Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Did you show him your bracelet?

I have been busy lately and putting my quiet time on the back burner. I don't know why I always end up doing this cause it gets me in a pickle every time. Do I really want to choose to have my day go off kilter? If I don't spend time with God and in his word it always happens.

When I say I have been busy lately, I mean REALLY busy. So much so that I stressed myself out and ended up in the emergency clinic with a pulled muscle in my neck that forced me to slow down. Ya know, God always has a way of sitting me down when I try to do things without him. Sometimes it doesn't have to be so drastic as a trip to the ER, it could just be a song on the radio or a conversation with my dear husband. I often find myself saying things to my children and then wondering if God feels that way about me. "I am tired of telling you the same things over and over and you still won't listen". "Be nice to your sister". "Use only sweet and kind words". "Let's try to look for the good in this situation".

I take to much on cause I want to do everything and then everything ends up going to hell in a handbasket, literally. The devil can get a hold on any situation that once brought you joy and totally mess it all up for you. Such was the situation for me this past Sunday.

One night a few months ago, I prayed that God would help me find a way to use my talents to glorify him. Just so happens there was a lady there that night looking for help with food for a class that was coming up in the fall. WOOHOO, I was so excited and planning and just couldn't wait. I was going to get to cook and give God the glory!!!

School started for the girls and then for me, and then the new midweek program started at church and life in general just started happening. College, third & first grade homework consumes much of our nights. Then there is cooking, laundry, house cleaning and the physical care for three little girls who in themselves can be a handful. But I was still excited about being able to do something I liked to do to help others. The first few weeks were a little stressful trying to figure out to best use of my time and how to make sure everything got done. We were chugging right along and then I started to get tired. Just physically tired. And that is when the devil started to see a crack to work his way into the situation.

Cooking for 35-45 people can be quite a venture for one person who has never done anything to this magnitude. Throw the fact that 10-15 of them are children and sheds a whole new light on things. Some kids don't eat jelly, some kids don't eat peanut butter, some kids don't eat mayo, you get the picture. I tried to keep the right attitude and do what I can to ensure everyone is happy when all the while I am thinking..."I am giving up time with my husband and children to do this. I could be at home on the couch in my pj's smelling my freshly bathed three year old's deliciously clean hair. This kinda sucks." And then God put this verse in my mind "Do all things in love". Which means washing dishes, putting up with differing opinions and saying the right things when being ridiculed. Wow, don't you hate it when He is so right and it makes you feel so small?

I decided I am gonna try to remember what Jesus would do. It sounds kind of trite and sometimes I think that phrase gets used to death for the wrong reasons. My favorite use of this ever is in the most recent Madea movie. Someone wrongs her daughter and Madea is hounding her to try to get revenge. When the daughter tries to confront the man in the right way, he is ugly to her and drives off. She is HOT! Madea then asks her, "Did you show him your bracelet?" It was too funny but also very true. You can't help what others do or what they say when you try to do the right thing, you can just SHOW what He would do. And you don't need a bracelet to show them who's you are!

(I know this post is dragging on FOREVAH, but there is a reason for it all, so bear with me and my, continuous, use, of, commas, !)

So, then a few days later I am confronted in a room full of people and asked if I was tired of hearing about what a bad job I am doing. I was embarrassed and ashamed thinking maybe they were right. But I know better. I am doing the best I can. And then in that split second, I WAS FURIOUS! How dare someone say that and embarrass me and who said that in the first place for her to repeat that to me? I said a couple of ugly things and then immediately tried to apologize for what I said. BUT, I was mad. Beyond mad. So mad that I gave my self the first migraine that I had in weeks. And I almost let it ruin my whole day. Then I tried to remember what Jesus would do. He would use the situation for good and God's glory.

The worldly Shelley wanted retaliation. The godly Shelley knew there was a lesson in all of this.

I decided this morning I was going to have to sit down and spend some time with the Lord to prepare myself for the next few days. I use the Journey devotional book for women that our church distributes to guide my studies on days when I am feeling less than inspired. Guess what I came across? A lesson on having a humble servant's heart. WOAH. God just slaps me in the face with his word ALL THE TIME! (Hence the name of this blog.)

I read Mark 10:44-45..."For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life-a ransom for many". True servanthood requires humility. Humility is something I need to work on. Being taken down a notch or two never hurt anyone. I went on to read Colossians 3:23-24 "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, AS TO THE LORD and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ".

Jesus had a servant's heart. He was ridiculed, mocked, beaten and then killed so that I could go to heaven one day. He did not complain about the job he was here to do, he just did it. No questions. Amazing.

So today I am praying for humility. To be willing to do what God and others ask of me with the right attitude. If Jesus can die for a low down dirty sinner like me, I can make someone a different sandwich with a smile. Thank you God for teaching me this lesson today and hopefully helping me to use this situation to help others who might me facing trials.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Honor & Joy

The sound of the water streaming from the shower is the music of the morning in our humble home. The smell of his soap, shampoo and shaving products waft through the air and bring a smile to my face. He is preparing himself to leave the shelter of our family to deal with the world for a few hours.

He didn't ask me to iron his shirt, I volunteered. The steam from the iron jumps up to touch my face, not too hot but a soothing warmth. Pride moves over me as I move the hot iron across fabric of the shirt. He works hard to provide for our family. God has given him a servant's heart for helping others. He is kind, generous with his love and loyal to a fault.

I hang the shirt on a hanger, button the top few buttons and smooth out the fabric. Thank you God for giving me this man to love. He is my best friend, my love, my partner and my comfort. Ironing his shirt is my honor. To help a man as good as this, my joy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blog Design Help

So, after 6 months of not posting on my blog, I suddenly have the urge to get "bloggy" with it. I would like to re-do my design a little and need some help. Where do those of you with super cool loking blogs, like Tara, get the cool page designs? If you don't care to email or FB me, that would be great!

I have a confession...I have become quite addicted to Facebook. I love the quickness of it and being able to "keep up" with old friends. I can see how it can be a good or a bad thing. My original intention was to use my FB page as a tool to witness, but I feel that I have failed at that. It ends up being a "what I did today" kind of thing, instead of a "what he did" kind of thing. ya know?

Any-hoo, hopefully I will get back on a roll here and have some really profound stuff to post before too long. Oh, and a little crafty stuff too. I am hoping to embark into the world of sewing before the girls head back to school. There may be only a few months left before SG boycotts anything that I might possibly make. You know what I mean.

Must go for now, there is a school assignment that is due tonight that I have not even started. That seems to be my M.O. One of these days, that is gonna catch up with me.

Hoping to have something good for you in the next couple of days...ttfn.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday = Suprise lunch with Janice!!!

Today Becca Boo went to MawMaw's for the day so I could work on my kids consignment sale stuff. I got a few things done and piddled on the computer for a while when Sarah Grace called and said that she forgot her glasses this am. I ran to school and took her the glasses and thought I would run in Walmart to look for stuff to make some homemade laundry detergent. (I know, another off the wall project! But I added up the $ that we are spending a year on detergent and it would be enough to buy the kids a NICE swingset. I will let you know how it works out!)

Wondering through the health and beauty aides, I decided I needed a buggy for all my junk. Guess who I ran into when I got my third attempt to find a buggy that did not sound like it had a flat tire? Janice Hardiman and her sweet mother all the way from Leoma, TN! It was totally a God thing because I had already thought about making the yummy chicken salad that we use to eat at Claunch's together all the time. It made me think of her and really miss all our talks together.

We ended up getting to go to our favorite lunching place and it was so nice, we got to sit outside and see and listen to the geese at Spring Park http://www.tuscumbiarailway.com/ while we were eating. It was so much fun! A true blessing thank I am so thankful for!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pointers and prayers requested!

With all the exciting changes going on in our lives as a family, I really feel that God is leading me to share my testimony with our church. He seems to keep pointing this out to me in various ways but I am VERY nervous! We attend a large church in Muscle Shoals that has three morning services. It is quite large but we have gotten involved with teaching in the preschool department and have met several people.

The very idea of getting up in front of such a large group three different times in one day is enough to make me toss my cookies! Now don't get me wrong, anyone that knows me knows that I love to talk but WOAH, that's a lot of people at one time!

This morning I called and talked to our sweet pastor, Bro. Ted and shared with him that God has really laid this on my heart. He offered a new and exciting way to share my testimony. He asked if I would be interested in video taping it. This would majorly cut down on the upchuck factor! The only thing is that I would have to agree to sharing it with the local Baptist association. If approved, it could be used at other area churches and events. This is very thrilling and nerve-racking at the same time!

I would like to use the approach of the Proverbs 31 woman to witness to other women and mothers. While studying for the small devotional I led back in September at the scrapping booking retreat, I read on from Proverbs into Ecclesiastes. I was able to read God's word and see that when we try to do things without God our attempts are futile and we will end up "hating life".

Three years ago, I tried to make a way to be at home with my children that made me have to change my beliefs and I made the change without God. It was really awful and led to alot of broken relationships, pain and awkwardness. I was MISERABLE! I ended up putting my family in a financial bind and having to go back to my old job.

In the last year and a half since being saved, I have tried to become closer to God and let him lead my steps. I feel his presence in my life on a daily basis. He has given me such joy and now, the desire of my heart...to be home with my girls. I really feel the need to share this with others. God is in control. He may not answer prayers how you want and when you want, but he hears them. You have to be patient and faithful to him.

So, getting back to the video, I need some pointers from others that may have done something like this before. I want to be honest and sincere but express the passion that I feel inside. All in 5-8 minutes! Please email me srjpepper@yahoo.com with any advice you can offer. Also, any prayers that you could send up on my behalf would be greatly appreciated!

Now, I gotta go! Must run to the post office and take Derek's work shirts to the cleaners before I go get Becca-Boo! (...she does him good, all the days of her life!!!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lots of stuff going on...

Hello out there to anyone that hasn't totally given up on me and this blog thing!

Hope you all had a fun and peaceful Christmas and New Year. We had lots of down time due to my Mom's emergency gall bladder surgery. Praise God it wasn't the heart attack that they originally thought she was having. Just a little too many Krispy Kreme's and a gallstone stuck in her bile duct! OUCH!

We have had quite an eventful first few weeks of the year. Becca and Darby both had birthdays, three and six respectively...

Everyone is back in school now, including me! Becca is now enrolled in a small 1/2 day program two days a week and loving it! One day when Derek dropped her off the teacher asked if she was ready to do karate! As you can see from the picture, she needs no help with the sassiness and I am not sure karate it going to make that situation any better for us in the discipline department! HAHA

On the days that Becca is in school, so am I. God has really shown his power to us in the last few months. He has made it possible for me to return to school at no cost and worked everything out schedule-wise too!

Monday and Wednesdays I have morning and night classes. I get out 2 1/2 hours before Becca does and can run errands, do homework or goof off sweetie-free during that time. (Call me if you want to do lunch!) Derek is coming home 30 minutes earlier on these days also so we do not incur any additional childcare costs. I try to have baths and dinner done before he gets in so we can eat a quick bite all together and then I can jet!

All of my classes are early childhood education based this semester and very interesting. Class time seems to go by too fast because of all the neat stuff I am learning. It is tons of fun and beneficial in to my mothering also. In my creative arts for children class we made colored rice. I brought it home thinking that the girls would not be interested and it would end up in the trash. Boy was I wrong! There is now multi-colored rice all over my kitchen floor but it can be easily swept up. The peace and quiet that small bag of rice has provided for me is worth WAY more than the $1 that it cost! All three play for hours scooping it up with spoons, squishing it in their hands and pouring it from one cup to another. It is really a great rainy or too cold day project!

Here is the "recipe" for those of you that are interested:

Colored Rice

1 bag white or brown rice (Colors will be more bold with white rice)

Food coloring (a few drops will do)

1 cap rubbing alcohol

Place rice and alcohol in bag and add food coloring sparingly. Squish around to ensure that color is evenly distributed on all grains of rice.

Be prepared to get the food coloring on your hands. No matter how careful I am, I always end up with multi-colored fingers too! It will wear off over time, doing dishes seems to help!

Gotta run for now. The sweeties are at MawGrand's house spending the night and Derek and I both have homework to do. Tax stuff for him and summarizing an article on infant brain development for me! The sad part about it is, we both really enjoy these things! We are such geeks!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas in Dixie

My dad loves that song. As a matter of fact, he loves just about anything from the group Alabama. The verses of this song came to mind with the events of the last 24 hours. We have snow in Alabama on the 11th of December. Can you believe it? I have a feeling it is going to be a very cold winter.

Lots of inspiration for some frosty photography......