Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sisters' Trip

The view from our balcony.

Christy had a conference in Nashville at the Gaylord last week and asked if Cathy and I would like to go along. We said yes. We had such a good, restful time. The place was absolutely beautiful. It is like walking into the rain forest, with all kinds of plants, trees, and waterfalls. We saw on the map of the place about the "Magnolia Canopy" so we set out to find it. I was going to take a picture so my girls could see what they had read about when we studied the rain forest. We looked everywhere for it and finally rounded a corner and it took all of us a minute to take it in. The canopy on the map was actually a green canopy shade over the entrance into the Magnolia section of the hotel! We laughed till we cried. The laughing went on the whole time we were there. It was so fun.

The only stress came on the flight home. We were going through security in Nashville where they took awhile looking through the machine at my purse. The security lady asked me to step over to a desk and started going through my purse. She pulled out my daddy's pocket knife. I wasn't scared or anything, I just didn't want to give up the knife. Then she pulled out a screw driver. I know, I know, if I remembered it was in there I might have taken it out. When she pulled that out I could feel the blood drain from my face. I thought that I might be in trouble. Then she pulled out my little lighter. My knees started feeling a bit weak. Then she pulled out my matches. I thought I might never see my family again. Explanation for knife: it was daddy's and I might need it sometime. For the screwdriver: it looks antique, it's really cute and I might need it sometime. The lighter: it was in the shape of a little handbag. I saw it in a truck stop and it was so cute I thought I would put it in my purse in case I might need it sometime. The matches: I tell girls in our marriage retreats to plan surprise rendezvous with their hubbies. Keep candles and matches handy because you might need them sometime. The sad thing about the whole thing is that I forgot all that was even in my purse! Needless to say, I was very very glad to land in Dallas Texas.

Thank you, Christy, for inviting us and making your birthday trip so fun. Thank you, Cathy, for the restful days of reading magazines and walking the mall. I love you guys very much.

To get the photos of us together, we took two photos and switched taking the picture then cloned one of us into the best one. Pretty fun.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monty and Cathy

When we were in Midland for the wedding, we went to Centennial Plaza to snap a few pictures of Cathy's family with their newest member. This family makes fun out of every get-together. They enjoy each other.

Cathy and Monty have been married 28 years and they grow more in love every year. They raised their kids to love and serve the Lord. The best thing they have done is to live by example. They've never really had to tell their kids how to live, they just showed them. Kent is their oldest and lives in Midland. Cole and Lynn just married and they also live in Midland,. Kimberly is married to Chris and they live in Bryan. So fun to watch the family grow. So fun to see the joy. What a legacy of love.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Imperishable Beauty

When we were in west Texas for the wedding, I told Cathy I wanted to buy me some spanx. She had an extra pair so I threw them in my suitcase and took them to Midland. They worked pretty good. For you who don't know, spanx is what the virtuous woman made and sold in verse 24 of Proverbs 31. I don't know if hers went half way down your thighs and all the way up to your armpits - or at least almost, or if they came in skin tone so there would be no obvious clue of your secret, but I do know she sold them. If it was good enough for the virtuous woman, it was good enough for me.

I gave them no thought until last week when I was at Mom's getting ready for my journey to the retreat for some young women from West Texas A&M. I had already dolled up my hair as much as I knew how to doll up, so I pulled the spanx out of the suitcase that had never been unpacked from the previous journey. Word of warning: when you are ready to put them on stand by a bed or couch or something bigger than you - just in case. See, on the inside around the bottom of each leg somebody piped a stream of rubber cement so that when it was in place it would stay there and not ride up to the nearest crevice. Because of that, your foot won't just go in and plant itself on the floor ready for the other foot's trip. It sticks to the rubber cement. It happens so fast that the message doesn't reached your brain before your other leg realizes it is still the only method of support for your whatever-pound body. The reason for the couch or bed. You wouldn't have as far to fall. I wrestled around trying to get my stuck leg out, starting to hyper-ventilate because I'm a tad claustrophic, all the while Prissy the little poodle is barking the bows right out of her ears. I finally get the leg released, sit on the couch and check my carotid pulse until it comes back down to resting rate, and hear in my head "Carol, what are you doing?" I'm about to go teach these young women I Peter 3:4, how our beauty is not to come from outward adornment, but from a meek and quiet spirit, so very valuable to God. This beauty from our hearts that is truly imperishable beauty. I put the spanx back in the suitcase, knowing that those girls were supposed to see all of me the way I am.

I prayed over this retreat for weeks. About two and a half weeks before the retreat God confirmed that I was supposed to go to that scripture. That is all He gave me. That one scripture to fill up about 4 hours of teaching. I looked up the definition for meek and it said "fully trusting in the Lord; not fighting His plan; complete humility". I decided in that first session to share the verse and take them to a couple of other places where Jesus stood up and defended the sinful women who had come to him. I wanted the girls to see WHY we could fully trust, not fight His plan, and be completely humble before Him.

I got to the retreat place, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Lake Meridith, about 45 minutes before the group arrived. I unloaded the van and went into the room I would be sharing with Sherri and felt like God was calling me to get on my face before Him. Actually I don't know if He was calling or I was just that desperate to know what to teach. I laid down on this beautiful bear-skin rug and began to pray. I heard something downstairs so I got up to close the door because I knew I wasn't done. As I was heading back to the rug, I felt in my heart that He was wanting me on the hard wood floor. Not the comfortable rug. I hadn't been down there a few seconds until my heart knew what He was doing. The last few weeks He had been teaching me the truest form of meekness. This retreat was not to be my agenda, my plans. It was to be His and His alone. He didn't give me what I was supposed to teach, because He was going to teach. I had to fully trust Him in complete humility to speak to the hearts of these precious girls. And to me.

Those girls didn't come to hear from a former Second Runner Up - Miss Yoakum County (judges didn't consider a pom pom routine "talent"). Hehe. They came to hear from the One Who would be the Lover of their soul, their Comfortor, their Peace, their Daddy, their Defender. We all needed Him. He didn't let us down.