Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Super M's

Well, so much for not having anything to say. I knew that wouldn't last long. HAHA

This Supergirl's gaga over her Superman! (sorry I had to do it, I know it's not punny)

Youngest SuperM

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's SuperM's!

Yeah he even changes in the phone booth!
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Never let it be said that my family does not have fun together. We all dreaded this trip. We had to go to Granny's 90th birthday party. Not that we don't believe she is worth it or that 90 is not a 'super" special milestone (pardon the pun). But it is an 8 hour round trip and we had to make it in a day. And a 90th birthday party can be very uninteresting to those who are 70-80 years younger, so I was sure the trip would be full of whining and complaining.

My husband and I had been through the area so many times we had forgotten about the Metropolis, IL Superman. We had never been there ourselves thinking it was kinda hokey and had never even thought to take the kids there.

When we stopped at a rest stop there, the kids saw the Superman sign and went "Superman statue????" So we decided to stop there on our way back. See, they have really gotten into the show Smallville (owning 4 seasons on DVD and Thursday nights being something akin to sacred for the regular showing, not to mention all the times it's on in syndication. Now they are all caught up in the Superman Returns hype too. So this, while we have passed by this little town hundreds of times, without even blinking, suddenly held their curiosity. We were only there for 30 minutes and had so much fun with these pictures that the kids deemed the trip "worth it" and Hubby and I considered it a success.You can see which of my family REALLY gets into the Superman thing.

This is all of them minus my oldest who had to work that day. Look at those poses!

My two youngest girls and I. We were supposed to do Charlie's Angels poses, but they flaked on me at the last minute.

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Even the Clark Kent character behind them thought they had gender issues!

Wednesday Writer's Block

I have nothing to say. Amazing! My husband would mark this on his calender. It's not that things haven't happened, but I just am drawing a blank. So I got this in my e-mail today and thought I would post it lest people think I have disappeared. It has the ring of truth and can either be sad or funny so I thought I would share it. Have a great day!

Now and then Fatherhood...

Today nearly 100 years have elapsed since the first father's Day was
celebrated. Fathers of 1900 didn't have it nearly as good as fathers of today;
but they did have a few advantages: In 1900, fathers prayed their children
would learn English.
Today, fathers pray their children will speak English.

In 1900, a father's horsepower meant his horses.
Today, it's the size of his minivan.

In 1900, if a father put a roof over his family's head, he was a success.
Today, it takes a roof, deck, pool, and 4-car garage. And that's just the
vacation home.

In 1900, a father waited for the doctor to tell him when the baby arrived.
Today, a father must wear a smock, know how to breathe, and make sure film is
in the video camera.

In 1900, fathers passed on clothing to their sons. Today, kids wouldn't touch
Dad's clothes if they were sliding naked down an icicle.

In 1900, fathers could count on children to join the family business. Today,
fathers pray their kids will soon come home from college long enough to teach
them how to work the computer and set the VCR.

In 1900, a father smoked a pipe.
If he tries that today, he gets sent outside after a lecture on throat cancer.

In 1900, fathers shook their children gently and whispered, "Wake up, it's time
for school."
Today, kids shake their fathers violently at 4 a.m., shouting: "Wake up, it's
time for baseball practice."

In 1900, a father came home from work to find his wife and children at the
supper table.
Today, a father comes home to a note: "Jimmy's at baseball, Cindy's at
gymnastics, I'm at adult-Ed, Pizza in fridge."

In 1900, fathers and sons would have heart-to-heart conversations while fishing
in a stream.
Today, fathers pluck the headphones off their sons' ears and shout, "WHEN YOU

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My baby is not a baby anymore.

The day has been so busy.
We haven't had time to even talk.
You step into the whirlwind,
and for me time suddenly stops.

For a moment I see clearly,
though around me time still flies.
But the world becomes just you and I,
as I see you with new eyes.

You were just a little girl.
I thought you were anyway.
What happened to the time?
Has memory begun to fade?

Now before me stands a woman,
and my heart feels a sudden pain.
My time with you is passing.
The world is yours to gain.

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Graceful, beautiful, young woman of God,
growing in faith and love.
You were my blessing, my joy-
a wonderful gift from above.

Where is the little girl,
with big grins and tiny curls,
the little ray of sunshine,
that lit up my world?

You don't even know I am watching you.
You don't see my eyes fill with tears.
With bittersweet understanding,
I hold this moment dear.

I couldn't be prouder, you are so beautiful.
But what makes my heart leap,
is the strength I see inside-
the tender promise that you keep.
©2006 Joy Meade

Friday, May 26, 2006

To top it off...

the high school called and said my oldest son was going to fail an honors class that he had a B in because of tardies and our pet cockatiel (my youngest son's who was very attached to this bird) died suddenly and mysteriously. He was fine this afternoon. When we came home this evening he was laying on the floor of his cage dead. What a day. So glad it's over.

Oh yeah, it's the last day of school too. Normally, I am excited about the start of summer. Today I am just plain blue. Boy do I sound like a whiner these days.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The death of a church.

I have deleted this post because my blog is linked through my website. Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, and the fact that some of my church family may read it, I felt it best to remove it. My church family needs to make decisions about this issue for themselves and while I hope to put in my two cents before the final decision is made, I don't want to do it second hand like this. Those of you that I really wanted to hear from on the issue have already read it. I thank you so much for your input and ask that you keep my church family in your prayers. We have alot of decisions to make. I will try to keep you posted.

PS I am removing the comments as well. I am saving them for my own reference and encouragement, but I don't want them to be here for the same reasons as above. Please don't think it isn't that I don't appreciate them. That's why I am saving them on my hard drive. :-)
They mean so much to me! I just think that until the matter is resolved, this will have to be treated as a private issue.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


A short walk
to a lost mind
thoughts spilled on the ground
close your eyes, rewind

Sit and talk
to self, remind
try to gather all around
words and images, bind.

One not so old
overwhelmed, unsure,
lost in an endless maze
no beginning, endure.

Need to take hold
sleep, so pure
ever moving in a daze
slower times, cure
©2006 Joy M.

It's 12:42 AM I'm going to bed. If this post doesn't make sense, I won't know it till morning. Sorry.

Friday, May 19, 2006

My kids got their start on Music Row!-Literally!

This is yet another brag on my kids. Thank you for indulging me. Three of them have been taking music lessons and last night was their recital. The recital was at Christopher's Pizza on Music Row in Nashville. How many musicians can say they debuted on Music Row?

I think nerves got a hold of them because at one point they looked lost, but they did great otherwise. They picked a really hard song to play for the amount of time they have been playing, but Russell really wanted to play a Gary Allen song. They pushed themselves and it payed off.

Ryan (playing the mandolin) has only had FOUR lessons! He really impressed everyone. I think he has found his niche. He has never been one to stick to anything so we eased him into this. He learned an entire song after just one lesson! He plays CONSTANTLY! By the second lesson, we were begging the teacher to teach him a new song.

Personally, I think they are all prodigies. :-) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Paths Intersect

Once again, God has given me a peek at the Big Story. You know how something will happen that loosely-sometimes even tightly-ties things together, and you can see that it wasn't coincidental. Someday, we will have complete revelation of how it all fit, but for now, those little "peeks" make life more interesting and gives us something to look forward to.

It also happens that there is a lot of this kind of thing going on in my life right now. It's been several years that I have felt I was in that dry, desert place that so many christians talk about, but this year, things have been happening...and fast!

I want to share with you one of those "peeks" that I had this morning. I offer this in the form of a memorial-a belated one. In fact, one I wasn't going to do intentionally, but now feel that God just wanted me to wait to do it.

A year ago in March, I was preparing a slide show video to say goodbye to my friend, Pam Mason. She died of thymoma-cancer of the thymus gland. I had the priveledge of seeing her go through that 4 year ordeal and saying goodbye to her just a week before she went home. To say her life was an inspiration would be too trivial. I could write page after page about how she affected my life, not to mention the hundreds of others who became involved in her fight against the cancer. She knew, knew, KNEW, where she was going. Her goal was to stay here long enough to impact her children's lives. She was pregnant with her youngest daughter when they found the cancer. Seemingly, even though I was privy enough to her thoughts to know better, the only thing she feared was that Abigail wouldn't remember her. That's one of the areas where people got involved in her fight-we had several scrapbook parties to help get her photos and notes to her children together. Pam had fear, but it came to her in the middle of the night when she was alone. She chose not to let it be the focus of her journey. Instead she wanted people to see complete trust in a God that NEVER fails-even when we are facing death. She had a hope of heaven that was so real to her that, at times, she seemed to rejoice that she would get to see it before the rest of us. I don't know anyone who was touched by her life in even small ways who was not deeply affected by her. Indeed, the words she dictated to be sent out in an e-mail announcing the end-she was going home to hospice care-were:

“Knowing that God has a plan beyond anything that I could ever imagine, I embrace anything He has for me. My prayer is that I will finish well. I love the people that God has placed with in my reach and God has given me a work to do. But as I walk through this difficult time, it is with the ever-present reality of heaven.I have spent my life chasing after God and it thrills me to think He will finally let me catch Him!”

I wasn't Pam's best or closest friend by any means. In fact I didn't even know her before we started scrapbooking together. I knew who she was and that she had cancer, but that was about it. We spent several late nights scrapbooking together in the last 2 years of her life and roomed together at our church women's retreat the last time she went. It was then that I really got to know her. At first I wasn't really allowing myself to get close. I didn't really have an awareness that she wouldn't be around long, but I knew about her illness. She was very open about it, but I think I was more wary of the NEED she represented than the possibility of getting to know her only to have to say goodbye.

Indeed we had talked many times about her illness and the struggles with home life when she didn't feel well. On one of our late nights scrapbooking together, Pam was sitting in the floor of the dining room at church with all her pictures spread out all around her. I was beginning to pack my things up and told her not to feel rushed, it would take me quite a while to pack and I would stay as long as she could handle it. She apologized for taking up so much space and I of course told her it was no problem. The she asked me something. It didn't really sink in at first. It was just matter of fact.

She asked me if I thought cremation was wrong.

She had been working on planning her own funeral and during the arrangements it had come up that cremation was cheaper than burial. She was leaning that direction so it would save some of the life insurance money for her children. She was concerned, however, that her body needed to be intact for when Jesus returns.

My reply was just as matter of fact. I told her that if her body needed to be intact for Jesus to raise her up, that anyone who had ever died in a fire or been dismembered would be in trouble. Besides, our bodies are never intact after being in the ground for a while. I advised her to do what her gut told her-which was to save the money.

Later that night I cried. For the first time, I realized that I had bonded with this woman and I was going to lose her. I cried like a baby. I cry now thinking about it.

I determined to BE her friend from that point on. Not just to talk to her, but to let her into my heart-even though I knew it was going to break it. I don't think I could have helped at that point anyway, I was already hooked.

We spent many more times talking about what she was going through. At times I wasn't sure I could handle it, but she would always ask if I could and I would always answer yes. As a result, I got to feel some of the same things that Pam felt. She read some of her journal entries to me. She shared what God was showing her. I wasn't close enough to her to be much of a part of her time in the hospital, in fact there were times when she asked me to come. and I couldn't, that I regret deeply now.

In spite of all she was going through, she took the time to write thank you notes to me for EVERY little thing I did-which believe me wasn't much. She wanted me to know that she thought I was brave for befriending her when I knew she wasn't going to be around. She told me she admired me for that.

I hadn't gotten to see her those last few months much because she was in the hospital so much. I was afraid I wouldn't get to see her, but afraid to intrude on her family with all the medical intrusions into their lives. After we got the e-mail about hospice, I pretty much gave up getting to see her. The doctors had said 2-6 months, but hospice was saying it would be much less. Pam was already in the death throes. I most certainly did NOT want to intrude on her families last times with her.

But the next day, I got word that a mole I had removed, was melanoma. That word was not lost on me. I knew the implications. I was immediately afraid.

“Knowing that God has a plan beyond anything that I could ever imagine, I embrace anything He has for me." Pam's words were coming back to me.

"My prayer is that I will finish well." I have a choice.

"I love the people that God has placed with in my reach and God has given me a work to do." There are much more important things and I don't want to miss them because of self pity.

"But as I walk through this difficult time, it is with the ever-present reality of heaven.I have spent my life chasing after God and it thrills me to think He will finally let me catch Him!” I have heaven to look forward to! What more could I want?

I immediately began to worship the Lord. He is faithful and just. Not even a sparrow falls from the sky that He does not take notice. My determination became the same as Pam's. I wanted to finish well! I didn't want to grovel in a pity party and make everyone sad. I wanted people to rejoice that I was going to get to see Jesus!

I had to tell Pam. I made an appointment to see her. She asked that it be short, and that was fine. I knew she would have a hard time talking, and I knew I would too-due to sobs. I told her what her words had meant to me. She is gasping for breath and pale as a ghost, but she says, "God is always faithful to bring things about at the right time." I was a puddle. It was all I could do to say goodbye and get out of there. I failed her, but I managed to give her the small confirmation that she had worked ministry here on earth. And she-ever the encourager-left me with a memory of a faithful warrior. Thank you, Pam. Thank You, Jesus!

One week later, Pam entered the gates of heaven. March 19th, 2005

I later had the melanoma removed and the margins came back clear. I was cancer free.

Well, the summer before she died, Pam had asked me to make a slide show of her life, for her funeral and was telling me about the music she wanted played. She introduced me to a pianist named Robert Rogers. Not him personally, but his music. It is absolutely beautiful music. I've been told that she listened to it over and over again in the last 2 weeks because it soothed her so. Behind this beautiful music is a story. I'm not sure how Pam found his story and his music, but she was deeply moved by both. You see, Robert, his wife, and their 4 children were caught in a flash flood. He was the only survivor.

Of all the things in the world that could crush us, that would do it for anyone. I can't even imagine going on after that. Robert not only went on, but gave the credit for the peace and grace he experienced during all of this to the Lord. He allowed God to use the experience, devastating as it was, to minister to others. I was one of those.

Now this is the loose tie to this story. His story and music was so inspiring to me that when I decided to go into photography, I wanted a website with a slide show and HIS music playing in the background. I wanted this so much so, that I looked up his web site, found his contact page and wrote him asking permission to use it LONG before I was ready to do my web-site. Now he got this e-mail from some strange woman he's never met. I figured, I'd be lucky if he replied at all, much less if he actually gave me permission. HE DID! He gave me permission and simply asked that I let him know when I got it up and running. I was shocked

Well, I finally got his music on there. I am still a long way from getting a slide show, but the music was of paramount importance to me. I chose "Time Passing" because I felt it best represented what my photography is all about-capturing time.

So I e-mailed him last night to let him know it was up and this morning I recieved a reply. Now keep in mind, I am a total stranger except for the one e-mail requesting permission to use his music, but he shared something with me...he's getting married!

I am so excited for him! I am so blessed that he shared that information with me-a complete stranger. He certainly didn't have to. Little did he know how much it would bless me to hear that news. Not only does this make me happy for him, but it brings me back to Pam. She would have loved that life goes on. Even though she is not here, she would have loved that everyone else is still living life. She was like that. She would never have wanted any of those she left behind to stop living because of grief over her. She made every possible effort to let us know that she certainly wasn't going to be broken up over her death. She was going to heaven to be with Jesus! There isn't anything better! That was my very reason for not doing a memorial blog for her to begin with, but yet I so wanted to share the story of Pam. This gave me the opportunity to do so, but without it being a sad commentary on the the loss of life.

Thank you Robert, for letting me share in your joy for a moment. Treasure the past, but live now and live on. May your life be full of love and God moments! And thank you for sharing your music with me.

Pam Mason 1966-2005 Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wonderful, awful, and weird-I need a break. But first...!

Okay, this day missed it's true self by one.

Let me explain. Today is Friday, the 12th. But there was enough bad luck, weirdness stuff today to be Friday, the 13th! I am not superstitious, but this one lets me know Satan is alive and well. I know I am on the right track when he is trying so hard to wear me down.

Everything started off great! I got my website up and running last night and did some tweaking this morning to get a fully (ahem) functional photographer's website up. I am still a ways off from having music and a beautiful slide show that I hope to afford to pay someone to create for me someday, but it works. It does everything I want it to do in the most basic of ways. So maybe I can spend some time on housework now.

Then I get a call from the Fox affiliate here telling me they want to do a story on Operation Photo Rescue. I was so excited! I gave them the number to call Becky Sell-one of the founders of OPR-and the reporter said they would call me back. I was walking on air cause I just knew this was the break I was hoping for. I had done a media blitz earlier this week to get some attention for OPR. My hopes were that they would do a local story so tornado victims would get the word, and then move to a full blown story on OPR with a referral to their web site to give donations. The reporter never called back.

I was feeling a little glum over this and the lack of sleep from all the web page stuff I've been doing the last couple of days was catching up with me too. My husband got home and I realized I hadn't checked the bank stuff to see if the paycheck came in and the bills all went out. So I did. Lo and behold, something had come in yesterday that I had forgotten. It caused FOUR overdrafts!!!!! Of course there was enough money to cover the 3 smaller things, but no! The bank pays the big one first and charges me OD fees for ALL FOUR! Tell me how is it that they can get by with that???

I won't go into what that does to the budget. I'll just say we will be eating alot of beans and rice for the next 2 weeks. What I do want to add about this is what it did to my poor husband. He cannot for the life of him realize that while it is a large sum of money, it happens and in the grand scheme of things, $140 is not that big a deal. Sure it will make things tight. Sure we will have to cut deep into our budget for the next two weeks, but we will survive. No one is injured or ill. We will not end up in the poor house. Our sanity is still intact...well that may be debatable. He just sees one thing. He has lost a day of his life. He worked one whole entire day...just for the bank. They got it and he got nothing. That's how he sees it. I agree it's frustrating, but I can't imagine how it must feel to him.

So the wall was just narrowly spared having a hole punched in it, although it may have a sizable dent, and I was left in a puddle over the guilt for forgetting to subtract that withdrawal from the account. I know he doesn't realize it, but I felt like he may as well have hit me. Okay, enough of that. I don't want to make him out to be a terrible person. Frustration can make you do really abnormal things and guilt can make you percieve things all wrong. He was most definately NOT blaming me, but at that moment, I percieved it that way. However I must admit that I will think twice before telling him if it ever happens again. Not that I think that is a better choice, but I don't stress like he does. Maybe I should just let him be blissfully unaware.

To top all this drama off. I got on here and found that somehow I had two identical posts on here and though I had gotten 2 WONDERFUL new comments today, they were missing! I think this upset me more than the bank ordeal.

Well, I think after this roller coaster day, and after all the time I have had to put in on the computer the last week, I am going to take a few days off from the computer. Before I go, I want to give God some praise and offer some encouragement. This is something I want to expound on at length, but now is not the time.

God is always and ever faithful. He is both just and full of mercy. He is both fearsome and worthy of adoration. He is deserving of all our praise. Even when things aren't great, he is worthy of praise. I will praise Him in spite of the trauma of the day. I pray that God gives me the strength and the wisdom to continue to praise Him-no matter what.

If you ever have a desire in your heart for something, but you have been waiting for something...confirmation from the Lord, money, time, or simply didn't know how to get started...NOW is the time to move. If God has placed that desire in your heart, act. Submit to God by telling Him you are going to start and if this is really what He wants, you will know when He steps in and starts to make things happen. I'm not saying that He will make it easy, but there will be doors that begin to crack open and paths that seem a little more clear. When you are doing what God wants, Satan will ALWAYS do his level best to make it hard. You can't let "hard" or "easy" determine whether it is right. Throw out the Staples "easy" button. But something someone says will seem like you were just thinking that very thought. Or you will turn around and find that, suddenly, you know what you need to do. Maybe unexpected money will come to you-usually in much smaller increments than you think you need, but it all seems to come together. Sometimes you have to fight to get to that point, but I believe that God will quicken in you whether that fight is against Him or against Satan. The point is that you have to START. You have to take a step. Get the ball rolling. God rarely drops opportunity in our laps. It does happen, but more often than not, He puts it on our hearts for US to do. I can't tell you how many burdens I have felt for one thing or another over the years-missions, children that need homes, various ministries-but nothing ever came from those burdens until this latest one. I decided to move. And believe me, it was not a directed, informed, funded, or even intelligent movement. But it let God know I wasn't dead.

See you guys in a few days.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

New website!

Yaaaaayyyyy!My new website is up! Well, sort of. I have a temporary page up and am working on an official page. I am so excited.

Lots of new things happened today. I joined a web ring, which to me is huge. When I first started this blog, I didn't really want anyone to read it. Now I am practically begging for someone to read it. I was so unsure of myself in the areas I love most, my writing and my photography, and now I am wanting to show them both to everyone. I believe God puts things on our hearts to do and waits for us to take the first step. Then He gives us an unbelievable drive to see that work completed.

I turned 40 in Oct. and felt like I was awake for the first time in my life. I think that the second half of my life is going to be better than the first half. I am awake, alive, and finally feel like I've arrived. I have always been so timid. Most people don't believe me in that once they get me started talking, I can't seem to shut up. But speaking to new people or to a crowd??? NO WAY! I guess it takes God giving you something to say because lately, I am BOLD! To the point that I even addressed a group the other night! I read a list of Scriptures God had given me for a group of people I have recently gotten involved with. Not only did I read them, but I told them that God had given me these scriptures just for them!

No this new website is not just exciting to me for being something new to play around with, it represents a whole new me. The "me" God has been preparing for years for such a time as this. It is so cool when we can see God's hand in things and these days I can see God orchestrating time, giving voice to the "mute", creativity to the timid, and oportunity to someone who felt completely useless. I know this is a really random post. Someday I will take the time to explain further.

Watch my website over the next few months as it becomes a full blown photography web site. I even have the music picked out for it and aproval from the artist who wrote and played it to use it already. Can you tell that I am so excited?!?!