Prengnacy and the Mother of Jesus

As I’m getting my insides rearranged by this 3-pound “head of cabbage” (that’s how my weekly update describes her size), the strangest thought crossed my mind…

How did Mary feel when she felt baby kicks from Jesus?

I actually had this thought around Easter, but since then I’ve pondered on it a little more.

First of all, she didn’t get the normal human experience of conceiving a baby.  But she still went through the normal human experience of pregnancy – hormone changes, body changes, emotional changes.  So, how did she feel when she felt those first tickles of baby moving around inside her?

I can only try to imagine the toll that cultural isolation had on her – with or without preggo mood swings.  But I can also imagine that once those baby tickles became more regular throughout the months, that she’d have a sense of peace and confidence regarding her position.  I mean, if ever there was someone who got to have physical evidence of their promise coming to pass on a daily basis, it was Mary.  (Sarah would fall into that category, as would Hannah).

The thought I had at Easter was more of what kind of memories did Mary hold on to when Jesus was being crucified.  Did the thought of that little baby kicking inside her and making her belly change shapes come back to her on that day or on the days after?

I have been told by mothers before me that you never forget those first memories of your baby moving around on the inside, and now I believe them (even if her favorite place to play is that nerve on my left hip that makes my leg tingle)!

Wedding Week – Sunday

Today is the first day of what I am calling Wedding Week!
My sister is getting married Saturday, July 9, and the forces are gathering to celebrate (and work hard to make her dream come true).
As I type this, I’m tethering wifi from Ken’s iPhone to my iPad as we drive down I-85. And the holiday weekend has shown up in fine style – exit 71 in NC and we’ve seen 8 State Patrol cars!
The car is packed with (hopefully) everything we need for he weekly festivities. Dresses and shoes and yoga pants and golf clubs and jewelry and cameras and every hair-styling tool I own – certainly I don’t need anything else!
When we arrive, we will be walking into the July 4th party my mom has planned – and it’s going to be an awesome start to a week full of fun and family. (I will add to this post as the more exciting events start happening)
By the end of our ride, we counted 21 State Troopers on the road.
Arrived, unpacked, hugged folks, then made broccoli slaw.
My dad’s parents came, and his two brothers, and the kids. Alex’s parents came as well. We had a total of 16 people in the pool at mom’s (video and photos to follow later this week). This was the big party mom planned, and other than the grill running out of gas in the middle of cooking hamburgers, all went well. Then Ken and Alex shot off the fireworks we brought and even got a standing-O from the neighbors!
It’s been a good day, now to sleep to prepare for tomorrow’s activities!

Father’s Day Memories

In honor of Father’s Day, i thought I’d share some fun memories I shared with my dad.

I was about 4 years old, dad was doing yard work and I was playing nearby.  On the far side of our driveway, there was a holly bush.  While I was playing,I found a holly leaf that I thoughts was just perfect! It wasn’t torn. It didn’t have any bug holes in it. And it had it’s stem attached.  I decided that I would give it to dad as a present.  But he was busy, so decided to put it in his back pocket so he could get it later.  Not much later, he starts yelling and spinning in circles, and finds my holly leaf in his pocket. I go running in the house crying “I was just trying to give daddy a present.”
Dad was the one who taught me about communion.  It was on a Sunday morning after church and we sat on the front row the first time I took communion (dad was also working on teaching me not to run in the sanctuary)!
When I would stay with dad to lock up the church after Sunday nights, he would hold me in his lap and let me “drive” home.  So glad I got more driving lessons before I had to really do it.  I told him one time “it’s not my fault the car doesn’t go straight even though I holding the steering wheel straight.”
I remember wanting to play little league baseball, but I didn’t want to be the only girl on a boy team (don’t think there was such a thing as girls’ little league softball back then).  I remember playing little league basketball and dad coaching my team (I wasn’t very good at that either).  I wanted to play tennis, didn’t make the team.  I later wanted to play soccer, but that wasn’t an American sport so, that didn’t work out either.  But even though my athletic abilities might have failed me, the sports knowledge I gained gets me responses like “you’re a girl, and you know that?!” to which I respond “my dad taught me.”
Dad drove half-way around Georgia for me to visit colleges.  And then drove 500 miles to help me find a good apartment when I started pharmacy school.
And at my wedding, he didn’t have to pull double-duty as pastor or coach, he just got to be dad.

Liberated

…where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

We had a great time on vacation – it was restful and relaxing and just plain fun.  But the last 2 days of our trip rocked my world.

We spent that time immersed in a culture that takes Jesus literally when he says “go and make disciples” and “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20).  They build communities based on discipleship.

The relationships that make up the communities are based on Matthew 10:13 – And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.

They refer to them as “persons of peace” – people that receive your peace, or people who accept and welcome you and your message (because according to verse 14 [AMP], the people who do not accept and welcome are obviously not of peace).

This was a new way of thinking about relationships, and at first I was discouraged because I could not think of a single person that would qualify as a “person of peace”. (Again, a person who accepts and welcomes me AND my message). Through the event, I got to share my story and hear stories similar to mine and began to be encouraged.  By the end, we had a guy pray for us.  Through him, God gave me permission to grieve that which was “dead”.  Later in the evening, during a conversation with another couple, I got permission to “bury” the dead.

At the end of the day event, we did an activity they called Leave Behind/Take Away.  They had two white boards – “Leave Behind” and “Take Away”.  We got 2 post-it notes to write one thing we would like to leave behind after the event, and one thing we would like to take away with us from the event.  Then we each had to get up and say (into a microphone) what we were leaving and taking, and stick the post-its on the boards.  Here’s my answers:

Leave behind – the desire to do church exactly the way my dad or granddaddy did and to have things back exactly like they were

Take away – a hunger to be a true disciple in a God-centered covenant relationship

To be honest, for a lot of people, it was just another embarrassing activity.

I’m sure I haven’t realized the full extent of what I left behind, but I believe I truly left it behind this time – and that’s liberating!

And even though I’ve only been home 2 days, I’ve buried the things I’ve grieved for, and grieving for the ones I was ignoring – and that is also liberating!

Since then, I’ve become aware of some “persons of peace” – they might not be right now, but may be in the future.  I’m even dreaming about people and about community and about true relationships that feel like family.

The truth is, I don’t think there was room for any of that before I “left behind” and emptied out some things.  I only have the capacity to hold on to so much, and then nothing else can fit.  And for me to hold what God was wanting to put in me and do with me, some things had to be purged out – I had to be liberated!

Brookgreen Gardens – Pictoblog

Brookgreen Gardens is the botanical gardens in Pawleys Island.  They were having an art show today, so we decided to check it out.  We saw some great art in the forms of paintings, jewelry, clocks, and pottery (to be respectful to the artists, no photographs were made).  But then we took a stroll around the garden…

We came across a couple sculptures that reminded me of two special artists I know, as well as the art they produce (some of you may be able to guess who, but I’ll tell you which is which).

This senorita reminded me of Vickie Bowman and the music she produces makes me want to dance like this sculpture.  (You can read her blog here)

If you can’t guess who this one is after learning the first… it probably just means you don’t know them personally.  This is Ann Bowman (Vickie’s twin sister).  I can picture her dancing like this, but I can also picture this dancing girl being depicted in her art (and if she doesn’t have a dancing girl and would like to paint this one, Ann, you’re welcome to it).  You can see some of her paintings here.

Marie:  Shooooweeee! There’s a snake in that hole!

Kenneth:  Where’s a snake?…Yep, there’s a snake.  You see that snake?

Ken:  Yep, I see that snake!

Cyn: The sign said there might be snakes…and to stay on the path.  That’s what happens when you get off the path.

Three-legged turtle

French Toast without the “French”

Saturdays, Summer days, and even some weeknights are some of the best times for family to get together to make and eat breakfast.

I remember when my mom would make pancakes and I would ask her to make all kinds of shapes out of the batter (Mickey Mouse was always the most successful).  Sometimes, she would make what we called “silver dollar” pancakes that were about 2.5 inches in diameter.  That made me feel like I was eating more.

When my grandmama would make pancakes, she would let the batter drip-drip-drip across the pan to make me “barbie-sized” pancakes that were small enough to float in the syrup on my plate.

Cheese toast was another one of my favorites.  Put one slice of cheese on one slice of white bread and put it in the toaster oven (not a pop-up toaster).  I would watch it and once the cheese started to puff up and bubble off the bread, I knew it was ready.

Whenever I would go stay with my grandparents, Grandmama would make French toast.  And I would always ask for my French toast to be made “without the French”.  As I got older, I would eat French toast with the “French”.  It wasn’t until I started cooking French toast for myself that I realized how silly French toast without the French was.  To breakdown French toast:  bread soaked in egg and fried in a pan.  French = egg, toast = bread.  So, I was basically eating bread toasted in a buttered pan – covered in syrup, of course!  (And don’t let the French toast sticks on the breakfast bar at Shoney’s or in the freezer section fool you.  They should be ashamed to call themselves French toast!)

Like most kids my age, we grew up on Pop Tarts and Eggo’s and Lucky Charms, but it’s the family-cooked breakfasts that makes the memories.

Did your family do anything special for breakfast?  Invent their own food or cooking style?  I’d love to hear your favorite breakfast memories!

Official NCAA Tourney Bracket

Ken convinced me to fill out a bracket this year – it didn’t take much arm-twisting.

Last night, I sat at Sonny’s BBQ and filled out my bracket based solely on my gut reaction.  When I got home, I got signed up on ESPN.com and read through the match-up stats to see if I wanted to change anything.

That’s when the drama started…

Per the stats, some of my match-ups should have been reversed.  But this is March Madness people – what do stats have to do with anything??

As I looked through my selections, the stats (and sports news) were telling me to put Duke in… but I just can’t!  If I did, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night!

Why, you ask?

It’s in my genes!  Why do you have green eyes?  I dunno, it’s in my genes.  Why do you act like your daddy? I dunno, it’s in my genes.  Why do you like the Redskins?  I dunno, it’s in my genes.  Why do you pull for UNC and hate Duke.  I dunno, it’s in my genes.

My genes will not let me write Duke in, even when all the evidence is screaming that they very well could be repeat champs. (Another reason why it is called March Madness, perhaps?)

So, here is my official (and final bracket)… the one that will let me sleep peacefully at night.