are dealing with a life changing moment) without fail-they are there. When someone dies, when you get married, when you get divorced, when you have a baby, when you go off to school, when you get your first house, when you lose your house, when you get seriously sick, when you are heartbroken, when you have good news, when you are depressed-true family is the tissue passing, hug having, pom-pom waving, protector (keeping away the stupid people) standing guard, praying, fasting and sometimes paying to help you to make it through the issue or live your dream.

At his open house, I watched and marveled at all of those that stopped by. My sister was there hours before it started and jumped in everywhere making it happen and stayed til' the bitter end. So did my mom and dad and brothers. It was amazing and heartwarming as well. There were some who had just gotten back from out of town who came. Some who had 3 other stops to make. Some who came when it was almost over. Some we didn't even expect. We had so much fun. We ate until we were stuffed. The smaller kids played while the older kids watched action movies. The adults laughed, ate and encouraged my husband and I. I was also humbled to see my husband’s family and kids chip in and help. They brought food, gifts and even helped cleaned up. Their very presence really blessed me and Jay as well. Eventually, we had the opportunity to pray over him and Jay had the chance to honor some people that came that meant alot to him.

We will miss him being around, he is one of many arrows that we are preparing and shooting off into the world. His decision to go to school, his tenacity, his diligence and hard work in making it happen affected all of us and we, as his family will never be the same. Rhema will never be the same with a student like Jay on campus and Oklahoma will never be the same having Jay out in the public and in the workforce…. And when he is sent out to the nations, the world will never be the same. Lift up Christ and get em’ saved Jay…that’s what’s up!!

The verse for the day on our blog is fitting for Jaivon and for our entire family...

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble...