W-O-R-D of the Day

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G-O-U-C-H:  as in “Guy Couch”

It’s where you sit while waiting for your wife at the mall. 🙂

gouch

In our family, we call it the “Man Bench”…..

Those are the hard benches for sitting and waiting when there is no couch.

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Cajun Classics

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The State Police Roadblock

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux was drivin’ down duh levee de udda dey engagin’ in they favorite pastime, drinkin’ beer. As they round duh turn, dey saw a State Police roadblock ahead, and Thibodeaux him, he says, “Boudreaux, if dem Troopers see us wid dis beer, dey gonna bust us.”

Boudreaux tells him, “Don’t worry Thib, we’ll just pull over right dere, finish our beers, peel de labels off de bottles, and stick dem on our foreheads, and throw de empty bottles in de ditch. Dey ain’t gonna know nuttin'”. Thibodeaux says, “Mais what dat’s gonna do ?” Boudreaux tells him, “You jus’ be quiet, an’ let me do de talkin’ .”

trooper road blockWhen they drive up to the roadblock, the first ting the Trooper asks is, “Hey! You fellas been drinkin’?” Boudreaux, pointing to his forehead, says, “Oh, no suh. We used to do dat, but now we on de patch !”

When the Kids were Little – “Bobby Solves A Mystery”

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Bobby Solves A Mystery

Back in the late 80’s I was a single mom with 4 children. The oldest was 16 year old Nicole, then there was 11 year old Elizabeth, 9 year old Bobby, and my newborn at the time, Lauren.

Needless to say, my hands were full. – My hands, my lap, my brain, my feet, my back, EVERYTHING was FULL.  Most days, I was turning every which way but loose! And the children knew it too – the little boogers.

We lived in a small apartment at the time, and the grocery store was right behind the apartment within walking distance.  There were times when I was not able to run to the store for every little thing because of the baby and all of the commotion that goes along with that plus raising the other three.  So, I’d let the oldest child, Nicole, take her two younger siblings with her to pick up little odds and ends.

brach's pick a mix

Does anyone remember the Brach’s Candies that you could buy (by the pound) in the grocery store?  You could just walk up to the open bins, grab a handful of different candies, weigh them, and then bring them to the counter for check out?  Some of the bins even had a little metal box with a slit at the top so you could drop a nickel in if you just wanted one piece? Yes, you did have to pay for them.

One day, I began to notice empty candy wrappers around the house.  At first I didn’t think anything of it; who had time to think anyway?  But as time went by, I began to find more wrappers. I wondered, “Where is all of this coming from?”  I thought, “Could the kids be getting this candy at school or something?  Maybe from someone in the neighborhood?  They did have a few friends in our apartment complex. Maybe they were getting it from them?”  I knew that I had not bought any candy like that.

So one day I asked my oldest daughter, “Nik, do you know anything about this candy? I’m finding empty candy wrappers all over the house?”  She replied, “No mam!”  I asked my middle daughter, “Liz, I’ve been finding these candy wrappers all over the house, are these yours?’ “No mam.”  I ask Liz again, “Do you know where they come from?”  Liz said, “Nope.” I thought to myself, “Hmmm.”

So little Bobby comes home from school and I ask Bobby, “Bobby do these candies belong to you?” And in his little high pitched voice, he quite happily said, “Uh huh!”  I said, “Where did you get the money for these?” He replied, “Nikki said they were free!  She said that they were “samples”, and that the people at the store WANTED us to try them to see if we liked them!  We got some for her too!”

Case of the empty candy wrappers solved by my little genius, Bobby (from that day forward referred to as, “you little tattle tale!”).

The joys of motherhood 😉

When the kids were little……

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The Children Make Breakfast in Bed

Innnnnnn…. the Yellow Bowl

The BIG – Yellow Bowl

tupperware

One Saturday morning while the hubby and I were “sleeping in”, it suddenly became apparent that the house was way too quiet. With 3 very active children under the age of 9, THIS was something to be concerned about.

We woke up just in time to see the door to our bedroom slowly open. All three children marched in, pushing each other this way and that. Each one trying to get ahead of the other as we hear them shout, “Stop!  Slow down!  No! You’re gonna spill it!  Wait!  Me first! Mommy, make him wait!”

With bated breath we watched the tussle continue, as our three little darlings in pajamas clung on to that same 1 tray, each one refusing to give way to the other. We braced ourselves as they struggled to make it to our bed with our breakfast.

“Oh yay!” we clapped!  A breakfast tray! (…….. with… some… super liquidy… something that may or may not be landing in our lap at any moment!)  Uh, ok, ok!  Yay!!

At this point, things were beginning to spilling a bit.  It was all I could do to NOT jump into the middle of a precarious balancing act with this 1 liquidy tray of ‘something’, so they could finish their surprise.  I was doing my absolute best to act happy and delighted, when the only thought repeatedly going through my mind was, “Not on my carpet, not on my carpet, not on my carpet”.

These precious babies made us our very own special breakfast in one – one of the BIG BIGGEST “family size” yellow Tupperware nesting bowls (from the 70’s) that we had. We could now see that it was full to the brim with Cheerios and milk.  Ok ok, the truth is……IT WAS AN ENTIRE BOX OF CHEERIOS AND A HALF GALLON OF MILK IN THAT BOWL!!!

Calming down, and now, trying so hard not to laugh, we hugged them and thanked them (balanced that tray), and raved about what a nice surprise this was for us. It was SO cute to see the pride and joy on their little faces about what they had just done. As we took our breakfast tray and sat it between us, they happily ran off to play.

After they ran off, with proud parent smiles on our faces, we began to dig into our breakfast.  As we simultaneously put our spoons down into the bowl, what do you think we pulled out but an entire WHOLE Banana!  We just busted out laughing, and now WE were the ones about to spill the tray!

As we were laughing, I thought, “Well, at least they peeled it first!”

Best breakfast EVAR 🙂

Let Your Light Shine

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Today, I just want to encourage you to let  your light shine. I don’t care where you are or who you are with at the time. If you have a light (the Spirit of God within you), don’t dim your light just to be liked by someone else, or out of fear of repercussion from someone else, or for ANY reason whatsoever. This is the main point that I want to make here, and, if you would like to hear my story in its entirety, feel free to keep reading.

let your light shine

I am not afraid to share my faith or the fact that I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I can speak about how much He does for me and how grateful I am to Him. I can say the name of Jesus and I am happy that he is my Daddy in Heaven. I can talk about how He healed me. I can talk about how He has brought me back from near suicide. I can and do talk about Him all the time. This is about me, and I always feel free to share that part of me especially if it has to do with ME! He is a big part of my life and my story.

At the same time, I never push my beliefs ‘down the throats’ of others. ‘Around some people’, I can discern that it would be better for me to just let them see the Jesus in me instead of “telling” them about Jesus. Sometimes I feel it’s best to just let my light shine and cause others to want to know what that light is all about.  It just can’t help but come out of me because of “Who’s” I am. I am happy to be me, and I love what God is doing in my life. However, there are some people who are “offended” or bothered by people like me.

I go to a place of healing 4 times a week to promote healing within myself for all of the trauma that I have been through in my life, (especially the last year and a half). At this healing place, for whatever reason, I have been under “attack” by another person (let’s just call her Sally, and if your name is Sally, please forgive me). This has been going on all morning, 4 days a week, for at least the last 6 weeks – and sometimes multiple times in one morning!

If I had a choice in the matter, I would absolutely not surround myself by people like Sally, whom I believe to be extremely “toxic”. But in this particular situation, I needed to be there for myself, and it was not my choice as to whoever else was at this healing place as well.

The first time I met Sally, her spirit felt very dark to me. I didn’t like it, but I knew that the darkness I was feeling was about her, not about me. I didn’t know what this was about, and I don’t judge, so I just let it be. I just made sure that I sat as far away from Sally as I could at this huge conference table. Every single day, for no apparent reason, I got dirty looks from Sally. I got snide remarks. I got murmurs under her breath, and peppered with questions. I received tons of unsolicited advice, I was invalidated, and I frequently got my boundaries trampled by Sally. Sally was large in stature and extremely opinionated. Honestly, I was quite intimidated by and scared of Sally, and I did not like it.

When Sally (for whatever reason) got upset with me (usually because of something I shared about myself), her eyes literally bulged out of her head like they were drilling a hole through me.  Each day I became more and more miserable, and even began to skip sessions because of it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was pretty much being bullied by her. It didn’t seem to matter what I said; Sally was sure to be angry at me.

Sally was new to me. I had not yet figured out what Sally was all about, and again, I don’t judge. My dilemma was that, although it upset me very much, I did not know how to respond to her with love and compassion, in a kind Christian way. I’ll just be honest. I was too busy thinking about how I really just wanted to…..well, let’s just say, I was NOT thinking good thoughts about Sally. At all. I was having trouble standing up for myself while I was feeling hurt and sniped at by her.

I’m still dealing with trauma, grief, anxiety, and PTSD. I am vulnerable – some days more than others. This made it even more difficult for me to deal with this situation.

As I “privately” worked through my issues with Sally, I became stronger, and I learned how to set boundaries with folks like Sally. Even still, when I was about ready to stand up to Sally, those scary eyeballs came out, and I’d go right back into my shell. I was getting SO tired of being too fearful of standing up to her. I would ask myself, “What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I just tell her to stop! This hurts!”

Here’s the thing. Pain is good sometimes because “pain” can be a GREAT motivator. Day in and day out, I just became more and more motivated to conquer this beast of a problem, which was, not letting Sally keep me from letting my light shine. But, I just didn’t feel strong enough quite yet.

I kept practicing learning about boundaries, setting boundaries (first with safe people), and just letting other people be who they are without making it about me.

I’d tell myself, “Today is the day. Today, you are going to speak your truth no matter WHAT Sally says or thinks about it. “You CAN do this.” I kept praying, practicing (on safe people), and learning.

Then one day, Sally completely invalidated me one last time, and I had just HAD IT. I opened my mouth, and a boundary came out!  I spoke my truth and there was nothing Sally could do about it. She looked down fuming. If smoke had a color, I likely would have been able to see it coming out of her ears. My palms were sweating like nobody’s business. My knees were knocking together. My thoughts were racing. And then…..nothing. Nothing bad happened. I was ok! I survived! I set a boundary and I didn’t die.

In fact, something very very good happened. I had now learned how to stand up and not shy away. My light was shining again! “SUCCESS! I stated my boundaries! I put it out there! I did it! This is awesome!” “NOW Sally will have a whole new respect for me!” I was SO happy with myself and all the hard work I had done.

As it turns out, just because you set a boundary, it doesn’t mean that people will respect them. Little did I know the real TEST was coming. Sally continued to push my boundaries over and over and over. AND she seemed to take pleasure in doing it! I mean she would literally smile when she delivered the next blow!

But you know what, I got better and better and better at taking care of myself. Sally had now become (of all things) my teacher. I was shocked that I was now actually very grateful for Sally. I was grateful because as hurtful as Sally’s behavior was, it caused me to dig deep – real deep. I had it in me all the while, I just didn’t know it. God was letting me learn a lesson that would serve me well for the rest of my life. So, never shy away from a challenge because God has your back. He just might be trying to teach you something.

Not long after having several “successful moments” with Sally, I started getting this feeling that I should stop talking about God in my life. What was this about? No one ever told me that it was a problem in this particular forum, but I just felt it in the room. It was palpable. You see, my spirit (the Jesus in me) was picking up on the darkness, and that is why I was feeling a little uneasy about including Jesus in my story. Again, fear had reared it’s ugly head.

Soon thereafter, Sally demanded that her “need” from “the group” (me) was to “stop telling stories!” As you can imagine, internally, I was in a tailspin. What did she just say? Oh no she di-int! This time, I stayed the course and told my “stories” anyway. That was part of the process. We were ALL there to tell our story. It was obvious that Sally did NOT like this one bit. She pitched all kinds of fits and went into the most passive aggressive behavior I had ever seen. I stayed the course.

I guess Sally finally had enough and announced to the group that she was not comfortable with “people” (me) using the word “God”. She said, “I feel bullied! I am the minority in this group and in the world! I feel like an outcast! This isn’t right, and it should NOT be allowed in this group!” Sally burst out with, “I’m an atheist! I don’t like having God shoved down my throat! I don’t believe in God. For me, there IS no God! I don’t have a God! I don’t know why I should have to sit here and listen to all of this talk about God!”  (Really there was not that much talk about God). Keep in mind that Sally was constantly suicidal and without hope, (her words) miserable on a daily basis (her words). She said over and over, “I have no reason to live.” Then she found out that she had an abdominal aneurysm (her third), and was now afraid to die!

I told Sally that I didn’t judge her for being an atheist. I told her that even if a door knob was her higher power, I still would not judge her. I told her my story about having practiced Catholicism, then practicing nothing, then making God a woman because it wasn’t safe for me to think of Him as a man (past issues). I told her that I even tried to become a Buddhist at one point, simply looking for serenity in my life. I explained to her that for me, God knew that I would eventually find him, and Jesus is my God in my life now. I told Sally that I didn’t want to be judged for my beliefs anymore than she did for hers. FINALLY Sally backed off. Finally.

Today was Sally’s last day in the group. I wished her well and told her to just keep doing what she’s doing toward her healing (practicing what we have learned). She looked at me and said, “Cydnee you are the funniest person I know, and your girls are really missing out on something special.” Then she smiled at me. I thanked her so much and, I promise you, I almost cried. I then made a quick exit because I was so overwhelmed with the goodness of God, I was afraid the “ugly cry” might be coming and I was ready to go!

If you ever find yourself in a situation similar to mine, I encourage you to use it to practice becoming stronger, learn how to set boundaries for yourself, and work toward becoming strong at “being a light in a dark place”. You never know what God can do when you plant a seed – even the tiniest tiniest seed. Never, never, never be ashamed to let your light shine no matter WHO doesn’t like it. Be kind to others and just let it shine.

Stay the course, pray, listen, then act in a way that is pleasing to God.

God has your back and He loves seeing you try your best.

Let your light shine!

If you have a need – Sow a seed

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Do you have a need in your life that you want God to meet?

Any need – big or small?

I for one am not ashamed to admit that I have so many needs in my life. I have emotional needs, physical needs, needs for healing, spiritual needs, and family relationships. Some of you may have similar needs, and some may have very different needs. But, everyone has needs of one sort or another.

Have you ever heard of this?  If you have a need, sow a seed? I used this principle in my own life today. I knew that God would reward me because I know that we can’t out give God.

2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

When we face difficulties, it’s easy to become ingrown, to where all we think about is my problem, my illness, my hurt, my bills, or my loneliness. As long as we’re only focused on ourselves, we’ll get stuck where we are.  In our time of need, we have to learn to sow a seed.

The way to get what you want is by giving away what you need. If you need happiness, don’t sit around in self-pity, go out and make somebody else happy. God will use that “seed” to bring you happiness. (Sow happiness – reap happiness)

I realize that this goes against human nature, but when God sees you getting outside of yourself, when He sees you being good to somebody even though you’re struggling, that’s the seed God will use to bring a harvest back into your own life.

When you reach out to others, the seed you sow will come back to you.

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Every day, I have needs.  We all do (some more than others) but we all do.  God doesn’t care how big or how small, He wants to meet your every need.

Over the past week or so, I was made aware of the injustices being imposed on the Pastors in the Houston area by Mayor Annise Parker.  I wanted to help protect the Kingdom in any way that I could. Governor Mike Huckabee (a Christian), suggested that we all send the mayor a copy of the Bible. Listening to wise counsel, I did it.

Since Bobby died, I have not been able to leave the house except mostly for necessities, and that was only if Harold was not able to do it for me. I have been isolating due to the tremendous traumas that I suffered last year.

I am convinced that because of the prayers of others and prayers of my own, that God gave me the strength and courage to get out of the house today (feeling good all the while) to do something for Him.  I was so happy to do it.  It was good to feel good for a change. I wanted to sow a seed for my need.

While at the post office, as I was standing in line, I noticed that the young man in front of me had on a navy t-shirt with the number 68 on it. It stood out to me because that was Bobby’s Fire Station number.  I mustered up the courage to speak to him, and asked if he was a firefighter. He said no, that he was a police officer.

(I had promised myself since Bobby died that I would try to thank every single police officer, firefighter, and military service member that I see for the courageous work that they do.)

Then I noticed that Bobby’s name was on his sleeve. I mentioned to him that Bobby was my son. It turned out that this young man was the brother-in-law of the fiance of Anne Sullivan (the girl who died with Bobby in the fire). And the girl standing in front of this young police officer was the sister of Anne’s fiance Dan.  And this girl (Dan’s sister) is good friends with my daughter Nicole (who hasn’t spoken to me since Bobby died for I don’t know the reason to this day). And come to find out, my daughter Nicole, had sold this young police officer his (Station #68) t-shirt. AND he and I were wearing the same Station #68 bracelet!  Now what are the chances of THAT – in ALL of this humongous city of Houston?!?!

This young man began to tell me his story of that horrific day, May 31, 2013. He just happened to be with Anne’s (the deceased’s) husband driving down the freeway and saw the smoke from the fire. They knew that this could have been Anne’s station at the scene of the fire, so they headed toward the fire. As they were driving toward the fire, they got a call to go home immediately, that Anne had died in the fire.

This young police officer told me that he was witness to his brother-in-law becoming hysterical and his tremendous suffering on that day. He told me that he didn’t know what to do. He began to tell me how helpless he felt. I told him how sorry I was that he had to go through that situation and how I felt for him. I tried to reassure him that just being there for comfort was all he could have done. That really is all you can do.  I could tell that he really needed to say his story to someone. I was happy to listen, even though it was hard. I was able to share with him how I found out and he was able to hear me as well.

THEN the lady 3 people in front of me heard us talking, and said that she also knew Anne Sullivan personally. By this time I was in tears at the goodness of God, and I wasn’t even finished sewing my seed!! This lady came and gave me the biggest hug and told me she was sorry and that she would pray for me and she said, “God bless you, I’m so sorry”.

You see, God knew that this is a HUGE need that I have – for people to know my story and understand the grief that I feel on a pretty regular basis. Anne’s future sister-in-law and I were able to talk about how we still get triggered by different things, songs, something someone says, a particular place, a photo, and how our grief comes up all over again, like the very day that the accident happened. This sharing was once again another small piece to my healing – like a soothing gel that God poured over my still open wound. How great is He for that?

I can’t even count how many blessings I received just today (in one day!),  just by simply sowing a seed. I wasn’t even up to the post office counter yet, and God was blessing me more than I could even imagine – exceedingly and abundantly even more than I could ask or think.

If you have a need – sow a seed 🙂