Monday, December 05, 2016

Gladness of All Time

I have been reading and listening to a bible study on gladness.

The word "gladden" in Hebrew is the word "samach."

It means to rejoice, be glad.

There are several verses in the bible that speaks of some version of the word glad.

Sometimes it's mentioned along with the word heart.

"Therefore my heart is glad…" 
(Psalm 16:9 & Acts 2:26)

"… to gladden the heart of man" 
(Psalm 104:14-15)

Other times it stands on its own.

"For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;  I sing for joy at the works of your hands."
 (Psalm 92:4)

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
(Psalm 118:24)

The phrase we think of at Christmas the most, "glad tidings," means to "tell good news" or "preach the gospel."

We sing about it in "Angels We Have Heard on High" 
and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

The word "tidings" means news.

It needs the word "glad" to make it good news.

We sing of tidings of comfort and joy in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

I know I've sang that song a million times but it struck me hearing the lyrics of comfort and joy.

It really was news at that time.

And still is today.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came,
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay,
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace,
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

What a gift. The gift of gladness. The gift of comfort. The gift of joy.
This gift can be given to us in the midst of mourning.
This gift can be given to us in the midst of discouragement.

Believe me, I know what it's like to be "struck" 
with the funny of something in the most inopportune times.

This study of gladness revealed that sometimes it's that gladness in the midst of sadness or madness that is not only our push to help us through, but encouragement to someone else who is watching.
Beth Moore put it like this:
"There may be no greater, more visible and conspicuous gift we believers have to give in this world full of sadness 
than the hope of our gladness."

It's that gift that helps us laugh at a memory while we grieve.
It's that gift that keeps us smiling instead of sinking into bitterness or despair over our circumstances.

But it's a gift we have to unwrap.

Haven't we all seen or felt ourselves, 

the pushing away of the gift of gladness in the midst of sorrow 

because, 
well, 
it felt out of place?

Inappropriate 
or disrespectful
almost?

Leave it to the world to make gladness and joy a negative.

That Hebrew word "samach" that means gladden is also the same origin for the word "gloat."
Gloat is just an arrogant version of gladness.
It's used in Micah 7:8-10:
"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be my light.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame."

But God never intended our enemy to gloat over us.
To be so glad that we are not enjoying our gift of gladness that we give the devil the last word.
The gloat.

And nothing makes the devil smirk more 
than when we bypass the gift of gladness 
in our sadness.
God meant for us to gloat over our enemy.

It we don't choose gladness, the devil will. 
Don't let him gloat in the gladness of 
keeping us from gloating in our gladness. 

God meant for us to have the last word. 
The last gloat.
He intended for the gloating rights to be ours.
To be confident in our joy that comes from the Lord.

My girls are always calling people a "GOAT."
It's an acronym for the "greatest of all time."
It made me think of a good reminder for gladness:
GLOAT:
"gladness of all time."

God is our source of gladness, our joy.
Our GLOAT can only come from Him.
Not happiness, that is tied to this world, but the true GLAD TIDINGS.
The good news that this world has been conquered.
We have a savior.
And for that, we can gloat.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Are You Ready For Some Christmas?

I'm not sure why, but it seemed like there was a long gap between Thanksgiving and December this year.

Once we returned to Ohio from the Thanksgiving holiday and threw away all the pumpkins and packed up all the Fall decorations,

it was still November.

I am not one of those people that can put up a Christmas tree during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I just can't.

I may change one day.

But for now, I need December to actually be here before I think of hitting a Christmas tree lot.

I actually did something somewhat brilliant this year.

I printed the addresses of my Christmas card list out on labels.

It was so fast and easy!

And I only did 30 cards at a time so I didn't have that dread of killing a whole night addressing cards.

Depending on where you fall in the alphabet, 
you may have gotten a Christmas card from us while it was still November.


Yeah, I was that person.

Clearly, my Christmas tree rule 
isn't a hard fast rule 
for all things Christmas.

Monte is leaving soon for an out of town conference so he took today off to help get the outdoor Christmas lights hung up.

Of course, it's windy and cold.

It's been quite balmy most of the week.

I have been trying to fight off a cold all week with all manner of Zicam, Emergen-C, Echinacea, clementines and homemade soup.

This morning, I woke up with clogged ears, crusty eyes and the general feeling that I had been run over by large machinery in my sleep.

I felt like I screamed through my prayer group and was either super hot and sweaty or just downright freezing.

I was still pretty hard of hearing and full of brain fog when Monte came in muttering he couldn't figure out baby Jesus.

Before I had a chance to present the gospel to him

or more realistically say, 

"WHAT?!"

I noticed he was holding the plastic baby Jesus of our nativity scene.



I'm so excited we bought a plastic set from the hardware store in my hometown last year the day after Christmas.

Monte went in looking for a bargain and came out with a full price nativity set.

He said something like, 

"I bet you don't want to store that until next year 
so let me make you an offer."


Their counteroffer was they didn't mind at all storing it 
so it was still full price.

Either way, I got my nativity set.


Mary and Joseph required us to purchase and install 60-watt bulbs, but baby Jesus came with his own special light.

Of course.

Monte couldn't understand why it wasn't coming on very well.

He finally figured out the bulb was covered in plastic to keep it from breaking.

Can you imagine if Monte left it plugged in 
and baby Jesus caught fire?!

You know we'd have to call the fire department 
and it would be our now friend Alan 
who answered our earlier call about the noise coming from our fireplace 
and he'd have to use the big fire hose to extinguish baby Jesus 
and we'd be left with Mary and Joseph looking lovingly 
at a charred piece of burnt plastic.

But alas, 

Monte figured out baby Jesus 

and none of that happened.


Although he did have an uncomfortable moment installing the light inside of Joseph.


He said he now knew how our friend Mark, 
who preforms colonoscopies, felt.

For many reasons, 
Monte made me install Mary's bulb.

They are now resting calmly under our lilac tree.




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

From the Recesses of My Brain

I'm getting ready to fold my 112th load of laundry so we can start packing to head out of town for Thanksgiving.

While I've been taking care of errands and a sick kid home from school, I caught myself humming a song.

I recognized it, but couldn't place it.

It wasn't until I was humming it again later that I realized it was the theme song from The A Team.

Now that is a blast from the past.

It's amazing what decides to spit out 
from the recesses of my brain 
from time to time.

The A Team.


The only thing I can think that possibly dislodged that deeply embedded tune from the back of my memory is that Monte and I did discuss last week how someone he knows had a van painted to match the one in A Team.


And if I have accidentally caused you to hum The A-Team theme song,

don't even THINK about getting it out of your head.

It's locked in.

I can kinda see where the tune came from.

I watched the show as a kid.

It was a big deal.

But that wouldn't explain the dream I had the other night about McDaniel and I sitting in the backseat of a car with a little goat that we were goat-sitting and it got all nervous and started kicking the holy heck out of my stomach with both of its hind legs like a donkey.

I could FEEL it kicking me.

Realistically.

We finally got the goat home and all the neighbors came by to pet the goat and it got nervous again and started giving my shins the kicking business.

Again, I could feel the pain of its little goat hooves whacking my shins.

I told my prayer group my dream.

One of the moms in the group has a very sick daughter who explained her feverish dream of goats and having one as a pet.

My friend thought to herself,

"We can never ask Karmen to goat-sit!"

So that's something to be thankful for as we approach Thanksgiving,

a brain/memory that still surprises you with 
what its stored and retrieved

and friends that know your dreams so well 
they'd never make you goat-sit.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Trying New Things for My Birthday

My birthday was this past weekend.

We decided to try out a restaurant in our area that has been open since the 60s.

And it seems it hasn't changed the decor.

It was dark and packed and very hard to read the menu without the flashlight on our phone.

But the seafood was great.

Our friend was our waitress 
and she took good care of us 
and our dinner choices.

On Sunday, we tried brunch at the university golf course.

The view was gorgeous but the food was just okay.

The girls got me this beauty:

It's a cookie jar!
Not sure I'll ever put cookies in it because the tail is hollow and who wants to clean
cookie crumbs out of a dinosaur tail?
But it just might be perfect for candy.
Wrapped candy.

Monte got me a facial I specifically asked for since I have a 50% discount at my salon.

It's 90 minutes long.

What in the world are they going to do to me for OVER AN HOUR?!

I hope make me look younger.

In an effort to milk all that I could out of my birthday,

I asked to go to a new ramen restaurant super close 
to our house for dinner.

Ellie and I had walked up there early this fall but were so confused and nervous and a wee bit grossed out by the pictures on the menu, that we ordered salads.

Monte and McDaniel we're not feeling adventurous AT ALL.

This from the girl who ate every piece of wild game 
she could when we were out west.

And this from a man who slurped down oysters 
on the half-shell Friday night like they were candy corn.

Ellie texted her friend who goes to the ramen restaurant all the time for meal suggestions.

We were told the chicken ramen would be a safe choice.

So Ellie and I ordered it.

Monte ordered fried chicken.

McDaniel ordered nothing.

As we waited for our food, 

Monte and McDaniel expressed their displeasure.




I got a little nervous when our chicken ramen was delivered.

It doesn't make a good first impression.

In the upper left-hand corner was a piece of seaweed.

And yes, that's a hard boiled egg.

I never did figure out what the black noodles were 
beyond slightly crunchy.

They brought out panko breaded chicken separately that we dipped into the broth.

Monte decided that's what he'd do with his fried chicken too.


In a rush of sportsmanship, Monte, picked up a chopstick, stabbed a piece of chicken and shoved it into my bowl.

Over and over and over again.

There was broth all over the table.

McDaniel decided to be a "try-er" and ordered a chicken ramen as well.

It was good!



Both the girls commented on HOW salty it was.

I hadn't noticed.

But it caught up with me.

By the end of the night, I had to take off my ring.

By morning, I couldn't make a fist because my fingers looked like sausages.

Even my eyelids were swollen.

But we all tried something new

and that was a great birthday gift.



Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Renewing of My License, Not My Mind

While I was at the polls to vote on election day, I looked at my license and realized it was going to expire in 4 days.

I decided to take care of that right away.

It was on the way to the license branch that I noticed the mustard and tomato stain on my shirt.

I tried to get it out with spit and some water from an old water bottle in the car, but it made things worse.

Much worse.

Monte and I were shocked at how quickly we were in a out of the polls.

Not so much at the license branch.

I had plenty of time to chat with the young gal in front of me.

She had just waited 1 hour and 20 minutes to vote and was now waiting to renew her license.

Rough.


When it was finally my turn, the worker lady helping me had me look into the eye exam machine.

I was really struggling to make out the letters and the numbers.

They were so small!

She told me to step back from the machine.

She looked at me and said,

“Remember? I told you to also tell me 
where the flashing light is!”

There was a flashing light?!

I tried again and actually saw the light this time.

“Oh! There it is!”

She reminded me that I had to tell her where “there” was.

When I was done she told me it was okay, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t multitask.

She asked me a series of 462 questions that she’s probably asked more times than I can count.

Did I have any warrants for my arrest?
Was I addicted to any substances?
Was I under the influence of a substance right then?
What was that stain on my shirt?

Just kidding on that last one.

She went over the information on my old license.

Was my height the same?

"Well, I haven’t gotten any taller…"

She asked about my weight and I said,

“Well…”

Then she took her open hand and circled it in the air over my head area and said something to the effect of,

“What are we going to do about your hair?”

She was holding a license of me as a brunette but I was standing in front of her more of a blonde.

I’ve been getting blonde highlights.

My hairdresser got tired of fighting my battle of the greys.

Because the greys were winning.

“I’m seeing blonde now,” she said, still doing the hand thing in the general area of my head.

I’m not sure why, but this made me mad.

Maybe it was because of the long line

or the big stain on my shirt

or the stupid flashing light thing outwitting me for a second.

BUT SERIOUSLY?

 I’m the only woman who has ever walked into the DMV with a different hair color than their old license??!!

The woman several people ahead of me was sporting 
a shade of red on her head that was 
NOT OF NATURE.

I didn’t hear a raucous over that.

What about all the blue, pink, purple and green hair I’ve been seeing walking the streets of late?

Do they have to change the color of their hair ON THEIR LICENSE information to reflect that?

I told her to just change it to brown from brunette.

I was not ready to commit TO THE STATE OF OHIO that I was officially now a blonde.

She told me to go sit in the chairs on the other side of the office to wait for someone to take my picture.

I was all huffy and,“Well, I never!” in my head when I saw them.

There were several old ladies waiting in the chairs with their purses in their laps.

I joined them.

In more ways than one.

A worker let one of the older ladies know her new license was ready.

She picked it up and looked at it for awhile and said loudly,

“I look like death!”

Alrighty then.

I was all fired up for my turn at the glamour shot.

The woman told me to smile or not.

What?

Should I not smile?

I smiled.

She looked at her screen and said,

“Let’s try that again. Could you not slouch so much?”

Sure…

Meemaw here will try to sit up straight so you can be sure to see the big ol’ stain on my shirt and capture the pure joy on my face this visit to the ol’ license branch has been.

She snapped another picture and said,

“Ok. That was WAY better!”

Like I was going to trust her 
after giving the woman ahead of me 
the death picture.

I walked out of there feeling old.

And like I hadn’t presented my A game.

And like I needed a prize for all the voting 
and renewing I did that day.

So I went shopping to get McDaniel clothes for an upcoming conference she’s heading to and I found this shirt on the clearance rack.



Perfect for this old dinosaur.





Thursday, November 03, 2016

A Roaring Good Halloween


Halloween was so fun!

Our theme?

Ellie insisted I print out these passes for authenticity.
She sent me to Staples for the plastic covers and clips too.

We were Jurassic Park (and World) characters.

Ellie is Claire from Jurassic World and McDaniel is Ellie from Jurassic Park. I’m the T-Rex from ALL the movies.
Monte is Alan Grant from Jurassic Park.

Monte gave me that T-Rex costume for Valentine’s Day.

We’d been looking since last Halloween but they were sold out. 

Monte found one in February 
and it was better than flowers 
or a seafood dinner!

I was thrilled!!

We had BIG plans for this T-Rex costume but I did not want to reveal it before Halloween 

so I put it in my closet

and waited.

It was worth the wait.

There was another T-Rex at the neighborhood Spooky Supper.

Momma and baby running through the street.

We were trying to recreate that scene from the first Jurassic Park.
Never mind the reflection of the Charlie Brown shirt hanging on the door.
Someone was borrowing it and my Lucy dress.
That happens a lot around here.
Photobomb

Wait for it…


BOO!



Monte is not too scared to smile for the camera.



I don’t remember Alan Grant taking a selfie with the T-Rex in the first movie, do you?


Being a T-Rex was sweaty, strenuous, exhausting work.




The girls thought it would be a hoot to get me on our trampoline.


It wasn’t all bad.



This might be why my knee still hurts.


Those little arms really were no help at all.




I had the crazy idea of trying a new intense cardio workout Halloween morning.

Lots of jumping and running.

What I didn’t know about wearing a large inflatable T-Rex costume is that it is its own kind of intense cardio workout.

I did a lot of jumping and running in it.

I was so sore the next day, 
I could barely walk.


 I couldn’t even eat a piece of fried chicken at the Spooky Supper!


Which is a sad event for a carnivore.

Monte tried to feed me.


I couldn’t see well at all.

Monte and the girls would run off to talk with people and I was left, staring the wrong way, all by myself.




I made Monte hold my hand when we walked.




I left the suit on when it was time for Trick or Treaters.


Mama and Baby reunion.


The Ninja Turtle doesn’t look too sure about me.


But this tiny little Banana was fascinated.

She probably knew I was a carnivore.


President Obama stopped by.




By the end of the night, my fan batteries died.

I’m melting!


I was cleaning like a mad woman yesterday and it occurred to me briefly that it would be hilarious to vacuum with the T-Rex costume on.

But then again, is it still hilarious when no one is around to see it?

Like the tree falling in the woods 
making no sound theory?

I didn’t do it.

I’m still too sore.

But soon.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The 31st Day of Our Lives

Day #31


Whew! 

I made it!

I posted 31 days straight.

Usually I end this series with photos from our family Halloween costumes.

But this year, 

my town is actually having Trick or Treating ON Halloween. 

So I don’t have any photos yet.

I’ll post those tomorrow.

Or follow me on Instagram  (@chairsfromthecurb)
and Facebook (@chairsfromthecurb) 

and you can see some sneak peeks.

Here’s a look back at a few of our past costume themes:

Wizard of Oz
Sorry for the terrible picture.


Christmas


Peter Pan

The 3 Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf

The 4 Elvis’s
Holy chest hair, Monte!


Willy Wonka

The Peanuts Gang

Fast Food Characters

Muppets

Clue

Gilligan’s Island

Super Heroes

Disney Princesses and Prince Charming

This year will be our 14th year of dressing up.

Stay tuned for photos tomorrow.

Happy Halloween!