February 26, 2009


This guy was hanging around outside my window yesterday, so I thought I'd take his picture.

I debated waving hello. Then I almost walked up and put my mouth on the glass and blew my cheeks out. Considered starting a game of tic-tac-toe with an erasable marker. Thought about casually pointing "you missed a spot" or asking, sooo, what are you doing? Really wanted to turn around with wide eyes and frantically point to something behind him.

February 25, 2009


Many of you know the enormous (it feels enormous to me) struggle I'm facing now. . . . have been facing for a while, really. If you don't know the details, well, I'm facing an enormous struggle right now, have been for a while.

Several of the incredible people whom I've confided in and talked with over time have mentioned something about how strong I am, or how they don't know how I 'do it' or have lasted this long.

While it is nice and so so encouraging to hear those sentiments spoken by the people I love, I realized something about what they were saying.

It is not my strength.

I have this funny image that I often think of. It's me. Riding piggy-back. On God's back. On the beach. Sometimes He even jogs a little to make me giggle.

A couple of years ago, before I had any idea how long this road would be, and I thought I was at the end of my rope and there was no way I could go on, I thought of the Footprints in the Sand poem and how I was at a time in my life I needed God to carry me. But instead of being cradled in His arms like one might carry a baby, I saw myself clinging to His back.

I remember imagining the silly invitation: "Hop on girl! I'll carry you!" There's even a small East Texas twang so it sounds more like "Hawpon gerl!" As if we were about to compete in some raucous piggy-back race at a family reunion.

It is not my strength.

Since then, I'm pretty sure I've jumped down and walked beside Him on my own two feet. There were times I looked back to see my footprints had veered away from His. But His were always over there, a steady consistent path, usually near the water, sometimes walking on it. just kidding

But I've continued to imagine myself hopping on to be carried. Sometimes for long periods of time, sometimes for just an hour.

It is not my strength.

Focusing intentionally on my spiritual walk has caused me to understand more fully the Truth that I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) And that I would be nothing but a sad soggy pancake without Him.

All I have to do is turn to Him. Every time I ask, He gives me what I need. Patience, understanding, peace, sleep, clarity, shelter, relief, joy, hope, faith, a ride.

It is not my strength.


February 24, 2009


Happy Fat Tuesday and Happy National Pancake Day!

Mardi Gras and National Pancake Day have gone together for several centuries dating back to when the English prepped for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products...hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday.

I hope you celebrate and enjoy a pancake or two or seven!

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • blueberries to your heart's desire

    1. Whisk ingredients – lumps are ok!
    2. Cook on a hot skillet while singing You are My Sunshine, except change the words to You are My Pancake, my only pancake
    3. Enjoy every bite!
  • February 17, 2009


    This week has been kind of hard for me. I started to feel that old familiar spiritual laziness coming on. Like maybe I've taken the 'be still' part a little too far.

    I couldn't motivate myself to get out of bed thirty minutes early for quiet time. I let my conversation with God wane. I turned away in situations in which I should have immediately turned to Him. It was easier not to listen; easier to do it my way. And I started to feel guilty and discouraged because, Why can't I do this? Why do I fall so quickly? Why is it so hard for me to commit?

    But, then He shook me. While I was just sitting there being still, He grabbed me and said Get up, it's time to Move.

    That's when I realized what was happening.

    Satan is fighting hard for me.

    When I focus on God, Satan focuses on me. He preys on my weaknesses in a very real way. So much so that I can describe in detail his attacks of the past week. That may sound like a bunch of ballyhoo if you don't believe Satan is a real and powerful force. But I believe. I believe Satan schemes and breeds selfishness and ego, a need for power and control, judgment and self-righteousness. He will do anything to make me turn my back on God, to keep me from focusing on God and communion with Him.

    As always, my Father came to my rescue and said I better wise up to the enemy's tactics, lest he sink my battleship. (side note: Have I mentioned God's grace? That although I screw up, He still wants me?)

    I am reminded again that giving myself up completely is the only way to be saved. If I'm truly going to grow and walk this path with God for the rest of my life, I have to learn to be strong in my stand against Satan. Because Satan will never give up. But his attacks will be less effective once I truly put on the armor of God and rely solely on HIS strength, His word, His truth, His Peace. Not my own.

    Here's what I'm currently contemplating:
    The Armor of God
    10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
    Ephesians 6:10-18

    Goals from last week:
    • Get up every morning for quiet time before work. I think I covered this at the beginning of the post.
    • Seek a new verse to memorize and meditate on.
    • Continue reading The Practice of the Presence of God.

    Goals for this week:
    • Get up every morning for quiet time before work. - This would be the Move part
    • Contemplating Ephesians 6:10-18
    • Continue reading The Practice of the Presence of God.
    • C.S. Lewis has some interesting things to say about the giving up of self, I'll be looking through my books to recall his words of wisdom


    February 15, 2009


    Over a delicious steak dinner Friday night, Aaron and I realized we have been together for ten Valentine's Days. So we tried to remember the different things we've done to celebrate over the years.

    Our very first Valentine's Day together Aaron took me to see The Wizard of Oz...ON ICE. He must have been out of his mind in puppy love, because, oh my Toto, ON ICE!?

    And one year, he took me to see The Phantom of the Opera. I'm pretty sure he asked if I was ready to leave during intermission, very casually, you know, like "So? Are you ready to go?" As if we were watching a mediocre artist draw a sidewalk chalk mural, and there was really no need to stay 'til the end.

    And there was that year he showed up with a bag full of "little things that symbolize what I love about you." And y'all thought I was the cheese factory in this relationship. I can't remember what all was in the bag. It was just wacky little drugstore stuff like stickers and Lip Smackers. But I do remember he had a creative explanation for what each item meant.

    Since we've been married we've:

    1) I can't remember our first Valentine's as a married couple

    2) Aaron was out of town so I emailed him pictures of me and the dogs, stinkin' romantic I tell ya

    3) Went to the drive-through at Taco Bueno and rented a movie

    4) Had steak dinner at a fancy restaurant where we waited an hour past our reservation time to be seated at a table the size of a menu approximately three feet away from the next table the size of a menu, and had a very lovely time playing footsie, enjoying each other's company and conversation about the last ten years, how much butter was on my baked potato, and also the large number of hot young women dining with men seemingly twice their age.

    February 12, 2009


    Sadie is usually the dog who likes to be near you, but prefers her space. For instance, she'll curl up at the opposite end of the couch from where I'm sitting, while Scoop casually plops her entire body in my lap as though she doesn't notice I'm there. Sadie is content to find a spot on the bed near our feet, while Scoop is not satisfied until she has weaseled her way in between Aaron and me, at least half her body is on top of me and her nose is sufficiently buried in my neck.

    Sadie is more than willing to cuddle if you invite her over. But she is mostly low-maintenance and respects your space.

    Except during a thunderstorm. Like the storm that blew through the other night. The night that turned into the morning I had to get up before dawn.

    When it storms, Sadie suddenly needs to be as near to you as possible. More specifically, and strangely, as near to your head as possible. Which means she crawls her way up to my pillow, then wedges her body between my head and the headboard. Umm, did I mention Sadie is roughly the size of a five year old? Imagine a fifty pound, furry child with a tail curling up in an area the size of a pillow. A standard size pillow. Now add your head. I try to move her, but she is clearly determined to be in that spot, so there she remains.

    And she's panting. Panting so vigorously the whole bed shakes. It's kind of like being rocked to sleep. Only not.

    Every time it lightnings, it catches her attention and she turns to look out the window, then quickly snaps her head away as if to say "I didn't see you, Lightning! You can't thunder if I didn't see you!" But then it thunders anyway, and she shivers. A little quake to mimic the sound. A small body rumble.

    And for some reason she yawns repeatedly. I don't know if it's a reflex, maybe something to do with her ears and the atmospheric pressure of the storm? Each yawn is accompanied by a small human-like sound on the exhale.

    And the licking. Oh my slobber, the licking! Approximately every 6 seconds, so quick I don't have time to dodge, that doggy tongue strikes! My face, arm, hand, head, chin, hair, elbow, cheek, knuckle - whatever body part is currently exposed and not occupied wiping off the last lick. It's as if she licks me to make sure I'm okay in order to reassure herself that she's okay.

    Lick. Are you okay? Lick. I'm okay. Lick. Yawn. Okay, are you okay? Lick. Okay, I'm okay. Lick. Don't be scared. Lick. I'm not scared. Lick. Yawn. Quick! Look away from the lightning! Lick. Shiiivvverrr. Lick.

    February 11, 2009


    I never knew scraping left-over gravy out of a ten gallon pot could be the perfect start to a day.

    For about six months, my boss has been inviting me to join in serving breakfast to the homeless at his church. Once a week, a small group of volunteers led by Mamma June, prepares enough biscuits, gravy, fruit, toast, jelly and oatmeal to feed 150 people. Serving begins at 6:00 a.m. I finally accepted the invitation and thus rolled out of bed at 4:45 a.m. to start my day.

    As the newbie, I was given the highly coveted job of Biscuit Girl. Three per plate, then down the line to be smothered in Mamma June's gravy. Stationed at the first of the line, I was greeted with mostly grateful smiles, hearty good-mornings, how-are-yous and thank-yous.

    Being Biscuit Girl, I had the privilege of standing next to Dan, the expert gravy-ladler. Dan is a charming, grandfatherly man, probably in his 70's. He is there every Wednesday morning, and serves at other churches on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and some evenings. So these people who come to be fed, they know him. He greets many of them by name, asks about their families. He tells them he's glad to see them.

    And he means it.

    How must that feel to a person who does not have the means to feed himself? A person who more than likely slept on the ground outside, in a thunderstorm. How must it feel to start your day knowing someone is glad you showed up for breakfast? That someone would notice if you didn't. That someone is glad you came to take what he has to offer. Something you can't pay for. Someone you can't repay.


    In the past week, I've noticed my world taking a new shape. A re-framing of everything in the context of His word, His love and my love for Him. I've felt pushed to do things I didn't want to do, and learn through it. I've felt consoled by learning to talk to God in a new way. I've felt pulled towards things that feel purposeful. It is amazing to me what I see and what happens when I start listening.

    Goals from last week:
    • Be still and listen - This is what I've done most this week.
    • Get up every morning for quiet time before work - I failed miserably at this, but I'm not giving up; I've had quiet time, but I want to grow into consistently starting my day with some devoted time with God
    • Start reading The Practice of the Presence of God - this book is not what I expected, it is so much more in a much smaller package than I anticipated
    • Resist the urge to list ten more goals and instead focus on one thing at a time

    Goals for this week:
    • Get up every morning for quiet time before work.
    • Seek a new verse to memorize and meditate on.
    • Continue reading The Practice of the Presence of God.


    February 09, 2009


    I got to spend one last weekend in Florida with the Robertsons before they move back to Texas. (Yay for Texas!) It was a nice, low-key weekend enjoying the Florida sunshine and one rosy-cheeked little girl.

    I am amazed at how much Reid has grown and changed since we last played a month ago. She still sounds like a pterodactyl when she hollers, just like she did when she was a newborn. But it's a very happy pterodactyl. One excited by shiny things and squeaks and rattles. And very very ticklish. If you've never heard a pterodactyl giggle, you should go find you one and squeeze her little legs until she squinches her eyes closed and bursts into a laughing fit.

    Then go play dress up with her.

    February 03, 2009


    Last week, when I decided to approach my spiritual walk in a different way, I woke up the first morning and just laid in bed thinking, what today Lord? Where do you want me to start? What do you have to teach me?

    This is new for me. I usually would have turned to a daily devotional, began a study series on a specific book of the Bible or tried, again, to begin a Read the Bible in One Year program. I would have had in mind some areas I wanted to work on or things in my life I needed to pray about.

    But not that morning. Instead, I asked. I was trying to focus, listening hard, opening my mind, being very still and meditative. Then the dogs noticed my brain waves had changed from "asleep" to "awake," which is apparently their cue to jump on the bed and start licking me. I tried to ignore them and stay focused. After all, this was my time, and God was going to speak to me and I was determined to listen until He did! Ummm, have I mentioned I sometimes try to control things?

    After a minute or so, I gave in and crawled out from under the covers, much to the delight of two frisky puppies. As I was pulling on my Uggs, it crossed my mind. DEUTERONOMY. Say what? DEUTERONOMY.

    [shrug] Not exactly what I was expecting. But, okay.

    After the dogs were outside where they were only slightly less distracting, I started skimming through the book of Deuteronomy, looking for something to catch my eye or tug at my heart.

    Six chapters in, it did: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

    Yeah, yeah. I recognize that one... keep going. Though, as I continued through the book, I found myself flipping back over to 6:5. There was something about the simplicity and familiarity.

    Ah yes. I remember. Slooooww dooown. Get back to the basics.

    Maybe I've not yet learned to really love my God. I know I believe in Him. I trust Him. I rely on Him, pray to Him, praise Him, seek Him. But do I really really know what it is to love Him? With all my heart and soul and strength? Have I ever really gone that deep? Or have I only known Him on the surface?

    This week I've been thinking about this verse and these questions. I've been thinking about how this journey will lead me to a complete and fully committed love for my Savior, and what that might feel like. How the beginning may be understanding what is the goal: To love, revere, obey, serve and commit to my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.

    Goals for the week:
  • Be still and listen
  • Get up every morning for quiet time before work
  • Start reading The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Resist the urge to list ten more goals and instead focus on one thing at a time

  • February 02, 2009


    Selah is a Hebrew word that is used to signify the pause at the end of a line of a hymn before the next line begins. It is a moment for waiting and gathering, an instant of suspended alertness that shapes what is to come.

    I've been inspired and encouraged by an old friend to start writing about my spiritual journey, such that it is. Which, honestly, has been scattered and sporadic, disjointed and overwhelming, and not always fully committed. I try. I'm always trying. But I realized that one of my biggest obstacles has been that I try to take in everything rightthissecond Iwanttobecompleteandmature and knoweverything and memorizeandpractice and walkthewalk and readeverybook and prayeveryprayer Right. Now. So every time I start a focused spiritual search, I get excited and, well, my brain eventually turns to skittles. I try to shove too much in to a small space. I miss important things. I lose focus. I get lost in the process. I don't know where I am or where to go next. I try to control it.

    This old friend, our paths crossed again. . . I can not even say how I felt when I figured out why. Reading her words. . . I blinked, and breathed. . . that's it, I thought, slooooowww doooowwn. I don't have to Get It All this week. Just Stop. and Listen. This will be a lifelong journey. It is meant to be a lifelong journey.

    I'm not exactly sure what direction these posts will take (or this journey for that matter), but I'm hoping that, as my friend puts it, this form of accountability will help me be more intentional about my seeking. I have to think about what I write; which means - I'll have to think about what I write.

    Regular nonsense posting will continue, of course. Bussey World is not complete without a little nonsense now and then.